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My name will be on the ballot, but I have ceased active campaigning. As I essentially started my campaign in Leslieville with respect to the proposed TTC yard, I wanted to let Leslievillers to know first of this decision.
It's clear to me that not only that I would not win but that I would split the vote. That's not fair to the voters of Ward 30, who deserve a clear choice between the past, represented by Paula Fletcher, and the future, which I believe is best represented by Liz West.
I've received many compliments from residents for my thoughtful platform and obvious familiarity with the issues. But that didn't come easily. I've been talking to local residents and business owners for the last nine months. I've attended meetings with respect to the Portlands, the sewage treatment plant and the proposed TTC yard, and making deputations at City Hall over local issues. There's a steep learning curve to this process.
Liz is relatively new to local politics, but she has already shown a willingness to listen to - and learn from - people in the community. In the result, we see that she already has a sizeable amount of support. That ability to bring people onside is critical to being an effective councillor.
Obviously no two candidates (or voters) see eye to eye on everything. Liz does share my views on the critical issues of making Toronto financially sustainable and the need to reinvest in infrastructure. But she also supports my concerns with respect to the environment, democratic reform and instituting a formal process for community engagement that brings government back to the people. She has shown an openess to exploring new ideas which I think the residents of Leslieville will find to be a refreshing change from the incumbent.
I feel the Ward will be in good hands with Liz, and retiring from the race will allow me to go back to what's left of my career and my wife and two children a week and a half earlier. What a relief!
Thanks to all of you who have supported me, taken my sign, and contributed money.
Why do you assume I am a man?
Claims of male chauvinism against me would mean that you would be saying only a man could use the term General?
Why would you make these assumptions and what makes you so sure I am a man? Is it because I expressed support for someone other than your entertainment media darling in a politicial campaign?
A woman can watch more on tv than entertainment shows, there can also be interest in the political ring.
The attempt to discredit my experience with Liz West by claiming it was hearsay is automatic statement on your part that she can not do anything wrong. I shared my experience and you made the decision to attack me for partisan gain.
My experience is that you can often judge people by their actions and the company they keep and in this situation Liz has not passed either of those tests, I witnessed this with poor representation of herself and poor behaviour of the people she is closely working with on her campaign.
You like to throw around these great little jabs with terms like 'communist leader', yet it is Liz West in her campaign materials that is in favour of limited terms. Limited terms essentially takes away the will of the people and reduces the choice that the electorate have to decide the person that can best represent them. Limiting democratic representation of the general public.... who were you refering to as a 'communist leader'?
I also never made any claims as to who I would be supporting, it is you that is on the soapbox attacking anyone that expresses something that is not glowing about your candidate.
Your support for Liz West lists beautiful as the first quality she possesses, is that the most important thing to you? Yes, I agree that she is a very attractive woman, but it is not the first thing I look for in a politician.
Second item you list is extremely smart, the have only a few areas I have had to judge her are the written response she provided to the Lesliville Post, in which she failed to give actual answers to the majority of the questions. She provided statements that did not provide direction or approaches to policies. Her performances in the debates also failed to win me over, again I felt a lack of positioning and policy. When people make claims that all they want is change, they need realize that without a clear platform, that change has no value. To me change without a plan is like destroying your kitchen without any vision or plan in place, it is just breaking something down and then attempting to figure it out afterwards. Other candidates have that vision and this is where Andrew dropping out if the race concerned me.
As for your third area to support her was that she worked in entertainment. Entertainment news is a very short cycle area, the tasks and assignments are all on a short timeline and do not have long term implications. Politics requires making plans for projects that will take place 2,4 or 10 years down the road. I fail to see how working in an area with short task based assignments is a precursor to long term strategic thinking. This is just another reason that I do not see the existing skillset matching the requirements of the position of city councilour.
Liz West will not be getting my vote based on her vague statements, her focus on change without a strategy and her lack of strategic direction. The fact that she is a woman does not resonate with me, the position should be filled by the person that can best represent the people and how I want to see the changes in Leslieville continue to take place.
I have yet to decide on who to vote for and that is because Andrew left the race.
I actually gree with General. He/she makes excellent points, and is not attackiing anyone, just explaining points with rational thought. People like you actually worry me because they are voting for someone who has no platform, and has used negative campaigning and charisma to get your vote. I have also had some negative interactions with her and her people and on Facebook this morning a whole bunch of my Riverdale friends are commenting that they received rude phone calls from her office, and no answers to "what is her platform". We can all vote for who we choose, but hopefuly it's bsed on knowledge and not anything else. Paula Fletcher's one huge public mistake should not be a reason to vote her out. Like you've never had a bad moment? How do you know what else might have been going on in her life at the time?You are a prime example of what Liz West is trying to do. Get people to hate Paula with or without rationale, and trust her "passion" without anything backing it up. I would rather see 4 more years of Paula than any years with this woman.
Paula Fletcher has had many bad moments. Thank goodness one was caught tape. This I believe as do many others from experience, was a pretty indicative of her overall behavior and true colours being shown.
5 years of leadership in the communist party is more than a bad moment. Obviously her " people" know that and it is just simply left out of her bio on both her official and campaign sites.
People hated Paula Fletcher long before LIZ WEST came along. You obviously don't live in our ward.
Mr. James seems like a rational man to me, he knows where she stands on the issues, backs her up and and he trust her. Its too bad you think he, I, and other Liz supporters are so ignorant. Frankly he seems a lot more rational than you, but hey that's just my perspective.
Gotta go now, though I am sure more of your sidekicks will have stories, indicative of the smear campaign against LIZ WEST and her supporters....Talk about spreading hate...
Any time there's an incumbent, an election is first and foremost a referendum on how the incumbent is doing. In judging Paula, it's fair to look at her record as a powerful member of the David Miller administration as well as her record in the ward. She can therefore share the blame for the failures, incompetence, waste and dubious practices of the last seven years. She can share the blame for the resulting voter anger that in all likelihood will elect Rob Ford as mayor.
And then there's her own voting record. Three recent examples:
1. For all the heat Sandra Bussin has taken over the Tuggs deal, Bussin didn't vote on it (conflict of interest). Paula was the one who introduced the motion in council to accept the deal! Why isn't Paula taking heat over that?
2. Paula introduced the motion to reimburse Adrian Heaps for his personal legal costs of settling a defamation suit brought against him as a candidate in the last election - not as a councillor. After the public outcry, Heaps refused to accept the money. Heaps took the PR hit, but it was Paula proposing to dole out our money to him.
3. With respect to the TTC yard, Paula supported the Leslie and Lakeshore location and Leslie route from the very beginning. She voted in favour of both at council, but seemed to backpedal on the issue at the Ralph Thornton debate.
And let's look at her biggest "success". Paula claims credit for winning the fight against the Smart Centres proposal. But she had two chances to prevent Smart Centres from even buying into the property. And when it came to the OMB, her clumsy and heavy-handed attempts to block the development were ultimately pointless and potentially expensive for Toronto taxpayers.
First, if it weren’t for the City’s meddlesome Mega Studio deal, in which the City ignored all the industry advice and ALLOWED the developer to close the old studios in favour of the new studios, 629 Eastern would still be a busy film studio today and Ward 30 would never have had a SmartCentres battle. See above tab "Studio Closure" for the full details.
Then, Paula was instrumental in blocking the owners of the studio space from obtaining a rezoning to proceed with a mixed-use condominium development. Smart Centres then bought an interest in the Eastern Avenue property to big box "power centre"-type retail development, and the expensive fun began.
The city challenged the big box proposal, as it should do where (as here) the neighbourhood was up in arms. That's not the problem. The problem is that the city didn't listen to their own planners' advice and simply rely on provisions of Toronto's 2002 Official Plan. Instead, led by Paula Fletcher, the city put up a dizzying series of roadblocks and impediments to the Smart Centres proposal, all of which were dismissed by the OMB decision. Most of the OMB's 54-page decision was spent criticizing the city for its ad hoc and improper planning approach. Municipalities aren't allowed to rejig the rules - pro or con - for specific developments. The planning principles set out in the Official Plan are supposed to apply to everybody.
In the end, the OMB refused the Smart Centres development on the basis of the 2002 Official Plan, which came into effect before Paula was even a councillor. (Mel Lastman was the mayor at the time - maybe he should be thanked for stopping the Walmart.) This decision was made on on March 4, 2009.
Despite losing, Smart Centres immediately claimed $1.4 million in legal costs for having to address the Paula's and the city's exhaustively inane arguments. Almost 20 months later, on the eve of the election, we still haven't yet had a decision resolving the issue. Why not? According to a well-known planning law expert, if costs are claimed after an OMB hearing they are normally settled within weeks or months after the decision, not nearly two years later.
My guess is that the city is stalling on resolving the costs claim until after the election. It would be too embarrassing for Paula to admit that not only were all her shenanigans criticized by the OMB as useless, they resulted in costing Toronto taxpayers over a million dollars! And why would the developer go along with this unprecedented delay? They're not talking, but could it be in exchange for an agreement that the city will pay all or most of the costs requested - AFTER THE ELECTION? The point is: we don't know. Once again, the voters and taxpayers are not being told what is going on.
And after all that, we end up with a car dealerships instead of an active film studio or mixed-use development. If democratic accountability is to mean anything, Paula should be defeated for her incompetence in handling this issue alone.
So there are many, many reasons to turf Paula and bring in a fresh voice. The challenger most likely to defeat Paula is Liz West. Obviously any challenger (me included) lacks experience in being a councillor, and voters can't tell how well he or she would do in office. For example, Karen Stintz was considered a lightweight who was elected on a single issue in her Eglinton-Lawrence ward, but she grew in office to the point where the Star actually endorsed her re-election last week.
Liz would have to be pretty bad to not represent a positive change for the ward. Fortunately, I've seen that Liz has backbone, and a clear idea as to how she wants to truly represent her community. I hope she wins, and I hope she does well.
Thank you for having such obvious integrity and standing up for Ward 30. You ran an incredible campaign and continue to work for the residents by educating everyone with the facts. I applaud you. I look forward to our continuing relationship.