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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.
I want to thank you for taking the time and energy to participate in an exciting election for Ward 30. I have listened to what you had to say and think that your ideas and perspectives were right on track. I wish you all the very best.
But whatever destination your decision brings you to, I plan to be the voice of the ward... no matter who wins!