#SpaFY Campaign Issues, Questionnaires and Debates

I recently completed a number of #surveys and #questionnaires and I am publishing my answers, for the benefit of my voters and neighbours. I will also be attending an all-candidate debate for my ward. 

VoteCompassMidpointSince I succeeded in posting my contact info on the official Toronto.ca website, I have been contacted by quite a few “pollsters” and political scientists conducting surveys.

The first survey I completed (and most detailed/laborious, hopefully) was VoteCompass, chiefly because it had a fixed deadline for this past Friday.

I used this amazingly useful tool since it was first launched and recently learned that it was developed in Toronto by Vox Pop Labs, located in my Ward!!!

It took me a few hours as I have given detailed answers (and in retrospect, I’d change a few, but what’s done is done). The screenshot above shows a false “end of survey” screen that popped about halfway through. I nearly popped a brain vessel (to use a phrase consecrated by a 90s comic) when I realized that I had about the same number of questions still to go!

I saved my 50+ answers in a spreadsheet, linked below as gss-surveyanswers.

Next in line was “Know Your Vote T.O.”, a Toronto Public Library project.

They asked for “525-character responses (approx. 75 words)”, and I obliged. I have about 3 days to make corrections/additions, and I will probably take advantage of that, as follows.

We are asking you to share 525-character responses (approx. 75 words) to each of the following five questions.

  1. If elected, what would be your top priority as a City Councillor? Why?
    I would immediately set up a system to allow voters to tell me how to vote on issues debated in Council and what proposals to initiate. This would involve a web form similar to the contact form on my blog and an IVR (phone menu) much like the automated attendant to be implemented at a phone number on my website. I would then act according to my constituents’ wishes and also try to institutionalize Direct Democracy across Council. I actually envision this being done at city level using City's cyberinfrastructure (web, phone or email) but I had difficulties fitting this in the allocated number of characters (see also previous reference).
  2. What local issues in your Ward deserve more attention? Why?
    Apart from housing and gridlock which are addressed separately the issues my neighbours have reported to me are:
    1) insufficient park space
    2) safe injection sites and crime.
    I would oppose more injection sites, unless my constituents tell me otherwise, emphasize community policing, and push for non-enabling yet compassionate treatment options while joining lawsuits against the corporate entities which are partly responsible for the opioid crisis.
  3. What should the next City Council do about housing in Toronto? Why?
    The best way to solve our housing crisis is to increase supply. We are a victim of our own success in that even though the downtown is all a construction site, there are more people making Toronto their home than can developers build for. I would work to streamline the approval process for new housing with developers, affordable housing advocates and other stakeholders to set aside a percentage of all new rental buildings for subsidized housing, avoiding de-incentifying developers.
  4. What should the next City Council do about transportation and how we get around Toronto? Why?
    I support downtown access fees for drivers not residing here. The downtown relief line should be given more priority while the Scarborough one-stop subway should be put out of its misery in a cost-effective manner, replacing it with LRT. We need to redesign roads so that they are safer for pedestrians while not impeding traffic and continue building bicycle infrastructure that is safe (separated) in a manner that does not make car drivers' commutes even more miserable than they already are.While a free TTC may ultimately be impossible, and could end up being enslaved by the province, we need to work toward reducing ticket price as well as wait times and overcrowding especially at rush hour.
  5. Should the next City Council change anything about municipal taxes or city services? Why?
    The City of Toronto needs a new Charter allowing for more autonomy, and that includes sources of financing other than property taxes. While property taxes seem low when compared to other municipalities, they certainly are not to homeowners who have to pay the exorbitant costs in this increasingly unaffordable city. As such, highway tolls might have to be revisited. We should look at downtown access fees for out-of-town vehicles not only as a source of revenue, but to reduce gridlock and pollution.

Already, I am thinking about making corrections/additions.

I also managed to complete a survey for the University of Calgary and posted my answers in a Google Photos Album.

In terms of lobbying, I received a link to a paper published by the Park People (linked below under parkppl), and got a question about prostitution legalization:

I’m wondering what your stance on prostitution is. This might not seem relevant at the municipal level — after all, paying for sex is, at this point in time, a criminal offence. But a constitutional challenge could result in the federal government legalizing it, and (as has happened with marijuana) leaving it to the provinces to regulate. And it’s possible that Queen’s Park could, in turn, leave it to the municipalities to deal through maybe licencing or zoning or some other regulatory system.
I realize you might not have given much thought to the details of what sort of municipal-level regulatory/licencing/zoning framework would be best in regards to prostitution (or if a regulatory/licencing/zoning framework is necessary), but I would think you probably have some general opinions about prostitution that you would use as guidance in such a situation. I hope you’d be willing to share those with me.

Contrary to what my neighbour may think, I have actually debated/judged this issue within the Hart House Debating Club as well as during my days as a sex ed and relationship volunteer counsellor with University of Toronto Sexual Education Centre. I remember reading some excellent articles on this topic in the press and right now the only reference to the Economist prostitution legalization debate I can find is on a blog. In the event that we have to look at a legalized framework, the New Zealand model seems to be the fairest and most workable. In the described hypothetical situation, we would have to be careful not to offend neighbours’ sensibilities (as it is the case with the zoning and licensing of many other undesirable businesses) and additionally, we need to make sure that no coercion of sex workers is taking place.

Just before publishing, I received an email invitation from one of the neighbourhood associations profiled in my article on Ward 10 SpaFY:

All Candidates Meeting Details

Meeting Format: Formal, professionally moderated, question and answer session. Candidates will have a short opportunity for opening and closing remarks.

Location: OCAD University 100 McCaul St. Room 190

Date and Time: Tuesday October 9, 2018 -  doors open at 6:30, meeting begins at 7pm and lasts until 9pm.

Hope to see you there!

Sources / More info: gss-surveyanswers, tgm-vision0, parkppl


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