Turnout Toronto - Regent Park event Apr 10

Turnout Toronto is a "Civic Engagement Fair" that allows organizations and people who are engaged in making Toronto a better city.  It was really a very interesting evening that allowed anyone to interact on various topics.  There were 36 total organizations or people who had space at Turnout Toronto and I attempted to take a minute for them all.  I actually got engaged in a few conversations that I felt were important to Ward 3.

Jobs

Gensqueeze is an organization that gave some interesting stats for "young people" (people under 45) in regards to income and education.  Having a strong workforce that is well paid will allow for the future prosperity for all. One example that Gensqueeze mentioned is:

younger Canadian work and study more to have less.  Their earnings have dropped by 11% since 1976, even though they are twice as likely to have post-secondary education.

Community

Two organizations that could really effect the sense of community in Ward 3 would be Park People and CycleTO.  Park People help 'friends of parks' which are local residents that help maintain local parks.  Currently there is only one park in Ward 3 that has any presence which is Friends of Glen Park.  Given the amount of parks in Ward 3, we need to consider what parks meant to us when we were growing up.  Are the parks a representation of our local identity?  We have Centennial Park which is an amazing asset but under appreciated.  The second group that can be a great catalyst for Ward 3 is CycleTO.  With only a few bike lanes in Ward 3, they are simply lanes separated by a painted line on the road.  This weekend I saw a contractor working on a house parked in the bike lane.  Would you want your children or grandchildren riding on Renforth or Rathburn and have to merge into live traffic? 

Toronto Budget Improvements

One of the most fascinating organization was Better Budget TO.  Having spent the last few months combing through the City of Toronto website, it is very informative but can be hard for residents to find what they are looking for.  Do most residents know what the city budget contains, how can they effect the budget?  One of the goals I hope to accomplish when elected to City Council is to be able to inform residents of Ward 3 about important policy.  Having a better interactive budget that residents can understand is just one aspect to move this city forward.

Explore and Celebrate Neighbourhoods

I took the time to take a Jane's Walk during the Turnout Toronto event.  Jane’s Walks are free, locally organized walking tours, in which people get together to explore, talk about and celebrate their neighbourhoods.  Our tour took the group outside and into Regent Park.  We discussed the change in the community, how the revitalization would effect the community and some historical significance of aspects of the tour.  It was a great idea and I highly recommend checking out the Jane's Walk that may be in your area on May 2-4.

Future elections

Currently before the Government of Ontario is a proposal for the 2018 Toronto Municipal Election for "Ranked ballots".  This is a concept that is around the world and although it is difficult by most to understand versus our current model, it would be a great benefit to Toronto.  Currently a candidate can win by having the highest number of votes.  This percentage can be very low when compared to the overall population of the ward.  Ranked ballots will allow residents to pick their First choice, Second choice, Third choice.  This may make candidates take a stand on policy and speaking more than just talking points.  2018 could be a great transformation of city council and definitely is a topic all residents should take a moment to read.

My last comment on the event was the ability to have a few moments with a mayoral candidate that was not listed on the Turnout Toronto listing.  John Tory had arrived and took the time to interact with the various organizations.  I had stopped John to introduce myself and we discussed a few items, including transit for Ward 3.  It was a pleasure to be able to promote Etobicoke Centre with one of the possible mayors in this election.  I look forward to seeing additional policy ideas from him and all the mayoral candidates.

I have linked to some of the organizations at Turnout Toronto below.  Please take a moment and click on any that may interest you.  Each organization or candidate offers their perspective on how they can make Toronto a better city. 

ORGANIZATIONS

People - Mayoral Candidates & Federal Candidate

Posted on April 14, 2014 .

Metrolinx & TTC Relief Line Public Meetings

I believe it is clear that everyone agrees that Toronto needs more transit.  It is needed across the entire city and in all forms (buses, LRT's, streetcars & subways).  I cannot fathom any credible candidate for any level of government who wouldn't agree!

Metrolinx is involved in attempting to bring transit across the GTHA with its BIG MOVE. This is a multi-decade $50 billion transit plan to get transit moving.  I support many aspects of Metrolinx in my platform including the need for a Downtown Relief Line (or DRL for short).  

TTC has also identified in their transit building strategy that there are concerns for over-capacity on several of their transit lines.  The main cause of concern is the Yonge subway which is already having people to wait for multiple trains to board.  A solution that TTC identified in 2009 was the need for a DRL also.  TTC has a website about their relief line HERE.

With two different organizations agreeing with the need for a DRL, any commonalities led to the public meetings on where each of them stand.  Each had information to show the public on what issues need to be addressed and also how solutions can be created.

Public Meeting Info:

I arrived and instantly saw Glen Murray, Olivia Chow, David Soknacki & Morgan Baskin in attendance.  It is encouraging to see mayoral candidates engaged in public meetings and to be informed by the 'experts' on transit for their platforms.  Decisions by the next mayor and council will have a lasting impact on transit and Toronto.  

After an introduction to both organizations discussing who they are and why they view the DRL as an important transit line to build, it was time to break into groups.  Both TTC and Metrolinx had a side of the room to brainstorm about the needs and concerns as well as suggestions for improvement.  

My first group interaction dealt with "New Transit Lines" and Metrolinx allowed for the public to give ideas.  I mentioned the concept of building a line and not necessarily have all the stations complete before having it run.  I had seen this in Brazil where the line was complete, but stations along the line were not.  This allowed for the main end point stations to be utilized while secondary stations in the middle were constructed.  Although they weren't all tied to the DRL, many were interesting and I will list a few I had written down:

  • Extend Kipling further west
  • Express subway trains
  • Express buses
  • New Go Stations
  • Bike storage in more stations

The next group interaction was the most interesting to me because it was "Policy".  Policy involving transit allows for the utilization of current lines and future lines and begin to think of new ways to improve transit.  I mentioned time-based transfers, integration GO and TTC so it allows people to choose more than one way to get home.  Other interesting ideas included:

  • Discounted fares based on income
  • Free transit before/after certain times
  • Zone fares
  • "Premium service fares"

The second half of the meeting was a presentation and interaction with TTC about their Relief Line.  They were clear that Metrolinx were futher ahead in their process and that in itself was a positive.  It allows the TTC to view their findings and helps guide the process to get the DRL built.  

I was very happy to attend the public consultation and impressed with the turnout.  The sense of urgency for transit improvement is very evident.  Residents of all corners of Toronto and a few from other connected cities were attending to give a voice to concerns they see and solutions they believe will make transit the best way to travel within Toronto.

This is only the first step in a long process to get the DRL built.  With as much information and interaction as the public meeting had - it is a positive sign of progress.

Posted on April 11, 2014 .

Save the Red Door Family Shelter

Over the weekend I was sent an email asking for my support on saving a shelter in Ward 30.  The request informed me that a shelter called "Red Door Family Shelter" was in a position on losing its home because of a dispute with investors they were partnered with.  

Before I could commit, I began to research about Red Door and its importance to that community but also to the entire city as a whole.  It was very interesting to begin to hear about a shelter that has been operating for 30 years helping women and children leave abusive relationships or give shelter to families with no other choice but to be homeless.

The best way to learn more about Red Door is to click here which is a link to their webpage.  There is information, videos on who Red Door helps and how you can help.

Upon my arrival on April 7th to their public meeting, it was amazing to see the support from across the entire city for their cause.  The public heard how this was an issue they were dealing alone until they decided to go public.  The stress of being in the middle of a dispute must have been unbearable.  An institution for 30 years now unsure if it will have a home, this cannot happen!

I was glad to see some familiar faces though who also came to show their support for Red Door.  Several candidates running for city council including Dan Fox running in Ward 24 and Jolene Hunt running in Ward 18. There was also several sitting councillors in attendance including Mary Fragedakis and Paula Fletcher.  This was overshadowed completely when Olivia Chow made an impromptu appearance and eventual speech.  Having a mayoral candidate take the time to support a shelter is a benefit of exposure that is sorely needed.   

Even former Toronto Mayor David Crombie spoke in supporting the shelter and will be lending his time in attempting to connect with leaders of other levels of government.  He spoke with compassion and concern for Red Door Family Shelter that it resonated with all in attendance. 

DAN, JOLENE & I showing our Support.

The room was eventually so packed with supporters that some of the latecomers had to stand out in the hall.  They were still able to hear the testimonials of the good work done for those who were in need from previous residents of the shelter.  Kozeta Izeti and her family were welcomed into Red Door Family Shelter and given a chance to learn English and eventually run a successful business.  The other previous resident was merely a boy when he attended Red Door.  Stephen Simpson and his mother fled an abusive home of which he didn't know was the 'norm' back then.  How was a child to know that arguments and assault weren't normal?!  

Stephen's two greatest statements that really struck a cord with many in the room were:

Despite the millions of people in this great city, my family at the time was alone.

I find it very disheartening that a village can raise a child but a city can't.

There is still much to be done and there are ways to be involved.  The board asked everyone in the room to simply get two other people involved.  They also said that financial donations were also accepted for those who can not be involved due to distance or availability.  Here again is their website.  

Posted on April 9, 2014 .

Fear for October 28th

I wrote a tweet about my October fears, but I think I need more than 140 characters to convey my message; My biggest fear for October 28th is that nothing will have changed! That we'll still be stuck on catch phrases, not on policy that makes TO better.

Politics is a funny thing, filled with so much promise of democracy, of freedom, of progression and yet there is so much that is never accomplished.  It is a game of chess, each move calculated, each word rehearsed and each message filled with such emotion that even the most cynical of us stands up and cheers.  Despite all the words spoken, we have come to realise nothing changes.  It is a dance between partners (politicians and voters) where the song plays and the one leading is the one in control.  I fear that most people can agree that the dance partner leading is the politician.  Is this right?

My foray into politics wasn't some sort of personal goal that I have had since I was a little boy.  This election campaign is much the opposite actually.  I entered the race because I felt that a lot of politicians were too busy talking and not doing enough listening!  Promises and vague platforms that are not articulated, budgets that don’t make sense and policies that are not always based on merit.

I am coming up onto 6 weeks since I have entered the election for Councillor and it has been a learning experience.  Being within Municipal politics really is an uphill battle that many will not be able to win.  Fighting against incumbents that have a very definite advantage will be the hardest.  Trying to get out a message that is both what you can believe in and what people will vote for is the next hurdle.  The last big hurdle is trying to focus on the issues that matter and not get caught up in the hearsay and mud slinging.  Some of the issues being brought forth are very real and very important, but others are similar to worrying about the colour of the mailbox as the house is on fire. 

I have had clear differences from some others on issues that face our city and how to address them.  I know that everything that I stand for may not resonate with everyone, because I am attempting to focus on the possible, the necessary and the most needed improvements.  My focus is on Transit, Infrastructure, Ward 3 improvements and lastly civility on Council.  That doesn't mean that other issues are not on my radar or not without an opinion.  City council is 44 people + 1 mayor making decisions for the millions within the boundary of Toronto.  The Ward 3 Councillor will have a vote on issues effecting Scarborough, and the reverse is the same.  Council is a collective – each with problems that need addressing, each with similarities and differences. 

There is a certain sense of naivety in my platform of POLICY OVER POLITICS because in the end, the politician will likely win over good policy.  That doesn't mean I will not fight, not push for merit based policy that will improve Ward 3 AND Toronto as a whole.  Not every issue will be resolved in the next 4 years, not all solutions will be popular with everyone.  There needs to be a push forward, less posturing and more movement.  Make a decision!  Involve the constituents in the decisions that will change the landscape of their community.  Inform as many people as possible the pros and cons of change, of improvement, of progress.

The next council will have a lot of important decisions to make that will have a lasting impact on Toronto.  Some of those decisions are carry-overs from this year that were deferred.  I hope the deferrals were based on the need to have a more comprehensive understanding of the choices rather than the fear of making a decision that will not get the current Councillors elected.

I look forward to engaging the community on important decisions facing our city.  When was the last time you felt your Councillor really listened to you?  I would like to create different ways for residents of Ward 3 to feel involved in the process of legislation.  Not everyone needs to be an expert on the issues since various points of view may improve the overall understanding of a proposal.  I believe in making sound decisions based on facts, allowing everyone to understand what is actually happening instead of the 'talking points' that some Councillors get stuck on.  The Councillors work for the people, they represent the people and should be accountable to the people.

This brings me back to my first sentence, I fear nothing will change.  Politics has morphed into a career instead of a position of civic importance.  All the circus acts and posturing isn't building transportation, it is stifling it.  We need a council that may not agree on everything, but is able to communicate and discuss and VOTE.  Have we not learned from the past that standing on a pedestal and speaking words without meaning does not accomplish real action?!!  Have we not learned from reviewing transit plans from the 70’s & 80’s & 90’s that they saw the same deficiencies and did nothing?!  40 years later and we still don’t have any of the necessary changes to bring progress, to make Toronto the city we all envision it to be.

But it is not all lost.  We are moving forward, bit by bit.  Eglinton will not be filled in this time, subways are being built, and other important infrastructure is being constructed.  There is so much still to do, and we cannot do it ourselves.  We need the support of both the Federal and Provincial governments to pay their fair share.  That also means that we the people of Toronto will also have to bare some of the costs.  Hard decisions lay before us, real debate and true fulfilment of promises must be accomplished. 

On October 27th make an informed choice on who you want as mayor, who you want as your Councillor.  Don’t let someone else make the decision for you – every vote counts.  Get involved by listening to what is being said and take the time to understand the issues and the options presented.  YOUR involvement in the process is not only necessary but it should be expected.  I'll be in the community day and night doing the best job possible to build a better Toronto.

I have said it before and I will say it again, I am not a politician.  I am committed to listening to new ideas, to discussing policies that I may not agree with and be civil about the process. The next 4 years will set the tone for decades to come.  Making hard decisions and pushing forward to accomplish policy driven changes are cornerstones of my platform.

A vote for Peter Fenech on October 27th is a vote for change that MUST be done, a vote for change that WILL be done!

Posted on March 31, 2014 .

Timed-Based Transfers for Transit

Time-Based Transfers

Why is the conversion from the current “one continuous trip” to “timed-based” transfers a good idea?  Who benefits from the conversion?
What is the cost to the TTC for the new transfer system?

Currently the TTC operates a transfer system that allows a rider to make a continuous journey in one direction on the paper transfer utilized for decades.  Given the size of Toronto, this is a huge benefit as the scale of the city compared to other large transportation systems would usually use “zone pricing” (which will be another discussion).  It is the system that everyone in Toronto is used to and a system that some may question why it would need to be changed. 

The proposed ‘time-based’ transfer would allow any rider to pay a fare and have the ability to continue a journey for a certain amount of time (currently discussing a 90 minute or 120 minute length).  During that time a rider has the ability to leave the transit system, perform tasks or complete necessary shopping and re-enter the transit system for no additional fee.  An example would be: Leaving work, stopping by the local grocery store to grab a few items, getting back on transit, getting off to grab dry cleaning and then return back onto transit until you are home.  All of that can be done on 1 fare and not multiple fares.

Why wouldn’t a person who needs to do that many extra trips just buy a metropass?  Valid question but is an assumption that everyone who needs to use the transit system can afford the monthly pass.  Another aspect in that argument is that a person may not need to use transit often enough to warrant purchasing a monthly pass.    

There are several important factors when considering the proposed conversion in the transfer system that people may not be aware of. 

The Presto Card is one of the determining factors in the paradigm shift to a time-based transfer.  It is a card that works similar to the “tap and go” feature that a bank card and a credit card have and is good for transit in the GTHA and Ottawa area.  I have used similar cards in other cities around the world and it could be expanded to beyond transit (ie, Octopus Card in Hong Kong).  There are pros and cons of this system but the Presto Card can be a whole debate saved for another day.

The current system can put TTC employees in situations for possible workplace violence while trying to validate a transfer.  I have seen angry riders get onto a streetcar yelling at the driver about how they don’t know anything and to let them on.  No one should have to worry about being assaulted in their workplace.  The time-based transfer will not rely on the hearsay of a rider who may abuse the system for a driver to determine the validity of the transfer.  This also helps riders who may have misplaced their transfer, or ripped their transfer or are questioned by an operator without merit. 

Currently the TTC loses approximately $15 million in lost fares due to abuse of the transfer system.  Converting to the new system could actually capture a portion of that loss and offset the projected loss of $20 million from time-based transfers.  Stating the revenue loss as a valid reason to NOT implement the change is not only disingenuous but a detriment to a proven system in other transit systems.  The greater good may be a bit more but a benefit for all at a mere fraction of the overall budget.

The current system also discourages people from using transit for short trips for the pay per ride expense.  There are several times where I personally would take transit to the grocery store or shops nearby but do I really want to pay $3 each way when I can just get into my car, the answer is no.  The reality is that economic factors pay a huge part in the impact on how people utilize transit.  Not everyone is willing to shop at further locations with better choice if they can purchase closer to home, or even closer to their work and forgoing any economic benefit to their local community.

A timed-based transfer may actually help local businesses prosper by allowing riders to stop and shop without having to pay per ride.  How many times have you been on a streetcar or bus and saw a shop you might have wanted to check out but didn’t want to pay an additional fare?  Is there any merit to this statement?  I would suggest taking the time to go to St. Clair and ask the local businesses there.  This is because the TTC is doing a pilot project on testing a time-based transfer system on the 512 St. Clair route for up to 2 hours.

The full implementation would be easier to view by also checking out the use of Presto in Mississauga – which uses a time-based system.  My wife has taken a bus into Mississauga with her Presto card and got off at the wrong stop.  This is a scary moment when you don’t know where you are and thought she would have to pay to get on again.  She tapped her Presto card when she got back onto a different bus and was not charged, relieving the stress and grateful her mistake didn’t cost her anything.

How will benefit the most from time-based transfers?  The biggest benefit for time-based transfers is for those of lower income and also women.  Lower income residents may not be able to afford metropasses and are also unable to afford a car.  They rely on transit for most of their commute that is not within walking distance and experts on utilizing their transit trips as much as they can.  By allowing the ability to exit and enter the transit system to perform tasks, they receive the same benefit as metropass holders.  How will it benefit women?  Women are more likely to make secondary stops during their trips than men are.  A study at Stanford gives some good information on transit usage.

I do not see any 'cons' that would detract a time-based transfer system from being implemented for Toronto.  A better educational informational structure will need to put together to inform the public.  The timeline may vary and the path may be longer then it should be but it will come and be a benefit to all riders of transit.

I support the change and have added it to one of my policies of my platform.

Thank you,

Peter Fenech
Your Ward 3 Councillor Candidate
 

 

Posted on March 29, 2014 .

What is Ward 3?

One of the most confusing aspects of any election is knowing what riding/ward you are in.  Since the boundaries are not all the same for provincial/federal/municipal elections, a person may be within different geographical voting areas.  One election you may vote in the same riding as the neighbour across the road; another election you may vote in different ridings.

So what is Ward 3?

Ward 3 is considered "Etobicoke Centre".  Sounds easy enough to understand if you knew what 'centre' was for Etobicoke.  

The basic boundary lines are as follows:


Easy boundaries:

WEST: Mississauga border
NORTH: Eglinton Avenue W
EAST: Kipling Avenue

Difficult boundaries:

SOUTH (east of Hwy 427) Burnhamthorpe Road
SOUTH (west of Hwy 427) Dundas Street W

Confused?  Don't worry, you're not alone.  

The City of Toronto through Toronto Election Services have provided an easy way to determine what ward you live in.  Simply click on the link below and enter in your address.  It will give you information on who is running for what office in your ward, the ward map, where to vote information and the most important: AM I ON THE VOTER'S LIST.  Take a moment and see what ward you live in, get engaged, and remember to vote.  

Posted on March 23, 2014 .

Transit - more than just talking points

The upcoming Municipal election will have candidates explaining their view on transit.  The talking points have been focused on a few transit lines:

  1. Sheppard extension: LRT or SUBWAY
  2. Scarborough: LRT or SUBWAY
  3. Finch: LRT or SUBWAY
  4. Downtown Relief Line
  5. Eglinton Crosstown Line: To completely bury or not?
  6. Union Pearson Express

Some of the other transit ideas discussed in various wards:

  1.  Connecting Downsview station to Yonge/Sheppard station
  2. Extension of Yonge/University line to Thornhill
  3. Connecting the Toronto Zoo with an LRT

Important transit development for Etobicoke & Ward 3

  1. Extension of Eglinton Crosstown to Pearson International Airport
  2. Dundas BRT or LRT 
  3. Kipling conversion to Metrolinx "Kipling Anchor Hub"
  4. Fast-tracking upgrades of TTC stations for accessibility

Until the next council is elected, a lot of these talking points may only be lip service.  The issue with politics is that it changes with the wind.  Good examples of politics about transit are the Downtown Relief Line or the Eglinton Subway/LRT.  Both transit lines should have been built decades ago but were delayed, changed or cancelled.  Short term thinking and the unwillingness to make hard bold decisions have left the city stuck with the same transit for almost 40 years.  See what the plan was in 1976 - very similar to some of the ideas of today!

The apprehension about creating transit lines or investing in transit is the effect on political careers.  Most infrastructure projects of these magnitudes take years to complete and are expensive to fund.  How can a politician get re-elected if they raise taxes or use other ‘revenue tools’ when the finished project may not be completed within a term?!  This paradigm needs to change and it needs to change quickly.  The people of the city have had enough with the talking points; they need to know what a candidate believes in and how it will be funded.

The decisions will be hard, their visions may lose votes but the purpose of city council is to be the conductor of the city.  If no one is willing to take the wheel, where does this leave us?

This raises the question, we do I stand on transit? 

I believe that the city is in dire need of transit expansion; this doesn’t just focus on my ward or neighbourhood, but all wards.  Toronto is a city in commuter chaos because many would rather drive and be stuck in traffic than spend time in a subway, bus, or a combination of both.  I believe in subways, when they are affordable and economical.  I support LRT’s and even BRT’s (Buses) that aren’t spoken of much in transit talk.  I know that Toronto can’t fund the necessary changes itself, nor should it.

Toronto also needs to start thinking that transit is not a ‘city problem’ but rather a regional problem.  Expansion and integration with other cities will create a highly sophisticated system that should rival those from other World Class cities.  This was the purpose of Metrolinx that has set a foundation for a regional transit plan, without the necessary funding to see it through.  Toronto will need support from both the Federal and Provincial governments to ease congestion, connect the city together and improve the lives of all citizens. 

Over the next few weeks and months I will be outlining what I believe Ward 3 needs for transit and also how it can be funded.  Check back to see my thoughts and ideas on moving forward with positive transit change for Etobicoke.  Any improvement for transit is a benefit for everyone and should be the top priority for any Councillor or Mayor in the next term.

Let me know what your thoughts or concerns are with transit. Please leave a comment and I will respond as quickly as I can.

Thank you,

Peter Fenech
Your Ward 3 Councillor Candidate

Posted on March 20, 2014 .

Ward 3 2011 Consensus & Crime Map

Ward 3 2011 Consensus & Crime Map

2011 Consensus

TPS Community Crime Map: Ward 3 comprised of Area 11, 12, 13

The 2011 Consensus shows that Ward 3 is growing with a population increase of 2.1%.  The next consensus will likely show a larger increase, especially with new development along The West Mall & Renforth Drive.

Take a moment to go over the Consensus and the Crime Map and comment on any thoughts or concerns you have.

Posted on March 12, 2014 .

Policy over Politics

Policy over Politics is my mantra for this upcoming municipal election.  I've been asked numerous times "what does that mean?"  A great question.

POLITICS: supporting or voting based on the belief it will offer a benefit to those who support you.
POLICY: supporting or voting based on the facts and well constructed plans that will benefit everyone.

As stated before, I am not a politician.  I do not have the backing of any political party or special interest group.  That means something! It means that the decisions I make and the issues that are important to me are MINE.  My platform will be based on the feedback from the community.  I will listen to everyone's opinion and allow each constituent to have a voice.  It doesn't matter if you vote blue or red or orange, if you have an opinion I want to hear it.  Will we agree on everything - no.  Will I convince you of why a policy is right for Toronto, maybe.  I will respect and incorporate your thoughts and ideas into my own perspective.

We can make this city the world-class city it can be.  Toronto is on a precipice on several main issues that effects the well being of all Torontonians.  Gridlock and its effect on our mental/physical/financial health needs to be a priority.  Upgrades to transit and infrastructure are musts and there is no choice but to invest in our city.  The way that such important key issues are resolved brings us back to the difference between POLICY over POLITICS.

Politicians will offer the world - a (insert length of time here) plan for transit that will include any and every benefit you could imagine.  The plan will have catchy phrases like "subways, subways, subways" without much detail on how it will be funded.  These plans will be debated, changed, re-debated, changed again and finally after several years they will remain dormant.  They will become part of the next election's promises that will not be kept.  Politics play to the inability to make a decision based on fact, consultation and compromise.

Policy will offer plans based on fact.  Some of the bells and whistles cannot be given because they cannot be afforded.  Experts that have been commissioned to do the research will report back and bring forth comprehensive and detailed long-term plans.  There will be debates and compromises and with little fanfare - actions will be set in motion.  The catchphrases will be non-existent and although the media coverage will not have reporters from other countries updating the world, important improvements will be done.

I am certain that once elected there will be politics that dictate the agenda of council.  It is an inevitability despite the lack of a 'party government' to have those diametric differences.  If we could just get the right group of city Councillors from all walks of life and from different political thinking to work together - you will be amazed what Toronto would look like in four years.

The citizens of Toronto need to demand more from their Councillors, they need to demand progress.  Take the time to be informed, ask questions and get involved.  The decisions at city hall will have a direct impact on each of us.  Demand Policy over Politics.

Posted on March 4, 2014 .

I am not a politician

I must confess that I am not a politician. 

Why am I a candidate then if I do not view myself as a politician you may ask, good question.  Toronto City Council is responsible for so many important decisions that effect each and every one of us.  Over the past few years the general tone has been divided, vindictive, and stagnant.  Does Toronto need a 3-ringed circus or a group of people from all ideologies to come together and make the hard choices to push Toronto to being the best city in the world. 

I believe that I encompass the traits that the city needs, compromise, respect, integrity and willing to work hard.  Our representatives should be working hard behind the scenes and less worried about being in front of cameras. 

We've become accustomed to scandal, indifference, inaction.  This is clearly indicated in the low voter turnout rates for all levels of government elections.  Is there anything that can be done, sure there is... VOTE!!  Voting is not only a right, it is a privilege.  We must take this right and support candidates that skip the rhetoric and are engaged in pushing this city forward.  Voting on emotion may only replace one candidate with another similar in nature.  Voting on facts, on policy, on the ability to leave the ego at the door and do what is RIGHT, not what is politically motivated.

I believe that the city needs citizens to run city council, not politicians.  Citizens who can agree or disagree and interact with respect.  We need citizens who will consult their constituents, discuss the details, listen to experts and finally come to a decision.  Not every decision will be popular, not every decision will be perfect, but each should be a step forward.

Keep checking regularly to my blog to learn more of what I believe I can contribute as your Ward 3 Councillor.

Thank you,

Peter Fenech

Posted on February 16, 2014 .