2014 Toronto City Council - Election Financial Information

The Path to Council (Part 2 of 2)

After writing about the "winner" of contributions by a council candidate last week, it was time to show a comparison of all the elected councillors.  I grouped councillors by community council and also an overview of all councillors to summarize at the end.  
Part 1 will include Etobicoke York Community Council & North York Community Council
Part 2 will include Toronto & East York Community Council & Scarborough Community Council 

Please note there are 4 councillors with election finance filing extensions.  Their financial data will not appear in the charts and will be updated when filed.

  1. Michelle Bernardinetti by May 1, 2015  - UPDATED
  2. Justin Di Ciano by June 24, 2015 - UPDATED
  3. Josh Colle by April 17, 2015 - UPDATED
  4. Mark Grimes by June 24, 2015 - UPDATED

I will do a short summary for each council including both election and financial information.  Future posts will examine other factors within each council and across the city.

TORONTO & EAST YORK COMMUNITY COUNCIL

The Toronto & East York Community Council consists of 12 wards in the southern centre of Toronto.  There was one open seat on council with the appointment of Ceta Ramkhalawansingh to replace Adam Vaughan in Ward 20.  

Breakdown of campaign finances:

Below is a graph of each successful candidate's financial information.  The graph lists the spending limit, total contributions and the total campaign expenses.  Please note: contributions and expenses can be higher than spending limit because not all expenses are counted against spending limit.

All councillors in this community council have filed their financial statements.  The largest campaign for contributions and expenses would be for Ana Bailão in Ward 18.  Ana was in a tight race with runner up Alex Mazer who also collected a fair amount of contributions.  Joe Cressy was elected in the only open seat and had twenty-one opponents running in Ward 20.  

The campaign that spent below the limit was Gord Perks in Ward 14.  This may surprise his detractors on the right who assume his views on raising taxes to pay for the deficiencies is the responsibility of government when it is appropriate.  Overall more councillors within the Toronto & East York council spent closer to the limit on average than the three other councils.  This is reflective to the general sense of safety as seen in their percentage of votes.

Toronto & East York Election Information

Only three councillors received votes under 50% (although Paula Fletcher was at 49.63%) and Joe Cressy was fighting for an open seat.  The average Vote to Expense $ ratio (what it cost per vote) across the council was actually very reasonable with the exception of Ana who was at $8.22.  No matter the amount of candidates or money spent to dethrone incumbents, all returned with stable vote numbers.

One note to consider: Josh Matlow collected the most votes of any councillor in the city as well as the highest percentage of votes in his ward.  Despite the fact all three of his opponents entered the race within days of his acclamation, he had collected over $52,000 and expensed $47,000.  I wonder how his campaign finances would have looked had he been acclaimed?  

SCARBOROUGH COMMUNITY COUNCIL

The Scarborough Community Council consists of 10 wards on the Eastern edge of Toronto.  There was one open seat on council with the retirement of Mike Del Grande in Ward 39.  Ron Moeser entered the council race to retain his seat within the last few hours of eligibility.

Breakdown of campaign finances:

Below is a graph of each successful candidate's financial information.  The graph lists the spending limit, total contributions and the total campaign expenses.  Please note: contributions and expenses can be higher than spending limit because not all expenses are counted against spending limit.

 

Currently the biggest campaign contributions and expenses (across the entire city) was Norm Kelly.  As stated in part 1 of the councillor analysis and with an article of the "winner" being Norm, it is both shocking and disheartening that an incumbent of 6 terms would collect as much contributions as he did.  I believe these campaign totals show that there needs to be tighter rules for "non-spending limit" expenses.  

Several campaigns did well staying within the spending limit with the realization of the power of incumbency.  It is hard to get a fair sense of other councillor campaigns with a CN Tower looking graph of Norm's finances.  Surprising that more isn't made of the fact new councillor Jim Karygiannis spent over double the spending limit.  Although he is new to council, his position as a MP from 1988-2014 shows his political  connectedness.

Scarborough Election Information

Ron Moeser repeated his pattern of entering the race at the last moment to entice as many candidates to run for the "open seat".   It is the main reason why there are fifteen candidates in Ward 44's race and also why he won with a meagre 25% of the vote.  His expenses were limited and based on name recognition and his renewed 'community newsletters' he was sending out in 2014 as the Ward 44 councillor.  

Councillors returning to their role within their respective wards had high vote percentages in their races.  Other than Ron Moeser at 25%, Raymond Cho was the only other councillor below 50% at 49.46%.  In an end of the city that feels slighted by policy and usable transit, many SUBWAY councillors will return to the detriment of residents.  A notion of "deserve" a subway has overshadowed the overwhelming information that shows a LRT is a quicker and wide serving mode of transit.  Inaction by councillors returning with 60+% of votes shows an appetite for Fordisms.

TO CONCLUDE:

I have broken down council into the four community councils.
Each comparison reveals an overall issue of the power of incumbency mixed with the utilization of their election finance knowledge to out-spend their opponents.  I cannot offer any solutions to the 'problem' of incumbency because there are few that will make a difference.  A lesson learned for any possible candidates - a path to council begins with the knowledge that democracy isn't free.  Open your wallets, plug your nose and be aware that the only limit that matters is imaginary. 

Posted on April 17, 2015 .