July 19, 2015
Municipal Legislation Review
Municipal Elections Act Review
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Local Government Policy Branch 777 Bay St., 13th Floor
Toronto, ON M5G 2E5
Re: Term Limits for Toronto City Councillors
Concerning the current Municipal Legislation Review, part 3 Responsive and Flexible Municipal Government, and perhaps the Municipal Elections Act Review, the following draft legislation for the Toronto Municipal Code is provided for public discussion at a public hearing, once all the submissions from the public have been received by your office and collated for public presentation.
TORONTO MUNICIPAL CODE, CHAPTER 2XX, TERM LIMITS
§ 2XX-1. Public Policy.
It is hereby declared to be the public policy of the city of Toronto to limit to not more than eight consecutive years the time elected officials can serve as mayor or council member so that elected representatives are “citizen representatives” who are responsive to the needs of the people and are not career politicians.
§ 2XX-2. Term Limits.
Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained in this Code, no person shall be eligible to be elected to or serve in the office of mayor or council member if that person had previously held such office for two or more full consecutive terms, unless one full term or more has elapsed since that person last held such office; provided, however, that in calculating the number of consecutive terms a person has served, only terms commencing on or after January 1, 2014, shall be counted.
As noted in a recent article for the Toronto Star entitled “History shows that old governments are bad governments”, Robin V. Sears, principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group, a partnership of senior practitioners experienced in government advocacy, strategic communications and research for nearly a quarter century, notes:
”…an essential truth: democracy requires change to remain healthy”; and
“The strongest leaders, supported by the most dedicated lieutenants, can juggle these relentless cross-pressures for only a few years before they begin to tire, to cut corners, to make mistakes. After two terms most governments have run out of ideas, energy…”
In further support of legislative two-term limits for Toronto City Councillors are four arguments [John Engle, Heartland Institute, June 2014]:
1. Term Limits restore rotation in office and Citizen Legislature
Without term limits, the temptation to remain in office for life will keep people seeking re-election long after they have accomplished all the legislative good of which they are capable. It does not take long for legislators to become more occupied with their relationships with each other and with lobbyists, than with their constituents.
2. Term Limits make for better elections and empower new leaders and new ideas
Ultimately, old legislators using political machines to retain power do their country and constituents a disservice. Power is best used when it changes hands over time in order to allow for dynamic new solutions to be mooted in a changing world.
3. Term Limits prevent corruption and exploitation in office
Power is highly intoxicating; it can corrupt even the most scrupled individual given enough exposure over time. For this reason, power should not be left in the hands of specific individuals for too long.
4. Term Limits favour action over complacency
When constrained by term limits, legislators must make the most of their limited time in office, resulting in greater prioritization of difficult decisions and reform. Furthermore, the need to constantly fight elections places politicians in the pocket of lobby-groups and election supporters to a greater degree.
After two terms (eight years), new Councillors are required to off-set a bureaucracy that remains largely static, with staff members employed for 10-15-20-25 years (decades), with comfortable, traditional ideas on how things should work, and, who often only relay information gathered from the public to Councillors which staff feel is appropriate, to the extent that, wittingly or unwittingly, important issues from residents are omitted or misrepresented to Councillors. By 2018, 46% of Toronto City Councillors will have served between 15-18 years each (4 to 5 terms) and 16% only one term. With two-term limits, newly elected Councillors will provide new energy, ideas and perspective from the community that will off-set a static bureaucracy (and static Council), as is significantly necessary for Toronto, now the fourth largest City in North America, in order to move forward in the 21st Century as efficiently as possible and in the best interests of the public.
Under two-term limit legislation, after two terms in office, Councillors will re-join the community with an opportunity to update themselves on new areas of interest and otherwise contribute as a member of the community. The two-term limit legislation allows for a former Councillor (or Mayor), who has completed what is viewed as a successful two-terms, to run for office again, providing there is a one-term break in the holding of office as Councillor (or Mayor).
Thank you for your consideration.
cc: Mayor John Tory
A note to say “THANK YOU” to all who voted for me in yesterday’s municipal election, recognizing that democracy has to be more than voting every four years. Democracy has to take place every day in our City, where the voices of citizens are recorded, counted and included in the decision-making for our Neighbourhoods and Communities. This message needs to grow, so spread the word! All the very best to you!
Many planners, architects, politicians, bosses, project leaders and power-holders still dress all variety of manipulations up as ‘participation in the process’, ‘citizen consultation’ and other shades of technobabble.
The following is an excerpt from an article originally published as Arnstein, Sherry R. “A Ladder of Citizen Participation,” JAIP, Vol. 35, No. 4, July 1969, pp. 216-224.
1. Citizen participation is citizen power
Because the question has been a bone of political contention, most of the answers have been purposely buried in innocuous euphemisms like “self-help” or “citizen involvement.” Still others have been embellished with misleading rhetoric like “absolute control” which is something no one – including the President of the United States – has or can have. Between understated euphemisms and exacerbated rhetoric, even scholars have found it difficult to follow the controversy. To the headline reading public, it is simply bewildering.
My answer to the critical what question is simply that citizen participation is a categorical term for citizen power. It is the redistribution of power that enables the have-not citizens, presently excluded from the political and economic processes, to be deliberately included in the future. It is the strategy by which the have-nots join in determining how information is shared, goals and policies are set, tax resources are allocated, programs are operated, and benefits like contracts and patronage are parceled out. In short, it is the means by which they can induce significant social reform which enables them to share in the benefits of the affluent society.
1.1. Empty Refusal Versus Benefit
There is a critical difference between going through the empty ritual of participation and having the real power needed to affect the outcome of the process. This difference is brilliantly capsulized in a poster painted last spring  by the French students to explain the student-worker rebellion. (See Figure below) The poster highlights the fundamental point that participation without redistribution of power is an empty and frustrating process for the powerless. It allows the powerholders to claim that all sides were considered, but makes it possible for only some of those sides to benefit. It maintains the status quo. Essentially, it is what has been happening in most of the 1,000 Community Action Programs, and what promises to be repeated in the vast majority of the 150 Model Cities programs.
“I participate, you participate, he participates, we participate, you participate…they profit.”
You can read the entire article here: A Ladder of Citizen Participation – Sherry R Arnstein
See what funds are available in your Ward.
At the present time, negotiations for Section 37 funds occur behind closed doors between the City (Councillor and staff) and the developer. This process needs to be more open and transparent and formalized. Residents and communities should have major input as to when, how, where and for what Section 37 monies are required and spent. Community Districts and Boards created under legislation will provide the legal framework for citizen input, and ensure agreements are fair, monitored and handled in the best interests of the public.
Residents are not consulted as part of the annual City budget exercise. This can be remedied by legislation creating Community Districts and Community Boards, where residents can list and prioritize the services they want included in the Annual City Budget for their communities. Recent budget cuts to the TORONTO FIRE SERVICES are not supported by residents in Toronto:
– 67% of Toronto residents believe we need to re-instate the 4 trucks and 84 firefighters that were eliminated in the 2014 budget
– 86% of residents have indicated they feel Toronto Fire Services are an important use of tax dollars
– 74% of residents are concerned we are not meeting the National Fire Protection Association international standards
– 81% of residents believe we need to meet these standards
The newly elected Toronto City Council will have the power to listen to residents and the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters Association (TPFFA), and to revisit the 2014 firefighting cuts.
I PLEDGE MY SUPPORT for TPFFA and for listening to residents and their concerns about budgeting for public safety and for Fire Services that meet international standards in Toronto neighbourhoods and communities.
This evening I stumbled upon a webpage addressed to candidates for City Council and Mayor to comment on a detailed post by Mr. Knapik, who lives in Long Branch, South Etobicoke, ending with the question: “Who is willing to advocate for this community?”
What follows is my rather long answer:
October 23, 2014
Dear Mr. Knapik:
I came across your webpage addressed to candidates for City Council by accident this evening, and am taking the time now to respond as to my efforts for the residents of Long Branch in past months:
1. On March 13, 2014, I personally wrote to the Committee of Adjustment opposing proposed re-development which was not minor in nature for the following properties: 6 Shamrock Ave, 82 27th Street, 67 30th Street and 206 Aldercrest Rd. Several of these were turned down by the Committee of Adjustment and are now under appeal at the OMB. I believe David Godley, whom you likely know well, has been working very hard to assist his neighbours in order to get “good re-development” in Long Branch and Alderwood; not just “maximum intensification” which is not in character with these neighbourhoods. A copy of my letter is attached. Letter to Committee of Adjustment – Mar 13, 2014
2. I drafted letters to the Committee of Adjustment for signature by the Chair of the Lakeshore Planning Council (LPCC), Timothy Dobson, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for the following properties. Copies of the letters are attached for your review.
– On July 17, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 86 23rd Street LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 86 23rd St, July 17, 2014
– On July 24, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 25 24th Street LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 25 24th St, July 24, 2014
– On August 28, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 20 James Street LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 20 James St – Aug 28, 2014
– On September 18, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 13 Villa Rd LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 13 Villa Rd – Sep 18, 2014
– On October 14, 2014, opposing re-development which was not minor in nature for 25 24th Street LPCC Letter to Com. of Adj. 25 24th St, Oct 16, 2014
3. In September 2014, I added a webpage on Tree Protection to the LPCC website for reference by residents: http://lakeshoreplanningcouncil.com/tree-protection/ including the City of Toronto Policy on the protection of trees, the positive economic value of trees, heritage trees, and an OMB decision on tree protection.
4. In August 2014, at my request, Long Branch neighbour, Diane Cusimano, gave a very detailed presentation at the LPCC meeting, particularly for residents in Long Branch and Alderwood, on how and what materials they could provide to the Committee of Adjustment if they opposed excessive re-development of a property in their neighbourhood. David Godley also attended and provided additional helpful information for residents on hearings at the OMB on these matters.
5. In October 2013, at my request, a City staff member attended a LPCC meeting to advise residents on creating Heritage Conservation Districts. This may particularly apply to some streets in Long Branch. There are a number of communities throughout Toronto who are taking this route to protect their neighbourhoods from major, inappropriate re-development.
6. In September 2014, I wrote to a solicitor asking what steps for protection of long-established neighbourhoods such as Long Branch could be taken under the Official Plan, and he advised that perhaps Chapter 7 of the Official Plan for Site and Area Specific Policies could be utilized. I haven’t had time to study this idea yet.
7. In April 2014, I drafted legislation for community districts and community boards for Toronto, which will put the force of law behind public consultation practices, which, as you know, at the present time usually result in the views of residents being ignored. Establishing Community Districts and Community Boards under the Toronto Municipal Code will require the City by law to provide information on a timely basis, work with residents in their communities, permit residents to provide input to the city budget, and receive written reports from residents in their communities. This legislation will save money, generally provide oversight by residents of city department activities, and create open, transparent and accountable government, which we currently do not have.
8. One reason why I haven’t visited your neighbourhood is I have appealed the Mimico Secondary Plan proposed by the City, which, once again, is a “give-away” of the Mimico waterfront to developers with no benefits to the community, including selling off parkland to developers, in an area that is historically deficient in parkland. My solicitor has suggested I could save money if I gather information and do some of the research myself. I have spent months doing research and putting together thick binders of data and information. There is much more to be done. I don’t know if I can, or even should, continue to pay out of my own pocket to protect the public interest in this matter.
I hope you can see that I have done far more for Long Branch than any other candidate who is canvassing for the position of City Councillor for Ward 6.
The position of City Councillor is a very powerful position. If I am elected, I can try and do a great deal more for Long Branch. If I am not elected, I will continue to be treated in the same fashion as you are being treated by the City. Unless we have major change in City government, there is no doubt that the situation for Long Branch and all other communities throughout the City will get worse, not better.
I have spent many thousands of dollars mailing my flyer to residents in Ward 6. Unfortunately, the majority of these will be treated as “junk mail” and not delivered, or will end up in the re-cycling bin without being glanced at.
Tomorrow I will knock on your door to personally deliver my flyer. I hope that in light of the above, you will consider voting for me as the next City Councillor for Ward 6.
My campaign slogan is “Putting Communities First!”
October 21, 2014
Kathleen Reil, Former Chair, City of Toronto Residual Waste Working Group
Peggy Moulder, Candidate for City Council, Ward 6
Your Question: What will you do to improve citizen collaboration in decision making processes at City Hall?
The answer, very simply, is the creation of Community Districts and Community Boards by legislation under the Toronto Municipal Code. Until public consultation is dictated and regulated by law, public input will continue to be treated as something relatively unimportant, and will not be able to compete with all the pressures from other existing special interest groups, which meet on a regular basis with City staff and politicians at Toronto City Hall.
In order to manage their very large city, and include democratic participation by their citizen residents, New York City found it necessary to create Community Districts and Community Boards more than 40 years ago. This provides a competent and functioning model on which I have drafted similar legislation for Toronto. The creation of Toronto community districts and community boards will save us money, time and provide open, transparent and accountable government. The former Chief Planner for Toronto, Paul Bedford, has been promoting this type of management for Toronto since 2009.
Attached is a copy of a letter written to the Editor of the Toronto Star (see Blog October 19, 2014). You will find further information and the draft legislation on my website, along with a You Tube video: Introduction to Toronto Community Boards.
The solution is simple. But it will only be done when citizens tell Toronto City Hall that they want the legislation, which will require fewer City Councillors and 50-member Community Boards throughout the City. Until that time, no one at City Hall will be willing to propose this real transfer of political power from City Hall to citizens and their communities.
Thank you for your question.
Mr. Ford does not live in Ward 6. He is a highly-paid executive earning $120,000 per annum at LAMP, who talks about income disparity. LAMP is funded entirely from charitable and government grants. Mr. Ford has attended few, if any, public meetings in Ward 6 in the past, and is actively working against the community of Mimico, promoting the City plan for high-rises on our parkland and green open space in an area deficient in parkland. The real hero activists in Ward 6 have worked for decades in the best interests of our neighbourhoods and communities for no salary. My election platform specifically addresses the blatant refusal by Toronto City Hall to listen to our hero activist/residents’ views concerning their neighbourhoods and communities. The creation of Community Districts and Community Boards under the Toronto Municipal Code will ensure that the voices of citizens will be included in the decision-making at Toronto City Hall. In this election, Ward 6 voters can choose between platitudes or substantial change. The Toronto Star mistakenly endorsed Mark Grimes in the past; it’s mistaken once again.
Typical questions at debates in Ward 6 concerned a new GO Station for the Humber Bay Shores area, and how can the City pay for more new transit for the City.
A rough concept plan for the Sobey’s Plaza located at the Humber Loop is provided below, demonstrating:
(a) that high-rises need to be located at transit hubs, and not in our parkland or in the limited waterfront open space, which needs to be added as public parkland; and
(b) increasing development fees for condominium units can pay for a new GO Station.
In the example below, approximately 2,653 new condo units built at a transit hub can raise $66 million to build a new GO Station at Humber Loop.
October 19, 2014
One Yonge Street
Re: John Barber: Bring back truly local government
The remedy to the problems resulting from amalgamation is readily available.
New York City (NYC) has a greater land mass than Toronto and more than three times the population. NYC government dealt with the management problems resulting from a large area and large population more than 40 years ago by creating Community Districts and Community Boards. This is an effective and practical solution enabling good financial and services management by city politicians and staff, and provides the opportunity for true democratic participation in city government for its citizens.
Draft legislation for Community Districts and Community Boards based on the NYC legislation has been created, consisting of 11 clauses and 2 appendices for inclusion in the Toronto Municipal Code. It is available on my website for review.
Let’s now take the common-sense steps to fix the resulting problems of a much larger city by creating Toronto Community Districts and Community Boards, which provide for local solutions to problems and true democracy for our citizens within the amalgamated city of Toronto.
CC: John Barber and Paul Bedford
Here are the results of the
Results for Ward 6 candidates are HERE.
My qualified ‘NO’ answers (see page 3) are HERE.
With respect to Question 10, I agree to additional revenue sources to fund the TTC, but these would not necessarily include any and all proposals.
With respect to Question 11, I want to hear in detail from the Scarborough residents and others why they believe a subway is the best solution, compared with an LRT.
With respect to Question 13, given advances in technology, I would not rule out combustion of waste providing the health and environmental hazard protections are met.
The New York City Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2014 includes
The Register of Community Boards Requests is City Charter mandated (i.e., the law) and the product of a dynamic and cyclical budget process for the 59 NYC community boards. The community boards consult with agencies on the capital and expense needs of the community district. After consulting, each community board develops and votes separate priorities for up to 40 capital and 25 expense budget requests which the agencies review and respond to in the Register of Community Board Requests for the Preliminary Budget in January.
The RESIDENTS OF THE CITY OF TORONTO should insist on the creation of 23 Community Districts and Community Boards under the City Municipal Code (i.e., the law), so they too can participate and contribute to the annual capital and expense budget process for our communities and for the City.
HOW CAN TORONTO COMMUNITY BOARDS (CB’s) IMPROVE CITY GOVERNMENT?
- COMMUNITY BOARDS legislation lays out the structure and role of citizens to have input and actively participate in city government.
- The structure is a legal structure which city politicians, staff and citizens are obliged to follow.
- The number and complexity of issues facing cities and communities in the 21st Century is extremely large, and politicians and city staff are simply unable to identify all the issues, problems, solutions to implement remedies in a timely manner – it is physically impossible for them to do so.
- City politicians and staff are civil servants and paid employees (not masters of the universe, or miracle workers).
- Voting (or not voting) every 4 years for city politicians, and then walking away and hoping for the best from city government is a recipe for failure.
- If citizens want fair and responsible government that handles citizens’ money and affairs wisely and responsibly, then citizens must recognize their own responsibility to provide input, guidance and oversight of the activities of our civil servants.
- Citizen input into city government issues and decisions that is collected by civil servants in an ad hoc, informal, non-uniform manner (current public consultation) and not shared and discussed within all communities in order to find the best solutions, is a “hit-and-miss” process that is inefficient, ineffective, and constitutes poor management.
- The regulation provides that city service “teams” must be organized around the boundaries of the community board districts; i.e., be “coterminus” with the community board district boundaries.
- TCB’s and “coterminous” city service districts provide the structure and official forum for review and discussion (formal and effective public consultation) of issues affecting citizens and the city as a whole.
- TCB’s provide the tool for citizens to have ongoing oversight, and provide direction and input as to the priorities and activities of daily city government.
- TCB’s provide the tool for city staff and politicians to obtain ideas, information and ongoing feedback from the ultimate “end-users” and citizens who are paying for all the city products and services civil servants are responsible for providing.
- TCB’s will provide the means for all the various communities to communicate with each other and share ideas on city matters in common with each other.
- Toronto Community Boards and “coterminous” city services for each community board district will allow citizens and city staff to compare the quality of services provided to each community board, and help identify instances for improvement, or new and better processes for servicing communities.
- The principal role of politicians is to implement the legislation after all the formal discussions at the community level and with city staff have taken place, and all recommendations to council have been received.
- Circulating petitions, door-knocking and 5-minutes pleadings at council to record objections and effect change can be replaced by formal meetings and committees, including everyone and excluding no one, that will be funded by the city and recognized as having legal and legitimate standing through the Toronto Municipal Code.
- TCB’s could also replace the 4 Committee of Adjustment panels.
- Each community board can be run flexibly, but within certain legal parameters, to suit the individual communities and members.
- TCB’s recognize that the best ideas come from a large, diverse population and that the quality of our future depends on how well we work together as communities on the major interests we all have in common.
REMINDER – PAUL BEDFORD’S BIG IDEA
On February 14, 2014, the Toronto Star ran an article by Paul Bedford, former Chief Planner for Toronto, on Toronto Community Boards.
The article is entitled “Torontonians, make love to your city”
Paul Bedford: “Toronto needs to promote a level of engagement that befits a city of the GTA’s size and ambition.”
It’s time for Toronto to formalize the public consultation process and ensure that the views of residents are recorded, voted on and included in the decision-making process at Toronto City Hall.
The Etobicoke Guardian, Inside Toronto, put four good questions to election candidates, to be answered in 150 words or less:
1) What do you see as the top issue impacting the City of Toronto?
2) What do you see as the top issue affecting your Ward?
3) How do you plan to address the city’s transit strategy?
4) Tell us a little about yourself, and why you are running for council?
My responses are found here: Inside Toronto News Story – Peggy Moulder
I hope you agree these are important issues for Ward 6 and for the City.
There are two current detailed reports on transit: the Metrolinx Investment Strategy and the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel Report, each recommending various funding options for transit. The funding from these options is to be dedicated to transit and for no other use:
(a) capped increases to gas and fuel taxes from 0.05-0.10 cents/L
(b) a modest increase in Corporate Income Taxes
(c) transfer of a portion of the HST on gas and fuel
(d) increase Development Charges to fund transit
(e) pay-for-parking at transit stations
(f) use of municipal borrowing capacity and debt at a debt-to-revenue ratio of 2.5 to 1, and applied to debt retirement upon completion of projects
(g) federal government investment.
I would support some reasonable configuration of any of these funding options. We cannot get the City moving without funding.
There are ‘money’ trees, but they grow leaves, not money.
Formerly, there were many motels in Mimico along the lake side of Lake Shore Blvd West, running easterly from where the Polish Hall is located towards downtown. The motels were popular spots for American tourists to stay during their driving holidays to Toronto. All the motels were demolished in the past 25 years, and replaced by condominium buildings at Humber Bay Shores.
Consequently, there are now no hotels located on the waterfront in South Etobicoke. The Principal at Humber College recently mentioned that it would be convenient if there were a hotel close by for the numerous out-of-town visitors to the College.
A hotel is a natural business for South Etobicoke, due to the proximity to the lake and water’s edge green belt and parks, the popularity of cycling in the area, the numerous heritage buildings in the area, and convenient transit to downtown.
Some research has been done and a “what if” imaginative scenario has been created showing what a hotel could include if it were located at the Polish Hall site. The Polish Hall site was a former restaurant named “The Pickfair” after movie stars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, the “Brangelina” of their era.
Please enjoy reviewing this slideshow: BIG IDEA! What if … Proposed “PickFair Place Hotel & Conference Centre” for the Mimico Beach area … combining the old and the new … heritage and modern … economic revitalization and the Mimico waterfront …
A second suggested location for a hotel is the Mr. Christie’s site. Also, during a conversation with the principal of an architectural firm with hotel owners for clients, I was advised the most desirable location for any new hotel in the area would be the on waterfront. It was also mentioned that a 300 room hotel is considered to be “large”, which shows you don’t need to build high-rises everywhere, when a mid-rise will more than do the job.
After creating the hotel model for the Polish Hall site, the model was “lifted” and “set down” in the Mimico Beach Secondary Plan Alternative to the City Secondary Plan for Mimico. Coincidentally, it fit nearly perfectly onto a site at the corner of Superior Ave and a pedestrian roadway (Mimico Beach Promenade), overlooking proposed new parkland and Lake Ontario.
If you wonder why transit has been neglected and stressful traffic congestion exists in Toronto, you may also consider who is responsible. Catherine Porter of the Toronto Star makes some interesting observations:
While residents have constantly raised issues concerning the necessity for creating infrastructure together with the ongoing increasing high-rise density in Toronto, those who occupy City Hall have failed to deliver. Of the 44 City Councillors, 11 have been in office for more than 20 years, and the average time in office is 12 years, or three terms. How long has your Member of Parliament been holding municipal and provincial government office? This accounts for the stagnation, of which transit and traffic congestion is just one symptom.
Here are four good reasons why Toronto should have Two Term Limits for City Councillors:
1. When constrained by term limits, the focus of elected representatives will be on public service and getting the job done for their constituents, rather than being distracted by activities focused on setting up a life-long career.
2. Power is highly intoxicating and should not be left in the hands of specific individuals for too long.
3. Power is best used when it changes hands over time in order to allow for dynamic new solutions to emerge in a changing world.
4. Without term limits, the temptation is for people to remain in office long after they have accomplished all the legislative good of which they are capable.
There are more than 1.2 million people in Toronto over the age of 25, who are educated and hold a high-school certificate; college or apprenticeship diploma; or university certificate, diploma or degree. No City Councillor is irreplaceable.