What I told the Huron-Sussex Residents' Organization
They wrote me:
I hope you're doing well!
My name is Danae Engle and I'm writing to you on behalf of a local community group in Ward 11, the Huron-Sussex Residents' Organization (the HSRO). I sit on the Board of the HSRO and it is a volunteer role.
First, a bit about the HSRO. Sine 1968, the HSRO has advocated to keep Huron-Sussex as a vibrant, inclusive and viable residential neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. Originally developed in the 1880s, the houses and other buildings in Huron-Sussex are now, except for 14 privately-owned properties, owned by the University of Toronto. Our boundaries are Harbord St., Spadina Ave., Bloor St., and St. George St. The vast majority of our neighbourhood’s residents are tenants of the University.
Our organization works with students, faculty, University staff, and City staff on various committees. The HSRO has enjoyed a close working relationship with Councillor Layton, as well as with MPP Jessica Bell.
We support tenants – those of the University and of private landlords – and are particularly proud of our community garden at the corner of Huron and Glen Morris.
We work actively to increase cycling infrastructure, improve pedestrian safety, affordable housing initiatives in and around our community, as well as community greening and low-carbon building standards across all neighbourhood development sites.
The HSRO publishes a quarterly newsletter and we hope to distribute the next edition around September 9th. As part of this newsletter, we hope to include a Q&A feature involving the candidates for the Ward 11 race. And so, I'm writing to you to ask if you would be interested in responding to these questions, and having your answers included in the newsletter? The Q&A responses would probably be shown as chart, with a vertical column devoted to each candidate and the questions appearing on individual rows. The questions list is attached to this email.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, please let me know.
Sent on behalf of the HSRO Board of Directors “
”Hi Danae, I know the area well, I lived in Tartu College for 10 years while studying at UofT and my mother lived in Rochdale across the street -- she was there in 1975 when they raided the entire building and her old Rochdale friends used to drop by our house in Barrie where I grew up! (I teach piano and hold house concerts in kensington now @ 15 Lippincott aka anarchist piano lair - kensington market
I've enjoyed some lively exchanges with Councillor Layton as his constituent: (1) layton golding - search results | Facebook
I also volunteered a bit for Jessica Bell while I was doing paid work for central party -- I am now filing a labour grievance against the ONDP.
As for your questions:
1. How would you improve cycling infrastructure, pedestrian safety, and public transportation in the city?
- see my answers to the escooter network survey here -- I received their endorsement for not over-regulating these carbon-friendly vehicles!
- Transit must be free-at-point-of-use to address privacy, the climate, inequality, and safety (by abolishing fare inspectors)
- ABOLISH PRESTO--see here for why: https://www.facebook.com/adamgolding/posts/pfbid02aQvnjAMNDWAzuAbuRUpyZJ69Acuzqio4pApg7aL1kmHaDWRXgALvxf5Jk8hxPtWil
- from our alliance platform: "Bike lanes and rush-hour bus lanes should be expanded across the GTA. Expand bus service along major transit routes during peak hours. Fines and fees should be geared to income. Implement pedestrian-only zones along Yonge Dundas Square and further projects to include Bloor, Eglinton and other streets where there is high pedestrian traffic. City and traffic planners should learn from Copenhagen, which began converting its main street Stroget into a pedestrian street in 1962 and is now largely traffic free."
- I had a minor victory years back when I got the TTC to agree it should let people warm up in vehicles even when the driver is on break: (2) Facebook -- this should be extended to things like the shelter bus programs piloted in Winnipeg and here by Tok Coachlines and Habitat for Humanity -- Winnipeg is the canary in the exposure-deaths coal-mine and they started using busses for overflow capacity outside shelters and as temporary warming centres -- I discussed this with Glover last year but Cressy said it was 'too expensive' :-( I've just gotten in touch with Khaleel who has now moved onto plans for more vehicle-like shelters as well.
- I agree with Gil's proposal to lower speed-limits -- it's an implicit carbon tax but one that affects the richer rather than the poorer -- as one guest said recently on the majority report, "don't tax a molecule, tax the rich"
2. How would you make the city's decision-making processes more participatory and inclusive?
- daily public meetings on the housing crisis
- ranked ballots
- commission software for frequent polling of citizens where citizens can vote on the questions themselves--similarly in shelters
- work around Ford's council cut by appointing 'sub-councillors' as public points of contact -- without votes on council
- have hyper-local bylaws subject to neighbourhood vote, in some cases with votes weighted in favor of those more affected: Here's one example
- not waste money on polls like Toronto's official tree (I nearly offed myself during Tory's speech about the importance of trees...)
- have a registry of all correspondence so no message gets lost and we know which message across ALL departments and emails has gone the longest without a response: track the stalest message -- prioritize response time and the total amount of communication between citizens and government
- create and promote real-time chatrooms for each ward -- I started a basic example with unirose.ca
- parallel nonbinding sortition (discussed here: Mindscape 189 | Brian Klaas on Power and the Temptation of Corruption - YouTube )
- being municipal experiments with fluid democracy
- allow comments on all city youtube videos
- oppose the strong mayor system
3. How would you work to ensure Indigenous engagement and respect for Indigenous decision-making processes?
- begin handing at least half of park land over to indigenous governance -- as landback activist Skyler Williams explained at the opening of TorCH's first press conference ( @
) encampments have many indigenous residents -- long-lost indigenous relatives have met in the Allan Gardens encampment
- explore the options when expropriating corporate landlords--compare handing these units over to indigenous governance as opposed to colonial governance
- defund the police by at least 50%
- appoint local Indigenous staff to advise me
4. How would you work to address shortfalls in the municipal budget
You'll see this discussed at length in the interview I just did with Climenhaga, coming out soon! -- we have to fund basic needs first so that we are in a better negotiating position with the province and the feds. Defunding the police frees up money and as Wong-Tam and Layton explained at council, housing people SAVES MONEY (Wong-Tam just wanted the Feds to kick in money to get the ball rolling) and as Matt Elliot explained, mass evictions WASTE MONEY: Toronto could have spent $2 million to house people — instead, it spent that much to evict them from parks | The Star. Money was even wasted psychologically profiling homeless people to predict how people would react when a violent mass eviction was enacted: Toronto's dossier on homeless people 'dystopian,' says advocate as privacy watchdog makes inquiries | CBC News -- dystopian AND expensive! We have to stop spending money on security theatre and authoritarian overreach. I also agree with Gil about the gardiner:
"He would redirect the $2B Tory has committed to rebuild the east end of the Gardiner Expressway for five-to-eight storey residential buildings he would allow on streets served by transit. "
5. If you received a $1 million grant to use for the city in any way you wanted, what would you do with it?
- FOOD AND SHELTER
6. What three steps would you take to build sustainability at city hall?
- transit free at point-of-use
- double fines for corporate pollution
- subsidize bikes
7. Where are your favourite places to spend time in your neighbourhood
- The open mic I host every wednesday: fb.me/beyondside My wife Spectral Eyes appears most weeks at 10pm, me at 9, and a feature act I curate weekly at 8pm
-My home piano teaching studio and music venue: Anarchist Piano Lair - Kensington Market | Facebook
- The community pianos: Kensington Market Street Piano | Facebook
Christie Pit's Park Community Piano Project | Facebook
Grange Park Community Building Piano | Facebook
Soon there will be a piano in Bellwoods!!
adamgolding.ca for Ward 11 socialistalliance.ca
p.s. as an easy summary, we have two test platforms for feedback: The #EvictJohnTory Platform / Program — Municipal Socialist Alliance “