Statement on Police Funding

Statement on Police Funding

Dear Friends,

At its June 29 meeting, Council will be discussing two proposals to change the way we do policing in our City and to fund a variety of programs aimed at combatting racism, inequality and other societal problems that form the roots of crime. Despite the similarities in these two plans, discussion has focused on a single major difference. The first motion, by Councillor Josh Matlow, calls for a 10% “defunding” of the Toronto Police Service while the other, from Mayor John Tory, doesn’t specify the amount …

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Green Button, Red Button

Green Button, Red Button

Dear Friends,

My desk in Council has two buttons: green for Yes, red for No. On major issues, you push these buttons many times, moving through multiple motions and amendments before reaching a single vote on the final package. If you see merit in parts of competing arguments, there is no button for that.

Which brings me to an upcoming vote at which members of Council will grapple with the convergence of multiple issues in a way that does not easily lend itself to a green button/red …

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The Need for Real Change

The Need for Real Change

Dear Neighbours,

Too often, discussions about prejudice and social injustice stay largely within the circles of those experiencing the sting of discriminatory treatment. But this week, who among us hasn’t been forced to examine our own actions – or collective inaction – on issues of race and inequality?

My office has received an unprecedented number of emails – 3,400 at last count – from Torontonians responding to the horrific “I Can’t Breathe” murder of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, captured on video and …

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Update on Yonge Resurfacing/Repurposing of Curb Lane During Pandemic

Update on Yonge Resurfacing/Repurposing of Curb Lane During Pandemic

The resurfacing of Yonge Street between 401 and Finch has now been shortened to one-week, beginning Monday, June 1, to minimize the inconvenience to pedestrians and businesses. The work is being done as a temporary fix to hazardous conditions on sections of the road.

From June 1-6, traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Curb lanes will be closed, but 10-minute parking for restaurant delivery and pickup will be added at each side street, close to Yonge. Please support our great local restaurants …

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COVID-19 Community Update (May 29)

COVID-19 Community Update (May 29)

Dear Neighbours,

As we move into another month of pandemic, almost everyone I speak with is puzzling over when they might resume some version of normal and what they should be doing to stay safe until then.

Is it now safer now to go out? When should I wear a mask and where do I get one? Should business be starting up again? Who is most at risk?

The answers to these questions can change daily as we learn more and move through various stages of the pandemic. …

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Yonge Street Now and in the Future

Yonge Street Now and in the Future

Dear Neighbours,

This week, my eyes are on the Yonge Street pavement but l’m looking towards the future.

Whenever we emerge from the terrible time of COVID, handshaking isn’t the only normal we shouldn’t be returning to. Many people are thinking about a city with more public outdoor space, wider sidewalks for pedestrians, more opportunities for social distancing, safe cycling networks to provide a better alternative to crowded transit or car travel, and outdoor patios to help restaurants recover.

Sounds a lot like Transform Yonge, a plan for …

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Local Families Donating Masks to Front-Line Workers

Local Families Donating Masks to Front-Line Workers

Around the end of March, Michelle Oliveira spotted a question in an online chat and went looking for an answer.

Was anyone in the community mass-producing hand-made masks for front-line workers? When she discovered that nobody was, the Willowdale marketing strategist and mother of two was on it. As with other Oliveira tasks, the whole family was quickly engaged.

With help from nine other motivated women — and one man — Oliveira launched Sew for TO city-wide, turning it into a 180-person network. Almost overnight, they set about …

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Face Masks – COVID Community Update

Face Masks – COVID Community Update

Dear Neighbours,

Since the start of the pandemic, the changing advice on face masks has led many residents to contact my office, seeking clarity. Who should wear a mask and when? Why has advice changed? Should everyone be required to wear a mask when out in public?

Because we should rely on Public Health and medical professionals for most of these answers, I have been reluctant to venture into this territory. But because it is difficult to find a comprehensive official source for this information, I am …

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John’s Update (May 8)

John’s Update (May 8)

Dear Neighbours,

Today, Ontario recorded 459 new COVID cases — the highest in a week. There were 44 deaths, more than the day before. In general, both Ontario and Toronto has seen a leveling off, but not a consistent decline, in new cases. Our capacity for testing and contact tracing, essential to halting the spread of the virus, is improving but still not where it needs to be.

So why did the Province decide it’s time to start opening things back up, contrary to its own guidelines …

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John’s Update (May 5)

John’s Update (May 5)

Dear Neighbours,

For two months now, Sarah Yi has been working 11 hours a day, seven days a week. Struggling to keep her business alive.

The pandemic is hard on everyone, but for some it’s worse than for others. Restaurant owners and other small retailers, for example, don’t just lose income; many risk losing the businesses they’ve poured years of work and all their savings into.

Sarah’s revenue is down 60 percent. “More work, less money,” she told me, sounding surprisingly upbeat, when I arrived for takeout at …

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John’s Update (May 1)

John’s Update (May 1)

Dear Neighbours,

Just a few months ago, in budget discussions with residents, most agreed that the City needed new sources of revenue to improve public transit, build affordable housing and create the liveable city we want to be part of.

Just a few months later, we’ll need that new revenue just to keep from going broke.

City government is not immune to the financial destruction caused by the virus. As Council was told yesterday at its first-ever online meeting, Toronto is losing an estimated $65 million per week. …

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UPDATED: New Provincial Rules Would Help Developers, Hurt Communities

UPDATED: New Provincial Rules Would Help Developers, Hurt Communities

 

Residents may be interested in the formal submission made by the City of Toronto to the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing on April 20 as part of the formal consultation process.  That submission can be read here.

John’s submission is also linked at the end of the original post below.

Original Post (April 17, 2020):

Most developers in Willowdale will be paying much less towards the cost of new parks, child care centres, community centres and other facilities if a new Ford Government proposal becomes final.

In …

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