Archive for October, 2010

Lets create neighbourhood councils

wonderful idea eh!

It would be great to have Toronto  neighbourhood councils  made up of elected city council members as well as representatives from  the police , fire authority, local city staff of the various services and members of local community groups, plus ordinary members of the public. Joint meetings on a regular base could very effectively inform and assist more people to become involved with little or a lot of effort as chosen by the individual.

This would effectively end self serving projects started by a a few people and pushed though simply  of their stamina of effort.  For example changes to a local roadway such as speed bumps or removal or placement of play equipment in parks would have to pass though the  neighbourhood councils for input and in some cases approval.  Of course professional city stuff in such areas are not to be ignored yet no longer would the community have so little say in their decisions.

If created as a resident-led approach they could be used to solve, at the local level, disparities attributable to differences in access to the social, economic and environmental resources necessary for individual and community happiness and growth with our local streets and in turn throughout  the wards of the city. Major needs and directional directions could be given to such areas as  health care, employment (a much forgotten about area the the current election in the Junction), education, affordable housing options and safe neighborhoods.

One person if  elected, George Smitherman says he would create neighbourhood councils.

George Smitherman says he would create neighbourhood councils that could help make decisions on local issues. “I want to build a model of governance in Toronto that actually pushes power back to down to more of a neighbourhood level,”

Working with Regent Park residents as an MPP during the redevelopment process showed him the kind of input that community should have over local issues.

Wikipedia article on neighbourhood councils, Neighbourhood Councils are governmental or non-governmental bodies composed of local people who handle neighborhood problems

Petrocan station. Dundas St west and Prince Edward

Lifting the roof in an effort to simply insert two foot risers in the structure to raise the roof.

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Post Victorian rear

Just look what can done with similar types of housing buildings that bare common in the Junction.

An addition type that really builds out and creates wonderful living space.

…and does not attack the historic fabric of the building.

The above image is in Italy

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*The Junction Pumpkin Fest & Scary Halloween Movies Event*

Saturday October 23, 10am – 12pm

Free pumpkin carving from 10am to 12pm at The Junction Train Station (Dundas Street east of Pacific). Hot chocolate and cookies will be provided to help fuel our little carvers.

From 6:30pm to 8:30pm head to the Rue Morgue for scary family movies.

*The Junction Pumpkin Fest & Scary Halloween Movies Event*

And the pre-Halloween festivities don’t end there! The evening will see a selection of family-friendly classic spooky movies (not too scary) projected in the Rue Morgue Theatre located at 2926 Dundas St W. Hot chocolate and treats will be provided – and it’s all free of charge.

Important Rabble article

Reported here is a important and good article for any person stymied by the  current election issues in Toronto

Reposted from

Moving forward on municipal voting reform in Toronto
OCTOBER 14, 2010

As we enter the final stretch of the Toronto municipal election, two things have become abundantly clear.

First, we need a new and better way of electing our mayor and city councillors. A voting system that forces many people to vote strategically rather than sincerely, and that creates a council not reflecting our city’s diversity, has no place in a 21st-century democracy. Second, we need a process to identify the best system or systems for Toronto — a course being promoted by the Toronto chapter of Fair Vote Canada.

Progressive activists have been fighting for fair and proportional systems, and voter equality, at the federal and provincial levels. Now we need to press for the same at the municipal level. Voter equality is what creates truly representative bodies that reflect the full diversity of the community.

In 1865, Swiss philosopher Ernest Naville summarized the core democratic principles this way: “In democracy the majority has the right of decision, but all have the right to representation.” If those principles resonate with Torontonians — and indeed all Canadians — then we have to study the systems that deliver the goods.

How do we address those principles? Broadly speaking, there are two types of voting systems: winner-take-all and proportional (or fair) voting systems. Each has its place in a democracy.

When an election is held for a one-person position — such as a mayor, party leader, president — a winner-take-all system is needed. Only one candidate can win — only one person can play the role.

Under the current system in Toronto, the candidate with the most votes wins the mayor’s seat. But we could switch to a run-off system, where the winning candidate needs at least 50 per cent plus one to win — most easily done by using a ranked ballot, where second choices play a role if no candidate has a majority of first-choice votes. Most Torontonians would probably greet the use of instant run-off balloting for the mayor as a step forward.

But with any type of winner-takes-all voting, instant run-off or first-past-the-post, a lot of voters still cast ballots that elect no one.

Fortunately, when voters are electing a city council (or provincial legislature or federal parliament) — a body with many elected people whose purpose is to represent and act on behalf of all voters — then we have another option. We can and should use a fair and proportional system, designed to allow almost all voters to elect someone to council. This means that not only do the largest group of voters, or the majority, get to elect councilors, but so will those with minority points of view. For example, progressive voters living in a part of the city dominated by conservatives will be able to elect someone, and vice versa. With a fair and proportional system, you don’t lose your right to political representation because of your political views and where you happen to live. And the overall outcome is a council representing the full diversity of the electorate.

The fair voting concept sounds great, but how do you do it at the municipal level?

This is where a citizen-engagement process is needed. We have numerous options and may even want to develop a hybrid system specifically for Toronto.

One option is having larger wards that elect more than one councillor — that’s what allows more than one group of voters to gain representation. Electing two or three councillors in larger wards opens the door to representation for both the majority and minority within a ward. Electing four, five or more in a larger ward gives even better assurance of fair representation for all.

Another approach is a mixed system, which would have the added advantage of creating council positions that are accountable to a citywide base of voters.

For example, rather than 44 small neighbourhood wards, we could have 34 wards and 10 citywide council positions. The 10 citywide positions would be elected by everyone, using a ranked ballot form of proportional representation (called the single transferrable vote), which would allow minorities as small as 10 per cent of all voters in the city to elect a candidate to one of those positions.

Another interesting option: rather than citywide seats, we could divide the city into four districts, each with three or four district council members to represent voters in those areas.

Some say that the only reform we need in council elections is to use ranked ballots (instant run-off voting) to elect the individual councillors from the 44 wards as they exist today. But that winner-take-all voting would still leave too many voters unrepresented — plus it leaves us with a council composed solely of politicians each elected by a portion of voters in just 1/44th of the city. No one other than the mayor would be democratically accountable to broader groups of voters.

When we have a reform opportunity, let’s not just replace the current system, which leaves far too many people unrepresented, with another alternative that also leaves too many people unrepresented. One of the mixed systems described above might be an interesting compromise for those who want to see instant run-off voting in wards and others who want to see the introduction of at least an element of proportional representation. And multi-member wards also deserve serious consideration, which leads to the final point.

Reform opportunities are all too rare. The best choices and trade-offs are not always obvious. A traditional sound-bite political debate by city council is not good enough. Torontonians need to be engaged in a serious and thoughtful assessment of the alternatives, with both city and media support.

The Toronto Chapter of Fair Vote Canada is calling for an official city-managed, citizen-driven, expert-supported engagement process to look at municipal voting system options to identify the best voting system or systems for Toronto. In the coming years, we may have one of those rare opportunities to improve our municipal electoral system, so let’s do it right — by engaging citizens and exploring all options.

Larry Gordon is executive director of Fair Vote Canada and a Toronto resident. See FVC Toronto Chapter Facebook group: Fair Voting in Toronto.

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Wild, Wild, Junction II The Historical Mystery Tour Continues

2nd Incredible Year!

The West Toronto Junction Historical Society presents:

Wild, Wild, Junction II

The Historical Mystery Tour Continues

And the launch of

Justice in the Junction

The Life and Times of Josiah Royce

Sunday, October 24, 3pm, Axis Gallery and Grill, 3048 Dundas West, ending at Shox’s 3313 Dundas West.

Join us for our fall fund raiser and pub crawl

Relive the events that led the Junction to “go dry” for almost a century with the men and women who were there as the Legends of the Junction return.

Examine the Junction’s oldest cold case: The Death of Joseph Curley.

Be sworn in as a jury member and vote. Accident or Murder?

M.P.P. Cheri DiNovo will be reprising her hilarious performance as the Reverend Shore whose famous “Harlotry, Vice and Iniquity” sermon set the Junction on fire.

Proceeds go to the Boom Times Artist/Mentors program working with local students to create original works of art about Junction history and culture.

We’ll also be officially launching our five part graphic novel series, Justice in the Junction, the Life and Times of Josiah Royce, with story by Neil Ross and art by Brendan FitzPatrick.

History meets community in the Junction!

Tickets $25, available at Pandemonium Books and Discs (2862 Dundas Street West) and Wise Daughters Craft Market (3079B Dundas Street West) and at the Annette Street Library (145 Annette Street)

Details and the spectacular Wild, Wild Junction 2 poster by Mark Dallas are on our homepage at:

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Vine Ave road water grate repaired

City crews work to fix the grate in front of the Vine parishes

Local resident has great and even more great urban farmer idea

Dear High Park/Junction Land-owner,

Do you have a portion of your property (25 ft x 25 ft or larger would be ideal, but I will consider any plot) that you would like to see revitalized by organic vegetable production?

Would you welcome regular visits by a respectful urban farmer throughout the season to sustain beautiful, healthy and productive vegetable beds?

Would you like to see more of your food grown locally using sustainable, organic methods?

If yes, I would love to hear from you!

I need to start preparing the beds for next spring, so please call soon.

download full pdf description

Erica – 416-320-5279

People not cars great blog article

Click image to watch and read

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New cafe at 2173 Dundas St west

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