Saturday, October 16, 2010


October 16: YIMBY Visits and A Historical Perspective on Party Politics

I visited YIMBY (Yes in My Back Yard) today and all I got was ... a lot of energy! Passionate people who'd done their research and could back up their stands on their diverse concerns.
YIMBY website:

Wouldn't it be great if before the elected City Council took the stage and began their motions, votes and changes - they held a city-wide YIMBY at City Hall with the same flavours?

Call it Job Preparation Training, required for all councillors before they even took an oath of office. That way, once the business of being a councillor began, they would each and every one be starting on the same page insofar as what the communities saw as concerns.

Yes, election campaigns are also supposed to be about candidates listening at the doors of every voter - and many proudly proclaim they have done that - but how can we be sure they've heard all the voices and reasearch that is out there?

We all remember a famously short-lived Conservative Prime Minister who said "Elections are not a time to discuss serious issues" - and yes, she paid dearly for that. But the context was that some issues take more than superficial campaign debates with simple slogans and not much depth.

It concerns me that at the Mayoral level, the media-chose so-called front-runners have been given an enormous amount of media attention while providing little of substance. There are so many holes in their respective platforms that some media do backup stories to investigate bold claims with no depth of truth.

That's why after a lot of inner conflict that involved questions I think most Torontonians share:

- should I vote strategically, pick the least worst of the bad front-runners I see?
- will strategic voting even work to keep out the one I dislike the most?
- should I vote with my heart or with my head?

I have decided to use BOTH my head and my heart and will vote for and have endorsed

HIMY SYED for Mayor

He has a very well thought out platform and is extremely knowledgeable about the city ( and I mean city-wide not just a section or two). He believes in himself and the power of the people in Toronto and is an articulate, intelligent man who would represent Toronto well on the world stage. An element, albeit not an over-riding one, is that he can help to represent the diversity that is Toronto and can be proof that our Toronto includes everyone.

I urge voters to have a look at him as an antidote to the same old party political 'bash the other guy' that Ford, Pantalone and Smitherman have been doing. I want a Mayor with depth not silly sound bytes.
To learn more about HIMY SYED : and
Torontoist's Historicist does a great look back to 1969 when power-player Liberal Keith Davey tried to initiate full blown party politics at the municipal level

'BigWig' Davey argued that " a slate of candidates running on a common program would provide voters with a higher quality of choices than picking out the platforms they liked the best from the divergent personalities that tended to run for office... We'll end the era of two-bit politics"

* Really? two-bit politics? That's 25 cents worth and seems to say local politics is kid stuff.

Read the article for the full story, but in essence because of backroom promises and power brokers, it failed miserably. This should be a lesson we need to remember, not re-learn by making new old mistakes.

I particularly like the phrase " divergent personalities ", because that is exactly what we have in pretty much every local ward level campaign, as voters try to get to know the candidates at a core level, past the slogans. platitudes and promises.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we knew as much about the character, behaviour and tendencies of the people we welect as we do about contestants on reality/survivor shows? Then voters would how they might vote on things that affect us that have not happened or been dreamed of yet.

Until then, let us at least learn from the past that party politics do not belong at City Hall in its current structure. We need a City Councillor who is notr beholden to any party machinery, because...