Ward 44 candidates on the issues

With the election less than a week away, the next city council will shape Scarborough for the next four years. Ward 44 council candidates talk to the Toronto Observer about five major issues affecting residents in the ward.

Ron Moeser
Ron Moeser
Diana Hall
Diana Hall
Heath Thomas
Heath Thomas
Budget “One thing we’ve got to do is work more cost-effectively. You’ve got to have a city with a heart but we need more of a business-like approach when it comes to our budgeting.” “The councillors’ budgets, that’s where you can show you’re a leader… You can reduce your own budget and not be one of the highest spenders on council. To me, that’s where it should start.” “Police, fire or ambulance are the only budgets I would leave alone. I think everything else we have to deal with where the waste is, so I would reduce the number of councillors to 22.”
Crime “The number of police is important, the patrols and how they’re done. By people giving us input through our office, we’re able to target where [crime] is happening.” “I don’t see crime as a huge issue, but the only thing we have to do is we have to call in about the crime … in your neighbourhood. That’s the only way police know and then they can respond to the issues.” “As it is, I think we’re getting sufficient policing in the ward. I don’t see any need to make changes there.”
Taxes “I didn’t vote for [the land transfer and vehicle registration taxes] in the first place, and if I had an opportunity I would cancel them.” “I think we have to limit [taxes] to inflation. I want to look at those line-by-line and say, ‘Okay, this is where we could cut some of the spending,’ so that we’re not always increasing property taxes.” “Once we cut the fat out of the budget, I think we can definitely afford to deal with tax cuts.

“I would not uphold further tax increases. I would hold down property taxes.”

Transit “It all boils down to money. You can move four times more people on a subway than you can on LRT, and you don’t have to worry about weather conditions.” “People have to have transportation which is accessible and affordable, and I just don’t see the LRT coping with that.” “Transit City would be a terrible mistake. Not only would it be a disaster for road congestion and for the city in general, I don’t think it will improve transportation. I think financial disaster, as well.”
Housing “It’s a single-family community and whatever we do, we have to make sure it fits the character of our community.” “You have to have a good mix of housing. What I’d like to see is that it’s green roofs, terraced balconies, so it fits with the neighbourhood, it keeps in a theme of green and trees and all the things that are really important to this area.” “I think we should aim for zoning that keeps it as residential as possible. I would resist condo developments in the ward.”

Mohammed Mirza is also running in Ward 44.