|Dear friends and neighbours,
Over the past several months, I have had countless conversations in various settings with folks around the issue of the next mayor of the City of Toronto. I can tell you that I have struggled deeply with this question. I have committed to residents in Ward 21 that I would make a decision around who I will be endorsing for mayor before Thanksgiving. Now that the advance polls are open, I feel today is an appropriate time to announce my decision. I hope my decision will provide some food for thought for those of you who are also struggling with this question.
From my point of view, it is absolutely imperative that I/we do everything possible to stop Rob Ford from becoming mayor. This is a powerful driver for me. Rob Ford and his associates would destroy so much that we value about our city – its diversity, animated neighbourhoods, care for the newcomers and the poor, our quality of life. Very simply, and without getting too personal, I have watched him for the last 10 years as a colleague on Council, and Rob does not have the skill set required to lead a complex city hall and its agencies. Simple one-liners, an angry persona, a divisive disposition is not leadership and will only hurt Toronto. Under Rob Ford, City Council will not function, our city agencies will be in disarray, economic development will be hurt and our city will suffer in many ways.
I know some residents are supporting Joe Pantalone. I do feel that Joe would make a fine mayor and that he has the skills, smarts, and experience to lead the city. The stars, however, have not aligned for Joe as revealed in the polls. Given the strength of Rob Ford in the same polls, and given the need to have all hands on deck to defeat him, I believe that this is a time for Torontonians to rally around a single candidate who has the best chance of defeating Ford. Joe Pantalone’s standing in the polls requires us to look elsewhere. To say this frankly is very difficult for me as I have known and worked with Joe for 20 years and can affirm that he is a person of integrity and that his work has really built the city. It is not Joe’s moment right now and he is not in a position to defeat Ford. Thus people of good will who are committed to community values have to speak up and act in a very pragmatic way.
I have known George Smitherman for over a decade and do believe that he has the skill set needed to make a good mayor. Further and key to my position, he is in the best position to win. In endorsing George, I am not endorsing everything in his platform, though there are many pieces of his platform (around public transit expansion, commitment to the arts, commitment to neighbourhoods, support for community groups, economic development and support for environmental initiatives) that I find attractive. I believe that Council will be able to work with George, agreeing on many issues and disagreeing where appropriate. He will need a good Council to work with him, and an active citizenry to build the city. I am open to that work. I have spoken to George personally in preparation for my endorsement and am convinced that he has the city’s best interests at heart.
I make this endorsement with the best interests of our community, Ward 21, and of our city in my heart and mind.
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