Charm Darby Talks Toronto

With less than a month until this city's municipal elections, it's not hard to miss the deluge of campaign signs that are littering neighbourhood lawns. With 275 people running across Toronto for the position of City Councillor, finding out about each and every single candidate (even out of the few running in your own ward) can get daunting.

In an effort to learn more about the people trying to run the future of this city, I sent out dozens of emails to candidates trying to learn about their motivations and aspirations. A few responded, many didn't. Over the next few days, I'm going to take a look at the few that did.

Today's candidate: Charm Darby, Ward 16.

Why did you decide to run for city council?
I decided to run for city council 3 years ago when my daughter who was eleven years at the time noticed the lack of diversity in the provincial election. In my attempt to give her reasons why people might take a pause when considering public life by giving her all the reasons, such as lack of financial resources, no social or polictical connection, language, ethnicity, race, etc. I realized that the biggest barriers we have to face are the ones we create in our mind.

And so I told her that although there are indeed barriers to entry in our world once we overcome and silent that little voice in our head that keeps us locked into mediocrity the rest, the outside barriers can be more easily conquered. Thereafter, I thought I would lead by example not just for my daughter but everyone by showing them that the first place to start is with self.

What are the significant issues that people in your ward are facing, and what do you plan to do to address those issues?
After speaking to hundreds of people in our ward, I have discovered there are myriad of issues many are of personal interest but mostly the main issues are, school pools, neighbourhood safety and security, infill development and property value, loss of our trees (urban canopy due to infill) adequate childcare space.

What are some of the city-wide issues that you feel most engaged with and why?
In terms of city-wide issues I am very engaged in issues of environmental nature which includes the effect of green house gas in our air and water, waste management, homelessness, affordable housing public safety and security and economic developement.

I am engaegd in these issues because they are important to our existence. Our children needs clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. all of us need to know that we can do something about the level of garbage we individually create and must do something to reduce that. Governments need to become more serious about doing something that would limit and enforce the production of waste that companies create.

As a fair minded citizen I would like to see a reduction in the amount of homeless people that are currently making our streets their home. I would explore the source of the cause that would create a situation that would push a person that far out on the edge.

I think when it comes to economic development we are stumbling in the dark. Our city needs leadership with vision and courage, the courage to dip into the ocean of imagination and the willingness to transform creativity into reality.

What is your larger vision for Toronto in the next few years?
I vision a Toronto that is world class with an amazing waterfront life, with mixed use, where people can shop, work and play. An integrated public transportation system that connects subway, buses and trains to regional system. A city where not only every car have a parking space but one where every person have a place to call home. A city where the dependency on private cars are drastically reduced, a city where public education is first class, responsive and dedicated police force, and highways and biways that are connected in an underground network with big above ground boulevards with streetscape that encourage people to walk about.

As a member of city council, these and other issues are issues that I am committed to bring forward because to have a great city we need imagination, creativity and inspiration. and I am inspired. I will be one of the very best city councillors our ward and this city will have ever seen.

blogTO does not necessarily endorse any of the candidates profiled. Candidates were selected based on the ease of finding their contact information on the web, their willingness to reply to my first email, and a bit of random serendipity.

The Toronto municipal elections take place on November 13, 2006. To find out more on how to vote or how to get involved, visit the city elections website.

(Image: Payam Rajabi)

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