Talking Toronto

Donna Braniff 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: Donna Braniff, Ward 32.

Why did you decide to run for city council?
It is time for a change, a change that can be felt right across Toronto. If I WIN this election, you the people will win as I am a strong advocate for the needs of the people. How? By paying keen attention to what you think is needed in your community.

What are the significant issues that people in your ward are facing, and what do you plan to do to address those issues?
IThere are many issues facing our community: Taxes - every year we receive our assessment and we must fight for fair market values. Public Servants make rules that are not in the interest of the community. I would like to propose an intervention process whereby the city assists you in this struggle by setting up a ward by ward assistance program.

Rental Properties - When taxes, water, hydro and gas prices go up, so does your rent! The city has the power to ensure the assessments to your rental properties are reasonable. Let's work toward changing the status quo.

Incentives for New and Old Businesses - Other cities e.g Guelph, Ontario, have better programs than we do in the city of Toronto. Increased business means lower taxes to homeowners and renters.

Seniors - They built our city so why are they not aware of every tax incentive and program that are available to them? My vision is to ensure a mailing of these updates to keep them informed of every benefit they should be receiving.

Child Care -The children of today will be the men and women of tomorrow. Let us invest in a system to help them grow up to be productive adults in our society.

Vision for Growth - Further development should be looked at in three ways. #1 - Listening to the community's voice; #2 - How it will affect the community; and, #3 - will it provide a greater area of green space for this type of growth.

Vision for the Beaches - We need clean water so that our children and the community can safely enjoy our beaches and to breath clean air as they walk it. Our history of this area is very important, let us keep it alive!

What are some of the city-wide issues that you feel most engaged with and why?
Our waterfront is our heritage. We need to make this a sustainable identity along with envisioning a waterfront for all. By creating public spaces that will enhance our enjoyment, along with allowing a variety of active and reflective experiences while walking its' path. Let's make it the best front porch that it can possibly be, one that residents will look back on in 100 years and admire!

Environment is a very important issue to me. Natural solutions in environmental technology are rapidly growing and embracing the needs for a cleaner air and water. We need to focus on a made in Toronto solution to our garbage and waste water.

What is your larger vision for Toronto in the next few years?
Making it a safe, clean, vibrant and sustainable City. A city which will be the tourist mecca of the world!

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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