Election York Region - Newmarket Council or Candidates

Darryl Wolk, left, at his campaign kick off
The municipal elections are coming up, and with that comes all the nastiness and rearing of ugly heads, as each wannabe candidate scraps it out for a piece of the prize - serving the community in government.

Mayoral hopeful Chris Campbell
I was dragged to one opening event for someone running for mayor but wouldn't have gone if a friend hadn't asked, mostly because often municipal politics would not be the level of government we'd be communicating with on most issues but also because I despise the whole process that seems to always include personal attacks too often and not the issues. However I was glad I went in the end as it gave me an opportunity to hear someone new and it was refreshing.

To me, the issues are what has been done in recent times, by who, and do we need new members to keep things honest and on track toward better standards for all? I don't see that now, so I'm looking toward some changes.

First, Region-wise, money fought to get back from Toronto, for social programs, have instead mostly been used for paying infrastructure costs - not what we lobbied those funds back for. Regional Council also sat on their hands for 3 months during a transit strike - 4 months for some living in  semi-isolated communities - and had no plan in place to assist them during this time, and seemingly, no thought about the aftermath. Some never recovered, and got no compensation. All the mothers that needed transportation for food and diapers and - through Christmas time no less - and yet no accountability. This was the 2nd longest transit strike in Canadian history by the way, resulting in user costs among the highest in the country, and, yet, hardly a press blip. Council owed more than a months free transit in that fiasco to transit riders. Chairman Fisch they gave an award for this. Wheel-chair trans users were affected as well, with an overload on services, and many people were unable to meet critical medical appointments that took months or years to get, as well senior or aged, 50 plus workers, who lost jobs as employers used their absences an excuse to be rid of some.

Darryl Wolk kicks off his campaign for Newmarket's Regional Councillor.
I attended a kick off party for Newmarket Regional Councillor hopeful, Darryl Wolk, having been invited to and having known him for some time, but, to be honest, I liked him as a person through my dealings with him - a community group he was associated with had approached about our youth road hockey event - but was not sure he had what it took to be a serious contender - and ended up being quite surprised. His experience spoke for itself through an intro provided by his campaign manager, but it was his speaking and articulated messages that impressed me. I've always known him to speak in more hushed tones sitting across tables from me, but as a front man he really articulated well and knew his stuff  and he includes a focus on poverty and youth and families in a way I can work with I believe.

Lack of jobs and construction woes plague Newmarket
My first experience with the incumbent Regional Councillor, John Taylor, was during The Square Table on Poverty, an initiative I naively coerced all levels of government into participating in through use of the media, hoping it would make a difference. Back then, they actually printed and put us on tv a bit here and there including an infamous live CBC TV news interview by yours truly, to promote International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, but ended up mentioning how Belinda Stronach was then out pushing African mosquito nets while we now had 50,000 people using food banks in York Region. CBC were likely stunned at what came out of my mouth
but it worked, and got her and all the rest to the table, albeit Belinda showed in person only once.

I recall one of the first ST meetings, we spoke of affordable housing and John Taylor got upset that I criticized ads in the paper for Y.R. Habitat for Humanity, claiming to be builders of " Affordable Housing". I dared say that that was misleading, as they hadn't built any at the time in the area for over  5 years and it gave those not so in the know a false impression that housing was being taken care of by them, and that people had to become a face for them too, which we consider degrading.

Wild life needs a home too
Taylor, at that point, told me that he wasn't there to put down organizations etc but that's exactly what we were there for. To discuss reality, in real terms, without the bullcrap. We wanted to talk about building real housing, not a corporate charity that can tell you anything in their ad messages, but have little accountability to results - which our government should be holding charities more accountable. I found out later, his father and former Newmarket Mayor, Tom Taylor, had an attachment to Habitat for Humanity, and it just never set right with me. To me, H.F.H. are still part of a highly paid U.S. parent corporation, making money using our poor people and real estate, with few real tangibles but an exaggerated value. There hasn't been a habitat house built in Newmarket in over 10 years now. So, yea, to me, their claims of being builders of affordable housing are way off base. I don't care what their ads tell me, and the few they do build here, don't get them those bragging rights.
Wolk engages

People also seem of the belief that if something is built here, it must have been "needed", yet the region tore down an existing building on an existing site already zoned for and serving as sites for shelters, only to say they needed now a new site for a another brand new shelter - even though the opening of a family shelter had just taken a burden off existing women's shelters actually showing lower usage (backed by stats) at the time as the men, most in need as pointed out in York Region's own social audit, got no consideration or programs.

The same York Region council supposedly endorsed it's recommendations, but went on to ignore them mostly, instead budgeting the available funds for housing / shelters into a new women's shelter - now approaching 10 million dollars. Tony Van Bynen ran the last election on the dire need for this. By now we should have hundreds of women dead on our streets from homelessness if there was such a need.

Former and council hopeful Victor Woodhouse
As I walked along the railway tracks taking photos by Newmarket's Riverwalk Commons, where we hope to hold the Oct 17, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty event, I saw a homeless guy lying near a steel garbage bin on a cement parking block. I wondered if he'd been inside the covered bin somehow earlier and now outside for warmth or if he was a shelter dweller who would be typically sent out during the day, and remembered this is a transitional time for them, summer they can sleep outside need be but as colder, not, with winter shelters not open for some months yet.

Mayoral hopeful Rev Dorian Baxter
So, to me, the women's shelter sounded wonderful, but at $10,000,000 so far and counting to house single women without children, age 26 and up (the only possible shelter category not covered yet)  who will mostly be from outside the region by the way (we have agreements with Toronto and elsewhere to take them), was not a priority - but a manufactured one - and therefore been a colossal waste of your money.

The reality is, we don't have women on our streets like this, but we do men. The same men we don't mind sending to war to die and to now live and defend a violent life on the streets, while being expected to be a contributing member, without any support programs - another glaring missing social service / charity. But would a mayor look good fighting for a men's shelter? Or is it sexier if it's vulnerable women? Stiff price those men are paying for that decision.

Council hopeful Wasim Jarrah
It took some years, but I think Darryl Wolks understands - in fact he claims it was me who inspired him to join the Peel anti-poverty initiative which helped toward affording him a better understanding of the issues, and that sometimes it is possible to make changes for the better through little things - like grass roots representation on committees, whereas John Taylor, always civil, has delivered nothing but excuses to me for too many years now. Newmarket's mayor has an even worse record, skipping important once a year poverty events in favour of photo ops. At least Councilor Taylor shows up.

Ward 5 hopeful sign
I was further perturbed by the whole election thing when I posted a video of Wolk's intro at his kick off party, only to have it get the "anti-anybodynotthem" set come out in force, stating, on my posting btw, that he was no good etc, to which I'd replied that I respected his desire to run and he impressed me. At that point the piling on started, with people obviously for certain people, but all against Darryl and when I defended his courage to run, and dared make a negative comment about their horse, I was again maligned and scorned with one guy offering that if I wasn't going to say something nice on that particular FB group then he'd have me removed. Ha. Obviously not aware of my web reach.

Blast from the past - Diane Humeniuk
The biggest opposition to Darryl Wolk seemed to stem from other candidates who once supported him, but a decision he made while working behind the scenes during the provincial election when he, to some accounts, changed teams, seems to have labelled him as a traitor in their eyes. I like to think he just couldn't support some of the harsh or ineffective directions that party took on issues such as addressing poverty, and that some of that reasoning, and, having to look guys like me in the face, meshed with his evolving beliefs, resulting in a tough decision. Perhaps a conscience, and for me that's good. That means he has values and principles and decided they were best served representing a different party at that time. Yet, I see those same people having no qualms attaching themselves to anything Belinda Stronach.

Ward 5 hopeful John Heckbert listens
Recently, in the media, there has been some focus on accountability for charities which have very little. What you know / believe about them is a message they are often writing in ads and websites themselves, and are not necessarily wholly true, but who's to judge? This is an area I too would like fixed, with far too many charities claiming to do far too many wonderful things getting away with far too little accountability. Want to claim you do business in dignity in commercials? Prove it! Claim you shovel snow for everyone in need? Do it. Claim you are going to be the only women's shelter in York Region, when there are 6 existing already? Well that one is okay apparently now as it seems to have been removed. Claim you have programs assisting youth or women or people to find housing? Let's see the tangible proof and not more this type like this quote taken from a Y.R. Website offering services for women, which is a manipulation of true facts, and typical of many charitable organizations' claims;

"400 women are turned away annually from Violence Against Women shelters because they don't meet the criteria." Not exactly the full picture.

2018 end date now?...
construction + trans strike = chaos
In reality, even if a call results in a recommendation to call another type of shelter, like a family shelter, they mark them as not getting shelter as a stat. If the same woman calls 4 times to get someone on the phone, each call not ending with placement counts as a person not getting shelter - even though it's one person. Or the same person calling dozens of times a year. So it is misleading, and does not let you know the real story of how many got placed. The winter shelters for women are never full - in fact mostly empty - while the men's is ALWAYS FULL- is all I do know so I'm not sure where they get their stats from. Maybe the Salvation Army which is now slated to run Belinda's Place - after all the hoopla about how BP's would have special programs for women while raising funds - no mention of S.A. then, and I can tell you they don't have a good rep with the street people for running them or distributing programs. But no one asked, and since no one of experience is on the board to help advise them on these things, we get what we get.

Newmarket, at 8%, is a full percentage point behind the national average for unemployment and paralyzed with construction that seems very poorly planned at best. And as we lose more and more control of our green areas and privacy, we have to wonder who is in charge? How can Newmarket get a better deal and have a bigger voice in Regional decisions - that Newmarket wants? You decide.
Long time Newmarket printing shop gone @ Timothy Street
At any rate, this whole rotten thing actually helped me make up my mind about the need for change even more. Pick people who have experience yes, but look for a candidate who truly cares about the people first, and the town, and not just personal interests, parties, or legacies if you can.

Vote! Do not assume anything. And make sure you are registered. No candidate is unbeatable, and, sometimes, if enough people dislike a candidate enough to vote against them, combined with supporters, can win the day...but only if they actually vote! Every vote counts in municipal elections and sometimes a complacent mayor or councilor are ripe for the pickings - before they get too fat.

Do it! Do it now!
pacc man out

1 Response to "Election York Region - Newmarket Council or Candidates"

  1. Anonymous September 15, 2014 at 8:31 PM
    Its good to see actually someone telling like it is in this arena of public opinion ,which im sure some peoples opinions are quite different. To actually engage with people who have a different opinion is something else, but to say you actually should take down from the blog which in my opinion ,is an attack of the freedom of speech within reason. No bad words were exchanged or slanderous comments were made just a different of opinion, as for this you should be banned. Last time i looked over my shoulder this was a democratic society called Canada!

    B. S. Newmarket

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