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On Picking a Side of the Political Spectrum

What’s left, right or centre?

In the last post I started using the political terms left, right, and centre to describe the mayoral candidates’ positions. It’s really hard to escape using these terms. They represent a deep core philosophical belief—not just for candidates—but as a way to describe our own beliefs too.

I hate to admit that while I’ve understood the ideological differences between federal Conservatives on one end and NDP on the other, I’ve only recently figured out which one of those is labelled left and which is right. I would like to hope that I’m in the minority, and that this post is pointless. If that’s the case feel free to move on. But based on people I know who have liked my Facebook page—some of whom are inexperienced or don’t really care about politics—this may be worth a read.

The most basic way to describe the difference between the left and the right is that the left believes in more government involvement, and the right believes in less government involvement. The left believes in supporting the community, and the right leaves things up to the individual.

There’s a chart here that I found being used on a couple different sites—if I’m using this unfairly, please let me know and I’ll recreate it. I have a couple minor gripes with it anyway.

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Here’s what happens when you put four of the (probable) candidates on the chart above.

polyspec

That’s Olivia Chow on the left, Soknacki to the right of centre, Stintz further right, and Ford all the way over. Realistically, there’s little difference between Stintz and Ford, but I couldn’t place them on top of each other. Hrm. Okay, that’s a lie. One more correction.

better

For the record, this is totally a Photoshop in case you were wondering. Again, all of this is based on my interpretation. I may be totally off-base with this. Please let me know if there’s any misinformation and I’ll do my best to fix it.

Real world: what does this mean?

If you put Chow and Stintz on opposing sides and compare, you will likely pay more in taxes with Chow, and less with Stintz. You’ll have better services and social systems with Chow, and less with Stintz. Unionized city employees will be happier with Chow, not so happy with Stintz. With Stintz, you may end up saving a bit of money—or at least having a lower tax increase than you would have under Chow.

The real-world impact of that hasn’t really been determined yet. I don’t see it making a big difference whichever route we take. For example, in the current budget debate, Ford and deputy mayor Kelly were at odds over whether to increase property taxes 1.75 or 2.25%. This would amount to $13 per year per household per year.

Where do I fit in?

That’s a good question, thanks for asking. I don’t think my personal views are as important as the views of the residents of this city. I do have some though! I’d gladly discuss my views as a citizen over a pint, but I’d rather listen to what you have to say. I want to find a consensus between both sides. I suppose if you want to view it that way, my goal is to be right in the absolute dead freaking middle. Halfway between both sides ideologically, and halfway between both sides of the city—downtown and the suburbs.

I feel like I’ve got a fairly balanced view. Not only have I voted for every major federal party at some point in my life, but I’ve spent huge parts of my life living in different parts of the city. I live for downtown, but my heart is still in Scarborough. I cross that suburban divide and live both sides every day. This is one city, and both sides need each other to survive. Basically.

Posted in George Dedopoulos for Toronto Mayor | 5 Comments

The Good and the Not-So-Good—the Competition

The last few days have been a bit of a crash course in politics for me. I had no idea how many interesting characters would actually be in the running for mayor. I honestly thought I would be the fringiest (is that even a word?) character running, but as it turns out I’m actually pretty middle-of-the road.

This is all a new experience to me—I’m looking at this as a complete outsider, so my perspective may be a little naïve. This is by no means a comprehensive, exhaustive, or well-researched list. It’s just what I’ve come across over the last couple days. If I’m off base with any of my assumptions I’ve made, or if you’d like to rebut anything, please let me know in the comments.

Much of the information comes from Wikipedia and the sites it references, and there’s a bit more I read via Twitter. I’ve got a list of candidates (at least the ones I’ve been able to find) here if you’d like to check them out yourself!

Don Andrews

I don’t want to say anything bad about anybody, but apparently he’s a white supremacist who is leader of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Party of Canada. In that case I hope he chokes on a chicken bone. I don’t care if you want to throw your vote away, just don’t throw it in this guy’s direction. I’m not going to mention this name again.

Jeff Billard

Jeff seems to be a really nice guy—probably the one I’d most likely want to sit down and have a pint with. Probably the most respectable of the fringe (should I even say fringe?) candidates, who also keeps his own blog. He’s also another zero-budget candidate, which obviously I think is a great idea.

Mark Cidade

I really liked the first tweet from his campaign account: “A mayor brings their city into alignment by taking themself out of equation.” It really should be about the people, the position of mayor should be a reflection of the population—not his or herself. He’s got great taste in t-shirts. He appears to have had some PR issues in the last election, but he appears to be doing well this year.

Olivia Chow

I think we’re supposed to pretend that she’s not running. From what I understand, she’s expected to be the only credible left-wing candidate.

George Dedopoulos

This guy doesn’t know much about politics, nor does he have a platform. But his heart is in the right place, and he’s pretty good at figuring things out on the fly.

Ryan Emond

An entrepreneur who runs a private member’s club. Sounds like a great guy to know if you are image-conscious and/or into the club scene.

Rob Ford

The number one guy for the job if you want to get a pothole filled.

Al Gore

Seriously. This guy needs to say something! Who is he? Perhaps he’s related to the person this street was named after.

Clinton-Gore

Charles Huang

This guy equally makes me laugh and cringe. His campaign slogan appears to be “Vote for Charles. I promise that I’ll do something really small.” Choice tweets include “People, I am the only candidate that can promise I won’t screw up @Toronto because I am lazy to do anything.” and “It’s time senior get a better deal, two for one lap dances on Sunday in all @Toronto’s Strip Clubs”

Diana-De Maxted

Diana has run before, and is likely the only candidate who has shown up to a debate wearing a tiara. She is an advocate for people with disabilities.

Matt Mernagh

Matt is a marijuana activist with a huge twitter following. Interests include writing guidebooks for stoners, video games, organizing rallies.

Karen Stintz

I know little about Stintz and her platform. She hasn’t registered her candidacy yet, because she needs to step down from her position as chair of the TTC first. She’s considered a centre-right candidate (like most). She led a revolt against Ford’s transit plan in 2012. She says that she believes in Ford’s fiscal agenda, but without actually being him. I’m totally paraphrasing, but you get the idea.

David Soknacki

My first impression of this candidate is actually really good. He’s another centre-right candidate, who comes from Scarborough. After he answered the obvious first question “have you smoked crack” with “no, I’m not nearly that interesting,” he announced his statement on mayoral transparency and ethics. In a nutshell, he totally copied my first blog post about being transparent, and made it look professional. I’m sure that’s exactly what he was thinking. He also borrowed my future blog post about non-partisanship.

David isn’t a no-budget candidate, but the fact that he’s updating his donor list in realtime, and he’s disclosing when he meets with lobbyists, it’s pretty close.

I believe that every candidate should hold themselves to the same standards as David. Step it up people, this is important!

Michael Tramov

I don’t know too much about Michael yet, but it looks like he’s taking the high road by not taking pot shots at Ford. Via his twitter:

Looking through twitter at the latest #TOpoli news and I’m starting to see a disturbing trend. Almost every other one is an attack on Ford.
Which I guess is understandable. It’s an election year and he is the incumbent. But swipes at Rob Ford are low hanging fruit…
You’re not going to say anything about the mayor in any wittier or more intelligent than what the staff writers for late night TV have.

Richard Underhill

Richard sounds like he’s got a lot of supporters in his community, and apparently is a super nice guy. He is a saxophonist, who was a member of the Shuffle Demons. You might know their hit song from 1986, Spadina Bus.

 

That’s about all I’ve got right now! This is really shaping up to be an interesting race!

Posted in George Dedopoulos for Toronto Mayor | 1 Comment

Day one of my mayoral campaign

Registering as a candidate

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I walked into the elections office on the way to work yesterday morning. I half expected to find a lineup of hopeful registrants vying for one of the dozens of available positions available. Perhaps there would be a member of the media or two asking questions. It wasn’t like that.

I walked in the door and was greeted by a lone woman at the front desk. We exchanged pleasantries and then I told her “I want to run to be the mayor.” I don’t think she knew what to make of me—she looked at me with a bit of suspicion, and then asked if I had filled in all the paperwork. There really wasn’t much paperwork to it. Two pages, printed from a PDF from the City of Toronto website, asking what position I’d like to run for, which Ward (for mayor it’s listed as Ward 0), and a second sheet that said that I wasn’t legally disallowed from running.

I gave the woman my identification, and she cross-referenced it against a list of names of people who aren’t allowed to run. When I was cleared, she brought over a Commissioner, who filled in a few fields, stamped it, signed it, and asked me to do the same. The woman behind the desk warmed up when she realized I wasn’t completely crazy. I paid my $200 fee, was given a receipt, and a package. It was a pretty simple process!

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The package

I walked out with envelope containing:

  1. Letter to the Candidates
  2. Preliminary Maximum Expense Limit Certificate
  3. Letter to Banks
  4. Contribution Rebate Guide for Contributors
  5. 2014 Candidates’ Guide for Ontario Municipal and School Board Elections
  6. Candidate Reference Guide
  7. Nomination Paper
  8. Receipt

2014-01-03 09.38.26

I’ll report more on the contents of the package later (I hope this isn’t too boring), and about the My Campaign website. I think it’s amazing that they went through that much work to build such a detailed and helpful site for us to be able to manage our campaigns!  I managed to update my contact information after I had set up a specific email address and phone number for my campaign.

mayoral-candidates

The initial reaction

I publicly posted a picture to Facebook of me in front of the election office holding my package. I’ve been open to my friends about wanting to run for mayor, but I’m not sure how seriously they actually took me until I actually did.

holyshitbatman

Missing from the image above was the 5 minute phone conversation where we figured out the logistics of our evening. My friend was referencing this blog posting, but she obviously assumed I was joking.

This is pretty much how it went down on Facebook. It’s a public image, you might as well read it yourself. I was very happy to have some amazing support. It was completely unexpected. What I also appreciated was that some friends were already there to ask the tough questions, like if I have ever done drugs. If you can’t trust your friends to be honest and tough with you, then who can you trust? If you don’t go through the link, here was my answer:

…you’re the first to ask that, but you’re *definitely* not going to be the last! There are three things I’m not going to talk about publicly, because frankly they’re none of the public’s business.

  1. my dating life (or lack thereof)
  2. drugs
  3. what’s inside the speedo.  

That’s what I refer to when I say that I’m baring all and being completely transparent, other than the speedo. 

That said, I don’t do drugs, but if for some reason I do during my campaign I’ll definitely let you all know!

There was a minor backlash, which was nothing compared to a critical text message exchange with another friend. I’m going to clear it with her first before I reference any of it, but these kinds of critical questions helped firm up my stance on why this is important, and also why I believe that I’m not trying to make a mockery of the system by running for mayor. Far from it. I love the system!

There was a fairly big reaction online as well. I had a few new followers, a bunch of retweets, a few jokes with friends, and I was introduced to another two candidates. I even got on Wikipedia! Also this site got quite a bit more traffic over the course of the past two days.

spike

Days two and three

I’ve got too much actual work work to get done to be able to work on my campaign this weekend. There is a possibility for a very minor TV appearance on day five though. I’ll keep you all updated on that if I actually have the cojones to actually go through with it!

Posted in George Dedopoulos for Toronto Mayor | 2 Comments

Geodee for Mayor of Toronto. No, seriously

This should probably be a well thought-out post about my platform and why I’m running for mayor of Toronto. Perhaps I’ll get into more detail about that later though. This is a blog, so everything will unfold as it happens. Here are just a few thoughts and a bit of an outline of why I’m doing this.

I’m curious and maybe you are too

I really want to know more about this process. I’ve always been interested in the city and how it runs. I’d like to go through everything involved and share. If I actually get elected, then you’ve got a great window into what’s involved in the day-to-day dealings of what goes on inside the mayor’s office of the fourth-largest city in North America.

I’m not a politician. I don’t owe anyone any favours. I don’t play with that crowd, but when the time comes and I do, you’ll know about what happens. I plan on being completely honest, open and transparent. I do have a personal life, so while I’m going to give a naked view into everything, I’m still going to cover up the dirty parts. Kinda like my speedo. Don’t worry, that’s not a crack pipe in there—it was just really cold.

geo-in-a-speedo

The position of mayor is largely a symbolic one

The city of Toronto has actually been running quite well with they mayor we have. The position of mayor is only worth one vote in city council. One vote out of 45 is just over 2.2%. The mayor has slightly more power than the random potential councillor you put a checkmark beside because you liked the look of their name. Think about that for a minute. You may have an opinion on who might be the right person for the job of mayor, but most of us (myself included) have had no idea what they were doing when it came time to vote for a councillor.

Arguably by mismanaging your vote for councillor, you’re doing more of a disservice than if you voted for the wrong mayor. Your councillor is there to support you and your community. They are the ones who are going up to bat for your needs. This is what you should be paying attention to.

If there’s one thing you should take away from this, it’s that. I would have run for council, but I wouldn’t want to take such an important job away from someone.

There could be an argument made that the mayor is supposed to rally the councillors to come to decisions in the best interest of the city. The mayor also holds the deciding vote in case of a tie. I suppose in that case my personal beliefs and interest should come into account.

About geodee

I’m a minor transportation geek. I love cars, public transit, cycling, running, and walking. I love this city too. All of it. I believe that the residents of this city have a lot more in common than what we’ve been led to believe. It doesn’t matter if you’re downtown, uptown, suburban, or living on a farm in the Rouge, we all want what’s best for everyone. Wasn’t it Jesus or Plato who said “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?” I believe we’ve all got that in ourselves, we just need to be able to listen to each other.

Full disclosure

I’m not a politician, but I have met a few. I’ve met Michael Coteau, MPP, when I was doing some print work for him. Super nice guy. I’m sure he’s doing a great job. I met Barbara Hall (former mayor of Metropolitan Toronto) and George Smitherman (former mayoral candidate) in same day. I may have exchanged a hello with Barbara Hall, and when I met George Smitherman I was excited that we had the same first name. That took about 30 seconds.

Posted in George Dedopoulos for Toronto Mayor | 4 Comments
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