John Jeffery

Candidate for City Council, Ward 13, Toronto Centre

Thank you for your votes!

The process of running for council was a great experience I am very pleased to have made the decision to do so. Met some great people and learned a lot about the city that I love & still want to improve. I will keep working from the sidelines for the next 4 years.
A huge thank you to all who voted for me, I was very pleasantly surprised with the number of votes that I received. I ran the campaign on a shoestring budget, a wing and a prayer.
I am not quite sure yet what the next year or 2 will bring but please continue to send me issues that are a concern to you.

Why am running for city council?

I believe there is value in taking a balanced approach on issues.

I am concerned the views of many candidates running in this election may hinder advancing long term projects which are to the benefit of the majority and not just the vocal minority.

Toronto is a great city that could be greater. Like everyone I dislike bad decision making.
I do not understand why the mayor and councilors believe that they know better than the experts that they employ, in many cases stifling debate and good advice.

John with daughter Veronica, Muddy York Rugby match at Fletcher's Fields

We should be looking out 10 to 20 years and deciding how the city should look and function. Making decisions with 4-year horizons that only serve to redo and undo work from previous councils is wasteful and counterproductive to building a great city for future generations.

For many years I’ve been yelling from the sidelines for changes to be made, I’ve decided that it is time to step up and make changes in person.

With decades of experience running a variety of companies I have learned many useful skills; principal among them is hire great people and listen to their advice.
Having traveled and worked extensively I’ve seen how many of our city’s issues have been solved by others.

City planning.
Should be based on longer time horizons, ideally 10 – 20 years. Short term planning does not work; developers call the shots and we end up tearing apart neighbourhoods. City planners (the experts) should lead this work with politicians providing a sounding board. City planning must include the integration of all support systems (transit, utilities, community centers).

Affordable housing.
The city cannot fund the repairs to its existing stock of affordable housing. More innovative methods must be used; public, private initiatives have proved that they work well and should be looked at to relieve this long running issue. Regent’s park and the St Lawrence developments are examples of projects that work. Why can we simply not replicate these models but in a shorter development schedule? Why can we not move ahead with in-fill projects, these would provide much needed housing in a fairly short time frame?

Protection of The Village.
Given the current rate of development in The Village the special character and look will not be around much longer. Yorkville has carved out a niche as a thriving village within the city, it’s a great place to spend time and attract tourists. What would it take to replicate Yorkville in The Village?

Tax Rates and Local Businesses.
With the value of land increasing dramatically in this ward real estate taxes have become unbearable for local businesses. There needs to be a long term solution to the onerous taxes required under value based assessments. We can’t afford to loose good local businesses because of taxes.

Speed up.
Speed up the approval process for developments that dovetail into the city’s master development plan. Projects should move ahead quicker. We’re still working on Regent’s Park 30 years after it was proposed. Any project that is part of the official plan should be fast tracked.

Streetscapes.
Our streetscapes need to be made friendlier to all users. Those who are driving, using public transportation, pedestrians and cyclists. Currently sidewalks are too narrow in many parts of the city. New buildings are not set back to give adequate space to users of the sidewalks and roads, giving the impression of walking in through a canyon devoid of any character or beauty. Perhaps the use of more one-way streets in the city would allow for wider sidewalks, bike lanes, and the integration of public transit and vehicle traffic in the remaining space. Pedestrian enjoyment would increase, cyclists would be better protected, and traffic would more easily flow.

City Council.
This should not be a job for life. Nor should this be a job for professional politicians, it should be a job for people who can effectively manage. If, at the end of my first term I have not been effective – I will not re-run, and would not sit for more than 2 terms. Should there be changes to the way City Hall is structured? Very likely but the decision should be in the hands of the voters in Toronto.  With a smaller number of Councillors perhaps we need a system of community councils making local decisions.
City staff should be the best people we can employ, if they cannot do their jobs they should be replaced by individuals who can. If that change can take place, then city council could stop meddling in decisions put forward by the professionals that they employ. Councilors should effectively oversee how our tax dollars are distributed and used. They are not experts in transit or city planning and should stop micro managing.

Background.

I have lived in and worked in Toronto since the 60’s, residing in the downtown core since graduating from Ryerson.
I have lived in Cabbagetown, Yorkville, Bay Street, and in the Village. This gives me a fairly good perspective of city life.
Professional life has included; management consulting, plant management in Toronto’s garment district, and owning and operating several businesses in Toronto, with operations in Europe, Asia and South America.
I’ve been fortunate to have traveled extensively.
Mentored young adults.
Competitively sailed in Lake Ontario.
For 20 years have been actively involved in gay sports leagues in Toronto. Currently the Canadian representative for International Gay Rugby.
Lucky to have a wonderful daughter and supportive family.

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