Just as I feared … the decision on best post has been much more difficult than I had originally anticipated. You guys really have a lot of very valid perspectives, priorities and questions on your mind, when it comes to the future of our town !! Actually, this bodes very well for the city, because we do need more people who think seriously about where we can and should take this city, and who are not reticent about stepping up and making sure their voices are heard.
Anyhow, at the end of the day, I had to make a decision. So let me break it down this way. Three posts really stood out for me — one for the Heart, another for the Head and the final, for the Gut.
[The Weathermaking Challenge … I love the passion in your words, and the lyrics in your comment. Your “creed” is one which most politicians can only aspire to, but one which I genuinely believe Rocco lives on a daily basis.]
“The Weathermaking Challenge said … The next mayor of our great city must love her as much as I do, and be courageous in his love for her. No matter what forces internally or externally attempt to hurt her, defame her, or take advantage of her, our next mayor must never allow anything less than what she deserves. He must share the vision of those who live in this fair city to help her continue to grow into the world-class powerhouse of growth, prosperity, culture, and diversity. He must put this vision before himself, he must put this vision before his friends, and he must put this vision before the interests of anyone else. We need a mayor who will fearlessly and diligently work towards, and never compromise the integrity of this vision. That mayor is Rocco Rossi.”
[Louis, your post was the longest :-). However, it was also very well thought out, compelling, and well researched. I also liked that you outlined integrated solutions, as opposed to just focusing on the issues. Really well done, and a bit of a manifesto.]
“Louis said…Toronto has always billed itself as a world-class city but has never reached true world-class elite status. It is not spoken about in the same terms as London, Paris, New York and Shanghai. Over the next decade, there is a perfect opportunity for Toronto to elevate itself to that elite status and this responsibility will fall on the shoulders of the next mayor.
Here are 5 key issues I believe the next mayor of Toronto needs to focus on:
- Taxes – Taxes discourage investment and slows down consumer spending. New businesses are less inclined to invest in a jurisdiction with an unfavorable tax regime. This means less jobs, less income and less money going into the local economy. However, the city is mired in debt and rely heavily tax revenues to fund services Torontonians expect. The best way to reduce this debt obligation is to sell off crown assets such as Toronto Hydro. Paying down debts will allow Toronto to cut taxes for local residents and businesses, making it a more attractive place to live and invest.
- Traffic Congestion/Public Transportation – Traffic congestion is horrible in the city. Public transportation is not efficient and there are not enough options on a regional basis. The mayor must work with his regional counterparts to develop a regional transportation strategy that will increase transit options both in and out of the city. The strategy must be cost effective and sustainable. You have to make commuting on public transit the easiest option available. A successful strategy will help solve two pervasive problems: congestion and smog.
- Find a niche and get rich. Toronto needs to brand itself in economic terms. What will the city be known as the “center” of? There are a number of advantages Toronto can play off. Canadian banks have shown to be true global competitors. York University’s Schulich School of Business is known as the number 1 sustainability MBA in the world. Many of the world’s largest technology firms have their Canadian headquarters here. The point is, Toronto needs to focus on a few things the city does really well. We need to make Toronto an attractive desitination for talent and investment that will propel Toronto into a world class competitor in a given industry. Whether its banking, renewable energies or technolgy – invest in the necessary infrastructure to make Toronto the best at it.
- Continue to develop and promote Toronto’s cultural richness. We are a diverse city with a thriving culture. We have wonderful events like the the dragon boat races, Caribana, and Nuit Blanche. We have world class theatre, music and Dance. We have cultural icons in the AGO and the ROM. But simply having this is not enough. We need to raise the awareness globally. We need to make this a priority travel destination for tourists worldwide. And to do this will need to invest more in these events and organizations; allowing them to expand and grow. The city can not fund all this but they need to take a proactive approach in finding the right corporate partners that will invest in this city and who are willing to share in the city’s success.
- Rebuild city hall’s image on how they manage the city. Show the city that you are socially responsible, transperant and committed to making Toronto and more sustainable city. Past contraversies such as Toronto police paid duty, outrageous cable bills at city hall, and prolonged city strikes are issues that range from the petty to the vital but share one thing in common: mismanagement. Focus on the issues that are relevent and important. Take care of the city’s needs, show that you are honest, transperant and credible.
- Connectivity amid diversity – This topic includes the traffic congestion, ailing infrastructure, and improving technology. With an incredibly diverse work force, Toronto should focus on tolerance, talent and technology. If there is a combined effort from the politicians and the talented workforce, Toronto could improve quickly in these areas.
- Innovation and retention – The mayor should focus on innovative businesses and entrepreneurs as the businesses of the future. In addition, the mayor should focus on retaining the human capital that is already prevalent within this dynamic city. Instead of Toronto falling victim to what is commonly referred to as “brain drain”, we should have a city that will even attract high achievers and promote forward-looking business models.