I have a passion for poetry. I love writing it and I love reading it. I was honoured to read a poem about the late Al Gosling this year at Joe Fiorito’s launch for his book, City Poems. Joe knows my passion for poetry, and Al was one of my residents.
Inability to sleep some nights. And, during the day, sometimes impatience.
Sometimes in the middle of the night if something is on my mind. My staff know this too well. But usually around 7 a.m.
A warmed up muffin and cappuccino at home.
Home is where the best dinner is, always, but a close second is Speducci Mercatto, any time of day. It’s one of Toronto’s best kept secrets.
Former city councillor Howard Moscoe’s book, Call Me Pisher. Hilarious insight into the ins and outs of city council.
Singing. Last term we formed a band with various characters at council called the Clamshell Quintet. We played many shows and even did performances for charity. It was a blast.
A lady at the store the other day saw me shopping for mundane things and literally said, “You’re a real person too!” People don’t understand that we politicians are just like everyone else. Most people think politicians don’t have a heart and are just objects for criticism and disdain. We think and feel and love and care (and shop) just like anyone else.
Being a politician in the suburbs necessitates using a car, for the most part. Everything is so spread out, and relying solely on transit would make attending all the community meetings I need to be at impractical.
Teaching at a university.
A controversial leader. But, politics aside, he returns my calls when I need to speak to him, and I consider him a friend.
Decision-makers who ignore process and don’t think things through enough.
Nothing stops me in my tracks and warms my heart more than a baby’s smile.
Robert Redford, for his looks and career—and I think he would provide an interesting conversation.
Jimmy Dugan, who is the manager of an all-female baseball team in A League of Their Own. I like groups of people who have an unrealistic goal, and I like helping them reach it.
I like to leave a positive impression.
Looking like I just woke up when in fact I’ve been up for hours.
Let’s say 6:30 a.m., but many times closer to 7 a.m. On council days, much earlier. The earliest is when I’m meeting the mayor at a morning event.
A pot of coffee and a bowl of oatmeal. When I don’t have the time for oatmeal I’ll have a banana. When I don’t have the time for the banana I’ll have a nutri-bar.
Tov-Li dairy and Mediterranean food on Bathurst Street. Great falafels and other treats. Pantry Foods and Milk ‘N Honey, also on Bathurst Street, are a close second and third.
The last three: The Return, by Hisham Matar; Chasing Hillary by Amy Chozick; Shattered, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes.
Politics, reading, the occasional golf game and trips to the gym.
How hard we work on each individual file—and what I’m saying when I try my best to speak in a language other than English to local residents.
Public transit. I’m a regular subway user to city hall. I bike to my constituency office and in my neighbourhood. These days, walking is king, as I’m knocking on thousands of doors.
Working in some capacity to help people. My leisure would be writing, reading and backpacking.
|A complex person.|
When people aren’t pulling their weight. Stale coffee is a drag as well.
When we succeed in helping someone, or when we open a new community centre or playground in our area. Or when I win a vote at city hall. A freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Those who are running stop signs and red lights, and speeding. Traffic chaos is growing into the city’s biggest problem.
My wife Lynn, of course.
Politicians go into battle every day looking to solve complex issues. Sometimes even “rescuing” people from dire situations. I guess that would mean the Captain John Miller character Hanks plays in Saving Private Ryan.
Forgetting people’s names. (Very bad if you are in politics!)
|6 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.|
Low-sugar cereal with iron. (Cheerios, Shreddies, Kelloggs.)
The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen.
Reading the Globe and Mail, enjoying decent wines and not necessarily in that order.
That I am actually a “liberal with a calculator,” believing in balanced budgets, but also in important strategic investments to make communities more liveable.
The car, closely followed by TTC.
Selling something. But I think I’d be an awesome talk show host—far better than my pal John Tory.
A bombastic ideologue who revels in the applause of his followers and occasionally gets it right, but often gets it wrong.
Politicians who won’t answer a direct question.
Aside from my two daughters, meeting people who are politically engaged no matter what political stripe. At least they are paying attention.
No one really, not even Trump. His day will come.
Bobby Kennedy, but don’t take that the wrong way. I’d love to meet Chrystia Freeland. She’s SO Impressive.
I’m not much for movies.
I keep calm with a steady hand on the tiller. There’s a job to be done, and despite the pomp and flash of politics, city business must continue. That’s our duty first and foremost.
Seeking perfection can hold me back sometimes.
6:45 a.m., just in time to help get the kids off to school.
Plain microwave oatmeal with sliced almonds and Canadian honey mixed in. I wash it down with a Red Rose tea and milk.
Our family backyard table on a warm evening, next to the charcoal barbecue.
Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life, by David Friedman. I’m still working on it.
I used to collect coins, but I gave that up to collect experiences, like watching my kids play baseball and hockey.
The politician, councillor, and deputy mayor many see me as in the news is also a regular guy, too. I have a wife, a family, household chores and responsibilities, just like everyone else.
It’s a split. I’ve used the subway to travel into downtown Toronto for over two decades. In fact, my city hall parking space has a fine layer of dust on it. But when I’m around Etobicoke it’s my car, or the minivan when hauling kids and groceries.
Before being elected I had a career in the Ontario Public Service. I was a unit manager at the Ministry of Energy, and I worked with some very talented people. Working in the public sector is interesting, challenging and rewarding. I suspect I would be somewhere in the same field working on an exciting project.
A fascinating character who represents our time and place in contemporary politics. Politicians in North America have been very polarizing recently. I think this is a reaction to years of plain and unexciting ones. I’ve watched politics long enough to know that it works in cycles, and the tide will shift once again to a different style—in time.
Selfish drivers who either don’t pay attention—or worse, run yellow lights because they are in a hurry.
I find true joy in watching my young children grow and achieve life accomplishments. One of my daughters recently won her campaign for class president, just like a chip off the ol’ block!
Aggressive drivers and breaking the rules of the road because of a “me first” attitude. Everyone in the city has pressures in life, and we have to go back to putting the interest of others first when sharing the road. I support hitting the people that don’t get this concept right in the pocketbook. Enforcement, increased fines and insurance rates will make it change. It’s simple time and money economics.
My wife, of course! We’re busy parents who put heart and soul into our careers. With three growing kids you are lucky to have time to eat, let alone enjoy it.
Captain Sully Sullenberger in Sully, because he remained calm in the face of chaos and stayed true to what he believed in, despite what others thought of him or tried to do to discredit his actions. In the end, the truth came out and proved he was a hero.
My ability to work hard and focus.
Sometimes I’m too harsh when dealing with hypocrites or people who are dishonest.
|5:30 a.m.||Eggs or cereal.||My mother’s kitchen.|
A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin.
|Riding my bike.|
People outside my ward don’t always understand the ward I represent. They have the wrong impression of Jane and Finch and how hardworking the residents are.
|My bicycle.||I’d be building things.|
The premier now, but he used to work in the office next door to mine. As I told him then, before he makes changes, he needs to respect and listen to all opinions.
Good food and good friends.
Politicians who divide people instead of uniting them.
|My wife, Keyla.|
Captain John Miller in Saving Private Ryan, because he is focused on his mission and dogged about achieving his goal.
I have an encyclopedic memory for properties in my ward. Names are sometimes slower to come to mind.
My staff say I’m a bit obsessive.
I wake up at the crack of dawn to check on my four hens. During the campaign, I tend to be up a bit later at night, so I’ve been sleeping until 6:15 a.m.
Eggs, fresh from the backyard. When my hens aren’t laying, I eat homemade granola.
In the 20 years I’ve lived on Humewood, I’ve probably been the number one customer of Churrasco of St. Clair. I shouldn’t tell my hens.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini.
Household renovations are a family hobby. I’ve done a lot of work with my dad and my siblings over the years. I just finished a kitchen reno. I have a bit of trim work left for when the election is over.
My daughters say I’m an open book!
TTC, every day. The 512 Streetcar, and then the subway to work. I grew up that way. My dad was a mechanic at the TTC’s Hillcrest Yard for 30 years. In the summer, I cycle to work—often using Bike Share.
I used to be a professor of Theology and Social Ethics at the University of Toronto.
I don’t think you can publish my answer. I think the premier’s first few months have been extremely troubling, particularly his attacks on the poorest people in our society.
When my family doesn’t recycle properly.
My two grandsons. And when my whole family can get together for dinner, which is rare these days!
Doug Ford. Donald Trump.
|My partner, Rosalee.|
Sheriff Woody, from Toy Story.
I have never surrendered my humanity, independence, friendships and commitment to honesty, even in city hall’s often awful political environment.
I find it challenging to turn work off, even when I’m home. My family helps me with that, but I know I need to improve.
I wake up at 6 a.m. most mornings. Often it’s because I want to get work done, but usually it’s the fact that I have a five-year-old daughter.
Cereal or granola with yogurt and some fruit are on our breakfast table most mornings. Always accompanied by a cup of coffee!
I work most evenings, and I honestly don’t have only one favourite dinner spot. There are lots of places that I like. However, my most recent favourite is Pukka, on St. Clair West.
Jacob Two Two and the Dinosaur. I read it to my daughter last night.
Hiking. I’d call it a passion more than a hobby, though.
My politics. I appreciate facts, reasonable decisions and rational thought. That doesn’t always fit neatly onto one political label.
I hope that question will become redundant on October 23rd.
|A dishonest populist.|
Being asked questions like, “which Tom Hanks character do I most identify with?” Also, when city council makes decisions based on politics rather than evidence, like the choice to build a one-stop subway that wastes tax dollars and hurts people’s lives. I don’t know if there’s a Tom Hanks film about that yet.
My family. There are many things I love, but nothing more than the time I get spend with them.
Donald Trump, Doug Ford, Giorgio Mammoliti, criminals, contractors who disturb residents outside of bylaw hours, people who drive too fast through our neighbourhoods and more. We’ll work on this together.
|My wife, Melissa.|
I like several of Tom Hanks’s films, but I don’t really identify with one character.
|Mary Fragedakis||29||14||I am a perfectionist.||I am a perfectionist.||7 a.m.|
Pressed yogourt and a bowl of blueberries.
|Greek Grill.||The Handmaid’s Tale.||Yoga.|
I think I sometimes I drive city staff crazy with how much I care about getting the details right about issues. My neighbourhood—and by that I mean the whole of Toronto-Danforth—and making it better for all is something I actually dreamed of, even when I was a girl growing up here and going to Wilkinson, Earl Grey and Riverdale Collegiate.
I would probably still be running my own business.
A Donald Trump wannabe. He needs a reality check and a game misconduct for changing the rules of an election after it started.
Sloganeering politics and how that results in important details and information getting ignored in decision-making.
The smile on someone’s face when you can help them solve a problem.
George Clooney, if he were single.
Ben Bradlee in The Post.
|Paula Fletcher||30||14||Determination.||Impatience.||7:30 a.m.|
Tea, and fried halloumi or an egg. I’m a vegetarian so it’s good to get protein at breakfast time.
The Man Who Wasn’t There, by Michael Hjorth and Hans Rosenfeldt.
Gardening, doing weights.
People might not know that I’m actually a little bit shy.
|This time of year? Bike.|
In the summer I would love to work at a garden centre. But as a career, I would have worked in advocacy. Working with people who can’t break through the system.
Dot dot dot. He’s the wannabe mayor.
Grandstanding. Men talking over women in meetings.
|Big family dinners.|
Well, obviously Doug Ford.
|My husband, Johnny.|
Jim Lovell in Apollo 13. I like how he stays calm in the face of calamity to work the problem.
I’m persistent and fight for what’s important. I’ve always been passionate about public service and standing up for Torontonians and their interests at city hall.
I was always five minutes late. So now I just think meetings are always five minutes earlier than they are. The lesser of two evils.
Five minutes earlier than I used to…
Whatever’s left. I’m the mother of three boys!
That’s an impossible question! There are so many great spots to choose from, and that’s exactly why I brought Winterlicious and Summerlicious to the city when I was a director in the Economic Development and Culture division.
Thousand-page Toronto city council agendas count as books, right?
One of my passions is the arts. Toronto has such a vibrant arts community and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to sit on the board of directors of the Art Gallery of Ontario this term.
That I’m a major advocate for the environment. Keeping Toronto green and healthy has been one of my top priorities at city hall, from growing our tree canopy to rehabilitating the Don River.
Transit and walking. I’m not much of a driver.
I’d be planning citywide events in the Economic Development and Culture division.
Like so many residents, crowding and delays on Line 1. That’s why I’ve pushed for the Downtown Relief Line to be the city’s top transit priority.
Numbers and data. I want to make sure that the decisions we’re making at city hall are based on sound evidence.
People who drive under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. I’ve always felt very strongly about this issue and am a big supporter of organizations like Arrive Alive and MADD.
My husband Bill, even after 25 years of marriage!
Probably his character in Castaway. I’ve never been stranded on a desert island, but his tenacity to get off that island, whatever it took, resonated with me.
I can be very frugal. My family knows me as Captain Coupon.
6 a.m., whether I want to or not.
Bagel with peanut butter.
Positano Restaurant on Mount Pleasant.
Think Like a Freak, by Steven Levitt.
Barbecue. I’ve got three different smokers and I’m still trying to figure it out.
I’m very outgoing and gregarious, but I value my quiet time reading and reflecting.
My feet. I do all my personal errands with my two rescue hounds and walk about 10 kilometres a day.
I hate to even think of it. I love my job too much.
Those who take credit for something they didn’t do.
The free spiritedness of my two dogs, Nik Nak and Moonshine.
Sadly, there’s more than one.
Anyone who will buy me dinner.
Jim Lovell in Apollo 13. Who doesn’t love a hero?