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Tom Jakobek's Toronto
Vision for Toronto
Just walk through the Toronto Beaches and you’ll begin to understand Tom Jakobek’s vision for Toronto. This is the neighbourhood in which Tom Jakobek grew up and still calls home. It is a diverse and vibrant place to live.
Countless community, recreational and environmental projects were created and nurtured by Tom Jakobek during his almost 20 years on Toronto City Council. People will tell you that he is an unrivaled advocate for the needs of people in Toronto.
Like many people in their 30’s, 40’s or 50’s, Tom Jakobek understands the fact that our parents are getting older and becoming more dependent. Soon the baby boomers themselves will be looking to the younger (and much smaller) generation for help in order to meet their needs.
Tom Jakobek has studied geriatric care at the University of Toronto and has a public health approach. Tom Jakobek envisions the creation of a specialized “Services for Elderly Persons Office” at City Hall. He believes that home care, palliative care and financial management for Seniors need to be provided at the municipal level.
Tom Jakobek supports the education tax rebate for seniors. Tom wants those on fixed incomes to be protected from inflationary increases and secondary taxes.
Taxes have been Tom Jakobek’s specialty for the past 10 years as the City’s budget chief and councillor. Tom Jakobek has contributed or delivered nine consecutive budgets with a zero tax increase.
At the time of amalgamation, the new City inherited a $1.4 billion deficit. That debt will surpass $2 billion by the end of 2003 if no action is taken. The cost to service the City’s debt (interest and principal) now exceeds $1 million a day.
There is no way for the City to eliminate or greatly reduce the debt by increasing taxes or simply cutting the budget. A tax increase, in excess of fifteen percent, would be needed just to reverse the trend and would still take twenty years to eliminate the debt. Unfortunately there is little room to cut the existing budget unless we are willing to sacrifice the services that we depend on and expect.
Tom Jakobek and his wife Deborah are raising four young children in our City. Like you they do not want City Hall or any other level of Government to mortgage their future by increasing the Governments debt load.
But Tom Jakobek’s commitment to our future goes beyond the City’s finances. Tom Jakobek has a Summer Works Plan for teenagers that will help them learn to work while helping them pay for a post secondary education.
The restoration of our parks, our waterfront, watercourses and the cleanup of our neighbourhoods can and should be assisted by the City’s employment of thousands of younger people.
Yes, more money will need to be spent on modest road widening and intersection improvements. There is also a need to regulate east west truck traffic during the regular rush hour periods.
Tom Jakobek will never, under any circumstances, include road tolls as an option because Tom Jakobek knows that taxpayers already pay enough. Instead, Tom Jakobek will support more transit use by creating partnerships between large downtown employers and their employees. Tom Jakobek believes that we need to focus our attentionon more people using the existing transit system instead of simply building more systems.
Tom Jakobek is a former crisis care volunteer. He knows that the vast majority of homeless people are suffering from drug addiction, alcoholism and mental illness. He also knows that there is already over $100 million being spent each year directly or indirectly on Homelessness in Toronto. In fact the cost of one shelter bed has been increased to over $1500 a month!
Tom Jakobek has visited our shelters, listened to the homeless people as well as the professional street workers struggling to help. The answer isn’t having the police arrest the homeless or continuing to hand out sleeping bags. Tom Jakobek believes that we need more than just money to solve this social problem.
We need the determination and leadership to ensure that people are getting the medical and social support they need to stay off the street.
Tom Jakobek has seen too many millions of dollars wasted in attempting to create a waterfront Toronto can be proud of. A totally new approach is needed – and not one that starts with large government subsidies. Tom believes one ownership structure must be established to galvanize the will and the means to finally act on the countless studies of the last 20 years.
Tom Jakobek knows why nothing has happened. The reason isn’t because of the environmental difficulties with the soil, or because there isn’t enough infrastructure for water and sewage… all problems nonetheless. The problem is too many independent government agencies or levels of government involved in the ownership of the waterfront lands. Think about it: 8 different Boards of Directors, 8 different administrations and 8 different official plans.
Tom Jakobek recommends one Board of Directors, one official plan, and the mobilization of the best and brightest minds available in the financial and real estate industries to guide the process and protect the public interest.
That ability to compete is important to everyone given commercial property owners are taxed over 5 times more than residential properties and therefore support the largest part of the property tax base. That means that every time a commercial or industry closes or moves away the impact is much more than 5 times any residential property.
Already we are seeing city services reduced, not to mention dozens of new or higher user fees for services that were once included in your tax bill. Just ask the thousands of commercial retailers who had their municipal garbage collection cancelled without any tax rebate for the service they once had.
Solutions to financial problems are not hard to find but they do require an understanding of the organization and almost always involve a totally new direction or plan. It is a process, which can no longer protect you from uncontrolled tax increase and rising debt.