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Finally, a Mayoral Candidate (Sarah Climenhaga) Speaking the Truth About Toronto’s Housing Crisis

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For many reasons, such as 102 candidates running to become Toronto’s next mayor, the Toronto media is focused on the top six polling candidates:

  1. Ana Bailão
  2. Brad Bradford
  3. Josh Matlow
  4. Mark Saunders
  5. Mitzie Hunter
  6. Oliva Chow

Because mainstream media is a profit-driven industry, like any other industry, it usually overlooks fringe candidates; thus, their ideas, suggestions, and platforms do not receive public attention.

At some point, the Toronto media must draw the line and focus on candidates likely to win and generate views that will attract advertisers. A candidate’s refusal to accept the media’s reality of having limited space and resources does not alter the fact that the media cannot possibly cover 102 candidates.

Among the fringe candidates in the current mayoral race is Sara Climenhaga. This is her third attempt at becoming Toronto’s mayor. (Sarah finished fifth out of 31 candidates in Toronto’s election last October.) Sarah also ran for the Green Party in the 2019 federal election.

Putting aside Sarah’s political acumen deficit, I am a fan of her Substack newsletter, Sarah’s Thoughts – Toronto Mayoral Edition, one of the few newsletters I read regularly. The suggestions Sarah offers are consistently aimed at making Toronto a healthier city, particularly in the area of environmental initiatives.

Sarah’s recent newsletter, If you build it, they can come., discusses housing affordability, Toronto’s most prominent mayoral election issue. While her opponents, the media darlings and fringe candidates, are recycling the same political rhetoric since Nathan Phillips was mayor (1955-1962), Sarah took a different approach—a gutsy and authentic approach.

Aside from her newsletter, I like Sarah because she is not a career politician, not that she has not tried. I would go as far as to say Sarah is the anthesis of a career politician. She avoids the paradox that political success calls for a degree of lax integrity to be able to do what it takes to gain votes, namely, not to be honest but to tell voters what they want to hear.

Sarah, to the detriment of her political aspiration, tells the truth, which I have come to greatly admire her for.

The biggest lies Toronto mayoral candidates are telling Torontonians:

 

They can reduce traffic congestion. 

No megacity in the world does not experience frustrating congestion, especially one experiencing Toronto’s rapid growth.

Growing population = Greater density = More congestion

Living in a city, especially one as big as Toronto, means having to deal with traffic congestion.

 

They can address crime.  

As Toronto’s population increases, the city’s crime (number of) will inevitably increase. A question that is never asked because it would erase the false narrative that Toronto is a crime-ridden city: Has Toronto’s crime rate—violent crime per capita—increased in the past 20 years?

A fact conveniently overlooked by mayoral candidates, who act as if they will have the ability to flash a Bat-Signal to summon a crime crusader to come to the rescue, the fact that most laws intended to “deter” and “regulate” criminal behaviour are made at the provincial and federal levels, not at the city level.

 

They have a solution to address affordable housing. 

Housing affordability is arguably the most important issue in this mayoral election.

Like congestion, name a major city that does not lack affordable housing. Canada aims to welcome 465,000 new permanent residents in 2023, 485,000 in 2024 and 500,000 in 2025. Most of these new immigrants will likely settle in Toronto and its surrounding area. As Toronto’s population grows, the economic laws of supply and demand increase rents and housing prices.

Toronto’s population has grown exponentially.

1950 … 1,068,000

1960 … 1,744,000

1970 … 2,535,000

1980 … 3,008,000

1990 … 3,807,000

2000 … 4,607,000

2010 … 5,499,000

2020 … 6,197,000

2030 … 6,793,000 (U.N. projection)

Candidates have yet to put forward a budgeted-out plan to build housing at a pace that will keep up with Toronto’s population growth, in large part because such a plan is unfathomable.

Most of the candidates, certainly all six forerunners, are making the contradictory claim that they are concerned about affordable housing but then propose increasing property taxes, which landlords will pass on to their tenants, increasing the cost of renting or owning in Toronto.

Climenhaga displays a cooler head than her opponents, who are alarmists trying to gain attention and then turn around to sell voters their solution to what they call a “housing crisis.” Sarah puts the issue of affordable housing in Toronto into perspective when she writes, “But all of that is not a crisis, it’s just the current state of affairs.”

Boom! Across the globe, there is a current housing state of affairs in megacities like London, Paris, New York, Tokyo, Los Angeles, São Paulo, Chicago, Lagos, Istanbul, Delhi, and Mexico City.

Then Sarah asks the question none of the mayoral candidates are asking, “When it comes to housing, what can government do, and what can’t it do?”

Not only does Sarah have the nerve to ask this question, but she also writes, “I think it’s time for someone to admit that what government can’t do is house everyone.”

This truism, which has been apparent for decades, is uncomfortable. Regardless of whether they have participated in the election that elected the current government—given the low voter turnout, chances are they did not vote—citizens expect the government to take care of them.

Sarah continues by saying that individuals are responsible for the consequences of their actions and decisions, which is the antithesis of a winning political strategy.

“Ultimately, where we each live is up to us individually. We are the only ones who we can hold fully accountable for whether we have a roof over our head.”

You have to respect a candidate who is not pandering to voters.

As a libertarian at heart, someone who believes less government is better, Sarah’s point of view resonated with me on many levels. It has always bothered me how people ask more of their elected representatives than they do of themselves. Many people expect the government to solve all our social ills, so to speak, thereby absolving them of being responsible for their life choices, one being where they choose to live. 

According to all polls and whispers in my ear, one of the top six candidates I mentioned—most likely Olivia Chow—will be Toronto’s next mayor. Interestingly, all six forerunners are career politicians who, to date, have not meaningfully addressed affordable housing in Toronto or any of the numerous issues they are now saying they have the answers to. Thus, assuming Torontonians continue their tradition of electing career politicians to city hall, it can be expected that Toronto’s current state of affairs around housing will continue as it does in megacities throughout the world.

Also, to continue is mainstream media not covering fringe candidates who speak the truth like Sarah Climenhaga does, a candidate who wrote the truth that the government cannot house everyone and “where we each live is up to us individually.”

Unfortunately, when it comes to politics and getting people to vote for you, being truthful undermines your chances of winning and relegates you to being a fringe candidate.

____________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a self-described connoisseur of human psychology, writes about what’s on his mind from Toronto. You can follow Nick on Twitter and Instagram @NKossovan

 

Business

Show Employers You Can Hit the Ground Running

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Employers are increasingly stating: “We want someone who can hit the ground running.”

Essentially, the message is, “Don’t expect us to explain the basics. We expect you to know your sh*t.” Employers understand you’ll need time to learn their business, applications, software, infrastructure, etc. However, they expect that you’re proficient in Microsoft Office Suite software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), understand file management (creating, saving, and organizing files), and know how to troubleshoot common computer problems, and won’t be learning these basic computer skills as part of your learning curve on their dime.

Employers aren’t in the business of training people. You’re responsible for your career; therefore, you’re responsible for acquiring the skillset you need.

For an employee’s compensation to be justified, an ROI (return on investment) is required. When referring to employment, ROI refers to the value an employee brings to the company relative to their compensation. Employers pay their employees, and employees work for their wages. Employee work value is created when their work directly or indirectly results in profitably selling the company’s goods and services. Your best chance of job security (no guarantee) is to be an employee who undeniably contributes measurable value to your employer’s profitability.

(Employee’s measurable value to the company) – (Employer’s investment in compensation) = (ROI)

Understandably, employers are looking for candidates who can make an immediate impact, individuals who can jump right in, learn and adapt quickly, and start delivering results as soon as possible. Hence, you want to distinguish yourself as being capable and willing to “hit the ground running.”

Here are some tips to help you present yourself as a fast-starting, high-potential hire:

Emphasize relevant experience

Presenting irrelevant information will be perceived as lacking the ability to communicate succinctly, a highly valued skill in the business world. Only share experiences and quantified results (key), results that are pertinent to the position you’re applying for.

When crafting your resume and cover letter, identify the skills, knowledge, and previous responsibilities/quantified results that align with the job you’re aiming for. By demonstrating that you’ve “been there, done that” and brought measurable value to previous employers in a similar scenario, employers will feel confident that you can immediately deliver value.

Showcase transferable skills

Consider the universal soft skills that employers universally value.

  • Analytical
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal
  • Problem-solving
  • Project management
  • Time management

Tell STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) stories—describing a specific situation, the task you were assigned, the actions you took, and the results of your actions—that showcase your soft skills and explain how you can leverage them to succeed in the role you’re applying for. This’ll assure your interviewer you have the fundamental skills to achieve successful outcomes.

“While working at Norback, Jenkins, & St. Clair, I led a team of five architects to redesign a historic downtown Winnipeg landmark according to strict deadlines and complex stakeholder demands. I conducted Monday morning team meetings and used Slack to provide tailored updates to keep the team aligned. As a result of my communication skills, the project was completed on time and under the $7.5 million dollars budget.”

Discuss onboarding insights

A great way to position yourself as someone eager to hit the ground running is to show that you’ve considered what it’ll take to start delivering value.

“Based on my understanding of the typical onboarding timeline for this type of position, I anticipate completing all training and ramp-up activities within my first two weeks, enabling me to begin tackling projects by my first quarter.”

Assuming you’ve researched the company and studied current industry trends, which you should have done, mention the extra steps you’ve taken to prepare for the role. This’ll show your willingness to learn and will require minimal handholding.

Emphasize quick adaptability

Employers value the ability to adapt quickly to new situations and challenges. During your interviews, share examples of your flexibility and agility.

At some point in your career, you’ve likely had to learn something new (e.g., software, operating system) on the fly. Also likely, you’ve had to navigate a major change or disruption. Using STAR stories, explain how you approached these scenarios, your strategies, and the positive outcomes.

By showing resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability, you demonstrate that you can thrive in ambiguous or rapidly evolving environments.

Propose a transition plan.

Presenting a transition plan is a strategy that wows employers, primarily because it is rare for a candidate to do this. This shows you’re ready to take ownership of your onboarding and deliver results.

Include specifics like:

  • Milestones you aim to accomplish in your first 30, 60, and 90 days.
  • Training activities or learning opportunities you’ll pursue.
  • Initial projects or tasks you’d tackle to demonstrate your capabilities.
  • Ways you’ll quickly build relationships with your new colleagues.

Showing this level of forethought and initiative shows you’re a strategic thinker, able to organize your thoughts, and, most importantly, eager to get started.

By touting your relevant experience, showcasing your transferable skills, discussing your onboarding insights, emphasizing your quick adaptability, and proposing a detailed transition plan, you’ll position yourself as a self-driven professional capable of driving results from the start, differentiating you from your competition.

_____________________________________________________________________

 

Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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Karen Read back in court after murder case of Boston police officer boyfriend ended in mistrial

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BOSTON (AP) — Karen Read returns to court Monday for the first time since her murder case involving her Boston police officer boyfriend ended in a mistrial.

Read is accused of ramming into John O’Keefe with her SUV and leaving him for dead in a snowstorm in January 2022. Her two-month trial ended when jurors declared they were hopelessly deadlocked and a judge declared a mistrial on the fifth day of deliberations.

Jury deliberations during the trial are among the issues likely to be addressed.

In several motions, the defense contends four jurors have said the jury unanimously reached a not-guilty verdict on those two charges. The jurors reported being deadlocked only on the charge of manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and trying her again for murder would be unconstitutional double jeopardy, they said.

The defense also argues Judge Beverly Cannone abruptly announced the mistrial without questioning the jurors about where they stood on each of the three charges Read faced and without giving lawyers for either side a chance to comment.

Prosecutors described the defense request to drop charges of second-degree murder and leaving the scene of a deadly accident an “unsubstantiated but sensational post-trial claim” based on “hearsay, conjecture and legally inappropriate reliance as to the substance of jury deliberations.”

As they push against a retrial, the defense also wants the judge to hold a “post-verdict inquiry” and question all 12 jurors if necessary to establish the record they say should have been created before the mistrial was declared, showing jurors “unanimously acquitted the defendant of two of the three charges against her.”

After the mistrial, Cannone ordered the names of the jurors to not be released for 10 days. She extended that order indefinitely Thursday after one of the jurors filed a motion saying they feared for their own and their family’s safety if the names are made public. The order does not preclude a juror from coming forward and identifying themselves, but so far none have done so.

Prosecutors argued the defense was given a chance to respond and, after one note from the jury indicating it was deadlocked, told the court there had been sufficient time and advocated for the jury to be declared deadlocked. Prosecutors wanted deliberations to continue, which they did before a mistrial was declared the following day.

“Contrary to the representation made in the defendant’s motion and supporting affidavits, the defendant advocated for and consented to a mistrial, as she had adequate opportunities to object and instead remained silent which removes any double jeopardy bar to retrial,” prosecutors wrote in their motion.

Read, a former adjunct professor at Bentley College, had been out drinking with O’Keefe, a 16-year member of the Boston police who was found outside the Canton home of another Boston police officer. An autopsy found O’Keefe died of hypothermia and blunt force trauma.

The defense contended O’Keefe was killed inside the home after Read dropped him off and that those involved chose to frame her because she was a “convenient outsider.”

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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From Mansion to Moat: Drake’s Million Dollar Home Gets Soaked

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Toronto residents woke up to a soggy Wednesday morning after the city was pummeled by record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday. The downpour caused widespread flooding across the city, and even the opulent mansion of rap superstar Drake wasn’t spared.

 

Drake’s “Embassy” Flooded

Drake shared a video on his Instagram story showing the extent of the water damage at his Toronto mansion, nicknamed “The Embassy.” The sprawling 50,000-square-foot estate boasts an NBA-regulation basketball court and an art-deco theme, but on Tuesday, it was battling ankle-deep murky water flooding its halls.

The video shows Drake himself, clad in shorts and holding a broom, wading through the water. Someone else can be seen desperately trying to hold a large glass door shut as water surges in, presumably from a flooded patio or balcony.  Drake captioned the video with a touch of humor: “This better be espresso martini.”

The extent of the damage to the mansion remains unclear at this time.

 

Historic Rainfall Causes Citywide Flooding

The flooding at Drake’s mansion was just one symptom of the unprecedented rainfall that lashed Toronto on Tuesday. The city saw over 100 millimeters of rain in a single day, easily surpassing the average rainfall for the entire month of July (71.6 mm). This deluge makes it the fifth-wettest day ever recorded in Toronto’s history.

The heavy downpour overwhelmed the city’s drainage systems, leading to widespread flooding across neighborhoods. Emergency services were inundated with over 700 calls reporting flooded basements.  A major artery, the Don Valley Parkway, became an impassable waterway, with cars submerged almost entirely and some drivers forced to wait for rescue on the roofs of their vehicles.

 

Toronto Cleans Up After the Storm

As of Wednesday morning, the city is in cleanup mode.  Emergency crews are working to clear debris and assess the damage caused by the floods.  The extent of the financial losses incurred by homeowners and businesses is still being determined.

While Drake’s mansion may have gotten an unwelcome soaking, the true story of this weather event lies in the impact it had on ordinary citizens across Toronto. The city is now focused on recovery efforts and ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents.

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