My name is David Soknacki. Never heard of me? Don't worry, neither has Jimmy Kimmel.
While other candidates have been making headlines with their personal ups and downs, I've been thinking about what's best for Toronto.
As Budget Chief, I persuaded a divided Council to cut commercial taxes, industrial taxes and rental apartment taxes.
As a business owner, I've experienced the frustration faced by many of our young entrepreneurs, and I want to make it easier for companies to succeed and grow here.
And as a lifelong resident of Scarborough, I've watched our transit system get further and further behind as politicians do what's right for them, rather than their city.
This year's election is not about the redemption of certain political candidates. It's not about giving people a second or third or fourth chance to prove themselves.
It's about building the city we want.
That's why I am running for mayor.
Toronto faces a critical decision. We have been mismanaged. We have been lied to. But most importantly, we have fallen behind on the real work that sets cities apart. Toronto needs a mayor who will focus on making Toronto great and end the polarizing politics that has damaged our city.
So what would I do as mayor?
Well, municipal politics is unique. Building creative solutions requires patience, good humour and a deep base of policy knowledge. We can't be guided by ideology alone. I will make my decisions based on the evidence and stand my ground against those who use bully tactics to try and get their way.
I will bring accountability back to the Mayor's office. I will be a sound fiscal voice, making the right decisions for the people of Toronto. The tax cuts I brought to this city were the result of much healthy debate. After almost every councillor was heard (guess who didn't show up), we worked together to build consensus. We took an important first step.
But today, under Rob Ford, businesses in Toronto are uncompetitive, meaning we're driving jobs and investment to the suburbs. To address this, I will introduce further reductions to Toronto's commercial, industrial and rental apartment tax rates. I will keep reducing them until our rates match our neighbours' rates. I will bring employers and jobs back to Toronto. I am proud of those first steps we took in 2005, without Rob Ford's help. As mayor I will finish the job.
There are other things municipal government can do to help our economy and promote job creation. We can follow the examples of other great cities: We can foster a start-up environment. We can develop and support regional business clusters.
I will also make it easier to start a business in Toronto by reforming our licensing system, which is outdated and overrun, and recently became the focus of a red tape investigation by the City's Ombudsman.
When it comes to transit, I will introduce a reliable cost/benefit analysis for any public sector construction project.
I am also currently the only candidate who will reinstate the Scarborough LRT plan. I am not worried about whether it is good politics -- I support the Scarborough LRT because it is good government.
Reverting to the LRT will save Toronto $1-billion dollars. It will serve twice the number of riders. And we can have it running five years sooner. The environmental planning is completed. The financial planning is completed. It will be completely paid for by the provincial government. We can avoid three straight years of significant property tax increases. And, with the money we save, provincial and federal funding will be available for the Downtown Relief Line, speeding up another much needed investment.
Of course, Toronto is more than just taxes and transit. I want to modernize our public safety system, reduce pedestrian deaths and protect our parks and historical buildings. I want to make it easier for people to buy their first homes and find an affordable place to live.
Over this campaign I will be showcasing a number of detailed plans based on real numbers. I will focus on lower taxes, better employment numbers and less gridlock. I will improve Toronto's bottom lines while reducing our dramatic headlines. I will bring accountability back to the mayor's office. I will be completely transparent, and I will stand by every detail of my record with pride.
That is the kind of mayor Toronto needs.
So let's build the city we want.