The Underbelly of a Pre-Election "Meet and Greet" with the Councillor of Ward 18.

 

The timing of the Dovercourt Village "community" get together bears the distinctive resemblence of a vote for me campaign. Slick signage leads you up Westmoreland and past a disgruntled employee outside who was complaining to his friends that he didn't want to be there and he "better be getting over-time". It's always nice knowing that the people that serve us through their city positions are welcoming. The signage leading you to the second floor of the Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club on Westmoreland gets even slicker, somebody spent a LOT of time designing their campaign. This same club has a desperate need for a proper curb-cut outside with a few spaces for all the parents etc. to park for pick-up only because apparently there are quite the traffic jams there at times.  The current Councillor of Ward 18 believes that this is safe despite some complaints from residents about it, especially in the winter season. A curb-cut could easily be done, the space is there.

Once you arrive at the second floor there are tables, snacks, a huge map of Ward 18 on the wall, a reception/election table with lots of CW18 literature on voting and even some Tim's coffee (the same Tim's on Bloor that has seen a rise in drug dealing, loitering at all hours, prostitution and even a gang fight), it's good of our Councillor to support that corporate business and not a truly local coffee shop.  There were under twenty residents there, some were the same old stalwards who have been working with the Councillor so long they "hug" and not shake hands, some senior Portuguese citizens, a few new young faces that seemed eager yet frustrated and lots of Councillor staff. After a little mingling and talking we all sat down on fold out chairs at the 8 foot fold out tables, we used 4 of them.

The Councillor had a staff member open the meeting with a pep talk that smacked so heavily of "Vote For Us" that it felt more like a carnival barker using the word community about 100 times. After a fiery introduction and a smattering of clapping the Councillor was introduced to the group. It's important to remember that this mini dog and pony show was the first open call "community" meeting held since the end of the last election and this was "your chance" to be heard, and the postcard invitation had a large "Re-Elect" logo on it. Yes, it's part of the marketing budget of a Councillor but with a neighbourly "Meet and Greet" feel to it.

The Councillor was overly thankful to all of us for attending and "proving that community matters". Remember, there were less than 20 "community" members in attendance. The word "community" was used at the end of almost every sentence reminding us of exactly who we were. Once the Councillor was done the staff member that opened the meeting took over to explain the boards that had been placed on the wall. Each board represented one of either LIVE WORK or PLAY as their titles and below that were boxes that represented what "the community" would want and you were to discuss and analyze this and then rate the most important ones to you as a group. For example under LIVE was "high density developments".  A group may call that a number 1 priority.  The problem with this excercise is all three lists were missing LOTS of actual concerns in the neighbourhood.  So this meeting is really the Councillor dictating what your concerns are and asking you to accept them with a couple of hours of input.

It was a sad meeting that was immediatley tweeted out by the Councillor as "Another fantastic evening of discussions about our neighbourhood". Note the size of the "Re-Elect" sign in that room and the T-Shirts in the forground. All in all this "community" meeting was a great marketing example but a poor attempt to actually connect with people and real issues.

Maybe that's why no one else showed up?


Link here -> www.twitter.com/Ward18AnaBailao/status/486284834852327424

ward-18-councillor

 

 

ORIGINAL INVITATION TO "MEET & GREET"

I am pleased to invite you to join me and fellow residents in the Dovercourt neighbourhood to an upcoming community planning exercise.

Monday, July 7th at 6:30pm

The Dovercourt Boys and Girls Club
180 Westmoreland Avenue
Map and directions

Discussing local priorities with residents in the Wallace-Emerson neighbourhood

This is more than a meet and greet. This is an opportunity for us to come together and plan the priorities and projects that will shape the future growth of our neighbourhood. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback as we work together on making our neighbourhood an even greater place to live, work and play. Please RSVP and I look forward to working with you to develop our community vision for the area!

 


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