Ward 1 - Local- Marilyn Crawford - 2010 Election

1) Are you a resident of the Ward you are running in?

2) What are the top 3 issues you feel are the most important for the Residents of your Ward ?
Community Safety, Open Communication/Availability/Accountibility, Enviromental
With your response please provide a statement about how you would address these issues.
a)     Encouraging the development of Neighourhood Watch Programs, creates ownerrship in your neighourhood and your neighbourhood becomes a community and not  just a place to sleep

b)    I am going to offer bi-monthly town hall meeting, increased to monthly if people actually come.  It is important for my Ward to know what I have been up to over the months, photo ops are great, but talking one on one to people is the only way to build relationship and that is what my number 1 goal is going to be.  I have accomplished that as at Trustee, even when I didn’t realize it.  Door knocking has been an amazing experience for me and I want to keep it up

c)    I would like to see an awarness campaign around littering and the picking up of dog debris. We need to make it socially unacceptable to do either, parterning with the School Boards. When you can convince a child not to litter, you have convinced the whole house.

3) What can you do for the Sporting Associations in this town in terms of the
climbing Permit Fees ?  ASMBA Baseball pays the highest permit fees in Ontario to the Town of Ajax. 
This is a user pay Town but what could you do to ensure we don’t price everyone out of the game?
I would be asking for a report from Staff that would show what other municiplities are charging and then adjust the costs to come more line

4) With Local Council Terms now set at 4 years and Provincial Elections set every 4 years , the next Provincial election is in 2011, one year following this Local Election in 2010.
 Would you run in 2010 Local election with thoughts of running in a 2011 Provincial Election?

5) What are your feelings on Growth and Sprawl and what would you do to help Ajax really become a leader in Planning?  How can you fix the mistakes of the past in terms of bad planning?
Well, from the look of my Ward, we have no where left to Sprawl to.  I believe that we will need to look at the building of Higher Density housing for the very reason we are running our of space, however, with this being a very different form of building communication is critical and location even more so.

6) How much priority should the Town give to the interest of existing residents when deliberating over development designs advanced via the Planning Dept?
I think that anything that affects where you currently live, the Town and or their Councillor should make it their priority to inform and listen to the residents.
7) How will you communicate with your constituents and how often?
Through Town Hall meetings on a bi-monthly basis, more if needed (hopefully I’m not the only one in attendance)

8- What can you do to increase Voter turnout ?
I would like to see electronic voting via the internet explored.
a) What do you feel is the biggest contributor to low voter turnout? -
The feeling that nothing will change.
9) Development Charges are paid to the Town when new growth occurs. For the benefit of readers cash-in-lieu means the developer is giving the Town of Ajax money instead of land for Parkland. In your opinion have these funds been allocated equitably throughout the Town?
I believe that the North Ajax residents believe that much of this money has been spent in South Ajax.
10) How best can you balance the needs of Business with the needs of Residents ? [missed this one]
11) What is your Vision for Ajax ?
Ajax is a bedroom community.  I would like to see that change in the future.  I would love a Town that we could work in and not be so exhausted from travelling that we don’t have the energy to get to know our neighbours.
12) The Town of Ajax has a population of 90,000 or so according to the signs.  Why do you feel we should still call ourselves a Town instead of a City ? 
Does retaining the designation of Town hinder acceptance of Higher Density housing in your opinion?

In my opinion no.

13) The purchase of St. Francis Church has had some financial surprises,  how would you ensure that Residents are not surprised with the actual cost versus the budgeted cost of large capital projects ?  The outdoor pool has also exceeded initial estimates.  
Sometimes it is impossible to see all the contingincies in a large project.  The only way to not surprise the Residents of Ajax is by talking to them and explaining to them what happened.  It doesn’t mean they will like it, but at least they will understand.

14) The maintenance of Parks has gone down over the years.   As a Councillor how can you ensure the front line services citizens expect can be effectively delivered while keeping a line on costs?
Our Parks are supposed to be places that we take our families to relax, not be afraid - we need to encourage the monitoring of the parkland by the police or Knights on Guard, especially at the times when families want to be there spring, summer, fall

15) Taxes will never go down, what can you do to have residents not see increases every year ?   The Province downloaded costs to Municipalities years ago that are at the Region Level.   What can you do at the Local or Regional Level to help keep a line on increases?
Certainly one of the ways is through encouraging businesses to move to Ajax.  They use less essential service and pay higher taxes - we need to be aggressive in this.
16) Have you ever been convicted of a crime for which you have not been pardoned? 
17)  What can you do to better educate residents on the Budget process ?  Communication through my meetings ( if anyone comes), web site and encouraging the more political individuals in my Ward to form community groups to represent our Ward at those Budget meetings and provide feedback to the Ward.

The following questions are geared to challengers, incumbents do not need to answer the below.
1)   If you are part of a group of citizens in a residential issue or a BIA ,  what has your experience been with the Town and it’s policies ?
I can only speak to my experience as a Trustee.  We have found them to be rigid in their policies, and I am hoping that I can start building that relationship in a new role.
2)  What is the first thing you want to see changed if you are granted a seat on council ? 
I have not attended many meeting, as they are usually on the same nights as my board meetings, but I don’t believe I have ever heard a debate.  I love debates, so I would like to see more of that.
3) Will Mr. Baker be able to hear what is being said at GGC meetings with a proper sound system ?
Yes, even if I have to sit beside him.
4) What was the single most motivating factor that caused you to file your papers ? 
I have had questions surrounding Council decisions in the past, and feel the only way to understand, and improve communication between the Council and the residents is to get involved.

For everyone:  Any closing comments you would like the Citizens of Ajax to know about you and your beliefs ?
As a resident of Ward 1, I believe we deserve to understand the changes that are happening not only in our Ward, but in our Town.  I have lived in Ajax in Ward 1 for 19 years and I can’t remember one of the councilors ever offering to have a sit down with us and just talk.  Town Hall meetings put on by the town run by staff don’t count.  The only way for me to get to know you and you to know me is to sit down with me and talk - that is the kind of councilor I will commit to be.

Thank you for participating.
Karem Allen
Voices of Ajax