A Chat With Rocco Rossi

10 Feb

Courtesy

Myself and Rocco Rossi talked shop not too long ago. He, like Giorgio Mammoliti says he values the student vote. We also cleared the air about his intentions for the TTC and bike lanes in Toronto.

Rossi was the national director of the Liberal Party of Canada. Now, he hopes to become the next mayor of Toronto.

And these are some of the things he has to say:

On interacting with students:

I would be delighted if there are opportunities to speak and interact and debate. You’ll find me very available. I think there’s a lot of passion, a lot of energy. Very often the pundits will say it’s really not worth focusing the attention on young voters, they don’t vote in large numbers typically. I think part of the reason is people are not connecting and candidates aren’t making the effort to engage people and they need it.

It’s the same with everyone. You diss someone by not showing them respect. How likely are they going to be to want to participate with you?

On issues affecting students in his platform:

I think lots of issues I’ll be raising have an impact on students, whether it’s transit, whether its recreational facilities, whether it’s partnership with universities and colleges, whether it’s thinking about hiring policies. There will be lots of issues that I think it’s important for students to weigh in on. The old saying “you get the government you deserve” is also true.  Yes, candidates need to reach out and bring people into the process but the general public and groups need to understand, if they organize, if they put themselves forward, they’re far more likely to be heard.

On putting a moratorium on the TTC:

We’ve just gone through an absolute fiasco at St. Clair. A project that was supposed to cost 40 mil dollars has ended up costing over 110 million dollars. The same people who brought this disaster to us are now asking us for the right to manage a multi billion-dollar roll out. Not millions, but billions of dollars. That concerns me, a lot.

What I’ve said is, I want a moratorium so we can put some things in place and get some answers to important questions. The first thing I’ve said we need to do is get the politicians off of the TTC and put a skills based board in charge. I want experts, I don’t want decisions to be made for political reasons, I want them to be made for efficiency and transportation reasons. I want to make sure the leadership is not asleep at the switch.

There’s been so much attention made to this poor fellow sleeping in the ticket booth, and that’s a horrible thing. There should be far better management of labour at the TTC but far worse is the fact that the TTC leadership has been asleep and being asleep has led to massive cost overruns on the St. Clair line extension and the union station platform extension.

Surely we want to put in some controls and better management systems to ensure that we reduce that risk as much has possible. That’s all I’m saying. I love transit, I use it every day, I want more of it. But I want it done more intelligently so we’re not constantly going back to the taxpayer and the transit rider for more and more money.

On the addition or removal of bike lanes:

I’m on my bike through good weather and bad much of the year, but I don’t believe you should be putting bike lanes on major arterials, like Bloor, Danforth, Jarvis, Steeles or Warden. I think bike lanes, both for safety, and to ensure that we limit congestion as much as possible should go on side roads. We have a bike lane on Sherbourne, right beside Jarvis. To add one on Jarvis and create a) the expense and, b) the additional congestion on that road, which will lead to more pollution not less, doesn’t strike me as a good idea. What I’ve said is No to bike lanes on major arterials and yes to accelerating the bike lane roll out on side streets.

His message to students:

The future belongs more to you than to me. And city government is the level of government that affects your day-to-day life more than any other level of government. So if there’s ever an election and ever a time to get involved, to be informed, and to make your voices heard, the time is now, and the election is October 25th. And whether you choose to vote for me or to vote for someone else, just choose to vote because it’s your future.

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7 Responses to “A Chat With Rocco Rossi”

  1. HiMY SYeD February 10, 2010 at 8:30 am #

    Candidate Rossi’s last line “…October 25th. And whether you choose to vote for me or to vote for someone else, just choose to vote because it’s your future.” Needs to be voiced in a stronger call to action.

  2. Adil February 10, 2010 at 9:22 am #

    Awesome Romi. Great job.

  3. Ben February 10, 2010 at 9:50 am #

    There’s a reason bike lanes aren’t needed on side streets – that’s because they are quiet side streets! Safety is not an issue on them, that’s why they typically exist as signed routes.

    If Rossi would sit down with a map of Toronto he’d recognize that there are very few routes that cross large swaths of the city without interruption, especially north/south. Those that do tend to be the major arterials Rossi wants to reserve for cars.

    A disjointed network of meandering side-street bike routes may be okay for someone riding for pleasure (which sounds like Rossi), but as an efficient form of transportation it leaves much to be desired.

    If cars can have the most direct, efficient roads, what is the real reason Rossi doesn’t want the same for bikes?

  4. paul ford February 10, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    I agree with Rossi on both the issues of Transit City (bad idea) and bike paths (not on major arteries). His plans for privatizing Toronto Hydro and some public services like garbage pickup make me uncomfortable.

    • romeh February 10, 2010 at 7:45 pm #

      There is some method to the madness. I don’t think his TTC / bike lane intentions have been communicated well in a lot of media coverage. Privatization seems to be a big issue with candidates too, and it’s hard to accept it, but if heavily regulated, could it not be of benefit to the city?

  5. Alan February 11, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    So we will get nice bike lanes on side streets and cul-de-sacs that don’t go anywhere? What good will that do for us?

    Rocco talks a nice talk, so long as your brain is turned off while you listen to him.

  6. Transity Cyclist March 13, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    Rossi has to research why the St. Clair project went over-budget. He can’t just blame it on the fact that it was Adam Giambrone who started it without backing his argument.

    1) Unexpected subsurface wires needed to be relocated through the ceiling at St. Clair West Station. This delayed and broadened the St. Clair West Loop track replacement project

    2) Remember, the St Clair project was about fixing the whole street, including streetcar enhancements, streetlight improvements, replacement of sidewalks, etc. Originally, it was thought that the streetlights would remain they same, but they were included in the projected at the last minute, increasing the size of the project.

    3) Save-Our-St Clair one a court battle and delayed the project for one year.

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