Municipal Elections 2018: Here’s Who is Running for Mayor!

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Get to know your candidates!

Here’s who is running for mayor in this year’s municipal elections.

Candidates:

Ted Johnston

Bio

I am a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, Demolition Engineer. I also ran an industrial metallurgical lab. At the age of 40, I went back to college and became a funeral director. I was born in Alberta, and my father was a life-long member of royal airforce so we moved a lot, eighteen times in twenty years. I went to school in a dozen different jurisdictions, so I have had great exposure to the world and to different cultures.

Why are you running?

This next council is going to operate under a completely new set of rules. As a member of the Ratepayer’s Association, I along with other concerned citizens lobbied the provincial government to modify the municipal act so that city council had no choice but to implement the appointment of an ombudsmen, a lobby registry, and an auditor. This will hold council accountable, keeping them available and transparent to the public. Democracy is supposed to be the public telling their representatives what they are to do. It is then up to the representatives to find ways to get the bureaucracy to do it. Here is it happening in reverse. I want to get in and make sure that the people who get in are effective, not just lapdogs.

What are the issues you care about?

There is lots of potential in this city but it goes unrecognized. We have great people here but they aren’t being listened to. There is no reason we can’t be doing better. Population is shrinking and yet taxes are going up. This isn’t going to bring anyone in. There are solutions to this. I have experience saving money by implementing proper continuous improvement with the lab, and I want to show the people who work here at the city how to properly do it.

In talking to people, you hear the same set of complaints. Fix the police, fix the roads, fix the bus service. These are symptoms of the disease, not the disease. The actual problem is mayor and council are not open and accountable. They are not accessible. They are not listening to the public. We need to change the attitude at city council and the way things are being done so that we can improve the fire, the police, the transit services. We need to create teams within those groups that are looking to do continuous improvement and make things better for everyone.

What strengths do you bring to the campaign/council?

I am honest. I truly do believe in democracy and the fact that it can function, and the best available form of government. It isn’t perfect but it is better than any other alternatives I am aware of. As a solider I was exposed to things that thankfully most Canadians won’t be exposed to. There are places in the world where people are dying for the hope to have what we have. Canadians need to wake up and realize what we have. We have to have higher voting turn out this municipal election. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, so don’t vote the incumbents back in. Vote in me and some of the new candidates, there is at least the opportunity for improvement. For something different.

Kemal Martinovic

Bio

I grew up in Wawa but moved around a lot. My parents came Naples, Italy, and I was one when we moved to Canada. We would always come to the Sault on the weekend. I always liked northern Ontario.

MartinovicWhy are you running?

A lot of reasons. I am a senior so I can relate to the issues that so many seniors face. For example, the changing bus routes. The bus routes go nowhere and constantly being changed makes the buses difficult to use. We were supposed to get new buses and that didn’t happen. I think there should be a nice fountain down by the river and park, it would help to lift up the downtown. I want to change the way things are run. I think council is wasting a lot of money, we need to improve infrastructure.

I like a challenge and I want to go right to the top.

What are the issues you care about?

The issues I care about are transit and road maintenance, especially in the winter. Older people especially can’t use the sidewalks when they aren’t plowed and I don’t believe that the roads are sanded well enough in the winter. I feel as though I can make changes and try to better the city, because a lot of money is being wasted.

What strengths do you bring to the campaign/council?

I get along with everyone and I pride myself in my desire to make the city a better place. I have never held office but I am ready and willing to learn. Everyone has life experience and I believe that mine makes me a great candidate for mayor. It is a learning experience so I figure, why not? I want to make a difference and shake up city hall. Instead of complaining, I decided to run and try to make a change.

Christian Provenzano

mayor-provenzanoBio:

I was born and raised in this community, I have practiced law here for 15 years and I have operated my own business for 9 years.  Most of my family and my wife’s family are here. I am raising my two little girls here.  I have volunteered extensively throughout the community since I returned from law school in 2002.

Why are you running?

These last four years have been very challenging for the community both socially and economically.  We have had varying levels of uncertainty at three of our major employers:  OLG, Tenaris and Algoma. However, I think we have managed through these difficult times well.  At the same time, we have started some interesting projects and a community conversation about our future that I want to help see through.

I think there are bright days ahead for our community but we have to stay on course and keep working together.  We, as the City, have worked very hard to create more collaboration across our community and to support the collaboration that already existed.  I want to ensure that this spirit of teamwork and collaboration continues.

I think the FutureSSM plan represents a great opportunity to make positive things happen.  I think the Smart Grid project is a big step forward and an initiative we can build upon and use to promote our community.  We are a contender to land the Noront ferrochrome production facility.  Each one of these initiatives represents a lot of time, work and effort from several people—including me.  I was very involved in each and I want to ensure they all move forward productively and positively.

What are the issues you care about?

There are a number and they are outlined on both my campaign website which will be available at christianprovenzano.ca and on my brochure but for the purpose of this response, I will reduce them to three headings:  Taxes & Spending, Community Development and Economic Growth.

Tax Spending:

This Council has done a lot on this front.  We have completed a full city spending review, adjusted our budgeting process and provided opportunities for more meaningful Councillor and public input. We have also implemented a surplus policy, a long-term tax policy and a vacancy management policy.  We have reduced City spending as best we could without jeopardizing community services.  Certainly, there is more to do, particularly on tax fairness.

Over a reasonable period we have to adjust the amount of tax each major class (residential, commercial, industrial) pays to ensure that the tax burden is spread fairly between the classes.  However, this is something that must be done thoughtfully and properly. Moving too quickly will lead to some taxpayers—most likely the residential ones—experiencing a big, unexpected jump in taxes.

We have also worked hard to keep the municipal burden manageable.  The municipal burden includes municipal taxes, water and sewer costs.  The PUC Board has held the line on distribution increases and the Public Utility Commission has held the line on and slowed down water rate increases.  As a result, we have some of the lowest and most competitive water and electricity distribution rates in the province.  City Council also decreased the sewer surcharge significantly, giving everyone who uses City water a good break.

I am committed to keeping focused on how the City budgets and spends, as well as building on the good work that we have done over the course of this term to ensure we are taxing as little as possible to provide essential community services.

I am also committed to focusing on encouraging growth, because growing our assessment base is the best way to bring municipal taxes down.

Community Development:

Community development is essential to growth.  We have to support our community as it is, while building a community that is welcoming and exciting for those of us who live here and those that are looking for a place to live.

We are and have to continue making investments in improving our transit, becoming a more innovative municipality, and creating community space that is safe and inviting.  I think we can all agree that the activity on Queen Street this summer has been positive. We will soon have two new buses on the road, for the first time in a long time. We have completed a transit optimization study and we are implementing the results of that study to provide better transit service across the community.  This will take more time, but I am confident that with user and staff feedback, we will develop an optimal system for our community.  That is our goal and we’re going to stay committed to it until it is achieved.

We have some very serious demographic, labour market and socioeconomic challenges that are affecting our local economy.  The City—working with the EDC, the DSSAB and the Algoma Leadership Table—is putting together strategies to address the most pressing of these challenges.

We also have to keep focused on being a safe community.  As we know, we are not insulated from the opioid and overdose epidemic.  It has hit Sault Ste. Marie and with it, we have seen a rise in criminal activity.  We need to continue to support and work with the service providers and recovery support network to address these issues.  We also have to ensure that Sault Ste. Marie Police Services is investing its resources in addressing our community’s most pressing needs.  We are doing both.  We will continue to do both.

Economic Growth:

The City and the EDC, working together, are completing a survey of our business community to determine how best we can support and assist them.  The City is also doing what it can, internally, to ensure that the City is a facilitator of business and development.

I feel that there are some exciting opportunities in tourism.  I have been working with other Great Lake mayors to encourage, develop and promote Great Lakes cruises.  We are seeing some success in that regard.  We will see an additional investment in Tourism Sault Ste. Marie and some of our tourism assets starting in 2019.  I believe we should focus on making our tourism industry a priority.

With the Noront submission, our community has shown that we can sell ourselves and successfully compete for big projects.  The proposed Ferrochrome Processing Facility is a billion-dollar investment, creating 1500 – 2000 construction jobs and 300 – 500 long-term manufacturing jobs.  I was integrally involved in developing the submission and I presented the submission.  I believe that I am clearly the person best positioned to see this opportunity through to a successful conclusion.

What strengths do you bring to the campaign/council?

I think it is clear that I have a long history with our community and that I have demonstrated my commitment to it and passion for it over the course of many years. I am sincere in my desire to continue serving as Mayor because I am sincerely invested in our community, in its future and in seeing it succeed.

I have led the community through a difficult period, worked with the community at large to develop a forward-looking community plan and moved several large and important projects forward.

I have the experience, commitment and dedication to lead the community through the next four years and to a brighter future.

For further information, I invite and welcome everyone to visit my website to read up on what we have accomplished and what we will focus on moving forward at christianprovenzano.ca.  We plan to launch the site this coming week.

Rory Ring

Bio:

Education:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA), Queens University
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA) Political Science, University of Western Ontario

Work, Volunteer and Leadership Experience:

  • Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce, CEO
  • Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation
  • Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Association, Board of Director
  • Sault Ste. Marie Local Immigration Partnership
  • Future SSM: Economic Development Community Adjustment Committee
  • Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, President & CEO
  • Bluewater Technology Access Centre, Advisory Board of Director, Chair
  • Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII)
  • Freight-Guard Security Seals, President /Owner Operator
  • TD Bank, Commercial Account Manager
  • CIBC, Small Business Account Manager
  • Business Growth Services ‘Canadian Community Investment Plan’ (CCIP), Project Manager
  • Community Growth Accelerator Network (CGAN), Committee Member
  • Volunteer Coach: Ice Hockey, Roller Hockey and Soccer

Why are you running?

Rory RingI am excited about the great potential of our city. The hope and opportunity that our campaign and our platform can deliver, will make a very real and positive difference in the lives of Sault residents. I am seeking the position of Mayor so that together we can build a city that will have the jobs, affordability, safety and quality of life that we all want to see.

There has been a clear lack of progress in terms of economic development and job opportunities in our city during the past four years. This fact, combined with local residents being subjected to a property tax increase of 10.59 percent during the same period, is making life harder for families and businesses in our city.

As Mayor I will do what is necessary to deliver a more affordable, more prosperous and more attractive city. The time for ‘round tables’ and endless committee discussions has to come to an end. Its time to take action.

What are the issues you care about?

The Ring platform will focus on several priority areas including, Job Creation, Lower Taxes and Improving the Quality of Life in Sault Ste. Marie.

Making the city ‘Investment Ready’, with strategies designed to support local businesses and attract new business and industry is essential to creating more local job opportunities. Addressing affordability is also a top priority, as seniors on fixed income, and families and businesses are all struggling with the excessively high property taxes. As Sault residents we value our quality of life, but in recent years, growing safety concerns, housing issues, and recreational opportunities are presenting greater challenges.

What strengths do you bring to the campaign?

With over 25 years experience in economic development, finance, technology growth, business development, and senior level management, my skill set is well suited for this leadership position.

I have a strong educational background with an MBA from Queen’s University, business experience from outside of the community and has worked as an advocate for our community both locally and at the provincial and national level. I bring a unique perspective and fresh ideas.

A life long advocate for community, small business, and prosperity for all, I will bring my education, professional experience and life experience to the position of Mayor.

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