Meet A Mayoral Candidate — Part IX

April 16, 2010

C’est vendredi, mes amis. Le temps de recontrons un autre mayoral candidat!

This week? Elect Mark State!

We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke hang tough to our belief that anyone who runs for public office does so with only the best intentions of their fellow citizens in mind. Except, of course, for Rob Ford who seems driven purely by the need to exert power by saying no to anything and everything just like a two year-old. (Check out this out from yesterday’s city council meeting on the 2010 operating budget and picture Ford in full blown, red-faced, feet stomping tantrum mode. No, no, no, no, no, no! I said no!!)

Candidate Mark State is no Rob Ford and for that we should all be thankful. He is a man with a big heart and a head full of ideas about ways to turn this city around. Maybe, just maybe, too many ideas. Reading through his website is like finding yourself in a small room whose inhabitant has covered the walls and ceilings with his thoughts after running out of space in the countless numbers of notebooks he’s filled. Mr. State has assured us that a more streamlined website is in the works. That would be a good thing.

As of now, it is difficult to get a handle on Mark State’s vision of the city and how he, as mayor, would make things better. It seems to boil down to two things: 1) create new wealth for a considered development of the city and well-being of Toronto’s citizenry; 2) change the nature of the method of council meetings and decision-making at city hall. The nature of this change would involve what the candidate refers to as ‘future planning’. Future planning? Sounds reasonable. What exactly would that entail?

A future plan is not just a limited list of items that have dates and times of accomplishment. A future plan also begins with a far distant imagination of a rosy future, and then works toward it by keeping it in mind when making present-day decisions to determine whether they support that future.

Mr. State continues for another 4 paragraphs before concluding: “That’s a future plan. We don’t have one. The result? Not having a vision of what the future should look like, we can’t tell if what we are doing is on the right track to get there or not. So we struggle along by trying to improve or upgrade what we have now, with no real targets in sight telling us how we’re doing, or whether we’re on the right track.

It’s a stream of consciousness that appears to fill the space with ideas and thoughtful details but, in fact, merely fills the space. We found ourselves nowhere near as informed of candidate State’s intentions and proposals after reading through his website than we should’ve been given the amount of material surrounding his candidacy. He most assuredly wants to positively contribute to the political life of Toronto but, so far at least, cannot clearly and effectively tell us how he would do so.

There are some interesting notions scattered among Mr. State extensive musings. His idea of turning empty school buildings into a form of social housing merits a further look. His views on panhandling are business-like rather than reactionary although we do have some doubts about the numbers he throws around. If panhandlers actually could make an annual six figure salary, we’d have many more people on the street, giving it a go. Hell, I might even set aside my dignity to try a hand at it. It’s much more lucrative than sitting around trying to keep you people informed.

Mr. State brings a wealth of life experience to the table as a mayoral candidate. A long time resident of Parkdale, he has run the gamut of careers from postie and cabbie to teacher, broadcaster, private investigator, security officer and naval architect. Clearly, this is someone who could not be considered a ‘career politician’. He would truly bring an everyman’s view to city hall.

When asked the routine question we’ve been posing to all the mayoral candidates, If the present mayor would like his legacy to be that of the Transit Mayor, how would a Mayor State like to see his legacy written?, Mark State responded: “I’d like Torontonians of the future to look back upon 2010-14 as the dawn or nascence of their amazingly beautiful city.”

Lovely sentiments from a candidate who obviously cares deeply about Toronto. We could do much worse in our choice of mayor. Much, much worse.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr