1. Candidate Bio:

Ryan grew up in South Brampton & went directly into the work force after high school. Since then he graduated from the Ontario Real Estate College & works full time as a REALTOR® specializing in the rental market and serves as a volunteer on the 2018-2019 MLS® Technology & Related Services Committee at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is also a freelance consultant matching world-class employers with full-time job seekers from skilled trades, engineering, IT, logistics & program, & industrial management. Ryan is a brother, uncle, and fur parent, and wishes to serve the community as did both his parents a retired Peel Regional Police Officer & retired bartender from the Royal Canadian Legion.

2. What are your three top priorities for Brampton? 

1. Better public engagement:
Traditional live public hearing followed a two-week-long public hearing that takes place online prior to the meeting night
How it works:

  • Create video presentations of the staff and applicant presentations, which are simply screen captures of the presentations with voiceover to post on Brampton.ca two weeks prior to the public hearing. recorded videos a PDF of the government staff report, various maps, and other materials related to the case
  • PowerPoint has a feature that allows you to record one slide at a time, so need to do any post-production, memorize or perfectly deliver presentations
  • Benefits:
  • Remove the time & space constraints of public hearings conducted at City Hall
  • Citizens don’t need to attend a weeknight hearing to have a voice in the process
  • Citizens are able to ask questions of and receive responses from both staff and applicants — all from their mobile phone, tablet, or computer
  • People with children, jobs, commitments, or simply competing priorities can weigh in on issues they care about on their own schedule from their own home
  • Citizens can post their public comment for members of the Planning Department
    Public comments are displayed publicly on the website, along with a tracker indicating how many Commissioners read each comment, and legally become part of the public record
  • At the live hearing, the Council has the benefit of having reviewed additional comments prior to the meeting & can ask questions and request changes that result in better decisions and better projects

Cities that have already embraced this:
Lakewood, Colorado

2. Removing unnecessary barriers to economic activity

May 12, 1969 the “Township of Chinguacousy” was well aware of the growing pains associated with an automobile dependent society & the “Chinguacousy Satellite” proposal never got built. 50 years later we’re complaining about the same problems & no further ahead.

Since the early 1990s, Ontario, under its Provincial Policy Statement, requires municipalities to maintain a three-year supply of serviced land at all times although it does not collect data on this supply.
Why this needs to change:
Limits the number of building permits issued

Cities by comparison:

  • Chicago – issued 68,000 housing permits between 2002 – 2008
  • Tokyo – the world’s largest city – builders started construction of more than 142,000 homes in 2014 (detached, single-family home might sell for $300,000)
  • Houston – the fourth largest city in the USA enables housing construction everywhere, both dense and sprawling, with little red tape or delay (Median price of a single-family house in Harris County, Texas $141,000)
  • Montreal – gives most land to low- and mid-rise apartments, and little land to detached, single-family houses or expensive-to-build high-rises. Confirms why Montreal’s real estate market is healthier than Toronto’s & Vancouver’s.

Solution:
In order to have affordable housing, we need to build homes in great abundance, and without that, other affordability strategies such as rent control and inclusionary zoning will be fruitless & counterproductive, as we’re currently experiencing.

3. Our upside-down property taxation system needs to change
Problems:

  • As a city gets denser and/ or more desirable, real estate prices appreciate.
  • Rent & housing prices increase, pushing potential new residents out of a city & choking off its growth.
  • Property tax encourages land speculation & surface parking lots are simply a convenient & lucrative form of land speculation.
  • Building owners who allow their buildings to deteriorate are rewarded with lower taxes and those who own vacant lots (or parking lots) pay much less property tax than their more responsible neighbors even though their land requires the same amount of street, sidewalk, water pipes, sewer pipe, utility lines, etc.
  • Owners who develop their land are punished with higher taxes — not just the year that they develop, but each and every year that the development adds value to the property.

Solution:

  • If Brampton wants to avoid becoming nothing more than nest eggs for lucky landowners and playgrounds for the rich we need to collect tax on the value of the land that the property sits on not on the value of the property.
  • The land under a building is often worth a lot more than the building itself.
  • Landowners can’t argue that the tax isn’t fair as we’d only be taxing the windfall.
    Benefits:
  • The tax would reduce land prices and increase the incentive to build more, which in turn will help drive down rents, making a city more affordable & because land is a fixed quantity, taxing it doesn’t shrink the economy like taxes on wages and capital sometimes do.
  • The money raised with a land-value tax can be spent building affordable housing for the poor.
  • Makes it more expensive to hold valuable downtown land vacant (or grossly underutilized).
  • It is like a property tax, but with a deduction for the value of buildings and other improvements.
  • Becomes the ONLY tax as earned income isn’t taxed at all.

Countries using similar method:

  • In Denmark citizens pay one per cent of the value of their property to the state for the first DKK 3.04m (£343,000) of its value and 3 per cent for anything over that. There is also a municipal tax based on land values.
  • In Singapore those living in expensive properties pay 15 per cent a year and will soon pay 16 per cent.
  • In Pennsylvania more than a dozen cities in that state use split-rate taxation — one tax on land value, and a lower rate on improvements, such as buildings.
  • Altoona, PA the LTV failed due to ineffective implementation & businesses’ failure to understand the novel tax structure.
  • Pittsburgh, PA restructured its property tax system 1979-80 by raising the rate on land to more than five times the rate on structures & experienced a dramatic increase in building activity, far in excess of other cities in the region. In the early 2000s the LVT was abandoned & downtown construction slowed and property tax revenues fell. Pittsburgh’s experience demonstrates both the promise of the LVT and the political difficulty of implementing it.

Challenge we face getting it implemented:

  • Landowners
  • The LVT needs to be the ONLY tax
  • Ottawa might be scared of upsetting home owners by introducing taxes that permanently push down home prices resulting in less revenue for the Bank Of Canada. The interest rate won’t need to be increased quarterly anymore as Canadians will be able to pay off mortgage & debts sooner.

3. What is one major council decision from the previous (2014-2018) term that you agree with?

In my opinion, there are pros & cons to every decision council made this term and in all honesty, more bad decisions than good ones. One major decision I agree with (at the regional level mind you) was the Peel waste cart conversion. It’s taken some time to get use to and out of pocket expenses to house the containers aesthetically within the yard and to keep the critters out but overall I like it and can’t imagine every going back to the old method of waste collection.

4. What is one major council decision from the previous (2014-2018) term that you disagree with?

That Council supports the Association of Municipalities of Ontario to ask the provincial government to increase the HST by 1 per cent, up to 14 per cent, to help pay for infrastructure projects in this city and other municipalities across the province. Called “Local Share”, the sales tax increase would help close the $4.9 billion infrastructure gap that is facing Ontario cities and towns over the next ten years. A majority of municipalities have endorsed the plan which will be put forward to the Province in its efforts to secure this new source of revenue to help fund critical municipal services like roads, bridges, transit, clean water and other services.

5. Are there any other ideas from other cities that you would like to see replicated in Brampton?

  • Mesa, Arizona – The Mesa Arts Center
  • Anaheim, California – GardenWalk – center for entertainment
  • Anaheim, California – Gourmet Food Hall
  • Fort Worth, Texas – Best Dog Park in America
  • Seoul, South Korea – Removal of the freeway
  • Irving, Texas – Las Colinas
  • Indianapolis, Indiana – Indianapolis City Market
  • Milwaukee city, Wisconsin – Summerfest music festival
  • Paris, France – The Mesa Arts Center – beaches along Seine
  • Pittsburgh, Pennyslyvania
    • Bakery Square is an open-air shopping and office development performing arts center and concert hall
    • Opera Company
    • Pittsburgh has established itself as a technology hub
    • Urban Enterprise Zone
  • Office Park transformations
  • St. Paul, Minnesota

    • Winter Carnival
    • Dining Districts
    • Food Truck Scene
    • Farmer’s Market
    • Premier convention, event and meeting venues
    • Winter beer dabbler
    • Super Slide

6. What are your top transportation priorities to ease congestion and gridlock in the city of Brampton and connections to other communities?

  • Advance left turn signal at all traffic lights
  • Pedestrian scramble at all intersections
  • The solution to the manufactured “problem” of congestion is to build complete neighborhoods where the necessities of daily life are located close together and we don’t have to drive 10 km to get to work and five km to get to the grocery store and seven km to pick up our kids at school. Instead of building lanes, we need to be building corner stores. We need local economic ecosystems that create jobs, opportunity and destinations for people as an alternative to those they can only get to by driving. So next time you start getting frustrated in a traffic jam at 8 a.m., remember: We’ve created this situation by the way we’ve designed our roads and our communities. Expanding highways won’t solve the problem.

7. What are your thoughts on the Brampton 2040 Vision and how should the city proceed with the vision?

I was pleasantly surprised to see what potential Brampton has. At first I was super excited and PRO for the transformation but after studying the visuals it looks very expensive & unnecessary. Based on the city’s track record of making decisions & actually moving forward with projects I believe the Vision is more like Brampton 2090.

8. What is your position on the city’s finances and how would you tackle demands for services and infrastructure renewal?

  • The City of Brampton & Region of Peel keep asking for more revenues but is not controlling their current spending behaviours.
  • Risk & reward should be linked in financing development and infrastructure projects. Those who benefit from an investment should pay for it. If they’re unwilling to pay what it actually costs, it’s a good sign that the project should never have happened in the first place. If we built only roads that could pay for their construction in full through user fees, we would have no infrastructure crisis.
  • Private corporations are required by law to do accrual accounting: that is, future obligations to maintain or replace something are recorded as long-term fiscal liabilities from the day they are incurred. Local governments virtually never do this. By building a road, we make our citizens a promise that when that road starts to crumble, we will repair or replace it. But that promise is not on any balance sheet. No funds are set aside for the repair, at least not until it makes its way into a 5-year Capital Improvement Plan.
  • Grants, permit fees, fines and other one-time revenues are not cash streams a prudent government should back debt with. By focusing on the revenue produced locally by citizens agreeing to be taxed, we get a good picture of the actual level of local buy-in the city residents have (versus kicking the can down the road by continuing to borrow.)
  • The ratio of private to public investment for any community should be greater than 20:1 in order to achieve stability, and a 40:1 ratio is an optimal target. Stated another way: So long as a community has a minimum of $20 of private property wealth for every $1 of total public capital investment, there is enough wealth to tax for a local government to maintain everything it builds.

9. What are your thoughts on how the city/region should handle the alleged uptick of spontaneous youth violence and crime in the city?

  • We need to shift our focus away from blockbuster movies filled with explosions and guns, television shows where we keep guessing who is going to die next, & video games that tell us who we have to kill to save the galaxy. When we stop telling ourselves that in order to feel powerful, one needs to prove to the world that has slighted him that he is indeed a man, capable to defending himself against the masses that has brought him nothing but pain will we solve our gang & gun problem.
  • Since male frustration & resentment is the unifying psychodynamic we should accommodate frustration. The thing that will not work, however, is just talking to men.
  • Desire must be redirected into some form of non-destructive expression, or defused, not just talked about.
  • Use meditation to pry a space between our impulse and our action
  • Athletic sports, Arts and Crafts, Cattle-raiding, Gardening, hunting, warfare
  • Learn how to make delectable meals, paint, draw, do woodworking, refinish furniture, make soap, trace your family tree, play an instrument, perform CPR, etc.
  • Pick up language-training CDs at the local library
  • Read inspirational books and gain important life skills to address everyday stressors

10. Why should voters vote for you?

I have many innovative ideas how to make Brampton an attractive place to live, work, & play, that puts people above politics & can tackle the challenges presented by our dramatic growth . The status quo isn’t working and Brampton needs strong, progressive decision makers who aren’t not afraid of mentioning the elephant in the room & demand better to create meaningful change. Take the first step on Oct. 22 & vote for me.


Candidate contact info:

Website: Link here