Thank-you St. Patrick’s. Let’s get to work

Where to begin.

For starters – thank-you to every single friend, family member and resident who has given me support over the last 7 months (yeah, I’ve needed that much help and time :D).  I would try to name each and every person, but I’d forget someone and feel horrible about it, so I’ll cop out and do it as a group – you are awesome, and I never could have had such a good day yesterday without you.  A million times over, thank-you.

To the folks who trusted me enough to give me your vote – thank-you for that trust.  I will do everything in my power over the next 4 years to validate the decision you made.  I’ve been told a few times over the last few months that I’m going to have to be pretty hard-headed to effect the change we want at City Hall – I promise to be exactly that in winning over others to the vision we share about where St. Catharines has to go.

And to those who chose a candidate other than myself – thank-you for getting involved.  When you think I’m on the wrong track, let me know.  If there’s anything I truly enjoy, it’s a debate, and my opinion is always ‘swayable’ in the face of new information.  I hope that, over the course of the next 4 years, I can find common ground with all residents in the ward.  I aim to represent every person in St. Patrick’s to the best of my ability, and I want – and need – your opinion to do my job properly.

Time to get to work.

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Vote Siscoe today – a message to St. Patrick’s Ward voters

For starters – thank-you for taking the time to check out my website.  Hopefully any questions you have about where I stand on the issues in St. Catharines will be addressed somewhere on this page, and you’re able to find it.

If you ever want or need to contact me, you can reach me at my campaign email address (mathew.siscoe@gmail.com), or you can call me at 905-329-8162.  I am a teacher by day, so if you call between 7:45 and 3:00 please leave me a message and I will get back to you before 8pm.

If you’re curious about me and my motivation for running for council, you can read about it here.  If you’d like to read my platform, click here.  The main platform points are covered, along with other issues that have come up repeatedly and are important to voters I’ve already spoken to.  If there’s something you want me to address, let me know at my campaign email address above and I’ll post my thoughts.

If you’d like to request a sign (and I sincerely appreciate anyone who supports my campaign by taking a sign), feel free to email me at mathew.siscoe@gmail.com or fill in the form here – please make sure your name and address are included.  All information submitted is confidential.

If you want to keep updated on what I write here – and I update fairly regularly – you can subscribe either through email by hitting the button on the right, or by RSS feed here.

Finally, if you want to comment on anything I’ve written, please do.  Communication with government is supposed to be a two-way street, and I’m trying to emulate that ideal in my campaign.  If you have specific questions related to a post, I will answer those questions to the best of my ability.  I do have to approve comments (just to keep the spam and libelous comments at bay), so if it doesn’t appear right away, rest assured it will pop-up at some point.

Thank-you again for visiting – it’s my belief that if you take the time to learn about my views, you’ll be as excited to vote Mathew Siscoe on election day as I am.

Improving Transit – a priority for the next council

The article is here in the Standard; my full comments are reproduced below.

Public Transit most definitely needs to improve.  In the case of increased Sunday transit, demand already exists for extended hours of operation.  Ever since Sunday shopping was introduced in Ontario, more and more businesses have been filling a void in the workweek, and employees have been called upon to work longer hours on Sunday.  Just in the last several years, I’ve seen a number of local businesses expand their hours – a noon opening time 4 years ago has changed (in some cases) to a 7am opening time now.  With this movement towards longer Sunday hours comes increasing pressure on the Transit Commission to provide the services users of the system require.

The users, of course, are the employees and patrons of these businesses.  Companies like Sitel (who employee over 1100 people) operate 7 days a week.  Employees need a dependable and affordable way to get to work, and personal vehicles may not be an option.  They will need transit service to get to and from work, and that will include Sundays.  With current service levels being what they are, it’s almost impossible for a person working an 8-hour shift to use transit to and from work; at least one trip will likely be by other means.  Many shift-workers have no access to any useful public transit whatsoever on Sundays.

The other users, the patrons of business, present an equally important issue for the Transit Commission.  In addition to needing people to get to work, business needs people to buy what they’re making, selling or providing.  There are people in this city that don’t drive, for a variety of different reasons.  Keeping Sunday service at its now minimal levels forces many of those people to stay home or use far more costly modes of transport.  The most likely result is the former option, as opposed to the latter, and in the long run that will slow any economic growth we might hope for.  Longer hours of transit service can very well mean more people frequenting local eateries and shops, and that can turn into more jobs.

Sunday service is simply the first step in a review of the Transit system that needs to take place, to ensure that our system is serving the greatest number of users.  There is also a requirement for examining and altering schedules to make sure that the buses are being run efficiently while still serving the needs of the community.

Missing the ArtsVote

A confession to make – I completely missed the ArtsVote email and their survey.  It’s unfortunate I did – I’m a supporter of the Arts, and I think I would have done well – but I missed the email and didn’t complete the survey.  Thus, the egg on my face for not having a grade to speak of.

With that said, I do support the arts, and I think the city is making the right moves to promote the arts in our city.  With the addition of art in public spaces and the moves toward implementing the Creative Cluster Master Plan, the city (I think) is on the right track – and if we want to find ways to retain our youth, allowing the arts a major space in the city is an important step to take.

Moving forward with the GM lands on Ontario Street

As appears in the St. Catharines Standard:

The GM plant on Ontario St. should have been designated as a “Special Study Area” as was originally intended in the draft Official Plan. The Plan was written based on input from hundreds of residents and community groups over the course of 3 years. I believe the current St. Patrick’s councillors were correct in voting in favor of designating the lands for special study, given the signals from GM with respect to their use of the site. They were ignored by other city councillors. With the property remaining zoned industrial, it is essentially locked up for at least 5 years until the Official Plan is reviewed.

This, however, is the path that Council has placed us in, and so we should use the next 5 years to aggressively pursue a renewed industrial use of this property. We need to take a positive view of the situation and work as hard as possible to create a renewed purpose for the Ontario St. plant; Council’s full energy in this regard is required to show industry that we are truly ‘Open for business’. GM has been clear that they will not use the facility – let’s start work now to entice the Green energy and Bioscience industries we are pursuing to find a new use for the industrial site. We owe it to the workers and residents of this city to find a purpose for the industrial lands on the site.

Support from all corners, partisan or not, is always welcome

Dykstra hits the campaign trail for City Council candidates

For the record – I will take support from many different sources.  I am incredibly appreciative of the support Rick Dykstra has given me in this election campaign, and the door-knocking last weekend was very helpful.  I have also gotten help in canvassing and support from people who identify with the NDP and Liberal parties, union members and business people, and I appreciate their support as well.  I will never turn away assistance from people who care about their community.

As for the charge that I have no platform – well, anyone who has visited this site over the last 9 months will know I’ve stated my opinion and platform quite clearly.  I thought the article above by Grant Lafleche was well written, and if people take issue with my accepting help from partisan individuals, I suppose there’s not much I can do to change that.  As I said, however, I’m appreciative of all the support I receive from many different corners, and I will continue to take that support as an indication that my message is resonating with a wide swath of voters.

Advance Poll dates, times and locations

  • Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Complex, 240 St. Paul Street West
  • Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., St. Catharines Central Library, 54 Church Street
  • Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., C.A.W. Hall, Centre, 124 Bunting Road
  • Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Grantham Optimist Club, 188 Linwell Road