A letter is circulating signed by a group of progressive Torontonians backing midtown city councillor Josh Matlow for mayor. And it looks like an announcement might not are far behind.
Like other city councillors considering a run, Matlow spoke with the Toronto Star and said he is “considering” it.
The letter from Friends of Matlow is signed by the likes of former mayor and Streets of Toronto columnist John Sewell, street nurse Cathy Crowe, and musician Rollie Pemberton, a.k.a. Cadence Weapon, the Toronto Council On Aging, and John Plumadore, former chair of the Federation of Metro Tenants’ Association.
— Cadence Weapon (@cadenceweapon) March 8, 2023
The letter describes a city in decline through austerity measures implemented by former mayor John Tory, and positions Matlow as someone who is ready to get serious and put the health and well-being of Toronto residents first.
“Under the past two mayors, City Hall has also not reflected the values of equity and compassion of its residents. It hasn’t fulfilled its promise to move forward with building affordable housing and reform antiquated rules that restrict more affordable options that allow young people to stay in Toronto, and older residents to age in their communities,” the letter reads, in part.
“Instead of making basic changes to the shelter system and providing more truly affordable housing, the City chose a violent, inhumane, and ultimately ineffective approach to removing encampments in our parks. With not enough suitable housing available, unhoused residents were just moved under bridges, in alleyways, on sidewalks, or to another park.”
Matlow, who is 47, began his political career as a school board trustee in 2003 before being elected councillor for Ward 22 in 2010 and then when the ridings were amalgamated he defeated another popular city councillor Joe Mihevc for the Ward 12 seat in 2018.
In 2014, Matlow won re-election with the highest vote count (24,347) and highest winning percentage (86.2%) of any councillor candidate across the city.
— Toronto Council on Aging (@TOAging) March 8, 2023
As of late, perhaps dating back to decision being made on the Gardiner Expressway project and the Sheppard Subway, Matlow has been driven by data and facts becoming a thorn in the side of those, including Tory, making decisions that seemed out of line with what the facts and figures presented. See the hybrid option of the Gardiner Expressway for details.
More recently, Matlow pushed for more protection for the city’s most vulnerable and to get serious about tackling declines in services, including such things as far ranging as snow removal, park bathrooms as well as stopping the privatization of Ontario Place.
“(Tory) was wonderful at communicating how wonderful our city was doing and what a good job he was doing. But in reality our services and infrastructure have declined,” Matlow told The Star.
Unlike the advisory group of career politicos and lobbyists lined up to support Brad Bradford, the Friends of Matlow is a diverse and grassroots slice of Toronto. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. This mayoral run will be expensive and challenging.
And Matlow’s fact-based approach to decision-making would be welcome.
“We need a leader with the right vision and the energy to deliver on it. A leader we can trust to put the needs of Torontonians ahead of backroom lobbyists. A person with a proven track record of delivering for communities and the people who live and work in them,” the letter concludes. “We need Josh Matlow as the next Mayor of Toronto.”
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