Ward 14, Toronto-Danforth, was another ward where two progressive incumbent councillors were forced to run against each other when Toronto City Council was reduced due to Bill 5. Mary Fragedakis represented old Ward 29, the part of the ward north of Danforth Avenue, while Paula Fletcher represented old Ward 30, south of the Danforth. Both are affiliated with the New Democratic Party.
Fragedakis was first elected in 2010, replacing retiring councillor Case Ootes, a conservative. In that election, she got 41.8 percent of the vote, well ahead of her closest challenger, Jane Pitfield. In 2014, she won every poll in Ward 29 and got almost 60 percent of the vote. Fragedakis would have very likely been re-elected in Ward 34 under the 47-ward model, despite the new ward boundary encompassing Rosedale. There were three challengers: Marisol D’Andrea, Ryan Lindsay, and Alexander Pena.
Paula Fletcher was first elected in 2003, taking Jack Layton’s former seat on council. She nearly lost in 2010 to Liz West, a more conservative candidate, but increased her vote share in 2014, taking 49.6 percent of the vote against West and new challenger Jane Farrow. Fletcher intended to run again in the new Ward 36, which had similar boundaries to her old Ward 30. There were also three challengers: Lanrick Bennett, Chris Budo, and Dixon Chan.
Under the new 25 ward model, the old Wards 29 and 30 were combined, along with a small section of old Ward 32. Only Alexander Pena withdrew from the race.
Fletcher was endorsed by the Toronto Star and by the Toronto and York District Labour Council. The Labour Council endorsement was controversial, as its president, John Cartwright, is married to Fletcher. Fragedakis was also previously endorsed by the Labour Council, so it would have been only right for it to withhold its endorsement in Ward 14.
In any case, the Labour Council’s endorsement wouldn’t have mattered. Fletcher won by a wide margin, netting 42.3 percent of the vote, compared to Fragedakis, who came in second place with 26.2 percent. In third place with 19.0 percent of the vote was 22-year old Chris Budo, a financial analyst who recently graduated from Ryerson University. Budo came in second place in 32 polls, and placed first in Poll 005.
Fletcher was able to count on the support of polls in her home turf. She got 55.7 percent of the vote in former Ward 30, while Fragedakis was only able to get 44 percent of the vote in old Ward 29. There were also over 3500 more voters south of Danforth Avenue than to the north. As we have seen previously in Wards 6, 8, 22, and 25, when two incumbents ran against each other, the advantage was given to the candidate whose former turf has the larger population in the new ward.
Paula Fletcher is a hardworking and effective member of Toronto City Council, pushing for affordable housing, social justice and environmental issues, and is very attentive to her community. I am glad that she is back on council. But I remain disappointed and disillusioned by the province’s meddling in local affairs that shut out both good incumbents and promising young voices.
|Ward 14 Toronto-Danforth|
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