Prof wonders why candidates won’t name donors before vote

Toronto candidates for mayor George Smitherman, Rocco Rossi and Sarah Thomson intend to keep their donor lists a secret until the law requires them to disclose the names more than five months after election day, wrote The Globe and Mail Sept. 17.

The holdouts aren’t breaking any rules, but they are deviating from a practice that has become the norm in megacity elections, wrote the Globe. In 2006 and 2003, the top candidates for mayor disclosed their contribution lists before ballots were cast.

“I think they’re behind the curve on their understanding of voters’ interest in this,” said Robert MacDermid, a professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies who studies municipal campaign finance. “If we could poll people on this issue, I think we would find a large majority in favour of telling people where the money comes from before the election happens. I think maybe these three candidates haven’t appreciated that.

“I’m perplexed at why it would make much difference before or after,” MacDermid said. “They [donors] know that their names are going to be made public afterward if they contributed more than $100. What difference would it make?”

Another shot of Dusk

Matt Dusk (BFA Spec. Hons. ’02) prefers the word perseverance to annoying, but he’s not above admitting he was a bit of both in landing his PBS special “Matt Dusk: Live From Las Vegas”, wrote the Welland Tribune Sept. 17.

The show, which will air in March 2011 during the PBS Pledge Drive, was taped Aug. 25 before a live audience at the Crown Theater in the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino.

“It was a lot of hard work and persistence and being annoying on my behalf,” he said of getting the gig. “I was trying to get this for 3-1/2 years. In January, I was sitting in my house and I thought, why hasn’t this happened? And I pitched the idea again.”

Dusk said he wanted to be featured on PBS because it’s one of the only ways a crooner like him can reach such a large audience. With the airwaves packed with tunes by Jay-Z, Rihanna and Eminem, it’s hard for a musician like Dusk to share that audience.

“Harry Connick Jr. can’t get on the radio if his life depended on it,” he said. “At the end of it all, we can reach 400 million people across North America. And it will be airing for over three years. It’s a pretty big deal. It will set up touring and other markets.”

[His latest album] Good News has done exceptionally well in Poland, quickly being certified gold. Before the end of the year, Dusk will perform in Berlin, Paris, Dubai and Hong Kong.

This fall, Dusk’s voice will also be heard on the small screen. His vocals will accompany the inner voice of morally bankrupt car salesman Richard Fitzpatrick, played by Jason Priestley, on the show "Call Me Fitz", which premieres Sept. 19, at 8pm, on HBO Canada.

Züm is here Monday

Brampton’s transit users will find out first-hand next week how the city has “pimped their ride”, wrote the Brampton Guardian Sept. 16.

At 4:45am Monday, 25 brand new Züm buses will start rolling along Queen Street West, from downtown Brampton right through to York Region as this city welcomes the start of bus rapid transit.

Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell said Brampton Transit buses used to make 13 trips a day between downtown and York University, but come Monday, Züm buses will be making 113 trips a day along the corridor – and they will be doing it in style.

Heated bus stops, brand new state-of-the-art buses, fewer stops, priority traffic signals, buses every 7-1/2 minutes during rush hour and every 15 minutes during off-peak times, and real-time alerts to let waiting riders know exactly when their bus will arrive to pick them up, are all part of the service offered by Züm buses.

And all for the same fare as regular Brampton Transit service.

Stock market trackers have improved, says Schulich prof

Professor Pauline Shum, director of the Master of Finance Program in the Schulich School of Business at York University, has been using online programs to teach students in financial courses for 11 years, wrote the Toronto Star online Sept. 16.

“It forces them to follow the markets, so when they go to a job interview, they are aware of what is going on,” said Shum.

Students take a 12-week course using, a program from a Montreal-based company, and are graded on a final paper summarizing their results.

The programs have improved hugely in the past three to four years, Shum said. “Now, my students can trade stocks in Europe and Asia.”

Schulich grad wants a council seat in Stoney Creek

Both Jose Bustamante (MBA ’05) and Bernard Josipovic have incumbent Ward 10 councillor Maria Pearson in their crosshairs, wrote the Stoney Creek News Sept. 16 in a story about the upcoming municipal election in Hamilton.

Days before nominations were officially closed, Bustamante, 44, notified the media that he had filed an information document with the Ontario court saying Pearson had violated the Municipal Elections Act during the 2006 election.

But that isn’t all. Both say Pearson has not properly represented her constituents the last four years. There has been a lack of face-to-face meetings with residents about issues, taxes are too high, while services have dropped, they say. “The issue is the lack of consultation with the people,” said Bustamante, who earned an MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

York grad is one of seven who want to be Oshawa mayor

Seven candidates have their eye on Oshawa city council’s top job and they’re vying for your support on Oct. 25, wrote Oshawa This Week Sept. 16 in a story that included candidate and York grad Eve Simson (BA Hons. ’85).

York hockey Lions will make first visit to North Bay

As the Nipissing University Lakers begin their second season, it may be some time before one of the team’s players joins the professional hockey ranks, wrote the North Bay Nugget Sept. 17. Not so for Toronto’s York University Lions, where four players recently signed pro contracts.

Team captain Tyler Harrison (BA ’10) and defenceman Chris Korte have signed on to play in Europe, while forward Nathaniel Brooks and defenceman Kyle Searle will play in the Central Hockey League.

“I am thrilled that each of these players has found an opportunity to continue their hockey careers at the professional level,” head coach Jim Wells told York University’s Alumni News. All were major contributors during their careers with the Lions and were leaders on and off the ice as team captains.”

Argos forced to go into battle without top offensive threat

How do you replace the top running back in the Canadian Football League? That is the question Toronto Argonauts head coach Jim Barker has been forced to confront this week, wrote Postmedia News Sept. 16 in a story about injured Argo Cory Boyd.

Former York Lions running back Andre Durie, who has been used as a combination tailback and slotback this season, should be at home in the backfield. He played the tailback position during three seasons at York University and also during parts of the last three seasons with the Argos.

On air

  • Michael Skinner, a researcher in the York Centre for International & Security Studies, Saeed Rahnema, a political science professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, and York graduate student Irvin Studin (BBA Spec. Hons. ’99), editor-in-chief of Global Brief magazine, took part in a panel discussion about the US mid-term elections and the Tea Party movement, Afghanistan, and Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, on CTS-TV’s “Michael Coren Show” Sept. 16.