Two young men were fatally gunned down last week just a few metres from Leo Marshall’s campaign office in Ward 11 (York South-Weston).
This is the latest in a series of gun-related murders in the city’s priority designated neighbourhood that has the attention of Marshall, who is running for political office for the first time in this month’s municipal elections.
“This is a neighbourhood in decline and crime is the top priority for me,” she said. “I feel we need more police patrolling the area. That’s unfortunate but necessary.”
The high crime rate has forced several businesses to pack up and move to safer communities in the city.
“The violence has scared away customers and we have been unable to attract investment here,” she added. “We have gone down hill in this community and nobody seems to care. People are simply fed up and disenchanted.”
Marshall has spent the last three decades working in the airline industry since migrating from Barbados in 1971. She secured a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Labour College of Canada certificate.
The Weston King Neighbourhood Centre director says she is not affiliated with a political party even though she was a campaign manager for a New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate several years ago.
“I was also involved in a union that was affiliated with the NDP, but that alliance no longer exists,” she said. “My work is now geared to improving the quality of life in our community. I have seen the decline here in the past eight years I have lived here. I am confident that I can work within the city’s framework that can make a difference in this neighbourhood and give residents hope once more.”
Frances Nunziata is in her third term as councillor in the ward that has a large immigrant population. Voter turnout in the last elections four years ago was 40 per cent which was slightly higher that the city average of 39.3 per cent.