Archive for the ‘good bad ugly’ Category

Polls Are Not Prophecy…Or Are They?

Yes, this just in. Another poll has been taken by 400+ people. Undecided has been polling in the 20 to 25% range and I think they will be the key to this election. After all a lead in a poll is just that.

If polls are so statistically telling why is it that less than 40% actually vote? Am I supposed to judge whom I vote for based on the opinion of 40% of 400 people when 40% of them will likely go to the ballot box. Hmmm, 64 people out of 600,000+ that typically vote. The most important poll is when the other 99.99% get off their butts and go to the polls. This long running election campaign is proof that ranked ballots or other type of election reform is long overdue. In my opinion ranked ballots (1st choice, 2nd choice, 3rd choice) are the way to go. There is a clearer mandate for the winner. There is no run off election required and the tally would immediately show who the majority doesn’t want to win. I can only dream at this moment, we are stuck with the status quo for now.

As much as the front runners bawk and jockey for position the large number of undecided voters is telling. In my opinion it tells of a public nervous and uneasy with the list of “front runners” shoved in front of them. Is it the quality of their platforms, the substance of their character, the apathy that was broken by a 40 day garbage strike coupled with fear? It may be any number of those or a combination.

It is interesting that all “front runners” platforms present tax increases. Yes, I know that sounds crazy when many are talking about cutting spending but paying essentially the same amount of taxes and receiving less services is also a tax increase. It’s like paying for a large coffee and getting a medium or small one instead. One of the majors is actually saying they will increase taxes at with some exemptions for low income individuals and seniors. As much as people seem to hate it, Torontoians will get only the services they pay for, contract or otherwise.

Frankly I’m distressed that when two of five the “front runners” dropped out of the Mayors race that two or more others were not bumped up from “fringe” status by the major media. After all Rocco Rossi and Sarah Thomson were not the only ones to put up their $200 fee and vying for the job of Mayor of Toronto. Actually there are 38 candidates to choose from (after Rossi and Thomson dropped out). I would have loved to see coverage of other “fringe” candidates like Himy Syed, Tibor Steinberger , or any of the other 36 people brave enough to put their names on the ballot. Ah, but how many people will just skip over the list of candidates like the Classified Ads.

The reality is that the Mayor of Toronto is but one voice out of 45 (well or only 22 under one candidate’s platform). At the end of the day consensus not conflict will get the city’s work done. That is why if you are truly at a loss as to who should be Mayor you should at least vote for council. We need as many competent people at the table voicing the needs of Toronto’s citizens as possible. To achieve that tall task, we may need more than 4 or every 10 eligible voters going out and voting on October 25th, 2010. Dave Meslin said it well, vote with your heart!

City of Toronto Elections

Just glimpse of the some of 100 debates over this year…
CBC Debates
CP24 Debate
BOMA (Building Owners and Managers Association) Debate

Closing Comments of Habitat for Humanity Debate

Red Bull Traffic Jam?

Yonge and Dundas is a nightmare as it is. A pro skateboarder took advantage of the scene this week, with the help of Red Bull. A new meaning of playing in traffic.

The Bad Taste Of The G20 Still Lingers

I don’t think that many people enjoyed the carnage and damage a few vandals had during the G20. This heavy handed senseless action was followed up with heavy handed policing. Sure some perpetrators were rounded up among the approximately 1,000 mass arrests. The problem was that many innocent people, journalists and bystanders were beaten and arrested. All told, close to 800+ were released with no charges laid.

Yes, it is amazing that there were no life threatening injuries to the security forces or protesters (or vandals) but that hardly warrants blanket praise from council. There was good reason for yesterday’s 1,200 person march at Queen’s Park. There are masses of people calling for a public inquiry. Many feel each of the Toronto Police, Toronto Police Services Board or the Ombudsman reviews will leave too many questions unanswered. Questions over civilian oversight and use of force are valid considering what transpired.

The bad taste of the G20 will linger for sometime. Hardly the good PR campaign sold to Toronto by the Feds. The strategic bungling of a dual G8/G20 in cottage country, the failure to hold the “back up” Toronto G20 outside the downtown core, not to mention the Fed’s blank check given to security forces should have been foreshadowing enough. Glad the madness is over but a serious, although belated, review of the failings should take place.

Be Thankful For Taxes

I hope my fellow Torontonians filed their taxes by yesterdays deadline. How else could we fund and provide for our heroic public service providers. Services that are so often taken for granted like Toronto Fire Services. As much as everyone likes to grunt and grown during tax season it is a necessary evil. One only has to look at the outstanding work of the Fire Department and how the handled a dangerous roof fire in less than one hour. Your tax dollars at work indeed!

Wheelers, Dealers, Thieves and Crooks…

I’ve heard first hand about some wheelers and dealers in Toronto and their love of rock star nights on the town. Not to say that all patrons of Toronto’s fine venues are thieves and crooks, but not everyone can wine and dine themselves with $10,000+ diners and afford that lifestyle through legal means.

The Toronto Star has an interesting article regarding some drama after a night at Harbour 60. This article may shed some light on the lenient sentence Rahim Jaffer after facing charges of drunk driving and cocaine possession. Although Jaffer may have boasted insider influence in the past but the Conservatives are denying any ties to him at present.

As a whole it is disturbing how tough on crime we appear to be but how soft things are for white collar criminals. Time will tell whether any justice will be served. Unfortunately crime knows not of a recession.

Oh Deer, Oh Dear!

This morning’s financial district “visit” by a lost deer was shocking enough. The police were attempting to capture the doe and release it outside the hustle of the dowtown core. After consulting with experts, like veterinarian from the Toronto Zoo, police tried subduing the animal tranquilizer dart. After all, a runaway deer could cause a traffic accident, injure itself or an innocent bystander. Things took a turn for the bizarre after that.

The “take down” escalated when the dart didn’t seem to work. When the doe didn’t calm down it was then shot with a Taser stun gun. Whoa! The Police didn’t kill the deer but it is being monitored before being released back into the wild.

Despite the taser, it seems that the TSX, the doe and others financial types on Bay Street will survive.

Check Out Werd Life

WERD LIFE

I was talking to Mark Appleyard about his new site during the Flip Premiere. It’s finally live, Werd Life. The new site is a collaboration between Mark, Geoff Rowley and artist Todd Bratrud. With these strong skateboard personalities the site should be epic and live up to the definition.

The Garbage Blame Game

The stalemate has yet to lift and we are nearly 2 weeks into the garbage strike. Many Canada Day celebrations were cancelled. We were lucky after 1 million people enjoyed the Pride Parade that it had its own private clean up crew to help clean up. We are still on the hook for the garbage we create during the strike that’s for sure.

I find it amazing that there has been little talk of conservation or limiting of our garbage. People want to continue business as usual and expect different results despite the lack of garbage service. In this “economic environment” it shouldn’t be difficult to cut out on take out or drive thru restaurants. Waste less and you’ll have more money in your pocket and less garbage to throw out.

Toronto’s efforts to reduce garbage going to landfill by 70% are valiant. Many municipalities have bragged of diversion rates of 60% over the last 5 years so this is not an unattainable goal. Mayor Miller has been reluctant to implement incineration and has focused more on reduction and recycling in an effort to limit garbage going to Michigan.

In this aim to reduce landfill Toronto has implemented a Green Bin program less strict than several Municipalities hoping for higher compliance rates. Toronto allows green waste to be placed in plastic bags, “disposable” diapers, and pet waste like kitty litter. This makes it harder to sort and turn our green waste into compost though. Shortcuts revealed by a Toronto Star shows that our service providers are skimping on their implementation of Toronto’s plan with much of the green waste still ending up in landfill or incinerated. As noted in today’s follow up article, city councillors are right to call for an audit of the services Toronto is paying for. If the city is paying a company to safely and efficiently deal with our garbage and green waste it should be accountable for it. The Ministry regulates these service providers and should wield a heavier hand.

At the end of the day it’s our tax dollars and our garbage. Reducing the amount of taxes need to clean up the mess and reducing the pile of waste starts at home not in Ottawa, Queen’s Park, or Mayor Miller’s office.

Porter Air Looking To Push For More Expansion

The battle for the Island continues as Porter Airlines pushes to grow. Robert Deluce, the founder and CEO of Porter Airlines will likely reveal Porter’s expansion plans Monday as federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and other top officials visit Toronto.

Community AIR and other advocacy groups are upset that efforts are being made to double capacity at the island airport. Porters current fleet of 8 planes is due to be increased by at least 10 aircraft. Groups sight noise and environmental concerns with the airport as short haul flights are of the most polluting form of travel.

With billions of both public and private sector money in waterfront development at stake you can bet that Toronto’s fight for the Toronto Island is far from over.

Hard Times, Cold Stares and Frozen Zombies

A would be bike thief strolls casually Sunday afternoon along College & Beverly wielding a handsome hacksaw and a brown windbreaker and yellow shirt.

A would be bike thief strolls casually at about 6pm Sunday at College & Beverley wielding a handsome hacksaw and a brown windbreaker and yellow shirt.

Yes, the recession is hitting hard. Bad news is abounds but Spring has finally sprung. I’ve been trying to enjoy the extra hours of daylight and walking whenever possible. Cabin fever no more!

Still the winter chill and ominous market conditions have frozen hearts. I was in disbelief yesterday night on my stroll along College. I heard an odd sound and noticed a man wielding a huge hacksaw and making his way through a big U-lock. Umm, I’m I the only one noticing that someone is trying to liberate what looks to be a nice mountain bike from in front of U of T?

No… but no one cares. Not the people coming off the street car, the woman walking her dog. Weird. I didn’t have my SLR with me but I decided to “spook” the perpetrator by taking his picture (with my crappy cell phone). It worked the dude moved on an scurried up the street. Yeah, one less bike in Toronto stolen. The funny thing was that when I started heading South the local thief had doubled back. The guy was off to find his next bike and was again walking in front of me on the other side of the street. As before the dude paused and was about to try his luck on another bike. I lingered a bit and then took my own detour after he moved on from victim two. I didn’t want to be hacksaw victim three so I did some scurrying myself.

Not only amazed that people are “forced” to steal but how many people didn’t care to report or discourage the would be thief. These are hard times and now more than ever we need a cure for apathy. Well, if you parked your bike on the North side of College East of the Second Cup your U-Lock lasted long enough for one person to care that your bike wasn’t stolen.

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