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My Toronto Now!

My Toronto Now!

I haven’t written for months. I have started several posts and given up in disgust. I am going to start now. I am going to make my way past my utter disgust with Toronto politics or die trying. There’s an election and our city is infested with a frightening fungus called Ford.

So it’s a week later and I am back trying. In this past week Olivia Chow has released her fabled book and boy is it a lulu. Talk about a self serving vanity piece. Does she really think we’re all so stupid as to believe Jack actually said and wrote some of that stuff? John Tory is threatening to run again. This Is simply childish. Then when the week seemed to be just cold and boring Rob Ford treated us to another great piece of cinematic drunken wonder.

OK, seriously. Here I go again. This is ridiculous now. I have so much in my head that wants to be said. I have avoided Twitter for a while and I went back on the other day. So after over a month I felt as if no time had passed at all. Same old shit. Same old voices. Ford, Ford, Ford, Ford…….

Ford

I just figured something out. It isn’t about Ford. You all need to stop this crap NOW. So I am taking a vow. I will write. I will talk about this election. I will not talk about Ford. He is not the issue. He is done. I will talk about Toronto. As they say on CTV, MY TORONTO!!

60's TO Skyline

When I was a kid I was kind of disconnected. I didn’t really fit anywhere. Except Toronto. We moved here from BC when I was just shy of 16 and I fit here from the word go. It was as if I had just been treading water waiting to find my place and here it was. I got on buses and the subway and street cars and explored this city from one end to the other. I haunted the downtown core. I knew every nook and cranny of the squeaky wooden floors in Eaton’s College Street. I tromped High Park up and down and across. I travelled the College Street car from one end to the other. Queen Street too. I stared at the hippies in Yorkville. I dragged my little sisters with me up and down Yonge Street. We loved all the little boutiques in the old row houses along Bloor Street between Yonge and University. We had milkshakes and Boston Cream Pie at Fran’s College Street.

Row houses

That Toronto is gone. That’s OK. I can live with that. Because there’s a new Toronto out there that is just as good. Actually, better. We’ve been so busy bitching about this, that, and the other that we have all lost site of what we have. We only talk about what we don’t have. I think the path to what we don’t have is right through the middle of what we have.

What if we all stopped focusing on the Ford Brothers show? What if we ALL started showing up at our Councillors public appearances. The community Council meetings. The school appearances. The election meetings. What if we demanded they tell us what they are going to do for us? Not promise us. Do for us!

The mayor of Toronto has ONE vote in council. The mayor can be irrelevant as we all now know. If we demand that our Councillors start paying attention to the Toronto we want and not the ridiculous promises we all know can’t be kept. Imagine what kind of Toronto we’d have?

Council

Let’s look at some of the issues. Lower taxes? I’m sorry kids but that is simply not realistic. Rob brags about our low taxes but in the next breath he promises you subways. He says he’ll get the money from the Feds. Well where the hell do you think they get their money? Do you want to pay higher property taxes where you can demand to have a say in how the money gets spent? Or do you want to pay higher income tax and watch it disappear into coffers where promises are never kept?

You want your sidewalks plowed, your garbage picked up regularly, your power on ALL the time, no floods, pot holes fixed, mowed lawns in parks, sensible property development, Transit – transit – transit, homeless people cared for, a police force that works, firemen, …………..

It all costs money.

Anyone who says they can give you lower taxes without cuts to service is straight up lying. Plain old in your face lying. It is time for us to face this. It is time for us to grow up. We are a major world financial centre. We are, in the eyes of the world, a giant embarrassment right now. The butt of a thousand jokes a night over the antics of a ridiculous man. IGNORE him. Stop talking about him. Start talking about the Toronto we want and deserve. He cannot give it to you. He wouldn’t know how if it bit him in the ass.

We each and every one of us need to look to our individual Councillors and DEMAND that they listen to WHAT WE WANT. No more voting according to their personal agenda. Their personal agendas are irrelevant. We are their relevance. Period. We elect them to vote for our needs. They need to know what the majority needs and then they need to get it for us. If they have to make some painful choices for our own good then they have to do it. Not vote to save their job, vote to save us!

Example. Like it or not, the Scarborough SRT is falling apart. Ask anyone who rides it. It will not last for 15 years while we wait for a subway we can’t afford to be built. Every Councillor knows that. They knew it when they very stupidly voted with the mayor. They all know it will never be built. They all know an LRT is the answer, both physically and monetarily.

Councillors listen to the loudest voices. If the loudest voices are newspapers and people with money who don’t have any other interest but their own. Then that’s who they feed. We need to raise our voices. NOT on Twitter. NOT on Facebook. NOT on Instagram. IN THEIR FACES. It’s time to be heard. It’s time to talk to your neighbours. It’s time to march.meets

We have become a city of bitchers. From the comfort of our living rooms we crab non stop about the state of our city. But we do nothing. Less than half of us even bother to vote. Well if you aren’t prepared to at the very least, vote. Then SHUT UP. If you want a better city then start reading, listening, knowing. And SPEAK UP.

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  • I haven't written anything for months. In all honesty I have just got totally fed up with Toronto Politics. You'd think I'd have all sorts to say about the whole Fordian drama thing but it simply does not interest me. What interests me is the ease with which Torontonians can bitch ad infinitum. We live in a fabulous city. Not a perfect city. A fabulous city. It's become trendy to criticize and bitch non stop about how dreadful we are. We elected a total idiot with zero morals, an addictive and irresponsible personality, and absolutely no idea of what the job entails. We bought into his nonstop messaging despite the total inaccuracy of virtually anything he says. WE did that. I am disgusted with the people of Toronto. If you don't like the way things are done then step up and do something about it. For instance. I have attended the meetings about the redevelopment of the Mouth of the Don. You know. The place that has so far caused 3 floods of the DVP this year. Those floods directly affect  at least a million citizens in one way or another. ONE MILLION. Yet at those meetings I have seen maybe 300 people. We are to blame for all that happens in City Hall that we don't like. City Councillors are simply people. Our neighbours who decide to get involved. They aren't necessarily experts in the fields we expect them to run. The learning curve is high. Some of them dig in and learn and do and listen and become fighters for us. They work damned hard and tolerate the shit and abuse we dish to them with aplomb. Some of them just put in the time and let their staff do the work without interference. Some of them use their positions to further their own interests alone. They are a diverse bunch. You have to really look and ask yourself who cares and who doesn't. I go to City Hall and I watch it on TV when they're sitting. The same faces are there all the time. Some because they are journalists. The press. There's a surprisingly small number of citizens for a city this size. Yet we all have an opinion and we all mutter on like we know what we're talking about even though we get all our information from the headlines in the various media we scan or half listen to. It's all bullshit! We have exactly what we deserve in City Hall. If we want to deserve better then we ALL need to get involved in this glorious city we live in. I know I sound naive. I hear all the "I have a life to live" chatter. Well fine. Then live your life and shut up. Pray the good Councillors can over ride the bad ones. Don't get out and vote on Oct.27. Why bother? They're all the same, right? Don't look beyond the headlines. Don't find the truth. Just continue on your merry way. Live your life. But know this. You surrender the right to an opinion or any bitching whatsoever when you don't bother to vote. If you can't even be bothered to go spoil a ballot then you don't get a say in anything that happens next. Good OR bad.   I watched Mr. Ford's little speech on Monday. Anyone who buys into that total pap deserves what they get. I saw nothing sincere. I heard no contriteness. I saw a man who desperately wants us all to believe his little vacation in the Muskoka's has made him a new man. He's not new. His 60 day vacation caused him to lose a little water weight. He looks like he got some rest. That's about it. He'll be drinking again any day now if he hasn't already started. Nobody gets cured of multiple addictions in 60 days of what appeared to be very casual rehab. Besides which, that is simply not the point. He was and is a bad mayor. This city was never ever even close to bankruptcy though he has said it more than once. He has not saved us anywhere near a billion dollars anywhere but in his own strange fantasy world. He has embarrassed this city the world over. He does arrive late and leave early every bloody day. Hell, he was late for his little speech on Monday. He does not have a grasp on the real parts of a single significant issue affecting your life. While you applaud his insistence that he will lower our already insanely low taxes. Our city is crumbling around us from a lack of funds to upkeep infrastructure. By he way he has not lowered taxes. They've quietly risen every year he's been in office. He does not even know the difference between a street car and an LRT. Do you?  In spite of the Ford 's belief system. A city is not a business. It is a service agency. It's job is to look after us and our city. When we choose to live here we agree to chip in and help get the work done. That's called taxes. It costs money to run a city. We are fools if we believe that taxes in Toronto are too high. We are fools if we buy into the bullshit "gravy" message. I'm quite certain there are efficiencies yet to be found in City Hall. I'm also quite certain that Rob Ford has not one clue where to find them. His real brilliance has been that skill that all bullies possess. He has continually pit Councillor against Councillor. Divide and conquer is his mantra. It was only when they began to see him for what he truly is that they began to fight back. Still he has done enough damage that it will be a misery for Ms Chow who looks awfully like our next mayor. I have loved this city since I first put my foot down in it when I was 15 years old. I have explored every nook and cranny. It is still the same fabulous place it always was. We still have Little Italy and India at Gerrard and Coxwell. High Park is still gorgeous and so are Edwards Gardens. The Giraffes still gaze patiently at me out at the zoo. Bluffers Park is still almost as great a place to visit as Centre Island. The spice store at Kensington Market still smells glorious. Dim Sum at Broadview and Gerrard is still yummy.The Distillery District and Corktown Commons, and Sugar Beach and, and, and, ......... I can go on for an hour. Toronto isn't just where I live. Toronto is where I LIVE. I love it here. It's where I want to live til I am no more. I am not rich and I struggle every day in this expensive city. I don't care. This is the best city I know and I'm staying. I'm going to keep doing whatever tiny things I can do to make people see the city I believe is worth keeping. I can only hope one or two who might read this will be inspired to love Toronto with the same passion I feel.