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Gravy Boy Goes Public

I will often point out that my comments are the comments of the uneducated everycitizen of Toronto. In the past week or so I have begun to get as politicized as I once was in my youth. I am moving very quickly away from this down putting persona to the righteous indignation of the woman, oops, girl, who was fire hosed at the American Consulate protesting Vietnam. And lest anyone ever forget, I used to like to say I helped stop the Spadina Expressway. I’m not so sure we were right anymore. But that train has left.

This week I watched one of the most unbelievable affronts to democracy I ever thought I would see in Toronto, of all places.  But along the way I met some young people who give me so much hope. They have our backs folks. These kids who live, breath and sleep the internet. They write blogs, they Twitter, they communicate. Some of them are so bright they need to find their confidence and come out of the shadows. We need them to be in those council seats. Norm Kelly, Denzil Minnan-Wrong, Councillors Crisanti, Di Giorgio and Palacio are long past their sell by dates. That they would sit there looking down at the floor. Refusing to meet anyones eyes. is an affront to the constituents that elected them. Without exception they belong to a group of councillors who missed the train. They have not the slightest idea what’s best for this city.

Suggesting these 5 were after power is missing the real point. They are not men who will ever have any power beyond what they think they have now. That Ford sees them as allies is the largest part of the joke. They all belong to a time when sneaky back room deals were the norm at city hall. I doubt a forensic audit would be welcomed on any one of their books. Mel lives in Florida now boys. And I think we’re beginning to get your number. It’s taking us awhile but these amazing young  kids are taking us there. I still don’t have any sense that anyone reads my rants but just in case. Look for All Fired up In the Big Smoke http://afuitbs.wordpress.com/ or anything  Jonathon Goldsbie writes or Twitters http://toronto.openfile.ca/thelatest or Matt Elliot http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/ to name but a few. These young people’s insights are intelligent and persuasive. They do see the future and what they see is good.  It can happen if we get behind them.

The 5 Toady’s are men only interested in towing the closest line to perceived power.  They aren’t thinking about the future. They aren’t even thinking about what to have for lunch. They are only thinking of keeping a solid position basking in the light of this man they think has the keys to the city. Kelly has changed sides so many times in his career I’m surprised he knows which end is up most days.  I begin to wonder if he even knows where his constituency is. Minnan-Wrong barely campaigned in my ward. He knows that in the face of a list most will simply check the most familiar name. But beware sir. Your gig is over. We will find a candidate worthy of our constituency this time. People who have argued your worth in the past are approaching me to ask what the hell you think you are doing. Di Giorgio is just sad. Being Italian will not be enough to get elected next time sir. Retirement might make sense if the caliber of your embarrassing speech on Tuesday is an example of your skill.

Toronto is in a huge transition right now. Robbie Boy is doing us a favour. I saw it at city hall on Tuesday. While we waited for the “secret” meeting to end we met in a room and plotted the possibilities of the future. It was not a room full of downtowners. There were folks from Scarborough and Etobicoke, etc. Not once did I hear anyone say they were from the suburbs or downtown. We were all from Toronto and these were problems of Toronto. Not Scarborough or Etobicoke or… Toronto is our city. Like it or not the Mega City has arrived. In attempting to divide and conquer, he has thrown us all together in the same room. nice to meet you Toronto.

Sue Ann Levy, a so-called journalist for the Sun, was the only negative voice present Tuesday. We frightened her so much that she was never willing to find her way right into the room. She hovered at the door once or twice. This style of vindictive and personal so-called journalism has no place in our Toronto. It’s not what we need and shame on the Sun for it’s irrisponsability. Her constant attacks on Miller are ridiculous. He’s been gone for over a year. It wasn’t fair when he was here and it’s even less fair now. Her lack of insight and respect our city councillors embarrassing. The slapdash way she plays with the truth can be stunning to those who know. Does the Sun not have a fact checking department? Sorry about Jeffery Sue Ann. But it’s done and he’s moved on. Perhaps you could get on your broom stick and do the same. You don’t even do credit to the Sun and that’s saying something. Don’t you think a City Hall Reporter with some slightly neutral and intelligent skill might make more sense at a city hall in such choppy waters?

O.K. Toronto. Have a great weekend. Be at peace!





The Day Democracy Died in Toronto

English: "Transit City" billboard pr...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I did something I haven’t done for years and years and years. I went to City Hall. I felt I needed to make my voice heard. When I was younger and it was the 60″s I was your garden variety protester. Got fire hosed at the American Consulate, protesting the Vietnam War. Full of the light of righteousness. I marched and sat in to stop the Spadina Expressway. We thought we were hot to have succeeded there. We were wrong. Those expressways we defeated would have changed the way we get around Toronto so much. In retrospect we were not thinking about a future that included some 2 and 1/2 million people pouring into the city everyday from every direction. We did not see it. So now we have this amazing city quickly approaching grid lock and we can’t seem to get our heads out of our butts and do something about it.

Rapid Transit is key to a city this size. I’ve been in many places with excellent rapid transit. Paris, Hong Kong, New York. Among others. I’ve been in city’s where it’s not the priority. Like Los Angeles. The only city I ever went to where after a day I didn’t want my rental car any more. Yikes. Big cities only work if the transit works. Our transit used to work. I don’t know when we turned our backs on it. We have been suspended in limbo for years while our various transit plans get planned and then unplanned. Now we have this Bully at the helm who is so intent on getting his own way at all cost that he can’t see logic.

Yesterday was a mockery of our system. Firing Gary Webster was absolutely stunning in its complete and utter ignorance of the law of the land. One of the 5 Toady’s even had the stupidity to put it in the record that “to be sure, this is dismissal without cause”. They are very lucky their victim, for that is what he was, has as much grace and class as he does. He will not sue for wrongful dismissal. He will move on. These five men ended the career of a man who has served this city for 35 years. Who always did the job he was asked to do. Who never ever allowed it to be politicized and who always acted in what he felt were the best interests of the city. For this he was summarily fired, without grace or dignity.

Five men who could not even speak to what they were about to do. Until Counsellor Di Giorgio bumbled and stumbled through a nonsensical statement that was utterly ridiculous and thoughtless. Then Counsellor Kelly spoke and out-and-out lied. My parents live in his ward. It is fascinating to me that a bunch of elderly people in Scarborough have such a good understanding of the value of an LRT System. It’s because he has come out and sold it to them. During the Miller years he was out there speaking to anyone who would listen about the value of the Transit City plan. So hearing him have the gall to sit there and speak about this Mayor’s “vision” for the city only showed him to be the ass kissing toady he is. I can only say I was disgusted. They all kept their eyes down and would not look at any of us and they all scurried away once the deed was done.

I am still numb a day later. I’m not a pundit. I can’t speak on and on at length about the reasons why this and why that. I only know that common decency and democratic protocols were completely ignored yesterday. When it was over we all called “shame, shame!” as they left. But I can’t help but think that we the so-called people are the ones who should be ashamed. We have allowed it to come to this. Our response is to phone in to talk shows and rant a little for or against. Based on the very limited knowledge we have gleaned from hearsay or the Toronto Sun.  A friend said to me  “what can we do, it’s a done deal”.  As long as we stay in the shadows and pretend we know what’s going on without ever really engaging this will continue to march over us. We will survive Robbie’s term. He will make us the laughing-stock of the western world but we won’t really care anyway. We just bitch non stop, don’t bother to vote, and live our lives with less comfort than we deserve. Then maybe we’ll have a good Mayor for a few years and the mess will be cleaned up as best can be done. Then some other idiot will come along and lie and lie and we’ll buy it because we’re only half listening anyway.

I was never as heart-sick and ashamed as I was yesterday. This city I have loved for so long let me down.

I can’t even say have nice day Toronto. Today I don’t care about you very much!!







Just When You Think Gravy Boy Can’t Get any Worse or Lies and the Lying Liars who Lie to Us

For the record, once more. Only 24.7% of eligible voters voted for Gravy Boy. The trick is getting people to understand how important voting in a civic election is, to your day-to-day life. But then he’s doing that for us, don’t you think? Firing Gary Webster is without question, one of the most childish and spiteful actions in the history of Canadian Politics. Even if and that’s one HUGE if, Gary wasn’t doing a good job. But he is. His contract ends in 13 or so months. So rather than leave an employee of the city, who is not political and who is simply doing the job he was hired for, alone to finish the contract. Gravyboy has his 5 favourite Toady’s set up to fire him. Thus costing us upwards of500 THOUSAND Dollars. But what’s a half a million bucks one way or the other when you’ve already squandered a billion?

This man who was elected on the promise of saving money has done nothing but cost money from the day he was hired. All this is, is a dimwitted spiteful and irresponsible move by our chubby excuse for a Mayor. Designed simply to show Karen Stintz that he’s the BOSS!!  Gravy boy doesn’t even seem to get that this will cost the city upwards of 500G’s.  He just wants to punish her so regardless of the fact that he was elected to look after us. He’s willing to create chaos to teach a lesson. Only the lesson he’s teaching is…GET UP OFF YOUR DUFF AND MAKE YOUR VOICE BE HEARD. NOW!!

Are you going to be at City Hall, 2 P.M. Tuesday? A show of force is called for here. Think Tahrir Square! If you can’t go, write emails to the 5 toady’s.  Make sure you give your name and address or they can say it was faked. These 5 toady’s need to be reminded that they represent us, not the playground bullying of Gravyboy.

These Councillors can be reached at the following email addresses and phone numbers:
Councillor Crisanti – councillor_crisanti@toronto.ca, 416-392-0205
Councillor Di Giorgio – councillor_digiorgio@toronto.ca, 416-392-4066
Councillor Palacio – councillor_palacio@toronto.ca, 416-392-7011
Councillor Minnan-Wong – councillor_minnan-wong@toronto.ca, 416-397-9256
Councillor Kelly – councillor_kelly@toronto.ca, 416-392-4047
It’s a sad day for transit riders when five Commissioners who are responsible for our transit system want to fire someone for doing their job. CALL THESE FOOLS ALL WEEKEND, THEY WON’T ANSWER, LEAVE A MESSAGE, DON’T FIRE GARY WEBSTER. SEND EMAILS, LOTS OF THEM. KEEP DEMOCRACY ALIVE MY FRIENDS!!!

This has so many bigger ramifications. It’s not just about Gary or 500G’s. If he is allowed to get away with this, we live in little more than a dictatorship and he gets to start messing with many more of our essential services. Where will it stop. If it’s truly worth doing a thing then it should also be worth a full and open discussion with all of council involved. Last time I looked we were still calling ourselves a democracy. Did I miss a meeting. This man must be muzzled and we are so close. There are 25 councillors who seem to have woken up and noticed they are elected officials and their bosses are their constituents. Only a few more will mean we have transparency at City Hall once more.

See you Tuesday folks!!

The Childish Games Men Play or Get Mad and Then Try to get Revenge

I heard a very disturbing thing yesterday. I’m not sure if anyone reads my blog. Whether anyone does or not it’s a great place for me to smash out my frustrations with the times we live in. So Karen Stintz managed to face down Hizzoner and beat his ass. Tough noogies Yerhonner. All’s fair in love and politics or so I thought. You lick your wounds and move on, or so I thought. Denzil Minnan Wrong, the unfortunate counsellor for Ward 34 Don Valley East. A bitter and spiteful man who has been censored in council in the past (look this up) for such things as making faces at other councillors across the floor. Quite an adult. Mr. Wrong has mounted an effort to have Gary Webster fired. Such news makes the front page of the Toronto Star and here we sit helpless to do a damn thing. Now’s the time to make a sign and show up on Hizzoner’s front lawn. Gary is a man of such dignity and foresight. he has shepherded the TTC through 35 tumultuous years and held it together against all odds.

This is the best example yet of how petty, spiteful and down right stupid our so-called Mayor is. “If I can’t beat you I’ll just change the rules”. This move has absolutely nothing to do with the good of Toronto. This is just a spiteful bitter “get even” move. The Minister of Transportation didn’t help him so now he’ll just show us!!  If you ever doubted how little he actually considers the good of the people. He would rather cost us HALF A MILLION DOLLARS to shove a grapefruit in Karen’s face than accept the will of the majority. So much for democracy folks. Apparently Hizzoner really does believe that the Mayor of Toronto is a dictator and the rest of us better just shut up and behave. Feels a little like Cairo don’t you think? Is Nathan Philips (by the way, Nathan is probably rolling in his grave right now) Square our very own Tahrir Square? Is it time yet, to mount the barricades.

I especially enjoyed seeing how his approval rating rose over his settling of the CUPE issue. I especially liked how he took full credit for the work of a group of people who worked diligently behind the scenes to stop him from locking them out. HE DID NOT SETTLE CUPE. He went in and posed for the pictures after some very dedicated staffers and behind the scenes councillors worked their butt’s off for weeks to get to a compromise everyone could live with. He couldn’t negotiate his way out of a wet paper bag. Bullies never can. And who took that poll and where did they take it? I ask you.

That’s something else that makes me nuts. Polls. It appears that we have reached the pont where when a poll is released we just take what it says as fact. We seem to read these things and think they are telling us what to do. Please people. get this through your head. The media lies. You can’t trust any of it. There was a time when it was sacrosanct for the media to remain neutral. They were supposed to be just telling you the facts. That day is gone. Polls can be twisted to say anything they want.  You need to ask questions. Search out the real facts.  Where was the poll conducted? Who were they talking to? What were the questions? Often the questions are yes or no and worded so that you get caught in what it means if you say yes or no. Vague and quite easily twisted to get the result they are looking for.

We have a lying liar who lies for a mayor right now. That is just fact. A man who cannot even read his own budget. A man who does not understand the need to plan and consider all the alternatives. A man who bullies and cajoles and muscles democratically elected councillors to do his bidding. A man who could care less about the future of Toronto unless it has to do with his bonehead ideas based on complete lack of knowledge regarding things like Urban Planning and future consequences. It will take 20 years to undo the mess he is creating. God help us all.

Have a great weekend Toronto!!! Think a little, won’t you?

City Hall or Junior School Playground

It’s a cold Sunday and I’m sitting here pondering the last week. I have long suggested to anyone who listens, that if all citizens of Toronto sat and watched Council in session on their televisions. The next election would be a whole different ball game. Had they been watching in the past there is no way we would have the mayor we currently have. It’s not that they are all bad. There are many wise voices in council. Unfortunately they seem to be shut down, talked over, ridiculed, and insulted. The sarcastic insulting childish behavior of some of our counsellors is down right embarassing. That our current Mayor is a master of this bad behavior just puts the icing on the cake.

Is it unreasonable of us to expect a candidate for Mayor to know what the job entails? Shouldn’t he know that in this city he is but ONE vote in council. Shouldn’t he who uses the word “gravy” with such freedom, be aware of how much he has cost the city, so far, in canceled projects. Arbitrarily cancelling Transit City without so much as a how do you do cost us in excess of 200 million dollars. Not to mention the job layoffs it caused. His constant twisting of truthes to his own interest has people so confused they don’t know which end is up. I would encourage anyone who might have found my blog to read this article in The Torontoist (torontoist.com)http://torontoist.com/2012/02/after-the-vote-what-does-the-future-hold-for-council-and-the-ttc/. If we ever needed an honest media it’s now. Somebody has to separate the wheat from the chaffe for us.

One of our biggest problems in this day and age is that Politicians at all 3 levels of government seem to think we are all slow children. Perfectly sane individuals get elected and within months they take on that slightly condesending tone used on not very bright souls. But it’s hard to be totally furious. We all barrel ahead with our lives and we all carry on about how busy we are and we ignore something that has far more effect on our lives than we seem to want to know. We’re livid with anyone who wants to raise property taxes. But did we give the slightest thought to the consequences of dear old Mel freezing them for 3 years? We just though what a great guy he was and went on about our business. meanwhile everything else, that those taxes pay for, was on the rise. What did we think would happen? When push comes to shove, did we even have the right to bitch? I don’t think so. You sure didn’t see Hazel freezing taxes.

I’ll tell you something that sends me up the wall. I live in an apartment building. When I try to talk to fellow tenants about these issues, 9 times out of 10 I get, “I live in an apartment, I don’t pay property taxes.” Well I got news for you, fellow tenants. The truth is that in the city of Toronto you pay higher property taxes if you live in a building than if you live in a house.. In fact you pay fully one third of your rent to property taxes.  I can’t explain it to you chapter and verse but the simple fact is that though we live in a residential building we are taxed as a business. Several mayors, including the reviled David Miller had it on their agendas to change this. But it got put on the side by more pressing matters. An easy thing to do given that so very few of us bother to vote. It obviously doesn’t matter to us. Do you think???

Here’s a fact for you to ponder on the rest of your Sunday. It’s a Lulu. Do you know what a developer pays the city of Markham when he builds a Condo? It costs him 28 Thousand dollars per unit in various fees. Be sure you hear me. That’s PER UNIT. It’s 23,000 in Mississauga. 27,000 in Vaughan.  Do you know what it is in Toronto. The third largest financial center in North America? 9 Thousand dollars. We’re not even close to broke folks. We’re just Stupid. Ask yourself how can this be? Wake up Toronto. Get off the fence. No more excuses. Speak up about what you want. Send emails, twitter, mail a letter, make a phone call. They are bound by the rules of their office to respond.

Happy Sunday, stay warm!









Play my way or I won’t play at all!!

Wasn’t Hizzoner a Mayor to be proud of this week?? I’m ever so happy to see the counsellors f the Mushy Middle start growing some! The new counsellors are starting to realize that Hizzoner has absolutely nothing to do with the security of their jobs. He is not their boss. WE ARE. I didn’t used to like Karen Stintz and I said so when I wrote her office an email this week. She has done some fairly bonehead things in the past. But everyone is allowed their moments of bad judgement and she did no harm. aligning yourself with the likes of Denzil Minnan Wrong and then Hizzoner. Not so smart. But she is a smart woman and I believe when push comes to shove, she wants the best for her city. She proved that this week. She stood her ground and fought the mayor into the ground. FOR US. I can only hope there are constituents calling her to say thank you and “job well done”. Let’s have more of the same. We have 2 and a half years more of this nonsense to survive.

One of the things that people seem to have missed with this weeks games. Karen Stintz represents Eglington/Lawrence. This wasn’t just the Chair of the TTC having a disagreement in practise with the mayor’s office. This was a brave and intelligent woman fighting for her own constituents. We could use a little more of that. It’s also the first time since amalgamation, that I am aware of, that a Scarborough counsellor remembered she is representing Toronto and not just Scarborough. For that is one of our deepest problems and a reason why Hizzoner gets away with so much. He plays divide and conquer. To much voting in borough blocks goes on. The sooner they all except fate and realize that Etobicoke is just the same as Scarborough and there is no City of North York anymore. The sooner this city of over 4 million people grows up the better for us.

When I was a teenager the TTC was considered one of the best transit systems in North America. I remember cities like San Francisco coming here and studying our system. They all went home and built systems that mirrored the plans we had. Once upon a time we were so good at foresight that when they built the Bloor Street Viaduct they were smart enough to leave the room so that the subway could be built under it. Long before the subway was actually built. What happened to us?? First Mel came along at a time when we needed super strength at the helm and proceeded to glad hand us through his terms. he was long past his sel-by date. He belonged in Florida then. He’s the reason we have so many economic issues. Not David Miller who actually got us through some of the mess. While every other city around us, Mississauga, Markham, Vaughan, etc was gently raising their property taxes. Mr. Mel was froze ours for 3 years.

Folks, like it or not, property taxes are what finances a city. Sure we have the TTC and a percentage of hydro and a pittance from the province and so on. But property taxes are the core of any city’s finances. At a time when every conceivable thing was rocketing up in price. The furniture salesman left us dead in the water. Salesmen are salesmen. They should NOT, by law perhaps, be allowed to hold political office. They are bu their very nature motivated to make people like them. That only works in the campaign. Then the hard decisions need to be made. He was so busy making sure everybody like him, he forgot to run the city. He unknowingly, I sincerely want to believe, fostered the atmosphere that allowed for the MFP scandal among other things. More money lost.

We are a city of over 4 million people. We anchor the golden triangle. That’s more like, some believe, as much as 10 million. It contains 1/3 of the population of Canada. We are the currently ranked the third largest financial center in North America. That’s New York, Chicago, US. We rank something like 13 or 14 in the world people. And right now we have a guy who thinks his best political advice comes from the customers at his local Tim Horton’s in the Mayor’s chair. We are NEVER represented at major economic summits and meetings the world over. Cause he can’t see the point in wasting our money on a trip. To say he’s short sighted is to under state the case in such a huge way. But then I’m can’t even imagine him in a conversation with Mayor Bloomberg and perhaps the Mayor of London. Can you? My God people what have we done?

Hizzoner’s performance this week speaks volumes to his stupidity. He was presented with a compromise that, had he accepted it, would have been a win for him and a win for us. But he could not see past “you guys are not doing as you’re told. I’m in charge here, shut up and do as I say!” He’s not in charge people. WE ARE!! Karen Stintz got that. He was so angry he even played the “well it’s irrelevant anyway” card. Which is tantamount to “I’m taking MY ball and going home”. Well Robbie, this is home. My home and a lot of other people’s homes. Grow up and play with the big boys. Get out of your mini van and actually listen to a few people other than the one’s your staff hand-pick. You really showed your true colours this week and it’s getting less and less amusing.

As always people of the city I love. Have a great day!





King of Toronto? I Think Not!

Yesterday I read with some delight of the council revolt spearheaded by Karen Stintz. Good on her. Since Hizzoner was elected he has somehow been under the impression that he is now the King of Toronto, ruling by divine right. Gotta point out that he is just a guy with a vote.  One vote! Period! I have the impression that he and his brother hang out in Tim Horton’s and dream up stupid, not to mention expensive, ideas.  Like a pair of 11-year-old boys. “I know, let’s build a fort!” Only with them its “let’s build a subway”. Or a bloody amusement park on the waterfront.

We had this thing. It is called Transit City. It is a carefully thought out plan. After a lot of time and money spent on a plan that made sense and took us into a new day. Where everyone could get around on a world-class transit system that even gave thought to the future growth of not just the GTA but the surrounding area. It had already been started for heaven’s sake and Mr. Let’s Build a Fort had all work stopped. Anybody know how much money that cost us? Pardon my language but Jesus Christ!!!! His plan would cost 5 BILLION dollars more than Transit City and serve half as many commuters. Now doesn’t that make sense?? NOT!

Is anybody else as embarrassed as I am by the childish behavior of our Mayor /Bully? He’s no longer able to bully over half the council into blindly voting for whatever he tells them too. I can only hope they finally realize that he won’t get them re-elected. But their constituents will. After 2 more years of this I’m betting my dog could beat him in an election. These mostly new counsellors brought all kinds of fresh new faces to counsel and he proceeded to bully them into believing they had to do as they are told. They are slowly coming round to realizing who their real boss is. Keep those calls and letters coming folks. They are scared and you need to keep them feeling the love.

It wasn’t like this when I was a kid. I was one of those kids who hopped on the ,then, world-class transit of Toronto and went everywhere. Kensington Market, High Park, up and down Yonge Street, out to Little Italy, Down to the Beaches, Coxwell and Gerrard (which wasn’t yet called Little India), China Town on Spadina, or Greek Town on the Danforth. Me and my friends could go off for the entire day, into the evening. Our parents never worried because this was Toronto. We were always within sight of a street car or bus stop or better yet a subway station.  If we needed help we could ask for it in any store or on the street. This was Toronto. We all loved where we lived and we were proud of the nick name Toronto the Good. When did it change?  Why are we so willing to let a chubby fool from Etobicoke, who probably doesn’t even know the price of a TTC ticket, treat our city with such elitist contempt?

I feel very scared for the next mayor of this city. Whomever it may be. There is going to be one hell of a mess to clean up. It could take years to get us back on track. The citizens of this city have always had short memories. They will cheer and dance when the election is over. Within weeks they will start screaming at the poor sap. Why is it so very hard for the folks of this city to accept responsibility for their city?

It’s to easy to sit back and play the blame game. It was Miller, it was Mell Lastman, it goes back to Art Eggleton, It was amalgamation. On and on and on. It’s every one of us. We made this mess. Look, we are amalgamated. Period. You don’t live in Scarborough or North York or Etobicoke or, wherever. We live in Toronto. Whether you agreed with amalgamation or not, it’s done. You live in Toronto. Say it with me. Toronto, Toronto, Toronto. It”s such a great city. Have you been to the Zoo? How about Kensington Market? St. Laurence Market? Did you know that there is an absolutely beautiful green roof/park on the roof of City Hall? Walk up the ramp and be surprised. Have you ever walked the Board Walk in the Beaches? Been to High Park? Why not. I’ll tell you this. I bet Hizzoner hasn’t been to any of those places.

For crying out loud people. Pick up the phone or write an email. To your counsellor. Tell him or her that you didn’t elect a king and you want him or her to vote for YOUR interests, not his! Remind him/her that you decide whether there’s a next term in counsel for him/her.  Not our mighty king. Take a page from the brave Egyptians and Syrians. Protest can and does work when it’s big and loud and impassioned. It’s not a few assholes in black or the crazy hippies in Yurts who will change things. It’s you. We didn’t stop the war in Vietnam with broken windows or bombs. We just kept standing there saying no. There were a few idiots even then. But that war wasn’t stopped by the bombers of the SDS. Who even remembers them. It was us. Your parents, regular people. It can be done again. Let’s exercise our right to protest. Do we live in a democracy or what?? State your case. It’s your right.

As always, have a great day Toronto.








Retirement? Are you kidding?

As I have mentioned in other spot’s and posts. I just turned 60. For all of my life I haven’t really cared about the number. This year I care! it’s really odd but adding that 6 has made me incredibly introspective. What happened to so many of my generation? Why aren’t we the titans of industry our parents thought we would be. I suspect that a majority of us are working paycheck to paycheck. Before anybody reacts with indignation. If you are incredibly responsible and  RRSP’s up the wazoo. Good on you. I wish you a long and happy retirement with cruises (not on Carnival mind you) and winters in Florida.

If I haven’t already said it, I’m a chef. I work in an industry that is very short on benefits and high pay. As a matter of fact our salaries have been going down for the last 10 years. I reached a high of 87,500  a few years ago. For 3 years. If you put my salaries for the last 30 years together and average them the number is less than 60 G’s. If you can live in the city of Toronto for let’s say 55 G’s and pay rent, or a mortgage, and buy food and pay bills and all those other lovely expenses we all have. And save the suggested 25 to 30% of your income.  Then I want your name and number cause I want to know how you do it. I heard a bright light from the Conservative Party on CBC radio yesterday. Suggesting it should be a compulsory deduction on our paychecks, at least 20% to retirement savings.

I don’t even have a hubby or kids, just 2 dogs. I’ve had savings at least half a dozen times. Then some catastrophe happens. Something simple like I get sick. Sick enough to require surgery. Not one but 2 surgeries. 6 months apart. You are saying “yes but what about medical EI”. Well the government in its inestimable wisdom allows for 22 weeks of medical leave. When that’s up you’re on your own. Not even Welfare will help. Ever try to convince your landlord to hold on the rent cause you’re sick and could he please wait til the doctor says you can go back to work at your  (at that time) 38,000 dollar a year job?  Bye Bye RRSP.

Then there’s the time I arrived at work to discover the sheriff had shut down the restaurant. 2 months to find a job. Or the time my poor dog needed emergency eye surgery, 2200 bucks. And don’t even say “it’s only a dog” Cause I’ll say to you”it’s only a kid”. This is Canada, where supposedly we have a welfare state and we can always look to the government to catch us as we fall through the cracks. We pay unbelievable taxes for that privlege. So how come the hostels are crammed with bag ladies and gentlemen and we have people living in tents wherever there’s a stand of trees they can hide in?

I want to know why all the corporations who keep declaring huge profits and presenting their senior management with absurd “bonuses” aren’t being forced to take a bigger part of the load. In a fair world they should be responsible for the world they are so quick to criticize. I think we should start a programme. Every single (even the NDP) elected member of Parliament should have as a start to his/her tenure to live for at least 3, 6 is better, months on the streets of whatever city you choose. We can spread them out between Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, and maybe Halifax. They get the equivalent of 50 grand a year after taxes, bi-weekly. Take home pay as it were.  Set them loose and make sure they don’t cheat. They only get to take one small suitcase. Then and only they can go represent us in Parliament. My guess is the majority of them will fold just trying to figure out how to scrape first and last together. Call it a reality check. Maybe we put a few on the reserves up north just for variety?

For that matter, I think the CEO of every corporation should have to spend 3 to 6 months living on the lowest salary he pays. Who the hell is so special they deserve 18 MILLION dollars as a bonus. It’s happening How much OHIP could that pay for. Let me point something out. Warren Buffet is arguably one of the richest men in the world. He lives in the same 4 bedroom tract house he’s lived in for years and years. His children grew up there. He drives some old clunker of a car. He is not leaving a dime to his kids. He says they can make it the same way he did. He’s leaving his vast fortune to the same foundation Bill Gates set up for his fortune. He too is giving his money away. That’s a man I can respect.

We just sit around and bitch about how it isn’t fair. We say “what can we do. It’s the way it is.” But we made this. Us. We created it. There wasn’t always a bureaucracy. If we made it, we can unmake it. I don’t suggest it’s easy but I believe it can be done. Why do we need a Senate for instance? Those are all rich people. Google their retirement benefits and ask yourself why? For that matter, check out the salaries AND more importantly the benefits of Parliament. Which, by the way, they only need to serve 6 years to get. Are you EVER eligible for anything close after 6 years in a job?

I like to point out that Hizzoner DID NOT win the popular vote. He won 47% of the 53% of eligible voters in Toronto, who actually got off their butt’s and voted.  Do the math kids.  That’s less than 25% of the eligible voters. If you are one of the lazy folks who did not vote then don’t be bitching to me. No vote equals no right to bitch in my book. You get what you vote for. If you had gone out and, in the case that you couldn’t find someone to vote for, you deliberately spoiled your ballot. Those get counted too. That would have been over 46% of voters saying “screw you guys”. You don’t think that sends a message?? There was once an election in the U.S. I don’t remember all the facts but 25% of the voters wrote in Mickey Mouse. You don’t think that was a message.

Burning Starbucks isn’t the answer. But what if there was an election and nobody won. That is possible. It can happen. OR what if there was an election and everybody wrote in a name they preferred.That’s possible too you know. It’s very expensive to run a campaign. Even here in Canada where we do limit it, at least at the city level. But you have to raise money and raising money comes with favours exacted.  How about nobody can run for election and spend anything? I know that’s not realistic but then ….

O.K. I’m rambling. But then I usually do. That’s part of my anger. But did I make you think a bit. My work is done.  Have a nice day folks!

In Which I Enter the Blog World or Thanks Robbie!

Well, here goes. I shall be one of these people who sends their thoughts off into the Blogoshere and waits to see what happens. As much as I love writing I have resisted this for a long time. It feels to much like communicating with nothing. Even though I have a Twitter account I’ve even resisted learning how to use it. But living in the Ford Nation makes for big changes in ones head space. There’s only so much random screaming at the computer and/or television screen one can do before the need to pass on words becomes irresistable.

A close relative of mine is a compulsive Twitterite. I am often left standing while she answers (is that what you call it?) something or comments compulsively on what we are doing. Meals are photographed in restaurants, comments are made on movies, buildings, art exhibits, T.V. shows, you name it. You would think that someone who loves words as much as I do would love it. Perhaps that’s why I resist it. I can just see me rivited to my iPhone screen till all hours.

I turned 60 this year. I have never ever been bothered by my age. Perhaps in part because I have never looked my age. I have a sister who is nearly 6 years younger than me and when asked, people invariably choose her as the older sister. That used to secretly make me feel a bit smug. I have always told myself  it had to do with her dry skin and my oily skin. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the difference in the way we presented ourselves to the world? Could it? Yup! Although, don’t get me wrong. She is ridiculously successful and I doubt that anyone could be more fiercely proud of her than I. I include my parents in that, not because they aren’t proud, they are. More because they are elderly and don’t always understand as fully, what the hell she is doing. But I do and inside I scream “you go girl” at least once a day.

So the Robbie of the title is, as if you haven’t guessed, our illustrious Mayor. My name for him hereafter will be Hizzoner. That’s what I call him. He makes me so mad at times I break things. But then I think, is it him I am angry with, well yes. But I am far angrier with all the fools who bought into his act and elected him. Most of them thought he had a plan. Thought he knew what he was doing. Thought he was “one of us”. Here’s a good old hoser who’ll show all those arrogant rich counsellors what’s what.

Well guess what folks? It wasn’t an act. He is just as vacant as he seems. There was no plan. Do you think you could run The City of Toronto? I don’t think I could. But more importantly I don’t think he could. Let’s clear one thing up real quick. He is not one of us. He grew up with a big fat silver spoon in his mouth. Rich folks. Lot’s of dough folks. He and his brother grew up with the certain knowledge that they were just a little better than the rest of us. He is no a 99 percenter by a very long shot. Are you really deluded enough to think that a City Counsellor in Toronto makes enough money to live the way he does. Not even on the Mayors salary kids. They don’t make that much. He wears custom made suits, drives a very nice car, lives in a very nice house in an upscale part of Toronto. Do you really think that 10 years of less than 100 thousand bucks a year finances a 2 car lifestyle in Etobicoke?? Wake up guys.

What’s really galling is that it’s all there in the public record for you to see. In 10 years in counsel he did not do a single rational thing for anybody. Wasn’t it cute that he was so well known for his “no” votes that they said they should just get rid of the yes button at his desk? No it was not. Did you ever take a good look at some of the truly important and fine programs he voted no for?? He was argumentative and disruptive and unbelievably ignorant most of the time. I especially loved his comments every year about how the city should not be supporting the Aids Committee of Toronto and Casey House because only “Hookers and Queers” get aids. Those are his words folks. You would think that at some point in 10 years he’d maybe learn a bit about how diverse the victims of Aids actually are. But then based on his record, he’d presumably just add in “Spooks” and Dykes to his commentary. That’s just a guess, mind you.

So has everyone forgotten what the purpose of city government is? City Hall is not a business. It is a SERVICE.  Do we all understand what that means?? They are supposed to look after us.

They make our lights turn on. They make the water run out of our taps. They pick up our garbage. They change the blown out street lights. They mow the grass and plant the flowers and pick up the broken glass in our parks. They make sure the buildings built in this city are safe. They keep developers from forgetting the rules and over building without green spaces. Or from over taxing the utilities in a neighbourhood so your lights stay on. They licence our dogs. They make sure an ambulance comes when we are sick. They make sure the air in Toronto stays breathable and the water is clean enough to swim in at the beaches not to mention drink. They finance all sorts of things like community food banks and subsidized day care and emergency housing for the poor. They fill pot holes and unplug blogged sewers and make sure that your neighbour doesn’t cut down that beautiful old Oak tree just because he feels like it. They make sure that the restaurant you want to eat in is clean and safe and won’t make you sick. They provide the public health nurse that makes sure the new Mom next door is doing O.K. They are who you call when you realize the kids next door are being mistreated. All of this and I haven’t even mentioned the Cops and the TTC.

And so much more that we all think we are entitled to and that some how should be happening magically and properly. The man is gutting these services. Toronto has among the lowest property taxes in North America, for a city of its size. Why do we seem to think we are entitled to so much for so little? Why oh, why oh, why doesn’t Hizzoner understand any of this. He’s looking at a balance sheet. Actually I’m not so sure he has looked at that either. But those numbers represent people. Why are we responsible for the squandered BILLION dollars he blew in less than a year in office. He came into office with a budget that had a 300 THOUSAND dollar surplus and by August we were 700 THOUSAND in the hole. Now we have to suck it up and pray for the ambulance to arrive before we bleed to death? Huh??

A question for you folks who might find me? The average salary of staff at city hall is less than 60 thousand a year. For a significant number of these people who make your lives work day to day it’s less than 55 thousand. Can you live on that? Could you run a car and own a house and raise a family on that? I can’t. How much do you want them to make? Ask yourself that? What should they make?? Should they have benefits? Do you have benefits? Do you think that if you made 55,000 a year and you had to pay for all the extra medical stuff, prescriptions and physio etc. Could you do it? That’s what he wants for these people who look after us. Can you really believe that’s O.K?

Have a great day Torontonians. We used to live in the best city in the world. I’m afraid that just isn’t so any more.

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