Caution: Pro-Rob Ford rant inside this blog. Do NOT read if closed minded or if you think a response of “Well, he’s fat” is acceptable.

I like to pose this question to the many brilliant people I encounter on a daily basis in person or read online and hear their response. My experience has been that irrespective of one’s lot in life, be it rich, poor or middleclass, the response I get is usually the same.

Question: On what do you want your tax dollars spent?

Granted most people I know would admit – especially if they own or rent a home in a city like Toronto – that our taxes are too high and a reduction would help make ends meet, but take a few minutes and think about it.

You are a home owner in Toronto. You are paying the highest property taxes in Canada, a smidgen under 8% (as per a 2008 study ranking Toronto’s rates as the Canada’s highest), as well as numerous other taxes and user fees. Taxes to register your car, taxes to buy a plastic bag, taxes disguised as fees to take programs, go to the hospital, and the list goes on. Simply, Toronto is one of the most expensive cities to live in in the world.

So as a homeowner with a car and kids – kids I pay double for schooling, I might add (once for the private school they attend and once again for the public school they do not attend) – and who like many work very hard to earn enough to pay my taxes and still have some left over with which to support my family, I am perplexed whenever I hear people complain about Mayor Rob Ford’s efforts to introduce some fiscal responsibility. I can’t help but wonder what these people do for a living that provides them with so much extra cash that they can afford to watch it flushed down the drain by an irresponsible municipal government, as we have seen throughout the last seven years under Mayor Miller’s regime.

Recently a story broke on Facebook of all places stemming from some fringe news publications that Rob Ford voted against HIV grants and that makes him a homophobe. After a quick Google search, I located the originating article on a gay and lesbian magazine and of course, the way it was written, it makes Mayor Ford look like he is senile. Anyone reading this article would have to wonder why the Mayor is being so cruel. If the author’s intent was to pose Ford as hating the gay and lesbian community in Toronto, then it was a huge success. If, on the other hand, the author thought she was producing a piece of credible and responsible journalism, then she failed miserably.

Since the article was clearly slanted, I sought out another source… a less biased source. Unfortunately I was unable to find one. I did find an article in the Toronto Star, but their coverage was also far from unbiased. The Star piece did give me an idea what the problem was.

You see, my friends who love bashing Rob Ford for being overweight (which is discrimination, I might say) and who clearly love paying taxes, there are two sides to every story and the truth lies somewhere in between. It seems Mayor Ford was not specifically voting against providing grant money to HIV programs – six of them – as this article would have you believe, but rather he was debating the “grants programs,” which gives taxpayer money (that would be your money and mine) to a broad variety of community organizations. Yes, some of these organizations work to prevent violence while others focus on improving the lives of seniors, immigrants, the disabled and the poor, but some of these programs also provide recreation services the city doesn’t.

At issue here was that this committee had recommended that the city give 259 groups a total of $7.2 million of your tax money. Before this large sum of money was going to be shipped out to these groups, Ford wanted council to vote on it so he could be seen to be voting against them. This would show the taxpayers of Toronto that he respects the money we earn and the taxes we pay.

I’m sorry if you think it is wrong of me to not want to support these groups, or any of the 252 groups this City gives my tax dollars to. I don’t know them. It’s not personal and I surely don’t have anything against them or the people who use these programs, but as a member of working / owning Toronto, I don’t want my tax money going there when the roads are a mess, the parks falling apart and there being not enough money to get some transit in the city and set up proper bike lanes where cyclists can ride them – far away from cars. I would like to know where these dollars are going, specifically, like on a menu, or at the very least, I would like to know that City Council knows what these organizations do and be able to provide me some confidence that it’s not just money being thrown away.

Organizations that get City funding should be held to a higher standard. Audits, safeguards, the whole 9-yards. I want these organizations to know that the funding that comes from the “City” is actually your hard earned dollars and my hard earned dollars and they should not be fooling around with our cash.

To me this is a no-brainer. I know others will read this and send me comments calling me a defender of the right (thank you!) or a friend of Rob Ford, but I did vote for Ford. I voted for Rob Ford because it was getting expensive to live in Toronto with my three kids, and own a house here and drive to work because my job is outside the city and there are no reasonable transit options for me. I don’t hate downtown Toronto… I just want the residents who cry that it was the “905” that voted in Rob Ford, that really if you take a step back, it’s the homeowners, the families, the middle and upper-middle class in Toronto who have businesses that employ you or your relatives and it’s this “class” that works hard to have disposable income so we can go out for dinner and stimulate the economy. Pretty sure I’m still onboard here from my economics classes in University… Someone has to spend money back into the economy so that money can keep the city moving, keep people employed and provide money to organizations, like these 252 who received grants. On the other hand, someone has to be watching out to make sure there is money left over at the end of the day to keep in the local economy to keep Toronto working. Ford is doing that. Miller did not.

Rob Ford as Mayor doesn’t mean the rich get a free ride. How is that possible in this city? Cyclists didn’t have to pay the $60.00 a year “fee” to register their cars that David Miller put in. How about punishing those who buy a home in Toronto by increasing property taxes every time there is a shortfall. G-d forbid we look at waste and cut back when we have this whole population who we can tax.

I find it’s the same group of people over and over again who complain about Conservatives and their policies… All conservatives do is tax the middle class and give tax breaks to the poor. Uh huh. I’ve heard that a thousand times from everywhere. Well, I’d like to know what tax breaks the rich have in Toronto, because if you mean a $50,000 property tax bill, then let them have the breaks. Oh, I know. It’s those damn corporations that the Conservatives love to support. The corporations that provide jobs for you and me and the corporations owned by shareholders – also you and me – who invest hoping to get a decent rate of return. It’s these damn corporations that socialists detest so much… Once they finish working there.

Maybe one day when the socialists rule again and taxes start popping up, Corporations pack up and move outside Toronto, then and only then will it be clearer that having someone out spending money stimulates the economy, it keeps businesses open, and people employed. People spending money keeps Toronto prosperous and keeps the money in Toronto where it can be spent again and again. It this continued attack on the “rich” whom I am assuming is people who have gone to school (University at a minimum), own a home, a car or two, have a decent job (or two) and still find time to go out for dinner, maybe send their kids to private school and who work hard to give to their families – then these people are not going to want to stay in Toronto. Then what? A welfare state. Is that better? Everyone should be equal, no matter how much someone tries to better themselves compared to someone who has decided to do nothing with their lives. There must be a reason for that person who is not working, or wants to live in the street. It’s not their fault, it’s society’s fault and we should all contribute to help them get on their feet and bring down that stupid, eager rich person or that damn corporation with all their money. How dare they amass such wealth while there are poor… And the beat goes on.

But I guess no matter how well I can articulate my point, or how you like to look at the job Mayor Ford is doing for Toronto, all I can say is this: If he continues to look at every expenditure the city makes and continues to find fat and trim it, he is a shoo-in to get re-elected next election. I feel better knowing that the taxes the city taxes from me – which I could be spending on my family – are being spend in a fiscally responsible manner to make this city a better place for all citizens and not the same Robin Hood policies (tax the rich and give to the poor) that we had for seven years under Mayor Miller.

Let me decided where I want my taxes to go, or if you cannot, at least don’t spend more than you have and then raise my taxes to cover it.

And yes, Rob Ford is fat. So am I. What does that have to do with allocation of fiscal resources?

I’m starting to understand that when you are in a poker game and you have only one card – even if it is only a 2 of diamonds – you have to play it. Even if after all the bluffing you still lose.

Special thanks to Toronto’s own Lazy Photographer Dave for his contributions and fabulous edit job.

You can see his work by clicking on his URL through my blogroll on the right.

19 thoughts on “Caution: Pro-Rob Ford rant inside this blog. Do NOT read if closed minded or if you think a response of “Well, he’s fat” is acceptable.

  1. As you know, I despise Rob Ford. He doesn’t represent me or my values. Here’s my reponse to your points:

    1. Rob Ford removed that tax for registering cars, even though Toronto clearly needed the money. Also, the “tax” on plastic bags can easily be avoided by reusing bags or boxes, which is much better for the earth, and is also easier because reusable bags are much more durable.
    2. Toronto may be an expensive city to live in but it is also a fantastic city with many services including parks, recreation programs, arts and cultural events, all of which are supported by our taxes.
    3. You pay twice for schooling because you choose to. There are lots of fantastic public schools in Toronto, including a great one in your neighbourhood that you could send your kids to but you choose to pay for private school instead. You certainly have a right to make that choice but if you don’t want to pay twice, send them to public school.
    4. People aren’t complaining about fiscal responsibility. They (we) are complaining about the manner in which this so called fiscal responsibility is exercised by Ford. The first thing he did is eliminate taxes, and now he’s talking about gutting the services that make Toronto great. The so called gravy train that Rob Ford keeps talking about does not exist. The city is not a manufacturing plant. You can’t expect to pay as little as 20 -30 or even 40% of your costs for salaries when you are running a big city like Toronto.
    5. The story about Ford voting against the HIV grants was not about him being a homophobe. It was about him voting against grants for services that are clearly needed in the community. That doesn’t make him a homophobe, he votes against everything. What does make him look like a homophobe is that fact that he refused to attend any part of Pride week despite it being a major event which also happens to bring millions of dollars into the city.
    6. It’s not discrimination to say that Rob Ford is overweight. Unless he has some kind of disability that causes him to gain weight, being overweight is not covered by the human rights code. Also, it’s not discrimination unless the act is linked to an area covered by the Code such as employment, services, housing, etc. One person calling another person fat is not discriminatory. It may lower the level of discourse, but given Rob Ford’s behaviour recently and in the past, there’s no danger that other people could be lower than him. See for example, his behaviour at the hockey game a few years ago when he swore at other fans, handed out his business card and then denied that it was him, and his recent gesture when one of his constituents told him he shouldn’t talk on the phone while driving.
    7. Respect for taxpayers doesn’t necessarily mean voting against all services. Taxpayers use those services and many people who access the recreational services or the other programs that he voted against rely on those programs. Furthermore, these programs are particularly essential for low income Torontonians. While those people pay less taxes, they need those programs to maintain a basic quality of life. While I agree that organizations that receive public money should be held to a higher standard, Ford’s policy of automatically voting against all of these programs does nothing to increase their accountability. In any event, there’s no indication that these programs are not using the taxpayer’s money properly.
    8. Obviously we have fundamentally different views of society. I also grew up in a middle class home and my kids are growing up in one as well. Our income isn’t high enough for us to live in Forest Hill or send our kids to private school but we are certainly doing much better financially than many other people living in this city and we alsospend our money in various locations around the city. I don’t work for a corporation, I work for an government funded organization that assists people who have experienced harassment and/or discrimination.
    I have always recognized that I grew up in great privilege. White privilege, the privilege of being raised by parents who emphasized the importance of education and who supported me sometimes financially and always emotionally as I pursued a university degree and a professional degree. So I believe that I have a responsibility to use that privilege in a manner that will benefit people that did not and are not growing up with those privileges. Yes there may be some people who have chosen to do nothing with their lives but there are many more who did not have the opportunity to get an education or who did get an education elsewhere and then came to Toronto for any number of reasons and now they can’t get work that matches their education so they work a couple of minimum wage jobs, trying to keep themselves and their families afloat.
    Most people wouldn’t choose to live in the streets. Most homeless people live on the streets because of mental illness, addiction, a violent home life and/or other circumstances in their lives. I am privileged enough to not have to deal with any of those things, I am happy to have my taxes go to help people who are in those circumstances and I want my city council to use my tax money to support the organizations that assist those people, new immigrants, kids with disabilities and the populations of people who are served by the organizations that Rob Ford does not want to support.
    9. People don’t dislike Rob Ford because he wants to be fiscally responsible. We dislike him because he is uneducated, and ignorant and his extreme wealth combined with his nasty attitude makes it impossible for him to understand the daily lives of most Torontonians and how much they value the services and programs that the city provides. I want someone literate, intelligent and empathetic to run my city. Yes, we do have to be more fiscally responsible but we don’t have to be nasty and we don’t have to eliminate the services that sustain people. We already have a welcome policy for people who can’t afford to pay for recreation programs. Maybe we need to raise the fees for some of these programs or institute fees at places like Riverdale farm. The people who access the welcome policy could be exempted from these fees. I think there are lots of ways we could cut or increase revenue in the city. But I disagree with Ford’s definition of “Gravy”. Libraries are not “gravy”, childcare is not “gravy” , flouridated water is not “gravy”, a healthy environment is not “gravy”. All of these things are essential to our city and Ford’s slash and burn attitude is going to have significant financial and emotional costs to our city.
    10. Yes Rob Ford is fat and ugly. But that’s not why I hate him. He’s given me many other reasons to wish that he wasn’t our mayor.

  2. @annajake

    As an employee of a publicly funded organization, your view on Rob Ford is inherently skewed. His stance on decreasing government expenditures has a direct affect on your livelihood – if city hall doesnt grant your organization funds, you’re out of a job. So it is understandable that you would have this disliking for our current mayor.

    For those of us whose livelihoods aren’t dependant on the public trough, the majority of us have sided with Rob Ford and his stance. Inflated salaries, discretionary spending of tax payer’s dollars and the almighty unions have held the tax payers of this city hostage for too long.

    Regarding the current library issue, it’s quite simple actually. TPL employees are all unionized with inflated salaries that drive up the cost of running these establishments. Rob Ford cannot possibly attack the union and have them reduce salary costs as the union would never allow it (not to mention political suicide), so the only other solution is to close down these libraries completely. We have librarians making 80k helping people find books and pages earning 15+/hr putting them away, not to mention the mandated increases in salary/wage to adjust for inflation, term, etc. Not too hard to see where the resentment comes from….

  3. I’d like to respond to AnnaJake’s 10 point response to your post, Warren. It’s best of you read each of her points followed by mine, one after another.

    1. If David Miller had managed our city responsibly instead of spending tax dollars like a drunken NDP Party at a “Save The Environment” conference, City Hall would not have had to implement a tax on cars. People called it a vehicle tax. I called it a mismanagement tax.

    2. To people with money, they can afford to throw around terms like “but” when justifying the skyrocketing taxes in Toronto. For people living in the middle and lower class your statement should read “Toronto may be an expensive city to live, and because of Miller’s irresponsible spending and increased taxes I’m about to lose my house.”

    3. Can’t really argue with that. In order for public schooling to survive we all have to contribute, even people like myself who do not have children. At the same time, we need to look at the cost of running the education system and see where we can find efficiencies. Public education unions are totally out of control.

    4. Toronto is a business. Period. It’s in the not-for-profit business of public service. We just lived through eight years of having it run by left-wing ideologists who dumped our hard earned money into pie-in-the-sky pipe dreams and that’s left us ¾ of a billion in the hole. That’s what happens and you don’t understand the business side of running a city. The question is: Do we start trying to fix the problem now or leave it to our kids and their kids. Yes, Ford cut taxes, but the taxes he cut should never have had to be put in place to begin with. Those taxes were put in place to pay for irresponsibly spending and mismanagement.

    5. Just because a service is “clearly needed” doesn’t mean we throw money at it with our eyes closed and hope for the best. Everything on which our tax dollars are spent should be carefully scrutinized. I think that was Ford’s point when voting against tossing our money into the black hole of special interest groups. Actually, let me correct that: It’s not really “our” money, since we are so deep in the hole. It’s borrowed money on which we pay interest.

    6. It’s also not discriminatory to call you a jackass, but I have always found that the moment anyone resorts to that kind of rubbish during a debate, they’ve lost the debate. The underlying message in name-calling is that your argument simply lacks the strength to stand on its own, leaving you no choice but to augment it with child-like crap, hoping to distract your opponent from realizing you’ve got little to nothing to add. But feel free to disagree with me by saying: “I know you are but what am I?”

    7. I agree with you that respect for taxpayers and the money they contribute to society does not mean voting to cut all services. Inexplicably, that seems to be the erroneous conclusion the left-wing in Toronto are all jumping to. In fact, Ford and City Hall has voted for cutting pretty little so far. What they have done, and rightfully so, is hired a third party accounting firm to offer an unbiased list of ways we can get a handle on our mammoth debt. Some of the items on that list won’t get cut, but will at least get looked at. What’s wrong with that? Listening to Adam Vaughn you’d think we were burning City Hall to the ground. But he’s never met a tax dollar he didn’t like to waste.

    8. If we don’t do something about this debt and the “spend and tax” mentality of the left, I can guarantee you your kids will NOT be living in the middle class – at least not here in Toronto. They won’t be able to afford it since they will be busy working to pay off the mess we left them.

    As for your claim that you’re happy to have your tax dollars spent on helping the down and out, I support that. However, imagine how much better a job the city could do if we weren’t flushing tens of millions down the drain each year on interest payments to carry our whopping debt, thanks to David Miller’s eight year regime.

    9. Not sure what to say to that. Clearly you have a personal relationship with Rob Ford, because only through such a close relationship could one form such an opinion of another’s personality. What scares me is that a Harvard educated man like David Miller managed to drive our city straight into the toilet in eight short years, yet an uneducated Ford seems to have a far better understanding of how money works. I think Harvard should send Miller back his tuition fees. Clearly they ripped him off.

    10. I love that you finish off your argument with a ridiculous point. Nice job.

    So there you have it. We’ve used a whole lot of words for something that just doesn’t need to be so wordy. It boils down to this: Can we afford to live in the Toronto David Miller left for us? If the answer was yes, we wouldn’t be approaching a billions bucks in debt. And who should pay the piper for the “spend and mismanage and tax to death” ways of the past eight years? Us, or our kids and their kids. Even though I don’t have kids, I still think this mess is ours to clean up.

    If you’ve managed to make it to the end, thanks for reading my little diatribe.

    Dave

  4. Since I agree with annajake’s responses I’m not going to rehash those points. I am going to say that when you live in a city like Toronto, you have to support public education. Otherwise, people like you hwo can afford private school will send their kids to private school and contribute no money to lower income families, immigrants, etc who can’t afford private education. And how can people move from lower to higher incomes if they don’t have access to good education. And FYI, the reason your property tax is so high is because you live in the house and hneighbourhood you do. Property taces are actually higher in many parts of the GTA.

    I work in health care, with children and babies with special needs in the community. So here are some real examples of why we can’t those services. We do need good roads and parks to play in but we also need services for families in Toront. You are very lucky to have three healthy children so you don’t have to worry about those programs we may lose. :

    1) An immigrant family who have a child with special needs who uses a wheelchar and various other equipment. they also have two younger children. The mom doesn;t work as she takes care of the older child. The father was the main breadwinner until he had a brain tumor that nearly killed him and left him unable to work. The family accesses recreatiion and literacy services through the city of Toronto. They are cheap and accessible becasue of Toronto’s welcome program. The middle son, who has academic issues has a tutor through the city of Toronto libraries who is teaching him how to read.

    2) A child with Autism who cannot attend a regular camp on his own. His family can’t afford camp becasuse they pay so much for therapy. The city provides a 1:1 aide and funding for a camp so he can have recreation to and experience too

    3) A new immigrant single mom with two children who left an abusive husband recieves public health nursing and a family home visitior through the city to provide the support she needs for her child with special needs and to help her move forward. She also has accessed specific services for new immigrants who have been through the same situation as her.

    4) A two parent middle class family who have gone down to one income due to having a child with special needs who requires frequent therapy and medical appointments. They access recreation for him through variety village and CARD- the riding program for children with diabilities.

    I could go on and on. These are all programs and services that your beloved mayor has voted against. You cannot live in a world class city and not support these programs. Not everyone has an IPAd to download their books on instead of going to the library. We do pay a lot of tax in Toronto, but we support important programs, services and health care. And the more suport and services children get when they are younger, the less of a burden they will be on society when they are older. If they have access to literacy, books, recreation, public health nursing, they will be more successful and be able to contribute more.

    Not everyone comes to adulthood with the same resources and support. Many many torontonians work damn hard just to stay above the poverty line. I want to support new immigrants, older people , children with disabilities, people with HIV/Aids, etc. I hate that I have a mayor who does not see the importance of these programs. Maybe he should spend a day with me on the job.

    You are not middle class (or upper middle class) purely because you work hard. You are also damn lucky, and so am I. Rob Ford has a successful family business he was born into. What does he know about struggle? I want to live in a city that helps people who are not as lucky as me.

  5. @asdf, actually, my office is funded by the provincial government not the city so your argument does not apply, and I can guarantee you that our salaries are not inflated. I’m a lawyer with a law degree from a prestigious law school and I make less than most teachers do. I love my job though and I’ll keep doing it because it provides value to the community.

  6. @ The Lazy photographer, I am not going to argue all of your points because obviously we aren’t going to agree. I just would like to point out that in my point #6, I was explaining the meaning of discrimination and the fact that calling someone fat does not fit under the legal definition of discrimination. I’m amused that you think I’m a jackass, but since you like Rob Ford so much, I’ll take that as a compliment.

  7. I don’t want to make any personal commentary that jabs at the original post. I think it’s in bad taste. If your children are in private school, good on you. I think urbandaddy isn’t actually complaining that his taxes still support the public system- rather parsing the sensibility of where his tax dollars are spent and how, which is what we all ought to be doing.
    I believe there are ‘would be nice to have’ pots and ‘must have’ pots. And due to the unfortunate position the city finds itself in, we must redirect our energies to our massive debt without incurring more, and ensuring that the ‘must have’ pots are well supplied. That means that the would be nice to haves go on the back shelf for a while, it doesn’t mean they get eliminated in perpetuity.
    Everyone’s must have list will look a little different. At the base level, mine will be somewhat personal in nature. When it comes to education, that is at the provincial level, ministry gives funds to school boards. Municipally schools only enter into it at licensing for after hours and summer camps. So let’s get education out of the city argument and save it for when Dalton goes back to the polls (which is soon!)
    Then we hit on the guts of what it takes to run a city safely and efficiently, and we come to what I deem the ‘must haves’ – community safety (police, fire, ambulance), roads and infrastructure (including snow clearing), Public works (tap water, Don river,).

    A lot of the points that I read here are arguments that should be based at a provincial and federal level – have nothing to do with the Mayor and Council of Toronto’s jurisdiction. I would like to see less confusion there. Public assistance, funding for special needs camps and therapies, T-PAS etc are all funded provincially from different envelopes, and I agree that they all need re-examining in terms of the carry over to adult transitions which is awful ( and I work in the field, at the exact point of adult transitions, so I do have a strong view on this) – but again, not something I believe Dalton or Tim will be willing to take a strong look at. The 2000 city funded day care spots (and I know this is unpopular) to me have to go. Simply because there are too few of them, they are impossible to get, and unfairly support a few while the many must make other arrangements. I say this as someone who pays daycare and know I will always need to, and have no hope or wish to get funded. I am lucky in that sense. $7.00 a day daycare in Quebec is bringing that province to its knees, and caused Quebec (though not the largest by population) to receive over double the equalization payments of largest by population Ontario, who overwhelmingly pays more taxes into all three levels of coffers. The point being, eventually SOMEONE pays – and more and more, it is the residents of Toronto who get dinged the hardest.

    But at the crux of the arguments I see above are the OPINIONS between the must haves and nice to haves on the Toronto list. Libraries – must have or nice to have? I believe to a degree, a must have. But in their current state, and at their current number, no. TPL has become a bit of a lumbering giant. Toronto can do with less than our current 99 branches, and a reduction in staff must follow. Public art installations are strongly on the would be nice to have list for me. But in times of belt tightening need to go straight out. If we can fix where we’re bloated now, we will find ourselves eventually in the position of figuring out where to spend money later on the nice to have list.

    I strongly believe that a winter city such as Toronto should not be diverting money into bike lanes. Again, will be unpopular with a lot of people, and the environmentalists. I understand your argument. Mine is that not enough people will utilize those lanes 12 months a year to excuse their cost or their encroachment into traffic. I would like to see an end to the bike lane debates. If they can figure out a real bike system through the parks and ravines, so be it.

    We can poke at Ford for not being eloquent, educated enough, or what you feel would make a person ‘mayoral’. But just hating the guy on sight isn’t good enough for me. At the heart, he is correct, things have to go. Things we are used to and don’t wish to part with. Things we feel entitled to. But the time has come, globally, where we realize how fast our cities became bloated with debt and spending, how our taxes have peaked, and how impossible it will be, at this rate, for our children to ever leave our homes and strike out on their own. The bar for independence will simply be too high.

    Miller, despite his good heart, his smooth talk, his earnestness, did not have the soul of a poet and the cracker jack tallying skills of an accountant. He spent the better part of his terms in office dwelling heavily in the ‘would be nice to haves’ and turning the emotional tide on those who wondered how he intended to pay for it. I believe I pay more than my fair share, and want to see it spent prudently, thoughtfully, and with great respect towards where it came from. I believe Mayor Ford truly remembers that he is spending MY money and YOURS. And I believe most politicians don’t remember that. I believe they see it almost as corporation money – nameless and faceless.

    I am prepared to lose some of the things I enjoy now and take for granted. I believe that when the city is fiscally in better shape, that we will happily regain those things. I encourage urbandaddy to continue this debate, it’s healthy and reasonable, as long as we keep the personal jabs and name calling out of it.

  8. Firstly, let me congratulate anyone who manages to get through my lengthy right-wing diatribe. Good on ya. ;) So here we go:

    Here’s something to consider: Imagine you’re on a big steam ship in April of 1912. You’re at full speed and ahead of you is an ice berg patch. Twenty miles out you just watched the Titanic steam right into an iceberg and sink. Do you push on at full speed ahead on the same course and hope for the best? Or do you put the brakes on and steer in a different direction?

    Now, replace the Titanic with the country of Greece and the ship right behind her steaming full ahead into the same catastrophe with the city of Toronto. We are currently watching the shipwreck appear before us (as Greece struggles with impending bankruptcy). Greece got there by running her ship based on a user manual that was clearly written by David Miller. Until Ford, Toronto was on that exact same course. The U.S. is on it as we speak.

    What utterly blows my mind is just how many Toronto folks (mostly left wingers and socialists, I’m afraid) are so stuck in living a lifestyle we can nary afford, even while we are all living witnesses to the results of such a course of action. There’s no speculation or argument here. We need only turn to Greece to see what our future would hold without someone at the helm to make the hard turn for us.

    Crack a bloody newspaper or magazine, already. You dig deep into the Greece crisis or even the one in the U.S. and you can’t help but see the parallels with Toronto under Miller.

    I’m sure all you socialists keep a copy of Bob Rae’s book on your nightstand, so I’ll suggest you look up that passage again where he admits that the NDP had seriously considered bankrupting the province back when they were in power. That’s the outcome when you don’t run a city or province like a business. But you know what, we didn’t go into bankruptcy, thank god. The big question now is: Are we willing to learn anything at all from this remarkable gift we’ve been given, which is to see the results of trying to be everything to everyone at any cost? You know the old saying about repeating history, so I won’t bore you with it.

    There’s a reason you don’t go out an buy a big screen TV on credit when on your way home from the unemployment office, right? We all get that with no explanation, I hope. So why are so many railing against our municipal government for trying to operate in a fashion not that different from how we run our households? People accuse Ford of being a simple man, but I think that’s just what we need. We’ve just lived through eight years of having our city run by ideologists who put their big dreams of leaving themselves some sort of personal legacy ahead of our own real day to day needs, and now someone has to pay the price for that. Guess who that someone is? Well, the simply guy we elected says it’s us and I for one agree.

    “Yes, but he cut taxes unnecessarily,” you’re going to complain. Well, ignoring the fact he won a huge majority on that very platform, meaning that was just the promise for which people voted, I would argue the vehicle tax did very little for anyone but Miller’s favourite special interest groups. All Ford’s doing is saying, sorry but the taxpayer can’t afford to support groups in which most have no interest and they want that money back to feed their families and keep the lights on, thank you very much. If we find any spare change in the coming years we’ll be sure to give you a call.

    Lastly, I know I’ve heaped a lot of the blame on Miller, and while he’s definitely deserving, I’d be remiss not to include those who were running our city during amalgamation. They were adamant it wasn’t going to work and they did a splendid job of making sure it didn’t. We still have, what, like six City Halls in Toronto, right? If we’d made the hard choices back then instead of the easy ones, maybe we wouldn’t be paying for our past inaction. It’s the epitome of cutting your face off despite your nose.

    Or think of it like this: Bush walked into Iraq without an exit strategy and that mistake’s gone a long way towards possibly bankrupting the biggest superpower on earth. The same idea works for borrowing money. Without a plan to pay it back in a timely fashion, you’re eventually going to be screwed. Miller’s plan was to borrow money to pay the interest on the money he’d already borrowed, while raising taxes as much as possible to try to mitigate the damage. Sorry, that’s not a plan. If I had to call Miller’s pisspoor strategy a plan, I’d say his plan was to dump all our financial troubles onto your kids, effectively ruining their future right along with Toronto’s.

    It’s really simple, folks: No one rides for free.

    Of course, as always, your mileage may vary. Happy sailing.

  9. Now that the final set of recommendations is in, I hope you’re satisfied with the proposed cuts to snow removal, clean-up services, and especially the bit about the TTC blue-night buses, because god knows that’ll show all those rich bastards who have too much tax money to blow.

    There was never a gravy train. Oops.

  10. Funny, Gene, I was thinking the same thing. Hope you Ford lovers are happy with the proposed cuts. I simply can say, this mayor is selling Toronto like funnel cakes in Wonderland. Goodbye Toronto Sky Dome and welcome Rogers Centre..oh wait, that happened and we are yet to see what else they will sell. The CN Tower could be owned my a condom company, now that would be fun! :)

  11. FORD as for the name, I am referring to the FORD cars. Looks good on the outside but it will leave you high and dry when you need it the most. Such is the reputation this mayor is building…

  12. Gene – I actually am impressed by the variety of options available to the city council in order to get the books in order – and by that I mean stop spending more money than the city has and stop raising taxes to meet the shortfall. I think that is what every responsible citizen in this city wants, to be honest, and that is to not leave a massive defecit for their children.
    As for your puzzling comment about the rich having tax money to blow and there never being a gravy train, I think you must be having some trouble getting a grip on reality since there is a spending problem in Toronto and the “rich”, well they pay the most taxes of anyone. It’s not that they want to, but it just works out that way.

    Ford – The city council – not just the mayor, remember, are not selling the city, they are looking for ways to cut excessive costs. The Rogers Centre / SkyDome fiasco happened under the watchfull eye of Premier Bob Rae – NDP – and Mayor David Miller – NDP – I believe. So if a $800 million dollar building that was paid for from taxpayer money and sold to Rogers for $25 million is a great idea, then there is no point having any discussion.

    Since you also choose a very strange user name for yourself, it tells me you probably got what you wanted as a child and possibly as an adult not by working for it but by taking it. It was pretty classless no matter how you tried to word it.

  13. I’m now not sure where you’re getting your info, but it’s a timely topic and you make a ton of common sense.

    I hate Rob Ford. I think he’s a disgrace and an embarrassment to the city of Toronto, however he is the first Mayor in a long time to get transit construction going, and he took out that stupid bag tax and the extra $60.00 tax they added onto the driver’s license renewals, but with all that being said, he’s good at cutting waste and if council would just let him work he might actually do a lot of good for Toronto.

    So I’m behind him – but he has to clean up and I’m also going to vote for the right-wing candidate in my riding in order to help him out.

    Can’t believe I’m admitting this but he needs help – in council and real life.

  14. Hi Toronto Elite,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. I also agree but I really feel that for the fiscal conservative approach to really be welcomed at City Hall either more fiscal conservatives need to get elected, or the ones there have to be less, odd – for lack of a better description. That, or the right-wing supporters need to dig deep into their pockets and have the left wing candidates investigated, followed, their phones tapped and see how they feel when their personal space is invaded and their secrets revealed. Then, and only then, might we see a truce at City Hall.

    Something has to give.

    It certainly cannot be another 4 years of this same Rob Ford being attacked and not being able to get anything done.

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