Community

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Things We Should Not Lose Sight Of


I have a lot of stuff running through my mind and when I go to write them down so I do not forget, I forget them.  So I’m going to try to empty those items in a Thursday 13 post, whereby I list 13 items on a topic, and the topic this week is 13 Things Happening Around Us We Cannot Lose Sight Of.

13.  Uruguay has a player named Luis Suarez who is a pretty damn incredible soccer player.  He beat England pretty much by himself which must have sucked since he plays in the English Premier League.  Suarez, however, likes to bite his opponents.  He has done this a couple of times before and was most recently suspended 10 games for it.  He clearly has not learned, however, as he bit a player in Uruguay’s FIFA World Cup game.

Now what are they going to do with him?

Should he not have learned by now?

If FIFA were his parents, would biting him back be justified to teach him a lesson?  How about making him write an apology, or punishing him for the lie he told when he denied that it happened.

12.  Russia appears to be trying to re-assemble the USSR which is disturbing, but even more upsetting is the amount of anti-Semitism and gay-bashing going around.  This country clearly wants to remain a super-power by controlling its citizens, however the trampling of basic human rights places them back in the 1960’s and that much be stopped.  Shooting down planes is also not cool at all.

11.  Toronto Mayor Rob Ford return to work on June 30th after 2 months in rehab.  He immediately jumps to the top of the polls for re-election and I don’t know why.  Granted, John Tory has 61% of the popular support, but it appears that Torontonians are poised to make another huge mistake.

10.  In my day job, as a tax collections consultant, I have found the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is taking forever to process simple requests and have been quick to assess but slow to follow-up.  Where is the accountability? #inTAXicating

9.   Miami Heat star LeBron James has opted out of his contract either to become a free agent and join another team, or because he realized he cannot do everything and that Chris Bosh is pretty fragile and useless, like he was in Toronto.  So with a new contract at a cheaper price, the Heat can buy more / better players.  But with LBJ on his way back to Cleveland, and talks of Bosh wanting to go to front-runner and defending champion Houston Rockets, does it make the Bosh-o-saur seem like less of a player, who wants to go where he can get a free ride, not bang in the paint and play safely?

8.   Toronto sports teams suck, and sports fans here are perplexed.  The Raptors and Blue Jays were supposed to suck and be last place in their respective divisions this season, but the Raptors won their division and the Jays are just out of first place in the AL East with pretty terrible starting pitching.  The Maple Leafs, on the other hand, and the Toronto FC, made changes and were expected to at the very least, make the playoffs but both bombed.

7.   Starbucks Brezza coffee is fantastic!

6.   I feel bad for business owners who do not do their homework… In my neighbourhood, for example, a new restaurant just opened selling food which I’m pretty sure no one will eat.  Worse, it opened across from a religious centre where very few would have / have ever tried that food.  (Shaking Head)

5.   Did they find that missing plane yet?  Sad.

4.   5-years yesterday since Michael Jackson died.  I seem to hear more and more of him on the radio each and every day.

3.   Girls and Woman in countries all over the world are being kidnapped and tortured for no reason whatsoever.  This needs to be stopped, like yesterday.  Until each and every person in the world, man, woman and trans-gendered are allowed to live free and safe from persecution, we have a long way to go.

2.   Hate is taught.  For a child to grow up in a free and democratic country and think it is okay to vandalize something with hate messages which probably would have gotten him jailed, tortured or killed in his country, means his parents and community are breeding hate and that cannot and should not ever be tolerated.  Shame.

1.   Education is the key, my friends, to pretty much everything.  Education, exercise, never trying drugs, and using common sense will lead to a better human race and should be the corner-stone for a new way to bring up our children and judge others.

 

#DontBeALemon

#BeARoseBud

 

Olivia Chow Running for Toronto Mayor Position. One of the Top… Spenders as a MP.


According to the Federal government, here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/PublicDisclosure/MemberExpenditures.aspx?Id=MER2013FY&Language=E

I’ll break out the stats. Have a look at others. This could be the Mayor to bankrupt Toronto:

Expenditures by Member

Member: Chow, Olivia

Member. Status. Constituency Name. Constituency Size. Number of Electors.

Chow, Olivia. Active. Trinity—Spadina. 26 km². 101,020

Category

Member’s Budgets ($)

Resources Provided by the House ($)

Travel Points

Total ($)

Reg.

Spec.

U.S.A.

1-Employees’ salaries and service contracts
241,328.49 – 241,328.49

2-Travel

Member
2,191.93 46,090.29 39.50 10.00 – 48,282.22

Designated traveller


Dependants


Employees
3,109.33 2,494.24 4.00 – – 5,603.57

Member’s accommodation and per diem expenses
7,240.65 – 7,240.65

Member’s secondary residence expenses
12,000.00 – 12,000.00

3-Hospitality and events
3,870.58 – 3,870.58

4-Advertising
3,296.96 – 3,296.96

5-Printing

Householders
– 28,835.50 28,835.50

Ten percenters
– 19,898.77 19,898.77

Other printing-related expenses
7,536.58 – 7,536.58

6-Offices

Constituency office leases, insurance and utilities
41,962.70 – 41,962.70

Furniture, furnishing and equipment purchases
505.00 3,457.65 3,962.65

Equipment rentals
2,403.41 – 2,403.41

Informatics and telecommunication equipment purchases
2,092.37 1,726.10 3,818.47

Telecommunication services
7,330.26 6,998.71 14,328.97

Repairs and maintenance
498.14 – 498.14

Postage and courier services
4,704.87 – 4,704.87

Materials and supplies
4,622.22 3,708.66 8,330.88

Training
348.04 – 348.04

Total Amount Spent: $458,251.45.
345,041.53 113,209.92 43.50 10.00 – $458,251.45

That is $458,251.45 in one year. One riding.

Take a deep breath and think again… Please.

STATUS:
Active – Member throughout fiscal year; DE – Deceased; NR – Not re-elected; NE – Newly elected; NSR – Not seeking re-election; RS – Resigned; NEB – Newly elected in by-election

How The Eglinton Avenue Re-Development Message Got Lost: It’s NOT About You!


This was a very troubling week for The Urban Daddy and our community.  An apparent sudden decision by the municipal government here in Toronto had thrust our neighbourhood into chaos and as citizens moved into action our efforts to seek the truth were suddenly derailed by the actions of one man – whom I will not mention by name, nor show his picture – who feels his 15 minutes of fame are far more important than the residents and taxpayers in this area.

It all started with a news report on CP24 alerting residents in Toronto that Toronto City Council was going to vote on the narrowing of Eglinton Avenue from Allen Road to Bathurst Street from 5 lanes, to just 2 lanes, so that the sidewalks could be widened, trees and artwork placed on the strip and bike lanes added.

All of this seems very nice, and very practical, and as a resident in Toronto, specifically someone who lives in between those streets and who is already impacted by the Eglinton Crosstown LRT / subway, this information came as quite a shock to me, and apparently to many of my neighbours.

This strip as it currently stands is terrible – construction aside – as a result of many one-way streets, and the absolute lack of traffic on the strip.  At night-time, the street is aglow with “MASSAGE” signs and very few people walk in this area at night because, frankly, there is nothing to walk to.  If the goal was to make this strip feel more “European”, then maybe Toronto City Council might want to think about the 3 months a year in which weather would comply with this drastic transformation.

In addition with St. Clair Avenue already being down to one lane in parts as a result of the transit right-of-way, doing the same to Eglinton Avenue, the next major road north, makes even less sense.  Eglinton is the end of Allen Road, an “expressway” of sorts which helps traffic flow north and south from Wilson Avenue without traffic lights, but with a lot of traffic.  People use Allen Road to head north to the 401 highway, and the delays have always been long and frustrating with or without construction, one could imagine it would only get much worse.

Let me at this point identify that I am pro every method of transportation.  Cars, bikes, walking, public transit are all great.  If I could take public transit everyone in Toronto, I would, where it makes financial sense.  If I could bike safely, I would, and my kids would too.  But we are not there yet, and don’t appear to be for quite a long time, so in the meantime, doing anything to slow down traffic does not make sense at all.  But that is my opinion…

So where is traffic going to go, if it cannot move along Eglinton Avenue, or St. Clair?  Well the side streets, of course.  We are already seeing a huge increase in traffic as a result of the construction, and in front of my house, for example, there is a stop street which very few cars actually stop at, some do not even try, and they fly through without even braking.  The “30km” traffic limit is always ignored, and speed bumps only cause a momentary delay as cars race off after passing them.  Even one-way streets are ignored, and it’s going to get worse.

But what about the kids?

This community, Cedarvale, which lies just north of Forest Hill, has a ton of children, and these children cannot safely walk in this community as it already stands.  Is Toronto city Council’s shortsighted view of the war on cars overlooking or ignoring the impact this re-development will have on the children in the community who are already scared to cross streets because vehicles travel very fast and do not follow the street signs when using Cedarvale as a short-cut to avoid the delays on Eglinton?

It would appear so.

When Toronto Mayor Rob Ford came to speak to the community about this issue, a couple of says after his return from rehab, I met some community members who lived on the other side of Eglinton Avenue in the next phase of this narrowing of Eglinton were just as shocked as I was, and who had put together a traffic study, which can be found right here; (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjP4HWMeieo&feature=youtu.be)

Adding to this frustration is that we learned that the City Planner had approved high density building along this strip with the widening of the laneways behind these buildings (which would require residential houses to be removed) to accommodate the traffic from these buildings.

More construction.

More traffic chaos.

Has the city planner, or city council ever been to these neighbourhoods?  $700K bungalows, and $1.5 million houses are common place in Cedarvale, much higher south and east of here, and a lot of families reside here who are certainly not going to need the extra sidewalk to walk to a massage parlour, a Whole Foods maybe, but clearly no one asked the residents what they want or need.  To look at the map of the area and declare it ripe for additional density of short-sighted.  This is not the right community for that.

Mayor Ford came to speak to us, and his message was lost, because of the actions of man who ran across the street, through frustrated traffic, so he could take off his shirt, pull out signs from his garbage bag and stop the community from hearing the Mayor’s views on this proposal, or to allow us to ask questions of the Mayor about what he knows about this plan.

The media at the event helped even less, but asking questions of the Mayor with disdain, like “How is it that you don’t know about this vote?  Is it not your job to do so?” when members of the community also knew nothing about this proposal, and then by diverting the attention to the few who took off their shirts for their own 15-minutes of fame.

If you watched any of the footage on TV, you probably heard me, and several others yelling for these 3 protestors to “shut up” and “let the Mayor talk” and while we did get a very short moment of quiet from them, it was when the guy yelling “resign” over and over again elbowed the Mayor’s campaign leader in the head while trying to get right behind the Mayor with his sign.

To his credit, the Mayor’s staffers did not respond or get as annoyed as the members of the community did, although, the police stepped in which this protestor yelled “don’t assault me” to the Mayor’s staff after apparently being kicked (I did not see this – I was recording the events) but the police decided to not charge either person, and the protestor was allowed to return and annoy the mayor and the residents.

The result of his actions were that the message of this proposal got lost.  The community were livid, the Mayor frustrated and the only person who got any attention was the guy with the sign, who proceeded to tell his story to everyone and anyone about how the Mayor lied, and how he works in a flexible position where he can follow the Mayor around and yell at him.

I waited after almost everyone left, and listened to his story evolve and change.  It was not about Eglinton Avenue and the residents or about traffic, but about someone who wanted to talk about how his was kicked, and assaulted, and how much support he has.

“Me Me Me”.

But it’s not about him.

It never was about him.

I looked at my video and saw a different unfolding of events which threw some key details of his story into dispute, and I shared that with the media and with the other Mayoral candidates teams so that they can be aware of the true intent of this individual.  He’s taking a very serious situation of an unwell person struggling with an addiction problem, who took the time to enter rehab and is now back trying to do his job, and he made it about him.

At the end of the day, we all lose.

As for the proposal along Eglinton….  I have no idea.

My message to Toronto City Council, Councillor Joe Mihevc, and the guy with the signs who likes to take off his shirt and disrupt important discussions impacting people their families and their community, is this:  It’s not about you.  It’s not about your legacy or your vision.  Leave Eglinton alone.  Don’t force another St. Clair on us because you want to be on TV.

Toronto City Council, don’t waste your time looking to spend money you do not have.  Clean up the area instead.  Fix the sidewalks, make sure the lighting is working, that dogs are on leash near schools, that the intersections are clearly marked and are safe (Ava and Strathern, for example), step up safety in the area and PLEASE, get rid of the raccoons!

Make the area safe and people will use it.

But Leave Eglinton Avenue alone.

And if you have a problem with the Mayor, address it the way everyone else does… At the ballot box.

Is This What Brothers Do?


Parenting questions to follow:

Last year was all about Skylanders!  My children HAD to have as many game pieces as possible (and that I totally understand from my hockey card collecting days).  If their friends had 25 characters, my kids needed the same 25.  Keeping up with the Joneses, I believe.  But then came the search for the elusive Ninjini character they HAD to have.  Only one other kid had one, and he got it from the United States.  Ninjini was selling on eBay for $80.00 and my kids would have ordered them all if given the opportunity.

I finally found one by fluke, when I walked into an EB Games location in downtown Toronto, but by the time I let the kids open her (only a week as I contemplated selling her on eBay) their interest in Skylanders was waning because the new phase of Skylanders were coming – Swap Force – and no one wanted to play with the older once anymore.

Geez.

In fact, Linus would play the game and Stewie would watch… for hours. Sometimes. Boo would use the character names or expressions and we would laugh because it was funny coming from someone who never played the game.

In our house, that fad has fizzled.

Now it’s all about Pokémon.

First Linus, the oldest, became interested, then midway through the school year, Stewie expressed his interest in collecting the cards and learning to play the game with his classmates.

What I don’t understand – and it might just be because they are brothers – and I don’t have a brother, is that they trade cards, they give away cards and they steal each others cards.

What’s up with that?

Do they not understand that if one kid has a gold card in their room at 9am, and by noon that card is missing that it is painfully obvious that the other took it?

But they deny it.

They yell.

They scream.

They accuse.

They write notes to each other.

They send each other bills for the missing cards based on a value clearly decided upon while reading a Richie Rich comic ($1,000,000).

Then the card(s) turn up with an elaborate story involving wind currents, forgetfulness, and finger-pointing at anyone and everyone but themselves.

We know what’s going on.

They know what’s going on.

Why do they do it?

Is this what brothers do?

When a Parents Says: “You Can Go Play With Your Neighbour AFTER Lunch”, Here is What a Child Hears…


On the weekend our children get up nice and early.  6am, usually, but 5am is not out of the question.

I believe we have convinced them not to come wake us (or each other) at that time, but I could be very wrong about that since they may not come and wake us up, but they certainly wake us through playing, talking and laughing.

Aside: Parents – How many of you also have become light sleepers as a result of your kids walking, talking, crying, calling, etc., in the middle of the night?

So after a 5:30am wake-up and plenty of playing around the house, my daughter Boo decided that she HAD to go visit our neighbour 2-doors down for a playdate.  These girls have become best friends, they go to the same school, were in the same class and we would walk to school together in the mornings.

But at 8am, it’s not nice to knock on someone’s door and invite yourself in.

“After lunch.” We told her.

“You can have a playdate with the neighbour, but after lunch.”

What she and her brother Stewie heard is a completely different story…

10 minutes later, the front door opened and by the time I got to the door, I saw Stewie entering the neighbours house, with no sign of Boo.

“Stewie!” I called out.  “Where is Boo?”

“Inside” he yelled back.

“Absolutely not!” I replied.  “It’s 8 o’clock in the morning and I said you had to wait until after lunch!  Get Boo and come back home!”


Both kids came back home and were greeted at the door by myself and my wife.

“What are you doing?” I asked.  “We said you could not go until after lunch.  It is only 8 o’clock in the morning!”

“We just finished lunch” was Boo’s reply.  “We ate breakfast at 6am, and were hungry again, so we just ate lunch.  You said we could go after lunch.”

Yes.

Yes, we did.