I’ve been challenged by those leaning to the left (maybe a little too far to the left to make a difference) and those standing in the centre to give them 10 good reasons why I am voting for the right-leaning Fiscally Conservative, Rob Ford, for Mayor of Toronto on October 25, 2010.
Here is my list:
10. Once elected, Ford pledges to cut waste at City Hall, and that means no councillors will be given free passes to anything, or free parking or free TTC passes… I know even those on the left can feel my frustration when reports come out that councillors without cars were passing off their free parking pass to others.
9. Reduce spending – It makes sense after cutting waste, to reduce spending. This goes right in the face of George Smitherman’s campaign promises as this is a big part of Ford’s campaign. He’s going to reduce spending on salaries, on unionized garbage workers, on building middle of the road streetcar only lanes that mess up streets.
8. Eliminate the hated city vehicle registration tax – Toronto residents have to pay $60 every year to register their vehicle. It’s a cash grab that hits families hard. Rob Ford will push to eliminate the Vehicle Registration Tax at the first City Council meeting after becoming Mayor. Too bad I just renewed my vehicle for 2 years and paid $120.00 extra.
7. Eliminate the land-transfer tax – This tax almost killed us when we bought and sold our house. The land transfer tax on a million dollar house in Toronto costs the seller over $10,000.00.
6. Garbage and other solid wastes must be collected on schedule, without fail. The strike during the summer of 2009 put the health of people and families in Toronto at risk. Etobicoke, for example, uses contracted providers and saves the city $2 million each year. By adopting the same approach for the whole city, taxpayers will save about $20 million each year and can have the confidence their garbage collectors won’t go on unnecessary strikes.
5. People and businesses in Toronto depend on the TTC to get them from home to work, or school. When the TTC isn’t running, the city grinds to a halt and commuters and businesses suffer. TTC service is essential and it must be designated this way in order to prevent costly strikes.
4. For seven years, City Hall has tackled Gridlock by declaring war on cars in Toronto. Toronto has eliminated lanes from busy roadways, increased parking charges, ignored roadway repairs and generally made life miserable for drivers
3. I often wondered why it takes my 20 minutes during rush hour to go north on Bathurst street considering all the lights should be synchronized, right Well they’re not. I no sooner leave on light and the next one is red… Very frustrating. Once elected, Ford, will synchronize the city’s traffic signals to improve traffic flow.
2. We will keep and maintain our Expressways. The Gardiner Expressway, Don Valley Parkway and Allen Road/Expressway will be maintained, without tolls, as key components of our transportation infrastructure.
1. Build a comprehensive network of off-road paved, illuminated, bicycle trails with street lamps across the city. In addition, 100 km of pedestrian paths alongside the bicycle trails.
Not bad, eh? But in case you are still not convinced, I have more reasons…
- Introduction of Smart Card technology for fare payment on TTC
- Streetcars are not the answer to Toronto’s transit needs – To attract drivers into transit, it must be comfortable, convenient, affordable, reliable and rapid. Streetcars are none of these things. Streetcars are slow (average speed: 17km/h) and take hours to travel across town. This limits your ability to live in one part of the city and work in another. Streetcar construction destroys streets and interrupts businesses. Streetcar lines down the centre of arterial roads increase gridlock and create pollution.
- Hiring of 100 additional frontline police officers giving Toronto Police enough new officers to
- Protect Children in Schools. 30 additional School Resource Officers will double the number of schools protected by this successful program. By introducing police officers to youth in a positive environment, students are less likely to take a negative view of police and more likely to seek help for issues before they reach a violent stage
- Target Gangs, Guns & Violence in More Communities. 70 additional frontline officers will support an expansion of the successful Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) targeting gangs and violence in priority neighborhoods year-round.
Still not convinced? Still can’t move past the way Ford looks?
Then let’s look at the very poor #2 choice, George Smitherman and his “plan” for Toronto.
George has a three-point plan to get Toronto working again:
- Get City Hall’s books in order. How? Freeze taxes and hiring for one year. Freeze spending for 100 days so he can review “every dollar the city spends”
- Get Toronto moving again by expanding transit to every corner of our city, ensuring faster, round-the-clock road repairs and separating bikes from cars to improve safety for both. How? Where is this money going to come from?
- Create jobs – especially for young people – by telling the world we’re open for business. Really? LOL. Yikes!!!
Even though George will not talk about the eHealth scandal – he has walked out of a debate when it came up – stating that he had nothing to do with that scandal. So I guess as a deputy premier for the province of Ontario, he had no power to stop this from happening. He does, however, say this; “I have the experience of being a senior cabinet minister – and have the scars to prove it. I know what it takes to run an organization as complex as the City of Toronto”.
So how is George going to pay for all this? It’s on his website. Go see it for yourself. But I have taken these figures right from his sight and made it nice and clear.
$100 million from the province
$100 million from the sale of Enwave
$65 million from selling off “unused city land”
$33 million from growth in property tax payers.
So he’s going to sell of city assets and use property taxes to pay for his plan. Hope you like paying $20,000 a year on property tax.
But George is going to find cost savings too… So what are in his plan?!?
Well, George is going to save $61 million by only re-hiring 2/3rds of city staff that retire
Save $50 million by spending less and;
Save $150 million by being smarter and buying all of Toronto’s items together, a la Rob Ford…
So there are some might big assumptions here… One that the province is going to give the city $100 million dollars, and that there will be enough city assets left for George to sell to pay for his plan. Once an asset is sold, it’s gone forever.
By this rate he’ll burn through the 1 billion that was wasted while he was deputy premier of Ontario in 4 years as Mayor of Toronto.
But what about the re-hiring of only 2/3rds of retiring city staffers. Well anyone involved in city politics knows that retiring city workers are at the top of their pay-scales and a majority of them are probably pulling in over $100K/year. Basically Smitherman is going to rely on attrition and not rehire the 6% that retire each year, but he’ll re-hire the fat cats with their pensions and seniority. Nice…
So what is this $100 million dollars Smitherman is going to net by selling Enwave?!? Well the city of Toronto has a 43% stake in Enwave Energy Corp. and after 7 years of spend-first, tax the rich leadership, the city faces a budget shortfall of as much as $500 million.