Posted in Community, family, government, news, politics, Toronto, ttc, urbandaddyblog

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.

Posted in Community, government, Life, politics, Toronto

What the Ontario Liberal Party, NBA referees and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford have in common


I have to be honest.

I’m pissed off.  I am fired up and I have not felt this way in a LONG time.

What has me all fired up, you ask?  Well it is the common bond that ties together Ontario Liberal Party leader Kathleen Wynne, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the referees of the National Basketball Association (NBA) who “officiated” the Toronto Raptors series against the Brooklyn Nets.

Any guesses?

Let me throw out a couple of terms which come to mind;

Stupidity.
Incompetence.
untrustworthy.

… and with all of these terms there is the one thing that binds them – that they are all completely inadequate at doing their jobs – and the frustration that they will not be punished for their inadequacies.

I’m at a loss.

Let’s start with the Premier of Ontario who took over from the former Premier but won this leadership role without a) knowing of any wrongdoing by the party before and b) took part in any decisions which were wrong (ie/shredding documents).  She thinks the people of Ontario are not aware that she is the exact same as Dalton McGuinty.

Really, Kathleen Wynne should not Wynne (err, win) the upcoming Ontario election, right?  She’s lied, played dumb, and is suing anyone who talks shit about her. She has proven to be a clone of Dalton McGuinty – spend first, then delist services and tax later. Then blame the Conservatives… Or the NDP.

Now that the campaign is on, I listen to her talk and no matter what she says, I cannot hear her.  I want to hear her – her message, her thoughts on the Province, on the city I live in, and on the hot button issues, but I cannot.  She talks and talks and I hear, “blah, blah, blah” and that noise is the past 9-years of Liberal rule and the lies, and waste that they have created all the while running the Province without any public scorn that has come the way of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (more on him coming up).

I’m angry because I feel like no matter what she says there are a whole lot of Ontarians who are going to vote for her anyways because the Liberals are the middle of the road party so a vote for them is a “safe” vote. But it’s an expensive vote!

I’m even more frustrated because I do not feel that the PC’s leader is fit for the job – he’s not warm and fuzzy like Dalton was – and no one wants to see a NDP government in power (thank you Bob Rae), I’m afraid for Ontario…

Now on to Toronto and Mayor Rob Ford, who continues to show even his most ardent supporters that he’s somewhere between a moron and a giant moron when he tells the public he’s not drinking anymore, that his drug use was a one time affair (drunken stupor, anyone?), and then he continues to get caught doing the things he’s been stating he was not doing.  On video yet!

So here is what I know now about him.

He’s a liar.
He’s a thug.
He has addiction problems.
He is in denial, and he thinks that the public will continue to forgive him time and time again.

That was until this latest video emerged of him getting high, talking rudely about fellow colleague Karen Stintz and in doing so, flushing away his chances at re-election.

So he pulls the rehab card.

And while everyone knows he should have been in rehab a long time ago, he has “checked into” the world’s most effective treatment facility where after one week he is able to make outgoing calls and report that he feels “incredible”.

This time no one buys it, and trust me… in the same way the Toronto Star refuses to touch the George Smitherman story, they will find Ford and expose him again.  Even toying with the idea of Doug Ford running for mayor was thrown out, the bottom line is that Rob Ford will not and can not be Mayor come the next election.  Politics is about trust and he’s blown it time and time again.  I don’t trust him, the people of Toronto don’t trust him and those who were out to get him from election day (hello Joe Mihevc) are laughing and laughing.

The final piece of this puzzle of stupidity have the names and faces of the referring crew who handled the Toronto Raptors series against the New Jersey (err, Brooklyn) Nets.  Foul after foul called on the Raps and you started to understand that the whispers surrounding this series might be true – that no Canadian team was going to beat the Nets.

Even after acknowledging that the Nets tanked their last 2 games of the season to set up a playoff series with the Raps, the league said and did nothing, and while fouled after foul were committed against the team from Toronto, they said little more.  It got to be so obvious that even in the game 7 loss, the refs called a foul on Kevin Garnett of the Nets instead of Deron Williams because Williams would have received his 6th foul and fouled out of the game, whereas KG could take another.  On this specific play, it was 100% clear that Williams bear hugged and took down the Raptors player and sat on the floor hands together as if praying not to be called.

Clearly guilty.

Until determined to be innocent by the referees.

It was awful.  Embarrassing.  A black eye for a league which already had to deal with a referee who was cooking games for betting purposes.  The league would have been wise to comment at any point in time to suggest there was nothing happening – even suggest there would be a review – but the league was silent and the Raptors lost.

 

So here I sit, frustrated that Wynne, Ford and these referees continue on today as if they have legitimacy in their roles but they do not.

They lie, cheat and steal and until we, the public, have our say and force them to find a different job, we will continue to be frustrated, and shake our heads in bewilderment.

 

 

Posted in Community, government, Life, news, politics

Metro News Answers my Question: When a comment isn’t a comment.


I don’t like to read Metro News, nor the Toronto Star and these are my long-time choices because I do not agree with their views on many things.  Granted, I appreciate many of the journalists at these organizations and hold nothing personal against any of them, I just don’t like the way they handle comments which are contrary to the views they publish, as was the case this morning when I commented on an article that I felt was inaccurate and biased.

Take for example this article in the “Urban Compass Toronto” section, written by someone named Matt Elliott regarding childcare in Toronto; “Next election Let’s Make Childcare the Issue and the Legacy“.  The article makes mention of 150 people protesting at Toronto’s City Hall asking on the municipal government (actually the article makes this Mayor Rob Ford’s issue – more on that later).  On the surface I agree that more can be done to help low and middle-income families and single parent families deal with child care so they can work and support themselves, but the last time I checked my list of responsibilities of the levels of governments here in Canada, the responsibility for child care falls in Provincial jurisdiction – under current un-elected Premier Kathleen Wynne and her tax and de-list Liberal party.

So in order to be sure that this wan not an oversight, I reread the article, then went to see what else Mr. Elliott has written and if his slant on this article were genuine or anti-Ford as seems to be the mandate of these publications, and it would be clear to me that the latter was correct.

With articles titled;

I firmly believe that either Mr. Elliott is being told to slam the Mayor with every article – sells papers – or maybe he is just not a believer in being fiscally Conservative – both totally fine – but he really should be clear upfront about this, shouldn’t he?  There is nothing wrong about being left-wing if you are willing to back it up, be clear to your readership and not write articles which represent “Urban Toronto”.  Urban Toronto does not agree with your views, Mr. Elliott.  Some may, but not everyone does.

So I took the time to craft a response.

I chose my words clearly and I used supporting documentation from the Government of Ontario website which stated that in 2010 the responsibility for childcare in Ontario was moved to the Ministry of Education.  I also pointed out that maybe if the Liberals were more fiscally responsible, they would have the funds to subsidize middle-class childcare and provide free child-care for the poorest and most in need in Ontario.  I think that is fair and a good use of our taxpayer dollars, do you?  Surely if the Liberals could have balanced a budget in the past 7-years without needing to raise taxes or de-list services they would be able to do exactly what Mr. Elliott, the defender of Urban Toronto, suggests.

I posted my comment for moderation.

It was deleted.

I am disappointed, yet not surprised.

I am not going to hold my breath waiting for a story about the 5 (or 15) ways Kathleen Wynne lied, or for a detailed look into George Smitherman who was reported to be a user of drugs, whose husband was found laying by the side of train-tracks and who blew a billion dollars of taxpayer money, yet was endorsed by the Toronto Star as being the best choice for Mayor, and I am not going to wait for someone to do some digging into Olivia Chow’s campaigning for Toronto Mayor while employed as a member of the Federal government who may or may not be using her office to support her future desire to be Queen.

Those investigations will never come from the Star, or from Metro.  Not when it’s way too easy to post an unflattering picture of the Mayor, a man with serious addiction problems, and make fun of him…

Posted in news, politics

A Dangerous Precedent Has Been Set Here in the City of Toronto


A dangerous precedent has been set here in Toronto with regard to the investigations into the personal affairs of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The Mayor has done a lot of suspicious, dangerous and illegal things in his life and they are all coming back to haunt him right now, but the worst thing he may have done, was to have started a feud with the Toronto Star newspaper.

I asked a senior member of the CBC if there was a bias against the Mayor and the response I received was a clear and immediate “NO”, but I cannot help but think that is not completely true, so I posed the following question;

“If Rob Ford loses the next election, and a left-leaning politician is elected Mayor, would a Toronto Star reporter stand on cinder blocks behind his/her house and snap pictures of the family?”

I doubt it.

“Would the media wire tap the phones, and follow the Mayor, snapping pictures of him/her in their car, in a fast food restaurant, or at public events?”

Doubt it.

What if the Mayor was a female and she was heavy? Would NOW Magazine put her face on the body of a large naked woman and post it across the front cover?”

Still doubt it.

And my final questions to the few people in our house was this;

“If former Mayor, David Miller was caught in conflict of interest after stating that he was stepping down from Mayor (but not yet stepped down) would the Toronto media make a fuss?”

I got a response to that last question that “no” if the Mayor was caught doing something in conflict of interest it didn’t matter because it was not a drug habit, or being drunk at public events… It was just a conflict of interest.

“But didn’t lawyer Clayton Ruby not try to get the Mayor thrown out of office for conflict of interest over $300?” I pressed.

“Well. he didn’t get turfed from office, right?” was the response I received.

But someone tried to, and that Is part of my point. No one tried to do the same to Miller. Multiple people tried to do it to Ford.

And what about the HUGE issue that people take with Ford’s alleged drug habit – that he might be supporting the drug trade through his meetings with Alesandro Lisi.

“That’s the worst possible thing he has done!” was what someone told me.

So if you want Ford removed from office because he may have paid a drug dealer for drugs, how do you feel about the Toronto Star which admitted to have paid $5,000 for a video of Ford having a temper tantrum. The person who had the video, Mohammed Faria, also tried to broker a deal for the “crack” video of Ford for $100,000 from the Star and $200,000 from website Gawker.

Faria also was arrested in Toronto Police raid Project Traveller and charged for having a gun in his apartment along with his mother and sister.

Would that not be a case of the pot calling the kettle black?

I just cannot see the Toronto Star going to the same lengths to investigate Karen Stintz, Olivia Chow, John Tory or Adam Vaughan.

People in the media feel otherwise…

After this slippery slope, the Star, NOW magazine and other media outlets had better start digging and put up more of a fight than they did getting to the bottom of the billion dollars of taxpayer money that previous Mayoral candidate George Smitherman wasted while Minister of Health for the provincial Liberal government.

Either downtown Toronto was okay with this style of spending or this issue was swept under the carpet over and over again so as to keep their preferred candidate from being out of the race right away.

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions, but it looks really suspicious to me.

I’ll guess we will wait and see what happens going forward now that Karen Stintz has declared her intention to run for Mayor in 2014, and Olivia Chow already using her Federal office staff to begin her campaigning for Mayor (another conflict of interest being ignored it would seem) and John Tory not too far behind.

My sources tell me that Mayor Ford is set to announce that he is taking a leave of absence from his position for a month to enter rehab. The CBC thinks he’ll step aside for 2 weeks. We both feel if he does this he is guaranteed to remain Mayor of Toronto past 2014.

There will come a time when the Toronto media goes too far in their singling out of Ford and right or wrong, it will result in him being Mayor for as long as he wants.

Interesting times ahead!

#DrunkenStupor