Mihevc is one of the best, if not the best, councillor in Toronto. SOS is not grassroots, but actually mostly Astroturf, so I doubt that Mihevc would fall on this issue. Also his ward encompasses a larger area than just the streets off St. Clair.It sounds as though there will be a strong challenge put up from this group against Mr. Mihevc in the November elections. It will be important for transit supporters to help him in this election so we don't have a repeat of the Karen Stintz debacle where the anti-Minto forces recruited a NIMBY who won the council seat.
^ not to mention that many of the SOS Nitby's (not-in-THEIR-back-yard) are from Richmond Hill and other places far from St.Clair.
I helped out with petitioning for the PROW on a few occasions. My favourite declarations from local residents were people who would yell "no one on my street will ever support the ROW!" at us when their neighbours on both sides of them (and up and down the street) had signed the petition.
"SOS is not grassroots, but actually mostly Astroturf"
Please pardon my ignorance, but who is behind this campaign, if it's not locals?
The campaign was started by and is funded and run by St. Clair merchants. Although a few merchants do live in or near the community, most do not. However they do work there or atleast own property/business in the community. The movement's campaign did broaden the movement to include the community, petitions in stores, churches, festivals, organizations. There is some anti-streetcar sentiment in the community, but much is due to the campaign of businesses. The organzed core remained the businesses as can be seen during their marches on St. Clair where busineses gave workers the time off to attend the march etc. During the last year most SOS members were community members attracted by the campaign.
That said there there are probably more r-o-w supporters in the community as judged by turnout at meetings in the community, responses to questionaires etc. Not a large majority, probably 60-40, not sure. There are also fracture lines between drivers and peds, transit/ bikes. Environmentalists leftys/ fiscal rightys, even ethnic tensions.
The reason one might say that it is not a grassroots movements is because it was organized by the most powerful members of the community, with probably a majority of these anti-streetcar businessmen living outside the neighbourhood. The anti r-o-w campaign eventually attracted a significant section of the community.
On the other hand you could say the same thing about the pro-right-of-way side. Perhaps 50% of the people who initially worked hard on the right-of-way were from outside of the neighbourhood. This quickly changed as riders and environmentalists along St. Clair became organized. The main difference was that the one group had and spent large amounts of money while the other side was broke. Also, of those who were from outside of the neighbourhood working for the right-of-way the vast majority were from nearby Toronto neighbourhoods whereas many of the active businessmen were from the 905.
SCRIPT decided to have only local people involved in the campaign for over a year, whereas the businesses have maintained control over SOS, other than their spokesperson Margaret who previously worked with the Province on EA's. Whether you like or dislike Margaret she is much more progressive than the bulk of the BIA leadership and she lives in the community. Unlike the BIA's she doesn't look down on streetcar riders or consider them lowclass criminals. Always fun to talk to the BIA's to find out their opposition to the right-of-way.
By the way the BIA ran an anti-right-of-way candidate to run against Bravo and Palacio (both were pro r-o-w at the time). Although his name was plastered on St. Clair stores with 'say no to the barrier' on it, he only got 10% of the vote. Unless you live in the community you can't vote.
^ Thank you very much.
Well, SOS is calling it quits on the court challenge, from the Star:
Foes of St. Clair right-of-way drop court battle
Mar. 9, 2006. 01:00 AM
JOHN SPEARS AND GABE GONDA
CITY HALL BUREAU
Save Our St. Clair, the community group opposing the transit right-of-way on St. Clair Ave. W., will give up its court battle but continue the fight in this fall's municipal elections.
The group, known as SOS, has only a slender chance of winning in court, group founder Margaret Smith said yesterday.
Instead, it will turn to politics, using its network of contacts across the city to oppose councillors whom SOS considers don't represent their constituents on transit issues.
SOS will support candidates running against both local councillor Joe Mihevc and Mayor David Miller, Smith said.
"We will absolutely be targeting the mayor," Smith said. "The mayor came to this community in person twice and promised us that he would not force this project on us if we didn't want it. And he broke his promise."
SOS has battled the city's plans to create a new exclusive street car right-of-way along St. Clair from Yonge St. to Keele St. The city says it will benefit transit; the opponents say it will ruin the street and provide only marginally faster transit service.
"We'll be working with local communities to find local people who will stand up for democratic rights," she said.
SOS hasn't worked out a full list of councillors it will support or oppose.
A spokesman for Miller welcomed the news that SOS is dropping its legal challenge, which clears the way for the project to proceed. He wouldn't comment on the prospect of a political battle.
Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul's) also said he's pleased SOS is abandoning the legal challenge.
He shrugged off the planned political campaign. "That's what elections are for — to approve or disapprove of people's leadership in public policy. I stand by my leadership on this issue."
Tell the SOS people to just shut up and go back to Woodbridge.
I really don't know what it is with my friggin Italian people, that they are so anti transit. Ever notice that Vaughan also has the worst transit service in York Region??????????
Tell the SOS people to stay in Vaughan if they don't want to see transit.
Sheesh! Will they ever go away? >:
I think Margaret Smith will be a flameout if she goes up against Mihevc - she's so delusional, it isn't funny - like thinking that the majority of St. Clair residents were against the ROW, and would love to throw out Mihevc on that issue. I see the Wychwood Barns being a bigger issue, given that there was enough local opposition to it, though he did lead the fight against the McDonald's drive through.
Oh when's construction going to be done under the current schedule? It's unfortunate that it'd happen after the 2006 municipal elections - I would love to see SOS eat their words on the ROW being the doom of St. Clair. I suppose we should do a body count of children ran over by streetcars post ROW, as a retort to the "think of the children" nonsense.
The TTC might get a little more support though if they actually where improving the service on St Clair with the ROW. But they are not. 31min or whatever it is to go 6KM is just stupid. The Sheppard subway does the same distance in 7min.
If there was plans to really make St Clair a proper high speed transit corridor, then it would be even more wicked then just the ROW.