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2010: Turning Point?

Irishmonk

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Despite the plethora of attractive new developments being completed in the city over the past 12 months, and many others on the horizon, the election of Rob Ford may render 2010 as one of the darkest years in this city's recent history.

Decades from now, when we look back at the last few months of this year, and specifically the election on October 25, it may be come to be seen as the critical moment that Toronto willfully, and perhaps irrevocably, lost its bearings and began to slowly self-destruct. From "stop the gravy train," to "transit city is dead" to "left wing kooks" to Ford's spineless minions on council stoking his ego by voting en masse to support his short-sighted measures that may cripple us down the road, this may be the time we threw it all away--and by "all" I mean the unique qualities that made this city a model of tolerance, sophistication and forward thinking in North America.

My biggest fear is that we may now be infected with the same selfish, mean-spirited mind set that has plagued America for the past 30 years. Are we now a "mean city", or is the Ford phenomena merely a blip in the arc of Toronto's history?
 

GraphicMatt

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I think we have to be positive, but not in the "Let's all pretend like we don't have entirely different priorities!" kind of BS sense some people are espousing. Rather, I think we have to look at recent political events as an unfortunately necessary detour on our path towards building a great city.

Half the city is completely taken with the idea that we can have a government that lowers taxes and focuses only on core services. Vision, they say, is irrelevant. I believe that they're wrong and I believe that the next four years will make it obvious WHY they're wrong. And then we'll really be in a great position to move forward as a cohesive city.
 

TOareaFan

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Holy Cow! The man was elected two months ago for a 4 year term and we are already fearing what we will think of this year decades down the road! Relax, have a drink, reach your hand out to the people near you and wish them and the city all the best for 2011!

Worry next week! ;)
 

nfitz

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I guess 2010 is when we found out just how many bigots there were in Toronto - or at least those who would willingly turn a blind eye to a bigot ... which is just as bad.
 

allabootmatt

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I would second the calls for relaxation. The trends propelling Toronto forward are much bigger than Rob Ford (no pun intended): the downtown housing boom, the general global return to city centers, the increasing economic importance of the arts, the 'creative class' etc etc. In some important ways Ford is on the wrong side of history. He can't strangle the downtown, just as he can't magically reverse the social and economic decline of the suburbs. What he can do is screw up and financially hobble the municipal government, but then again the municipal government has been screwed up and financially hobbled to various extents since 1998. The city has thrived regardless.
 

CN Tower

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The premise behind mayor Ford is essentially that deficit spending is malevolent. Capital investments such as transit are worthwhile but need to be prioritized and built to accommodate to needs and desires of the population.

Calling our mayor a bigot is imperitnent and slanderous. You don't like him personally but that's no excuse for name calling. The pre-judgments on his leadership are equally unfair and hopelessly premature.

Watch, listen, then decide. :)

A new decade is upon us. Let's all make it interestingly urban!
 

allabootmatt

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I would add that while I certainly think there's some overlap between the Fords and Tea Party/Republican politics, Fordism is a bit more complex than a simple importation of hard-right American ideas. I don't think Rob and Doug are anywhere near having a coherent political philosophy, but I'm often struck by the degree of paternalism in a lot of the mayor's ideas: less immigrants would be better because we can't ''take care'' of the ones who are coming, we need to ''take care'' of homeless people by getting them into shelters, etc. One can argue that this language shields some nasty preferences, but nonetheless that's how it's framed. Similarly, the basic implication of Rob Ford's famous ''the constituents are always right'' approach to governance is, if anything, a vast expansion of the scope of public-sector services and responsibilities. Having the mayor basically on speed dial for citizens -- which he apparently still is, at unknown cost to his ability to actually run the city -- certainly isn't the same as what the U.S. right has in mind for the role of government.

On our entry into a dark age, I would also add that 47 percent of voters certainly didn't support a candidate who promised to slash and burn public services in exchange for tax cuts. He promised those services wouldn't be touched! If bus routes and library branches start to disappear I can't imagine people taken in by the something-for-nothing promises will be terribly happy. That could set up a nasty backlash in 2014.
 
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jje1000

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The suburbs will lose in the long term due to the rising price of oil and Ford's idealogy. We'll likely be seeing further intensification in the downtown and around transit hubs. The suburbs will likely continue to fall in wealth, and will increasing become ghettoized in certain less desirable areas. Other suburban areas like Bayview and Sheppard will continue to remain wealthy.

With Ford, I can see municipal ventures being cut back or eliminated, but with this, private and non-profit enterprises will need to step up to the plate. I'm really itching for some non-profit organization to start taking over and turning unused plots of land into gardens or some real rider's union to be created. The bike lobby will continue to get more powerful in the future, whether we like it or not.

As for the city thriving, the condo boom has masked certain fundamental issues within the city (i.e. job creation, social housing). Whether or not the condo boom will end, these issues will need to be addressed. Ford will likely not address these issues, so again, it will depend on the citizens to attempt to rectify these issues.
 
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nfitz

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Calling our mayor a bigot is imperitnent and slanderous. You don't like him personally but that's no excuse for name calling.
He is a bigot ... it's not name calling, it's simply a recognition of what we all know. His anti-gay bigotry has been well documented by the media, and by other politicians. What is sad is that so many Torontonians clearly share his anti-gay bigotry enough to vote for him.

I don't see any reason to be in denial about this ... and I question the motives of those who try and whitewash the issue.

However to some extent you are not wrong, we need to ignore the bigotry, the wife-beating, the lying, the alcoholism, the drug-taking, the bribery attempt, the mis-use of taxpayer money, the faking of the resume, the criminal record.

Policy-wise, I'm not seeing much so far to be excited about. To compare Ford to McCallion is shocking. McCallion has already written to the provincial government to ask that the funding for the Sheppard LRT be used to build an LRT on Hurontario which does everything to traffic that Ford opposes. McCallion is an intelligent and savvy politician. Ford isn't.
 
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Irishmonk

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Personally I find the doom and gloom relating to Mayor Ford's election to be hilarious. I'd say Ford is more akin to Hazel McCallion than the Tea Party.

Except that Hazel McCallion seems to actually like Mississauga, and it shows in her efforts to create a city centre that her constituents can be proud of. Ford has never expressed any affection for Toronto, and seems to reserve his greatest displeasure for the original city which is really the only part of the city that could be described as being truly urban--i.e. liveable without a car--and having a recognizable identity to anyone outside the GTA.

If Ford's first month in office is any indication of what the next four years is going to bring then it's likely going to be a disaster at worst, and a sputtering malaise at best. Hell, in his first five minutes of holding office he swore to kill Transit City and that albatross is going to be dangling around his neck for the rest of the term. And then there's the deliberate polarization between the old city and outer 416 which has been hugely acerbated by just about everything he's said and done so far. I believe there is already enough evidence from the last two months plus Ford's 10 years as a city councillor to be extremely concerned about where our city is headed under his watch.
 
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toto

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Except that Hazel McCallion seems to actually like Mississauga, and it shows in her efforts to create a city centre that her constituents can be proud of. Ford has never expressed any affection for Toronto, and seems to reserve his greatest displeasure for the original city which is really the only part of the city that could be described as being truly urban--i.e. liveable without a car--and having a recognizable identity to anyone outside the GTA.

If Ford's first month in office is any indication of what the next four years is going to bring then it's likely going to be a disaster at worst, and a sputtering malaise at best. Hell, in his first five minutes of holding office he swore to kill Transit City and that albatross is going to be dangling around his neck for the rest of the term. And then there's the deliberate polarization between the old city and outer 416 which has been hugely acerbated by just about everything he's said and done so far. I believe there is already enough evidence from the last two months plus Ford's 10 years as a city councillor to be extremely concerned about where our city is headed under his watch.

Well said!
 

doady

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Hazel McCallion rides her bike to City Hall on Car Free Day while Rob Ford drives his minivan. Enough said.
 

CN Tower

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He is a bigot ... it's not name calling, it's simply a recognition of what we all know. His anti-gay bigotry has been well documented by the media, and by other politicians. What is sad is that so many Torontonians clearly share his anti-gay bigotry enough to vote for him.

I don't see any reason to be in denial about this ... and I question the motives of those who try and whitewash the issue.

However to some extent you are not wrong, we need to ignore the bigotry, the wife-beating, the lying, the alcoholism, the drug-taking, the bribery attempt, the mis-use of taxpayer money, the faking of the resume, the criminal record.

I seriously hope he sues you for libel. It wouldn't be so difficult to prove.
 

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