There is more to a perception of growing violence than death statistics, and is it really even an issue of quantifiable escalation at all? The issue is the perceived safety of communities, gang activity, crime and drugs etc, and for you to dismiss this concern off-hand simply shows how out of touch you are with the realities that many people who voted for Ford live with in the areas of the city that elected him.
Since you have raised the issue, can you tell me why perception should take a greater importance over actual statistical evidence? If one goes by your line of thinking, then we ought to be establishing a police state in order to stave off the concerns defined by the most extreme of perceptions. Curfews anyone?
Funny how you would accuse me of being "out of touch" when you argue that perceptions are a better guide to understanding crime rates in the city than the actual measured crime statistics. If you are so in touch, can you tell me if those perceptions are experienced equally across the entire city? Are they based on personal experiences with respect to criminal activity? Are all individual experiences exactly the same? As a booster for the value of perception, I am now expecting you to address these questions.
As for the perception of increasing taxes, what this really translates to for many is a perception of difficult economic times, rising costs and fees in the face of fewer services, and a legitimate concern that funds are not being managed responsibly. Again, for you to dismiss this only shows you to be out of touch with the hard realities that many who voted for Ford face.
Again, you speak to perceptions alone - perceptions you claim
to know of. It's clear that you particularly value unsupported opinions when they service your own political agenda, but I am questioning your the veiled idea that your knowledge of these perceptions is somehow superior. What is the nature of your deep insight into the collective impressions of the citizens across the city? Do you know the exact reasons behind every vote for Ford? If you do, please share.
City services can be supported or increased if there is money available to do so. That being said, the city cannot control certain costs (electricity, fuel, construction supplies, inflation, etc) which factor directly into budgeting. Decreasing or freezing taxes will result in less money for services. There is no "more for less" to be had. If people want to pay less in taxes, they should fully expect fewer services. The debate will be about what stays and what goes. There is no extra-special list for what should go first - all perceptions aside. In addition to this, proof is required to show that funds are not being managed well. It's easy to state an opinion on what constitutes poor money management, but that actually requires a set of facts and a reasoned presentation to support such an assertion regarding poor management. I'm not doubting the existence of poor management practices in a bureaucracy, but it has to be shown to be so. Mere assumptions and "perceptions" don't cut it.
The fact (not the perception) is that the municipal tax rate for Toronto is lower than the surrounding suburban cities. Tough economic times are hardly isolated to Toronto, and are not caused by municipal taxes, a land transfer tax or a car registration fee. Cutting those taxes will hardly make any tough economic times go away. However, reducing and eliminating these fees will make some city services disappear (and as noted, what should disappear is open for debate). In addition, cutting these taxes will also likely eliminate operating grants from the province as they will view such tax-cutting measures as merely political. The city does have both a right and a responsibility to raise its own revenues. Why should the province supply cash to a city where the politicians cut taxes to merely attract political support?
Thinking 'critically'? What vision are you talking about here? Miller talked a lot about visions that never really materialized because he had no control over his council or spending. I mean, City Beautiful? Really? Much of what did happen under his tenure in terms of cultural infrastructure renewal for instance was funded privately and through support from other levels of government. Why would this change? At least Ford is talking about subways rather than bike lanes.
You jump to the conclusion that I supported everything Miller did. I agree, City Beautiful didn't achieve much, but under Ford it is likely as good as dead. As for cultural infrastructure spending, I believe that many conservative politicians like Ford dislike such spending. If you supported both of Miller's initiatives, you are quite likely to be disappointed by Ford's approach, so why even cite them?
As for Ford's approach to building subways, in some instances he's talking about funding subways through the sale of air rights. This would presume some form of high-rise development. But he also has stated that people should not have to endure development out of scale with their neighbourhoods. Since most of the presumed subway building would be in the suburbs or in low-rise neighbourhoods, its hard to see how this disconnect could be overcome. That's being out of touch.
Is it really an issue of 'loyal defenders'? I mean, doesn't everybody want what's best for the city? If Ford proves useless then he will be tossed out, happily. If you're hinting at some hidden partisan conspiracy with a social agenda I would suggest you need a little more critical thinking too.
Time will tell with respect to loyal defenders. But if you have paid any attention to politics over the years, I can assure you that this will happen. Council will stymie poor mayor Ford, the province will say no, this or that interest group will apply pressure - it will never be about the fact that his promises were unworkable in the first place. It is a tried-and-true political tactic to blame someone else for failures or promises that could never be kept. You won't be seeing the land transfer tax going away and you won't be seeing streetcars vanishing. That was Fordian political theatre that he knows is impossible to deliver on.
Finally, regarding what's best for the city, you state that as if the content of that ideal were absolutely clear. It isn't - no matter how much you value your insight into perceptions. What's best is at the heart of the political debate. In fact, it is politics. It's a surprise that you would miss something so obvious. Now that is an absence of critical thinking on your part, or just a presumption of your own sense of superiority on how things ought to be understood (or perceived).