News   Jun 14, 2024
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TOBuilt Rises from the Dead

I'm amazed at the culture we live in these days where everybody feels like they're under attack. Such vitriol. So divisive.

Homophobia never sleeps, but I think it's worth noting that we're not living in the Toronto of 1977 and that ( in a "we've been here before" context ) the ground has shifted beneath the Fords of this world since those days. Then, we were fighting for the reinstatement of John Damian who was fired for being gay, there were attacks on gay men as a result of the shoe-shine-boy murder, eggs and insults were thrown at drag queens on Yonge Street at Halloween, the Charter didn't exist, the human rights codes hadn't been changed and it was legal to deny housing and employment to gays and lesbians, CPP survivor benefits hadn't been granted, same-sex marriage wasn't even a cause on our political horizons, etc. None of this denies the urgent need to be vigilant, of course, and Darkstar is absolutely right to stress this.
 
The city contributing funds to Pride and Caribanna is a sound investment as these events bring a much larger amount of tourist dollars than the initial investment. But, hey, let's not see the greater picture.

Ford as Prime Minister would be a serious issue. Ford as mayor likely won't wield any power to make any sort of drastic changes. He has little respect among his peers.
 
Let's keep things in perspective. This buffoon probably also doesn't think much of Jews, Muslims, or Blacks either. We can't all give up or despair just because he was elected. He was elected because of a complex variety of reasons, not because Torontonians as a whole are homophobic. Politics is not that simplistic. It is unfortunate, but Toronto is Toronto, regardless of the government. It's time to begin the fight to remove this embarrassment from office in four years... not time to give up.

Remember, we've survived embarrassments before, and we'll survive this one too. And that's what the next four years will be... an embarrassment more than anything else.
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Since you have raised the issue, can you tell me why perception should take a greater importance over actual statistical evidence?


People living in their communities, and interacting with crime in a real and personal way, don't need your statistics to tell them that everything is hunky dory.


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.


I've never said that my perceptions are superior. This isn't about my perceptions, and I never made a comment that says I value perception over fact or vice versa. You dismiss all who voted for Ford off-hand, judging them all as lacking in critical thinking. This is your own perception, after all... or do you have stats to show this as well?



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.

No offense, but this is nothing but a load of bunk. If you 'feel' that everything is being run fine, that funds are being well managed, and that there is no room for improvement then fine.... but where's your proof? At the end of the day this too is your perception only.... and not that there's anything wrong with that.



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?

At the end of the day Miller had vision but did nothing about it so what's the difference? At least one is being honest about where they stand. Who knows, the perception of Ford as 'despoiler of culture' may just inspire great things in the arts and culture communities.

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.

His approach may be BS, or maybe it will change as it gets fleshed out... but at least he is talking about mass transit, and a commitment to it. This for me is just about the single most important issue for the city right now (my perception only disclaimer). Again, this isn't about 'loyal defenders'. If he cannot deliver on improving mass transit he will be tossed out. Toronto needs to start to demand leadership. Period.



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.

... and you're happy with this? If council can stymie he who you consider a dangerous/misguided mayor what's to stop them from doing the same with somebody who you would support? How did this state of affairs help Miller with his vision? Shouldn't this change?

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).

For somebody who claims to rely so much on fact you seem to like to read between lines and run away with assumptions. I have never claimed in this discussion to know what was ideal for the city. Most people without an agenda are simply trying to vote for a better outcome, and hoping to get one.
 
Checking out because you've simply outgrown a city is understandable, but if you're taking your ball and going home because the other side has scored a goal, that is inexcusable. Abandoning your city at a time when sane voices are needed most of all is an act of cowardice. Now's the time to act with an even greater sense of passion and determination, not withering frailty. If a person truly believes that their position is true and just, they should have faith that they will be vindicated, and that those who perpetuate lies and ignorance will ultimately be exposed for the philistines that they are. That's how society learns its lessons (and periodically re-learns old lessons), and we're all better for it.
 
It would have made a good subsection on this site, come to think of it - maybe Ed should see if he can give his hands on the database.

He was aware that I was interested long before this happened.
 
Archivist, man, you can do better than this. Don't give in just because of the fat guy who now holds the gavel. If he acts as mayor as he has as a councilor, council will eat him alive. Hope isn't lost.

EXACTLY! You love this city, we love this city. Don't give up on this city. Like Smitherman said, "it's too important". Ford does not represent Toronto, he is just the mayor. And I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't make it through the four years.
 
People living in their communities, and interacting with crime in a real and personal way, don't need your statistics to tell them that everything is hunky dory.

My statistics? Again, here is a case of your perceptions assumed to be speaking on behalf of others. This is the part where you assume a stance of perceptive superiority - even though you deny doing so.

I've never said that my perceptions are superior. This isn't about my perceptions, and I never made a comment that says I value perception over fact or vice versa. You dismiss all who voted for Ford off-hand, judging them all as lacking in critical thinking. This is your own perception, after all... or do you have stats to show this as well

I made reference to trenchant Ford supporters - the ones who will defend him regardless of what he says or does. If you bother to reread what I wrote you would see that I did not accuse all Ford supporters of being trenchant supporters. That's just your perception on what I wrote.

At the end of the day Miller had vision but did nothing about it so what's the difference? At least one is being honest about where they stand. Who knows, the perception of Ford as 'despoiler of culture' may just inspire great things in the arts and culture communities.

Yeah, Miller had a vision - which was not fulfilled. The difference is that Ford has no vision, so doing nothing is his pre-determined status quo. If you consider a politician who has no vision as a likely success, then you have a different view of what political success should be - or could be. As for Ford as a "despoiler" I have doubts that his attitude will be inspiring to either the arts or cultural communities.

His approach may be BS, or maybe it will change as it gets fleshed out... but at least he is talking about mass transit, and a commitment to it. This for me is just about the single most important issue for the city right now (my perception only disclaimer). Again, this isn't about 'loyal defenders'. If he cannot deliver on improving mass transit he will be tossed out. Toronto needs to start to demand leadership. Period.

Funny, but I do recall Miller talking about mass transit quite a lot. You might take note of that whole Transit City thing - which he had some involvement with. As much as some people might disagree with elements of the plan, he appeared pretty committed to it. If Ford "improves" transit, it will be on the back of Miller's efforts - as well as many other politicians. At best, Ford will tinker, and that's it. That being said, regarding Ford's ramblings on transit, he was the one going on about getting rid of downtown streetcars. If that's supposed to exhibit is commitment to transit, then I'll hazard to say that it is a pretty stupid way to show his supposed commitment. Of course this promise of Ford will never come to pass. Destroying the streetcar system downtown is far too expensive, and he knows it. But it did make some car drivers really excited. So chalk this one up to mere sloganeering and empty promises on the part of the new mayor.

... and you're happy with this? If council can stymie he who you consider a dangerous/misguided mayor what's to stop them from doing the same with somebody who you would support? How did this state of affairs help Miller with his vision? Shouldn't this change?

Ford's job is to build consensus with council, not dominate or dictate. That's the nature of democracy Tewder. So yes, I am happy when democracy works by stopping misguided ideas. Given his bombastic history, Ford will likely whine when his ideas are voted down by council. The assumption will be that his ideas were right, and others got in the way.

For somebody who claims to rely so much on fact you seem to like to read between lines and run away with assumptions. I have never claimed in this discussion to know what was ideal for the city. Most people without an agenda are simply trying to vote for a better outcome, and hoping to get one.

If anyone is running away with assumptions, it's you doing so here. If people have no "agenda" then how could they ever claim to be voting for a better outcome?
 
So Rob Ford got 48% of the votes, and that's only the eligible voters and the ones that even bothered to vote. So that's probably not even a quarter of the total population of Toronto. Is that really reason enough to lose faith in the entire city and its people?
 
As for Ford as a "despoiler" I have doubts that his attitude will be inspiring to either the arts or cultural communities.

Uh, perceived villains and barbarians can inspire, you know--and not in a "state art" way, either...
 
I made reference to trenchant Ford supporters - the ones who will defend him regardless of what he says or does. If you bother to reread what I wrote you would see that I did not accuse all Ford supporters of being trenchant supporters. That's just your perception on what I wrote?

Then what's your point? Any trenchant supporter of anyone is a wanker with a personal agenda (my perspective only and not one that is intended to be superior to that of anybody else's). As you now finally agree it wasn't 'trenchant' Ford supporters that gave him a landslide into power and it is presumptive to dismiss them as lacking in critical thinking.


Yeah, Miller had a vision - which was not fulfilled. The difference is that Ford has no vision, so doing nothing is his pre-determined status quo. If you consider a politician who has no vision as a likely success, then you have a different view of what political success should be - or could be.

Look, Ford has a vision to tackle the bureaucracy, cut wasteful spending and keep taxation and fees in check. You are completely within your right to disagree with this vision or to question his ability to achieve it but this doesn't mean he doesn't have one. As to whether he honours it or is able to deliver on it remains to be seen.


Funny, but I do recall Miller talking about mass transit quite a lot. You might take note of that whole Transit City thing - which he had some involvement with.

Granted. He talked a lot about TC. He also talked equally effectively about City Beautiful. Ineffectual plans and meagre results for two terms, if you ask me. Not that I'm holding out lots of hope for Ford either but his election does change the game in Toronto, at the very least, and could place Toronto in a different position in terms of its relationship with other levels of government.

Ford's job is to build consensus with council, not dominate or dictate. That's the nature of democracy Tewder. So yes, I am happy when democracy works by stopping misguided ideas. Given his bombastic history, Ford will likely whine when his ideas are voted down by council. The assumption will be that his ideas were right, and others got in the way.

The mayer can do little to dictate, as we know. I agree that an engaged council is a good thing but a disfunctional, lame-duck one will accomplish little and another four years under yet another roi fainéant will only increase the negative perceptions of the public, not diminish them.
 
While we are all entitled to our personal moments of despair and frustration about the world around us, I do hope Archivist reactivates tobuilt. It was tremendous resource upon which I relied many, many times. Its loss is a very sad thing, and I hope that he reconsiders. Even if he was bored with the venture, there are many alternatives to shutting it down.
 
So Rob Ford got 48% of the votes, and that's only the eligible voters and the ones that even bothered to vote. So that's probably not even a quarter of the total population of Toronto. Is that really reason enough to lose faith in the entire city and its people?

Actually, yes. I've lost a bit of faith with the amount of non-voters more than I have lost with those who voted Ford. If anything's disappointing, it's the lack of involvement or caring that a big chunk of the population possesses.
 
While we are all entitled to our personal moments of despair and frustration about the world around us, I do hope Archivist reactivates tobuilt. It was tremendous resource upon which I relied many, many times. Its loss is a very sad thing, and I hope that he reconsiders. Even if he was bored with the venture, there are many alternatives to shutting it down.

Has anyone heard from him? I'm wondering if there's some deeper despair involved...
 

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