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Rob Ford and What’s All That Noise?

July 20, 2011

I’m a truck driver living in the core of the city, and on my long drives I dial in to a number of stations. Admittedly, CBC and AM 1010 make up the most of my morning listening.

Rob Ford and the changes in Toronto are making big waves, but I don’t know what’s really going on. If anything, media reports make it sound like a more divisive Toronto is emerging. Bike lanes are being taken away, driver’s are bitter on the AM talk stations, and the KPMG report is being touted as pointing out the gravy or pointing the way to the demise of the city.

David Hume wrote, of Mayor Rob Ford’s agenda:

His goal is less to make the city better than to make it smaller, to diminish the role it plays in our lives, whether at the park, the library, riding the subway or putting out the garbage.

How can anyone really know what’s going on when media has been so drastically polarized. Since, I live in downtown it doesn’t matter which way I vote, but that’s a different topic altogether. What I want to know is what matters to me? What happens to the services I care about? What will happen in the future, mostly to those services (although I’d love to have a crystal ball)? How will we care for ourselves and each other?

That last part sure does sound like some commie-pinko-socialist-leftist-small-mouth-piece-of-rhetoric, but I believe many people do care about services that can provide support to the most vulnerable and needy.

Though Jerry Agar laid out his three simple steps to not being poor and rationalized cutting childcare all at once by saying:

    1. stay in school
    2. don’t be on alcohol or drugs
    3. and don’t have kids until you’re ready to raise them.

Valid points, and so are the ten commandments. So simple that no civilization has been able to abide by them. People make mistakes and when they do we must work together to help them. That’s also simple.

Witty (I use the term loosely) phrases like “gravy train,” and aphorisms like “Toronto has a spending problem, not a revenue problem” don’t amount too much or getting things done.

Last Tuesday KPMG, the consulting firm hired by the city to examine more than 100 city services, released a report examining Toronto’s core services in hope to find a solution to the $774-million budget deficit next year.

The report outlined how The City of Toronto could save $20 million a year by 2013 if it acted on consultants’ suggestions to consolidate, merge and outsource the 311 discretionary administrative functions.

It found that 94 percent of the programs and services under government management are mandatory or essential. That means 6 percent of the programs are discretionary which include 311 development and organizational effectiveness services.

These services would be phone call centres (e.g. that answer questions about garbage delivery), outsourcing cleaning and security at city buildings, outsourcing payroll, computer stuff, fleet servicing, pay roll, the handling of pension plans, and payroll.

You can check this story here Core Services Review Part 6 and here Merging, outsourcing internal functions could save city $20 million, report says

What gets a lot of media hype and voter awareness are comments from councillors like Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti who said Tuesday, Toronto residents could be faced with a 20 per cent tax hike if the government fails to cut and slash properly.

Then, recently, Councillor Mammoliti said Toronto should look at stopping the funding to immigration resettlement. Yet, these acts, from a Ford supporter, sound like a lot of distraction. It sounds as if he’s saying “I’ll be over here making all this noise and making people afraid of Dyke marches and immigrants, and hey Ford go over there and slash while they’re not looking.”

Anyways, I’ve laid out a little about it. I’ll read the KPMG report because I have it now, and it’s so hot what else is there? The spat between Councillor Mammoliti and Councillor Janet Davis is pretty funny.

I hear murmurs of childcare, old age homes, and libraries being cut or scrapped or whatever. I’m going to wade through the filth of media and see what’s real.

No wonder we can’t get any real information. The councillors are calling each other names. I’m going to try that at my next board meeting and see how that goes. “Hey Bob that idea is bullshit, and you stole it from me anyways.”

Also, Jerry Agar needs to have David Hume on his show.

I didn’t edit this yet, please send disgruntled messages to me.



4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 26, 2011 6:42 pm

    People, those of you who support downtown agendas or think the
    public should spend money on arts and culture, please take one moment
    and consider history. Every great civilization of the past has fallen
    from within due to certain forms of overspending on cities, their
    culture and buildings therein. Every great civilization that has spanned
    a continent has failed due to over-taxation of the working class and
    farmers. Don’t take my word for it read some global history, I would
    recommend for starters, Chris Harman, A peoples history of the world. I
    know it’s nice to have opera houses, bike lanes and arts endowments but
    the truth is that none of that keeps us going economically, what does
    keep us going is cheap and abundant food and plenty of gainful
    employment. Thanks Rob Ford for getting started with this work, I would
    invite you to read the book as well, if we don’t know our history we
    will most certainly repeat it, lets try to repeat the good parts only.

    • jeffdoesread permalink*
      July 27, 2011 9:38 pm

      I hate arts and culture too. What have they ever done for anyone? Nothing.

  2. Hofferha permalink
    July 27, 2011 9:57 pm

    Hey Bobby-Lou, kudos, on your artful repurposing of Harman’s work to further Ford’s sexist, racist, and backwards agenda. Last I checked, bike lanes were part of infrastructure spending. Also, if you want to talk big-picture, Canada doesn’t really hold a flameto any of the great civilizations of the past. I think you might be better to redirect your libertarian suggestions to the U.S., whose fate Canada, and Toronto depends on much more — if we’re talking quack end-of-days scenarios.

  3. debbie permalink
    July 27, 2011 10:19 pm

    I like that Bob tried to sound intelligent but he really just put his ignorance on display.

    There is no such thing as a “down town agenda.” Rob Ford’s team made that up. His mismanagement will not make life hard in the down town only. It will make life hard city wide.

    Ford entered the Mayor’s office with a 300 million dollar surplus and in just 8 months that surplus is gone. His rants against property tax was understandable as no one likes property tax (mind you, I pay less property tax in Toronto than my mother does in Pickering and I have a larger house than she does).

    However, due to his vote grabbing tax freeze, we now have a shortfall of over 700 million. Is 50 million in grants (some of which aren’t funded through taxation and bore no annual cost to tax payers) gonna be a big step in clearing that up? Nope, but would 300 million have helped. Yeah, I think so.

    The fact is the city needs money to run and Rob Ford promised to find efficiencies at city hall. Guess what, he’s not looking. All he will do is cut programs. He used the city and suburb divide to get elected. So, those in the suburbs can say that us down towners get too much and we deserve to have our precious arts funding to get cut.

    But, because he can’t actually manage money, you suburbanites will loose your libraries, you will loose your snow removal and when you come down town to work every day you will wonder why the roads are such a mess or why the streets are so filthy. When you want to send your kids to city run programs and there are none, you’ll wonder where those went too.

    This may shock you, but Rob Ford can not provide you with cheap and abundant food. That is simply not within his mayoral responsibilities. Cutting that arts funding actually has an adverse effect on gainful employment. So, by your own standards he fails.

    You may have read that book and pride yourself on your knowledge of global history that you gleaned from that ONE book (mind you, I do suggest that if you are going to position yourself as an expert on anything it is probably best to consult a number of different sources writing from a number of different perspectives. I mean, that is just a basic rule of academia). But, dude, you lack a basic understanding of how Municipal money is spent. Get your head out of the sand.

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