I've also been following the news about the city budget, the mayoral race and the ever present big city TTC issues.
What strikes me most is how our mainstream news producers like to beat stories to death and seem to set the agenda for what should be most talked about in the city. While this sometimes helps and is noble in intent to involve citizens, it more often than not deflects attention away from neighbourhood issues and perhaps even turns people off participating in the political process. (Witness the Adam Giambrone never-ending soap opera - is anyone tired of it yet?)
Here just a few of the really local things ward 18 voters need to be aware of:
- Dufferin Grove Park is in danger of being taken over by city bureaucrats and we may lose many of the really innovative, successful and much appreciated programs there. For a starter background, see The Toronto Star Sat. Feb 20, 2010 "Bureaucratic Meddling Puts Park's Magic At Risk" by Catherine Porter: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/768586--porter-bureaucratic-meddling-puts-park-s-magic-at-risk?bn=1 Or just visit the park and see the "magic" for yourselves. Or check out the wonderful park website and newsletter: http://www.dufferinpark.ca/home/wiki/wiki.php
- West Toronto Collegiate Institute secondary school to be CLOSED ! Likely this September, 2010. This is a gorgeous building right across from where I live and is on land next to the small MacGregor Park near College/Lansdowne. For some background on this, see: Closing West Toronto Collegiate Would Be A Crime http://www.thelittleeducationreport.com/Closingwest.html or the junctioneer story: http://breakingprojects.com/junctioneer/2009/09/28/west-toronto-collegiate-instituteto-be-closed-and-land-sold/ You will no doubt be seeing the SAVE OUR SCHOOLS signs popping up everywhere. What's at issue is that this is public taxpayer land owned by a cash-strapped school board that could very well end up being turned into a gentrified privately developed condo.
- CATS, CATS, CATS - Have you noticed how many stray and abandoned cats we have in our back alleys, back yards and industrial areas? There is an excellent documentary film called CAT CITY by Justine Pimlott that really tells the story well. (You can see a short trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9x1sOzaYU0 or check out the Facebook page about it ). There are TENS OF THOUSANDS of cats roaming our city, due primarily to irresponsible owners who do not spay or neuter pets then abandon or lose them. It is a crisis our city council is ignoring. We must have a city response: bylaw to require spay-neuter of all pets, the only exception being certified bona fide breeders. We need more low cost spay neuter clinics, in downtrown Toronto.
- THE BUDGET and TAXES and USER FEES: This is not just a big city issue. a $9.2 BILLION budget can hide a lot of nasty suprises for citizens. TTC, Police, Library and Board of Health are getting increases. Property taxes go up 4% and there are increases to user fees and a host of hidden charges. Some background here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/toronto/toronto-budget-fails-to-hold-the-line-on-property-tax/article1469658/ Still time for changes to be made as the public is invited to comment March 1 and 2 (you can email councillors, the Mayor or attend and make a deputation Here is the city website about the budget: http://www.toronto.ca/budget2010/index.htm ). The final budget will be debated and passed by City Councl on April 15, 16. Get involved. It WILL affect YOU!
Stay tuned for more blog posts. I intend to develop a real platform of issues that voters can debate and decide upon. Issues, not spin is my promise and intent. Let's take local democracy to heart and decide our own future, together. No more self-centered or complacent leaders who tell us what to do.
DAVENPORT DESERVES BETTER