This Is Our Mayor ?!?!?!

“Services will not be cut, guaranteed."       
“There will be no major service cuts to the TTC.”
“There will be no major service cuts to the TTC in 2012.”

That’s three different direct quotes by one person, the Mayor of our great city, Mr. Rob Ford.  Slightly contradicting?  If you know him or have followed him, you’ve learned to accept that he does shit like this, like it or not.  And the reason is simple really.  He was elected based solely on one platform.  He is an average everyday guy, wanting only to run the city for average everyday people.  It’s a campaign that in all honesty was noble, but it brings to light a very important focus point.  You see, you can hate on politicians as much as you want.  I mean sure they are conniving, they have hidden agendas, maybe they don’t always say or do what they said they were going to say or do, but one things for sure, you want a seasoned vet of the political game in charge at the end of the day.  One with a track record of accomplishments, and one who, for the most part possesses some assemblage of how to do things, preferably in the right way.   Since his election approximately a year ago, the people of Toronto have learned a very important lesson, and it’s something I said when he was running, it’s something I’ve always said and it’s something I will continue to say until my last breathe has been taken.  You don’t want average everyday people running shit, because point blank, average everyday people don’t know how to run shit, hence why they are average everyday normal people.  Look at it like this, I’m about as average as they come.  Normal, everyday guy, who goes to work, comes home, eats and repeats.  I have my views, some of which are rational, some of which are extreme, and I have ideas on how things should be done.  Now ask yourself this, knowing me as well as you do, do you really want me to run this city?  Probably not, because in the grand scheme of things, although I keep a mean blog, drive a bus much smoother than the next guy, and always have a story or joke to tell, I don’t bring a whole lot more to the table.  And I certainly don’t know anything about balancing a Metropolis sized budget, being in front of a camera where everything I say and do is open to grand speculation and criticism, or having every decision I make result in the spending of millions of dollars’ worth of someone else’s money. But this isn’t about me, this is about Bubba, and so on the eve of a decision that will no doubt result in a fare increase AND major service reduction to the TTC, which he promised wouldn’t happen on his watch, let’s look at a few things he’s done in and around the city, to make it oh such a lovely place to live. To be fair, I won’t get into his hot headed temper tantrums with 911 operators or people who take his picture while he’s using his phone and driving.  Nor will I dwell on his personal feuds with particular media outlets or the fact that he can’t remember the last time he could do up the bottom two buttons on his shirt, I’ll just look at hard issues, numbers and facts.
Removing the Vehicle Registration Tax

This was just ridiculous, and downright redundant.  Although, I suppose it had to be done, since it was one of the promises he made on his campaign towards election.  One of the few I might add, that he has actually kept, if not the only one he kept?  Truthfully speaking, the VRT wasn’t that bad.  Anyone who lives in the city, and annually registers their car had to pay an additional $60 tax, which translated, equates to sacrificing slightly more than a case of beer a year, for the betterment of the city.  You may disagree, and that’s okay, but you’re short sighted.  That tax generated $200 million for Toronto, which could have gone a long way and done a lot of positive things, it wouldn’t have cleared us from the red by any stretch, but it sure would have dented the shortfalls.  And from Ford’s perspective, the tax was implemented by a previous administration anyway who already suffered the political back lash from it, so he should have just left it alone.  

 Closing of Public Swimming Pools and Arena’s
Besides the fact that public swimming pools and arena’s, or community centers in general, offer employment to numerous high school and university students trying to support themselves and their education, these places do something that is invaluable to our society.  They offer a refuge to our youth, an inexpensive place where they can go and have fun, exercise and be supervised by at least somewhat positive role models in our community.  Its two fold really, battling negative influence and obesity at the same time.  And I don’t give a shit how much it costs to operate places like this, because the reality of it all is, without venues of such, there’s only one place cheaper to spend your days.  Out in the streets, where there are no lifeguards, no counselors or no rec committee employees.  But there are guys named “Dagger” and “Stretch”, who become authority figures in our futures lives, and it doesn’t take a physicist to figure out where these kids are going to be in a few years.  It costs a lot more to, ahem, rehab these youths in the future, than it does to keep them busy and safe in the present.  That’s basic matrix math, current cost vs. production vs. future cost.  It’s pretty simple shit Ford, just add it up.

Closing of Public Libraries
This one really baffles me, because if there is one thing our kids, and some of our adults need, it’s a lot more knowledge.  Seriously, has anyone noticed that the youth of our generation couldn’t throw together a proper sentence if their lives depended on it?  Never mind the fact that they have a street fight with any word bigger than three syllables.  And who the fuck closes a library anyway?  I know, I know, the defense is, everything’s available online, and right at your fingertips, right?  And libraries cost a lot of money to ascertain.  But we all know what happens when you’re doing research online.  One minute you’re reading a great article about the strange existence of anti-matter and its radical imbalance as a cosmic constituent, next minute you’re watching three someway, somehow, very sexy, Vietnamese Shemales having at it, and 15 minutes later you’re taking a nap.  Ok, 4 minutes later, but that’s not the point.  Pump a little money in promoting libraries, offer rewards on spare time essays, or book reports, be pro-active, it’s our damn future your impeding here, because if you don’t, you’re really saying you just want to raise a generation of bus drivers, and we already got plenty of those.

The Police Department
If you’ve ever been out in our streets, particularly at night, you know and will testify that if there is one thing we need more of, it’s a police presence.  We aren’t exactly at a West Baltimore level out there yet, but there are more than enough Marlow’s and Barksdale’s in our environment to make you think twice about when and where you go, and about when and where you go there. So demanding that the Police Department makes any kind of cut back is just plain farcical. One of the tactics suggested was cutting back on partnered patrols?  WTF?  Two cops per car aren’t enough if you ask me, because when shit hits the fan out there, it’s rarely ever one on one.  It’s usually more like 6 on 8 or 12 on 3.  So the first car to arrive walks into this situation alone?  I’m not even suggesting that a partner evens things out, but an extra set of eyes, and an extra clip of bullets would never hurt your odds.  These guys out here don’t play, and don’t care, and they have guns, bigger and stronger guns than cops do, that’s for sure.  Up the police budget, and spend what you have to.  Is there really a number associated with public safety?  And if there is, what’s the price tag Mr. Ford, because I would love to know the dollar value on an innocent bystander’s life, or mine for that matter.

The Fire Department
In the last 15 years Toronto’s, well, the GTA’s population has boomed by approximately 20%.  That’s unfathomably huge.  Yet the GTA’s fire department hasn’t grown at nearly the same rate, although sadly, I can’t find the exact numbers, I do recall hearing 5-6 percent somewhere, and is now facing serious cutbacks themselves.  Some three hundred firefighters and twenty plus trucks are to be removed from service in the next year?  The standard response time for an emergency is 6 minutes and 20 seconds from the sounding of the bell, with the whole crew arriving at about the 8 minute mark, yet the department is coming in around 7 minutes and 30 seconds for the first truck to arrive on scene. It’s not their fault because of resources available, but too far below the standard none the less.  Here’s something for you to think about, you can’t rationalize with fire, there’s no talking things out with it.  It’s not a drunk at the bar, or a girlfriend and boyfriend arguing, where you can slow the escalation process until help arrives.  It’s fire, and quite frankly, it does what the fuck it wants to do.  And my thinking is, if your one of the men or woman crazy enough to want to run into a burning building and right the situation, I want to make sure that you have whatever you need to get there and do it as quickly and properly as possible.  For a city of this size, we should be coming in better than what the standards call for, and being proud to do so.  These are the people brave enough to save our grandmothers and children, those who aren’t quick enough or strong enough to get out of horrible situations themselves.  Why would you even think about sending these people home?  That’s just plain stupid.

As far as the TTC is concerned, let’s be realistic here, there’s no way I can address this situation with any level of bias, and clearly, bias opinion is something I strive for (???).  Besides, there’s nothing I can tell you that you haven’t already heard, and there’s nothing I can write here that you haven’t already read about.  But for everyone who rides public transit on a regular basis you need to know something. Thanks to Mr. Ford, it’s going to get about as bad as you can imagine it getting in the very near future.  He did no favors to either of us by deeming us an essential service and taking away our right to strike, because now we have no real way of defending ourselves, which although you don’t realize it, defends you as well.  We don’t want what the future brings as much as you don’t want what the future brings, but it is inevitable, even if he does at the last second alter the service reductions list like we think he may do.  He doesn’t like us, and we don’t like him.  But the difference is we go about our days and jobs like usual, while he pokes and prods and pushes and pulls. But remember this Rob Ford; you need to be very careful when you fuck with the backbone to society.  You need to be very, very careful.  We are the blue collar individuals who put our health and safety on the line every day.  We sacrifice our social lives and miss our families and friends, all in the name of getting our citizens back and forth across the city.  We lunch box it and hard hat it 365 days a year 24 hours a day, and when you insult us, well you infuriate us.  The people of Toronto will tell you first hand, you can win fights with us here and there, you may even come out on top in big battles more often than not, but when it’s all said and done, WE win the wars.  Just accept it, it’s been going on for around 100 years now, it’s just the way it is.  And watch out too, because if the people that rely on our transit system as well as the people who operate our transit system ever one hundred percent see eye to eye on this matter, and on you in general, we may finally decide that enough is enough ………………………………. just be very careful Rob Ford, be very very careful.