Proper Usage

Yesterday @GraphicMatt Elliott over at Ford For Toronto linked to the comment section of Luca De Franco’s Spacing article about the battle over the proposed Fort York pedestrian/cyclist bridge. One particular comment quoted an email response from the city’s budget chief, Mike Del Grande. The above linked piece at Ford For Toronto covers the gist of Councillor Del Grande’s response much more thoroughly than we will here but one sentence caught our attention.

“This bridge will cost 22 [million] + the opportunity to gain 25 million from proper usage of the site,” the budget chief wrote. “So it will really cost 47 million at the end of the day. Sorry, that is very poor use of limited funds the City has.”

‘Proper usage’? You know once someone starts spouting euphemisms they aren’t willing to come right out and say what they really mean. What kind of ‘proper usage’ would net the city $25 million? Not many things outside of parceling off a prime piece of real estate, I’m thinking. So to Councillor Del Grande’s mind it’s not just about saving money and building a cheaper bridge. It’s about selling off city assets – I mean, ‘monetizing’ the city’s assets — to deal with an impending, tsunami-sized budget hole next year.

So it begins. Under the banner of sound fiscal discipline or whatever other business-speak blather the budget chief spews forth, it’s nothing more than a fire sale. One-off transactions that may plug a temporary hole but could end up costing the city more in the long run, if not in direct financial terms but in the ability to control development, plan neighbourhoods, create livable public space. Councillor Del Grande is simply waving the white flag of surrender and admitting that he’s out of his depth. The best he can come up with in the face of a budget crunch is to sell, outsource and privatize everything that’s not nailed down.

There’s. No. More. Money. Everything’s. On. The. Table. Everything. Must. Go.

The Waterfront. Toronto Hydro. Toronto Parking Authority. Unload it all. Cash for control. It’ll look good for the annual bottom line. Until next year, of course, when all that revenue dries up and there’s another shortfall. Rinse and repeat.

“Bridge yes but not at any cost,” Budget Chief also notes. “But… does not carry the day. This kind of thinking has caused a great financial problem for the City.”

That he remains firm in this belief that reckless spending is the source of Toronto’s current money woes speaks to either a fundamental lack of understanding of the budget process or just plain ol’ willful ideology. The city could cut its discretionary spending to the very finest of cores and still find itself in a pinch due to the mandated services it must provide. Maybe that’s the path Councillor Del Grande wants to travel down. But I’d respect him more if he had the courage of his convictions to admit it was a choice and not a necessity foisted on him by the profligacy of the previous administration.

repeatedly submitted by Cityslikr

7 Responses to Proper Usage

  1. Liz says:

    I got almost the same response from Mike Del Grande to my e-mail re. Fort York bridge but there’s one line I don’t understand:

    “In addition there is concern about City land which if the bridge is built in a certain fashion will increase the value of City Lands by millions and this cannot be ignored.”

    Is he saying that if we build a nice bridge the land value will increase and then we’ll have to sell the land?

    • Sonny says:

      Dear Liz; it is BS! I don’t know too much about the project but the penny pinchers don’t want to spend a cent in the DownTown. They’ll spend an additional $29 M on the TPS union but not so much on design for a World Class City?!

  2. Peter Macquarie says:

    “the ability to control development, plan neighbourhoods, create livable public space”…
    was surrendered to planning lawyers and consultants during the Miller era. Ford will just carry on where they left off.

    I see you sent one of your goons over to Spacing.There is no censorship on that blog which is probably why he chose not to post anything meaningful. I guess that’s because he spends his time here.

    How’s Sonny? He didn’t post today.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. Macquarie,

      Don’t give us credit for hounding you in the comments section of Spacing. It seems you’ve developed your own stellar reputation for leaving a trail of long winded nonsense and drivel and baseless assertions (see above) wherever you submit. Kudos.

      Again, we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke really think you need to look up the definition of ‘censorship’. In fact, we highly recommend that you do. “3. (Psychoanalysis): the activity of the mind in regulating impulses, etc., from the unconscious so that they are modified before reaching the conscious mind.” It might spare you the embarrassment of continually exposing yourself as the mushy minded thinker that you appear to be.

      • Peter MacQuarie says:

        “3. Psychology Prevention of disturbing or painful thoughts or feelings from reaching consciousness”

        I know you don’t like to see disturbing thoughts from me. They expose your fixation with Rob Ford, right? (Or, is it with David Miller?)

        I see Sonny made it back. He always helps keep the #s up, eh.

      • cityslikr says:

        Dear Mr. Macquarie,

        It’s not the ‘disturbing thoughts’ from you we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke don’t like to see. It’s the trite, unsubstantiated and ill-thought out ones we take exception to.

  3. [...] context for the discussion is ably set up by cityslikr over at AFUITBS and by the comments on this piece by Luca de Franco over at [...]

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