Mayoral Endorsement II

My Endorsement For Mayor: Joe Pantalone.

Although I may still vote for George Smitherman. I mean, David Crombie just endorsed him. Come on!

But I’m still endorsing Joe Pantalone.

I am that living, breathing, mushy middlist voting cliché everyone has been on about for the past week or so. The Smitherman team wants me. The Anybody But Ford coalition hounds me. We few, we unhappy few, we band of political brothers (and sisters) apparently hold the key to the outcome of Monday’s election. In our hands, lies the future fate of our city. Oh, the weight of such responsibility.

I, for one, know that George Smitherman will make a more capable mayor than Rob Ford. What I’m not as convinced about is if the city will be any better for that. Yes, Smitherman’s decked out his outerwear finery with the bow of John Sewell and ribbon of David Crombie. Perhaps that’s the silent signal to me that Smitherman will not ignore my concerns if he’s elected to City Hall. Just cross my fingers and hope that all the other stuff he’s been far more vocal about throughout the campaign, the right of centre meat and potatoes of tax freezes/cuts and job elimination through attrition, is just political posturing, necessary in the negative atmosphere that’s polluted election 2010.

It’s a leap of faith I’m just not sure I’m prepared to take.

I like living in Toronto. The past 7 years have not struck me as the dysfunctional quagmire many pundits and electioneering candidates have tried to make it out to have been. I’m not alone in that assessment. Check out here, here and here if you don’t believe me. There have been hiccups, no question. Some self-inflicted, others far beyond our control (i.e. the economic meltdown and subsequent recession). All things considered, I feel better about living in Toronto than I did in 2003.

I bought a house and had to pay the then newly instituted municipal land transfer tax. Came with the territory, as the city tentatively tested new powers granted to it through the City of Toronto Act.  The Vehicle Registration Tax had no affect on me as I don’t own a car and if there’s one major difference I have with Joe Pantalone it’s his pledge to remove it if elected. People may not like it. It may be regressive. But I think we should use all the tools at our disposal to make owning a car in this city a grind.

My garbage and recycling is picked up as often as I need it to be. I don’t mind the exercise shoveling snow from my own walk. I can walk home at night through a back alley, slightly drunk, playing with my telephonic gadget with very little fear of having harm done to my person. I spend more money per month on my Rogers bill than I do on services the city provides to me and I am much more satisfied with what the city delivers.

As you’re probably thinking as you read this, yes, I am one of the fortunate people living in Toronto. Indeed, I may do even better under a fiscally conservative regime at City Hall, what with all those taxes being cut and frozen under either a Ford or Smitherman administration. Except that, what I see emerging from both these candidates is a city more desperate. They’ve said little to absolutely zero about combating poverty, about continuing to work on fixes for our high priority neighbourhoods. Their transit plans are woefully short of properly dealing with congestion. One term of either a Ford or Smitherman mayoralty will result in a city that’s less livable. So all of us will be the worse for it.

Since I am also convinced that out there in the bigger, wider world, we may not yet be through the economic shit storm that started blowing through back in ought-8, and senior levels of government seemed pumped to begin budgetary slicing and dicing at the behest of what should be discredited neo-liberal voices that they are still mysteriously listening to, I trust neither Rob Ford or George Smitherman when the inevitable calls for further cuts start to ring out. I can already here the post-election statement from Ford or Smitherman. It’s much worse than I thought it was but don’t worry, it’ll only hurt a little.

No, in what will inevitably be a rough next few years, I am much more comfortable with the idea of Joe Pantalone as our mayor than anyone else. He will not turn on us. He’s had 30 years fighting for a fairer, more equitable and livable city, through good times and bad. He has the city’s best interests at heart. That, I know, is not true of Rob Ford. George Smitherman has not convinced me he does, either.

Read these Pantalone endorsements at ChangeToronto and blogTO. They are much more eloquent and thorough in their endorsements of Joe Pantalone than I’m being. Then for fun, take a glimpse at NOW’s Alice Klein endorsement of George Smitherman.

If there’s anything that’s pushed me more firmly into the Joe Pantalone camp, it’s the hectoring self-righteousness coming from those who’ve decided strategically voting in order to stop Rob Ford from winning is our only recourse. Hey. Fair enough. I wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to tell you who you should or shouldn’t vote for. Yes, Rob Ford is a despicable man. Yes, he’ll make a despicable mayor. But spare me the hysteric he’ll be Sauron who actually gets hold of the ring and transforms Toronto into Mordor if he gets elected mayor narrative. It leaves me cold. We will live to fight if this grisly scenario comes to pass.

In answering for my self @arvelomcquaig‘s quandary, I can’t decide if a Ford mayoralty is more worse than a Smitherman mayoralty than a Smitherman mayoralty is worse than a Pantalone mayoralty, yes, yes I believe a Mayor Smitherman would be significantly worse than a Mayor Pantalone than a Mayor Ford be worse than a Mayor Smitherman. Or, to put it another way, a Mayor Ford and Mayor Smitherman are more closely related than are a Mayor Smitherman and Mayor Pantalone.

For that reason (as convoluted as it may be) I, Urban Sophisticat, am endorsing Joe Pantalone as Mayor of Toronto.

endorsingly submitted by Urban Sophisticat

6 thoughts on “Mayoral Endorsement II

  1. Wow, pretty harsh views of both Ford and Smitherman. If I had to choose between the BIG 3 I would certainy pick Ford as he is nothing close to the monster you paint him to be.
    But, not to worry. There is still our own candidate George Babula who will ride in to save the day. OUR internal polls show George Babula as having 85.7% of the decided voters. Mind you there were only 7 of us and the drunk guy wasn’t sure what the vote was about and may have just been waiving to the bartender for another round.
    Joe Pantalone, nice guy, but too soft in the middle. The existing system will snap him in half to get to that soft goo inside.

  2. Dear Cat

    Forget the “sophisti” prefix. You’ve jumped right into the juicy bubbling tub of swill the media has fed you about the three groaners they’ve convinced most of the voting public are worthy of serious attention; and you’re loving every gagging spoonful.

    It’s completely obvious to readers who’ve done some serious soul-searching homework with regard to the single precious vote they get to choose a Mayor that you have done ZERO real research to determine who will be good for the city and thus be able to cast an informed vote. (BTW, I’m only one of four or five who fit this category…you’re not the first voter I’ve come in contact with to be shocked when I inform you that there are actually 40 candidates for Mayor in Toronto this year. Look for your fave under the initial “P” on the machine when you vote.)

    John Sewell was a great Mayor, but his choices lately are made out of desire for acceptance by the people, which he has not been feeling of late. There are no balls in his choice. Ordinarily when the people loved his leadership, he would have given none of the three choices you think you are being limited to, the time of day. Sewell’s choice is made out his great need for love and approval. As such, it’s regrettably forgettable.

    Crombie is just following the code of whose ass it would be more politick to kiss this close to the election. He’s a smart politician who wants to invest his influence where it will pay off for him more than where it will pay off for the city, because at the end of the day the city will prevail against whomever does it harm no matter who gets elected. As an example, we’ve been through seven years of David Miller and we’re still here! At worse, Smitherman will bankrupt the city and his Mayoralty will be filled with fiscal scandals, major policy oversights, and union friction, and Ford will just turn the city into a slum…and still the city will prevail until a real leader can haul it out of the dregs and make it magnificent.

    So your long justification and rationale for choosing Pantalone as the least of three evils and perhaps the most steeped in a loser civic government’s way of spending tax dollars we haven’t even been taxed with yet is really great.

    If I could put it in my garden, you’d be putting the fertilizer people out of business, and I bet I’d have the greenest garden in town!

    Mark State

  3. “People may not like it. It may be regressive. But I think we should use all the tools at our disposal to make owning a car in this city a grind.”

    Owning a car is already a grind (in addition to VRT many (most?) owners pay the city something for onstreet or boulevard parking. The problem with a regressive charge is the marginal rate (for the city) of increased usage of the vehicle is zero. If I switch from using my car at weekends and dump my metropass on weekdays in favour of driving downtown, the city gains little (a few bucks in gas tax money which the province bestows at its whim) and loses in congestion costs. The 905ers contribute nothing to the congestion they cause in the 416 – a parking tax would at one shot create a marginal disincentive and shift some of the burden of the required income off local shoulders, and without a CoTA amendment.

    The argument in favour of Smitherman for me is not his policies but rather his pragmatism and connections. I suspect his aims will shift as he realises the reality of being Mayor rather than a cabinet minister and that we won’t see too much in the way of radical change.

    Where I think he can (and must) perform is in relations with the Province. There was little political upside in Ontario handing Miller more power and money than it could avoid, but a success for Smitherman in obtaining uploading of unfunded mandates and tweaks to the CoTA could be crucial in preventing the erosion of Liberal seats in 12 months.

    Pantalone would be a mayor like Miller – with no friends above him. The feds would tread carefully with Ford knowing he could be millstone as much as benefit. McGuinty and Smitherman, given their history, would not have the option of ignoring each other and would be obliged to make a go of it.

  4. It is inconceivable anyone but Joe Pantalone will be the next mayor of this wonderful city. He has helped Miller enormously of course, and this along with his overwhelming experience at City Hall, his work ethic and actual track record all clearly point to him being far and away the best candidate in this race . Why wouldn’t Torontians want “more of the same”? It’s been great having real adults as mayor and deputy mayor, … as opposed to a clowns like Lastman and now, unbelievably, this fool Ford. The Smitherman camp seems just plain scary to me.
    The people of this great city cannot fail to give Joe Pantalone their support and their vote. I just don’t want to think what might ensue if anyone else holds that office at this time.
    Incidentally,I refused to be polled…I dislike this kind of fear-mongering journalism in the same way I dislike telemarketers and TV ads that automatically increase in volume.
    Tomorrow, I am voting with my Heart and especially with my HEAD. I am voting for the only candidate that will be able to deliver steady advancement towards a even more wonderful city. I am voting for the only candidate I feel I can trust to behave as a rational adult, and to deal with the GTA’s real complexities and difficulties, calmly and justly. I am voting for Joe Pantalone and I am sincerely hope the majority of people in this city have the common sense to do the same.

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