Skirmish Won. Battle Still Ongoing. Victory From From Secure.

(As we were in absentia for Team Ford’s waterfront retreat, we turn to colleague Sol Chrom for a summary of last week’s important but very, very fluid victory on the waterfront.)

*  *  *

If Team Ford’s Port Lands plans are truly dead, would someone mind driving a stake through them?

The plans, that is.

That’s how a tweet from Torontoist’s Hamutal Dotan is describing things, linking to a quote from Councillor Paula Fletcher.

This is a triumph for the public…This is a Toronto moment, a Jane Jacobs moment.

Can’t argue with the sentiments, but I’m inclined to agree with a comment left on the Torontoist site by one dsmithhfx:

Don’t celebrate quite yet… I don’t trust this cabal of scumbag opportunists as far as I could throw them. It’s a setback, to be sure. And much as we’d like to think of it as a turning point, the point where the wave of ignorance, resentment, stupidity, and short-term greed that the Ford approach taps into finally broke, let’s not start the happy dance just yet.

The Port Lands/Waterfront fiasco has captivated our attention for several weeks, to be sure, and we can’t underestimate its symbolic importance. But it’s also possible to think of it as this week’s Shiny ObjectTM — something thing that attracts our attention and keeps us all occupied while other things are going on.

A thoughtful essay by Dylan Reid in Spacing last week discussed the slow decline of a community through a process of dozens of little cuts. Cancel a minor program here, put less resources into something else there, cut back on the scope of something else over there. The examples Reid cites include things like litter pickup, tree planting, neighbourhood improvement programs, snow clearing, and making bylaw enforcement reactive rather than proactive. As Reid writes:

Individually, the impact of each of these is small. And it’s quite possible some of them could be reasonable proposals for a city with a screwed-up budgetary process if they were thought through properly (e.g. all parks could have citizen committees that take care of flower planting and care, if the city provides the flowers and eases up on regulation). But done all in a rush, and all together, the overall impact will be a gradual degradation in the walking environment. It will get dirtier and trickier, and many programs that make it more attractive will be abandoned. People will still be able to walk, of course. They just won’t want to walk as much, unless they have to. And since walking is how people experience their city most directly, Toronto will feel a little bit more like a city in decline — which, given the amount of building going on and people moving in, it really shouldn’t.

By themselves, these measures may not amount to much. They don’t have the impact or the visibility of the Port Lands clusterfuck, because they don’t carry the same scale or price tag. That’s why they’re mostly off the radar. Cumulatively, however, their effect on our quality of life could be just as serious. The places we love and live in, whether they’re downtown or in the suburbs, would become dirtier, more threadbare, and less welcoming.

But this is what happens when the function of government is entrusted to people with no commitment to the public sphere. I’ve already written that the current administration seems colonized by people with no interest in using the power of government to advance the common good, and the events of the past few weeks have done nothing to suggest otherwise. When you start pulling at the threads that hold a community together, you never know when the whole thing’s going to unravel.

This is not to take anything away from the the people whose efforts forced a retreat on the waterfront, of course. And the folks involved in CodeBlueTO deserve a special shout-out. Let’s just remember, though, that this is a long war that has to be fought on many fronts. These guys aren’t done yet. There’s still a long slog ahead.

submitted by Sol Chrom

(Not only is Sol Chrom an occasional commenter here but he’s also been known to blog over at Posteroustumblr and OpenFile.)

4 Responses to Skirmish Won. Battle Still Ongoing. Victory From From Secure.

  1. Sonny says:

    Part of the critical path is to stop the flooding in the Portlands which means no monorail to the ferris wheel ata Doug. If you want me to write in the mean time I could assume an alias.

    Rob Ford says 90% of the people tell him to “stay the course” Even though Flaherty & Harper who use that vocab; are meeting the Carney because CANADA is in RECESSION under their leadership.

    • Andrew says:

      Right, Harper and Flaherty caused the financial meltdown and credit crisis in 2008, the debt crisis in the Euro zone, the overspending, low tax compliance in Greece, the world price for oil, the rising food prices due to the rush to ethanol. Amazing how to guys did all this during a minority government a few years ago.

      • Sonny says:

        Harper & Flaherty did not diversify trade when the U$ tanked in 2008. Though I remember Flaherty saying during the early election Harper called in Sept. 2008; “that CANADA would have Surpluses well into the future.”(paraphrase) Flaherty will be running Deficits upto 2015?! Conservatives are good for Corporations rather than the average Canadian(taxpayer)
        P.S. My point was that Conservatives like Flaherty & Harper use the “stay the course” vocab when describing the domestic Economy OR the Afghan mission that we left the combat role…

      • Andrew says:

        I play in a band, we’re the best in the land
        We’re big in both Chelsea and France
        I play one mean guitar and then score at the bar
        There’s a line of chicks waiting for their chance
        So come on now honey, I’ll make you feel pretty
        These other gals mean nothing to me
        Let’s finish these drinks and be gone for the night
        ‘Cause I’m more than a handful, you’ll see

        [Chorus:]
        So kiss me, I’m shitfaced
        I’m soaked, I’m soiled and brown
        in the trousers, she kissed me
        And I only bought her one round

        I can bench press a car, I’m an ex football star
        with degrees from both Harvard and Yale
        Girls just can’t keep up, I’m a real love machine
        I’ve had far better sex while in jail
        I’ve designed the Sears Tower, I make two grand an hour
        I cook the world’s best duck flambe
        I’ll take the pick of the litter, girls jockey for me
        I don’t need these lines to get laid

        [Chorus]

        I’m a man of the night, a real ladies delight
        See my figure was chiseled from stone
        One more for the gal then I’ll escort her home
        Come last call, I’m never alone
        I’ve a house on the hill with a red water bed
        That puts Hugh Heffnor’s mansion to shame
        With girls by the pool and Italian sports cars
        I’m just here in this dump for the game

        [Chorus x2]

        Ahh, fuck it. Who am I shitting?

        I’m a pitiful sight, and I ain’t all that bright
        I’m definitely not chiseled from stone
        I’m a cheat and a liar, no woman’s desire
        I’ll probably die cold and alone

        But just give me a chance, ’cause deep down inside
        I swear I got a big heart of gold
        I’m a monogamous man, no more one night stands
        Come on, honey, let me take you home

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