Here’s Hoping

I’m ready to go on record as saying this.acceptance

Maybe John Tory is the mayor Toronto needs at this point of time.

Affable, well-intentioned, not ideologically strident.

A big ol’ stew of comfort food. Haute cuisine stew, mind you. Truffles and duck, with handmade dumplings. No recording devices, if you don’t mind.

There was kind of a, I don’t know, settling, while watching the mayor-elect’s state of the city address yesterday. Campaign sound bites and slogans set aside, replaced by, if not inspirational words, something close to adult conversation. He made a frank admission of the substantial problems Toronto faces – crises, he labelled a couple of them, prioritizing them in a way that seemed to accentuate people not numbers.

Traffic and congestion. Affordability. Child poverty. Unemployment.

Tory pointed out that while spending time on things like cutting councillor office budgets – stopping the gravy train, in other words — were of high symbolic value, it didn’t ultimately make much of a dent on the overall budget. Meanwhile, bus service was reduced. comfortfoodThe repair backlog of Toronto Community Housing grew as did the waiting list for people to live there. Infrastructure aged and crumbled just a little bit more.

It feels like after 4 years of non-stop campaigning, we might actually be sitting down to some actually governing. Not governing simply by default and in the face of a mayor’s worst intentions, but with a mayor’s best ones. Here’s the situation as it is (rather than how I make believe it to be). How do we go about dealing with it?

Don’t mistake my willingness to give the incoming mayor some benefit of the doubt as any sort of ringing endorsement. I remain highly skeptical of his SmartTrack scheme. He seems determined to plow ahead with the Scarborough subway craziness. Sometimes he says a lot of words in quick succession that all sound sensible but when you play them back, they don’t add up to much. He talked about needing to restore TTC services that had been cut and scaled back over the past 4 years. Perhaps think about bringing back buses that, well, were no longer available but, still, maybe there was something we could do, all within the constraints of what money’s available in the budget.benefitofthedoubtjpg

Parse it any way you want, John. Restoring TTC service is about one thing and one thing only. Money. More of it means more service. Less of it? Well, we’ve seen how that goes.

Our mayor-elect remains dogged in his belief that the city’s revenue needs will be met by a combination of long overdue largesse from the other two levels of government and further found efficiencies around City Hall. For sure, the feds and province need to start opening their respective wallets and chip in to help municipalities, and I believe Tory a better ambassador to make Toronto’s case than the previous administration, still… We might want some sort of backup plan in case either one comes up a little short. Again.

As for efficiencies?

After the election, Tory convinced the city manager, Joe Pennachetti, to put off his impending retirement for a bit to help ease the transition. The city manager is on record as saying that, we’re pretty tapped out in terms of efficiencies, there’s not much change left to be found under those cushions. cleanslate1Toronto needs new sources of revenue, he’s stated quite emphatically. Otherwise, expect reductions in services and programs.

Hopefully, he made that point in private to the mayor-elect, as a condition to remaining on the job. Hopefully, the mayor-elect heard him and is merely maintaining his electoral stance until certain budget realities force him to step back and be frank with residents. I’m willing to believe John Tory is reasonable enough to do that.

Right now, he sounds reasonable. Right now, we need to think we’ve elected somebody reasonable to lead the city. Right now, after the past 4 tumultuous years, that’s good enough for me.

hopefully submitted by Cityslikr

5 thoughts on “Here’s Hoping

  1. I don’t know…

    “Affable, well-intentioned, not ideologically strident.”

    Affable, sure. In a comfortable, privileged sort of way. Which explains the good intentions but lack of deep understanding required to address the needs of the most vulnerable people in this city. And perhaps he’s not ideologically strident, but he’s not ideology-free. His is a conservative, shallow mindset. And that doesn’t make him look any better to me just because he’s replaced a clown. Better than worse is still not good enough for me.

  2. “Better than worse is still not good enough for me.” (Lavender Blume)

    …and in a nut-shell, THAT is one of the key-problem(s) with the self-described “Left” in #TOPoli….the constant demand that their (*un-electably) “Perfect” ideology is the only option, and anything less is considered Complicity with “The Man”.

    I personally have a Bucket-Load of problems with John Tory’s creative-math on SmartTrack, low Property Tax rates, wanting / hiring Kouvalis and other issues — but anyone who thinks he’s “Not Good Enough” for the next four years needs a reality-check.

    • Tory’s pathetically flimsy platform on and commitment to the needs of the homeless, at-risk youth, women, people of colour, low income residents, etc. qualifies me to say that no, he is not good enough. We deserve better than Ford and we deserve better than Tory too. The failures of one man don’t make the merits of another. Better candidates wouldn’t be unelectable if people pulled their heads out of their asses and demanded that we have ranked ballots (which Chow supported). That way, this strategic voting bullshit wouldn’t happen and we would have a hope of electing someone who offers a legitimate alternative. But of course, Tory doesn’t care for ranked ballots. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that progressives aren’t satisfied with a leader who wants to continue this trend of austerity and policies that fail to address inequality. Those are approaches no progressive will like whether they’re being advertized by a raging asshole or an affable businessman. Don’t forget – while Rob Ford was a disaster as a person and a politician, Tory’s platform mimics Ford’s in most respects. Different face, same policy. And a transit plan that’s just as ridiculous. Like I said, not good enough.

  3. He ran on a campaign of unattainable promises…

    Wynne should say you ran to unseat me, screw you!

    Harper should say you ran attack ads on my Reform Party, f you!

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