A Legacy Left In The Blink Of An Eye

It should come as little surprise, given the magnitude of clusterfuckery inflicted on this city for the past 4+ years now, that the defining moments of John Tory’s mayoralty are coming fast and furious at him. junkintheclosetThe chicks have come home to roost as they say. Unfortunately, they hatched from eggs he didn’t lay but, now in charge of the coop, he’s obliged to raise and tend to them.

I’ve extended that analogy as far as I care to. The drift, I imagine, you get.

There’s the matter of the Scarborough subway. A white elephant of a boondoggle waiting to happen that’s going to cost the city billions of dollars unnecessarily and has already shown up on our tax bills for the past two years. During last year’s campaign, John Tory had the opportunity to flash his fiscal bonafides and renounce the scheme as little more than political pandering. He didn’t. He said, what’s done is done, there’s no use opening up that debate again. Mayor John Tory has kept that campaign pledge, steadfastly refusing to reconsider a bad decision despite the fact that all early indications suggest a Scarborough subway will compete for ridership with the south eastern portion of his own signature transit plan, SmartTrack.sweepundertherug

Rather than rise above this parochial politics which will threaten to limit the city’s ability to pay for other big ticket capital projects in the not too distant future, Mayor Tory blinked. Maybe a forthcoming staff report will provide enough cover for him to still scuttle the plans before the worst is done. Even so, that’s not what you’d call sound leadership.

About that gaping budget hole left behind by the previous city council? John Tory assured us during the 2014 campaign that he, and only he, could heal the rift wrought by the Ford administration with the provincial government. He, and only he, could smooth the ruffled feathers and bring Queen’s Park back to the table, pockets bursting with money to ante up for long forgotten obligations they could now get back to funding. Like transit and social housing, just to pick a couple of the more important ones.

In fact, what’s happened since his election is that the city has paid more back to the province than it’s received. $95 million for the Union-Pearson rail link. sweepundertherug2Some $50 million to cover the provincial shortfall on the Spadina subway expansion. And as for that $86 million hole from the withdrawal of the social program pooling compensation? Yeah, no dice.

At which point, Mayor Tory might’ve had the responsible budget conversation with Torontonians, informing us that, for the moment, we were on our own to balance the budget and to do that we needed to talk seriously about additional revenues, higher than hoped for property tax increase for example. This was another of those defining moments, a mess not of his own making that he now had to clean up. The mayor demurred, choosing instead to pretend he’d fixed the problem. Much like his predecessor.

Unlike his predecessor, Mayor Tory decided to directly address the matter of policing in Toronto, assuming a spot on the Police Services Board rather than designate a representative. A bold move, to be sure, with a union contract to be settled, a new chief to be appointed and a number of prickly, outstanding community issues, police carding at the top of that list. This mayor was not going to run and hide from any of it.

The contract was settled quietly and amicably, it seems. sweepundertherug1The wage increase of 8.64% over 4 years isn’t outrageous out of context but it is difficult to see how it’ll bring the overall police budget, the largest single item the city has to deal with, north of $1 billion annually, into the lean machine the mayor is demanding of other city departments. Not to worry, we were assured during the budget process. Money had been set aside for such a pay increase.

The new police chief has yet to be named with the current chief, Bill Blair, set to retire near the end of this month. But at least, the carding issue has been resolved, a happy compromise reached for everyone concerned. A ‘landmark’, the mayor called it. “We cannot live in a city where young black men, for example, feel devalued or disrespected.” Hoo-rah!

Except that it seems we are. Within a matter of days, the so-called compromise unravelled into acrimonious disagreement. It satisfied almost none of the concerns the public had with the procedure, ranging from the ultimate fate of any collected information through to the informing of the public’s right of refusal to simply walk away from any interaction with the police. sweepundertherug3After claiming the compromise struck the right balance, the Police Services Board chair, Alok Mukherjee, now suggests it simply wasn’t worth it “to go to war with the chief.”

“We were getting nowhere,” Mukherjee confessed. “There was a standoff. We were at an impasse.” In short, the police chief refused to accept direction from the board, thumbed his nose at civilian oversight. He was on his way out. Know when to pick your battles, more or less.

So now, the naming of the next police chief looms large for Mayor Tory. The choice will undoubtedly reflect intensely on his mayoralty. As he likes to remind us, he was elected to shake up the status quo. We shall see while not holding our breath.

Up next in the mayor’s legacy making tour, the fate of the eastern portion of the Gardiner expressway has popped up onto the political radar. Again. This has been years in the making (and delaying) but it seems crunch time has landed right in Mayor Tory’s lap. (That sounded a lot more risqué than I intended.) sweepundertherug4This one’s already been kicked down the road as far as it can be.

The most sensible thing for anyone who isn’t one of the few drivers who uses that part of the Gardiner to get around the city is to tear it down from Jarvis street east. Replace it with a similar kind of boulevard design that happened when a previous part of the expressway was ripped own. Free that area of the city of the blight that comes from elevated thoroughfares. Step fully into the 21st-century.

But, you know, drivers. They’ll get mad. On talk radio yesterday, the mayor said people are always going to drive. So, you know, don’t rule out catering to their every demand. Drivers.

The previous council refused to make a decision. The hybrid plan – rejuvenate and rejig don’t remove the expressway — was offered up as a compromise. John Tory touted it specifically during the campaign. He was, after all, the compromise candidate.

Now that the bill has come in, and the price tag for such a compromise is so astronomical, nearly double the tear down option, nearly another billion dollars simply in order to keep car drivers happy, just how compromised is Mayor Tory?shinethoseshoes

Defining moments aren’t always time based. They happen when they happen, heedless of our orderly sensibilities and reliance on retrospective. Time isn’t on Mayor John Tory’s side. Through previous neglect and avoidance, these weighty, significant issues have piled up, their expiry dates come due. His chances are coming fast and furious. If it hasn’t yet, judgement will arrive early.

judgmentally submitted by Cityslikr

3 Responses to A Legacy Left In The Blink Of An Eye

  1. Barry says:

    Dear slikr

    Here is another legacy of John Tory, former president of that bastion of Toryism – The Albany Club. They just appointed another past president of the Albany Club, Amanda Walton to be the City of Toronto representitive on the Board of Ports Toronto the former Toronto Port Authority. She joins all the other Tories on the Board from Chair Mark McQueen a former short pants boy in Brian Mulroney’s PMO; to Jeremy Adams and Sean Morley both minions to ministers in the Mike Harris cabinet.

    Beside having two Sussex Jet expansion lobbyists in his office. Larry Tanenbaum put together a finance group to buy a $50 million terminal for $750 million. Whats the shell game here?
    Tanenbaum is a major shareholder in Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment as is Roger Communications and Tory sits on the Rogers Trust Board

    There is a sickly sweet smell of rot permiating the air as the right wing of council takes dead aim against the accountability officers put in place after the MFP scandal.

    Amanda Walton
    From the City report:
    Amanda Walton is a corporate communications and public affairs consultant. She previously worked as a Senior Vice President and Partner at Advance Planning & Communications Inc. Amanda has a BA in History and Political Science from Victoria College at the University of Toronto. She has served on the boards of Ontario Place, the Canadian National Exhibition Association, the Albany Club, and Crescent School.

    In fact, she’s a Past President of the Albany Club, that bastion of Toryism.

    And she’s been a consistent donor to the Conservative Party of Canada. Surprise.

    Amanda Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    York–Simcoe Conservative Association
    Dec 03, 2004
    Dec 31, 2004
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals
    329.18
    0.00
    Amanda W Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    Van Loan, Peter
    Oct 06, 2008
    Oct 14, 2008
    Candidate’s Electoral Campaign Return (2007) / Part 2a
    Individuals — after December 31,2006
    326.60
    0.00
    Amanda W Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    York–Simcoe Conservative Association
    Jan 28, 2013
    Dec 31, 2013
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals — after December 31,2006
    400.00
    0.00
    Amanda W Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    York–Simcoe Conservative Association
    Feb 19, 2008
    Dec 31, 2008
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals — after December 31,2006
    260.00
    0.00
    Amanda W Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    York–Simcoe Conservative Association
    Jan 23, 2012
    Dec 31, 2012
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals — after December 31,2006
    250.00
    0.00
    AMANDA WALTON
    Conservative Party of Canada
    Parry Sound–Muskoka Conservative Association
    Dec 31, 2011
    Dec 31, 2011
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals — after December 31,2006
    370.00
    0.00
    Amanda Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    York–Simcoe Conservative Association
    Apr 30, 2004
    Dec 31, 2004
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals
    250.00
    0.00
    Amanda Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    York–Simcoe Conservative Association
    Dec 20, 2005
    Dec 31, 2005
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals
    81.22
    0.00
    Amanda Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    Parry Sound–Muskoka Conservative Association
    Sep 14, 2009
    Dec 31, 2009
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals — after December 31,2006
    175.00
    0.00
    Amanda Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    Parry Sound–Muskoka Conservative Association
    Sep 01, 2009
    Dec 31, 2009
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals — after December 31,2006
    175.00
    0.00
    Amanda Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    Bramalea–Gore–Malton Conservative Association
    Sep 24, 2007
    Dec 31, 2007
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a
    Individuals — after December 31,2006
    268.82
    0.00
    Amanda Walton
    Conservative Party of Canada
    York–Simcoe Conservative Association
    Jul 06, 2005
    Dec 31, 2005
    Registered Association Financial Transactions Return / Part 2a

    Doing the sniff test

  2. Lorna Schiralli says:

    I will first make a comment on Barry’s comment above. Yup that is the way the world works. Putting in your cronies. It does seem a little bit unfair eh? But so what if other things are equal. In the MFP other things were not equal and bribery was rampant. But that’s what makes the world go around. At least Tory’s friends are qualified for their postings. Now think of the Fords and what we could have possibly had? Who are their associates? Streetwise low class criminals? Doug brought in Dave Price, his fellow drug dealing partner to watch over Robbie. Doug put his childhood druggie chum on the city payroll when he was actually manning the Deco Florida mail drop and living in one of the Ford condos. Rob was encouraging Sandro Lisi to take a position at city hall and even wrote a glowing report to the judge handling his old assault case.
    So I agee with you Barry and I say thank god Tory(or any non Ford) is in charge.
    Now as far as this article, you say “Now that the bill has come in, and the price tag for such a compromise is so astronomical, nearly double the tear down option, nearly another billion dollars simply in order to keep car drivers happy, just how compromised is Mayor Tory?” ….I take this as an opportunity to open the conversation on quantifying “soft unmeasureables”. What is peace of mind worth?
    People hate large numbers and their ylaze over.

    I specialized in Actuarial Evidence in the latter part of my career. Trying to address for the courts what damages were suitable for a whole family getting infected with aids. The children were ostracized and their future education was compromised? How do you put a dollar value on that? Or how do you value being sexually assaulted by the Christian Brothers? How to quantify your angst in terms of dollars? Well it can be done.

    When you say “double the cost” it is inflammatory…..but I am glad you broached the subject. This is double the cost over 100 years. Peanuts peanuts peanuts. And tearing down will increase congestion immeasureably. Think of how much you would pay, driving down the parkway headed to the west end of the city, to guarantee that your ride would be smooth. Say $.25 for a saved 3 minutes and the frustration of navigation on and off ramps? That is a start. Now factor that out over 100 years for our grandchildren and for all members of their families that will be using the parkway/gardiner. That is how you do it.

    Thank god the councillors of the day allowed for the added expense of putting a rail track under the Bloor viaduct.

  3. Sonny says:

    Interesting the cops get another raise under Tory

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