No More More Of The Same

September 5, 2010

Earlier this week as the mayoral candidates prepared for another series of debates, some questions popped up about the inclusion of 6th placer, Rocco Achampong. Why now? Why not months ago? Nobody ever listened to what former candidate Giorgio Mammoliti said about anything else when he was campaigning. So how come they took him up on including Achampong in the debates?

The most salient argument against including newcomers to the proceedings at this relatively late stage of the game is that now is the time to start winnowing down not opening up. We need to focus in on the front running campaigns, one of which will produce Toronto’s next mayor. To throw the doors open will simply muddy the waters, cause voter disarray and make post-Labour Day clarity and decision making near impossible.

My response to that would be, have the candidates earned such a free pass? Months and months into this, with countless debates already under their belts and exclusive media access, and no one’s yet broken through. So what’s just more of the same going to accomplish?

Of course, that’s not entirely true. Rob Ford has more than broken through. He is the one candidate that has run what must be considered a near flawless campaign so far. How else to explain his turning a mindlessly pea-brained platform that can be re-uttered by even the densest voter – Stop The Gravy Train! – into a 1st place standing? Ford should be the joke of this race and yet the only one to even so much as land a punch on him is, well, Ford himself.

Take this past week for example. Ford bumbled, stumbled and fumbled through 3 debates, two of which, to be fair, were not his strong suit, city heritage and the environment. But what’s the news grabbing the headlines over the weekend? George Smitherman telling a Rocco Rossi campaign staffer to either fuck or screw off after they tried handing him some pamphlet apparently critical of his candidacy.

(To give George some props on this issue, I’ve encountered the Rossi Red Army at a number of debates. Their aggressive chair saving and Pavlovian cheering at their candidate’s increasingly loud, shrill empty rhetoric have made me inclined to want to tell a few of them to fuck off on occasion as well. So that’s a point for Smitherman in my books.)

If anything, this suggests that the mayoral debates need some new blood not a closing of ranks. Achampong has not embarrassed himself even if he hasn’t distinguished himself either. Part of the problem as I see it is that he’s singing from the same fiscal conservative, social liberal songbook as Smitherman, Rossi and Thomson. So it’s difficult to differentiate his views from the rest of the pack. Still, he’s proving that there are other credible candidates out there we should be hearing from.

My first choice would be HiMY SYeD. (Don’t worry, potential debate moderators. The name’s much easier to pronounce than it looks. Simpler than ‘Achampong’ which seems to be giving everyone verbal fits.) Following SYeD out on the hustings largely through his almost superhuman Twitter output, he appears to have more knowledge and ideas about civic governance than any of the leading candidates outside of Joe Pantalone. Let’s see how he fares up under the debate spotlights. He’s earned it.

That’s seven. How be we make it an even number? I’d nominate George Babula or Sonny Yeung. Give them a crack at the big time. Hell, let’s see what Keith Cole is up too as the campaign kicks into high gear. He acquitted himself well at the Better Ballots debate back in June. No reason he wouldn’t again if given another shot.

While much noise is being made over this final summer long weekend about how people’s attention will start to hone in on the municipal campaign as it heads toward the October 25th conclusion, I’m not sure how delivering them the same dog-and-pony show will accomplish anything other than having more people feeling as discouraged and disenchanted as those who’ve been following from the beginning. To borrow an inane phrase Rocco Rossi’s been touting over and over again, isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result? What this campaign doesn’t need is more of the same. It needs a shake-up that can only come with bringing in new voices and new ideas.

still hopeful(ly) submitted by Cityslikr


Another Debate, Same Old Tune

July 21, 2010

With another televised mayoral debate under our collective belts, I do not think it hyperbolic (in the non-mathematical sense) to say that this city is now facing a crisis of confidence, leadership confidence. What seemed funny back in March became mirthlessly laughable by May. Now, more than mid-way through July and it’s simply just sad. And a little bit worrisome.

Yeah, it’s that bad, folks.

At moments like these, I try to settle my rattled nerves by knocking back a few stiff belts of Woodford Reserve over an a.m. bowl of honey coated Shreddies and convince myself that if we made it through the Mel Lastman years, hell, we can make it through anything. We are that strong. We are that resilient.

But this feels a little different, and not in a ticklish, I kind of like it way. It’s more ominous and disheartening. Thirteen years into this experiment we call the amalgamated city and it seems like we’ve learned nothing, processed no information, become none the wiser through the experience of past accomplishments and mistakes. Those endeavouring to assume Toronto’s top office have surveyed the landscape, examined the books and come to the exhaustive conclusion that what ails us most is a… spending problem.

It’s all about out of control, unaccountable, retirement party spending. End of discussion. Full stop. Enjoy the rest of your evening everyone. Vote For Me!

To give Councillor/Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone his due, he did try offering up a variation on the theme. (No, not his charts.) He raised the spectre of tax revenue inequality among the various levels of government, pointing out that for every tax dollar a Toronto resident spends, 92 cents of it leaves the city on its way to either Ottawa or Queen’s Park but it was a conversation the others didn’t want to have. Pantalone was summarily shouted down by all 4 of the others, braying in unison: We have a spending problem!

That’s it. The full extent of the conversation. The alpha and omega of the debate. A paucity of thoughtful, provocative ideas and views, best exemplified by Rocco Rossi. I know you thought I was going to say Rob Ford but what would be the point? He’s a Johnny One-Note that only surprises by his extraordinary ability to bring every issue, regardless of how irrelevant and beside the point back to Kyle Rae’s $12,000 retirement party. I’m pretty sure that’s how he plans on cutting 22 council seats. Anyone who attended the party is gone.

Yet in his own way, Rossi’s no better. He might not turn as beet red as Ford but he manages to spout similarly inane nonsense. Near the end of last night’s debate, he looked into the camera and bludgeoned us with the power of absolute numbers, saying that the present mayor inherited a 6 point something billion dollar operating budget and this year? (Stare deep into my eyes those out there in TV land and listen to the gravity I summon in my baritone voice.) 9 point 2 billion dollars.

Wow. That’s a lot of money. We really do have a spending prob—Wait a second. Might there be any explanation for such a significant rise in expenditure? Let’s see, for the past 18 months, 2 years, there’s been that little recession thing. The biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression with government expenditures at all levels exploding in order to head off an even bigger calamity. So there was that. Plus Transit City, the largest expansion of public transportation in Toronto for decades, making up for previous regimes’ neglect and building those bridges Mr. Rossi talks so movingly about to underserved areas of the city. A little cash outlay was needed for that.

The spendthrift argument Rossi et al put forward de-contextualizes the situation, pulling Toronto out of the reality it operates in for purely political purposes. No real viable solutions are put up on offer. Just hot button topics to raise the hackles of outrage among the electorate.

So whatever audience there is for the debate tunes in, turns off and drops out. We’ve been hearing the same drivel for 6 months now and we’re not biting. Sure, Ford’s made a splash upon entry but he basically siphoned support away from the others. The largest number still remains in the undecided column. The prix fixe doesn’t do it for me. Can I order a la carte, s’il vous plais?

Unfortunately the media maitre d’ remains firm. This is the slate of candidates we gave you, dammit, pick one of these! Given the opportunity of Giorgio Mammoliti’s exit from the mayoral race to open up the field of choice, CP24 declined last night. Brushing off calls to include Mammoliti’s pick to replace him, Rocco Achampong, they said winnowing the debate down to 5 would help simplify things as if they weren’t already doing that with Ben Mulroney MCing the proceedings.

This led to accusations of racism since Achampong is black and every one of the front runners is white. Let’s try and, if not represent the diversity of the city here, at least make a passing nod to it. While not ignoring that point, I do think that it’s part of a bigger problem at work here.

We are a small organization and yet over the course of the last few months have uncovered 5 or 6 other candidates running for mayor who are at least worth a first look at. Some aren’t white, some are. None are saying anything crazier than Rob Ford; all are talking a lot more sense. If we can find them certainly big news gathering conglomerates like CP24 or CTV or CBC or the Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and Toronto Sun can too. Talk to them. Interview them. Introduce them to the public. That is your job after all, is it not?

Here, let me give you a list of names to get you started: there’s Rocco Achampong. (Check the spelling though.) HiMY SYeD. (Ditto.) Sonny Yeung. (Pronounced just like our main north-south street.) Keith Cole. (He’s gay just like George Smitherman.) George Babula. Andrew Barton. Wendell Brereton. Colin Magee.

These candidates are only fringe because you guys declared them so. Well, given those who you said weren’t and who were on display on CP24 again last night, I’m not sure we should trust your judgment on this. We’re not liking what we’re seeing and suggest it’s time to turn the channel. Or at least, give us more to choice to choose from. What we are seeing here is the deliberate muffling of democracy and the handcuffing of voters. A prospect even more frightening than a Mayor Rob Ford.

End of discussion. Full stop.

ire drawingly submitted by Cityslikr


Meet A Mayoral Candidate XX

July 9, 2010

Rainy days on Fridays always make me… want to read Meet A Mayoral Candidate!

This week a special double feature: Giorgio Mammoliti & Rocco Achampong!

OK, so we’re not going to really spend much time on the former mayoral candidate, Giorgio Mammoliti, as he’s withdrawn from the race and is heading back to seek reelection as councillor for Ward 7. But as we wrote here earlier this week, when Mammoliti announced that he was exiting he expressed hope that Rocco Achampong would have a greater presence in the campaign. Ostensibly, Mammoliti was endorsing Achampong to take his place along side the 5 other front running candidates.

How effective this endorsement of legitimacy will be is hard to tell. It came from Giorgio Mammoliti after all. A candidate very few took at all seriously which is why he is no longer running for mayor. It’s difficult to imagine why the remaining front runners would welcome a new face into the midst given the difficulties most of them have had mustering a whole lot of support and enthusiasm for their respective campaigns. Aside from Rob Ford that is, and he may welcome anyone up on stage with him who isn’t Giorgio Mammoliti, a constant thorn in Ford’s side and aggressive caller out of Ford’s steady stream of bullshit.

But Mammoliti’s attempt to shine whatever light he had on Achampong will make it increasingly difficult for debate organizers to continue ignoring the other Rocco. CBC’s Metro Morning picked up the thread almost immediately, interviewing Mr. Achampong the very next day. CP24’s next mayoral debate is schedule on July 20th. Has an invite already been extended to Rocco Achampong?

For our part, despite having already profiled his candidacy a couple months ago, we’re going to accept Giorgio Mammoliti’s challenge and do our first ever re-profile here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke.

As we wrote here earlier about Mr. Achampong, he has all the tools to be a very compelling candidate. He is articulate, passionate, confident and has a great biography. Born in Ghana, he came to Canada with his family at the age of 9 and grew up in one of the toughest, poorest neighbourhoods in Toronto, managing all the obstacles inherent in that environment to work his way through to becoming a lawyer. He was very politically active while at U of T, serving as both president of the Black Students’ Association and the Students’ Administrative Council. It is a resumé fit for a career in politics.

And yet, we remain underwhelmed. Having seen and heard Rocco Achampong a couple times since we wrote the first profile, nothing he’s said has alleviated our concern that his platform is built on the flaccid legs of empty rhetoric. When talking to Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway on Tuesday, Mr. Achampong spoke of a need for a mayor who was not “a person reciting from rote from a political handbook”. We couldn’t agree more, Mr. Achampong. So would you mind closing up that political handbook you’re reciting from?

The Issues section of the (other) Rocco for Campaign 2010 website shows a candidate who is very concerned with social matters. Transit, housing, job creation and culture all figure prominently. But it still lacks some need to know specifics. Mr. Achampong wants to freeze TTC fares for two years and add subways to Transit City. Where’s he going to get the money to do that? Ditto the doubling of grants to city cultural and arts groups. Great idea. Where’s the money going to come from?

None of which would be all that troublesome at this juncture of the campaign (especially since the other leading candidates have similar gaping holes in their platforms) but we find it hard to gibe these noble intentions with the anti-tax/anti-City Hall sentiments that shone through Mr. Achampong’s kick off speech back in February. Many of his words could’ve just as easily emerged from the mouths of Mssrs. Ford, Smitherman, Rossi and Ms. Thomson. While Rocco Achampong may be a fresh face on the campaign trail, his ideas most certainly aren’t.

This isn’t to suggest, however, that Rocco Achampong is not ready for and hasn’t earned a shot at mayoral primetime. He may fit in a little too neatly for our tastes. The race is in desperate need of someone of Mr. Achampong’s intelligence and perspective. There is no reason whatsoever that he continue to be ignored as future mayoral get togethers are organized.

And if not Rocco Achampong, why not HiMY SYeD? Or Colin Magee. Or Sonny Yeung? Or Keith Cole? Or Wendell Brereton? Or George Babula? There are plenty of interesting choices out there. Let’s get the opportunity to explore them.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr


Meet A Mayoral Candidate XVI

June 4, 2010

It’s Friday and time for another edition of Meet A Mayoral Candidate! But not just any old edition. A Better Ballots Mayoral Debate Meet A Mayoral Candidate!

As some of you regular readers will already know, we attended Tuesday’s mayoral debate, hosted by the good folks over at Better Ballots, and wrote about it here on Wednesday. There was talk of the general atmosphere at the event, how it was the first debate of this campaign that opened up to the wider swath of registered mayoral candidates past just the anointed frontrunners and, ironically in hindsight, how those same frontrunners fared during the course of the evening. We decided to talk about the “other” candidates in a separate post, here today.

Was the segregation necessary and did it serve to simply perpetuate the completely arbitrary division that’s keeping lesser known candidates from gaining wider public exposure? Yes, perhaps. But in our defense the post on Wednesday bordered on being unreadably long. If we had made it any longer with fuller coverage of the “outsider” candidates, no one would’ve read it anyway and they’d all be back at square one, wallowing in obscurity. With their own post now, there’s every possibility that one, two or maybe all of them will break out to be a serious contender on So You Think You Can Be The Next Mayor of Toronto?©®™

Owing to an online poll conducted by Better Ballots last month, candidates Rocco Achampong and Keith Cole earned themselves the right to share the stage on Tuesday with the other “regular” six. Neither Achampong nor Cole fluffed their opportunity to be looked at for further serious consideration. From our vantage point, both men easily fared better than at least 2 of the other candidates on stage.

Not that this should be surprising to anyone paying attention. For Mr. Achampong’s part, he has more hands on political experience than either Rocco Rossi or Sarah Thomson, having been president of both the Black Students’ Union and the S.A.C. during his time at the University of Toronto. No small feat the latter, as he had to contend with an often times fractious 50+ member council.

What was surprising was Achampong’s stagger out of the starting gate, given his political background and the fact that he is a lawyer who, presumably, argues cases in front of an “audience”. He clearly underestimated the 1 minute time limit (strictly enforced) candidates were given and delivered a fuzzy, rambling opening statement that was breathlessly finished in an attempt to get every last word in. That behind him, Achampong settled in nicely, playfully jostling with the other Rocco, and appearing far more prepared to talk about the electoral reform issues on hand than almost all the other candidates on stage. I would advise Mr. Achampong to refrain from quoting obscure theologians in the future for fear of stumping most of the audience although the baffled look on George Smitherman’s face when Achampong mentioned William of Occam may have been worth it.

In his e-vite to the sweaty soiree that Keith Cole sent out, he expressed concern that his appearance at the debate “…could either be fabulous or a train wreck – or a combo of both. A Fabulous Train Wreck!” Well, no worry as Mr. Cole’s appearance on stage tilted heavily to the former. Again, not that surprising as he is a performer and very obviously comfortable on the stage. He brought lightness to the proceedings and sense of fun to battle the room’s heat. When things got a little testy between two other candidates, Cole delivered a tasty bon mot.

“Tonight started out as a cocktail party and it’s become a family reunion.”

More than the merry prankster, though, Mr. Cole brought a couple things to the stage that should not be overlooked. One, was a sense of humility as he confessed confusion at a number of the proposals that were being discussed, asking that the other candidates to explain it for him. At one point, Sarah Thomson obliged but it was clear that many of the others on stage were equally at a loss at times but none had the nerve to admit that publicly. Secondly, Keith Cole displayed a love of this city none of the other candidates did. Sure, they might love to be mayor or love the politics of a campaign but no one expressed the degree of enthusiasm for Toronto that Cole did and he deserves to continue to be heard because of that.

After this debate, if anyone suggests that it was all fun and games, the fringers had their shot in the spotlight but now it’s time to get back to the serious business at hand and let the “real” candidates (or as the Toronto Sun phrased it, “quality declared candidates”) continue flailing away at one another, they are simply attempting to quash outside voices and a much wider discussion about this city’s future. If you’re going to refer to the likes of Rob Ford, Sarah Thomson, Giorgio Mammoliti, Rocco Rossi as “quality declared candidates” – and I’m being unusually generous not including George Smitherman on that list – Keith Cole and Rocco Achampong have earned a spot amongst them.

And not only Cole and Achampong. While we were surprised that less than half of the other 20 declared mayoral candidates used the opportunity of the debate to introduce themselves in a one minute statement, there were some who struck us as deserving a closer look. As the son of an Irish immigrant, Colin Magee spoke very eloquently and concisely about the need for extending the municipal vote to permanent residents. George Babula fought through an apparent case of severe stage fright and talked enough sense to earn a further hearing. And we highly encourage everyone to check out HiMY SYêD next Tuesday as he pushes off his campaign. He killed on Tuesday with his line: “We’ve sent enough Cowboys to City Hall, Now, It’s Time for an Indian.” Who wouldn’t want to hear more from him?

Despite the Better Ballots move toward a wider candidate inclusivity, the “official” debates continue next week in their sanctioned format. Only Frontrunners Need Appear! Making matters worse is that debate on Thursday is going to be moderated by the ultimate mayoral media darling, John Tory who, mysteriously, is still being wooed into entering the race. So we’re back once again to independent voices and ideas being shut out of the race. That is not good for democracy. That is not good for this city.

So we say, let’s boycott all future mayoral debates that remain the sole domain of illegitimately designated frontrunners and lazy media favourites. Let’s stop allowing nebulous entities to arbitrarily dictate to us some pre-approved list of who we can listen to and vote for.

Boycott! Boycott!! Boycott!!!

stridently submitted by Cityslikr


Better Ballots Mayoral Debate

May 15, 2010

From the This Just In (To Us) Department.

Doing a quick email check this evening in between Chinese destinations and we were alerted to this from candidate Sonny Yeung.

http://www.betterballots.to/mayor_vote.htm

The folks over at Better Ballots are hosting a mayoral debate on June 1st with the 6 duly anointed frontrunners. Two of the other 20 candidates will be invited up on the stage to join in on the proceedings. You can help pick them by voting at the above link.

We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke have profiled 4 of the 5 contenders, so if you want to brush up on them, search the names on our home page and find their respective posts.

We’d try and be more helpful but have a bus to catch.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr


Stifling Debate

May 6, 2010

With little fanfare, Toronto’s municipal election heated up yesterday with 3 – count `em – 3 mayoral candidate debates. Now alas, 2 weren’t open to the wider public, with one being at a school in Scarborough and another for the Toronto Real Estate Board where, surprise, surprise, according to a poll conducted by the host group, the second most important issue to voters after public transit is the repeal of the Land Transfer Tax. We’d love to see how that question was posed to end up with such a fortuitous stat.

What’s equally interesting to note from the Day of Debates©®™ is that regardless of the venue, only 6 candidates received invitations to participate. Whether it was the TREB, the Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute or the good people of the Bloor West Residents Association, they all have accepted the given narrative that there are six, and only six, candidates to be listened to and considered as legitimate hopefuls to be mayor. What’s going on here?

Do only those sporting a high media profile or with impeccable connections make the cut? What has Sarah Thomson done that has merited her a spot on the debate podium? Does being a sitting councillor automatically qualify you for contender status even though most of the shit coming out of your mouth is no less crazy or unworkable than that coming from those sidelined as ‘fringe’ candidates? Rocco Rossi is purely a backroom one trick pony and yet there he is, being treated like serious mayoral material.

At last count there are 20 other candidates who have paid their $200 and have every right to be heard but are clearly being marginalized. How does this help our democracy or open up the debate to wider, more diverse voices by excluding people who have expressed a clear interest in our local politics and registered to run for office? Yes, there are undoubtedly cranks standing out on the fringe. That’s what happens when everyone is free to vote and free to seek public office. The alternative is far more frightening.

Throughout our weekly Meet A Mayoral Candidate profiles, we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke have encountered some very intriguing prospects. Sonny Yeung. Wendell Brereton. Keith Cole. George Babula and his Parkdale Party. They all bring certain political ticks and quirks to the table that limits their reach at the moment. But which of the leading candidates don’t?

Four months into the campaign and let’s take a moment to look at what we’re being given. Aside from curfews and tax breaks for senior citizens, who knows why Giorgio Mammoliti wants to be mayor or what he might do if elected. The man’s been a councillor in North York and Toronto for nearly 15 years and I have no idea what he stands for. Then there’s Rob Ford. A clown (a mean, nasty one at that) by any other measure who has plugged into the anti-incumbent, unfocussed anger out there and is riding it into contention on a platform of idiotic and detrimental policy proposals. Ditto Rocco Rossi only with a slightly smoother presentation. Sarah Thomson introduced the idea of road tolls and subways into the debate and then seems to have taken a powder.

Leaving us with two other candidates. The first, the perceived front runner, is an undistinguished former Toronto MPP and cabinet minister in an undistinguished government who sometime last year got it into his head that he wanted to be mayor. Why? Who knows. It’s tough to get any sort of answer from a candidate who doesn’t want to engage fully for fear of making a mistake and finding himself in a horse race. So we get essentially a counter-punching offensive, attacking whatever his opponents say and then uttering mealy-mouthed platitudes like ‘an integrated transportation plan’ or ‘Services First Approach’.

Then there’s Joe Pantalone, the lone ‘viable’ candidate running from the progressive-left. That alone should make this his election to lose, what with him having been on council for 30 years and being the Deputy Mayor for the last 6. Yet Joe seems so petrified of being linked with David Miller that it seems his strategy is just to lay low, keep quiet and wait for all the lefties to eventually find their way to him.

Although to be fair to Joe, he’s not being treated with much respect from the press. Following last night’s debate from Runnymede United Church via the Twitter, when the candidates were asked what green initiatives of Mayor Miller’s they would keep if elected, Kelly Grant from the Globe and Mail tweeted Pantalone’s answer like this: Pants… reminds us of his tree hugging… Uhhh, Ms. Grant? Environmental issues aren’t just for dirty hippies anymore.

No, people. Time is of the essence. We are being sold a bill of goods here. Contenders have been unjustifiably anointed. Issues corralled and packaged for easy digestion. We need to open things up, bring in fresh perspectives. With another 6 months to go in the campaign, the process has already started to simply spin its wheels. Everyone is running in place.

Let’s ignore the prix fixe we’ve been given and demand to order from the a la carte menu. Twenty-six candidates have registered to run for mayor and twenty of them have been shut out of the process. That is not democracy. That is not a free and open debate. It’s a façade. A charade. A façade of a charade and no one save the chosen few are being well served by it.

It’s time to find ourselves a barn and put on our own show.

Judy Garlandly submitted by Cityslikr


Meet A Mayoral Candidate — Part II

February 26, 2010

Welcome to our second installment of Meet A Mayoral Candidate! The weekly highlighting of one of the unsung candidates for mayor of Toronto in campaign 2K10©™®.

Up this week: George Babula and the Parkdale Party.

Now before you go getting all huffy and start yelling that there can’t be a Party because parties aren’t allowed to overtly participate in municipal politics, the Parkdale Party isn’t a Party party but a party!, as explained to me by spokesman Walter Widla. When the members of the Parkdale Party get together, it’s always a party!

Who are these members of the Parkdale Party including their mayoral candidate George Babula? According to their website, this is “a group of individuals who grew up during the period of time when Toronto was a wonderful place to call home. Doors were not locked through the day and kids played outside until the street lights came on.” It was the halcyon days of the 60s and 70s “and Parkdale was just like most other neighbourhoods throughout the city” where “…immigrants or children of immigrants…” could “…work their way to prosperity and a good life for their family.” The Parkdale Party would endeavour to restore this sense of a secure and prosperous city so that new immigrants are given that exact same opportunity “to find a good quality of life.”

How would this be done? First and foremost, trust must be reestablished between City Hall and the taxpayers. This trust has been eroded because too much is being done behind closed doors. Taxpayers are no longer able to see why and how their taxes are being spent and therefore resent forking over their hard earned money. Mr. Babula vows to swing the doors wide open if elected, shining a light on the inner workings of every department, council meeting and even union negotiations for all to see. That way, the public will give informed and ungrudging consent for their money to be spent.

Such transparency will also lead to much cost savings as it will force efficiencies on departments under the ever vigilant scrutiny of the public eye. Like many of the candidates running for mayor in 2010, Mr. Babula believes the city has more than enough revenue coming in to meet its expenditures. All that is really needed to restore a sense of fiscal sanity is accountability, transparency and trust.

Nice sentiments but as regular readers of these pages will know by now, we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke believe that our city’s money woes are a little more complicated than that. It is disconcerting to see that many of the candidates running for mayor, from the frontrunners to those operating out of the spotlight like George Babula and the Parkdale Party, have internalized the idea that we are the sole authors of our money misfortunes and all that is needed to turn things around is discipline and purity of purpose. There are bigger, more pitched battles to be fought in order to regain some sense of sure-footing on Toronto’s part.

Detail disagreements aside, Mr. Babula and his team seem committed to making the city a better place to live. Their platform is much more in depth than anything front runners like Smitherman and Rossi have put forth so far. When asked our lame ass question we’re putting to all the mayoral candidates, “If the present mayor would like his legacy to be that of the Transit Mayor, how would a Mayor Babula like to see his legacy written?”, their response was: “The Mayor who re-built the Trust Bridge between Toronto’s citizens and City Hall“. It reveals something that should be as important as tactical prowess or media savvy in a political candidate: heart. Corny? Sure. But in a campaign for public office, a little compassion and empathy beats divisive calculation hands down.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr