Dear Rob, I mean Mr. Mayor.
Frankly Mr. Shankly I'm a little worried. You know that old saying about keeping your friends close and enemies closer? This is one of those times. Because this whole subway fiasco is looking like 1995 all over again and for you that's bad news. Think acid. Think flashback.
I know you're no student of history, so let me rewind the tape for you.
Back then there were also plans put in place by Metro Council, and funded by the province, to build a subway along Eglinton.
Then Mike Harris and his Common Sense Devolution came along and politics got in the way. Those plans were buried, literally, in favour of a subway on Sheppard. Which, by the way was supposed to be built using private cash, too, but ended up costing taxpayers a billion bucks. Now we're stuck with a subway line that goes nowhere and is so little used that the TTC was at one time thinking of closing the thing down on weekends.
Your old man was an MPP in the Harris government, but please don't tell me this last-ditch attempt to keep this Sheppard subway business of yours alive is related to some loyalty you feel to the PCs, or the political memory of your father. What the fuck? You're supposed to be the respect for taxpayers guy?
This isn't Wonderland, Rob. Or Mr. McGregor's garden. You gotta take the high road on this. The peeps will understand. March break is around the corner. Go to Florida, enjoy some quiet time with the famiglia. Then come back, call a presser, say you've had some time to think about it and that you've decided to heed the will of council and go with LRTs. Better late than never right?
Cuz I'm starting to have weird dreams about you, of the Native kind with barren landscapes, lots of snow and noisy ravens filling the sky. Not a good sign. If you're not careful pretty soon people are going to start tuning you out, if they haven't already.
Let me put this in simpler terms for you. You like to fish. Think hard, real hard, about the times you've landed a real scrapper. He flopped around pretty good on the deck of that motor boat of yours didn't he? You're that fish right now.
One minute it's parking fees, the next it's back to the vehicle registration tax. The next it's meeting with developers behind closed doors to make it look like they're all on board with your subways, subways, always subways.
Dude, they ain't buyin' more development charges just so you can fulfill what was a half-baked election promise to begin with. The only reason they agreed to meet is because, the vultures that they are, they can smell a rotting carcass (yours) from 100 storeys up.
They know you're so desperate to sell your subway that you're willing to give up air rights to the moon if you have to. That adds up to some pretty coin for them. For you, only headaches from residents who'll have to live with the monstrosities they want to build.
But do the math, Rob. Development charges, tax increment financing, whatever, they ain't gonna be anywhere near enough to fund that subway of yours.
Are you not hearing what your friends at the Board of Trade have been saying? They want to get on with this transit stuff, not wait 10 years for subways.
Speaking of friends, your buds at the Sun and Newstalk usually happy to do your bidding, are starting to wonder, too. You did see that editorial in the Sun Friday? The one with the words "horror" and "show" in the headline?
Don't mean to get personal here, but someone has to. It's about your brother Doug. That crap he's been making up by the minute about casinos and lotteries to pay for your plans, is embarrassing. People are starting to laugh Rob - out loud.
Time to get over that big brother complex you've been carrying around and show Doug who's boss. He may be your brother, but he's also your biggest political liability.
I understand that blood is thicker than politics, but it's not like he's done you any favours, taking the biggest chunk of the family fortune and leaving you with the scraps. He owes you, not the other way around.
I notice, too, that Nick Kouvalis was around City Hall Thursday. (BTW, did he sign in? He's supposed to, you know.) But anyway, back to saving your ass.
It's clear you guys didn't part ways on good terms. That he wanted to do a few things when he was chief of staff and that Doug got in the way. Some of us have heard crazy stories about how he ended up getting the axe. But let's keep that under wraps for the time being.
What I really want to say is this: Nick's a smart guy, and I know he's been trying to float some good advice your way on the QT. But maybe he's not the best guy to have around right now. He's got his own problems, more allegations of dirty tricks and whatnot. The optics are just not right. Use the phone if you really need to talk.
While you're at it, tell Giorgio Mammoliti to shut the fuck up, stop saying stupid shit like he'd rather have no subway for 50 years on Finch West than LRT. Mammo arguably has a conflict of interest in the matter of LRTs on Finch owing to his connection to that BIA in his ward threatening legal action. The details of that questionable business will come out when that audit of Mammo's campaign expenses is completed. It's complicated but here's a hint for your staff: 2958 Islington Avenue.
Here's the thing, Rob. It may not be your thing to surrender. You'd rather roll the length of 200 football fields and puke your guts out afterwards than admit defeat.
But give it a try. You might find the experience liberating. And Toronto may just thank you in more ways than you can appreciate right now. The more you dig in your heels, the deeper that hole you're shoveling for yourself will get.