DEFT DIPLOMACY Through polite public statements and much backroom savvy, the artful Miller was able to finesse gas tax revenue and more municipal autonomy for the cash-challenged city from the generally oblivious Libs at Queen's Park. Hail His Honour's statecraft.
DUD DIPLOMACY But despite much finagling with the province, the city is confronted with another 3 per cent hike in residential property taxes, more service cuts, new program fees and another substantial shortfall (at least $70 million) in funding for provincially mandated programs. The mayor has not yet got the Martinites to cough up gas tax moolah or take much interest in T.O.'s budget plight. Will Miller's grace under pressure be enough to pull this one out of the bag?
ECO HERO It's what we elected him to do, and he did it promptly - the killing of the pollution-inducing bridge to the Island Airport. If only all pols were as accountable for their promises.
ECO Hurtful How then to explain the anti-smog, transit-loving mayor's incomprehensible support for the Front Street extension? It'll cost the cash-strapped city $90 million, do little to relieve traffic congestion on the Gardiner and Lakeshore in the west end, and will exacerbate smog problems. What's he thinking?
AESTHETIC visionary The Clean And Beautiful City Initiative. Miller has managed to sell an ambitious and transformative design and greening plan for T.O. (public art included) by wrapping it inside a cleanup project. The ever-approachable pol heads out onto the streets himself to clean up debris and still manages not to come off sounding like a litter-crazed Rudy Giuliani.
Aesthetic shortfall What's with Miller's support for massive curbside garbage bins that look more like vehicles for lucrative advertising than promoters of recycling? The Eucan proposal will only sink the city deeper into what is already a bad deal. He knows better than this.
HEAlTH WARRIOR Bravely, he went for the greater good and withstood the wrath of restaurant and club owners to push an anti-smoking bylaw poised to save lives.
HEAlTH blunder Please, Mayor Miller, say you didn't mean it when your assistant told us you were considering the option of newfangled but still toxic garbage incineration. There are better ways to end the trash overload, and the pol who so eloquently championed the don't-cut-trees bylaw and the cause of green bins should know exactly what they are.
Best political appointment Himself to the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation. The TWRC has been paralyzed by indecision and ill-defined powers for years. With a tactician like the mayor running the show, won't be easy for the powers that be at Queen's Park and Ottawa to ignore it any more.
Worst political appointment Lastman leftover Case Ootes to the police services board. We understand Miller was trying to be conciliatory, but the move undermined the workings of the board for months and - if not for the unforeseen collapse of Norm Gardner and the police union - might have resulted in four more regressive years of Fantino.
StickhandlING SCORES The orchestration of a ban on political donations from corporations and unions and a momentous electoral reform package, which includes the appointment of an integrity commissioner, is a testament to Miller's skills. Add to this feat his reorganization of the city bureaucracy. The bloodletting - and there was a lot of it - caused barely a ripple despite the fact that it came with a heavy price tag in buyouts. Count as well the clever ouster of scandal-plagued former treasurer Wanda Liczyk from her Hydro post.
STICKHANDLING FLUBS Acceptance of a watered-down anti-pesticide bylaw still sticks in the craw - especially when evidence is mounting that city departments aren't even abiding by it. Then there's Maple Leaf Gardens. The mayor chose to keep his nose out of plans to convert the house that Conn Smythe built into a Loblaws, in deference to council ally Kyle Rae, the local councillor. Such a symbol of the city's history deserved more than a feeble shrug from the mayor, especially since venerable types like hockey-great-turned-Liberal-senator Frank Mahovlich were pushing for mixed use with affordable housing. Let's hope the vaunted Union Station plans receive more of the mayor's usual attention to detail.