When mayoral candidate david Miller left a 90-minute meeting with NOW's editorial board, one of our more cynical staffers was heard to mutter, "I can't believe I just spent over an hour in a room with a politician and it doesn't stink of bullshit." David Miller is a different kind of pol, and that's one of the many reasons we are enthusiastically supporting him for mayor of Toronto. For nine years we've watched him in municipal government, tempering the proceedings with his particular blend of wit, reason and integrity. He is, after all, the only leading candidate to have had major experience in the workings of the megacity council. Consequently, he knew early in the game how bad the computer leasing deal stank and was able to lead the charge for a full public inquiry. That scandal, by the way, featured one-time mayor Barbara Hall's budget chief, Tom Jakobek, and developed on the watch of John Tory when he served as one of Mel Lastman's closest advisers.
Miller realizes that citizens crave a well-serviced, functioning city brimming with arts, ideas and ecological health - and that these elements in turn draw business and tourism. He knows as well that dozens of planes spewing air and noise pollution daily over the waterfront aren't part of this vision.
Even conservative politicians know it's time to turn the waterfront into a jewel for the city. Fixed links to the island not only endanger the waterway but turn the islands into an extension of the mainland, irresistable to developers. Only Miller is clear-headed enough to ensure we get a people's waterfront.
The articulate Harvard-educated lawyer doesn't favour crazy budget slashing, just intelligent, careful spending and gentle, reasonable tax increases. And he's a consensus builder who wants to collaborate with city workers instead of needlessly battling them. He won't stoop to pitting one sector of the city against another, generating fruitless strikes and animosities. A smart, charismatic and passionate city lover, Miller's got the stuff for deft negotiations with the province over budget shortfalls and for galvanizing mayors across the country to pressure the feds for more cash.
For too long this city has been run by a corrupt cabal of cronies led by Paul Godfrey, Lastman and John Tory. Their rule has featured backroom deals that spawned disasters like MFP, the absurd Olympic bid and the corrupt Union Station contract.
It's surreal to watch long-time Conservative conniver Tory claiming to be the candidate for change. He comes directly from the same destructive political pool that produced the insane "no tax increase, no services" approach that's been ruining the city. Tory accuses Miller of being irresponsible, yet Tory's the one who wants to put 400 more police on the streets even though crime is dropping. And it's Tory who favoured the contracting-out of services like snow removal, which now costs Toronto three times more than other cities. Contracting out does not always save money, it often costs more. And if you think the quality of services stay the same, just ask the people of Walkerton or the customers who bought tainted Aylmer meat. Both of these scandals happened when services once performed by government employees were contracted to the private sector. No thanks, John.
Tory has had his chance over the last six years, when Mel's crew held their weekly meetings in the Rogers Communications boardroom. It's time he took responsibility for this mess and fessed up that he's dragging around a pack of IOUs to Conservative politicians and big-business buddies.
Tory accuses Miller of being beholden to city workers just because they endorse him - and he can talk with them. But Tory is already pandering to the cops, who backed him and are licking their chops at the prospect of reporting to such a compliant police-first mayor, the kind who imagines crime waves that aren't in order to scare voters to his side.
We don't want the team that pushed mega-projects so they could build them and turn over a quick buck, the same people who tried to give us a waterfront full of empty stadiums and parking lots, the Olympic fiasco, a larger Island Airport and garbage-burner incinerators (which we know won't be going up in Rosedale).
We call on supporters of Barbara Hall to desert the faded contender and mark a ballot for Miller so as not to boost Tory's fortunes. We're opposed to Hall not because of how she speaks but because of what she says, when she says anything at all. Hall has quite simply sold out her progressive constituency to kiss conservative ass and boost the fortunes of a nutty Island Airport expansion.
This is Miller time. Vote for him for mayor and watch a beautiful new city unfold. A humane, ecological, bustling place we can be proud to call home, one that will draw business without plastic moose or mega-project gimmicks. We have a chance to rescue Toronto. Let us do it together. Vote David Miller.
WHY BACK MILLER?
He opposes Expanding the Island Airport
Reasonable tax increases to pay for services
Stronger civilian monitoring on the police services board
Safe injection sites
Increasing funding of the arts by 25 per cent
Creation of 1,000 units of affordable and 1,000 of supportive housing a year
He intends to
Work with a strong coalition of mayors to pressure the province and feds for more urban funding
Have a collaborative, not toxic, relationship with city workers
WHY AVOID TORY?
He favours Expanding the Island Airport
400 more police officers
Fixating on law and order when crime is actually down
A law banning panhandling in the downtown core
Part of the crew of Tory cronies who directed Mel through disasters like the Olympic bid, Union Station and Island Airport expansion
WHY ABANDON HALL?
She favours A fixed link to the Island and disguises the fact that she actually supports an enhanced Island Airport
Once sensitive to the issues of the left, Hall now leans toward incorporating the scary right, as evinced by her disastrous appointment of Tom Jakobek as budget chief in the old city and her catering to development interests over the fixed link.
This candidate, who thought she could slip into power by avoiding articulating a strong vision, can no longer be trusted with the tough, creative decisions that have to be made.
A vote for Hall is a vote for Tory, because she can't win. Supporting her splits the progressive vote pointlessly.