Mel slut for developers
The destination sign on the train in your Upfront item about the Sheppard subway (NOW, November 21-27) should have read "NO WHORE" as opposed to "NO WHERE," owing to Mel Lastman's constant giving away of city assets to the private sector.
J. Houston, Toronto
Front could be transit dream
it was great to see the stupidity of the Front Street extension exposed (NOW, November 21-27). Most of our politicians and planners seem to have a Front-al lobotomy around this arterial extension.
A Front Street transit-way would be a better idea, and bring better transit to south Etobicoke and parts beyond.
There's a real opportunity, once a tunnel or bridge gets transit west of the railway tracks, to use surplus track just bought by the city to give some transit relief on the Bloor subway line and faster service to the many core destinations on Front. Perhaps with the political will and more money, rail tracks could support a faster route into York and North York, too.
Hamish Wilson, Toronto
Chomsky's curious silence
in his letter to now, bill kitcher does your readers a significant disservice by minimizing Noam Chomsky's forward to a Holocaust denial book (NOW, November 21-27).
Indeed, Chomsky is himself not a Holocaust denier. But by choosing to remain essentially silent when Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson used Chomsky's essay on free speech as a forward to his ugly screed, Chomsky is guilty of giving support and succour to the deniers' cause.
Bernie M. Farber
Executive Director, Canadian Jewish Congress Toronto
Cops not only ones profiling
re shooting blanks (now, november 14-20). Profiling exists on more levels than just race. I am a black man and I own a custom motorcycle. I was pulled over by a black cop on Jarvis Street last summer. When I asked him why he pulled me over, his response was "Routine." He asked if I was working this street, and I asked what he meant. His tone changed to that of an assumption that I was a drug dealer or pimp working the Jarvis Street area. No racial profiling here, but another kind, since I was on a custom bike and he, I guess, assumed I was a biker.
Profiling is assumption. Most crime reports show black-on-black violence. Assumptions are made that all Asians are bad drivers. It is not only the police who are responsible for profiling.
periodically, i run a companion ad in the hopes of meeting another gay male. I can deal with the late calls, crank calls, married guys, the casually curious and the drunks.
However, when I explain to callers that I wish to meet another white male, a few callers have resorted to calling me a racist.
If not sleeping with non-whites makes me a racist, doesn't being gay make me a sexist?
My putting an ad in the paper doesn't entitle a stranger to call me a bigot and a bad Canadian. All I owe a stranger is honesty and common courtesy.
David Cooper, Toronto
Smelly hazards in parks
i must say i am thoroughly disgusted not only by the poop and litter left by pets in parks, but more by shameful owners.
Isn't there a law that says dogs should be leashed at all times in parks?
I have many times avoided stepping in these smelly hazards, but one cannot be lucky at all times. Why can't people realize that this is highly offensive, not to mention a serious health hazard? I have lived in the U.S. for a long time, where laws on this are strictly enforced. It's unfortunate that rules and laws are more laid-back in Canada.
Fatima Faiz, Toronto
Voucher and a pair of socks
when the pope squat was opened July 25, I did not expect it to last more than a week, because of the fate of previous squatting actions.
Instead, activists were gradually replaced by people looking for a permanent place to stay.
Repairs were continuous, and a safe, comfortable environment developed. It certainly wasn't utopia, but it was a functioning example of human perseverance and cooperation that was (not coincidentally) a slap in the face to the authorities.
Some of the most beaten-down, vulnerable people in our society showed the strength and compassion to make our house livable.
Numerous people who were frustrated with the shelter system came to the squat and, within weeks, had found jobs and a place of their own.
All we are asking for now is to be able to return. Residents of Tent City were offered a rent subsidy program.
People evicted from the Pope Squat were given a voucher for one night in a shelter, a $5 gift certificate to Tim Hortons and a pair of socks.
Board of Directors, Norm's House
Reading Bell's fine print
has anyone else noticed the $4.95 charge that Bell has applied to phone bills? It seems Bell's long distance plan, 10 cents a minute after certain times, is no longer available. Instead, Bell has devised a plan to charge $4.95 a month for long distance, covering the first 60 minutes, whether you use that much time or not. Does this seem fair? That depends on how much long distance you really use. When I finally looked closely at my bill, I noticed Bell had mentioned the change, but in print about two point sizes smaller than the rest of the bill. Fair? Probably not. Legal? Absolutely.
Scott Orton, Toronto
Reason for hope in Israel
re harvest hope (now, november 21-27). Congratulations for printing Uri Avnery's article. It hints at hope for an otherwise hopeless situation. One can only pray that peace efforts in the Middle East will succeed. May I suggest reading Robert I. Friedman's Zealots For Zion: Inside Israel's West Bank Settlement Movement? It provides much-needed insight into the conflict.
Mark MacLeod, Toronto
All for fingerprinting
why should canadians worry about being fingerprinted and photographed at the U.S. border? After all, only criminals and terrorists would fear this, right?
In fact, Canada could help the U.S. by requiring all Americans to be fingerprinted and photographed when they enter Canada.
We would then be able to further emulate much more secure countries, where all that citizens have to fear is the police and the government -- like Iraq.
Tom Trottier, Ottawa
thanks for continuing coverage of the local art scene and the work of the Urban Beautification Brigade (NOW, November 14-20).Great work. In the article, reference is made to another group of artists the author cites as the Urban Beautification Ensemble.
For future reference, this group is actually called the City Beautification Ensemble.
Robert Hernandez, Toronto
Writer has too much space
is there any reason letter writer Jan Burton is not a paid member of your staff? Or is this person simply filling some sort of void in your letters department? Maybe you just don't get enough people writing in to defend the right, and hence, you've invented Jan Burton?
Daniel Jacobs, Toronto
Moved by Ararat
Cameron Bailey, in his review of Ararat (NOW, November 14-20), seemed to miss most of the metaphorical content and intent of Egoyan's film.
It was never intended to be a big Shindler's List production about the genocide of Armenians, partly because it couldn't be. Most of the documentation of the true events of the genocide is missing.
In part, the film was about how history gets made.
In addition to portraying the genocide, it was a film about how we appropriate historical events that are personally uncomfortable or that may contain some amount of evil, and the consequences of these limited appropriations.
Azita Hariri, Toronto
Subway named desire
Monday Morning. 7:45 am. i settle in for the hard commute to the core. I yawn and glance at the two young lovers attired in sweats and FUBU wear. I notice the deliberate movements of our young Juliet's hands beneath the anorak that is strategically draped across their laps. Is she? Noooo, she can't be. Holy crap, she is.
I turn crimson and look away. I mean, it's rush hour, for god's sake. My eyes frantically search the faces of my fellow riders. Do they see what I see? Nope. Not a one. What do I do? She stops the massage, but I desperately long for a "No Rub 'n' Tug" sign I could point to. Angry at being subjected to their XXX brand of fun, I want to lambaste them, to cruelly humiliate them in front of the entire train. (But) British mores far too ingrained, (I decide) it would be too impolite to make a scene, after all.
The train jerks to a stop and, giving Lolita the look of death and bolting like a springbok at the sound of a Range Rover, I rush onto the platform. Taking several cleansing breaths, I try to shake the ickiness and scum as I transfer to a more G-rated car. And so began my morning commute.
Pamela Westoby, Toronto