Call smog emergency now
RE Toronto's last gasp (NOW, July 21-27). Kudos to NOW for recognizing the excessive smog days as a true health emergency. The anti-smoking campaign relied on the media to kick politicians' butts. Why has the rest of the Toronto media failed to respond to this health emergency? Anti-smog legislation has to be drafted immediately. As a parent with a young child, this ineffectual response to smog has been alarming.
I find it idiotic that there are anti-idling laws in place, yet people lining up at drive-throughs at Tim Hortons and McDonald's with their air conditioners running aren't being punished for contributing to the smog problem. This is a waste of gas and pollutes our city unnecessarily. I propose that drive-throughs not to be allowed during smog days.
I think NOW missed the point slightly with some of the suggested initiatives for dealing with smog.
Those ideas would certainly help, but they're reactive in that they would only kick in on smog advisory days. Enforcing carpooling on smog advisory days in Paris was indeed a good idea, but not as good an idea as making the entire city core a car toll zone - every day, as they've done in London.
Residents of the central zone pay about 80 cents a day, and alternative fuel, emergency and registered disabled vehicles are exempt.
The first day of the new toll, traffic volumes in London were reduced by 50 per cent, and pedestrians and cyclists reported notably more pleasant conditions.
Furthermore, the toll being charged is expected to raise some $208 million a year for public transportation. Are you reading this, Mayor Miller?
Energy hogs piss me off
I am the guy referred to in Doors Wide Open, A/C Blasting (NOW, July 21-27) who closed Aldo's doors. I have asthma and have been pissed off for years about the open-door policy of these energy pigs. If every environmentalist, all family and friends of people with lung disease started to close doors left open by businesses during smog alerts, maybe the message would get through the smog-filled heads of the management who pollute our city. See an open door, just close it !
Wind towers of power
Where are our windmills? (NOW , July 21-27). They're in the Gaspé. My hometown of Murdochville, once the second-largest source of pollution in Quebec, is now one of the greenest towns in Canada. After the local copper smelter closed four years ago, the town turned to another natural resource to guarantee its future: wind. Twenty-five per cent of all the windmills in Canada now spin within sight of the closed mine and its slag heaps. If miners can reinvent themselves as windmillers, how hard could it be for the rest of us to embrace wind power in exchange for cleaner air?
Naomi Klein's My date with Aristide (NOW, July 21-27) is a good read. Africans and Haitians do not need rich, white politicians and rock stars pointing out the injustice of poverty. Africans and Haitians will wage their own wars to find justice in their homelands. As Klein says: "Haitians are still in the streets (as many Africans are)... holding up photographs of their president." I would suggest they take down the photographs of their president, because the fewer politicians and politics involved in these wars, the better hope for the people to eventually control their own lives.
Quebec City, Quebec
Barbie as role model
While I usually agree with UpFront, I'm surprised at the item about Barbie's new image (NOW, July 21-27). The issue is not that Barbie makes "little girls obsess about their human imperfections," nor that little girls need more realistic dolls. The real issue that NOW and every other Barbie critic ignores is this: when a little girl's only role model is a 9-inch-tall piece of plastic, do we need to look farther than the ends of our own noses for the real source of her troubles?
You say tomato...
So the editors at NOW are getting their panties in a twist about the laser-tagging of fruit (NOW, July 21-27).
On waxed fruit, the tagging simply burns information into the waxy layer. For other fruit, it simply removes the outer pigment or the skin, still keeping nature's cling-wrap airtight.
One of the best advantages of this technology is the amount of information that can be imprinted, namely tracking details that can better explain the path of fruit to our tables.
I welcome this technology as a big step toward safer, less wasteful and more informative food distribution. Frankly, I'm surprised that NOW isn't championing this step instead of showing a frankentomato with 666 burned onto it.
Tourism promo a gaffe fest
Tourism Toronto is indeed unhinged (NOW, July 21-27). It has recently planted one of its whopping INFOLOGO pillars at the edge of a little parkette at MacPherson and Avenue Road, a residential area with only local pedestrian traffic. Virtually no tourists. While I concede the usefulness of providing tourist maps where there are tourists as a means of marketing the city's attractions, this is a ridiculously inappropriate location. Apart from that, one of the pillar's two panels introduces commercial advertising in a parkette where it has never been allowed before. Unacceptable!
Wayne Roberts claims the London subway bombings were an inevitable response to the G8 nations' "methods of mass murder" (NOW, July 14-20).
The arms industry and African poverty are somehow worked into this revenge theory. I find all of this cretinous. Imagine a humanitarian concern for Africa being expressed by exploding oneself on a crowded London bus! That is the work of a sadist.
I have heard this relative morality blather before. It used to come from Communists, Nazis (after losing the war), Maoists, the Khmer Rouge and a sorry set of other pathologies.
The one thing the bombers had in common was a trip to Pakistan, where they were probably indoctrinated. They became followers of a violent and fanatic Islam.
These terrorists, if they succeed, won't have much use for NOW. In their eyes, it is full of decadent Western filth.
Too few on Ahenakew
A moment ago I finished reading Not My Elder Now (NOW, July 21-27). Since David Ahenakew's statements on tape were revealed, this issue has been unusually enshrouded by a noticeable lack of comment by many native leaders.
People say and do the wrong thing every day. Sadly, an unrepentant Ahenakew felt he should not face condemnation. Thank goodness for Drew Hayden Taylor and his adept articulation of his viewpoint.
Wait and see on youth jail
I enjoyed your article Jailhouse Flop (NOW, July 14-20). I would like to point out that the Anglican Diocese of Toronto Working Group on Justice and Corrections (of which I am chair), although sympathetic to the Prisoners' Justice Action Committee's campaign, is not at this point officially opposed to the project to build the youth jail in Brampton. Most of our members have preferred to take a wait-and-see approach and work with the province to ensure its promise is kept to provide excellent programming at the facility.
RE Charity claptrap (NOW, July 7- 13). Many thanks for pointing out that War Amps does not telephone or do door-to-door solicitation. I would like to point out in addition that War Amps does not sell, trade or otherwise share its mailing list.
Chief Executive Officer, War Amps.
It seems that the prime concern of the organizers of the Fringe Festival is to keep everything moving and exactly on time so they can present every one of their 7,498 productions.
However, these organizers have forgotten the one thing that will keep the festival going: the needs of the audience who try to attend these events.
With its policy of "no refunds, no exchanges and no latecomers," the festival ends up turning away people who drive for an hour or more, pay exorbitant parking fees and run up three flights of stairs only to show up three minutes late and be told to go away.
The organizers claim that if one show runs over by even one minute it can throw the entire schedule off and make people late for other shows. Well, how about scheduling one or two fewer of them? How about letting latecomers in during scene breaks, as every other theatre does?