Cops blackmailing chief
The Toronto Police Association's threat to continue their job action unless the chief drops all charges of misconduct against them (NOW, November 10-16) is a threat to the rule of law. Officers charged with misconduct are entitled to a fair hearing. But they are not entitled to blackmail the chief, or the public, by threatening to withhold their services. Unless the police really are above the law, as they seem to think, then the union's leadership should be arrested and charged with obstructing justice.
Immigration's eco equation
Re Don't Shut Him Up, by Andrew Athanasiu (NOW, November 10-16). The question I put to both Andrew Athanasiu and Gord Miller was: how do you limit population growth without curbing immigration? I never got a satisfactory answer. To suggest population growth is not linked to immigration is akin to the Mike Harris Conservatives saying there is no connection between tax cuts and cuts in government services. Athanasiu suggests I irresponsibly tried to suppress a debate on population growth. Not so. I just think the debate should be honest. Far from being irresponsible, I think it is my duty as a columnist to show the links between proposed actions and their logical consequences.
Queen's Park columnist, Toronto Star
Room to grow shrinking fast
Congratulations to Gord Miller for provoking a discussion on the ecological effects of immigration.
To me, the important question is not whether we need immigration, or whether future population growth should be in the GTA or northern Ontario.
The only reason that people advocate population growth is because it's intrinsic to the conventional model of economic growth, and economic growth is seen as a necessary given.
What needs to be addressed is the question: what model for human prosperity, without population growth, can be based on sustainable development?
Charles F. Marker
Another cyclist dies in vain
I was enjoying my Thursday morning ritual of breakfast and NOW when I came across the article about Ryan Carriere (NOW, November 10-16). I had seen the flowers marking his passing at the corner of Queen and Gladstone. But it was when I saw his photo and read about his two young daughters that I found myself crying. Toronto is growing rapidly, and there is more traffic, congestion and smog all the time. Cyclists are a great asset to this city, yet Toronto does next to nothing to raise awareness or to offer cyclists protection.
Life happens, accidents happen, but when a young life is taken tragically, I believe it is meant to have a great impact -- to create change. If it doesn't, then these deaths are all in vain.
Cyclists make good hood art
Despite your furry-headed sense of entitlement, city roads were not made for cyclists, but for a little invention we call the automobile. If you want to play with your bicycle, go to a park, ride along a bike path and ring your little bell. Have fun - just leave the streets to people engaged in adult pursuits such as earning a living.
Bicycling Luddites at play in the 21st century are destined, nay begging, to become hood ornaments. Dingaling.
Metropass sob story
Jenny Yuen's Metropass sob story (NOW, November 10-16) was utter adultescent tripe. How could you print what amounts to little more than a rant?
Obviously, the TTC has some of the worst customer service this side of calling a cop shop.
And the fact that it was thousands of Metropasses short this month should have been pointed out. But it seems to me this is a commonplace "business misjudges demand" story that at most should be treated with a mild rebuke, not excoriation.
TTC playing dumb
I find it exceedingly frustrating and suspiciously convenient that as soon as the TTC introduced transferable passes, a mass shortage of them immediately followed. You'd think that with people sharing them, there'd be an abundance. Instead, there's a shortage everywhere.
By the first day of the month, over 14 stations were sold out.
The added humiliation of TTC employees playing dumb is just plain insulting. Don't toy with us.
We smiled when you raised the fares twice, three, four times. We smiled when you complained you needed more money.
We smiled when you went on strike once, twice. We're not smiling any more.
Metis mind warp
Re Presto -- I'm Metis (NOW, November 10-16). I'm puzzled at how often people freely surrender or give away their power of self-identification with categorized definitions. Marie Richer is doomed if she accepts the term "Metis" without investigating the meaning of being Metis. Is it race-based? If so, that is problematic, because she is adopting the language of the colonizer.
She talks about aboriginal "genes" and moreover tells us that she grew up "white." No wonder she's in a quandary! Identity operates on both a personal and community level; without the connection of community, she may well be left in a vacuum.
Maybe she's caught up in the stigma of the Metis label, but why does she accept labels in the first place?
Richer might to do well to be mindful of the dictum "Become who you are." If she has a "sour" taste from receiving a plastic card in the mail, then at least she has a superficial taste of how aboriginal peoples feel about a government that continues to define them.
Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation
With friends like these...
Your upfront item on Segway pusher Councillor Bill Saundercook (NOW, November 3-9) omitted a small but crucial piece of information. Saundercook sits on the pedestrian committee that gave the Segway the boot.
How can he now in good conscience remain on that committee? With friends like Saundercook, pedestrians don't need any enemies.
William E. Brown
Screwing with Nader
Re Yee-Guan Wong's knocking Nader (NOW, November 3-9). Wong has misconstrued Ralph Nader's astute observations on the behaviour of "non-active activists" by seeing in him "a certain unattractive bitterness." It's fine to speak out quietly about boycotting companies and consuming environmentally friendly products while sipping rainforest-clearing, culture-eradicating, toxin-laden coffees, but how many of these activists act ? Do they boycott goods made in China or use green-affinity long distance services and credit cards? Nader calls this inactivity a fear of "being blistered by moonbeams."
We would all do well to heed Nader's sage advice by avoiding the path of "those who choose to live their lives in virtual reality" and spreading the message of action by reviving the fine art of conversation.
War as male addiction
I read with interest your excellent review of the film Jarhead (NOW, November 3-9). From an evolutionary and neurobiological viewpoint, war can be seen as a male addiction. The background and upbringing of George W. Bush is an illustrative example. Thanks again for your review.
Sex shop not just for the shy
Thanks for mentioning Good for Her as one of Toronto's best sex shops (NOW, October 27-November 2)! We'd like to point out that it's not just shy women who come to our store. Women and men come to us because we're experts in female sexuality, we're passionate about providing honest sex and health advice, and we offer the best sex seminars in the country. We offer tea as well as great service because we know that for many people just getting through the door is a challenge. We respect the courage it takes to treat yourself to good sex, and we salute those who take that step with, yes, a warm mug of tea. Yours in slipperiness,
Carlyle Jansen, Chanelle Gallant
The Wright stuff
Joseph Henry Wythe's letter at tacked me for "fuzzy thinking" about organic architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright (NOW, October 27-November 2). His careless letter attributes statements to me that were made by the author, Natalie Fingerhut. Given my substantial experience with Wright's writings and buildings over 40 years, I must dismiss his silly ramblings. I grew up near a Frank Lloyd Wright house that inspired me to become an architect. I have visited more than 50 Wright buildings first-hand. I studied Wright at Yale. As dean of the faculty of architecture, landscape, and design at the University of Toronto, I arranged a major endowment enabling our students to study at Taliesin West, Wright's Arizona home, studio and school.
In the spring of 2004, I guest taught at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin. Although Wythe claims that Wright said, "All architectural schools should be shut down," I don't think that will happen soon, including the school that carries Wright's own name in Arizona!
Indeed, at the University of Toronto I will continue to engage my students in the positive lessons that can be learned from Wright particularly his deep understanding of nature, landscape and dwelling.
Larry Wayne Richards
Professor of Architecture, University of Toronto
Insulting music lovers
Perlich's Picks is a great source of obscure musical gems. Tim Perlich's reviews are another matter. Worse even than his tendency to insert himself into nearly every interview or story he writes (I told country legend so and so blah blah blah) is the uber-hip critic's need to stay one step ahead of the pack by bashing former rising stars the moment the average fan may have started to appreciate them. I have yet to encounter a music reviewer anywhere with such a constant need to insult his readers.
This brunch no picnic
At the recommendation of Steven Davey in your Organics issue (NOW, October 13-19), I attended the Old Nick's much-touted "organic" brunch on Sunday. I can say little positive about the experience. Hard on the pocketbook - $40-plus. Service was poor, coffee cold, had to beg for a refill, and the eggs Benny (same old, same old) sat on the warming counter for eight minutes before they were served, and were cold at that.