Thank you for your focus on housing (NOW, March 23-29)! NOW is leading media coverage on this issue. Despite the obvious evidence that housing is as important a building block for a community as education, medicare, childcare and social inclusion, most media continue to cover infrastructure, taxes, transportation, defence and governance to the neglect of the things about life that we really need !
The only thing missing was what people can do.
Last week's Ontario budget, in which the word "housing" wasn't even deemed worthy of mention in the Throne Speech, demands citizen outrage. I hope people will consider checking our website, www.tdrc.net, for suggestions about what they can do.
Toronto Disaster Relief Committee
Valley not for homeless
Having failed to recognize my opinions in the position that Kris Scheuer ascribes to me (NOW, March 23-29), let me say that I believe homelessness is unacceptable. City council has supported the proposition that there exists a right to a home, but there is no "right" to public space. I agree. Living in the Don Valley is particularly problematic because it's a flood plain.
Ms. Scheuer found it deeply fascinating that our Don Task Force talked to the police about vandalism, graffiti, garbage, raves and, among these issues, potential conflicts involving people living in the valley. She, not I, related the first four issues to homeless people. As for the latter, tell me, where else does a population largely made up of disaffected males, many with substance abuse problems, not pose a potential policing concern? But as for ending homelessness in the valley, I support the city's Streets to Homes approach. This is a breath of fresh air after years of malign neglect.
Task Force to Bring Back the Don
Sharing the land
NOW's Housing Manifesto (NOW, March 23-29) was right on the money - quite literally - with the statement that the high cost of land is the biggest barrier standing in the way of an affordable housing breakthrough.
Sharing surplus lands with organizations that build affordable housing simply makes sense. But on a broader scale, building affordable homes in prime locations provides the kind of economic mix that makes the entire city a safer and better place to live for everyone.
Given an inch, affordable housing could solve a mile's worth of problems. But we can't build on thin air; we need land.
CEO, Habitat for Humanity
Kudos to now for your in-depth analysis of the condofuckification of Toronto (NOW, March 23-29). There are two surefire remedies for this outrage perpetrated on the people by the filthy rich and their kissass lapdog politicians: void your ballots and eat the motherfucking rich.
Canucks not only hostages
Thank you for your coverage of the March 18 anti-war demo (NOW, March 23-29) and especially for mentioning the torture suffered by imprisoned Iraqis at the hands of the Americans.
Christian Peacemaker Teams were carrying large photos of murdered hostage Tom Fox, but also of Iraqi men. Part of the work of Peacemaker Teams is to intercede on behalf of Iraqi prisoners and their families.
I gasped with joy when I found out that three surviving abducted Christian Peacemakers had been found alive.
But make no mistake, thousands of people are still being held hostage in Iraq, and only George Bush knows what is happening to them and when and if they will be freed.
World outside Iraq ignored
Your coverage of the third anniversary protest of the Iraq war made me wonder. When will the anti-war movement turn its energies to Darfur, Sudan? There is a world outside Iraq.
Meanwhile, the protest you covered against Colin Powell outside Roy Thomson Hall (NOW, March 23-29) was a non-event and hardly reported in the mainstream media. Most passersby were more concerned about crossing the street safely than with the demo.
The stationing of 2,200 canadian troops in southern Afghanistan extinguishes the illusion of Canada as international peacekeeper once and for all. We are now full-fledged partners in the war on terror. By allowing Canadian troops to be involved in U.S. patrols and security work, the Canadian government has given up the opportunity to rectify the injustices perpetrated against the civilians of this country.
Great Love & Sex column by Zoe Farren (NOW, March 23-29). Great detail. Great touching vulnerability and truth. But it was missing one important detail - namely, a condom! Where was mention of the tall, dark and handsome man putting on a condom before he thrust into the please-go-slow hole?
I'm sure I don't need to explain the risk of unprotected, anal-receptive sex with a non-monogamous partner. Maybe you could pass that information along to your readers. I'm sure they would appreciate the bent truth, at least more than they would a bent you-know-what.
Metrosexual or just broke?
Another week, another ridiculous My Style (NOW, March 23-29). Where are you digging up these people!? Kaleb Robertson describes her style as "a fine line between metrosexual and gay cowboy." Who is she kidding? Her style is closer to "broke and confused public-school child." This is her looking her best!? I am amazed that people actually walk the streets like this.... I guess this must happen only in the small bubble world of Queen West.
West Coast boast toast
Re Vexed in Victoria (NOW, March 23-29). Letter-writer Sandra Meigs gets a failing grade in her attempt to school us in geography when she says, "You easterners." Actually, Toronto is thousands of kilometres from the East Coast. It's in central Canada. If she really needs to vent at millions of fellow Canadians for an oversight in one (favourable) art show review, she should probably opt for another term. Or was her slag aimed at everyone east of Victoria?
Pretzel Bell no keeper
I am astounded that a crumbling old beer parlour, closed for 25 years, is regarded by some as Toronto's answer to Chartres Cathedral (NOW, March 16-22). Why would anyone want the former Pretzel Bell site "to honour the hospitality industry?" The tomb of the unknown bartender, perhaps? Surely the best honour the industry could have is the proposed 63-storey hotel scheduled to be built on the site. To be worthy of honour, Toronto's hospitality sector ought to work toward providing regular decent service instead of making it the occasional pleasant surprise it now unfortunately is.
Foodie's fit of pique
In writing about Wroxeter, Steven Davey reviewed a closed restaurant (NOW, March 16-22). What exactly is the point of that? Pique? Resentment that he never got a chance to use the zingers he'd been saving up? Does Davey show up at funerals just to kick the corpse because he'd been meaning to for a while?
Dreading Drake takeover
I used to run a gallery in the space now occupied by Starbucks (NOW, March 16-22). I was forced out after my rent quadrupled. Because of the Drake, property values have gone through the roof, and now other galleries on the stretch have their leases coming up and face having to move or close down completely. Starbucks just happens to have enough money to take the space, and that's the downside of gentrification. Toronto has always been about the money, how much you make and how much you can get. It's a shame. What made this area hot in the first place were the artists and galleries that gave it soul. Now it's just another upscale promenade for tourists and weekend poseurs.
Re Lisa Foad's Is Drake Gentrifying My 'Hood Or Am I? (NOW, March 16-22). Denouncing the mainstream just to be different and independent can get just a bit tiring. I've had bad, indifferent product and service at independent, grungy-cool places as well as at Starbucks. Isn't the need to be different just as much a cliché as embracing the dreaded mass market, and maybe, just maybe, a little bit adolescent? Reverse snobbery?
Starbucks happens to make great coffee. Maybe that's why it's popular. I live on Queen West and am quite glad that the area's being cleaned up.
Tripping on last night's puke or getting a verbal diatribe from your not-so-friendly neighbourhood drunk first thing in the morning is not my idea of living in a cool, artsy, "happening" neighbourhood.
The big, bad yuppie, Faith Wong