RE Foam here to eternity (now, February 8-14). Why should we be collecting styrofoam? Good question. Especially when these stupid, huge new blue bins are costing us each 50 bucks a pop! This is corporate welfare, when we should be banning the use of this material.
In 200, we recommended to the works committee that those selling food in space leased from the city be required not to use styrofoam, and that the city itself not buy meats, eggs etc, packaged in styrofoam. We were completely ignored.
Waste Diversion Campaigner
The Sierra Club of Canada
Word to the eco-wise
RE Let's not blow this (now, febru ary 8-14). I'm sorry, Wayne Roberts, but I agree with Kurt Vonnegut's advice for young people who want to join the environmental movement: "There is nothing they can do. It's over, my friend. The game is lost." Even self-described environmentalists like Roberts are not doing the most obvious things to curb carbon emissions.
How long ago did Roberts sell his car? (I ditched mine in 86.) How many car rental miles has he logged in the last year? How many miles of air travel? Roberts would have to stop wiping his ass with paper for hundreds of years to make up for the jet fuel he wasted flying to India for his yoga retreat. (Or did he go by boat?)
He could have cycled or even walked to a yoga studio in T.O.
And if he owned a composting toilet he could use unbleached toilet paper and be a saint. Get a grip.
Podemski our Tecumseh
NOW magazine, i expect more of you. It is with bitter bemusement that I ride across Tecumseth on a streetcar, gaping out the window in shock after reading the "coverage" of Sundance (NOW, February 1-7). It's a stretch to compare Tamara Podemski to Tecumseh, but if you'll humour me a moment.... Tecumseh was a Shawnee chief who, by 1813, united 3,000 warriors from over 30 First Nations and led them into battle against the Americans during the War of 1812.
His contributions to our collective history cannot be overstated. He died fighting in a battle that the acting British general fled from.
Here in Toronto, we have a street named after Tecumseh that stretches from the stench of the slaughterhouse hogs at Niagara to expansive Queen West. Now, I realize that history is written by the victor (or Victoria, as the case may be), which leads me to recent history....
Tamara Podemski is a Canadian of Saulteux/Israeli heritage. The singer/songwriter, choreographer/dancer and actor just won the Sundance Jury Acting Award for her role in the Sterlin Harjo film Four Sheets To The Wind. In your publication's opinion, it warranted inclusion in the list of awards, nothing further.
She is the first Canadian to win this prize, and the only First Nations person ever. Isn't it about time we sang the praises of our own instead of reducing them to footnotes overlooked by the mainstream? Yours in fierce hope,
George Elliott Clarke's call for an infusion of black power figures in modern social and political spheres would be interesting if it weren't so naive (NOW, February 1-7). A surfeit of black mayors, premiers, Supreme Court judges, big bank directors and CBC supremos will change nothing unless they are rigorously committed to fundamental social and political change.
The relatively few blacks who have achieved degrees of power have shown they can be just as reactionary and drenched in bourgeois thinking as white power brokers.
Does Clarke seriously believe that the election of a black prime minister or premier (or two, or 10) will radically change the power structure in this country?
How do we advance society if blacks are educated, like whites, to embrace bourgeois ideology. Blacks who "make it" in influential positions of power cannot, and dare not, alter the status quo. It's been tried before.
"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." Steve Biko, a great revolutionary who tried to get black people to understand they must reject capitalist manipulators if they really want to progress, said that in 1976, a year before he was rather predictably murdered.
TTC not up to new thinking
It would be very nice if the transit camp were indeed "a new way for the TTC to do its planning," as Mike Smith suggests (NOW, February 8-14). Many deputations and letters have been written about the quarter-billion-dollar Front Street road, but we now have the $350-million Waterfront West LRT in the EA process. It assumes the Front Street Extension exists or will be done.
The TTC doesn't seem up to new thinking: it's taken out a useful moving walkway link between the Bloor and Spadina subways to save about $100,000 in operating costs, but it can't move to systematically explore up to 10 transit options to the Front Street Extension that could save a few hundred million dollars.
Suburban subways to sprawl seem more important than serving core riders or saving multi-millions.
Reflections on the Rocket
I'm struck by the poor and humbled persons who ride the TTC every day, who engage in their father-son chats, celebrate anniversaries and citizenship, listen to classical music between stations and inadvertently or otherwise get too intimate with fellow pole-holders because they are the poor and huddled masses. I am especially struck by the number of immigrants, and wonder how many of them are working well below their academic qualifications because our government will not take the necessary steps to provide them with complete integration and internship within their respective professions.
If all vehicles were banned and all people, regardless of wealth, were forced to take the TTC, would it be a better service?
Would the rich put up with being shuffled and pushed? Would they allow TTC workers to engage in private conversations while they waited for attention?
Who am I kidding? The rich would never ride the TTC! I think, then, that we should introduce a surcharge on all vehicles entering the downtown core. If you don't like it, you can take the TTC.
R. Gabrielle Berry
Dyer's Iran ignorance
How can Gwynne Dyer and the West believe Iran is building nuclear weapons as a defensive deterrent (NOW, February 8-14)?
Bursting our Somalia bubble
Blinded by anti-americanism, letter-writer Gord Ruddin writes of "American troublemakers" in Lesson Learned From Somalia (NOW, February 8-14, 2007), adding "While I am not naive enough to believe that Somalia would be a Ôgreat' nation had the U.S. not interfered...." For his information, Canada was just as much a troublemaker in Somalia. Has he forgotten about Canadian soldiers torturing to death Shidane Arone, a Somali teenager? Ruddin needs to examine his smug sanctimoniousness toward Americans.
Cynical in Parkdale
RE Tomorrow's slum row (January 25-31). Parkdale has never had the pleasure of being well represented by our politicians, especially at City Hall. Back in the early 80s, we had unscrupulous landlords buying up lovely heritage properties and turning them into ugly, unrecognizable bachelorettes. After that came the rooming and boarding houses, halfway houses, group homes, etc. When residents screamed, it was already too late.
Good planning and a healthy social balance are what is needed in Parkdale to make it a more sustainable community. Are our new politicians up for the challenge? It's hard not to remain a cynic.
Sheila A. Lippiatt
Parkdale Action Committee for Street Improvement
RE cabbagetown cleansing (now, February 8-14). Is letter-writer E. Cromwell kidding? When I read her letter, I screamed. I have lived and worked in Cabbagetown (I also include St. James Town ) for many years. I wouldn't live in a neighbourhood that was not accepting of other races and religions. Cabbagetown is one of the most racially, culturally diverse areas in Toronto. (Ever been to the Cabbagetown Festival in September?)
Cromwell had a bad experience at a bad restaurant.
It happens to all of us. Oh, did I mention I'm white and gay?
If you're in the hospitality business (as am I), you should know that not all establishments are equal.
If you have a bad experience, either bring it to the manager's attention or simply don't go back !
Reconsidering Friendly Thai
I went to the Friendly Thai on Queen West a few days ago. It was totally awful. My wait for the appetizer soup was close to 15 minutes, and another 15 minutes or so for the main course. I was starving by this point, and my food was cold!
I quickly brought this to the server's attention. She brought it back after it had been microwaved, making all the vegetables soggy.
My mother found that half of her food was cold as well.
I complained to management, but they didn't offer a discount or complimentary meal.
Reconsider the rating on them.
Prized sex party
I was the winner of the Drake Hotel/Love & Sex party prize pack. I just had to write your paper this morning to thank you. Your team does a really great job. My husband and I had a wonderful time at the party.
Due to the inadvertent short notice, we are saving the dinner and hotel stay for another time (when we'll get to sleep in, as we have a four-year-old). I also really liked the gift bag from Good for Her. Thanks again.