Through the lens darkly
Correct. Every move that every one makes stands to be picked up by police cameras (NOW, February 22-28).
If you're a bad date, your licence plate may be caught on film. If you prey on the elderly, take your handgun on the TTC or just have a way of shoving vagrants off sidewalks, you may be filmed. If charged with an assault you did not commit, a tape may indicate what took place, and if undue force has been used in an arrest, a tape may be ordered. Dreadful, isn't it?
As your headline so boldly implies, every move you make may be picked up by a camera along with the moves you don't make.
Cameras sabotage policing
Thanks for your piece on closed circuit security cameras. This initiative flies in the face of community policing. The long-term effect on policing in our city is an issue that is being overlooked.
At a time when an increasing number of citizens and community leaders are suggesting that the police are detached and uninvolved with the communities they work in, I am alarmed by the support for these cameras, a tool that will only further remove police from the people they are here to serve and protect.
Cameras remove the human aspects of policing, the part of policing that results in two-way dialogue between the police and the people and is essential to preventing crime. Additionally, research has repeatedly concluded that cameras do nothing to reduce crime rates and only displace premeditated crime.
The death of Jane Creba was a very sad occurrence. No one wants to see it happen again. That there were more than 20 witnesses, and no one willing to talk to the police should raise questions about how our police are going about their jobs.
Afrobeat's big Something
It's great to see now do a cover story on a Canadian Afrobeat band (NOW, February 22-28). And it's good that Tim Perlich lists other Afrobeat acts to look for. But four of the five bands he lists are American, and I'm very surprised that a writer as knowledgeable as Perlich failed to mention Toronto's own Afrobeat collective Mr. Something Something, especially as it is the only Canadian Afrobeat/Afrofunk outfit with a fan base big enough to support touring from coast to coast on a regular basis.
CBC Radio's The Arts Tonight picked Mr. Something Something's sophomore album, The Edge, as one of the most underrated recordings of 2006.
Something Something's absence becomes even more baffling when you consider that The Edge is nominated for a Juno in the world music album of the year category.
Torontonians who are looking for that special Afrobeat ecstasy on the dance floor should know that Canada's most successful Afrobeat band lives right here in the city.
(Editor's note: Pierce Gladhan is a publicist for Mr. Something Something)
Roberts knows best
Haven't we had enough yet of the self-righteous finger-wagging of Wayne Roberts? Week after week he reminds us that we are fatter, lazier and unhealthier than he is. We waste paper wiping our asses; we waste time watching TV (NOW, February 22-28).
He suggests that all our problems would be solved if we would just go back to the good old days when mom laboured for hours in the kitchen preparing healthy, locally sourced meals. Then we could all join Roberts and his adoring NOW family around the dinner table to marvel at his pompous, semi-coherent musings.
Can't NOW find forward-looking writers offering useful and empowering news and analysis about environmental and social issues, instead of providing a forum for the same tired voice every week?
Toxins info good for nothing
RE Delivering a toxic message (NOW, February 22-28). Making information available to the public about what companies are putting into the environment is only a small part of eradicating toxins.
Information promotes public awareness but does not necessarily shame companies into improving their environmental performance.
Industry's campaign of denial and lobbying all levels of government has succeeded in combating any action toward the elimination of dangerous chemicals.
Unless mandatory regulations and targets are established and enforced, access to information won't translate into health protection.
City has explaining to do
The name-calling about who lost the artifacts from the AME church (NOW, February 22-28) doesn't surprise many of us in the Grange neighbourhood.
Grange residents negotiated community benefits from the developer as part of the settlement of OMB appeals. The settlement involved the preparation of a commemoration to be carried out in consultation with the local residents and heritage groups.
To this date, no one has been able to show that the original terms of the settlement with the developer have been fulfilled.
Grange residents still want to know what happened to the cash contributed by the developer, and they want to know why the Grange Historical Society and the original appellants, who have written letters to city council committees in the past, have received no answers.
City officials have a lot of explaining to do.
Women love Booty Pass, too
Thanks for covering our recent efforts to fight Toronto's "tax on sex" (NOW, February 22-28). We find it odd, however, that you asked the University of Toronto's Institute for Women's Studies and Gender Studies to comment. Let me assure your readers that the Booty Pass is available not just to men but to women as well.
In fact, 30 per cent of people who've downloaded the Booty Pass are women. I seem to recall explaining this to your reporter.
Executive Editor, XYYZ.ca
Who gave Zundel profile?
Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress (NOW, February 22-28) seems to forget that Ernst Zundel is in part his creation. He lifted the Holocaust-denier to celebrity status with his unsuccessful attempts to prosecute Zundel for his activities in Canada. But for his trials, I personally, as well as many others, would never have known about Ernst Zundel.
I am no fan of Zundel's. Opinions that are without merit deserve to remain in obscurity. Farber and his group have given Zundel the platform and status he never deserved.
Car lovers, pay up
Thanks for publishing R. Gabrielle Berry's letter Reflections On The Rocket (NOW, February 15-21). I thought I was alone in believing that drivers wishing to park in the city should have to help pay for public transit.
If it weren't for those who pay to ride the TTC instead of taking their cars, Toronto would be in a permanent state of gridlock. As it stands, some people still believe it's cheaper for them to drive than to take the subway.
Sexy cover not for kids
This is the second year in a row I've been shocked and highly offended by the cover of the Love & Sex issue (NOW, February 8-14). I choose not to look at porn for many reasons. I shouldn't have to see it when walking past a newspaper box! What about all the kids who got exposed to your graphic cover? Come on, NOW, show some social responsibility. If your magazine wants to use gratuitous, titillating sex photos, at least do it inside.
Distillery District condofied
With all the coverage regarding the OMB and the Queen West triangle condos (January 25-31), I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the condo tower currently being constructed at the Distillery District.
That's right. At the entrance to this "historic" district will soon sit a thoroughly modern, 30-plus-storey condo tower. The existing three condo buildings in this area are only 12 or 14 storeys and incorporate brick and stone in keeping with the architecture in the area.
And along comes a futuristic glass megatower that will completely overshadow and ruin the feel of the neighbourhood. I can hardly believe it.
One more time with feeling
My letter in last week's issue (NOW, February 22-28) was edited to the point of disbelief. The primary issue in my letter, NOW's lack of protocol for correcting misprints, was completely omitted. Further, I was disturbingly misquoted, stating that I found the art writer's oversight in a review of my work in an earlier issue unconscionable.
What I found unconscionable is a paper priding itself on supporting the arts and exposing misrepresentations and untruths through hard-hitting reporting not taking responsibility for its misprints.
Make it policy: ban car ads
Wow, NOW. what can a dedicated car-hater say? You proved it can be done. You put out an entire issue, 120 pages plus a 16-page insert, without a single car advertisement (NOW, February 22-28). Keep up the good work!
Rather than speculate on the reasons (is it that the Auto Show's in town and the car corps have blown their ad wads on thick car porn inserts in the daily papers?), I'll just say congratulations. It was truly a refreshing change.
Hey. Here's an idea. Why not make it NOW policy to ban car ads all the time? I sense a green PR coup.