Real Sandy shocker is Hydro's slow response
Re Sandy Shocker For T.O. (NOW, November 15-21). Toronto Hydro's infrastructure challenges were secondary considerations in the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. The big problem was that TH planned to go slow on recovery, leaving customers blacked out for longer.
Toronto Hydro's rates are excessive, the highest of any urban utility in Ontario by a substantial margin. Of the 10 largest urban utilities, TH has had the fastest-rising rates since 2006.
There is some truth to the claim that hydro infrastructure needs improvement, but the utility's plans are chaotic and not focused on the highest priorities.
The executive compensation structure hands out bonuses just for spending, regardless of value.
The utility deliberately planned a go-slow approach to storm recovery to apply pressure on the Ontario Energy Board, where the utility is currently litigating for its next big rate increase.
Graffiti piece we missed in our Top 5 picks
I was a little disappointed that you didn't mention the huge, two-storey mural that is frequently updated and redesigned on the back of buildings located just east of Keele, north of Bloor in Top 5 Toronto Graffiti Pieces (NOW, November 15-21).
For about a year, the mural consisted of a tribute to the Canadian wilderness, with a roaring grizzly bear, soaring falcons and other wildlife amidst elaborate and colourful graffiti tags. I was lucky enough to have seen the work in progress.
Now there's something completely different: a heavenly godlike figure presiding over a new collection of tags.
This mural sits within an area of other graffiti pieces that are view-able from the Bloor subway.
For something that I see every day that takes up so much physical and psychological space, I'm surprised it was overlooked.
Our democracy's tent pitched by the 1 per cent
Letter writer Catherine Archer misses the key point about our "capitalist democracy" in her response to Enzo DiMatteo's analysis of Obama's win (NOW, November 15-21). It matters very little if one is inside or outside the tent when the tent is owned and controlled by the 1 per cent.
Rob Ford's field of broken football dreams
Re Rob Ford Skips Court To Coach Football (NOW, November 15). Poor El Fordo is in the wrong place. He doesn't belong at City Hall. He's into football. Period. Go where you belong and let those who know about municipal administration and policy-making run the city. Just resign. That's all.
After Knopfler, it was downhill for Dylan
Bob Dylan was fairly awful at his Air Canada show (NOW, November 15), by any measure.
But Mark Knopfler and his band saved the night. Their 80-minute set was more co-headlining gig than opening act. And Knopfler showed up to add guitar licks to two songs at the front end of Dylan's set, which got ol' Bob on his feet early, doing that odd senior citizen shuffle.
With few exceptions, it was downhill from there.
Chernobyl lesson for west-end pellet plant
Online commenters to Saul Chernos's story on GE-Hitachi's uranium pellet factory in the city's west end (NOW, November 17) suggest that the plant is not a health threat.
But low levels of radiation can be harmful. See Chernobyl: Consequences Of The Catastrophe For People And The Environment, a report by the New York Academy of Sciences, which translated over 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific studies on the effects of radiation exposure across Europe.
Economic argument for bike lanes as life savers
Toronto is engaged in an ongoing debate about cycling after the recent removal of the Jarvis bike lanes (NOW, November 13).
As a frequent bike commuter, I was recently "door prized" when an illegally parked car opened its door without looking, sending me flying over the driver's door and onto the middle of the road at dangerous Carlton and Yonge.
Much of the Toronto bike lane debate is about the expense of lanes. [But] bike lanes are cost savers. Even though I was wearing a helmet, my accident cost the wage of a police officer, the wage of two ambulance attendants and their respective vehicles and equipment, at least nine emergency room staff and 25 X-rays.
There was two weeks off work for me, and four days for my partner. I've had to see a GP four times, a specialist and his resident doctors, more X-rays and a massage therapist five times.
My injuries were serious, but luckily not as serious and cost-consuming as those of cyclists requiring surgery or funeral arrangements.
Taking into account the costs associated with my own experience, and multiplying those by the number of cyclist injuries that occur on a monthly basis in Toronto, we'd quickly realize that bike lanes in Toronto are not only desirable but also economically sound.