Letters to the Editor

Rating: NNNNNHuffing and puffingthank you for exposing the facts surrounding the new smoking bylaw and the tricks restaurants are using.

Rating: NNNNN

Huffing and puffing

thank you for exposing the facts surrounding the new smoking bylaw and the tricks restaurants are using to get around it (NOW, February 14-20). There is nothing more disgusting than a smoker nearby while you are trying to do anything, let alone eat.

But this isn’t the smoker’s fault. It’s the fault of the restaurant owners and their ridiculous belief that this minority group will never leave the house unless we cater to their fix.

If only it were true. They might be alone with themselves long enough to recognize how disgusting and unhealthy their habit really is.

Michael Wood, Toronto

Homegrown talent missed

i was just reading your review of I Am Robot and Proud et al. at Clinton’s, by Sarah Liss (NOW, February 14-20). Perhaps someone should advise her to stick around for the whole show. The last band, Full White Drag, was mentioned nowhere in the review. I feel bad that they were left out, as they were the highlight of the night.

What a shame to see some of Canada’s finest talents hidden from the spotlight they so much deserve.

Rochelle Gallardo, Toronto

Dan’s the man

hi, there! just wanted to let you know that I really dig Dan (Savage)’s column. I think it’s profound, funny, useful… very clever indeed. I’d walk miles to get NOW for that. Come to think of it, I like the whole magazine. It’s really not that bad. No, sir. Quite the opposite. But make sure you keep Dan in good working order, ‘kay? Thanks, fellas! Love your work.

Wolfgang Angerer, Toronto

Platform-wearing wannabe

i’m so sick of seeing queen street clones being featured week after week in My Style. It’s hilarious to me that each one of these platform-wearing wannabes says things like “My style is unique and diverse.” Whatever.

Why don’t you get someone on your staff to choose someone other than one of their wanker buddies? Let’s see some real diversity and individuality in this column once in a while.

M. Nelson, Toronto

Left holding the bag

well, here i sit, one day after anxiously driving down to the Now offices to pick up my “prize pack” for being a weekly winner of the January Beck “Everyone’s a Critic” contest

I was less than excited with what was presented to me: a white plastic NOW bag that looked lifeless, the obligatory Beck’s glasses clanging inside.

Next, the black Now baseball cap. I’m sure you can picture it — a Supergirl action comic (1993, Issue 8). I’m sure I could be sitting on a gold mine, what with the way these things escalate in value. It could easily be worth $2.

I am cordially invited to attend screenings of two movies I don’t want to see (Collateral Damage, Storytelling) on dates I can’t make. The excitement continues to build with the Now Cityguide To Toronto. One problem: it’s circa 1999! And lastly, two Hugo Boss perfume samples that look like they may have evaporated inside the package. Oh, wait, I missed the Now fridge magnet. The only real winner of this prize pack will be my recycling boxes.

Brian Coughlin, Mississauga

Hall should step aside

i worked my butt off for ol’ barb Hall when she was mayor, but when she lost to Mel she packed it in and ran off to the land of Liberal committee appointments (NOW, February 7-13).

It was nice knowing you, Barb, but please, for the sake of progressive forces everywhere, don’t attempt a comeback. We have David Miller, a candidate who has stuck it out in the municipal scene and has an impressive array of experience under his belt. Give the guy a chance, Barb. Otherwise, a hell of a lot of us won’t forgive you.

John Richmond, Etobicoke

It’s Miller time

in focusing on the horserace, you seem to be missing how important the next mayoral election is to the future of Toronto (NOW, February 7-13). It’s too important to be packaged in a back room by either a Paul Godfrey or a George Smitherman.

The centre-left in the next campaign needs what the whole city needs right now: leadership and integrity. David Miller has been leading the charge against the “rotten borough” mentality in the mayor’s office, and given the chance, he can provide the city with the new generation of leadership it desperately needs.

Michael Laxer, Etobicoke

Blowing smoke

just to let brian martinka know, I have been an activist for drug law reform for almost 15 years, and I have personally discussed the issue with nearly every leader of nearly every major group advocating reform.

To date, no one I know of has suggested any change in any law that would allow anyone to cause harm to anyone else while intoxicated. That includes blowing pot smoke, or anything else, in anyone’s face.

Clifford A. Schaffer

Agua Dulce, California

Gas-powered terrorism

you quote the drug policy alliance as saying that “Blaming terrorism on Americans who use drugs is like blaming beer drinkers for Al Capone’s murders” (NOW, February 14-20). Wouldn’t people driving gas-powered cars, then, be as responsible for terrorism?

Jason Tenter, Toronto

Move your ass

i am one of those “cranks” living in a downtown house who irritate John Borovilos so much (NOW, February 14-20).

While my “achieved status” has really nothing to do with “an economy led by the manufacturing of cars,” I have a lot of respect for the motor car industry and people employed by it and, yes, I use a car whenever absolutely necessary.

What I have no respect is for the hundreds of thousands of selfish, lone drivers who daily circulate in the city just because they can’t stand using public transportation or moving their asses for more than a block. Besides, those “self-righteous, egotistical citizens” who walk or ride bicycles are the main victims of the pollution generated by the likes of Borovilos.

Ernesto Feu, Toronto

Bye-bye, bike lanes

thank you, now, for your consistent defence of our fundamental human right to traverse the city by bike or foot (NOW, January 31-February 6).

The absence of a comprehensive network of safe, car-free bike lanes on major arterial roads is a life-threatening situation. According to a recent report by the City Cycling Committee, 12,000 cyclists have been injured in accidents on Toronto’s streets in the last 10 years, including 32 cyclists who have been killed. Now the funding for bike lanes in the Toronto Bike Plan is under threat.

Is not last summer’s unprecedented level of smog and heat ample evidence of climate disruption?

Anne Hansen, Toronto

Looking both ways

as much as i dislike the prospect of having a cop lecture me on the pitfalls of jaywalking each time I choose to “illegally” cross the street, part of me feels that Operation Target Street is not half the bad idea Thomas Timmins makes it out to be.

While I understand his larger points about how Toronto has become less pedestrian-friendly (take the reduction of sidewalk space on Spadina, for example) and that drivers increasingly rely on their cars for even the smallest trips, the fact of the matter is that a growing number of people believe they can just step out into any street without even looking and hope that oncoming cars will not hit them. What kind of lunacy is this?

While I am the first to advocate taking the shortest route possible, even if it means crossing Bloor Street at the height of rush hour, there is a method to “illegally” crossing the street that many of us seem to have lost or perhaps never had. While Toronto drivers are no angels, to say the least, what with their red-light-running and what not, let’s give them credit for not mowing down more of the idiots who blindly walk into the middle of traffic with no regard for themselves or anyone around them.

Neil Mendes, Toronto

Grit MPs selling out T.O.

as federal ndp critic for intergovernmental affairs, I was intrigued by Minister David Collenette’s revelation that Toronto is facing a funding plight, and his support of a constitutional change for cities.

While the long-term solution may be a constitutional realignment for urban governments, Minister Collenette and his Liberal colleagues should not be allowed to use it as a smokescreen to divert attention from their shirking of their responsibility to invest in Canada’s cities. Since 1993 the federal Liberals have done more than their share in fiscal off-loading, and have failed to meet the challenges of child poverty, housing, air quality, traffic congestion and crime that many cities face.

Ontarians sent 100 Liberals to represent them in Ottawa, including every seat in the GTA. Toronto has many Liberal voices in Ottawa, but to very little effect, it would appear.

Bill Blaikie, MP


Participatory democracy

it was great to read about Porto Alegre and their system of participatory budgeting (NOW, February 7-13).

However, I think you do your readers a disservice by not mentioning what’s currently being done right here in Toronto.

For the last two years, a group of activists under the Humanize Toronto banner have been bringing the flavour of Porto Alegre to the streets of Toronto with a short budget-input survey.

If NOW readers are interested in filling out the Humanize Toronto budget survey, please go to our Web site at www.web.net/hto.

Philip Vettese

Humanize Toronto

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