Universal thinking on free public transit

Plus, remembering Toronto's dead poet's society and who to blame for the pedestrian carnage on the city's streets in Letters To The Editor

Free transit will get cars off the road 

I’m wondering why authors Saron Gebresellassi and Matt Fodor refer to their idea for abolishing transit fares as “free” transportation instead of “universal” transportation? (NOW, December 19-25) 

I have made it a point to refer to such institutions as OHIP and public education as “universal” as opposed to “free’’ with my Grade 8 students in geography class. Am I mistaken? 

For what it’s worth, I do support universal/free transportation. I would be willing to pay additional taxes for this common good, even though I rarely use the TTC. Anything to get more cars off of the road and support climate action.

Paul Beveridge, Toronto

Lottery proceeds for the TTC budget

Think Toronto should have free transit? With the OLG’s $2 billion in annual profits from various gambling, the province could cover most of TTC’s annual operating budget, including Wheel-Trans.

Who knows, maybe the lottery corporations of every province and territory make enough to cover the transit of at least each one’s capital city or largest city? Just a thought.

J. Tenn, Toronto

T.O. poets forgotten and remembered

NOW’s list of people who died in 2019 was interesting (NOW, December 26-January 8). But you left out two poets with Toronto connections: John Giorno and Nelson Ball. 

Giorno lived in New York City, was associated with the Andy Warhol scene (he was the subject of Warhol’s movie Sleep) and recited his work often in Toronto and the GTA. He was the associate producer for the early Ron Mann film Poetry In Motion. 

Ball, on the other hand, was a shy poet whose work was once presented at a book launch in a slide show while he sat silently by. Ball was the founder of Weed/Flower Press, which published bpNichol, Victor Coleman, David McFadden and others. For years he ran William Nelson Books, a second-hand literary bookstore in Toronto, before moving with his wife, visual artist Barbara Caruso, to Paris, Ontario. 

Stuart Ross, winner of the 2019 Harbourfront Festival Prize (and a former NOW copy editor), organized a tribute to Ball at the Imperial Pub that was attended by many Toronto literary lights even though it was during a snowstorm.

Charlie Huisken, Toronto

Richard Williams was one fine animator

I note the absence of Richard Williams from your list of artists who passed in 2019. Williams was one of the finest animators in the world. He directed the animation in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, he directed the best animated version of A Christmas Carol, he won two Oscars for animated short film and was nominated for a third at the age of 80. And he was also born in Ontario. Shame on you. 

Nancy Beiman, Toronto

Blame the chief for the carnage

Your Toronto Timeline: Year In Review (NOW, December 26-January 8) was balanced and compelling. Lots of facts, but you did leave out some info. 

How about blaming the chief of police for the “carnage in Toronto streets”? Or a wimpy city council led by John Tory, Joe Cressy and Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão?

Patricia Starr, Toronto

Is Fringe what indie theatre looks like?

I sent a letter to the editor back in July when there was all that drama about Toronto Fringe shows getting negative reviews. I wanted to follow up on my letter. So many talented performers like myself have entered the draw year after year, never to get chosen. Maybe it’s time for people in Toronto to support truly independent theatre instead of just stroking the egos of a few actors who really aren’t that talented in the first place by giving them all this free publicity and these meaningless awards.

Kelly Taylor, Toronto

Palestine’s place on the planet

Letter-writer Judith Deutsch’s “mountains of archival evidence” on the existence of Palestine (NOW, December 19-25) doesn’t mention that “Palestine,” during the time of the Roman Empire, referred to a geographic area at the east end of the Mediterranean and included Egyptians, Jews and present-day Lebanon, Syria and Turkey. 

Also, what about after the Second World War when the UN drafted up the state of Israel and a separate Palestinian land, but the Palestinians chose to go to war (which they lost) instead of sharing the land with Jews? 

Sean Boucher, Toronto

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