The mayor's done some of his best straight shootin' calling for a national ban on handguns. An important moral issue the whole city needs to get behind. (Sign the petition at toronto.ca/handgunban.)
Social housing save
Finally, some spit and polish, $1.5 billion to be exact, for the city's crumbling stock of social housing. And not a second too soon. It's no exaggeration to say that many in assisted housing are living in Third World conditions. Just ask the folks in Regent Park whose water's cut off without notice.
Union Station. Nathan Phillips Square. Plans to tear down the Gardiner between the Don and Jarvis and create a real avenue along the lake. The cash may not be flowing fast enough from other levels of government, but we love that the mayor thinks big. Slowly but surely, in small but significant steps, the waterfront's showing signs of improvement.
Culture equals prosperity. The mayor understands that to aspire to true greatness, cities must invest in arts and culture and the creativity of their people.
Undeniably, the city's recycling efforts have hit a few snags. But the mayor has pushed through both a levy on plastic bags and a ban on bottled water in city buildings - small but important victories. Less noticed has been the milestone adoption of a right-to-know bylaw that forces small and medium-size businesses to report toxic discharges. We can now all breathe a little easier with a mayor who consistently keeps his eye on making ours the greenest city on the continent.
Economic development efforts in T.O. have been long on cash but short on political will. Doing away with TEDCO, the troubled economic development behemoth with one too many cronies on board, and putting himself at the helm of the two bodies created to replace it, was an act of much-?needed mayoral power tripping.
Transit City off the rails
The feds, for narrow political reasons, are not buying in to the mayor's grand plan for public transit, but the city's botch-up in talks with Bombardier that'll now delay delivery of light rail vehicles for months, if not years, can't go unnoticed.
Can't blame the city for the TTC's money woes, but Miller's chief council allies supposedly run the good (at least when it's running on time) ship TTC. Sticking transit users with another increase was a low blow. To his credit, the mayor has asked for a fare freeze in 2009.
The Free Tibet T-?shirt he brought with him was a thoughtful touch, but it's too bad the Tibet crackdown didn't give the mayor pause about his trade mission to China.
Those who thought the foam debate was carted off to the landfill can think again. The city starts recycling the chem-?heavy, carbon-?loaded foam polystyrene this month.
Sending out garbage police to slap container scavengers, mostly poor, marginalized folks, with $360 fines is just plain moronic.
JUST PLAIN WEIRD
Joe Mihevc, the good councillor from St. Paul's, was curiously canned as chair of the community development committee. Mihevc, who championed the well-?received Wychwood Barns redo, remains a member of the all-?powerful executive. Yes, Joe leans a little further left than the mayor would sometimes like. Still, seems odd, given the plums the mayor's handing out to buy the silence of right-?wing ne'er-do-wells like Ron Moeser and Giorgio Mammoliti.
That broom the mayor rode in on with a promise to clean up City Hall has been put to good use, mostly. So why are we still without a workable lobbyist registry and an integrity commissioner?
Pros and cons of prospecting
If the mayor's junket to China was in bad taste (see Tibet trip-?up), his announcement that Jinchuan Group Ltd., a mining and minerals company owned by the Chinese government, will set up a North American office in Toronto made greenies cringe.
Blowing us off
When the city needed a Giuliani-?style hug, the mayor failed to exercise common courtesy, blowing off the funeral of a firefighter who lost his life in the Sunrise Propane blaze and opting to continue a family vacation. 3