Urban guru Jane Jacobs has left us for that great big city in the sky. Author, philosopher, economist and activist, Jacobs got us thinking about the life of cities like few others before her. Here in Toronto, the transplanted American first made her mark in the 70s with her opposition to the Spadina Expressway. Her more recent efforts on the waterfront, especially her opposition to on-again, off-again plans to expand the Toronto Island Airport, helped get David Miller elected and, we cant help but think, had a little something to do, too, with Torontos architectural renaissance. Rest in peace, sister.
Harper at half-mast
Now that four Canuck soldiers have been killed by a roadside blast in Afghanistan, the PM wants to bar the media from taking pictures of the coffins arriving home. Freaky Stevie's minions in the PMO say it's a privacy issue. But dead bodies are never good PR for a war effort that's becoming more questionable by the day. You'd think that a PM who's been hitting the war button every chance he gets would want the nation he says is behind our troops to honour them. Hell, Stevie won't even fly the flag on the Peace Tower at half-mast. War with honour, but not death with honour?
“There’s no corruption. This is a political play, a naked grab for power.”
Complete BS or just good spin? We’re not sure what to make of Local 183 spokesperson Keith Cooper’s take on an order placing 183, Toronto’s largest construction union (accused of forging documents and inappropriate spending) under trusteeship.
Theatre of the absurd
Even after her death, the words of American activist Rachel Corrie - killed in 2003 in the Gaza Strip by an Israeli army bulldozer - are too hot to handle. A play based on her writings was cancelled in New York after the Jewish community there raised concerns. But what was the point of making a reading of the script at U of T this week invitation-only? Organizers missed an opportunity to throw the doors open to the public and to Jewish and Arab community leaders, maybe even to hold a panel discussion afterwards to encourage debate - and a little understanding.
State of dis-union
Controversial plans to revamp Union Station were officially given the boot this week when Mayor David Miller announced that the Union Pearson Group is "not prepared to meet the May 31 deadline agreed to by both parties to finalize closing conditions for the lease to restore, develop and operate Union Station." Frankly, we're relieved. This deal for former mayor Mel Lastman's friends in high places was scandal-ridden from the beginning. Maybe now we can get a real rail link to the airport, one that stops in neighbourhoods between Pearson and downtown and doesn't cost $25 to ride.