Friday, July 14, 2006

Another Nickel for Me

Here's what I told At Home in Hespeler, when the issue of how bad Toronto "is" came up.

If I had a nickel for every time somebody who "used to live" or "used to work" in Toronto says it's worse now then X years ago, I'd be a rich man. A very rich man. Actually, in this blog alone, I'd have made 15 cents.

Everybody's got an opinion, and more importantly, everybody's got a solution. It's so simple too ...

We just need to replace everybody on city council with people who are willing to fix the problem because nobody's doing it.

Blah blah blah.

And that's universally what all the complaints boil down to about Toronto, blah blah blah. Generally, they originate from people who have driven through, stopped once, or "used to" do something here.

Connie Woodcock, in today's Toronto Sun, says [Toronto Sun, T.O.'s too expensive, dirty, dangerous]:
My daughter and I used to visit Toronto once a month for a doctor's appointment and spend the rest of the day wandering around, visiting bookstores, shopping along Bloor Street, eating lunch at a nice restaurant.
Can you smell another nickel coming? See the "used to" thing? I'm not kidding when I say it's a common refrain.
The thought of spending a day in Toronto "enjoying" myself makes me tired. As for my daughter, it frightens her.
[H/T, The Politic]

And, then you insert the blah blah blah. It's the liberal City Hall, it's the ban on pesticides, it's how we won't round up the homeless and lock them up, it's the rampant gun violence - that's the blah blah blah part.

Shorter Connie.

I used to spend 48 hours in Toronto every year and now I know there is crime and filth on every street corner - I see murderers on every street corner. The real problem is not to address the cause of the crime or address the issues associated with living in a city of nearly 4 million people, the issue is we need City Hall to dump all liberals and replace them with conservatives - then voila, everything will be alright.

That, and I want free admission to Toronto attractions because my taxes pay for them.

I really need to start collecting my royalty cheques for those nickels.

Before I get the inevitable hate mail, does Toronto have problems? Yes, it most certainly does. But, simplistic "replace City Hall" campaigns and even more simplistic suggestions about the homeless and gun crime aren't going to work. What needs to happen is an understanding that Toronto is the fifth largest city in North America and cleaning up the window dressing isn't going to cut it - and that will require provincial and federal involvement.

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10 comments:

mark said...

But it has worked. See the crime stats for New York now versus a decade ago. Guiliani proved that crime can be cleaned up (it's never going away but it can be managed) and cities can be safer through enforcement of laws and having politicians follow through on what they promise.

Jim said...

But it has worked. See the crime stats for New York now versus a decade ago. Guiliani proved that crime can be cleaned up (it's never going away but it can be managed) and cities can be safer through enforcement of laws and having politicians follow through on what they promise.

As of July 13, for the year 2006, the murder rate in Toronto is 36.

What's the murder rate in New York? Since it's roughly 3 times that of Toronto, I'd estimate about 100? Am I close? I don't have the stats with me.

Are there less homeless in New York, or are they just out of sight, out of mind?

Jim said...

Sorry, since its *population* is roughly 3 times that of Toronto.

Kent MacDonald said...

not close. the murder rate in New York City last year was 7 per 100,000 people. If the GTA population is roughly 5,000,000, that would relate to 350 murders. Being on pace for 70 doesn't sound too bad in comparison.

And this is a huge improvement in New York. There were over 2000 a year in the early 90's. However, the crime "problem" in Toronto is something that has been blown up in the media when you compare it to other north american locations. New York City, with it's rate that towers over Toronto's, is actually the safest large city in the United States at this point.

You're right, enough is enough with peoples complaints. Toronto was, and still is, one of the safest big cities in the world. People, and especially the media, need to get over themselves.

Brian said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian said...

And if I had a nickel for every time the City of Toronto complained about tourism being down,complete with excuse why tourism is down: the dollar, SARS, the damn critics didn't like The Lord of the Rings.

Point of fact, I used to go to Toronto as often as possible, usually for the express purpose of spending money. Now, I go as rarely as possible. Why? Every reason you mention and more. It's dirty, uncomfortable, expensive. I have to step over 20 year olds sleeping on the sidewalk at 2 in the afternoon to get to Sams.

Add to that the sheer impossibilty of getting there, whether I drive or TTC it, it's always frustrating.

But I'll make you a deal for the nickel I just gave you. I will never speak poorly of Toronto again, as long as I never hear Toronto complain about people not coming (or not paying their fair share when they do come).

By the way, want your nickel? You have to come to Hespeler top get it, I'm not going there (however, to make it worth your while, I'll throw a beer in for you, and make sure Ron coughs up his nickel too)

P.S. I actually thought of ending my July haitus to comment on the Connie Woodcock story; guess what side I was on.

Brian said...

By the way James - the deleted post was mine. It's the same one I posted, but there was a grammatical error in the last paragraph I wanted to correct.

Jim said...

No problem Brian. I saw the two comments come in.

At any rate, to respond.

Toronto is required to fund infrastructure and social programs on it's own without the ability to raise revenues, like every municipality - we are, for instance, unable to raise property taxes on businesses.

As a city of 4 million, we have a proportionally larger number of "problems" that smaller centres do not, yet to everyone outside of Toronto, that's "Toronto's problem" and Toronto needs to clean that up without blaming the province or the federal government.

There are really three possible solutions.

One, is to address the "provincial / municipal" fiscal imbalance - Toronto represents a 6th of the Canadian population. All municipalities will win.

Two, it's for the province to resume control of provincial areas of control previously mandated to management by the city. Again, all municipalities will win (see, Walkerton).

Three, it's to allow the city to raise tax revenues on its own. Again, all municipalities will win.

You pick, and you can keep the nickels. Painting the grass green, isn't going to work.

Jim said...

By the way, want your nickel? You have to come to Hespeler top get it, I'm not going there (however, to make it worth your while, I'll throw a beer in for you, and make sure Ron coughs up his nickel too)

Beers are always appreciated. :)

Jim said...

Wait. 1/6th of Canada's pop'n, not a 6th of Canada's pop'n.

Why don't you people correct me? :)