Blair bamboozles Police Board

Watching Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair play the Police Services Board has been a lesson for Toronto Council as well as the citizens of Toronto. You don’t become Police Chief by being a nice guy. You do it through hard work and force of will. It doesn’t hurt that the Chief is a large man with an imposing presence.

Chief Blair was asked by Mayor Ford to reduce the police budget of $930 million by 10% ($93 Million). Chief Blair stonewalled and said it was impossible; a 1.5% increase was the best he could do and that a 10% cut would lead to over 900 layoffs. Board member Michael Thompson famously declared that Blair’s job was on the line and the Chief was asked by the Board to return to his calculator. They generously told him that he (alone of all city budgets) could spread the 10% cut over 2 years. Blair then pleaded his case directly to Rob Ford who wisely told him to deal with the Board.

Wednesday’s announcement of a huge arrest (timing is everything) made things easier for the chief and he offered to increase his budget by only 0.6%. The Board folded like a cheap suit although according to the Star, Councillors Thompson and Nunziata claim that the Chief has actually reduced his budget by 4.6% or $43 million. One can only hope that our councillor is simply putting on a brave face and that she’s not that easy to fool.

Either way, Police Services Board members were outsmarted by a superior tactician.

Police make major arrest in Weston murders

Police made a spectacular arrest today of Mark Garfield Moore. The charges against this man read like a crime wave rather than one individual’s shocking deeds. He is accused of four murders around the city, including those of Courthney Facey and Mike James, who were murdered outside 1798 Weston Road last September 29. In addition there are many firearms-related charges.

All of the alleged offences took place in the relatively short timeframe between June and November of 2010. A number of related arrests have been made in what appears to be a major victory for the task force (Project Summit) specifically set up by Toronto Police to solve these cases. According to police, more arrests are forthcoming.

Det. Sgt Hank Idsinga told the CBC

Facey and James were gunned down for “no rhyme or reason,”

“Mr. Moore, allegedly, for unknown reasons, pulled up to them in his vehicle and shot and killed them.”

Facey, James and Spence had never had any contact with police and were not involved in any criminal activity.

The accused has another connection to Weston: his brother, Andre Moore, was suspected of shooting a police officer, Anthony Macias, outside the same apartment buildings at 1798 Weston Rd in 2001, according to the Globe and Mail. Andre Moore was shot dead three years ago. Macias, the police officer, was seriously injured.

Mark Moore was shot in the face in 2001 and this can be seen in his aspiring rapper video where he tellingly shows off large amounts of cash and ‘bling’. Moore was not from Weston; he committed most of his crimes in Scarborough, and he was born and raised there.

Mike Sullivan rails at Metrolinx

Our new MP has let little grass grow under his feet before exposing another Metrolinx contradiction. According to an article in the Toronto Star, Sullivan discovered that there is a two-foot difference in height between GO trains and the proposed airport link diesels. This will require a separate, higher platform for the ARL.

Sullivan says that in the past, he was fobbed off by Metrolinx who claimed that because of the need to match floor height with GO trains, there were no eligible electric trains. Now it turns out that not even Metrolinx trains meet this requirement as platforms for the new diesels will need to be two feet higher than GO train platforms.

Voter turnout 45% in October 7 election.

As analysts begin poring over the chicken entrails disgorged in Thursday’s elections, a sad announcement was made here on Weston Web. Paul Ferreira will likely quit politics as a result of this election. His shock announcement came in response to Weston Web readers yesterday.

What are we to make of this election? No doubt the full story will be told over the next few days. A quick rundown of the numbers from Elections Ontario using April’s eligible voter numbers gives an approximate (and unofficial) view of the voter turnout and percentage of the total number of voters in the riding (68,978 in April).

  • Laura Albanese..(L)…20.1%
  • Paul Ferreira..(NDP).18.9%
  • Lan Daniel..(PC)……..5.02%
  • Keith Jarrett..(G)……..0.6%

Total votes cast: 31,043

Approximate voter turnout: 45%. This is even lower than the dismal 51% in April in which Mike Sullivan defeated incumbent Alan Tonks. With so much at stake for Ontario’s second poorest riding, one must ask why voters couldn’t be bothered to move themselves to vote. Lord knows we have enough compelling issues – lack of jobs, poverty, atrocious rental housing, lack of decent transportation, large numbers of diesel trains about to pollute the area – the list goes on and on. The winning candidate only seemed to come to life and muster up some fighting spirit for the election and will no doubt slip back into obscurity once the dust settles.

So the bottom line is, a winning political candidate in York South Weston only needs to convince about 1 in 5 eligible voters to get out and mark an x.

That is truly pathetic.

Bending The Rails

Over 60 people attended last night’s showing of Jeff Winch’s documentary ‘Bending The Rails’, which is about the plan to operate 140 diesel trains daily along the line that runs through the middle of Weston. Jeff’s documentary style is reminiscent of Michael Moore. In addition the inclusion of his daughter, Nellie, is used to highlight the vulnerability of people living along the rail corridor who will be affected by the increase in noise and air pollution. A picture emerges of an organized political effort to minimize these effects along with a stubborn refusal to consider electrification of the line anytime soon, even though electrification would be cheaper in the long run, allow faster transportation times, quieter and far less polluting. The driving force behind the line seems to be the 2015 Pan Am games. Even though the games will only last for two weeks, the airport link will be with us for a long time.

Afterwards, Jeff and York South-Weston MP Mike Sullivan (who once headed up the Clean Train Coalition) answered questions about the topic of the movie. Also present was Paul Ferreira, NDP candidate in Thursday’s Provincial Election.

Mike Sullivan (L) and Jeff Winch answer audience questions.

Mike Sullivan’s Latest Commons Remarks

Our newest MP Mike Sullivan continues to advocate for York South-Weston in his latest remarks yesterday in the House of Commons. Despite having to be corrected for not addressing his remarks to the Speaker – a common rookie mistake apparently, he certainly told MPs about the riding, its large manufacturing base that has disappeared and the problems facing the area. Here are the relevant links to his speeches:

On the forest industry:

The economy and York South-Weston:

The banking industry, corporations and taxation:

On the Buy America policy:

On electrification of the Airport Rail Link:

Bending The Rails

Just a quick reminder that the movie ‘Bending The Rails’ will be screened tonight at Weston Park Baptist Church (1871 Weston Road). The movie covers the proposal to run diesel trains between Union Station and Pearson Airport. There is no charge for admission and in addition, the maker of this documentary, Jeff Winch and MP Mike Sullivan will be there to answer questions.

Time: 7:00 – 9:00pm.