This is the week when Toronto City Council votes to determine the extent of cuts to various city departments and organizations. Many departments have seen major cuts scaled back as public pressure has mounted. As already noted, last October, Police Chief Bill Blair presented an expenditure increase as a cut and stared down opposition. As a result, by 2013 the cost of policing this city will approach a billion dollars and continue to consume an ever-increasing portion of the total budget. Chief Blair can confidently assume that his budget will be relatively untouched, either this year or in the years to come.
In contrast, the Toronto Public Library system has managed its resources prudently over the past several years. Library visits are up while costs have declined on a per capita basis since 2004. As a reward for their efficiency, libraries, which are reckoned to be the great equalizers in terms of social opportunity, still face cuts to hours and personnel. Rather than being planned and deliberate, budget cuts appear to be dependent on force of personality, the mood of councillors, and public pressure rather than actual need. Hardly a rational or well-thought out process.
Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22) has an excellent summary of potential cuts here.
Our councillor, Frances Nunziata represents one of the poorest wards in the city yet has voted consistently to reduce programs and services that mitigate the grinding poverty of many of her constituents. Her voting record for 2011 reflects a 97% adherence to the Ford Agenda.
It is hoped in her 15th year as councillor that she will start the New Year with a resolution to do the right thing and vote to maintain programs and services so desperately needed in Ward 11.
There’s not much notice given, but if you can come up with a ‘community based initiative’, Metrolinx might fund it to the value of up to $1000. These initiatives along the Georgetown South rail corridor are intended to help beautify areas around tracks and stations or facilitate use of the rail corridor through car pooling and other means. The full details and application form can be accessed here.
OK then, let’s get started: do you have an idea for a mural, a bike rack, a hanging basket or two? What about park benches for commuters waiting for a ride? Perhaps a Welcome To Weston information board outside the station listing attractions and businesses on a map…
Get your skates on; the deadline is December 16th!
Royson James writes socially themed editorials in the Toronto Star. In today’s column he slams (among others) Frances Nunziata for stating that Priority Neighbourhood status is hampering positive change in Weston-Mount Dennis because the negative label drives away business. She’s quoted in the column as saying that Priority Neighbourhood Status increases insurance rates and puts developers off from even opening up a coffee shop.
Snake oil salesmen are more cuddly than these suburban city councillors who masquerade as caretakers of Toronto’s neediest of city wards. And a lot more truthful….
Councillor Frances Nunziata declared that Weston-Mount Dennis can do so much better without the “priority neighbourhood” label council has attached to it, a label that has attracted millions of dollars of added community services.
Now, she says, developers don’t even want to bring a coffee shop into the neighbourhood. Besides, insurance rates shot up when insurers, apparently, found out — from the label, no doubt — that this was a part of town with social challenges.
In other words, change the name and the developers will come. Ha!
These comments along with the councillor’s repeated objections to liquor licence applications in Weston make us wonder (again) about the councillor’s vision for Weston’s commercial district. Would she like to replicate Bloor West Village along Weston Road and Jane Street? Is this a trial balloon to explore axing the Priority Neighbourhood Program? Perhaps our councillor would care to shed some light on this topic.
Certainly, I have an exaggerated sense of the role of this humble blog in Weston affairs: I am a capon who preens like a cockerel. Still, I did not expect it to be so hard to pay writers.
Dear reader, I again need your help—your help finding someone to write for money.
As long-time readers will know, I’ve been trying to raise money and hire a student for more than a month. Several generous readers gave me enough to get started, and I emailed and called, successively, an English teacher, a vice principal, and the principal, at Weston CI.
Not one of them got back to me. When I finally spoke to the principal, she said it would be too much trouble—police background checks, you know. Fair enough. I guess.
The principal did, however, refer me to Frontlines. The staff there were wonderful. They put me in touch with two young people. The young people, however, lost interest.
So now, I come to you, dear reader, with a plea: if you know a young person from the community who might like to write for money (albeit a small amount), would you ask them to get in touch with me?
I will promise the writer this:
$20 for each weekly article
A lovely letter of reference from a community-minded college professor
Help editing and composing
The tiniest sliver of power to exploit
My needs are simple:
Enough connections in the community to find 2–4 articles a month
Four very generous readers have given $50 to hire a local student. I’m putting in $50 of my own. And, as you can see, I’ve also started running a little advertising. All told, WestonWeb now has $251.50!
I’m working on the hiring process. The local schools wouldn’t help, so I’ve gone to a community non-profit to see if they can. So far, it sounds very promising, and I hope I’ll be able to get someone working for us very soon.
If you’re still interested in putting a little money, I would be very grateful. I promise to use it only to hire a student to write for the community. The ongoing expenses associated with this site will come out of only my pocket.
Dear reader, I need you. Would you support this enterprise of mine? Would you give me $25?
In the survey, readers said they would like a local student to write for WestonWeb.
So now, dear reader, please help me pay for one. I would like to pay $20 per post, and I would like to have 6 months worth of posts saved up for in advance, so I don’t have to lay someone off–I don’t have the heart. That means I would like to raise a total of $520.
One very kind reader has already donated $50. I’ll put in another $50. That leaves $420. That sounds like a lot. But, I have faith.
Every month, WestonWeb gets about 2000 visits (not bad!). Of those, let’s say 10% are regular readers: 200. Of those, perhaps 10% can afford a small donation. That leaves 20.
So, if you’re one of those 20 good women and men, would you give me $25?
Here’s what I will offer in return:
I will use your money to hire a student. I won’t use it for anything else. The ongoing expenses for this site are my problem, and mine alone.
If you would like your name or initials to appear beside one of the student’s posts, for each $25 you put in, I’ll put a byline saying something like: “This post was sponsored by so-and-so.” Or perhaps you would like “This post goes out to…”. Or whatever. (But you have to be a you not an it. No corporations allowed.)
I know you’ll have to trust me to not abscond with your money. What can I do but promise that I won’t? I’ve put my name and reputation on the site. My address is below.