Archive for February, 2012

Fire Rob Ford!

Posted on February 22nd, 2012 2 Comments

Well, and now I’m feeling pretty good about telling Rob Ford, FUCK YOU too.

In case you hadn’t heard, fatty Ford and his gang of five Yes Men voted, in a hasty meeting thrown together while the TTC chair was on vacation, to fire Gary Webster, the TTC’s General Manager. Webster’s crime? Cutting back costs exactly as the mayor asked. Oh yeah, and providing an honest, professional report to both the mayor and Council (as reported on Goldhawk Live, Tuesday, February 21, 2012), about why Light Rail Transit makes more sense than subways in this city.

The mayor repressed this report until it was leaked to The Star, then moved to have it made “irrelevant” (revealed in the same Goldhawk episode), when presented to Council. Council voted in favour LRTs based on this advice (though I thought I heard about some subways in there too), which was obviously way too democractic and balanced for his Rotundness (by the way, it’s not “fatophobic” to call jerks like this exactly what they are, deal with it).

Well heaven forbid we should have experienced public servants give us honest and professional opinions on which direction to go in!

The little mayoral weasel, along with all of his little greasy buddies (there are only five people, six if you count his presstitute, cowardly enough to suck on Ford’s unmentionables), under the weakest premise of “subways were Rob Ford’s mandate!“, decided then that they would just do the most slimy, underhanded, dictatorial, undemocratic thing they could, called together that meeting, and fired Webster.

Webster ended up with roughly two years’ salary after decades of service. I’m not too worried about him — even Rob Ford had to concede that Webster “has served Toronto and the TTC well in his years of service.  He was an important element in the organization’s many successes to date and can proudly point to a list of accomplishments.” So, yeah, thanks for all your hard work and dedication, Webster, now fuck off because we need “change” (even though we have no replacement, i.e. a plan). Your “pal”, Rob Ford.

Well, if Webster can get fired for doing his job, why not Rob Ford and his cadre of grovelling dogs? Thankfully, I’m not the only one with that idea. And by the way, Ford and his buddies are snorting some serious white stuff if they continue the claim that subways were even a small part of his mandate. Here’s RoFo’s entire platform, as mercifully preserved on the WayBack Machine (http://web.archive.org/web/20100830155611/http://www.robfordformayor.ca/issues/). See if you can find the word “subway” anywhere in here:

Rob Ford on the Issues

Stopping the Waste and Getting Spending Under Control


Respect for Taxpayers

Toronto has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

The City of Toronto’s budget has ballooned from $5.9 billion in 2000 to $9.2 billion in 2010 – plus a $2.4 billion capital budget.  The City is addicted to spending and the most important job for the incoming Mayor will be to get the City’s finances in order.

Downsize Council from 44 to 22 Councillors.

Toronto has 22 MPs, 22 MPPs and 22 School Trustees.  It only needs 22 City Councilors. Reducing Toronto City Council would make meetings more productive and save taxpayers about $9 million in direct costs (salary, benefits, expense accounts and staffing budgets.) Additional savings from a reduced burden on City Hall staff would equal at least $6 million each year.  There are too many politicians and not enough accountability.

Reduce Politicians’ Expense Accounts.

In addition to their salary of about $100,000 each Councillor receives a budget of $205,000 to hire staff plus a tax-free allowance of $53,100 for “other expenses.”  This budget is what Kyle Rae famously used to throw himself a $12,000 party with your money.

When Rob Ford is Mayor, he will reduce the politicians’ expense accounts to $30,000 (saving over $1 million per year) so that tax dollars are spent only on legitimate purposes.

Limiting the Mayor’s Office Budget.

Leadership starts at the top.  When Rob Ford is Mayor, he will also limit the expense accounts for the Mayor’s Office.  Decreasing the staffing and expenses budget by 20 percent will save the taxpayers about $512,000 per year.

Making Toronto a Better Place to Live

Making Toronto a Better Place to Live

City Hall has been too focused on the pet projects and perks of politicians and not on the fundamental services that people, families and businesses rely on every day.  These essential services are necessary to make Toronto a more livable city.  As Mayor, Rob Ford will take the following necessary steps to make Toronto a better place to live:

Protecting Our Children and Communities.

100 additional frontline police officers will be hired giving Toronto Police enough new officers to:

o    Protect Children in Schools.  30 additional School Resource Officers will double the number of schools protected by this successful program. By introducing police officers to youth in a positive environment, students are less likely to take a negative view of police and more likely to seek help for issues before they reach a violent stage.

o    Target Gangs, Guns & Violence in More Communities.  70 additional frontline officers will support an expansion of the successful Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) targeting gangs and violence in priority neighborhoods year-round.  This will more than double the number of officers currently available for TAVIS Rapid Response Teams.

Funding for this initiative ($15 million per year) will not be taken from within the existing TPS budget.  It represents additional funding in two phases.  From 2014 onwards, funding will be in addition to current TPS resources and come from savings accrued through the reduction of City Council from 44 to 22 Councillors.  Until Council is reduced in size, funding will be in addition to current TPS resources and come from a 0.1 per cent reduction in other (non-policing) city spending.

Making Garbage Collection Reliable.

Garbage and other solid wastes must be collected on schedule, without fail.  The strike during the summer of 2009 put the health of people and families in Toronto at risk.

The City must put in place solutions to make waste collection reliable and affordable.  Etobicoke, for example, uses contracted providers and saves the city $2 million each year.  By adopting the same approach for the whole city, taxpayers will save about $20 million each year and can have the confidence their garbage collectors won’t go on unnecessary strikes.

When Rob Ford is Mayor, the City will invite competitive tenders from private companies as well as current unions to provide collection services that are reliable, affordable and represent the best value for Toronto taxpayers.

Making the TTC an Essential Service.

People and businesses in Toronto depend on the TTC to get them from home to work, or school.  When the TTC isn’t running, the city grinds to a halt and commuters and businesses suffer.  TTC service is essential and it must be designated this way in order to prevent costly strikes.

When Rob Ford is Mayor, the City will work with the TTC and its unions to create a reliable, affordable, convenient, rapid and customer-focused transit service that Toronto can take pride in.

Improving Customer Service at City Hall.

Poor customer service frustrates city residents and businesses.  Too often, emails are ignored, telephone calls are not returned, staff are unable to answer questions or help solve issues.

Excellent customer service doesn’t cost a thing.  All it takes is leadership and accountability, and that starts at the top.

When Rob Ford is Mayor, excellent customer service will be the standard for all City Hall employees.

Eliminating Unncessary Taxes

Cutting Unnecessary Taxes

Abolish the Vehicle Registration Tax.

Toronto residents should not have to pay $60 every year to register their vehicle.  It’s an unfair cash grab that hits families hard.  Rob Ford will push to eliminate the Vehicle Registration Tax at the first City Council meeting after becoming Mayor.

Eliminate the Land Transfer Tax.

People who buy and sell homes in Toronto must pay a new Land Transfer Tax to City Hall on top of all the other charges associated with buying or selling a home.  This punishes people and families who live in Toronto and makes the city less affordable for many people.  This tax is driving business, families, and people away from Toronto.  Rob Ford will move to abolish the Land Transfer Tax in his first year as Mayor.

Notes for an Address by Rob Ford 26 March 2010

Incidentally, this myth about Council never voting for Transit City, the predecessor to Rob Ford’s insane transit plan and the excuse that Rob Ford used to illegally (something of a running theme), stop the program when her entered into office, has also been thoroughly debunked. Rob Ford and his supporters are now passing around straight up lies to back up their tyranny, and it’s time to take these punks out (of the northern hemisphere if at all possible).

Filed under: Patrick Bay, Why I'm Right

I haven’t been lazy

Posted on February 21st, 2012 Be the first to comment

Often people post long apologies on their blogs for their long absence, explaining how their cat infected them with some version of feline AIDS or some such other, and it always comes across as pandering and whiny.

Well not me. No sir. I’ve been busy, and I told myself at the outset that TCL will just have to wait. It’s not that I don’t love ranting about evil politicians or posting misty photos of a blah Toronto winter (anyone else noticed it’s been totally wimpy this year?), but as I’ve explained in earlier posts, I’m also a Flash developer and I’ve been creating a product that I really think will help to shake things up a bit (plus that day job thing).

It’s a live, social (peer to peer) broadcasting technology (not a social network!), called SocialCastr, and you can get more information here: http://www.SocialCastr.com/
Some people have reported trouble with seeing a blank front page, but since all it really has is a Google Docs presentation, you can go ahead and view that here: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=d48tf93_8hfnctdgb
There’s also a blog that goes with the site: http://www.SocialCastr.com/blog/
And the downloads / installers are available here: http://www.SocialCastr.com/download.html

I realized that I kinda failed in my description of the software when my parents assumed you could use it to have a live, two-way chat like Skype. In fact, you can (both people run Broadcastr and Receivr at the same time) , but right now that conversation would be broadcast to the world which is really what SocialCastr is about: broadcasting content (audio and video are just the start), to the world.

But I happen to think it’s a bit more elegant than anything out there right now. For starters, you don’t broadcast through any central server as you would with any other video service. In the past this would’ve been prohibitive since anyone broadcasting would need a massively fast and powerful connection to the internet in order to broadcast to as few as 100 people — each one would need their own individual copy of the video/audio stream.

SocialCastr overcomes this by using peer to peer stream sharing; the broadcaster only sends audio / video streams to a few peers and they share with others. In this way, a simple broadcast from one person can be viewed by almost unlimited numbers of people worldwide, and at a fraction of the cost of most other technologies. I happen to think this has larger implications for business too — renting out Content Delivery Networks, high-bandwidth pipes, and servers are all costs that have made getting into video semi-professional broadcasting impossible for anyone without a wad of cash. Until now, that is.

I’ve been warning people that before version 1.0 it’s still a beta (i.e. test, unstable, etc.) product and there’s still work to be done to make the software more useful. However, even at this early stage it incorporates some features you won’t find anywhere else. So if you’re a citizen journalist, vlogger, podcaster, lecturer, teacher, trainer, or may otherwise find the software useful, I encourage you to drop by and try it out. More importantly, send me your feedback and feature requests!

My commitment to keep producing a free version of the software isn’t exclusively a product of generosity, it has very real and tangible business reasons behind it. That doesn’t mean there won’t be paid or “freemium” versions too, but the fully free option will always be available.

Thanks for hanging in there while I get this baby of the ground. Updates on TCL will probably still be slow, and I ain’t making any promises; I know better by now. But SocialCastr is really a proudly Toronto-based project so I see no reason why I can’t blog about it here, do you? Cuz I kind of already have ;)

 

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Rob Ford to civil servants: say what we want or get the axe

Posted on February 18th, 2012 Be the first to comment

News of Gary Webster’s potential demise as Chief General Manager of the TTC isn’t exactly hidden knowledge, nor is the fact that Rob Ford’s decision to suppress Webster’s report for a year (presumably because he didn’t like what was in it), but Torontoist does an excellent job of explaining not only why civil servants of Webster’s experience are so necessary, but why this whole thing is going down like a pile of rotten trash. I’d say this was another blemish on Rob Ford if he wasn’t already so covered over.

For you sycophant “taxpayers” out there, Webster’s departure is likely to cost you all a cool half a mill. And if Ford continues then Stintz is likely his next target, probably having had a change of heart since her stint on Undercover Boss where she interacted with real people — how much will that cost your cold pragmatic asses?

Filed under: Patrick Bay, Why I'm Right