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news

Newsstand: September 2, 2010

matt_newsstand_gull.jpg
Illustration by Matt Daley/Torontoist.


It’s going to be a fantastic Thursday! Here’s what to ponder: the TDSB’s stadium-style party, Toronto is a speed trap, and your auto insurance coverage now covers less.

Yesterday afternoon, the Toronto District School Board held a pre-semester rally at the Air Canada Centre to really get jazzed for the new school year. The pricetag? $127,000. With the Ripley-esque title “Believe It: Our Time Is Now,” the event was originally planned as an all-day affair that would have set the TDSB back $345,000, but a public backlash lead to the scaling back of the event. TDSB education director Chris Spence, always the picture of modesty, was apparently introduced as “the architect of the vision of hope.” Who says rhetoric doesn’t buy textbooks?
If the mind-numbing gridlock of our fine city’s streets at rush hour doesn’t curb your pedal-to-the-metal tendencies, perhaps this tidbit will: Toronto has been named the Ontario city with the most speed traps by the National Motorist Association in their annual list of “Worst North American Speed Trap Cities.” Apparently there have been some 250 to 260 individual speed trap locations reported over the past few years—more than Los Angeles and New York combined.
If a city speckled with speed traps won’t convince you to park the car and hop on two-wheeled or public transportation, maybe a drop in the coverage your auto insurance provides might do the trick. Changes to Ontario’s auto insurance came into effect yesterday, and critics say that the province will now be providing less coverage for the same premiums. The biggest change is a 50% cut to medical and rehabilitation benefits, and there is also a 10% drop in income replacement coverage. Insurance reps say the changes actually benefit the consumer because we now have the choice to pay extra for the coverage we would have previously received automatically—it’s not cruelly forced upon us. See how they twist it?
Perpetually hot-under-the-collar Toronto Star columnist Joe Fiorito is hot under the proverbial (and most likely literal) collar, and this time, it’s about Rob Ford. Apparently Fiorito received an email from Ford headquarters with the subject line “Dear Joe Fiorito ‘Al Gosling is Dead.’” Al Gosling was an eighty-two-year-old Torontonian who died of an infection acquired while living in a homeless shelter. He had been evicted from his low income housing only a few weeks earlier. A follow-up email from Fiorito yielded a response with an identical subject line to the first. This isn’t the first time Ford’s camp has screwed up an email form letter, and chances are it won’t be the last.
Speaking of the temperature under Joe Fiorito’s collar—it is hot out! Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson said it best, when on Wednesday he announced: “If you’re sitting in an air-conditioned office all day, it feels like you’ve been punched in the stomach when you go outside.” Indeed. Enjoy the stomach-punching warmth while it lasts—cooler weather is on the way for the long weekend.

Comments

  • rek

    Why is the National Motorist Association in favour of speeding?

  • http://undefined Andrew

    That’s about as intelligent as asking why the ACLU is in favor of terrorism.

  • http://undefined rek

    They picked the word “Worst”, indicating they think speeding is OK.

  • http://undefined Matthew

    I couldn’t find a definition or any semblance of a vetting procedure on the speedtrap.org site, so it’s content should be treated with a big grain of salt. But my understanding is that a speed trap would be in an area where the hills or other terrain features, or an abrupt reduction in speed limit make it more likely for a typical safe driver to momentarily drive faster than the speed limit.
    One could argue that the public would be better served by the police looking for speeders in other areas than some of these, even if they might not be as lucrative for the municipality.

  • http://undefined Andrew

    How is that the only possible interpretation? Maybe they’re opposed to the harassment of motorists.

  • http://undefined rek

    You’re digging yourself in here. Harassment of motorists? They’re only “harassed” if they’re speeding – breaking the law. If catching someone in the act of breaking the law and endangering the safety of people around them is harassment, then harassment is good.
    (Duplicate post?)

  • http://undefined rek

    An inattentive driver is a dangerous driver.

  • http://undefined EricSmith

    Maybe, if we wait long enough for the topic to drift, we can enjoy a helping of “red light cameras are an invasion of privacy,” too.

  • http://undefined Andrew

    Right! So, according to you, law-abiding citizens need not fear police surveillance?

  • http://undefined EricSmith

    If you were running down the street waving a flaming torch, the cops would stop you for that, too. They’re watching out for it right now while you walk around downtown. Feel that? It’s the boot of tyranny!

    Seriously, man, if RIDE checks are constitutional, radar guns — which effectively quantify the observation of an offence, instead of revealing something that would otherwise be hidden — are here to stay.

    Go on, bring up red light cameras.

  • http://undefined Andrew

    So, like the original poster, do you think that opposition to excessive police surveillance (in the form of speed traps) is the same thing as being in favor of lawbreaking (in the form of speeding)?

  • http://undefined EricSmith

    One would tend to be opposed to excess in anything, by definition. I’d just as soon see automated photo radar on every block, though, so our impressions of what’s excessive are likely to vary.

  • rek

    “So, according to you, law-abiding citizens need not fear police surveillance?”
    On the contrary, and I’ve made my opinion on such matters known here several times, whenever the topic of CCTV cameras comes up. However, unlike passive/broad surveillance, speed guns (and photo radar, and red light cameras, and bomb-sniffing dogs) only detect someone in the act of breaking the law.