Illustration by Kyra Kendall/Torontoist.
‘Tis five days before Pride as Torontonians rise from their beds, rainbows and moustaches alive in their heads. And now to ruin all that, here’s today’s news: The Toronto Board of Trade says the Province must alleviate Toronto’s gridlock problems, police get house arrests for beating a disabled person, and a new website allows people to rank Toronto’s neighbourhoods using government data.
Chances are good that if you’re from outside the city centre, you’re probably reading this from a mobile device while stuck in traffic this morning. Well, the Toronto Board of Trade is on your side. Calling gridlock “the biggest threat to our prosperity and quality of life” (the “our” in this case presumably referring to members of the Toronto Board of Trade), the board recommends the next provincial government look at road tolls, parking levies, and other money-making ideas to boost funds for infrastructure and help pay for Metrolinx’s Big Move plan. Ever the pragmatist, councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) suggests building new roads with optional road tolls so he can minimize his commute time and number of cyclists hit while cheapskates sweat it out in traffic jams.
Hope your iPod alarms are set to N.W.A. this morning. Two police officers that viciously beat a disabled pensioner after he mouthed off to them will receive house-arrest sentences and will get to keep their jobs on the grounds that going to jail would be dangerous for them as police officers, even if they happen to also be violent offenders. Toronto police criticized for being above the law? We’ve heard something like that before. Hopefully adolescent Torontoist readers (hey, there’s bound to be a few) are learning valuable lessons from stories like these when it comes to choosing a career.
Keeping up with the Joneses is going digital, as the City prepares to launch a new website this week that will allow people to use municipal statistics to rank Toronto’s 140 neighbourhoods . With such information as crime rates, dropout rates, ethnic makeup, number of welfare recipients, and more, Torontonians will be better able to follow their racist, sexist, and classist whims when choosing a neighbourhood in which to live. On the plus side, say hello to even cheaper real estate in high-crime, low-income areas! However, the website could also be a valuable tool for charities to determine what parts of the city they should be focusing their attention on, and what issues are most pertinent for the city’s poor.
Speaking of which, the City’s Welcome Policy, the program that offers free swimming lessons, summer camps, and recreational programs to low-income residents, has now run out of money twice this year. The problem? Too many effing poor people have learned how to sign up for the program, according to a report to be considered today by the Community Development and Recreation Committee. The committee will look into putting a monetary cap on Welcome Policy subsidies, which will allow the program to reach more people
while providing each person with less services, period. So from now on, Welcome Policy participants will still be taught the arm technique for the breaststroke, but the whip kick is going to cost them.
We thought it couldn’t get any crazier than a Brazilian man swinging a dog at his wife, but unlike in soccer, we’ve got Brazil beat: Toronto police are still on the lookout for a woman who used a toddler to strike someone yesterday while aboard the Dundas streetcar. We could make some jokes here, but this is actually pretty messed up. So if you know anything, please give the police a call at 416-808-5500.