Take a look at our Newsstand, it's the only one we got. Not much of a Newsstand, but here it is anyway: The City plans to privatize road maintenance and make parents pay more for daycare, the assault on pop culture in libraries continues, sod growers team up to re-plant St. James Park, and a dirty little secret about the waterfront redevelopment comes to light.
There’s no two ways about it: when
times are tough politicians tell us times are tough, the City has to cut back spending. And, if Mayor Rob Ford gets his way, one of the ways the City will be doing that in the 2012 budget is by contracting out a portion of road maintenance to the private sector. The issue still has to go to council for approval, but really, what’s the point of even saying that these days? Privatization may lead to crappier service but it’s a necessary sacrifice, especially if the City wants to continue hiring people to fight graffiti at $70,000 a pop.
Speaking of spending less, the City is also looking to save some cash by no longer having the school board cover heat, hydro and other costs for child care centres located in schools, and instead passing that $5.8 million cost on to parents. The good news is this particular cut won’t affect those of us sensible enough not to have any grubby, germ-infested children. The bad news is not only will parents have to pay over $500 a year more in daycare fees, they also have to live with the knowledge that they are raising a child in Rob Ford’s Toronto.
It seems the Toronto Sun has done some investigative reporting on the magazine collections at Toronto’s libraries. And by that, we mean flipped through a Playboy at the Reference Library. The result, as predictable as it is stupid, is outrage, which is pretty rich coming from a newspaper that runs photos of scantily clad women in every issue. But the Sun spent a little too much time in the magazine section and has missed the real bombshell: Did you know the library also carries dozens of copies of such lurid and obscene books as Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, and William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch? Not to mention a whole whack of Harlequin romances. And cue Helen Lovejoy.
If you’re a sod grower sitting around in your cape and tights and waiting for your chance to save a major metropolitan centre, this is pretty much the best call you can hope for: non-profit organization Landscape Ontario has asked 60 sod growers and landscapers to help bring back grass to St. James Park after Occupy Toronto left the park a muddy mess last month. Apparently the damage to the park caused by the Occupy camp was much more significant—or at least more tangible—than the damage to capitalism and corporate greed. Either way, if Torontonians can’t have bright tents and optimism for a better society in St. James Park, at least we can have grass and living plants.
Remember that whole waterfront redevelopment debacle that went down earlier this year when the brothers Ford wanted to give city-owned Toronto Port Lands Co. full control of the area’s redevelopment, but city council said no? The Globe and Mail has learned the two architectural contracts Toronto Port Lands Co. awarded to come up with its infamous vision of the area were single-sourced, a.k.a. not handed out through a competitive purchasing process, a.k.a. not done the way the Fords have been arguing all city purchases should be done. For an editorial comment, here’s Helen Lovejoy again.