Friday is like the uncle who always sends you $50 on your birthday. It might be the same thing every time, but it's always awesome. In the news: Doug Ford wants the public to do the government's job, libraries might cut their literacy programs and reduce book acquisitions, Karen Stintz says no to a 15-cent TTC fare hike, and Mike Del Grande fights for your kids.
Two days of public deputations on the 2012 budget have come and gone—with Torontoist liveblogging the hell out of them—and, unless our watches are off, it’s now time for councillors to ignore everything citizens said and push the same agendas they had before the deputations started. Because anyone who comes to council to plead against service cuts doesn’t really represent Torontonians, most of whom would rather spend their time scarfing down some Swiss Chalet, especially during the holiday season when they get free chocolate. Councillor Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) did show a willingness to listen to deputants though, and actively solicited any magic fixes they might have that don’t involve doing anything the Fords disagree with.
Speaking of service cuts, remember libraries? Those things everybody and Margaret Atwood objected to cutting? Well, the library budget got cut anyway, but the city’s chief librarian thinks she’s come up with a plan to prevent branch closings and reduced hours. All it will take is creating new fines, reducing the budget for acquiring new books and eliminating literacy programs. In her defence, there are already, like, tons of books in libraries, and everybody uses tablets now anyway. Also, why should a service centred around lending books be reaching out to people who can’t even read? That’s just making work for yourself.
Meanwhile, on the TTC front, commission chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) says transit fares will not go up in 2012 by more than 10 cents, because that’s just too much more money to charge riders for the crappy service they’re almost certainly going to get once routes are cut next year. And the province’s Liberal government, still in power and kicking back after calling the Ford Nation bluff earlier this year, doesn’t plan on giving the city more money for transit. If there’s one obvious solution to all these problems, it’s to just get rich.
Another possible solution might be to sue rapper Drake, who has copied elements of Toronto’s logo in a billboard promoting his new album. After all, Drake’s got a lot of money, not to mention the connections to hook up soon-to-be-snackless schoolkids with all the Sprite they can drink.
Actually, we might have spoken too soon on the subject of snacks, as budget chief Mike Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) has announced he will be looking for ways to avoid cutting Toronto schools’ food programs in the 2012 budget. No word yet on whether Doug Ford will want his $1,000 back if the programs are saved.