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37 Comments

politics

Duly Quoted: David Soknacki

The former councillor wants to run for mayor in 2014; here he takes on police services and the City's budget.

“[E]ach Torontonian pays more for policing than almost any other provincial resident. In return we have the second-highest number level of officers and staff per capita. Unfortunately that high cost and number of officers does not produce satisfactory results. Our rate of crime is about average…nor is our force adept at catching criminals. Toronto’s police service has the lowest rate of solving violent crime, an unenviable record it has held for the last three years.”

—One-time councillor and would-be mayoral candidate David Soknacki, in an op/ed published this morning on police costs in Toronto. Soknacki is trying to carve out space in the political landscape as someone who is fiscally conservative but less, shall we say, dramatic than Rob Ford. Policing is the single biggest line item in Toronto’s annual operating budget, and though Ford has prided himself on implementing budget cuts at departments and agencies across municipal services, the police budget has grown during his term.

Comments

  • vampchick21

    I think the good candidate didn’t make any friends at TPS……It’s one thing to question the budget and what we really need in the city, it’s entirely another to catagorically state that the TPS couldn’t find a criminal if they crawled up their arse. In short, he just made this voter roll her eyes in derision and sit back to wait for the next candidate to roll in.

    • Squintz

      Truth hurts I guess, what would you rather hear from him? The TPS has been woeful at solving violent crime, but lets keep throwing good money after bad hoping it will get better?

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        And they keep pushing for CCTV in the streets, despite reams of evidence showing it doesn’t help.

      • vampchick21

        Ok, honestly, I’m going to need to see proof that they are woeful at solving violent crime compared to other police forces in Canada. Like I said in response to tyrannosaurus rek above, I can see questioning the budget, but I find the slam at their work to be nothing more than sensationalism. You don’t need to say something like that in order to justify the need to look at costs. You just look at the damn budget.

        • CaligulaJones

          I think his wording is rather, um, adept. If intentional (and it would be hard to view it otherwise) its a shot across the bow to the cops and their supporters, i.e., “I’m a fiscal, not a social, conservative”.

          • vampchick21

            the question is, why is he taking on the cops when there’s so much else in this city that can be used as an effective election platform?

          • CaligulaJones

            Playing to his (presumed) base, I would imagine, i.e., the centre left. Picture John Sewell on the proper meds.

          • vampchick21

            I’m centre left. He’s not convincing me of anything. At least not the way he’s wording things.

          • CaligulaJones

            I’d say this is the first political stumble of the season, but its a 12 month season now, and hey, Rob Ford.

          • vampchick21

            He’s been stumbling for years. So that actually gives Soknacki some hope actually.

          • CaligulaJones

            Only if you grade on the curve. Soknacki could get a ticket for jaywalking, and that would be the equivalent of Ford dooring a cyclist. Its all about scale.

          • OgtheDim

            He’s centre right.

          • CaligulaJones

            …and trying to move left. Why else bash cops?

          • wheeler98

            Ford gave the Police a generous increase and is being investigated by the police.

          • wheeler98

            …not to mention the reference letters written for a convicted murderer and another for a wife beater. Ford is soft on crime. It’s an easy opening for a seasoned politician.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Are you offended on the behalf of the police? Let them be offended for themselves. Assuming his numbers are sound, police cost efficacy is something that needs to be addressed.

      • dsmithhfx

        And so long as the TPS keeps the mayor and a majority of council in its back pocket through some combo of public browbeating and backroom blackmail and deals, that will never, ever happen.

      • vampchick21

        I guess I didn’t explain myself properly. I’m not really offended on the behalf of the police. I just think it’s quite the radical claim without anything to back it up. It’s almost like he’s kicking them in order to get his name out there in the way he phrased it. Question the police budget by all means, but to claim that they aren’t doing their job in so many words as a means to justify looking at the costs? that’s just a new face of sensationalism to score a few votes in my mind.

        • TorontoistEditors
          • vampchick21

            Thanks, I’ll take a look at it. (graphs, I hate graphs!)

          • vampchick21

            Ok, 59% solve rate in 2012, one point below Hamilton at 60%, most everyone else in the report is mid 60′s to mid/high 70′s with the exception of Muskoka at 91%. So I have to ask, how many of those crimes in 2012 were solved in 2013? What’s the factors that delayed the solving thereof? It looks like he’s taking that report and calling police lazy bastards, when that might not be the whole truth.

          • CaligulaJones

            “What’s the factors that delayed the solving thereof?”

            Snitches get stitches.

          • Lee Zamparo

            This data won’t tell us, but the very low solve rate as measured in the report is likely due to a number of factors, at least one of which isn’t in this report: the average latency of crown prosecutors. If the latency between an arrest and the laying of a charge exceeds one year, a case will be called ‘unsolved’ in this report. How many prosecutors are allotted to Toronto, and how quickly can they process the crimes? I don’t think this is convincing evidence that TPS isn’t doing a good job in solving cases.

            There isn’t much to raise eyebrows in this report IMO, except the high police services per-capita.

          • vampchick21

            That’s a good question, especially when coupled with factors we are aware of, like potential witnesses who refuse to talk.

          • CaligulaJones

            You are right to hate graphs. It is actually called “graphsmanship” when you intentionally play with the scale. Same data, different look. Depends on who you want scared.

          • vampchick21

            I look at is as graphs don’t actually tell me anything. I like words.

          • Lee Zamparo

            “You are right to hate graphs.”

            Do you hate other inanimate objects, or modes of data visualization too?

          • vampchick21

            I hate my umbrella.

        • Squintz

          I’m also pretty sure we would hear some loud protests if his claims were baseless. Politician or not, the TPS are certainly not the type to sit idly by if there is something incorrect being stated about their operations.

          • vampchick21

            Well, the piece was just published this morning, so we’ll see. The numbers in the report linked below seem to back him up, but then, they’re just numbers on a graph without any real explaination.

          • Squintz

            Well the low clearance rate has certainly been a problem that has received some attention for the last few years. This really isn’t the first time someone has pointed out that the TPS gets a large amount of money for less than stellar results.
            http://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2011/01/01/toronto_police_struggling_to_solve_murders.html

          • vampchick21

            Thanks, that article raises some interesting questions and points regarding the solve rate. It’s one thing to note it and then just slam, it’s another to note it and ask why and what can we do. That’s why the above quote just irks me.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          He didn’t say they aren’t doing their job, he said they aren’t doing it as well as you’d expect considering the budget they have. If TPS is performing just below average, but has a disproportionately higher than average budget, it needs to be looked into.

          • vampchick21

            It’s how he worded it that irks me in the end. The evidence presented in this discussion shows that yes, indeed we do need to figure out why the numbers are so low, that they aren’t performing the way we’d like them to. It’s just that the report is pretty pretty purple graphs without much in the way of deeper understanding of the whys and wherefores. The way it looks like he’s framing it is “they suck, let’s just cut their budget cause they aren’t playing with the toys the right way” rather than “something isn’t working, let’s looks at what would actually help as opposed to throwing fancy technology around at a higher cost with no proof that it works”.

          • dsmithhfx

            Apart from the report and its graphs, it’s been pretty evident that the TPS is in desperate need of a tune-up, starting at the top (think Blair and Mukherjee), as well as a fundamental culture change probably involving new recruitment standards, and management brought in from outside. Failing that, we’re spinning our very, very expensive wheels.

          • vampchick21

            Agreed. I just object to the wording he used in the quote. :) The way he put it just feels like pandering to a specific group of voters, and frankly I’m beyond tired of that kind of thing.

  • OgtheDim

    Hmm….the biggest sacred cow in the city just got told it ain’t always going to be so.

    Lets see if the Sun suddenly gets some info on Socknacki.