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The Curious Toronto Star
14/12/2002
I've been leading my own one-man boycott of The Toronto Star since 1997. I still don't understand why they kept singing the MegaCity tune, despite the amassing evidence against it, as well as the broad public rejection of the idea. I vowed then that I don't want them to have any more of my money. Of course, all the negative predictions turned out to be true, and we now have a much more expensive city, a much less responsive government, poorer services, and rampant corruption. Despite never letting a quarter pass out of my pocket for a Toronto Star, I still feel that reading them online can be useful. They do have decent coverage of issues in the Toronto area, whereas the Globe and Mail only has a good columnist or two who cover us. Still, what you read in the Star continues to be a bit confusing. They have decent coverage of all the crap that is going on. For example, today's Joe Fiorito column mentions:
(I went) To a public meeting in my neighbourhood recently, there to hear a discussion of the proposed extension of Front St. W. A bit of background: The extension of Front St. is part of the plan to renew the waterfront; to be accurate, it's also a plan to improve the flow of traffic from the city to the suburbs. Depending on how you interpret the maps, and there were a lot of maps and drawings, the plan provides for four lanes, or six, or seven. And while it may relieve the problem of entering the Gardiner at Spadina, it may also transfer the problem westward. Is this important? No, if you live out of town. Yes, if you live in Parkdale. The community centre was jammed with a cohort of city apparatchiks, planners and experts; a rousing phalanx of peeved Parkdalians; noticeable was the large and significant absence of anyone from the suburbs. ... + All night long, Robert Fung, waterfront overlord, sat facing a large sign that read, "Fung The Car Czar." He kept a poker face, although I have a hunch he was seething. At one point he stood and explained in measured tones that the extension was part of the mandate he was given; no, not his idea; yes, part of his mandate. And then he sat down. And there are times when not to take a position is to make your views quite clear. The people are not stupid. And I suspect Bob Fung is a decent man. He doesn't need this job. He needs a position. + A gaggle of men in suits technical advisers, planners and so forth stood off to the side of the meeting, leaning against the community centre stage like stags at the prom; smirking, acting bored, chewing gum, elbowing each other and whispering; from time to time, one of them applied generous lashings of lip balm. Call me old-fashioned, but guys in suits ought to have the courtesy to hide their disdain for the public. They ought to leave their gum at home. And they ought to apply their lip balm in private. ... A final note. Plans for the Front St. extension I, too, am tempted to call it the expressway were initially estimated at $175 million; when all of the concerns from all of the neighbourhood meetings are taken into account, the project may well cost $60 million more. Someone said that was a lot of money to spend on a couple of kilometres of road. Someone is right.
And yet, for the most part they go on pretending that the city is on the right path. The Toronto Star plays with dreams and conveniently ignores the realities that the city is facing.
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