Rallies for a better Toronto

As we get down to crunch time on the tax vote, both sides of the debate are gearing up for one last push. Today Mayor David Miller announced a panel of experts to examine the City’s budget for savings and this evening he is scheduled to trek out to Ward 41 to speak at a meeting for anti-tax councillor Chin Lee’s constituents. On the other side, Councillor Karen Stintz addressed the Economic Club of Toronto at a luncheon where she dug her heels in as firmly as ever against the taxes and Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong was the keynote speech at a realtors’ professional association AGM, and was joined by anti-tax cohorts Councillors Michael Feldman, Michael Thompson, Mike Del Grande and Case Ootes.

As we get closer to Monday’s decision, the swing votes are going to be under increasing pressure to make up their mind. So, as Spacing’s Matt Blackett said last night at a panel discussion in Swansea, no matter which side you’re on it’s time to make your voice heard.

For those supporting fair taxes for a better Toronto, here are a couple of important events you don’t want to miss:

Rally for open libraries and stocked shelves

Who: The citizen members of the Toronto Public Library Board (of which I am one) and the Writers Union of Canada invite all Toronto residents who value their public libraries as democratic, educational and cultural hubs to join us to support fair taxes.

What: Rally to keep libraries open and books on the shelf

Where: Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street (just north of Bloor)

Why: The Toronto Public Library gets 91% of its funding from the City of Toronto. So as Toronto goes, so does the Library. If the Library is asked to make cuts, the only discretionary fund with enough money in it to cut from is our materials budget (books, CDs, DVDs, etc.) This could mean that the TPL purchases 350,000 fewer materials in 2008. Consequently, patrons would only find the book they are looking for in one of every three trips to the library.

When: Sunday, October 21, 12:00-1:00PM

Rally for taxes

Who: All Torontonians and Mayor David Miller, organized by a broad-based coalition of environmental and social advocacy groups.

What: Rally for the taxes that will ensure Toronto continues to enjoy a high quality of life. After the rally, you are encouraged to observe the tax debate in Council Chambers.

Where: Nathan Philips Square

Why: Because your city needs you.

When: Monday, October 22, 8:30-9:30AM

Photo by Mute.

8 comments

  1. The numbers given in the section on libraries seem intentionally deceptive. If the library cannot buy 350,000 “items” ($16 CDs? $95 art books? 1,200 Harry Potters at $22.50 each?), and if that means the item you want is missing 1/3 of the time, then it follows that the library holds zero items currently and will stock its shelves anew with 700,000 items next year instead of 1,050,000. And all of those “items” would be “books.”

    Since we all know that the library has 11 million items (400,000 in Chinese alone, I’m told), the numbers in the post aren’t just false, they’re scaremongering.

    Visit the library sometime to learn mathematics.

  2. Reduce your labor cost, get rid of your cost problem. It’s very simple. The dichotomy between higher taxes and lower services is a false one.

  3. Joe, I’m using a number calculated by TPL staff. I don’t have a particularly strong background in math so I stay away from doing much more than addition and subtraction.

    I believe the 1/3 calculation is based on circulation trends, taking into consideration that materials that are newer are borrowed more frequently. If you like I can have Library staff provide a more detailed explanation of how that number is arrived at.

    Regardless of that statistic, having a 350,000 item dent in our collection for one year is a very troubling concept. Because it’s almost certain that we’ll never see a $7 million spike in our budget to make up for materials not bought in 2008, when a person comes looking for a book published in 2008, whether it’s in the near future or 20 years down the road, it will likely never be there.

  4. I am not a huge fan of these new taxes because I think that City taxpayers are paying again for the money that the Province has unjustly taken from us leaving downloading as its legacy. However, we must face reality. The Province has steadfastly (belligerantly) refused to accept its responsibility. City deficits are not allowed by law. What choice do we have now. Me MUST increase our City taxes for now and only hope for equity from the province at some future date. There IS NOT $500MM plus “waste” at City Hall. There is a $500MM plus deficit. It must be covered if our City Services are to be maintained. As for the “Conservative” bloc on City Council, they have no real constructive solutions on offer. Karen Stintz was on the radio today and she said (union bashingly) that a reorganisation of work rules in the water department could save $1 Million over 4 years. One million seems like a large bumber for most of us. However, the problem is $500MM plus. A savings, annualised, of $250,00 is 1/2000 of the problem. Do the right wingers have another 1,999 potential savings. (And when did the “paper” savings of a reorganisation ever turn to cash anyway?). Reluctantly, we must increase our municipal taxes to pay again the money that the province has stolen from us. We will survive the new taxes, but we cannot survive a City which is not properly funded.

  5. tdotg, maybe city employees should work for free so you don’t have to pay any taxes at all.

  6. As for the “Conservative” bloc on City Council, they have no real constructive solutions on offer.

    That is the thing that doesn’t get enough attention. The right goes on and on about no new taxes and making cutbacks first, but are the first to whine when – doing the only thing the City can to cut back – services are cut.

  7. Ask an MLS (not a realtor) for details, but collections are asymmetrical at any big public library. If you think “losing” 350,000 “items” is too big a hit, then buy fewer copies of more-popular titles. Your complaint is that the precise “item” you want won’t be there; you can mitigate that by reducing the number of duplicates.

  8. Speaking of cut backs, there’s no need for the city to have over 40 councillors. If councillors want to fire staff that’s ok too, but they should put there money where there mouth. While not solving the big picture structural funding shortage, 25 councillor layoffs x 80 000 = a lot more ice rinks opened up this winter and a lot less BS out of the mouths of the far left and far right hordes at city hall.

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