Friday, July 22, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Shocking suggestion

A clever letter here to the Globe & Mail:

The Globe and Mail: Shocking suggestion

if I say so myself. Well - actuallly, my mom and dad thought it was great as well.

I guess is hardly surprising that former Hydro executives Bartholemew and Campbell as still trying to foist a Hydro monopoly back on Ontarians; after all they wouldn't wish to admit guilt. They actually have the audacity to complain about 'gross mismanagement' of Ontario's power situation over the past decade!

Column by Rod Anderson, Ron Bartholomew and Tom Campbell - July 20 2005

(Hmmm - former Enron executives get to face jail time, while former Hydro execs are living comfortably on their golden parachutes and pensions.)

What's more amazing is that Rod Anderson a former managing partner in Ernst & Young has signed onto the effort. Given that the column evidences a pre-JK understanding of financial economics, it's hardly any wonder why he is a former managing partner.

Update: Per his website, Mr. Anderson gave up professional life decades ago. He has since been concentrating on composing poetry and music. Rod - my advice is to stick with the poetry and music.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Slight to Miss Universe 'silly', mayor says

Despite his policy follies, Mayor David Miller is a smart enough politician to recognize a public relations disaster - and to attempt to distance himself from it: - Slight to Miss Universe 'silly', mayor says

Now you might believe that preventing Miss Universe from being Miss Universe at a Thai community event in Nathan Phillips Square was simply the fault of an overzealous and/or misguided underling at City Hall. In reality, the tone is set from the top. The unfortunate soul(s) who made the decision no doubt did so based on a reading of the smoke signals from 'on high'.

More disturbing is the implication inherent in Miller's assertion that he would have allowed the appearance had he been asked. It is not the job of the Mayor to sit in judgement of whether something is tasteful, nor is it his job to interpret by-laws - this being the job of the judiciary. [It's his job to run city services effectively and efficiently - apparently he hasn't read the job description.]

...and another thing... a few weeks ago the Miller and some other members of his cabal marched in the Gay Pride parade. This parade included many bikini-clad men. These men have every right to dress and march as thus - but an argument can easily be made that the behaviour is both degrading and stereotypical.

What's degrading to Miss Glebova is that the City doesn't respect her honest, well-intentioned, and public-service spirited decision to participate in pageants.

Monday, July 18, 2005 - LCBO workers threaten strike despite 'no sale’ vow

The LCBO workers know when they have management boxed into a corner, and are too ready to move in for the kill: - LCBO workers threaten strike despite 'no sale’ vow

The provincial Liberals have painted themselves into a corner by being:

1. Desparate for $$$
2. Unwilling to privatize the LCBO (despite commissioning a report that points to doing just that.)
3. Wishing to appear palsy, walsy with the public sector unions

My guess is that Sorbara will cave to the unions before a work stoppage. The cash flow from the LCBO is just too important a cash flow for this profligate government.

I guess it's better to work for a government corporation that sells booze than for one that transmits power. The Hydro-One strike is saving the provincial treasury a pile of dough - that's why there is no pressure to settle it.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The shapes of things to come?

The last few weeks have borne witness to a flurry of activity on the Toronto political scene.

We've seen a report from the Toronto Office Coalition documenting how the City's stratospheric commercial and tax rates are pushing businesses to locate in the suburbs. While the substance of the report is not news, the coverage received - even in The Star - has been surprising.

Highly-related to this has been a proposal drafted by the City Finance dept/committee that would see a gradual transfer of the tax load from the commercial sector and onto home owners. Surprisingly Mayor Miller made a number of grunting sounds indicating that the tax gap between the city and the burbs is a real problem.

Thr trouble is that the proposal will come close to doubling the real tax rate payed by home owners. The press around the proposal claims that it will keep residential tax rates increases below 5% a year for the next 15 years. Well, 5% a year for 15 year doubles the rates. It isn't clear whether the 5% is the rate of increase including inflation - or whether this is above and beyond inflation.

Meanwhile, of course, the City has caved into its unions again. Overall payroll costs will continue to outpace revenie growth. Miller has promised that there will be savings from productivity improvments. I'm not holding my breath!

On the back burner is the work towards a new City of Toronto act. Will the act cure the City of its fiscal lunacy. Again - fat chance.