Thursday, August 11, 2005

Will he or wont he

Hogtown editors and columnists are almost as preoccupied with Mayor Miller's non-visit to the gun-play plaqued areas of Toronto as the headline writers are with the gunplay itself. The Star's Royson James wrote a heart-felt column about why the Mayor should make the journey.

The Globe's John Barber navel-gazed about why criticism of the Mayor from some of his usual antagonists has been muted. Well, perhaps it because it might seem unseemly to remind everyone that Miller and his minions orchestrated the removal of a popular police chief. On the other hand, there is little need to remind everyone of this - or the fact that Miller was caught joking about 'his' police force being in jail.

But let's get back to why the Mayor is hesitant to visit the troubled areas. Here's my theory:

FACT: The Mayor and many of the leftists on council would like to take money from the police budget and use it for the other things they would like to spend money on.

CONJECTURE: The biggest reason for pushing out Fantino and bringing in someone more anonymous is that Fantino had the profile and skills to defend his budget. Miller, Pam McConnell and Co. were hoping that the new chief would acquiesce to some chopping.

PRACTICAL CERTAINTY: The rash of shootings will make it difficult to cut the police budget. In fact, there will be pressure to increase it.

The more Miller can downplay the issue, the better chance he has to take money out of the police budget down the road. He hopes that by the next budget cycle, people will have forgotten the long hot summer.

Visiting the troubled neighbourhoods would only raise the profile of the issue - and that's the very last thing Miller and Co desire.