Segarini: Mayor Bob

No, I’m not running for Mayor…too much history of missteps, tom foolery, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. I would make the Fords look like Dominican Monks. However, I am hoping that someday we will get a Mayor who loves this city as much as you and I do.

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Toronto is the Greatest City in North America…it needs to be run by people who live in it, respect it…and know the difference between fixing its problems…and talking about fixing its problems. Time to remember and recapture the essence of Toronto…that we are, first and foremost, People City.

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The First Time I was Ever in Toronto….

We flew from LAX to Toronto on a Friday morning in October of 1969. I was wearing a pair of jeans, a Roxy, “Pretend You’re Right Then Go Ahead” T-shirt, a pair of white slip on shoes, a thin leather windbreaker, and no socks. It was 80 degrees in Inglewood when I got on the plane.

When I got off the plane in Toronto, it was 23 degrees and snowing. WTF? Snow? In a city? In California, if you wanted to see snow, you drove to it. It did NOT come to you.

Lesson number 1: Get a weather report before you go somewhere new.

Lesson number 2: Wear socks.

Lesson number 3: Have Hertz bring the car to you, don’t ask for the keys, directions, and storm out into the…storm.

Old ViennaSo, we’ve been in Toronto for all of 30 minutes, and already it’s like an alternative universe. A city covered in snow. Money that looks like you should be looking to buy Park Place or Boardwalk. Cigarettes with names like Peter Jackson and Players. Beer in short, stubby bottles, with strange names. Weird road signs and weirder billboards.

Now, I’d had a taste of this stuff in Vancouver with The Family Tree, but this was almost 3000 miles from home, and much more alien in its totality. I fully expected to see a white rabbit in a waistcoat running alongside the car, looking at a pocket watch and muttering to himself.

We checked into a Holiday Inn. Wonderful! I recognize this! Until breakfast. The bacon wasn’t what I was used to, the hash browns were big and clunky and called ‘home fries’ and instead of orange juice, there was tomato juice. I ordered a vodka to go with it, and was told that they didn’t serve liquor until after lunch. Again, WTF?

If someone would have told me that I would be living here for 37  years and counting  at this point in time, I would have punched him in the face.

More of the first visit…

SandwichesIt’s 1969. You can only order a drink on Sundays if you eat. By 11 o’clock Sunday night when the lounge at the Holiday Inn closed, I had had 5 drinks, and 5 sandwiches. Couldn’t get a buzz because of all the damn food…and they were strict about it. I got scolded by our waitress, (a woman I could swear was in her mid 90’s), for carrying my drink from one end of the table to the other. “I have to carry your drink for you”, she wheezed, “You’re not allowed BY LAW.” Nasty law, that. No wonder everybody we met was single…you couldn’t table hop in the bars. How the hell were you supposed to meet anybody?

We end up spending the rest of the evening watching the television stations sign off, hoping we didn’t have to buy a turkey or a ham at the liquor store in order to get a bottle of booze.

Ham

One good thing about having nothing to do on Sunday night was getting to sleep early and getting UP early the next day.

Monday…Noon.

By 2 pm we were ready to explore this city where spilling a drink was impossible due to the fact you couldn’t carry one anywhere. After I thought about it, I saw the sense in the law I had questioned the night before. Toronto looked after its own.

After a brief discussion and some pushing and shoving, we decided to check out the center of Toronto’s universe; Yonge Street.

Toronto '69

The Beaver Forever!

The plan was to do some sight-seeing, buy some souvenirs, check out the action, and maybe hear some bands and have a few drinks.

Bruce and Dennis, our road crew, decided to check out the gear in the rented Ryder truck, make some changes in the flawed equipment manifest that almost stopped the truck from getting into Canada, and hang out in the domed indoor pool at the hotel.

Our manager, John, had taken the car to take care of some business, so the band took a couple of cabs into the downtown core, to what we had been told was the longest street in the world, and ground zero for all things cool and wonderful…and it was.

Yonge Street was built in the 18th century as the center of the city of York, and here, in 1969, was still the center of Toronto, a city probably so named because New York was already taken.

ZanzibarWe spent the day walking up and down the street, checking out the shops, a strip joint, the cool British style clothes and shoes, a strip joint, and other points of interest, including that strip joint, (okay, The Zanzibar), that would appeal to a clump of California rock musicians with time to kill and a fairly decent per diem.

As the day wore on some of the guys returned to the hotel to hit the pool or have dinner, while two of us continued to parade up and down Yonge. I wish I could remember who was with me, but I can’t. I do remember that we ate at The Silver Rail on Yonge at Shuter, after drinking upstairs and discovering there was a really good restaurant in the basement, had a couple of girls from the Zanzibar try to convince us to take them on tour as dancers, buying a tacky t-shirt from a vendor that said, “The Beaver Forever!” on it, and, later in the evening, stumbling into a bunch of different bars, the names of which escape me, and hearing great music in every one of them. On a Monday! Wow.

Yonge Street 1970

Ah, the trip back to the hotel. We’re walking up Yonge Street, which is PACKED with people and cars that are bumper to bumper. I can barely walk thanks to rye, beer, and tequila. I am desperate for a cab, but I do not see one anywhere in the sea of people and cars that is STILL Yonge Street on a Saturday night.

Finally, as we’re crossing the street, I see a cab parked on the corner ahead, facing the same direction we’re walking.

“At lasht”, I mumble, “Let’s get thish cab before somebody elsh does”.

Approaching the cab from the rear, I throw open the back door, shove the other Roxy inside, and climb in after him, slamming the door behind me.

“Holiday Inn, Bub…and step on it”, I chirp.

In the front seat, behind the metal grill that separates them from us, two Toronto policemen stare at us like we have penises in the middle of our foreheads.

I go to open the car door. There are no door handles.

They look at each other, and then turn back to us. After what seemed like an hour, the cop in the passenger seat says, “Which Holiday Inn? The one downtown, or the new one up on the highway?”

“The new one”, I manage.

They look at each other again. “What the hell”, one of them says, “Why not?”…and turning on their siren, off we went up Yonge Street.

“What’s not to love about Toronto”, I thought, and the horseshoe up my ass agreed.

Cab

Cab

Not Cab

Not Cab

(Editor’s Note: The above story is from the DBAWIS Serial, “The Art of Touring Part 3”, and was first published here on July 6, 2012)

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Toronto’s Arrested Development….

Over the past 45 years Toronto has indeed made some forward progress. In many ways, 1969 Toronto and 2014 Toronto seem related, but not the same place. Some of that is good…but some of it is bad. Part of the way Toronto operates these days is far superior to what it once was, but other aspects of day to day life in People City seem to have forgotten the people who live here.

That needs to be fixed.

The problem starts at the lack of action on the part of the people in charge. Not just this current administration, but pretty much all of them leading up to today. The first thing we have to do is quit blaming people for the current problems in the city, and start doing something about them. Stop talking and take action, but action based on common sense with a goal that benefits both the people who live in Toronto, and the financial burden of making this city the people friendly place it wants to be. We need to think of solutions to our problems, decide on a course of action, and implement them.

Committee

We have spent too much time arguing about what to do. We have spent too much time blaming others for our own bad choices. We have spent too much time talking and not listening, seeing but not comprehending, and protesting instead of using the power of our wallets and our votes.

Our biggest problem from which all other problems stem…is us.

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Mayor Bob’s Course of Action or How I Would Piss Off the Facebook Nation

Bags of money

Gimme Your Money….

We’re going to need money to do what must be done. Most of these ideas will themselves generate money, but we need to pay for the ability to make them a reality. Sooo…

Taxman

We are a hearty lot, we Canadians. Here we are, 36 million or so of us in this vast, spread out country, yet outnumbered by the population of the state of California in the Lower 48. We have great distances to cover regardless of where we live, and miles (kilometers to you, Bub) to go to Gore-Texthe store, school, work, and play, even when we live in a major city like Toronto.

The miracle of Canada is how high our standard of living is considering our small population. Statistically, we should be standing in line for lightbulbs and stale bread, instead, we are living La Vida Loca…albeit in toques and Gore-Tex. How is that even possible?

We pay taxes.

Lots and lots of taxes.

Unlike Conservatives, Republicans, damn near all Americans, and alcoholic, car owners who smoke, most of us just write a letter to the editor, bitch a little on Facebook (or a lot, depending on how irritated you are) or shake our heads. No matter what we do, we always man-up and pay the damn taxes because most of us know that if we don’t, we will be eating a piece of stale bread while we wait in line for our lightbulb.

Toronto is a BIG city (Take that, Chicago…) and we have BIG problems. Waiting for the Federal Government to sit committee for decades trying to decide to give us enough money to help us almost fix our problems, is just as frustrating as pacing the floor waiting for our own LOCAL Government to stop fighting each other’s ideas (or lack of same) and actually at least TRY some of them to see if they can DO something about the problems other than waste our time and money having a perpetual pissing contest.

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“Well, Mayor Bob, What are YOU Going to Do?”

Something you aren’t going to like. Not one bit.

Seeing as how there is nothing a lil’ feller like me can do about certain Federal silliness, I think we can at least make improving this city the responsibility of ALL its citizens.

Nickel

 

A nickel tax.

Just a nickel.

…on staples that everyone buys. Not just the drinkers, smokers, and drivers use in their everyday lives.

Everyone.

Bread, Milk, Sugar, Eggs, Flour, Salt, Toilet Paper.

Staples.

A nickel.

…I’m going to have a smoke and open a beer while you react negatively to the very idea, writing reams of Facebook posts condemning the idea and calling me a rat-bastardidiotfucktardmorondingleberryasshat.

Take your time….

…and when you’re done…I’m going to do it anyway.

Unlike most politicians (which I am certainly not), I don’t want this job, nor do I want to be re-elected, nor do I give a Canadian Tire 10 cent bill if you like me or not. If I wanted to be popular, I would take you all out to dinner.

Canadian Tire

I just want to fix this burg and go back to sitting on my ass in front of the computer playing Angry Birds, or go downtown without spending hours getting there and back.

That nickel tax goes into a fund to implement some changes to the downtown core, but it is also there to help pay for things like more policemen and firemen. Homeless assistance and shelters. Shoring up the food banks and supporting programs aimed at assisting single parents and their children.

And to further help build this fund…a 20 percent reduction in pay for those of us entrusted with the safety and standard of living of this great city. Not the hands on workers. Not the people who work for the government dealing with the public on a day to day basis…if anything, they should get a yearly cost of living raise.

 

…and if any committee involved in fixing city problems goes for a year without at least five agreed upon courses of action to be implemented one at a time at the end of that year until a solution is reached, they will be removed from any further decision making for the duration of their terms.

Kicked Out

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But Wait…There’s MORE….

The city will put a moratorium on bringing outside events into the city until further notice.

Toronto does not need bragging rights for anything.

The G8, 20, and whatever else should be held on a fucking aircraft carrier, not in a city that only suffers at these smoke and mirror events, where the participants just talk, eat, disrupt people’s lives and cost us pantloads of money, and screw up the city’s ebb and flow.

What are the Pan Am Games going to cost the city of Toronto? Why? Why weren’t the PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE asked if this was okay?

Marathons, Bicycle events, Caribana, etc, and other large scale events that can disrupt traffic, create horrid litter and costly cleanup will no longer be held on City Streets. Where can these events take place?

Golly…I don’t know….

Woodbine Park

CNE Grounds

Ontario Place

Downsview

Even High Park for running events.

…anywhere but downtown Toronto.

Anywhere but the surrounding highways and freeways.

Anywhere but where people LIVE and WORK.

“A Nickel Doesn’t Seem Like Much, Mayor Bob. How Are We Going to Add More Money to Aid Toronto?”

Okay, don’t choke on your Wheaties, but I think a Casino is a great idea.

On a decommissioned cruise ship circling the Toronto Islands or anchored at them.

Cruise Ship

Reachable only by ferries and water taxis.

Hotel, Casino, Bars and Restaurants safe from crime, underage persons, parking fees, everything. Transit access to the ferries. Proof you arrived by TTC is necessary to board the ferries. The casino buses to and from the casino to major points throughout the city run 24 hours a half hour apart.

I would also push for the legalization of prostitution and marijuana.

OMG, MAYOR BOB! How could you???!!!

Get this off the streetsSimple, Milhouse…you cannot control anything that isn’t legal. We have learned NOTHING from Prohibition, which only created crime and criminals…including organized crime.

Legalize prostitution, put it somewhere with medical staff onsite, security, and privacy, and suddenly…

No more Pimps. You can arrest them.

No more runaway underage streetwalkers. They could be taken off the streets.

No more STDs spread by unprotected sex.

No more used condoms in your yard, panties in your driveway, cigarette butts on your patio.

No violent crimes threatening sex workers.

Perhaps even a drop in sex offenses and rapes.

…and of course, the city’s share of all those taxes.

And legalized marijuana?

Weed-Mart

Well take a look at this, all the way from New Orleans:

In the first six months since Colorado legalized marijuana, homicides in Denver fell by more than 60 percent, according to government data. The new data from the Mile-High city, one Louisiana lawmaker said, might help persuade his colleagues in the legislature who opposed marijuana law reform during the recent session that lowering penalties for possession of the drug in the Pelican State won’t cause a dangerous spike in crime.

It became clear during the recent session that Louisiana state lawmakers aren’t nearly ready for serious reform of marijuana laws, despite Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate and that it has some of the harshest marijuana penalties in the country. Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, learned how strongly lawmakers and law enforcement groups oppose marijuana-sentencing reform when a state Senate committee in April snuffed his bipartisan bill, cosponsored by Sen. Robert Adley, R-Benton, which would make simple pot possession a misdemeanor — even for repeat offenses. 

Comparing Denver’s county- and city-wide crime statistics from the same six-month period from January to June in 2013 and 2014, homicides dropped 62 percent since marijuana was legalized there in January. It’s worth noting, though, that Denver has a relatively low murder rate compared to Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The number of murders in Denver dipped from 21 to 13 in six months from 2013 to 2014, whereas Baton Rouge has had 34 murders in the first six months of 2014

Most violent crime categories, like sex offenses and kidnapping, also saw a drop in Denver since marijuana was legalized. Aggravated assault and kidnapping stayed nearly the same. A notable increase came in simple assault, which increased by more than a third, or 35 percent. Overall, property crimes decreased by about 9 percent.

The only glaring spike, the data show, comes in the disorderly conduct/disturbing the peace category, which increased more than 200 percent from 234 reports in 2013 to 735 in 2014. Court order violations, trespassing and harassment also law large increases. 

Morrell said influential groups that lobbied against his bill, the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association and Louisiana District Attorneys Association, warned legislators that without the threat of hard time hanging over prospective criminals’ heads, use of the drug will spike — thus an increase in harder drug use and crime.

“If in a state where it’s legal the sky has not fallen, how would the sky fall if we simply make it a misdemeanor?” Morrell said. 

Morrell acknowledged he’s not advocating for full legalization of pot in Louisiana, noting “you have to walk before you can run.” 

While theories clashed during the Senate hearing about the impact on overall crime of lowering marijuana penalties, new hard data from cities and states where marijuana has become recently legalized will likely play a larger roll in debate of the subject in Louisiana during future sessions.

Morrell said he’s also encouraged that the Louisiana State Bar Association passed a resolution at their recent annual meeting in support of making simple possession a misdemeanor.

Brian Welsh, the executive director of Louisianans for Responsible Reform, a bipartisan group advocating for marijuana law reform, had this to say of the Bar Association’s show of support legislation like Morrell’s:

“Bills that would have advanced this effort were skewered in committee hearings by lawmakers and witnesses with antiquated notions of ‘reefer madness’ and peculiar notions of justice that are out of synch with the voters of the state,” he said. “When the state’s professional organization of attorneys is on our side, that’s a message in itself.”

An article in Policy.Mic notes that since January, Colorado has taken in $10 million in taxes on recreational marijuana sales in the first four months. Sale of recreation marijuana generated nearly $19 million in March alone, up from $14 million the month before. By removing marijuana penalties, Colorado expects to save $12 million and $40 million, according to the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.

Supporters of the Louisiana bill sponsored by Morrell said it could have generated more than $20 million in savings alone, because of the incarceration reduction. 

CannabisEditor’s note: This story was updated Thursday, July 24, 2014, to reflect six months of crime data from Denver, as June data was recently made available.

Not only the positive societal impact of the legalization, but the businesses that would spring up around it, coupled with the same benefits from the legalization and protection of legal sex workers and the taxes that would enable more programs for the betterment of Toronto’s population are at stake here.

Oh dear…we have accidentally created a whole bunch of jobs.

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But Wait!…There’s Even MORE!….

Car Culture….

I love the Bicycle Nation’s ideology and concern for the environment and our health and all the rest of that crap.

I really do.

And someday (probably sooner than we think) we will be back on foot and bicycles and donkeys and plopped in rickshaws and teetering on skateboards…but that time is not now. Not yet.

We live in a Car Culture and have done so for over 100 years. It is in our DNA. In our blood. Here in Canada and elsewhere, it may not be quite as ingrained as it is in Canada’s Pants, (The Mighty Mississippi is our zipper) but close enough to know that the car culture’s future will continue even if the cars themselves are running on peanut butter, soy sauce, or cow farts. Even if fossil fuel were 50 dollars a gallon, people will pay it and hold onto their individuality and personal space. Like it or not, the automobiles, trucks, and idiotic vans and SUVs are still going to ply the roads and streets looking for victims and places to park for the foreseeable future.

Cars

We will drive and drive, and we will drive either well or not well, but we will drive everywhere. All the time. Whether we are good at it or not. We will drive and love it just like we love our guilty pleasures, booze, cigarettes, gluten, and the dreaded coffee, sugar, and red meat.

Danger Guy

When all the Politically Correct and self-righteous who stumble across this column stop spinning in their leather-free Crocs, I will continue. In the meantime, Here’s Bob Seger’s first single from his brand new CD.

Bob Seger – Detroit Made

Gee Whiz…2014 and Bob is still singin’ about cars.

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Okay. Better now? No?

Well, tough tamales. You can take me to task and tear me a new one on Facebook.

Just make sure your statistics and other proof that my horrible opinion is unfounded and a pack of lies, aren’t from The Onion, The Guardian,  a Right-wing journal, or Dave, the guy at Starbucks who always remembers your name before he burns your coffee beans.

Either send me 20 bucks not to run for Mayor, or vote against me. Easy-Peasy.

20-dollar-bill

The problems we are addressing are gridlock, traffic congestion, and how to ease those things without making it worse in the name of compromise or private interests.

Also, not to be trussed up like a Christmas turkey and rendered impotent in the office by frightened career politicians (who would be completely eviscerated if they lost their jobs or no one liked them anymore), by them forcing watered down and ineffectual compromises to emasculate the necessary changes because they don’t want to upset certain voters. Believe me, if these things work, they will be thanking my political butt for years to come…and if they don’t work, we will try alternative solutions until we find one that does.

Arguing…but we will always be DOING something instead of arguing about doing something and wasting this city’s time AND money.

To repeat, “Unlike most politicians (which I am certainly not), I don’t want this job, nor do I want to be re-elected, nor do I give a Canadian Tire 10 cent bill if you like me or not. If I wanted to be popular, I would take you all out to dinner.

I just want to fix this burg and go back to sitting on my ass in front of the computer playing Angry Birds, or go downtown without spending hours getting there and back.”

…and speaking of money….

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R.I.D.E

RIDE

Our Tax Dollars at Work. One Car. 9 Policemen.

First, you might want to read this.

A Press Release from The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Service, June 18th, 2008

Ontario Boosts RIDE Program

McGuinty Government Doubles Funding To Fight Impaired Driving

June 16, 2008 2:36 P.M. Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services

The year-round fight to keep impaired drivers off the province’s roads is stronger thanks to new funding from the Government of Ontario.

The province has doubled funding to police services to $2.4 million for this year’s Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE) program.

The funding will help police services conduct RIDE spot checks in 170 communities across the province. Last year, police conducted over 500,000 RIDE spot checks, which resulted in 466 people charged.

Quick Facts

Since 1988, the Ontario government has been providing annual grants to help the RIDE program across Ontario.

Over the past 10 years, traffic fatalities in Ontario have dropped by 18 per cent. The number of serious injuries in drinking and driving collisions decreased 51 per cent – from 990 in 1996 to 484 in 2005.

Since 2004, the McGuinty government has implemented a number of tough measures, including some of the highest fines and strictest penalties in North America for impaired driving.

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First thing we need to find out; how much of this funding is provided by Toronto, and what does it pay for, exactly, and where does all that money in fines and trumped up violations plus the tow truck fees go? What do we do with the money that comes in?

The second thing we do is leave the R.I.D.E program and deal with this problem another way.

I can’t speak for the rest of Ontario, but I know a much better way to get bad drivers off the streets of Toronto. Give them a reason and a way to get where they’re going and home again and leave their cars in the garage…or on the sidewalk…or wherever they leave them.

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SIDEBAR

MADD

My friend David has always said that if Mothers Against DRUNK Drivers (MADD) would change their name to Mothers Against DANGEROUS Drivers, he would donate money to them. I would too…because there is more than a little likelihood that people who drive badly drunk, also drive badly sober.

Somebody needs to do a study of that.

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Transit vs The Car vs The Bicycle

If you haven’t fallen asleep or torn your iPad in two in a blind rage, I will continue with Mayor Bob’s More than a Band-Aid Plan for Toronto’s Traffic Problems. A plan that I like to call…

Mayor Bob’s More than a Band-Aid Plan for Toronto’s Traffic Problems

James Taylor – Traffic Jam (Club Remix)

When James Taylor is right, James Taylor is right, and he is so right about this, he couldn’t be more righter-er.

The Better Way

First of all, You need to read this. It is a history and a close look at Toronto’s TTC.  While you read, Mayor Bob is proud to be able to provide some reading music from my favourite group of musicians who offer up a musical bed of comfort that both soothes, and conjures up rolling down the highways and by-ways without a care. My Loyal Constituents, may I present Fourplay. …and hey, Kids…Do not try this at home.

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According to what you just (hopefully) read, the City Fathers and Federal and Provincial Governments have been dropping the ball on transit in this city since 1912, over 100 years now and counting.

Over that period of time, we have managed to create a pretty decent transit system…but we have a long way to go. For starters, if we don’t figure out how to finance the lion’s share of the money needed to facilitate growth, we are going to end up bitching well into the next century, and with good cause. It is one thing to have a transit system in place…it is another entirely to make people want to use it.

A simple question comes to mind. I’m a people. …and further…I am a people who uses transit every time I leave my building. What would make MY transit not only more appealing, but a better option than any other mode of transportation in my beloved city?

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First of all…here’s a bunch of stuff we, the People, can do NOW….

Be aware of our surroundings and the people around us.

Stay to the right on escalators so people can pass on the left, and to the right on the stairs so traffic can flow easily up and down.

Take your damn backpacks off and hold them in front of you so you don’t knock people like me over every time you turn around.

If there is a place to sit, sit down instead of standing in the way of an empty seat and blocking its use.

Strollers, bicycles, large cumbersome packages, wheeled luggage? Back of the bus or streetcar, and the last car on the new streetcars.

We should be doing these things on our own. Mayor Bob will put up signage and enforce these simple courteous moves if you don’t.

…and one more.

Those designated seats at the front of streetcars and buses for the elderly and disabled? …If you aren’t one, move your sorry ass out of the way. I am always pleasantly surprised when a young person has read the posted sign and respects it. More of us need to do the same.

Disabled sign

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Schedules

No more “Short turns”

If we need more buses and streetcars, put more in service instead of inconveniencing passengers.

Extended hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday

TTC Subway

Instead of RIDE, offer a way for people to get to and from a great night on the town without having to drive there and back. Our bars are open until 2:00 am…how much sense is there in shutting down the subways and some of the bus and streetcar services at the same time? Charge a buck more after midnight if necessary. Cheaper than finding a place to park. Transit should run until at least 4am. If it works, extend the late night hours to the rest of the week. Not only will this benefit the people, but the economy as well. And speaking of that, bring back smoking rooms in the bars and restaurants that would like to have one. This is a decision that should NEVER have been up to the government in the first place. The folks who own these businesses, pay taxes, employ others and feed the economy, should always have the right to decide whether or not they will allow smoking or anything else that is still legal to take place in their establishments. Happy hours, inexpensive drink specials…why not?  Then maybe we can reinstall an old edict from the Musicians Union that went the way of the Dodo bird…anyplace that holds 50 or more patrons has to have live music …but that’s a topic for another column.

Open the damn bathrooms at every station to the public or build new ones.

Seriously. Time to let the acts of the few assholes and morons out there stop screwing everything up for the rest of us. A security guard, paid for by the convenience store, fast food outlet, and the TTC could be on premises 24 hours a day, thereby creating still more jobs and insuring people’s safety and a deterrent to vandalism…which should come with a 5000 dollar fine and 6 month stay in jail and banishment from the transit system for a year.

Lease space at every station for convenience stores and fast food.

How great it would be to be able to pick things up on the way home without having to detour to another location. Ditto being able to grab a quick bite to eat en-route to wherever you’re going. These outlets would also be providing more revenue to the TTC. …and PLEASE…NO McDonald’s.

…and just so you know….

Mayor Bob feels that the dispatchers, middle management, and chief of operations at the TTC should be asked (and then made, if necessary) to use the TTC exclusively for the duration of their employment. New applicants or choices for any replacement of current dispatchers, middle management, and chief of operations, must have a year of using the TTC exclusively to qualify for even being considered.

There is nothing better than first hand knowledge….

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Gimme Shelter

Streetcar shelter

Heat the little glass waiting shelters with radiant heat systems. Using the latest technology, they could flip on automatically when the air reaches a certain temperature , be powered by batteries which would be buried in the ground and connected to solar panels on the roof. The long waiting areas on the Streetcar lines in the middle of the streets should have their roofs extended to protect us from falling snow and rain and similarly heated. Advertisers and sponsors could foot the majority of the bill for installation and maintenance.

Streetcar in Toronto winter

Parking – 5 Bucks 5 Bucks 5 Bucks

You heard me. 5 Bucks. All the time. Regardless of how long you park. That applies to the meters on the streets and all the Green ‘P’ Parking lots spread around the city. Whether you are parked for 5 minutes or 12 hours, the price remains the same.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAConstruction of multi-storied parking garages on most Green ‘P’ sites. These garages would offer monthly parking passes which would also work on the TTC. Eventually, the 5 Buck charge would spread to all TTC modes of transportation, which would give you access to subways, buses and streetcars until midnight of the day you parked. This is a good way to keep cars off the downtown streets, and make sure those who are parked downtown will not be closing any bars…except for those who wish to return to the lot at midnight and spend another 5 bucks.

As far as the privately owned parking lots in the downtown core, I think we can all agree that their prices are outrageous and rise and fall depending on events in their areas. If the city can’t afford or has no legal way to get them to be less expensive for the people, at least we can offer a less expensive alternative. The city should also have a standing offer to buy those properties if the owners decide to sell as fewer cars use them.

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On a Bicycle Built for YOU….

bike lanes

Okay…the Bicycle Problem. It exists on both sides of the fence.

On one hand you have the bicyclists demanding more lanes and certain special treatment, and on the other you have the car drivers and pedestrians who have issues with the proliferation of these foot-powered vehicles which have been known to impede other users of the city’s streets and sidewalks.

The 2 Wheelers have a point insofar as that they are cutting down on pollution in the downtown core and that they believe their mode of transportation should have equal rights on the streets they share with everything else.

I couldn’t agree more.

Mayor Bob believes that we should embrace the Wheelers fully and completely, and accommodate their needs as well as we can.

To that end, may I suggest the following….

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Solving The Bicycle Issue….

The bicycle lanes would be moved to side streets.

bike lanes on side streets

I fear for their safety on the major streets in Toronto. There is no way a Wheeler can win a fight with a car or bus or streetcar or truck. Conversely, no pedestrian can escape unscathed by a collision with a Wheeler. When on the major streets in the downtown core (Bloor to Front, Yonge to Dufferin) Wheelers would dismount their bicycles and walk them to wherever they are going on the main street. Parking your bike on the street will cost a buck. Businesses would be able to provide parking for their wheeled customers if they chose.

Bicyclists would have to take a written and physical test to obtain a license just like car owners.

It’s only fair. Even now, must cyclists are unaware of already existing laws like having to dismount and walk their bikes at crosswalks. Bicyclists would have to pass both tests and pay any fees that are charged.

Have proof of insurance.

bike post

This is paramount. Cyclists need to be insured for the same reasons as motorists. Especially considering the possibility of harming a pedestrian., not to mention damage to automobiles or property caused by a Wheeler.

Obey the rules of the road AND special ones for bikes that are already on the books, but ignored.

Obeying the rules of the road means the same for bike riders as it does for motorists. Stop signs, yield signs, one way streets, etc…plus the already existing bike laws that are generally ignored.

These include walking your bike through intersections and obeying the lights, being responsible for signaling turns, having lights and a horn on your bike, being responsible for looking ahead for obstacles and NOT drivers looking BACK to see if there is a cyclist approaching, WALKING their bikes on the sidewalk on designated main streets with heavy traffic, pay for parking, and subject to R.I.D.E (if we fail to remove ourselves from the program), be subject to tickets for speeding (yes…there will be speed limits for Wheelers), wrong way on a one way street, etc.

The money from these new charges and fees would be used toward timing the lights, creating one way streets, All Cross at Once crosswalks (Scramble Intersections), and inner-city road repair.

If you want to see what co-operation can produce in this area, read what the great city of Portland Oregon has done. Portland Does it Right

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Green color on the traffic lightGoodbye Gridlock

Time the lights.

You hit the first green light, you hit them all. Once motorists are educated to this, there will be far less congestion in the downtown core.

One Way Streets

There is a lot of detail work to be done to figure out the best way to do this, and how to deal with the streetcars, but there are several different ways to make it work. Either every other main street goes South or West, and the opposite go North and East…or a series of overhead lights could reduce the amount of lanes in one direction or the other depending on traffic flow.  Richmond and Adelaide, already one way Scramble intersectionsstreets, will unclog the minute the lights are timed.

Scramble Intersections 

Everyone walks in all directions at once. Pedestrians will no longer block turning drivers. Green turning arrows will hurry traffic even further.

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There’s more, of course, but you must be bored with this by now. We’re at 6000+ words and my eyes are starting to cross. Please do me (and yourselves) a favour. Ask your local politicians what they intend to do about these problems. See if any of the Mayoral candidates have concrete views or plans to move forward with, if elected. See if any of them answer with easy to understand sentences that contain words, but no meaning. Argue amongst yourselves, and please feel free to unload your dislike of my platform in a timely and entertaining, educational manner.

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Ask your candidates about these issues.

See if they have anything to say.

See if they have any concrete ideas or plans.

Listen carefully.

Use Google and research the statements and promises and platforms they are running on.

Start planning your tirades on Facebook and banding together to find and support a worthy Mayoral candidate and instead of cluttering up Facebook Newsfeeds like you have for the past 3 years, spend your time finding and supporting a candidate and spreading the word together for the election that will take place four years from October 27, 2014…

…because these current candidates are not the ‘Droids you’re looking for.

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Thank you for reading this and thank you for your patience.

Go Leafs…

…and take the Argos with you.

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Your Comments are Welcome.

Segarini’s regular column appears here every Friday whenever he can finish one in time.

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

One Response to “Segarini: Mayor Bob”

  1. Todd Miller Says:

    Can’t wait for the People Of Weed Mart pics 😉

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