Thursday, September 1, 2016



 It was the opening of the 2016 Ex. Of course we had a provincial cabinet minister there or else the Liberals wouldn't give the CNE any help.
You sort of get back a little of what you pay and pay for.
I was staring up at someone identified as The Honourable Tracy MacCharles, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues, Minister Responsible for Accessibility and Member of Provincial Parliament for Pickering-Scarborough East, and wondered why I had never heard of her before.
After decades of spending most of my waking time with politicians, I got to know most of them so well I knew their middle name (which was often the mother's maiden name.) But now we have a new host of anonymous political celebrities, a new crop who love to use the honorific of "honourable" even if the public and the media don't.
Imagine trying to get all that on a sign, providing that you would want to create a sign for MacCharles who managed to drone through a speech written by an aide which made the usual mistake of saying the Ex started in 1879 as an agricultural fair.
Actually it didn't. Industry was first in the title and that was what was stressed. People wanted to see the first public lights and other wonders of the coming electric age, and cows and horses and plants were boring stuff by comparison. (There was a history of the Ex written for the centennial and I say it's an interesting book even if I did write part myself.)
MacCharles demonstrated the normal Grit pandering to all minorities real and imagined by pointing out that the ceremony just inside the Princes' Gates was held on ancient native land.
Actually it isn't.
Various native groups have been claiming great chunks of Toronto for years, trying to make us forget that great chunks of Toronto were actually created by landfill by the hated white folks.
For example, there was a native claim for Toronto Island.  You don't have to be much of a geographer or historian to know that the island chain was actually a peninsula until a storm broke through an eastern channel around 1859. These islands were formed by sand drifting from the Scarborough Bluffs and from muck ripped from the bottom of the harbour. More than 50% of the islands are man-made by dredging.
If MacCharles really cared, she could have looked to her left and seen what we used to call the Automotive Building standing firmly on land created from the lake. The old shoreline headed north from where Stanley Barracks sat on the water's edge and went up to the "new" Fort York.
 Everything behind her was under water when some natives meandered around here, although there was a Western University study years ago that showed for a century ending with the French around 1750, there were few natives living in and north of the Toronto area.
Takes me back to my first newspaper job in the Yukon where the natives were busy with land claims even though everyone knew that their ancestors, not being nuts, didn't live in the inhospitable territory where only the scenery is easy.
It's the great sleeping issue of politics. Any politician and media organization that doesn't realize it will be in trouble.
I predict that in a few years, there will be a revolt by all the descendants of immigrants who came later against the demands of natives who said they were here first. As digs throughout North America are showing, they weren't first, they just killed those who were.

Thursday, August 11, 2016



The reason I moved to Etobicoke, then billing itself as Canada's first planned municipality, got kicked in the teeth the other day by a red-tape monstrosity known as the Committee of Adjustment now fiddling with streetscapes in what used to be the suburbs of Etobicoke and York.
I have  50 years as a journalist in dealing with the guts of the Canadian political processes, beginning with the Whitehorse city council trying to expel me into the Yukon night in 1957.
It has left me with a certain cynicism as well as real knowledge about how things work, whether you're presenting a new act to be passed by the Legislature, which I have done twice, or covered every last committee at every level of government, or been a member of a Board of Trade committee studying municipal governance, which included such heavies as Michael Wilson, or chairing  advisory committees to Toronto city hall.
Nothing quite prepared me for the panel the other day ignoring what I thought were sensible views on planning. And as a result, the little bungalow three feet away from my closest wall will become a towering three storeys, more than 30 feet high, as it grows to around 2,600 square feet, meaning it will be the tallest building for blocks as well as one of the most obese.
Back when it all began, when Mary and I and the first baby lived in a small one-bedroom apartment  outside the Ex's Dufferin Gate, we concentrated on Etobicoke in our search for a home because of its  reputation as a stable and sensible community.
We were going out the door to bid on a house under the flight path for Pearson when a city alderman, Harold Menzies, knocked unannounced and showed me some pictures of houses. And one caught my eye because it was in a desirable area just south-east of Royal York and Bloor.
As a city hall reporter, I knew that three important municipal commissioners, Tommy Thompson of parks, Voytek Wronski of planning and Ross Clark of works, lived near the house, and that an east-west subway station was 99% certain for that intersection.
We moved in April, 1963, just two months before the next son arrived, and lived there happily. Until now! The proof is that two son bought houses just two blocks away and we never moved from the storey-and-a-half of what was really supposed to be the starter house.
It bothered me that the bungalow to the south was so close.  I stood in the mutual walkway between my garage wall and its kitchen wall and could touch both easily. But its eaves trough was just 12 feet above the ground, which was not imposing, and when you looked out our kitchen window, there was still some sky and a tree to be seen as well as sunlight above its roof.
Just across from the bungalow on a narrow corner lot was Sunnylea junior school, built in 1947 by John Parkin after his studies as an architect at Harvard with the famous Walter Gropius.
Parkin lived near the end of Glenroy and was not yet famous as the Canadian architect on Toronto's iconic city hall.
Parkin intended Sunnylea to be a low, lean building, a revolutionary model for Canadians wanting innovative economic schools that wouldn't dominate a neighbourhood. Another famous architect, Saarinen, built a similar school in Illinois which also became a famous model.
Parkin designed classrooms with a roof edge of around 13 feet in height, making them compatible with the streetscapes of these three blocks of Glenroy and the first blocks of Elsfield and Humbervale running north. Even his tallest part of the school, the gym in which three of my sons have played, was only 24 feet high.
 The Committee of Adjustment has just allowed a bungalow directly across the street to grow to over 31 feet, arguing that the area may be mainly bungalows with some storeys and half,  and very few two storeys, but by golly if the rules allow you to build seven feet higher than an historic building then they will allow it no matter if it does stick like a sore thumb into the eye of every beholder.
The neighbours have always joked that we are the poor Kingswayers, or that we are the fortunate SoBs (South of Bloor) with the NoBs (North of Bloor) having to pay a lot more for similar homes. The area is usually called Sunnylea after the school and the vanished orchards.
Developers have now viewed Sunnylea as a gold mine where if they push and pull and whine at the Committee of Adjustment and the Ontario Municipal Board, they will be allowed to demolish part or all of the decent bungalows and build two-storeys with cunning tricks to get a disguised third storey.
My area several blocks south of Bloor has survived for decades with nearly 60 bungalows in the blocks around this bungalow. There are only 16 houses which are storeys and a half, or two,  or have been improved? higher by developers who treat the streets as their private parking lots.
The view of the city planner, who obviously needs an eye examination, is that the design is compatible with the area. That is so laughable, there is no need to deal with it at length. Obviously someone could have used a year under Gropius.
Since my home is literally under the gun here, but no longer the sun, and you may think me prejudiced by the overbuilding threat, let me offer the view of another resident of an area which until recently tended to be the pleasant expanses of long-time residents who didn't tinker with the skins of their homes.
Morley Kells has represented the area as a councillor, MPP, ,,Olympic commissioners and cabinet minister,  and is certainly not anti-development because he once was president of the pro-builder Urban Development Institute. He points out the savage ridiculous irony of one of the smallest lots in the area now being the site for a house proposed to be one  of the largest.
Expansion should never have been approved, Kells says. It's just too damn large he says about the proposed house he will pass every day.
In the old days, we would say it's just too big for its britches.
Ironically, this application was for what are called "minor" variances. What was ignored was that the attic had been converted illegally into little bedrooms and a bathroom with windows and deck doors. With all these "minor" variances added to a bootleg attic, a major change is created.
I recalled to the committee, in a speech cut short by the chairman who had mumbled the rules of engagement and the timing of speeches into a mike that was pointed off to one side, that the affair reminded me of the award-winning movie Amadeus.
The emperor is asked why he does not like a new composition by the giggling Mozart.
"Too many notes," he said.
And why don't I like this proposal which would block the light and sky away from my windows, turn a patio into a well and allow cars to park at my backyard fence?
Too many variances!
What is the point of taking approval for planning away from the elected representatives if a clutch of officials then allow builders to break every regulation that deal with the size of the building?
No wonder neighbours refused to come to the hearing because they had been told by councillors and officials that it was a waste of time because these Committees of Adjustment "rubber stamp" everything.
The result can be seen everywhere. Decent and valuable homes that have existed for decades now have quick-buck artists shoehorning newby creations over  them.  Streetscapes look like they have been mowed by giant weedwackers.
One thing's certain! The Committee of Adjustment process needs a lot of adjusting. No minor variance will do. It's either that or council and the Legislature must confess frankly that the let's make a deal process where developers and their expensive coteries of lawyers and consultants who run wild on the main streets have so infected urban planning on the side streets that anything goes.
Thank heavens this proposal wasn't for an outhouse or a factory.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016



I was just a kid reporter when I learned first-hand of the bureaucratic hypocrisy of the Canada Revenue Agency or whatever its name was back in the day.
I answered a phone on the rewrite desk of the lamented Telegram and an official voice dripping with pomposity demanded to speak to the City Editor, the formidable Art Cole.
I had seen Cole make grown men cry and turn white with anxiety about their job so I asked naturally about the purpose. I didn't want to make Cole mad. I was answered by a cold "he will want to speak to me. "
I eavesdropped, of course. And I learned this was an income tax official spilling the beans about one of their coups in getting a lot more money out of some public figure.
And so I was inducted into the shadow world of government where bureaucrats routinely hide behind confidentiality shields and protecting the rights to privacy of citizens unless it suits their purpose not to.
Over  the years I grew familiar with the CRA apparatchiks who routinely called and told us of court cases and charges. Later I became the City Editor myself -  I would like to think kinder than Cole who had hired me and was a nice guy privately - and got these tips.
And they bugged me even before I became familiar with the rudeness and corporate deafness of our functionaries in dealing with too many complaints.
There was something unseemly about an agency with a deliberate policy of ensuring its victims financially also suffered bad publicity. I knew enough horror stories from the accountants I have used for decades to know that not all of those who lose out in the struggles with the mandarins are guilty of tax evasion.
They just lost out in the roulette game of whether the pencil posters  who came to deal with them were actually bright and informed or dumb as an old wooden desk.
Now I'm not in favour of people ducking taxes. This just means that you and I and all the others who don't scoff routinely at all laws and rules just have to pay more than our share. And to hell with that! But just about everyone has a horror story, and not just the accountants.
The legendary Arthur Gelgoot, accountant to the famous and the humble, once interrupted our annual session to say he just had to take this phone call.
He poured torrents of red-hot invective over some civil servant who was following up a threat of prison or execution for the Gelgoot family if it didn't settle the accounts of their father who had died.
Turns out one main stumbling point for the CRA was that the father had a huge GST debt, but as Gelgoot explained in a stunning display of curses, the father had been retired for many years, long before the GST was inflicted on us, and had never had anything to do with that odious sales tax.
Therefore, the "debt" was a fabrication built by the suits from BS, red tape, bureaucratese and lies (which may be the same thing.)
As a consequence, perhaps, some rookie tax regulator showed up and occupied a desk in Gelgoot's office for six months and never found a damn thing with any of his client accounts.
Now if only Arthur was around to get that HST refund that the CRA has been saying I've been owed since 2011 but never get around to sending to me.
My accountant, who was one of Arthur's associates, made a real drive a year ago to get that refund. Nothing ever happened that afternoon. A form hadn't been filed, it was claimed, so we filed it, and then we were told by a new official that the form hadn't been filed, so we filed it, and then we were told by yet a third official that a form hadn't been filed, so we filed, and then we were.....
Still don't have the money.
Thought of the CRA yesterday when I took a large refund that Mary got to the TD branch at Bloor and Jackson. Teller said that the CRA has been insisting for two months that all of their cheques over $1,500 must be verified by the agency over the telephone first.
I pointed out that there was enough money in the account to cover the cheque three times. And I was depositing it. Teller shrugged and said that was the new rule. So I waited and waited while he phoned so that I could deposit a cheque, which was basically just a return of some of Mary's  payments because the CRA had demanded too much in instalments last May.
I hate this drive by the taxcrats to force us to use computers as much as possible, as if everyone in the country is computer literate and has a computer that works every day. Come of think of it, that  combination is not possible.
I went to send some money to the CRA the other day and found that in this case, I couldn't do it except through a bank after it had deducted its paper cut of a fee.  Yet the federal drumbeat continues to drive us to a paperless society, except in their case where they will make four copies of everything. Banking and taxes are simpler now, they say, but not to the large number of pensioners who know from experience that they aren't.
Even if the computers were bug-proof, their input is garbage in the hands of the incompetent official. Do we really think the cream of our graduates want to do taxes? Years ago Mary ran into an old school friend. Nice, she told me, but really not quick. What does she do now, I asked? She is a supervisor for the CRA, Mary said. That figured, I said.
I confess that I used the CRA tip line once myself.  Southern Ontario in the days before IKEA was dotted with cities and town with their own furniture factories.
 My grandfather, who had taken in my sisters and I as three orphans,  had laboured for peanuts in one such factory until 72 because there was no pension and not much chance to build any savings. He died three weeks after he could no longer work.
I found out that the owners of the factory had some income tax trouble and had Ron Collister, later a CBC personality, dig around in the CRA.  Turned out they had trouble, indeed, even involving the selling of church pews with the money deposited in a secret Buffalo account.
The Tely ran the story on page one. And I found out that revenge actually can be sweet.

Thursday, June 23, 2016



I have never taken more pills.
 It seems I get a new prescription every year.
Which makes me popular at Shoppers Drug Mart when I'm not bitching about a problem in reordering.
Take the latest example. I see I'm low on something called ezetimibe so I call in and reorder.  Two days later, I go through the normal hassle of trying to park near the Shoppers at Royal York and Bloor and Mary runs in to collect my order. They have nothing for me.
Return home and phone. This time the story changes to that I tried to reorder while I still had 10 pills and the government won't pay until you have less than that number.
Now Mary and I run into this all the time even with such a minor maintenance drug as ezetimibe which reduces the amount of cholesterol absorbed by the body and isn't to my knowledge a hot item in the drug world.
I have taken allopurinol for two decades to end vicious attacks of gout no matter how carefully I ate. Heaven help me if I try to get these pills before the government-appointed time. Yet allopurinol is  a drug that people take for years and isn't sold in dark doorways. How about enough to last three months.
I would like to know what OHIP bureaucrat is responsible for these arbitrary rules on when you can reorder minor drugs which are not on anyone's hit list of hallucinatory delights.
 I would drown them in pills and forms, or have their parents lecture them on getting a reasonable number of minor pills on each visit.
Now once a year, if you talk nicely about Barry Phillips, the veteran pharmacist who presides genially over his Drug Mart empire in central Etobicoke, and offer up your first born into servitude along with a second mortgage on the house, you can play snowbird and wing off to Florida or some warmer clime with even, heavens, a couple of months of pills.
But reordering drugs goes on month after month after month, not just once a year, and there are many people trying to grab a little order out of the chaos by putting together the daily allotment of pills two weeks in advance.
There are new people surfing above 65 every week,  and while all of us appreciate the drug help we get grudgingly from OHIP, we really do want to reduce the number of trips to even such a fine establishment as the Shoppers Drug Mart in the heart of the Kingsway.
After all, waiting cabs cluster around the Royal York subway station like bees around the hive, and there is a steady flow of  traffic behind the drug store on the one-way lane - with dumb drivers regularly going the wrong way.
We will have to move the Tim Hortons to get any help from the cops.
I doubt if the drug scene is going to explode if drug stores are allowed to renew a prescription while, heavens, the patients actually has more than 10, but our medicrats say they know best. That is one reason why our medical spending takes more than 40% of the provincial budget because of all the extra steps they insist are necessary.

Sunday, June 5, 2016



I have interviewed and even yarned with many famous people. Then when they move on to solve the great mystery of whether there is a heaven or a hell, I watch this flutter of journalists who try to create out of one interview or a few hours some relationship with the departed.
Why can't they just settle for an account of how these leaders in their fields impacted our country or the world?
Then there are those forgotten by time. Even if they die in the saddle, so to speak, they may have influenced or entertained hundreds of thousands,  but now they pass from the stage with only a few trumpeting farewell.
I can tell the story of how Nelson Mandela nicknamed me the Canadian who hit so hard, or when Yitzhak Rabin warned me about radicals in the cabinet room just weeks before one assassinated him, but they were just flashes of encounters over the decades and mean only that I did get to talk to a lot of people who were world greats.
And then there were the jerks who acted like they were.
Actually my theory based on many encounters with obese egos is the greater the person, the easier  to talk to. It's the petty chiefs, the bureaucrats on the make, who are more trouble than they're worth.
But today I talk about those durable performers with fame rooted in longevity. They created for us over the decades until their names became embedded  into the corners of your memory. You may not have thought about them for years but they were really around from childhood until the anecdotage when most have forgotten and the young just don't give a damn.
Like Howard Cable.
There was just one encounter. I was CNE president and had urged our reluctant entertainment staff to have a military tattoo. There was a reception first for the military brass, because it was important to get the co-operation of our defence department or the Ex would have had to pay for every last drummer.
And there I was introduced to an old man by someone who really didn't know who Cable was and suspected that I would be clueless too.
I pumped Cable's hand and said to me he was the most famous name in music. The legend of military music and Broadway shows and revues!
I had grown up listening to his music on the CBC when going to live radio broadcasts were still the in thing to do.  I would do the TTC trek to a studio just off Yonge where Wayne and Shuster performed on Thursday nights with Herb May booming into the mike. There was the Happy Gang every noon, with an audience generally of Ryerson students and a few tourists. But whatever the location and the time, most of the music I was hearing had been touched by the baton and pen of Howard Cable.
 And of course during the Ex the Grandstand show, with music supervised by Cable, was one of the biggest acts in Canada. Naturally he directed onsite entertainment when Expo 67 was the biggest and most innovative show in the world.
He was a stalwart of early TV in New York and in Toronto. He arranged and directed the music for countless National Film Board productions when the NFB was considered a national treasure. Many a Canadian revue or musical featured his music. High school music teachers used his scores.
He was so prolific and so great that of course he was still composing at 95 when he died this March on a day he was to scheduled to attend a recording session.
I chatted with him that one night about how he had grown up in Parkdale and loved to walk down to the Palais Royale to listen live to the Dorseys and one of the Herds of Woody, music that you hear now every Sunday night on 91.1, our jazz station which is smart enough to have Glen Woodcock as host of his Big Band show for 40 years.
Why Woodcock, the Toronto Sun's retired associate editor, almost goes back to the horse and buggy days and cream floating on top of delivered milk about which Howard Cable used to reminisce so often.
So I met Cable only once, but I listened to him for decades. And so did you if you have survived a few decades or so, even if you now forget his name.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016



I have never understood the fuss over the census.
It is a valuable source of information for me as a journalist. I didn't feel it violated any confidentiality deal with the government which routinely shreds our publicity.anyway.
I was a census taker back when they went door to door, and rather enjoyed it.
As a compassionate conservative, or so I like to think, I thought the Conservative objections to the census were dumb.
And, finally, I actually changed a major question on the census and was credited as a newspaper editor for doing so by StatsCan after I threatened through Sun editorials and my columns to drag them through every court in the land, including the one of public opinion.
As a result of my lobbying, backed by Doug Fisher, the respected dean of the Ottawa press gallery, we are allowed to call ourselves Canadians and not forced under threat of fine to declare that we came from English and Dutch stock when our grandparents had left there nearly a century ago.
I found out as a young reporter trying to save enough for my marriage that the bureaucracy would be ecstatic to use me in controversial areas like Rosedale where residents were used to complaining about everything. They figured I could handle the hassles diplomatically and reduce the number of beefs to important pols.
It was a unique experience. I remember the Toronto General nurse who had to answer the questions of the long form which she almost did while standing nude before me.
Believe me, I was not about to torpedo my wedding which was five weeks away by taking the bait if that was what it was other than a demonstration of how much she hated men.
I sensed trouble even before she refused to answer the income question. Later I phoned a supervisor at the hospital and got the general salary range for such a nurse.
Only a few doors away from that lovely home turned cramped boarding house, the long form had to be answered by Mrs. Walter Gordon, a legendary finance minister worshipped by the Toronto Star.
There were no problems because I had told her that my brother-in-law lived across from their country estate and that her husband had been thrilled to his Canadian soul to have the local farmer run a trapping line on his property.
As I recall, the top income category was around $34,000, a considerable sum to me because I was making less than $5,200 annually.
But Mrs. Gordon waved a gentle hand in the air when I asked if her husband made more than $34,000 a year and said "I should hope so."
Rosedale was filled with such contradictions -  noted politicians and bank presidents and architects in their huge homes vs. roomers in converted mansions just scraping by.
I found as a columnist that the census figures for a riding were invaluable in figuring out election results. And there were surprises hidden everywhere like mines in a turnip field.
I found in my riding of Etobicoke Lakeshore a half century ago that there were a number of homes not connected to sewers, that there were homes without furnaces, that a WASP looking street actually was occupied with first generation immigrants.
So the usefulness of the census in predicting the appeal of various political pitches made me a great supporter, except for that insistence that it was against the law to count yourself Canadian when it came to ethnic origin.
Since my father had come here in 1879 and my mother in 1905, I felt myself Canadian and not Dutch-English and resented the bureaucracy's insistence that Canadian was not a valid ethnicity even though Canada was older than half the countries of the world.
My father in the 1930s as a Tory power in Toronto introduced a young lawyer named John Diefenbaker to a former mayor and predicted Dief really would be Canada's PM.
I didn't much like this spitting quivering PM when I covered him but I thought he was wonderful for trying to pry the hyphen out of Canadianism.
To hell with French-Canadians and German-Canadians and even African-Canadians (which activists tried to use in the Maritimes and got shot down.) Wouldn't we have better relations with natives if we called them Canadians and not native Canadians?
When I got the letter about filling out the short form information on the Interenet,  I responded immediately to discover that once again the feds screwed up a simple task.
All the info I seemed to get when I went to the site defended the process and asked for census workers. But I perservered, and I hope the info is used properly, and not just by ethnic groups claiming that their minority needs more money to celebrate its roots.
Dief the Chief was right. The sooner people identify and act like Canadians instead of using our great country as a hidey hole from the storm before they move on, the better for them and us.

Thursday, May 5, 2016



The little car driven by the official ghoul handing out parking tickets circles endlessly like a bumblebee around a clutch of flowers.
He parks on sidewalks, up against hydrants, and on corners while he gouges the unfortunate motorists besides St. Joseph's Hospital who decided they couldn't afford the exorbitant parking garage costs and were trying their luck along the curb.
These were people limping to clinics with the help of relatives, even using walkers and wheelchairs, not people who could walk blocks in order to wait and wait and wait until a doctor sees them.
I was parked legally while Mary made a regular visit to a hospital outpatient clinic. I was in the car watching as the same ghoul circled endlessly, drawn to the honey pot of congested parking around the hospital, copying what real cops do when they set  their radar traps where they will be able to capture the motorist who doesn't realize the speed has just changed.
Officially, the Toronto parking enforcement officer is contributing to the "safety and security" of Torontonians. Which is a laugh! What these "officers" are doing is raising money for  councillors to waste by targeting the most vulnerable among us, those who through circumstance or health have to park longer or in a cramped area.
I have often watched the ghouls at work around St. Joes, one of the city's worst hospital, as I can testify to after two months of their ruinous care, and other hospitals.
This is not a defence of motorists who block hydrants or traffic or driveways. I understand that they are a problem. I seldom get tickets. But when I received a $60 ticket three minutes before the parking was legal a couple of years ago, I also understood the malevolent brutality of stupid enforcement. The constable I complained to agreed with me, not the jerk enforcer who infests the area around the Royal York subway station.
I have written columns or blogs about hospital parking charges, and about enforcement around hospitals. One blog was Mystery Rules From Fishing To Parking on Nov. 7, 2014. Another was Hospital Parking Robbery on Feb. 18, 2014. Then there was one way back on Dec. 3, 2011 because not much changes even though everyone from the Canadian Medical Association to medicrats at Queen's Park have agreed that high hospital parking fees and harassing parking policies around hospitals are a major problem in health care.
Councillors with their anti-car policies on everything from parking to signage have never understood that the TTC is not the better way for many hospital visits. Just try taking a bus to an appendectomy.
Patients cut short their visit to specialists. Relatives reduce visits to patients. The whole dismal issue casts a pall over the operation of the big hospitals which act like besieged castles when they should be oasis of calm care. Over all visits hangs the spectre of the ticking clock, the circling parking buzzards.
We have tolerated too much crap from our overpaid Toronto police force. Yes, I call it a force because it is not the "service" that it wants to be called when it takes a billion bucks out of the city treasury.
What we don't need from the top cops who talk about change for the better while stalling for the worse is a lot of nonsense where the ghouls at the bottom of their enforcement system deliberately target hospital areas because they know that there people desperate  to see the specialist about the pain in their gut are not always able to find parking where they don't have to obtain a second mortgage to finance.
Knock it off! Pretend the city has a heart and that the bureaucrats don't just pretend to help those to whom a parking ticket is another pain in their gut.