Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Everything Old Is New Again

The politicians who don green capes to conceal their nakedness when it comes to thrift with taxes and good new ideas are the curse of our lives.
They hold special Earth Days and hire PR flacks to put out costly brochures about how great they are when it comes to the environment. Mother Earth has survived many things, and she will survive anything that these envirocrats dream up, but it does become tedious and costly.
The green hypocrites are led in Toronto by Mayor David Miller who presides over a city that throws away money to make it look good while failing completely on such basics as actually providing the basics of city services.
As just one example, the potholes and shoulder ruins of Toronto streets are the worst I have seen in my entire life. When you return after seven weeks driving on smooth roads, the disrepair of our streets is a poke in the eye.
It just intensified the rage against the city's new car tax which will collect almost $50 million this year.
While Miller struts around the city and indeed the world as chair of an international clutch of municipal leaders said to be green too, Toronto's infrastructure rusts out or sinks.
The international clutch even have a new home in London, and Toronto taxpayers are paying $140,000 towards that headquarters so Miller can visit his English roots.
On the last civic Earth Day and its barrage of feel-good bureaucratese, Miller unveiled $21 million worth of measures to make City Hall a showplace for the environment and not just for conspicuous waste. Of course, city councillors follow in the footsteps of politicians everywhere and keep announcing the same programs over and over until they become shopworn before they are even opened.
When you consider all the pronouncements with healthy skepticism, some of them unravel into mere maintenance. In other words, if you're going to spend $6.8 million to fix the place up, mainly on new windows, you call them "energy efficiency improvements" and hope people don't wonder why you're spending so bloody much on windows.
But then you say you're going to spend $2.3 million on a green roof at City Hall. Wow, just imagine, a green roof, just like they've been installing at Exhibition Place. I guess settlers all over the world, from the steppes to the prairies, didn't realize a hundred years ago just how modern they were with the sod roofs on their hovels, sheds and their barns. If they had known, they wouldn't have done their damndest to get away from green roofs because they aren't as easy as plain old-fashioned roofs to maintain. And with the price of sod these days, ordinary shingles look like a bargain.
Exhibition Place has been the showplace, or so they say, for the city's research and development of expensive green technology. The Toronto Sun headlined one of the schemes "wasting taxes while looking good," a headline that could be used almost every time the socialist/gliberal majority of council gets a so-called bright idea.
I've already written a blog on July 26, 2008, of how city politicians and senior bureaucrats are spending $935,000 to collect rainwater on the roof of a renovated Automotive Building even though one of the largest lakes in the world is just across the road. Hardly something to boast about since there won't be enough rain in the summer to flush the toilets and this radical "new" idea of collecting rain in cisterns is really thousands of years old.
Maybe Miller and Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone need to visit more ruins, and I'm not just talking about city buildings that they have let fall into disrepair.
(The wonder is that Pantalone is still chair of the Exhibition Place Board of Governors. I know something about that board since I was once the vice-chair. Pantalone and the city have just lost the Sportsmen's Show to the provincially-run Convention Centre, meaning Queen's Park and not the city will now get at least $800,000 in annual profits. All because city council passed a bylaw against guns being displayed and sold on city property, which meant the show couldn't continue at the Ex. Pantalone tried to amend the bylaw so it covered only handguns, which is, after all, the concern, but council balked. And so we have council screwing the Ex again.)
But back to the Millerites costing us a fortune so they can look good. They're going to spend half-a-million on clean electricity from an outfit called Bullfrog Power. (I guess BS Power was taken as a name.) A good idea except they will be paying almost double the normal rates. Surely that's too high a price to pay to help the environment. But I guess the {blue) sky's the limit when it comes to spending our taxes on their environmental salvation.
The city still talks about the $1.8 million wind turbine at the Ex. It was supposed to be a brave demonstration project almost a decade ago but I voted against because turbines were already common throughout the world so why put an expensive version in a downtown park. Besides, turbines are just windmills and they've been around since the caveman. I feel vindictated every time I drive by and see that it isn't working....again.
The city has been talking about utilizing the deep lake water cooling system for almost a decade. A good idea. Now they're going to spend $2.9 million cooling old City Hall. I spent two years working there and it is already a remarkably cool building in the summer. Those thick walls! Why spend this now when the city has been leaving beyond our means for years? And they're also going to spend another $2.9 million cooling Metro Hall. That building was the headquarters for the vanished regional government and the city would have sold it years ago if it could have got a good price. Hardly a smart investment.
Oh yes, they're saving trees and paying a good buck on salaries for environmental activists. The new special environmental office has a staff of 25 to promote old measures, some of them hundreds of years old. Among their main hot but green ideas will be to encourage more of us to put grass on our roofs. Of course, you won't be able to spray your roofs for weeds and after a few dandelions and other stout-rooted weeds grow through into the attics, you will join the many of us who would just like the bloody council majority to just run the city, damn it, and stop it from falling apart.

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