Tag Archives: Mayor Rob Ford

Only Child on Christmas Grinches and Gratitude

Only Child  rests before doing more battle with companies screwing the consumer

Only Child ponders Christmas Grinches and Gratitude

This is turning into a Christmas to forget if I can. You have all probably heard about the terrible ice storm that hit southern Ontario and has now moved into eastern Canada and Michigan. Of course it hit Toronto and hard. Toronto’s hit was in patches and of course where I live got hit at 1.10 a.m. Sunday morning. I’m writing from a hotel in downtown Toronto and if you think I suddenly got rich in money think again.

The only good thing about all of this unacceptable and unwanted nonsense is that my son Martin and my ex-husband Colin (the latter out in British Columbia with his wife Lynda) decided that my roommate/boarder, her cat and I had to go to a hotel. My son is footing the bills for that and some meals (breakfast at the hotel and he took us out to dinner last evening and is meeting us for lunch today). The other good thing is my friends Tanya and Alex next door to me (my home, not the hotel) who are checking on the house. I left the cold water running a bit in the laundry tub downstairs to try to fend off frozen pipes and Alex was to check on that on his way out early to work and after he got back. And check the freezer as I didn’t want to open it – it’s full so that is supposed to help keep things frozen for a couple of days.

Tanya phoned last evening just after ten p.m. and said the power had gone back on. But because the weather got much colder the ice on the power lines and trees remains, so there could be more trees and their branches falling, power lines falling some more, etc. etc. It is very unstable, scary, unacceptable and unnecessary.

So, who am I labelling Grinches – with a capital G – you’ll see why the capital in a minute.

Toronto Hydro for not working fast enough and for the priorities to get customers back on grid. Hospitals first I agree with, but we the average consumers are at the bottom of the list. Of 300,000 households that lost power initially, still 90,000 without power – it is over 48 hours and of those, 50,000 will need to be put back on the grid house by house That is not acceptable. The TTC – Toronto Transit Commission is working harder and got everything but the short subway line up and running by late yesterday afternoon. And they have shuttle bus service on the surface of that subway line,

Of course Toronto Hydro is hindered by Toronto’s egotistical Mayor Rob Ford – he of all the scandalous who won’t resign – because he won’t declare the City of Toronto in a State of Emergency which means the province can’t enforce emergency measures. So the province is hampered in what they can do to get around this but they are doing what they can including bringing in employees from Forestry to help cut down trees. Ford thinks just calling in hydro crews from other areas of Ontario, Manitoba and Michigan are enough. Well, Michigan may not make it because they got the ice storm in some areas too and without declaring Toronto a State of Emergency, the armed forces can’t be called in to clear some of these trees. I know it’s power line down dangerous but more numbers helping would help.

The other Grinch is God – partly because I believe he has something to do with this weather. Even if you don’t believe my take here, consider this – I prayed to God not to let it happen and if it did to keep the power on. We can see where that got me, Praying is out of my vocabulary and instinct is in, but more on that in my next week’s post to wrap up a very bad year.

Meantime I’m hanging onto my two (and maybe three areas of gratitude if the power has stayed on (and stays on) and all the food lost is in the snall freezer over the fridge and  the stuff in the big  freezer is still frozen and stays frozen, and the food that I didn’t put in the “second fridger” – the milk chute stay cold and safe.. I will find out when I make a trip back home this afternoon I guess.

And meantime I’m not celebrating Christmas anymore, You might want to consider that Christ was not born on Christmas Day. Centuries ago Dionysius Exiguus, a 6th century monk, declared Christmas Day as Christ’s birthday. And wonders of all wonders, the current Catholic Pope Benedict XVI is disputing December 25 as the day of Christ’s birthday in the third installment of his trilogy on the life of Christ. See the story at http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/11/22/pope-benedict-disputes-jesus-date-of-birth/

So Christmas is now Xmas to me.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

2 Comments

Filed under Gratitude

Only Child says “NO” to Toronto transit cuts

Streetcar among the condos in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

They’re taking away parts of my beloved public transit in Toronto. I feel like I’m losing some of my close friends. When I was a kid, it was an adventure to ride with Mom on  Toronto’s buses, streetcars and subways. Now, some routes are on the proverbial chopping block and some bus  services in Toronto have already had hours reduced.  It’s all in the name of cost-cutting from Mayor Rob Ford and his executive council cronies to eliminate Toronto’s $774 million budget short. Mr. Ford commissioned an outside study to find services to cut and they’ve come up with a list of possibilities to the off-key tune of $740 M. Nothing is sacred. When he gets done, Toronto will not be recognizable. I am saddened.

One of the bus lines recently cut back in hours is the Broadview 8 bus – one that I took with my Mom and Dad as a child. We lived a skip and a run (depending on where the bus was when you were trying to catch it) from a couple of bus stops. Today, I can take that bus as part of my route home from wherever or if I’m visiting friends in my old stomping ground, when the bus is actually running.

I’m someone who not only depends on the TTC to get around,  but I actually enjoy riding on a bus, streetcar and subway. The scenery is interesting and varied: outside, all those condos springing up, parks, gardens and quaint old shops along the streetcar routes in particular; inside, that lady next to me texting madly or the fellow swaying to the sound (dare I say “noise?”) emanating from those buds in his ears. There is also the nostalgia factor – not just personal, but the TTC history.  TTC stands for Toronto Transit Commission but way back before even my time, Toronto’s transit wasn’t all one big service – it was several, and some were private. Do we want to go that route (pun intended) again? That’s something else being considered.

Riding on the buses, streetcars and subway with my mom was a lot of fun. As I write in my memoir:

The bus stop closest to 139 was just around the corner on O’Connor Drive – that is if you walked left and the TTC hadn’t moved its trademark red and white sign to the far side of Don Mills Road. If we saw the bus coming, we had to decide quickly if we could reach the stop before the bus or if racing to the next stop, one and a half blocks west, was a better choice. We were playing transit roulette, with the streetlights at Don Mills and the driver’s whim to wait for us or to continue on to the next stop.

Once we boarded the bus, we continued with the rest of our travels. Long languid rides on streetcars out to Long Branch in Toronto’s west end. Short hops on buses to shop on the Danforth. Streetcars jam-packed with sugar-fuelled kids and yawning parents returning from a day at the CNE. Swallowing hard on a long bus ride to the orthodontist. Or doing the freezing changeover from subway to streetcar inside the makeshift wood shelter in the middle of Bloor St. east of Yonge St. All before the Bloor subway line opened in 1966.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home: Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

However, not all rides were fun back then, as I write:

When I was 10 and 11, I wore braces on my teeth. The orthodontist had an office on Eglinton Avenue just east of Yonge St. Perhaps if we had travelled by subway, the journey might have been different, but Mom insisted on taking the more direct route.

We are sitting on the Leaside bus, this time going in the opposite direction from the Danforth. As it clips across the Leaside Bridge and then diverts through the factory area on Brentcliffe, my mind and soul are elsewhere, clamped in the dentist’s chair. The dentist is tugging at my braces and picking at my teeth; my mouth is wide open and I want to retch. The bus sharp turns back onto Laird Drive. I jerk up and the contents of my stomach start to follow as far as my throat. I must look whiter than the fat in the bacon because Mom opens a window.

“It’s okay. We’re almost there. We’ll be off the bus in a few minutes.”

I swallow hard, clutch my stomach and wish I were in never never-never land. The bus halts at the stop before Yonge St. I jump off, with Mom right behind me. She steers me towards an alley by one of the buildings and I lurch forward, open my mouth and pour out breakfast, lunch and snack. Mom hands me a tissue, and while I wipe my mouth and sniffle back vomit, she murmurs calming words.

(Excerpted from You Can Go Home: Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

And that about describes how I feel about these proposed service cuts. I’m even feeling sicker about the proposed cuts to the public libraries but that’s fodder for another post or we’ll be here till Christmas 2012 (not a typo).

If you want to read more about the proposed cuts to Toronto’s service, go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/07/21/toronto-service-cuts-report326.html. I’d prefer to have a bit more of a hike in our property taxes than the 3 per cent we’re getting next year and a TTC fare increase. We received no property tax increase or TTC fare hike for this year and one revenue resource – the vehicle registration tax – was given the boot. Duh. Note to Mayor Ford and cronies…potential revenue down the drain.

Cheers (I think)

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Cities, Mayor Rob Ford, Only child, Only child memoir, Public Transportation, Toronto, Toronto public transit, Toronto service cuts