When posts collide

It seems our illustrious mayor is taking it on the road again.  At his own expense, it must be noted.

We have been informed (here in the National Post for example) that Ford is very concerned with the fact that we just don’t seem to be maximizing our potential in attracting bands here to TO. He seems to be (randomly and bizarrely) tweeting about it as well.

(I’m thinking that whoever is in charge of his Twitter account just needs a little more practice.  Can hardly blame the person- they are likely new to the job- since Robbie can’t seem to keep staff around for long)

This will be remedied by the Austin-Toronto Music City Alliance Agreement which will make us ‘twin cities’ in music appreciation and development.

No one seems to be saying much about how such a plan seemingly comes into conflict with the foreign workers fee imposed, beginning in July, by the Harper government.

As I wrote about here, this tax may well inhibit those very indie bands that NXNE (modeled on the original SXSW that began in Austin in 1987) attracts to town every June.  Although the festival/conference has grown in the 18 years we’ve had it here, indie bands- and those that fly outside of the more commercial radar- still make up a large percentage of the festivities, playing small venues and exposing new audiences to international flavours and the diversity of the music scene.  And those that need to cross the border might not be wanting to pay the fee.

I’m all for supporting and encouraging anything that is going to help support our local musicians and attract new people from all over the place to come and see us here in TO.

We have some fantastic venues (the small and medium-sized places anyway- can’t say I’m a fan of shows at the ACC) and a good community of citizens who love to support new music.

This is all good.  I actually believe that making this connection with a town with as storied a musical history as Austin is something worth doing.

I’m just really not sure about the timing of it all.

As Matt Elliott wrote here:

“…the reality is that, as mayor, Ford has been more ineffective than terrible. He’s had a lot of questionable ideas, sure, but he’s not particularly good at implementing them. He’s got no real aptitude for building a consensus with his colleagues and has never really learned the art of the compromise.

Meanwhile, when councillors have worked together to oppose Ford, they’ve managed to avoid many service cuts, rewrite Ford’s budgets, take major transit decisions out of the mayor’s hands and push forward with some really progressive work on issues like electoral reform.

Yes, local politics has gotten messy over the last couple of years, but it’s not always had much to do with Ford. He was barely more than an observer through much of the Scarborough subway fight, standing on the sidelines as TTC chair Karen Stintz and Transportation Minister Glen Murray ran roughshod. And on previous issues like the silly debate over the nickle charge for a plastic bag, Ford merely stood by and watched as councillors squabbled, ultimately getting his way purely by accident — stumbling into success.”

He really does seem to move haltingly from one agenda item to the next, regardless of situations that may be more imperative or requiring of attention.  If it’s something that he wants dealt with, it gets addressed.  This is politics at its most ineffectual.  It’s small town, ‘put up the stop light or don’t put up the stoplight’ kind of stuff.

Not the stuff of the largest, most multicultural city in Canada.

Elliott continued his assessment of our current reality:

“Having a new mayor who is both better at getting things done and has a more coherent vision of Toronto is a worthwhile goal. But it can’t be the only goal. Ford didn’t create the political landscape that led to his election — he just capitalized on it. Just as a Ford reelection doesn’t automatically spell doom and gloom, knocking the mayor out of office won’t change nearly as much as some people might think. As a strategy for building a better Toronto goes, there’s got to be more to it.”

He’s absolutely correct.  Ford did NOT create this climate and approach to politics.

Has he capitalized on the localized specificity of partisanship?  Most definitely.  Does he pander to his suburban base at the expense of the integrity of the urban core and its infrastructure.  He does.  Is he a walking embarrassment to us all?  That one should go without saying.

But he is not unlike most other politicians these days- at least as far as those first two points are concerned.

We need to be looking to rework the municipal political situation in Toronto- and we have approximately a year to do so.  This means electing councillors and leaders who are concerned about the good of the city as a whole.  And not laying all the blame for the myriad issues in the city on the incompetency of this particular mayor.

I admit that I am guilty of that last bit.


Fastball was one of Austin’s exports in the 1990’s, apparently they’re still around, but this single, from 1998, is the only one that pops up on the Shuffle Daemon every once in a while.

And it could be about Mayor McCheese and his missionaries of musical migration.

They made up their minds
And they started packing
They left before the sun came up that day
An exit to eternal summer slacking
But where were they going without ever knowing the way?

They drank up the wine
And they got to talking
They now had more important things to say
And when the car broke down they started walking
Where were they going without ever knowing the way?

Anyone could see the road that they walk on is paved in gold
And it’s always summer, they’ll never get cold
They’ll never get hungry
They’ll never get old and gray
You can see their shadows wandering off somewhere
They wont make it home
But they really don’t care
They wanted the highway
They’re happy there today, today

Given the fact that his close friend and ‘sometime driver’ was arrested on drug charges yesterday, maybe Mayor McCheese will decide to stay in Austin.

Fingers crossed.

P.S. My personal apologies (in advance) to the City of Austin.  We’re not all like that.  Really.  And I don’t actually wish him upon you permanently.  I just reallyreally don’t want him back.

3 comments on “When posts collide

  1. […] (This is good.  Need the connecting right about now.  And there have been subtle connections happening- like the correspondence/collision of two of my recent posts the other day). […]

  2. I’d forgotten all about Ford. How convenient of me. 😉
    I enjoyed this song. It sounds familiar to me and yet I don’t think I’ve heard this band before. I’ll need to check their playlist and see if I maybe know them from some other song. Terrible getting old! 🙂

    • colemining says:

      Unfortunately he still pops up from time to time (he is still a city councillor, much as I hate to admit it). Just recently, he and his lout of a brother very publicly supported our unlamented former PM at one of his last press-junkets in the election campaign. I’d like to think that they contributed at least a few nails to that well-deserved coffin…

      TBH, that’s one of two Fastball songs I know (the name of the other escapes me at the mo’)- so I’m hardly an expert in their playlist. I do like that one, though. It’s strangely evocative of all kinds of interesting things. A neat story song, in its way. xo

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