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Toronto Race for Mayor: John Tory, the George Costanza of Toronto Politics

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posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 08:17 AM
John Tory is very keen on his Smart Track plan. It has interesting features that definitely recommend it, the use of existing rail line corridors being the most prominent among them. I don't want to get into an analysis of the merits of the plan as a transportation solution. I'm more interested in Mr. Tory's account of how this Smart Track plan will be payed for and with that in mind I must congratulate Mr. Tory for his clarity on that subject.

His statement on this requires close examination.

The partnerships are viable. SmartTrack fits in with the Wynne government’s regional express rail plans, and I can get the federal support we will need in Ottawa.

I have no doubt that Mr. Tory conferred with Ontario Provincial Premier, Kathleen Wynne, and came to an agreement with her on these financial matters prior to the announcement by the provincial infrastructure minister that Ontario's Liberal government was backing Mr. Tory.


Mr. Tory says that "I" (Toronto) can get the federal support that is needed in Ottawa. That is false. I don't think it is a lie. As George Costanza of Seinfeld once said, "It's not a lie if you believe it."

Mr. Tory is a George Costanza kind of guy. He believes his "lies". He is also like George W. Bush. The Americans, leaders in every avenue of duplicity, realized way back before 9/11, that if you want to sell a lie to a population of nitwits, you get a nitwit who talks their language.

Mr. Tory is George Costanza if Costanza had gone to better schools. He is George W. Bush, if you swap phony folksy charm for phony suave charm.

That seems like an outrageous thing to say until you come to the next part of Mr. Tory's statement about financing Smart Track. Let's look at that.

The financial plan is solid. I’ve called for the province to pay for one-third and the federal government another third of the cost. For the city’s one-third, I’ve called on Toronto and the regional municipalities where SmartTrack runs to share the load fairly.

(Mr. Tory has called for this, not Ms. Wynne or Mr. Harper. Mr. Tory has been given a sop. He's like the poodle that trots out in front of its masters on this point. He has chosen the direction here, like any house pet, until the real bosses of the family change the direction chosen, by them, not him. But that's just a small, piquant, side issue.)

A statement like Mr. Tory's, delivered without qualification of any sort, is the benchmark of a scam. This scam has been going on for a long time in this country and its days are coming to an end. Only a tame lap dog on a leash politician, running for mayor in this city, could make such a statement so blandly.

It's very simple in Mr. Tory's view. Each level of government will pay for one third of the cost of transit expansion. On the face of it, it sounds fair, but digging a little deeper we find that the one third to be paid by the City of Toronto and neighboring municipalities is to be financed by TIF Tax Increment Financing.

Taxes raised as a consequence of development projected to occur where transit expansion occurs, will pay for the Smart Track plan, according to Mr. Tory.

Let's look at this in a little more detail, by finding out what happened after the creation of the Sheppard Line, which opened in 2002.

The Sheppard Line or Line 4 is the most recently built subway line of the Toronto subway and RT, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission. It has five stations and is 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) long.

There has been significant residential development along that line, but little else.

The Sheppard line has spurred over $1 billion of construction of new housing, including several high-rise condominium towers, along its route as transit-oriented developments. Particularly noteworthy are the condominiums around Bayview Station, where none had previously existed prior to the 2000s. In addition, between Leslie and Bessarion stations, a former Canadian Tire warehouse/distribution centre next to Highway 401 (the chain retains a store nearby, along with Mark's Work Wearhouse, also owned by Canadian Tire) was demolished and the land was being sold to Concord Adex Investments Limited of Vancouver. Construction on the first phase is well underway to develop the area into a large multi-condo complex, Concord Park Place, which includes a community park.[9] There is also development around Swedish furniture chain IKEA in the immediate area; IKEA also runs a complimentary shuttle bus between the store and Leslie station.

The Daniels Building Company has built a six-tower development, called NY Towers, north of the 401 between Bayview and Bessarion; Arc Condominiums on the northeast corner of Bayview/Sheppard; and terraced condos just east of their NY Towers. Shane Baghai has also built a multi-tower development in the area.

If the Sheppard Line had been built using Mr. Tory's preferred method of financing, the one third of its cost apportioned to the City of Toronto would have been paid by the taxes levied on the residents of all the new condos built in the area, i.e., property taxes.

There is very little commercial development in the area.

Realistically speaking, something George Costanza seldom does, Tax Increment financing in Toronto is just another way of saying "property taxes". If you think people living in their condos along 3.4 miles (5.5 kilometers) of the Sheppard Subway Line can actually pay for that line out of their property taxes without help from you, you should be on Seinfeld. You'd fit right in.

When we looked at taxes raised from the development of Sugar Beach, the "TI" in "TIF", we found that:

Accordingly, the three governments have spent, to date, $1.26 billion and the study estimates that this direct investment on public lands generated impacts as follows: $3.2 billion of Canadian economic output, 16,200 full time years of employment and $622 million of tax revenues to government ($348 million to federal, $237 million to provincial, and $36 million to municipal).

This development cost 1.26 billion dollars. Did the financing of this project go according to Mr. Tory's (and Ms. Wynne's and Mr. Harper's) vision for financing transit expansion? Did Toronto pay one third of the cost of this "revitalization"?

Well, if it did as it will under Mr. Tory's (Ms. Wynne's, Mr. Harper's) plan for financing transit expansion, Smart Track, then it, the City of Toronto, didn't get its fair share of those "tax increments". The city got ripped off by the provincial government and by the federal government.

Presumably, if we were following "Tory's rules", we would have paid 1/3 the cost of that project but only have received 36/622 = 5.7/100 or 5.7% of the "tax increments" that followed.

That's the way George Costanza does business. He pays 33.3% of the costs and gets 5.7% of the returns.

edit on 9-9-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 08:18 AM
Will Mr. Tory, or anybody else touting Tax Increment Financing, have the balls (ovaries in Olivia's case) to demand 33.3% of tax revenues flowing from devlopment connected to Smart Track or any other type of transit expansion?

The cities can finance their payment through tax increment financing. This is a funding tool in widespread use in 47 of 50 U.S. states, and which has been legislated in Ontario for projects just like SmartTrack.

I'd rather buy a car from one of the "Jerky Boys" thanks. The guy from "Middletown" who smashes your face into the windshield and says, "Buy this effin car, dammit."

I don't think Mr. Tory will stick up for the interests of voters in Toronto, who, as I have pointed out before, have probably paid for transit expansion many times over, but never got a fair share of those taxes returned to the city in federal or provincial funding. Tory is already "in the bag", under control of the provincial and federal powers that be, who wanted Ford disposed of a long time ago and who have been dogging him ever since.

I'm not even sure that Ford would make such a demand, at this time, but he should. If Toronto received 33.3% of tax revenues flowing from transit expansion, instead of the probable 5.7%, this whole subject and election and indeed the recent history of the city, would have a completely different complexion. Rosy, I should think.

There is a growing groundswell of opinion in municipalities across this country, that enough is enough. We are tired of being ripped off by provincial governments and the federal government.

edit on 9-9-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 08:30 AM

There is a growing groundswell of opinion in municipalities across this country, that enough is enough. We are tired of being ripped off by provincial governments and the federal government.
Problem is that (they) keep having elections and keep putting people in power to keep ripping us off .May as well let Rob run the show , at least he was entertaining . a reply to: ipsedixit

posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 08:37 AM
a reply to: the2ofusr1

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is trying to do something about this but I think they need an assist from the kind of voters who nearly rioted on the Number 300 bus in Toronto on Sunday.

I want to discuss some of their thoughts on this subject, i.e., getting a larger share of tax revenue and possibly moving to more "progressive" forms of taxation in municipalities than the old "property tax".

posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 08:51 AM
No one likes to hear about more taxes but there is that group of rather large Corporations that are constantly getting breaks and tax credits to make profits that should be picking up the tab for these sorts of projects .We the people are making a living but they are making profits .Tax the profits and leave the basic survival money alone .Our income tax was to pay for a war that took place many many moons ago and property tax on peoples homes is just plain theft used to grease big business .Even this Private / Public partnership is a scam in order to put the liabilities on the public while the private (business man) gets to reap the rewards . a reply to: ipsedixit

posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 09:07 AM
a reply to: the2ofusr1

I haven't studied this in great detail. It is a very complex issue, made orders of magnitude more complex by Canada's tax law, the biggest and most arcane piece of law on the books in this country. My instinct tells me that we should be cutting the Gordian Knot on this one and go to a "flat tax rate", across the board.

Of course an army of lawyers and tax consultants and civil servants would be out of work. Is that a pertinent fact? Very likely.

edit on 9-9-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 09:42 AM
Years ago I read what I can only assume was correct but in it it was purposed that a flat 1.5% tax across the board would create all the money needed to run our country and produce surpluses to fund infrastructure projects that are needed like the one you are speaking about . Mind you you may have to make laws that might not let someone like a Paul Martin have a tax loop hole to avoid paying the tax on his shipping fleet . But it is stuff like this that could produce what is needed . a reply to: ipsedixit

posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 09:59 AM
a reply to: the2ofusr1

I'm sure you are right. It's human nature to want to tilt the pinball table. We have to guard against that.

In the context of the election here in Toronto, I don't think any candidate is really ready to go toe to toe with higher levels of government over tax revenues. Mel Lastman was the last Mayor in this city who could see clearly through the fog and the businessman in him didn't like getting ripped off. I think it was visceral with him. He's a very cool and shrewd customer, but I think when he realized what was going on, the hackles rose on his neck.

The current flock of candidates should follow Mel's lead. The voters should demand it of their candidates.

posted on Sep, 9 2014 @ 01:06 PM
The things that I have written about Canadian politics in threads here on ATS all concern the issue of who is in charge in Canada. Who controls our elected officials? If it is voters, which voters? Do municipal or provincial voters control the City of Toronto? Is Toronto controlled by other forces operating behind the scenes?

Toronto is an extremely lucrative property.

It is a wealthy city and a very productive city. Who controls this city? Is there any reason for outside interests to want to control Toronto?

Normally one would say, "The City of Toronto is controlled by its citizens through their elected representatives.", but is that true?

In 2006 the Federation of Canadian Municipalities published a report entitled Building Prosperity from the Ground Up, Restoring Municipal Fiscal Balance

The overall picture of municipal finances across the country, that existed at the time, is horrifying. How could it ever have gotten to that state?

This was the situation.

Building Prosperity traced the roots of these growing problems to a tax system that took too much out of communities and put too little back in. The result was a structural imbalance between local governments’ growing responsibilities, and the inadequate financial resources they received from an out-of-date funding system.

Municipalities were collecting just eight cents of every tax dollar paid in Canada. Meanwhile they were building more than one-half of the country’s core infrastructure; paying the salaries of two out of every three police officers; and funding responsibilities offloaded by other governments for affordable housing, immigrant settlement and public safety. At the same time, federal and provincial governments were consuming more than 90% of the taxes paid by Canadians, and, through their sales, income, and corporate taxes, virtually all revenues generated by new economic growth. What they reinvested in municipal infrastructure was typically delivered through short-term, ad-hoc programs that made it difficult for municipalities to budget effectively.

Unlike many of their international counterparts, local governments in Canada were left to rely on the slow-growing municipal property tax, a regressive funding tool that hits middle-and low-income people hardest, including working families, senior citizens, and small-business owners.

Immense amounts of money were being taken out of municipalities all across the country, including Toronto, being sent to the federal and provincial governments and ever diminishing amounts of money were being channeled back into these municipalities through federal and provincial funding contributions.

There has been some effort to address this issue in recent times but is it anywhere near adequate? Are Torontonians having a lot of smoke blown at them and a lot of mirrors flashed in their faces? I think so. I don't think there has been a real "sea change" in the attitudes of governments outside Toronto to this city. I think it is seen as a cash cow, to be milked as much as possible.

I think John Tory is the standard bearer for business as usual in Toronto. I think Rob Ford is closer to the earth in terms of realizing what "business as usual" costs Toronto and is frantically trying to scrimp and save anywhere he can to roll back the fiscal bloodletting in this city. He has been very successful at that and made a lot of enemies in the process. But what he is doing and has done, still doesn't address the 800 pound gorillas in the room, the federal and provincial governments.

Toronto is a gold mine and they are determined to control it, exploit it and to drive hard bargains all along the way.

This election may be all about Mayor Ford's distasteful personal problems, but the next one will be about who controls this city, its citizens, through their elected representatives, or outside forces intent on taking Toronto for everything they can.

edit on 9-9-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 05:45 AM
Who controls the Corporations controls the politicians that run the cities ,provinces and federal govt.'s . Most but not all know what the game is about and any way they can scam more money (debt) out of the system is ok . We look at them as being criminal but they only become so if they loose out in court .

Rob Ford may have been the other type victim of the system .If you wont go along with the big boys the big boys will destroy you politically .We see it happen all around the world where first they vilify a leader of a country and impose sanctions and even send in their war machine if need be .They care not what the people may be saying at the polls because they will always have someone else at the ready to continue their scam .

NB tax payers were sold the rebuild cost of Lepreau at 1 billion dollars .There was a extra 1 billion in over runs .We were told that the 1 billion was high but because the plant was going to be able to run at 100% out put we would be recouping that money in a short time . I don't have the latest figures for what the system is doing but the last time I heard anything about it , it was running at 60% and needed to shut down . More costs will follow .

We are being sold shale gas but like most things the $$ are just not there and the dangers seem to be every where .When you follow the money it goes to the bank of canada which is probably controlled by the same group that runs the federal reserve in the states . These are private banks and have nothing to do but control the money . They would be the people who control the corporations weather city , province or federal . imo

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 07:19 AM
a reply to: the2ofusr1

That's the way it is virtually everywhere . . . and undoubtedly that is the way it is here.

On the political front issues need to be stated in the simplest possible way. If Toronto is paying 33.3% of any joint infrastructure project in this municipal jurisdiction, then it should receive 33.3% of tax revenues that flow from development connected to the existence of that infrastructure.

That is just straight capitalism. There is no reason why this city or any other city should accept terms of "partnership" with any other level of government which place us in an inferior position, when we are paying an equal share of a project's costs.

We should receive revenue in a percentage equal to the percentage of costs we contribute. It is an outrage that this has not been the established norm all along.

Candidates in this city have got to go after that.

We have been paying for our central government to swan around at international conferences with our "allies", getting us involved in foreign entanglements that have to be sold to us with lies.

This picture was taken in 2013 of Arizona Senator John McCain former candidate for President of the United States, meeting with representatives of what was then the Free Syrian Army, a group trying to topple the Syrian government of Bashar Assad. This group consisted of some Syrians and an influx of radical jihadis from across the Arab world, notably Saudi Arabia, Chechnya and Libya (and the UK of course). They were armed with looted weapons from the arsenals of the overthrown Libyan government of Muammar Gaddafi shipped to Turkey and transported over the border to the jihadis in Syria, all with the assistance of the United States of America in order to create chaos in Syria.

Unfortunately this group of lunatics were not supported by the Syrian people and were beaten in the field by the Syrian Army and forced to hole up in eastern Syria where they started ethnic cleansing the Kurds who lived there and started the formation of a new "Caliphate" or Islamic State.

The never ending fountain of wisdom that flows from the United States State Department, and the neo-con infested Council on Foreign Relations dreamed up this nightmare and now it is running amok in Iraq. One of the people in the photo below is the leader, the activities of whom, Canada has agreed to help curtail.

In the left foreground, top al Qaeda terrorist leader Ibrahim al-Badri (aka Al-Baghdadi of ISIS, aka Caliph Ibrahim of the recently founded Islamic Empire) with whom the Senator is talking.

I don't want to pay to help the Americans put the toothpaste back in the tube that they have been squirting profligately all over the Middle East. I'm sick of reading the carefully prepared lies our media prints about the threat to us emanating from American armed and trained hooligans on the other side of the world.

People are fed up with the United States and its hopelessly warped foreign policy. Canada should stop dancing to that tune. We need our money at home. Torontonians shouldn't be bankrolling this crap. We can't afford it. Keep our money out of the hands of crazy people.

Crowding the Russians in Eastern Europe is another example of lunacy coming out of Washington, lunacy that we are being asked to support, lunacy that we are being lied to about. There is no need for this stuff and Canada should be making that clear to its "ally".

And we should not be contributing financially to American provocations in Eastern Europe, supporting neo-Nazis in the Ukraine or politicians there who want to kill all the ethnic Russian Ukrainians with nuclear weapons, like Yulia Tymoshenko has said she would like to do on tape.

Why are we being asked to spend money supporting people like this? The Cold War is over. Russia wants to do business with Europe. Let them do business. Stop lying in the press about them and Canada should be telling NATO to stop crowding them. We don't want WW3. We are not going to be able to get the Russians to submit to the Rockefellers.

Stop contributing financially to the lunacy Canada.

And it all starts in your local municipality. Get your fair share of taxes and Ottawa won't be able to afford to be a nuisance to the world overseas.

edit on 10-9-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

edit on 10-9-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 09:31 AM
Because of the Five Eyes document released by Snowden we know who the main actors are and can follow the money from there . This vid interview is a must watch . It may be that "the Indian problem" that shows up in historical document within Canada give a window into the future .One thing is for sure we do share the same historical context with our original Native Peoples and should be in the for front of our minds of what is all this heading to . If they win then we loose .

Pilger makes a good point in that our Govt's today are making it so obvious as to who and what they are serving that we actually should thank them case in point

edit on 10-9-2014 by the2ofusr1 because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 11:38 AM
a reply to: the2ofusr1

I'd never seen the second video before. (Still have to watch the first.)

I wonder how many of the speeches given by America's allies are emailed in from Washington. Even one is too many.

The longest journey begins with a single step. That step in Toronto should be to demand our fair share of taxes derived from infrastructure projects that we help pay for.

Partners in costs should be partners in profits. Nobody in their right mind builds a better mousetrap so that someone else can steal the profits.

Candidates for mayor in this city should be taking stands on this issue. It is a fundamental issue in the current election campaign.

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 12:55 PM
Then you could expect that it would take someone like a Rob Ford type to be the one to do the job .But you could also expect that they would be held in contempt by the establishment for not going along with the status quo . a reply to: ipsedixit

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 02:46 PM
a reply to: the2ofusr1

And even more, the status quo would put their stooges to work trying to destroy the guy.

Voters get what they deserve. If they act like dumb cattle they can expect to be treated like dumb cattle.

Another name for "globalism" is "the big round-up". When Harper and that Australian PM gave the exact same speech, that was globalism in action, prime ministers, elected by nations, reduced to mouthpieces for policies made in the US.

edit on 10-9-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

posted on Sep, 10 2014 @ 07:57 PM
I cant for a second think that it was birthed from the US but has to come from Europe . Following the trail might lead you to the Vatican but I think it's based in the Netherlands .Call it a hunch of some sorts but those Dutch have a base in all of what we have today .They were the first to divide the First Nations on Turtle Island so ..just sayin a reply to: ipsedixit

posted on Sep, 11 2014 @ 04:53 AM
I looked up the incident where Stephen Harper, in an address to Parliament, uses words from a speech given by the Australian PM. I wasn't familiar with this incident but it appears to have been a case of plagiarism by one of Harper's speech writers and not a case of Washington directed zombification of the PMs of the two countries.

Sometimes I'm too suspicious, something that is increasingly hard to be in our world of dishonest brokers. I do apologize for besmirching the reputation of the always guileless . . . . America.

In other news, Rob Ford is reported to have been diagnosed with a growth of as yet unknown seriousness in his abdomen. I certainly hope that this does not interfere with the current electoral campaign. I hope he soldiers on and comes out on top in the election and in the battle for continued good health.

Rob Forward!!!

posted on Sep, 13 2014 @ 05:16 AM
I read in the paper this morning that Rob Ford has withdrawn from the Toronto mayoralty election campaign because of a serious health problem that has been affecting him for weeks. His brother, Doug Ford, who has been seen at his side throughout the Mayor's first term of office and is the Mayor's closest ally on City Council, has been asked by the Mayor to take up the torch and run on the Ford platform for Mayor.

Naturally, I support this decision. Doug Ford has already been criticized by John Tory for his blunt speech. Mr. Tory called him an "insult machine". The label may be appropriate but I still support Doug Ford because, unlike the many "political cosmetologists" who would take anybody but Rob Ford, I don't give support to "personalities". I'm only interested in policies. I think Doug Ford will continue the policies of Rob Ford and I hope very much extend them.

I would like Doug Ford to drive harder bargains with the feds (the federal government) and with the provos (the provincial government) on infrastructure programs like transit expansion and transit improvement.

I would like our new Mayor to try, perhaps in concert with other municipalities across the country, to extract from the feds and the provos, transfers from them of a percentage of federal and provincial taxes collected as a direct result of tax increments due to development following the creation of new or expanded infrastructure, . . . transfer from them to the City of Toronto, a percentage of those taxes collected by them, which would bring up the city's share of tax increments to a percentage equal to the percentage of funding originating from the city on any joint project.

In other words, if the City of Toronto pays 33.3% of the cost of an infrastructure project, like the revitalization of the Toronto waterfront (as it committed to do in that case) or the expansion of the transit system, (as it would under the tax increment financing plan of Mr. Tory), then the new Mayor, whomever he or she is, should be promising, as a campaign platform plank, to make sure than the City of Toronto receives 33.3% of the tax increments that accrue to any government as a direct consequence of that project.

Not 5.7% as we received in the case of the waterfront revitalization project.

Nobody is promising to do this. For the moment, I am supporting Doug Ford, but I would support any other candidate who made a convincing case that he or she would seriously undertake to work for that change in the tax arrangements that attend these tri-level infrastructure projects.

There should be a nationwide move to get this done and Toronto should lead that march. It is long overdo. The federal and provincial governments have been downloading their debt to the cities for too long, with near disastrous results. Mayors and councils should not be thinking up new, exotic taxes to try to imaginatively squeeze more money out of the public. They should be like John Dillinger. They should go where the money is, particularly to the federal government. It's our money and they are blowing it in Libya and Iraq and for political payoffs.

We want our money and our Mayors, including the one in Toronto should be, "loaded for bear" on that topic the next time they talk to their colleagues in the provincial or federal government.

In the meantime, Doug Ford for Mayor!!!
edit on 13-9-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

edit on 13-9-2014 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)

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