Tag Archives: public

David Chappelle lights up stage in Toronto

Kris Scheuer

Comedian Dave Chappelle was in Toronto for three shows and stopped off at Mayor Rob Ford’s office. Yesterday, the mayor’s office posted a Twitter photo of their meeting. Today, Chappelle even commented on the photo.
On August 22, when news that Chappelle went to the mayor’s office to ask about the city’s smoking bylaws came out, this prompted media calls to Toronto Public Health about how TPH planned to enforce the rules under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act.
I recently became a spokesperson for TPH and as such I occasionally get quoted in the media. Yesterday, on this topic, was one of those days.
The Globe & Mail, Toronto Sun, the Toronto Star, and National Post called TPH for information and quotes and other media including the Hamilton Spectator,  Canada.com, The Hollywood Reporter also reported on this issue.
As a former journalist for 16 years, I recently made the switch to communications (in May 2011) and am still getting used to being on the other side – being quoted rather than being the one doing the interviewing.

Sheppard subway publicly funded

Kris Scheuer
(Read update)

Mayor Ford pictured here Dec. 1 when he announced Transit City was dead. Photo Kris Scheuer/Town Crier file.

Mayor Rob Ford will outline his plan this afternoon on how to fulfill his election promise of a new Sheppard subway.
CBC reported this morning that the city proposed a plan to the province’s Metrolix on how to fund the Sheppard subway line.
The Globe and Mail also has a story with details on how the private funding could work.
The mayor’s election platform on a Sheppard subway was costed at $3 billion for 10 new stops between Downview and  Scarborough Town Centre. Part of the mayor’s new plan may include having the private sector pay for design and construction costs of the new subway and the city selling air rights to developers to build along new subway stops.
He’s holding a press scum at 1:15 at city hall. Usually these deals allow 3 questions of the mayor, but I will be there and report back after the announcement with as much detail as I can. I will be supplementing the article with info from other sources as well as from Mayor Ford.
Check back this afternoon for more…
Click here for update as promised.

City’s garbage privatization plan

City informs union of intent to contract out trash removal
Council to debate privatizing Toronto’s garbage collection
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Feb. 7)

Mayor Rob Ford announces a plan to privatize more of the city's garbage collection. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Mayor Rob Ford is poised to deliver on another election promise, this time to privatize garbage collection.
“As you know I campaigned on contracting out garbage,” Ford said at a city hall press conference today. “Today is the first step in that procedure. We notified the union at 11 am that we will discuss contracting out in May.”
Ford added that he was taking this step to prevent the city suffering through another garbage strike as well as to save money and reduce the size of government.
“That’s what people elected us to do and that’s exactly what we will deliver on,” he said.
The city is looking to contract out three aspects of the current public service: daytime, residential curb-side collection west of Yonge Street to the Etobicoke border for about 165,000 homes (garbage collection in Etobicoke is already contracted out); collection of litter and recycling in all city parks  and an additional 25 percent of the city’s litter vacuum operations to bring it up to 50 percent privatization.

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TTC meeting on bus route cuts

Public meeting with no deputations
People fill out comment sheets, talk to TTC reps
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 26)

Christine Miller looks at info on a bus route cut impacting her commute. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

As part of the 2011 budget process the TTC has vowed to cut 48 bus routes in order to increase service on other unspecified routes.
However, a decision on bus route reductions was postponed until Feb. 2 to allow for public consultations so those impacted by the cuts can plead their case.
At the meeting held at the North York Central Library Christine Miller, who relies on two of the bus routes were service reductions are proposed: 56 Leaside and 62 Mortimer, told the Town Crier that the proposed cuts could imperil her safety.
“I take them for work and a night out,” she told the Town Crier. “I get off (work) at midnight. That’s my safe ride home.”
She works as a security guard in midtown and lives in East York. For her the cuts would mean no service after 10 p.m. on weekdays and after 7 p.m. on weekends on the 56 Leaside route. And on 62 Mortimer no service after 10 p.m. on weekends.
“I work ‘til midnight on Saturdays and Sundays as well,” said the 27 year old. “One alternative is 25 Don Mills.”
This would take her close to home but walking a different route that has safety concerns, she said.

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Toronto budget public input

Residents, business people have their say on 2011 budget
Opinions vary widely on priorities
Kris Scheuer
(Written for Town Crier Jan. 21)

Margaret Watson advocates to sub-budget committee to not increase user fees for recreation. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

Councillors got an earful from residents, businesses and community groups who came out to speak on the city’s budget at North York Civic Centre.
New councillor Doug Ford, brother to Mayor Rob Ford, chaired the meeting at times with occasionally humourous results.
He mistakenly introduced Margaret Watson from the Canadian Pensioners’ Concern as a deputant about prisoners’ issues. He made a joke of it by saying he needed glasses and playfully referred to former budget chief Councillor Shelley Carroll as “the warden”.
For her part, Watson gave a feisty presentation about preserving services.
“Many seniors are tenants who receive pressure from landlords. We are disappointed you have cut $100,000 from the tenant defence fund,” she said at the Jan. 19 public meeting. “We hope council doesn’t want to put more tenants at risk of homelessness.”

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Arlington school closing

Toronto middle school set to shut Sept 2011
Local parent Robin Fraser questions next steps for community
Kris Scheuer
(Written June 30 for Town Crier. Update HERE.)

Toronto school board voted to close Arlington MS by Sept 2011.

Next year Arlington Middle School will close its doors forever. But it didn’t have to be this way, says local parent Robin Fraser.
On June 23, school trustees voted in favour of closing the school and expanding and upgrading four elementary schools — JR Wilcox, Cedarvale, Rawlinson and Humewood.
The vote followed months of meetings, known cumulatively as an Accommodation Review Committee or ARC, looking at how to tackle enrolment and space issues in that cluster of schools.
Fraser, who has a son graduating from Arlington and a daughter at nearby Humewood, fought for alternatives to closures.
“After my deputation to move (Arlington) into a sports school there was a healthy discussion,” she said. “(Then) they all voted to close Arlington except (trustee) Ms. Maria Rodrigues.”
The plan is to close Arlington by September 2011. Continue reading

Toronto’s first public pay toilet

City launches first pay for use toilet
Is it worth 25 cent per visit?
Kris Scheuer
(Column written for Town Crier June 3.)

Toronto's first pay-for-use facility open for business. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

When you really have to go, some of us would beg, borrow or steal to find a clean, available washroom. But would you be willing to pay a quarter for the privilege?
I wanted to find out for myself if the city’s first automated, self-cleaning, pay-for-use toilet was worth the price of admission.
On a rainy Tuesday afternoon in early June, I headed down to the new $400,000 facility at northwest corner of Rees Street and Queens Quay Boulevard. You can’t miss it. It’s the size of a backyard shed.
Maybe it was knowing I was doing this story on washrooms, but by the time I reached my destination I actually had to use the facility. There was no lineup and a green “vacant” light indicated no one was inside.

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Toronto a day in the life 13

Are Torontonians rude?
Is it the consequence of living in the big city
What is making us so indifferent to people around us?
By Kris Scheuer

An extreme example of litter during '09 T.O summer strike. Photo by Kris Scheuer/Town Crier.

I am a born and bred Toronto resident who’s called this beloved city home for all my 40 years.
But really people, are we getting ruder?
I am not perfect, by all means, but I TRY to be considerate of others. And I find examples of people in this city who seem so very oblivious to others who share this same public space.
Case in point, and this is something I witness almost daily, littering. I see people tossing items from their hands in such a blatant way that it goes beyond not being able to find a trash can. It’s as if people are making a statement, “I don’t care about the city, environment or anyone around me.”
On Friday afternoon I was on a lunch break and was on the southwest corner of Yonge and Dundas on my way to city hall south.
As I approached the mall, I saw two 20-something women walking towards me when one tossed a water bottle towards the Eaton’s Centre (now Sears).
I thought maybe she was aiming for a garbage can, but missed. As the plastic bottle hit the side of the H&M clothing store, I saw that no there was no garbage can. She never intended for it to end up anywhere but the street. And she did not even offer a backward glance to see where her discarded item landed. Continue reading

When to judge politicians’ behaviour

What are reasonable expectations to have of political reps
How perfect should they be in their private lives
(Opinion column written March 5 for Town Crier.)

Politicians are people too.
Okay I know that sounds obvious, but as Midtown councillor Karen Stintz points out people are flawed.
This means politicians, like us, aren’t perfect.
“Generally, the public is not interested in the flaws of politicians,” she tells me.
“Where it is a problem is if a politician presents themself in a particular light and doesn’t live up to that,” she says. “If you try to present yourself as perfect, you are bound to disappoint people because no one’s perfect.”
So it is when a politician is a hypocrite professing to be one way or preaching on a subject when they can’t uphold those same values that the real problem unfolds.

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Future mayor listens to Toronto

How next mayor can relate to Torontonians
Sharing a meal, public forums, citizen debates
By Kris Scheuer

I was watching the new Kids in the Hall comedy show premiere tonight and it gave me ideas of how Toronto’s next mayor can best relate to and get input from the public.
Give me a second to explain my ideas here.
One of the main characters on the new show is Mayor Larry Bowman of Shuckton played by comedian/actor Bruce McCulloch. He plays a sleazy mayor so I am not suggesting Toronto elect this character in the 2010 race. But he did something that at first seemed like a good idea.
He walks into the local diner and says, “who’s it gonna be?” I assumed mayor Bowman was going to pick one local Shuckton resident to share a meal with. It didn’t turn out that way, but it got me thinking of ways the next mayor could engage the public. Continue reading