Archive for February, 2007

The city is a “dangerous employer”…

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

What a joke.

The city employee hurts his big toe, so he goes on “comp”.

The “pain is so great” his doctor perscribes Oxy’s. He doesn’t need them all, and you know he is only getting 66 per cent of his normal pay, so he is forced to go down to his local Coffee Time – just so he can make ends meet – and sell the Oxy’s for a fin a pill.

After a while he starts eating too many of the Oxy’s, so he goes to the doctor again and the doc puts him on the meth program. The stress was too much at the city.

Next thing is… long term disability. Well you know there is a lot less money on long term, so he needs more Oxy’s. So he brings the doc McDonald’s on a Sunday morning to the doc’s house.

“Oh ya that doc he is a great guy… no problem… he gives me all he pills I need…”

The Comparison and the Fallout Continues

Wednesday, February 28th, 2007

If you want to see the difference take a look at the Playback magazine, you see, there was a time we in Toronto had the momentum. Last weekend I could only look back with fond memories of the mutual feelings we had in making “Chicago”. Yes, Toronto was just humping at that time. The stars love it here, it’s clean, it’s safe, it’s not too far off the beaten path, Yorkville is cool to hang out.

We are now seeing the hulk. I remember when the directors guild report was at 9 pages.

SARS was beyond our control, but policy does make a difference.

The ORC committed a sin with Corktown. Those stages were built by a visionary that never even took a paycheque home. Every dime he made went back in to that studio space. Jeffrey Steiner, David Miller and the TEDCO machine roared over MT28.

The movie money is found money, and with the blink of an eye it goes somewhere else. And today that could be Prague, Sydney Australia, Vancouver, etc. The international competition is growing.

Toronto has so much going for it, but studio space is the key to our success.

Check out Playback magazine on the web. And look at the difference in the amount of studio space between Toronto and Vancouver. Vancouver has way over double the amount, plus a real variety. The more space, the more movies. If the producer gets the financial green light, right off the hop he or she is looking for the best available studio space.

These policy makers think that by attempting to monopolize the studio space and eliminating the competition will give the Filmport a better chance to succeed. That’s not the way it works. The loss of studio space has a cascading economic effect. The net result is exponential loss. For a period of time now many have been without work. For instance many of the carpenters are back doing residential construction. One movie car company closed. Today alone Laird Fx (one of the oldest, if not the oldest special effect companies in T.O.) was seen moving out of their rental shop. And word has it he had to sell the building. Further, he finally had to lay off 9 of his long time highly skilled people. And on and on. The poor directors, set designers, directors of photography, and all down the chain, where do they go? And on and on… the wood supplier… the caterer… the paint supplier…

And all that space with Ken Ferguson is a huge mistake. There are so many producers that will never do business with him again. I quote directly: “once was enough”.

A possible tax revenue stream

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

One of my customers told me that the best revenue per sq.ft. in his establishment comes from his bank machine (i.e. the ATM).

Do you know that the TD Bank is called the TDnorth bank in the States? And that, apparently, south of the border customers do not pay any user fees to use a bank machine?

Why can’t the feds tax the banks on this revenue source and forward the money to the appropriate municipalities?

Thank you for reading

Saturday, February 24th, 2007

I want to thank you all for reading WhatsWrongToronto.com. The website hits zoomed up yesterday, bigtime, I guess because of the sign on MT-28. I started this gig in January 2007 and I am amazed at the numbers.

I will continue to publish information to try and bring some accountabililty to our municipal affairs. Hopefully some of these gutless newspapers will grab hold and run with some of this info., most of which is found in the public domain. Really, it is lack of action by the traditional media that has caused this state of decay. Section 2(b) of our charter allows us the right to speak up.

Speaking of the public domain, Jeffrey Steiner and TEDCO are the only government agency in Ontario to not provide salary disclosure. This means that Steiner, as CEO, is breaking the law. The law is called the “Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act”. Google it.

Speaking of waste, take a look at the jump in the number of people now working for the government making over $100,000. Look back 5 years and count the numbers and check last year. The jump is staggering, and some of the salaries leave me speechless when I consider the governments lack of priorities. For instance, did you know that the head chef at the Metro Convention Centre makes $185,000.00? And the head beverage manager at this Convention Centre makes $160,000.00? It is sad when you compare this to what a doctor makes in this province.

Coming up next week… details on the following:

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Moscoe is feeling the heat so I have been told. Can you imagine your mother or father having to prove the validity of a disability? Really. Some would say we should medically test his competence. Miller picks the winners.

Also next week I have great info coming on another Miller favorite: Sandra Bussin. Apparently, in a classic move, she waited late into the night during a council meeting to move for passage of a food and booze monopoly for the Boardwalk Cafe. The term of the lease is 20 years. This was done without tender. This monopoly will cover all the beach front lands from from Leslie to Victoria Park. I suppose this was the bone the lap-dog was given for marching to Miller’s tune.

Oh, and by the way, Bussin was the chair of the committee that picked the new TEDCO board. The one that Steiner and Miller stacked. Also, Bussin vs, the Church.

And what about the 500 million the city wants to borrow?

Plus: in the not too distant future, I will provide some illuminating insight into the c.v. of Jeffrey Steiner. Just want to make sure he is completely truthful about his past, you understand.

Funny how documents somehow get passed along, isn’t it?

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

I guess all you’ve got to do is start a blog and people figure they want to contribute to it. Notice my new “Contact Us” page? A few really neat things got sent to me. For those who want to have a look, feel free – links are below:

Producers’ letters to Mayor Miller

Cinespace press release of January 16th, 2007

Documents from a correspondence with TEDCO

TEDCO response letter

Paints a picture that stinks big time doesn’t it? Contact me if you’ve got more to share… I’ll keep my sources completely confidential.

This Picture Says It All…

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Have a look at this sign – if you can. It probably won’t be there for very long. It looks like I’m not the only person who sees TEDCO for what it is: a cancerous growth eating away at Toronto’s economic health.

Looks like www.WhatsWrongToronto.com is catching on – there we are on a 120 foot long sign!

Have a good day, Mr. Jeffrey Steiner!

A Dark Day for Toronto’s Film industry…

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

Talk about scandalous mismanagement of an incredible asset.

The Marine Terminal Studios, one of Toronto’s best, and the closest to downtown, had four studios and five office suites that will not be available anymore to the film industry.

TEDCO CEO Jeffrey Steiner single-handedly overturned a 2002 TEDCO Board decision to let the 175 Queens Quay property stay as a film studio until the TWRC needed to move in for redevelopment. The TWRC doesn’t need the property until September 1st, but Steiner pulled the trigger on a 2-month eviction notice back in December, requiring the film studio to be shut down by February 21st, 2007, for some mystery project called “Symphony”. The Mayor claims Symphony is an important “jobs-related project”, but few projects could generate the jobs and economic activity of even one feature film’s impact on the local economy with high-paying jobs, facilities rentals, locations rentals, equipment rentals, vehicle rentals, catering etc. and taxes and fees on almost everything.

With the Marine Terminal Studio terminated and no replacement space, that’s four feature films, at an average budget of $20 – $30 Million CDN, that will NOT be able to film in Toronto in 2007. As a result, all of that money and thousands of both direct and spillover jobs will go to other film locales like New York and New Orleans, and those locales will be strengthened by Toronto’s lack of replacement studios for the Marine Terminal. Great economic development initiative, TEDCO!

Sad and bad for the film industry, but conveniently TEDCO’s favourite little pet company Toronto Film Studios (TFS) will be full to capacity with less overall competition in the City. As if it wasn’t criminal enough that TEDCO leased TFS the old Harkow building on Commissioners Street with NO competitive bidding process (letting taxpayers AND film producers both get fleeced), allowed TFS to negotiate for the Mega Studio lands while at the same time applying to rezone and remove their existing studios (that’s called collateral enrichment, or bonusing, which TEDCO cannot legally do), and paved the way to a virtual monopoly for TFS by prohibiting all other film rentals in the Portlands (that moronic move speaks for itself – Montreal has a studio monopoly and is now the Hollywood producer’s city of last choice).

Jeffrey Steiner has been holding back the film industry from its true potential for years by keeping a chokehold on potential film properties, like the old Abitibi building that was kept away from film uses back in 2005. That could have been a new facility right there, but TEDCO’s lawyers claimed it would contravene the non-competition clause. Now Steiner’s actively shutting down competitors so that the Mega Studio appears successful when it finally opens, over three years later.

Where the hell are you, real journalists? You guys were all over Eisen on the Stavro deal, but you’re letting the film industry get dismantled by this maniac right in front your eyes!

Mayor Miller’s hands are dirty on this. Two years ago when the film industry cried foul, he tried to calm them, stating that there was no deal yet, and that it would go to council for approval first. Then the hypocrite turned around and publicly signed the lease on live television, 2 weeks before council even had the chance to look at it! Their hands would be tied and he knew it, so the 99-year lease, non-competition clause, the non-relocation of the Marine Terminal and all of the other questionable details of this deal went through anyway.

Now he’s ramped up to fight a near-impossible OMB decision to try and save artists’ homes and jobs in the west end. If that blonde bonehead had any sense, he would have fought TEDCO to keep the Marine Terminal open to protect high-quality film industry jobs until the Mega Studio scam project opens at least. Will Miller show the same bravado with the OMB when they approve the Wal-Mart development at 629 Eastern Avenue and destroy even more studio space and the character of the Eastern-Carlaw area? Doubtful…

That scammer Steiner obviously knew Miller needed a waterfront project up and running before election time, and the Mega Studio land scam also conveniently kept TEDCO in the waterfront game in an era when the TWRC was supposed to take over. Symphony is just another unilateral land grab, in a desperate attempt for TEDCO to stay relevant, with some broker no doubt lined up for a huge payday (just like the “Project 24/7” deal a couple of years ago).

So much for all the public consultation by the TWRC on our waterfront – Steiner leapfrogged the whole process with his deals, public be damned. Steiner must have a compromising photo of our Mayor to be getting away with all this… Poor John Campbell at the TWRC must have a Steiner punching bag at home for therapy.

RIP Marine Terminal Studios… prepare for more lean times, film industry…

Will the Closing Film Studio be Another Ataratiri?

Wednesday, February 21st, 2007

In the early 80’s, councilors decided that they wanted some low cost housing in what is now referred to the “West Donlands”. They spent a ton of money and destroyed a whack of companies, many of which were generations old and many of which would never ultimately recover. That project was called “Ataratiri”, and it was only after this money was spent that the government decided that the property was far too polluted to meet residential standards.

For 20 plus years this property basically sat empty until the O.R.C. got a hold of it. They did a good job leasing it out to fledgling movie companies, however by the late 90’s, government officials made headline news with regards to the corruption involving environmental cleanup efforts. Criminal charges were laid. Convictions happened.

So what about today? Well, the big question is does Jeffrey Steiner have a deal in place for the MT28 property? Does “Project Symphony” have anything signed, or will we wait? If Steiner had a deal he would speak up. So once again government policy will hurt our movie industry, as was the case in the mid 80’s when the federals under Mulroney dummied the movie industry with the tax credit fiasco.

This time our local politicians are at work and under the weak leadership of Miller, TEDCO will move forward with little regard for the macro-economic effect on the “found money” that this industry provides to the Toronto economy.

R.I.P. MT28.

Miller and Chicago

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

The problem with following Chicago’s lead is that Miller has once again failed to look at the long term implications from a practical standpoint. The waterfront of The Windy City is pleasing to the eye, however from a transportation viewpoint it is beyond a nightmare. Does he realize that rush-hour traffic backs up into the state of Indiana? From Gary, Indiana along Hwy 80/96, it’s solid traffic from 6:00 – 10:30 A.M., and from 3:00 – 6:30 P.M. Look at a map… see how long a stretch of highway that is… bumper to bumper.