Archive for March, 2007

TEDCO and the Brownie Award

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

The Brownie Award is for environmental achievement regarding things such as reclaiming old industrial sites.

A legitimate reclamation of property requires that all the contaminated soil be removed and replaced with engineered clean fill. When a developer goes to the bank this is what the bank requires.

If you watched the Broadview Lofts project this is what you would have seen: excavators moving contaminated soil in tractor trailor dump trucks and the soil being hauled directly to a landfill. When all the soil was removed to a depth where the soil was clean then you would have seen trailors lined up dumping clean virgin fill back in the hole.

Yet directly across the bridge the ORC is proceeding with the hocus pokus reclamation method, and so is TEDCO.

The West Donlands, the film port, and the Unwin Street playing field projects are utilizing a high tech method to reclaim the contaminated soil. Here’s how it works: they dig out the bad stuff put it in a pile, sprinkle a magic potion on the material, shake it all up and presto the soil is as good as new.

Yep, they call it dilution is the solution to pollution.

Go down see for your self. The TEDCO operation is taking place on the south side of Villiers just west of the Don Roadway.

As a slap in the face, none of the dump trucks hauling this material on the city’s streets has the proper legal identification marks to haul contaminted soil. This is an MOE violation. And I would suspect since they do not have the license number on the door they do not have a copy of the license in the truck. This is another violation.

All the while 10 different policing agencies drive by and don’t notice a thing wrong. That is right there are 10, not 5, not 4, yes 10. Because it is a government job they are hood-winked into believing everything is above board.

Who’s kidding who. TEDCO and the Toronto Film Studio are using unlicensed haulers to move contaminted soil on city streets.

Go down yourself and take a look.

Also one of the enviromental companies operates under a couple of different names. You know: his brother has one, his cousin has another. They all make a bid on the tender and by the stroke of luck one gets the job.

Yes indeed the environmental integrity of these projects is filled with a lot of brown stuff.

Mr. Jeffrey Steiner deserves his Brownie Award.

While his friends find merit in green.

Teachers’ Pension a Poor Power of Example

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

first i shoud preface that i know diddle doo about this sudject.

I am not asserting that our teachers do not work hard. But their pension fund needs to be examined. There is something wrong when I pay taxes that support a fund pension that takes money out of our own economy and invests it in foreign endeavors.

Here the government should step in. Pension funds that derive their money from our tax dollars should be invested in the local economy.

Above all, teachers should lead by example.

And although I am a die-hard Leafs fan, I do not think MLG Sports and Entertainment is an appriopriate example.

does the pension fund reinvest in the school system in anyway?

TEDCO Still the Only Government body Not Listed on Financial Disclosure Act

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

Wowwee! The press are talking bout the Financial Disclosure Act!

And as I stated sometime earlier, the list of government people making over $100,000.00 annually is skyrocketing.

I do not know, what do you think? Is government spending out of control?

The numbers are staggering. There are now apparently 34,000 people making over 100g’s up from 6,000 a mere 2 yrs ago.

What irks me the most though is how our leaders set priorities. Somthing is wrong when the head chef at the Metro Convention Centre makes close to $40,000.00 more than our Premier. This crook I mean cook makes more then the Mayor, more then doctors etc.

First things first. It’s all about priorities.

We need a major shake-up. And you wonder why are taxes continue to rise.

And there is Jeffrey Steiner, CEO of TEDCO, with the audacity to not even submit his pay.

Toronto Taxpayers to See Red Over Miller’s Green Lane Landfill Purchase

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

O’l man McCaig (Green Lane’s founder) is seeing nothing but green. To many, he has the reputation of being a little excitable; to others, eccentric. But look who laughing now. Indeed a country boy can survive, and indeed age and treachery in this case has overcome youth and vigor.

Miller’s waste disposal policys have been more than a failure. The devil is in the details, and the press are missing the extent of his historic major failures.

You see, you have to go back a few years to get the whole picture…

In 1988 the city, in its greed and spearheaded by the chair of the waste committee Lindsay Luby (a future supporter of Miller), increased the disposal rates at Keele Valley Landfill. The decision was ill thought out and lacked business sense. The yearly increases were dramatic, so the private industry adapted and started shipping waste to the United States.

The city at the time had a $250 million cash fund from the positive cash flow of these operations. The loss of the private business resulted in the depletion of this fund. The city, during this heyday, spent significant money on building 9 transfer stations. But the greed and lack of business acumen in setting the tipping fees left these facitlities being badly underutilzed, and these losses rolled on for several years.

The city’s waste management executive changed, and Angelo rose to the top. In his role as chief advisor to council he sought to lower these rates to compete with the growing private transfer station industry. Eventually the city recaptured much the private waste hauling market.

Subsequently, Miller is elected mayor. Shortly thereafter he jacked the tipping fees back up again so the price sensitive waste haulers took their business back to the private transfer stations. This single decision by Miller as it stands today represents a loss of over $500 million (half a BILLION) in revenue and counting.

Poor ol’ Angelo gets fired by Miller, after he sucks a large legitimate hauler to commit to truck the waste state-side. The contract was an open and fair tender resulting in a great rate for the Toronto taxpayers. The hauler tried everything to get out of the contract. But at the end of the day, Miller fires this competent manager of the city waste division for publicly stating to the press that the city should look into incineration aka waste-to-energy as an option.

Incineration, or waste-to-energy facilities, are used throughout the world and the technology continues to advance. Our premier this very week publiclly stated that Ontario should look into this technology. But the blinders around Millers head continue to prevent him from even considering this option. Landfilling waste is the only option Milller will consider.

So along comes the Green Lane deal.

Looking back, Green Lane Landfill opened in 1978. Long before the present safer landfill technolgy was developed. Green Lane has appeared in front the the MOE (Ministry of the Environment) many times for a variety of violations, and also in front of the environmental appeal board many times. It’s all there on the MEO website – take a look.

Neighbors have reported poor drinking water. Farmers in the area have reported problems. Much of this can be attibuted to the the dated engineering of this landfill. These compliants resulted in the threat of potentially closing Green Lane.

Through the political moral suasion of campaign contributions to the current Liberal party, this imminent closure was delayed. When the Minister of the Environment granted Green Lane an extension, the London community was outraged.

Clearly, Miller has purchased an old and out of date landfill. The future financial fallout in dealing with the potential for leachate run off from the old landfill to the surrounding area is a cost that will surely be severe.

As with the aforementioned $500 million loss that is growing, no one mentions the fact that before you factor in all these costs from buying a dated landfill, the finanicial carrying cost of the loan, the future capping, closure maintenance, legal battles and on and on, you have to really examine the initial purchase price versus the landfill capacity. For at the end of the day, David Miller has committed the taxpayers of Toronto to the most expensive landfill purchase in the history of the world, when looked at on a cost per ton basis. With regards to capacity, since Green Lane opened in ‘78, Toronto has filled three landfills (Beare Rd., Brock Rd., and Keele Valley), all of which where bigger then Green Lane in its entirety.

He did this all in haste 30 days before the last election, clearly motivated by political timing. He then refused to divulge the deal to his fellow elected officials, and to slap them in the face, presented this 500 page deal hours before council was to decide on the issue.

As a result the, taxpayers of Toronto will be seeing nothing but red with Miller’s purchase of Green Lane.

H20 a $10 Million Skateboard Park

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

The ebb and flow of the gentle hills on the waters edge of the much publicized H2O park are proving to be a joy to our youth, but a pain in the behind for those working on its completion. The park is not complete. The fencing is still acting as a security barrier. The no trespassing signs are being tossed into the water. And the skateboarders have found the their urban utopia.

The long concrete benches are ideal for stunts; the designer was aware of this potential for the concrete chipping along the benches. So the kids are helping with early test trials on the benches durability. Apparently half the benches are now damaged.

The “Manhattanization” of the city core via the condo boom finds these teenagers with little room to roam and ply their trade.

So they have asked me to tell all those involved that they are thankful for this park getting built.

They do have a one specific request: could someone do something about the goose and duck droppings?

He Is One Smooth Diamond

Saturday, March 31st, 2007

The Toronto waterfront has been a diamond in the rough for too long. The government infighting over this land has gone on literally since the start of the 20th century.

Moving forward. In time, Toronto comes to the realization that it does not have the dough to develop the waterfront. And so the years of political wrangling conclude with the three levels of government coming to a mutual consensus.

Thus the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation was born. And they hire a CEO at close to $500,000.00 per year as its leader. And yes the salary is publically diclosed. Great news, eh?

The TWRC decides to have a $20 million design competition. After many meetings, the winner proposes among other things a 20 metre promenade with a 5 metre boardwalk. The infamous Jack Diamond of Diamond & Schidt proposes a 15 metre promenade with no boardwalk. The winners design looks great.

Well lo and behold, TEDCO decides that they only want Diamond to do this work. The TWRC and the selection committee are left bewildered. They thought it was their job to move forward with the design and development.

Ahhh, but wait a minute… not when the city’s arms length agency called TEDCO is involved. TEDCO has its very own rule book. And so does Miller.

The following is but another example of Miller’s inablity to live up to the words “democratic integrity”.

Miller muscles his way on the TWRC board as its only elected official of the 12 sitting board members. He then makes a decree that the TEDCO land will have Jack Diamond as the sole designer and their will be no tendering process.

Now ol’ Jack is a busy man. An Order of Canada recipient. Principal in his firm. Well connected. And, he is to say the least, one smooth diamond.

Oh I almost forgot. He was David Miller’s co-chair in the last mayoralty election.

Damning Documents Doing the Rounds – Miller and Steiner Give Away the Store

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

Well. Eventually, this story might hit the mainstream press….. regarding the confidental emails between the power brokers of the filmport deal.

Without getting into a long explanation of the details, here’s the skinny: Miller’s weak ego needs feeding. He sees the waterfront as a place to leave his mark. In doing so his actions personify the “ends justify the means” approach. Indeed, Miller’s “utilitarian” endeavors will prove to be the most costly mistakes ever made in the history of Toronto.

TEDCO’s leader, Steiner also suffers from this affliction.

Together they felt that the movie industry needed a world class facility, or that’s what their spin doctors were claiming.

Moving along, TEDCO approached some studio operators. Few were interested.

This lack of interest is first, because a seasoned businessman knows a government body is the worst landlord to have. (Why? Simply put, in times of disagreement, it is very hard to fight a bottomless pit of litigious money.) Second, TEDCO’s reputation precedes itself.

In the end the emails show that TEDCO had two choices for the filmport. One was the TFS offer, the other an offer from a UK studio. TEDCO went with the TFS offer which, according to the leaked documents, was far and away the weaker offer.

TFS subsequently went on to trumpet that their good efforts would reward the Toronto film industry through increased studio availablity. Meanwhile, behind the scenes and at the same time, they were attempting to get the current studio space rezoned for another use. First it was condos, but now (and now matters), this property at 629 Eastern Avenue is in front of the OMB to become a WalMart. And a big box mall.

What a diasater this would be to the merchants on Queen Street, the walking community of the east end and our film industry. And the Rose Corp’s “Smilin’ Sam” knew all along that this was the plan.

The other noteworthy operative in this deal was the UK’s partner Alfredo Romano. Alfie operates CastlePoint Developments. Ol’ Alfie is smooth. Smooth as they come. Some years ago he assembled 2 parcels of land from Betty Disero via the Toronto Habor Commission in terms of a 99 year lease. One piece is the Docks’ drive-in/golf-driving range, and the other is where the Docks run go carts. His goal was to “Duddy Kravitz” this pier on the waterfront and bring a casino to Toronto.

This story is a doozie and I will leave it for another time.

Also in ol’ Al’s portfolio is the long-time eyesore at the foot of Parliament Street and the Lakeshore at the water’s edge. You know the property. It has the big grain silos and a mountain of rubble that have been there forever. This property is part of the East Bayfront plan a.k.a. “Project Symphony”. And this property is also reputed to have the largest and oldest outstanding tax bill owed to the city’s coffers.

The audacity. Only in toronto you say… but take it easy its get better…

Ol’ Alfie was some pissed at ol’ Jeffie, after all the UK studio offer was superior. Mayor Miller stepped in. Now, you should realize that Miller did not want to annoy one of his largest campaign contributors. For, true to “Duddy Kravitz” form, Alfie wanted it all.

Just as an aside: how can Miller accept campaign money from a company that owes millions in back taxes to the city? Only in Toronto you say.

The audacity of hope? Quick… I need my broom….

This is how dirty our mayor is. On the very same day that the filmport deal was approved, Miller calmed ol’ Alfie down by approving his condo development at the Hummingbird Centre. That’s right. Both deals done on the same day.

In closing, syncronicity is a word coined by Carl Jung… an unexplained sequence of events.

Public Meeting — The MT28 Replacement “Project Symphony”

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

For those interested…

“Implementing Waterfront Plans – Proposed Commercial Development in East Bayfront”

Tuesday March 27, 2007
7:00 to 9:30 P.M.
Metro Hall Rotunda
55 John St.
Toronto, Ontario

TEDCO and Pam McConnell will be hosting this community meeting and are being kind enough to allow us to review their plans and allow us to provide feedback.

Thanks

Saturday, March 24th, 2007

The stuff I am getting from readers this past week is making me sick! Just reading material that many of you have sent me is turning my stomach. I have to digest it before I respond. It is a substantial amount of material.

With these pigs at the trough, all I can think of is at what point will enough be enough?

The mfp scandal is a joke compared to what’s going on in the waterfront… nickels and dimes compared to the big dough.

Mayor Bloomberg Gets the Job Done in NYC

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Mayor Bloomberg in NYC gets it, while our mayor, Mr. hair dippity do nothing Miller doesn’t. In order to change things we have to change the view of industry from the top. That means that both the provincial and the Toronto Film Board office need a shake up.

We need to start with a film friendly mayor. Bloomberg’s film friendly actions have turned the NYC film industry completely around. With Giuliani at the helm producers and directors loathed to film in The Big Apple, but who is kidding who, what would you expect from a polically motivated mayor?

Bloomberg is a businessman who received 1 dollar in salary. He is a man of financial and political independence that is motivated by civic pride. His film industry efforts have brought thousands of new jobs and over the last 2 years, NYC has produced over 2.4 billion in productions.

Many of us know that a percentage of this production at one point would have landed in “Toronto the Good”.

What can we do to change and use this NYC approach as our guide to create our own “Made In T.O.” incentive programs?

Miller’s actions speak so loud I can’t hear what he is saying. In the last 18 months the Toronto Film Board have not had one meeting. Who is at the helm? You guessed it – dippity do nothing Miller.

If Toronto had a film friendly mayor, our production would be averaging over 1 billion dollars annually. Our industry has proved that we can get the job done.

What is the big secret with the filmport lease? Come on, what is the REAL long term plan? A convention centre? A casino? If the filmport is indeed only going to be a film studio, ,then what is the big secret? Either put your broom away, or up the lease.