Posts Tagged ‘politics’
At NOW Toronto, James Dubro commemorates the 35th anniversary of the police raids which kick-started Canada’s gay rights movement.
It was Toronto’s Stonewall, a brutal police raid that brought the many divided elements of the gay community together on the streets to protest in large numbers for the first time.
On February 5, 1981, 150 Toronto police officers armed with crowbars, billy clubs and sledgehammers carried out violent raids on four gay bathhouses.
The cops roughed up and arrested 289 mostly gay men on prostitution and indecency charges or as “found-ins at a common bawdy house.” Twenty more, including owners and staff at the bathhouses, were charged with being “keepers of a common bawdy house.”
Except for the roundup of suspected dissidents during the imposition of the War Measures Act in Quebec in 1970, the raids were the largest police action to that point in Canada.
Operation Soap, the cops’ code name for the raids, inspired novelist Margaret Atwood to wonder, tongue-in-cheek, “What do the police have against cleanliness?” Indeed, the majority of city councillors wanted to know the same thing and ordered an independent review by Arnold Bruner on relations between the police and “the homosexual community.”
Outrage as well as fear of outings, firings and suicides of gay men caught up in the raids led to the largest gay rights demonstrations the country had ever seen.
On the eve of the 35th anniversary of the raids, questions still remain: Why did the police never apologize? Who gave the order?
No one knows, or, at least, no one is telling.
Bloomberg View’s Timothy L. O’Brien notes that, for all of his reputation as a deal-maker, Trump is actually bad. For proof, O’Brien offers Trump’s mishandling of a major deal in Manhattan.
Through Trump’s rise, fall and rebirth, there was one major real estate project that he tried to keep. The tale of what happened to that property should be of interest to anyone looking for insight into how Trump might perform as president. It was a deal of genuine magnitude and would have put him atop the New York real estate market. And he screwed it up.
The deal involved Manhattan’s West Side Yards, a sprawling, 77-acre tract abutting the Hudson River between 59th and 72nd Streets and at the time the largest privately owned undeveloped stretch of land in New York City. The Yards were a vestige of the Penn Central Transportation Company, a failed railroad enterprise that, in 1970, filed what was then the biggest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history. In the wake of that collapse, Trump leveraged his father’s ties to New York’s Democratic machine and local bankers to acquire pieces of Penn Central’s holdings, including the Yards, in the mid-1970s.
Unable to reach agreements with the city and community groups on how to develop the site, Trump let his option lapse in 1979. His Yards saga began in earnest in 1985, when he bought back the property from another developer for $115 million.
Trump’s plans for the property included office and residential space; a new broadcasting headquarters for NBC; a rocket-ship-shaped skyscraper that would have been the world’s tallest building and cast shadows across the Hudson River into New Jersey; and a $700 million property tax abatement from the city as an incentive to build it. The $4.5 billion project — which Trump called Television City — would have been New York’s biggest development since Rockefeller Center.
Like London’s Canary Wharf, begun a few years later, Television City promised to reshape a significant portion of a major urban center. “It’s an opportunity to build a city within the greatest city, and I don’t think anybody’s ever had that opportunity,” Trump said in an interview at the time.
What happened? Go read.