A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘politics

[URBAN NOTE] “How Toronto’s Newly Proposed Wards Will Shake Up the City”

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A graphics-heavy post at Torontoist by Sean Marshall looks at how new wards in Toronto will alter the city’s politics.

Despite major population growth, concentrated in only a few parts of the city, Toronto’s ward boundaries have not changed since 2000, when the number of city councillors was chopped from 56 to 44. Sixteen year later, councillors in downtown Toronto and central North York are overworked. Not only must they represent a disproportionately larger population, they must keep track of numerous building applications, support more local business improvement areas, and work through great neighbourhood change. Wards 20, 23, 27, and 42 are the most underrepresented at City Hall; Ward 42 includes the new Morningside Heights neighbourhood, while condominium construction have swollen the number of residents in Wards 20, 23, and 27.

Consultants retained by the City of Toronto have been tasked with reviewing the size and shape of Toronto’s wards, and providing a recommendation for new ward boundaries that will take effect in time for the 2018 municipal election. Back in August 2015, the Toronto Ward Boundary Review Options Report was released. This month, after consultations at public meetings and with sitting councillors, the consultants are recommending 47 wards, up from the current 44. The final report’s recommendation, released on May 16, is similar to the “Minimal Change” option in last August’s report, but there have been some minor tweaks to the ward boundaries. Each new ward will have an average population of 61,000, with a range between 51,800 and 72,000 (+/- 15%).

There’s much more at Torontoist.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 20, 2016 at 10:15 pm

[NEWS] Some Friday links

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  • Bloomberg looks at Argentina’s push for renewable energy, reports on Rosatom’s interest in developing South Africa as an entry into the African nuclear market, writes about China’s opposition to anything remotely like separatism in Hong Kong, and looks at Poland’s demand for an apology for Bill Clinton critical of the new government.
  • Bloomberg View notes the importance of honest statistics in Brazil, and calls for American arms sales to a friendly Vietnam.
  • CBC notes new Conservative support for a transgender rights bill and reports on how Ontario’s climate policy will hit Alberta’s natural gas exports.
  • Gizmodo notes Portugal has just managed to power itself entirely on renewable energy for four days.
  • The Inter Press Service describes the Middle Eastern refugee crisis.
  • The National Post looks at a proposed New York State ban on declawing cats.
  • Open Democracy reports on Norway’s EU status via a left-leaning Norwegian, looks at the life of Daniel Berrigan, and notes the emergent Saudi-Indian alliance.
  • Universe Today describes the circumstellar habitable zones of red giants.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO notes this weekend is going to be warm.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at moons of the dwarf planets in the Kuiper belt.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at some photos of American malls taken in the late 1980s.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a white dwarf that stole so much matter from its stellar partner to make it a brown dwarf.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes Greenland may not have been particularly warm when the Vikings came.
  • Language Hat tells the story of one solitary person who decided to learn Korean.
  • Language Log writes about Sinitic languages written in phonetic scripts.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map showing how New Orleans is sinking.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests Brexit is not a good strategy, even in the hypothetical case of a collapsing EU. Why not just wait for the collapse?
  • The New APPS Blog notes with concern the expansion of Elsevier.
  • The NYRB Daily notes the perennial divisions among the Kurds.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer wonders what’s wrong with Bernie Sanders.
  • Towleroad looks at the impending decriminalization of gay sex in the Seychelles.
  • Understanding Society looks at the work of Brankovich in understanding global inequality.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Crimean Tatars are no longer alone in remembering 1944, and looks at the unhappiness of Tuva’s shrinking Russophone minority.

[URBAN NOTE] “In Brampton, a return to Fennell-era dysfunction”

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The Toronto Star‘s San Grewal looks at the continuing problems of Brampton.

Bill Davis walked onto the stage in a Brampton banquet hall to introduce the city’s new mayor, as wide-eyed supporters waited to hear their new leader’s vision to rehabilitate an aching city. Linda Jeffrey had just put an end to four painful years under Susan Fennell.

As they circled the dance floor to bhangra music and noshed on samosas, the euphoric crowd could not imagine the painful 18 months that were about to unfold.

It was election night, Oct. 27, 2014.

Her landslide victory over Fennell “sent a clear message that (voters) want a better Brampton . . . We needed real leadership,” Jeffrey said that night, as Davis, the revered former Ontario premier — who knows a thing or two about leadership — looked on.

Brampton had just experienced four years of scandal emanating from the mayor’s office. A series of Star investigations revealed a history of reckless spending by Fennell and her staff; that a private gala in her name raised hundreds of thousands of dollars annually without financial disclosure — including tens of thousands that came from city coffers without council’s knowledge; and that hundreds of city contracts awarded to a close friend of Fennell.

Things, it seems, have not improved.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 18, 2016 at 9:03 pm

[NEWS] Some Wednesday links

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  • Bloomberg notes Twitter will stop counting photos and links against its 140-character limit, reports on the challenges of the new Taiwanese president, and reports on Japan’s efforts to boost its workforce.
  • Bloomberg View argues European banks just aren’t good at investment banking, suggests austerity worked for Latvia, and argues an IMF suggestion of a debt holiday for Greece is impolitic.
  • CBC notes J.K. Rowling’s defense of Donald Trump.
  • Via The Dragon’s Gaze, I found this Eurekalert post noting a search for Earth-like worlds around highly evolved stars, like the red giants that our sun will evolve into.
  • Gizmodo reports on how Sweden is moving the city of Kiruna to safer ground, and describes Amazon’s interest in opening more physical bookstores.
  • The Inter Press Service wonders what will happen to Brazil now.
  • The National Post notes the mysteries surrounding a secret American military spaceplane.
  • Open Democracy looks at the human rights consequences of Mexico’s long-running drug war.
  • TVO considers the impact of a long NDP leadership campaign on the party.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

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  • Dangerous Minds looks at the oddly sexual imagery of zeppelins entering their births.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes a paper looking at ways to detect Earth-like exomoons.
  • Imageo notes unusual melting of the Greenland icecap.
  • Language Log shares an extended argument against Chinese characters.
  • The Map Room Blog notes the hundredth anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement to partition the Ottoman Empire.
  • The NYRB Daily notes authoritarianism in Uganda.
  • Noel Maurer looks at the problem with San Francisco’s real estate markets.
  • Towleroad follows RuPaul’s argument that drag can never be mainstreamed, by its very nature.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that a flourishing Ukraine will not be itself restore the Donbas republics to it.

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto weed dispensary closes doors ahead of looming crackdown”

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In a tweet-heavy article, City News notes the pressure on Toronto weed dispensaries. In fairness, I’m not sure what the owners of not-quite-legal businesses were thinking, with their plans to open up on such a large scale when the regulatory and legal frameworks were so vague.

Last weekend, Toronto Mayor John Tory walked into the Kind Supply marijuana dispensary in Kensington Market, seeking to learn more about the burgeoning industry that’s leapfrogged the legalization process.

“I went into one of them and started asking a lot of questions and the one I went into, they of course said that they were following all the rules and it was everybody else that wasn’t,” Tory told reporters. “They helped to educate me a little bit,” he added.

Tory’s trip may have amounted to the Cole’s notes version of a complex issue, but he emerged with a clear directive — it’s time to clamp down.

A few days later Tory penned a letter to Municipal Licensing and Standards urging immediate enforcement, in tandem with police, while the city further studies how to deal with the snowballing situation.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 16, 2016 at 7:59 pm

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