Alright, enough about music. Back to politics: this time, of the local flavour.
In case you've been under a rock, Rob Ford was elected mayor of Toronto this past fall. Rob's dad, a businessman (quite a wealthy one, to boot) and backbencher in the Mike Harris regime... well, that's pretty much all you need to know. Ford the Younger campaigned on a "Stop the Gravy Train" platform, which was catchy and populist-as-all-get-out, and he won.
(God help us, he won.)
A bunch of councillors won with the same message, hell-bent on slamming the brakes on said Train. "Respect for Taxpayers" was another common motto, because hey, we all pay taxes in this town, right? That's what we are, Taxpaying Things In The 416. We're not citizens. Perish the thought.
Anyway, I digress.
First thing was first, when Ford found himself with the Chain of Office: scrap that dastardly $60-a-year Vehicle Registration Tax! Respect for taxpayers, indeed. (I admit, when I renewed my plates for two years back in November — might as well, it saves me the hassle every other year — the bill stung: couple o' hunnies for the sticker, plus a sweet buck-twenty straight to the City.) Who cares that property taxes in the City, as opposed to the 905, are crazy-low? Cars (and trucks, and buses, but not streetcars and damn sure not bikes) are what roads are built for, stupid!
1. That $60/year fee for having a car and a Toronto address? That brought in a ton of money, and it was one of the first things done under the City of Toronto Act, through the province, in order to generate a little extra scratch for Hogtown because, well, we do a lot of stuff here, and that shit ain't free. But, more importantly...
2. Turns out there wasn't as much Gravy as Ford & Co. thought there was. Just this past weekend, newly-minted, Ford-backing, alliteration-enhanced councillor from the Beach(es), Mary-Margaret McMahon, was quoted to say, and I'm paraphrasing slightly, "Y'know, there isn't as much gravy here as we'd planned. This is going to be hard."
As hard as it might be for you to believe, I don't relish the "I told you so" moment as much as you might think. I mean, it's a little satisfying, for sure, but in the end, who comes out on top? It's like a prison rodeo: there are no real winners.
All I can say is that, when Ford went cap-in-hand to the Province with a wish-list, Dwight Duncan made like Little Bessie from Lake Charles, Louisiana and "tore it up and threw it in [his] face, just for a laugh,"* and Tim Hudak suggested it was because Ford beat George Smitherman (a former McGuinty Minister of Health) last fall... well, it'd be funnier if I didn't have to fucking live here, but I do.
The moral of the story, I think, was perfectly summed up, once upon a time, by Little Richard: Don't let your mouth write checks your tail can't cover.
* This is a great song, and always will be.