Tory Racking Up Debt to Keep Special Interests Happy

TORONTOAbout eight minutes into his daily press opportunity Thursday I asked newly minted Mayor John Tory if he intended to raise more debt to plug an $86-million budget hole.After all, he kept talking about an in-house financing option that would keep him from gutting services as his predecessor had allegedly done or from raising property taxes through the roof to make up the difference.This years $86-million problem is the result of the provincial decision in June 2013 to cut payments to Toronto payments which were pooled from other GTA municipalities because the city handles about 60% of the social housing in the province.

That cutback rises to $129 million next year.The CFO and the city manager will explain that we are doing a short-term financing mechanism which will smooth out the effects of the provincial cutbacks and allow us to continue to invest in services and keep property taxes at or below the rate of inflation, he responded.When I followed up with, is that a yes or no to more debt, Tory ignored me.

But allow me to interpret the Tory talk: The citys finance officials, adopting yet another creative shell game that has never been used before, will keep the $200-million-odd operating funds they normally divert to capital needs (called capital from current) and raise more debt for the capital projects that need funding.This creative idea is really Plan B, considering that the province despite Torys many photo-ops engaged in kissy face with Premier Kathleen Wynne refused to delay the cutbacks, or to actually give the city a bailout without stringent strings attached.We werent told exactly how much would be borrowed but it will likely be as much as $150 million, which city manager Joe Pennachetti says will be done at competitive bank rates.

Theyre also looking at paying the money back within six years.Tory insisted every decision he makes, this one included, is about responsible financial management.He also claimed that he felt it his responsibility to take the issue up with the province the moment he walked in the door as the new mayor, considering his predecessor made absolutely no effort to fend off the cuts.

Tory also ensured he mentioned three times that Rob Ford had allegedly gutted services, which he as the proverbial white knight had an obligation to restore.I will deal with his allegedly responsible financial management approach first.Its anything but.

Its called wanting to be a friend to everybody and everyone and not being able to make the most minimal of tough decisions, something I predicted during the campaign.What would it take to reduce expenditures? We heard that the 1,000 planned new hires alone will cost the city around $50 million, not that the city manager or CFO seemed to know the exact figure when asked Thursday.

What about wage freezes? What about having the guts to contract out garbage east of Yonge St. instead of deferring it to engage in yet another study?

And those extra 181 shelter beds were put in place just to pander to the homeless industry.Let us not forget that debt comes with interest and interest must be paid out of the operating budget. Debt service costs continue to be the third largest line item year after year.

Lets not forget either that borrowing money is a one-time fix, meaning it not only needs to be paid back but the hole will still need to be filled next year.Former budget chief Mike Del Grande must be wanting to tear his hair out listening to Tory talk incessantly about services being gutted and raising more debt. Del Grande worked feverishly not only to make the budget sustainable and get debt service costs down from $420 million to $377 million a year but he also squirreled away surplus monies and sales of assets to pay the $710-million subway, streetcar and bus bill former Mayor David Miller left the Rob Ford regime.

Del Grande didnt gut services. Ford certainly didnt streamline staff or the bloated management ranks, as Id hoped he would. In fact, when Fords drinking and drug issues took over the agenda, I was frustrated to watch council greedily and eagerly trying to add back pet projects.

Which brings me to what Tory characterized as Fords apparent lack of effort to speak up about the cuts.According to information provided Thursday, the province announced the cuts in June 2013.Ford was stripped of his powers by council in November 2013 and Norm Kelly was put in charge.

Wynne would have nothing to do with Ford from November 2013 on. She wouldnt meet with him. He was persona non grata at Queens Park.

Was it not up to Kelly to advocate for the city at Queens Park during his many meetings and photo-ops with Wynne before and after the ice storm of late 2013?Wasnt it up to council to help push the need for a reversal of the cuts?It was nasty and disingenuous of Tory to suggest Ford did nothing when in fact he could do nothing.

One thing I know Ford would not have done is to incur more debt to keep all the special interests happy.sue-ann.a

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No commercial, industrial or residential parking garage is complete without proper lighting. While designers and building owners find many options that meet lighting requirements, exterior LED flood lights tend to provide the best overall value for a variety of reasons. When LED flood lights are installed, building owners can save money without cutting corners in regard to safety or lighting quality.Just as LED indoor flood lights do, outdoor designs created especially for garages offer a visually pleasing way to illuminate a space. Going beyond the aesthetic value, however, LED outdoor flood lights for garages and other dark-by-design installations are favored for the following reasons:· The designs offered — Parking garages can pose an especially big challenge in regard to lighting. There are LED outdoor flood lights, as commercial property owners will find, that are made especially for parking garages. These sleek, low profile exterior flood lights are meant to be placed as close to the ceiling as possible. The design of these industrial flood lights is set to deliver clearance for a diversity of vehicles that is likely to use a parking garage on any given day.· The energy savings — The best outdoor LED flood light will use about 75 percent less electricity than standard options, such as incandescent bulbs. This savings can add up big on monthly electric bills, meaning property owners can deliver safety and lighting to garage spaces without paying more than they should.· The longevity — When parking garages are used day and night with high volumes of traffic, changing out bulbs can be a real challenge for maintenance crews. LED industrial flood lights provide an advantage here. This type of lighting is known to have a tremendously longer functional life than other lighting options.· The safety — In addition to providing enhanced safety due to the illumination provided, the best outdoor LED flood light designs tend to operate without producing as much heat as other designs. That means these lights are safer by design by reducing combustion risk.Making sure parking garages are properly illuminated around the clock can pose a real challenge for property owners. LED flood light fixtures for outdoor use can provide the perfect solutions. LED flood lights created especially for garages offer cost savings, safety and sleek designs that fit this environment perfectly.ABOUT THE AUTHORKristen Myers is an entrepreneur in the field of commercial LED lights, and has vast knowledge about various types of commercial and industrial LED lighting solutions available in the market for various commercial applications. He recommends for commercial LED lighting solutions·RELATED QUESTIONWere can I get quality outdoor LED lighting for my landscape project?If short maintenance, eco friendly landscape lighting is a precedence for you, outdoor LED lighting is a ideal option for your landscape lighting design. LED landscape lighting offers the protection, security and artistic qualities as any other landscape lighting solution, but it also offers a concentrated ecological footprint and lower maintenance.You can emphasize the beautiful architecture of your home’s external or landscaping with tactically placed outdoor lighting by LV Lightings. While your options may seem endless, it’s significant to believe the role you want your outdoor lights to play. Will they be for security reasons, or for more ornamental purposes?Outdoor LED lightingmay be more luxurious up front than other options, but in the long run it will go easier on your wallet than other bulbs. From LV Lighting’s LED lights have a long life span and offer excellence lighting that is power efficient.Whatever options you settle on, you’re sure to find a extensive selection of charming and well-designed landscape lighting right here on LV Lightings.
Dave Shines an Important Light on Mental Health in the Black Community
If you are not keeping up with FXX’s Dave, it follows David Burd, better known by his stage name “Lil Dicky”, on his rise to fame through rap, viral videos, and a chunk of his Bar Mitzvah money. Despite its comical and somewhat crass nature, the latest episode struck a particular nerve when it brought up the sensitive topic of mental health. The episode centered around Burd’s on and off-screen hype-man, GaTa, who revealed a past of struggles with bipolar disorder.The episode featured multiple flashbacks of GaTa’s history with the disorder, including a heart-wrenching scene where GaTa is forcefully removed from the mall after being embarrassed in the store and being taken to the police station. There he is treated with the mood stabilizer and anti-convulsant drug Depakote to calm down. As more and more flashbacks reveal, many of the people GaTa surrounds himself with find him to be “too much”, and even kick him off of a tour bus because of it. When Dave, his DJ, Elz, and his roommate/manager, Mike, become increasingly frustrated with GaTa for his inability to focus on their rehearsal for an upcoming show with Meek Mill, GaTa takes this as a sign to have his medication refilled. This, however, leads him to crash at rehearsal and fall into a deep depressive state. When Dave and Mike question him over this, GaTa reveals, in tears, that he struggles with bipolar disorder and has a long history of having people blow up at him because of it, but finds that Lil Dicky and his team have become a family to him. They make him comfortable because they are “weirdos, just like him.”GaTa’s experience is far from a rare one, and shines an important light on mental health in the black community. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, African-Americans are 10% more likely to experience psychological distress. In 2017, suicide was the second leading cause of death among Black youths and young adults aged 15–24.”Cameron Agerston, M.Ed, a school counselor based in Maryland, says “The remnants of slavery still hold weight in the black community. The concept of strength, currently for most Black Americans, does not acknowledge emotional intelligence, reward empathy, or recognize the necessity of mental health.” He believes that intergenerational trauma calls for an increased focus on mental health due to a history of assaults on Black personhood. Agerston, who works at a predominantly black high school, has found students with parents from all backgrounds of life choose to actively avoid the issues, refusing therapy and other mental health services their child desperately needs.In the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only 30% of African-Americans with mental illness receive treatment. This could be due, in part, to the increasing costs of healthcare in America, and the fact that many insurance companies are still finding ways to cut corners and deny their payors mental health services. (Note: If you are denied mental healthcare, NAMI covers how you can appeal this here.)Agerston says, “The commonality is the threat of being seen as different, as needing help, as being weak: the antithesis of the strength Black Americans value so much. The result and burden is generations of Black persons who don’t acknowledge their emotions, the essence of their identity, and instead choose to project normalcy.”North Carolina based history teacher and African-American studies scholar, Valencia Abbott, M.A., shares a similar belief. “I think the topic is not one that is discussed and it depends on which generation is the focus of the conversation. I think older generations, my age and older, tend to hold the belief that faith and will power are more powerful, and that the mental health issue is a personal weakness”, says Abbott.In an article published by Central Oregon, GaTa said that he wanted to put his struggle with bipolar disorder out there to help others, hoping that they feel inspired to get help they may need, and to show men they are not weak for seeking help. For many, this is the permission that they need to be vulnerable. To accept themselves, recognize the mental illnesses they are experiencing, and accept help for themselves.***Jaden Broadnax is a history and sociology student based in North Carolina who writes about feminism, education, mental health, and comic books. You can read more of her work on Women Write About Comics, and Twitter.·RELATED QUESTIONIn what U.S. states are HID lights illegal and why?This is a bit of a tricky question. The National High Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) have found HID kits to be unsafe and illegal.You’ll want to look up the law for your particular state. Here’s a good resource for that:LED Car headlights and HID Car headlights by MotorFiendAs a general rule, anything over 6k will be asking for trouble with the police. I highly recommend the brand Kensun. See myKensun Hid Kit review.According toPowerbulbs.comThe seller says the kit is road legal. Is this true?Xenon HIDs are only road legal if the headlight unit is correctly E marked. If you’re unsure, you’re looking for an ECE R99 certification. There are only two ways for a HID kit to qualify as road legal:If the whole headlight unit is replaced with one specifically designed for HID.The existing headlight unit would have to be reassessed for compliance and then assigned a new ‘E’ mark.As you can imagine, this is very costly and causes a lot of hassle. However, unless you take these steps when converting halogen to HID, your vehicle will not be road legal.What if the seller says that the conversion kit will pass my MOT?The kit may pass, but that does not necessarily mean that it is road legal.Does it matter if the kit is legal or not?That completely depends on each individual driver and whether they want to risk their luck using the kit. If you find that you’re asking yourself this very question, you may want to take the following points into account:Adding the kit may void your insurance and any warranty you may have on your vehicle. It’s best to check this out before you buy!HID kits can pose a safety risk to the emergency services. If you’re part of an accident, the kit may not switch off which could cause lots of problems. Factory-fitted bulbs are designed to switch off in the event of a collision, and many conversion kits don’t have this feature.
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