Dear Mayor David Miller,
I am motivated to write this letter in response to your recent attempt to impose a tax increase on Toronto, and the mass-media scare tactics employed when the City Council rightfully rejected your plan.
What truly amazed me was your claim that without the tax increase, police and mass transit would have to be cut. What this shows me is that either your office has not approached the budget question creatively, or that you simply want your tax increase regardless of the facts.
The facts, sir, as I understand them, are that the city and the province own plenty of real estate in downtown Toronto (Moss Park, Regent Park, Portlands, Harbourfront, Islands, etc.). Much of this land is used for ‘subsidized activity,’ whether it be residential, commercial, or industrial. Before you talk of cutting funding for the police force, one of the only legitimate functions of a state, why don’t you take inventory of the city’s and the province’s ‘social programs,’ and cut them until the budget is balanced? Why don’t you push for cuts to city planners, regulators, and other busybodies who impede growth? Before you talk about cutting the Shepherd subway line, wrenching away from taxpayers the fruit of their involuntary investment, why don’t you rent out the line to willing companies, of which I’m sure there are many? Or even better, why don’t you support privatizing the TTC — selling it off to several private groups in order to get a healthy transit market going? I am willing to bet that a private transit system would have lower fares and better service, all the while solving the ‘budget crisis.’
Lower taxes, more funds for police, and transit competition sound like good results. Respect for liberty, the rule of law and order, and private property create these results.
While I have your attention, if I still have your attention, I would like to address a major Quality of Life issue in Toronto — one that requires an expanded police force, not a rump one. To preface, I moved here from New York City. During the 1990s in my hometown, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the NYPD undertook a plan to address Quality of Life issues in addition to major crimes. The plan addressed serious nuisance issues including squeegee kids, panhandling, petty theft, loose psychotics, belligerent drunks and vandalism. Now I know Toronto is a tolerant city, and I’m not necessarily recommending the authoritarian measures of Mr. Giuliani, but we have a big problem with all of these QoL issues here. Something must be done! I cannot take an evening stroll in my downtown neighborhood without being approached ten or twenty times by beggars and psychotics. Sure, they are often harmless, but it is threatening nonetheless. I’m a lover of city life, hailing from one of the great world cities, but do you know what I think when I can’t walk outside unmolested? I think, “maybe this is why people move to the suburbs, to Mississauga, because they want peace and respect.”
Mr. Mayor, I implore you to focus the city’s energies where they are needed, and withdraw from where they are not. Privatize the socialist baggage of the 20th Century. Publicize the real political issues facing our city: Quality of Life, rising crime, crippling tax rates, provincial transfer payments, and others. There isn’t a budget crisis, there’s a crisis of understanding about the proper role of the state: limited, focused, and free.
A Concerned Denizen