Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Politics usually gets in the way of progress: Ontario edition

I often rue how difficult it is to progress when it comes to local government functioning.

A lot of this has to do with the lack of interest in evidence-based policy development and planning, which doesn't get utilized when legislation and programs are developed.

But a goodly amount is tied up in politics, and competition between parties and individuals.

In Ontario, the Conservative Party won after years of being subservient to the Liberal Party.

In government, cities and counties are the creation of states or provinces, and exist at their sufferance. Mostly, this is problematic only in that legislatures are organized to preference rural interests, so cities get screwed often in policy such as in Virginia, Washington State, New York State--the Legislature and Governor there routinely disses New York City, etc.

But in the Province of Ontario, a very much Trump-like Premier was elected, Doug Ford, brother of the now deceased crack using former mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, and he's now settling scores.

He cancelled elections for "Regional Mayors," a new position, in multiple jurisdictions, in large part because one person running in the Peel Region is a competitor for Ford within the Progressive Conservative Party.

-- "Ford throws Ontario elections into turmoil," Toronto Globe & Mail

Ford, a former Toronto Councilmember, who when as councilor like his brother he represented and aimed to privilege suburban interests, now proposes to cut in half the size of the Toronto Council, which he can do by fiat, so long as his legislative majority goes along.

-- "Ontario government introduces bill to cut Toronto city council by nearly half," National Post
-- "Councillors, Ontario opposition attack Premier Doug Ford's Toronto council cuts," CBC

Rule of law versus revenge politics.

These are the kinds of instances of policy in practice that demonstrate why progress is so difficult to achieve.

And to be fair, it predates Trump and Ford.

They're just even more direct about it.

But it is another illustration that voting does matter and who gets elected matters, and that the parties and politicians and policies are different and "it does matter who gets elected" because all politicians aren't the same.

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