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Toronto to Miller: You Have Your Four Years. Don't Screw it Up.



Crossposted to Spacing’s Wire

Despite strong opposition from some quarters, David Miller and a number of left-leaning councillors waltzed to victory on Monday. The Toronto Sun seems to think that its the end of the world. However, while David Miller’s first term must be called a frustrating disappointment given how challenged the city remains after three years, I stand by my earlier commentary wherein I said that David Miller had at least put Toronto on the right track. While we are not where we should be, we are still better than we were in 2003. Let’s see what happens in four years. If things aren’t appreciably better by then, then perhaps newly-minted councillor Adam Vaughan can challenge Miller on his record.

It’s significant to note that, along St. Clair Avenue, Joe Mihevc won his ward handily, despite a strong campaign against him by St. Clair private right-of-way opponent John Sewell. Moreover, right-of-way advocate Alejandra Bravo came within 300 votes of toppling right-of-way opponent Cesar Palacio in Ward 21. Let’s hope that the folks at Save Our St. Clair put away the rhetoric that the private right-of-way project doesn’t have community support. Clearly, SOS doesn’t speak for all of St. Clair.

But as Steve Munro notes, winning elections is one thing. Acting on the results and giving Torontonians a positive record to vote for in 2010 is another matter entirely. Mayor Miller has a mandate, and increased powers from the province to enact his agenda, but numerous challenges remain. How will the Ridership Growth Strategy be funded? What do we do with the Scarborough RT? When will we buy new streetcars to replace and renew our fleet? When will new buses arrive?

Time is already running out to enact changes that will make for noticeable improvements in time for the next election. Due to construction lags, once the 100 additional buses arrive in 2007, the earliest additional buses may arrive to bulk up the fleet could be as late as 2009, and by then TTC ridership is on track to grow 10%. The city is moving on, whether the politicians are ready or not. It’s time to run to catch up.

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