He made no bones during his election campaign that he would cancel Transit City and reallocate the money to build subways.
Mayor Rob Ford won the Oct. 25, 2010 election with 47% of the vote.
In other words, voters spoke loudly and plainly.
Councillor Karen Stintz agreed to take on the chairman’s role of the TTC knowing full well this was Ford’s agenda — to build subways.
She never once spoke about an alternative to taking the $8.4-billion Eglinton-Crosstown line underground in more than a year from the time she agreed to be TTC chairman — until most recently.
Egged on by my colleagues at the newspaper whose only intention is to bury the mayor, she produced a compromise that would bring the Eglinton Crosstown line above ground all through Scarborough.
Notice that compromise does not include bringing the transit line above-grade in her own midtown ward. No siree. Besides being a shameless opportunist, our little Karen is a Transit City NIMBY.
When her fellow commissioners on the TTC didn’t support her last week, she petulantly organized Wednesday’s special meeting to discuss transit, claiming Metrolinx and the province need a decision or the funding agreements will expire.
Look this is not the least bit about finding a compromise or doing what’s best for Toronto residents. It is not about creating a world-class transit system either.
If it were, there wouldn’t be a question about subways. As Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday pointed out Wednesday, reports have proven they are twice as fast, more efficient and make sense in our drastic winter conditions.
That’s what will get people out of their cars, he said.
Yes subways are more expensive. Burying the Eglinton-Crosstown line will cost more.
But all one has to do is look at the Scarborough RT line — built in the mid-80s and now needing replacement — to know above-ground LRTs (glorified streetcars) do not have the longevity of subway systems.
“We do know the life of those things (LRTS) is 30 years,” said Budget Chief Mike Del Grande.
So unlike my councillor Josh “I never met a media opportunity I didn’t like” Matlow who claimed Stintz was showing “courage” to champion the compromise, I do not for a moment think she is courageous.
It comes as no surprise that she’s shifted gears on the transit file considering I watched her constantly flail in the wind during her years as councillor — saying one thing on issues and voting quite the opposite.
But whether this is about the fantasy she continues to have to be the next mayor — a bid that would need Amalgamated Transit Union support — or she has been used by the Liberals and council’s leftists, Stintz has proven to be highly unprincipled.
In fact, sources tell me Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne and Stintz had five quiet “public meetings” on the current Crosstown plan last summer. Wonder what they heard? They never bothered to advertise the fact.
I suspect Wynne, who makes no secret of her disdain for Ford and openly supported her pal George Smitherman for mayor, would love to see the mayor’s subway plan crash and burn, despite the fact that Scarborough residents want subways.
Another shameless opportunist.
After their perceived win on the 2012 budget, it hasn’t taken the anti-Ford sharks on council and their Useful Idiots in the Moronic Middle to circle either.
The sight of Councillor Joe Mihevc, who has more nerve than 10 toothaches considering he was the architect of the St. Clair dedicated streetcar line disaster, rubbing shoulders with Stintz is enough to make anyone with a shred of common sense absolutely nauseous — knowing this is all about clinging to the failed legacy of the Miller leftovers.
The fact that Councillors Matlow, Josh Colle, Raymond Cho, Ana Bailao, Gloria Lindsay-Luby and James Pasternak are backing the compromise comes as no surprise. They’ve already proven that facts will never get in the way of their need to be part of the action.
The person that does surprise me is Mary-Margaret McMahon, aka Sandra Bussin-Lite, considering Stintz ignored her pleas to take a second look at the Ashbridges Bay streetcar yard.
But folks, such is the lure of “gotcha politics.”
Politicians like Stintz and her Gang of 23 have been reduced by a shameless opportunity to trash Rob Ford instead of doing what’s right for Toronto residents.