Friday, February 2, 2007

Assorted area anaesthetics

The London Fog reads the London Free Press so you don't have to. Save yourself five minutes and a dollar…

Keep your eyes on the center of the spiral… you are getting sleepy…

The Free Press editorial staff has long been engaged in an ecumenical crusade to embrace Londoners under the inclusive banner of its own editorials, to spare us the trouble of speaking for ourselves. And what we've been saying all along, apparently, is this:

We are idiots … we want pretty baubles … and we want to be taxed up to the tits for them!

And restraint, if the subject just simply cannot be avoided in polite company, we suggest is something to be practised behind closed doors by avoiding ultra-tit taxation. For example, in response to Counc. Cheryl Miller's stage revival of fiscal discipline in opposing a $1 million "beautification" plan for the $8.3 million rebuilding of Western Road, the Free Press editorial didn't scold her… it only dutifully reported us scolding her:

She's wrong.

Londoners have demonstrated time and again they do care about beautification projects, about esthetics, about first impressions, about the Creative City.

… Taxpayers don't in fact want simply smooth efficient roads. We don't want to be just another Ontario city with smooth traffic corridors.

We want trees and planters and pathways and points of interest and enhancements that add to our quality of life and make visitors sit up and notice and tell their friends back home about us for decades to come.

We want to be special, and we shouldn't settle for less.
Except, of course, when it comes to our newspapers…

Exciting surface bubble whispers

As council begins its deliberations over the 2007 budget today, the Free Press finds it suddenly opportune to bring up the performing arts centre again on the news-worthy grounds that "it appears that issue may take centre stage" (emphases added). From such imputed potentialities is the news gathered and made these days. Could it be — see, this is how it's done — because council previously delayed debate on the Creative Cities Task Force recommendation to "set aside half of each municipal surplus for a centre" and that the Free Press, sorry, "Londoners" want the debate revisited? If implementation of that recommendation is not an incentive for administration to continue rigging massive surpluses, I don't know what is, because the estimates being tossed around right now are for around "$60 million to $70 million," an astonishing figure considering that even the conspicuously debt-burdening John Labatt Centre cost only $45 million. Perhaps London could build its performing arts centre in surrounding Middlesex County because…

Wait, this isn't in the strategic plan!

…the property taxes would be cheaper at least! Middlesex County's draft budget calls for a revenue decrease of 4.6 per cent, and a 1.7 per cent reduction in property taxes. According to the Free Press, "lower taxes are attracting people" as well as businesses to Middlesex County. How this can be, when Middlesex County doesn't even have a Creative Cities Task Force, staggers the Londoner mind. Ours is not to wonder at the mysteries of economics, of course, but maybe we could afford even more performing arts centres, beautification plans and libraries if we move them out to Middlesex County!

No, but this is!

In contrast to Middlesex County's budget, the Free Press persists in depicting board of control's political struggle with London's budget last week as a heroic wrestle between a 4.3 per cent draft budget property tax increase and the board's recommended 2.8 per cent increase instead… despite the fact that the board recommended overall spending increases! In fact, the draft budget called for a 4.3 per cent increase in revenue, funded by a 2.6 per cent increase in property taxes and 1.7 per cent in assessment growth revenue, so after the board's deliberations we are in fact even worse off… although this is presented as an accomplishment! With the addition of most of the $8.1 million in the previous year's surplus and some extra provincial grants, the result of the board's accomplishments is a 4.9 per cent increase in revenue — a strong contrast with Middlesex County's 4.6 per cent decrease. And where does that assessment growth and surplus revenue come from in the first place? That's right: London property tax payers. So, the average increase in taxes, both from the property tax rate and increased assessment values, is actually 4.6 per cent. And this is before council gets its hands on the budget. What, for example, would you say are the odds that councillors will be able to resist the Library's political ultimatum that it will reduce service and close branches if it doesn't get a 4.6 per cent increase itself, instead of the 3.9 per cent increase the board recommended? Actually, forget the odds… council has already approved it. And there's much more to come…

London's little monster

London calls itself the proud home of a 12 year-old boy who's been charged nine times since May of last year with criminal offenses, including four charges of break and enter, one of assault, one of shoplifting, one of carrying a concealed weapon and one of, believe it or not, "not complying with court-ordered release conditions." And "police have had at least 20 other contacts with the boy in which he was warned but not charged." Remarkably, the boy has never been convicted or incarcerated, and the offenses continue. According to Constable Amanda Pfeiffer,
"We have to find a way to help him learn how to behave appropriately."
If the police or the courts think that that is what their responsibility is, that would explain a lot…

New London Fogger

Finally, the London Fog welcomes its newest contributor, Jake. Jake's pedigree as a London Fogger is uncontestable, having been earned the old-fashioned way: by being a rich, white, male son of capitalist tycoons. Jake's class polemics are dictated to illegal non-white immigrants who must scrabble in the dirt of his estate for sustenance, and the majority of London's subsidized housing population are refugees who have climbed over the walls of his vast South London plantation at great risk to their lives. We are grateful that we found him before the Free Press did.

8 comments:

Jake said...

London's "Little Monster" is my little brother. He would order the slaves to pick the cotton at knife point.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah? Does your father happen to be a London city cop, Jake?

Joe Molnar said...

Welcome to The London Fog, Jake.

In regards to the london Free Press - the regional Quebcor owned voice, their main reason for their existence is the interest in the regional obituaries they carry.
Too bad the region doesn't have a conservative newspaper voice.

Jake said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carmi said...

Maybe we can get the newly-flush folks of Middlesex County to pay for London's flower pots. A little neighbourly love, if you will.

Alternatively, can we not recycle the now-well-used fixtures from Dundas to the Western Road corridor? If anything, the downtown experience should be enough proof that dropping pretty-looking doo-dads onto the streetscape won't magically transform the space.

A pig is still a pig no matter how much Chanel you slap behind its ears.

Anonymous said...

Are fucking kidding me? The London Free Press is exactly what we will get more of in a capitalist libertarian society. Brainless drivel that "sells". If you are interested in Libertarian socialism we have a different story. Everyone would have a voice equally not just the rich kids.

Jake said...

Enough with this false stereotype that the posters on this blog are so-called "rich kids". If anything, I'd say more socialist come from wealthy backgrounds than any other class.

Thucydides said...

"Libertarian Socialism?"

This must be the same person who won an award with the "Elevator" essay at Western.........