Diversity our strength?

diversity_motto

That’s the official motto of Toronto.  “Diversity our Strength”. 

We love to brag about our it.  The whole world, on our doorstep.  You can see it wherever you go.  Well, almost.  You don’t really see it at City Hall.

The corridors of power are still – in 2014 – dominated by white men.  Here are some charts showing how bad the discrepancy is, between who we are and who leads us (below).

women_2014 minorities_2014

Desmond Cole wrote a good piece about this today as well, check it out here. [Note, his numbers are a little different than mine.. I think because he only looked at the 44 Ward seats, and I included the full Council which is 45 seats].

One part of the problem is our voting system.  There’s a tonne of data showing that voting systems have a huge impact on representation and diversity.  Learn more at RaBIT, Unlock Democracy and Better Ballots!

But to be honest, there is no simple solution.  It’s a problem that is fueled by cultural barriers, media bias, voting systems, economic realities, and many other factors.

The main thing, is to keep pointing it out.  To ignore the lack of representation is to normalise it – and legitimise it.  Only by raising awareness and speaking out, will we be able to spark some change.

You know something’s wrong, when your City Council representing “The Most Diverse City in the World” …looks like a lot like the Maple Leafs.

leafs_Council

Did you ever have to make up your mind?

This is it folks!  Nine months after nominations began, election day is upon us.

Tomorrow, we get to choose a new mayor, 44 City Councillors, and our local school trustees.  They will shape the city around us for the next four years.

Lucky for you, a whole bunch of folks have gone out of their way to make it easier! Take a few minutes to check out these amazing community-driven election resources:

Continue reading

Picnic update: David + Dave!

PICNIC

So four weeks ago I wrote a blog post about my birthday picnic, scheduled for October 5th, 2pm, at Trinity Bellwoods Park.

Since then, I’ve learned that some other guy named David is ALSO having a party on October 5th, at 2pm, in Trinity Bellwoods Park!

It seems that the Logistics Team at the International Davids Schedule Coordination Centre was asleep at the wheel.

Luckily, it looks like it’s gonna work out fine! Continue reading

Who wants to be Mayor?

Who wants to be mayor?  A whole bunch of people!

Take the time to find out why these folks are running, and what they’re proposing for Toronto.

[Each photo links to their website. Listed alphabetically by first name]

GoldkindSoknackiLee Continue reading

Birthday picnic ~ $40 for 40

PICNIC
Forty days from now, I’m turning 40.

If you’d like to help me celebrate, please put aside one dollar each day between now and then, and join me for a potluck picnic at Trinity Bellwoods Park!

The donations will be split among these local all-star organisations: Social Planning Toronto   •   SOY   •   Urban Alliance on Race Relations   •   Unlock Democracy   •   Women in Toronto Politics   •   Toronto Environmental Alliance   •   Gerstein Centre  •  Cycle Toronto  •  Art Starts  •  Toronto Harm Reduction Alliance

The picnic is on October 5th, at 2pm, in Trinity Bellwoods Park.  We’ll be in the south end of the park.  Look for blue balloons.  : )

RSVP on Facebook

thank you!
xo


painting by Liam Rainsford.  Check out his amazing video showing how he painted it.

If a billboard falls in a forest….. (Part 2)

[note: this is cross-posted from spacing magazine]

Five weeks ago, I wrote the first installment of this saga which I described at the time as a “shocking tale of procedural inertia, bureaucratic confusion, and a broken democracy.”

I have some updates to share on this story, updates that provide a glimmer of hope while at the same time illustrating how deep the systemic problems at City Hall are.

I’ll get the good news out of the way first: The city’s Sign Unit has agreed to “re-open the investigation” into these signs. City staff are actively exploring whether the billboards are legal or not, and they are helping guide me through the entire process.

Now, the bad news: Continue reading

Our Transit Agency Shouldn’t Be in the Business of Endangering Drivers

[note: this is cross-posted from Torontoist]

Photo by Seekdes from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Metrolinx, the provincial agency responsible for developing transportation in and around Toronto, is by definition in charge of helping us all move around more effectively. Which is why it is particularly crazy—a special kind of ridiculous—that the people who are supposed to be the caretakers of our travel want to allow eight massive commercial digital billboards, at four separate locations, along the 401 and 427.

While all levels of government are making efforts to reduce driver distraction, the Metrolinx plan actually aims to increase distraction—and make money off that distraction, to boot. Continue reading