Thursday, April 09, 2009

Local Politicos Poke Fun at Residents Expense

Municipal politicians in Canada’s largest city may have inadvertently lowered some resident’s property values, because of their own poor taste.

Toronto’s city council recently changed the name of a local street from “Connfield Lane” to “OMB Folly” after the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) approved development of the land, despite the city’s opposition. The OMB is a provincial government body, which regulates many municipal functions across the province of Ontario, and can overrule local city councils.

New homes on the now named “OMB Folly” range from $690,000 to $920,000 – that is unless the name of the street starts deterring people from living there. Many residents are furious – and rightly so – because of this inside joke, at their expense.

Although Toronto’s council will be voting on reversing this name change later this month, this lack of sound judgement raises the question, what were local councillors thinking?

With the depression currently sweeping across the globe, increases in property taxes, and a municipal election in 2010, isn’t there enough on Toronto city council’s plate, without having to resort to childish name games?

That’s in a sense, what this really is – a childish game. Toronto city council didn’t like being overruled by the province, so they publicly decided to ridicule the provincial body that did so, by calling it a name. Unfortunately for those who live on the affected street, that negative name became their home address.

What’s next – will Toronto city council throw spit balls at anyone who dares to challenge them? Maybe they will have a pen fight with their counterparts at the provincial level? How far will Toronto city council go before it is too far?

Though some may say Toronto city council already has gone too far, because their childish stunt affected more than just their relationship with a provincial government body, it actually affected people who had little to do with this battle – those who have homes on the affected street.

I always thought you had to be a fully functioning adult to run a big city, but after this whole affair, I’m thinking a 10-year-old child would have made a more adult choice.

Speaking of choices – where was the mayor of Canada’s largest city when this happened? Although he isn’t responsible for the individual actions of his councillors, he is ultimately responsible for the outcome of their combined efforts. When his council voted to change the name of this street to something less than kind, shouldn’t he have stepped in and put an end to it before it actually happened?

Was Toronto’s mayor playing hooky, or just out to lunch?

Chances are all but the handful of Toronto’s residents who live on the affect street will forget this embarrassing incident by the time the city holds its municipal elections for mayor and councillors in 2010.

But then, we shouldn’t have to babysit our leaders – at any level. Running a town, a city, a province or a whole country is not child’s play.

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