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Joe Fiorito of The Toronto Star January 31, 2011

Posted by huymix in News, Politics.
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Joe Fiorito

I’m sorry but I had all but abandoned this blog. From now on, this blog might only post when I have particularly strong feelings, one way or another, towards something. Even then, it would have to overcome my innate laziness. I will try to keep the posts short, again due to laziness, but I won’t have a particular devotion to the previous 3 bullet point format.

So when I post something, you gotta know, that the topic that I’m posting about has gotten to me.

Today’s topic: The Toronto Star columnist: Joe Fiorito

I think what has really turned me against Mr. Fiorito has been his more recent coverage of the TTC service cuts. I’ll invite you to check out a couple of his recent articles:

The Toronto Star: Cuts threaten bus service to Toronto’s deaf-blind community

The Toronto Star: Hiding in the back of the bus

You might be asking what is your beef with these articles? Well, I have a few points to make:

  • His short, conversation style is fine except that he will take it too far to the point that it can feel childish. For example: “In. The. Entire. Country.” when he already wrote that it was for the entire country. Maybe it was written for emphasis, but I think he has already made his point before that and writing that does not add to the point.
  • He’s essentially written the same talking points over and over again. TTC cuts means some people, including less capable people in some ways, will not have service. Almost by definition, a service cut to anything means some people will not have service.  In each article, he’s written that same point just using different examples. I’m sorry for those people that do get service cut, but this point is hardly surprising and certainly does not warrant so much coverage.
  • The bias runs a bit too deep. He is writing a column and not the straight news and thus he is allowed his personal bias to show more. However, his articles do not have a hint of consideration for an alternative perspective and puts his credibility at stake. I think that his writing makes him seem like he is completely unwilling to listen to a different perspective and that can mean people will be less likely to believe what he is saying is based on sound and reasonable judgment. There are probably good reasons why those service cuts are being made and in his writing, none of those reasons feel like they have been explored.

Nothing I am saying is meant to criticize Joe Fiorito the person. I do not pretend to know him or know anything about what he believes. I’m only looking at it from the perspective of a Star reader. Maybe he isn’t everything I think his writing makes him out to be. Maybe, but I certainly cannot tell from his writing.

Conclusion: He needs to work out whether he has already made his point and move on.


Toronto Cyclists January 12, 2010

Posted by huymix in Politics, Sports.
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With a report that showed Toronto commute times doubling in the last 10 years, a lot of talk inevitably comes out that brings up: HOV lanes, more TTC subways/rapid transit/buses, and bike lanes. The last part comes from a relatively small, but highly vocal group of people and sometimes they have valid points. Unfortunately for Toronto cyclists, there are a few reasons why they are generally, and in the foreseeable future, dismissed by the public at large. While I can respect Toronto cyclists as people, there are a lot of reasons I dismiss them when they bring up bike lanes or other topics (generally all they talk about is bike lanes or that guy who stole a crap load of bikes):

  • All they ever talk about is bike lanes. They have the same problem that the Green Party had. The problem is that they are perceived to be a one-note group. So for the longest time the Green Party was a bit of a joke because all everyone thought the party platform was about the environment and not about other political issues. Toronto cyclists are perceived to be a broken record of “more bike lanes, more bike lanes, more bike lanes” and never really articulate anything else. That get’s played out very quick.
  • Attitude. Again I will draw a parallel here. Cyclists have the same problem as Prius drivers had (and many still have). If you cycle in to work everyday there is at least the perception (which may or may not be true) that you feel superior to those that drive. I’m not saying that everyone feels this way and that all cyclists do, but again the perception is out there for the group as a whole.
  • Cyclists play the victim card too much. Sympathy is a well that can go dry very quickly with the public (if there is any) and cyclists are too quick to dig for sympathy. What I mean is, a lot of representatives like to point out how dangerous it is to cycle in Toronto and how drivers are careless/rude/mean to cyclists which I’m sure is true. However, Toronto drivers are well aware of the dangerous and reckless cycling that goes on as well. When you see cyclists going ahead on a red or cycling between cars and sometimes hitting stuff any sympathy you have for cyclists quickly goes out the window.

At the end of the day, cyclists are a small but not insignificant group of commuters in Toronto. While bike lanes would probably help with improving cyclist safety, bike lanes will not solve the perception of Toronto cyclists. Anytime I hear someone is a cyclist I will generally reply with a “that’s good for you” but if anyone starts to moralize to me about how I should bike to work that’s when he or she will promptly be ignored.

Adam Giambrone April 6, 2009

Posted by huymix in Politics.
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Adam GiambronefminusAdam Giambrone (Chair of TTC)

To be clear, I have never met him personally, shook his hand or really stood in his overall presence. The closest I really got is at a discussion in an auditorium on gridlock. So this review is more about stuff he says and some things I notice. Also, I don’t want to imply that being the Chair of the TTC is an easy job or anything about TTC employees, this is strictly a commentary on Adam Giambrone the public persona.

  • Spin, spin, and more spin. Quote from his TwitterLRTs will be very similar to streetcars with the most notable difference being dedicated transit lanes”. I’m pretty sure streetcars still have dedicated lanes, not all, but there are definitely some. Besides, if that’s the biggest difference, it doesn’t seem like an improvement and feels more like spin.

I could definitely go a lot deeper into the individual points raised above, so e-mail me if you want a fuller explanation. A lot of my criticism is due to his time at the TTC and his very public voice over TTC matters. He very well may be competent or even good as a Chair, but unless he can fix the above points I will never be able to really say his legacy was one of competence or transparency. Thanks for your work Mr. Giambrone, but based on you I would rather the Chair of TTC be a non-politician any day.