Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flip Flopping Part Deux – the Rob Ford Edition:

A couple of months ago I wrote a piece mocking the McGuinty Liberal government for flip flopping over their sex ed policy. I mentioned that I much preferred bedroom flip-flopping to the political kind.

For the un-initiated: In the gay world flip-flopping is when two men (let’s assume they are partners, and maybe, depending on where they live in North America lucky enough to be considered husband and husband) take turns penetrating each other. This is what we gays like to call a flip flop f*ck and this versatility is one of the many reasons, of which sharing bow-ties and face-cream are others, that being gay is super awesome. And with that I just wrote the text to my own “It Gets Better Video.” Just think of the penetrative combinations the average gay couple’s sex life includes; while who's on first is NOT a common question being asked in gay bedrooms across the nation, we do get to ask: who's doing who first?

In politics, however, a flip-flop means something completely different, obviously; and furthermore, get that visual image of Dalton McGuinty and George Smitherman flip flopping on the health tax credit out of your head. Ew. In politics flip flopping refers to political leaders who approve a policy before clawing back on said policy; this claw back is often due to demands from special interest groups.

"Dalton really flip-flopped on Transit City," would be one example of a political flip flop. Occasional flip flopping on gay porn site Sean Cody would define the gay meaning.

While McGuinty probably knew about the gay kind of flip-flopping I'm pretty sure that Mayor-Elect Rob Ford doesn't. This is probaly because Rob Ford doesn't have very many gay friends. Or at least the type of bro-friendship that would lead to a bottle of wine and late night policy session where Dalton may ask, “So… uhm… George… I’ve always wondered how it actually works.” And if you don’t believe me – my first political campaign included a car ride wherein a straight friend actually asked: so how do you avoid getting beard burn on your thighs if a dude gives you a blow job. The reality of politics is that you spend a lot of time together and ya know… you exhaust a lot of topics.

Anyway… why am I so sure that Rob Ford doesn’t have a gay friend to enlighten about the intricacies of gay sex? If Rob Ford had a gay friend I'm sure said gay friend would help Rob with his style, be like look here’s my stylist at holts and maybe for Christmas purchase him an ab-roller and or P90X.

So subsequently and unlike McGuinty I'm pretty sure that Ford knows nothing about the intricacies of hard-core male on male action specifically flip flopping. This is of course a man who has said the following about gay people and HIV/AIDS: "If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line. These are the facts." More recently Ford referred to homosexuality as a lifestyle choice (via twitter).

Imagine the awkwardness rolling around FordHQ (which in my mind looks like Gargamel’s Castle) this morning as the Toronto Star published the following: Ford Won’t Ditch Streetcars. According to Doug Ford “that was a rumour from our competition,” even though a direct quote from Ford’s Transit Plan, A Transportation Plan that Makes Sense for Toronto, is: “We will improve traffic flow downtown by removing some streetcars. Streetcars on downtown arterial streets will be replaced with clean buses that provide the same capacity on the same routes.”

Rob Ford you old dog – you just flip-flopped. And to quote Matt Damon from the seminal movie Good Will Hunting: How do you like them apples?

Ford’s flip-flop on streetcar removal is of course no big surprise. Metrolinx, the regional transit agency, recently signed a $770 million streetcar contract with Bombardier; that is on top of a $1.22 billion purchase of 200 streetcars that the City made in 2009. Furthermore funding for Transit City, David Miller’s LRT (not streetcar) expansion project, has been committed to by the province (with a bit of help from Ford’s BFF Flaherty). Transit City routes will be owned by Metrolinx, NOT the City of Toronto. Metrolinx has a corporate Board of Directors, none of whom are politicians. For Ford to literally stop the supposed streetcar gravy train he’ll have to somehow weasel his way out these two contracts, and incur significant penalties from Bombardier, which as we all know is the Federal governments favourite Quebec-based company (oh and not to be too conspiracy crazy… but remember that Harper and the Conservative government needs all the help it can get in Quebec City…). Add all of that up together and it’s no wonder Ford has already flip-flopped on the streetcar issue. It was DOA to begin win.

That being said Torontonians do need to have a debate about streetcars, especially on King and Queen. I understand everyone’s frustrations with streetcars. As drivers they slow down through traffic, and as commuter’s they’re just not fast, flexible or big enough for our current transit needs.

Many people point to St. Clair West as an example of the failure of Miller’s Transit City potential. I beg to differ. St Clair is a failure because of significant cost over-runs (how it ballooned from a $48 million projection to $106 million project is a giant mystery) and a failure because it was sold as a transit time-saver, when in truth it only shaves 3 minutes in overall travel time. All of that being said St Clair isn’t a disaster, it was a PR misnomer.

The truth about St. Clair is that it actually facilitates cars as much if not more so then transit users.

Unlike Queen Street St. Clair now has dedicated left turning lanes. One of the big annoyances is being stuck behind a streetcar in either the centre lane or in the right lane and being unable to move as it offloads and on-loads users; this no longer happens on St. Clair. The reality is that now that construction is over – St. Clair is kind of a drivers paradise.

The other big fear mongering point that St. Clair detractors used in the recent election (especially in my Ward where pamphlets urged voters “Not to let what happened on St. Clair happen to Eglinton.” Have people lived anywhere near subway construction? [probably not… we haven’t built a subway in this city in like a decade]. If you thought St. Clair was ugly…. Try subway construction. Let’s not be so naïve as to think that an Eglinton Subway, for example, may not harm businesses along Eglinton. While tunnels can be bored using tunnel boring machines – most stations are built using cut-and cover techniques, which my dear friends means exactly like it sounds. They cut into the street, build and then cover it.
So let’s have a debate about streetcars, I’d love to see a study about having queen turn into an east only streetcar route and king westbound. Surely there are efficiencies that someone can find somewhere…

My long-winded point: the time is now for Torontonians need to have a debate about streetcars and maybe Mayor-elect Ford is winking at us gays with his latest flip-flop?

No comments:

Post a Comment