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If mowing grass is Rob Ford’s ‘gravy’, I’ll do it myself

SOURCE: http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1025096--mallick-if-mowing-grass-is-rob-ford-s-gravy-i-ll-do-it-myself

By Heather Mallick

If Mayor Rob Ford defines cutting the grass in public parks as “gravy,” which is clearly the implication of the KPMG report, then I will arise and go now, and mow Oriole Park, a green place I dearly love, and tiny Healey Willan. Won’t all gravy-hating Ford voters do the same? I’m hearing a great big yes.

It is of course possible to save money by keeping Toronto less natty and asking amateurs like me to mow parks, plant flowers and pick up garbage. Running public parks as non-profits has worked in other cities. Certainly New York’s Bryant Park, surrounded by businesses, the wealthy and fashion shows clamouring for space, looks very glam. London has hundreds of private parks, but they are enclosed in iron fencing and locked with keys issued to the rich whose homes surround them.

I cannot think that parks outside the richest bits of Toronto will have the same appeal. KPMG is going for something different here.

You’ll be hearing a lot of jargon as the report is studied for some way to make Ford look like a cost-cutter. “Save taxpayers money, create a more responsive flexible government, enhance public engagement,” as Scarborough Councillor Norm Kelly, chair of the parks and environment committee, put it.

Me, I have another word for it. That word is “communism,” in the nicest possible way of course. It’s another means of turning citizens of a particular neighbourhood into the garbage-clearing chain gangs mooted by PC leader Tim Hudak. The genius of it is that prisoners must be paid, while I work for free...

See the full version on the Toronto Star website.

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