Shawn Micallef: Everywhere Torontonians are dying, I caught drivers speeding. Why do we let this keep happening?

This past Tuesday, as a vigil was taking place at Parkside Drive and Spring Road in the late afternoon, around the time Fatima and Valdemar Avila were killed at this spot when another driver slammed into their car at high speed the week before, I sat on a curb nearby and pointed my radar gun at traffic in this 50 km/h zone.Driver speeds were routinely in the high 50s and 60s on this residential street alongside High Park. One large pickup truck was doing 77. This kind of thing is typical. During the vigil, traffic was stopped and the silence was profound — cities have loud reputations but it’s mostly vehicles. Afterwards, the dozens of flowers and candles forming a makeshift memorial blew and flickered in the wind from cars speeding by.The radar was a gift last Christmas from my partner, who has watched me pathetically flap my arms at speeding drivers and red-light runners. Residents near Parkside have long documented and warned politicians, police and city staff of how dangerous the street is. Yet Parkside is the same as it always was, no changes made. The local councillor, Gord Perks, has been in office since 2006. Nothing has been done.The Toronto police did show up at Spring Road to do some traffic enforcement after the deaths, though. This is what it took to get them to do their jobs for a bit. There were two more deaths on Toronto streets the day of the vigil. A third in Brampton. For some, this is acceptable collateral damage.On Wednesday, I went to Pape Avenue and O’Connor Drive to see where an 81-year-old man was hit by a Porsche then trapped underneath another car. Bystanders tried to rescue him but he died. There were not yet any flowers or candles when I visited but I did pull out my radar gun. O’Connor is 50 km/h but it was hard to find signs saying so, despite drivers coming off the DVP nearby, still in an expressway state of mind.I clocked a lot of drivers in the 60s on this wide and fast residential street, though I was told that’s “downright sleepy” for O’Connor by a neighbourhood resident. The road looks like a highway so drivers treat it as such. Everybody knows O’Connor is bad. The local councillor, Paula Fletcher, has been in office since 2003.Not too far from here on the same day, 17-year-old Nadia Mozumder was killed by a driver at Birchmount Road and Danforth Avenue. This intersection, surrounded by residences and schools, has a highway-like median — a 1960s traffic planning relic. Since 2014, it has seen over 40 “personal injury” emergency calls. Everyone knows it’s a problem. The local councillor, Gary Crawford, has been councillor in these parts since 2010.I headed back west, to the Dupont motor speedway. Standing by Bartlett Avenue around 7 p.m., after dusk and by a crosswalk, I clocked a driver doing 70. The limit here is 40. Everybody knows this is how Dupont Street rolls.Then I sat on a bench in front of Dufferin Mall, across from Dufferin Grove Park, by a crossing used by kids and old folks all day and near where 23-year-old Alexandra Amaro was killed riding her bike on Dec. 2 of last year. Here I clocked a car doing 71. The limit is 40.After Amaro’s death, the local councillor, Ana Bailão, in office since 2010, vowed to make changes. Nearly a year later, the road is exactly the same as it was when Amaro was killed, her memorial by Sylvan Avenue silently watching the cars speed by.Over two days pointing a radar gun at cars, I did notice that lots of Toronto drivers keep to the limit and drive safely. When critics of speed cameras say it’s a “cash grab,” I’m now reasonably certain it’s grabbing it from the right people and changing their behaviour in the process. Cameras should be on every block.There will always be the “accidents will happen” crowd, but they wilfully ignore the road design and enforcement improvements that could have prevented these deaths. This position also wilfully accepts that preventable death is OK, a definitive moral choice.This week, Mayor Tory, responding to two deaths in one day, said his “heart sinks every time one of these is reported” but that ultimately, it’s driver responsibility. That’s an immoral dodge. The mayor listed some of his timid efforts to control speeds and behaviour, like the pathetically few speed cameras on the streets that move around this massive city, taking months to deploy.All these councillors also list off the self-congratulatory bureaucratic levers they’re pulling, just as they always have, but the streets will look the same and be just as deadly.Innocent people are being killed and maimed. No more thoughts, prayers or bureaucracy. Do something. Do anything. Do it now.Shawn Micallef is a Toronto-based writer and a freelance contributing columnist for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @shawnmicallef

Shawn Micallef: Everywhere Torontonians are dying, I caught drivers speeding. Why do we let this keep happening?

This past Tuesday, as a vigil was taking place at Parkside Drive and Spring Road in the late afternoon, around the time Fatima and Valdemar Avila were killed at this spot when another driver slammed into their car at high speed the week before, I sat on a curb nearby and pointed my radar gun at traffic in this 50 km/h zone.

Driver speeds were routinely in the high 50s and 60s on this residential street alongside High Park. One large pickup truck was doing 77. This kind of thing is typical. During the vigil, traffic was stopped and the silence was profound — cities have loud reputations but it’s mostly vehicles. Afterwards, the dozens of flowers and candles forming a makeshift memorial blew and flickered in the wind from cars speeding by.

The radar was a gift last Christmas from my partner, who has watched me pathetically flap my arms at speeding drivers and red-light runners. Residents near Parkside have long documented and warned politicians, police and city staff of how dangerous the street is. Yet Parkside is the same as it always was, no changes made. The local councillor, Gord Perks, has been in office since 2006. Nothing has been done.

The Toronto police did show up at Spring Road to do some traffic enforcement after the deaths, though. This is what it took to get them to do their jobs for a bit.

There were two more deaths on Toronto streets the day of the vigil. A third in Brampton. For some, this is acceptable collateral damage.

On Wednesday, I went to Pape Avenue and O’Connor Drive to see where an 81-year-old man was hit by a Porsche then trapped underneath another car. Bystanders tried to rescue him but he died. There were not yet any flowers or candles when I visited but I did pull out my radar gun. O’Connor is 50 km/h but it was hard to find signs saying so, despite drivers coming off the DVP nearby, still in an expressway state of mind.

I clocked a lot of drivers in the 60s on this wide and fast residential street, though I was told that’s “downright sleepy” for O’Connor by a neighbourhood resident. The road looks like a highway so drivers treat it as such. Everybody knows O’Connor is bad. The local councillor, Paula Fletcher, has been in office since 2003.

Not too far from here on the same day, 17-year-old Nadia Mozumder was killed by a driver at Birchmount Road and Danforth Avenue. This intersection, surrounded by residences and schools, has a highway-like median — a 1960s traffic planning relic. Since 2014, it has seen over 40 “personal injury” emergency calls. Everyone knows it’s a problem. The local councillor, Gary Crawford, has been councillor in these parts since 2010.

I headed back west, to the Dupont motor speedway. Standing by Bartlett Avenue around 7 p.m., after dusk and by a crosswalk, I clocked a driver doing 70. The limit here is 40. Everybody knows this is how Dupont Street rolls.

Then I sat on a bench in front of Dufferin Mall, across from Dufferin Grove Park, by a crossing used by kids and old folks all day and near where 23-year-old Alexandra Amaro was killed riding her bike on Dec. 2 of last year. Here I clocked a car doing 71. The limit is 40.

After Amaro’s death, the local councillor, Ana Bailão, in office since 2010, vowed to make changes. Nearly a year later, the road is exactly the same as it was when Amaro was killed, her memorial by Sylvan Avenue silently watching the cars speed by.

Over two days pointing a radar gun at cars, I did notice that lots of Toronto drivers keep to the limit and drive safely. When critics of speed cameras say it’s a “cash grab,” I’m now reasonably certain it’s grabbing it from the right people and changing their behaviour in the process. Cameras should be on every block.

There will always be the “accidents will happen” crowd, but they wilfully ignore the road design and enforcement improvements that could have prevented these deaths. This position also wilfully accepts that preventable death is OK, a definitive moral choice.

This week, Mayor Tory, responding to two deaths in one day, said his “heart sinks every time one of these is reported” but that ultimately, it’s driver responsibility. That’s an immoral dodge. The mayor listed some of his timid efforts to control speeds and behaviour, like the pathetically few speed cameras on the streets that move around this massive city, taking months to deploy.

All these councillors also list off the self-congratulatory bureaucratic levers they’re pulling, just as they always have, but the streets will look the same and be just as deadly.

Innocent people are being killed and maimed. No more thoughts, prayers or bureaucracy. Do something. Do anything. Do it now.

Shawn Micallef is a Toronto-based writer and a freelance contributing columnist for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @shawnmicallef

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Martha Rogers publicly calls for brother Edward to resign as chair of family trust as bitter boardroom brawl continues

Rogers Communications Inc. director Martha Rogers has publicly called for Edward Rogers to resign as chair of the family trust in a series of tweets targeting her brother.The siblings are locked in an extraordinary battle in which Martha has aligned with her mother, Loretta Rogers, and sister Melinda Rogers-Hixon, while Edward attempts to remake the company’s board of directors and regain his influence after being fired as chair this week. As of Friday night, it was unclear who exactly is on the board of directors at Rogers, one of Canada’s biggest communications and media firms.Martha Rogers began a series of tweets shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday morning, saying she had trouble sleeping because the fate of the company’s 24,000 employees was weighing on her mind. In a series of five more early-morning tweets she said her brother should “cease, desist and step down,” alluding to his role as chair of a powerful family trust that controls the voting shares of the company. She also suggested that she had damaging information about him that she would make public. Martha implied Edward has been leaking stories to the media, aided by communications firm Navigator, and also referenced the now-infamous photo of her brother and his family with Donald Trump, which his wife Suzanne Rogers posted on social media in May. “The truth about his Trump scandal 5 mos ago, their involvement threatening us to suppress it or else they’ll be “severe personal repercussions” (and they very much can),” read one tweet in part. “Unlike Ed I have no lawyers, PR spin firms, staff or media training,” she said in a tweet on Saturday afternoon. “Don’t need it. I’m no one special, just a fairly ordinary woman put in extraordinary circumstances. Ted put me on the board as a check and balance to ensure nothing this insane occurs. This is for you Dad.”Martha Rogers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday afternoon. Jonathan Lowenstein, Edward’s representative at Navigator, was also not immediately available. On top of the deepening family feud, the corporate drama continued over the weekend. After Edward was voted out as chair of the Rogers Communications board on Thursday, he said he would use his role as chair of the family trust to remove five directors on the Rogers board and replace them with picks of his own. Both Rogers Communications and lawyers for Loretta, Melinda and Martha said that he could not do so without holding a shareholder meeting. By the end of the day Friday, two overlapping groups were both claiming to be the board of directors of Rogers Communications Inc. Now, Edward is planning to hold a board meeting with his new directors over the weekend. John A. MacDonald, who replaced him as chair of the Rogers board last week, said that meeting “and anything that may arise from it” would be “invalid.” “The proposal by Mr. Edward Rogers to hold a purported board meeting with his proposed slate of directors this weekend does not comply with laws of British Columbia, where Rogers Communications Inc. is incorporated, and is therefore not valid,” MacDonald said in a statement Saturday afternoon.“It is disappointing that the former Chairman is attempting to act unilaterally without regard for the interests of the company and all of Rogers’ shareholders,” MacDonald said. Rogers CEO Joe Natale also issued a statement indicating he and his management team are committed to the company and to seeing through its $20-billion plan to acquire Shaw Communications Inc. His comment came after the Globe and Mail reported on Friday that he and many of the executives were prepared to depart if Edward gets his way and reconstitutes the board in his favour. Edward wants to remove MacDonald, John Clappison, David Peterson, Bonnie Brooks and Ellis Jacob from the board and replace them with Michael Cooper, Jack Cockwell, Jan Innes, Ivan Fecan and John Kerr. He has said those changes were effective as of Friday, when he sent a resolution to that effect. The Rogers board and lawyers for Melinda Rogers-Hixon dispute that. (Peterson is also vice-chair of Torstar Corp., the company that owns the Toronto Star.)Christine Dobby is a Toronto-based business reporter for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @christinedobby

Martha Rogers publicly calls for brother Edward to resign as chair of family trust as bitter boardroom brawl continues

Rogers Communications Inc. director Martha Rogers has publicly called for Edward Rogers to resign as chair of the family trust in a series of tweets targeting her brother.

The siblings are locked in an extraordinary battle in which Martha has aligned with her mother, Loretta Rogers, and sister Melinda Rogers-Hixon, while Edward attempts to remake the company’s board of directors and regain his influence after being fired as chair this week.

As of Friday night, it was unclear who exactly is on the board of directors at Rogers, one of Canada’s biggest communications and media firms.

Martha Rogers began a series of tweets shortly after 3 a.m. Saturday morning, saying she had trouble sleeping because the fate of the company’s 24,000 employees was weighing on her mind.

In a series of five more early-morning tweets she said her brother should “cease, desist and step down,” alluding to his role as chair of a powerful family trust that controls the voting shares of the company. She also suggested that she had damaging information about him that she would make public.

Martha implied Edward has been leaking stories to the media, aided by communications firm Navigator, and also referenced the now-infamous photo of her brother and his family with Donald Trump, which his wife Suzanne Rogers posted on social media in May.

“The truth about his Trump scandal 5 mos ago, their involvement threatening us to suppress it or else they’ll be “severe personal repercussions” (and they very much can),” read one tweet in part.

“Unlike Ed I have no lawyers, PR spin firms, staff or media training,” she said in a tweet on Saturday afternoon. “Don’t need it. I’m no one special, just a fairly ordinary woman put in extraordinary circumstances. Ted put me on the board as a check and balance to ensure nothing this insane occurs. This is for you Dad.”

Martha Rogers did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday afternoon. Jonathan Lowenstein, Edward’s representative at Navigator, was also not immediately available.

On top of the deepening family feud, the corporate drama continued over the weekend.

After Edward was voted out as chair of the Rogers Communications board on Thursday, he said he would use his role as chair of the family trust to remove five directors on the Rogers board and replace them with picks of his own.

Both Rogers Communications and lawyers for Loretta, Melinda and Martha said that he could not do so without holding a shareholder meeting.

By the end of the day Friday, two overlapping groups were both claiming to be the board of directors of Rogers Communications Inc.

Now, Edward is planning to hold a board meeting with his new directors over the weekend. John A. MacDonald, who replaced him as chair of the Rogers board last week, said that meeting “and anything that may arise from it” would be “invalid.”

“The proposal by Mr. Edward Rogers to hold a purported board meeting with his proposed slate of directors this weekend does not comply with laws of British Columbia, where Rogers Communications Inc. is incorporated, and is therefore not valid,” MacDonald said in a statement Saturday afternoon.

“It is disappointing that the former Chairman is attempting to act unilaterally without regard for the interests of the company and all of Rogers’ shareholders,” MacDonald said.

Rogers CEO Joe Natale also issued a statement indicating he and his management team are committed to the company and to seeing through its $20-billion plan to acquire Shaw Communications Inc.

His comment came after the Globe and Mail reported on Friday that he and many of the executives were prepared to depart if Edward gets his way and reconstitutes the board in his favour.

Edward wants to remove MacDonald, John Clappison, David Peterson, Bonnie Brooks and Ellis Jacob from the board and replace them with Michael Cooper, Jack Cockwell, Jan Innes, Ivan Fecan and John Kerr.

He has said those changes were effective as of Friday, when he sent a resolution to that effect. The Rogers board and lawyers for Melinda Rogers-Hixon dispute that.

(Peterson is also vice-chair of Torstar Corp., the company that owns the Toronto Star.)

Christine Dobby is a Toronto-based business reporter for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @christinedobby

Source : Toronto Star More   

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