Letter to the Editor, Jacob Allderdice (1)

to the editor: Globe and Mail
re: John Barber “Toronto” column,
Oct 31 ’00
(“Gomberg seriously silly”):

What a disappointment John Barber has been lately. I thought he got into a bit of a roll last month with his discussion of the backroom dealings surrounding the Adam’s Mine debate, but he fell down in his follow-up (to say, as he did, it was merely a question of finances that sunk the deal, is naive at best). And now, writing about the most exciting mayoral candidate to come along in many a year, Barber smugly dismisses Tooker Gomberg as a one-issue candidate (garbage) whose sole plank has been disposed of.

But Gomberg is far more than that. It’s true he had a big hand in the recycling plan that sees Edmonton sidestream so much of its waste from landfills, but it’s also true that his presence at Toronto city hall in the final debate on the garbage deal helped ensure its presence in the public eye, and thereby its ultimate rejection (coincidentally, not until after the province had promised money for Portlands rehabilitation).

In the meantime, Gomberg has developed a far-reaching campaign platform that covers, as a glance at his web site (http://www.gombergformayor.org) will show you, the homeless crisis and related poverty issues, the police, smog, business taxes, garbage as a resource, citizen involvement in government, Toronto as a province, tenant’s rights, cleaning up Lake Ontario, TTC, bicycles and good urban design, et cetera.

So, is a vote for Gomberg “most importantly” just a vote against Mel Lastman? And is Gomberg’s status as “just off the bus” from Edmonton so different from Lastman’s status as “just off the limo” from North York? And is it true that Lastman is not ducking a debate (what about the one that the U. of T. Student Administration Council organized for next Monday at the 1700 seat Convocation Hall, inviting all 26 candidates, that Lastman refuses to attend)?

And is the $2500 Lastman gets from a faceless corporation really more “serious” than the $50 an individual like me gives Gomberg, after careful consideration of what I’ll do without this month to afford my gift? And finally, are endorsements from Jane Jacobs and from David Suzuki, Michelle Landsberg and your own paper’s Naomi Klein, representative of “zero support” from community leaders?

There’s more to Tooker Gomberg than publicity stunts and a bicycle, just as there’s more to Mel Lastman than cheap furniture and backroom deals. Those are just the vehicles that get them where they want to be. Pity John Barber can’t (or won’t) write about that place. It would make a more interesting story, I think.

Jacob Allderdice