Since voting for David Miller in the 2003 Toronto mayoral election, I have been wholly unimpressed by his performance in the mayor's chair. After he stopped the plan to build a bridge to the island airport shortly after winning office, Miller seemed to simply stop delivering on his many promises, which included cleaning up the city's backrooms and old-style politics. Instead, he formed a centre-left coalition with many of council's NDP members, seizing power from the centre-right coalition that governed the city under bumbling former mayor Mel Lastman.
In 2006, Miller won easy re-election over a very weak Tory opponent in Jane Pitfield. I voted in that election for some fringe student candidate whose name now escapes me, mostly as a protest against my choices.
But Miller's recent imposition of a new land transfer tax, gouging homeowners to allegedly balance the city's budget, was the final straw. His insistence on needing more tax revenue was undermined by the clear waste that still permeates the City of Toronto's government.
I'm certainly no reactionary, knee-jerk Tory who demands tax freezes at all costs. But Miller refused to push our city's councillors to give up their daily limo rides about town amid all the cost-cutting discussions last year. Even Members of Provincial Parliament don't get such perks. At the same time, he insisted ordinary people pay thousands more for simply selling their homes or renewing their drivers' licenses.
I bought my first condo late last year, so I was exempt from the new Toronto land transfer tax this time. But knowing what tax gouging awaits me in the future does not make me happy.
So I'm looking for new leadership at Toronto City Hall.
That's why all of the recent talk of a possible George Smitherman mayoral candidacy in 2010 makes me very, very excited. I've known George since 1996, before he stepped out of the backrooms to win the Toronto Centre-Rosedale seat in the Ontario legislature and become Ontario's first openly gay M.P.P.
Who are we kidding? George would make a fabulous and inspiring mayor for this city. For what it's worth, he would have my full support over our lacklustre Dipper-light incumbent.
Please, George, go for it!