Now is the time to discuss city’s massive police budget

As the candidates for mayor of Toronto jostle for position, each of them has suggestions for dealing with the city’s budget deficit, wrote Harvey Simmons, professor emeritus of political science in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies and an executive member of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, in an opinion piece in the Toronto Star Feb. 26.

But none of the candidates has dared mention the elephant in the room – the Toronto police budget that stands at nearly $1 billion per year for operating expenses. The police now consume more of Toronto’s operating budget than Fire Services, Emergency Medical Services and Public Health combined, wrote Simmons.

The truth is that there is no relation between numbers of police officers, police expenditures and the crime rate. Whatever the police may say or the public may believe, studies show that the crime rate seems to rise or fall according to a complex series of factors, such as the shape of the economy, wages, incarceration rates or changes in the market for illegal drugs.

In other words, the Toronto Police Service really has no good grounds for arguing that more money and more police officers will help in the fight against crime.

There is only one effective solution to the problem of the police budget. Freeze it. Tell the police that enough is enough: we have enough officers and they have enough money, wrote Simmons.

What’s an Olympic medal worth?

What’s a gold medal worth to an Olympic athlete in Canada? More than a million dollars in corporate sponsorships, wrote the Toronto Star Feb. 26, citing sports marketing experts.

Among corporate sponsors, there are basically three kinds, says Alan Middleton, a marketing professor with the Schulich School of Business at York University.

There are those directly involved in the sport, who will supply equipment; those who contribute indirectly to the athletes’ well-being by providing food; and those who simply want their brand associated with someone young and accomplished, Middleton says.

This last category is the most long-lived and lucrative for the athlete as it transcends the Games themselves.

Firefighter charged in fatal collision

James Morton, a lawyer who has seen at least 100 careless driving cases from both sides and an adjunct professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said laying careless driving charges when a motorist dies is more or less standard practice, wrote the National Post Feb. 26 in a story about a local firefighter charged in the death of a Vaughan man after a fire engine on its way to an emergency collided with his car this month.

Morton noted there can be confusion between careless driving – which is a relatively minor provincial offence under which jail time rarely, if ever, results from a guilty conviction – and dangerous driving, a more serious offence under the Criminal Code.

“I think it may well be that getting a conviction for careless driving is going to be very difficult,” Morton said.

What does your handwriting reveal about your personality?

If I ever thought graphology was just a party game, a phone conversation with York grad Annette Poizner (BA ’85, BA Spec. Hons. ’89), a Toronto-based registered social worker and psychotherapist, has convinced me otherwise, wrote columnist Margaret Patricia Eaton in Moncton, NB’s This Week online Feb. 25.

Poizner bases her work on solid credentials. She has degrees in psychology and social work from York University (Toronto) and Columbia University (New York) and while completing her Doctorate of Education in Counselling Psychology at the University of Toronto presented a dissertation on the use of graphology as a psychotherapeutic tool. She’s now affiliated with the Milton H. Erickson Institute of Toronto and has derived her model and techniques from the founder who was a psychiatrist.

FES grad will talk about decline in the turtle population

The Giant’s Rib Discovery Centre presents "The Vanishing Turtles of Southern Ontario" with York grad Erin Nadeau (MES ’09), coordinator of the Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Program at the Toronto Zoo, wrote the Dundas Star News Feb. 25.

Nadeau has completed a bachelor of science with a focus on ecology and evolution at the University of Western Ontario, as well as a master in environmental studies with a focus on conservation biology and protected areas management from York University.

On air

  • Mazyar Fallah, a professor in the School of Kinesiology & Health Science in York’s Faculty of Health, spoke about his study of motion perception and the colour red, on Toronto’s CFRB Radio Feb. 25.
  • Joe Baker, a professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, spoke about the sports psychology involved in the performance of Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette, on CTV’s “Olympic Morning” Feb. 25.
  • Bernie Wolf, an economics professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about rethinking China and its real growth, on BNN-TV Feb. 25.