RaBIT is a grassroots initiative to change the way we vote in Toronto municipal elections to a ranked ballot.
Over the past five years, many places have switched to ranked balloting including San Francisco, Minneapolis, Memphis, Oakland and The Academy Awards. There are a number of benefits to this system, but two of the biggies are it ensures majority support and encourages a more positive political environment.
In the current first-past-the-post format that defines our voting system, none of this is possible. Divisional and oppositional wedge politics are the most effective route to power. Candidates are routinely elected with a majority of electors casting their ballots for other candidates who wanted different policies from the ones they support. I can understand how this ethos alienates a huge swath of people from engaging with politics.
So I’m going to the meeting this Monday to learn how to volunteer. There are a lot of problems in Toronto and issues I would like to put my energy into, but you have to pick your battles and this one seems like it could have some far-reaching consequences for many future administrations. The RaBIT team has done a great job to get this issue on the public agenda and taken seriously by city councillors and themedia. Now is the time to push for this – and there is no substitute for a well-organized group of passionate citizens. As of publication there were already 90 confirmed attendees on the Facebook.
Throughout today and tomorrow Toronto City Council’s Budget Committee is hearing deputations from the community about what various citizens and organizations would like to see in the next budget. Again this year, a number of arts organizations and individuals will be making the case to increase arts funding to a previously promised $25 per capita.
The above video was created by BeautifulCity.ca, an alliance made up of over 60 arts organizations. It provides an excellent recap of their work to create a tax on billboards that would in turn provide the funding necessary for Council to follow through on their repeated commitments to increase that funding: the Capital Gains Report (passed 2011), Strategies for Arts and Culture Funding (2010), and Cultural Plan for a Creative City (2003.)
Praxis has written extensively in the past about BeautifulCity.ca and their activities, as well as the various public consultations that helped create documents like the Capital Gains Report, and we’ve live tweeted from a number of public events on this topic.
There are many things you can do to show your support for this initiative to create an arts-friendly budget in 2013. Click here for more information on BeautifulCity.ca about attending & supporting the deputations, the Artists Jam Session & Town Hall in January, or how to contact the Budget Committee members directly.
Check out the document below if you’d like more information on the billboard tax, and what exactly BeautifulCity.ca is asking of the Budget Committee for 2013.
As a result of the City of Toronto’s KPMG Core Service review, and the city’s public consultation process, Council recently voted in favour of looking into selling its city-owned theatres.
Mayor Rob Ford has since created the Mayor’s Task Force – Arts & Culture to investigate the “city’s rationale for owning and operating live theatres”. You can read the announcement of the task force here, and the press release announcing two public consultations on the issue here.
From the press release:
The panelists will investigate the impact of these theatres on the local economy and make recommendations on what changes may be required in terms of their operations to meet the City’s objectives. We will consider a variety of options. As part of the process in making recommendations, we need the input of the community and stakeholders like you.”
Praxis Theatre Artistic Producer Aislinn Rose will be Live Tweeting one of the two public consultation sessions today, from 9:30am to 11:30am at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. Join in the conversation whether you are there too, or following along from home or work.
“After the years and years of weaker and waterier imitations, we now find ourselves rejecting the very notion of a holy stage. It is not the fault of the holy that it has become a middle-class weapon to keep the children good.”