Astro-turfing is the practice of manufacturing fake citizens’ groups, some which appear to oppose corporate interests. With names like ‘Citizens for Clean Energy’, ‘Take Our Country Back’, ‘Freedom Works’, ‘Friends of The Forest’ and ‘We The People’, this propaganda technique has reached epidemic proportions and is a threat to true democracy. At a macro level, astro-turfing is a growing corporate strategy that is being employed by entire industries such as oil, pharmaceutical, chemical and timber. Some public relations firms now specialize at imitating opposition to the industry that has secretly contracted them. Former members of the intelligence community also have a knack for these types of shenanigans. These phony “grass-roots” organizations also make excellent fly-paper, attracting the disgruntled so that they can be closely monitored and more easily manipulated.

 Cynical by policy, we have remained true to our mission statement of monitoring and exposing the dark under-belly of municipal politics. Besides being the driving force that ran Sandra off the road, we have kept a close watch on all of the behind-the-scenes machinations that affect Ward 32. That’s why there is a big eye-ball on the cover of this paper, the most important publication in this riding.

 The big story, which now dwarfs all other stories, is the destruction of the Beaches for profit. Left unchallenged, our neighborhood will be transformed in to Condo Beach. We have seen several ad hoc committees being formed to stem the tide of these million dollar pieces of crap that developers plan on building by the thousands. We are obligated to report that not a SINGLE idea of any substance has been advanced that will help solve Ward 32’s most pressing crisis. We certainly hope that those who have been shooting blanks have not been doing so on purpose, as we would rather attribute their failure to a lack of talent. And we REALLY hope that stuffed brown envelopes haven’t been making the rounds to buy the outcome of this serious issue.

 Democracy should mean a lot more than an election every couple of years. Democracy is a living organism that requires the air of truth to breathe freely. If you have some truth to share with Ward 32 News about secret deals and development in the Beaches, you can call anonymously to (416) 693-6325 or write to us at -Ward 32 News, 117 Wheeler Ave, Toronto, ON, M4L 3V3

By J.J.

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WARNING!  DANGER!  WARNING!

Would you live in a location that was constructed directly above a former gas station? Unless you enjoy getting sick for attention (Munchausen Syndrome), your answer is an emphatic “NO”!! When the Ward 32 E.I.D. (Environmental Investigations Division) began researching the development at the North-East corner of Queen and Woodbine, we uncovered more than we had bargained for. Noxious vapors emanating from a deep pool of ground-water mixed with gasoline and chemicals immediately overwhelmed the crew. Over a hundred industrial toxins associated with a service station, including benzene, were also a concern.

 After donning protective gear, samples of the deadly soup and contaminated soil were collected at night and carefully indexed for analysis. By day, photographs were taken of the ecological plunder…and just in the nick of time! The literal ‘cover-up’ began an hour later as the oozing pit of toxic brew was quickly filled in by heavy machinery (out of sight, out of mind?)

 The former gas station and Coffee Time at Queen and Woodbine has been targeted by developers like so many other unrealistic locations in the Beaches. We’re quite sure the developer would love to move tenants on to this property immediately and just build around them. Unfortunately for the developer, it will be many years before this location is safe for humans to inhabit. The leukemia-causing benzene is not something that caring Beachers would wish on anyone. The big “C” has touched all our lives in some way.

 Many people have asked us, “Why does your Ward 32 newspaper exist”? Heck, that’s like asking, “Why are ugly women opposed to beauty pageants”? Some questions have obvious answers. We are the only news entity that is asking the hard-hitting questions that are required to expose the circumstances surrounding the travesty that is testing the strength of the moral fabric of our community.

 So, here are a few questions worth pondering: Isn’t it funny that the health of citizens due to environmental hazards hasn’t been considered news-worthy in quite a while? And isn’t it funny that most media outlets seem more interested in the Kardashians and the TomKat divorce than the wanton destruction of pristine areas for profit? And isn’t it also funny that developers are getting away with murder, nationally and locally? It’s so funny we forgot to laugh!!! When Ms. Brockovich’s office responded to our desperate pleas for advice, it was made clear to us that motivating the citizenry to get involved in ecology, pollution and conservation issues is difficult these days. It’s not really fair to say that people are more self-involved than in the past, because to-day’s personal and societal challenges can be overwhelming due to a constant and confusing barrage of issuesThree facts are perfectly clear: 1-All politics are local. 2-We love our Beaches.3-We locals can save our Beaches.

Further development in the Beaches can only bring disease, death and disaster. The Woodbine and Queen situation is an oozing example of things to come if we don’t act now. One last question: What kind of person or should we say socialpath would knowingly endanger tens-of-thousands of human lives? Answer: The kind that will make tens-of-millions in profits.