Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Toronto Council and Food Carts

The mayor and his cronies retreated yesterday on one of the more fatuous methods they had devised of wasting money, but not without promising to keep trying to piss the money away.

The original proposal called for the city to borrow $700,000 to purchase 35 food carts, which would then be rented out to vendors at about $450 a month. Vendors would also pay a licence fee and location fee. The location fee would vary: a high-traffic spot would cost $24,000 a year while a low-traffic spot would cost $6,000 a year.

Now one should understand that the city is nicely covered already by numerous hot dog stands, presumably licensed and regulated by the health department. They typically sell soft drinks, hot dogs, and usually a couple of sorts of tasty sausage dogs. So why this new scheme to continue deepening our budget problems - what problem does it solve?

Our mayor Miller's exceptionally articulate explanation (recall, he is a Hahvahd man):

We need to figure out how we do this, how you take advantage of the opportunities to do something great about Toronto. Think of our diversity. Think if we could find all that diversity on the streets of Toronto. How do we do it?

City-owned food carts is going to be something great about Toronto?

Ahh, there is more:

The plan calls for the city to own and control 35 carts - branded as "Toronto à la Cart" - with more complicated food preparation equipment than the current hot-dog carts.

Ahhh, so we want something other than just hot dogs? But why have the existing vendors not offered broader fare, if there is any demand?

Yet a third article reveals the answer:

The province has changed regulations that limited street vendors to selling hot dogs and sausages.

OK so we have one market distortion imposed by one gubmnt and a second gubmnt wants to jump into the market opened by the removal of that distortion. Why not just let the existing vendors move in, as they surely will if any potential customers actually want a tofuburger? The answer is of course the extreme statism of Miller and crew. And their arrogant notion that they know what is best for Toronto and the cart stand customers.

Fortunately there is SOME dissent onj Council.

"Everyone is in favour of healthy food choices, but nationalizing the sale of tofu burgers is ludicrous," contended Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, who opposed the food cart purchase.

I htink it remains to be seen whether customers would prefer the city's mandated healthy choices. I'd rather the street vendors on their own handled this - they at least risk their own money. Miller is risking yours and mine, not his.



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