The Pursuit of Happiness

T. Gainsborough painting,Morning Walk

Thomas Gainsborough The Morning Walk . 1785

Hearing presidential candidate, Obama stating that some American business executives are paid many times more in one day than the lowest paid worker earns in a year brought to mind Jane Austen, English novelist of the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries, who believed that Kent was “THE ONLY PLACE FOR HAPPINESS”.

Austen writes “It is the only place for happiness”: “Everybody is rich there”.

(The World of Jane Austen,Nicoloson;p.61)

Ontario’s Happiest Workers: The Sunshine List

March 27, 2015(updated March 28, 2015)

Below is the list of some Toronto city hall workers taking home more than $100, 000 per year as of today March 27, 2015. Curiously Mayor Ford’s pay is not listed here though it was on CP24 television news’ little Province of Ontario list of workers getting more than $100,000 with Rob Ford getting one hundred and seventy thousand dollars($170,000) in about 6’th place after the top Ontario Hydro worker who gets over one million five hundred thousand dollars. Also strangely omitted from the list I saw on CP24 was the $349,259.68(The Sun) yearly pay of Police Chief Blair which would have put him well ahead of Rob Ford.  So far only the City of Toronto has made its list of top paid workers easily searchable on line.  I guess the CP24’s  pay information  is one more reason to be careful with data caught on the television news with its $170, 000 for Rob Ford listed about 6’th while the Police Chief’s $349,259.68 is not even mentioned. (The $349,259.68 from the Sun is about $15000. more than the city’s  $334,291 for Mr. Blair)

  1. Joe Pennachetti, city manager: $363,234.
  2. Bill Blair, chief of police: $334,291.
  3. Andy Byford, TTC CEO $323,638.
  4. David McKeown, medical officer of health $298,488.
  5. Barbara Yafee, associate medical officer of health, communicable disease control $288,488.
  6. Elzbieta Rozak, registered nurse long term care & hostels $285,922.
  7. Michael Finklestein, associate medical officer of health, $275,750.
  8. John Livey, deputy city manager $272,824.
  9. Gene Jones, CEO Toronto Community Housing Corp. $270,581.
  10. Sameh Ghaly, TTC chief capital officer, $257,600.
 Other noteable city workers on the sunshine list include:
  • Ombudsman Fiona Crean: $232,322.
  • Solicitor Anna Kinastowski: $232,739.
  • City librarian Jane Pyper: $228,618 (note Pyper has recently announced she’s stepping down).
  • Chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat: $216,867

Here is a complete list published by the Globe and Mail in 2015; when I began searching the net this morning the most complete list I found was the one above. I assumed it was published today. Maybe it wasn’t: that might account for the difference in the SUN’S numbers and the city hall figures for Mr. Blair pasted above in second place after Pennachetti. This morning, March 28, 2015, I found the authouratative Province of Ontario lists of workers government pays  $100,000 per year. The lists are categorized according to government agencies, then alphabetically according to  location. The near infinite array  of people earning the lowest amounts, the 100,00 or just above, necessitate a time consuming search for the many highest paid individuals who earn $500,000 to one million or more to come into view, none of whose titles indicate they are elected officials.

When War Was a Private Enterprise

March 24, 2015

Yesterday while looking for accounts of Richard III’s funeral, I came across an opinion reacting to a comment that Richard III was the last (English) king to die in battle. Well in them days up ’till 1485 when king Richard faced Tudor Henry VII’s forces just over from France anyone who believed they had the right genes for the job had to be prepared to fight anyone else who thought they had the right genes to be king to the death. And like Tudor Henry VII  well qualified in genes and cash to pay for his side of the fight, would -be royals and aristocratic retainers: lords and earls  had to have the cash to afford swords axes and armour to win titles whatever the rank. But as the comment by an American, I presume, reacting to King Richard’s being the last king to die in battle said: when he hears of senators sending soldiers off to war he wonders why the senators don’t accompany them.

OMB/Ontario Municipal Board

March 12, 2015 Last evening at the Toronto District School Board meeting an OMB report was frequently mentioned by trustees who wanted to revisit a decision the board made to appeal a city of Toronto ruling to not permit the construction of a sports dome on school board property. Two thirds of trustees succeeded in voting to revisit the decision to appeal city hall’s decision at the OMB (Ontario Municipal Board) and to delay that review until after the Ontario Municipal Board’s June 2015 report on the school board’s appeal.

Again all of this TDSB and OMB talk is about what seems to have been a determination by Toronto’s District School Board to partner with a private developer to build a sports field and dome on the grounds of a school property designated for residential use only. According to one local resident the school board’s expenses in going to the Ontario Municipal Board to overrule city hall’s decision, a failed law suit at the Superior Court of Justice, and a lost court appeal have cost The Toronto District School Board and taxpayers unnecessary expense.

Trying  to make sense of this dome TDSB private developer conundrum, I put a question in the Google search box and got a National Post article dated June 3, 2014 featuring Karen Stintz when she was running for mayor of Toronto. A photo of her debating at a May 26, 2014 mayoral event stands over her words concerning the dome magnifying the strangeness of her stand against the sports dome. In promoting the need for the TDSB to provide public park space she speaks against the sports dome but says that it was too far gone, too much a done deal to stop:

“It sounds like that proposal is too far down the line, so I’m not going to oppose that,” she said. “What I will say is that we want to guard against that being the future model.”

Last night March 11, 2015 trustees were waiting on the Ontario Municipal Board’ s report on the school board’s appeal of councilors’ rejection of the sports dome proposal in a May 6, 2012  vote from which councilors Ms. Stintz, Mr Layton, Jaye Robinson and Mayor Ford were absent.

March 6, 2015

March 7, 2015

Yesterday when the temperature these days was on its way to near minus five degrees Celsius with rather clear skies, while snow pummeled and snarled lines of cars on roads in the U.S. south – said “the news” – I ventured out to my Lawrence East bus stop, a cool 15 minute walk and wait where sub-zero wind even in the sunshine made me wish I’d staid home. I rode west past that dungeon like rapid transit stop like the ones some city hallers say’s a better choice than fewer heated subway extension stops, saving money for snow bird city workers says me; while Mayor Tory, chasing illegally stopped out-of-town couriers, fumed about a four hundred million dollar over run on a downtown Toronto subway expansion, and I kept trying to recall when I’d first seen those construction boards up at the Rosedale subway stop, and that deafening rat a tat renovating at Union Station still to be finished for riders yet to be born before it began. And on that ride (like the one I told about last June) west then North on Victoria Park to the end of the line then back east on an Ellesmere bus, those sign after signs – Petro Canada in sync with Shell and other U.S. outlets – that said gas for sale $106.9 and a lone Ultramar sign that said $104.9, like Amco where last Saturday Feb. 28 I paid 103.? several cents lower than Petro Canada and Shell along Shepard East, Petro Canada once Canada’s Crown Corporation now Suncor the American branch of Sun Oil descendant of Standard Oil and the Peoples Natural Gas Company of 1885 Pittsburgh.

Investing For Jobs/Making Money From Money

What follows seems locked 3 years in the distant past, and though Ms.Yellen has replaced Mr. Bernanke so long ago that I almost forgot he ever existed, the money facts and the federal reserve chief’s cautious patter that I noted in July 2013 have hardly changed.


A bit of history:
September 26, 2013

One day last week as Mr. Barnanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, announced that the tapering of government bond buying would not begin until employment improved precisely what he’s been saying about increasing interest rates for as long as I can remember. The effects of his recent September words seemed about the same as his similar words last July: people bought gold and bonds, and interest rates declined.

July 12, 2013

Yesterday when I got home I was surprised to see the price of gold up more than 32 dollars. Because of its price having been declining so much in the past several weeks I’d noticed many TV investment advisers saying hardly any big investors would buy it any more. But someone bought it yesterday. And what’s even more amazing is that US. markets were at record highs, and bond yields were dropping. Well I learned why these unexpected investment numbers had appeared in the US yesterday and it was because Fed Chief Bernanke had clarified his stated interest rate intentions of a couple of weeks ago. He “reiterated” as they say what I’d been hearing him say for at least a year which is he would not stop the US. government buying its own bonds to keep bond yields and interest rates low until job growth improves at least 1 percent. So for now stock markets are at record highs while employment has been stubbornly low since 2008, and some of the employment increases since 2008 have been the minimum wage pay card, part-time employment.

Still no one talks seriously about capital and employment being sent to offshore job making manufacturers in communist China, capitalist Taiwan and South Korea, and Vietnam, and Thailand and Bangladesh, and Indonesia, and Mexico, and wherever else labour may be cheaper than in America, Europe or Japan, they just keep making investing cheaper so that making money from money will bring full-time manufacturing jobs back to America and Europe or even to Japan again.