David Miller makes a doc for the CBC, tries to burnish his rep by appealing to T.O.’s New York envy

David Miller makes a doc for the CBC, tries to burnish his rep by appealing to T.O.’s New York envy

David Miller did a doc on the Big Green Apple (Image: Rokashi) 

Since his election last October, Rob Ford has been waging a war against pretty much every part of David Miller’s legacy. Whether it’s Transit City, Waterfront Toronto or the Fort York bridge, it’s been a tough seven months for left-wing–activist former mayors. So on top of working at a big downtown law firm, advising international organizations on urban and environmental issues, and his recent appointment at New York University, Miller has decided to look for his left-wing–activism fix in a city run by a billionaire Republican. In an hour-long piece for the CBC’s Sunday Edition, the former mayor explores the ways in which Miller-ism still lives in a place that makes Toronto feel perpetually inadequate: New York City. We take a look at four of his musings after the jump.

1. The war on the car is still raging
Torontonians would kill for a subway system like New York’s, and the strength of that system may be one reason New York’s bike-lane expansion and the pedestrian colonization of Broadway were easier sells. Miller is clearly envious, opening his documentary while wistfully listening to the Big Apple’s pedestrian traffic. New York’s recent improvements for people who actually use their feet for walking may have been controversial, but they are going forward.

2. Speaking of which, don’t mention the Gardiner
At one point in his exploration of the Bronx, Miller takes us to Turner Point—a part of the borough’s waterfront that’s cut off from the rest of the city because of a massive elevated expressway. Sure enough, there’s talk of tearing down the structure, which is now seen as a mid-century mistake. Hint, hint.

3. There’s no Democratic or Republican way to pick up the garbage
That’s a quote from Fiorello LaGuardia by way of Michael Bloomberg. It must be nice to live in a world where something as basic as trash collection isn’t considered a partisan battle.

4. The Bronx river exists, and it has wildlife in it
One of the most genuinely interesting moments is when Miller talks to people who are busy restoring the Bronx River, an endeavour that even some local residents don’t know about. Miller’s day job is all about economic opportunities to heal the environment, so it’s no shock that he highlights “green-collar jobs” in the doc. Meanwhile, back home in Toronto, the Task Force to Bring Back the Don River is just one of the many citizen advisory committees whose survival rests in the hands of the current mayor.

The Sunday Edition: May 22, 2011 [CBC]