Toronto's dingleberry mayor releases $2 graffiti-reporting app

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139 Responses to “Toronto's dingleberry mayor releases $2 graffiti-reporting app”

  1. Rajio says:

    As much of a dingus as Ford is, there are good aspects to this. I would like to see more public services embrace technology more. There is potential here for the next mayor to make it free, and to use it in more productive ways. 

    • kaimcn says:

       But this only works for iphones, and won’t respect that “graffiti” may actually be art that the business owner wants.

      Shouldn’t the mayor be focused elsewhere?

      • Rajio says:

        Yes I am aware of the retardation of the policy and execution. I was commenting on the potential with city hall embracing technology with respect to city services in general. 

      • bjohndook says:

        My question is, what about the mayor’s house?

        Isn’t it horrible that it is covered entirely in one block of HORRENDOUS GRAFITTI?
        (Does he really have all the proper paperwork on file for it to be that color?)

    • Steve Vogel says:

      Why not just call non essential services with ANY phone and report the graffiti.  This app is useless, and to think that consumers will pay the city $2 for something that can already be done for free is just stupid.

  2. B E Pratt says:

    Sorta nice to know that we here in the USA (Texas for me) are going to have some stiff competition for the race to the bottom. Just where are all these toads coming from, anyways??

  3. Christopher says:

    I’d like to know how much of a kickback Mayor Ford is getting from his new app. It’s nice that a “portion” of the revenue is going to the Toronto Library fund. Could it be enough to libraries for underserved areas? I think some revenue could also go to restoring bike lanes, and more official bike locks. If I really thought it was going to be used for any of those things (and if I had an iPhone, since it’s limited to those) I’d probably buy the app, although I don’t live in Toronto. I could use it to report graffiti in my town, though–a nice way of saying, “Yeah, we have that here too.”

  4. robyn wells says:

    If it wasn’t two dollars and that money would go into idiot pockets, I’d say it would be hilarious for the app to go viral and everyone in the world just starts clogging up their system sending cool graffiti from around the globe. 

    • retepslluerb says:

      Which can easily get filtered out by look at the geotags. Unless of course you hack the reporting system.

      If anyone gifts me the app, I’ll look into it. :)

  5. greebo says:

    Okay folks, this is just ripe for some culture jamming. Lets have a competition for the funnest way to subvert the app

    • awjt says:

       Exactly my thought.  Take it into all the museums and snap shots of everything you like or don’t like, I don’t care.

    • Christopher says:

      Take it into an art museum and report all the pictures on the walls as graffiti.

      • justawriter says:

        I can’t believe no one has suggested the obvious, pictures of the mayor since his mere presence defaces the city.

      • PNWchemist says:

        I personally would buy my app, grab some dark cloths and a ski mask and some spray paint and some running shoes… then give the city more fucking graffiti than they know what to do with, i’d get that fuck head’s car too. 

        WHO GETS RID OF BIKE LANES

        ALSO FUCK REMOVING GRAFFITI 

        They do that at my local skate park, but they use shitty latex paint, and they put it on top of oil based spray paint, it’s slick ass all hell and totally dangerous and looks worse than the graffiti. 

        fucking morons.  

        • PNWchemist says:

          i meant to reply to the post below this. whoops. 

        • Ben says:

          Yes, in order to *move* bike lanes from an congested arterial road with parking, buses, freight, and streetcar tracks, to a street one block over that is far safer for bicyclists and motor vehicles and has less disruptive options for future extension, one has to remove the bike lane paint from the initial road.

          But since informed reportage and discussions about traffic engineering and long-term intergovernmental regional planning does not usually make sexy controversial headlines, it’s understandable that most people would rather blindly rage.

      • merryoldsoul says:

        Have a tattoo you loath? Snap a photo and the city will remove it for you.

    • stupocalypto says:

      Photoshop graffiti onto clean walls then take a picture of your screen. Make ‘em think Toronto is covered!

      • awjt says:

        or even just keep taking a picture of the SAME graffitti and send it on over and over and over until the system crashes…  DOS the Graffitti app…

    • atimoshenko says:

      Consider what ChatRoulette ended up being used for…

    • kaimcn says:

       I want to play!! And Calgary has a ton of horrible graffiti that I can send along. (So many spray painted tags, so little beauty.)

    • if RF runs for mayor again, perhaps we could use the app to report his campaign signs as graf?

    • Chris Lawrence says:

      Take pictures of billboards with it.

  6. trondmm says:

    I’m not sure I get why this is outragous. Sure, the app should have been free, and it should have been available for Android as well, but I don’t understand why using smartphone apps to report vandalism is such a horrible thing.

    • Matt Zulawski says:

      Because it’s a snitching app. If the city actually comes to the location where the graffiti is reported, the owner of the building is charged with having to clean it up. If the owner does not clean it up, the city does it for them and gives them a hefty bill for the work.

      There is a ripe cleaning industry that has sprung up because of Ford’s actions.

      And guess what nice clean walls beckon?

      • trondmm says:

         So, is an app that you can use to report potholes or broken windows also a snitching app?

        • Itsumishi says:

          If the app producers then goes ahead and charge local residents for the privilege of having the potholes filled in then I don’t think its a good idea.

          • retepslluerb says:

            Depends on ow the roads are being financed.

            Over here,  maintenance of inner city roads cost the property owners, too.   The more residential the street ist, the  higher is their own percentage, I believe.   The more it is used by others, the percentage goes down.

            Nothing wrong with that, imho. 

          • trondmm says:

            If the city demands that every resident is responsible for taking care of the road passing by their property, then clearly it’s the policy that’s bad.

            What if the city takes care of the roads when they launch the app, then after a year, they suddenly decide the residents will have to do it? Does the app change status from a nice app to a horrible snitching app overnight, even if the app didn’t change at all?

            A tool that makes it easier to report things that needs to be fixed isn’t bad in itself.

            Unless you really don’t want those things to be fixed, of course. i.e. someone that loves tagging and graffiti probably won’t like if graffiti is removed the day after it comes up.

        • Matt Zulawski says:

          What’s sore on the eyes and sore on your auto/cycle wheels is a big difference, as is who pays for the offending subject. 

          So, no, pothole reporting isn’t a bad thing and is actually a thing in Toronto already.Fining a victim to clean up a mess they did not create is seriously questionable.

        • Rick Albert says:

          We already have 311 for potholes etc. Ford is a credulous moron.

      • sharkmark says:

        Right. The cleaning industry is there because of the Mayor. 

        But if the graffiti so-called artists would just quit, the property owners wouldn’t have to pay anyone at all. Sounds like you’re slamming the graffiti artists. 

        • Matt Zulawski says:

          Maybe industry was the wrong word, nor do I have facts to back it up. My assumption is that the aggressive campaign to clean up graffiti is likely to require more people-power than normal.

          I mostly take issue with the city issuing fines to victims. Come to think of it, I wonder if there is a cool-down period prior to a continually offending location being fined again?

    • Jim Hedger says:

       You don’t know how terrible Mr. Ford has been as mayor of Toronto, Trondmm. Cory was going out of his way to address Mr. Ford in the politest ways possible. Really.

    • matthewfabb says:

      If it was just say the city cleaning up vandalism and footing the bill or as mentioned fixing pot holes, cleaning up garbage in a park or anything that the city generally takes care of, then I think it would be a great idea.

      Unfortunately, it is the resident or small business would still be forced to clean it up or pay the bill. Even if it’s graffiti that was purposely put up by the business owner (there are ways of declaring graffiti as mural art piece, but involves a lot of red tape that not everyone manages to do). I’ve heard one person who owns a business in downtown Toronto say that it almost like it was  designed to punish business owners for locating downtown. As there are certain locations that it is really hard to go without getting some sort of graffiti.

  7. I would get the app to take and send pictures of things I wanted removed from the city, starting with the mayor himself.

  8. Zack Garner says:

    His name is Robert Paulson.

  9. The good news is, that article appears to lack a link, or even the name of the new app.

  10. MyrddinWilt says:

    It is actually quite a good idea. Or could have been if the app was free. Why stop at graffiti? Why not pot holes in the road, dangerous trees branches needing pruning.

    Only the main use for the app is going to be people taking pictures of their ass and sending it in.

    Then we will have the council demanding that Apple give them the ability to use the unique ID built into the phone (recently shut down).

    We should take this idea and instead of having a paid app that only goes to the council, have an app that posts the pictures to a public web site where everyone can see the complaints and they can see whether the council acted on them.

    There would have to be some moderation mechanism of course (slashdot style peer group would work fine).

    But the key point is that it should be the people deciding what they consider to be problems, not a politician who wants to ride to power by choosing the frame of what people complain about.

  11. modsuperstar says:

    So this is how Rob Ford is going to afford his subway plan. It’s all coming clear now.

  12.  It’s a bad thing because it puts the decision of whether the said reported graffiti should be removed regardless if it’s meant to be there or not, in the hand of the municipal goverment. Then after ordering it removed, regardless of context, sticking you with the bill. They should at least leave the reporting up to the property owners.

    • ChicagoD says:

      The app doesn’t do that. The local municipal ordinances do. And vandalism impacts the entire community. It is a public nuisance and ought to be treated as such for reporting purposes.

      • LionelHampstead says:

        You could say the same about billboards and street advertising, but they earn revenue for the city and fatcats, so it’s all good.  Visual pollution is visual pollution.  Wipe out one and you should wipe out the other.

        • ChicagoD says:

          Actually, I could not say that about billboards and street advertising if they are otherwise legal. “Visual pollution” isn’t against the law, vandalism is. In some places billboards and the like are banned. That could be done in Toronto. But it hasn’t been, so the media are not in the same category.

          • Savannah C says:

            ChicagoD, if a business decides to put a mural on the side of the building it owns it should be allowed to do so. What right does Rob Ford have to decide whether or not it it’s artistic?

  13. l337n00b says:

    As a Toronto resident I’d really like to know where the money is going (apparently it is partly going to library funding… what about the other part).

    I don’t have an iPhone, but I’d strongly encourage people to buy the app and take pictures of Rob Ford with it (this isn’t exactly his first idiotic move).

  14. Sarge Misfit says:

    Start sending in pics of his house

  15. Deidzoeb says:

    The cost for citizens to buy the app is less interesting than how much it cost Toronto to develop the app, or how much it will cost the city to monitor complaints via the app. Good thing they’re closing libraries so they can afford to moan about graffiti more systematically.

  16. Colin Curry says:

    If indeed the proceeds are going to libraries, it is some kind of cruel conservative blackmail “you can keep your libraries… but only if you snitch out graffiti”.

    In a city like Toronto, it shouldn’t be difficult to know where tagging and graffiti are going to occur. Why does Ford need people to report it? This app is there to give the impression of doing something without actually doing anything (and charging the public/small business owners for it).

    • ChicagoD says:

      I don’t understand the concept of “snitching out graffiti.” You mean reporting vandalism? Because the implications are pretty different.

      Also, removing most tags is not very expensive. It’s  a pain, but not all that costly. If there is a tag on your small business you should probably remove it anyway.

      • Colin Curry says:

         The problem is that what may be vandalism to one person is art to another. Tagging, sure, get rid of it, but don’t charge people $2 to report it, and don’t force business owners to clean it up once it is reported. The app is just window dressing.

        Grafitti is a different matter. Many people profess to appreciate it, and they’re being asked to dispose of one thing they like (grafitti) to save another (libraries). My hunch is that people who appreciate one also appreciate the other.

        • ChicagoD says:

          The idea that we can’t remove vandalism because someone might like it strikes me as unworkable. If it is on private property without the owner’s permission, it doesn’t matter how beautiful it is. Gone. If it is on public property without permission, gone.

          It sounds like Toronto may have problems dealing with the situation in which the paint is there by permission. The two scenarios above are likely infinitely more common though.

          As I said elsewhere, I would never pay for this app because I agree that it is an absurd cash grab. However, the fact of the matter is that SOMEONE is going to pay for removal, and property owners are very good candidates. I have some experience with this in Chicago and can tell you that removing most tags is really not very expensive. No reason to wait for the city to come and do it (although there is no specific fee for graffiti removal in Chicago).

          •  Re-read. The city will also remove graffiti on private property which the owner wants to stay, and then charge the owner the bill for services they never wanted.

            Frankly, this is 3/4 of the way to a racket. Now all they need to do is slip some kids money to have them paint and then send in photos.

          • ChicagoD says:

            @danielfriesen:disqus  OK, twenty seconds on google yields the law and the definition of “graffiti.” Turns out that murals are exempt, and owners can apply to have “graffiti” treated as a mural before action is taken.

            http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/municode/1184_485.pdf 

            So, most of this red herring about murals is . . . a red herring.

  17. suburbanhick says:

    Ford makes my flesh creep. He looks like the bastard love-child of Rush Limbaugh and Jabba the Hut. Poor old Toronto – yet another reason for the rest of the country to love to hate ya!

  18. A case of Coke to the first app developer who makes a free “Rob Ford Going Into Fast Food Restaurants Despite His ‘Diet’” snitching app.

    Pepsi and RC Cola also available.

  19. Ripcord2 says:

    I don’t understand why a small section of people here romanticize graffiti so much.  Most is unwelcome and is defacement of property.  I agree that if you own a building and DON’T want it removed, it shouldn’t be, but how often is that true?  1% of the time?  Less?

    If I drove to your suburban home and spraypainted your porch with “Nigzzzz” in huge letters, you’d be okay with that?

    • ocschwar says:

      Some of us live in cities where construction projects from the 50s to the 70s or so left areas looking so unwelcoming and hideous that graffiti artists literally did improve the situation by painting those surfaces they could reach. 

    • joeposts says:

      Well sure nobody wants “Nigzzzz” in huge letters on their suburban home. But in Toronto’s downtown, nearly every building has been, um, artistically enhanced. The only thing that usually stops taggers are brightly coloured murals that resemble graffiti. Even the post office started putting patterns on their mailboxes to discourage any other attempt at art.

      As usual, Rob Ford (or RoFo, if you prefer) is whining about a teensy problem in a city that has real problems, and offering a bullshit solution to make it look like he’s Taking Action.

      Heh, maybe it should be a graffiti rating app. That could encourage tourism.

    • kaimcn says:

       Not everything that will be identified as graffiti by people on the street is considered graffiti by the property owner. Rather than fixing his transit, cycling or PR problems, the mayor is introducing an exlusive app that will force property owners to pay for the removal of what they may or may not consider art.

      This is not where Ford should place his focus, or how to go about solving a graffiti problem.

      • ChicagoD says:

        The app does not force the city to enforce its ordinance as you have suggested. The app is just an app. If Toronto has an issue identifying art that a building owner commissioned and condones versus vandalism, that is an entirely different problem not related to the app. I would never pay for the right to report things like this, but the concept of the app is sound.

        Also, God help Toronto if they can’t remove graffiti while also working on other issues. If that’s true they’re screwed anyway.

        • kaimcn says:

          From the article: “The app, which costs $1.99 (and is currently only available for iPhone), lets Apple smartphone users send photographs directly to the city with a request to remove of the offending material. If the property owner fails to clean up the tag, the city will – so they say – step in and bill the owner for the work.”

          This does not suggest that any consultation with the property owner will happen prior to removal and billing.

          Obviously other things can be done while the city clean sup graffiti. But this should not be a priority and I haven’t seen Rob Ford show that he’s doing anything else. And that he’s doing it so poorly just demonstrates further his lack of leadership.

      • Rick Albert says:

        Those problems are all of his making; We had a perfectly good transit plan, funded too. The Jarvis bike lanes fixed Jarvis. He is pathetic, and a futile distraction when the Tories are robbing Canada blind.

  20. Ripcord2 says:

    …though the guy does sound like a creep.

  21. Loafer says:

    As  a Toronto resident can I download the add and take pictures of all the hideous billboards around the city and get them removed ?  
    Along the main street at the bottom of our road they have installed ‘info’ signs that are essentially massive poster holders on the sidewalk with a tiny map of the area on the side… and there are 3 of them in about 200 feet of each other.

  22. Genre Slur says:

    The tech-app is a nice idea, but using it to ‘iron out’ the wrinkles of creativity that grow on the drab industrial ‘skin’ of cities? Sorry Rob, try again.

  23. OriGuy says:

    San Jose has had this for a few months, but it’s free and runs on Android as well as Apple.  I don’t see what the problem is, do you people LIKE having indecipherable tags on every surface in your neighborhood? 

    • kaimcn says:

       People DO like having commissioned graffiti-style art on their property.

      • Ripcord2 says:

        Some people do.  I really doubt it’d be in the realm of “most”.

        It’s going to vary largely depending on the neighborhood.

        When I lived in Sydney, the city was pretty heavily overrun with graffiti.  There aren’t many people there who enjoyed having some random tags on their home or corner business (or street signs, or car, or beach mural wall art, etc)

        • Ripcord2 says:

          My corner convenience store definitely didn’t want it.  He spent thousands of dollars a year on grafitti removal, and even commissioned a pretty fancy stylized mural.  That did hold off the taggers for about a month; after another 3 it was garbage.

  24. Sean Connors says:

    Since no one has mentioned or linked to it the $2 APP is called TDOT311 and is created by a company called Public Leaf. This again shows why Ford is a failure, this announcement has done more to advertise the Free See Click Fix App Toronto 311 has been using since 2010.

  25. sparkdale says:

    I would like to recommend using this app to report illegal billboards and advertising, a huge problem in Toronto that the mayor doesn’t seem concerned about.

  26. musesum says:

    Here’s my favorite post from the original site:

    Alex replying to a comment from A / APRIL 18, 2012 AT 05:32 PM

    I would love an app or site where you could take a picture of some particularly obtrusive or offensive advertising, upload it(with your location sent as metadata or maybe as part of the picture post) and then local graffiti artists can browse the site and put graffiti over the ad. They can sign up anonymously and get ‘points’ or something for every ad they improve (though obviously this is the honour system, since there is no way to verify someone took care of it other than them saying they were the one to do it.)

    • ultranaut says:

      That’s an awesome idea!

      Perhaps there could be some kind of a user-generated bounty system. You upload a pic of an advertisement and other users rate it on horribleness. The more horrible, the more points awarded for the graffiti. Concurrent with that users could also rate the graffiti. The less awesome the fewer points awarded from the total points available from the horribleness score. This would create a kind of a feedback mechanism incentivizing the transformation of the worst advertising into the best graffiti. If someone just tags up a billboard they aren’t going to get a lot of points, and other graffiti artist will still get points from it if they do something better. Effectively, every advertisement becomes a potential artistic competition and the more horrible an advertisement is the greater the competition becomes.

    • jimh says:

       Like a Billboard Liberation Front bat-signal…

  27. WILLIAM says:

    Graffiti eradication is not a “pissant cause”. I work with several national retailers and have seen stores closed down with the corresponding  job losses because of chronic graffiti problems. When neighborhoods are being scouted for new locations, heavy graffiti is one of the major reasons an area will be deemed as unacceptable.

    I have no doubt that many commenters here will think that a neighborhood free of national retailers is a good thing but tell that to the people who have to take two busses to get to a grocery store.

    Oh yeah, and how about the fact that purposely fucking up property you do not own is just plain wrong? If you disagree, please let me know where you live and where you park your car. I have some ideas that will make your property more asthetically pleasing to myself.

    I think the app is a great idea and would be happy to pay the $2.00 for it if it were available in my city.

    • joeposts says:

      I have no doubt that many commenters here will think that a neighborhood free of national retailers is a good thing but tell that to the people who have to take two busses to get to a grocery store.

      There are a dozen grocery stores within walking distance of my cheap midtown apartment, including several national retailers. And there’s graffiti everywhere. I guess Torontonians don’t get to shop at your store? IS OUR MONEY NO GOOD TO YOU BASTARDS? :-D

      Since the whole idea is to “fine” business owners who get vandalized, the mayor’s crusade against vandalism does nothing to help people in economically depressed areas get groceries, and his crusade against light rail will probably make their grocery trips even less convenient.  And his constant Toronto-bashing doesn’t help investment.

      Whatta mayor.

    • DevinC says:

      That’s not the problem.  Plenty of people here have mentioned that clearing up unwanted graffiti is a laudable goal.  But the government, in this case, is the one who decides what graffiti is unwanted and, worse, the property owner pays for it, even if they are fine with having the graffiti there.  

      If removing graffiti is a public good, why is the property owner being penalized?

    • EH says:

      Thanks for sharing, Grandpa.

    • kaimcn says:

      How about purposely commissioning art that you DO want on your property?

      The threat of being sent a bill when thy city removes your (wanted) art is not going to attract business and property owners.

    • RuthlessRuben says:

      So let’s review:

      Are “indecipherable tags” a bad thing? Yes.
      Would you call this a bad thing?: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/–QA4luaAeMU/TdaaqIbzqbI/AAAAAAAAA6I/T7w1LXUgoBQ/s1600/KensingtonLady.jpg

      This is in Kensington Market, and was probably commissioned. So the thing that most people here are, legitimately in my opinion, complaining about is that this app basically takes the discussion of “art” vs “vandalism” away from the people and puts it into the hands of an untouchable, faceless city department. If some hate-filled individual decided to tag this mural with the app often enough, a squad of hired workers, who have nothing to do with the department, would have to go, cover this wall in white paint, and charge the OWNER of the house for removing something HE HIMSELF WANTED.

      This is isn’t about saying that all graffiti is good. Some guy apparently named “Shina” tagged his name across my front door (in the Annex, shock and awe) and I was about as excited as if he’d waited outside so he could make sure I watched while he widdled on my lawn. It was crude, it was badly executed, and it was definitely nothing I wanted. But I didn’t go out yelling for the ban on all graffiti because not all graffiti is tagging, I know that seems to be a difficult conundrum for people and it surely is an issue of frustration for the national pigeonholing council.

      So please, you and everyone, take your hands off of the black&white switch on this issue. This isn’t even about whether graffiti is good or bad, this is about whether or not the city of Toronto should be, in theory, allowed to remove an artwork, that you yourself had commissioned, from your own property and charge you for the removal.

      The discussion should be primarily about that, and not about the moral right or wrong of graffiti culture in general. I don’t work for several national retailers, I only work for a university department, a humanities one even but I’d still like to discuss the issue actually at hand, and while I do agree that the app has potential to be useful, it’s execution needs to be clarified. Because as it stands, and what is again being discussed here, the city can basically decide whether or not it wants something on your house wall removed whether you like it or not, thereby infringing your rights and on top of that charging you for it.

      I do believe that is what people are mostly about in this thread.

      • ChicagoD says:

        I think that’s exactly right. Not every article of paint on a wall is vandalism, and the law should target vandalism. Depending on local codes, etc. there may be guidelines, rules, etc. about what is not vandalism, but it would be absurd to start from the premise that paint on a wall must be removed.

  28. IronEdithKidd says:

    Why would anyone vote for a mayoral condidate that is two hair color shades away from being a dead-ringer for Vladimir Harkonen? 

    Also, do you not have a mechanism for recalling an elected official?  If not, you should get one. 

    • IronEdithKidd says:

      Heh.  “condidate”.  Some days, my fingers just can’t remember how to type.

    • jellyfishattack says:

       Because he was the ONLY candidate for Mayor of Toronto who positively said he would not introduce toll roads in Toronto!  There was very little from which to choose.

      • IronEdithKidd says:

        *headdesk*

        Oh, democracy, why must you fail us at every turn?

      • penguinchris says:

        I’ve driven extensively in Toronto (I’m from Buffalo) and always find the traffic there to be surprisingly fantastic, either on the regular streets or the expressways, even at rush hour (though the expressways do, naturally, slow quite a bit, and one or two additional freeways would make sense to me – though my opinion may be warped by having lived in freeway-happy SoCal).

        WTF would be the point of toll roads (discounting the fact that there already is one)? Not surprised if this really was one of the major issues that got this asshole elected because Toronto definitely has issues but traffic is not really one that should be near the top of the list!

  29. Bob Dunkin says:

    Well, at least this is a ‘little’ better than his idea of calling 911 to report graffiti.  I love how the cops had to come out and basically say..”No, don’t do that.”

  30. BryanB says:

    Here in Vancouver we don’t have a snitching app, but we have similar laws full of conflicts of interest. If graffiti is reported the business or homeowner will be fined (after a removal grace period), and they prefere you pay one of the city approved graffiti removal companies to get rid of it. Also, all mural proposals have to be approved by a committee before hand, usually fiting some sort of theme, so if you want to save a beautiful piece of street art, you are out of luck. or at least, that’s what the bylaws on graffiti and murals were last time i looked at them!

  31. areaman70 says:

    YOU LEAVE RED MEAT OUT OF THIS!

  32. DryDry says:

    “even if the graffiti in question is a beautiful mural that everyone, including the business-owner, approves of”

    Uh, no. This is not true. 

  33. marmalade says:

    Twitter is free and works on all smartphones: @Toronto311:twitter  You dont need to spend $2 to download this harebrained iOS-only app.

  34. blepom says:

    The price can serve a dual purpose. Not only it gives them money, but since it’s paid, it cannot be downloaded anonymously.

  35. Petzl says:

    From what I gather, this Ford guy is a douche in most respects.  However, he came up with a good idea, but you guys can’t realize it because you guys have such a personal animus for him.  (The only dingleberry part is charging $1.99 for a crowd-sourced city maintenance app.)

    • joeposts says:

      Yes, we’re a bunch of Ford-hating bike-riding pinkos who live in the same illegal rooming house in the Annex and vote for communists like Adam Vaughan.

      How in the hell is this a good idea? All he’s done is put a techno-veneer on a crappy city policy.

      Edit: btw, a funny side-effect of RoFo’s War on Graffiti is the massive proliferation of amusing Rob and Doug Ford stencils and murals. Every time he complains, a new stencil is born. Some of these inspired “vandals” have even had gallery shows as a result of their Ford-inspired fame. :-)

      • ChicagoD says:

        It seems from the outside as if he has made it easier for citizens to request city services. The services may be administered in a wrong-headed way, and charging for the app is completely idiotic, but the impulse to make it easier to request service is a good one.

        Of course, I am not in Toronto, and I have not seen this guy’s performance. Maybe from the inside this step looks like no step at all.

        • Missy Pants says:

          The issue is there is already FREE processes in place to report issues to the city. AND, that the property owners are responsible for paying for the removal of any/all tags, if they don’t, they get a big fine. Think about that. If you’re a small business owner, and you have a store or building in a “rough” area, how often are you going to have to re-paint your building or face a fine? It’s punishing the wrong people, and now the Ford Brothers (there’s two of them) are making money of it to boot? Its so wrong.

          Toronto is a “mega-city” – five boroughs that all used to have their own mayors, now it’s one giant mess, and unfortunately for the Downtown, we’re outnumbered by the suburbs 4 to 1, so we get a major from the suburbs who actively hates the city. Seriously, it freaking sucks here right now. We’re facing years of a standstill because council won’t approve anything the mayor or his brother puts forward (like a giant ferris wheel and monorail, yes I said monorail) and the Mayor won’t compromise (he was absent for two entire days of council debates on the future of the subways and then went to the press and said “council is irrelevant”), he’s a truculent child who doesn’t understand why the other kids won’t play with him after he threw sand in their faces.

  36. Ian Anthony says:

    1. Take pictures of obnoxious, but legal, advertisements.
    2. Report them as graffiti.
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

  37. KWillets says:

    Ford sounds like a jerk, but this policy is the same as San Francisco’s.  The city usually posts a notice giving 30 days to remove tags, but they also will paint over the crap themselves if the owner signs a consent form.

    I would support some of the app money going towards harvesting organs from taggers.

    • joeposts says:

      Owners don’t need to give consent here, the way the law is written the city just has to give notice. If the owner declines to take action, or can’t afford to take action (old masonry is extremely expensive to clean), the city sends workers to enter the property and clean it up.

      • ChicagoD says:

        The law just plain does not say that. Note 485-4(E), as well as 485-1:

        http://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/municode/1184_485.pdf 

        • joeposts says:

          That’s the same pdf I referred to when I responded. Did I misread?

          § 485-4 A. If an owner or occupant fails to comply with a notice given under § 485-4A or is refused an exemption and fails to comply with the second notice given under § 485-4E(7), the Commissioner of Urban Development Services, or persons acting upon his or her instructions, may enter upon the lands at any reasonable time for the purposes of doing the things described in the notice.
          B. Costs incurred by the City in doing the work required to be done by the notice may be recovered by action or adding the costs to the tax roll and collecting them in the same manner as taxes.

          It doesn’t look to me like the building owner has to give consent for the graffiti to be removed. Property owners and even charities complain the city is just perpetuating a vicious cycle that ends in the having to pay thousands of dollars for more graffiti.

  38. Thwim says:

    So my neighbors down the street just painted their house a god-awful shade of turquoise. How automated is this app again?

  39. So, I pay Rob Ford, and I get to work for Rob Ford, for free? Awesome! 5 Stars!!!

  40. Aloisius says:

    I’m confused. Is this bad because they charged $2 for a service that should be free?

    San Francisco has a similar law (anti-graffiti ordinance from 2004 requires a private property owner to remove graffiti within 30 days of notice) and a similar service where you can report graffiti via email with a photo/time/location to the Department of Public Works.

    San Francisco even has a $250 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of graffiti artists!

    Though SF also has the StreetSmARTS program for connecting street artists with building owners to create murals and generally doesn’t treat murals as tagging.

  41. Savannah C says:

    How many tax dollars were spent developing a paid app that only works on one platform and replicates free services already available?

    This guy wouldn’t know gravy if it slithered up and bit him on the ass.

  42. Savannah C says:

    A friend of mine hired a graffiti artist to paint the side of his garage. His neighbour has always hated the mural. Now his neighbour has the right to report it and have it removed without his permission. How is that at all reasonable?!? 

  43. jellyfishattack says:

    Thank God he’s actually getting rid of all the useless, unused bike lanes that clutter the city!!!!!!   Now, if we could only prevent the LRT from doing the same and get subways!!!

  44. Matt says:

    Charging the people whose property has been tagged, instead of apprehending and fining the taggers? Classic victim blaming, isn’t it? Following that logic, I cringe to attempt to deduce what sort of app would be next.

  45. I am 99.9% sure this app is free. Otherwise I agree; everything is the worst here.

  46. Rusty says:

    I have a hard time not visualizing someone using app_inventor, or something like it for android, to build an app that fills in the physical location, uses a random time within a few hours of the snapshot, and otherwise anonymizes the source, then submits the picture to the same platform as the iPhone app does. Promote the app as a tool for fixing potholes, non-functioning walk light request buttons, failed street lights, locked government buildings, improperly tinted windows on police vehicles, same vehicles running while parked at a business where the office is enjoying breakfast (which I think should be proper tag targets, but I don’t want to encourage tagging) and other examples of failed, flawed or failing city services.

    Even better would be to use a geolocation service to identify the correct municipality to contact for the location of the photo, and forward the information to that contact. So if you travel regularly, you simply take a picture of the failure, hit report issue, and the right city gets the information. You don’t need to remember if the city line was 2 blocks back, or is two blocks ahead. And you could decide for yourself if you want the information submitted anonymously.

  47. Jacob says:

    Rob Ford is the real life incarnation of Eric Cartman.

  48. Richard Gay says:

    I think the appropriate thing to do would be for every iPhone owner living in / visiting Toronto to use the app to snap a picture of Rob Ford.

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