3 min

Help! I’m a bad neighbour

City Idol contestants want to solve your problems

AGONY AUNTS. City Idol competitors Susan Gapka, KristineMaitland and Tanya Gulliver field our NIMBY questions.

The City Idol competition — where audience members eliminate wannabe city election candidates, leaving a surviving contestant who wins an election campaign run by the City Idol team — has made its first cut, whittling 82 aspiring politicians down to 46.

Since municipal issues often play out as a series of “make them stop” complaints, we decided to put a call out to the remaining queer contestants to play agony aunts. Christopher Reid, who Xtra interviewed in our Mar 30 issue, didn’t make the first cut. But activists Tanya Gulliver (who also writes for Xtra), Susan Gapka and Kristine Maitland did.

Dear City Idol,
I can’t get to sleep at a decent hour because of the loud music from the drag show next door. But my neighbours complain when I blare Madonna after I get back from the afterhours club at 8am. Why are things so unfair?

GAPKA: As a Madonna fan myself, I share your concern. Drag shows, however, play an important role in our communities, in particular, as gender performance, fundraising and as entertainment. I will advocate for affordable housing so that you and others will have more housing options in more locations.

GULLIVER: Life is unfair, darling. And Madonna is so last decade. Invest in some ear plugs — those bright orange ones from Shoppers are so attractive! Get a costume together, tuck your dick and get up onstage!

MAITLAND: If life were fair you’d be blaring Pink not Madonna. Get your councillor to help you negotiate a noise strategy with the Church-Wellesley Village Business Improvement Association. Its management board is made up of all the bar owners where drag shows are held, anyway.

Dear City Idol,
My nudist neighbours have a sling in their backyard, which they don’t hesitate to use on sunny afternoons, in full view of where I park my SUV. Do I call the police, parking enforcement, the garbage department (’cause they’re so trashy!) or my councillor?

GAPKA: I am a strong supporter of public transit and I do not own an automobile. Toronto has a significant number of smog days that cause serious health concerns including premature death; automobiles in the downtown core contribute to this problem. Did you know that the first Toronto Pride events were held on the Toronto Island where there is a clothing-optional beach?

GULLIVER: Girlfriend! Why are you calling anyone? Grab some Crisco and jump right in! PS Why are you driving an SUV in the city? Have you seen the cost of gas lately?

MAITLAND: Talk about NIMBY (not in my backyard). Your neighbours should be calling the Toronto Environment Alliance on you for driving an SUV. Take the TTC and call the Toronto Community Garden Network to help you put in a hedge.

Dear City Idol,
I never know which bin to put my used condoms in — green for compost, grey for plastics or black bag for plain old waste — so I just flush them. Is that a bad thing?

GAPKA: Congratulations for practising safer sex. Information about condoms is available on the Toronto Public Health website which states, “Throw the condom out in the garbage — do not flush it down the toilet.”

GULLIVER: Well, yes it is. If you don’t want sewage all over your bathroom when the toilet clogs, switch to that plain old black bag. Better yet, start doing art and create a piece called “My Lovers Cum To See Me.”

MAITLAND: Having your used rubber clog up Toronto’s already aging sewer systems, or worse, having it float down the Don River along with the old tires, doesn’t cut it. Until city council finds a better way to deal with our trash, I fear that you are just gonna have to let it go to Michigan.

Dear City Idol,
When I take my two Chihuahuas for a walk in the park, all the other dogs gang up on them, biting at the cute little seasonally appropriate jackets and booties I knit for them. Can’t you keep nasty mongrels out of the parks?

GAPKA: I am also an animal lover and have a five-year-old indoor cat named Pericles. Dogs, however, need to be walked regularly. Please remember that the Toronto Municipal Code regulates animals from running at large in public parks except in designated areas. As your City Idol I would support more green space environments in downtown Toronto.

GULLIVER: It’s love, hon. Those other dogs just want a taste of your two little rats on strings. Why not buy a small baby carriage to protect them?

MAITLAND: What do you expect? Your Chihuahuas look like fashion victims. Anyway honey, this city hasn’t adequately come up with affordable housing so that the homeless aren’t stuck in the parks. We must stop treating all its inhabitants like mongrels.