Notes from Toronto City Council Meeting – December 8th 2010
Posted Friday, December 9, 2010
I watched the entire 5 hour City Council meeting for December 8th (RogersTV posts video of all City Council meetings) . Here are some notes I took relating to the level of democracy with in the new (2006) “Strong Mayor” era of council, and cycling issues.
The meeting approved the Striking Committees recommendations for the Executive Committee.
Mayor’s Office asks city manager to expedite time it takes to get the city budget passed into law (confusing fiscal-conservatism with rushing around?). On January 10, 2011 the executive Committee will present a city budget of 36 Billion dollars to the public and council for approval.
I sensed from the questions being asked that there was a fear that the new fast track budget protocol the Mayor has asked for (he says is to increase the productivity of the delivery of services), is designed to force through cuts in services – and pointedly – the cutting of certain committees – like the Cycling Committee and the Pedestrian Committee.
Councilor Janet Davis had a good point – the are ZERO (0) women chairing the Standing Committees.
Council elected 2 females of the 4 at-large members they could elect to the Executive Committee, Jaye Robinson and Michelle Berardinetti (the anti-bike-lane councilor from Pharmacy Avenue).
Josh Matlow (Ward 22 St Paul) – while addressing amendments to the Striking Committees recommendations – told of how he felt the learning curve was dizzying and added that people were asking ‘how he intended to vote on specific issues over the next 4 years’. (To this reporter this indicates that neither side on the 416/519 divide thinks it has a majority. We may see a dictatorship of liberals on this council. In war, a liberal is the last person you want watching your back.)
Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker proposed an amendment to increase the size of the Zoo Board of Management in order to include himself because the Striking Committee didn’t – (even though he discovered that captive animals at the Zoo make poo which you can create bio-fuels with – [methane gas - which by the way Glenn - adds to the Cities Carbon Footprint when you burn it, and reduces Co2 in the air when you leave it where you found it ... didn't anybody ever tell you not to eat the yellow snow?] – and feels like his brilliant contributions warrant some flexibility in the Fascistic recommendations process) – was voted down, but it was close.
Other councilors brought up the idea of ‘institutional memory’ (having councilors with a lot of experience on a certain issues remain in those responsibilities as it brings great value to projects.
On it’s first political vote of it’s life this council narrowly defeated this crazy idea.
Thinking perhaps that the boot-stomping leadership might take offense – insecure perhaps that their agenda was just an expression of a personality disorder rooted in the belief that they may all be secretly gay and like bullies turn down the thermostat even further as a ‘cost saving measure’. (Councillors were wearing coats at one point – some joked, ‘cost savings?’ – The problem was fixed )
Ten of the record fourteen rookie councilors sign on to a motion, introduced by the bright, incisive Kristyn Wong-Tam, to expand the time councilors have to consider the fast-track budget as Mayor’s Office proposes new condensed budget process. The motion was referred to the Executive Committee for consideration (which I bet means it ill never see a vote). A motion by the Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday to distance the council meetings, one from another, to allow for consultations in councilors Wards was also referred “up stairs”.
The entire 36 Billion city budget will be considered at the same time. Councilors demanded Mayor’s Office move public consultation to after full, line by line report is released which will allow them to talk possible cuts through with constituents.
For an hour Councilors ask questions of the City Manager that seemed directed towards determining weather council will have time under the new speeded up formula to do their necessary due diligence. This reporter thinks that they think the Executive Committee may be trying to barrel through with cuts in services before the public/media can digest them.
(This was funny, so I wrote it funny:)
Mayor’s Office proposes cutting ‘crappy’ sandwiches laid on for late Council meetings.
Move to save $1.39 each bid to achieve balanced $36 Billion, 2011 budget.
Deputy Mayor suggests a pay cart – not a peep is heard – council votes against free crappy sandwiches when they work into the evenings.
A motion to break for an hour was mentioned as an alternative – but no motion was put forward to that effect at this meeting.
Toronto Star Tuesday, December 7, 2010: “No need for council vote on Transit City, Ford suggests“.
At this Blog:
Mayor’s Office powerful new force at City Hall
Transit Sage Steve Munro documents Ford & Council DID vote on Transit City
Changing Colours at Toronto City Hall
An Anti-Cycling Mayor Rob Ford does not a Council make
Posted: December 10th, 2010
Author: michael holloway
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