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Mayor’s Office powerful new force at City Hall

In an earlier article here I tried to predict which way this new City of Toronto Council would swing on bicycling issues. I made a colour coded quick-reference table that tries to show all the changes at City Hall after the October 25th election. The election saw a record 14 new councilors elected (5 incumbents were defeated – 9 replaced councilors who retired from city politics).

In that post I promised to keep an eye on this new Council going forward because Mayor Rob Ford said he thinks cyclists killed in traffic accidents deserve their lot for riding their dam “pinko” bikes on our ‘car-roads’ (paraphrasing).

On Tuesday December 7 City council held their first meeting (see city council meeting agenda). As I’m sure everyone is aware – it’s the meeting where Don Cherry disrespected the institution the best he could with his half-literate inflammatory rhetorical ramblings about the right/left political divide which is likely to mark this council.

Earlier, Joe T posted a link to a video of Cherry’s rant here at BikingToronto.

On Wednesday Council meet again to vote on the appointment of several of them to the all-powerful Executive Committee; a sort of Board of Directors of the Rob Ford Corporation.

‘What’s that you say? The City has an Executive Committee? Never heard of it!’

Well, neither had I until September 2010, so I did some research:

In 2006 The City of Toronto reorganized itself in order to get things done. It’s now a dictatorship of the majority. This makes sure that there is continuity from year to year on big projects. Like “Transit City” for example – and like getting rid of “Transit City”, that this Administration set the wheels in motion to begin to do.

To make this happen the 2006 council decided to make the Mayor much more powerful than in the old City Council. A Super Mayor.

The Executive Committee is part of the structure of the powerful Office of the Mayor.  I liken to the Board of Directors of a Corporation and the Mayor like the Chief Executive Officer of that Corporation.

Or, you can see as an analogy to the Republican system of Government in the United States. A “Republic” is based on a balance of powers between three separate, but equal, branches of government:

Legislative (Congress)
Executive (President)
Judicial (Supreme Court)

The “Mayor’s Office” as I will hence-forth refer to it, is the Executive Branch, The City Council is the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch are the laws of Canada – and, as the City of Toronto is an entity of the Province of Ontario, the laws that govern such entities as passed by the Provincial Parliament and executed by the staff at City Hall.

On Tuesday, December 1st Rob Ford became Mayor of Toronto. On that day his transition team was re-named as the Striking Committee, a legal entity in the new City Council. Their job is to recommend Chairs of all the Committees of Council. Those committee chairs will automatically be on the Executive Committee.

The Executive Committee is composed of the Mayor, the Deputy Mayor, the Chairs of all the Committees of City Council – plus four members at large.

Here’s the composition of the new Executive Committee:
(Link: “Council Member appointments to the Executive, Standing and Special Committees and to Agencies and External Bodies – passed by full council“.)

Executive Committee (2010-2014)

“The Executive Committee makes recommendations on Council’s strategic policy and priorities, governance policy and structure, financial planning and budgeting, fiscal policy including revenue and tax policies, intergovernmental and international relations, Council and its operations, and human resources and labour relations.”

The Executive Committee

Mayor Rob Ford (Chair)
Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday (Vice-Chair & Chair of the Employee and Labour Relations Committee.)
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Chair, Community Development and Recreation Committee)
Councillor Michael Thompson (Chair, Economic Development Committee)
Councillor Paul Ainslie (Chair, Government Management Committee)
Councillor Cesar Palacio (Chair, Licensing and Standards Committee)
Councillor Norm Kelly (Chair, Parks and Environment Committee)
Councillor Peter Milczyn (Chair, Planning and Growth Management Committee)
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Chair, Public Works and Infrastructure Committee)

Members at-large

Councillor Michelle Berardinetti
Councillor Mike Del Grande (Chair, Budget Committee.)
Councillor Jaye Robinson
Councillor David Shiner

See: Notes from Toronto City Council Meeting – December 8th 2010 - formerly here – now at a new post: Crappy Sandwiches, Zoo Poo, and Boyz Club Rules + Cycling Committee rumors

References:
Toronto Star Tuesday, December 7, 2010: “No need for council vote on Transit City, Ford suggests“.

Related Posts:

At this Blog:
Crappy Sandwiches, Zoo Poo, and Boyz Club Rules + Cycling Committee rumors
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

At BikingToronto:
Video: Don Cherry and his Pinko Rant
Left-Wing Pinko I Bike T.O. Shirt
Don Cherry insults Cyclists as Rob Ford Sworn in as Mayor

mh



Posted: December 10th, 2010
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Transit City hangs in the balance as opportunist candidates dither and dodge at the precipice of an epoch

A Vision lacking amongst Mayoral candidates

Over at ”Duncan’s City Ride”, a BikingToronto blog, Duncan posted:

Jarvis lanes tell the story of a city that pretends to be committed to the bicycle” Hume

- from the Christopher Hume op-ed published in the Toronto Star.

I’ll quote again part of what Hume had to say,

“Rather than build a cycling network that would enable riders to reach all parts of the city, we have a hodge-podge of rules, regulations and lanes that probably make a bad situation worse.”

So, the gloves are off?

It’s about time.

I don’t see a friend of Mayor Miller’s Transit City plan amongst the Mayoral contenders in this falls election. I see no hope that the cyclist’s lot will be better in this city any time soon. In fact, I see quite the opposite – I see a rainbow of reaction to Transit City and all that it stands for – from every political colour.

Transit City is one of the first victims of the fiscal conservatism being championed by neo-liberals (like Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty) that are aimed at balancing budgets as tax revenues crash after the toxic assets financial meltdown of 2008 that resulted in 500,000 lost jobs in Ontario alone.

In the setting of this cities Mayoral campaign Transit City is something we can do locally to pursue a progressive agenda that could have an effect nationally on our economic viability over the long haul. Fiscal conservatism, or cutting stimulus spending to deal with the global economic collapse of 2008, in this writers opinion, is a recipe for a global depression.

In this election only Joe Pantalone is standing up for Transit City amongst this years flock of no-bodies running for Mayor. Because of his complete lack of TV ‘Q’, his non existent budget, and the campaigns lack of a social networking guru -  it makes it highly unlikely he can win. (Those things can change through. Go to Joe Pantalone’s “MayorJoe” website to lend a hand.)

I see the shadow of a dark-age coming after this October election, an ignorant back-lash where bike lanes are removed for more car lanes, where perhaps a councilor suggests a Spadina Expressway. A place back in history where policy begins again to reflect an imaginary 1950′s advertising dystopia – full of shiny ostentatious cars, draped with goddess mommy/whores."..excerpted from the 1955 Cadillac mailer catalog entitled A Trip to the Motorama."

Representatives of this reactionary agenda, like Rocco Rossi and Tom Ford are accompanied by so-called ‘progressives’ like George Smitherman and Sarah Thomson, who bob and duck the issues – so as to not create enemies – rather than setting out a vision that will advance the tiny steps, timidly taken, by the current council.

I’m non-partisan in this post right-left political landscape. I stand for progress; and if that’s represented by a Liberal, a Tory or a New Democrat – that’s where I’ll put my vote.

In the new world order (read, post republic empire) as more and more industrial production moves to the far corners of the earth – this country, and especially this province’s good jobs of the future lay in super high efficient technology. It is based on a vision of Technology that revolutionizes industrial production, industry that mirrors nature – rather than rapes it. A mirror of the biological and chemical dialectic that is this biosphere, and that although we are far from understanding it -  due to the great leaps in computational ability – we are on the verge of at least uncovering the extent of our ignorance. Coupled with our understanding of the causes of global warming, our acceptance of the nearing of the end of cheap oil, our increasing grasp of complex systems cognition and the great leaps forward in miniaturization – all point to a third way:  The Super High Efficient Economy. This isn’t radical thinking, it’s the central plank of President Obama’s economic recovery strategy and it’s in part the thinking behind Premier Dalton McGuinty’s Wind Power project.

Future industry will have to mimic the processes that have evolved in this planet’s biosphere over the last 4 billion years. In order that we can sustain the kind of growth that seems necessary to a stable global economy, future industry will have to give back to Gaia as much as it takes.

This Industrial Renascence can begin with an investment in a hyper efficient transportation infrastructure. On the local level that can seen as Transit City, which envisions a multi-vectored approach to transportation – a small step – but in the right direction. To continue this project and begin to see some of the cost benefits, we need a visionary group of city councilors, and a Mayor, willing to take the small steps – like a connected, safe, efficient cycling network.

Leading this change will result in our, and our children’s, prosperity. Doing nothing will guarantee social chaos and poverty. Public works are a quick and effective way to jump start change by instituting high efficient technology standards we already have, with-in the obsolescence planning of our present infrastructure. As well, Government spending on development and utilization of already understood micro and nano-technology will create a ‘next generation’ of even more efficient economies with-in the greater economy that will then institutionalize across even more facets of the economy.

Going forward this process of constant re-newel and re-efficiency will become the natural order of the global economy through the processes of the free market (that works quite well – as long technological improvement sustains, and is subservient to, a democratic society).

Right now though, the governments are full of timid, fearful, go with the flow-ers, who are content to manage this dying economy – us and our children – all the way into our collective graves.

For example, a continuation of the regressive Federal tax, the GST – the regressive Homogenized Sales Tax (HST) will have cyclists pay as much as car drivers for infrastructure; yet receive pennies on the dollar in infrastructure compared to the technologically and economically obsolete internal combustion engine powered vehicles – while at the same time the cyclist does way more than their fair share towards the greater good.

These neo-conservatives have a vision so reactionary they have to keep it a secrete from us ‘knee-jerk reactionary liberals’ of the enlightenment. If the decisions reached by the G20 Summit,and championed by the Federal Tories and especially Stephen Harper are an indication, they’re agenda continues to be dangerous and reactionary; making the poor pay for the financial crisis of 2008 by cutting back badly needed social programs – while at the same time creating more tax loopholes for multinational corporations to avoid paying  tax.

These people ideas are like dead dinosaurs: thick, black of spirit, and toxic to the community.

These are the philosophy of the Tom Ford’s and Rocco Rossi’s of this election.

Find out who represents you on city council through this list at the City of Toronto Website.

mh



Posted: August 3rd, 2010
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