Posts Tagged ‘Toronto City Council’
I was humbled to have nearly one hundred and fifty Ward 43 residents come out to a community meeting I held last Thursday on Grey Abbey Trail. The meeting was intended to be held in the park overlooking the Lake, and Toronto Hydro’s anemometer to help educate the community on the impacts of the new offshore regulations.
Unfortunately someone, who the City will not confirm or deny was Councillor Ainslie or a member of his staff, felt the need to apply pressure to the Parks Department and have them call a resident who sent out an invitation to my meeting, telling them that it was against the law for more than twenty-five residents to meet in a park without a permit, permits were never issued for that park, and that no candidate was allowed to discuss an election in a park, wear a button or hand out materials. We asked for a copy of the by-law and asked if they were prepared to have citizens arrested – and they went silent.
They wanted us to shut down our meeting, and not have residents come together to discuss the biggest threat ever to face the community, and hear from the only candidate offering a viable solution.
I am so happy to have such strong support on Grey Abbey Trail that we were able to find a back yard, backing on to the park within a couple of hours to hold the meeting if necessary. Instead, we set up the sound equipment in the backyard, and I stayed about five feet back from the metre tall chain link fence, and spoke to residents from private property about the importance of the issue, thus I did not discuss politics in the park and I was sure to tell them why I had to stand where I was standing.
I promised residents last night that when I defeat Paul Ainslie on October 25th and become their Councillor, the political games will end, and I’ll continue my fight to ensure their rights are respected and their involvement in decision making restored.
Antoinette DiNovo – Paul Ainslie’s Executive Assistant showed up to record and take notes. Once again it appears taxpayers will be paying her to abuse our tax dollars and run his campaign. At least Antonette didn’t have any embarrassing outbursts like Councillor Ainslie did on June 14th and was kind enough to leave after being introduced and called out on her abuse of taxpayer funds to help inflict another four years of failed representation on our community, one neither of them live in. Ward 43 isn’t buying what they’re selling this time and last night’s meeting that had a crowd threefold of the meeting I held three weeks before is a strong sign of the change that’s coming.
Consider that on a night when the heat wave was on it’s forth day, there was a heat alert in place and we were holding a meeting outside, in July that nearly one hundred and fifty residents felt compelled to come out and speak about the issues near and dear to them and the opportunity we have together to reclaim our voice and restore local democracy. Consider that Paul Ainslie doesn’t have a single Ward 43 resident to send to take notes, and is instead either crashing my meetings himself or sending a member of his staff, we’re all paying to do it for him.
I am looking forward to continuing to earn residents trust and support over the coming weeks and months and know that together we can make our community and city a better place to live for all of us.No Comments »
When I read that Dalton McGuinty had an opinion on what the ballot question should be in Toronto’s municipal election I was taken aback. It just seemed inappropriate that the Premier of Ontario would be advising residents what debate should determine the outcome of the race.
Watching the election unfold so far it seems clear there are going to be two camps, the folks who want to take drastic action to fundamentally alter how and what City Hall does and those who think tinkering is the way to go.
The province has used the 2010 municipal budget as an opportunity to use spending power to exert more control over the TTC. This is something Torontonians should approach with caution because it means local control will be shared with the province, likely through Metrolinx. This could create an even more unwieldy governance structure for the TTC.
The Premier’s suggestion that the Toronto Election is a good opportunity to discuss the idea of transit workers being declared an essential service was not only off base, but possibly a sign of what is to come with the permanent funding proposal from the Province, particularly in a race that sees the front runners running against City Hall, not for it.
With the significant decisions the next Council is going to have to make regarding Toronto’s future should be top of mind of all voters when they determine who to send to Council in the fall. I believe our next Mayor and members of Council need to focus the municipal/provincial relationship on building a sustainable and workable framework for Toronto to govern it’s affairs with the resources needed to meet the challenge. We need to make sure, whoever is elected doesn’t sell our city short in these negotiations and ensures the Premier understands providing adequate funding to the City of Toronto and the TTC isn’t optional, its necessary.
How about the province just fund a proportion of the TTC’s operating budget because it’s the right thing to do, and historically a role they played.
If there is to be a ballot question regarding anything to do with the Provincial government it should be, which candidate for Mayor best represents our City’s long term interests in negotiating a sustainable framework with the Ontario Government.No Comments »
Toronto City Council often demonstrates some of the most brazen abuse of citizens you will find in government. Whether it’s annual tax increases double the rate of inflation, new service fees, unchecked spending and waste, fighting to preserve their pay increases, perks and goodies – even as the City struggles with massive deficits. It’s all wrong and demonstrates how out of touch they are with reality. Our taxes are going to go up again this year, probably by 4-5% to keep up with out of control spending and to solve a half billion dollar deficit that includes crass moves like paying each other’s legal bills.
The Heaps vote demonstrated a new level of inappropriate behaviour among Councillors. They voted for something they knew was indefensible, and not legally allowed, even after being advised by the City Solicitor. Those who stuck around to vote in favour of this motion do have some explaining to do, and let’s hope this current legal action against them will begin to wise Councillors up to the fact that they aren’t lifers with fiefdoms, but instead, representatives with four year terms.
It’s worth noting the legal actions funded by Council for other Councillors have related to election stuff. Councillors are notorious tax dollar abusers during campaigns, whether it’s having their campaign run by a member of their staff who draws their salary and does little City work, or using their office budgets for some final flashy ‘look at me’ pieces just before the vote.
I hope the Toronto Party and others continue to hold Councillors who misappropriate our money for their financial gain accountable. I know personally whether I win or lose, I will never allow myself to fall into the trap of self-service nor will I sit by and condone others abusing or misusing taxpayer money for financial gain. Residents work too hard, get taxed too much and don’t get enough in return already. Perhaps if we had a fresher stock on Council, members would think like taxpayers, and the bubble that allows them to act the way they do could be broken.
I would hope to see the next Council wash it’s hands of the practice of paying the legal fees of Councillors, and for Council to impose internal watchdog standards to end self interested, self serving spending by Councillors for Councillors.
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Today at 9:08 am (yes the City of Toronto records the time of one’s candidacy to the minute), I had the high honour and privilege of guaranteeing Ward 43 residents have a choice in the coming municipal election this fall.
I responded to the calls from residents that began well over a year ago to consider making another run. Members of the community have been frustrated by the vacuum of leadership and lack of local representation at City Hall. We’re going to work together to change that this fall.
They’ve asked for a voice. They want someone who is going to listen, stand up, speak out and represent their views. Someone who will rise above the self interested nonsense, mediocrity so often found at City Hall hurting our city.
I’m give it my all to be that voice, to champion the will of my neighbours, and community and to carry our message forward. Those who know me know I work long and hard, and never give up on something I believe in. It is that passion and drive I will bring to this race, and to my term as Councillor should residents see fit to enlist me in their service. But it can’t happen alone. It’s going to take the financial support and volunteer time from others who believe in shaking things up at City Hall. We’ll have more on this coming out soon – but feel free to email me if you’d like to act now.
Laforet.ca will begin changing to reflect my new role as my community’s candidate for Council as more residents begin visiting to find out more about my plans.
I have to say as day one of this campaign ends, I am proud of the team that has come together so far, and look forward to swelling our ranks in the days and weeks ahead.
Our campaign can only be successful with the financial support of those who believe in what we’re trying to achieve.3 Comments »
I have said repeatedly that spending at City Hall has been both out of control and irresponsible. I am not ideologically opposed to taxes or spending, but think each need to have a clear purpose that they are meeting.
The last two councils have increased taxes and spending at an totally unsustainable way and have relied on the Province for annual bailouts. I don’t dispute the Ctiy’s claim that the Province has failed to upload areas of provincial responsibility, but if one looks at how this council has responded to financial pressure – it can hardly be seen as an example of difficult leadership or tough decision making.
I don’t believe each department can or should be cut an arbitrary 5% this year and next. Doing so will hurt good and meaningful programs while leaving wasteful, misguided or otherwise unnecessary programs in 90 to 95% in place.
The annual budget has increased 1.5 billion under David Miller’s leadership. There is undoubtedly an opportunity to dig through all of this new spending and find ineffectively deployed resources. There is an opportunity to look at non core areas of spending and find significant cuts to ineffective spending while preserving program funding for well functioning and necessary resource deployment.
But before this Council attempts another ‘do as we say not as we do’ like they did with the unions during the negoiation that led to the longest strike in our City’s history – they ought to look at their own offices first.
They should cut 5% of their 53 100 office budgets, this year and next. They should cut 5% of their 200 000 staff budgets this year and next. And above all they should cut their own salaries 5% this year and next. They could also cut out the catered council meetings, the free coffee, the free zoo, golf, parking and metro passes they give themselves. While they are at it, they could cancel the city boxes at the Rogers Centre and the Air Canada Centre.
None of this spending does anything but stroke the egos of a bunch of ward bosses who find importance through these perks. Gutting these perks, and cutting back Councillor salaries, political staff salaries and councillor’s office budgets would also help them and their staff understand how difficult the current economic crisis is for many Toronto families. Cuts to their own office resources would also allow them to understand how their cuts to real programming impact the civil service as they deploy services to residents.
It seems to me only fair that these guys start with any cuts closest to themsevles and work out toward residents – who pay more than ever and are receiving less than before for it.
Who is with me?No Comments »