Friday, December 17, 2010

Dec16 Council Meeting Analysis and Observations

December 16 Eventful City Council Meeting:

Includes video links to Ana's speeches !
Judge her performance for yourself!
Official Council Photo 2010-2014
* 1.  Ana Bailao speaking about Abolishing Personal Vehicle Tax (at the 7:16: mark in video) Ana spoke after Adam Vaughan, who opposed the motion very strongly. Her first rookie speech got applause as did all other rookies. She was eloquent and informed. She obviously got herself well up to speed on all the angles: environment = it is a tax on who owns cars, not who uses them; unfairness = penalizes inner core residents, not those outside who do use our streets; penalizing those on fixed, low-incomes. ANA voted YES to this and the motion carried 39-6. Those who voted no were: Vaughan, Davis, Doucette,  Mihevc, Perks,
McConnell.  Biggest surprise was that Shelley Carroll reversed herself from when she first voted in the tax to voting YES to abolish it now.

 ** BEST point was made by last speaker, David Shiner at 24:11, when he said that the city has had surpluses of about $300 million+ during recent Miller years, which in his view means that Torontonians have been overtaxed unecessarily. This was the most compelling argument "Our problem was they kept taxing and couldn't spend it fast enough". All kinds of attempts to amend the main motion to ensure no service cuts were all defeated (ANA had voted YES for them). Even amendments to demand more information be gathered were also defeated (ANA had voted YES for that too).

*2.  Ana Bailao along with most of Council (40-5) voted YES to reduce Councillor Office Budgets from $50,445/yr to $30,000/yr. Many, including Ana, chose NOT to speak on this item. In fact, prior to the vote, Council had almoist lost quorum as a lot of Councillors simply weren't there. There was a quorum call and people ran back in to vote. Really, not much of a debate at all, except that Adam Vaughan tried to raise the excellent point that some wards were much bigger than others and so needed different levels of support. His motion to rectify this did not carry (ANA voted NO On it)  Ron Moeser also made some hopeless, unsuccessful amendments to try to ensure he could hang on to his constuituency office - he can't.
Those voting NO to cutting Councillor Office Budgets were: Di Giorgio, Filion, McConnell, Moeser and Perks.

*3.  Ana Bailao speaking about Making TTC Essential Service (at the 1.47 mark in video). "I had a really tough time with this item... If I had $6 or $11 million I'd rather have (money go to what I campaigned on)... affordable, reliable transit". ANA voted NO to making TTC Essential Service. I think this was her first vote that was on the losing side, as the motion carried 28-17. Those voting NO included Augimeri, Bailao, Carroll, Colle, Davis, De Baermaeker, Doucette, Fletcher, Fragedakis, Layton, McConnell, Mihevc, Moeser, Perks, Peruzza, Vaughan and Wong-Tam.

After these key Ford-promised items, City Council pretty much went on automatic pilot, with a few individual motions hardly getting any debate at all and just being passed fast so they could all get out of there (it was after 9:00pm after an all day meeting).  Everyone seemed quite punchy and innattentive.

In fact, Mike Layton's politically-correct (ie in my view a quite silly, unecessary, time waster) to formally distance Toronto Council with MacLean's Magazine's article about universities being "Too Asian" had NO. DEBATE. AT. ALL. I was there in the chamber to see the astonished young Layton lad seing his very first Council action be a success. Afterwards Chin Lee, Perks and Carroll came over and shook his hand. The silly motion passed , even though Mayor Ford wanted to refer it (and kil it) at the Executive Committee. You can see the whole non-debate starting at about 42:17 point in this video )  It passed 27-14. ANA voted YES on this one.
Layton holds Press Conference Dec17 about the "Too Asian" thing, supported by Kyrstyn Wong-Tam and Karen Sn\un. We find out its a copy of his mom's motion in federal patliament (Olivia Chow). Everyone looks so excited, don't they?

*** Another Interesting Note: After the last act of Council (a round of applause for new Speaker Nunziata for a job well done), the last few minutes of the official video  after council adjourned (about the 26:0 minute mark) , you can clearly see Gord Perks and Shelley Carroll descend upon Ana Bailao, likely working to recruit her for the "left wing pinko team" a little more solidly. Ana could do much worse than have veteran talent like Carroll mentoring her!

Verdict:: So far I am impressed by Ana's performance, she's playing the astutue politician and has made no major mistakes. Time will tell about her integrity and character.