Thursday, January 20, 2011

Viewing Public Consultation From a Distance

Budget Sub-Committee for Etobicoke York, and Toronto and East York Consultation (2010-2014)

Ran from 6pm to near-after midnight, as far as I could tell watching twitter from home (I had a slip and fall accident and was not mobile enough to make my deputation)
 Downtown Toronto meeting located rather far away at the East York Civic Centre at 850 Coxwell. Simultaneous meeting in the another area, North York.

More meetings scheduled for Thursday, January 20, 2011:
* Budget Sub-Committee for Etobicoke York, and Toronto and East York Consultation (2010-2014) at York Civic Centre  2700 Eglinton Avenue West at Keele
* Budget Sub-Committee for Scarborough and North York Consultation (2010-2014) at Scarborough Civic Centre

Tweets from others tell a story:
(more or less in time order from 2 meetings)

*  These #TOBudget consultations good news. Bad news they are less than a weeks notice. I am already booked every night next week
* .Deputants at Toronto Budget consultations all required to sign in on "pink" paper
* A packed-to-overflowing East York Civic Centre, where residents are sharing their views on the city budget.
* At East York Civic Centre for public budget deputations. There are 63 deputants, AV system is pants. People can't hear
* budget mtng in East York. great speeches, mostly re: cuts to TTC & tenants' services. Cafeteria is open late for big crowd!
* Up first. The Arts. Solid economic argument for funding. Cllr. Parker wants details on NYC funding (North York)
* Cllr. (Doug) Ford asks where the 100 K jobs the arts create are located. Downtown? Need to measure where artists live
* Cllr. (Doug) Ford assures young deputator that the PanAm games will solve all our amateur sports needs
* Up now Heritage. Budget Committee members drift back to sleep
* Ken Wood, 2010council candidate best known for once chaining himself to tree to save it, was on speaker list but wasn't present when called.
* Real estate board prez speaks for elim. of land-transfer tax. Adam Vaughan asks if the real estate market is slumping because of the tax
* Del Grande gets mad people are slow coming to mic. Someone says people can't hear him. Annoyed, he says they can. People shout that they cannot. He again says he was told they can. People again yell that they can't. Derisive laughter from the bleachers
*  Coun. Vaughan just told crowd that councillors have not had opportunity to review full police and TTC budgets. Zing! * More arts. From Scarborough. So there's at least 1 artist living there, Cllr. Ford
* Bill Johnson from Real Estate Board supports cutting land transfer tax, says finding $ to replace it not his business. Many jeers
* Slowly members of the Budget Committee disappear
* No one at East York Civic Centre knows how to work the sound system so half the ppl at this public meeting can't hear
* Montreal spends almost double per capita on the arts as Toronto (33:18), says Pleiades Theatre director John Van Burek
* Board of Trade agrees we shldn't cut 4 sake of cutting. "Council shld develop accompanying vision 4 the City's future." NYCC
* 7:08 pm. Mayor Ford leaves budget consultation @ East York Civic Centre. Mtg scheduled to go 'til midnight
* Watson sternly rebukes Doug Ford's suggestion of privatization: "We voted for you people. We didn't vote for WalMart." Mass applause.
* I think Doug Ford just suggested selling naming rights to women's shelters. And now WalMart opening their own community centre.
* Canadian Pensioners' Concern speaker Margaret Watson says Council erred in scrapping Transit City. She erred in thinking Council got a say
* Doug Ford mistakes the Canadian Pensioners' Concern for the "Canadian Prisoners' Concern."
* Doug welcoming Rob: "I only messed up a few times. Called the pensioners 'prisoners.' And don't mention WalMart, by the way."
* Pensioner taking proposed budget to task for service cuts, abandoning Transit City, user fees and tax cuts/freezes.Margaret Watson
* Nick Kouvalis just appeared. Temperature drops noticeably in the room
* Budget Committee members over in East York may be acting crazy but I'm not sure the ones here in North York are even awake
* Di Giorgio is going on a ridiculous tangent about how the environmental movement is destroying communities via recycling processing plants.
* Toronto Roller Derby speaking up for bus service to Downsview Park. Women, children and youth losing access to recreation.
* The North York meeting may have the celebs, but East York has Toronto Roller Derby!
* Maureen O'Reilly reps library workers. "Half of all workers are part timers."NYCC Maureen O'Reilly: the Library "is your only success story since amalgamation. Why would you dismantle it?" Doug: "Any questions?"
* CFIB's deputation. VRT repealed. Land Transfer Tax next. City has spending problem not revenue problem. BudComm snaps awake (Petkov?)
* Wow. CFIB doesn't depute so much as genuflect in the glow of Mayor Ford and the Budget Committee
* Oh, look. John Tory. Bet no one's Tweeted that yet Whatever is going on in East York, it is not more awkward than Nick Kouvalis's effort to literally cuddle up to John Tory.
* 155 ap't bldgs face illegal rent increases. Tenants may lose advocacy services if budget not amended
* Councillor Perks, after several deputants: "would U rather a .05 per cent tax increase or have funding cut?"
* What's the point of holding consultations when you're not going to listen to your constituents (and ur snippy w them)?
* Del Grande could be less welcoming to deputants if he had both middle fingers constantly in the air, but that's about it
* To the guy who suggests outsourcing water testing, Doug Ford says, "Great ideas." Let's hope he was just being polite
* Thought it might be fun to watch Cllr. Di Giorgio ask anti-fluoride dude a rambling, nonsensical question.
* A deputant is calling for a $200,000 salary ceiling incl bonuses for city employees.
* Taxpayer Coalition speaks Fordesque. Bang for your buck. Respect For The Taxpayer. Yaddie, yaddie
* Yep. Now up. A PanAm games canceller
* Brave young people speaking up for vital youth programs bullied by Chair Del Grande
* Young speaker can't answer councillor question, so woman with him tries to help him; Mike Del Grande refuses to allow it.
* Five hours later, Mike Del Grande still calmly scolding people. It now being 11:35 p.m., lots of giggles this time around.
* Perks moving motions that Sub-Comm must report that a tax increase was requested several times @ East York Hearing. EYCC
* Budget Chief just dismissed whole evening saying"Heard lots of numbers but @ end of the day, I'm not sure it's reflective." EYCC
* Only 1 of 65 deputations in East York / TO accepted ANY service cut, even to avoid tax hike. The people have spoken.

Some pictures from others:
North York Public Consultation

Tweet of the Day says it all:
What's the point of holding consultations when you're not going to listen to your constituents (and ur snippy w them)?
followed closely by...
Budget Chief just dismissed whole evening saying"Heard lots of numbers but @ end of the day, I'm not sure it's reflective." EYCC

Media Stories:

A Litany of Beefs and Pleas
Citizens Give Ford an Earful
Deputation Disregards

So what did Mayor Rob Ford hear out of all this?

" Upon his early departure from one meeting—to get to the other one—Ford told reporters the script he'd been playing in his head while representatives from community groups, arts organizations, and Transit City fans told him what was bugging them about the budget: “Obviously people want a zero-percent tax increase. I’ve heard it from all over." He'd heard that from one guy at the meeting"  - Torontoist

* Update: Thursday about noon Shelley Carroll tweets: "Del Grande now in media scrum intimating that the only salient point raised @ East York Budget Hearing was Ashbridges Car Barn."  and "Budget Committee chats while still in session about the "Validity" of sixty presenters to Budget Hearings"