Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 8 Council Meeting Day 2

Day 2 of Toronto Council Meeting Drudgery

This will not be a blow by blow log like yesterday as frankly - it is exhausting to do it or try to follow it. I'm glad I tried it as it shows in detail the confusing shifting of councillors speaking or voting and some of the background noise they all have to deal with.

It is evident (so far) to me that the real decisions and deal making are done behind closed doors. Why else would Ana Bailao not bother to even be there to vote on restoring the Dundas West parking yesterday?

There seems to be a few isolated cases of Councillors trying to sway colleagues with their 2 or 5 minute speeches, like Gord Perks. Much of the rest is just confusion, noise and partisan shots at the 'other side'. We still have to hear from many of the supposed neutral independent rookies, but by their votes they are opting to be on the bandwagon. Perhaps voting with the Mayor's direction is just  safe bet for now.

The place is packed with audience in the galleries.

-Tweet: Goldsbie Vaughan has a motion to rename the Dupont Parkette (on Avenue Road) after Sgt. Ryan Russell.
- Tweet: Shelley Carroll Council Chambers full of community members losing Federal Funding for their Settlement Service Agencies. Council moves condemnation of cuts
Shelley Carroll's snap of Rob Ford NOT paying attention

- Tweet: Toronto City Clerk Toronto City Council is debating Item CD1.9 Citizenship&Immigration Funding Link
-Tweet: Joe Mihevc At Council: we are debating the $18 million cut to toronto agencies serving new immigrants. Toronto IS a city of immigrants. These cuts hurt
-Tweet: Goldsbie Council is debating whether symbolically condemning the feds' cuts to settlement agencies should be sent to the Exec Committee for study.

10:05am Gord Perks gets staff answer  that 13% cut to settlement services in Toronto ($18 million)  is happening. (He is really good at getting proof of what the consequences are in any situation)

11:20am Shelley Carroll making a passionate speech asking everyone to write letters to the feds to ensure the cuts to immigration settlement, followed by Adam Vaughan... interrupted by Mammoliti who takes offence against negative comments against  Mayor Rob Ford,  who is strangley silent on the whole issue.

-Tweet: Goldsbie Vaughan says the City is still fighting the 2006 census in the courts because it underrepresented low-income/high-rise populations.

11:23am Josh Matlow speaks up on the side of the lefties, by trying to play the middle road - he is begging the righties to do the right thing.

11:25am Norm Kelly is offended - nobody here is anti-immigrant. ? wants informed debate but at Executive - not logical to assume Executive is any more informed.

11:27am Frank di Giorgio speaks up on the side of the righties - big surprise.

Side note: Ironic comments by the right protest that people are making the issue political.... umm, yes?

11:32am Always entertaining Anthony Peruzza winds up into a rant about the silliness of the debate. "Hey Council: You are simply being asked to be an advocate for the people... all it costs is a stamp and a letter?  Tons of audience applause.

11:34am Kristyn Wong-Tam supports the letter and not referring (ie killing) by sending to Executive.

11:36am Cesar Palacio goes on about his immigrant experience, only Spanish speaking councillor, a minority - then goes on to support his rightist Fordite buddies. Tweet: Goldsbie Rightwinger Palacio tries to establish his immigrant cred: "As the only Spanish-speaking councillor..." Mihevc, gently: "I speak Spanish
side note: There should be 'Best Suckup' awards at Council. Nominees: Giorgio Mammoliti, Cesar Palacio, Norm Kelly, Doug Holyday

11:38am Janet Davis speaks then Michael Thompson makes nasty remark about Janet's motivations is to get media attention. Yelling.... upset....Nunziata ignores points of order others are tryingto make while Thompson rants in the style of Anthony Peruzza....  FIREWORKS !!!
-Tweet: Goldsbie Thompson accuses Davis of using this issue for her own selfish grandstanding. This is getting ugly. Then holds up Doug Saunders's book. (about immigration)

Update: No doubt it is this article that got Michael Thompson so upset.

11:42am Councillor Doucette gets up to speak, visibly upset that some rightist councillors are not supporting the people.


** Worrisome: the technology breaks down again and they have to cancel the vote a few times before going to stand all in favour all opposed old style... Tweet: Goldsbie Now they're having problems with the electronic voting system. They have to do a manual head count instead....I like that councillors are being forced to literally stand up for their principles....Councillors standing in favour of the referral getting cold stare1 - Holyday's delay motion to wait for stats about Vancouver and Montreal for comparison.

Doug Holyday's amendment to delay by waiting for stats comparison to Vancouver and Montreal Passes 30-13..... new nickname? Holyday-Delay

Main Motion: Refer to Executive:  Passes 22-21  (so who were the 2 who were not there to vote?... Gloria Lindsay-Luby and Pam McConnell)

Tweet Goldsbie: Referral carries 22-21. (Screw you, brown poors.)...Davis says there same hundreds of people will pack the Exec Committee on Feb. 17.

Tweet: Sattva Namaste @ @goldsbie u have little experience with the "poors". It is not just limited to "browns". Your comment is stereotypical if not racist
Tweet: Doucette Councillor Davis motion to write a letter today to the Fed Gov. to declare Councils opposition to funding cuts failed 22-21.

Note: ANA BAILAO voted NO on both. Guess coming from an immigrant ward she could do no less.
Then again, is it that she has to support her friends in the federal Liberal position on saying no to Stephen Harper on immigration funding cuts? Remember, she was current MP Mario Silva's Executive Assistant and owes a lot to him for the Liberal machine election support..... hmmmm.... Has she been 'whipped' too from the other side? See Tweet below *

Noon Now Mike del Grande is questioning staff on driveway parking limits. Upset with bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, lots of media scrums on the settlement funding issue happening.

Tweet: Goldsbie After the scrums, Davis coolly confronts Mammoliti: "What more information do you need, Giorgio?" He responds it's an NDP plot.
* Goldsbie Perks tells me this was the only vote this week that the Ford team has whipped. He's confident Harper's staff contacted the mayor's staff.
Tweet: Jon Medow Ontario gov has been resoundingly critical of the federal cuts. Why would the city dither on this?


Results of votes already posted HERE

Here is the FORDITE voting block: Leader? Mammoliti, Doug Ford, others
Paul Ainslie, Michelle Berardinetti, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Doug Ford, Rob Ford, Mark Grimes, Doug Holyday, Norman Kelly, Giorgio Mammoliti, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Ron Moeser, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Cesar Palacio, John Parker, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson  (22) ... possibly also Gloria Lindsay Luby who was absent from the vote.
Here is the Lefty Pinko Voting Block: Gord Perks is Leader
Maria Augimeri, Ana Bailăo, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Josh Colle, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Mary Fragedakis, Mike Layton, Chin Lee, Josh Matlow, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, James Pasternak, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Adam Vaughan, Kristyn Wong-Tam .(21)... possibly also Pam McConnell who was absent from the vote

Of course several councillors can swing left or right depending on local issues and hopes of getting power by pleasing colleagues - but looks like an evenly split council on key issues.
Tweet: Matt Elliott So Jaye Robinson is still on Team Ford but Mary-Margaret McMahon is not? I need a score card
Tweet: City Slikr Councillors in the middle should vote against the mayor in enough numbers to defeat him once. See how it feels. Might be freeing. ---

Aside on the IMMIGRATION hot button issue: Much like racism or gays in the USA, this topic in Canada is getting really scary. Just to illustrate the nasty vitriol that goes on in comments by 'joe-anonymous-public' look at this one in The Sun:

The rush of immigration and the "open arms" of the government is stripping us 3,4 and 5th generation Canadians of our identity, we allow them to come to OUR country, we cater to THEM, they demand we stop using Christmas Tree becauser it offends them, they have taken away our bible in the schools because it offends THEM, well what about us?? Ther beliefs and ways OFFEND ME! Immigration is like a huge tidal wave coming in and pushing us generation Canadians out, this has to stop..When are the bleeding heart, vote seeking, money grabbing politicians going to grow some balls and finally stand up and say THIS IS CANADA, we speak ENGLISH and FRENCH, we celebrate Christmas and have a Christmas Trees! we read the bible and sing the National Anthem

....  I guess I'd have to say that this is an issue that Canadians across the country and politicians at every level desperately try to ignore and not get involved in. In truth, the Federal level has needed to handle the issue for decades - and has not. So, perhaps congratulations for courage is in order for those Toronto Councillors who chose to try to address the issue today!
Tweet: GoldsbieCouncil is resuming shortly. Toronto Ombudsman Fiona Crean is sitting front-row centre in the public gallery, ready to cast judgment.2:16pm Council back in session, Ana Bailao is not there but 35 other councillors are (10 missing). Handle Notices of Motion, Community Council items.... ooo. Councillor Karen Stintz finally showed up.
Tweet 16mins ago: Ana Bailao Calling all teens! YMCA Teen Nights: Saturdays starting February 19, 7:30 - 10 pm, West End YMCA, 931 College St, http://on.fb.me/eNqiuJ #fb
Tweet:: David Nickle Democracy is still alive at City Hall. Members elected David Rider VP and yrs. trly President of the City Hall Press Gallery.
Tweet: Goldsbie Council has voted 25-7 to waive referral on the Del Grande/Ford pay freeze motion, meaning they'll debate it today. Ugh....Side Note: Josh Matlow was on AM740 radio talk show with Dale Goldhawk over lunch talking about his conflict of interest in voting on his own salary.
The following is tweets on what I missed when I decided to go out for a walk and see the world...

- Goldsbie Vaughan is alleging that the mayor's office has improperly interfered with the Ombudsman's report, but is being maddeningly vague as to how.
- Goldsbie (That is, the report on the treatment of residents with dementia.)
- Shelley Carroll Someone's having lunch with Jeff Lyons next week and it ain't me.
- Toronto City Clerk:Toronto City Council is now debating ItemCC3.4: Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Project: Link
- Toronto City Clerk: Toronto City Council is now debating Item MM3.2 2011 Salary Freeze for Mayor & Councillors Link
- Goldsbie The pay freeze debate kicks off, and suddenly all the TV cameras turn on. I hate TV news.
- Denzil Minnan-Wong The debate begins on a Councillor Salary Freeze. Let's call the question and get it over with. Is there anything that hasn't been said?
- Goldsbie  Mihevc reminds everyone of that time Royson James suggested that councillors who accept a pay increase be lynched in Nathan Phillips Square
- Goldsbie Nick Kouvalis just walked in. I wonder what the inflationary increase on a $1 salary is.
- David Nickle “I have the moral support of the public at large and I have the moral support of the media as well.” - Mike Del Grande, on salary freeze.
- Goldsbie Matlow argues that because the Star editorial board and Rob Ford agree on this issue, it might have merit. Flawless logic! Goldsbie Matlow clarifies that his line about Ford and the Star ed. board was intended as a joke.
- Joe Mihevc I just moved a motion at Council to direct the $$$ saved by cutting of the salary increase of Council to the Student Nutrition program
- David Nickle Cnclr. Pasternak may cut daughter's allowance if salary freeze passes. "Trickle down theory of retraint" at work, he says.
- Goldsbie Councillor Pasternak: "Torontonians are not overly gullible." Just regular gullible, then?
- Goldsbie Mihevc motion referred 23-19. Total cancellation of pay increase item passes 39-3.
- Kelly Grant Mihevc, Moeser and Filion are the only councillors who voted against pay freeze for mayor and councillors.
- Toronto City Clerk Toronto City Council is now debating Item MM3.8 Link
- Goldsbie Judging by her interview with Omni, Councillor Augimeri's Italian isn't quite as fluent as I'd assumed.
- Torontoist City Council members just voted 39-3 for a 2011 freeze on their salaries. Symbolic or practical? Debate it here:----- Link

Globe and Mail story on Council pay freeze is here "Members voted 39 to 3 in favour Tuesday of rejecting the automatic 2011 increase to their $99,619 salaries."

Toronto Star story here As a result, they will continue to receive the 2010 rate of $99,619. The mayor’s salary was also frozen at $167,770.

? Strange motion by Mary Margret McMahon "That Council excuse the absence of Councillor Lindsay-Luby from the Feb 7 and 8 City Council meetings" Carries unanimous (39-0) even though McMahon says "I have no idea why she's not here"......... weird.

5:35pm Motion to adjourn council carried.

* Update: Here is something Johhnathan Goldsbie caught that I missed because I took a break from the boredom:
"3:25 p.m.: Shelley Carroll (Ward 33, Don Valley East) tweets, "Someone's having lunch with Jeff Lyons next week and it ain't me," signalling that the infamous lobbyist (a key figure in the MFP scandal and the uncle of Toronto Sun columnist Sue-Ann Levy) is looking to get back into the City Hall game. Turns out he recently recruited veteran strategist Sean Hill, a former assistant to Joe Mihevc, to his firm."