Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 8 2011 #TOCouncil Meeting and TCHC Surprise

Fun to Watch Toronto Council Live
Link to Watch Live  Following goings on via Twitter and live feed from home....

Tuesday, March 8th meeting spends about an hour with the left taking shots and exception to Mayor Ford behaviours *. (Followed by about 2 hours of debate about leaked audit reports)

* Example: kellygrant1 Councillor Wong-Tam asked @TOMayorFord to apologize for saying "there's enough garbage at city hall" in speech last week. Ford's answer ..No. Nunziata spoke on his behalf, saying the mayor doesn't want to comment on the request for an apology.

* Example: Pam McConnell complains about Mayor's staff "wandering about the council floor" #TOCouncil asks Speaker Nunziata to restore decorum Fordites complain Miller did the same thing, Speaker will answer later

The BIG SURPRISE is that by the narrowest of margins (26-16, needed 27 votes and 2 councillors not there - Grimes and Moeser), city council decided NOT to discuss the Toronto Community Housing (TCHC) item and will now not be discussed until next month.

Sad to see my supposedly Liberal #TOCouncil cnclr Ana Bailao side with the Fordites on #TCHC .... A Closet Conservative? #ward18

Tweet from I_LUVTO:  @KenWood_ward18 Don't worry #ward18 people don't like Ford and if Ana Bailao keeps voting with him she will be voted out

Here is the actual vote on this:

MM 5.7 Reconstitution of Board of Directors of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) - by Deputy Mayor Holyday, seconded by Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon

               Result: Lost Two-Thirds Required - MM5.7 - waive notice

Yes: 26 Paul Ainslie, Ana Bailăo, Josh Colle, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Doug Ford, Rob Ford, Doug Holyday, Norman Kelly, Chin Lee, Gloria Lindsay Luby, Giorgio Mammoliti, Josh Matlow, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Cesar Palacio, John Parker, James Pasternak, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson

No: 16 Maria Augimeri, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Mary Fragedakis, Mike Layton, Pam McConnell, Joe Mihevc, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Adam Vaughan, Kristyn Wong-Tam

Absent: 3 Michelle Berardinetti, Mark Grimes, Ron Moeser
With regard to the Toronto Community Housing situation and Ford's attempts to 'evict' the board members:
Maria Augimeri's letter of refusal
Raymond Cho's letter of refusal
Frances Nunziata's agree to resignation letter

Within minutes, Fordites find a way to get around council? Goldsbie tweet:: The mayor's office has called a special meeting of the Exec Committee for lunchtime tomorrow for the purpose of dealing with the TCHC item.

Reported in Toronto Sun "Councillor Adam Vaughan agreed the vote was a reality check for the mayor. "He cannot govern this council by fiat," Vaughan said. "And he can't have hangings in the public square if he is not prepared to hold trials. The tenants have spoken up, they want a full and open airing of the auditor's report. They want that to come to council and we'll make decisions."

11am: City Council interrogating the Auditor General, several point out that 'It's the first time in 20 years that and AG report has been leaked before release". Adam Vaughan puts AG on the hot seat. Joe Mihevc makes motion to prevent leaks to media, political interference with the Audit process.

Note: What does Mayor Rob Ford do when he loses at city council? He leaves and plays tour guide for a group of school kids. So much easier not having to defend his shaky positions and blustering rhetoric.

City Slikr tweet: Ah, look. School children appear in chambers just in time to listen to talk of fraud and misuse of power.----

City Slikr Think Cllr Fletcher just took a serious swing at Cllr Matlow for his part as a member of audit committee running with TCHC story.

goldsbie tweet: This Council debate is actually largely about who leaked the police paid-duty report....Only three people, I'm told, had the draft of the AG's paid-duty report: the Police Chief, the Police Board Chair, and the AG himself....It must be noted, however, that the "3 person" scenario is likely a vast oversimplification. As Davis says, reports always rattle around.

SO: who leaked the report and to what purpose? Will we ever really know?

Tweet from Joe Mihevc: My motion to request Auditor General to review reporting practices to ensure fair process w/o political interference around fraud passed!
1 - Motion to Amend Item (Additional) moved by Councillor Joe Mihevc (Carried)

That the Auditor General be requested to review reporting practices related to the Fraud and Waste Hotline to ensure to the best of his ability that proper process is being followed, that leaks to media do not occur that may jeopardize due process, and that the reporting process is not impacted by undue political pressures; and that a report on this matter be submitted to the Audit Committee as soon as possible
Mayor Ford tweets: It's unfortunate some councillors don't want to discuss accountability at the TCHC... Yet refuses to be interviewed by the media on this.
My response: @ How about YOU being accountable first Mayor Ford and answer questions put to you at

Tweet from Janet Davis Special Meeting of Executive for Wed. Mar. 9. More bending and twisting of the democratic process. Extraordinary!

Spkr Nunziata has a meltdown trying to cut Janet Davis' speaking trime, gives up when challenged and recesses #TOCouncil to 2pm... Josh Matlow tweets: Council is literally debating what time it is. I'm serious.
City Slikr tweet: And so morning session of council ends with a bizarre argument over time. Spkr Nunziata is easily rattled. #TOcouncil

Why doesn't City Council elect a more neutral Speaker??? Legislature and parliament try to pick someone the whole chamber can trust.
2pm Gord Perks only one in chamber
2:08pm about 1/2 #TOCouncil there, just starting
2:12pm Janet Davis now gets her 5 mins to speak at #TOCouncil ... finally.

City Slikr tweets: Team Ford is relentless in trying to paint questions about leaks of A-G report as attacks on A-G office itself.  (but they fail)

2:20pm Josh Matlow is an eloquent speaker who chooses his words wisely yet gets his message across. Wish others would emulate him... points out treating audit revelations as reason to privatize social housing is not prudent.

Pam McConnell points out that even other city councillors do not know the whole story about TCHC and audits and are relying on spurious media reports. Argues for proper process: "Have we not learned anything from MFP Inquiry?" We are hurting people and scaring people in social housing. "Doing something about it is not having heads roll" Speaker Nunziata chastizes McConnell for not knowing the rulese (she wants an extension). Unanimous 34 councillors vote to let her continue. McConnell goes on to defend Chair of TCHC board.

Paula Fletcher now chides Josh Matlow for speaking out prematurely about leaked audit.

2:55pm City Slikr tweet: Again, a Fordite in the form of Cllr Thompson stands up to defend integrity of A-G which hasn't been attacked
City Slikr tweet:Debate dynamic. Anti-Ford cllrs zeroing in on political use of media leaks. Pro-Ford cllrs demand they stop slagging A-G

Me:  Michael Thompson has the calming presence of a solicitous funeral director, makes me sleepy All is well, all is well

3:08pm Josh Matlow tweets: Now Council is spending time discussing who is allowed to walk around in the Council chambers. Really.
My response: Notice discussions are more to preserve fairness and democracy Whats wrong with that?
Adam Vaughan gets to the point: Mayor's staff are running around giving direction on how to vote to councillors.

Tweet from City Slikr Cllr Luby refers to the real world as the exclusive domain of the private sector...

Tweet from Goldsbie:  Watching Shiner and Matlow converse with each other, I'm reminded of the Return of the Jedi exchanges between Luke and Vader.

3:41pm Ana Bailao missing votes, not in chamber, usually she is more diligent than this

City Slikr tweets: Cllr Thompson can grind down a council meeting into a full fledged, heart stoppingly somnolent event.

4:08pm City Council is now debating Item AU1.13 Governance & Management of Computer Software Needs Improvement

Spkr Nunziata has to tell Doug Ford (twice) he must sit down when votes occur at #TOCouncil

Why is Ana Bailao the only one on #TOCouncil McCormick Playground committee ? They had to do a special motion to pass that. Unusual.
4:19pm Now only 29 cnclrs at #TOCouncil Losing bodies fast

4:21pm Mike Layton pissed off he wanted to be on board of governors at Toronto Exhibition, and they set it up only for Doug Ford. Interrogating Doug Holyday.

Mike Layton chided to come to meetings if he wants appointments to #TOCouncil committees. Layton a very nervous speaker. Sound like an adolescent.

4:35pm Ward 25 Jaye Robinson usually a sleeper at #TOCouncil makes a motion to plant big trees
Questioned if she had her druthers would she want to keep the ones that are there. Yes
.... perhaps she should chain herself to a tree? (Item NY4.14 2489 Bayview Avenue - Application to Remove Private Trees)

*** 5:36PM Rob Ford tries and end run around council on TCHC isue:
Goldsbie tweets:Tomorrow's special Exec Meeting (announced just a few hours ago) been cancelled. A special Council meeting has been called for 5:30 tomorrow...

Gord Perks goes ballistic because about 100 people had registered to make deputation at Exec committee, which is their right by council's procedures. Points of Order bombard the Speaker who keps trying to derail the challenge. Points raised that TCHC shareholders' agreement specifies 6 week notice of changes... Ignored by Speaker.

City Clerk is really confused.... still doesn't know what is on agenda for Rob ford's special meeting....Guess the mayor doesnt even speak to him about his plans...

West Annex News yweets: When Perks complains of Mayor's slick procedural maneuvering to reintroduce TCHC matter tomorrow, Nunziata turns off his mike. #toCouncil

Goldsbie tweet: Perks just stormed out in a spectacular huff.

David Nickle Tweet: The special executive committee meeting tomorrow for TCHC is off. Now, it's a special evening council meeting.

Josh Matlow tweets: Seems some on left think mayor wants to overide process to privatize TCHC. Some on right might have feared left would filibuster exec cmtee

Goldsbie tweet: The mayor's office (like everyone else) mistakenly assumed it would go to the next Exec meeting. It would actually go to the next Council.

6pm Tweet from Sarah Doucette The Exec meeting for 12:30 Wed is now cancelled and special council meeting called for 5:30 Wed to discuss removing directors from TCHC
Josh Matlow tweet: Mayor has cancelled special Exec Cmtee on TCHC board, called special council meeting instead for tomorrow. This has upset some cllrs.
My response: @JoshMatlow Why has it not upset you? Flies in the face of democracy and public consultation? Josh responds: It does.
Josh Matlow: Josh Matlow The mayor's call for a special council meeting seems to me less about TCHC & more about not letting the "other side" win.

6:02pm Ana Bailao gets up to speak on a matter and can hear Michael Thompson coach her with what words to say... she complies.Not surprising now as I once witnessed Thmpson actually pushing her voting button for her..... lackey behaviour!

David Shiner moves council go in camera to discuss confidential items....Toronto City Council is meeting in closed session on items CC5.2 and MM5.12

6:08pm Goldsbie tweets: I've seen a lot of farces at City Hall, and I've seen a lot of cunning tricks, but this is some new kind of dirty mess.
 Kristof I'm angry, confused, embarrassed, frustrated and annoyed after watching just 1hr of #tocouncil is this how a government operates ? #topoli
Brodie Conley Man, is Nunziata ever obnoxious. #TOPoli #TOCouncil
Conley oh man! Cllr. Vaughan asking for information = "Getting out of control" according to Nunziata. #TOPoli #TOCouncil
Iain Cullen Nunziata is always quick to anger. Does she just need a smoke break? #tocouncil.
Christ on a Cracker.. Mike Layton is really out of his league, his entire microcosm consists of pointless motions #topoli #tocouncil
Joel I wonder when Doug Ford will get tired of being his brother's press secretary? #tocouncil
Justin Kozuch Wait - did Cllr D. Ford just pitch Deco Labels and Tags as an eco-friendly company? What does that have to do with #TOCouncil?

6:20pm Just Tweeted to @Ward18AnaBailao Why do you support Ford's dirty tricks to cut out public consultation (deputations) on #TCHC issue at #TOCouncil ? #ward18

Disgusted with my Toronto councillor... going to Digin meeting
7:07pm Toronto City Council has reconvened its Public session

8:11pm Tweet Shelley Carroll Davis's rises to ask why a private corporation was set up by TTCommissioners today and all hell broke loose.#tocouncil

Tweet: Goldsbie In the meantime, Vaughan has sent out an email: "The fight to stop the privatization is on. The selloff of public housing must be stopped."...Council is once again stuck in procedural limbo, as a tangle of motions, votes, and points of order are somehow taking place simultaneously.

8:13pm City Council is in recess and will reconvene at 2:00pm on March 9 (Anyway, Nunziata was narrowly upheld, and Council narrowly voted to break until 2:00 tomorrow.)

Tweet: Matt Elliott Some might say that secret meetings are contrary to openness and accountability in gov. Not me, though -- I'm a stupid person.

Tweet: Josh Matlow Quote from mayor's office: "16 councillors are not interested in accountability at the TCHC". That partisan rhetoric isn't true or helpful.
9:42pm and still no agenda posted for Ford's special meeting at 5:30pm Wed Secrecy is assured, plotting moves now...