Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Transit Plans a Moving Target

Quick Synopsis of Ward 18 Town Hall on Transit

Tuesday evening,  March 29, ward 18 Davenport City Councillor Ana Bailao held a town hall on TRANSIT. (The first city councillor I believe to do so)

In attendance were only about 30-40 citizens, but very engaged ones at that.

TTC Chair Karen Stintz attended and answered tough questions and concerns from the audience, after an introductory slide presentation from the Pembina Institute (Graham Haines), a non profit sustainable energy think tank that did a lot of analysis of the various iterations of Toronto's transit planning.


Chair Stintz explained that "Transit City", declared dead by Mayor Ford - yet never actually voted on by the entire city council * had become a subset of "The Big Move" a provincial REGIONAL transit planning exercise led by Metrolinx, and became "Transportation City" - a new brand that referred to the city of Toronto pieces.

Essentially the plan always was (and supposedly still is) to ensure connectivity to the 4 corners of the city, with the intent of moving people quickly downtown to work. An audience member pointed out that perhaps ensuring local community transit, where people actually lkived and worked, was more sustainable (Why assume someone in Scarborough must transit to downtown Toronto? Why not build incentives for businesses to exist in Scarborough? ... there was no real answer on that)

Moving into detail, the 'Transit City" plan was too ambitious with numerous routes and connections.
Chair Stintz explained that priorities had to be decided upon, even though the federal government had (and presumably still will) dedicate $333 million to extending the Sheppard subway, while the province had committed $8.2 BILLION to the rest of transit structure.

To put it in perspective, last year's total city budget was $9.28 billion, so the funding is enormous.

Priorites, Stintz explained, were the Eglinton crosstown LRT (to be put underground where possible, as promised by Mayor Ford), followed by the Sheppard subway/LRT... with the Finch West LRT last.

Curious, but predictable, since Ms Stintz' ward is Eglinton, yet statistics show the Finch transit is in great need of expansion and development. (Councillor Maria Augimeri will not be pleased by that). Is there a conflict of interest here? (I point out there would not be, if we had a separate, elected position for TTC Chair)

A question was asked as to whether in the planning there was some sort of template or consideration about how do you value a rider in Finch versus on Eglinton? Is it development/economics driven or what? ie. Many low income people need transit on Finch West to access low paid jobs in the city core, yet the Eglinton crosstown riders would be higher in the financial status realm.... No real answer, "all riders are important."

Audience also questioned plan comparisons (transit city vs new plans) why lose 25 km above ground transit just to bury 7km underground? Again, no real answer. I suspect it's 'just because Rob Ford wants that'),

Overall it appeared to me that full analysis had not really been done as yet, and I was saddened to hear that there wouldn't really be any full public consultation on next steps. The city and the province have been doing a lot of planning in the back rooms, with the non elected Metrolinx board seeming to have a lot of power over what happens within the city of Toronto's transit structure.

Scary and undemocratic it appears.

* Ana Bailao clarified that the full city council never really approved or voted on "Transit City", but rather on the Environmental Assessments that allowed Transit City to become a plan. When I asked TTC Chair Stintz if full council would vote on any new plan, she said 'probably' but noted that if any citizens wanted input, they needed to make representations to Metrolinx.... weird arms-length manoeuvering that essentially prevents Torontonians from having a say in their own city's systems... Why?

Because he that has the Gold makes the Rules - Wizard of Id

(ie. The other levels of govt are puttting in the lion's share of money so it's their ball game, not the city's)

Update:  Leaked advances about Thursday, March 31st big announcement indicates that:
Losers in the New Transit Plan: ?  Finch Bus Riders (Toronto Star)

Update: Critics Slam Transit Plan

Update: I spoke with someone knowledgaeble about transit who told me that the numbers of stops covered by any plan nis really irrelevant. If you want to move large masses quickly, it's the speed. Rapid Transit is anything over 30km/hr - anything less will not help and certainly won't get people out of their cars to switch to transit.

The ideal would be to use the current railway corridor: the Georgetown-Pearson-Union Station linkage to put in rapid transit, he says.  Worth exploring - but did anyone bother to? In my fantasy I envisage an underground subway. rail and deidcated rlocalbus lanes above, and cycling paths.... But I guess transit planning IS a fantasy - at least in our city.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Toronto City Elections Discriminates Against the Poor

I'm In A Funk - Poor People Discouraged From Running

When I ran for election in ward 18, it was because I wanted to connect to my community and have an impact on the issues raised during the city election campaign. I had no illusions of winning first time running, but thought I had some perspectives and ideas to offer, and I wanted in on the public debates.

I was testing myself, but also testing whether someone not part of any partisan party elites or having networked money backers could really run and make some small difference. To put it another way, I wondered if someone in the low income bracket (ie., "poor") could participate in the democratic process by more than just by voting. My initial take was yes, since it seemed anyone with $100 could run for city councillor ($200 for mayor).

My conclusion, sadly, is that the system is definitely biased against those of us considered 'poor', which according to various statistics is somewhere around 15-20% of the general population.

* The biggest shock I got when I went to file my campaign expenses (and why I have been in a funk for a while) is that in order to participate in the "Contribution Rebate Program" (where the city refunds about 75% of any political donation), was that I needed to have an AUDITED financial statement by a licenced auditor. This was not something explained at the initial city hall orientation meeting; I thought it applied evenly to all candidates.

That means, of the $745  I had in donations and ran on (against partisan party competitors who easily raised the $28,747.30 maximums allowed), the current Toronto city bylaw expects me to pay an auditor between $500-$1000 to audit my meager revenue and expenditures. Anyone can see this makes no sense and is inherently unfair.

So, when I went to file my financial statement, I was not allowed to arrange for contribution rebates to be paid out. Thus, the four donors who I had honestly thought would get city funded rebates paid out by this September will NOT be paid by the city.

Now I am in a dilemma of how someone like me, who is on Ontario Disability and has about $1,000 a month to pay rent, food and all other expenses is ever going to come up with the $518.75 that my four contributors were promised and expecting.  I am left feeling embarrassed and depressed that this situation is happening. I am also angry that the city has not thought their bylaws and procedures through to be inclusive in the democratic process.

As I wrote on my filing:

As someone on low income (Ontario Disability), I protest strongly that the requirement for me to pay a licenced auditor (est. cost $500-$1000) is at its core, anti-democratic. The net effect is to disenfranchise a large segment of the population who must exist on low income. Therefore, the city bylaw requiring this is discriminatory in the extreme.  - Ken Wood  March 24, 2011

Note: I spoke with my duly elected City Councillor, Ana Bailao, about this on March 24th and she has agreed to look into the bylaw at my request. I am hoping that there will be a change to eliminate this roadblock to democracy.
* This is from an email I received from the Toronto city elections office: 
Candidates participating in the Contribution Rebate Program must submit:

- Financial Statement;
- Auditor's Report (provided by a licensed auditor);
- Photocopies of expense invoices (the Clerk will not accept originals);
- Pink copies of Contribution Rebate forms (if using EFFS, these are submitted electronically and do not need to be provided with the financial statement); and
- Any surplus reported on the financial statement (cash, cheque, money order – payable to "Treasurer, City of Toronto").
If any of these documents are not submitted at the time of filing, contribution rebates will not be paid out.
Candidates NOT participating in the Contribution Rebate program must submit:
- Financial Statement;
- Auditor's Report (if raised or spent over $10,000); and
- Any surplus reported on the financial statement (cash, cheque, money order – payable to "Treasurer, City of Toronto").`
Notes: The city bylaw in question is No. 1257-2009 and the only reference to the suditor's report I find was 11 d) The Clerk is satisfied that the candidate has filed any financial statement AND AUDITOR REPORT ...

Reference is made to the Ontario provincial Municipal Elections Act 1996 which has a lot of legalese, but states this: "Exception re auditor’s report - (5) No auditor’s report is required if the total contributions received and total expenses incurred in the election campaign up to the end of the relevant period are each equal to or less than $10,000. 1996, c. 32, Sched., s. 78 (5)."

Thus, there is nothing provincially that requires an audited report.

It is only a city requirement for an audited report to participate in the donor contribution program !

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

TCHC Social Housing Czar Ootes One Man Board

Extremely Anti-Democratic By Any Measure

At a mid March Special Toronto City Council meeting Mayor Rob Ford Managed to ram through his knee-jerk reaction *  to the Toronto Community Housing Corporation spending scandal. Independent citizens, city councillors and tenant representatives were summarily turfed from the board, and Ford's long time right wing buddy and 'retired' city councillor Case Oootes was put in charge.

*Knee jerk, because the official auditor's report had not even been released; only a few choice politically-charged pieces were mysteriously 'leaked' to the press. Trial by media.

"Case Ootes will be paid $25,000 as the lone board member of Toronto Community Housing over the next three months." says a Toronto Sun article. In addition, "as a retired councillor with 22-years service, he walked out of City Hall Dec. 1 with $99,619.52 in severance."
*Update: Add to that "the $11,000 he earned leading Mayor Rob Ford’s transition team last fall" *

"Case Ootes will be paid more for his three months leading the Toronto Community Housing Corp. than the board’s former chairman earned in a year." says the Globe and Mail ...Mr. Ford, a past critic of so-called double-dipping, defended paying Mr. Ootes in a brief scrum last week after council voted to dump the remaining four TCHC board members who refused the mayor’s demand they resign... “I’ve come out of retirement. I’ve cancelled a vacation at my own expense and this is a huge responsibility,” Mr. Ootes added
This means that the single person in charge of social housing, who has the power to do whatever he wants with it, with essentially no accountability (Mayor Ford resisted all efforts to continue to make the now one man board accountable to city council)... is someone who:

* Has about $125,000 taxpayer money in his pocket (*actually $136,000) and is making decision for those tenants that have about 1/17 of that (in case of general welfare/Ontario Works = $592/month or $7,104/yr) and about one tenth of what those on Ontario Disability/ODSP have ($1053/mo = $12,636/yr). Essentially a very rich guy who can have no understanding of what the life someone in social housing must be like.

* Is NOT an advocate for social housing. In fact he believes social housing should not exist: a Toronto Star article and a CBC story "TCHC privatization not ruled out by Ootes"

Certainly, the few leaked accounts of financial mismanagement by TCHC staff needs to be addressed and financial controls need to be tightened. I doubt anyone disputes that.

However, to us this as an excuse to attack democratically responsible oversight is a big mistake.

It's like seeing a small fire in a wastebasket and responding to it by tearing down the house.

Anti-democratic by any measure.
A really great Tweet: Janet Davis Great question! RT @michaelshapcott: How soon before the new one-man board of #TCHC holds his first public meeting...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ford Allies Not Feeling the Love?

Mister Crankypants Strikes Again...

Letter to the Editor, Toronto Star
Re: Ford’s whip won’t last, Editorial March 13 the link

Come on Toronto Star, your reporters, cartoonists and editors have had a cheat sheet on what to write and what to illustrate, including not-so photogenic pictures of Rob Ford, his staff or his supporters. Who are you kidding?

Everyone sees the bias you have had and the near hysteric support of George Smitherman. You showed chutzpah when after the election you provided “advice” as if to be all knowing of how Mayor Ford should conduct himself and his administration.

Make sure you pass on your cheat sheet to the “free lunch” crowd at City Hall.

Mike Del Grande, Councillor, City of Toronto  (and budget chief)

Tweet: City Slikr @goldsbie My ? Has Cllr Del Grande always been this bitterly partisan or is he suffering from a little Ford fever?...Frankly the whole Ford administration is suffering from a massive persecution complex.
Tweet: Del Grande's specific annoyance is that a Star editorial called him "unimpressive" Link

Meanwhile, in other right wing news... Tweet: suckersarestuck JM Lots of yellow cops on bikes. Smallish anti police protest....Around 50 protestors, maybe 100+ cops completely surrounding protestors now marching down bay....Looks like a police parade then an anti police protest....Seeing that many cops in that location brings back harsh memories from last June....everyone on the streetcar was laughing at how excessive the police presence at the protest was... maybe people are getting it?...

Councillor Expense Reports

How Much Do Ward 18 Councillors Cost Us?

City Hall website has expense reports online for all councillors. To view at this link

Of peculiar interest is that Ana Bailao expensed $1022.40 for Christmas cards on Dec 31, 2010. Peculiar because there was some (valid) outrage at her predecessor, Adam Giambrone, doing the same when he knew he was leaving office.

So far Ana's expensing pales in comparison to big spender Adam Giambrone: (2010 filing)
These are just a few (low) highlights...

* $1,559.40 for Christmas cards July 7, 2010 (Note: TTC paid 50% of this expense, does not include postage later expensed)

* $35.62 ??? Christmas cards- cutting July 30,2010

* $236.25 to print 50 copies of Dyan Marie's Bloor Magazine July 22, 2010

* $2,299.50 French training

* $ 150 Gala Ticket for Abrigo

* $30 for Dream Team fundraiser

* $60 Ticket for Chilean Relief Fundraiser

* $500 donation to GTA Canadian Italian Youth

* $50 Ticket to Sri Lankan gala

* $125 Ticket Portugese Gala Dinner

* $ 4.90 Office supplies Grand and Tory

* $23.19 Toronto Life magazine subscription

*  $1,050.56 almost all spent on taxis

$1,175 for gardening services at constituency office, expensed in October, 2010

.... Has anyone looked at his constituency office? Outside is about a 6x6 foot area, mostly gravel, with a small bench and some ratty looking weeds.

Also of interest is the geographic locations of services chosen. Adam picked:

Zap Courier 400 Creditstone On L4K 3Z3
Reliable Flyer Distribution Services 66 Laird Drive
Media Works (to print newsletters) 2010 ellesmere Rd Scarborough
Imperial Graphics (Christmas cards) 30 Eastern Avenue

.... Shouldn't a local councillor shop locally?

Here are Adam Giambrone's 2010 expensesAmounts shown are net of GST.

Staff Salaries & Benefits Budget Overage $ 0.00
Office Equipment and Supplies $ 804.32 Invoices
Transportation, Kilometrage & Parking $ 1,050.56 Invoices
Printing, Postage & Courier $ 14,340.29 Invoices
Telecom Services $ 0.00
Constituency & Business Meeting $ 158.95 Invoices
City Hall/Civic Centre Rent & Constituency Office Expenses $ 11,114.84 Invoices
Advertising & Promotion $ 500.77 Invoices
Professional & Technical Services $ 1,359.76 Invoices
Office Travel $ 9,686.29 Invoices
Other Expenses $ 9,846.00 Invoices
Donations Received for Community Events $ 0.00
Other Recoveries $ -2,876.70 Invoices
Expense Using Personal Funds $ 0.00
NOTE: This does NOT include anything Adam expensed via the TTC ! Odds are that Adam was the biggest spender on city council.

                City hall policies on Councillor expense is HERE

During his last four months in office, ex-TTC chairman Adam Giambrone spent an obscene $9,307.08 jetting around the world attending seemingly obscure transit conferences....Giambrone ran up $135,504 tab before quitting TTC

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ana Bailao Rates a C+

So... How is Our New Councillor Doing?

Ana Bailao has now been the ward 18 Davenport south City Councillor for about 102 days now, a timeframe that usually means the honeymoon and learning phase is over and a reasonably accurate assessment of who and what we conbstituents voted in can be made.

There is a pretty fair (but not very hard-hitting)  interview at BlogTO by  Tomasz Bugajski,
A somewhat accurate comment by another reader adds: "Despite the efforts during the campaign of local documentary filmmaker Scott Dobson to highlight Bailão's reliance on developers for campaign contributions, a strong desire for change helped her take the Ward 18 seat from Giambrone's former executive assistant."...
I disagree. The fact that Ward 18 is around 50-60% Portuguese is what helped her. And yes, I'm saying that a large amount of Ward 18's Portuguese residents voted solely based on Ana being of the same background as them and not on her individual merits. (A truth: not being/speaking Portugese in this ward will continue to be an extreme liability to get elected)

Some personal observations by me based on watching Ana in action at City Council and visiting her at her current constituency meetup place (Abrigo Centre, Dufferin Mall, Saturdays 10am-noon):


* Ana is a hard worker who takes her responsibilities very seriously. I believe she really thinks through and sometimes agonizes over every vote (something I wish every councillor would do).

* Ana has had a steep learning curve - despite her previous experience as Mario Silva's Executive Assistant (1998-2003). The terrific speed of the budget process pushed by Mayor Ford undoubtedly handcuffed all the rookie councillors in doing due diligence. For that reason, I give Ana a pass (this time) on not being able to do her frequently campaign-promised 'line by line" analysis of the budget to maximize city resources. Nonetheless, Ana seems to have a pretty good handle on what is going on at the new council.

* Ana's voting record shows a little initial confusion in that at first she seemed to vote aligned with the right wing Ford group, but she abruptly changed sides when the Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) issue hit the fan at the March 13 spcial meeting. Averaging out overall, Ana seems to belong to the "mushy middle" voting block that is being strongly courted by both the right and left wings of council - a typical position for a Liberal party supporter. (I still suspect she may be leaning right more than left, since she sits between Fordite councillors Denzel Minnan-Wong and Michael Thompson. The latter seems to be teaching her the ropes, a lot) Ana's constituency staff is robust and skilled, sprinkled with both Liberal and Conservative types Info here

* Ana belongs to the 'wait, watch and learn' group of quiet rookie councillors. She rarely speaks at council and follows the debates closely, actively listening to points made by those who are more bold. So far, she is definitely a follower and not a leader. I fear this will continue.

* Responsiveness to contituents is excellent so far. Given that more, better and timely consultation with constituents in ward18 was probably the number one issue last election, Ana has done well. She returns emails and inquires quickly, has held a town hall on the budget and makes her office very available to people.
(Still waiting on a proper website and a regular constituency office, other than 2 hours on a Saturday)

* No doubt because of her centrist political positioning and her refusal to attack Rob Ford during the election campaign, Ana has snagged some reasonably good committee spots for a rookie: Affordable Housing, Planning and Growth, Artscape, Toronto Arts Council, Exhibition Place, Canadian National Exhibition, McCormick Playground Arena. How well she uses them still remains to be seen. Note: Ana could have used her Affordable Housing chair position to really have an impact on the TCHC special meeting debate, but did not do so, Ana is only a bit player in the political power game at city hall, so far.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Special Meeting to End Run Democracy

Daniel Dale Crowd starts laughing loudly when Ford says "this is democracy at work." Speaker Nunziata warns them against "outbursts."

kellygrant1 Kelly Grant Wow. I think this might be the most packed I've ever seen the council chambers

Daniel Dale Ford: "not about who did what and who didn't," rather about rebuilding public confidence with a fresh start.

Michael Shapcott No evidence of criminal fraud at #TCHC, confirms city auditor #topoli #tocouncil - so why extreme measures of purge of entire #TCHC report

Daniel Dale Nunziata interrupting Carroll's questions to the auditor: "We do not have the auditor's report before us." Carroll: "Yes, that's my point."

Michael Shapcott Council speaker rules that no questions can be asked about #TCHC audit - even though audit is stated rationale for purge of board...

Torontoist Interesting fact: though council is voting to remove the TCHC board, they haven't even officially received the auditor general's report.

Torontoist It was leaked & won't formally come before council (via exec & audit cmtes) until later this month. Staff admit this is all unprecedented.

Torontoist Speaker Nunziata has ruled that the auditor general's report, in fact, is not the subject of today's debate—out of order to ask ?s about it.

Anrea Houston Groans echo thru gallery. MT @kellygrant1: Ford now says new brd won't be in place till May or June. Last week it ws within month #tocouncil

Kyle A So essentially the Mayor is saying we'll have a Case Ootes dictatorship at TCHC until May or June #tocouncil

Toronto: Ford said he didn't fire anybody on TCHC board. They resigned. Er. But Ford told them to get lost. #TOCouncil

Andrea Houston McConnell speaking while Rob Ford stares her down. He's starting to sweat and his face is looking closer to colour of red tie.

Nunziata: coun. McConnell please sit!! You're out of order. Like the audience, I will tell you to leave

Michael Shapcott Cllr Perks: No committee has considered audit, so are #TCHC board members being purged without cause? Great question...

: Cllr Peruzza asks the critical questn of Ford: Will you support limiting Ootes' powers in anyway? Answer: Nope

nowtoronto: This meeting looks like may get ugly soon. #TOCouncil Mayor losing control. Stumbled over responses to Layton questions.

Councillor Fletcher suggests everyone flails their arms as opposed to applause. Yes, let make the int'l symbol for PANIC!

Greg Smith .@Ward18AnaBailao wants to send #TCHC tenants a message that they have a place at the table in this process

NiceDriveway I think a little piece of Spkr Nunziata dies every time she can't cut off Cllr Perks mic when he brings it in under time.

robcer Cllr Cho's (sound) point: how would his resignation for "political show", only to be re-appointed, "restore public confidence"?

LifeonQueen Fragedakis' motion to defer so that #TOcouncil committees to do their job fails to pass 17-25.

accozzaglia To DM Holyday's way of thinking, the 4 remaining TCHC board members are besmirching the reputations of those who've resigned.

Kristyn Wong-Tam: "I'd like to know where you got the authority to make an amend. on an art. of incorporat'n w 15 mins' notice for a $6bn company."

Robert Cerjanec Cllr Augimeri gives a great speech on how wrong this process is and how she has been thrown under the bus for no good reason.

11:44pm Council finally starting to vote on the many motions

Matt Elliott McMahon & Colle vote with the mayor. Everyone else votes as expected. 25-18, motion to dissolve board carries. #TOCouncil

Jonathan Goldsbie And now the cries of "Shame!"

Andrea Houston OH in gallery: "SHAME ON THIS COUNCIL! Get a backbone!"
Have to wonder why Councillors Shiner and Moeser are not there for votes... Michael Thompson makes a motion to excuse their absence (they are sick someone says)

12:01am March 10 Meeting is adjourned.

 michaelshapcott Disappointing day for democracy in Toronto. TCHC board dissolved w/ no opportunity for TCHC residents to have their voice heard. #TOCouncil

Jonathan Goldsbie  Fletcher says: "A whole new interpretation of one man, one vote."

NOTE: For a real change, ANA BAILAO did not blindly support the Fordites at this meeting.

Tweet I sent: @Ward18AnaBailao Thanks for not blindly siding with the Fordites tonight Appreciated by your constituents who did NOT want Ford for Mayor (most of the ward)

Guess I'll have to change her colour to RED again.

*    The actual votes are HERE


Update: This Toronto Star story tells us:
"Doug Ford thanked the tenants for attending but said their views were unrepresentative. “Folks, I’m telling you, there’s no one that cares more about the folks at TCHC than Rob does,” he said. “Out of the 164,000 tenants that are in TCHC housing, I see maybe four or five hundred, which — I appreciate you all coming down, but there’s 163,500 that’s saying, ‘Move forward. Let’s have a clean slate.’”

... Maybe those 163,500 #TCHC tenants need to protest at Nathan Phillips Square?

Rob Ford's Disdain for Democracy

' Get 'Er Done' ... By Any Means Possible

Mayor Rob Ford has become a reclusive, strutting dictator at City Hall.

He hates being asked questions about his policies and seems to be viewing the media the same * as his idol, Don Cherry, as nothing more than a bunch of pinko left wing commie rat kooks just out to get him. Average media scrums tend to last about 3 minutes or less, and journalists have to divine what's behind his 'policies' (I'm being generous, he usually makes things up on the fly without having do research or pay attention to troublesome facts) - by interpreting his 140 character tweets.

 * That is, unless it is his adoring certifiable far right wing fans like Sue Ann Levy or CFRB's Jerry Agar.

Alternatively, his highly Americanized brother Doug Ford often speaks as if he is the Deputy Mayor and not Doug Holyday.

Fun strategy, as Rob can choose to align with or distance himself from bro' Doug's pronouncements after the fact. Example: The Mayor needs a VETO over Council, like the American President. Yes or No? It took a while to find Rob to get his take on that, after much fear and speculation in the press.

However, the bully boy, do whatever it takes, screw procedure, ethics or appearances Rob Ford that we see now should come as no surprise. I followed him for years while he was the lone wolf in the political wilderness, voting NO as many times as possible to ideas and motions (without providing any alternative solutions). Rob Ford was indeed badly treated and often abused by council colleagues, made the butt of jokes and generally trashed as a human being not worth the time or effort to reach out to. (Admission: I often felt sorry for the guy)

Indeed, much of this was due to Rob's peculiar personality which seemed to revel in being the perpetual outsider, always on the losing side of any vote. I'm sure he saw himself as the misunderstood champion of Mike Harris style common sense and everyday working person. If no other quality can be absolutely attributed to Rob Ford, it is perseverance/endurance. I'm sure he felt deep in his core every slight and attack by those on the left.

Now.... He's gonna make 'em all pay! Think Conan the Barbarian who for years suffered as a slave after his family and life was taken away from him. Now he's back... with a vengeance.

I've often thought that there was some common human mechanic involved in people getting power after having been tremendously rejected. Look at former US President, "I Am Not A Crook" Richard Nixon. He started out okay but by the time he got power after 'not having Dick Nixon ro kick around anymore' - he obviously saw ethics and integrity as just impediments to getting the job done.

When you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps in a world that has rejected you, you become obsessed at your core level with 'getting even'.

Rob Ford is now 'getting even' with Toronto.

Update: Marcus Gee 100 Days of Threats, Orders, intimidation "Threatening to fire everyone in your way takes you only so far. Scorning your critics doesn’t help either. Discussing his plans to privatize garbage collection, the mayor joked, “We have enough garbage to deal with at City Hall.” Is that any way to win friends and influence people?"

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...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Starting Lineups for #TOCouncil

You Can Tell the Players by the Scorecard

Thanks to Matt Elliott (On Twitter he is  @GraphicMatt ) here is a LINK to his weblog Ford For Toronto  A Broken City, A New Mayor, Crazy Antics which tracks voting patterns by Toronto Council's 44 councillors plus Mayor.

It really tells you who is on whose team (so far at least). Here is my own interpretation of Teams Blue, Red and Pinko.

100% FORDITES ("Ford Nation" ?):
(In decreasing order of likely loyalty and blind hero worship)

1. Mayor Rob Ford
2. Doug Ford (ward2: Etobicoke North
3. Giorgio Mammoliti (ward7: York West)... Head cheerleader.
(" I just agree(d) with the mayor"...He is in thrall to Dark Lord Ford LINK)
4. Doug Holyday (ward3: Etobicoke Centre)...deputy mayor
5. Mike del Grande (ward39)...budget chief
6. Denzil Minnan-Wong (ward34: Don Valley East)
7. Michael Thompson (ward37: Scarborough Centre)
8. Frances Nunziata (ward11: York-South Weston)...Speaker
9. Karen Stintz (ward16: Eglinton-Lawrence)... TTC Chair
10. Ceasar Palacio (ward17: Davenport north)
11. Norm Kelly (ward40: Scarborough Agincourt)
12. David Shiner (ward24: Willowdale)
13. Peter Milczyn (ward5: Etobicoke-Lakeshore)
14. Paul Ainslie (ward43: Scarborough East)
15. Michelle Berardinetti (ward35: Scarborough Southwest)
16. Gary Crawford (ward36: Scarborough Southwest)
17. Vincent Crisanti (ward1: Etobicoke North)
18. Frank di Giorgio (ward12: York South-Weston)
19. Gloria Lindsay-Luby (ward4: Etobicoke Centre)
20. Mark Grimes (ward6: Etobicoke-Lakeshore)
21. John Parker (ward26: Don Valley West)
22. Jaye Robinson (ward25: Don Valley West)
23. James Pasternak (ward10: York Centre)
Mushy Middle, Leaning Right Now

24. Chin Lee (ward41: Scarborough-Rouge River)
25. Josh Matlow (ward22: St Paul's)
26. Josh Colle (ward15: Eglinton-Lawrence)
27. Ron Moeser (ward44: Scarborough East)
28. Ana Bailao: (ward18: Davenport South)
Note: Another blogger sees the middle swing votes as 4: "Matlow gives every appearance of being less Ford friendly, let’s call it. Yet based purely on their respective voting records so far, there is nothing to warrant such distinction. There hasn’t been that much daylight between the votes Matlow’s cast and those of Ana Bailão, Josh Colle or Mary-Margaret McMahon. Could it be Councillor Matlow’s talking out of the left side of his mouth but voting from the right?" LINK---

* Update: Got this email about Ana:
Budget votes were also confusing ...As you remember Councillor Bailao told a community budget meet that she would not vote to cut bus routes, but when the issue came up through Councillor Perks Feb. 23 motion..
12:11 Bailao voted against motion to restore $3 million in cuts.To be fair in addition to $2.6 million of bus routes, the motion also included $100,000 in library & $75,000 for tenant defence cuts & adult rec programs, however bizarrely..
On Day 2, 4:38 pm Bailao votes against Library cuts, And then votes against cuts to tenant defence
Votes consistently inconsistent - Roger

*UPDATE: the "Mighty Middle" ? "Josh Colle is trying to build a “Mighty Middle” that could, at the very least, corral enough votes to persuade the left and right to compromise more often....Mr. Colle has been chatting informally with some of the other freshmen about how the middle-dwellers can use their sway to make council function better. He’s eyeing a few veterans too, namely Etobicoke’s Gloria Lindsay Luby and Scarborough’s Chin Lee and Raymond Cho...(add: Ana Bailao, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Josh Matlow. Michelle Berardinetti, Jaye Robinson)

... this in response to Mayor Ford Cheat Sheets to whip votes
* UPDATE: National Post article
Left Wing Kooks/Pinkos:

29. Mary Margaret McMahon (ward32: Beaches-East York)..borderline pinko?
30. Raymond Cho (ward42: Scarborough-Rouge River)
31. Maria Augimeri (ward9: York Centre)
32. Shelley Carroll (ward33: Don Valley East)
33. Glenn de Baeremaeker (ward38: Scarborough Centre)
34. Paula Fletcher (ward30: Toronto-Danforth)
35. Mary Fragedakis (ward29: Toronto-Danforth)
36. Mike Layton (ward19: Trinity-Spadina)
37. Anthony Perruzza (ward8: York West)
38. Kristyn Wong-Tam (ward27: Toronto Centre-Rosedale)
39. Janet Davis (ward31: Beaches East York)
40. Sarah Doucette (ward13: Parkdale-High Park)
41. John Filion (ward23: Willowdale)
42. Adam Vaughan (ward20: Trinity-Spadina)
43. Joe Mihevc (ward21: St. Paul's)
44. Gord Perks (ward14: Parkdale-High park)
45. Pam McConnell (ward26: Toronto Centre-Rosedale)

SO... unless there is stronger cohesion on the left, meaning a left leader (like Gord Perks) wins converts... Rob Ford will have his way with the city.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Yes, There is Gravy

    But Not Where Some Think It Is

Toronto Police Services:

Paid Duty Costs Taxpayers Millions "Unnecessarily strict rules for employing paid duty police officers are costing Toronto taxpayers as much as $2 million each year, a city audit has found...In 2009, Toronto police worked 40,919 paid duty assignments, earning $65 an hour — nearly twice the rate of a regular constable. In York, officers earn $57 an hour, Ottawa $58, Montreal $42 (time and a half their hourly rate), and Peel $64."

Do we really need highly paid police officers to stand around a construction site gazing into the holes being dug while ignoring traffic around them? In many cases, their job could be replaced by an orange traffic cone or sign.

* "56%: Percentage of all paid duty assignments devoted to traffic control, which the auditor found may be excessive"
Even worse, the police officer with a gun may be working in impaired fashion when he returns to his regular duties....

"(while) Working excessive paid duty shifts can interfere with an officer’s regular duties. Officers are not permitted to work more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period, and paid duty shifts are not permitted to overlap with regular shifts....In one of the audit’s more contentious findings, it notes there is insufficient oversight of internal paid duty policies....In one case, an officer was twice late for court because of overlapping assignments. The individual was paid for a court appearance as well as the paid duty shift....In another, an officer worked 19 hours of paid duty in a 24-hour period."

"The auditor’s report will probably reach city council by spring, just as councillors will be grappling with a projected $774 million budget shortfall."

Another older story on how "Paid duty is jealously guarded by the rank and file of the Toronto police officers, as well as Toronto Police Service’s, Toronto Police Chief, Bill Blair."

Another 2009 Toronto Star investigation agreed: "The findings mirror a December 2009 Star investigation that found private companies, taxpayers and community groups were forced to waste millions of dollars hiring paid duty officers for jobs that could be done by crossing guards or even orange pylons."
... "Deputy mayor Doug Holyday predicts the Ford administration won’t flinch from changing paid-duty rules to save the city millions of dollars, even if the cash comes out of police officers’ pockets."
... Good !

Toronto Transit Commission:  TTC

While there is still no media driven investigation or auditor's report on this - by far the biggest chunk of the city budget - I really wonder who is providing oversight for the MANAGEMENT at the TTC?

In snippets of conversation I hear down at the local Tim Horton's, a popular spot for frontline TTC staff waiting to pickup vehicles to start their shifts, it seems that there is a glut of duplication of efforts by management staff and supervisory personnel. Indeed, this was borne out recently when I witnessed and overheard a conversation between a supervisory person and a TTC driver, where the supervisor was hand-writing a list to keep track of passenger fares. The supervisor was remarking how it was a 'make work' project that no one was going to look at and was only doing it because there was nothing else for him to do.

In another anecdotal situation, a driver coming on to the College streetcar remarked to the person he was relieving that there were '20 guys just waiting for a vehicle to become available'. No doubt, this is in reference to the fact that the TTC is suffering some serious maintenance and aging problems with the current fleet. Yet, who plans these things? Having 20 TTC drivers sitting around being paid while there is no work to do seems egregious. What manager plans these extravagancies?
Where is the investigation of the entrenched TTC management culture. I'd bet there are big savings there.

.... Mayor Rob Ford?  Are you listening?

( Also - See my previous blog on TTC managment situation)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blame the Victim: A New Canadian Value?

How Did We Become So Mean-Spirited?

Is Blaming the Poor  A New Candian Value?

"There's not much sympathy for the poor in Canada. According to a new report, many of us believe the poor have themselves to blame for getting into that situation, and that povery is a choice. The Salvation Army report is called "The Dignity Project: Debunking Myths About Poverty in Canada".

37 percent of adults polled believe the poor still have it pretty good and about half thought a family of four could get by on $30-thousand a year. Statistics Canada puts the poverty cutoff line at 35-thousand for a family of four living in a city. All in all, Canadians don't have a realistic picture of what it's like to be poor.

An army official, Andrew Burditt says low paying jobs, lack of job training and affordable housing keeps the poverty circle growing."

Another story on this, from CTV: "Nearly half of survey respondents said if poor people really want to work, they can always find a job. And about a quarter believed that people are poor because they are lazy.... (but) "If there weren't food banks, a lot of people wouldn't eat"
(The sample of 1,025 Canadians was drawn from a panel of more than 100,000 Canadians surveyed Jan. 26-27, 2011. The margin of error was approximately plus or minus 3.1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.)

* Update: And a contrarian view HERE "Do you think poor people fall into poverty because they’re lazy? If so, sorry to be the one to inform you, but most Canadians disagree with you. In fact, according to a recent poll, you are among a small minority of Canadians – 23 per cent, to be precise."

Welfare Food Crackdown Needed says Deputy Mayor, Doug Holyday. We’re glad to see the province take action to stop the fraud because that’s an awful escalation in cost,” Holyday, who sits on the city’s audit committee, said Saturday. “We have to make sure the taxpayers are protected — unfortunately that harms people who are legitimately entitled to get the benefits, but sometimes that’s the result of people taking advantage of the system and the system has to protect itself,” the deputy mayor said....But Councillor Joe Mihevc, who is a member of the city’s health board, said it was wrong to call those living on social assistance “fraudsters” because even with a $250 supplement a month, it’s most likely still not enough to get by.  Anyone who knows how high rent and food costs are in Toronto — people aren’t spending on frivolities, that’s so rare,” he said.  “It’s on a different ethical level than a middle-class person fraudulently robbing a bank,” Mihevc said. “I don’t think it’s fraud when someone is trying to feed themselves and their children...“This is a classic case of blaming the victim. They found a way to use the system to their benefit — then all the power to them.”

Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC)  tenants are probably worried what the one track 'gravy train' Fords are going to do about their negligent and greedy landlords.
Community Housing Scandal a "Gift from the gods" for Ford

Heads Should Be Rolling at TCHC says The Star's Joe Fiorito...
TCHC Residents Angered by Inappropriate Spending

"While staff members of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation enjoyed expensive chocolates, massages and lavish Christmas parties the agency’s tenants waited for much needed repairs and action on pest infestations.... The audit report will be discussed at a TCHC board of directors meeting Thursday, which is open to the public at the housing office on Yonge St, next to Rosedale subway station....
This audit represents another black eye for the agency that was told to review its eviction policies following the death of 82-year-old tenant Al Gosling (Here's the story on how TCHC contributed to death of an 82 year old tenant)."

SUGGESTION for Mayor Rob Ford and Toronto City Council:

* Put both Michael Shapcott  and Joe Fiorito on the board after you rol the heads there that need roling.

* Update: Civilian members of TCHC board refuse request to resign “We were appointed by City Council for a term that expires on December 31, 2011. As TCHC directors, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the Corporation i.e. we cannot simply walk away from our responsibilities,” Ron Struys said in a statement on behalf of the board’s seven non-elected, non-tenant members."

.... umm, yes you do and you blew it. Directors have liabilities and perhaps the city should use its lawyers to pursue financial redress from them? 

* Update: Former TCHC Public Housing CEO Remains Mum "...Derek Ballantyne is now the man on the hot seat, after Toronto’s auditor general released a stinging report slamming employee expenses and purchasing practices at Toronto Community Housing, the agency he once headed. While Mayor Rob Ford is calling, unsuccessfully so far, for the head of current CEO Keiko Nakamura, Ballantyne is keeping a low profile. Ford said Monday the public will “have an answer by Friday’’ as to Ballantyne’s fate...Now chief operating officer of Build Toronto, the city’s real estate and development corporation, Ballantyne served as CEO of Toronto Community Housing from 2002 to May 2009, well into the period covered in the auditor general’s reports..."

.... court proceedings to come?

* Update: A List of TCHC SpendingAbuses Example: $1,925 spent for a “divisional planning meeting” at the Elmwood Spa. The meeting included a three-course lunch, pedicures, manicures and water therapy for eight staffers.

* Update: They Resigned 

Who is on the TCHC Board
 (citizen members) All of whom refuse to quit:
•David Mitchell (chairman)
•Zahra Dhanani
•Michelle Joseph
•Greg Kalil
•Carol Osler
•Sheerin A. Sheikh
•Ronald Struys

Update: Mayor Ford wants to put only one person in charge of TCHC... someone who is very much against social housing: Case Ootes story here "Ootes has also asked for a complete list of all single-family houses owned by Toronto Community Housing, the 2006 Current Value Assessment of each and recommendations on the feasibility of selling the properties to generate revenue. Toronto Community Housing owns some 500 single-family homes throughout the city."