Compromised

If you’ve ever wondered why this city council moves at such a (pre-climate change) glacial pace and never seems to get much done, you need not look any further than yesterday’s meeting. Yes, there was the usual procedural wrangling in setting up the order paper. That’s just a thing. And a longer than necessary debate over whether or not to cut out early tonight for Halloween. (For the record. Why not? They’ll make up the lost time by going longer on Thursday. Their job isn’t a standard 9-5 one. Flexible working hours shouldn’t be begrudged).

No, what really ground the proceedings to the halt were two items, both of which amounted to cleaning up the mess created by the mayor’s previous intemperate and ideological outbursts.

First up was the passing of Councillor Ana Bailão’s working group report on the Toronto Community Housing Corporation, Putting People First. This all came about due to Mayor Ford’s open hostility to the idea of public housing and his orchestrated attack on it during his initial swell of support in the early days of his administration. Manufacturing a crisis over some perceived excessive spending by the board, he ousted the lot and replaced them with another TCHC hater, former councillor Case Oootes.

Their plan for a massive sell-off of homes — ostensibly to help put a dent in the corporation’s massive backlog of capital repairs — met fierce resistance from a majority of council. Instead of unloading 675 single family homes that the Executive Committee had recommended back in January (Ootes had suggested 900 on his way out in June 2011), council went with just 55. Added to the 56 sold earlier, that’s but a fraction of what the mayor was hoping to accomplish and we should view with much suspicion his statement that the report “was a good start”.

But nonetheless, it was proclaimed a compromise victory for Mayor Ford, proof that he was learning to work with council and was growing into his role. Never mind that it took nearly two years to accomplish because of the extreme approach he adopted at the very beginning. It is a one-time fix, a band-aid solution to a growing problem the city’s going to have tackle again, probably sooner than later.

Of course, that process looked like the very model of nuanced governance compared to what followed.

The renewal of the city’s Ombudsman’s contract for a second 5 year term should’ve been effortless. A quick item dealt with, bing, bang, boom. Why would there be a fuss? No one had any complaints about the job Fiona Crean was doing.

Oh wait.

The mayor did.

After her office issued a report citing his office’s interference with the Civic Appointments process, he declared war. Unable to refute any of the report’s findings, he decided to kill the messenger and threw a contract renewal after her first term was up next fall into question. It was pettiness and score settling at its worst.

Now, you would think that a majority of councillors would be able to nip such vindictiveness in the bud like they had on the TCHC file. But here’s a good example of the modest powers bestowed on the mayor’s office being put to ill use. According to provincial legislation, council requires 30 votes to renew the Ombudsman’s contract and there was enough concern that 15 councillors might be craven enough to do the mayor’s bidding on this.

Thus, the 2 year extension “compromise”.

Hours after the matter should’ve been settled, 41 councillors voted in favour of the extension, almost all of them with high praise for the job Ms. Crean was doing. Nice work. There’s no reason whatsoever you shouldn’t be getting a 5 year extension but… you know… the mayor… we had to throw him a bone… you know how it is when the chief magistrate hasn’t a clue about the job he’s supposed to be doing… We’ll talk again in 2014, OK?

Compromise!

It wasn’t.

It was just another example of finding some sort of way for Mayor Ford to save face after he, yet again, stepped into it. A huge time suck spent to placate a mayor who threatened to overturn the applecart if he didn’t get his way. With over 100 items on their agenda, once more council pissed away the better part of a day mending fences the mayor had impulsively ripped up for no apparent reason other than he could.

Respect for the taxpayers indeed.

impatiently submitted by Cityslikr

9 Responses to Compromised

  1. Gilmour says:

    Nightmare.

    • Sonny says:

      Crean had more complaints about Ford cronies being appointed to agencies, boards & commissions! It would be interesting to see if the make up is less ethnically diverse since someone’s interference in the searches…

      Toronto’s motto is “Diversity our strength” which may have to be changed…

  2. Dave says:

    “With over 100 items on their agenda, once more council pissed away the better part of a day mending fences the mayor had impulsively ripped up for no apparent reason other than he could. Respect for the taxpayers indeed.”

    Meh. Even if Council was tackling the big issues of the day, I’m sure staff wouldn’t have time to implement anything, what with their pressing need to crawl under equipment and mow lawn around Deco.

    On a more serious note, wasn’t “customer service” supposed to be one of Rob Ford’s top priorities? How does bullying and undermining the Ombudsman help with that?

    Sure, Ford claims you can just call him about anything, but that’s BS. He doesn’t respond to every call and every email (any enterprising journalist or political opponent could demonstrate that, if they were so inclined). The Ombudsman is the person whose JOB IT IS to listen to and correct problems experienced by the public.

    If Ford faces a half-competent adversary in this next election, this escapade will return to haunt him. Even Kouvalis recognizes the mayor has gone off the rails on this.

    • Sonny says:

      Could it be that he is corrupt; trying to get upgraded services around the family business. Get land around the family home. The province to pay for his football team’s digs etc.

      • Simon Says says:

        These are hardly “corrupt” things. Look at what is going in Montreal for corruption. Toronto assessment of politics is always full of hyperbole.

      • Sonny says:

        Typical Fordite, pointing the finger elsewhere. Using his political office for personal gain OR savings no matter if it is $3150 is corrupt! Having his family member take over his seat then yelling when they are called on their list of appointees er cronies is not acceptable. See the new TTC board…

      • Simon Says says:

        Everyone is corrupt! Thank you for pointing it out.

      • Sonny says:

        Especially Ford and the Conservatives…

      • Simon Says says:

        Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…huh…..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

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