Strictly For Wonks

Government Management Committee.

Yes, it is as dry as all those words on their own might suggest. bonedryPut together? Well, the Sahara fucking desert.

Yet, this committee deals with the nuts and bolts of how City Hall functions both inside its curved walls and outside. Why, just yesterday the agenda was full of such diverse items as property tax shirkers and parking ticket miscreants to building a bike station at City Hall and TTC pension plan mergers. Most of it isn’t headline grabbing stuff but it’s all got to get done for the place and the institution to function properly.

Or, in short, from the city website: This committee has a focus of government assets and resources, with a mandate to monitor, and make recommendations on the administrative operations of the City.

From a City Hall watcher’s perspective, this Government Management Committee got council chambers and committee rooms wi-fied up and there’s talk of installing more electrical outlets for ease of keeping computing devices charged. nutsandboltsIt just pushed for extending live streaming of all committee and community council meetings before 2014. And word is, they’re pondering granting media accreditation to council social media types which, from our very subjective viewpoint would render the process meaningless. I mean, come on. It’s bloggers we’re talking about. Those people are hacks.

As committee chair, Councillor Paul Ainslie was quick off the mark to embrace many of the electoral and civic reforms that came out of Dave Meslin’s The 4th Wall project including looking at using ranked ballots in municipal elections. Clicking through the committee’s agenda over the last little while, it’s hard to tell exactly where those items are sitting right now and it’d be nice to know that they haven’t simply been buried. But I’ll give Councillor Ainslie the benefit of the doubt because, well, he seems like a sensible guy who knows better than to get on Meslin’s bad side.

Councillor Ainslie also seems to run an affable meeting. He doesn’t huff and puff, is courteous with staff, fellow committee members and deputants. If I were writing copy I’d say something like Committee Chair Ainslie makes boring Government Management stuff fun! fineprintMaybe even with two exclamation marks.

He does get some help from Councillor Doug Ford in the fun department, although the mayor’s brother does provide a different sort of fun. More of the laughing at than laughing with kind of fun. In many ways, the Government Management Committee is the reason the councillor came to City Hall. To Lean Six Sigma his ass all over procurement practices and squeeze out every ounce of gravy he can find.

The committee also offers up Councillor Ford the opportunity to rail about out of control spending like the budget of the Nathan Phillips Square revitalization. Or the construction of a bike station at City Hall in place of perfectly unused parking spots, complete with, and get this…”Vince! You gotta come here, they’re building showers!” Showers! For bikers! Can you get any gravier than that?

But with the chair siding with the lefties on the committee, councillors Mary Fragedakis and Pam McConnell, Councillor Ford and his buddy Vince (Crisanti) did not win the day. That may have to wait until the one missing committee member, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, returns from the DL. boringmeetingHis presence at the meetings must change the dynamics somewhat.

Would I recommend a visit to the Government Management Committee to take in the proceedings?

I don’t know. Did I mention it covers a lot of dry terrain? You have to really love watching people cross their t’s and dot their i’s to get caught up in the action of a Government Management Committee meeting.

Theirs are many of the thankless tasks that must get done, and very much subject to the whims of the much higher profile Budget Committee. (Given the overlap of many of the items, it would’ve made perfect sense for Councillor Ainslie to seamlessly transition into the role of budget chief. Alas.) Government Management Committee might not be the place to start your journey through the committee meetings but be secure in the knowledge that six councillors are dedicating their time to getting `er done.

appreciatively submitted by Cityslikr

14 Responses to Strictly For Wonks

  1. Patrick Smyth says:

    You were right – pretty boring stuff. I hope you stumble over something a bit more meaningful before you start ranting again about Ford/Fords folks.

    What about how the lefties killed affordable housing in my community? Isn’t that something your readers would like to know more about?

    I’m sure they care about such things.

    • glenn storey says:

      jesus fucking christ. shut the fuck up about the affordable fucking already.

      • glenn storey says:

        affordable fucking housing that is. affordable fucking is a good thing.

      • Patrick Smyth says:

        You don’t believe in providing Affordable Housing in Toronto?

        I mean, it all ready to go at no cost to the City. The community asked for it, the developer had agreed to provide it and the community council incorporated it in the Bylaw by unanimous vote. Then, it was eliminated by Karen Stintz who was supported by Vaughan, Perks, Carroll, Davis, McConnell, Augimeri, De Baeremaeker.

        I bet if Vaughan or Perks voted to kill the bike showers there’d be lots to say here. But, when those in need are side-lined by the so-called lefties on Council all you’ve got to contribute is a load of foul-mouthed invective.

        It’s ignorant, selfish people like you who have helped TO Council become the circus it is. Grow up!

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. Smyth,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke will make a full and frank confession. The affordable housing situation you’ve been talking about is a complete unknown to us. That’s not to doubt its veracity or your account of it. It’s just something that never made it onto our radar. Lots of stuff falls through the cracks. We’re not proud of that but it’s a fact.

      What we always suggest to people taking the time to write in to us, suggesting topics we should talk about is, why don’t you write a post about it? If it’s semi-coherent (that’s the low bar we’ve set here) and not libellous, slanderous or defamatory, we’ll post it as is, editing for spelling mistakes only.

      • Patrick Smyth says:

        What’s changed your tune? I thought you were bored with it. I’ve mentioned it a few times, yes, but I didn’t think that would show up in this forum. I mean, you do go on a bit yourself about certain things. By your own admission, some very boring and repetitive stuff.

        Anyway, what do you want to know about how a whole bunch of lefties (some even siting on the Affordable Housing Committee at the time, Adam Vaughan) eliminated Affordable Housing in my community?

        Warning – it’s not too flattering of some of those you fawn over.

  2. Sonny says:

    the Fords tend to sweat a lot pulling the wool over their nation. They should be – for the showers especially if the people are going to work at City Hall after biking a long distance.
    Of course they are OK with spending $500 million fixing the Gardiner but bicyclists…

    • Steve says:

      The Fords and their supporters like to ignore the fact that cyclists pay taxes at the same rate as motorists. So they do not see this as an infrastructure project much like spending millions re-building the Gardiner or any other road construction.

  3. Simon Says says:

    The bike station is not the sunlight above ground design pictured in the Star. Its to be built on the lowest level of the parking garage. People with cars generally don’t park down there because its dank, let alone take a shower.

    The station should be like the ground level bike lockups and stations that are all over downtown Vancouver.

  4. Jim Rootham says:

    Were you around for the bit where Ainslie left the chair? It was about approving the deal where Alexandra Park Co-op doesn’t get whacked with a bad land lease clause in exchange for financing rent subsidies. Apparently he has a relative who lives here. WE have a connection to council we don’t even know about!

  5. Dave Meslin says:

    Dear Mr Slickr,

    Great piece (as always). Sorry I missed the meeting. Sounds like a vibrant one.

    As for the Fourth Wall, thanks for mentioning it! We have the exhibit online now (http://thefourthwall.ca/), and we also have a “scorecard” where you can track each item: http://thefourthwall.ca/scorecard.htm

    Many of the items are now in the hands of staff. Things are moving slowly, but they are moving forward. : )

    Last year, I made some progress by getting a couple of constructive motions passed at GMC. (One of them would have fast-tracked the RaBIT staff report, and the other motion proposed a Working Group to help implement the Fourth Wall proposals.). Sadly, both motions were killed at Council. : (

    See you at the next GMC!!

    ~ mez

    • Patrick Smyth says:

      Hi Dave,

      Do you ever get people telling you to “shut the fuck up”?

      Your cause is excellent and I know it’s taking up a lot of your time to be heard and get some action.

      That looks a lot like what I’m going to have to expect in my mission in support of Affordable Housing for needy TO residents.

      Any tips on how I could get a bunch of lefties on Council to support me?

      Cheers, Patrick

      • Jim Rootham says:

        How about specifying what it is you are talking about? I have no clue what you are on about.

  6. Patrick Smyth says:

    Jim, thanks for asking.

    The NEON site close to Yonge & Eglinton had dozens of rental units in 10 old buildings before it was razed. Increasing the supply of affordable rental properties is a constant struggle and the City has policies covering the replacement of rental properties. The local community wanted to maintain the socio-economic mix of the neighbourhood and provide for the loss of the rental properties. A deal whereby 5% of the condos in the NEON were to be Affordable Housing and larger family-sized units was unanimously approved by Community Council.

    Ten days later, Karen Stintz rose in Council to speak to the Item on the Council Agenda. After going for about 30 seconds the Speaker wondered, did she not have an Amendment? Stintz apologized profusely and said, yes she has an Amendment that was purely technical in nature. She then put it on the overhead projector.

    The overhead slide had 4 paragraphs on it. The third one was a request that Council eliminate the 5% Affordable Housing and larger family-sized units. Stintz summarized the first two paragraphs and on the video can be seen stumbling for 5 seconds on the third. She couldn’t get it out of her mouth and went instead straight to the fourth paragraph before quickly removing the overhead and proceeding to speak to the Item.

    She gathered her composure and five minutes later amplified the reasons why her colleagues should approve that which the Community Council approved. She says, “and one of the key messages we got back from the community was that they wanted some of the units to be affordable so we put in a provision that 5% would be affordable units”.

    After Stintz finished speaking, the vote to Amend was 28 to 3 with 14 abstaining. There had been no debate, no questions asked. Everybody had followed orders. Stintz’s request to kill Affordable Housing in my community passed with the help of 12 councillors who profess to be of a humanitarian or socialist bent. the kind of people who would never eliminate Affordable Housing AFTER the community council had approved it. They’re the kind of people who care.

    The affair is a great example why there is so much dysfunction at City Hall. Stintz had spent the previous 7 years attacking Miller and the Left. She led the Responsible Government group in opposing the Miller Executive. There was nothing wrong with that. So, how come Miller whipped to support her on a matter that was one of his stated principles?

    What was truly wrong here was that a community and the City was cheated. (Remember how Stintz couldn’t articulate the 3rd paragraph?) The developer was handed a huge financial pass. The NEON owners are rich. They can pay their way in this world. It’s well-known they finance election and re-election campaigns. If they can do that they could easily have honoured that which previously they had promised. Where has that extra profit been allocated?

    The provision of Affordable Housing in new condo buildings was championed by Adam Vaughan. He was a member of the Affordable Housing Committee at the time. He banded together with Perks, Davis, Carroll, McConnell, Augimeri, Fletcher in a fashion I can easily characterize as fraudulent. I’ve made some noise about all this and it’s very telling that I have had no response from any of them.

    Certainly not from Stintz who has refused to answer honestly the question, why did you kill Affordable Housing in my community? Maybe you would ask any of the above why they thought it a good deal for the City and its policy on Affordable Housing?

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