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PostArctica: At The Monument

Funny, I hung around this park in front of Verdun City Hall in the 70’s and there are a zillion crazy stories about what that was like. So last month I was walking through and saw all these young people gathered around the actual monument and I was getting thoughts like, way to go, folks, . . . → Read More: PostArctica: At The Monument

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: City assessed school property at sale price #nlpoli

City councillor Jonathan Galgay attacked the school board and the provincial government over the sale of IJ Samson school for $189,000 after the purchaser put the thing on the market for 10 times that much.Galgay wrote to the provincial auditor general… . . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: City assessed school property at sale price #nlpoli

PostArctica: Three

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PostArctica: View of Verdun

Taken from a window on the fifth floor at City Hall.

PostArctica: View of Verdun

Taken from a window on the fifth floor at City Hall.

PostArctica: Disgraceful Street Work In Verdun

For many, many years one of the most common pedestrian complaints on Wellington street has been the less than ideal condition of the granite tiles that run up the center of the sidewalks. People have tripped and fallen from getting a foot stuck on an uprooted tile or one that has sank or is to . . . → Read More: PostArctica: Disgraceful Street Work In Verdun

PostArctica: Construction On Gordon Avenue, Verdun

After being a vacant lot for 6 or 7 years condos are finally being built at the old CKVL location and also at the former parking lot across the street. Inevitable, perhaps, but two of the biggest obstacles in preserving worthy heritage properties, and CKVL was an Art Deco building of some significance in Verdun, . . . → Read More: PostArctica: Construction On Gordon Avenue, Verdun

PostArctica: Construction On Gordon Avenue, Verdun

After being a vacant lot for 6 or 7 years condos are finally being built at the old CKVL location and also at the former parking lot across the street. Inevitable, perhaps, but two of the biggest obstacles in preserving worthy heritage properties, and CKVL was an Art Deco building of some significance in Verdun, . . . → Read More: PostArctica: Construction On Gordon Avenue, Verdun

Walking Turcot Yards: Paris Rising, Montreal Falling, Neither Bodes Well

The two great French cities of the world, well, Montreal used to be worthy, are having some development conundrums. Paris has decided to add a dozen highrise buildings but away from the city centre – the Eiffel Tower must always be the dominant structure there. So Paris does have limits, like Montreal, on how high . . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: Paris Rising, Montreal Falling, Neither Bodes Well

RedBedHead: The Fall Of The House Of Ford

Taking a moment to pray for peace

You gotta admit that it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Rob Ford is a bully and a hypocrite – quick to condemn the perceived weakness of others, to pounce on the supposed privileges of unionized workers or the effete absurdity of riding a bicycle instead of driving . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: The Fall Of The House Of Ford

RedBedHead: The Fall Of The House Of Ford

Taking a moment to pray for peace You gotta admit that it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Rob Ford is a bully and a hypocrite – quick to condemn the perceived weakness of others, to pounce on the supposed privileges of unionized workers or the effet… . . . → Read More: RedBedHead: The Fall Of The House Of Ford

The Canadian Progressive: Rob Ford’s former staffers’ emails, telephone records ordered destroyed: sources

The Toronto Star reports that the emails and telephone records in Rob Ford’s office, which may reveal information about the mayor’s crack cocaine scandal, are disappearing. They were ordered destroyed this week.

The post Rob Ford’s former staffers’ emails, telephone records ordered destroyed: sources appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Walking Turcot Yards: Transport Quebec warns motorists: stay away from Turcot Interchange this weekend

It was built below specs and has been poorly maintained. Saving on maintenance costs in the first 3 decades created full time maintenance contracts that has cost, and will cost taxpayer’s, over 100′s of million of dollars to maintain a structure that is scheduled to be torn down. Somebody has done alright with that. But . . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: Transport Quebec warns motorists: stay away from Turcot Interchange this weekend

Walking Turcot Yards: Goverment Talking Corruption Free Turcot

To say I am behind the times on Turcot would be an understatement. Seems I have drifted into focusing a lot of my online attention into relaying the ongoing tragedy that is our federal government under Stephen Harper via Facebook and occasionally Twitter in recent years. Of course it is all interconnected when you follow . . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: Goverment Talking Corruption Free Turcot

Walking Turcot Yards: Richard Bergeron of Projet Montreal in Verdun on Sunday

How To Put Montreal Back On Track with Richard Bergeron Sunday, March 24, 3pm Centre culturel et bibliothèque de Verdun 5955, avenue Bannantyne Verdun (QC) H4H 1H5 Canada

 

***English below

L’association Projet Montréal à Verdun a le plaisir de vous inviter à une conférence du chef de Projet Montréal, Richard Bergeron, le dimanche . . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: Richard Bergeron of Projet Montreal in Verdun on Sunday

Walking Turcot Yards: Corruption Probe Just Keeps Scoring

You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows – Bob Dylan

C’mon, tell us how you voted for Tremblay again and again and how much you thought he was a good mayor – Neath Turcot

Union Montréal manager was on engineering firm’s payroll CBC News Posted: Mar 12, 2013 2:52 PM . . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: Corruption Probe Just Keeps Scoring

Walking Turcot Yards: The Strange Case of an Environmentalist Environment Minister

It’s been interesting to see the media making so much of Daniel Breton’s long and illustrious “criminal” life. You would swear being poor automatically made you a breaker of rules, a natural born cheat who only knows deception and wild behavior. Anyone who has ever attended a public consultation with the BAPE (Bureau d’audiences publique . . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: The Strange Case of an Environmentalist Environment Minister

Walking Turcot Yards: Tremblay Resigns!

One of the things that stands out in my mind regarding the merger of the cities on Montreal island involves former Verdun Mayor, Georges Bosse. After the merger Bosse became a key player on Montreal’s notoriously secretive Executive Committee. Soon after he was the City’s main shill for the massive, and awesomely ill conceived, Devimco . . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: Tremblay Resigns!

Walking Turcot Yards: Montrealers Getting Screwed By Tremblay

C’mon, tell us how you voted for Tremblay again and again and how much you thought he was a good mayor. Tell us you had no idea that there was corruption at City Hall. And tell us us how you figured out that voting for a guy who was “not a separatist” actually did the . . . → Read More: Walking Turcot Yards: Montrealers Getting Screwed By Tremblay

Canadian Progressive World: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s Official White Supremacist Portrait: PHOTO

Our Ford, the (Lord) Mayor of Toronto is rabidly right-wing. No doubt about that. After all, he recently proposed exiling Toronto’s convicted criminals, most of whom tend to be persons of color. Fellow Conservative and immigrant-bashing minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, endorsed the idea. Still, I would never have imagined the Mayor of . . . → Read More: Canadian Progressive World: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s Official White Supremacist Portrait: PHOTO

Trashy's World: A year on…

… since the Ontario municipal elections. Time flies. So how have things gone here in Ottawa, anyhow? Has the School Board addressed some of the issues around communication and transparency?… issues that I campaigned on last year. Are they any closer to solving their long-term infrastructure deficit? Has the City Council lived up to its […] . . . → Read More: Trashy’s World: A year on…

Andy Lehrer's Firebrand blog: Look who’s friends with Giorgio Mammoliti

Canadian Firebrand: Look who’s friends with Giorgio Mammoliti

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Playing with Team Ford

“It is clear that there is a program to eliminate the public from our great city.”

– Kim Fry, the 11th deputant during the Core Service Review at Toronto’s City Hall on Thursday July 28

For a penny-pinching populist, Mayor Rob Ford’s policies are very expensive. Since his October 25th election, he has spent over $533 million in a strange sibling rivalry against his arch nemesis, ex-Mayor David Miller. During Miller’s time in office, Rob Ford was the least respected councillor, and was relegated to the benches during Miller’s confabs with his handpicked, executive council. In retaliation, cribbing from his tactics as high school football coach, Ford has crafted his defensive lineup – an executive council of six strong ‘yes’ men to systematically take apart Toronto’s public infrastructure – which Miller intended to be his legacy – through cutting core services. Ford is like a younger kid brother knocking down the carefully placed building blocks of his brother’s toy castle because he does not know how to build a city of his own design or imagination.

Select items from a spreadsheet itemizing Mayor Ford’s expenses to the City of Toronto? Canceling Transit City, initial penalties of $179 million, removing bike lanes, $469,000, bailing out an under-used arena, $43.4 million, subsidizing an underused ski lift in the ward of his ally, Councillor James Pasternak, $2 million, and the loss of revenue from the Land Transfer Tax and Vehicle Registration Tax, $204 million and $50 million respectively. Another $100,000 was spent to hire a TTC consultant, and $3 million to hire KPMG, an external consulting firm- both of these expenses are part of city councillor’s jobs, and so are redundant.

While ex-Mayor Miller left a $375 million surplus, Mayor Ford is dangerously close to spending money equivalent to the $774 million budget deficit he wanted to balance by 2012. Left unchecked, these expenditures will almost double the projected 2011 deficit within his first year of office, showing the true cost of privatization. With over three years left in his term, he huddles with his brother, Doug, as his closest advisor, quietly strategizing during City Council meetings, cautioned by his rightwing consultants to remain tightlipped with the media.

Ford’s first agenda item was to hire consultancy firm, KPMG, to perform a core service review. When KPMG’s results were made public, the results backfired for Team Ford. 96% of services are mandated by the federal government, there was no gravy, and the report unintentionally highlighted that the previous surplus left by ex-Mayor Miller was an act of financial wizardry. Apparently, the left can be bean counters, too.

On July 28th, there were over 300 deputations at City Hall on the agenda, with irate citizens decrying these cuts, and police at the council chamber’s door; the new executive council will make the final decision regarding these core service cuts in September. Bowing under thousands of emails of public pressure to attend the deputations- Mayor Ford did not sit in for the first round – he decreed that they take place over a marathon 20 hours. The deputations have become a kangaroo court, a sham procedure, to get them out of the way of his city fire sale, as ‘efficiencies’ are found, cutting core services from the elderly, children, those with HIV, caretakers, bicyclists, and at risk youth, including a program that funds 685 student nutrition programs, 42 AIDS prevention projects and 38 community drug prevention programs. Although police refused access to City Hall’s green roof for his picnic, activist Dave Meslin is part of hundreds attending a City Hall slumber party tonight; internationally, other cities are taking over squares to protest similar austerity measures.

By pitting the KPMG report against community deputations, Team Ford has deliberately polarized the downtown core against suburbanites. Call it ‘wedge politics’, ‘culture wars’ or ‘divide and conquer’, it is a tactic used to distract GTA citizens as hard won public assets are sold off to invisible bidders. Think of the Canadian version of Koch Brothers as high school football coaches, rather than democratic mayors, with transit at the center of the debate.

Ex-Mayor Miller’s legacy was to be Transit City, a light rail network designed to add street level connectivity and make workplaces accessible for outer neighbourhoods; Team Ford proposes to bring another football team and football stadium to downtown Toronto, and extend a Sheppard subway line to nowhere. ‘Austerity will not be pretty’, read a sign at the KPMG protest, but for Team Ford, stadiums, subways and athletes are certainly more important than transit, bicycle lanes, and ‘bike people’, as we are called by Councillor Doug Holyday. For the right, bike lanes are easily sacrificed on the altar of the Almighty Car, and traffic lanes and parking lots are held to be places of worship.

On July 12th, over three hundred bicyclists converged on City Hall, to ask that the newly installed Jarvis bicycle paths remain in place. Used by 890 riders daily, the bike paths connected the east end of the city with the west. Wearing bicycle helmets, and raising silently waving ‘jazz hands’ to show support for councilors arguing for their right to share lanes of traffic, a heated discussion in City Council raged over two days. Central to the debate were these questions- are bicyclists considered worthy of protection? Is Jarvis Street a cultural corridor or highway? And can a lane on Sherbourne Street, 400 m away, be considered sufficient, or do bicyclists have the right to be integrated as part of a citywide network with multiple options of bike routes?

Councillor Shelley Carroll argued that bicyclists will use Jarvis Street anyway, and modes of transport cannot be forbidden under the Highway Transport Act. Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said, “I think cyclists should start suing the city when struck by cars given this council’s recorded indifference to our safety.” Every seven hours a bicyclist is hit in the City of Toronto.

Finally, in procedural chaos, City Council voted that the Jarvis lanes were slated to be removed in two years upon the completion of the segregated Sherbourne lanes. A calculated, last minute motion by Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti re-added the reverse fifth lane, to render the prior Environmental Assessment and consultations null and void. Feisty Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam objected to the last minute amendment by Mammoliti about the lanes in her Ward; rightwing partisan Speaker Nunziata allowed the motion, and eight left leaning councillors walked out upon learning that they will be unable to vote upon the bike plan item by item in the future. The final blow – City staff told Wong-Tam, who is lesbian, that returning the reversible centre lane to Jarvis would cost $570,000, more than 4 times the city grant to Pride, an event which also takes place in her Ward, and is next on the chopping block. (For a detailed discussion of the vote, link here.)

Upon hearing this verdict, ever-ingenious Dave Meslin, the founder of the Toronto Bicyclist’s Union, posted a Facebook call out for riders to take back Jarvis. Two days later, 1100 respectful bicyclists, ringing their bells, circled Jarvis Street to Church Street and rode to City Hall chanting “We just want to share.” As I rode my bike down Queen Street West, an onlooker called out “Pay some taxes”, a byproduct of the new nastiness now made publicly permissible by Torontonians modeling the behaviour of our Mayor, and his allies, toward bicyclists.

In his nine months in office, Mayor Ford has shown preferential treatment for his constituents. He prefers car-drivers over bicyclists, the suburban elite over the downtown intelligentsia, the very wealthy over the marginalized, and corporations over unions. He cannot walk several minutes from his office to a podium to read a brief speech for the flag raising ceremony of Pride; he attends Caribana instead to show that while he may be homophobic, he is not racist. He makes his preferences known by picking and choosing which events to attend, and which deputations to listen to, and when frustrated by community consultation, changes access to democratic process by changing the date of motions, or by running an all-night deputation session, so that the public cannot attend, or hand signaling a councillor to add a last minute motion to stymie progressive motions.

Inappropriately, Mayor Ford has used his office to discriminate against those who are most defenseless, and in need of defense- whether bicyclists or marginalized groups. Ford as a football coach, if not as a democratic mayor, should rise to the challenge of inclusive policymaking, if he wishes to remain in his position. So should his brother, Doug. Going forward, we need to be Team Toronto, not Team Ford.

With special thanks to the blog ‘Driving the Porcelain Bus’ for the expense breakdown of Mayor Ford.

References:
‘Driving the Porcelain Bus’ at http://drivingtheporcelainbus.blogspot.com
Robyn Doolittle, Toronto Star, Urban Affairs Reporter, ‘Critics see KPMG report as ‘smoke and mirrors’ at http://www.thestar.com/news/torontocouncil/article/1028588–critics-see-kpmg-report-as-smoke-and-mirrors
Matt Elliott, ‘Ford for Toronto’, ‘The Jarvis vote: What the hell happened?’ at
http://fordfortoronto.mattelliott.ca/2011/07/13/the-jarvis-vote-what-the-hell-happened/ . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Playing with Team Ford

Railroaded by Metrolinx: Playing with Team Ford

“It is clear that there is a program to eliminate the public from our great city.” – Kim Fry, the 11th deputant during the Core Service Review at Toronto’s City Hall on Thursday July 28

For a penny-pinching populist, Mayor Rob Ford’s policies are very expensive. Since his October 25th election, he has spent over . . . → Read More: Railroaded by Metrolinx: Playing with Team Ford