Friday, 24 February 2012

Respect for the Taxpayer from Rob Ford - NOT!

Rob Ford got his lackeys on the TTC council to fire Gary Webster, the Chief General Manager the other day for doing his job well. They fired him without just cause. As a result, the City (that's you, taxpayers), will be on the hook for $560,000.00 for Gary's severance package. They could have let him stay for one more year until his retirement and it would have cost far less.

Now, we have no one at the helm of the TTC during a time when we need a very experienced and competent person there.

Rob Ford's Gravy Train amount = $560,000.00

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Councillors Voted To Deny Rapid Transit For Their Constituents

On Feb. 8, 2012, the majority of Toronto City Council voted to reaffirm most of the Transit City LRT plans.
The vote was 25-18.
Nine councillors voted no to the plan that would bring rapid transit to their wards. The Ford transit plan would only have brought rapid transit to 4 of these 9 wards.

You can see a map of how the councillors voted at the Toronto Star page here.

You can see 5 maps of different versions of Toronto transit plans at the Globe & Mail page here.

Ford's plan has no LRT on Finch West, the Eglinton LRT line is much shorter on the West end, and his Sheppard Subway plan had no funding, so it most likely would not have been built any time soon.

The reaffirmed Transit City lines contains a segment of LRT that crosses the North end of Etobicoke on Finch, has an Eglinton West LRT line that extends to the edge of Etobicoke, and includes the possibility of an LRT line along Sheppard in Scarborough.

The Councillors who voted against rapid transit routes in their wards are:
1 - Vincent Crisanti
7 - Giorgio Mammoliti
11 - Francis Nunziata
12 - Frank Di Giorgio
17 - Cesar Palacio
34 - Denzil Minnan-Wong
35 - Michelle Bernardinetti
37 - Michael Thompson
40 - Norm Kelly

The wards, of the councillors above, which would end up with zero new rapid transit lines in their wards under Fords plan: 1, 7, 11, 12 and 40

Now, people who live in these wards, when it comes election time again, remember that your councillor voted to deny you vastly improved public transit.

Has Toronto's Mayor Become Irrelevant?

Photo of Rob Ford by Tannis Toohey
for The Toronto Star

Yesterday, Toronto City Council took over the lead on transit planning in the city and voted to reaffirm most of the LRT lines outlined in the Transit City plan. Council voted 25-18 to reaffirm what was already a binding agreement between Toronto City Council and the provincial government. Rob Ford had been trying to derail this plan over the past year and had successfully pulled the wool over the eyes of some of the new and centrist councillors - until yesterday.

After the council vote, Ford claimed that the meeting was irrelevant and that the premier would continue to support his own plan (a fully buried LRT along Eglinton, and a non-funded short subway dream on an Eastern portion of Sheppard).

The provinces response? From the CBC article:

Despite Ford's hopes, Ontario Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli seemed to suggest the province would follow the will of council.

"Throughout the debate, the McGuinty government has maintained a clear stance — we wanted the city to come to a common position so that we all could focus on building much-needed transit infrastructure," he said in a statement. "Now that council has endorsed a position, we have asked Metrolinx to consider the impacts on current transit planning and report back to us as quickly as possible."

Is this the beginning of a change in the Mushy Middle? Will we see the centrists on council begin to vote for reason and their constituents instead of with the mayor? If so, then, over the next 3 years, Rob Ford may find himself outvoted and irrelevant through his own pig-headed uncompromising actions thus far.

Here is the list of how each councillor voted:
LRT For Toronto: Rob Ford Loses Bid To Control Toronto's Transit Future 

Two surprise votes in support of reaffirming the LRT lines were usual Ford supporters John Parker and Jaye Robinson.
Out of the ten Scarborough councillors, 1 was absent, 3 voted in support of the LRT lines, and the rest stuck with Ford and voted against the motion. 

See also
Openfile: After Yesterday's LRT Vote, Toronto Enters the Age of Minority Government
The mayor, having already lost one of the most important votes of his term so far, seems unwilling to face the arithmetic of Toronto's politics (he needs 22 votes on council, plus his own) and instead is working hard to alienate the very centre-right councillors he needs. In hushed tones, some council staff tell reporters they've never seen a mayor so unwilling to compromise. In particular, ruling out TTC Chair Karen Stintz' attempt at compromise (which everyone from Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) to Cherise Burda of the Pembina Institute seemed to be able to live with) left a number of staff shaking their heads.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Toronto Councillors To Vote For the Return of Most of Transit City

TTC Chair Karen Stintz Moves To Bury Rob Ford's Subway

This Wednesday, Toronto city council will vote to bring back most of the Transit City plan. 24 members of council have called the meeting to force this vote - a vote that should have happened a year ago, and a vote that has to be held by law to rule on the fate of Transit City - a vote that Ford has been trying to avoid. Ford's plan to mislead council and to try to ignore the Transit City plan, and to just have his own way by dismantling the Transit City plan and imposing his own misguided plan - breaks the law. City council is finally taking the reigns away from Ford and is saying enough is enough.

TTC chair Karen Stintz plans to present a petition to the city clerk on Monday morning asking for a special council meeting on Wednesday. The petition is signed by 24 councillors, which constitutes a majority which in turn requires the clerk to schedule a meeting. Under city bylaws that meeting must be held within 48 hours.

Councillors at the special meeting will be asked to confirm a 2009 memorandum of agreement (MOA) for a light rail plan forged during former mayor David Miller’s administration. It is signed by the city, TTC and Metrolinx and runs out March 31. 

That agreement calls for LRTs on Eglinton, Sheppard East and Finch West, [the Transit City plan] and effectively scuttles Ford’s vision of tunnelling the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT east of Laird Dr. to Kennedy station.

This is the vote that should have happened a year ago when Ford unilaterally and illegally declared Transit City dead. Just after Ford was elected mayor, many were predicting that council would not go along with Ford's nonsense ideas - that they would keep him in check. For his first year, this did not happen; his bad ideas were generally supported. This vote on Wednesday could be the turning point that most Torontonians have been waiting for. What the opposition on council lacked was leadership. What we are beginning to see is the collective will of the majority of council beginning to strengthen against the destructive drive of the mayor. The tide is finally turning against the bully mayor and his gangster politics. Toronto may be able to breathe a sigh of relief - and we will get our dream of a better and expanded transit system (the one that was already in place before Ford tried to derail it).