Mitic Talks Book, Politics and Weiner In Radio Interview. And More.

- April 1st, 2015

This lengthy interview with Innes Coun. Jody Mitic covers a lot of territory. It was on the Todd Shapiro Show on Sirius XM out of Toronto and starts at 47:40 if you want to check it out. (Fair warning: There are some lewd parts and there’s swearing).

Mitic, who said he was feeling a bit rough after attending a Toronto Raptors game the night before (where he also had his iPhone stolen), talks about his upcoming book, life in city politics, bowel movements, veterans and fatherhood.

Here is a rough list of topics covered:

Book: Mitic says his book Unflinching: The Making of the Canadian Sniper is being published by Simon & Schuster later this year.

Addiction: Mitic says he had an Oxycontin addiction at one point, even going as far as buying pain killers on the street. He said his last pill was Father’s Day 2011.

Being councillor and sports commissioner: “You’re right next to the people who you’re helping. My neighbours are my bosses,” he says. “It feels awesome.”

Getting into politics: Mitic says he encourages veterans to become involved in the political process from the inside. “Just run, get in there, become a voice for your brothers and sisters.”

Pressures to talk and act like a politician: “Now that I’m on their side of the fence, people demand perfection from their politicians.”

Fatherhood: “That’s the manliest thing you’ll do in your life is raise a good human being.”

In the middle of all of that are some comments on the Anthony Weiner scandal, using wet toilet paper and the controversial Bill C-51.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Salvation Army Will Help Displaced Clients

- March 31st, 2015

The Salvation Army will help people who have been receiving services from agencies having to cut back because of funding reductions. The trickle-down effects start Wednesday.

According to an internal status update in the city’s housing services branch, the Salvation Army will help at least three rooming house clients from Centre 507 and five rooming house clients from The Well.

Another seven people from Centre 507 and three from The Well have been referred to the Salvation Army’s housing response team if they need help, the document says.

Here are other items from the document (which I only have in hard copy):

* Cornerstone will mitigate the majority of the funding reduction for two years through “adjustments as a result of the 15% reduction primarily due to higher past administration costs.”

* Services have been expanded at Housing Help and Action-Logement in areas of aboriginal services, centralized housing locator function, plus additional housing based case management “that will offset the reduction of seven positions from PQ, Nepean Rideau Osgoode, Carlington and South East Ottawa that made up the Housing Loss Prevention Network.” Housing Help will hire an extra staffer to respond to concerns about Somali language capability.

* The city has communicated several times with Odawa and the 510 Rideau St. drop-in. The Salvation Army outreach van and teams will start making regular stops at 510 Rideau to transport clients to other services. The city and Odawa are also supporting staff impacted by cuts. Other shelters and have been given a heads up they might see more people because of the drop-in closure.

* “Staff will maintain a flexible approach, monitoring and responding to emerging issues/gaps as well as providing regular updates and information to the sector as required.”

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Some Uber Tickets Might Be More Complicated Than Others

- March 26th, 2015

Uber tickets continue to crawl through the courts and you would think the cases are cut and dry, but not all of them are.

Brian McGregor is one Uber driver charged under the bylaw with not having taxi permits. He was ticketed last October but his lawyer still hasn’t received the discovery — that is, the city’s evidence against him.

According to McGregor, a bylaw officer entered his car and started writing the ticket. The fare hadn’t been charged at that point, he said. The way Uber works, the fare is charged to credit cards after the passenger arrives at his/her destination.

I’m no lawyer, but perhaps that’s a defence. It’s not based on the philosophical argument of whether or not Uber should be allowed to operate outside of the taxi bylaw. The city has said that some tickets take longer to issue because bylaw is waiting for credit cards to be charged by Uber. McGregor’s ticket came early in the city’s enforcement campaign, so maybe bylaw was getting used to applying the rules to Uber.

Other Uber drivers have pleaded guilty and paid their fines. Some have had their tickets ripped up because (oddly) there were no officer signatures.

There’s a story with every ticket.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Union Rep Follows Up With Letter After Scolding Councillors

- March 25th, 2015

A rep from CUPE Local 503, the city’s largest union, came into a committee meeting this week throwing fireballs at councillors on community and protective services over the defective social assistance management system (SAMS).

The city has been bashing the province over the poor rollout of the computer program, but councillors were knocked on their heels Monday by Clarence Dungey, the media officer for the union, who accused the city for not taking care of staff who are apparently burning out over the new system.

Dungey attends most council and committee meetings but almost never signs up to be a delegate to speak on an issue. He felt compelled to speak up this time and he definitely got councillors’ attention.

He must have sensed his speech rattled politicians. Councillors on the committee received this letter in their inboxes Tuesday night.

To the Community and Protective Services Committee

Dear Committee Members:

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each of you, for the your time and thoughtful questions, following my somewhat spontaneous decision to speak from my heart. As you know from my attendance at committee meetings, I am content to sit and take in the content of the topic of the presentation and very seldom speak out in the manner that I did at your meeting yesterday.

That said, I want to share with you that the President of Local 503 Brian Madden and his staff, since SAMS came on stream, have been preoccupied with assisting his members — your employees — in finding a reasonable solution by working with senior staff for some considerable time. These times and efforts have involved interviewing staff and meeting with MPPs and provincial Cabinet Members.

As stated in my presentation to you, CUPE has a membership of almost 800,000 and we are very much aware of the negative impacts that stress has on social workers across this country. It has had dreadful results for some Canadian workers, including suicide, an end result, I am certain, that we can all say must not happen in any municipality and, in particular, Ottawa.

In conclusion, and on behalf of Brian Madden, I want to extend sincere appreciation to each of the Committee Members for taking the time and effort to pick up the challenge to decipher the complexities of SAMS in its present state and to improve upon the delivery of its programs and services. I also want to express how important it is to the community as a whole to have a Committee who understands the stressful situation that has brought us together and we look forward to your increased interest to find a solution to this dilemma.

Sincerely,

Clarence S. Dungey
Media Officer, CUPE 503

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Four Things At Council Wednesday

- March 24th, 2015

Deputy Mayor Bob Monette is expected to be in the Big Chair with Mayor Jim Watson still on the mend after his snowmobile injury.

Audits: AG Ken Hughes tabled his annual report recently. I think the general belief is there’s no barnburner, but some interesting discoveries nonetheless.

Broadview Public School: The planning committee is recommending council give the “tower” part of the school heritage designation to protect the outer structure. The school board, which will construct a new school on the same site, doesn’t like the heritage proposal. There’s no plan for the old building.

McArthur Ave. service centre: A classic planning conundrum on McArthur Ave. The company that owns the Toyota and Lexus dealerships at the corner of May St. wants to build a Lexus service centre at the corner. The city’s planning vision says no. A majority of the planning committee says yes. Will council back Coun. Tobi Nussbaum and the planning policy, or side with the committee?

Shooting bylaw: Council will be asked to amend the firearm discharge prohibitions to include a larger area of Barrhaven in response to an incident in February.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.