Posts Tagged ‘Josh Colle

Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff vs. the Mighty Middle

- April 24th, 2013

towhey

“If there are members of council who want to sign a petition to call a special vote to raise taxes on the backs of citizens who can’t afford them, that will be the first campaign poster of the mayor’s 2014 campaign.” 

- Mark Towhey, Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff, on Tuesday night after the executive committee voted to defer the report on transit revenue tools to its next meeting.

Josh Colle

“That’s a very productive way to govern, you know, threaten councillors. That’s all we need. That’s worked successfully to date … I’m being extremely sarcastic, yes. That’s the last thing we need. I don’t know why there is this continual fixation on the next election when there is so much to do.” 

- Councillor Josh Colle reacting to Towhey’s comments on Wednesday

 

Karen Stintz’s “Tax Attack” Battleplan

- June 27th, 2012

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The OneCity Transit plan TTC chair Karen Stintz will roll out Wednesday at City Hall

TTC chair Karen Stintz has been laying the track for this OneCity transit tax plan for a while.

Stintz is set to roll out the plan publicly at City Hall today (story here) and council would be voting to start city staff on working on it next month.

That’s the real surprise in Stintz’s transit move – she’s already got the necessary motions on various spots of the July council meeting’s agenda to ensure this could happen sooner rather than later.

If Stintz tried to walk the move on the council agenda as a member’s motion it would require a two-thirds vote – a high bar she might not have the votes for – but she won’t need to do that.

Motions passed at several committees, the Toronto and East York Community Council and even at Mayor Rob Ford’s own executive  are all already on track to be on the council agenda. That means Stintz will only need a simple majority of councillors on board to ram this plan through. It will happen and then the plan will be in the hands of city staff to study and report back in October.

Here’s the rundown on where and when the seemingly innocuous motions were passed:

June 12 – Executive committee

Mayor Rob Ford’s own executive committee voted earlier this month to have city staff work with Metrolinx and other levels of government to look at ways to fund transit. It’s approval at executive means it’ll be on council’s agenda in July and could even be amended to focus it on having staff explore Stintz’s transit tax idea. This item was on the agenda from a member’s motion Councillor Josh Matlow brought forward ages ago.

Here’s what Ford’s committee approved:

City Council request the City Manager to engage and participate with Metrolinx in establishing a working group of appropriate officials representing the City of Toronto, Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and any other relevant bodies to provide input into the preparation of a funding strategy for the Metrolinx regional transit plan.

June 13 – Toronto and East York Community Council

Councillor Pam McConnell successfully got the community council to endorse the East Bayfront LRT as a “priority project” and urge all transit authorities and levels of government to find a way to build it. Here’s the motion:

City Council identify the East Bayfront LRT line as an added priority project and encourage the TTC, Metrolinx, and the federal and provincial governments to investigate ways and means to facilitate the construction of the East Bayfront LRT at the earliest opportunity.

June 18 – Planning and Growth committee

Stintz – a member of the planning committee – added two items to the committee’s agenda last week that were quickly and quietly passed with little if any debate.

The first item asked city staff to include transit priorities in any official plan review. If approved by council next month, the motion orders city staff to work with TTC staff to develop a list of transit priorities. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess she’ll want staff to look at the lines in her OneCity plan and formally adopt them as transit priorities. Here’s Stintz’s motion:

City Council request that the Acting Chief Planner and Executive Director of City Planning work collaboratively with the Toronto Transit Commission to develop a list of transit priorities, to be approved by City Council, and that these priorities be included in the Official Plan review.

The second item the planning committee approved was support for the East Bayfront LRT. Stintz has said that transit line would be #2 on the priority list of lines to be funded by the new transit tax, second only to replacing the Scarborough RT with an extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Councillors on the committee endorsed the East Bayfront LRT as a priority for the city’s transit network and asked staff to report back in October with a way to fund the line’s construction.

June 20 – Economic development committee

At this committee meeting, Councillor Josh Colle walked on a transit-related motion. If approved by council, this would start city staff on doing the research to make the economic case for the OneCity plan and the tax increase that comes with it.

The committee voted to direct economic development staff to include the following in the city’s economic growth plan:

a) an analysis of the impact of traffic congestion on the City’s economy;

b) a review of the City’s transportation hubs and ports and their importance to Toronto’s economy;

c) the need for a goods movement strategy for the City;

d) the importance of a comprehensive transit plan and transportation funding strategies for the City; and

e) a review of employment hub development and employee mobility issues in the City of Toronto.

 

Careful what you vote for: Ball hockey edition

- May 27th, 2012

Councillor Josh Matlow

Councillor Josh Matlow (Toronto Sun file photo)

A majority of councillors started Toronto on this not-so brilliant breakaway to the edge of ball hockey bureaucracy a year ago.

Back in May 2011, a majority of councillors were onside with Councillor Josh Matlow’s push to have city bureaucrats find a fix for Toronto’s ball hockey ban.

Mayor Rob Ford and 35 councillors voted in favour of Matlow’s motion to have staff look at ways to exempt streets from the city’s ball hockey ban.

Matlow revealed this week the staff would be coming forward with that plan at the June public works meeting (story here). As details of the proposed plan spread, it didn’t go over well with scathing reaction from Matlow’s fellow councillors (story here and here). A day later, Matlow iced the idea (story here).

Reading the motion from that May council meeting, it’s not surprising city staff came back to Matlow with this ridiculously bureaucratic process for parents to go through to get their street exempt from the city’s rarely enforced ball hockey ban.

The motion the majority of council supported ordered the city manager to report to the public works committee on “the type of streets on which street hockey or other ball sports are suitable” such as dead-end streets, cul-de-sacs and ones with low traffic volume. It also asked the city manager to do a feasibility study on “a procedure that allows any Toronto resident residing on a street with a speed limit at or lower than 40 km/hr to apply for an exemption from the current city by-laws that prohibit playing street hockey and other ball sports.”

Although Matlow is taking all the hits on this initiative, he sure got a helping hand from councillors.

So who cast their ballot to start the ball rolling on this?

Along with Matlow and the mayor were Councillors Paul Ainslie, Ana Bailão, Michelle Berardinetti, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Josh Colle, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Doug Ford, Mary Fragedakis, Norman Kelly, Mike Layton, Chin Lee, Giorgio Mammoliti, Pam McConnell, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Ron Moeser, Frances Nunziata, Cesar Palacio, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson and Adam Vaughan.

Seven councillors faced off against this idea right from the start. The seven councillors who voted no to starting staff down this inevitable path to a ridiculously bureaucratic process were Councillors Maria Augimeri, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Mark Grimes, Doug Holyday, Gloria Lindsay Luby and John Parker.

Parker made his thoughts on the initiative crystal clear last Wednesday when he told reporters the following:

“Look, I love my colleague Councillor Matlow to bits and I would never suggest that anything he brings forward is for the benefit of gaining public profile and the odd cheap headline. But I think the city has done just fine by way of accommodating road hockey on our streets without the benefit of a whole lot of study by city staff and committees.”

So there you go, Matlow may be in the penalty box for this one but he had some help from a lot of council teammates to get here.

***

Here’s how councillors voted back in May 2011 on the motion entitled “Exemption to By-Laws Prohibiting Street Hockey and Other Ball Sports to Promote Active and Healthy Youth and Community Engagement”:

Yes: 36
Paul Ainslie, Ana Bailão, Michelle Berardinetti, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Josh Colle, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, John Filion, Paula Fletcher, Doug Ford, Rob Ford, Mary Fragedakis, Norman Kelly, Mike Layton, Chin Lee, Giorgio Mammoliti, Josh Matlow, Pam McConnell, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Ron Moeser, Frances Nunziata, Cesar Palacio, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson, Adam Vaughan

No: 7
Maria Augimeri, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, Mark Grimes, Doug Holyday, Gloria Lindsay Luby, John Parker

Absent: 2
James Pasternak, Kristyn Wong-Tam

City council to Gary Webster: We’re listening … sometimes

- February 20th, 2012

TTC chief general manager Gary Webster

TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster (Toronto Sun file photo)

Toronto city councillors bemoaning the possible firing of TTC Chief General Manager Gary Webster may want to check their voting record.

While many are outraged at the possible dismissal of a professional civil servant for the presumed reason of challenging Mayor Rob Ford’s transit plan, around 28 councillors weren’t concerned about Webster’s coveted advice back in 2010.

Fresh from the 2010 municipal election, a majority of councillors voted to ask the province to declare the TTC an essential service. Those votes were cast against Webster’s warning that the TTC shouldn’t be deemed an essential service. Webster even appeared at the council meeting to voice his objection to the designation.

After Webster’s sage advice was delivered, a majority of councillors promptly voted against his advice.

This isn’t to argue City Hall is better off, as some have described it, valuing “toadyism” over professionalism.

But when it comes to the civil service it does show city councillors, even when handed “professional advice” from a veteran transit expert, don’t always listen.

—————————–

Here’s how city councillors voted on December 16, 2010 on a motion to ask the province to designate the TTC an essential service:

Yes (28 councillors)

Paul Ainslie, Michelle Berardinetti, Raymond Cho, Gary Crawford, Vincent Crisanti, Mike Del Grande, Frank Di Giorgio, John Filion, Doug Ford, Rob Ford, Mark Grimes, Doug Holyday, Norman Kelly, Chin Lee, Gloria Lindsay Luby, Giorgio Mammoliti, Josh Matlow, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Peter Milczyn, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Frances Nunziata (Chair), Cesar Palacio, John Parker, James Pasternak, Jaye Robinson, David Shiner, Karen Stintz, Michael Thompson

No (17 councillors)

Maria Augimeri, Ana Bailão, Shelley Carroll, Josh Colle, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, Paula Fletcher, Mary Fragedakis, Mike Layton, Pam McConnell, Joe Mihevc, Ron Moeser, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, Adam Vaughan, Kristyn Wong-Tam