Posts Tagged ‘josh matlow

Councillor Josh Matlow’s air war

- April 18th, 2013

Josh Matlow

Councillor Josh Matlow wants helicopters to buzz off.

The Ward 22, St. Paul’s councillor is now setting his sights on Transport Canada after “many residents” complained to him Wednesday about a “persistant drone of a helicopter flying low” around Yonge and Eglinton.

Here’s what Matlow tweeted angrily Wednesday night:

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 6

Screen shot 2013-04-18 at 6

In his latest community update to residents sent out Thursday, Matlow reveals he’s been looking into the chopper incident.

“I have learned that it was a private flight, not a film crew, and well within the rules set by Transport Canada, the federal agency that regulates aviation in Canada,” he wrote.

“This is clearly unacceptable. There is absolutely no excuse for a private, non-emergency fligth (sic) to interrupt the peace and quiet enjoyment of thousands of midtown residents.”

“I intend to approach Transport Canada and our local federal representatives to have this regulatory loophole closed so that no private helicopters are permitted to fly low over our neighbourhoods on any weekday evening, unless it’s an issue of health and safety. During other times, we should have plenty of advance notice to prepare for the disturbance.”

This isn’t the first time Matlow has aimed for the sky, so to speak (story here).

Quotes of the Day – Transit tolls/taxes talk

- October 10th, 2012

Mayor Rob Ford at executive committee meeting

Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee dove into a debate on public consultation for taxes and tolls to pay for transit Tuesday (story here). Not surprisingly, there were several quotable moments from Ford and councillors during the debate.

Here are some of the highlights:

“I’ve always said to build transit in the city we have to get all three levels (of government) involved and the private sector. Until the federal and provincial government gets on board and we get the private sector on board I’m not going to sit around and just put a tax or a user fee on the backs of hardworking Torontonians.”
- Mayor Rob Ford

“That’s like asking which poison would you like to drink? Would you like the hemlock? Would you like the rat poison? … We should be asking them, would you like to take that poison?”
- Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong on transit funding consultation.

“If all we come back with is that we think the province should have a regional sales tax, then I think we’ve been doing our residents a disservice.”
- TTC chair Karen Stintz

“It will help Torontonians in every corner of this city. It is long past due that we’ve needed it. We are a generation behind.”
- Councillor Josh Matlow on the Downtown Relief Line.

“My community does not want to pay for somebody else’s thoughts and hopes.”
- Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti on transit taxes and tolls.

“This deal is like throwing a load of human feces on somebody’s lawn and then sending them a bill for the transportation costs in delivering it to their property.”

- Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti still livid an LRT is being planned for Finch Ave. W. in his ward.

“We haven’t approached them. We haven’t opened the doors. We haven’t welcomed (public-private partnerships).”
- Councillor Doug Ford lamenting the proposed taxes and tolls to fund transit.

“Public-private partnerships do not pay for transit. They finance transit and we need to pay it back.”
- TTC chair Karen Stintz

Councillor Josh Matlow takes out the trash (literally)

- August 22nd, 2012

Councillor Josh Matlow takes out the trash

Councillor Josh Matlow picks up his resident’s garbage after GFL fails to make the pick-up (Photo from Josh Matlow’s Facebook page)

The introduction of private garbage collection in Toronto’s west end and the subsequent problems in the roll out this month has led to lots of councillors sounding off.

On Tuesday, Mayor Rob Ford applauded the private pick-up (story here).

But not everyone has called it “fantastic.”

Councillor Gord Perks told me it took Green For Life (the private company taking over District 2 collection) nine days to pick up a mattress and a box spring outside his own home. Perks – who voted against privatization – chronicled the plight of the bed on his Twitter account as it languished on the curb for over a week.

But despite Perks “Waiting for GFL” saga, Councillor Josh Matlow – who voted in favour of privatization – so far has the best story about the dealing with the growing pains of the new private pick-up.

Matlow ended up lending one resident a hand when their garbage didn’t get picked up for an entire week. The Ward 22, St. Paul’s councillor personally picked up the resident’s trash when the city failed to respond to repeated requests from his office to get GFL to take out the trash.

“I said the hell with it, I’m going to go get it myself,” Matlow told me Tuesday.

The councillor posted a pic of his “public pick-up” on his Facebook page and Twitter account last week.

No word yet if any other councillors have gone on guerrilla garbage runs but if they do, feel free to drop me a line.

What to expect when Councillor Josh Matlow is expecting

- July 24th, 2012

Screen shot 2012-07-24 at 10

Councillor Josh Matlow has a mini-Matlow on the way.

The rookie councillor announced on Twitter Monday that his wife Melissa is four months pregnant.

“I’ve never been so clear about why I care so much about fighting for the health of our community and city,” Matlow tweeted.

His breaking baby news was quickly met with a torrent of congratulations.

The couple don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl yet but I’m told they will find out soon.

All the best to the Matlows.

Karen Stintz’s “Tax Attack” Battleplan

- June 27th, 2012

AwXS19CCMAAK99Z

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.

 

Ball hockey report still on the bench

- June 11th, 2012

1297215840734_ORIGINAL

A bit of a scuffle erupted last month when Councillor Josh Matlow revealed the details of a yet-to-be released staff report on Toronto’s ball hockey ban.

Matlow said at the time a staff report would be on the agenda at the June public works committee meeting and would offer a bureaucratic fix to the city’s outright ban on ball hockey (story here).

Long story short, the “fix” would have seen parents trying to cut through a sea of red tape just to get their street an exemption to the ball hockey rules. Most councillors slammed the idea as ridiculous (story here) and even Matlow ended up saying he wouldn’t support the change (story here).

Flash forward to last week when the works committee agenda became public and there was no ball hockey ban report in sight.

I couldn’t help but wonder – Did staff put the idea on ice in the wake of the controversy?

A city spokesman told me Friday the report, which council requested over a year ago, is still in the works.

“I checked in with Transportation Services, and found that the report wasn’t ready to go this cycle, and it has been pushed back to the fall (September) of this year,” senior communications coordinator Bruce Hawkins told me in an e-mail.

So for now – and likely once the report does come out – the status quo remains in effect for ball hockey on Toronto streets: It’s illegal but no one really obeys that bylaw and it is almost never enforced.

Game on.

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

Does Josh Matlow have a political death wish?

- May 2nd, 2012

Councillor Josh Matlow

Councillor Josh Matlow (Toronto Sun files)

Leading the charge in Toronto’s latest road toll debate is Councillor Josh Matlow (see story here).

Road tolls have been “political kryptonite” in Toronto politics for years but the rookie councillor seems hellbent to put the pedal to the metal on this idea.

I asked him if he’s thought about the fact his road toll stand could be political suicide.

“I’ve thought about it,” Matlow said.

“I’d rather do what I know is right than be so careful that I’m not doing what I ran to do which is to reflect my community and help build my city.”

“I’m well aware that toll roads have been a very taboo subject for a long time.”

We’ll find out in the next few weeks if it is going to remain a taboo subject for a while longer.

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

An empty mayor’s chair and lots of possibilities

- February 10th, 2012

Empty council seats

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti sits beside Mayor Rob Ford’s empty chair on Wednesday, February 8, 2012 (Photos by Jack Boland/Toronto Sun)

Mayor Rob Ford lost a big transit vote this week.

He actually lost twice.

First, Ford tried to get council to put off the transit decision for 30 days.

He lost that vote 24 to 19.

After that deferral vote failed council was pretty much a runaway train that day.

The rest as they say is history.

But what you wouldn’t know unless you watched the day-long meeting was Ford split after that deferral vote.

We didn’t see him again at the meeting until the final vote.

I have no idea whether he had work to do elsewhere or if he was fuming somewhere behind the scenes but Ford was out of sight for a few hours.

But here’s what I do know.

While Ford was gone lots of councillors got a chance to try out his empty chair.

Some were no doubt using the empty chair to talk to Ford’s seat neighbour Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti but I have a funny feeling, particularly after I started tweeting about it that day, some were enjoying drawing attention to the empty seat.

Either way, it’s an interesting glimpse at what the future could look like if any of those taking the big guy’s big chair for a test drive ever become Toronto’s mayor.

City Hall history tells us mayors usually cut their teeth as city councillors first.

Given all the talk this week about possible 2014 mayoral candidates (cough) Karen Stintz (cough), why not think about it.

Sun photographer Jack Boland started snapping pictures of the interesting possibilities of these could-be mayors.

I’ve posted them here for your Friday morning enjoyment.

Let’s start on the left-side of council’s political spectrum:

Shelley Carroll

Mayor Shelley Carroll?

Sarah Doucette

Mayor Sarah Doucette?

Paula Fletcher

Mayor Paula Fletcher? Her campaign slogan could be: Come on Down Baby!

But left-leaning councillors weren’t the only ones sitting in Ford’s chair.

Right-leaning councillors need to sit in the mayor’s chair too:

Vince Crisanti

Mayor Vince Crisanti?

Frances Nunziata

She was mayor of the City of York at one time … Mayor Frances Nunziata?

And from the right-wing to one of the best bets among City Hall reporters as a 2014 mayoral candidate:

vaughan

Mayor Adam Vaughan?

Missing pictures – Councillor Josh Matlow and Councillor Gord Perks were also in the mayor’s chair at different points Wednesday but we didn’t get a picture of it.

So what do you think?

See any future mayors sitting in Mayor Rob Ford’s chair this week?