Posts Tagged ‘Michael Thompson

Cowboy Ford?

- September 19th, 2013

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Mayor Rob Ford is heading to Texas.

Ford revealed Thursday he’s going to the Lone Star state in early October to lock up a music city alliance with Austin.

“We’re going to work closely with the music industry down there and see what sort of deals we can make,” Ford said Thursday. “It’s going to benefit all of Texas and all of Toronto.”

The mayor said he’ll be paying his own costs for the trip. Councillors Michael Thompson and Gary Crawford will also be jetting down to Austin, according to Ford.

- with files from Shawn Jeffords

… The last time City Hall went Cup crazy

- May 1st, 2013

Back in 2004, the last time the Toronto Maple Leafs made the playoffs, it didn’t end well for the Buds or Toronto City Council.

Here’s a picture from our Sun archives of then-Mayor David Miller wearing a Philadelphia Flyers jersey to settle a bet on the Leafs. Miller was joined in the photo by Councillors Michael Thompson, David Soknacki, George Mammoliti, Mark Grimes, Bill Saundercook and Norm Kelly.

The caption at the time pointed out despite the Flyers jerseys, as you can see, “underneath they are true Leafs fans.”

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Hopefully this playoff run goes a little better for the Leafs – and Toronto city council.

Go Leafs Go!

Next stop: Chicago

- September 14th, 2012

Who is heading to Chicago next week with Mayor Rob Ford?

A list of delegates is expected to be released Monday but here are some of the people going, according to city officials, as part of the Team Toronto Business Mission:

  • Co-chair Robert Deluce
  • Co-chair George Cohon
  • Councillor Michael Thompson
  • Councillor Doug Ford
  • Councillor Paul Ainslie
  • Hon. Michael Wilson, Chairman, Barclays Capital Canada
  • Former Premier Mike Harris, Cassels Brock & Blackwell
  • Former Premier Ernie Eves, Natel Strategies International Inc.
  • Janet Ecker, President, Toronto Financial Services Alliance
  • Carol Wilding, President & CEO, Toronto Board of Trade
  • Paul Brown, Chairman, Enwave
  • Betty DeVita, President, Mastercard
  • Thomas Kloet, CEO, TMX Group
  • Graham Henderson, President, Music Canada

Quotable Quotes: The Life and Death of OneCity

- July 12th, 2012

OneCityDone

Here’s what city councillors said Wednesday during the transit debate (story here):

“It’s pink lipstick on a very fat pig with flip flops on.”
- Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti on OneCity advocates claiming a win

“I think it has been renamed the Toronto transit expansion plan and that’s just fine.”
- TTC Chair Karen Stintz on the death of OneCity

“-”
- Mayor Rob Ford who didn’t speak during Wednesday’s transit debate

“I would say that the province would not be wise to continue to spend large sums of money on the Scarborough LRT because council is going to weigh in on it at a later point this year.”

- Councillor Joe Mihevc

“They’ve fallen into the trap that Rob Ford set about retail politics, when it’s all about slogans and campaigns.”
- Councillor Adam Vaughan

“I’m very disappointed that didn’t happen.”
- Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker on rejection of his motion on studying extending the Bloor-Danforth line rather than replacing the Scarborough RT with an LRT

“I can assure everyone in Toronto the mayor is back in charge of transit and we’re going to move forward.”
- Councillor Doug Ford

“I just want to know what OneCity is … Where is it? Where’s Waldo?”
- Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti asking why no one has introduced OneCity on the floor of council

“We know that we’re failing (on transit), we haven’t kept up.”
- Councillor Peter Milczyn on transit

“We’ve clearly made a meal out of this particular issue, we continue to chew at the same old bone.”
- Councillor Michael Thompson on transit

“Building transit can’t be about political cover.”
- Councillor Shelley Carroll

“It’s a complete flame out.”
- Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong on the end of OneCity

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

Council on track for a TTC fight

- March 4th, 2012

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Councillor Michael Thompson speaks to reporters at Toronto City Hall last week (Don Peat/Toronto Sun)

Scarborough Councillor Michael Thompson just made Monday’s city council meeting a lot more interesting.

Thompson revealed on Mayor Rob Ford’s NEWSTALK 1010 radio show Sunday he’ll move a motion at Monday’s meeting for an all citizen TTC commission. Ford and his brother/co-host Councillor Doug Ford said on the radio they’ll support Thompson’s move.

TTC chair Karen Stintz revealed Friday (story here) she’d move a motion at Monday’s meeting to dump the entire nine councillor TTC commission and start fresh with just seven councillors and four citizens to be appointed later this year.

Stintz’s announcement Friday was a shocker, particularly because she said earlier in the week she had a compromise with Ford on the makeup for the TTC. A source told me Saturday, the mayor’s office first found out Stintz wasn’t on board with the compromise when one of Ford’s staff walked into her office Friday and found out she was in a meeting with Councillor Joe Mihevc.

Halfway through the weekend, Stintz seemed to have the votes lined up for this second Red Rocket rebellion against Ford.

Enter Thompson with his “no councillors” TTC proposal.

Thompson argues this move will take the politics out of the TTC. That might be true but it sure ramps up the politics of this coming vote. Compare that to Stintz’s proposal that would put seven politicians in charge of the TTC with four citizens to be added later.

Now some of Stintz’s votes could be up in the air.

Are councillors who continually advocate for public participation and citizen consultation going to vote against an all citizen TTC board? Can they successfully make an argument that councillors are more qualified than qualified citizens to run the TTC?

At the very least, even if Stintz wins the day, Thompson’s proposal shows Ford’s team is keen on inflicting collateral damage.

Now even if Ford loses this vote (which is still likely) he can say he tried to make the TTC board less political and more accountable but those councillors down at City Hall voted to keep it in the hands of the politicians.

Better yet for Ford, if council dumps all his supporters from the TTC then he can dodge the blame for any problems with the transit authority over the rest of his term.

Whether Thompson’s 11th hour motion works out or not, it is pretty clear the Fords are fixing for a fight on the council floor Monday.

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.

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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