Posts Tagged ‘Mike Del Grande

Mayor Rob Ford has a hole in his executive committee

- February 11th, 2013

Mayor Rob Ford will try to patch up a hole in his executive committee this week.

With the appointment of Councillor Frank Di Giorgio as budget chief, Ford now has an open seat on the 13-member committee.

The striking committee meets Wednesday to figure out who to add to the mayor’s inner circle of councillors.
Ford’s office wouldn’t comment on who the mayor is considering to add to the committee.

Councillor Ana Bailao said last week “it would be great to see another woman” on the committee but stressed she wouldn’t join the committee – she’s focused on affordable housing issues and her ward right now.

“I would really like to see another woman,” she said. “I think it is important also to have different views so I would definitely take this opportunity to reach out to other councillors that sometimes are not always on the same page but I think it is very healthy to bring different views into the executive.”

Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday – who chairs the striking committee – said he’s looking for a councillor who would be “realistic, reliable, fiscally responsible.”

“I don’t know if Councillor (Mike) Del Grande would be interested in coming on the executive (as an at-large member),” Holyday said. “I’d hope he’d consider it.”

Councillor Jaye Robinson, the lone female councillor on the committee, said she’d like to see Del Grande come back on the mayor’s executive.

“I think if he could stay on executive it would just be a huge asset,” she said.

“Outside of that, I’m not sure. It would be nice to get another newbie, another new councillor on executive.”

Del Grande – who lost his place on executive when he resigned as budget chief last month – said he’s “happy” in his current role as the Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt councillor.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti wouldn’t rule out a return to executive committee – but wasn’t asking for it either. Mammoliti quit the committee late last year.

“It would not be a bad thing to look for (the mayor) to be looking at someone that is willing to work with him from the middle,” he said. “Of course when that happens then the left feels empowered and they use that person as their little tool and then the little tool feels compelled to go against the mayor.

“The mayor is caught between a rock and a hard place. You really do need someone who is loyal to the agenda, I would imagine at the end of the day and not somebody who will be used as a tool for the left.”

5 things we learned at City Hall this week

- January 18th, 2013

citycouncilrobford

Toronto councillors approved the 2013 budget this week and continued to buzz about what to do if Mayor Rob Ford gets tossed out of office.

Here’s a rundown of five things we learned at City Hall this week:

 

1) Mayor Rob Ford will vote for a tax freeze no matter what

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Ford shocked many of his allies by voting for Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti’s long-shot tax freeze motion Tuesday.

It was practically a no-win situation for Ford. His vote for the freeze goes against the proposed budget he’s been haranguing councillors to support without any changes but he’s a tax fighter so likely didn’t want to be on the record voting against a possible tax freeze.

The tax-averse Ford told his allies he voted for the tax freeze because he was confident if it passed, they could go back into the budget and find the savings to make it work.

Ex-Budget Chief Mike Del Grande was baffled by Ford’s tax freeze vote.

“I don’t think he understood what that vote meant,” Del Grande told the Sun Thursday. “I can’t explain it. It is one of those unsolved mysteries of the universe.”

Del Grande said that vote signaled a wavering on the budget just as the debate was getting underway.

“You don’t leave an opening for the barbarians,” he said.

 

2) Councillor Doug Ford blames Mike Del Grande for bringing him to City Hall

“I hold Mike Del Grande accountable for one thing – for getting me down here,” Ford said Thursday. “He was responsible for getting me here.”

Ford met Del Grande for the first time back in 2010. The elder Ford was back in town from Chicago and went out for dinner at Swiss Chalet with Del Grande and Mayor Rob Ford.

“(He) sat me down, looked at me, lied through his teeth and said (being a councillor) was a part-time job,” Ford said. “And the mayor lied too.

“That’s exactly what they said, it is a part-time job, a couple days a week. He lied through his teeth. But I love the guy.”

 

3) Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday sticks to his principles (even if it could possibly cost him the mayor’s chair)

Doug Holyday
Holyday could be a frontrunner to be appointed mayor if Mayor Rob Ford gets kicked out of office and council decides to appoint someone.

While that prospect would lead some councillors to address councillors fairly carefully in case he’ll need 22 of their votes at some point in the near future, it doesn’t seem to be factoring into Holyday’s council floor speeches.

Holyday blasted councillors for pushing for around $51 million in spending increases to various parts of the proposed document.

“We’re setting it up for next year for an absolute disaster,” Holyday told council. “We’re going to put this into the budget this year, next year we’re probably to have to fund it through taxes and (an election year) is not the year to be going to the residents with large tax increase. Some of you won’t survive it.”

The Etobicoke councillor went on to say there were so many requests for councillors “pet projects” being made they might as well call it “the Ikea monkey budget.”

He also slammed councillors for folding on cuts to Toronto Fire in the 2013 budget.

“If the councillors in this chamber haven’t got the backbone to stand up on their own two feet and make their own decisions un-pressured by unions and un-pressured by special interests groups then they shouldn’t be here,” Holyday yelled. “Find another line of work.”

Councillor Paula Fletcher was quick to make a quip as Holyday wrapped up.

“Was that your speech for appointment?” Fletcher asked.

 

4) Mayor Rob Ford was right in the middle of behind-the-scenes negotiations to compromise on proposed cuts to Toronto Fire

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Councillor Paula Fletcher says Ford was in the midst of discussions with councillors as they hammered out a motion to avert the proposed cuts to Toronto Fire – which he had been urging councillors to support.

Fletcher moved a motion, worth around $5 million, to stop the cuts for a year and hire around 63 firefighters. Councillors eager to avoid the fire cuts warned Ford they’d have to support Fletcher’s motion if an alternative wasn’t crafted. That lit a fire under Ford to broker a deal.

The $3.1 million compromise supported by Ford stops the cuts and hires firefighters until more information is available in July.

“It was hot and heated for a number of hours,” Fletcher said after the vote.

“He was happy that we weren’t going for the whole year and we had the $3 million compromise for the six months.”

 

5) Mayor Rob Ford and former Budget Chief Mike Del Grande agree on one thing – councillors are “piranhas” when money is involved

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In the wake of the 2013 budget, both Ford and Del Grande described councillors as piranhas when it comes to spending.
Ford told reporters Wednesday the $12 million council added into the budget could have been worse given the spend-hungry councillors at City Hall.

“It could have been $50 (million) more. We fended them off. They’re like piranha. So you’re going to get bitten a few times but you know what you’re in there,” he said. “They could have been a lot worse but you know what we got away unscathed … no one touched our surplus.”

A day after he handed his resignation to Ford, Del Grande said it was funny the mayor used the word “piranha” because that’s exactly how he felt as he steered the budget through the process.

“They’re like piranhas to the bone. They’ll even also try to eat the bone as well,” Del Grande said.

 

Budget Chief Mike Del Grande is out of the office and not reading e-mail

- December 19th, 2012

Budget Chief Mike Del Grande

With no budget committee meeting until the new year, Budget Chief Mike Del Grande is off for Christmas and he is letting those e-mailing him know it in a fairly funny way.

Del Grande’s out-of-office reply on his councillor email account tells people it is probably best not to e-mail him while he’s away, telling them bluntly “assume I am not going to read your e-mail.”

He also jokes about heading out of town on his private jet and about the (highly unlikely) looming Mayan 2012 apocalypse.  After confessing he’s in town dealing with the “Honey Do” list, Del Grande still manages to conclude by wishing e-mailers a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2013.

Here is his full email auto-reply:

 

I have left downtown and dashed to get my private jet and fly off to Rio in Brazil. They do not have an extradition agreement to force me to come back. I am going to wine and dine and have a great merry old time not thinking of City Hall for as long as I can.

OK. I need a break I’m in town dealing with the “Honey Do” List.
Assume I am not going to read your e-mail. Send it after the 6th of January otherwise it will find it’s way in the trash bin.

Staff is around to help me deal with issues, that’s what they get paid for.

Oh, and did I say MERRY CHRISTMAS and if the Mayans were wrong Happy 2013.

Adios.

Quote of the Day – Budget Chief on council debating the sale of Enwave

- October 2nd, 2012

Budget Chief Mike Del Grande

“It’s a carcass and these guys are trying to chew pieces of the carcass for their own particular item.”

- Budget Chief Mike Del Grande explaining some councillors trying to use some of the proceeds from the sale of Enwave for anything but the TTC’s streetcars purchase

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.

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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