Posts Tagged ‘paula fletcher

Robo-row in quotes

- October 16th, 2013

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Here’s a rundown of who said what on Tuesday when it came to Mayor Rob Ford’s robocall against Councillor Paul Ainslie:

“I’m here to start the fight back against a bully and a liar. I’m here to say enough is enough with this mayor who thinks he can get away with anything by twisting the truth, saying just some of the truth or not telling it straight at all.” 
- Councillor Paul Ainslie on Mayor Rob Ford in a press conference on Tuesday

“Well let me tell the Ford brothers this: I’m not scared of you. People in this city won’t be fooled and people in my constituency of Scarborough know who I am, what I’ve stood for, and what I’m about.”
- Councillor Paul Ainslie in his statement to the media on Tuesday

“I don’t know what he’s hiding from. I just told people how he voted, that’s it.” 
- Mayor Rob Ford on Councillor Paul Ainslie

“I don’t know what I did wrong here.” 
- Mayor Rob Ford on the robocall

“This is a form of intimidation, it is unacceptable and we can’t tolerate it anymore.”
- Councillor Jaye Robinson on Mayor Rob Ford’s robocall

“The city has tuned this guy out. He can call everybody five times to Saturday, no one is listening to him anymore – it is over.” 
- Councillor Adam Vaughan on Mayor Rob Ford

“We’ll see what the integrity commissioner says but I don’t see anything wrong with making a phone call, telling his constituents how he voted.” 
- Councillor Doug Ford on Councillor Paul Ainslie’s complaint to the integrity commissioner

“He has no integrity.”
- Councillor Doug Ford on Councillor Paul Ainslie

“What are we down here? Are we wusses for real? Is that what we are down here is just people who continually cry over everything? Or have we built up a little bit of thick skin down here to take some of the shots? I’ve been taking shots for 23 years and I’m still standing.”
- Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti on Councillor Paul Ainslie objecting to Mayor Rob Ford’s robocall

“The mayor has crossed the line.”
- Councillor Paula Fletcher on Mayor Rob Ford’s robocall

“The mayor is entitled to communicate with his residents.”
- Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong on Mayor Rob Ford’s robocall

5 things we learned at City Hall this week

- January 18th, 2013

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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.

 

Help me fight the plastic bag ban: Mayor Rob Ford

- October 21st, 2012

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Mayor Rob Ford isn’t throwing out his fight against Toronto’s looming plastic bag ban.

Ford urged his Newstalk 1010 show listeners Sunday to help him reverse the city’s ban on plastic bags. The ban is set to take effect January 1, 2013. Councillors on the public works committee is set to hold consultation on the ban at their November meeting.

“OK, folks, you want plastic bags, I want to keep plastic bags – they are very, very handy,” Ford said. “You have to show up November 14 to the works committee at 9:30 a.m. and you have five minutes to say why you think plastic bags are important or on the other hand, why you don’t think plastic bags are important.”

Ford read out the names of the 18 councillors who voted against reopening the bag ban at city council earlier this month.

“You have to call these councillors folks,” Ford said.

“We have to get Ana Bailao, Shelley Carroll, Raymond Cho, Janet Davis, Glenn De Baeremaeker, Sarah Doucette, Paula Fletcher, Mary Fragedakis, Mike Layton, Pam McConnell, Mary-Margaret McMahon, Joe Mihevc, Ron Moeser, Gord Perks, Anthony Perruzza, David Shiner, Adam Vaughan and Kristyn Wong-Tam.

“Folks, you must call these people and maybe they can explain why they want to ban plastic bags or why they don’t want to open the debate.”

Ford seemed to joke he may have to do a robo-call in those councillors’ wards to drive the point home.

“You have to put your waste in something,” Ford said.

“It is essential that we have plastic bags,” he added.

Councillor Doug Ford guaranteed the majority of the people in those councillors’ wards would say “I need a plastic bag.”

“It’s not our job, again here is the nanny state again government interfering, we know better,” Ford said. “It is just a socialist mentality that we’re dictating to people what they can and can’t do.”

Councillor Vince Crisanti, a guest on the Sunday radio show, complained the bag ban “rear-ended” councillors earlier this year as they debated ending the five-cent bag fee.

“Who saw that coming?” he said.

Crisanti joked next council could end up banning cars.

Councillor Ford blamed council for being “dysfunctional.”

“What’s next? A ban on what?” Ford asked.

Mayor Ford also hinted he may try to reverse City Hall’s ban on bottled water on city property. That ban was approved by former Mayor David Miller’s city council.

“You can allow bottled Coke and bottle root beer and bottle ginger ale and every other bottled (drink) at City Hall but you can’t have bottled water,” Ford said. “That’s something that we have to get back on the floor.”

 

“Sometimes he just can’t get the job done” Fletcher weighs in on Mayor Ford

- May 29th, 2012

Paula Fletcher

Councillor Paula Fletcher tied Mayor Rob Ford’s weight-loss campaign starting/failing/quitting/non-quitting/fizzling fit into a larger pattern emerging during his time in office where “sometimes he just can’t get the job done.”

“There a number of things he has not been able to do and this is another one,” Fletcher said Monday as confusion reigned over whether Ford had officially quit his diet (see story here). “He has to give up on this (weight-loss campaign), it has proven to be too much for him. He couldn’t manage it. He made a big promise and he can’t manage it.”

Ford vowed back in January to lose 50 pounds by June, a goal that Fletcher said was unrealistic.

“I’m just worried we kind of lurch from thing to thing and he lurched on this one and it just didn’t work out,” she said.

While she stopped short of saying the mayor’s failed Cut the Waist campaign was a metaphor for Ford’s mayoralty, Fletcher said sometimes she wonders “if the whole thing is a little too much” for Ford.

“Being the mayor is not an easy job, you can’t make simple promises about anything,” she said. “You need to be measured and thoughtful and I think on this one he just got over his head.”

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

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?

Good Gravy?

- February 2nd, 2012

Mayor Rob Ford at Toronto city council in 2011 (photo by Don Peat, Toronto Sun)

Mayor Rob Ford makes the same face at Toronto city council that I made when I found out this blog was going to be called Good Gravy (photo by Don Peat/Toronto Sun)

Full disclosure: Good Gravy was not my first choice for a blog title.

I can’t recall exactly how the name came about. I think I may have suggested it in a list of blog names. The Editor-in-Chief liked it. Now it’s the blog name.

It’s a play on Mayor Rob Ford’s election mantra that he would “Stop the Gravy Train” at Toronto City Hall. Ford hammered home that phrase during the 2010 election and the gravy jokes and puns haven’t stopped since (I used a gravy pun in my lede for a story on the Fords’ weight-loss campaign a few weeks ago).

Gravy gets thrown around a lot at City Hall.

Many have reveled in the fact Ford has not found “rivers of gravy” in the city’s finances that he lamented on the campaign trail.

Ford still points to “gravy” whenever he spots what he believes is waste in the city administration.

Right-wing councillors still slam the “gravy train” mentality, insisting it exists.

Left-leaning councillors have gotten adept at questioning why items on the chopping block are considered “gravy”. They’ve argued one man’s “gravy” is another man’s valued city services.

For example, back in September 2011, when council was mulling dropping the city’s Christmas Bureau the gravy started flying.

“Apparently, Santa is gravy,” Councillor Paula Fletcher told me at that time.

Will the gravy puns stop at City Hall any time soon? Probably sooner than I’ll be allowed to change this blog title.

I think it is safe to say the gravy puns will keep chugging, like a runaway train, until at least 2014.

Request to 2014 candidates – please slogan carefully.