City Council, July 11

The key item today is the OneCity transit plan, but also on the agenda are sports fees, student nutrition, the Alexandra Park revitalization, numerous grants, and more.

3:06 pm:

OK. Board of Health deputations on smoking by-laws continues. Live-blogging from here, however, must come to a halt as I have to leave for another appointment. Keep up with @dmrider and @reporterdonpeat’s coverage of the meeting.

2:58 pm:

Oh lord. Miroslav has arrived.

2:56 pm:

A restaurateur who owns two establishments is explaining how smoking regulation is strangling her business. She notes she took a huge hit w/ each anti-smoking by-law.

2:16 pm:

Contraband cigarettes circulating around the CAMH campus? Say it isn’t so, Perley!

2:08 pm:

“No young person should see anyone smoking in public.” Perley forgets how a lot of those young persons smoke weed in the parks.

2:06 pm:

Correction on last: Michael Perley is presenting the McKeown report.

2:06 pm:

Dr. McKeown is now presenting a report to enhance anti-smoking protection, noting that Ottawa has banned smoking on bar patios.

2:02 pm:

Staff report is finding that SFOA is encouraging outdoor (park) smoking, thus second-hand smoke in outdoor public spaces.

2:00 pm:

Now a review of Toronto’s policy history on smoking by-laws, including the 1999 municipal by-law (Ch. 709), superseded by the 2006 provincial SFOA.

1:56 pm:

Now onto tobacco use in Toronto.

1:54 pm:

Cllr. Mihevc’s motion for HL17.1 is referred to staff to produce a report to council in four months.

1:49 pm:

What Toronto needs for traffic calming are diversions used to interrupt non-arterials à la Seattle: e.g., &

1:45 pm:

Cllr. Fletcher notes how people support road humps on *their* street, but makes no mention that those people don’t want humps on *other* streets.

1:40 pm:

Thus far, we’ve heard mention of traffic calming measures, blind spots, and not Cllr Perks is discussing how we can’t implement city policy on walking strategy because we’re not putting funding into it.

1:39 pm:

I’ve arrived late, and will have to leave early (around 3p). Presently, we’re talking about HL17.1, Buolding on the Coroner’s Pedestrian Death Review.

6:05 pm:

In camera time.

6:04 pm:

2012PW17.9 The by-law amendments vote is now up. The items carries, 38–5. -AI

6:04 pm:

DMW’s second motion is up, on directing the GM of Transportation carries unanimously.

6:04 pm:

Minnan-Wong’s motion for a report on Sherbourne St. bike lanes carries unanimously.

6:03 pm:

Now, DMW’s motion to play concession on where the money is coming from is up. Vote carries 40-3. -AI

6:03 pm:

Minnan-Wong’s motion (to take cost of removing Jarvis lanes out of transportation not cycling budget) carries 40-3.

6:02 pm:

Cho’s motion does not carry, 19-24. -AI

6:02 pm:

Cho’s motion (public consultation) fails 19-24.

6:02 pm:

.@joshmatlow’s motion is up. Does not carry, 19-24. -AI

6:01 pm:

Wong-Tam’s motion fails 19-24

6:01 pm:

The first motion does not carry, 19-24. -AI

6:00 pm:

.@kristynwongtam’s motion is up now. -AI

5:59 pm:

I’m sorry, I can’t transcribe this. He is being just too much of an asshole. This is why I’m not a journalist. (NP)

5:56 pm:

Minnan-Wong has unfortunately misspelled “Sherbourne” in his doodle.

5:56 pm:

“I hope that some of these bike couriers don’t come to the city for forgiveness…”—what was the rest of what he said? My jaw dropped…

5:53 pm:

.@joshmatlow looks dismayed at DMW. -AI

5:53 pm:

Now DMW makes motions: he wants to change costs to remove Jarvis lanes from the cycling infrastrux budget to general transportation budget. Make-pretty Concession? -AI

5:51 pm:

Carroll’s motion to call the question (um, that means “vote on the thing”) fails. Cllr Minnan-Wong gets a chance to speak.

5:51 pm:

.@shelleycarroll calls the question, and then DMW freaks out saying, “No, no, no!” Parker tells DMW you can’t do that. Vote is on. -AI

5:49 pm:

Fuck me. Perruzza seems to have gone on too long and the “friendlies” are outnumbered.

5:48 pm:

Deputy Speaker Parker makes a valiant attempt to rein Perruzza in.

5:48 pm:

Now Cllr. Perruzza notes that Etobicoke, meanwhile, has a great bike path. Speaker Parker asks him to bring it back to Sherbourne, please. -AI

5:47 pm:

Perruzza, known for making fiery, outraged speeches, is speaking. (He could well wreck the whole thing if he loses his temper.)

5:47 pm:

Perruzza goes into a narrative about a United Way bike ride fundraiser last year, cycling entire city in about 80km. Now speaks exasperatedly abt how hard it is to ride around the city on lanes. From Scarb to NY, it’s the worst, he persists. -AI

5:45 pm:

Mihevc: “What’s the real, concrete evidence—fact-based, science-based—for taking away the bike lanes? There is none.”

5:44 pm:

Hrm. @gordperks just ran over the Cllr. Perruzza to give him a double thumbs-up. No idea if this has any context to the Jarvis discussion right now. -AI

5:43 pm:

(@accozzaglia, switching to “-AI” hereafter): Mihevc gets up to speak, admitting that the mood on Jarvis has changed since July 2011.

5:42 pm:

(@accozzaglia) @m_layton moves to 2nd point: use facts, not scare tactics. 3rd point: it’s a democratic duty to consult the public, which didn’t happen. DMW is ignoring him.

5:41 pm:

Cllr Layton, usually a somewhat stilted speaker, warms up and speaks passionately about how bike lanes make roads safer for drivers, too.

5:40 pm:

(@accozzaglia) Denzil Minnan-Wong looks like the bridge troll right now.

5:38 pm:

OK. Now Cllr. Perruzza gets up to speak, and says he doesn’t get why we’d undo all that work on Jarvis. -AI

5:38 pm:

Note that the more inflammatory lefty councillors are staying quiet on this one.

5:37 pm:

Cllr Cho adds an amendment: public consultation until Sherbourne is complete. Niiiiice.

5:35 pm:

Josh Matlow now makes his case for Wong-Tam’s motion. All we need is, like, Josh Colle for the Reasonable Trifecta.

5:34 pm:

“It has been divisive, it does not bode well for pedestrian safety, the bike lanes do work and we do not want to see them go.”

5:32 pm:

Wong-Tam, always very deliberate in being a voice of reason, is bringing her A-game today.

5:31 pm:

Cllr Kristyn Wong-Tam has a motion to keep the Jarvis bike lanes, and put the savings towards finishing Sherbourne lanes sooner.

5:28 pm:

McConnell: “There is absolutely no reason for 2 minutes of travel time to move on Jarvis until Sherbourne is up and running from Bloor to Lakeshore”

5:25 pm:

I’m new to this issue; do follow #bikeTO for more informed commentary.

5:20 pm:

“Is there a reason to rush to remove Jarvis?” “Because the Council directive was to do that in 2012.”

5:19 pm:
5:19 pm:

Latest tack: the Jarvis lanes weren’t to be removed until Sherbourne was complete. (Staff argue that the wording was not precise.)

5:18 pm:

Actual removal of bike lane markings will take 2-3 weeks, end of October.

5:15 pm:

Now we’re on to Jarvi—er, Sherbourne…

5:05 pm:

And that finishes off the IC’s time in the hot seat. Council now votes to receive the report.

5:02 pm:

Oh boy, Cllr Perruzza’s up. I hope he does one of his dramatic speeches.

4:54 pm:

“Are there muzzles?…Are you a pit bull?” Mammoliti calls to Davis. “Do you two want to take it outside?” says Nunziata, exasperated.

4:53 pm:

Mammo wants the IC to brief staff on the report. Cllrs point out he doesn’t even have a motion. Mammo: “I lost it.”

4:52 pm:

The only thing a cllr can do, pretty much, is to demand the matter be closed. So much for BLOOD, BLOOD FOR SLAANESH.

4:50 pm:


4:49 pm:

The IC replies that in cases of “frivolous” complaints, the procedure is to simply write back to the complainant without notifying the councillor.

4:48 pm:

Moeser asks if an “outrageous” complaint comes in, whether action can be taken against a complainant. *stare*

4:45 pm:

Davis thinks that the number of reports (31) is suspiciously low. The IC says “I accept the donor declaration forms and I don’t look behind the numbers.”

4:45 pm:

Davis, as well, asks about the gifts & benefits policy. IC: If it’s over 0, form needs to be submitted to her within 30 days…

4:39 pm:

The Mayor is going off to have a scrum right now, leading all the media away from the IC’s questioning. And they took the bait.

4:33 pm:

In response to Mihevc, the IC says there are some 22 others in the province, but only in Toronto is an IC legally required.

4:29 pm:

“It sounds like a particular situation you have in mind,” Leiper says dryly to McConnell. Laughter throughout the room. (She advises her to talk to the cllr.)

4:27 pm:

McConnell asks the IC to speak about gifts and benefits related to travel. This is a direct reference to Ford’s Chicago mission.

4:27 pm:

Why yes, that’s Team Ford, including the mayor and Mammoliti, huddling in the corner while Leiper is taking questions.

4:25 pm:

The Integrity Commissioner, Janet Leiper, briefly describes a couple of “housekeeping matters”. Now, QUESTION PERIOD. *popcorn.gif*

4:21 pm:

Minnan-Wong tries to get Sherbourne pushed up in line, but nope—Integrity Commissioner report now.

4:19 pm:

Shiner stands up to ask why the report on Enwave didn’t go to Executive Committee, which it should have. Staff apparently have no answer.

4:18 pm:

And Council votes to refer everything to the budget committee.

4:15 pm:

“I’m being challenged,” Nunziata says with stunned incredulity.

4:12 pm:

Holy shit. Del Grande is going on to say we are spending too much on Toronto Community Housing i’ve got to leave now

4:11 pm:

Wow. Nunziata just had to break out the gavel to silence Del Grande, overflowing with vitriol and pique over Toronto Community Housing.

4:07 pm:

Got back from a brief break in the middle of an epically patronizing Mike Del Grande rant.

3:46 pm:

Mammoliti is talking. My will to live is rapidly dwindling. GO ON WITHOUT ME.

3:40 pm:

It’s true; the Toronto Atmospheric Fund was established with the proceeds from the sale of a Richmond Hill jail’s farm.

3:37 pm:

Now Cllr Adam Vaughan’s going into the history of Enwave, which was sparked by the currently beleaguered Toronto Atmospheric Fund.

3:32 pm:

“We have NEVER been bankrupt,” thunders Cllr Carroll, looking pointedly at Cllr Mammoliti.

3:31 pm:

Cllr Shelley Carroll castigates the rest of Council for not going to the suburban basement flooding consultations over the summer; it was just her and Davis.

3:28 pm:

Through this whole afternoon there’s been furious backroom wheeling-and-dealing going on; the councillors’ speeches are practically formalities.

3:26 pm:

“…but let’s not do it in the silly buggers way we’re doing it on the floor of Council.” – Cllr Peter Milczyn

3:24 pm:

The joys of introducing new people to #TOcouncil: explaining quirky things like why Cllr Grimes always votes against speaking extensions.

3:18 pm:

.@DavidHains is sharing finance-egghead goodness on Twitter right now. Pay attention.

3:16 pm:

Cllr Janet Davis is maybe the first to speak directly against selling Enwave, even though it’s pretty much a done deal.

3:06 pm:

“May I remind Council that we haven’t sold Enwave yet,” Cllr Gary Crawford says. UGH THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE LITERALLY ABOUT TO VOTE ON ONCE EVERYONE’S DONE BLATHERING.

3:01 pm:

Cllr Perks is going off on a Twelve Angry Men-style rant about…er, the basics of borrowing money.

2:57 pm:

Have an adorable photo of earnest Ryerson J-schoolers taking in Shelley Carroll’s words of wisdom:

2:46 pm:

Cllr Mike Del Grande, currently speaking:

A grumpy-looking Mike Del Grande

A hungover owl:

Just sayin’. #cheapshot

2:40 pm:

“the greatest district energy company anywhere”



2:37 pm:

Cllr Shiner puts up a motion for the Enwave proceeds to go towards addressing basement flooding.

2:33 pm:

Nunziata is VERY MAD that people are having fun without permission.

2:33 pm:

Cllr Adam Vaughan laments the cricket season coming to an end and calls Cllr Mihevc “the best cricket player to come out of the Balkans, let alone Serbia…” “Slovenia!” He presents him an award.

2:22 pm:

Aaaaand promptly mired in procedural confusion (and not a little snark) when Cllr Perks attempts to put an urgent motion on the agenda. “Did you know you can introduce a motion and vote no? Just a fact.”

2:20 pm:

Matlow’s motion fails by same margin

12:31 pm:

Lunchtime! Thank God…

12:29 pm:

Moeser actually spoke for a bit!…But mumbled too much for me to hear.

12:20 pm:

However, I do feel I’m providing a public service by being here for lefty councillors to rant to.

12:19 pm:

God, this is a shitshow.

12:14 pm:

It’s a little disappointing that the debate’s now about where the Enwave profit should go, and not whether it should be sold at all.

12:12 pm:

Cllr Pam McConnell puts forward an admirable but doomed motion to direct Enwave proceeds to TCHC.

12:08 pm:

Multiple councillors have stopped by to complain about how questioning Ford about this only makes his position appear stronger. The longer he talks, the more it looks like he has a legitimate opinion.

12:03 pm:

Ford says, like a passive-aggressively sulky child, “I guess they don’t want streetcars then.” Cllr McConnell, who is too old for this shit: “Hah! Nice try.”

12:03 pm:

Wiser heads confirm that this is what’s happening: the TTC has essentially taken out a mortgage on new streetcars. Ford wants all the Enwave proceeds to go to paying the whole thing off outright.

Ed Keenan headdesking

11:59 am:

Oh, now Cllr Matlow’s up. I missed your reasoned, non-partisan, slightly disingenuous questioning, Matlow!

11:53 am:

Aaand we’re back. Cllrs Mihevc, Fletcher, and now Shiner are questioning the mayor about the Enwave sale. Ford is adamant that it go to “pay for streetcars” and does not appreciate being asked about things that happened nine years ago.

11:00 am:

In camera, brb

10:53 am:

Cllr Fletcher’s grilling staff on the decision to put Enwave profits towards TTC while TCHC is in dire financial straits: “Have we ever proposed we sell off parts of the TTC to pay for capital backlog?”

10:48 am:

“Testing, testing…”

10:44 am:

It’s quite noisy and chatty. Shiner complains, “We’re talking about a company worth half a billion dollars, could we get a little order in here?”

10:39 am:

First up: the sale of the City’s share in energy corporation Enwave, which would bring a hefty chunk of change. Cllr McConnell asks staff where the money will go. (She wants it to go to housing; Weldon [I think] replies that it’s not usual for the City to incorporate TCHC’s capital needs in the budget.)

10:36 am:

Cityslikr: “Denzil’s the most despicable Council member, I think.”
Me: “We’ll debate this later.”

10:33 am:

Order Paper adopted an hour into the meeting.

10:33 am:

Cllr Moeser rises to thank his colleagues for their support during “what I call an ordeal”. Awwww.

10:29 am:

Cllr Pam McConnell twists Speaker Nunziata’s arm to attempt to get the integrity commissioner to speak today. (Or Ombudsman? Are the terms interchangeable? They’re two different people…)

10:26 am:

Cllr Perks, Council’s resident rules lawyer, tries to get Cllr Minnan-Wong’s motion ruled out of order based on some procedural stuff I only caught part of.

10:24 am:

Awww yeahhhhh. Doucette moves to consider the Ombudsman’s report second thing tomorrow, and request the Ombudsman to make a presentation.

Colbert eating popcorn

10:21 am:

“No I’m not, I’m not yelling,” yells Nunziata, shouting down Cllr Perks who’s objecting to Cllr Minnan-Wong’s attempt to make a bike lane motion time-specific. Just like old times.

10:16 am:

Is it just me or has the mayor held a lot of kind of petty-looking items? OMB stuff and whatnot.

10:14 am:

“Ohhhhhhh”s from the resident pinkos as Cllr Minnan-Wong holds the taxi industry item for “a small amendment”.

10:07 am:

Nunziata confirms that the plastic bag debate won’t happen till tomorrow. Astonishingly, there is no mass exodus from the clamshell.

9:59 am:

The room’s quite full and there’s lots of background chatter as we zip through presentations and procedural stuff.

3:51 pm:

Councillor Perks starts on a new topic of drugs and alcohol. Half of the gallery (the left half) walks out en masse.

3:50 pm:

Councillor Mihevc picks up where Cho concludes.

3:45 pm:

Councillor Perks has a look of spacey pensiveness. Or maybe boredom. Cho continues.

3:44 pm:

Filion: “Any other speakers?” [pregnant pause, long silence]
Perks: “That was quick!” [laughter ensues]
Cho: “I’ll speak!” [launches into speech about similar programs in South Korea]

3:34 pm:

Why can’t the Brothers Ford be here to hear these deputations on how important it is for Toronto kids to eat well?

3:21 pm:

Cobs Bakery distributes day-old bread to the community, to families in need. The deputant speaking uses his personal truck to pick up and distribute these loaves. Nifty!

2:46 pm:

A report is being presented on the Student Nutrition Program by Dr. David McKeown, the city’s Medical Officer of Health.

2:41 pm:

Cho asks about annual budget of the food program. She replies that things are still getting set up, so no budget numbers are prepared yet. She can say that the funded piece of this project is $67,000, which came from the provincial Ontario Centres for Excellence.

2:39 pm:

Cllr. Cho asks the deuptant on access to produce via community produce food trucks if they’re more affordable than produce at the supermarket. She replies that while it may be less expensive to buy at the trucks, it still isn’t affordable.

2:22 pm:

[Said to Neville Park: “Can you imagine living in a world without Classic Coke?”] #BB

2:21 pm:

Cllr. Perks, as a long-time advocate of tower renewal, is questioning how well this project is now going. What was once sustainable infrastructure, he argues, is now social policy goals being advanced via the removal of zoning restrictions.

2:20 pm:

[The last time I was in this committee room, I was Councillor Paul Ainslie, and I supported the inclusion of pop beverages in the committee room as good for the beverage industry economy. I moved a motion to pour a glass of Coca-Cola.]

2:19 pm:

OK. We’re still on item 16.1, though some deputations were just speaking on item 16.2. Cllr. Filion requests an amendment to Recommendation 2 c.v. in the report to be added as follows: “community engagement and social infrastructure.”

2:16 pm:

(go easy on me, you guys: this is my first real liveblogging.)

2:15 pm:

“No further questions, your Chair.”

2:15 pm:

Now she’s moved onto bedbugs and community gardens. She’s against bedbugs and for community gardens. She argues two examples in Long Beach California, and New York City, in which small, vacant lots are great for planting stuff. There wouldn’t be much room for this if we went for low-density, single-family houses. Now Chair Filion has notified her time limit is up.

2:12 pm:

OK. Now she’s bringing up the trope that women are unsafe after dark and thus towers are probably terrible. Grape Kool-Aid is being served next to the water pitchers.

2:11 pm:

Next deputation: a citizen on student health and impacts of building upward, not outward. Deputant is pleading a case that building up takes away from kids walking around hedgerows and other suburban built form delights.

2:09 pm:

Cllr. Perks asks whether the up-zoning for infill will benefit the city’s revenue. She responds that it will.

2:05 pm:

OK. After some computer wrangling, we are listening to a report on apartment-neighbourhoods and the benefits of infill. Our presenter is presenting a powerpoint on successful case studies in St. James Town, Weston, and a few other places.

12:14 pm:

It’s possible that there won’t be much to the rest of the meeting once they get back from lunch, so this is the end of this liveblog for now. Later!

12:11 pm:

By the way, Sue-Ann Levy wrote about Del Grande’s beef with the integrity officials.

11:17 am:

In camera, they’re kicking us out.

11:13 am:

Del Grande talks about integrity officers. I search for this in the agenda…


11:10 am:

Del Grande announces it’s Chief Financial Officer Cam Weldon’s final budget meeting (before retirement), thanking him for his hard work. “I understand it must be hard for you to leave this place…but, I understand you like to golf…” As I smile and applaud along with everyone else I’m screaming internally “RUN, MAN, RUN!!!”

11:07 am:

I could do this allllll day.

11:04 am:

Janet Davis, who’s just visiting, asks City Manager Pennachetti if TTIL is going to be audited and “if there’s any further role for it”. (TTIL is the Gordon Chong-led group tasked with producing a mayor-friendly transit report.)

11:01 am:

Jones says the prospect of subsidized housing isn’t “attractive” to developers, and adds that the Pope is probably Catholic.

10:59 am:

tl:dr; TCHC’s subsidiary companies are unprofitable as hell.

10:55 am:

TCHC’s Gene Jones is in the hot seat now.

10:52 am:

This pundit thing is easy.

10:47 am:

Aaaand Del Grande once again puts up a motion for a value-for-money audit of Hydro Toronto.

10:41 am:

I whisper to Daren: “What’s a ‘debenture’?”
Daren: “I don’t know!”

10:39 am:

10:32 am:

Del Grande moves for a value-for-money audit of Invest Toronto by the Auditor General.

10:24 am:

Cllr Milczyn gently, indirectly corrects Doug Ford as he (Milczyn) tells Invest Toronto that diversification is important and other markets may be growing faster. When foreign investors come to Canada, he says, they should think of Toronto first.

10:22 am:

Pasternak congratulates Invest Toronto on their work so far and urges them to continue being “aggressive”, sounding mildly apologetic for the line-by-line grilling earlier.

10:19 am:

Why send trade missions to India and China when, DoFo says, “we have the largest market in the world right beside us”? Exhaust that first, he suggests, and talks about Chicago some more.

10:17 am:

Doug mentions “Chicago”. DRINK!

10:17 am:

Now Doug Ford’s asking how much rent was per square foot. Is this micromanagement or just reasonable scrutiny? Discuss.

10:13 am:

Del Grande now questions them about 00 worth of…something; we can’t find it in the statement included with the agenda. It’s like Canada’s Next Top Nitpicker. *throws dime in the Matlow Jar*

10:07 am:

They’re asking about travel expenses; Invest Toronto went on trade missions to places like China and India. “Anywhere other than desirable vacation spots?” John Parker pipes up: “Chicago?” Heh.

10:04 am:

Daren catches me up on what’s going on: the committee is grilling Invest Toronto about their financial statements. Like, office rent. This is deadly stuff.

10:02 am:

Maybe I should just transcribe what I’m hearing, which is Doug Ford speculating about “Oscar hopefuls”. (My audio processing is somewhat below average…)

9:55 am:

We’re off to a dull and mumbly start. All the media has left; Shelley Carroll’s doing a press conference out in the hall.

4:48 pm:

Hasan wraps it up with a somewhat entertaining hypothetical about selling the Rogers Centre for a dollar. Then Hackland briefly thanks everyone, the lawyers shake hands, and security prepare to chase us out.

4:45 pm:

The gallery is getting fidgety and yawny.

4:42 pm:

That is, Team Ruby’s argument implies that the MCIA always applies, which is going a bit farther than Hackland is comfortable with.

4:40 pm:

Hasan points out that the CoTA and MCIA overlap in several instances, argues that one is for council policing itself, the other for taxpayers to hold government accountable. Judge Hackland, once again, calls him on the broader implications of that.

4:36 pm:

Now Nader Hasan takes on Lenczner’s claim that the code of conduct and conflict of interest act are non-overlapping magisteria totally separate.

4:31 pm:

(Sidenote: in case it wasn’t clear, one of the most irritating things about this setup is that they don’t speak loudly or clearly into their mikes, and the lawyers face the judge, so one can’t even lip-read. I confess I have missed a lot because entire sentences, to me, sound like eggcornish gibberish.)

4:28 pm:

Ruby takes on the “transparency” argument. It’s not the sole purpose of legislation, he says. The judge agrees; it also includes lack of pecuniary interest.

4:24 pm:

Lenczer’s done now. The judge checks his watch and allows Ruby to make a reply.

4:21 pm:

Unfortunately Lenczner’s argument seems to first require us to believe Rob Ford had some kind of internal reasoning process and that’s quite a leap there

4:18 pm:

Forty minutes to go; can Lenczner wrap this up?

4:16 pm:

Judge Hackland interrupts Lenczner to declare his friendliness towards the idea that Ford had a legal obligation to inform himself about the MCIA, and his special leadership role incurred extra responsibility. Lefty pinko commies’ ears perk up.

4:14 pm:

The fact that Ford has declared conflict of interest several times has been much relied on by both lawyers.

Ruby: He should have known how to recognize this conflict of interest; he was acting in bad faith.

Lenczner: He properly recognized that the MCIA didn’t apply in these circumstances, and why shouldn’t we take him at his word?

4:11 pm:

(I’m hungry, tired, and cold, which makes for distraction. Largely relying on Steve Kupferman’s liveblog to follow the thread of the argument.)

4:05 pm:

I have to admit that many of Lenczner’s arguments are flying over my head, like about the relevance of transparency and such.

4:03 pm:

Ultra vires (outside jurisdiction) came up a lot.

4:01 pm:

Much of Lenczner’s case hangs on the murky relationship between the City of Toronto Act and the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, and making a (kind of odd) distinction between violating the code of conduct and violating conflict of interest.

3:59 pm:

Sorry all, site went down mysteriously. For the past 2 hours Lenczner’s been doing a pretty good job at making Ford’s—I hesitate to call them “arguments”—whatever sound like they have some basis in law.

2:41 pm:

Aaaaand we’re back after a mysterious outage. Nader Hasan, another member of Team Ruby, is attempting to dismantle the points of (what’s expected to be) Lenczner’s defence.

12:55 pm:

Aw, Goldsbie and Sue-Ann Levy are passive-aggressively sparring over Twitter while sitting only metres away from each other. Feels like home.

12:53 pm:

Accuses Ford of possessing the “foolhardy conviction that the rules will not be enforced against him“.

12:51 pm:

Ruby delivers previous Integrity Commissioner reports on Ford to the judge as part of his argument that this was not an isolated incident but part of a distinct pattern of defying the IC and Council. “The pattern of defiance is contrary to the concept of good faith.”

12:43 pm:

“His entire pattern of conduct indicates that he chose to remain ignorant.”

12:42 pm:

@blkmage sends along:

12:38 pm:

I’m fading, kids, I’m fading. It’s the horrible temperature—just a tad too cold to ignore.

12:33 pm:

Ruby’s now reading out the transcript of his exchange with Ford where he tries his damndest to get Ford to say whether he felt taking the oath of office was a solemn occasion or not. Alas, Ford is apparently the theologian’s notorious immovable object.

12:29 pm:

“Querulous”. That’s the word for Lenczner, “querulous”.

12:27 pm:

Ruby is completely demolishing Ford, arguing that he has consistently acted in bad faith. Ford must surely be feeling uncomfortable now.

12:21 pm:

“You can’t do nothing and be acting in good faith.” BOOM.

12:15 pm:

“By his own admission, he has failed to read the Act, which he swore to uphold each time he took office. The first time he read the Act, he says, was during his cross-examination yesterday…By that time, his application has been brought, he’s hired a lawyer, been cross-examined so has presumably read the material (or not, as the case may be), but he swears this was the first time he ever read the Act.

If true, it was not a good faith error. He was not doing what any reasonable person would do…You swear to uphold an act and you don’t even read it?! You are simply ensuring [an eventual breach].”

12:13 pm:

Ruby’s reading from the Bellamy report, produced after the computer leasing scandal, that says the mayor exercises considerable unofficial power behind the scenes, and isn’t held to a higher standard but “must meet the standard in every case”. But, Ruby says, he has never made any effort to meet his legal obligations [to be informed about the MCIA], and that is not good faith “but wilful blindness”.

12:06 pm:

(Warning: wifi may crap out, so if there are suddenly no more updates that’s why)

12:03 pm:

“That was not someone making an error; that was someone deliberately doing what he thought was right.” Furthermore, as a longtime councillor, his ignorance of the MCIA is “inexcusable”, and his failure to try to identify any conflicts of interest was “reckless”.

12:01 pm:

Ruby’s now on to attacking the error-of-judgement defence, quoting the cross-examination where Ford said he spoke and voted deliberately and did not regret it.

11:58 am:

Aaand we’re back. The judge reminds us not to broadcast the proceedings (pretty sure this doesn’t count.)

The judge has been picking Ruby’s arguments apart; remains to see how receptive he is to Lenczner.

11:31 am:

Now we’re onto whether the ,150 constitutes a significant amount. It’s certainly not a big dent in Ford’s income. Ruby points out that Ford was dinged by the IC for falsely accusing Vaughan of a conflict of interest over v small amt

11:28 am:

The judge then presents Ruby with an interesting counterfactual: if the Integrity Commissioner’s report was merely her criticism and didn’t recommend any sanctions, would it still be a conflict of interest?

11:25 am:

Ruby repeats that Ford had a pecuniary interest because, once it came to Council, they could have imposed additional fines as well as ordering him to repay. The judge does not like.

11:21 am:

Judge: “I’m not seeing a pecuniary interest in the foundation given that [he doesn’t touch any of the money].”

Ruby’s reply is mostly inaudible 🙁

11:11 am:

The judge isn’t having Ruby’s “potential conflict of interest because council could choose to dock his pay as well as reprimand him” thing; he says that it’s too broad.

11:06 am:

Ruby counters that this is merely Ford revising his own story on the stand when he senses he’s in trouble.

11:05 am:

The judge isn’t really buying Ruby’s argument that Ford saying “I solicit football donations from everyone” and then, later, “I give my business card to everyone” means he solicits football donations with his business card.

11:02 am:

Ruby brings up that time Ford asked him to donate to the football foundation while being cross-examined. The most subdued of chuckles rise from the gallery.

11:00 am:

“He simply did not want to admit [on the stand] that he ignored the Integrity Commissioner’s warning.”

I’m no stenographer, so you’re not really getting a sense of the structure of Ruby’s argument from this, sorry…

10:57 am:

He then continues to the damning “my brother would be more fiscally responsible than Shelley Carroll” line. “He told us something, but it’s nonsense; it makes no sense! [It’s] a distorted view of the Act. But it serves his need at the moment for an explanation, at least superficially, congruent with his assertions about what he believed about the MCIA.”

10:53 am:

Ruby reads out part from transcript where Ford says that what irritated him specifically was that he had to repay the money out of his own pocket despite the fact that the donations went to the Toronto Community Foundation/Rob Ford Football Foundation.

10:47 am:

Judge points out that, at the time, Ford was focused on the fact that neither he nor the City got the donations to the football foundation, and didn’t put any thought at all to the issue directly at hand—him having to repay the money.

10:46 am:

Ruby answers yes, because there would be potential for a financial conflict. Something about Council possibly being able to dock his pay. Stop mumbling, guys.

10:44 am:

Judge to Ruby: “If the IC had recommended that City Council reprimand him instead of asking for repayment, and let’s say the Mayor made the identical speech,” would you still consider it a conflict of interest?

10:42 am:

Ruby repeats the damning line from yesterday: “‘Did you understand the words that you were speaking?’ ‘No.’ This is not believable…He has to say that, otherwise his position that he’s always had this view is shattered.”

10:41 am:

Now Ruby describes how Ford’s assertions on the stand contradict his actions in videos of previous meetings where he declared conflicts of interest.

10:39 am:

Ruby argues Ford’s not credible because:

  • he’s been on Council for 12 years, but
  • he has to assert that he didn’t read the council handbook before yesterday
  • he has to assert that he didn’t read the MCIA before yesterday
  • [Didn’t quite catch this point. He’s solemnly sworn to abide by these rules several times upon election?]
  • he’s presented no reasoning process for his actions, just a “fixed, firm belief that is unshakeable”

10:33 am:

“Would you say this is responsive to the ultra vires argument?” the judge just asked Ruby.

Latin legal term: ultra vires.

10:31 am:

Lenczner complains about Ruby dumping a ton of documents on him at the last minute. Ruby reminds the judge that, if more time is needed, we could drag this shit out for a third day.

10:28 am:

(The judge says he’ll let Team Ruby know later, in writing. This is gripping stuff, folks.)

10:25 am:

Without Ford on the stand (though he’s still here, sitting with his legal team), the mood here is much more sedate. Lenczner and Ruby are wrangling over whether an affidavit from former councillor Howard Moscoe should be admissible as evidence.

4:53 pm:

Looks like we’re wrapping up for the day; court will resume at 10:00 a. m. Sorry for the outages and raging, everyone; thanks for tuning in! Hopefully this liveblog will continue tomorrow.

4:50 pm:

Lenczer says he has no questions. Ford leaves the stand, looking flushed.

4:48 pm:

Damn, journos, I hope you’re all catching this.

4:46 pm:

Ruby: “I’m suggesting to you that the words you uttered there, explaining to the entire council why you couldn’t vote, is utterly inconsistent with the view you said you’ve always held since you were on Council.”

Ford, miserably: “I’ve always defined a conflict of interest as taking two parties—benefiting the City, and a member of Council. I don’t know how much clearer I can be…that 30-second video, [there’s no context], there could have been a 5-hour debate.”

Ruby: “That was the only thing you said that day.”

4:43 pm:

It’s kind of hilarious how the lawyers are obliged to refer to each other as “friend”. It adds a touching air of bromance to the whole situation.

4:41 pm:

Ruby plays a video of Rob Ford absenting himself from a vote concerning himself. At that point, he says, Ford knew that it was a conflict of interest.

“I heard you speak! Did you understand the words that you were speaking?”


4:39 pm:

(We’re revisiting some previous integrity complaints against Rob Ford.)

4:34 pm:

“I can see no financial benefit to the City,” says Ruby, “on whether Shelley Carroll or your brother Doug Ford gets appointed” [a reference to a previous conflict-of-interest case].

“I can.”

“How so?”

“Well, my brother would be more fiscally responsible than Shelley Carroll.”

*loud burst of laughter from the gallery*

4:30 pm:

AW YEAH tethered to a phone, I’m back. Just in time to tell you that Rob Ford once again proffered his totally wack “personal interpretation” of what constitutes a conflict of interest.

4:19 pm:

lol who am I kidding I can’t even scrape up a spare month’s rent god I hate life

4:18 pm:

“Credibility has nothing to do with it,” says Lenczner forcefully. It’s designed to embarrass, he says. Ruby counters that an error of judgment argument requires good faith and honesty. Judge sides with Lenczner. One day I’ll have a data plan.

4:14 pm:

Judge slaps down Rubyon er something I’m not quite sure, Jesus fucking Christ I hate ipads

4:12 pm:

Sorry guys, I can’t get a wifi connection and am using an iPad, so liveblogging will be very slow and more typos fuck jesus shitting son of abotch mother fuck.

3:16 pm:

The Toronto Community Foundation is not a branch of the City, by the way.

3:14 pm:

Interesting thing I am genuinely surprised to learn: Ford’s football foundation isn’t incorporated or registered as a charity, he says. “It’s registered with the Toronto Community Foundation.”

3:12 pm:

(Ruby’s going into a previous integrity commissioner report regarding Ford not charging any office expenses. He wanted to use all his own money, for fear of inculca—oh my god is he actually defending this?)

3:11 pm:

“You read it, right?”

“Can I have a few minutes to re-read it?”

Dude you didn’t read it at all did you

3:10 pm:

“I was forced to use taxpayers’ money” oh my god is this real life

3:07 pm:

David Hains reminds everyone that Ed Keenan has given us a useful .gif for these circumstances:

Ed Keenan headdesking

3:05 pm:

Ruby lays out a li’l roadmap: he wants to try to show that Ford was fully able to pursue legal recourse at the time, but didn’t.

3:02 pm:

Why didn’t he call for a judicial review? “I didn’t think anyone would challenge me in court, that costs money, I don’t believe in wasting taxpayers’ money…”

3:02 pm:

Oh, so some of the donors apparently told him, “I don’t want you to pay it back, but please do so I can keep doing [lobbying] business with the city.”

3:00 pm:

He’ll do anything for those poor underprivileged kids, except apparently paying ,150.

2:59 pm:

Ruby tries to get Ford to say whether he believes he did anything wrong. Unsuccessfully. “That’s up to the judge to decide…” Then, “I think I did the right thing. [insert THINK OF THE CHILDREN spiel] I’m not sure how much more clear I can be, sir.”

2:57 pm:

An accurate courtroom sketch of Rob Ford on the stand:

I REGRET NOTHING spinning chicken

2:54 pm:

[inaudible] (Jesus Christ, men, speak up)

2:52 pm:

Moar court sketches for you! The expression on the judge’s face: “WELP.”

He has given up.

2:48 pm:

I feel real bad for Lenczner right now.

2:46 pm:

Ford’s calling the donors “what [the integrity commissioner] called lobbyists.” No, I’m pretty sure they’re actually lobbyists, dude. Like, there’s a registry.

2:37 pm:

Clayton Ruby attempts to explain to Rob Ford that he, personally, was ordered to pay the money back, not the football foundation. He is very confused.

2:31 pm:

Ford is still REAL MAD about Sandra Bussin cutting off his mike last term.

2:29 pm:

Ruby’s reading the part of the June cross-examination where Ford flat-out says he wouldn’t take advice from other councillors, even the Speaker, on conflicts of interest because they might lie to get someone to sit out a vote for strategic reasons.

2:27 pm:

While I’m posting pictures, here’s one I doodled earlier today:

Illustration of Clayton Ruby questioning Rob Ford in court, with the judge looking on.

2:25 pm:

(Er, as in, Bussin may have had political reasons for wanting him to sit out a vote.)

2:25 pm:

Why did you ignore Speaker Bussin and decide to vote anyway?”

Rob Ford implies, in a hesitant response, that Bussin may have suggested he had a conflict of interest for political reasons. O__o

2:22 pm:

“I think I’ve solved Rob Ford’s business card problem,” tweets Steve Murray (@NPsteve):

Two copies of a business card with 'FOOTBALL GUY' and 'MAYOR GUY', with different ones circled.

2:20 pm:

“I’ve never received a gift or a personal benefit, nor would I ever.”

2:17 pm:

For some reason I’m thinking of that Gene Wolfe series about a soldier with amnesia who must always write down the day’s events to keep track of his life.

2:14 pm:

Ruby’s really hammerin’ that “no basis in policy or law” line (from the integrity commissioner).

2:14 pm:

“You told her that she [the integrity commissioner] was wrong, not you.”

“I changed my letterhead, I did what she asked me to do,” replies a chastened Ford.

“You said that she was wrong.”

“If that’s what I wrote, that’s what I wrote.”

2:12 pm:

“I vaguely remember talking with her, or meeting with her…what was said, I can’t recall.” — Literal quote

2:11 pm:

Hard to gauge the judge’s reactions, mostly because I need new glasses.

2:10 pm:

Ford dimly remembers meeting with the integrity commissioner, but not what was said, apparently. He shuffles through papers.

2:08 pm:

Ruby’s grilling Ford about why he ignored the integrity commissioner till the motion to make him repay the money went to council. “I never got a chance to explain myself,” he answers.

2:07 pm:

And we’re back! Had a lovely lunch from the farmer’s market in Nathan Phillips Square, by the way, which is on weekly till Oct. 17.

12:53 pm:

“I don’t go to everyone I meet to talk about the foundation,” says Ford, directly contradicting what he said earlier this morning. From the notes I was taking offline:

Rob Ford takes the stand and is sworn in. This is the only way we’re guaranteed to hear the truth from Ford the first time around. His voice is quite gravelly; he’s speaking much softer than normally. Explains the process of donating to the football foundation. He solicits donations from “just about everybody”.

12:51 pm:


12:51 pm:

Ruby holds up Rob Ford’s business card, which he hands out to everyone he meets (including people he solicits football foundation donations from, which, he previously said, is everybody). It says “Rob Ford, Mayor” and has a picture of city hall.

“You don’t think there’s a problem with using your mayor’s card to raise money for your [private] football program?”

“No, it blah blah blah saves kids’ lives.”

12:47 pm:

“During the usual 3-5 days’ notice [of the council meeting], did you seek any advice on whether you should be involved in this debate?” “No.” (Yet, as Ruby implied before, he had enough time and forethought to write down a list of schools that had benefited from the football program for use in his speech.)

12:42 pm:

If Ford relies on the staff to tell him about conflict, “sooner or later, a mistake would happen,” says Ruby. “Everyone makes mistakes,” says Ford, then later, “I say no to that, because I’ve never had a problem with a conflict of interest before.”

12:40 pm:

Ruby unsuccessfully tries to get Ford to admit he has a special responsibility as mayor or as founder of the football foundation.

12:38 pm:

Ford replies with meek “yes”es as Ruby walks him through the argument that the city legal staff could not be aware of all his possible conflicts of interest, so it’s up to Ford to ask them.

12:36 pm:


Spock turning around

easy there, Ruby.

12:32 pm:

Now Ruby’s reading from the June deposition, which (if you feel like a few hours of mental torture) you can read at the Toronto Star via Scribd.

12:29 pm:

Lenczner, Ford’s lawyer (who sounds a bit like Doug Holyday, by the way) objects to Ruby trying to make Ford read the city solicitor’s job description. “Hasn’t the man had enough humiliation for today?” (Okay, that’s not what he actually said. But it’s what we’re all thinking.)

12:28 pm:

So it’s clear, from his previous statement, that Ford thinks there’s only a conflict of interest if both the City and a councillor benefit. Since the City would not benefit, he doesn’t think there’s a conflict (even if it benefits him, which he hasn’t admitted to.)

12:27 pm:

“You had no doubt that your position on the Act was the correct one?”

“I believe—in my mind—that a conflict of interest—if the City benefits, the councillor benefits, you have a conflict. Takes two parties to have a conflict. There was only one party; the City did not have a conflict.”

This is some fantastic weaselling.

12:26 pm:

“Why didn’t you walk over to [the city solicitor] and say, ‘Do I have a conflict here?'”

“Because for 12 years, I always thought the MCIA—and I still believe—if it benefits the City, if it benefits a member of council, you have a conflict. And it’s a personal issue, it had nothing to do with the City.”

12:25 pm:

“Don’t recall.” “Don’t recall. Don’t recall.”

12:24 pm:

After Clayton Ruby makes Ford read aloud the parts of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act that he violated: “Did you know all that?”


Ruby, exasperated: “But you must have read this! I read it to you earlier this summer.” (At his deposition in June.)

Ford: “You read it to me. I didn’t read it.”

*thunderclap as entire courtroom facepalms*

12:19 pm:

Didn’t have wifi for the morning, but that’s okay, the interesting stuff is only just getting started.

6:13 pm:

Oh, they’re going in camera. That’s a wrap.

6:12 pm:

Cllr Gloria Lindsay Luby has tabled a motion requesting the Toronto Hydro Corporation board to report on capping executive salaries, bonuses, and other perks. It was supposed to be “a quick item”. It’s not.

5:47 pm:

A frustrated Nunziata is fed up with John Parker’s confusion: “Just push your buttons!”

(It’s a motion to allow splash pads, as well as pools, to stay open longer on extreme heat alert days.)

5:30 pm:

A little bird (okay, Adam Vaughan) came by to gloat that six of those development motions that came through included the stipulation for 10% affordable housing, and Team Ford only caught one of them.

4:49 pm:

Sol Chrom points to me the stench of evil which just entered Council chambers. No name is necessary.


4:47 pm:

Shelley Carroll: “There is no point of clarification.” Well, yes — there’s your problem.

4:46 pm:

Some thoughts from Joshua Hind …

4:39 pm:

Making downtowns family-friendly is a good thing, Grandpa Crankypants.

4:33 pm:

“testing” ‘testing’

4:32 pm:

The amendment fails. Holyday’s lawn is still safe to play on.

4:29 pm:

Shelley Carroll on Holyday’s amendment: “This is the Get Off My Lawn Amendment.”

4:28 pm:

OK, I got slightly verklempt from the cupcake. Thanks kids!

4:25 pm:

Aaand … heeeeeere’s Astrid!

4:23 pm:

Shelley Carroll to speak, addresses Parker as “Madam Speaker … Oh! Dad’s here!”

4:23 pm:

Shiner is pointing out that the building doesn’t even meet the minimum setback requirements. We’re taking areas that have an established culture and established feeling, and ruining them in the name of corporate profit. Am I hearing this right?

4:21 pm:

Shiner talking about density.

(Sol here. Nevi’s setting up an account for @accozzaglia.)

4:20 pm:

Michael Thompson on the King Street issue, gives a shoutout to Al Carbone in the public gallery.

4:14 pm:

Josh Matlow: He’s not laughing with you, he’s laughing at you.

4:09 pm:

Cllr Pam McConnell is going over the need for child-friendly housing downtown and everybody is too distracted to listen.

4:03 pm:

We just gave @Sol_Chrom a cupcake for his birthday, sang “Happy Birthday” very quietly, and then did jazz hands. 🙂

3:56 pm:

THE THUMB makes its first appearance!

3:55 pm:

Astrid: “Why do I get the feeling that there’s a developer in the house? I can feel it…some kind of weird, Spidey tingle.”

3:47 pm:

A guy just walked in wearing a blue helmet with a shark fin and tail on it. For Glenn de Baeremaeker??

3:44 pm:

And then every motion was an OMB appeal, the end.

3:25 pm:

There’s a long string of motions to support the construction of solar panels in various wards. Perks is annoying Nunziata by asking her to read each one out individually. This is what happens when councillors get bored.

3:21 pm:

Cllr. Raymond Cho’s got a motion to support the construction rooftop solar panels in Finchdene Square. Aaaand it passes, with Shiner and Del Grande the only buzzkills.

3:11 pm:

The councillors are in a jovial mood today and Nunziata has to actually bring out the gavel to maintain order. Perks can be heard snarking, “Ohh, Mom’s angry.”

3:09 pm:

Oh boy, now there’s Pasternak’s motion to look into “the viability of ‘zip-lining’ through Earl Bales Park”. It DOES sound like fun.

3:08 pm:

Adam Vaughan’s ammunition control bill is up. Council votes to refer it to the Executive Committee, where it will die quietly.

3:02 pm:

@Neville_Park is in. Over to her.

2:25 pm:

Andrew Pask has just returned to the council chamber, reviving hopes for the Cage Death Match we were promised yesterday.

2:23 pm:

We’re back. Couple of quick urgent motions to introduce new items …

2:19 pm:

That was surreal. It was like going from raw id directly to mouth, unfiltered, unmediated. Can’t think of any other municipal politician who does that.

2:18 pm:

From Adam Vaughan, by way of Don Peat

12:28 pm:

Get those damn kids out of downtown!

12:27 pm:

Daniel Dale capturing the jousting between Vaughan and Holyday.

12:24 pm:

Daren’s right. This is embarrassing.

12:21 pm:

A series of “are you serious?” questions to Holyday. First Matlow, now Cho. You know there are families waiting for housing, right?

12:20 pm:

I wonder if anyone’s ever explained the notion of “planning” to the Deputy Mayor?

12:19 pm:

Listening to Holyday makes me nostalgic for the days when you could take your cart down to the apothecary after having the barber leech you …

12:17 pm:

Holyday doubles down. If the demand is there, let’s leave it to the market, and not force developers / builders to make sure that 10% of the new units are family-size. Next thing you know, little Ginny’s playing in traffic.

12:15 pm:

Vaughan: We don’t want to restrict development to one-bedroom units because they’re easier to sell. Kids don’t play on the street, they play in rooftop gardens with all kinds of amenities. That’s what mixed development means. We want to attract families. I support the mayor’s initiative on this. Be interesting to see if the deputy mayor does …

12:12 pm:

A question, perhaps rhetorical, from Mike Layton


12:05 pm:

Acting Chief Planner Gregg Lintern: Heritage conservation and making the built form work. Those are the challenges.

12:01 pm:

I can’t get over this. “How do people with kids live downtown? I just don’t understand it!”

11:59 am:

Holyday can’t understand the logic behind trying to attract families to King and Spadina. And getting pissy with Adam Vaughan. “Councillor, will you please try and control yourself? Just try?”

(How in the world do people with children manage to live in cities? I just don’t understand it.)

(And get off my lawn!)

11:56 am:

Doug Holyday is channelling Cat Stevens. “Where will the children play? On King Street?”

11:52 am:

Shiner pressing on building height. 30 meters = approx 8-10 stories. Why so many tall buildings? Well, some of them were approved by the OMB. Metro Hall is 27 stories, commercial.

11:51 am:

Striving for a 12.5 meter separation between towers. Not always achieved in this “built environment.” Some discussion of the restaurant row and its heritage character.

11:49 am:

More questions for planning staff about tall buildings on King Street.

11:43 am:

Star piece on Gardiner billboards, June 11. (h/t @junctionette)

11:39 am:

Looking at an amendment to the Official Plan for King/Spadina. Shiner wants people to shut up so he can hear the question and the answer. Nunziata says she’s asked councillors to keep it down a few times.

Sorry, I’m not tracking the shushes very well.

11:28 am:

15-year sign terms OK’d, 27-15.

11:27 am:

Sign bylaw motion carries, 22-20. More to come …

11:25 am:

Nunziata getting a little snippy about voting in numerical order …

11:23 am:

While we’re all arguing about signs, a couple of thoughts about yesterday’s OneCity thing.

11:04 am:

De Baeremaeker reminds us that the sign bylaws are also intended to protect birds. New signs will be an improvement. Will be supporting Milczyn.

11:01 am:

The longer Di Giorgio goes on, the more priceless the expressions on the faces of Team Sensible.

10:59 am:

First Nunzi-shush of the day.

10:54 am:

That’s right, Giorgio. Because it’s billboards that make an area vibrant.

10:53 am:

Vaughan: I don’t agree with the back-door revisions to the sign bylaw that come with this report. If we create a patchwork of permissions, it’ll be impossible to figure out which signs are legitimate and which signs they can complain about. We need to be consistent.

10:48 am:

Perks: If the only purpose of a sign is to draw your attention, and you’re driving and you have to make split-second decisions … There’s no evidence that it’s safe to put up signs on controlled-access highways. And now you’re suggesting it’s OK to put up much larger and brighter signs, operating for longer, and why? Because the beneficiary operates public transit? Not good enough.

10:45 am:

Perks urges firm and clear stance from council against approval of some of these signs. Do we intend to uphold the purpose and intent of this bylaw or not? We’re trying to control the proliferation of signs, and we need to make it clear that we mean what we say. We don’t care how much money the sign costs to put up. It’s about the public good, not revenue for Metrolinx. Idiotic to apply the law unevenly because we like what these guys do with the money.

10:43 am:

Perks: Is that what it comes down to? What’s an hour between friends?

10:42 am:

Perks: what’s so great about these signs that you’re OKing them for 15 years? Milczyn: we’re following staff recommendations. They’re expensive signs and they take longer to amortize the initial investment.

10:41 am:

Perks to Milczyn: wouldn’t you agree that the sign industry is litigious? Milczyn insists that they’ll deal with all applications on their merits, in good faith.

10:40 am:

Davis to Milczyn: “Do you see our sign bylaw as Let’s Make a Deal?”

10:38 am:

Not sure I like the idea of signs remaining up “in perpetuity.”

10:36 am:

Maybe a bit of snippiness happening between Milczyn and Vaughan …

10:35 am:

Vaughan: extending the hours of illumination is an irritant to the residents of Liberty Village. Why make a bad situation worse?

10:34 am:

Now he’s linking it to public transit. These signs are on Metrolinx lands, and the revenue goes to public transit.

10:33 am:

Milczyn talking about the difference between emergency messaging and community / commercial messaging.

10:26 am:

Mike Layton: Why do we regulate the placement and display of signs near intersections? Isn’t that an acknowledgement that billboards distract drivers?

10:24 am:

Janet Davis asking about conditions for sign approval. Provisions for varying hours of operation, extension of sign permits from 5 to 15 years … why would we be considering this?

10:20 am:

Apparently there is a Gardiner Gateway Special Sign district. This is an area where staff think it’s OK to have a lot of signs. The sign currently under discussion is a static sign, which allows for updating the text display every 10 seconds, but not full-motion video.

10:18 am:

Nunziata: “What’s happening here?” Well, there’s a Metrolinx map on the overhead, and people are consulting quietly.

10:14 am:

The Brother just wandered through, cellphone to ear. No sign of the mayor yet.

10:12 am:

Daren thinks the Speaker’s started the morning with a spoonful of nice. Some cynical bastard points out that the day is still young.

10:12 am:

Mammoliti to Janet Davis: “Leave me alone!” Nunziata: “Councillor Davis, leave Councillor Mammoliti alone.” And another kindergarten squabble is averted.

10:11 am:

And now … billboards. Gord Perks asking about a report that says electronic billboards can distract drivers …

6:59 pm:

Okay, it’s beer time. See you all later.

6:56 pm:

While Stintz & De Baeremaeker scrum upstairs, the rest of the councillors revisit that fucking office expenses item from the morning. We have come full circle, like Ouroboros.

6:20 pm:

Mammoliti is trying to start that suburbs-vs.-downtown shit with Vaughan and not succeeding very well.

6:01 pm:

Why yes, it is that point in the day when we’ve all stopped listening to the proceedings and are making serious plans for post-council drinking.

5:50 pm:

Back from tea break to an angry Perruzza speech about TOO MANY CARS!!!

4:44 pm:

I’m flagging, guys, I’m flagging. I need a tea break.

4:39 pm:

De Baeremaeker challenged the Chair (that is, he wants Council to vote on whether or not they think his motion’s redundant). Council upheld the Chair 26-14—so, there goes OneCity.

4:36 pm:

De Baeremaeker puts forward his motion, which would prioritize plans for a Scarborough subway rather than LRT. Speaker Nunziata rules it out of order because she believes it’s redundant. (This requires a simple majority to overturn.) Perks just attempted to convince her to rule it a “reconsideration”, which requires 2/3 to overturn.

4:26 pm:

It seems like, when you get right down to it, Council doesn’t really have a clue what it wants to do regarding transit. They all want projects in their wards, of course (though nobody particularly wants to tax their constituents), but a unified vision—or even the direction they want to go? Nope.

This makes it sound like I think they’re doing a terrible job, and they really aren’t, but the lack of leadership plus Stintz/De Baeremaeker jumping the gun make for one giant redundant mess.

4:00 pm:

What we’re seeing here is a curious—not alliance, but agreement between Team Ford and Team Sensible. See, this is what happens when you make transit decisions based only on wanting to get back in your constituents’ good graces after they threatened to throw chairs at you in a town hall meeting.

3:57 pm:

“You’ve been very patient with everyone today,” compliments Cllr. Shiner before wasting some more of Pennachetti’s time.

3:56 pm:

Cllr Raymond Cho, who’s been a steadfast supporter of the OneCity plan, reiterates the pro-whatever arguments. Pennachetti replies quite directly that, from the staff’s perspective, this was all decided back in February and changing any of the lines will incur a lot of cost.

3:44 pm:

“We’re making [citizens] suffer even more when we debate this even more,” says Cllr. Crisanti, unexpectedly unearthing a gem of truth.

3:37 pm:

Pennachetti is very patiently answering Janet Davis’s questions while counting down to his retirement; Perks and De Baeremaeker are having a tête-à-tête; Goldsbie might be asleep.

3:33 pm:

Okay, I don’t really know what’s going on any more.

3:25 pm:

In a rapid-fire exchange, Stintz is attempting to get Pennachetti to admit that Toronto doesn’t have an existing “transit expansion plan” like the one she’s behind. “Is there anything inconsistent?” Pennachetti: “It’s not inconsistent, but I don’t know if it’s necessary.”

3:23 pm:

Pennachetti: “I believe what you’re considering today is what we were already going to do in October.”

3:22 pm:

Here’s an advance version of the motion Peter Milczyn’s going to put forward:

If it doesn’t sound a lot like OneCity it’s because it isn’t.

3:17 pm:

Perks is trying to get De Baeremaeker’s OneCity motion ruled out of order on a technicality (it would be reversing a Council decision too soon).

3:00 pm:

I don’t know if linking a liveblog from another liveblog will create a black hole, but here goes: Torontoist is also liveblogging the transit debate.

2:58 pm:

Cllr Mammoliti goes off on one of his fantastically unrealistic rants, shooting various rhetorical and, finally, directly insulting questions at City Manager Joe Pennachetti. Pennachetti is bemused.

2:51 pm:

“This, to me, is like Groundhog Day,” says Mammoliti about OneCity

2:46 pm:

Now it’s time to talk OneCity (or whatever). The motion will actually be rather modest, but councillors can change it considerably by adding amendments. (January’s dramatic budget cut reversal was accomplished by amending the motion.)

2:42 pm:

@Goldsbie‘s feeling claustrophobic. The room’s maybe half full, but before this all became such a clusterfuck there were only one or two “civilians” regularly attending Council meetings.

2:27 pm:

Doug Ford returns with fruit bought at the farmer’s market going on outside. “They’re all washed,” he reassures councillors.

2:25 pm:

2:22 pm:

Ooooh’s as someone points out that “Ukrainian” is misspelled in the current amendment. No one notices that “Firkin” is misspelled too.

2:15 pm:

Adding “develop facility for liveblog plug-ins” to my bucket list. @Neville_park rocks.

Edit: Get out of here, Sol!

2:14 pm:

Matt Elliott reminds us that we can play Transit City Opposition Bingo.

2:10 pm:

Ensconced in the front row with several other Scoobies. There’s also a couple rows of students here to be disillusioned; Cllr Cho introduces them as a group called Global Youth Leaders.

12:21 pm:

“I’m going to ask you another question, a more facetious question,” says Di Giorgio. “You go, brother,” Mihevc replies.

12:16 pm:

Doug Holyday just accused Joe Mihevc of wanting an office “just to have something with your name on it”.

12:06 pm:

OK, according to NOW’s Ben Spurr (the one who isn’t a misogynist douchebag), Stintz isn’t going to put OneCity up for a vote. Cllr Milczyn is instead putting forward a motion for a transit study.

11:59 am:

Oh look, it’s all the fucks everyone is giving:

11:49 am:

What Keenan said:

Anyone wondering about tweeting silence from TO council meeting: I’m sparing us both details of this office expense discussion.

11:34 am:

Nunziata shushes everyone—the first time this meeting, I think. (Yes, I’ll be keeping track.)

11:33 am:

Whew, it seems not that many other people are paying attention either; several councillors are standing around chit-chatting. Up in the media gallery, a talking head from CP24 is in the spotlight.

11:31 am:

FWIW, here’s the deadly dry item on office expenses they’re discussing right now.

11:18 am:

Janet Davis demands accountability for business lunches. “You could take anyone out to lunch…”

11:09 am:

Speaker Nunziata gets philosophical with Cllr Paula Fletcher: “What does ‘office’ mean to you?”

11:06 am:

It took ONE HOUR to get through the order paper, oh my god, I haven’t had any tea yet, I’m going to die.

2 thoughts on “City Council, July 11

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