The following votes took place in 2011. If there are any issues that you do not see on this list and are interested in, please contact my office.
Toronto Public Library - October, 2011
At the Toronto Public Library Board meeting on Monday, October 17 2011 the new Board which included 8 new citizen members voted on the following recommendations provided in the Board Package to:
1. Approve a 2012 operating budget funding request of $164.835 million, which achieves $9.717 million or 5.7% of the Library's 10% budget reduction target of $17,044 million;
3. approves an additional one-time draw of Development Charges for collections of up to $2 million in 2012 to assist with transitioning to full budget reductions in 2012, resulting in an operating budget submission of $157.508 million; and
4. authorizes staff to conduct public consultation about the impact of potential reductions in service hours and collections and directs staff to report on the results on the consultation at the November or December Board meeting.
The motion not agreed to was:
2. Consider a further budget decrease of $7.327 million form service reductions to open hours and collections, which represents 4.3% of the 10% reduction target, resulting in a 2012 operating budget of $157.508 million
I voted against the above motion due to the fact that recommendation 1 included 100 Full Time Equivalent positions being reduced while not knowing the number of staff requesting the Voluntary Separation Program (VSP).
The City Librarian will not know until December how many staff have requested the VSP so was unable to provide the Board with information as to is there any overlap or could we be looking at more than 100 staff positions being eliminated. You have to take into consideration that if a staff member takes the VSP that position is eliminated and never filled.
I put a motion forward "That the City Librarian provide a report to the December Board meeting with an analysis of the staff requests and positions affected by the VSP, compared with the 100 positions eliminated in recommendation 1. That recommendation 1 be deferred till the December Board meeting."
My motion failed.
The Library staff had worked very hard on finding efficiencies with many not touching the front line staff or effecting customer service, however we have still not received the City Managers list of efficiencies which will be made available before January budget time. Therefore there was no rush at this meeting to approve the recommendations without being provided with all the information to allow us to make informed decisions. The November or December meeting would still have allowed time to make any cuts found to be necessary.
I also put a motion forward "The City Librarian make available to the Board the library names, proposed hours, and number of hours reduced for each branch affected by the Service Reduction options in recommendation 2 of the report, and include the information in all documents intended for public consultation purposes, including providing it on the public website.
This motion passed. This is the list of branches involved with the 19,444 reduction in hours.
My final motion was "That the public consultations on proposed service reductions include consultation meetings at local library branches, where requested".
This too passed. So now residents can either fill out a survey on line at www.tpl.ca (once it is posted) pick up a paper copy in branch or, if requested, we can organize a meeting at a local branch.
did thank the City Librarian and her staff for listening to Toronto and not closing any Libraries however the reduction in hours will have drastic effects on people who use the branches not just to borrow books but to use the computers, to do homework, research or find a job to name a few.
The information I have regarding our local branches is :
- Runnymede will go from 62 hours to 56 hours with a loss of 6 hours per week
- Jane and Dundas will go from 58.5 hours to 56 hours for a loss of 2.5 hours per week
- Annette will go from 50.5 hours to 48 hours for a loss of 2.5 per week
- Swansea Memorial Library will remain at 28 hours per week
I do not know if these are daytime, evening or even Sunday hours so my motion should provide us with this information. We have been very fortunate in our area as other branches have lost up to 13.5 hours per week.
Port Lands and Waterfront Toronto. - September, 2011
Having met with Waterfront Toronto and heard the work they have been doing for the past few years, I am a strong supporter of their existing waterfront plans. Not only do these plans mix the development of retail, commercial, park lands, and public spaces, but they have been widely supported through public consultation. By changing course through what has already been a multi-year, multi-million dollar project we will be wasting valuable public funds, harming the environment, and dismissing years of public involvement in favour of the ideas of a select few.
Core Service Review - Summer, 2011
During the summer, we have heard a lot of reports on diffrent programs and services that are being proposed to be cut through the KPMG reports. I do not support cutting the services that make Toronto the livable, vibrant city that it is. While we wait for the Mayor to release is proposed budget, I would like ask you a couple of questions.
1. Which other services would you want the City to maintain or want me to focus on during the ongoing core service and upcoming budget review processes? Some examples of other services are:
- TTC bus routes;
- City childcare spots;
- Business Improvement Area support;
- Environmental care (through programs such as Environment Days, the Toxic Taxi, and the residential recycling program); and
- Arts and cultural grants.
2. I will be pleased if this process uncovers inefficiencies, but I would also like to know if you would support property tax or user fee increases to preserve the services you care about?
Toronto Community Housing Corperation - March, 2011
The motion I supported was to keep the two councillors and tenant representatives, bring back the two councilors who had resigned and add Mayor Ford's chosen person, Case Ootes to this board and have the new seven citizen representative in place no later than June 14 and 15.
The motion I did not support was to dissolve the whole board and have just one person, Case Ootes, as Managing Director until the new seven citizens, four Councillors and two tenant representatives could be in place no later than July 12, 2011
The Shareholder Direction adopted by City Council at its meeting of October 2-4, 2001 has the composition of the Board as thirteen Directors, comprised of nine citizens, two of whom shall be tenants and four members of Council, one of whom shall be the Mayor, or the Mayor's designate. It allows for the board to have two to thirteen members, so even though the seven citizens had resigned we actually did have a board that could move forward and implement controls immediately.
The Auditor General's report covered the time period of January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2010. The four councillors had been hand picked by Mayor Ford's striking committee and voted in by council at the December 7, 2010 meeting. They were not involved with the inappropriate spending and bad procurement practices as they had only attended the emergency board meeting where the Auditor General presented his report. I felt that by asking them to resign we were implying they had done something wrong. The Councillors were told by the Mayor that if they stepped down they would be reinstated when the new board was formed so why not stay and start working on the controls needed.
The two tenant representatives are selected by the tenants so it should be up to the tenants to decide if they wished to replace them either with the alternates or other representatives.
I was unable to attend the emergency TCHC Board meeting as I was in the ward meeting with residents, but I read the report as soon as it was made public. Several councillors at the March 8-9 meeting had not yet read the report.
I supported the request to hold an emergency Audit Committee meeting on Monday, March 7 to allow us to ask questions of the Auditor General before having to vote on dissolving the board. Several members of the auditor committee did not support this request as they said the report was not on the council agenda for March 8-9. The actual Auditor General's report was not on the agenda but items pertaining to the report most definitely were. I felt it was irresponsible for council to be asked to vote on motions which could affect people's lives without first been able to ask the Auditor General questions.
I supported the Mayor when he called a special Executive Committee meeting the morning of Tuesday, March 8 to be held at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9 as this would allow tenants to come and speak to the committee and council members about their concerns. This meeting was cancelled at 5:30 p.m. the same day and a special Council Meeting announced to be held on Wednesday, March 9 at 5:30 p.m. There needed to be 24 hours notice given to hold a special council meeting. I was very concerned by this, as residents are not allowed to speak at City Council meetings. This is why at the beginning of the special Council Meeting I asked the Mayor if he would make provision for residents to be allowed to speak. He told me that it was not allowed according to the Procedure By-Law. I then asked why an Urgent Motion put forward at the Tuesday council meeting, which would have given the tenants the right to speak at the special council meeting was deemed by the Speaker not to be urgent and therefore we were not given the opportunity to vote on the motion? Again he told me it was not in the Procedure By-Laws.
We must act now to put controls in place so that we never receive an Auditor General's report like this again. I am relieved that the Auditor General has assured the public that he found no evidence of fraud or criminal activity. City staff responsible for the inappropriate spending have been let go, resigned or disciplined. This is why I voted to have the board, which was already in place comprising of councillors and tenants work with Mayor Ford's representative to implement control measures immediately.
TTC Service Cuts - February, 2011
As you may know, the TTC blind-sided us with the proposal of a fare hike (which has since been eliminated as a possibility) and bus route service cuts. Some of these bus route cuts will have a very negative impact on the residents of Ward 13. (To see the January 10 news release with all the bus route cuts listed, visit:http://www3.ttc.ca/News/2011/January/0110_Fare_Increase.jsp.)
While we can all appreciate the need to find efficiencies across the city, there are four routes directly affected in our ward - #26 Dupont St, #30 Lambton, #55 Warren Park, #80 Queensway. I am extremely concerned about this. Two of those routes serve the same communities in the Dundas St West & Jane St area (#30 Lambton and #55 Warren Park), and one other overwhelmingly services senior citizens in the Queensway area (#80 Queensway) along with all the new town homes and condo towers. (For detailed route maps, visit: www.ttc.ca/routes/buses.)
I have received angry calls and emails from residents about the changes proposed to #30 and #55. If they are approved, residents will not have a bus to get them across Dundas St West between Runnymede Rd and the Kipling Subway Station, or into Warren Park from Jane Station, past 10 pm on weekends and holidays!
Indeed, the most significant impact will be the loss of these services for the Warren Park neighbourhood. Many young people and elderly can only get to and from their community by transit, elderly residents have told me that negotiating the steep hills of Gooch Ave and Old Dundas St is impossible for them, and my predecessor recently worked with the community to have the service enhanced on the #55 Warren Park route! And finally, there are lower income residences in the neighbourhood for whom access to transit is often the only transportation option.
Considering all of the above, I represented the interests of residents of these neighbourhoods at the TTC meeting this morning - which was called at the last minute and not announced to the public! I requested that #55 Warren Park and #30 Lambton be removed from the list of service cuts and that the #80 Queensway service be maintained on holidays, at least.
Personal Vehicle Tax - January, 2011
At the time of the personal vehicle Tax vote, I was not going to vote in favour of eliminating it. The mayor has stated there will be no increase in taxes, nor any service cuts. To remove sixty-four million dollars from the city budget without knowing where this revenue will be made up or what will be cut is not something I can blindly support.
In January City Council will be holding meetings regarding the budget. I support deferring this issue until after the budget is passed to see if we can afford such measures while maintaining a balanced budget.