The Cheat Sheet: March 31 City Council

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My apologies to everyone for this late Cheat Sheet! The recent cold snap shocked me back into hibernation, and I have spent most of the last few days asleep.

If you read the previous committee meeting Cheat Sheet you may recognize several items on this City Council agenda. Accountability officer shakeup, Fimbulwinter, oil pipelines, taxi law, the Spadina subway extension, drones, spruce, Baby Point, a Baudelaire reference, and more below the fold. Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: March 31 City Council

“Those who continue to face unfair and unequal provision of city services”

Much is at stake for the future of accountability at the City of Toronto. A modern government cannot expect to retain the confidence of the people unless it is willing to hold itself accountable by submitting itself to the kind of scrutiny an independent ombudsman provides. While Council recognizes this in principle, insufficient finances increasingly contradict that support.

The residents of Toronto count on their municipal government to properly fund the office in order to meet our mandate effectively. That assumption remains unfulfilled, even though the money required is an investment in a strong system of accountability that produces savings and good governance.

I reluctantly have to warn Council and the public, again, that our ability to meet our statutory mandate defined by provincial legislation is undermined by a lack of funding. Toronto cannot have a legislated ombudsman who is “independent” and then have the office’s work indirectly controlled through budget allocation.

It could be said that the office is a victim of its own success. But that loses sight of who is important. The real victims of this funding shortfall are the residents who will not be able to get swift action on their complaints, those who continue to face unfair and unequal provision of city services.

—Ombudsman Fiona Crean in her 2014 annual report

The Cheat Sheet: Committee Meetings, Mar. 23-27

Here’s a quick overview of this week’s committee meetings at City Hall! Issues to watch for: shelter beds and affordable housing, election accessibility, ferry terminal designs, the Spadina subway extension, and more. Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: Committee Meetings, Mar. 23-27

The Cheat Sheet: Committee Meetings, Feb. 23-27

Wall-to-wall committee meetings this week! Following committee meetings is a great way to “preview” items before they go to City Council — and, if you want, voice your opinions. Also, petty drama is 100% guaranteed. Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: Committee Meetings, Feb. 23-27