The Cheat Sheet: November 13 City Council

In case you’ve been living under a rock: since the last City Council meeting, Rob Ford’s friend, occasional driver, and probable drug dealer Sandro Lisi was arrested on extortion charges; the heavily redacted search warrant was released, revealing (among many other things) the highly incriminating details of police surveillance of the Mayor; police chief Bill Blair announced that police had recovered the crack video; Rob Ford admitted to smoking crack but refused to step down; the Star purchased and posted a video of a highly intoxicated Rob Ford uttering angry death threats; and comments by his brother, mother and sister revealed the truly shocking degree to which they enable the mayor’s substance abuse.

Amidst all of this, the business of running the city is still quietly going on. The full agenda is here; here’s some items of interest.

The big ticket

I think it’s a reasonable prediction that Rob Ford drama will overshadow the meeting. There are a few items directly concerning him on the agenda:

Transit

  • Cllr Matlow wants to speed up the process of building the Downtown Relief Line, the much-needed subway line which would run from the East End to the downtown core and take pressure off the commuter-clogged Yonge line. He’s dropped the “Downtown”, a smart move — the “DRL” name gives the impression that the subway would primarily benefit effete latte-swillers rather than suburban commuters.

  • The City is still looking into making the BIXI bike-share program financially viable. The details have been confidential up till now, but we will hopefully learn more when the General Manager of Transportation Services reports.

  • Cyclists have long agitated for bike lanes on Bloor, and there’s still hope that it will happen! Staff are recommending that a planned environmental assessment for a Dupont bike lane be expanded to include Bloor as well.

  • Edit: The Toronto & East York Community Council wants to put a consistent 30 km/h speed limit on Shaw to complement the soon-to-be-installed bike lane.

Housing & poverty

  • The plans for developing the East Bayfront call for 20% of new housing to be affordable, and the City proposes integrating 71 affordable rental units into one of the new condos. The Mayor has been staunchly opposed because poors should only live in gross slums where they can’t get their poor germs on taxpayers.

  • Cllr McConnell, who has long been involved with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, wants the City to endorse FCM’s call for a proper federal housing plan. There’s also a similar motion coming from Executive Committee. It’s quite a pressing issue — ask me about the Co-opocalypse some time.

  • It’s grant time! The City is disbursing money from all levels of government to community agencies that serve the homeless. Check out the report (PDF) to see who got what. As well, the Rent Bank program, which provides interest-free loans to low-income tenants at risk of eviction, is getting a cool million in funding.

  • The process of phasing out the “welfare cheque” for a modern electronic card continues. Staff also raise the possibility of creating a similar drug benefits card (right now, it’s a paper slip mailed out monthly) that social assistance recipients could use to pay for medication and other health supports.

Health & disability

The great outdoors

  • Toronto Water is in a bit of a bind. Thanks to awareness of environmental issues, water consumption is declining — which means less money for Toronto Water to re-invest in a system under stress from increasingly common extreme weather.

  • In the aftermath of the July 8 flood, Executive Committee wants the City to improve its emergency response strategy and co-ordinate communication between 311, hydro services, and Toronto Water.

  • Parkdale is getting a new park! The City is buying up property on Dufferin in order to expand the rather cramped parkette behind the McDonald’s on King.

  • Edit: A reader points out that the matter of the Highland Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, deferred at last month’s meeting, is before Council again. The incinerators at the plant have been a contentious issue for years, with residents and activists demanding environmentally friendly alternatives.

  • Cllr Layton really loves the Great Lakes.

Food

Miscellaneous

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p>Did I miss something important? Let me know. I’ll see you on Wednesday.

2 thoughts on “The Cheat Sheet: November 13 City Council”

  1. “I look forward to disgruntled citizens getting an entirely ineffectual new outlet to safely express their grievances.” Indeed.

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