The Cheat Sheet: June 10 City Council

Tuesdays’s City Council meeting is jam packed. On the agenda: finding a replacement for senpai Councillor Vaughan; access to services for undocumented residents; transforming tower buildings; lead in the water; and more. Did I miss anything important? Let me know.

Election

  • OK, so Olivia Chow stepped down as Trinity-Spadina MP to run for mayor, and Adam Vaughan stepped down as Ward 20 councillor to run for Trinity-Spadina MP…so now we need a new councillor for Ward 20. Since it’s so late in the term, it will be an appointment rather than a by-election. Anyone feel like throwing their hat in the ring?

  • Time to revisit the election sign by-law.

  • Toronto’s changing demographics necessitate redrawing ward boundaries. This process has so far been a shitshow full of tantrums and foot-dragging and it can reasonably be expected to remain so. Yay.

    (Quick backgrounder: as it stands now, some wards have twice the population as others. We could a) cut the big wards in half, creating more council seats; or b) merge wards, which would make councillors’ workloads fucking ridiculous and necessitate increasing the office budgets. I’m guessing the drown-government-in-a-bathtub types would prefer c) merge wards, but keep office budgets the same, making local government so inefficient that they can justify further cuts, eventually descending into some Mad Max-style postapocalyptic every-man-for-himself libertarian hellhole plastered with Deco Label magnets.)

Accountability

Gimme Shelter

  • You may remember that last February Council voted to guarantee undocumented Torontonians “access without fear” to city services. Now the dedicated working group has presented specific changes to implement. They include launching a public communications campaign; looking into a municipal identification card; and adopting measures to keep citizenship or immigration information private.

  • The Red Door family shelter‘s future was placed in jeopardy when a messy bankruptcy put the property into receivership. The local councillor, Paula Fletcher, is asking the City to help in any way it can.

  • The sector and community is clear: we need 24-hour women’s drop-ins — places where women can visit at any time to do laundry, grab a bite to eat, or get referrals to social services. Also, you got to love the deadpan line at the end.

  • Shelter staff are no longer allowed to do warrant checks on clients. Cllr Berardinetti says this is a safety risk. On one hand, I see her reasoning. On the other hand, it’s seconded by Cllr Mike “Maybe Aboriginal People Just Commit More Crimes” Del Grande, soooooo…

Live, Work, Play

  • A new type of planning zone, RAC (Residential Apartment Commercial), would permit a number of small commercial or community spaces in large apartment buildings. This motion is aimed at rejuvenating Toronto’s isolated, disproportionately poor tower neighbourhoods, reducing people’s reliance on cars and introducing a kind of public space that was deliberately designed out of the inner suburbs. (See this related motion as well.)

  • The previously approved project that would create 80 affordable rental units integrated into the new East Bayfront development continues to proceed. This is all super boring routine legal stuff, but I bet someone finds a way to pitch a fit about how poors don’t deserve a lake view.

  • Condo in the East End? You know what that means.

  • When City land is no longer being used — for example, a school that’s been closed — it can be declared “surplus property” and sold, ideally preserving some community use. 5 TCDSB properties have been “surplused”. See also Cllr Berardinetti’s motion calling for the process to be reformed so the public can have input.

  • Paging Community Recreation for All! Here’s a motion that would allow for corporate and community group sponsorship of public fields and play spaces.

  • The City’s youth employment program was left hanging when its federal grant was cut. With youth unemployment in Toronto at a “staggering” 21.5%, we can’t afford to sit around and bitch about downloading. I just want to repeat that: one in five young people in Toronto do not have a job. That’s some post-industrial Rust Belt-level shit.

Getting Around

Miscellaneous

  • The operating budget variance report for the last three months is in. Read it and cringe. Also, is there like some Wire-type numbers fudging going on with traffic tickets or something?

  • This is your regularly scheduled debate over whether or not to revoke Pride’s grant because there are gays who aren’t Zionists.

  • Recently a highly embarrassing Star story revealed that lead levels in drinking water exceed safety standards at an alarming rate. [Cllr Davis’s motion] implies this may have been exacerbated by Council decisions in 2011 to slash the Water Service Replacement Program budget and opt for a “Corrosion Control Plan” instead of fully replacing the lead pipes. Hahaha whoops.

High Priorities


Thank you for following along! I’ll see you at Council.

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