So local politics is picking back up after the winter break. We face a challenging budget and provincially-introduced chaos over the fate of the TTC and Ontario Place. As I’m not covering it, I encourage readers to support local independent media instead.
Arianne Robinson’s Signal Toronto is an all-purpose City Hall news site that also puts out a weekly newsletter, with a mix of public and paywalled content. Subscriptions are $5/month.
Matt Elliott has recently launched a newsletter of his own, City Hall Watcher. It’s free until February. Thereafter, subscriptions will be $5/month or $50/year, or free for “journalism school students, other people just getting started covering Toronto City Hall and municipal issue advocates who are not able to afford a subscription.”
I’ve also thrown together a small Twitter list of folks who cover City Hall. (And also a few Queen’s Park reporters, just because.) I may add to it over time.
Okay, now back to hibernation…
Note to readers: I am taking a hiatus from the whole City Hall thing. I’ll soon be cancelling all your recurring Paypal donations and putting the Patreon on hold.
It’s not about money or the work or anything. It’s just an existential despair thing, you know?
Thank you for your support over the years. I could not have done it without you.
If you want the long version, here you go. Continue reading Pivoting to Spiders
Photo from @imfgtoronto.
“The iceberg is gone, global warming has taken care of that,” jokes new City Manager Chris Murray as he begins his speech.
The iceberg, a municipal budget infographic portraying the City of Toronto’s billions of dollars in approved but unfunded capital projects, had become a cult favourite among City Hall wonks—you know, the kind of people who have cult favourite municipal budget infographics. These are the kind of people who go to the IMFG‘s annual City Manager’s Address, which took place at the end of November. (Slides available here.) Continue reading Recap: The 2018 City Manager’s Address
Once more unto the breach, dear friends. (Well, more like twice more, because my first draft was eaten by an unruly text editor.) This is more of a recap than a preview, as I only just recovered from an awful cold. Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: December 13, 2018 City Council
This is the first meeting of the 2018-2022 term. After the chaotic municipal election that halved the size of Council, we return to a very different City Hall. Over the next several days, we must drastically reshape how Council runs and what councillors do in order to accommodate double the workload. Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: December 4, 2018 City Council
Organizers No One Is Illegal:
We gathered to reject the narrowing of the political spectrum of action provided to us by institutions like The Munk Debates. Institutions like The Munk Debates—funded by notorious Canadian mining company Barrick Gold—continue to tell us that the ideologies on either end of the spectrum are white supremacist/ white-nationalism-fueled by right wing extremism like Bannon, and extreme conservatism like David Frum. Continue reading Recap: The Nov. 2 Munk Debate Protest
Header: reproduction of a Jewish Labour Bund election poster from Ukraine. Description of the original: “Poster stating ‘There where we live, there is our country! A democratic republic! Full political and national rights for Jews! Ensure that the voice of the Jewish working class is heard at the constituent assembly!’ Kiev, ca. 1918. The poster further urges Jews to vote for the Bund candidates, Slate 9, in an election following the Russian revolution, when non-Bolshevik parties were still being tolerated by the Communist regime. From the Archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York.”
The second installation of links I’ve been reading/sharing/whatever. Continue reading Nightmare Rectangle Round-up: Anti-Fascism, Tech, #Arachtober
So after all the protests and petitions, court dates and emergency Council meetings, Doug Ford’s Thanos’ing of City Council went ahead. And it turned out the only way it could: a newly elected council even more homogeneous than the last one, and even less representative than the city it serves. I’m sure a lot of people are wondering, “Why even bother?” I know I am.
Anyway, I dashed off this quick summary of how everything shakes out, and a few remarks on what may happen this upcoming term. (Skip to Analysis if you want.)
Continue reading 2018 Municipal Election Postmortem
Header: This image from Lisa Jackson’s Biidaaban depicts a decaying Toronto City Hall surrounded by forest, on the edge of a flooded Nathan Phillips Square.
Trying a bit of a new thing. I occasionally do linkdumps via Twitter threads, but I felt like doing something more permanent. Title inspired by this ever-relevant @TechnicallyRon tweet:
Continue reading Nightmare Rectangle Round-up: Municipal Finance, Black Widows, Migrants, and More
I honestly haven’t quite recovered from that last City Council meeting. It was a fucking week long. Bullet points because there’s just too much for full sentences.
Continue reading That Last City Council Meeting
Okay, so. Top bureaucrats who have stepped down this term:
A number of city councillors have also announced they’re not running for re-election:
I mean, like…does anyone get the sense they’re not running to something so much as running from something? 🤔🤔🤔
One possibility is that, after years of budget cuts and “kicking the can down the road”, the City has run out of road. And if MLTT revenue flattens or falls, which it’s bound to do eventually, we’d be well and truly fucked. As successive City Managers have said, there is no “gravy” left at City Hall. Serious cuts would have to involve mass layoffs, and the unions representing City staff would fight back. It could get unpleasant.
Or they’ve all realized that, deep down, Toronto is a potential NYC with ambitions of becoming, like…Akron, Ohio, and any forward-thinking bureaucrat or politician can make a bigger impact elsewhere.
Or some oracle has revealed to the elect that a
massive sinkhole is going to swallow up Hellmouth is going to open up under City Hall some time in the next four years, but she’s not quite sure when, and everyone’s just decided to play it safe.
Or it could just be coincidence.
I’m just being a bit paranoid, right?