In my latest for The Local, I interview budget chief Shelley Carroll about what the 2024 budget will be like. Spoiler: the David Miller years are back, baby.
Last week, Olivia Chow’s brand-new Executive Committee unanimously recommended new revenue tools to stave off financial catastrophe. But can she get it past City Council—and what happens if she doesn’t? Read my latest for The Local.
Last week, Mayor Olivia Chow revamped City Council committees with her own slate of progressives, dramatically shifting the balance of power. Plus, the by-election churn continues in the wake of Scarborough councillor Gary Crawford’s resignation. Read my latest column at The Local. (And check out the nice interactive data visualization they made for me, too!)
My latest column for The Local is out! I discuss how climate change is pushing Toronto weather to extremes, Council’s patchy track record on going low-carbon, and the large and small things Olivia Chow can do to change that. Plus, the literal train wreck in Scarborough and two special upcoming meetings at City Hall.
In Olivia Chow, Toronto has its first progressive mayor in 12 years. How will she tackle the city’s many critical issues? Will City Council’s power balance shift? My new column for The Local tracks Chow’s first 100 days. In the first installment, I look at how the mayor—and organizers on the ground—addressed the asylum seeker crisis that unfolded at 129 Peter St. Plus, a few key items from this week’s Council meeting.
Yet another municipal election is nigh. In my new piece for The Local, I analyze six top mayoral candidates’ housing platforms, which range from
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ to an ambitious return to the days of government-built mixed-income social housing on a large scale.
Just the numbers (this table is in the article, too):
|Source||Not taxes||Not taxes||City Building Fund (existing)||City Building Fund increase||Property tax increase, reserve funds||Cancelling Gardiner East, freezing police bucget|
|Units||Unspecified||At least 16,000 (as in original Housing Now plan)||HousingTO targets, provincial mandate of 285,000||10,000–25,000||22,700||15,000|
|Affordability||At least some units in developments on city-owned land||33% of housing on under-utilized city-owned land, 20% in office conversions||40,000 affordable rentals and 4,000 affordable ownership by 2030||At least 7,500 at 80% AMR, 2,500 at 30% AMR||5,660 at AMR, 3,468 at 80% AMR, 2,108 at 40% AMR, 6,135 affordable ownership||45% affordable rental (30% at AMR, 10% at 80% AMR, 5% rent geared to income, or at 30-40% AMR); subject to consultations|
The municipal election is nigh. I’ve been working behind the scenes, contributing research for The Local’s Candidate Tracker. Check it out—you can read up on Council candidates’ backgrounds, see where they stand on issues like shelter, affordable housing, and police funding, and compare them to incumbent councillors’ voting records.
Yesterday afternoon, after the rain stopped, I made a quick trip to the Oculus—the long-abandoned space-age modernist pavilion near the foot of the Humber Trail. And within a minute’s walk along the trail in either direction, I found more spider diversity than I ever find in my usual sites! Continue reading Field journal: Spiders of the Oculus
This winter I have tried to get into the habit of getting a coffee and a pastry at the White Squirrel and going for walks around Trinity-Bellwoods, just to get out of the house. There haven’t been bugs, but there are sometimes Fancy Birds: finches (house or purple, I’m not sure), woodpeckers, and once a Cooper’s hawk. Today it was quite nice and to my surprise there were flies and midges in the air, red velvet mites crawling in the soil, and the first spiders out and about! Continue reading Field journal: First spiders of spring in Trinity-Bellwoods
This issue is not just a nice round number, it also marks City Hall Watcher’s three-year anniversary, so it’s free for everyone! For this one, I talked to folks about how winter and the pandemic are pushing Toronto’s shelter system to its limits (and, yes, crunched some numbers). I also have a preview of the upcoming City Council agenda, including SafeTO, golf, moths, an Integrity Commissioner investigation, and the first 16 inclusionary zoning…zones.