Independent City Hall Media To Support

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…

Pivoting to Spiders

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

The Cheat Sheet: December 13, 2018 City Council


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

The Cheat Sheet: December 4, 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

2018 Municipal Election Postmortem

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

Does Anyone Else Have a Bad Feeling About This?

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. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’m just being a bit paranoid, right?

The Cheat Sheet: July 2018 City Council

Livestream · Meeting Monitor

It’s the last Council meeting of the 2014-2018 term. Whew. Here’s a rundown of the sizeable agenda, including addressing recent gun violence, end-of-term concerns, plastic straws, affordable housing of all kinds, planning studies, and the newest addition to the PATH.

Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: July 2018 City Council

The Cheat Sheet: June 2018 City Council

Livestream · Meeting Monitor

Welcome to this term’s penultimate Council meeting! There’s quite a lot on the agenda, including a slew of Integrity Commissioner investigations, laneway housing, improving deadly intersections, and more.

Warning: there are even more swears and opinions than usual. Lately I just feel civility is overrated, you know?

Continue reading The Cheat Sheet: June 2018 City Council