Tag Archives: Toronto

Why Can’t They Just Get Rid of Mayor Ford?

Toronto Council passed a motion this morning stopping Mayor Ford’s right to hire and fire the Heads of Council Committees and his Executive Committee and the Deputy Mayor.

I have to point out that in the rest of the province, councils do not have executive councils and the councillors not the mayor choose the heads of committees. An executive council often ends up making all the decisions and the other councillors are left out in the cold. As shown by Toronto, this leads to the left or the right controlling the council. In most of the rest of Ontario, including my council, councillors of all political stripes actually work together, not without some conflict, to do the best for their community. All across Ontario, a Mayor or Head of Council only has one vote. A Mayor rules by persuasion or speaks for the will of council in a non-partisan way.

I hate to say “I told you so” to the Minister of Municipal Affairs with whom I had a discussion about Toronto’s special powers for the Mayor a number of years ago. They were brought in during David Miller’s tenure and the government of the day liked David Miller. When making a law regarding the conduct of municipal governments or themselves, the province needs to remember this rule. Governments will change.

The worst thing the provincial government could do is either give councils the power to dismiss a Mayor or give themselves the power to dismiss a Mayor. A Mayor is elected by the people for four years. The case of Rob Ford is extraordinary and policy and laws should not be made as knee jerk reactions to the extraordinary.

I remember my years as a school trustee. The provincial government of the day took away the power of school boards to raise local taxes due to the excesses of some GTA boards. Our board had actually lowered taxes slightly right before the new rules came down.

I have listened to Mayors complain about their councils and councillors complain about their Mayor. I have known at least one Mayor who, because the councillors wanted “the other guy” as mayor, had to put up with his council  working against him all term. That mayor would have been tossed out by the council. A mayor not liked by the provincial government could be tossed out for political reasons, much like the province sometimes takes over school boards that won’t or can’t balance their budgets due to the lack of money provided by the province.

The Municipal Act says:

Generally, there is no process for removing a councillor (e.g. by a petition of electors or by the council) before the next election.

However, the office of a councillor may become vacant in a number of ways including by resignation, by being absent from meetings of council for three successive months without authorization, by disqualification (e.g. the councillor becomes a judge, ceases to be a resident, is serving a sentence of imprisonment in a penal or correctional institution or, is convicted of a corrupt practice under the Municipal Elections Act,1996 etc.).

A citizen already tried to remove Rob Ford from office for a breach of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, but lost. The Conflict of Interest Act is a problem because a conflict is not well defined and the penalty, removal from office, applies whether the breach is small or big. The cost of lawyers fees means many councillors will declare a conflict, such as in the case of our Light Rail Transit project, to avoid a nuisance suit. If the councillor has a lot of money, ignoring a conflict often leads to a dismissal in court anyway. Terrible piece of legislation.

It is important to remember that Mayor Ford’s excesses have not been proven in a court of law. Our law says that a person is innocent until proven guilty. It is wrong to try people in the court of public opinion. Holding up these principles against someone who is obviously so out of control, reminds me of defending censorship. Something disturbing must be defended to protect the right of the innocent in the future.

Democracy demands that the person the public voted in, should serve and when the public votes them out, they should leave. If you are a citizen of Toronto and don’t like what is going on,vote in the next election.  If you don’t, and most people don’t, you have only yourself to blame if Rob Ford gets back in.

Travel to FCM — I Hate Greyhound

So I am going to FCM in Toronto and this time I can take the bus round trip for $42.00. If the stress doesn’t kill me. Booked my ticket on-line, non refundable. After several false starts, got the ticket and found it was from Sportsworld instead of Charles St terminal. Phoned 800 number, they were no help at all. No refund and no way to buy a Greyhound ticket from Charles St. to Sportsworld. You may remember the hoo ha when Greyhound stopped allowing the Region through the GRT ticket office to sell their tickets. They were going to drop Charles St. terminal all together as a stop but we managed to negiotiate that they would sell tickets on the platform. 

Why O Why did they move their stop to Sportsworld!!!  So stuck with the ticket. The good news, used EasyGo and a GRT route goes from Charles St. to Fairview then I get the 52 and it takes about a half hour. Just I have to leave the GRAAC meeting after an hour. So annoying.

Still a shorter time than the GO to get to Toronto.

Our Green Bin program isn’t like Toronto’s

The Toronto Star had a big article yesterday on the huge mess Toronto’s green bin program is in (This is besides the garbage strike) http://www.thestar.com/article/660864 for details.

I should tell you that Toronto’s green bin problems are common knowledge in the waste biz. Many private contractors who compost green waste won’t take their garbage while they want Waterloo Region’s compost.

The main problem is that Toronto lets people put their green compost in plastic bags, mostly the infamous plastic shopping bag. Toronto says they allowed plastic bags so more people would compost. That makes no sense at all if you can’t compost the result!  We insist that people use paper compostable bags –kraft bags, similiar to those used to pick up leaf waste. We also do not accept disposable diapers. The problem is the plastic in the waste stream. Garbage rots quickly and the plastic contaminates the compost so it is unusable.

This is one reason why we are rolling out our program slowly. So when we do it, it will work!

By the way, for regular household garbage, you can get garbage bags made of cornstarch and can use the kraft bags also. A report on plastic shopping bag education is coming back to Regional council in the fall.

We recently had the Record note that our compost is going to Thorold. We have investigated building our own composting facility but it would cost 30 to 40 milion dollars and there would still be smell problems. I recently visited a composting facility in Whistler, but it was noted by the manager, that this facility is kilometers away from residents.

We were going to send the compost to a facility just outside Waterloo Region but it didn’t work out so now we are into another tender with hopes the new facility won’t be too far away.

Landfill and waste is a serious problem because no matter what you do, sometimes it smells. And no one wants one near them. But what is the alternative? Many communities are going to incineration, but that also has problems.

I am asking staff about one problem noted in the Star article. Household waste compost can be very salty due to the huge amount of salt we have in our diet.  Supposedly if it is properly cured there isn’t a problem. Will keep you posted.

All about the green program and what can go in it, is listed here.

http://www.region.waterloo.on.ca/web/region.nsf/97dfc347666efede85256e590071a3d4/f853783700a202418525726e007445ba!OpenDocument

Our Green Bin program isn't like Toronto's

The Toronto Star had a big article yesterday on the huge mess Toronto’s green bin program is in (This is besides the garbage strike) http://www.thestar.com/article/660864 for details.

I should tell you that Toronto’s green bin problems are common knowledge in the waste biz. Many private contractors who compost green waste won’t take their garbage while they want Waterloo Region’s compost.

The main problem is that Toronto lets people put their green compost in plastic bags, mostly the infamous plastic shopping bag. Toronto says they allowed plastic bags so more people would compost. That makes no sense at all if you can’t compost the result!  We insist that people use paper compostable bags –kraft bags, similiar to those used to pick up leaf waste. We also do not accept disposable diapers. The problem is the plastic in the waste stream. Garbage rots quickly and the plastic contaminates the compost so it is unusable.

This is one reason why we are rolling out our program slowly. So when we do it, it will work!

By the way, for regular household garbage, you can get garbage bags made of cornstarch and can use the kraft bags also. A report on plastic shopping bag education is coming back to Regional council in the fall.

We recently had the Record note that our compost is going to Thorold. We have investigated building our own composting facility but it would cost 30 to 40 milion dollars and there would still be smell problems. I recently visited a composting facility in Whistler, but it was noted by the manager, that this facility is kilometers away from residents.

We were going to send the compost to a facility just outside Waterloo Region but it didn’t work out so now we are into another tender with hopes the new facility won’t be too far away.

Landfill and waste is a serious problem because no matter what you do, sometimes it smells. And no one wants one near them. But what is the alternative? Many communities are going to incineration, but that also has problems.

I am asking staff about one problem noted in the Star article. Household waste compost can be very salty due to the huge amount of salt we have in our diet.  Supposedly if it is properly cured there isn’t a problem. Will keep you posted.

All about the green program and what can go in it, is listed here.

http://www.region.waterloo.on.ca/web/region.nsf/97dfc347666efede85256e590071a3d4/f853783700a202418525726e007445ba!OpenDocument