At The Grid, Edward Keenan writes a great summary of yesterday’s garbage vote. Most media outlets ran with the “big victory for Ford” story today, but I’m more and more convinced that it was a very bad day for Rob Ford and his allies:
By day’s end, the mayor’s main item passed, yes, by a large majority. But the effect of the amendments, in my opinion, is that it will make it very difficult for staff to craft a bid request conforming to council’s demands that will also stand up to a lawsuit. (And note: if the city is tied up in litigation with potential or wannabe bidders, they will likely be unable to award a contract—though, of course I’m not a lawyer…)
They also place some unattractive restrictions on the contract for potential contractors, and ensure that the whole thing has to come back to council for another fight later (if and when a winning bid is identified), and the bid has to bring with it actual numbers that show that the contract will save as much money and be as environmentally sound as Ford and staff have claimed it will be. The result of that possible vote is very much an open question.
Royson James has a decent summary as well: “The vote, coming just six months into the mayor’s term, shows he may have to compromise more than he imagined. This was supposed to be the easiest service to privatize, and yet it took so much effort.”
The bottom line: the changes Ford will need to make — be they cuts, or privatization, or sales of assets — to successfully balance the coming budget will be far more contentious than what was debated on Tuesday.