Posts Tagged: toronto spoke


2
Sep 11

Toronto Spoke Coda: “When are you going to tell us what kind of city you actually want to govern?”

After twenty-two videos and a month of pithy commentary, let’s let Councillor Gord Perks sum this whole thing up: “Over the last twenty hours,” he says in the video above, his remarks coming in the very early morning. “I have experienced something that I have never experienced in twenty years as a community activist and five years as an elected official: I heard Toronto speak.”

That epic-length Executive Committee meeting has faded into the background over the last month, replaced with endless and seemingly circular debates around things like waterfront development and communism. The episodic nature of politics under Mayor Rob Ford unfortunately means that we run the risk of getting ourselves lodged in a deep rut of formulaic outrage and ridicule as this administration skips from one contentious policy announcement to the next.

But what really matters, I think, when you get past the weekly sitcom-esque plot lines, is the kind of overarching message expressed in these videos I’ve posted. It’s a sentiment that says yes, we do care about this city. And, yes, we will stay up all night and take time off work and speak — and sometimes sing and rhyme and present puppet shows — even if we know, deep down, that the elected officials at the other side of the table probably aren’t likely to listen or care.

Because Torontonians love Toronto. After the tone and the outcome of the 2010 municipal election, it feels good to write that. To believe it.

Anyway, if these videos represent anything it’s a defence against anyone who would dare to dismiss the deputants as nothing but union members or people representing organizations who get city grants. Of the 22 people I chose to highlight, I picked deputants who were mostly not speaking for or on behalf of unions. Most of them have little-to-no political history. To dismiss these people as trough-feeders or “left-wing NDP people that always got this money handed to them” — as the mayor did in an interview with Sun News Network soon after the meeting — is flat-out wrong.

This is what Toronto sounds like.

Continue reading →


31
Aug 11

Toronto Spoke: “I am proud to pay taxes,” says Wendy Greene

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and extending through to the next morning, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee — led by Mayor Rob Ford — heard more than one hundred and fifty deputations from a diverse group of citizens. In a sincere bid to ensure that the passion, insight and creativity displayed over the course of that epic meeting is not forgotten, Ford For Toronto will be posting a deputation video every weekday for the month of August.

Deputant: Wendy Greene (twitter)

Occupation: Her Twitter bio describes her a “simultaneous translator” which sounds impressive.

Political History: None noted.

Scheduled Speaker No.: 134; Actual Speaker No.: 103

Note: Rob Ford makes a well-timed return to the room after a lengthy break midway through Wendy’s deputation.


30
Aug 11

Toronto Spoke: “That word—citizen—is very important to me,” says Vikki VanSickle

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and extending through to the next morning, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee — led by Mayor Rob Ford — heard more than one hundred and fifty deputations from a diverse group of citizens. In a sincere bid to ensure that the passion, insight and creativity displayed over the course of that epic meeting is not forgotten, Ford For Toronto will be posting a deputation video every weekday for the month of August.

Deputant: Vikki VanSickle (twitter, website)

Occupation: She’s a children’s author and worked at the Flying Dragon Book Shop until it closed a few months back.

Political History: In her own words: “Although I am interested in politics, I would never describe myself as a politically active person.”

Scheduled Speaker No.: 245; Actual Speaker No.: 142

Note (1): Mayor Rob Ford, clearly very tired at this point in the evening, seems to make a derogatory reference toward either VanSickle or Councillor Janet Davis around the 3:30 mark.

Note (2): Vikki’s books, Words that start with B and Love is a Four-Letter Word, are available at the Toronto Public Library.


29
Aug 11

Toronto Spoke: “These are not gravy — they are the basics of a great city,” says Ernest Tucker

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and extending through to the next morning, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee — led by Mayor Rob Ford — heard more than one hundred and fifty deputations from a diverse group of citizens. In a sincere bid to ensure that the passion, insight and creativity displayed over the course of that epic meeting is not forgotten, Ford For Toronto will be posting a deputation video every weekday for the month of August.

Deputant: Ernest Tucker

Occupation: He’s a teacher at the exclusive — and expensive — Toronto French School. His students give him solid rankings at RateMyTeachers.com, though his most recent review is more mixed: “Seems like a cool guy, but also seems like he’s fully capable of murdering me without remorse, so…not quite sure about this one”

Political History: None noted. Owns three cars. Is that political?

Scheduled Speaker No.: 257; Actual Speaker No.: 147


26
Aug 11

Toronto Spoke: “Our mayor knows the price of everything, but he values very little,” says Desmond Cole

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and extending through to the next morning, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee — led by Mayor Rob Ford — heard more than one hundred and fifty deputations from a diverse group of citizens. In a sincere bid to ensure that the passion, insight and creativity displayed over the course of that epic meeting is not forgotten, Ford For Toronto will be posting a deputation video every weekday for the month of August.

Deputant: Desmond Cole (twitter)

Occupation: He’s been a tutor and was project coordinator for I Vote Toronto, an organization dedicated to granting non-citizens the right to vote in municipal elections.

Political History: Was one of the winners of City Idol in 2006, and thus made an unsuccessful bid for City Council in that year’s election.

Scheduled Speaker No.: 183; Actual Speaker No.: 126

Note: Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday reveals himself to be a harsh critic of amateur puppetry with this clip. He first tells the deputant that he can still see him behind the box — ruining the illusion, I guess — and follows up with a sharp rebuke of Cole’s skills: “[Your puppet] doesn’t even move his lips.” Admittedly, Desmond Cole is not a very good puppeteer.


25
Aug 11

Toronto Spoke: “Why don’t you admit that there is no gravy train?” asks Julie Beddoes

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and extending through to the next morning, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee — led by Mayor Rob Ford — heard more than one hundred and fifty deputations from a diverse group of citizens. In a sincere bid to ensure that the passion, insight and creativity displayed over the course of that epic meeting is not forgotten, Ford For Toronto will be posting a deputation video every weekday for the month of August.

Deputant: Julie Beddoes

Occupation: She’s a writer and is an active member of the Gooderham & Worts Neighbourhood Association in the Distillery District.

Political History: None noted, aside from some involvement in planning discussions relating to waterfront development.

Scheduled Speaker No.: 104; Actual Speaker No.: 84

Note: Julie’s defence of the Waterfront secretariat and the work performed but the City’s planning department is very much worth considering. These are things that are critically important to the future of our city but that importance is often lost amidst fears of losing more tangible things like library branches or bus routes.


24
Aug 11

Toronto: “I am not one of the usual suspects,” says Christopher Salmond

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and extending through to the next morning, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee — led by Mayor Rob Ford — heard more than one hundred and fifty deputations from a diverse group of citizens. In a sincere bid to ensure that the passion, insight and creativity displayed over the course of that epic meeting is not forgotten, Ford For Toronto will be posting a deputation video every weekday for the month of August.

Deputant: Christopher Salmond

Occupation: He’s a 70-year-old crossing guard who works in East York.

Political History: None noted, though he is a former City of Toronto employee, working as the Managing Director of the East York General Radio Emergency Service.

Scheduled Speaker No.: 86; Actual Speaker No.: 108

Note: Stay until the end, when Christopher reveals that he sometimes wishes he had a rocket-propelled grenade to use against drivers who run through his crossing. To which one councillor chimes in: “that’d be a real war on the car.”


23
Aug 11

Toronto Spoke: “Stop pitting the suburbs and downtown against each other,” says Michael Binetti

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and extending through to the next morning, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee — led by Mayor Rob Ford — heard more than one hundred and fifty deputations from a diverse group of citizens. In a sincere bid to ensure that the passion, insight and creativity displayed over the course of that epic meeting is not forgotten, Ford For Toronto will be posting a deputation video every weekday for the month of August.

Deputant: Michael Binetti

Occupation: Recent graduate of the Ryerson University School of Urban & Regional planning

Political History: A Scarborough resident, he was vocal in his opposition to the round of cuts to bus service we saw this past winter.

Scheduled Speaker No.: 58; Actual Speaker No.: 55

Note: Binetti does a great job both using sarcasm and pointing out some serious errors in the KPMG report relating to transit.


22
Aug 11

Toronto Spoke: “I was hoping you’d be better, but you’re worse,” says Dave Meslin

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and extending through to the next morning, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee — led by Mayor Rob Ford — heard more than one hundred and fifty deputations from a diverse group of citizens. In a sincere bid to ensure that the passion, insight and creativity displayed over the course of that epic meeting is not forgotten, Ford For Toronto will be posting a deputation video every weekday for the month of August.

Deputant: Dave Meslin (websitetwitter)

Occupation: He’s involved in so much stuff I’m not even going to try to make a list.

Political History: He’s a veteran of the municipal politics scene, with a long history of supporting cycling issues. His current major push is for voting reform. Meslin made a sincere effort to work collaboratively with the Ford administration after the election. The move earned him some level of derision from other left-leaning types across the city.

Scheduled Speaker No.: 264; Actual Speaker No.: 151

Note: Pay close attention to 4:45, a sequence of events in which Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday interjects to make a (joking?) reference to former mayor David Miler, calling him a dictator. Rob Ford chuckles and begins to say something about the election, then ignores Councillor Adam Vaughan’s request to stop the timer. He then cuts things off.


19
Aug 11

Toronto Spoke: “Trying to defend impossible campaign promises is getting kind of lame,” rhymes Brian Cauley

Beginning at 9:30 a.m. and extending through to the next morning, the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee — led by Mayor Rob Ford — heard more than one hundred and fifty deputations from a diverse group of citizens. In a sincere bid to ensure that the passion, insight and creativity displayed over the course of that epic meeting is not forgotten, Ford For Toronto will be posting a deputation video every weekday for the month of August.

Deputant: Brian Cauley (website, twitter)

Occupation: Audio producer at Soundframe

Political History: None noted.

Scheduled Speaker No.: 175; Actual Speaker No.: 124

Note: Yes, this deputation rhymes.