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politics

What’s On City Council’s Agenda: October 30, 2012

In which we highlight key items from the month’s city council meeting. You can also watch it live.

City council is meeting today (October 30) and tomorrow (October 31). Here are a few items from this month’s agenda that have been in the news, or should have been.

City council will weigh whether or not to:

Punish the mayor and his brother for violations of council’s code of conduct, and let Michelle Berardinetti off the hook.

The Ford brothers have both been on the City integrity commissioner’s shitlist before, but this is the first time they’ve faced criticism from her for something they did together. In April, on their weekly radio show on Newstalk 1010, Mayor Rob and his councillor brother Doug (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) said some unkind things about Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. David McKeown. The integrity commissioner asked the two men to apologize for their comments. In true Ford style, neither man has complied (at least, not to the commissioner’s satisfaction), and now council will decide whether or not to reprimand them, formally.

Councillor Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 25, Scarborough Southwest) is in trouble with the integrity commissioner for similar reasons. In November 2011, she called into “a radio program hosted by another member of council” (so, probably Councillor Josh Matlow’s show on Newstalk 1010, before it was cancelled and replaced with the Ford brothers’ show). While talking about council’s decision to send the Toronto Zoo’s elephants to a sancutary in California, she made disparaging comments about a Toronto Zoo staff member. Berardinetti apologized to the staff member, and so the integrity commissioner isn’t recommending a reprimand.

Sell some of Toronto Community Housing Corporation’s single-family homes, but commit to not selling the rest.

Selling off TCHC’s single-family housing stock has been a controversial issue for a good long time. Council created a working group, headed by Ana Bailão (Ward 18, Davenport), to figure out what to do with the homes. Now, council will decide whether to heed the resulting recommendations. The working group is asking, among other things, that only 55 homes be sold, and that 564 of them be maintained as affordable housing.

Reappoint the ombudsman.

City ombudsman Fiona Crean has made plenty of headlines since her initial appointment in 2008—most recently with her investigation into some meddling with the City’s 2011 civic appointments process by Mayor Rob Ford’s office. She’s up for reappointment now, and she needs a two-thirds majority vote from council to get it. It’s hard to know whether she’s upset enough councillors to jeopardize that vote, but there are sure to be some Ford loyalists who will take the opportunity to excoriate her, in any case.

Hammer out an agreement with Metrolinx over Toronto’s planned LRT lines.

For all practical purposes, Metrolinx is going to own all of Toronto’s planned LRT lines. Council will decide whether to accept a “master agreement” that spells out exactly how the City will share real estate with the provincial transit agency.

Buy a piece of land from the province and turn it into a new park near Yonge and Wellesley streets.

This is a pet project of Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam’s (Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale). Basically, there’s a patch of land at 11 Wellesley Street West that’s owned by the province. Wong-Tam wants the City to buy it and turn it into a public park. Council will decide whether or not to try and do that.

Make it legal to touch a stripper.

Right now it’s illegal under City bylaws for dancers in strip clubs to have any contact with patrons. As part of a larger package of reforms to Toronto’s “Adult Entertainment Parlour” regulations, council could make it so that some kinds of innocuous contact are okay.

Help the Toronto Botanical Garden with its money problems, but not really.

The Toronto Botanical Garden is in such bad financial shape that it came to the City for a bailout earlier this month. Council will decide whether to offer the garden some non-monetary support. (There likely won’t be any City funding on the table, at least until budget season gets underway.)

Appoint some citizen members to the TTC board.

Right now, the TTC board is all politicians. Council decided to add four citizen spots in March. Now, finalists for those spots have been selected, and council will decide whether to appoint them.

Tell the TTC to be nicer to residents whose homes it’s planning on tearing down.

This report by the City ombudsman says the TTC did a poor job of consulting with residents whose homes were in the way of some planned second exits at Donlands and Greenwood subway stations. Council will decide whether to institute reforms that might prevent similar situations from arising in the future.

CORRECTION: October 20, 2012, 3:15 PM This post originally said that council is considering buying a provincially owned patch of land at 11 Wellesley Avenue. In fact, the land is located at 11 Wellesley Street West.

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