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Weekend Newsstand: June 15, 2013

Saturday! Saturday! Sat-ur-day! Bring out your inner Elton John and sing along! If that's not your bag, maybe some news? Today: Two of the men in the notorious Mayor Ford photo among those charged in Thursday's gang sweep, Mayor Ford talks about "trust," Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion not guilty of conflict of interest, Pixels for Pistols deadline extended, and private garbage collection may be resulting in fewer complaints.

newsstand jeremy kai spring 3

All four men captured in the notorious photo of the group posed outside an Etobicoke bungalow have come into focus, their identities now widely known. Their reason for posing together? Not as clear. Two are alleged members of a street gang, while a third, who was shot and killed in March, allegedly had ties to that gang. The fourth? Well, he’s not talking. He also happens to be our mayor. A dramatic drug sweep, carried out on Thursday, led to the arrests of 28 people, including Mohammad Khattak and Monir Kasim, two men pictured with Rob Ford in the infamous photo. While we know a bit more about his comrades in this photo now, the mystery around His Worship’s ties to this group continues to swirl.

On a completely, wholly different note, Mayor Ford said on Friday that the question for voters in the 2014 election will be about who they “trust” to protect their tax dollars. It seems he was throwing around a few words at the Toronto Real Estate Board luncheon that he perhaps should have thought through. While a few may balk at the “trust” phrasing at a time that the mayor has stayed largely silent about allegations of illegal drug use, more still were probably surprised at other language he used in that same speech.

If it’s any concession, Mississauga has mayoral woes all their own, though theirs may be wrapped up sooner than later. Mayor Hazel McCallion was found not guilty of conflict of interest on Friday, which means that the feisty nonagenarian will keep the job she’s held for three and a half decades. Hurricane Hazel, as she’s widely known, had been accused of violating the Municipal Conflict of Interests Act when, during the Peel Region council votes, she moved amendments that would save her son’s company millions in development charges. However, the judge found that this would not regard the deemed financial interest of Mayor McCallion as likely to have influenced her vote. With this case wrapped-up, she’ll live to blow another day (like a hurricane? Blow? Yeah, that makes us feel a bit icky inside, too).

It seems the Pixels for Pistols program is having some success, with 100 firearms and 4,000 rounds of ammunition turned over in exchange for free Olympus digital cameras and Henry’s Camera School of Imaging gift certificates. The deadline has been extended to June 30, but if you are considering participating, remember to arrange with the police for a pick-up, don’t just show up to a police station or to a Henry’s store with a gun.

The average number of garbage collection-related complaints per week is cut in half in areas that have been privatized, according to a report going to the city’s public works committee next week. There were approximately 30 “daily service requests” per week during the first quarter of 2013 in the districts where city collection is City-run, while that number dropped to 15 per week in areas of the city where collection has been privatized.

Comments

  • dm

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for Now magazine to report on the decline in complaints!

    • dsmithhfx

      OK.

    • XXX

      “The average number of garbage collection-related complaints per week is cut in half in areas that have been privatized,” to the surprise of absolutely no one. Dear Enzo DiMatteo the crack head is running this town better than the Harvard grad, put that in your pipe and smoke it…

      • dsmithhfx

        Only he’s not running this town.

        • XXX

          So you say.

          • OgtheDim

            Yes troll, Ford did one thing right, so he must be running this town really well.

            One word for you.

            Hudak

            Focus on him.

            Ford’s going to be a non story next year.

            Hudak will give you lots of information to bait people with.

          • XXX

            Thanks I was looking for unsolicited advice, oh wait I wasn’t. Until the Media in this town learn that unnamed sources & circumstantial evidence sprinkled with a hefty dose of sanctimonious hypocrisy isn’t the stuff that investigative journalism is made of Ford has nothing to fear. Wynne, Chow and CUPE on the other hand, the sources for their scandals are all on the record and the facts are not in dispute…

          • dsmithhfx

            So great Chief Blair cleared Rob Ford of suspicion in the on-going saga of the non-existent crack video, and his pictorial association with known drug dealers at a known crack house.

            Oh wait, he didn’t.

          • XXX

            Posing for a picture with questionable characters = guilt in your world? I want to put this delicately but I can’t: You are an idiot.

          • dsmithhfx

            I love it when you get angry. This goes way beyond posing for a picture, in front of a crack den, at night, arm-in-arm with three drug dealers, one dead, and two in custody. Rob Ford’s career in politics is over, but maybe he’s just too high to realize it. What’s your excuse?

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        If you need to go so low as to use garbage collection complaints as the measure of how well a city is run, something is very wrong with the way the city is being run.

        • rich1299

          It must vary by the individual garbage collectors. In my own personal experience having lived all across this city I’ve never had any problems with garbage collection until I moved to south Etobicoke which has private garbage collection. Too many times I’ve seen the garbage collectors out here drop garbage on the ground, including glass which shattered, and just left the mess behind.

          That sort of thing happens but when I lived in other parts of the city with public collection the collectors would actually use their broom and shovel to clean up anything they’ve dropped on the ground or that fell out of the back of the truck but I’ve never sen that happen here, I’d guess that about 1/3 to 1/2 of the street litter out this way is stuff that was dropped by garbage collectors and left behind. Perhaps its different on more suburban streets out this way than where I live on Islington, I have no idea.

          But I also heard of similar problems with garbage collection in the public run areas though I never saw it myself, only out here in south Etobicoke.

          I wouldn’t be surprised though if some people complain more about public garbage collection just because it is public, or because their unions negotiate with the city while the private garbage collection unions negotiate with the contractors and haven’t had a strike yet. Still if I called in a complaint every time I saw the local garbage collectors drop stuff on my street and leave it I’d be filing a complaint at least weekly, but I don’t bother, I did once and nothing ever happened about it and the practice continued the same as always.

  • andrew97

    Anybody over at CUPE with a time machine should send a memo back to 2009-vintage Mark Ferguson. That strike could go down as the worst union decision of the decade.

    • dsmithhfx

      Send all the memos you want, but the decision to strike was not Ferguson’s to make.

      • XXX

        “The following Councillors (aka HEROs) voted in accordance with their responsibility to all citizens of Toronto to provide a deal that was fair and equitable rather than one that had CUPE members “high fiving” Mark Ferguson at the ratification vote…

        Fixed that for you.

        • dsmithhfx

          You misspelled “ZEROS”.

          “This is about getting a fair deal similar to what everyone else got. Everyone else was able to negotiate a collective agreement without huge takeaways. These are huge concessions. No other City of Toronto workforce has had to negotiate any concessions in order to get a collective agreement.”

      • dm

        well, send the memo to the entire union membership then. The point being that the union’s sense of entitlement to their obscene benefits (you hardly need to be a right winger to find the entire concept of bankable sick days offensive) created a huge backlash that blew up in their faces, unfortunately sticking all of us with Ford in the process. And now we see that contrary to Now Magazine’s persistent attempts to contrive a union-friendly narrative about service declining, the private contractors are doing a better job of providing the underlying service to boot.

        • dsmithhfx

          “you hardly need to be a right winger to find the entire concept of bankable sick days offensive”

          Actually you do and you are.

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          How is it “offensive” that healthy people are rewarded with extra sick days in case they are needed in the future? What’s offensive is the idea that management gets to decide how many times you’re allowed to be sick in a year.

          • rich1299

            In my job we still have bankable sick days which are a critical part of our LTD program. If we become seriously ill and have to go on medical leave LTD doesn’t kick in for 3 months since we’re supposed to have enough banked sick days for those 3 months. It rarely works like that unless something happens suddenly to make a person unable to work for medical reasons. For those who slowly become chronically ill or are unable to get a good diagnosis right away those banked sick days get used up well before having to go on medical leave which means no income at all for 3 months forcing such people onto welfare or EI.

            Getting rid of bankable sick days would likely cost my employer, a university, more in the long run since they’d have to either have a short term disability program in place or have LTD start as soon as an employee goes on medical leave which would significantly increase the cost of the benefit, half of which is paid by the employees and the other half by the university. Failing that eliminating bankable sick days would cost the public more when someone has to go on medical leave since they will then be on EI or welfare for 3 months till the LTD kicks in.

            Bankable sick days only make sense though I agree there should be a limit of how many sick days can be banked or paid out at retirement. Many unions accept lower pay because of bankable sick days and other benefits. Bankable sick days save large employers like the city more money over the long run.

      • andrew97

        Come on. Have you been in a union? The leadership will always push the outcome they want. Ferguson wanted that strike — he thought he could win and he got spanked. They screwed over Miller and now Ford is mayor. Thanks, CUPE!

        • dsmithhfx

          The leadership can push anything, but members get the final say. If the leaders don’t reflect members’ views, they will not be leaders anymore, as they are elected too. I get you don’t like the cut of Ferguson’s jib but really, that is irrelevant.

          • OgtheDim

            The member’s followed with the strike but if the leadership didn’t want it, it wouldn’t have happened.

            Union leadership BADLY misjudged the public mood.

            Come on dsmith, give it up. The CUPE local blew it.

      • OgtheDim

        Two things.

        a) that vote? Meh…. they knew how the vote was going so it was a typical Miller era right wing protest.

        Means nothing.

        Remembering that is pointless.

        b) that strike was ALL on Ferguson. One BAD call.

        Frankly, its like what Bob Rae did to the NDP in this province – killed all support for decades.

        And, in both cases, got us a reactionary populist who had no clue how to run the government he was leading.

        • dsmithhfx

          Keep your eyes on the prize: the strike was foisted on us, and exploited to the hilt by a faction that wants to scapegoat unions and public workers in general, for the financial panic and deep losses of monumental investment scams orchestrated globally by powerful financial institutions. You are wildly overstating Ferguson’s role and responsibility in this rather trivial, local manifestation. The unions’ job is to push back. Else, why have unions?

          • OgtheDim

            ” rather trivial, local manifestation.”

            I don’t think you quite get how angry homeowners in this city, and not just the inner suburbs, were and still are.

            Fact – people do not like having to wait in line to go put their household waste in a pile behind a hockey arena.

            Seriously, if you think that’s not important to people, you really have no clue about what people are thinking.

            Remember how I keep harping on that “listening” to people thing that that the left didn’t do under Miller? Well, this is an example.

            And if you are calling the strike a right wing cover up for Wall Street stupidity, ur as looney as the con-bots.

            As for what unions are for.

            The union’s job is to get as good a deal as collectively possible, both now and in the future, while maintaining long term employment for its members.Kinda pooched that one in this case. I get the feeling union leadership thought that Miller would be staying, or that at least a pliant guy, a la Mel, would be in charge. Didn’t happen.

            There are a LOT of reasons why Ford became mayor. But for people to say

            a) the strike was caused by the right wing on council

            b) the strike was trivial

            is revisionism.

            Then, again, this is a union local that is currently using one of the looniest mayors we have ever had as a symbol just because he hired 3 staff, so I suppose revisionism runs deep.

            Aside:

            All these people that admire William Lyon MacKenzie havn’t done any research. The man was a nutbar populist who used his rag to slander people he didn’t like; he makes SAL look like Nate Silver. He created the Family Compact myth cause he OWED ALL THOSE PEOPLE MONEY and was about to lose his printing operation. So, he called two of his creditor’s Mom a whore in order to get a reaction and be able to get government compensation.

            And, he didn’t lead the rebellion. He skedaddled as soon as he saw opposition (while wearing 8 fur coats as armour). The real leader of the rebellion had the misfortune of playing a spy role in the Lieut Gov’s inner circle, and then being picked by Bond Head to go talk to the rebels. The whole Upper Canada rebellion was an unfortunate farce in the face of reactionary stupidity

            But, hey, WLK is a hero (if you don’t actually do some historical research) so why not use him as an example of good governance?

          • dsmithhfx

            You seem a tad overwrought. Arguably the strike was provoked by the so-called “responsible government group” on Council — you know, the ones who rallied around Rob Ford? Yeah, that “responsible” bunch of idiots. They wanted a strike and they got it. Blame them. In the bigger picture, unions and public workers have indeed served first as pawns of classic misdirection, then soon enough outright scapegoats, for global economic woes that were the direct result of international investment fraud on an unprecedented scale, and not caused by e.g. Greek pensions or garbage collectors’ bankable sick days. And I find it regrettable that you have seen fit to amplify a patently ridiculous and self-serving narrative of the global elites (and Rob Ford), like you don’t know any better.

          • dm

            Hoo boy. I know this is hard for you to accept, but we don’t need to be pawns of the bourgousie to find the benefit “pay me twice for one day’s work in exchange for me now defraudingyou with false sick days” offensive. I would suggest finding someone else to do your union pr

          • dsmithhfx

            “pay me twice for one day’s work in exchange for me now defraudingyou with false sick days”

            I can’t find that clause. Where is it?

          • dm

            as you know it’s the entire rationale for bankable sick days. in order to prevent abuse by unionized employees falsely taking sick days when they’re not really sick we apparently need to pay them for bonus days just for showing up to do their job in the first place. for a contemporary example see the recent stories on the spate of Ontario teachers all coincidentally getting “sick” at the end of the recent school year. the blatant sense of entitlement espoused by the unions in defending this ridiculous perk makes it even more obnoxious. you are dreaming if you think it is only hard-right types that find this inherently offensive. but hey, if the unions want to keep shooting themselves in the foot defending it I guess that is their prerogative. it will blow up in their faces, every time.

          • dsmithhfx

            ” the spate of Ontario teachers all coincidentally getting “sick” at the end of the recent school year.”

            That is what happens when you impose a contract through legislative fiat rather than good-faith bargaining.

          • rich1299

            Actually that’s also what happens when you have to work in the petri dish that are our schools. Kids spread illness better than anyone else so naturally teachers are going to be ill more often and if an illness is sweeping a school its hardly unexpected that many teachers should get sick around the same time. Before I was on medical leave for an unrelated illness I worked with the general public and got colds and flus far more often than when I had previously worked in a closed environment working with relatively few other employees as opposed to the many thousands of people per day. anyone who works in a school environment or with the general public is going to get ill more often than someone who works in a closed working environment.

          • XXX

            Agreed, let em’ strike, lock em’ out and bring in the replacements. All those surplus twenty something teacher grads can finally put their degrees to work…

          • rich1299

            Bankable sick days are a critical part of many wellness management policies at larger workplaces. Where I work you’re expected to always have at least enough banked sick days to last you for 3 months since if you have to take medical leave the LTD doesn’t kick in for 3 months. Having bankable sick days lowers the cost of the insurance plans most workers with any sort of benefit package get. Having benefit packages also lowers the pay workers are willing to work for, such things are a net financial savings for employers with large number of employees.

            I’ll never understand why some people support ever decreasing wages and benefits for other workers. If your wages are decreasing and you have no benefit package and no union that is your own fault for not unionizing. Its not the fault of those who have unionized to ensure they get living wages which includes benefits. Unions are a net benefit to larger organizations by ensuring labour peace, lower turn over rates, and higher productivity.

          • rich1299

            “the Family Compact myth”???? you have no clue what you’re talking about. So its a myth that the ruling class who controlled the gov’t, banks, and courts existed and ran things for their benefit in your mind.

            Look up the history of how the Bank of Upper Canada came into existence as a Toronto based bank for a fine example of the Family Compact at work and how the ruling class corrupted the gov’t, banks, and courts of the day for their own financial benefit, it was a small group controlling each of those sectors for their own benefit.

            Democracy didn’t exist in Upper or Lower Canada back in those days and the rebellion, though a failure as a coup did lead to the changes that brought about democracy in Canada along with an independent judiciary and financial system.