Five highlights—and learnings—from last night’s executive committee marathon meeting (round deux)

Five highlights—and learnings—from last night’s executive committee marathon meeting (round deux)

(Image: Robert Scarth)

Sure, it’s often difficult to pinpoint precisely when a meeting falls apart—but we’re going to venture a guess that last night’s rendezvous at city hall broke down right about when Rob Ford asked people to maintain decorum in order to allow a woman dressed as Santa Claus to address the committee. In other words, the meeting was not unlike the previous marathon executive committee gathering in July (even if some observers are calling it more “more subdued”). As many of the city’s leading commentators are no doubt sleeping off last night’s graveyard shift, we round up a few of the highlights (and some things we learned), after the jump.

1. The silent majority is either no longer silent or not actually a majority
While many deputants asked the executive committee to raise taxes before cutting services, the Toronto Sun did a little, you know, reporting and found two citizens opposed to tax increases. Of course, the copy editors didn’t have much choice but to include scare quotes around the words “silent majority” after reading this sentence: “Thorburn and Greenwood said they realize their message differs from the majority of those who lined up to urge councillors to raise taxes rather than cut services.” Source: Toronto Sun

2. That alleged $774-million deficit figure might be inflated
Now magazine reports that city manager Joe Pennachetti pegged the deficit at somewhere between $500 and $600 million—in other words, close to what some critics have been saying for months. Source: Joe Pennachetti

3. Rob Ford is actually pretty popular—or not
Reporters who’ve been referring to Rob Ford’s apparently dwindling support of late might have been surprised to learn yesterday that they had it all wrong. According to a newly released Ipsos Reid poll, Ford’s approval rating is actually 62%. This would be shocking if the poll had not been conducted before the fallout over Doug Ford’s waterfront plans and talk of widespread efficiencies found in cuts to city services. Source: Global News

4. This was all too theatrical
Apparently, Santa Claus’s appearance offended Councillor Mike Del Grande. With many controversial cuts essentially rejected—and other tough decisions put off until November—we can understand the budget chief’s frustration. However, it’s all pretty rich coming from a councillor whose missing piggy bank once caused a minor media frenzy (and we won’t even get into last week’s rat story). Source: Mike Del Grande

5. Anti-fluoride deputants > pro-Ford deputants
We don’t have precise numbers, but reliable sources inform us there were more deputants concerned about fluoridating drinking water than there were speaking in support of Ford. We’d suggest the mayor keep this in mind for his re-election campaign—although we worry “Stop the cavity prevention train” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Source: Torontoist

Ford backs down from cuts, for now [Toronto Star]
Toronto ends all-night budget meeting with controversial cuts still up in the air [Globe and Mail]
Side show at city hall [NOW]
So what did that marathon Executive meeting actually accomplish? [OpenFile]