Reaction roundup: city hall votes on the budget
A no-confidence vote, pepper spray and jellyfish; in other words, a look at what the media, protesters and the Twittersphere had to say about yesterday’s budget vote after the jump.
1. Councillors turn into jellyfish, Sue-Ann Levy gets angry
The Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy did not disappoint, churning out a column chalk full of the righteous indignation we expect from her. She calls councillors “jellyfish,” union lobbyists “self-serving” and asks rhetorical questions like,“Are they that naïve, or just plain stupid?” Levy directs the bulk of her scorn at Josh Colle, who she says is guilty of “raiding the surplus.” We wouldn’t call taking $15 million from a $154-million surplus a “raid,” but we’re also not paid to write inflammatory copy.
2. Moderate politics could be the hot new trend this spring
Matt Elliott offers a few interesting observations after yesterday’s meeting. Mary-Margaret McMahon has succumbed to the lure of council’s opposition; James Pasternak and Jaye Robinson broke rank (in fact, Pasternak is treading dangerously close to the mushy middle now); and the mayor’s success is sitting at about 17 per cent on major votes.
3. Gee to councillors: hands off the surplus
In the Globe and Mail, Marcus Gee supports Ford’s insistence that we stop spending surplus cash on city services and programs. Basically, he argues Colle’s omnibus motion only prolonged the inevitable and the city will have to suffer through the same debate all over again 12 months from now. Gee also says Ford was “elected with a clear mandate to rein in the ever-rising cost of government.” We, on the other hand, thought he was supposed to find gravy.
4. Police pepper-spray protesters, EMS workers snitch
Meanwhile, a group of protesters were pissed, first about the proposed cuts and then about being arrested. A Stop the Cuts rally included a clash between cops and demonstrators, with many claiming to have been pushed, punched and pepper-sprayed. The police wouldn’t confirm whether they used pepper spray, but an EMS officer said they’d treated two patients for pepper spray.
5. Rob Ford’s no-confidence vote
The Toronto Star’s Royson James says yesterday’s vote wasn’t just a single rebuke—council’s centrists and lefties have a new-found ability to defeat (or at least slow down) the Ford agenda. James goes on to point out that:, “If [the vote] occurred at Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill, [it] would be considered a vote of non-confidence in the government.” Of course, that’s not how city hall works.
6. Gems from the Twitter machine
• We liked this one from a deadpan Daniel Dale: “Stop the Cuts people are now banging on the window of the Star bureau and yelling at me to stop the cuts. This is unintelligent.”
• The Grid’s David Topping lamented the return of Playboy-based reasoning to the debate on library spending: “Cesar Palacio, who’s on the library board, just said libraries waste tons of money stocking Playboy. Nope: http://j.mp/uXAWhW”
• Chris Edwards had a pressing question about the already hilarious Cut the Waist Challenge: “Does Ford’s new diet let him eat his own budget?”
• A very excited tweet we assume is budget related from Josh Matlow’s executive assistant: “Wooooooooooohooooooooooooooo!”