Cooking a 2010 election agenda

Almost one month ago, Councillor Gord Perks commented on a Spacing Toronto article that speculated about which progressive candidates might run for mayor next year. Perks’s insight was essentially: worry not about the candidate but about the issues; the right candidate will become clear when the issues have been defined. Today, Councillor Joe Mihevc launched Setting the Agenda 2010, a process to identify the policies that Torontonians want to see mayoral candidates adopt as part of their campaign.

Mihevc’s recipe for an agenda goes something like this:

-Start with one pre-fab web site. Promote generously for one week.

-During the week, encourage all visitors to liberally sprinkle on the web site the issues, ideas and solutions they want mayoral candidates to endorse and debate during their campaigns.

-When the week is finished, take all comments on the web site and place them inside the Wychwood Barns, inviting all participants and interested people to a meeting on November 24 from 6:30-9PM where the ideas will be discussed, debated and, well, cooked.

-Those ideas that attendees determine are fully baked will be placed on the “agenda,” and mayoral candidates will be asked to endorse them.

Voila, you have a resident-led process to define important issues for the 2010 municipal election. Of course, it only works if Torotonians participate in the process so head on over to the Setting the Agenda 2010 web site and start contributing your constructive ideas for making Toronto a better city.

The November 24 meeting will run from 6:30-9PM and be held at the Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St., just south of St. Clair. For more information on Setting the Agenda 2010, visit www.settingtheagenda2010.com and follow the process and discussion on Twitter through @agenda_2010.

photo by Wylie Poon

16 comments

  1. Nice idea. I put my thoughts there.

    Highlights how difficult it is to communicate with citizenry in this city. Here’s an attempt at inviting consultation, yet virtually no one knows about it.

  2. I made a post earlier today asking how Councillor Mihevc will be able to control the input to his new website because he is not very good at accepting views contrary to his own which are virtually all NDP caucus policy. That post appeared and then disappeared. Am I being censored because I am a contrarial who does not think Miller is god’s gift to the City?

  3. I ask that readers go to the Open Shop website and look at our association’s deputations to the Audir Committee and Budget Committee. The substance is that $Million of dollars a year of City money are being slimmed by Union Contractors into Building Trade promotion Funds that are spent at the complete discretion of Union management to subsidize union contractors profits when bidding in all other GTA municipalities that do not have Union only tendering restrictions. Our deputation also notes that a City Staff Report last year was negligant in estimating that the dollar amount of Building Trades monopoly bidding was only $200 million a year when in fact for 2010 it is $1.2 Billion a year. I made a deputation of the facts to the Budget Committee last week an was met with complete silence. What we have have is a cover up of the financial implications of a Building Trades only Cartel on $1.2 Billion a year of infrastructure spending.
    I would like Matt and Shaun to comment on the issue that the Mayor and his executive for purposes of political expediency has sold out ‘progresives’ to a private sector union cartel.

  4. Dave, I can’t speak to what you submitted earlier but I just approved that comment. However, you won’t find many people in the world more willing to listen to opposing perspectives than Joe Mihevc. He may not agree with you and your idea may get voted down by the participants at Wychwood Barns but you’ve got to give someone a chance before assuming what they’ll do.

  5. Adam

    You are completely wrong in your comment on Joe. There are many people who make mistakes in judgemet in their lives and Joe is one who is one blind to reality on how the world works. Joe has buried his ethical head in the sand when it comes to his support of a private sector union monoploy of City Construction. For god’s sake understand that most of the lost money goes to corporate profits. He has for all intent sold his sole to his NDP party ideology that giving a union monopoly to anyone serves the public interest.
    More to the point you do not address my request that you review our Association’s deputations on Union Promotion Funds in City Collective Aggrements or the fact that Miller and Staff last year said only $200 Million were tendered union only when the Facts, that Mihevc is silent on, are that 2010 Capital Budgets show that Building Trades monopoly tendering is over $1.2 Billion. On the Open Shop site John Lorinc thinks that we have a point and the Auditor General should look into the issue of why reality is being distorted.
    Again I ask that Now answer the question brought up in our dputations and whether it is the policy of your paper that you support a private sector union cartel on Toronto construction projects. I suggest you do a little reading on corruption in City governments in North America; Common to all is Union Construction Industry Monopoly. Get your heads out of the sand and address the issues. Miller is gone, let’s clean up the mess.

  6. Dave – just because someone disagrees with you, doesn’t mean they’re unethical or “blind to the reality of how the world really works.” You are a lobbyist for an anti-union construction industry association. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but seriously – it’s not cool to accuse a highly regarded community leader of this and that just because he doesn’t share your views. Take a deep breath.

    I’m really excited by Mihevc’s initiative, and will definitely attend.

  7. Dave,

    Have you posted your deputation so we can see the details of your allegations? Or provide web links to the relevant sources?

  8. Point well taken Andrew. Times are busy.

    Tony Wonder read my postings,
    I have played nice guy making arguments about “Fairness” to Mihevc for fifteen years and gotten knowhere. He knows full well that the system of Building Trade union monopoly tendering is wasting Millions but is trapped by Party obligations.
    Where do you get away with saying I am anti-union? Give me some rational evidence to that slight. I am anti politicians who let Unions get away with things for their own ambition.
    I am no more anti union than an atheist is anti catholic. I am also not a lobbyist who sells his services to the highest bidder. I have been the President of the OpenShop Association for just two months and prior to that worked 30 years in construction in Toronto starting with a shovel.
    I am a pro choice, anti corruption free thinker and anti compelled association where an andividual is forced against their will by government to join a union to make a living.
    It is Joe who is taking away my and your rights, not I atacking his. 20 years ago there was fair and open competition in bidding in Toronto under the Fair Wage where everyone is making over $30 and hour.
    Joe is one of the major players in why fairness is no more and I have been there watching and fighting every step of the way. So don’t give me any ‘seriously it’s not cool’ when you don’t bother asking any questions or looking for the facts. I’d like to see your dictionary saying that telling the truth is not ‘cool.’ I have the truth and the facts not an opinion on my side.
    Is Lorinc anti union as well, he agrees that the Auditor General should be looking into my facts? Why don’t you?

    Laurie,
    My deputation is posted on the ‘open shop’ website as is our number if anyone wants to ask any questions on an admittingly complicated issue. Look on the left side under ‘deputations’ then ask yourself how a year old City Staff report missed a $Billion in infrastructure spending in 2010 Capital Budgets. Then ask yourself why?

    Still have not seen Adam or Shaun give their opinion on whether they think a private sector union construction monopoly is a good thing for Toronto or Democracy? I would like Spacing as a public service support Lorinc’s agreement that the Auditor General investigate how the numbers could be so wrong.

  9. I will try to be at the Barns to meet you all. I will be the guy with the bullseye on his forehead.

  10. Dave, I appreciate that as president and government relations officer of Open Shop you have a job to do. Call yourself what you like but you are, indeed, a lobbyist. You and your members have a specific financial interest in the demise of the Fair Wage Policy. While I think everyone should make an effort to have their interests heard at City Hall, it means that I’m not going to take what you have to say at face value. To be frank, this is one part of the city I don’t have a particularly deep understanding of so I’m not going to make an uninformed comment. But I will make a point of reading your position and speaking with a variety of people who are more informed on the subject.

    Unfortunately I have a board meeting around the corner from the Barns that night so it’s unlikely I’ll be able to be there for the vast majority of the evening on the 24th.

  11. Adam

    There is a distinct separation between a lobbyist and an advocate. A lobbyist is a brain for hire who will essentially sell out any ethical interests for personal profit. An advocate like myself represents their own personal ethical convictions without compromise even in situations like my own where I am compromising my own financial benefit in advocating for the greater good.
    So don’t label me without knowing me.

    In reference to your comments, if you speak to the same people who have led you to make a false and libelous statement that I seek the demise of the Fair Wage Policy you had better talk to me or I will bring upon you the holy wrath of God questioning your integrity. Actually I gon’t have much influence with God, but it sounds good.

    Go to the City of Toronto Fair Wage Office site and read the difference between the Policy and the ‘contractual obligation’ forced upon the City and get it that your comment on the subject indicates that someone has sold you a bill of goods and sold out your integrity in their own self interest.
    The Policy calls for free and opening tendering on a level playing field for union and non union contractors. The Union only restrictions have nothing to do with the Policy but are a violation of the Policy. I support the Policy but your wonderkin, the Mayor does not. He prefers to accept discrimination against those who chose not sign up with his Building Trade union allies.

    I demand you retract your false statement that I advocate the demise of the Fair Wage Policy and request an apology for your ignorant assertion.

    And I have still have not got an answer on whether Spacing editorial opinion is that a private sector construction union monoploy on Toronto public Tendering is beneficial to Toronto’s fiscal well being and to democratic government in general.

    Give me an answer guys. I’m not going away.

    I demand that you make an immediate retraction and apology for your false statement that

  12. Dave, correct me if I’m wrong but as I understand it you want key provisions of the Fair Wage Policy changed to something that achieves a distinctly different set of goals to what the current provisions do. Now the demise of the Fair Wage Policy, as I see it, can be achieved literally (repeal the policy) or figuratively (remove the parts of the policy that allow it to achieve its goals). If you actually support the policy as it is and don’t intend to alter its spirit then I absolutely retract that comment.

    On the issue of whether you are a lobbyist, section 140 of the Municipal Code makes it quite clear that you are a lobbyist. The fact that you have registered as a lobbyist in the City of Toronto’s lobbyist registry tells me that you know this.

    Since you’ve begun to threaten legal action by using a word as strong as libel, this is the last of my comments in this thread. It’s unfortunate that you’ve jumped to such a point in this debate but if you’re going to use legal threats we’re no longer having a respectful discussion and I need to be conscious of my own legal interests.

  13. It’s a good website, discussion is already happening, Joe is really using social media well to promote it. Seems to be fairly well monitored too – I asked “where do arts and culture fit within this agenda?” – two comments and a discussion started. The next day Arts and Culture had its own discussion page.

  14. Adam,

    The libel comment was a joke if you didn’t get it put in to remind you that I am a good fact checker and don’t make statements about things if you have not checked on.

    I still don’t think you have read the City Fair Wage office website that makes it very clear that the Contractual Obligations section on the site that outline monopoly obligations are not part of the Fair Wage Policy and it’s spirit. The Mayor has consistently tried to confuse this issue to justify the Building Trade monopoly of his allies.

    For all intent the Mayor has dismembered the Fair Wage Policy that calls for a level playing field, open competitive tendering and Fairness because the construction wage schedules for most of the Trades listed are irrelevant as no one but a Building Trade union member can actually work on many City projects.

    Still asking? Is it Spacing’s editorial position that a private sector Building Trade union and contractor monopoly on public tendering in Toronto consistent with basic priciples of fairness, transparency, fiscal responsibility, non discrimination and fundamental democratic values?

  15. In passing Adam,

    Nice to see that you checked out that I have registered as a Lobbyist. I need to protect myself from false allegations even though I don’t think I really should need to register. When one is the underdog you have to be careful.

    Did you also check out whether any Building Trade representatives who flood City Hall and lobby for the Monopoly of their private sector Contractors are also listed. No. I didn’t think so and it doesn’t matter because the Mayor has given them an exemption, even though they are involved in the single biggest category of purchasing in all City and ABC’s Budgets.

    Sounds like a fair and level playing field, eh!

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