16 comments

  1. Dylan, Thanks for your commitment to pedestrian issues in this city for so many years.

  2. Sadly, some of the impetus for this may come from the staff who, in certain parts of the bureaucracy, don’t particularly welcome citizen involvement. Any way it can be marginalized (even more than it is by this two-headed mayoralty) aids their agenda which is to be left alone to do as they please.

    The Union Station advisory group (which goes from being merely ineffective to non-existent) was a perfect example of this — managed “involvement” that had absolutely no political effect. The Council “member”, Lindsay-Luby, was happy to take credit for the project when it suited her, but didn’t attend the meetings and was unaware of our ongoing problems with staff.

    We met in a room hidden away in Union Station behind a locked door bearing a sign “beware of the leopard”. Well, not quite, but it seemed that way, and the door was locked. So much for public participation.

  3. What a drag. This really doesn’t make any sense at all. I hope Rob Ford realizes the value provided by these volunteer committees and decides to keep them instead.

  4. Whether one agrees or not that these committees are a good thing, I think it’s a little disingenuous for supporters to say that the selection process was “democratic”.

  5. Samg – no-one in this thread has said that. They do provide an avenue for citizen engagement with the city government, though.

  6. Kicking volunteers off of committees that do work for free. Isn’t this the opposite of the Big Societyness going on accross the pond?

    Conservatives are not made equal. Unfortunately, we just elect the dumb ones.

  7. These committee cuts are service cuts, and they are cuts in access and democracy.
    I know from the decade-plus of my time on varied cycling committees that at times they were less helpful, and usually not well heeded, and this was a bit worse in the last four years under Miller/Heaps, but having a committee was still a better thing than not to have it.
    Like the TTC, the Exec Cttee does not have any downtown core reps on it, so we’re tending to be shut out from it all, and this includes under a week’s notice of the meeting and the cuts.
    Steve’s point about how the staff don’t like accountibility and citizen pressure is also valid – I’m still awaiting a response from head bike guy Dan Egan as to why we can’t have coloured paint on our bike lanes here in Caronto.
    Please consider filling up the Exec Cttees meeting time.

  8. As a founding member of the TORONTO PEDESTRIAN COMMITTEE (and that body’s longest serving member ever) one hopes these citizens’ committees will continue to exist. They provide a way for our City to benefit from the street-level perspective of we regular TORONTONIANS, and not just the elite few whom the various mainstream political parties have positioned to represent us.

  9. Yet another example of the Fords’ desire to rule by diktat.

  10. Dylan,
    Your point is noted. That said, the key theme being splashed across the media regarding this story is that somehow this move is undemocratic. I agree that citizen engagement is important… but that should be engagement of all citizens… not just a chosen few. I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with the premise that the members on these committees provide the perspective of “regular Torontonians” as Scott above suggests. What exactly is a “regular Torontonian”? I’m not saying the committees were a good or bad… but I am challenging the premise that they are about providing input from regular Torontonians.

  11. I guess a regular Torontonian would be one who does not have easy access to city hall politicians and staff (the access a politician, lobbyist or expert might have). The advisory committees made it possible for those kinds of people to have a stronger voice than they could otherwise have.

  12. Dylan, would have to disagree with you since many of the these committees seemed to be stacked with people particular councillors wanted on the committee. The advisory committees made it possible for SOME regular people to have a stronger voice… but not all…

  13. SAMG: that’s completely false that committees are stacked the way a councillor wants them. having volunteered over the last 15 for these committees I was interviewed only by staff and a citizen representative, not a single councillor.

    That’s not to say advisory committees that spring up due to an issue (TTC customer service, for instance) don’t get reps that a councillor wants, but those too are approved by committee members which tend to have multiple POVs.

  14. Gazing with amazement at the reign of Rob and Doug Putin from my safe perch here in New York.  Sorry guys, you’re really in for a rough couple years.  

  15. Moya, sorry but I still stand by my comment. Many of these committees did “seem” to be stacked with people particular councillors wanted. Again, I’m not saying these committees were a good or bad or whether their mandates have been fulfilled. I am underlining that they were a way for SOME citizens not all to have input on some city wide issues. The crucial matter is whether ALL citizens are entitled to be consulted, especially with respect to important changes in their neighborhood. It’s with respect to the latter that I think the City has been particulary negligent. In my own ward (18), I would say that residents could expect to receive consultation to the degree that they were affluent, artsy or trendy. The rest of the Ward had to make do with “door to door surveys” conducted by the councillor which nobody seemed to be aware of.

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