Ford Budget built on secret funds and failed promises


mentalfloss
#1
Budget built on secret funds and failed promises

The greatest government budget in the history of mankind — Toronto’s mayor says so – is a deceitful document built on exaggerations and failed promises.

It proposes to increase taxes and fees, cut municipal services and lay off staff — in direct contravention of what Mayor Rob Ford guaranteed voters a year ago.

After a summer of turmoil — a fiscal crisis created as a pretext to privatize unionized jobs, reduce the size of government and devalue the importance of grants to vulnerable groups and citizens — the proposed cuts are not nearly as draconian as feared.

Alas, the mayor has already extracted his pound of flesh. Make that half a pound. Garbage collection is being privatized, in part. Arts grants will lose 10 per cent funding, though not be eliminated. Transit is being diminished. The workforce is shrinking, though not nearly as fast as the impossible rate Ford promised.

As it turns out, Toronto can pay its bills. The claims of budget Armageddon were inflated to apocalyptic levels to scare city staffers into chopping off their digits and sacrificing our children.

In essence, city councillors now will fight each other for the next two months over budget scraps. It’s a carefully orchestrated crab-barrelling exercise where councillors pit one valuable service against another, instead of holding a reasonable debate on whether or not citizens can afford the service.

The 2012 budget puts a lie to the claim that the city is a fiscal basket case, ready to be put in a straitjacket by the IMF.

Consider this: After all the hullabaloo about Toronto going broke, the budget launched Monday promises to deliver a $139 million surplus.

Yes, $139 million is being set aside even as councillors must now haggle over a way to keep five wading pools and two outdoor pools open at a cost of $157,000; or allow barely mobile dialysis patients to stay on Wheel-Trans at a cost of $5 million.

In one bizarre budget moment Monday, staff and the mayor patted themselves on the back for generating $30 million from a TTC ridership increase. Then, they moved to slash 62 bus and streetcar routes to save $15 million. And, as a “thank you” to transit users, hiked fares 10 cent a ticket for a $30 million grab.

To add insult to injury, they forced the TTC to chop $1.1 billion in capital projects.

And this is the greatest budget ever created — unheard of in the annals of government.

The 2012 budget exercise is instructive for the 14 new city councillors. They hold the balance of power to determine what services are actually cut and which are spared the budget axe. They’ve observed all the budget tricks financial staff and city mayors have mastered in attempting to cut hated programs and spare sacred cows.

Trick one: Present the fiscal shortfall at frightening levels, talk about huge tax hikes, scare the bureaucracy into offering up cuts. Remember how the shortfall was supposed to be $774 million, as late as two weeks ago?

Trick two: Hide revenue projections, assessment growth, new-found cash, provincial grants and secret reserve funds until the last minute — thus forcing the politicians and staff to squeeze as much savings as possible. This means, of course, that finance staff — this minute — have money hidden away in undisclosed accounts.

Trick three: Bamboozle with big-money numbers and moving totals. Since insisting the budget hole was $774 million, the administration has — abracadabra! — found $54 million in “fringe benefits liabilities — TTC solvency relief;” chopped $28 million off the amount set aside for wage settlements; and found a further $48 million in debt service relief.

There’s money everywhere — except where the mayor doesn’t want it.

Toronto News: James: Budget built on secret funds and failed promises - thestar.com
 
Walter
#2
A feces article from a feces source, The Star.
 
TenPenny
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

A feces article from a feces source, The Star.

Ah, so you're saying that Ford isn't going to raise taxes?
 
Tonington
+2
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

A feces article from a feces source, The Star.

 
mentalfloss
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

A feces article from a feces source, The Star.

forums.canadiancontent.net/me...ng-thread.html (external - login to view)
 
mentalfloss
-1
#6
This is just too funny.. Maybe we'll be lucky enough for a public display of Adrienne and Sue Ann Levy playing tonsil hockey.


Mayor Ford's press secretary quits for media gigs

The lone woman standing between Mayor Rob Ford and the media is quitting her job to become a member of the press herself.

Adrienne Batra announced Tuesday that she's resigning as the mayor's press secretary to become the Comment Editor at the Toronto Sun.

She also shared plans to become a "frequent contributor" on talk radio channel Newstalk1010 as a Municipal Affairs Correspondent.

"I want to thank Mayor Ford and all of my colleagues for such a unique experience at City Hall," said Batra in an emailed statement. "It has been a real privilege to work in the Office of the Mayor."

Batra has held her position since Ford's election win in 2010.

She's handled the notoriously media-resistant Ford during a maelstrom of public attention during tense budget talks, marathon meetings and frustrating labour disputes.

"Adrienne has been a vital part of our Administration and I want to thank her for her dedication," Mayor Ford said in a statement.

Mayor Ford's press secretary quits for media gigs | CTV Toronto


I can't wait to read her insightful op-eds on insidious unions, commie councillors and sleepy TTC employees while Sue Ann's 10 inch labia hangs over her head like some ball-less scrotum. If we're lucky, we can watch Ford pee on both of them in vinyl and lederhosen.
 
Retired_Can_Soldier
+2
#7
What Messiah do I choose. The Locutus or the Anti-Locutus?
 
CDNBear
+3
#8  Top Rated Post
WHAT?

A politician lied, fudged?

OMG, the world is going to end!!!

Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_SoldierView Post

What Messiah do I choose. The Locutus or the Anti-Locutus?

I like it when anti-Loc cries in Loc's threads.

I now know what it sounds like, when doves cry.
 
DaSleeper
+1
#9
Maybe since anti-loc likes animated gifs so much someone should send him this little ditty

Arrogant Person - YouTube

 
Liberalman
#10
I ran for Mayor of Toronto but you did not vote for me I would have handled it differently so enjoy your spoils and the rewards that come with it.
 
CDNBear
+1
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by LiberalmanView Post

I ran for Mayor of Toronto but you did not vote for me I would have handled it differently so enjoy your spoils and the rewards that come with it.

Would you have run it like your hero ran Canada?
 
mentalfloss
#12
Apparently Walter didn't like my dark poetry.

He's been going on a neg rep rampage these days.

Quote: Originally Posted by Retired_Can_SoldierView Post

What Messiah do I choose. The Locutus or the Anti-Locutus?

Depends on how much cynicism you're up for.
 
CDNBear
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

Depends on how much cynicism you're up for.

I liked your first reply better.

Loc is good for truth. Anti Loc is good for humour.
 
damngrumpy
+1
#14
Ford is one of the common sense revolution people. The only thing that does not
make sense is the common sense revolution because down the road the taxpayer
ends up paying more in future dollars for short term political gain.
Ford will be around for a while just like Joe McCarthy in America as he will be
remembered most for his shortcomings instead of anything he might have done right.
 
taxslave
+1
#15
If I was a Toronto taxpayer I too would be complaining about the lack of speed in cutting waste at city hall. Taking the garbage collection away is a good start.
 
mentalfloss
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslaveView Post

If I was a Toronto taxpayer I too would be complaining about the lack of speed in cutting waste at city hall. Taking the garbage collection away is a good start.

If things keep up, this will be the only legitimate accomplishment Ford will have.
 
Locutus
#17
Poor ol' Royson. He be mad.


No Mayor Good Enough For Royson James

Far be it from us here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke to lash out at a fellow Ford basher. It just seems so natural now that the mayor has been revealed to be a complete and utter fraud. Only blinkered partisan hacks and fellow small government travellers could try and argue that’s not the case.

Still, we rankle somewhat reading a feisty, spittin’ mad Royson James tear into Mayor Ford. “City not nearly as broke as mayor suggests.” Is that right, Royson? Seems strange for you to say that since it was only a few short years ago that you hinted almost exactly the opposite.

In late summer 2007, James wrote out 10 points that Mayor Miller needed to hear. Much of it could’ve been the template for Rob Ford’s run for the mayor’s office three years later. Point # 1. Cut councillors’ perks and salaries. (Done and frozen.) Point #3. Open the city’s books to public scrutiny. (Hello KPMG.) Point #8. Announce “Water-Buster” findings. (What do you mean there’s very little gravy, KPMG?)


more on referenced pieces by Roy and article source:

No Mayor Good Enough For Royson James « All Fired Up In The Big Smoke (external - login to view)

10 things Miller needs to hear - thestar.com
 
mentalfloss
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by LocutusView Post

Poor ol' Royson. He be mad.
No Mayor Good Enough For Royson James
Far be it from us here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke to lash out at a fellow Ford basher. It just seems so natural now that the mayor has been revealed to be a complete and utter fraud. Only blinkered partisan hacks and fellow small government travellers could try and argue that’s not the case.
Still, we rankle somewhat reading a feisty, spittin’ mad Royson James tear into Mayor Ford. “City not nearly as broke as mayor suggests.” Is that right, Royson? Seems strange for you to say that since it was only a few short years ago that you hinted almost exactly the opposite.
In late summer 2007, James wrote out 10 points that Mayor Miller needed to hear. Much of it could’ve been the template for Rob Ford’s run for the mayor’s office three years later. Point # 1. Cut councillors’ perks and salaries. (Done and frozen.) Point #3. Open the city’s books to public scrutiny. (Hello KPMG.) Point #8. Announce “Water-Buster” findings. (What do you mean there’s very little gravy, KPMG?)

Quote has been trimmed, See full post: View Post

Good on him!

If there was anything to be legitimately mad about, it's a mayor's failures. The fact that he would criticize any failings regardless of stripe only strengthens his credibility.
 
mentalfloss
#19
TDSB should fund school pools: Ford

Even with winter settling in, the threat of pool closures is making a splash around the city.

Mayor Rob Ford says pools in public schools should not be the city’s responsibility. He says the school board should fund them.

The new proposed budget also calls for the draining of two outdoor pools and five wading pools.

A report obtained by the Toronto Star lays out which facilities are in danger: Bedford Park, Frankland Community Centre, Gordon A. Brown, Hillcrest Community Centre, Runnymede Collegiate, Duke of Connaught and Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

The report also state plans to close 10 arenas during off peak hours and suggests the “ceasing of operations at High Park Zoo and “far enough farm” at Centre Island.

Global Toronto | TDSB should fund school pools: Ford (external - login to view)
 
mentalfloss
#20
I'm pretty sure this wasn't part of the budget.

Ford asks court to set aside decision to audit his election expenses

Lawyers for Rob Ford will usher in the new year by asking an Ontario court to set aside a decision by Toronto council’s compliance audit committee and instead hold a trial, complete with new evidence, to probe allegations that the mayor violated Ontario’s municipal elections act during last year’s campaign.

But a Toronto election law expert predicted that the gambit may not succeed because courts in the past have been reluctant to veto decisions of appointed expert bodies, such as compliance audit committees. “I think it’s a real uphill struggle” for Tom Barlow, Mr. Ford’s counsel, said lawyer Jack Siegel.

In a private session, a judge Wednesday set a court date of Jan. 19 to listen to arguments from both Mr. Barlow and lawyers for Toronto residents Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler and Max Reed, who requested an audit after an investigation by The Globe and Mail. Mr. Ford’s legal team has been asked to file their pleadings by late December. A full hearing is set for May, with Justice Richard Schneider, a highly regarded judge who specializes in mental health cases, presiding.

Mr. Reed and Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler have alleged that Mr. Ford, as a candidate, accepted indirect corporate campaign contributions and relied on early financing from a family-owned holding company in contravention of Ontario election rules. Mr. Ford has consistently denied that his campaign broke any laws.

Council’s three-person compliance audit committee, which includes former Ontario Municipal Board chair, a commercial lawyer and a veteran electoral officer, ordered a full forensic review of the mayor’s campaign finances in May.

Mr. Ford’s lawyers appealed the decision. The mayor to date has spent over $55,000 on legal fees, with funds drawn from his campaign account. “We believe strenuously that the compliance audit committee made a well-founded decision based in fact,” said Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler, a long-time member of the Toronto Library Board and a former school trustee candidate. “We believe there was no error in judgment.”

Mr. Barlow did not respond to interview requests. Sunny Petrujkic, a spokesman for the Mayor’s office, said it would not comment on the matter because it is before the courts.

According to Mr. Siegel, judges in the past have heard detailed evidence in compliance audit appeals in Hamilton and Niagara Falls. But this process, he added, typically occurred in situations in which municipal councils had rejected a compliance audit request and the complainant in turn appealed to the courts.

Under new rules, city councils no longer approve or reject the decisions of compliance audit committees. In Mr. Ford’s case, the committee reviewed submissions prepared by Mr. Reed and Mr. Chaleff-Freudenthaler based on the mayor’s campaign finance filings.

The committee members also questioned Mr. Barlow and Stephen Chan, the campaign’s chief financial officer and a long-time employee of the Ford’s family company, Deco Labels and Tags.

When presented with the decision of an expert body like a compliance audit committee, Mr. Siegel said, the courts usually only overturn their rulings if they are deemed to be unreasonable or beyond the jurisdiction of the committee.

If, however, the court opts to scrutinize the documents and even hear new evidence, Mr. Ford could theoretically end up on the witness stand. But Mr. Siegel said that’s unlikely, noting that in most cases, there’s little direct testimony.

Ford asks court to set aside decision to audit his election expenses - The Globe and Mail
 
Walter
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by mentalflossView Post

I'm pretty sure this wasn't part of the budget.

Ford asks court to set aside decision to audit his election expenses

Did we ever get the details about Smitherman's election funds?
 
mentalfloss
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by WalterView Post

Did we ever get the details about Smitherman's election funds?

Is this thread about Smitherman?
 
mentalfloss
#23
Rob Ford’s decision to cancel Transit City now comes with a $65-million price tag

Just as Mayor Rob Ford is trying to squeeze every penny out of Toronto’s budget, news comes that the city is bracing for a $65-million bill for a transit plan he cancelled on his first day in office.

The multimillion-dollar price tag is the latest estimate for cancelling the Sheppard and Finch light-rail lines – part of former mayor David Miller’s Transit City plan. It comes as the city’s transit users are facing fare hikes and reduced service, measures planned for the new year to meet the mayor’s demands for a 10-per-cent budget cut. The new expense surfaced Tuesday during budget discussions, where city councillors also weighed the merits of closing pools and community centres in order to save dollars.

The cost of the cancelled lines is not even included in those discussions. The outstanding expense to the struggling transit system is not part of next year’s budget because the city is still waiting for a bill from the province.

The provincial agency said it is working on the final figure. “Currently, we are still reviewing the costs with the TTC and our light-rail vehiclesupplier. It is important for us to be as accurate as possible,” said a Metrolinx spokeswoman in a statement.

It has been just over a year since Mr. Ford took office and pulled the plug on the web of light-rail lines known as Transit City, taking his victory as a sign that Toronto voters wanted subways instead. Under a new deal, the province agreed to plow most of the money meant for Mr. Miller’s plan into burying the new crosstown line for its entire length beneath Eglinton Avenue. That left Mr. Ford looking for $4.2-billion for a promised subway line along Sheppard Avenue.

Critics of the mayor lamented that this latest discovery is more evidence of the sorry state of long-term transit planning. “At the end of the day we are blowing the public transit agenda of this city,” said councillor Joe Mihevc, a past TTC commissioner.

“Imagine if we had spent $65-million actually delivering rapid transit,” said Councillor Adam Vaughan. “Instead, what we have is a budget that is about shrinking resources and in some cases tragically misspending resources.”

Rob Ford's decision now comes with $65M price tag - The Globe and Mail
 
mentalfloss
#24
Toronto’s surplus expected to beat expectations

While city councillors grapple over $88-million in cuts proposed in Mayor Rob Ford’s budget for 2012, the city’s financial picture became a little less desperate.

Figures released Thursday morning show the city will run a $154-million surplus for 2011, well above the $139-million city staff forecasted earlier in the year.

The windfall buoyed centre and left-leaning councillors who have been arguing that Toronto’s financial situation is rosier than the mayor has been letting on and that surplus cash could be used to stave off the more drastic cuts contained in the mayor’s budget. “I think what this does is show once and for all that the radical conservative attack on city programs is unnecessary,” said Councillor Gord Perks, “that we can actually afford to provide quality services, that the fiscal crisis the mayor and the budget chief have been talking about has been grossly exaggerated and has been an excuse for radical conservative cuts to city programs.”

The mayor’s proposed reductions include eliminating some student nutrition programs, closing pools, shuttering homeless shelters and cancelling programs for the arts, HIV prevention and recreation.

Several members of Mayor Ford’s inner circle have expressed a level of discomfort with the full array of cutbacks, but have been hesitant to suggest the city prevent them by dipping into the surplus.

The update actually suggests the surplus will be closer to $174-million, but recommends dedicating $20-million of it to the city’s recent buyout program.

Staff also advise that $115.5-million of the $154-million be put toward a capital reserve for long-term projects. Chief Financial Officer Cam Weldon wants up to $36-million of the remainder to be ploughed into the Tax-Rate Stabilization Reserve, with the leftovers split among the Employee Liability Reserve, the Extreme Weather Reserve and other reserve accounts.

Mr. Perks argued that the any injection into the Tax-Rate Stabilization Reserve can then be poured into the operating budget and used to prevent the mayor’s cuts. But both Mr. Weldon and Budget Chief Councillor Mike Del Grande rejected that scheme.

“The surplus does not balance your budget,” Mr. Del Grande said. “It’s used for capital and it’s used to replenish reserve accounts. We start playing that game again and we’ll be right back to square one where we’ll be doing this song and dance again next year.”

Mr. Del Grande also hinted that the city will need cash for another as-yet unannounced round of buyouts. “That program is not over yet,” he said of the $20-million going toward the city’s voluntary separation program. “There’s more to the picture than that.”

The Budget Committee will meet on Monday for one last budget debate before passing it on to the Executive Committee on Jan. 12.

Toronto's surplus expected to beat expectations - The Globe and Mail
 

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