The MississaugaWatch Sniff Test

This question is the MISSISSAUGAWATCH Sniff Test for all Ontario municipal Mayors and Councillors:

Do you support asking the Ontario government to extend the investigative authority of the Ontario Ombudsman to include municipalities?

If the answer is not an UNQUALIFIED "Yes!", ask "Why not?" and proceed with extreme caution.


MIRROR: Complete Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Transcripts

MISSISSAUGA CITY HALL: KEEPING VIDEO RECORDS OF CITIZENS BUT NOT OF THEMSELVES?

April 11th, 2009  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Today’s Blog is going to be a little different because it will consist entirely of a report I filed inside Mississauga Council Chambers last Wednesday as Council went “in-camera”.

It’s essentially my incredulous and frustrated response to  the chronic blight of citizens being limited to MINUTES of Council meetings. Being limited to reading the accounts of all the He-Saids, She-Saids They-Saids of municipal government meetings through manicured MINUTES.

MINUTES —someone writing stuff down, just like it was done back when papyrus was first invented!

So, crabby, I vented into my video camera my own “Why aren’t we recording all meetings on VIDEO? Or at least AUDIO?” report.

Today’s Blog will be the transcript.

Video: MISSISSAUGA CITY HALL:  KEEPING VIDEO RECORDS OF CITIZENS BUT NOT OF THEMSELVES? (8:17 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

TRANSCRIPT BEGINS

I have to say that Council today was really remarkable in the amount of “He-Said She-Said They-Said” that was going on. And they were talking about going back to minutes of meetings.

Well, I mean, I happen to know when you compare the video of the Council and even General Committee meetings –the video that I shoot, and you compare it to what actually makes it in the minutes, we’re talking about Creative Writing here. And that’s a problem that is systemic here at the City of Mississauga.

And what they write down is essentially [a] manicured message of The Corporation and that’s pretty well anybody who’s required to write a report of some kind.

And what was particularly fascinating was reference to what happened at various in-camera meetings. Now in-camera meetings are closed, secret meetings –really, away from the public. In fact the word, “in-camera” means exactly the opposite.

They go off into a special room up there. I guess it’s on the third floor and then away from the public. We don’t know what they’re talking about in there. And there seems to be, no not “seems to be” –certainly, there was considerable debate as to what it is that they actually said in behind closed doors.

And it’s left me to wonder, surely the in-camera meetings aren’t limited to somebody taking notes [whispering into camera] because City of Mississauga is not good at taking notes. You don’t want them to take notes on you.” [whispering ends]

[Pauses to think…]

We’re in the new millennium. 2009 now. And we’re witnessing an entity –indeed, pretty well all municipalities -that they limit the minutes of their meetings to what someone chooses to write down and record.

And just from my own experience and research and two years of Freedom of Information documents –to be able to tell the difference between what they [City of Mississauga] say publicly and what The Reality shows, you know, they do privately…

‘scuse me, telephone.

[cell phone call interrupts. Fade to black. Fade in]

Where was I? Right. We’re in a new millennium where the kind of camera that I’m using right now to record this has seven hours of recording time. [reaches for digital recorder] We have digital audio recorders that can record for days!

And yet we’re limiting things to minutes of meetings –in other words, Pen and Quill Technology, and the public is limited to what someone chooses to record.

And in my own experience, and this is researching and securing documents through Freedom of Information, it’s often what they don’t record that screws you over royally.

And I’m just wondering when the debate between, “well this was said and that was said and this was left out and no, no, no you don’t have all the facts” -what I don’t understand is why they can’t have [points] on that computer screen, because I can do it at home -go to my hard drive, I can go right now and find out what the March 11th meeting said about Enersource or about some corporate policy or what by-law was passed or what wasn’t –and I can’t understand -why we’re limited to someone’s view of what happened!

That’s why I’m recording this! Because I know the inventive Creative Writing that goes on here. Because the selective “memory” [gestures] within these walls is obscene!

[whispers] It’s obscene!

And I uh, just two weeks ago, I secured Freedom of Information on Report Writing for Mississauga Corporate Security and it was a pdf file [Ed: incorrect, I meant “Power Point” files] and there were three documents. And while it didn’t say directly that you should keep stuff out, it did warn the guards that anybody could secure or ask for their records –and by the way, I do.

And they also mention “Freedom of Information” as being one.

So they don’t want to write down something that doesn’t advance the interests of The Corporation.

And you know, you’ve got Parrish and Adams saying one thing. You’ve got Mahoney saying something else and you know [reaches for digital audio recorder] let’s hear it in here! Or better yet, on video.

And I really think, one of the things is, forty or fifty years from now –because I think our democracy is being eroded something horrible, just.

We’re allowing our governments to use technology unfettered and that includes [points to Council Pelco PTZ “Pelco One”] these frikkin’ video surveillance cameras without any oversight!

And they’re using this sophisticated technology and yet citizens forty/fifty years from now, when they’re going to want to know how Mississauga came about. How it responded to the Smart Growth. How it got the transit system it developed. That’s happening right here, right now! This is The History.

And we’re allowing –citizens are allowing the history of this city to be [points to Council] to be written by them!  And, and, it isn’t just that, it’s all Ontarians are allowing that to happen. Whether it’s in Vaughan, in Whitby, in Ajax, in Brampton, in Oakville. All citizens in Ontario –and I’m going to use the word “victimized” -are being victimized by minutes of meetings as opposed to it being recorded and the actual video record of every Council meeting, of every General (Committee) meeting, of every Audit Committee meeting should be part of the record!

And I know why it isn’t. I know why it isn’t. Because a video record cuts through the “He-Said, She-Said”. Cuts through the selective reporting -or even the lies. Because.. [long pause]

I, uh –the thing that happened today with Councillor Parrish and her frustra-I can understand the frustration! I can understand what it’s like to be stonewalled, to have delays, to be treated with disrespect –and by the way, being bullied, intimidated, threatened and [very long pause] I can understand her frustration.

[even longer pause]

They’re coming back (from in-camera). So let me record it this way.

Let’s add “no video records of things” and “selective minutes, selective reporting” as another Root of Youth Violence.

TRANSCRIPT ENDS

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

Comments

6 Responses to “MISSISSAUGA CITY HALL: KEEPING VIDEO RECORDS OF CITIZENS BUT NOT OF THEMSELVES?”

  1. Commentguy. on April 14th, 2009 9:10 pm

    Hey Muse.

    http://www.connect2endviolence.ca/

    Check it out. They’re trying to stop violence across Peel now. :)

    (couldn’t find a good place to plunk this..but I know you’ll have some good commentary on it) :)

  2. The Mississauga Muse on April 14th, 2009 10:34 pm

    Hey again Commentguy,

    You wrote:

    Hey Muse.http://www.connect2endviolence.ca/

    Check it out. They’re trying to stop violence across Peel now.

    “check it out”? Heck Brother Brampton, I was there! Look! This is my favourite pic of the session!

    Peel Police Chief Mike Metcalf and Toronto Maple Leaf Great, Johnny Bower

    The Mississauga News has an article on it. Murders force Peel to take action. And I even left a comment on that article at MissyNews as a temporal stamp.

    I wrote:

    “Just testing how long the moderation time is for http://www.connect2endviolence.ca

    Submitted a comment to the Blog “Struggling to Understand ” on April 14, 2009 at 6:11 pm. Let’s see how long it takes to approve. Signed, The Mississauga Muse

    Posted By: MISSISSAUGAWATCH On: Tuesday, April 14, 2009″

    I think this is one of those “discussion boards” where you have to wait for your comment to show and if you write it on a Friday, you won’t see it til Mon*snnnoorrrre*day.

    Either way I also left a comment on the http://www.connect2endviolence.ca website “Struggling to Understand” Blog. “Struggling to Understand”?…  Clearly someone who’s never filed a single Freedom of Information request.

    I also did the survey (someone won’t be happy).

    Stupidest comment I heard was “The Police can’t do it alone”. Maybe, but our Peelers are better off trying to go it alone than getting “help” from our frikkin’ “counter-productive” politicians!

    Love ya for the link.

    Oh! Wait! This is for you, Brampton-darlin’. Can my fellow prole guess what it is?

    MISSCORPSEC BB unperson RM 101 KNOB-DB recdep

  3. Commentguy. on April 15th, 2009 10:21 pm

    I love that picture of the Chief and Johnny Bower, Muse. Great Shot!!

    Did you see the latest crap going on in Vaughan? Looks like they have a VaughanWatch Group about to be started….they are challenging Mayor Jackson’s motives behind closed doors, and the whole closed door process in general.

  4. Commentguy. on April 15th, 2009 10:22 pm

    Oh! Wait! This is for you, Brampton-darlin’. Can my fellow prole guess what it is?

    Ooh lala Muse…is that what I think it is? A copy of the Big Yellow Security Database obtained via FOI?

  5. The Mississauga Muse on April 16th, 2009 8:26 am

    Hey Commentguy,

    OK, The Mississauga Muse is going to turn Bug and bug you, Brother Branpton, to go over to  the Mississauga News Blogs and talk story over there. Please. We’re building a group of municipal watchers, each with his own skills and focus.

    Used to be just Donald Barber. Then me. Then came Guitar Man, then you, then Happy Investigator, and then recently DeValera.

    While it’s great you-all leave comments here at MISSISSAUGAWATCH, it’s Mississauga News where we “meet”. MissyNews is a natural meeting place –a natural “hub”. (I think I’m going to use a sign-off helping people get over to MISSISSAUGA BLOGS.)

    OK. On to your comments. You wrote:

    I love that picture of the Chief and Johnny Bower, Muse. Great Shot!!

    I tell you. As much as I’d rather have my old life back and just research sea turtles, researching Mississauga governance does have its perks. That pic is one. What I find really cool about it is that Johnny Bower and his handsome Peeler uniform makes our #1 Maple Leaf look more like a police chief than Chief Metcalf! Too cool!

    You wrote:

    Did you see the latest crap going on in Vaughan? Looks like they have a VaughanWatch Group about to be started….they are challenging Mayor Jackson’s motives behind closed doors, and the whole closed door process in general.

    I’ve been monitoring Vaughan through the Toronto Star and when I can offer comments, I do. Good luck with VaughanWatch Group looking into closed meetings. I just checked and the City of Vaughan is using LAS —meaning they avoided the Ontario Ombudsman and hired Local Authority Servcices as “investigator” of closed meetings. Local Authority Servcices, a reminder,  is a sudsidiary corporation of AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario).

    On the bright side, at one Toronto Star article, comments were going back and forth and I told the Vaughan crowd that unless they filed Freedom of Information they simply did not know what was going on. Someone wrote back and said of course we’re FOIing. You know, written in such a way as someone was crabby that I didn’t think they thought of that already?… And I see that as a good thing.

    The only problem with Freedom of Information is the requests are handed over to the very people you’re complaining about to hand over any documents they got. Not the best way to build a case for fraud, breach of trust or whatever…

    Was it you who tipped me off about City of Ottawa and the clusterfuss there? And please go over to Mississauga Blogs, it’s easier to discuss over there and you’ve got brothers-in-arms there.

    Here. MISSISSAUGA BLOGS.

  6. The Mississauga Muse on April 16th, 2009 8:55 am

    Hey Commentguy,

    You wrote:

    Ooh lala Muse…is that what I think it is? A copy of the Big Yellow Security Database obtained via FOI?

    BINGO!

    Get this. I went from

    Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2006 13:58:45 -0500
    From: “MissCorpSec name unpersoned” <@mississauga.ca>
    To: <Future MISSISSAUGAWATCH>
    Cc: “Muni-Minion” <@mississauga.ca>
    Subject: Re: Corporate Security questionHi Ursula:

    Corporate Security Policies and Procedures are proprietary.

    To realizing that “proprietary” is Mississauga Corporate Security Speak (MissCorpSecSpeak) for “what Policies and Procedures?”…

    To getting the entire database shell.
    MISSCORPSEC BB unperson RM 101 KNOB-DB recdep

    To…. my husband filing a follow-up Freedom of Information handing them a DVD with a query they’re to run that will hand over all the ban, trespass and arrest data (minus ALL personal identifiable information). MissCorpSec BB

    Once we get that we will be ready to conduct analyses that MissCorpSec Big Brother never bothered with. And for the record, it took my husband just a few hours to write that MissCorpSec CSIS database query. Most of those few hours was familiarizing himself with its structure so he’d know what to request.

    Turns out this CSIS database also holds the Mississauga Corporate Security Civic Centre Lost and Found items!

    Lost and Found is another procedure that MissCorpSec didn’t bother following. Policy says they hand all unclaimed items to the Salvation Army. When I investigated they didn’t have a single record of that ever happening!

    None of the Trust, Quality, Excellence people over City of Mississauga can account for any of the Lost and Found gold/silver rings, bracelets, necklaces etc, or cameras… that should’ve gone to Sally Ann.  Or take Accountability for where they went.

    There’s a larger lesson here though Commentguy. I’ve learned that I can ask for any City of Mississauga database (I’m not botherin’ requesting any frikkin’ hard copies any more.).

    And any Ontario municipal database!

    Again a reminder, to you, Commentguy or anyone else interested in Municipal Matters, please join the discussion over at MISSISSAUGA BLOGS.


Bear