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

“STONEWALLED” SUB-CONTRACTORS FALL VICTIM TO CITY OF MISSISSAUGA FACILITIES AND PROPERTY MANAGEMENT’S “DUE DILIGENCE” OF CONTRACTS

February 27th, 2010  

This video has been prepared for the sub-contractors who appeared before the Wednesday, February 24, 2010 Mississauga Council meeting. Unpaid for their work, stonewalled and given the runaround, they too fell victim to City of Mississauga’s Staff’s chronic non-compliance to Corporate policies.

Truth be told, in the case of these sub-contractors, they fell victim to yet another policy believed to be “in place”, just that Mississauga’s Internal Audit did not find any trace of it!

And who was responsible for this contract? Why, none other than City of Mississauga Facilities and Property Management! The same fine folks who honed City of Mississauga Corporate Security into the unaccountable, no oversight, unethical knobs who also profess to be a “dedicated team of security professionals”.

Have to say I felt so sorry for the sub-contractors. In the words of the deputant, “blue collar” workers comprised of “single parents with kids on disability that are being —that are losing a lot of money”.

Sure they’ve been stonewalled, screwed-over and eventually forced to file Freedom of Information to peer at the truth. But in some ways they’re lucky —it’s still just money.

This same City of Mississauga Facilities and Property Management and their Corporate Security Guards arrest people/youth/minors.

By far the most offensive thing in the video I’ve prepared is Councillor Pat Saito looking the deputant in the eyes and saying, “I was assured by Staff at that time that when they did due diligence” and “Mayor McCallion and I did discuss that with Staff yesterday and we have been assured by Staff that they…”

Considering the number of times that I’ve advised Councillors that Staff’s word cannot be trusted, I’m just so offended she’d fling that “I was assured by Staff” turd at these people.

Saito’s “I was assured by Staff”comment alone is Perfect Testimony as to why the City of Mississauga can’t be trusted to hire its own Integrity Commissioner. There’s NONE THERE NOW!

This video is dedicated to the sub-contractors and their families who fell victim to the City of Mississauga Facilities and Property Management’s chronic non-compliance to policy and procedure.

So. As always, the video —followed by the transcript.

Video: HAZEL MCCALLION/MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL DECEIVE SUB-CONTRACTORS AND PUBLIC –WITHHOLD VITAL INFORMATION (10:22 min)

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

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

Okay, it is Thursday, February the 25th, 2010 and I’m here, underground, near 130 Adelaide Street and I’m to meet with the Judicial Inquiry investigators at 2 o’clock.

You know, I’ve been mentioning the non-compliance of City of Mississauga Staff to numerous policies. And you know, as recently as February 3rd I detailed quite a number of them in a deputation.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (Mississauga General Committee Deputation, February 3, 2010):
* sequence edited for brevity and audio begins after Policies 1 through 6.

Now these are non-compliance.

  1. Video Surveillance Policy (The Corporation’s first SNOOP policy)
  2. Violence and Vandalism Policy (2000 to 2006)
  3. Violence, Vandalism and Bullying Policy (the existing current one)
  4. Corporate Security Code of Conduct
  5. Corporate Security Public Complaints Policy (if you can believe that)
  6. Conflict of Interest Policy
  7. Vendor (and this comes from Audit) Performance Policy (Assumed abandoned, Internal Audit could no trace of it.)
  8. Charging Interest to non-government organization Policy
  9. Infoplace Cash Collection Policy (cost the City over, what? —$700,000 plus)

And then By-laws —the Records Retention By-law. That’s confirmed through Freedom of Information, and even Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

And the City Manager, Janice Baker responded with that she would simply not accept what I had said.

CITY MANAGER, JANICE BAKER (Mississauga General Committee Deputation, February 3, 2010):

The accusations that she’s made about the behaviour of Staff at the City are extremely serious and, you know, I am actually quite taken aback by them.

[dip to white]

But to suggest that there is a callous disregard at —by the Staff at the City of Mississauga for both the responsibilities that we have for the care, custody and control of records, written and electronic, is something that I simply cannot accept. I’m sorry.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

So, what happened at yesterday’s Council meeting was quite remarkable.

It was the 2009 Corporate Awards for Excellence that had been —were being handed out. And you would hear “Leading Canada in management”.

[cross zoom]

CITY MANAGER, JANICE BAKER (Mississauga Council Corporate Awards of Excellence Meeting , February 24, 2010):

Mississauga is continually looked upon as a municipal leader.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

Our excellent Staff, our excellent commitment to the taxpayer.

[cross zoom]

CITY MANAGER, JANICE BAKER (Mississauga Council Corporate Awards of Excellence Meeting , February 24, 2010):

—to address the needs of all sectors and members of our community.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

They are Trust, Quality and Excellence.

[cross zoom]

CITY MANAGER, JANICE BAKER (Mississauga Council Corporate Awards of Excellence Meeting , February 24, 2010):

They have exemplified our values of Trust, Quality and Excellence.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

And Excellence and Excellence and more Excellence.

[cross zoom]

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Council Corporate Awards of Excellence Meeting , February 24, 2010):

Just outstanding. Solves all problems. Brings Peace and Harmony on all issues that he faces.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

And you know, it’s a killer when I know what Freedom of Information and the Audit Committee has revealed.

[dip to white]

And then, more to the point, there was a group of about six sub-contractors who went before Council* and detailed their frustration with being paid, or in this case, not paid, for work they’d done by [sic] a contractor that was hired by the City of Mississauga.

[cross zoom]

BRIAN MCMAHON, HALTON BMAC MECHANICAL INC (Mississauga Council Corporate Awards of Excellence Meeting February 24, 2010):

Very early in the project, we expressed our concerns to the City Staff that the sub-trades weren’t being paid.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

His frustration that there were people really counting on the money and feeling hardship at this point.

[cross zoom]

BRIAN MCMAHON, HALTON BMAC MECHANICAL INC (Mississauga Council Corporate Awards of Excellence Meeting February 24, 2010):

—to maybe do something, [inaudible] single parents with kids on disability that are being —that are losing a lot of money

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

Things wouldn’t happen —then there was, he used the word “stonewalled” on occasion.

[cross zoom]

BRIAN MCMAHON, HALTON BMAC MECHANICAL INC (Mississauga Council Corporate Awards of Excellence Meeting February 24, 2010):

Through the Freedom of Information Act —because I was being stonewalled by so many people—

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

And then what was really interesting was, he asked, “Did the City do due diligence before hiring the contractor?”

[cross zoom]

BRIAN MCMAHON, HALTON BMAC MECHANICAL INC (Mississauga Council Corporate Awards of Excellence Meeting February 24, 2010):

"Through the Freedom of Information Act —because I was being stonewalled by so many people —through the Freedom of Information Act, I found out the information I do have."

Through the Freedom of Information Act —because I was being stonewalled by so many people —through the Freedom of Information Act, I found out the information I do have. I have access to the contract and to his —to the contract, to the statutory declarations that he was signing.

I also have, I also have his references and his resume, which at the least leaves much to be desired.

[dip to white]

Now there’s projects that he had that he put down as a reference, these are projects that he’s been, basically, kicked off for non-performance —this contractor, he’s done projects where there’s been liens to put on it and he’s been asked to leave.

And these are the —I want to know about due diligence of hiring this contractor and awarding him this job.

The sub-contractor says, "—I want to know about due diligence of hiring this contractor and awarding him this job."

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

And as soon as I heard the “due diligence” I said (laughs) I knew about an Audit Committee just recently, where again, there was issue with contracts. And the Audit Committee had investigated just how contracts were being handled in the City and Hazel McCallion brought up some issues where there had been problems with contractors in the past.

[cross zoom]

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

We sit down with management as we go through the Audit and say exactly what our concerns are so that they have time to address them. And as you can see, by the end of June of this year, five out of seven of the recommendations will be completed.

And also that formal Vendor Evaluation Criteria will be developed by mid-2010.

[cross zoom]

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

But on that point—

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

[inaudible]

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

On that point—

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Yeah.

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

There was a procedure set up years ago on Vendor [requisitions? inaudible]. Did you find any trace of it?

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

It’s just an informal vendor performance review right now [inaudible] it’s not being —there’s no formal process in there. The first thing—

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

There was —there was a policy established. Every vendor, and especially on major contracts, that when we had bad experiences —and we have had some bad experiences—

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Yes.

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

There was a policy established years ago that the vendor would be categorized. And in fact some would be cut off for future contracts.

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

That’s not—

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Did you find no trace of it?

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

No, it’s not in there.

COUNCILLOR PAT MULLIN (Chair, Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

No, the answer’s no. So I guess [inaudible]

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Well it was set up, I can tell you.

COUNCILLOR CARMEN CORBASSON (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

I remember the discussion.

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Do you?

COUNCILLOR CARMEN CORBASSON (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

I remember the discussions.

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Some of you who’ve been around long will remember? It was set up. So obviously it got lost in the shuffle somewhere. Cuz we ran, we ran into some bad examples. And that’s when we set the policy. That’s years ago. That’s not —ten years ago, would I be right? At least. So where did that —what happened to it?

Hazel McCallion, "And that’s when we set up the policy. That’s years ago. That’s not —ten years ago, would I be right? At least. So where did that —what happened to it?"

DIRECTOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, SALLY ENG (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

There is some mention of a purchasing By-law where we would be able to —or the purchasing agent has the authority to,  prevents [sic] the bidder from bidding in future contracts. But we have not been able to find any detailed processes relating to what you’re talking about.

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Okay.

COUNCILLOR PAT MULLIN (Chair, Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

[inaudble] that we should look into, I guess for the future. Because I remember the discussion.

[inaudible —several speakers at once]

CITY MANAGER, JANICE BAKER (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

That’s what one of the recommendations is.

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

I’m getting a little frustrated as Mayor as we set up policies and then they’re not followed. And that’s what bothers me. I was in the business —in the private sector and we had millions of dollars in contracts. And it’s been something I’ve been promoting  —is control of the contracts. And that policy was set up because we ran into one vendor who were [sic] behind two millions dollars, I remember.

Anyway.

So now we’re going to set up one up. Fine.

Someone:

Yeah.

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

If we set one up, it better be followed. That is the key. No use setting it up if it’s not going to be followed. You know, I don’t know why there’s such a disregard for policy.

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Just to conclude. Working with Facilities and Property Management, we’ve had a good rapport with them and I just want to thank Ken—

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

The guy that did the renovations at the . I hope he never sees another contract.

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Yeah.

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Am I right?

COUNCILLOR CARMEN CORBASSON (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

And the one at the

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

And the one at the

COUNCILLOR CARMEN CORBASSON (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

That was a bad one.

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

And I’ll be honest with you that’s—

MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

Now that was a bad one.

COUNCILLOR CARMEN CORBASSON (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

I think that’s when it was raised.

SENIOR INTERNAL AUDITOR, AL STEINBACH (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

[inaudible] of this audit, Madam Mayor they, ah,  that contractor again, there was no formal evaluation for those contracts. And that’s why we recommended that that be formalized and documented.

HAZEL MCCALLION (Mississauga Audit Committee, May 11, 2009):

There was even an evaluation form used many years ago because of our bad experience with contractors and we’d see their name pop up again being awarded a contract.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010) :

So, Staff and Council approved a policy that outlined how to go about evaluating a contractor to make sure that the City would be doing this due diligence. And what was interesting is, that was never mentioned to the contractor [sic] sub-contractor who was up there!

[cross zoom]

COUNCILLOR PAT SAITO (Mississauga Council Corporate Awards of Excellence Meeting February 24, 2010):

I was assured by Staff at that time that when they did due diligence —and you questioned the due diligence on page 3, which is “I 3c” of the report you filed. You questioned the due diligence of the City.

[dip to white]

MISSISSAUGA COUNCILLOR PAT SAITO'S ";And Mayor McCallion and I did discuss that with Staff yesterday and we have been assured by Staff that they went to three of the projects" is an insult of the highest order to both those gentlemen and me!

And Mayor McCallion and I did discuss that with Staff yesterday and we have been assured by Staff that they went to three of the projects —former projects, that this contractor had undertaken —that they’d used as references, and they were similar-sized projects.

And the information that we’ve received from our Facilities Staff, who oversaw the project, is that they received good reviews from two of them. They weren’t able, I guess to get a hold of the third one. But two of them did give good reviews and we have that review.

It doesn’t have a lot of detail in it.

[cross zoom]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (underground somewhere under 130 Adelaide, February 25, 2010):

So instead McCallion and Councillor Saito said, yes, Staff did do due diligence and check [sic] things out.

And again, once I found out that it was Facilities and Properties [sic] Management, again, because I sat in on the Audit Committee, I know that there have been Audits done of that Department that describe their record-keeping as from adequate to non-existent.

February 24, 2010's Mississauga sub-contractor deputants and MISSISSAUGAWATCH have a LOT in common! Both Victims of City of Mississauga Facilities and Properties Management!

And because I research City of Mississauga Corporate Security, also part of Facilities and Properties [sic] Management, there’s a lot of non-existent as well in terms of record-keeping.

So —what’s interesting is, in front of the cameras, there’s this kind of a non-acknowledgment of what happened in the Audit Committee.

[cross fade: logo]

TRANSCRIPT ENDS

Signed,

The (If you like how Mississauga Facilities and Property Management bungles Contracts, you should see the cluster****bungleknobfest that passes for Security!)

P.S. Have I an appropriate sign-off pic? Yep!

CITY OF MISSISSAUGA AUDIT COMMITTEEE JANUARY 24 2000 MINUTES

COMMENT left at the Mississauga News

The Mississauga Muse

Feb 27, 2010 9:07 AM

Really happy this morning…because I finally answered my biggest question

“Does Hazel McCallion know?” Meaning does Hazel McCallion know how Staff operate? Wednesday’s Council meeting CONFIRMS not just that McCallion KNOWS, but that she, like her Staff are Perps. By not telling those sub-contractors on Wednesday, that at the May 11, 2009 Audit Committee she found out that Internal Audit could find no trace of a formal Contractor Evaluation Policy that was passed by Council “10 years ago” she made her Respectful Workplace utterance about “honesty with the citizens both on the Council and on the part of Staff” a lie. First time I ever stepped foot inside Council Chambers (May 5, 2006). Got The Answer to “Does Hazel McCallion know? Wednesday, February 24, 2010. Zero doubt that Mississauga News “knows” too.

2009 MISSISSAUGA VIDEOS: MISSISSAUGAWATCH Shatters the MYTH behind the City of MYTHississauga

January 1st, 2010  

JANUARY 2009 video INSIGHT INTO THE BRANDING (AND FLUFFING) OF MYTHISSAUGA

Last Blog you saw the pics: The first being, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion hugging and congratulating Michael Nobrega fellow Director of the Enersource Board after their successful Enersource public meeting and Cable 10 broadcast. Nobrega is president and chief executive of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) —10% partner with 100% veto power (yes. really!).

Here’s the video uploaded to YouTube on January 25, 2009 of Mississauga Inc and McCallion-Nobrega in action.

Video: GEORGE ORWELL MEETS MISSISSAUGA ENERSOURCE (4:27 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

FEBRUARY 2009 (Uploaded February 10, 2009)

Video of youth/Police interaction on the TTC. Bitter February and the youth was wearing a thin T-shirt —complete with holes.

Video: HOMELESS YOUTH and TORONTO POLICE/SPECIAL CONSTABLES at TTC SUBWAY (Queen St station) 090205 (2:28 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

MARCH 2009 (Uploaded March 12, 2009) FROM THE THIS IS FRIKKIN’ SO-TYPICAL DEPARTMENT

MISSISSAUGAWATCH asks Dr. Alvin Curling if the authors of the Roots of Youth Violence Report had filed any Freedom of Information as part of their research. Nope.

Video: “ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE” co-author, DR. ALVIN CURLING interviewed by MISSISSAUGAWATCH (4:40 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

APRIL 2009 (Uploaded April 17, 2009)

HAZEL MCCALLION SAVES MISSISSAUGA’S SHERIDAN LIBRARY (4:16 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

MAY 2009 (Uploaded May 17, 2009) PUT A *STAR* BESIDE THIS ONE!

Video: HAZEL MCCALLION: on City Staff’s “complete disregard” for Policies (10:06 min)

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

JUNE 2009 (Uploaded June 5, 2009) MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL SETS A NEW RUBBER-STAMP RECORD!

Video: ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE: MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL FAILS YOUTH: IN 12 SECONDS! (1:00 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

JULY 2009 (Uploaded July 4, 2009)

Video: SKATEBOARDING MAUI, PAIA STONEWAVE SKATE PARK (1:48 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

AUGUST 2009 (Uploaded August 5, 2009) NOW HERE’S A PROMISE THAT NEVER DREW ITS FIRST BREATH!

Video: HAZEL MCCALLION MAKES PROMISE ABOUT PUBLIC QUESTION PERIOD (0:54 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

SEPTEMBER 2009 (Uploaded September 10, 2009)

Video: Poor and Invisible in Toronto. Through a (Tim Hortons coffee shop) Window 6:22)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

OCTOBER 2009 (Uploaded October 2, 2009) NOT ONLY WON’T THIS HAPPEN BUT EXPECT RIGOROUS COVER UP

Video: ‘MAKE MISSISSAUGA YOUTH BANS PUBLIC INFORMATION” says COUNCILLOR PAT SAITO (3:07 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

NOVEMBER 2009 (Uploaded November 1, 2009) WHEREIN WE WITNESSED WHO REALLY RUNS MYTHISSAUGA

Video: “Mega-Builder” Harold Shipp $$$threatens$$$ Seven Mississauga Councillors with $$$DEFEAT$$$ (1:04 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

DECEMBER 2009 (Uploaded December 15, 2009)

Video: MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY: Citizen-Blogger MISSISSAUGAWATCH requests limited standing (8:09 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

Follow MISSISSAUGAWATCH on Twitter.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH at www.mississaugawatch.ca

MISSISSAUGAWATCH at MISSISSAUGAWATCH Facebook

MISSISSAUGAWATCH at MISSISSAUGAWATCH YouTube

MISSISSAUGAWATCH photos (and documents secured through Freedom of Information) at Flickr The Mississauga Muse

RELATED LINKS

The Ontario Ombudsman Twitter

OMBUDSMAN OF ONTARIO website

The Ontario Ombudsman Facebook

The Ontario Ombudsman YouTube

The Ontario Ombudsman Flickr

MISSISSAUGA Conflict of Interest Judicial Inquiry VIDEO TRANSCRIPT COMPILATION-1: IN THEIR OWN WORDS, Councillors Corbasson, Dale, Carlson, Iannicca

November 6th, 2009  

At the October 28, 2009 Council meeting, despite blistering opposition from the “Our Hazel Can Do No Wrong” crowd, seven City of Mississauga Councillors voted for a judicial inquiry into the inner “murky” workings of the Trust, Quality, Excellence people.

While the traditional media have taken considerable interest of late, the reader/viewer is limited to reporters’ version of events which in some cases are as ghastly and non-researched as what is churned out by the “Our Hazel Can Do No Wrong” crowd.

Again, to repeat, I’ve been filing Freedom of Information on City of Mississauga Corporate Security conduct, operations and adherence to policies. If there are similar WThuh?! open cesspools like I’ve dredged up with $2,100 worth of Freedom of Information, this judicial inquiry was long overdue.

So MISSISSAUGAWATCH will turn today’s Blog over to a compilation of video transcripts of four Councillors as they explained why they voted for a judicial inquiry.

These transcripts appear in the order presented in previous Blogs: Councillor Carmen Corbasson (Ward 1), Councillor Frank Dale (Ward 4), Councillor George Carlson (Ward 11) and Councillor Nando Iannicca (Ward 7).

The reader who knows a thing or two about Mississauga will notice Councillor Carolyn Parrish (Ward 6) is not among these four and not addressed at all so far.  That’s because Councillor Parrish’s October 28, 2009 comments were extensive and will need more time to work up in video as well as provide transcripts.

The next Blog (and possibly a second) will deal exclusively with Councillor Parrish’s October 28, 2009 comments.

As I’ve said in my previous Blogs, all video and transcripts will be submitted to the Mississauga City Clerk for inclusion in the October 28, 2009 minutes because frankly, I do not want Future Mississauga 30-40 years from now to read only the Corporation’s side of the story (aka manicured minutes). (As a historical record it can’t get better than video and the transcript).

Here we go.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

IN HER OWN WORDS

COUNCILLOR CARMEN CORBASSON:

Thank you Mr. Acting Mayor and I will be brief. Um, let me first say that this isn’t an easy time for any of us around this table just like it’s not an easy time for you. I don’t think we take comfort in any of the decisions we’ve had to make of late. But notwithstanding, we are elected to make some tough decisions and I think that’s the type of comment you’re gonna hear around this table today.

I am not at all overwhelmed by the number of people who showed up, Councillor Prentice. In fact, I’m surprised there wasn’t more.

And I’ll tell you why I’m surprised because we all know Madam Mayor is loved, admired and respected. And I for one moment am not going to take away that from her. For me, she has been a role model in many many ways. We both started here in the City in 1978 and I’ve learned an awful lot from her.

I— my biggest difficulty is, and I hope you can understand and appreciate that when we have in-camera sessions, we are privy to certain comments and information that the general public is not.

For me, the in-camera session on the judicial inquiry opened up more questions than it answered.

I— that Madam Mayor didn’t declare one Conflict of Interest for a 17-minute or a 17-second, whatever it was, I have no problem with that.

I do have a problem that official government documents got changed with no satisfactory explanation.

I do have difficulty that any member of Council, doesn’t matter if it’s Madam Mayor, or me, or anyone else, can have off-site meetings, with a landowner, who has an interest in the City of Mississauga, that is going to financially benefit a member of any one of our families.

That may not be against the Conflict of Interest Act. But in my opinion, I would hope, and it’s my understanding that a judicial inquiry can —and most probably would, depending on their findings —make some very strong recommendations to have either the Conflict of Interest Act or the Municipal Act changed.

That’s simply put, Ladies and Gentlemen, for me —I’m not going to speak, I’ll let the others speak for themselves.

This isn’t about Mayor Hazel McCallion. This is about Governance, how do we improve it. Not only for this municipality, but across the Province. And I don’t know what price tag you put on that. Is it ten thousand? Is it one million? Is it ten million? I don’t know.

But I would like to see this City in particular, and certainly Madam Mayor come out with credibility, integrity and that we all maintain our dignity.

I do thank you for coming out today, Ladies and Gentlemen and I will turn it back to the Acting Mayor.

Video: Councillor Carmen Corbasson  (3:50 min)

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

IN HIS OWN WORDS

COUNCILLOR FRANK DALE:

Thank you Mr. Acting Mayor. I certainly just wanted to make a point, that I want to be clear as a member of Council that I always examine the facts that are before me and weigh them in any decisions that I make as the Councillor. And taking into, of course, the consideration, uh, taking into consideration, the best interests of this great city as well as the community in which I represent.

And I stand behind the position that that I took with respect to the inquiry primarily for the same reasons that Councillor Corbasson eloquently described.

And I do want to make it clear that this was not personal to the Mayor. This was just based on the facts that was presented before us and the recommendations that were before us by outside legal counsel —and reviewing that, and examining that, made that decision. And I stand by, and will support the recommendations that are before us today, with respect to the terms of reference.

I want to be clear though that the decision I make, the decision then—the decision I make today is for no one’s political gain.

Jeer from audience

I make this decision because I truly believe it’s the right thing to do.

Video: Councillor Frank Dale (1:58 min)

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

IN HIS OWN WORDS

COUNCILLOR GEORGE CARLSON:

Thank you very much Mr. Acting Mayor. I appreciate the opportunity just to say a few words that may be a slightly different tone than some of the other comments made. I think it’s sad in a way that it’s looked as a win-lose here today.

This was a process because we really, as a governing body, find ourselves vexed by the issues we’re reading about here today. And they haven’t just started dogging us yesterday at noon. This has been going on for some years.

And we’ve spent a considerable amount of money trying in our own way to get to the bottom of many of these issues. And in my opinion, I don’t think we’ve been all that successful. And it continues to hang over Council .

And when you read of the divisions on Council, you’re mostly talking about Enersource and the issues associated with OMERS and partnerships. So to me, I’m delighted that the motion is to delete Madam Mayor from that minor Conflict of Interest, which she’s already said she accepts responsibility. That is a nothing-issue as far as this inquiry is concerned

And as far as I’m concerned, Explanation Accepted. Forgotten about. That part is a Big Zero to me.

So because it’s so obvious from the heartfelt response from the folks here today that this appears to be a first-class witch hunt —must be Hallowe’en, we’re too much into the witch stuff, that we need— This helps to de-focus that and gets us on the other issues which I’m afraid the media find a lot less interesting than going after dear old Hazel.

The kind of stuff about governance and ownership and shares puts most people to sleep. I have to agree with you. But, it’s Big Bucks and we have never properly settled that issue. And I don’t know how to do it other than this.

But I think another point of view as well too, the fact that we’re going to a judge, that speaks volumes to me as a Canadian. I love that we have a country where we can go to an impartial judiciary and say look, we’ve played with the damn thing for two years and we’re not lawyers, judges.

And as I said to one resident today, if there was anything going on here, I would not want this group, much as I love them all, to be sitting in judgment of me. This is a non-starter —reat group of people to work with but, this is not a court of law.

So I think sometimes when you’re stuck, you’re stuck and you’ve got to get some help from somebody. And for me, that’s all this is about and the speculation about politics and who’s the Mayor—

I would think, to be honest with you, Carolyn Parrish has lost 20 points in leading this thing because this is not helping her for Mayor at all. And she gettin’ a lot of advice that brought this because for sure this is costing her votes if she ever were to run for Mayor.

So you may get your wish in that she’ll never be elected Mayor but we still have to sort out these problems and that’s why I’m supporting — It has nothing to do with the Mayor. I’ve known her —I’m trying to think when I first met Hazel, I think I was probably three years old or something. I have no interest in any vexatious action against her.

But by golly, I don’t know what else to do. I guess you could hire a consultant —we’ve done all of the consultants. We’ve done, we’ve asked for outside lawyers and asked for —we need someone who can come in and sort out the stuff and say, here’s what you need to do and what/where you went wrong, if we did go wrong. And here’s how you can improve it for the future.

That’s all I’m voting for and if that’s bad, I guess that’s bad but that’s all I can say about it and I appreciate the opportunity, Mr. Chair

Video: Councillor George Carlson (3:53 min)

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

IN HIS OWN WORDS

COUNCILLOR NANDO IANNICCA (Acting Mayor):

And if you don’t mind, as Chair, I would like to speak if someone would so move.

[Someone does]

COUNCILLOR NANDO IANNICCA (Acting Mayor):

Thank you, I—

MISSISSAUGAWATCH into camera:

Here he goes.

COUNCILLOR NANDO IANNICCA (Acting Mayor):

—have an obligation to my consitituents and I’ll be very very brief but I think Councillor Carmen (Corbasson) hit on the fundamental point that we’re all grappling with. This is not a fun day for us. This is a heart-wrenching decision.

The reason that I was one of the proponents of the Inquiry —the reason I stand by it emphatically needs all of ten seconds to explain.

Number One, I don’t have a crystal ball. I don’t know where this is going.

I do know that minutes have been altered —there some other things have gone on that I cannot explain to my taxpayers and I owe them an explanation.

Point Number Two, the Lady of Justice is blind for a reason. It matters not who she judges over —whether that’s your Mayor, whether that’s my brother, whether that’s the local parish priest. And I have to hold that close to my thoughts as well.

I also have a concern to be brutally candid with you of my understanding of some of the conduct that has been outlined —because, to be brutally candid with you, I would have grave concerns if I lived in a city where a Mayor and [inaudible] members of Council conducted their affairs in a somewhat similar manner.

It is not a city that I would want to live in. I’ve never conducted my affairs in that manner.

I’m shocked that anyone in the audience or anyone in this city would put the cost of such an exercise ahead of having to ensure you have Integrity and Accountability in your political system.

[Jeers and protests from the audience]

COUNCILLOR NANDO IANNICCA (Acting Mayor):

I beg your pardon.

And so to conclude, at the end of the day, I was not elected for my love of the Mayor. I was elected to do the right thing.

This, as difficult as it is on an emotional level —I want you to hear from me directly, from many of you that I’ve known for a long time, on an ethical, moral, and the-right-thing level, this is one of the easiest decisions that I’ve ever had to make though I’ve never regretted a decision more.

With that I now turn to the motions before me, I need the assistance of the Clerk to make sure…

Video: Councillor George Carlson (2:23 min)

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

MISSISSAUGA CONFLICT OF INTEREST JUDICIAL INQUIRY RECORDED VOTE, October 28, 2009

Again, Councillor Parrish’s comments are on-deck and for historical reasons, transcripts and video of the Councillors who opposed the judicial inquiry will also be recorded here for posterity.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

LINKS TO PREVIOUS BLOGS of the October 28, 2009 CONFLICT OF INTEREST/JUDICIAL INQUIRY meeting

MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY VIDEO VIGNETTE: Councillor Carmen Corbasson, “This isn’t about Mayor Hazel McCallion. This is about Governance, how do we improve it. Not only for this municipality, but across the Province. And I don’t know what price tag you put on that”

MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY VIDEO VIGNETTE: Councillor Frank Dale, “I make this decision because I truly believe it’s the right thing to do.” November 4, 2009

MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY VIDEO VIGNETTE: Councillor George Carlson, “I would think, to be honest with you, Carolyn Parrish has lost 20 points in leading this thing because this is not helping her for Mayor at all. November 4th, 2009

MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY VIDEO VIGNETTE: Councillor Nando Iannicca, “I would have grave concerns if I lived in a city where a Mayor and [inaudible] members of Council conducted their affairs in a somewhat similar manner. It is not a city that I would want to live in.”

Best quotes for people to Get It.

“This isn’t about Mayor Hazel McCallion. This is about Governance, how do we improve it. Not only for this municipality, but across the Province. And I don’t know what price tag you put on that. Is it ten thousand? Is it one million? Is it ten million? I don’t know.”

—Mississauga Councillor Carmen Corbasson regarding the judicial review, October 28, 2009

I want to be clear though that the decision I make, the decision then—the decision I make today is for no one’s political gain. (Jeer from audience) I make this decision because I truly believe it’s the right thing to do.

—Mississauga Councillor Frank Dale regarding the judicial review, October 28, 2009

I would think, to be honest with you, Carolyn Parrish has lost 20 points in leading this thing because this is not helping her for Mayor at all. And she gettin’ a lot of advice that brought this because for sure this is costing her votes if she ever were to run for Mayor. So you may get your wish in that she’ll never be elected Mayor but we still have to sort out these problems and that’s why I’m supporting — It has nothing to do with the Mayor.

—Mississauga Councillor Frank Dale regarding the judicial review, October 28, 2009

And I also have a concern to be brutally candid with you of my understanding of some of the conduct that has been outlined —because, to be brutally candid with you, I would have grave concerns if I lived in a city where a Mayor and [inaudible] members of Council conducted their affairs in a somewhat similar matter. It is not a city that I would want to live in.

—Mississauga Councillor Nando Iannicca regarding the judicial review, October 28, 2009

MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY VIDEO VIGNETTE: Councillor Frank Dale, “I make this decision because I truly believe it’s the right thing to do.”

November 4th, 2009  

[The BACKGROUND (all in dark blue font) is a repeat from a previous blog. You may just want to scroll down directly to the video and transcript.]

BACKGROUND

The October 28, 2009 Mississauga Council meeting will always be remembered as the Judicial Inquiry Meeting.

Facing blistering criticism from angry Hazel McCallion supporters and even dire threats of defeat from “When-Our-Hazel-Dies-I-Want-Her-Here-In-This-Hall” Mega-builder Harold Shipp, seven Councillors held their ground —and put their political futures directly on the line.

HERE COMES THE SUN

In his October 31, 2009 article, Mississauga melee gets ugly, Toronto Sun, columnist Ted Woloshyn telegraphs the 2010 pro-McCallion strategy.

He writes:

So expect Hurricane Hazel, who’s facing a tornado of trouble right now including a judicial inquiry into her actions and the inability to win key votes at council, to fight back hard.

To regain her power, expect McCallion to essentially build Team Hazel, for next year’s election. Team Hazel would consist of four sitting councillors and seven candidates hand-selected by the Hurricane, who back the mayor.

The other seven incumbents are now seen as anti-Hazel. If even two of those went down in defeat, control of Mississauga’s council chamber would shift dramatically, and in the end control of council equals control of the city.

An endorsement from a mayor who continuously garners in excess of 90% of the vote would carry a ton of weight. Would a politician who runs as part of Team Hazel get a little more attention and maybe a few more lawn signs?

I suspect an endorsement from Mississauga Mega-builder Harold Shipp is worth a mega-ton as well. Not to mention a mega-ton of lawn signs!

Having researched City of Mississauga governance (videotaping, Freedom of Information etc) and documenting “citizen input” over the years, this is the Picture…

The vast majority of Mississaugans do not know what’s going on. Second, of those who don’t know what’s going on, I’ve concluded that sadly, few would care if a judicial inquiry confirmed widespread malfeasance and corruption. Voters clearly vote with their wallets and wallets don’t care about ethical governments.

During his deputation in support of a judicial inquiry, Donald Barber stated:

“I’m not here to discuss anything about Hazel. We all know that, you know, even if she was dead and buried, her name was on the ballot sheet, she’d be elected  That’s fine.”

To which Mr. Barber received strong applause and cheers.

I’d go so far as to say that even if headlines confirmed that she routinely stuffs cats and political opponents into a wood-chipper, Mississaugans would re-elect Hazel McCallion. Such is the Pathology of MYTHissauga.

Over the next while, MISSISSAUGAWATCH will post videos of the October 28, 2009 Council meeting onto YouTube for posterity. Regardless of who is speaking, all videos will begin the same way —with Harold Shipp and his $$$threat$$$ of political oblivion to any Councillor who’d stand up during a recorded vote in support of a judicial inquiry.

Video: “Mega-builder” Harold Shipp warns MISSISSAUGA Councillors. Councillor Frank Dale responds (1:58 min)

So. First video of  Ward 4 Councillor Frank Dale and why he supported the judicial review, followed by a transcript from the video. All transcripts will be sent to the City Clerk for inclusion into the Council minutes for this meeting.

We begin.

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

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BEGINS:

VIDEO INTRODUCTION speaking AGAINST a judicial inquiry. “Mega-builder” HAROLD SHIPP:

If I were sitting there among you, Ladies and Gentlemen, who serve on our Council today, I would be wondering what my position would be one year from now when an election is held and how many of you might have a chance for re-election —IF you proceed with the action you are contemplating now.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH whispers into camera:

Now that’s a threat. Isn’t that interesting..

DIP TO BLACK (to signify later in the meeting).

COUNCILLOR FRANK DALE:

Thank you Mr. Acting Mayor. I certainly just wanted to make a point, that I want to be clear as a member of Council that I always examine the facts that are before me and weigh them in any decisions that I make as the Councillor. And taking into, of course, the consideration, uh, taking into consideration, the best interests of this great city as well as the community in which I represent.

And I stand behind the position that that I took with respect to the inquiry primarily for the same reasons that Councillor Corbasson eloquently described.

And I do want to make it clear that this was not personal to the Mayor. This was just based on the facts that was presented before us and the recommendations that were before us by outside legal counsel —and reviewing that, and examining that, made that decision. And I stand by, and will support the recommendations that are before us today, with respect to the terms of reference.

I want to be clear though that the decision I  make,  the decision then—the decision I make today is for no one’s political gain.

Jeer from audience

I make this decision because I truly believe it’s the right thing to do.

COUNCILLOR NANDO IANNICCA (Acting Mayor):

Thank you Councillor Dale. Councillor Saito…

—VIDEO TRANSCRIPT ENDS—

For serious students of municipal governance, there’s a timely article in the November/December 2009 issue of the Municpal Monitor.  Written by Gregory J. Levine, (Lawyer, Southampton and London, Ontario), you can find “Ethics in Municipal Government: The Law in Ontario” online at:

http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/naylor/MCTS0609/index.php#/6

Signed,

The (“Big Brother has his hand firmly planted in our back pocket – government revenues his lifeline; unaccountability his refuge.” —Andre Marin, Ontario Ombudsman, June 27, 2007) Mississauga Muse

“This isn’t about Mayor Hazel McCallion. This is about Governance, how do we improve it. Not only for this municipality, but across the Province. And I don’t know what price tag you put on that. Is it ten thousand? Is it one million? Is it ten million? I don’t know.”

—Mississauga Councillor Carmen Corbasson regarding the judicial review, October 28, 2009

"ETHICS IN MUNIICIPAL GOVERNMENT: THE LAW IN ONTARIO" online at the MUNICPAL MONITOR" BY GREGORY J. LEVINE

SKATEBOARD SUNDAY preliminary report: Turner skatepark (Hamilton), Chinguacousy skatepark (Brampton) and Iceland skatepark (Mississauga)

September 7th, 2009  

Yesterday as part of a MISSISSAUGAWATCH Skateboard Sunday survey, I visited three major “flagship” municipal skateboard facilities, Turner in Hamilton, Chinguacousy in Brampton, and Iceland, Mississauga. The Sunday before (August 30, 2009) we wrapped up our summer’s observation of Maui’s three skateboard parks.

We’ve already reported on the Maui skateboard scene in previous Blogs and especially in “MISSISSAUGAWATCH reports on three Maui Skateboard parks (StoneWave-Paia, Kalama-Kihei and Keopuolani-Kahalui)”.

Once back in Mississauga, it became clear that it would be absurd to now compare the Maui Three with the skateparks we’d been observing and reporting on back in May and June. For example, while observing Beasley Park in City of Hamilton, we were not aware that the new $500,000 Turner Skatepark had opened. (Plus back in May/June I preferred neighbourhood skate plazas to observing a larger City-wide facility.)

No more. The Maui Three forced me to turn my attention to local Flagship Parks.

Yesterday, as part of back-to-back Skateboard Sundays, I first visited Turner Skatepark in Hamilton. (I’d been tipped to the existence of this new facility by a commenter here.)

I ran a quick check of City of Hamilton Council’s decisions as to how Turner Skatepark got located where it did, and surfed a tour of what Google Maps suggested was an affluent surrounding neighbourhood (it was).

TURNER SKATEPARK CITY OF HAMILTON

By far the most surprising thing about Turner Skatepark came from a conversation with one of several parents sitting around watching their kids skateboarding. This mother enthused about how the skatepark was right next to the police station (and I mean right-next-right-next).

I responded that such close presence of police must make parents feel comfortable letting their kids skate there.

Her response was, “Oh no, I’d never leave him here by himself!”

That made Turner Skatepark the most fascinating park in our 6-facility study.

After Turner, I traced out the Upper James route that a kid living around Beasley Skatepark would have to take to reach the flagship Turner. There were only three kids skateboarding that day at Beasley and only one had an actual skateboard. A pervert waxed poetic into my video camera about the number and quality of his testicles while three other suspicious characters were sitting on a park bench watching me videotape graffiti.

Now with two months of Maui skatepark observation behind me, I see Beasley Skatepark for what it is. One ramp. One small depression for a “bowl” and some concrete to smear a board across —that’s Beasley.

BEASLEY SKATEBOARD PARK (CITY OF HAMILTON) 090906

Two small girls were on swings unsupervised and I was reminded of the Turner Park mother’s comment, “Oh no, I’d never leave him here by himself!”… Hamilton: A Tale of Two Cities.

I then set off for Chinguacousy Park, City of Brampton. I heard more F-words in my observation time there than at all Maui skateboard parks the months of July and August combined, plus Turner that morning. Not a good start…

However, Chinguacousy surprised me the most of the three local skateparks I visited yesterday. And surprised me in a good way.

CHINGUACOUSY SKATEBOARD PARK (CITY OF BRAMPTON) panoramic shot 090906

(Click here for larger version)

Chinguacousy reminded me of Kahalui’s Keopuolani Skatepark.  More about all this in later Blog entries.

It was getting deep into afternoon and I reluctantly headed for Iceland in Mississauga. I say “reluctantly” because 1: I have the City of Mississauga Corporate Security database printout of all the bans and arrests issued at that City Property, plus 2: I’d visited the skatepark there on several other occasions.

ICELAND SKATEPARK (CITY OF MISSISSAUGA) 090906

On this visit, there were perhaps 20 boys, with about an even split of bikes and boarders. Being just fresh from Chinguacousy, I found Iceland the bore. I videotaped a bit, narrating into the camera and then once I was done, a parent supervising his two kids talked me up.

“You mentioned a skatepark in Brampton?”

“Yeah, Chinguacousy. I just came from there.”

I mentioned Chinguacousy’s attributes (like that it was in a park and not beside the 403) and then provided directions. He gathered his two kids and B-lined it for B-Town.

I saw Chinguacousy as a cool mix between Maui’s Keopuolani and Kalama skateboard parks.

CHINGUACOUSY SKATEBOARD PARK (CITY OF BRAMPTON) TRUE TO THE SPORT 090906

Even a Chinguacousy conversation between a kid and a BMXer reminded me of the New York Times article “The End of Falling” in memory of Skateboard pioneer, Andy Kessler.

The BMXer rested his bike on a ramp ledge.

CHINGUACOUSY SKATEBOARD PARK (CITY OF BRAMPTON) close-up BMX BIKE 090906

The kid asked, “How did you get so good?”

“I fall down a lot,” and he sped away.

Having observed all six skateparks now, I’m confident in rating them as if I were a Middle School kid committed to skateboarding. But I recognize that what this almost-60 year old white female might look for isn’t the same thing as a real skateboarder (or for that matter a male!).

For me, the Skatepark Rankings were based on architecture, respect and supervision. Did the parks have the kind of ramps and bowls to attract the serious big-boy skaters? Was there a culture of respect among the park users?  If two parks’ architecture and respect rated equal then the ranking came down to a skatepark’s supervision.

I hope you’ll agree that a skatepark where kids are respectful of others and is unsupervised, is infinitely preferable to a supervised park. Unsupervised means it’s the kids’ skatepark where they are free to be respectful, inclusive and solve inevitable conflicts —on their own.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

New York Times and Toronto Star REMEMBRANCE: Skateboarding pioneer, Andy Kessler (48) dies of wasp sting

August 23rd, 2009  

I had meant to post this a week ago. Andy Kessler…

The thing  is that for readers to understand the importance of skateboarding pioneer Andy Kessler, you have to know something about the skateboarding culture. Far too many of us see skateboarders as thugs-on-wheels.

And when we see graffiti and tags, we make an immediate connection to skateboarders.

I can tell you this from my summer research here on Maiui. Real skateboarders have the same contempt for the “thugs-on-wheels” as real graffiti artists have for taggers.

Real skateboarders are athletes and like top tier surfers, they’re Alpha-Male-fearless-crazy. (Expect skateboarding to become an Olympic sport.)

While I began my study of skateboarders and skateboard parks in Mississauga —and then Hamilton, it took quality time at Maui, Hawaii’s three skateboard parks for me to GET it. Get real skateboarding.

I didn’t know who Andy Kessler was until I read his Obituary in the Toronto Star. He was a skateboarding pioneer, died at age 48 from a wasp sting.  I can’t emphasize enough that to understand real skateboarding, you have to know that the first skateboarders were surfers.

Thought I’d share a portion of this Blog commemorating Kessler —“The End of Falling”, from the New York Times first.

What’s interesting is Bret Anthony Johnston’s comparison between the East Coast skateboarders and the West Coast ones (“gritty, dirty, and beautiful, the shadow-version of the breezy West Coast surf-style”).

That’s the same difference that I’ve observed this summer between the Mississauga/Hamilton skaters vs those at the three skateboard parks in Maui, Hawaii.

Excerpt from the New York Times Blog, “Happy Days, The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times”

Image Courtesy of the New York Times

Andy Kessler, West 30th Street, Manhattan, 2005. Image courtesty of the New York Times

Andy Kessler, West 30th Street, Manhattan, 2005.  Ivory Serra

The End of Falling

August 13, 2009, 11:15 pm

By Bret Anthony Johnston

I’ve been skateboarding seriously for more than 20 years, and while I never met Andy Kessler, I know his life story. Most skaters over the age of 25 do. Born in Greece and raised on West 71st Street in Manhattan, Kessler started skateboarding when he was 11. This was in the 1970s, a time when skateboarding was so alien to New York City that he had to mail-order his gear from California. Significance-wise, think: Prometheus and fire. When other kids saw Kessler carving around the Upper West Side on his board — which would’ve been three inches wide with metal wheels — they followed, and just like that, the East Coast skate scene was born. It was gritty, dirty, and beautiful, the shadow-version of the breezy West Coast surf-style.

And now, with special thanks to the Toronto Star.

COURTESY THE TORONTO STAR:

REMEMBRANCE

TheStar.com | Obituary |

Andy Kessler, 48: Skateboarding pioneer

Aug 15, 2009 04:30 AM

DANIEL DALE
STAFF REPORTER

The next time some punk skateboarder cuts you off on a downtown sidewalk, curse Andy Kessler.

California’s skateboarding pioneers were surfers, kids who rode in empty backyard swimming pools when they couldn’t ride the waves.

YOUNG SK8RZ, STONEWAVE SKATEBOARD PARK, PAIA, MAUI, HAWAII

Because there were fewer pools in New York, young rebels there were forced to pioneer city skating. In the late 1970s, a group of a few dozen teenagers turned the features of the urban landscape – stairs, poles, flower planters – into obstacles to be challenged and conquered.

“It was about making that action happen with your imagination,” J.J. Veronis, one of those rebels, told The East Hampton Star. “And Andy was king.”

Kessler, born in Greece in 1961 and raised in New York, was the unofficial leader of the Soul Artists of Zoo York, the city’s first skateboard crew. The Upper West Side was their laboratory – and their fishbowl. When they began skating, they had to order their gear by mail from California; in large part because of their rolling advertisements for the sport, New York developed its own burgeoning scene.

Kessler received his first skateboard from his mother at age 10. Like most Zoo Yorkers, he dabbled in graffiti and drugs as a teenager. After the crew disbanded in the 1980s, he became an addict. But he recovered. He then helped take skateboarding off city streets.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0043

Despite his dedication to street skateboarding, Kessler long advocated the creation of a haven where New York’s skaters could ride unbothered. In the mid-1990s, his lobbying persuaded the municipal government to build its first public skate park. The city hired him as lead designer, and he eked out a living creating several more.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0027

Kessler continued skating into his 40s. While young skaters tended to be unaware of his contribution, an ignorance that sometimes bothered him, the older ones never forgot. In 2005, dozens helped raise thousands of dollars for his medical care when he broke his femur in a wipeout.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0044

Though he could be unpleasant – “Some days you caught him and he was a jerk, some days you’d sit and talk for hours,” skate-park builder Tim Vander told ESPN – he was widely beloved.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0037

Kessler died Tuesday of a heart attack following an allergic reaction to a wasp sting at a cottage on Long Island.

He was 48.

This pic is dedicated to Andy Kessler. I’m sure he’d know what the kid on his back and under his skateboard is doing. But up until my husband and I witnessed it, we wouldn’t have been able to guess.

Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii August 16, 2009 0043

Signed,

The (Special mahalo nui loa to the skaters at Keopuolani Skate Park, Kahului. Maui, Hawaii) Mississauga Muse

“Often, especially when Kessler was nurturing what would become the East Coast scene, the kids who gravitated toward skateboarding were misfits and malcontents, the shy outcasts who’d been intimidated and sullied by the complex pressures of social interaction. Skateboarding gave them an identity and voice, and Kessler, by example, gave them the confidence to declare themselves to society.”

“This is who he was and how he’ll be remembered, as a man who understood the abiding and cathartic power of resilience. You don’t give in. You take every run —on the ramp, with recovery, at City Hall.”

Bret Anthony Johnston from “The End of Falling” New York Times Blog, “Happy Days, The Pursuit of What Matters in Troubled Times”

READ THE TORONTO STAR ONLINE

www.thestar.com

READ THE NEW YORK TIMES ONLINE AT:

www.global.nytimes.com

Video: features Mississauga Council’s announcement of the St. Joseph Secondary School lockdown and –After the Storm

June 18th, 2009  

I’m thoroughly spent. Bare bones blog today.

Just going to rely on a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words (and presumably a YouTube video is worth a Million).

So. Here’s video of yesterday’s Mississauga Council announcement (delivered by Councillor Carolyn Parrish) of the St. Joseph Secondary School stabbing incident and lockdown. The rest of the video shows the calm after the storm. Anyone expecting video of police arriving with sirens blaring and lights flashing followed by ambulances will be disappointed.

I stayed for the entire General Committee meeting and so showed up at the school well after our Peelers had restored calm.

I’ll also re-run video of the October 30, 2008 Peel Regional Council announcement of the lockdown at Lincoln Alexander Secondary as well.

Followed by video of me asking Roots of Youth Violence co-author, Dr. Alvin Curling whether the Roots of Youth Violence authors had researched their report using Freedom of Information (Answer: No).

For the record.

LOCKDOWN LIFTED: St. Joseph Secondary School calm restored (features City Council’s announcement)  3:27 min

UPDATE: June 18, 2009. The original video was replaced for the sake of brevity (seems some people didn’t like the extra 90 seconds worth of police cruisers).

(Please click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

MALTON HIGH SCHOOL LOCKDOWN: MESSAGE TO PEEL POLITICIANS 4:36 min

(Please click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

“ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE” co-author, DR. ALVIN CURLING interviewed by MISSISSAUGAWATCH (4:40 min)

(Please click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

That’s it.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

UNACCOUNTABLE ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: A major Root of Youth Violence

Bob Dechert and Hazel McCallion field question, “ACCOUNTABILITY? WHERE?” at Safe City Mississauga town hall meeting

June 14th, 2009  

[UPDATE: June 15, 2009. I’ve just been advised of an error in yesterday’s Blog. I’d used “Progressive Conservative” instead of “Conservative” when referring to Mississauga-Erindale MP Bob Dechert. This means I’ll have to rework the video which made reference to “P.C.” and post the corrected version. So please be patient as I make this fix. Thanks also to the reader who pointed out that I spelled “ostensibly” as “bstensibly”. Apologies especially  to Mr. Dechert for referring to his party as “Progressive”. Now only yesterday’s Blog.]

On  June 11, 2009, the former Mississauga Crime Prevention Assocation, aka Safe City Mississauga, hosted a town hall meeting at Ruth Thompson Middle School to assure the assembled that “The federal government has been working tirelessly in the fight against violent crime”.

Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Rob Nicholson was there as special guest and believe me, there was a lot of toughness going on.

According to the Mississauga News article “Tories tough on crime, residents told”, about 60 people turned out to hear Nicholson outline “his government’s commitment to cracking down on crime.”

I was one of those 60 people and I blew my chance to ask the Justice Minister my question which was basically, “Where do you get off getting tough on youth when you don’t get tough on provincial and municipal governments ostensively there to serve them?” But alas… it was not meant to be.

However, I did get to ask a similar question that both Mississauga-Erindale MP Bob Dechert (Conservative) and Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion responded to but predictably didn’t answer as in answer-answer.

Here is the video of that exchange, followed by the  transcript.

Bob Dechert and Hazel McCallion field question, “ACCOUNTABILITY? WHERE?” (3:35 min)

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

TRANSCRIPT.

Brad Butt (Chair: Safe City Mississauga):

Okay, we’ll go to our final question. Ursula, you got a question over here to end us up?

The Mississauga Muse (Witness: MISSISSAUGAWATCH):

Yeah, just regarding Youth programs, I’m just wondering when funding and money is given to various Youth programs (and it really doesn’t matter whether it’s Peel or anywhere else, I’m talking about any municipality specifically in Ontario). I’m interested, what kinds of Accountability mechanisms are in place to ensure that there’s effectiveness in the program.

I know that Peel Regional Police had a summit back in 1994 –94 I think it was. And their first recommendation was to ensure that there was Accountability in place for various programs, for cost-effectiveness and everywhere else.

It still isn’t happening!

And I’m just wondering if there’s going to be any kind of effort on the part of the Federal government to kind of make the Provincial government more accountable, who then might turn the screws on the municipal government? Thank you.

Bob Dechert (Mississauga-Erindale MP (Conservative):

Thanks for the question, Ursula. I think the question as to —how do we monitor the programs, the Federal programs at the Federal level for things like at-risk Youth programs to make sure that they’re effective.

The Federal government doesn’t hold the Provincial government accountable or audit their functions but I know that they

The Mississauga Muse (Witness: MISSISSAUGAWATCH):

I know  i—

Bob Dechert (Mississauga-Erindale MP (Conservative):

But we certainly do and Julius can tell you that the programs that his centre operates, there is a separate function of the Department of Safety and Security and other departments that fund the programs at his centre and on an annual basis. They measure effectiveness of the program that his centre and all these centres are delivering to ensure that they are reaching their goals.

Their goals set [sic] for them when they apply for funding and then there is an audit department of that ministry that at the end of the year audits to see if they’ve met their goals. And if they don’t meet their goals they don’t get continued funding for the next year. And they’re told, you know, what they need to do to improve to meet their goals and objectives.

I’m pretty sure that the same thing happens at the Provincial level and I’m sure (turns to Hazel McCallion) Mayor, the same thing happens at the municipal level as well.

(To Mayor McCallion) I don’t know if you want to say something about that provided it’s short.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion:

At the local level, our Staff [inaudible] applications for grants very thoroughly. It has to meet certain criteria.  And especially they have to have audited statements of their finances. And if they don’t meet, as you say, Bob, they don’t meet the criteria that we set down, then the next year they don’t get the grant. Simple as that.

It’s a very detailed analysis that’s done on every application. It’s done by the Staff and you know, they don’t monitor the program all year round but when they come back to the application the next year, then they got to show proof how they spent the money. Was it spent the way —the purpose for which it was granted? And we ask for audited statements.

TRANSCRIPT ENDS.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

MISSISSAUGAWATCH and a www.connect2endviolence.ca billboard (Britannia Rd, Mississauga)

Hazel McCallion saves Sheridan Library: “…please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing!”

April 17th, 2009  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Apologies for not having a fresh Blog since April 14th but there’s just been so much to document/research that there’s simply been no time to report on what’s happening.

To give you an idea of what MISSISSAUGAWATCH has been up to in the data collection department since Monday’s Blog here’s a list.

Data collection, researching through Freedom of Information and bearing witness to what needs to be witnessed are far more important than regular Blogging.

You’d think that would go without saying. But no.

The Internet is thoroughly polluted with Blogs spouting opinion —the situation made worse by comments to opinion-focussed Blogs spouting opinion from readers spouting their opinions.   Far too many Blogs assault readers with hundreds of words before actual supporting documents/data are presented.

The very worst Blogs are 100% opinion.

I can tell you this —consider it a reader alert. As of this week, one more Blog (already toxic with unsubstantiated opinion) has joined our virtual world.

As for MISSISSAUGAWATCH.CA,  all I can say is Freedom of Information research continues…

Next. Today’s Blog.

SHERIDAN LIBRARY PUBLIC MEETING April 15, 2009

I’ve been observing Mississauga Council since June 2006 and I can’t tell you the number of times Budget deliberations have threatened the Sheridan Library. Cut hours. Cut hours. Cut hours.

Cut hours so much that here’s what Sheridan Library service looks like today (from the mississauga.ca website). Hint: When you scan the hours, think of when kids are in school and parents at work.

NEW! Hours – Winter 2009

Mon 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tues 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Wed 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thurs 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun CLOSED

There’s a worrisome trend at the City of Mississauga that I’ve already mentioned in previous Blogs. Two years worth of Freedom of Information documents reveal that City of Mississauga Staff aren’t strong on social issues.

Cut-and-pasting from a previous Blog that dealt with cuts to hours of library service, Councilor Saito said it best.

PAT SAITO: They are probably the four libraries that are in the area of most need.”

“I guess when I look at the, the hours, or sorry, the libraries that are suggested to be closed for the saving on the Friday evenings and the Sundays.. You know (small chuckle) they’re the four libraries —four of them, Meadowvale, Burnhamthorpe, Malton and South Common. They are probably the four libraries that are in the area of most need.” —Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito (October 15, 2008 Budget Meeting)

Now speaking of areas with most need, we have Sheridan Library. And I have to say I found the presentation by the Mississauga consultant fascinating. For one thing, she used 2004 data. For those who need the Obvious spelled out for them 2004 was five years ago!

The other odd item was the difference of opinion about the needs of the community in the immediate area. The City of Mississauga consultant downplayed the need —that there were other parts of Mississauga more “at-risk”. Then the E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) teacher for the nearby Oakridge Public School, who attended to support his kids, provided data showing that the Peel District School Board identified his school —Oakridge, as Number One in terms of  need.

Two studies. Two very different findings. Something is very wrong here.

I suppose that this is as good a place as any to tell readers that in my former life, I taught at Oakridge Public School back in the mid 70’s. Many youngsters were needy back then!

A lot of people attended this meeting to defend the Sheridan Library. But I have to congratulate that Oakridge E.S.L. teacher because he served up data. Facts.

As a result of the information he provided, he’s made it possible for me to file Freedom of Information on various aspects of the Sheridan Library. (I won’t reveal more because I know the minions of evil empire move their lips to this Blog.)

Enough.

Here’s the bottomline.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion  has the following message.

“Please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing. “

And I’m only too happy to.

HEY EVERYBODY! SHERIDAN LIBRARY IS NOT CLOSING!

And not only that but just from examining the Mayor’s face during her speech and afterwards, it’s a pretty good guess that she’s going to see that this needy community’s largely new immigrants (and the Oakridge kids) get a library reflective of those needs.

Ward Councillor Katie Mahoney has defended Sheridan Library every single time it was threatened. Afterwards, I even stood in line to speak with her and thank her for the resolute defence she played on behalf of these people. Mahoney squawked every single time. And her last Council squawk made it clear to Mississauga Staff not to bring up the topic of closing again.

Still, a Councillor has surprising little power.

What has guaranteed a brighter future for Sheridan Library is McCallion herself.  I’m convinced that the Mississauga Mayor did not know the embarrassing conditions at Sheridan Library. Frankly I had my eyes opened too Wednesday evening as well.

The cramped conditions and aging books sure turned the mississauga.ca News Release,  “Service Options Review for the Sheridan Community” into an Orwellian joke.

Down at the very bottom of the City’s News Release. it states:

Mississauga is Canada’s sixth largest city with a population of more than 700,000. With well-established infrastructure and state of the art facilities, the City is considered to be an employer of choice, delivering quality municipal programs and services to its citizens. Mississauga is a dynamic, diverse, and progressive municipality, known for its economic strength and for being Canada’s safest city.

“state of the art facilities”?! STICK IT YOU SPINMEISTERS IN COMMUNICATIONS!

Well, I certainly feel better now…

So here is video of Mayor McCallion’s wonderful address to the Sheridan Library Community Wednesday evening.  And the transcript of the video. All for the record.

HAZEL MCCALLION SAVES MISSISSAUGA’S SHERIDAN LIBRARY 090315  (4:16 min)

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

TRANSCRIPT  Mayor Hazel McCallion Sheridan Library April 15, 2009 public meeting:

Thank you very much and I came to listen. And there are some excellent suggestions put forward.

And I want you to know that your Councillor has protected this library.

And I want you to know that myself and the Councillor and even Councillor Mullin, is concerned about reducing the library hours.

Because I really believe the library, in many years, is the community centre as much as it is, especially for the students.

And you know, today, in order for Canada to be competitive, it is so important that our children get every opportunity to learn more because that’s the only way will remain competitive.

[Apologies, battery change]

The services, by the way, Paul, [Ed: Commissioner of Community Services, Paul Mitcham] that we provide in this library obviously is not adequate. I hate to hear that there’s not enough computers. Today, the children, when they’re doing their research, the computer is such a key to it.

So I heard two things tonight –how the library is stocked. Is it that same as others libraries in the area? I don’t mean all libraries. We DO have the Central Library. And we DO have a district library. And we have a [inaudible] library and therefore they should be all equal, whether the neighbourhood is here or in Streetsville or Erin Mills or wherever it is.

So we heard tonight, there is a need. As I say, your Councillor has protected the library. There was a movement to close it and she stood up and made sure it wasn’t closed.

Now we’re here tonight and Councillor Mullin has joined us.

The library, you know, years ago, when there weren’t community centres and there weren’t arenas and there weren’t all those things, there were libraries. Think about that. There were libraries because that was the key to a community.

And so the library is an extremely important facility in the community.

In regard, I agree with Councillor Mahoney as well, that the library should be located in the right location and that is important as well –to be able to be available to as many people as possible.

Not all –we can’t have a library on every corner –we can’t have a library right next to your house, I wish we could, but we can’t. So we have to choose a good location. And I think your Councillor is well aware of where the library should be.

We will attempt –I will try to negotiate with the owner of this plaza as well. And I would think that the economic downturn and the fact that plazas are not doing as well –and this one, I understand is not doing as well as others and I think that there’s a pretty good negotiating opportunity.

Secondly, we will look at land within this area that Councillor has clearly defined to see if there is. It’s tough to purchase land these days, you know. You can’t force people to sell it to you but we will make every effort.

I know that Paul, our Commissioner here tonight, will bring me up to date on the negotiations that are taking place with the owner of this plaza and I will get involved.

So tonight you gave us some ideas –I think they’re great– I want you to know that we are here to serve you and to serve this community as we try– [McCallion cut off by applause]

So thank you for coming and please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing!

[TRANSCIPT ENDS]

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

HAZEL MCCALLION: READ "TRANSCRIPT Mayor Hazel McCallion Sheridan Library April 15, 2009 public meeting: ...and please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing"

Addtional resources.

I was unaware that the young man sitting in the chair to my right was Peter, the person who left an announcement about the Sheridan Library meeting in “About the Mississaugas Muse”.  I Googled him and found his excellent summary of the Sheridan Library meeting.

Peter Browne describes himself as a “Peter Browne student. nerd. politics activist” and I encourage you to read his “Sheridan Branch Library Meeting” summary. Clearly Peter is a Blogger committed to informing his readers. He’s actually posted an audiotape of the  meeting as an mp3!  Audio and video cut through the He Saids and She Saids of differing opinions of what actually happened.

Also please visit Peter’s Flickr site for his photographs of the information slides presented at that meeting.

Last. Here is the Mississauga News article, “Neighbourhood needs its library, residents say”.

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

Councillor Carolyn Parrish slams City’s $731,485.00 “goof up” that “flew through” Mississauga Council with ZERO discussion.

April 2nd, 2009  

Just thought I’d share video of yesterday’s $731,485.00 General Committee meeting.

Long story short, regarding Mississauga’s transit revenue loss of $731,485.00 , I was advised (thanks to the tipster) that the Ottawa Citizen first broke the story of Infoplace Ticket Centre woes on January 27, 2009 but didn’t name Mississauga as a creditor.

Money woes shut lottery kiosks

Five area booths affected; company owes $9.7M

By Tony Lofaro, The Ottawa Citizen January 27, 2009

OTTAWA — Five lottery kiosks in Ottawa and others across the country closed on the weekend, and threw close to 800 people out of work.

The kiosks, owned by Infoplace Ticket Centres Ltd. and located in Carlingwood Mall, Billings Bridge Plaza, Place d’Orléans, Lincoln Fields and Hazeldean Mall and 180 other locations across Canada, shut down Friday night. The kiosks sold lottery tickets, bus passes and postage stamps and were franchise operations with five or six employees at each location.

“We disabled the terminals so that lottery business could no longer be conducted, given their situation. We had no alternative,” Don Pister, a spokesman for the Ontario Lottery Corp., said Monday.

He said the Infoplace Ticket Centres Ltd. represented “less than one per cent” of retailers that sold lottery tickets across the province. In Ontario, more than 10,000 outlets sell tickets on behalf of the lottery corporation, he said.

“It’s too soon to say what happened, but the company ran out of money,” said Hassan Jaffer, a trustee with Grant Thornton Ltd. Trustees in Toronto. He said the Toronto-based company owes 40 creditors about $9.7 million…

By February 11, 2009, The Ottawa Citizen listed Mississauga out by $600,000.

Bankrupt ticket firm owes city $1.9M

Ottawa officials to attend upcoming court hearing in hopes of getting money back

By Jake Rupert, The Ottawa Citizen February 11, 2009

The city’s 2009 financial outlook has taken a potential $1.9-million hit with the bankruptcy of a kiosk company that used to sell bus tickets and passes, and one councillor is angry the municipality was doing business in a manner that left it exposed to that high of a loss.

Infoplace Ticket Centres Ltd. had five kiosks in Ottawa shopping malls. The company largely sold lottery tickets and bus passes and tickets near major transit stations. It filed for bankruptcy at the end of January.

According to the trustee appointed to oversee the bankruptcy process, the company owes $9.7 million and the City of Ottawa is its largest unsecured creditor. Infoplace Ticket Centres operated 180 kiosks across Canada.

The list of creditors includes several other municipalities including:

Yet it took the Toronto Star (and Mississauga News) until March 25, 2009 to pick up the story. Why?

Mississauga mayor calls for audit after city fails to collect $731,000 owed by bus ticket firm

Mar 25, 2009 04:30 AM

Comments on this story (4)

Phinjo Gombu URBAN AFFAIRS REPORTER

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion has ordered a city-wide audit of money owed to the municipality after she learned her city could be out $731,485 in transit ticket revenues with the collapse of a kiosk chain.

Why did it take two months after the story appeared in the Ottawa Citizen for it to break in Toronto/Mississauga?

And it seems that I’m not the only one asking for details.

The $731,485 revenue-loss appeared as Item 29 on yesterday’s General Committee “additional” agenda.

Zero discussion, just “flew through” and it was moved for receipt in 19 seconds then neatly swept behind the secrecy of closed doors.

However Council did talk for over ten minutes on whether to spend $15,000 to remove a wall that was ordered built by just one councillor who wanted a wall where one originally wasn’t (you’re getting all this down, right?). I managed to videotape eight minutes of wall-discussion but there was actually more that didn’t get documented (perilously low battery).

To Councillor Carolyn Parrish’s credit, she’d finally had enough. Here is the transcript.

Councillor Carolyn Parrish:

I find it fascinating that we’re spending this much time on it [talking about $15,000 on a wall] and the report where we lost $750,000 on bankrupting [inaudible because I said, “Exactly” into the camera] just flew through. And I’m going to tell you the reason it flew through without my asking the questions that I want to ask is that I think it involves personnel.And I want to know why —and it’s coming up again in-camera, and I want to know why it took four months for us to be informed and I want to know who goofed up when it says in the policy, “Cash or cheque on delivery arrangements for tickets”. But I don’t want the audience or the people watching on television to think we spend all our time on a $15,000 wall and we’re ignoring the $750,000 mess up on tickets that we’ll never get back plus the other amounts —the outstanding tickets that we won’t get back.”

Then they went behind closed doors (called “in-camera”) came back to make their announcements. All except for Parrish. Her seat was empty (the lady’s not good with pretending)…

Called out the Item then —nothing. “Flew through” again and adjourned.

Here is video.

MISSISSAUGA COUNCILLOR CAROLYN PARRISH SLAMS $731,485 COUNCIL “FLEW THROUGH”

(1:37 min: 8 minutes of which was compressed into 5 seconds)

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

Ask yourself why Mississauga Council  “flew through” Item 29 without a word, whisked it behind closed doors ( in-camera) and then “flew through” again once out from behind closed doors.

Control the Message.

If Rick Mercer is reading this, that’s how you “stay in power for 31 years.”

And that’s why citizens need The Province to grant  the Ontario Ombudsman  full investigative powers into municipalities as well as the rest of the MUSH sector.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

UPDATE: THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2009 11:30 pm Special thank you to the YouTuber who emailed me and requested that I cut down the wall-discussion even further. So now the 8-minute wall-discussion is compressed down to 5 seconds. And I’ve replaced the original vid. Thanks again to the viewer for the comment. You made the video much better.

Mississauga Muse at April 1, 2009 General Committee meeting (splitting headache in need of caffeine)

“But I don’t want the audience or the people watching on television to think we spend all our time on a $15,000 wall and we’re ignoring the $750,000 mess up on tickets that we’ll never get back plus the other amounts —the outstanding tickets that we won’t get back.”

MISSISSAUGAWATCH to “ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE” co-author DR. ALVIN CURLING… “Municipalities are a MAJOR Root of Youth Violence”

March 12th, 2009  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Dr. Alvin Curling, co-author of "Roots of Youth Violence" March 10 ,2009

MISSISSAUGAWATCH VIDEO INTERVIEW with Dr. Alvin Curling, co-author of The Roots of Youth Violence.

TRANSCRIPT BEGINS…

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: I have some questions regarding “The Roots of Youth Violence”

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Yes.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: —and  one of the questions I have is: When your team worked on “The Roots of Youth Violence” from the initial drafting to the final product, did you do any research using Freedom of Information —and specifically, filing Freedom of Information into Schools, Municipalities and even Police?

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well most of the research that we have done, which we contracted Scott Beaudry (sp?), a renowned criminologist, to do that. We gathered all the documents that were public already.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Yeah.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: About Freedom of Information, I don’t think [inaudible} most of it unnecessary —they were all public documents out there. We just pulled all that together and then presented it.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: OK, the next question. Are you aware that the 2001 Municipal Act doesn’t require Ontario municipalities to have a public complaints process in place?

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Don’t have to have a what?

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: They don’t —The 2001 Municipal Act doesn’t require municipalities to have a public complaints system in place.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well, a—

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: —which means that there’s no framework for accountability within municipalities.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: The municipalities do have accountabality, of course. But I presume that in their own way they do. But I’m not quite familiar with what it hasn’t got and what it has—

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Well, for example, The City of Mississauga, in the 30 years, never had a public complaints system, let alone a formal one.

Video shifts to the MAY 21, 2008 MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL MEETING..

MISSISSAUGA COUNCILLOR PAT MULLIN: But I guess that I’m looking for some direction from possibly Staff if there is something that we could put in place which would be, I guess, a complaint procedure against Staff. And maybe somebody could respond. Or if there’s another way in terms of looking at it.

MISSISSAUGA MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION: Councillor Mullin, I met with the City Manager this morning. I’ve not seen the report. And I was going to ask  —and I was a little slow in asking, that this report be referred back. To look at the process.

Video returns to March 10, 2009 interview with DR. ALVIN CURLING.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: And I’ve been filing Freedom of Information for two years on Peel, Brampton, and so on and I can’t find a framework for accountability. And just one more thing? I just want to show you..

This is a 1994 document by Peel Regional Police and it made a recommendation regarding Crime Prevention that said, “Delegates recommend that crime prevention initiatives be unique and tailored to local communities.”

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Yes.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: That’s 1994. Then it says, “It is recognized that the two existing Crime Prevention Associations are the best vehicle for program development and implementation.” And we can agree with that too.

Then it says, “A process of accountability and evaluation should be built into programs to ensure achievement of goals and cost-effectiveness.” I haven’t found any.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Is that right?

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: No. So, this is really the question that I have. Do you support, or what are your feelings towards allowing The Ontario Ombudsman full investigative powers into the MUSH sector —Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals?

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well, actually, I can’t comment on that really because the fact that you say to give The Ombudsman full investigative authority to investigate a municipality…

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Right now he doesn’t have that. You know that, right?

DR. ALVIN CURLING: No because he —actually The Ombudsman is The Province, not The Municipality. [inaudible] to the Parliament itself not to the mayor. So that—

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Oh I know, but I mean… That’s why I’m saying. A municpality that doesn’t want to held accountable?.. you can’t make it accountable. And that’s what I believe to be a major Root of Youth Violence.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well… well that’s a view. That’s your view.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Well, actually, I’ve got Freedom of Information that shows that municpalities here —they don’t know what each other are doing. They don’t even know share the information with police.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well, we talked about sharing that. And lots of that. We talked about each municipality, each community, could share some of their experiences because one municipality is different than the other. You can’t use the solution of one community to solve the other’s problem. So they have their own unique way.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Well basically, what I see happening is that they are trumpeting their successes, sometimes inventing their successes and the authentic accountability —and I suspect that’s why you don’t see Youth here?… Because they don’t think this is real.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Is that right? Well they have to come out even if they don’t think it’s real and come and say it, you know…

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Yeah.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Thanks very much.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: OK. Thank you, sir.

VIDEO INTERVIEW ENDS and here’s the video…

“ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE” co-author, DR. ALVIN CURLING interviewed by MISSISSAUGAWATCH (4:40 min)

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

Last, Dr. Alvin Curling will be speaking this evening at the Jamaican Canadian Association from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. 995 Arrow Road (Arrow & Finch)

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: MAJOR ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE

McMurtry/Curling, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS -word-surfing for “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities”

December 29th, 2008  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Just repeating the intro that I wrote in my two previous Blogs…

I’ve been an observer of Mississauga municipal governance of over two years, researching various aspects of its conduct and operations through direct observation (thoroughly documented with audio and videotape) as well as through Freedom of Information.

The Mississauga Muse videotapes Mississauga Council

It’s been well over a month since The Province released the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Report on the Roots of Youth Violence I’ve written five Blog entries on that report.  Click on any one of these links:

In my last Blog I provided a searchable summary —a Readers Digest/Coles Notes version of all instances of the word “accountable” and “accountability” in the 468 page McMurtry/Curling primary document, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS.

In today’s Blog, I took the 468 page document and did a word search for “munici”.

“munici” would help me find all instances of the words “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities”. Why? Because MISSISSAUGAWATCH believes that Ontario municipalities and their lack of ethical infrastructure are themselves a major Root of Youth Violence.

There can be no better example of municipal failure to legitimately address Youth Violence than this comment from Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito as she trumpets the “amazing” success of the Peel Youth Charter and the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Strategy.  Apparentlly, their progress is so “amazing” that it prompted this former City of MIssissauga employee of Public Affairs, to fling out the word “phenomenal” four times:

“Thank you, Mr. Chair.  As Gael said, I think we’re all amazed –those of us on the Committee, at the success and how quickly we’ve been successful over the past two years…”

–Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito  PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL (October 25, 2007)

Watch Councillor Saito in action and it’ll help you understand why the McMurtry/Curling “Roots of Youth Violence” report (and at-risk Youth) are doomed.  It’ll also go a long way in understanding why I’ve taken McMurtry/Curling’s “Roots of Youth Violence” and word-searched for “accountab-” and now, “municipal-“

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube and Google Video)

To reiterate, I have knifed through the McMurtry/Curling Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS word-searching for “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities” and also included the sentence before and after to provide context. (We did not search for “local” as in “local government” and acknowledge this work as incomplete.)

Like the previous Blog, this “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities” entry is also a work in progress, and will over time include links to other Youth-related reports, articles, images and even YouTube videos.

So we begin:

MISSISSAUGAWATCH Highlights: The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

(Word Search “munici“) Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS

 

WORD SEARCH: “municipal” “municipality” and “municipalities” in RED.


Violence involving youth is a challenge for many Ontario municipalities and rural areas.  To help ensure a provincewide lens on available youth programs and services, we asked ministries most impacted by violence involving youth for an inventory of relevant programs and services they deliver or fund.    p. 13

We obtained exceptionally valuable information on areas of particular interest, including addressing social exclusion, crime prevention and poverty reduction through place-based policy and service delivery strategies; the structural governance initiatives necessary for success in these areas; data collection, particularly in the area of race; targeting and monitoring mechanisms; community engagement; and the United Kingdom’s wide-ranging anti-racism strategy. Our work with the City of Toronto and the United Way led to their representatives asking to join us on this visit, and we were very pleased to have the perspectives of a major funder and a municipal government at our meetings.    p. 14

In the case of the first two items, the Province must move quickly to put in place the necessary governance structures. In the case of the other recommendations, and subject to discussions with municipal governments and community groups, we believe that substantial progress could be achieved within six months.

And yet, municipal and provincial planning and design processes are not traditionally inclusive of youth, and especially not of youth who are racialized minorities.    p. 51

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and Its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.    p. 108

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.    p. 110

Prosecution recommended that the Nova Scotia Police Commission, municipal police departments and police commission boards develop innovative outreach programs and liaison roles to provide visible minorities with more positive police interaction (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a).    p. 117

The Race Relations and Policing Task Force and many other reports recommended creating a community and police advisory group on racism training to reflect the community perceptions of policing (e.g., Rolf, 1991). Stephen Lewis (Lewis, S., 1992) and Clare Lewis (Lewis, C., 1992) both recommended establishing a community-based monitoring and audit board to work with police forces and municipalities, in conjunction with the Race Relations and Policing Branch of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, to conduct a systematic audit of police race relations policies.    p. 119

The typical approach of provincial and federal governments remains to identify a provincial or national priority, develop a program and a service delivery model, and then either provide the service or contract out its provision in accordance with standards set by the government. While there is some experience with regional approaches, and some evidence of support for the place-based initiatives of municipal governments, the paradigm remains centrally driven universality.    p. 142

This involves looking in each neighbourhood to determine what is working already, and to find and support local sources of strength. Those sources may be municipalities, individuals, organizations, programs or institutions. What is important is that the operating orientation not be to simply focus on naming problems, but rather on finding, supporting and building on strengths.    p. 145

To advance the strategy overall, the government also created Local Strategic Partnerships with the local authorities (municipalities), community agencies and residents. These partnerships (discussed in more detail in Chapter 9) connected local funding priorities with national polices by identifying urban neighbourhoods in need of assistance, helping them form a plan and arranging necessary service agreements with other organizations.    p. 149

Before we outline Prof. Ellis’s approach in more detail, we should first indicate how we would see it being used to identify priority neighbourhoods. We would regard the rankings determined by the index as the basis to start a conversation with each affected municipality to determine areas requiring priority attention. We believe that the factors and approach used by Prof. Ellis will usefully identify areas for careful consideration, but that the Province must work with the affected municipalities to ensure that local, on-the-ground knowledge is taken into account to verify that the identified areas are indeed the most disadvantaged ones locally.    p. 155

We note, for example, that Toronto has been able to develop a more comprehensive approach to identifying priority neighbourhoods, using more indicators and looking at the local availability of services. These and any similar initiatives elsewhere should be respected by the Province, and the lessons learned from them should also be included in conversations with other municipalities. In particular, every consideration should be given to adopting Toronto’s approach of using a local mapping exercise to assess the practical availability of core public services in determining that an area warrants priority attention.    p. 155

Similarly, municipalities should have the lead in determining the boundaries of any such areas. The units of analysis proposed by Prof. Ellis are small, which permits them to be either used individually or combined into approximations of actual neighbourhoods.    p. 155

The immediate value, though, remains that the index will provide the Province and its municipal partners with an objective way to identify the areas of the province that should be considered as priority areas for a place-based approach.    p. 157

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services oversees policing in Ontario. However, costs concerning youth-related programs, including those of the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police, are not aggregated at the provincial level. We do know, however, that according to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the total cost of policing in Ontario in 2006 was $3.4 billion.    p. 207

The OPP helped develop content for CyberCops in Ontario and, in partnership with the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, delivered training to teachers on its use. The Ontario government provided financial support for development of CyberCops and distribution across the province to schools, OPP detachments and municipal police services.    p. 210

Healthy Babies, Healthy Children

Babies and mothers are screened to detect problems that could limit a child’s abilities later in life, allowing early interventions. The program is delivered through public health units, and the cost is shared with municipalities. Other early years initiatives include programs involving preschool speech and language, infant hearing, blindness/low vision early intervention and infant development.    p. 212

In addition to public investments in public housing, steps must be taken to improve the living conditions in private rental accommodation. We did not receive much information on the best ways to do this, but can say that the provincial interest in addressing the roots of violence involving youth may well require increased public interventions in the form of low-cost loans or other ways to ensure the necessary investments are made. Federal programs for this remain in place, but they fall short of the mark. The Province should seriously consider cooperating with municipal governments to close the gap as part of its strategy to address the roots of violence involving youth. We cannot wait to resolve theoretical turf wars among governments while the quality of the actual turf on which people live is generating violence.    p. 237

Second, the ministry needs to find ways to prevent a period of incarceration becoming a “gang-entry” program. We were advised that many youth, while in custody, develop relationships with gang members that lead to gang affiliation. They then take that association with them when they return home. In some instances where youth are incarcerated with youth from other cities, this transition jumps municipal lines and brings a new and more dangerous gang culture to areas that did not have that problem before. The ministry needs to be sensitive to this issue and should implement a strategy to prevent it from occurring.    p. 288

Our belief that the Province should fund the social infrastructure we propose for disadvantaged communities does not absolve the other orders of government of their responsibilities for services. There is an obvious need for the federal government to recognize the impact of its own cutbacks and to begin to invest seriously in the health of disadvantaged communities. The Province should continue to be vocal in this regard and to press for enhanced federal funding. The Province should also take every opportunity to nurture and build on the workmunicipal governments are doing in these neighbourhoods.    p. 301

Ontario has made some moves in the direction of using schools as delivery points for services. More than 300 Ontario Early Years Centres are located in schools. So too are many of the province’s Best Start hubs, which integrate public health, education, children’s aid, programs for children from 0 to 6, and municipal and other services. Parenting and Family Literacy Centres are also located in schools.    p. 308

The leasing body would have two key characteristics: facilities management expertise, and knowledge of community and other programming. Municipalities might want to use or establish agencies to do this, or organizations like the Y might well be interested. No doubt there are other service organizations with the skills and interest that should have this opportunity.    p. 309

In summary, we see the Province’s role in this area being to support these efforts by making clear in tangible ways that they are valued, by providing structural and financial supports, by being active participants in resident engagement work already underway in municipalities and by demonstrating a continuing commitment to work in partnership as these efforts build community capacity. We emphasize the word “support” because, if communities are to be strong for the long haul and the tough issues, it is the individuals within them who must have the will, and invest the substantial time and commitment required, to function in more cohesive ways.    p. 313

We speak largely about a provincial obligation in this regard because of the need for a provincewide approach to community building and because of the clear provincial interest in the outcomes to be obtained. Nonetheless, it is clear to us that this community development work needs to be done in close collaboration with the municipalities, which have an essential and central role at the local level. This is especially true in places like Thunder Bay and Toronto and others where this kind of foundational work is already.    p. 313

A Role for Colleges and Universities

Outside the governmental sphere and in addition to the valuable related work that many funding bodies and municipalities are undertaking, there is another very important but largely untapped public resource, which can be brought to bear on this issue. We refer in this regard to the resources and talents within our colleges and universities, many of which are located near the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and all of which we know to be interested in building and supporting their local communities.    p. 314

There are many opportunities to help community groups or agencies conduct evaluations, service mapping and needs assessments, reviews of relevant best practices and other small-scale research projects. And, on a larger scale, the community and the post-secondary sector can also work together, often with the local municipality, which knows well the longer-term research needs, to identify and carry out research agendas and projects to support long-term social investments. One leading example of this is the collective role a number of postsecondary institutions in British Columbia played with their communities in developing the evidentiary case for the early childhood learning initiative discussed in Pillars 1 and 2.    p. 315

Second, the provincial government must work with the other orders of government to create both the structures and the relationships that permit the coordination of the relevant activities across governments. We appreciate that this may be a challenge with the federal government, but there are no external impediments to the Province’s building a new governance relationship with the municipalities on these issues. As that is done, we believe that success will encourage the federal government to accept its significant and serious responsibilities in this area.    p. 327

Third, the Province must begin to work with municipalities, and if possible the federal government, to bring communities into the governance framework in meaningful ways.    p. 327

Towards New Relationships With Governments and Communities

In this section, we move to a discussion of the other two governance elements we consider essential to advance progress on the roots agenda. The first is the creation of both the structures and the relationships that permit the coordination of the relevant activities of the three orders of government, with an initial emphasis on work with the municipalities. The second is working with municipal governments to bring communities into the governance framework in meaningful ways as a core part of building new governance relationships.    p. 344

In our view, notwithstanding the many advantages of collaboration, the Province must move vigorously to accomplish everything it can do on its own if collaboration cannot reasonably be obtained. In doing so, the Province should of course always value and seek cooperation with other governments, and even in its absence act in a way that respects the existing leadership and knowledge that reside there, especially at the municipal level. It should also always act in a way that builds community partnerships wherever possible and that leaves space for and encourages other governments to come to the table.    p. 345

A Municipal Focus

We accordingly believe that, while the Province should pursue federal cooperation in the course of its ongoing business, the priority for seeking intergovernmental collaboration within the proposed governance framework should be with the municipalities. For reasons we will go on to discuss, we also believe that the major focus and locus for building that collaboration should be in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods discussed in Chapter 7.    p. 345

We will accordingly focus most of our analysis on building collaborative structures with municipalities in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods.    p. 345

Building Collaboration With Municipalities and Communities in Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods

i) Rationale and Approach

Collaboration with the regional governments and municipalities is paramount. This is due to the highly local nature of what has to be done, the knowledge municipalities have about their communities and what works on the ground, and the leadership many have already demonstrated on issues related to the roots of violence involving youth. The challenge is how to create and sustain that collaboration on matters central to addressing the roots agenda. Getting caught up in, or undercutting, the work to restructure the provincial-municipal relationship more broadly, or embarking on yet another complex and time-consuming process of structural negotiations with the large number of highly diverse municipal governments in Ontario must be avoided.    p. 346

In the result, our advice is to combine the second and third aspects of our governance model by focusing on working with municipalities in and for the identified priority neighbourhoods. In this approach, the neighbourhood becomes the place where the provincial-municipal relationship on roots issues is built, not the place it is rolled out after having been negotiated somewhere else. In this approach, residents and local service providers are inside the governance model at the outset and integral to how it is built and operated. This approach will make sure that results flow early, with any structural agreements to anchor the local work made as needed, being tailored to local reality and forged from practical experience. Agreements, where required, would follow experience rather than preceding it.    p. 346

This approach builds on the discussion in Chapter 7 and earlier in this chapter about the importance and value of focusing program and policy initiatives in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the province. Chapter 7 also outlined a methodology to identify those neighbourhoods in conjunction with the municipalities. Among the many benefits of this approach are that it allows the Province (and other partners as well) to increase the return on investments by putting resources where they are most needed and by drawing on local knowledge and strengths. To these, we would add that it creates a natural forum for collaboration.    p. 346

The City of Toronto, using a more comprehensive approach than is possible provincewide at the moment, has already identified and undertaken important groundbreaking work in 13 such neighbourhoods. These should be the foundation of the Province’s place-based work there, as should any The City of Toronto, using a more comprehensive approach than is possible provincewide at the moment, has already identified and undertaken important groundbreaking work in 13 such neighbourhoods. These should be the foundation of the Province’s place-based work there, as should any other defined, disadvantaged neighbourhoods in which other municipalities are already focusing work to address the roots of violence involving youth.    p. 346-347

Within all of these neighbourhoods, the Province should, as a governance initiative, work closely with the municipality to engage with residents and service providers in ways that build community strengths and a provincial-municipal-community culture of collaboration. This work must, of course, be done with great care to understand what is in place and working already in priority neighbourhoods.    p. 347

ii) Our Proposal

Based on the above premises, the core of our proposal is that the Province and municipal governments should come together with local agencies and community members in a partnership in each identified neighbourhood. They would do this by forming a Neighbourhood Strategic Partnership (NSP), modelled in part on Britain’s Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs), and in part on the City of Toronto’s neighbourhood action teams and partnerships.    p. 347

As that funding can constitute in the range of 50 per cent of local authority budgets, the role and influence of the LSPs cannot be underestimated. By contrast, we do not see our Neighbourhood Strategic Partnerships as being involved across the whole of a municipality, nor as becoming involved in the whole provincial-municipal relationship. Our focus is on the roots of violence involving youth, and our interest in LSPs is focused on the vital governance role they can play on that issue, specifically in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.    p. 348

We believe that partnerships broadly similar to the local strategic partnerships should be established in each priority neighbourhood in Ontario. They should be anchored in representation from the provincial and municipal governments, and should also draw together the service providers in each neighbourhood and a number of community representatives. The federal government should be encouraged to take a seat at these tables and to play a significant role at them.    p. 350

For the Province, the internal alignment measures we propose, along with the public commitment to meeting the outcome targets provincewide, should already be achieving this, but those alignment measures would be strongly supported by the pressure for alignment being driven up from these partnerships. Similarly, the municipality, having endorsed this process and been at the partnership table, would also have a strong incentive to align its efforts and resources to help meet the targets.    p. 351

Similarly, we believe that the municipal focus on the roots issues at the NSP tables will drive alignment on the roots agenda at the municipal level, as the Toronto experience has already demonstrated, and lead to a desire to collaborate with the other orders of government.    p. 352

These inherent alignment pressures should mean that new structural mechanisms are unnecessary to bring governments together on the roots agenda. As well, as we have noted above in related contexts, the complexity of negotiating broad agreements encompassing numerous municipalities on the many issues relevant to the roots agenda would in all likelihood materially impede real progress on the many core issues.    p. 353

We believe that if the Province and the municipalities, and ideally the federal government as well, start their collaboration on the roots agenda at the neighbourhood level they will address the most pressing needs and also begin to develop better working relationships on the ground. It seems to us that on the basis of those relationships, and experience in these communities, they will know better whether a broader structure is necessary, and will be better placed to achieve it if it is. We also think the structure, if needed, will be a better one if brokered through experience in working together as a body involving service providers and community members.    p. 353

It seems to us that the Province and the municipalities could usefully consider making available a fund to facilitate this. That fund could support crisis counselling for youth and families who may have been traumatized by the enforcement exercise. The fund could also permit an immediate boost to key programs and activities in a community where police action has taken place. The boost to community programs and services would serve two purposes. First, the community would see immediate positive consequences following the police action, and might be more inclined to cooperate with the police as a result. And second, the increased activity in the community and on the streets could help the community take back its parks and streets before a new gang starts up to fill the vacuum created by the enforcement action.    p. 357

8.  To identify the neighbourhoods for the place-based approach, the Province should employ the Index of Relative Disadvantage we have proposed to determine on a provincewide basis the areas where disadvantage is most concentrated. Once the index results are available, the Province, through a lead ministry for community building, should immediately open discussions with the affected municipalities to identify local factors, such as the availability of services, for inclusion in the determination of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods and to define the boundaries of such neighbourhoods.    p. 374

19. The Province must recognize the value of sports and arts in supporting learning, development and creativity of youth. The Province should work with municipalities, school boards and community agencies to remove barriers that include income level, transportation and a lack of usable space. The Province should move to immediately embed accessible sports and arts programs in the priority neighbourhoods. (pages 257–260)    p. 378

30. Steps Towards Community Hubs: There is an overwhelming consensus in favour of building community hubs and, accordingly, no reason to delay action on that front. In neighbourhoods where it is clear that the Index of Relative Disadvantage will demonstrate a high level of disadvantage, or where similar methodologies have already done so, the Province should promptly initiate discussions with the municipal governments, to begin to plan for a hub if none exists and in particular to determine the availability of recreational and arts facilities. Where the latter facilities are lacking, the Province should work actively with the Ontario Realty Corporation and the municipality to lease alternative space for youth and youth services until a hub is developed. Another winter and spring should not go by in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods with there being no safe place for youth to gather and play.    p. 381

♦ Hold focused discussions on the Index of Relative Disadvantage with a view to finalizing it in time for an initial data run in early 2009. This will identify areas for conversations with municipalities to select and define the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods for the priority actions we outline.    p. 382

In the case of the first two items, the Province must move quickly to put in place the necessary governance structures. In the case of the other recommendations, and subject to discussions with municipal governments and community groups, we believe that substantial progress could be achieved within six months.    p. 382

Short to Medium-term Initiatives

We believe the Province must also work to make steady progress on the following components of our strategy and appreciate that several will require more in depth consultations among ministries and with municipal governments, agencies and community groups.    p. 382

♦ Launch an assessment of recreational, cultural and other hub needs with municipalities in areas identified as likely to be determined as areas of high disadvantage when the Index of Relative Disadvantage is run.    p. 383

♦ Begin discussions with the community agency sector on ways to streamline and stabilize their funding, involving municipal governments and other funders as appropriate.    p. 383

♦ As disadvantaged neighbourhoods are formally identified, work with municipalities to define areas for joint effort and begin to establish Neighbourhood Strategic Partnerships, or work within existing equivalent structures.    p. 384

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto    p. 386

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto    p. 394

Mandate

♦ Formulate recommendations on:

◊ Immediate and longer-term actions and solutions involving all related parties, including government (provincial, federal, municipal), communities, private sector.    p. 400

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, The Impact of Urban Design and Infrastructure on Youth Violence    p. 408

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Youth Violence, the UK’s Neighbourhood Regeneration Strategy and Housing    p. 408

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing    p. 409

Expanding access to specialized courts for youth was also recommended, as well as improved availability of drug treatment, a central source of information for families and better access to mental health treatment with extension of the mandatory treatment period. Three-year funding was recommended for agencies showing positive results. The task force also encouraged municipalities to develop safe communities strategies.    p. 411

Canadian Criminal Justice Association (1989). Safer Communities: A Social Strategy for Crime Prevention in Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 31 (August), 4–23

In association with major national organizations concerned with policing, social development, children and youth, natives and municipalities, the Canadian Criminal Justice Association set out a strategy for crime prevention calling for all levels of government, police, citizens, voluntary organizations and private enterprise to take responsibility.    p. 412

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

The Council of Metropolitan Toronto asked Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter, Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, to act as a mediator or conciliator between the civic authorities, in particular the police and minority groups in the city.    p. 412

Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group (1992). Towards a New Beginning: The Report and Action Plan of the Four-Level Government/African Canadian Working Group. Toronto: African Canadian Community Working Group

Federal, Ontario, City of Toronto and Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto officials and members of Toronto’s Black community formed a working group to formulate proposals for specific strategies to address the concerns of the Black community with respect to justice, social services, education, youth and policing.    p. 414

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto

In 1977, in the wake of incidents of violence toward the South Asian community in Toronto, Chairman of Metro Council Paul Godfrey appointed Walter Pitman, then-president of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, as a one-man “Task Force on Human Relations” to probe the issue of racism in the city. He found that a disturbing degree of racial tension existed in the city and that the city had not yet addressed the issue of racism directly.    p. 423

The Role of Government

What, in your opinion, is the role of government (federal, provincial or municipal) in reducing violence involving youth in your neighbourhood. Please indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each of the following statements.    p. 449

END


Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

ACCOUNTABILE ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: Major Root of Youth Violence


 



Bear