Blowing Off the Homeless

Mayor mel breaks on-air promise to meet with housing activists. go figure.

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Public health nurse Cathy Crowe says she’s made more than 17 requests over the years to meet with the mayor to discuss the issue of homelessness. All have been ignored. It looked like all that was about to change when Crowe phoned Mayor Mel’s monthly call-in show on Citytv last month.

The mayor pledged on air to meet with a delegation from the Toronto Disaster Relief Committee in January. But he’s gone back on his word.

What follows is the snarky letter Crowe got from the mayor’s chief of staff, Alan Slobodsky, in reply to her request for a meeting.

Dear Ms. Crowe:

Thanks for taking the time to write the mayor’s office. As you are aware, the Mega-City Mel show is not intended for professional protestors or organizations to attack the mayor in a public forum.

Rather, it is intended for ordinary, regular citizens to have an opportunity to raise their concerns with Mayor Mel Lastman directly.

You have had numerous occasions to make public statements at city of Toronto committee meetings, Community Council meetings and Council meetings. You have been a guest on CP24 yourself and have been the focus of a documentary on CBC that included your meeting in the mayor’s office and (your) verbally attacking a member of the mayor’s staff.

You did not call the show as Cathy Crowe, citizen, but rather as Cathy Crowe, spokesperson for TDRC. By doing so you took away an opportunity from the very people you claim to support for talking directly to the mayor themselves.

Citytv expressly stated at the beginning of the show that your call would not be welcome, and their intention in hosting the mayor was not for you to call in and try to hijack the show.

(Editor’s note: Citytv’s director of news programming, Tina Cortese, says the show has no such policy banning calls from Crowe or anyone else. The show welcomes all callers, including those who represent local organizations.)

In my personal opinion, the staff at CityPulse news do more to support your organization than any other news outlet. Why you would chose (sic) to take advantage of the women who answered the phone the evening when you called the show is quite confusing.

Unfortunately at this time, the budget process is about to begin and the mayor’s schedule is very busy as he attempts to keep taxes down. The mayor is also committed to the C-5 initiative that will take him out of the province for several days this month.

In response to some of your more recent protests, I include a response from councillor Brad Duguid.

Thank you for taking the time to write the mayor’s office on behalf of your organization, and I wish you all the best for a very Happy New Year.


Alan J. Slobodsky

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