Each week, we round up the latest news, views, and rumours from City Hall.
There's so little happening at City Hall this week that the biggest news is how little is happening. On Tuesday, not enough councillors showed up to a parks and recreation committee meeting and it had to be cancelled, sending a half-dozen elderly long bowlers home disappointed. The next day, an economic development meeting had to be rescheduled, again due to awol committee members. Some councillors had legitimate reasons for being away (illness, and at least one funeral), but this kind of thing is bound to raise questions about their commitment to the job. It also doesn't bode well for excitement levels at City Hall in the coming months. Council members already get much of August off, and July's agenda is very thin indeed.
Mercifully, the mayor's Cut the Waist challenge came to a close on Monday, but not before it supplied the media with yet another clip to go into their ever-thickening file of embarrassing Rob Ford moments. The mayor stood on the industrial scale outside his office, confirmed he had missed his weight-loss target by some distance, and then failed to stick the dismount and twisted his ankle. The resulting yelp he emitted, followed his hangdog expression as he was forced to explaine to reporters why he failed his diet, might have been comical if the whole thing didn't make Ford appear so vulnerable and human, which was arguably the whole point of the weight-loss exercise in the first place.
- Compulsive #TOpoli watchers will get their Sunday afternoons back this summer, as Newstalk 1010 announced that after this weekend's episode the mayor's radio show will go on hiatus until September 9
- The Toronto Star reported that Olivia Chow is being encouraged by friends to run against Ford in the 2014 election
- On Monday and Tuesday the TTC held four info sessions aimed at encouraging the public to apply to become citizen members of the commission's board, but at least one prominent transit expert called the whole process a "sham" and accused the city of shutting out average citizens in favour of high-profile executives
- In a story that sounds like a joke but isn't, on Thursday Rob Ford gave the man who brought McDonald's to Canada a key to the city
We look forward to the insights that will no doubt be contained in the answers to this city survey on strip club regulations. It essentially asks club patrons whether they think they should be allowed private dances and physical contact with strippers. Fox, this is the chicken coop. You're in charge!
The survey is part of an ongoing review of strip club bylaws, which industry reps want revamped.
MEETINGS, MOTIONS, AND MINUTES
On Monday the planning and growth management committee put a draft of the new mammoth city-wide zoning bylaw out for public consultation. The 300-page document is a bureaucratic behemoth and will update and consolidate existing laws that govern where and how buildings can be constructed in Toronto. The city will be collecting feedback on it over the summer and a report will come back to the committee in October.
COUNCILLOR OF THE WEEK
Councillor Norm Kelly (Scarborough Agincourt) suggested an innovative way to deal with the recent wave of councillor absenteeism: excuse the absences. The councillor wants to lower the number of committee members required to proceed with a meeting, from half-plus-one, to just half.
CITY SOUND BITE
"Three quarters of the people taking pictures right now have weight issues"
- At his final weigh-in Monday, Councillor Doug Ford (Etobicoke North) informs the press gallery photographers that they aren't looking so trim themselves. Perhaps not such smart thing to say to people have the power to publish photos of you with your finger up your nose.
NEXT WEEK'S AGENDA
On Monday, the rainbow flag will be raised over City Hall to mark the start of Pride 2012. Having already attended a flag-raising for the International Day Against Homophobia back in May, Mayor Ford confirmed Friday he will be a no-show Monday. His official duties will be carried out by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre - Rosedale).
On Thursday, the licensing and standards committee will consider the latest attempt to end the supremacy of the hot dog over Toronto's street food vendors. A city report recommends vendors be allowed to expand their menus to include, among other things, corn-on-the-cob, bagels with peanut butter and jam, pre-packaged fruit salad, and coffees and teas.