Wednesday 23 November 2011

City Hall Hyprocracy

hy·poc·ra·cy  (h-pkr-s)
n. pl. hy·poc·ra·cies
1. The systemic practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess for political purposes; falseness.
2. Exercising principles on an inconsistent basis for political expedience. 

When Rob Ford was elected, voters were promised he was a man of principle who was going to change the workings of City Hall. All it needed was a new sheriff to enforce the new culture fairly and things would change. 

The more that changes, the more that stays the same. 

As detailed in a Toronto Star article, Etobicoke enjoys mechanical leaf pickup that the rest of the city does not. It's the kind of service that Rob Ford and his strongest allies would generally oppose. After all, the Mayor often opposes supporting BIAs on the basis that not every area has them and Mike Del Grande just called the proposal for non-curbside garbage pickup for seniors a 'cadillac premium service,' (the committee was told by city staff that the service already exists). 

The reason the service exists? Windrows (it always comes down to windrows). The idea is that councillors who have windrow clearing support Etobian premium leaf pickup and vice versa. 

In case you're keeping track, this is exactly the gravy and political gamesmanship you're looking for. 

The inconsistency of principles doesn't end there. 

At yesterday's Parks and Environment Committee meeting, councillors voted to institute a $53 fee to use park bake ovens. The ovens are in a handful of parks (Christie Pits, Dufferin Grove) and are used for community events like Friday night pizza nights. It's exactly the kind of thing that Rob Ford would support as a councillor and he would likely oppose the city's nickle and diming for permits, which cover the cost of insurance and cleaning.

The fee would be slightly more understandable if it weren't for the Licensing and Standard Committee last week.

On the agenda was a staff-recommended item (like the ovens) to raise the price of towing vehicles in highway accidents by $60 to $229 (the city does the towing and later bills drivers). This proposed increase was to reflect the cost of towing (it's indexed based) but was soundly criticized and deferred to the spring. 

To be fair, the councillors on this committee aren't the same as the ones on Parks, but they do represent the same city. 

And just because there's a new sheriff in town doesn't mean anything is systemically different when it comes to our preferred system of government passing small motions, hypocracy.   

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