Mayor Ford's unilateral decision-making troubling

[attach]4282[/attach]Much has happened at city hall since the October election. As I began my third term as councillor, I tried to keep an open mind about working with Mayor Ford.

While I disagreed with him on many issues while he was a councillor, I was prepared to work with him to make our city government work. However, Mayor Ford has showed no interest in working with anyone but his hand-picked councillors, and has moved ahead recklessly with a variety of initiatives that I believe will harm our city.

In a very rushed first city budget, Mayor Ford irresponsibly cut taxes without a fiscal plan and city services despite promising not to.

He unilaterally declared an end to Transit City, leaving hundreds of thousands of Toronto residents waiting decades longer with no real hope of improved transit service.

I am very concerned about the erosion of democratic processes and structures in our city.

Mayor Ford put former councillor Case Ootes in control of Toronto Community Housing and quietly appointed another former councillor, Gordon Chong, to develop a privately funded subway for Sheppard Avenue.

He has tightened his authority over city agencies, and is pushing to eliminate 21 of 23 citizen advisory committees.

He is now proposing to sidestep the city’s procedural rules in order to enter into a contract worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars with a private garbage company — without even having council review the contract.

I am also troubled about the direction the mayor is taking our city. Despite previous “guarantees” that there would be no cuts to services, the mayor is now projecting deep cuts, sale of assets and privatization of city services for the 2012 budget.

For months, residents in Ward 31 have been asking me, ‘what can I do to help protect the things that make this a great community and city?’

The answer is simple — get involved, speak out and influence the future of our community.

Over the next few months, the city will be conducting detailed “service reviews” to determine what services will continue to be available in East York and how much residents should pay in user fees.

The reviews will also examine whether services should be contracted out or privatized.

The city will spend $3 million to hire private consultants to undertake these reviews.

The results will be considered by standing committees in July, city council in September, and included in the 2012 budget.

More than ever, our city needs you to get involved.

Go to [url=][/url] or email [][/email] to find out more about how you can help.