How They Voted — TTC Commissioners and the New Taxes

In the midst of the huge pile of comments I have received (with thanks to the Toronto Star for linking this site to their article), we need to look at just whose vote landed on which side of the debate earlier this week.

On the motion to defer consideration of new taxes until the October Council meeting:

TTC Commissioners in favour:

  • Suzan Hall (Etobicoke North)
  • Peter Milczyn (Etobicoke Lakeshore)
  • Anthony Perruzza (York West)
  • Bill Saundercook (Parkdale-High Park)
  • Michael Thompson (Scarborough Centre)

TTC Commissioners opposed:

  • Sandra Bussin (Beaches- East York)
  • Glenn De Baeremaeker (Scarborough Centre)
  • Adam Giambrone (Davenport)
  • Joe Mihevc (St. Paul’s)

This means that there is a majority of the Commission who were behind the deferral at Council and in whose hands rests the fate of the TTC’s service.  The weak vote, I am sure, is Anthony Perruzza, a junior member nominally one of Miller’s camp, but who jumped ship on the vote at Council.

When I report on the events at the emergency TTC meeting, I will include the voting pattern. 

I can think of a few wards where service cuts make good economic sense — let the authors of this mess explain why their buses don’t run any more.

10 thoughts on “How They Voted — TTC Commissioners and the New Taxes

  1. According to the City’s website, Anthony Perruzza’s name has a double ‘r’. I only noticed because I very nearly sent my sad letter of protest to his office about the transfer tax vote with the same error on it twice.

    This whole debacle has thrown me for a loop. What a complete 180-degree turn, in terms of optimism for the future of transit (or quality municipal services in general) in this City. No wonder, I suppose, that the council that couldn’t even get along well enough to have their picture taken together is dyfunctional enough to jeapordize things in such a shortsighted way.

    Steve: I have fixed the spelling. If only I could fix other problems with this mess as easily.


  2. Wong’s coffin hopefully has had the final nail put into it from this. He seemed to be sweating bullets in front of reporters during the news of these cuts.

    I read that Brian Ashton voted against the taxes… that surprised me. Wasn’t he a former TTC chair?

    I do think that Queen’s Park will intervene somehow though. They’re already dealing with the small-time stuff like individual hospital takeovers by community groups, this will definately get their attention I’m sure. Transit is obviously one of McGuinty’s flagship issues with the 2020 plan.


  3. Miller is the one that decided for all of us that the land transfer tax is the only option that city hall has available to create economic health in toronto … it isn’t.

    Miller should stop playing political games with the fate of crucial social services.


  4. Is it really going to degenerate into a tit-for-tat round of service cuts based on what ward a councillor represents? I’m not normally a foaming at the mouth conservative, but I do question when councillors advocate for pet projects in their own ward but then cry foul and decide services should be cut outside their boundaries. How about the land transfer tax only applies to those wards where the councillor voted for it and then they can explain to homeowners why their market values have plummeted?


  5. I believe about 7 of the 9 commissioners support the Front St. Extension too, and I know i’m biased on the topic, but for me it indicates we don’t really have a very pro-transit batch of TTC Commissioners eg. helping devolve transick to trans*it, though stopping the operation of the Sheppard line might be both a sensible thing and enough of a grandstand to make it all an issue.


  6. We, the electorate, clearly should have taken the council portrait debacle as a portent of the dark days of grandstanding and infantile political posturing to come. The taxes bill fell in council because it should have. They were an uninspiring set of off-topic taxes that most of the public saw as frightening.

    Perhaps the mayor should have tried to sell the public on the taxes themselves and not just the city’s desperate need for cash. And while he’s at it, maybe he should have thought up some taxes that deal directly with the environmental issues that have so gripped the public’s imagination.

    Sullen in defeat, the mayor response of fear-mongering and blame deflection shows him truly as a wholly unsuitable leader and common middle manager; an image he’s been desperately trying to hide from the public. Go ahead Mayor Miller, close the Sheppard Subway and eviscerate the bus service…that’ll show ‘em! Unfortunately while you’re off making a point, the citizens of the city are going to feel the effects of your Kindergarten politics for years to come.


  7. God, I wish we could live in a real city, and have a real Mayor. Regardless, I would love the answers to the following questions…

    1) Why is McCowan station necessary?
    2) Why do we run subways every five minutes after midnight?
    3) Wouldn’t it make sense to go to one-man train crews, and then get rid of this notion of “Station Managers”?

    If we’re truly in a crisis, then these should be the questions asked, you know, instead of screwing 40,000 people over on a useless subway.

    Steve: McCowan Station exists only because the yard is there. Yes, it’s a bit of a joke given how close by STC is.

    We run subways every five minutes after midnight as a matter of TTC service policy. This is the same policy that allows us to cut suburban bus service to the bone late in the evening. There are 43 trains on YUS and BD late at night, and so you might cut this back to, say, 30, but only for two or three hours of operation. You would still have station staff and all of the technical crews needed to be available to handle equipment problems, station issues, signal problems, etc. In fact, late at night the people driving the trains are less than half of the workforce needed to run the subway system.

    One man subway crews are possible in theory, but there are advantages in having two operators per train for security. At most you are going to trade off operating staff for security staff who actually cost more. Real security folks, Special Constables with police powers, make more than operators.

    Finally, we don’t have Station Managers, only Collectors who sit in the booths to inspect fares and be available as a human contact in case something untoward happens in the station.


  8. Hamish wrote “I believe about 7 of the 9 commissioners support the Front St. Extension too, and I know i’m biased on the topic, but for me it indicates we don’t really have a very pro-transit batch of TTC Commissioners ”

    I don’t see the link between being pro-Front Street Extension and not being pro-transit.

    All the studies that have been done have made it clear that if the elavated portion of the Gardiner is to be removed, then there has to be alternative places to put the traffic to get north of the tracks. Which means essentially that the it will come up the Front Street extension right into downtown – and through an expanded Richmond/Adelaide intersection. So being pro-Front Street Extension could be as a result of being anti-Gardiner rather than being anti-transit.

    Besides – in terms of the Waterfront West LRT: It seems that the fastest way to get passengers to Union is going to be down a dedicated LRT along Front Street from Bathurst, rather than doing the loop-the-loop through the Exhibition grounds, Harbourfront, and up the existing Bay Street subway.


  9. Josh said (#6)
    Unfortunately while you’re off making a point, the citizens of the city are going to feel the effects of your Kindergarten politics for years to come.

    I think if you really want to blame someone, you have to look at the province under Harris and now McGuinty (though less so) for first offloading expenses onto the city that should not be on the property tax, and then only reluctantly taking some of them back, while waiting for a report that comes out in 2008. Please stop blaming Miller for playing the lousy hand he’s been dealt. The responsibility for this fiasco lies fully at Queen’s Park. The mayor is merely using what little power he has to perhaps wake the province up and face what they have wrought.


  10. It is a little (!) difficult to see how TTC Commissioners could vote against new revenue: they of all people must have realised that more not less money was essential. Seeing route cuts spelled out MAY wake them up but one does wonder if they have been paying attention.

    To get any new or increased taxes approved the Mayor really needs to get ‘the public’ on-side. There is a great deal of mis-information and from reader/listener comments in the press and on radio I think the TTC might want to consider an advertising campaign showing what each ride actually costs and how this is paid for. In Toronto this is the fare plus the City subsidy.

    If they then compared Toronto to other Canadian, North American and world cities and showed that most (all?) other jurisdictions get at least a Provincial/State subsidy too and some get Federal money as well this would not only educate people about how things are paid for but could, maybe, shame at least the Province into providing public transit operating subsidies again.

    Steve: We do get some operating subsidy via the gas tax, but not as much in proportion to the total budget as we used to receive.


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