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Citizens pack City Hall - National Post

July 28, 2011
Peter Kuitenbrouwer
National Post

Normally at City Hall when hundreds of citizens show up to speak at a committee, the city moves the meeting from Committee Room 1, which seats about 100, to the City Council chamber, which seats hundreds of people. On Thursday morning the city chose instead to stay in Committee Room 1, and put the overflow in committee rooms 2 and 4.

“It’s a bizarre way to treat the citizens of Toronto,” said Franz Hartmann, executive director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance, who is No. 31 on a list of 302 deputants registered to speak to Mayor Rob Ford’s Executive Committee about its Core Service Review. He said he has been coming to City Hall for 22 years and in every case where Room 1 couldn’t accommodate the crowds, the city (even under Mel Lastman) bumped the proceedings to council chambers.

“They are scared s—less of this process and they don’t want the image of hundreds of people coming down to get their voices heard,” one City Hall watcher remarked in Committee Room 2, normally used for TTC meetings, which was also standing-room only, and which featured two flat-screen TVs at its front showing the proceedings in the room next door.

Councillor Norm Kelly, a member of Mr. Ford’s executive committee, said the idea of moving the proceedings to the council chamber, “never came up. This is where we always hold committee,” he said. “You’d have to ask the clerk about” why the meeting isn’t taking place in council.

City Hall bristles with police and security has locked the building’s back door to the public, allowing access only to those with security passes. Mayor Ford said the committee will meet all night long to hear all the deputations.

As originally published here: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/28/peter-kuitenbrouwer-citizens-pack-city-hall/

2011-07-28 Citizens pack City Hall _National Post_.pdf14.11 KB