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What I told the budget sub committee about FMTA Feb 2, 2015

1. Introduction

This is my information to the city of Toronto officials, which will be delivered first of all to the budget committee in relation to the 2015 budget process. However, these issues go beyond just budgeting and this year. It should form the basis for a more continuous effort to influence city government in a more sensible direction.

I am talking about, specifically, the continuing funding of a totally useless organization; an insult to the taxpayers, and a hazard to public participation. This is the Federation of Metro Tenant's Associations ( FMTA). Many city councillors these days do not even seem to know who they are because their strategy in recent years has been to keep a low profile while getting their money routed to them through this tenant defense fund.

It is hard to know just how to approach this. Since I have been harmed personally by them, a line run in FMTA's defense is that is just some personal grudge of mine. But a lot of other people have been harmed by them, are frightened of them, and so have a grudge about them.

Most of them are a lot more afraid to talk about FMTA than me. Instead, they are a little bit afraid of me. They think I am their most dangerous enemy. That does not stop the them, and the fools who follow a "party line" that they must be protected at all costs, from attacking me.

Rest assured, I am keeping pretty good files about it all, and one of these days there could be a law suit against the city for all of this. It could be a joint action, although the big problem with the people offended by FMTA is an inability to work together for mutual defense and to get justice and the removal of FMTA. What bothers me a lot is that they all want to hide behind me.

But now we have a new mayor. It seems that for the first time since the amalgamation we have an administration not led by a complete buffoon. The city administration does need some cleaning up and a good place to start is with FMTA. However, it must be understood that FMTA is a symbol and a symptom of a larger problem in the city government.

I will get into this below. What I expect to follow from this information is an interview with the mayor and with whichever city officials are now overseeing the tenant defense fund. I expect to be listened to in detail, and the documentation I and collaborators have assembled over the years on the net, to be studied before funding of this gang of crooks just rolls ahead with no thought.

2. Immediate problem of FMTA

FMTA sucks up about half a million a year from the city. This has been going on for fifteen years. This money is funneled to them through the so called tenant defense fund. This money goes into a complete black hole; no one knows what is being done with it.

FMTA provides no useful services for this money whatsoever. It runs a tenants hotline. This duplicates a much better service being run by the provincial government through the Landlord and Tenant's board. The latter has the phones answered by people who know the law, who are qualified for the jobs, and who have no agendas. FMTA's hotline is famous for giving bad advice because its people are not qualified, and who keep trying to sell memberships in FMTA. The provincial government has repeatedly urged the city to shut this bad service down.

FMTA is supposed to do outreach to tenant's groups. It holds only a few events a year for show, it really does not do any outreach. It waits until tenants of a distressed building call them to help them "organize". Then they come and try to sell memberships to the tenants, who never see them again.

If tenants try to organize something on their own, they are harassed by the FMTA. It is like they have the idea that they own all the tenants in Toronto. They will not tolerate any competition which might compete with their funding source. I do not know if bad publicity about it has caused them to moderate their behavior in recent years, but in the past they have sent some very nasty thugs to threaten people, including me.

They will use all the ugliest "union busting" techniques to break up rival organizations. They will find someone in the group who is on the outs with the rest, feels slighted, or wants more power, or can be bought by FMTA and the landlord. They will set up a rival tenant association. They will call meetings at the same time as the real association. So on and so on.

What this money is used for is to create full time incomes for people who are doing part time work or working for some other organization. It has provided a lucrative pension for one previous chief of FMTA, after only ten years of service.

There also seems to be a not so secret financial relationship with some other dubious organizations, in particular the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, (OCAP). Several of FMTA's past or present paid employees are OCAP members, even members of OCAP's executive and organizers for OCAP. OCAP is a good training ground for the kind of intimidation work FMTA needs done.

You would think any suggestion of such a relationship would kill FMTA. People have complained endlessly about them. There have been some successful law suits against them. Some city employees have risked their careers by advising the city to dump FMTA. The provincial government pulled all funding from them twenty years ago, put them on a watch list, and have repeatedly advised the city to dump them. Mayor Ford wanted to get rid of them.

So, why do FMTA seem so impossible to root out? Because they are powerfully protected. Complaints against them are intercepted and suppressed. People with information cannot get in touch with each other. Everybody the core group of FMTA uses, they eventually turn against and drive away, but rarely will these people speak out. This includes some city councillors.

FMTA is clearly a symptom of a bigger problem. While there needs to be a tough and persistent campaign to root them out, the conditions which allow them to thrive need to be looked at. There needs to be a change to the way things are done at city hall.

3. bigger problem of corrupt practice at city hall.

I am sure there are many more examples of corrupt groups who get money from the city which they do not have to account for, simply because they are a sacred cow to some councillors. In all, I do not think they use up a lot of money; the moral damage is much greater than any harm to the budget. Some people talk about the atmospheric fund or this "street health" group, though I do not think anything is more insolent than FMTA.

This kind of corruption seems to come mostly from the NDP affiliated councilors, or some of the "left" liberals. I am sure the more conservative ones have their own forms of corruption. This corruption of using grants or "service contracts" to "pet" organizations to fund partisan activities or to serve other misguided social aims, is very harmful to community level democracy.

I

n the case of tenants, who are half of the city, FMTA effectively denies the right to public participation. As in the name of my web site, they have pimped the tenant's cause. They have coopted by intimidation the right to speak in the tenant's name.

That is what should damn the FMTA more than anything in the eyes of people with a "left", socially progressive point of view. It should also be very telling that the landlord's association has no problem with FMTA. Logically they should be screaming bloody murder about the way it is funded.

It may baffle some of the "left" people on council to hear this, but my own opinions are basically Marxist. I just have little patience with the behavior of most self styled Marxists or socialists. I have also become a big advocate of deliberative democracy. That is, direct and discursive democracy. This entails people being able to speak for themselves.

I know councillor Davis has proposed a tenant issues subcommittee, because she laments that "the voice of tenants has been absent from city hall for too long". This is just a new name for the Tenant Defense Subcommittee, or the "fund FMTA" committee. It cannot give tenants a voice in city hall.

Only something like a tenants advisory council, of tenants and elected by assemblies of tenants, would do this. This is not going to happen as long as there is a group getting half a million dollars a year, and always trying to get more, by occupying the turf of tenants issues. Particularly one with such a history of ruthless elimination of any threat to their funding as the FMTA.

Apparently one of the arguments for keeping FMTA in place is; "what else do we have?" Meaning, what can we use as a controlled "voice for tenants", which will articulate a tenant point of view but cause the city administration no real trouble? The answer, of course, is that the city should get off the "we know what is best for them" attitude and let the tenants of Toronto speak and organize as they wish.

This is the authoritarian left attitude in action, and which many city councillors are big exponents of. This shows again the problem of super partisan behavior in city hall, which is the root of the kind of corrupting attitudes and practices which allow FMTA to thrive. A new, moderately conservative administration in Toronto needs to aggressively challenge this behavior.

This is why Mayor Tory is so promising; he is from outside of "city hall" and owes no favors there. He may be able to see this issue with more perspective. The kind of strict new rule which can only come from the mayor's office is this; that nobody gets public money without evidence that they are performing an actually needed function, that they are doing it efficiently, and that no money is being used for partisan activity or to lobby for more funds.

Specifically, FMTA and the principles behind it, especially Kenn Hale and Howard Tessler, must be barred from receiving grants or contracts, or from being a part of any group receiving them. If the provincial government has been able to do this, why not the city?

Generally, a special section or desk "in house" within the mayor's office needs to be established to vet all non profit organizations to enforce the above rule. What is lacking now is anywhere that members of the public can go to deliver actionable information about non profits. This is becoming increasingly needed due to the problems of non profits or non governmental organizations, for which there is still a blind spot in Canada but is becoming an issue around the world. That is, that they are becoming an unaccountable level of government or social control, able to abuse the rights of citizens in ways that governmental bureaucracies cannot get away with.

4. My personal issue with FMTA, the city government, and the legal ssytem.

I do not want to spend much ink discussing my own history with FMTA. I have described it well enough on my web site, at least up to 2004. Since then they have continued to attack me, but I am getting better at dealing with their attacks and they have recently been ineffective or even rebound in my favor.

I have found I am not fighting FMTA itself so much as the whole "left" network in city hall, of politicians and bureaucrats connected to the NDP. As well, FMTA has close connections to the legal clinic system, and to Legal Aid Ontario. They make sure I can get no legal advice or a lawyer. When I get a lawyer he or she invariably sabotages me.

I have been keeping pretty good records of it all. One of these days it is going to be turned into a law suit against the city, unless the city decides to start acting responsibly. There is no limitation problem, it is mostly about violations of my constitutional rights. The constitutional principle could be extended to thwarting my access to justice by allowing biased courts.

I have been learning about laws, and I will prefer to conduct my own case when a suitable forum becomes available, and I feel able to do it myself. I do not trust lawyers at all. I have some strong opinions about the legal system in this country.

There is no way to assure access to justice for everyone without allowing people to conduct their own cases. People should be able to simply gather up all relevant documents, write out a statement of the facts, and take it down to the courthouse and say; "Here it is, deal with it". It is either that or have a system of public advocates on salaries, at all courts. Either approach would put most lawyers and paralegals out of business.

The city of Toronto were a factor in getting me arrested again in 2004, but that time I got out quickly and I got moved to a much nicer apartment out of the deal.

The FMTA and its allies really hate the web site I put up about them and have waged a constant campaign to have it taken down. I had to find an offshore server at greater expense and inconvenience. I had to threaten Google with a law suit to get my domain name unblocked from search engines.

My right to public participation is seriously hampered because I am frequently followed at public events and threatened with assault. A campaign of slander and intimidation has continued against me all this time. I have had copies forwarded to me of slanderous communications which were circulated about me, encouraging assault and false complaints to police against me.

All this is because there is a considerable "political cause stalking" network in Toronto, operated by "Left" political groups. If there was a police force in the city that was worth a pile of shit, I would be able to get charges laid for criminal defamation and criminal harassment. That is not likely because the police have colluded in this harassment and I am also being "black flagged" in the court system.

It is hard to say where exactly much of this harassment comes from. There are several "left" groups in the city which do not like me, especially due to my "causepimps.ca" web site. But there are some incidents which can be directly laid to the city.

In 2010 I was fired from a job working for the city's cooling center, for spurious reasons. This attack can be traced directly to Phil Brown, the Housing, Shelter, Support" manager at the time and a known strong defender of FMTA. The company running the cooling centers settled a court action with me, but I could get nowhere with getting damages from the city. The courts were black flagging me.

In 2012 when I tried to attend meetings of the "fund FMTA" committee, I was followed around and harassed by city hall security, apparently at the instigation of a particular city councillor. Later the same two jerks refused to let me in the building until councilor Del Grande intervened.

Last year I worked on the civic election. I have evidence that an FMTA associate put pressure on the elections office to fire me. I got a very abusive phone call and letter from a city employee, firing me as a ballot officer. I had been working for an election campaign and was not aware of city election rules. This person had discretion to move me to another ward but refused. I had to call up the election office and talk to other people to get work in another ward.

To conclude, I have been subject to nasty harassment for a very long time, and much of it is the fault of the city of Toronto. It is time the city defunded FMTA, removing this source of corruption, and forcing these people to find real jobs and stop bothering people who are trying to do something useful.

There is no excuse for city councillors not knowing what FMTA is really about. I have over the years collected an abundance of information about them. My site is fairly high in the search engine rankings, despite all these frantic efforts over the years.

Go to

http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/fmta.html

For my own history with these jerks, go to;

http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/federation.html

For a history of FMTA, go to;

http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/metrotenants.html

For the quality of the accounting for the funds given to FMTA;

http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/the%20most%20brazen%20corruption.pdf

And for abundant information of the value of FMTA's outreach and hotline:

http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/complaintA.pdf

http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/complaintB.pdf

http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/complaintC.pdf

http://www.causepimps.ca/FMTA/legal-clinics.html