December 18, 2011
A dozen years on, still dogging the FMTA bastards. It is close to New years day, a good time for taking stock. The budget wars between the radical right and left on city council will be on hold until the New year.
Last year Ford took $100 000 out of the FMTA budget. They went crazy. They were even making obvious their ties with OCAP and other attack mob groups. It seemed to back fire and they have been laying low since last summer.
But it has been hard to get the Ford people to say much about FMTA, either. I was able to talk with the budget committee chief and he said that the strategy was to not "stir the pot". Meaning, they are under such intense attack from the "leftie councillors" that they are hoping the lefties will forget about FMTA in their rush to attack on other issues.
But the budget chief also emphasized that the Ford administration knows all about FMTA and is determined that they will be gone this year. The supporters of FMTA may feel they can get funding for FMTA for another year by stealthy means and they are masters of funding by stealth. Phil Brown the "shelter/support/housing" head who is the big defender of FMTA in the city bureaucracy, is supposed to have a plan to protect FMTA's funding.
So, it does not seem that the demise of FMTA is imminent. It is that the fight to get rid of them has just engaged, after years when they were protected by idiots in the mayor Miller's office. Put it another way, it is now possible but must be fought for.
But it is hard to draw together a group that will work on it. Lately there has been a breakdown in cooperation and communication among people who had been monitoring FMTA. The problem is with some people with serious paranoia problems which seem to be played on by some hidden agency. But ceasing connections with these people might be better in the long run, because their dysfunctional behavior can inhibit effective action.
The Ford people are hard to communicate with, because they seem only to listen to people within their own ideological sphere. This is why they are going to lose against the left wing on city council. It is unclear whether they will be able to take down FMTA with them.
There is a good chance they will change their tactics and open up to people who do not agree with extreme anti-government ideology. There is a dislike for the cause pimp and social engineer elements in the local left. People are fed up with unions, with some justification. If Ford would restrict his attacks to what really deserves to be knocked down, leaving really necessary services alone, he could have my support, and I think the support of the majority of Torontonians.
Maybe the left could be reached as well, if they started to understand that the way they are going about things is creating a lot of justified hostility toward themselves. They are not in any way allies of poor people, tenants, or children. They are about protecting their own power and cannot see that their own interests are not synonymous with these people. The left is as much a hazard to the lower classes as are the right.
An appeal to the more enlightened left and right would seem to be the best strategy. So, a lobbying campaign in the new year should focus on the more middle ground councillors. They must be shown that FMTA does not provide any real services. They are opportunists with no real political affiliation or loyalty. But they have become sacred cows to the NDP left establishment and yet have also been protected by elements of the right wing.
A good strategy against them would be to require an audit as a condition for further funding. If it is not an audit they control, they will refuse and this will look very fishy. Also, an outside study of whether services are being effectively delivered would be useful. This should be standard for any group getting city funds, anyhow.
The services FMTA supposedly provides are no longer useful, or would be useful only if they were removed from control of the FMTA. First , the tenant hotline has become redundant since the province's landlord and tenant board has been reformed by the liberal government. This is now a true neutral arbiter of disputes and useful to tenants.
As for "outreach", who is reaching out to whom? The last thing any group of tenants with an issue need, is some of the FMTA thugs showing up at their meetings trying to collect memberships and force them to "align". It must be emphasized that FMTA is dangerous to tenants and anyway you never want people with a political agenda doing outreach with the backing of government.
As for the tenant defense fund, this could be useful. It depends on the tenant groups who could use it knowing about it and not being bird dogged to the FMTA. Right now FMTA actively discourages the use of the program so that they can pocket the left over money at the end of the year.
Some Ford allies suggested bringing this program "in house" but it cannot be run by city bureaucrats under control of "shelter/housing/ support", alias Phil Brown and Cathleen Chislett. I suggested to them that it be run directly out of the mayor's office for now.
What really needs to be done to insure FMTA is gone for good is to get rid of the two above named personages. That will be really difficult. It is hard for mere citizens of the city to influence this conflict, because both sides are playing everything low and quiet right now.
But there is going to be a real contest between those who would have FMTA gone because of what it represents, and those for whom it as a sacred cow which will be fiercely defended. As in the old Chinese saying, for those who want FMTA gone, it is a time of both danger and opportunity.