LANSDOWNE LIVE CHAT: Here’s The Transcript

This is a transcript of the Tuesday evening’s Lansdowne Live Chat here on The Bulldog.

Thank you to all involved. Wednesday we get the fateful Lansdowne vote.

The transcript begins on the page at the end of the page so you must read from the bottom to top to follow the discussion.

We do this as a service to our readers:


Ken Gray :Good night and good luck k
Ken Gray :I think the readers are all tired out on lansdowne. Around 645 I was feeling like the maytag repairman.
Ron Benn :That is my take on it. Talk to you later.
Ken Gray : We may be the last two people on this chat, ron
Ron Benn : Aye.
Ken Gray : So are we ready to give this chat a wrap? just say aye if so
Ken Gray : council has been bobbleheading for so long that they don’t know how to make a smart decision (“what did staff say again?”)
Ron Benn : Agreed Ken. Just when I think they can’t outdo stupid they prove me wrong.
Ken Gray : Yes the experience and brains are on the OSEG side. Jeff Leiper doesn’t stand a chance. He is completely out of his depth.
Ken Gray : It’s like when the city folded on the outrageous position on light rail and the parkway route. the city declared victory when it accept the ridiculous deal that the ncc conjured and didn’t expect the city to accept. The ncc didn’t want the train on the parkway and bid so high that they thought the city would not be so stupid. Never underestimate the city’s stupidity.
Ron Benn : OSEG is playing chess. Councillors are playing checkers.
Ken Gray : I will guarantee everyone will declare victory tomorrow.
Ken Gray : You know, the smart people at OSEG probably didn’t expect the $419 million to pass. They’ve probably worked out their compromise position long before now.
Ken Gray : The budget was decided before the first consultations. Talk about going through the motions. It’s an annual rite.
Ron Benn : Quebec? I am thinking Switzerland. At least they have something approximating a democratic process.
Ron Benn : Eventually Lansdowne will pass. My guess is 14-11, maybe 15-10.
Ron Benn : Lansdowne will take a long time to process Menard melangerie of motions.
Ken Gray : If they approve lansdowne, i think the wise move is to buy a house in quebec
Ron Benn : My take on it is that the budget will pass with limited to no discussion.
Ken Gray : So folks … how does the vote go tomorrow?
Ken Gray : thx for chatting Donna … always a pleasure
Mulvihill : I’m off now .. fingers crossed they do the right thing tomorrow but I’m not holding my breath. Chat soon!
Ron Benn : Damn. Missed the fine print again. And that is why I no longer give tax advice.
Ken Gray : You’re off? In a white van perchance?
Ken Gray : ron I believe there is a confidentiality clause covering the use of the words “confidentiality clause.” Just so you know.
Mulvihill : No doubt. The entire thing is going to be a giant sinkhole soon. I’m off
Ron Benn : Sorry Donna, but we can’t tell you whether they got it out. Confidentiality clause.
Ken Gray : Official word is that the van is holding up Rideau Street
Mulvihill : Did they get it out? I thought they buried it.
Ken Gray : Yes Donna. We should start adding rounding errors to our municipal tax contributions. Or hold back money for sink holes until the city comes clean on them ( I wonder where that white van went … anybody see a staffer driving a white van)
Mulvihill : I won’t quote you Ron
Mulvihill : Interesting
Ron Benn : Donna, I no longer give tax advice.
Ron Benn : Confidentiality clauses are standard fare in a city hall culture that despises the very concept of open, transparent and accountable.
Ken Gray : Or lip balms ron.
Ron Benn : Confidentiality clauses are handed out by city legal counsel the same way that the mayor hands out Halloween candy.
Ken Gray : I have a masters of spelling ron though sometimes I think the degree lapsed.
Ken Gray : Confidentiality clauses … what a way to hide goofs and other such things.
Mulvihill : “Other” .. I’ll add that on my taxes this year for deductions.
Ron Benn : Well, it was accurate. And its nice to be Master of something.
Ron Benn : I suspect that we will never find out how much over budget LRT Stage 1 was. Between confidentiality clauses and burying the overages in “Other”.
Ken Gray : I kind of liked the CPA Ron. I hope you took my expose on your golf game well .. lol
Mulvihill : No, Ken, I really don’t. 3 kids, 4 grandchildren, 2 dogs ..
Ken Gray : Donna … you have more money than you think
Mulvihill : It’s the unknown LRT $$$ that’s scary because it certainly is a lot more than $2.1B.
Ron Benn : My abacus is available. I don’t need it any more, what with me being a Certified Pencil Acrobat.
Ken Gray : The city decided to pick up lrt overages without the help of the province and feds. That was brave … or foolhardy.
Mulvihill : We should all have a Kanellakos abacus … think of the fun!
Ken Gray : And how much money has been thrown at lrt that we don’t know about.
Mulvihill : Funny how that .. suddenly reality stsrts to creep up.
Ken Gray : Donna I believe that’s the name of her abacus … The Kanellakos.
andrew : Yes, oral comments at meetings with councellors. The city should have data and estimates if there is information such as this.
Ron Benn : Then they checked their additions and it was $2.1B.
Mulvihill : LOL .. maybe she’s using Kanellakos’
Ron Benn : Staff estimates were one of the primary problems with Stage 1 LRT. They went to the feds and the province based on a $1.8B estimate.
Ken Gray : that was councillor by the way
Ken Gray : Stephanson apparently has a malfunctioning abacus.
Ron Benn : Estimates, Andrew? Scribbling on the back of the envelope without a calculator handy.
Mulvihill : Do tell ..
Ken Gray : A lot of councillors are scared or should be.
Ken Gray : Yes, you know there is a certain special interest group that when they don’t like a council, it funds an opponent to defeat him or her.
Ron Benn : The budget and Lansdowne on the same agenda? Which gets passed faster?
andrew : The lack in city planning having an estimate on correcting the current situation at lansdown is also unethical. I have heard 9-25 million to fix the “functional Obsolescence”
Ron Benn : To run for the provincial legislature or parliament requires the support of the back room shakers and movers. Not just for the nomination, but also for campaign organizing and fund raising. Don’t want to alienate the people who campaign raise money.
Ken Gray : the budget … I hate to think
Ken Gray : Andrew: big police station going in in barrhaven. Hope they don’t have a medical emergency there. It’s a long wait for an ambulance.
Mulvihill : So busy day tomorrow .. budget tabled and then on to Lansdowne.
andrew : Rumor is some wards may “get” a community centre soon!
Ron Benn : The cynic in me wonders how many of the current set of councillors aspire to higher office.
Mulvihill : Scarier than grim
Mulvihill : Maybe he made them an offer they couldn’t refuse..
Ken Gray : Donna: that’s a grim picture.
Mulvihill : Hubley is glued to his side.
Ken Gray : I wonder how many horse’s heads showed up in the beds of councillors.
Ken Gray : The post meeting news conference looks like Sutcliffe has the votes.
Mulvihill : So gutless committee members.
andrew : the lobbying rules are not being followed, Sutcliffe “meets Very few” lobbyists according to the registry. Have a look and try and find an NHL visit, (when last winter buyers and NHL were in his office daily.)
Ken Gray : Yes and the rushed Lansdowne add to council shows desperation. Sutcliffe either has the votes or he’s firing up a hail mary in that this is his best chance.
Ron Benn : Just me reading the tea leaves Donna.
Ron Benn : So, cancel the committee vote and go straight to council. That avoids the messy explanations about why it even made it to council.
Mulvihill : So Ron, is that why they punted?
Mulvihill : We need SOMEONE to file a complaint.
Ron Benn : Lansdowne was facing a real problem at committee. A significant No vote would have caught the public’s attention. That would have made it difficult for council to override it. Too many questions on the why.
Ken Gray : We need smart people to file a complaint.
Ken Gray : Donna: Someone must file a complaint and the police and the Crown must decide if there is enough evidence to charge and convict.
Ron Benn : The current circumvention of due process is a classic example of a corrupted culture. Not small unmarked bills in an envelope corruption. Corruption as does not operate in compliance with the design.
Ken Gray : I mean if I can see through the con, these guys need con training.
Mulvihill : Why hasn’t there been a criminal investigation? Why wouldn’t one have been initiated given the Hourigan’s report?
Ken Gray : And not very good con artists come to think of it.
Ken Gray : I want honest people in government running an ethically and fiscally sound city government. Not a bunch of con artists.
Ken Gray : Well if Lansdowne is passed, we need good people in this community to take back this government and return it to the people. I’m tired of the power of developers and special interest groups.
Ron Benn : Exactly Ken. The tone from the top is business as usual.
andrew : The ethics report will get council to demand change
Ken Gray : Ron: well they’ve certainly set a tone. Not the right one.
andrew : I believe we need to ask the ethics commissioner to investigate what has been discovered on ethics and corruption.. Complaints to the Fraud and Waste hotline is an avenue to do this.
Ron Benn : Changing organizational culture is a big problem. It needs to start at the top. The mayor, council and the Chief Administrative Officer set the tone.
Ken Gray : Donna they might be the last way to get around town. On yer bike.
Mulvihill : Somehow McKenney’s bike lanes are looking better and better
Ken Gray : He was too old. At least he is honest.
Mulvihill : Clearly
Ken Gray : And people wondered why the bulldog endorsed bob chiarelli donna.
Ron Benn : The LRT Commissioner’s report was very damning. While it only cited Mssrs. Watson, Kanellakos and Manconi for egregious malfeasance, it was clear in the tone that there were other active participants in the WhatsApp circumvent. In addition, there had to be a significant number of other senior managers who knew that council was not being properly informed, but failed to flag that failure. Enablers.
Ken Gray : We need paramedics and yet we throw money at a corrupt police force.
Mulvihill : A mayor with integrity for starters
Ken Gray : What do we do to bring ethics and proper priorities back to this mess of a city?
andrew : Defined contribution is a burden on society eventually, as they eventuall drop value and payments to the pensioner. In a few years employees will wake up that our parents set up an amazing system (defined Benefit) and they let it go.
Mulvihill : I would say that’s a crap shoot .. most are there for the salary, benefits and pension.
Ken Gray : It didn’t used to be like that.
Ken Gray : There was a time when the city was open (hello bob Chiarelli) but now staff just covers up or misinforms. We have many unethical staff members.
Ron Benn : But pensions are a distraction to Lansdowne. I only raised the issue because the city has effectively pledged so much of its future revenues that it raises the question of how much more future debt service (interest + principal) can they commit before they have to cut even further into the basic services that they are required to provide.
Ken Gray : We need staff members who remember their public service ethics.
Mulvihill : Our fair city is deep financial doo-doo ..
Ron Benn : Many companies are shifting away from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution pensions. That at least limits their future liabilities.
Ken Gray : That sinkhole is a fiscal sinkhole. This city is so, so, so badly managed. And that’s a staff problem.
Ron Benn : Pensions are a quagmire. The underfunded future obligations will be covered by future tax dollars. From the same bucket of tax dollars as the city bonds re LRT Stage 1, Lansdowne 1.0, LRT Stage 2.
Ken Gray : Company funded pensions. Some companies are so far behind that if the feds enforced the law, the companies would have to fold.
Mulvihill : Underfunded? I’m sure employees will love to hear that.
andrew : City pensions are a problem. In 2004 they took a vacation on contributing for several years as it was “overfunded”. I was astounded that was being done, so if it is underfunded then get the payments back from employees.
Ron Benn : The remaining $300 million will either get paid by RTG or the tax payers. To be determined.
Bruce : Council and staff are not responsible for anything? and can not be held so in a court of law?
Ron Benn : Bruce, it is my understanding that the city settled part of the claim with their insurance company to the tune of $30 million.
Ken Gray : Peter: You got that right. Vortex of misery … apt
Ken Gray : Pensions ron. Most companies plans are underfunded.
Mulvihill : I don’t know Ken. Do they think residents are that gullible that we aren’t supposed to ask questions? Who do we ask amongst staff? We have no idea so literally in the dark.
Bruce : Law suit covered by insurance?
Ron Benn : The liabilities just keep piling up, and no one on council has a pencil and a piece of paper, let alone a calculator.
Peter Karwacki : A vortex of misery
Ron Benn : City pensions are underfunded.
Ron Benn : There is a $300 million law suit waiting a court date/settlement re the Rideau Street sink hole.
andrew : remember if OSEG gets title as owner as planned, they own it and the city cannot force a sale or expropriate it as they had to declare it surplus by city policy.
Bruce : Her we are again at the question of amalgamation No I think that most of the core is against increasing the debt load and taxes if you call it what it is
Ken Gray : Where does that magic money come from, Ron.
Ron Benn : A committee just approved a $152 million increase in LRT Stage 2.
Mulvihill : ..doesn’t add up ..
Ken Gray : Why is staff giving misleading advice Donna?
Ron Benn : The reserves are an accounting fiction. A number that gets added to or subtracted from, but no actual cash is set aside.
Mulvihill : Why indeed. What are they covering up and who are they covering for? Agains, why the rush? Something doesn’t add up.
Ken Gray : You know in this case a refereendum might not be a bad idea Bruce. But it would be a vote of downtown against the suburbs.
Ron Benn : In this case, OSEG has put themselves in the driver’s seat. They have convinced staff and many on council that no one else can take on the role because OSEG is the property manager for most of Lansdowne.
andrew : Here is a reason to vote for lansdowne: Marry into the OSEG owners family, and Vote yes. Then retire.
Bruce : A deal of this magnitude should be by LAW required to be put to a referendum The results will be a tax increase over time of some concern and the debt being accumulated by LRT and Landsdowne can not be supported by present means.
Ken Gray : With $38 million in reserves, how do we fund the next OC Transpo shortfall.
Ron Benn : Successful property developers understand that it is a long game. Control the land, and then they push the agenda when the timing is right for them.
Ken Gray : Folks … what i don’t understand is why the staff is lying and misrepresenting lansdowne. what’s in it for them.
andrew : it is too early for any tender
Ron Benn : Why should someone vote for Lansdowne? Some people love shiny new toys that someone else pays for. Except those supporters don’t read the fine print, which is that they get to share in the payments.
Ken Gray : ron: has there been any discussion of a tender … I don’t remember any
Ron Benn : This is a $420ish million transaction, and there is not even a discussion about whether it should be put to tender?
andrew : that is intentional miss-information as the views they have contain a elevation view to do the ones they have.
Ken Gray : Ron: Here’s a dare. Give me a reason to vote for Lansdowne.
Ron Benn : My biggest concern is the sole source nature of the transaction. Sole source is fine when the value of the transaction is de minimus. Should council concern itself with the purchase of pencils?
Ken Gray : Artist renderings are a bit mythical too, Andrew.
andrew : I was involved with others to get the city to follow its own policy requirement that ALL applications for a Zoning change or Official Plan Change have to publish an elevation View of the proposal. Yhat is a full front and side view of the buildings. The never did! The views are either cut off at 14 stories, or at a 30degree angle minimizing the massive scale of a 40 story building.
Ken Gray : Bruce: I have no idea how the city can extract itself from this quagmire.
Ron Benn : There are so many reasons to vote against Lansdowne 2.x as it has been proposed.
Ken Gray : Sutcliffe has Watson’s old people advising them. Wonder where they learned their politics. And ethics.
Bruce : I previously made a comment that this vote could be so simple. Ask the simple questions of: Is the deal GOOD for Ottawa in a financial or cultural way? Do you understand the drip called “waterfall?, is Ottawa an equal PARTNER in the investment ie does the OSEG group put in as much money initially or through the life of the deal?. Who owns the new and old buildings if the deal is consummated? If any questions are answered NO or I do not know,then the vote MUST be NO as well
Ron Benn : Diane Deans was not afraid to speak her mind. It helped that she was more than capable of thinking her way through the issues.
Ken Gray : Donna and $38 million in reserves. Watson milked those reserves to preserve his low tax increases. Now there’s next to nothing there.
Ron Benn : Sutcliffe is showing his lack of experience. Mayor is not an entry level position. It appears that he is being manipulated into following the “successful” pattern of municipal governance that was practiced by Watson.
Peter Karwacki : I zgree with Ron..wait
Ken Gray : The 12 years of Watson culture, best illustrated by the LRT inquiry, is alive and well at city hall. It is like he never left.
Mulvihill : $25M to repair northside stands vs $419M for …
Ron Benn : Council could say “not right now, perhaps next year” and the north stands would still be there.
Mulvihill : How effective are these clowns anyway? I remember Diane Deans asking staff questions about LRT and being stonewalled.
Ken Gray : this is not the Mark Sutcliffe I know. Sutcliffe needs to start listening to Sutcliffe or he will be a one term mayor. He’s getting terrible advice.
Ron Benn : There is a troubling trend down continuing from the Watson terms. It is the presentation of binary choices. Either council support the immediate funding of Lansdowne or they turn it down forever. Those are not the only alternatives.
Mulvihill : Staff over ruled council? LOL!
Ken Gray : by the way staff overruled council on that and that is NOT supposed to happen … and thus the beginning of the lansdowne controversy
Mulvihill : And those late Friday afternoon announcements don’t bode well for an open and transparent municipal government. Sutcliffe is well on his way to being a 1 term mayor if this is pushed forward.
Ken Gray : 10 4 bruce … welcome aboard
Ken Gray : I think when council called for an international competition to design Lansdowne developers saw the park was in play and took advantage, Donna.
Bruceat the end : Bruce as the end says
Ken Gray : guest 2245 … could you give yourself a name … it makes you easier to follow thx k
Ken Gray : Well Andrew what is frightening is that the city is putting out the misinformation. We elect people to tell us the truth. Staff members are supposed to be telling the truth … you know, public servants. It’s a very sad day when you can’t trust what your municipal government is telling you.
guest_2245 : I at first though or hoped that Sutcliffe would not be just another version of Watson but with this as his legacy or about to become his gift to Ottawa I now see the true colour and probable deceit is inherent from the corner office. Does this office have a connection to Ottawa Hydro? Is the chair electrified? and controlled by the developer industry? Bruce
Mulvihill : Ive written to my councillor several times and have received 0 responses .. not even an acknowledgement of my concerns. He is a prop for Sutcliffe as he was for Watson.
Mulvihill : Lansdowne is supposed to be public lands .. when did this change? Was it O’Brien’s initiation?
andrew : The misinformation is everywhere. On Thursday the Mayor shut Menard down when asking if Lansdowne was being sold. Then saying it was not and a city news release went out. Then the next day, city staff admitted it was to be sold. That is not permitted by city policy as it needs to be “surplus”. so there is a big stink on all the flipflops and complex machinations of OSEG to take city land.
Mulvihill : It irks me that this decision has to be made so quickly. Why the rush and why can’t council wait until the AG’s report on Lansdowne 1.0 comes out?
Ken Gray : Anybody know if the Lansdowne work is sole-sourced again?
Ken Gray : The mayor only has $38 million in reserve funds left. We’ll be lucky to cover the Lansdowne construction overruns with that.
Ken Gray : There’s no good reason for Lansdowne to be such a priority.
Ken Gray : If you mean that Lansdowne is more important than paramedics, housing, LRT and climate change, I’d say that’s how he feels.
Peter Karwacki : The importance of the project in competition fir city resources is superceded by declared emergencies for affordable housing, LRT and climate change
Ken Gray : You don’t call a vote unless you’re confident of a win or it’s the best chance to throw a Hail Mary.
Ken Gray : What do you mean by priority?
Peter Karwacki : My view is that the priority is not there
Ken Gray : Unless something changes overnight, he is either confident of a win or feels Wednesday is the best chance to win.
Peter Karwacki : It wouldn’t be on the agenda without the mayor’s support
Ken Gray : My analytics show we have a lot of readers out there right now but not a lot of participants.
Ken Gray : the mayor, of course, supports lansdowne
Ken Gray : I don’t know about Tierney. He was usually pro-mayor when Watson was around. He’s not a free thinker. He’ll probably vote yes to Lansdowne.
Peter Karwacki : My guess..those were likely to vote sgainst
Ken Gray : what about them?
Peter Karwacki : Troster, Tierney
Ken Gray : Peter … I don’t understand what you mean
Peter Karwacki : King, Plante
Peter Karwacki : hmmm thick fingers
Peter Karwacki : Nenard
Peter Karwacki : Mem
Peter Karwacki : Leiper
Peter Karwacki : Keiper
Peter Karwacki : I feel the usual suspects against..
Ken Gray : Hard to say Peter. I heard on the weekend that the yes side was firming up so maybe that’s why we have the snap vote on Lansdowne.
Peter Karwacki : Ken…the vote will split in the usual way?
Ken Gray : And that’s why people are so angry.
Ken Gray : Difficult indeed. Something is going on that we don’t know about.
Mike Patton : I still find it hard to believe that anyone sees value in the deal on the table
Ken Gray : that’s a release today. They sound confident.
Ken Gray : Also the city is has already got the post-game show ready … Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and Wendy Stephanson, City Manager, will respond to media questions after tomorrow’s Council meeting. The following subject-matter experts will be available to answer questions: Don Herweyer, Interim General Manager, Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development Cyril Rogers, Acting General Manager and Chief Financial Officer, Finance and Corporate Services
Ken Gray : The yes people want the vote fast because the votes are a bit soft and so they want to strike quickly.
Ken Gray : I also believe that council meeting on Lansdowne has been moved up from this coming friday because the yes forces believe they’ve got the votes.
Ken Gray : I figure the vote on Friday was cancelled because the Yes people weren’t sure they would win.
Ken Gray : Welcome aboard. I’m here and ready to go.
LANSDOWNE: Tell Ottawa What You Think : Welcome to the Bulldog Live Chat



City Council Reschedules Lansdowne Meeting

City Council Derails Important Lansdowne Meeting

Thumb-Sucking Councillors Get Petty On Lansdowne

Council Doesn’t Represent OSEG, The Mayor, City Staff: THE VOTER



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