Angelo Bentivegna displayed the kind of behavior we thought was no longer tolerated at city hall.

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

December 5th, 2019

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Shades of the previous council.

Angelo BWard 6 Councillor Angelo Bentivegna  told delegator Gary Scobie that he was disappointed with the delegation he had made.

Before Bentivegna could finish his ill-advised comment – Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan spoke on a Point of Privilege and said he did not want to see comments like this being made.

This is the second time Bentivegna has given Scobie a rough ride – he made a snide remark a number of weeks ago, asking “What do you want – a play by play” when Scobie was asking for a little more detail.

Burlington is fortunate to have people like Scobie who take the time and make the effort to bring fresh ideas, hard questions and imagination to how the city could grow.

Scobie

Gary Scobie – asking a question during the Walking Tour that was part of the outreach to citizens by the Planning department.

In remarks after the Bentivegna choice words Scobie said that everyone knows the city has to grow – and that the growth is needed – he just wanted to see the growth in the right places – in and around the Mobility Hubs.

He told Council that they came to city hall with hopes to put a lid on this.

“We are in a predicament – you are being asked to meet a target you don’t really like – then get rid of the target.”

Scobie who attends most of the public meetings attended the Action Labs and reported that people were confused with what was being asked of them.

He deserved better.

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15 comments to Angelo Bentivegna displayed the kind of behavior we thought was no longer tolerated at city hall.

  • Thanks to Roland Tanner for speaking out that what was happening at Heritage Advisory Committee was wrong. The tone has changed we are told the city appreciates our input and we can delegate in the new year when those with the relative expertise to address our concern are able to attend. A victory for the democratic process being upheld.

  • Don Fletcher

    It seemed to me that Councillor Bentivegna was asking his “rapid fire” questions principally to inform the public with the answers. The amount of data that was presented last Thursday (if we are to believe for the first time to Council) would overwhelm Albert Einstein., so I am curious as to why Councillor Angelo was not asking questions to improve his own understanding?

  • Roland

    While the comment was pointed enough that Councillor Nisan commented, I’ll just say this to add some context. Councillor Bentivegna came and chatted with both myself and Gary later in the evening and I don’t believe there were any hard feelings on either side. I could be wrong – I haven’t asked Gary – but that was my impression.

    That by itself is a huge difference from the previous council.

    Another huge difference is that another councillor immediately called out the comment. In the past Marianne Meed Ward might have commented, and sometimes Rick Goldring did, but there were regularly incredibly offensive exchanges that were somehow seen as acceptable practice.

    I don’t know what the atmosphere was earlier in the day, but in comparison to the tangible feeling of hostility and toxicity that existed at council meetings in the past, there is no comparison. The councillors are approachable and friendly during breaks, and to be honest nobody could ever describe Councillor Bentivegna as unapproachable or unfriendly.

    Ultimately councillors do have the right to disagree with delegates, and to question whether what delegates say is accurate and fair. I also think it’s fair for councillors to give ‘regulars’, like myself or Gary, a slightly harder time. We’re grown-ups. We can take it.

    But yes challenging residents needs to be done extremely carefully and respectfully. I’d give this council credit where it’s due for transforming the tone of debate at City Hall so far.

    • There is, however, no safe way or place to challenge our City’s failure to abide by Procedual By-laws, ask for an agenda that includes the reports or be able to follow what is being said. Haviing a clerk threaten to call security and have you escorted out simply because these very basic needs for engagement have been requested prior to the beginning of the November Heritage Advisory Committee that did not at that time have a quorum present and yet was making decisions, is not how those who respect the principles of democracy and the sacrifices made to obtain such, behave.

      • Roland Tanner

        Hi Anne and Dave. I do agree that a number of things at that meeting should have been handled better. I did in fact communicate to City Hall following the meeting that I did not feel the two of you were treated appropriately.

        I think – or I hope – that City Hall as a whole is honestly trying to get better at how they interact with the public, but that sometimes they still miss the mark. Certainly that does not let them off the hook for treating any member of the public in a way that is less than professional or respectful, but I am willing to extend them some limited ‘benefit of the doubt’ given the fact, I guess, that change doesn’t happen overnight.

        I am hopeful that one change we will see happening soon is the public being more regular participants at advisory committee meetings, and that meetings are therefore arranged in such a way that any member of the public can easily hear and see what is going on, and is made to feel they are both a welcomed and valued participant.

      • Elan

        Ok…that is a major run-on sentence…I have observed City Council provides all agendas and materials in advance of their Committee meetings as required by law, inviting delegations, etc. I don’t think they are responsible for you being able to ‘follow what is being said”. I also don’t see the connection between this and you getting threatened by security to leave at the Heritage Advisory Committee because you say they didn’t have quorum. You say you are not ‘safe’. I challenge that. Call your Councillor. Call the Mayor. I bet you get a response. I think the Councillors has been very receptive, as long as the concerns are rational.

        • Hans Jacobs (Elan) An unbiased witness Roland Tanner was present and confirms the truth of our statement and the need to improve. What happens at Committee is webcast and can be reviewed. What happens at advisory committee is not. You have chosen to comment on something you have no knowledge about attempting to discredit comments based on eye witness accounts of three people who were. Enough said.

        • The reply was under Hans Jacobs but meant for Elan sorry for the confusion.

          • Elan

            Anne. I agree, that you should take Tanner’s example. Be Credible. If you ever come to Council with a positive comment (outside of the times you are barred from delegating due to having to be forcibly removed from legislatively approved in-camera Council sessions) it might help your credibility. And, yes, I did watch live. You are piling on, in my opinion. What happened to you at the Heritage Advisory Committee to get you thrown out is documented as well. Deep-state conspiracy here is not real, but if it must exist, is better pointed at Jane McKenna, not to this Council, who are citizens (not developer schills) who live here with their children with the consequences of all these critical decisions. ‘Nuff said?”

            Editor’s note: Edited for libel.

  • Penny Hersh

    I guess the honeymoon period is over.

    Have things really changed at Council? Have all the tools used to engage the public by the City been successful? Have all the promises made by those campaigning for election come to fruition?

    I watched the meetings at home and my impression is that when it comes to the downtown we are going around in circles. I did come away with the fact that the density targets set by the Province are not really taken into account when it comes to the developers appeals to LPAT. So why is our council still harping on this and continuing to say that we are meeting or surpassing the MINIMUM density targets required?

    Perhaps it is time for residents to contact Jane McKenna’s office to find out just what is required to move the “Downtown Urban Growth Centre”? We have heard over and over again how difficult it would be, but I for one would like to have this information.

    Take the time to send an email to Jane McKenna and ask for specifics. If this is not doable then we should know this. Change only happens when the public pushes for it.

  • We have been allowed to make three out of four delegations that were registered in accordance with by-laws since late September. Two of these three were interrupted by the Chair. One saw Councill Nisan after a 15 minute late bio break go back to our delegation and misrepresent what we said. One we saw a member of the media improperly lambasted by the Mayor when he was unable to respond. We are only describing what is captured on web cast. There has been lots of unwitnessed behaviours that are not respectful. of oaths of office Engagement, transparency and accountability ….. Just like the two previous councils.

  • Lynn Crosby

    There were several examples of disrespect shown at yesterday’s meetings reminiscent of the previous council. When the “play by play” comment was recited to a councillor of a different municipality, the reaction was one of shock and dismay. The 15 minute break called by Chair Sharman before delegations, which was both unusually and unnecessarily long, also reminded me of past council as I contemplated its purpose.

    Kudos to Councillor Nisan for calling out the disrespectful remark last night. No delegates should be treated this way … all members of the public should be welcomed and made to feel like their input and opinions are valued.

  • Hans Jacobs

    I’m disappointed that the councillor for the ward I live in would be so disrespectful and show such poor manners and judgment.

    • Eve St Clair

      Would you rather they all be “yes” men and women . Glad Councillor Bentivenga spoke up and comment did not seem disrespectful. I believe Burlington residents ,especially us residing north of the QEW are fed up with the numerous discussions on Downtown ad nauseam .

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