Wasting time on wasted food

A city councillor tried playing inside baseball twice during a debate Tuesday. He struck out both times.

Coun. Michael van Holst asked council’s corporate services committee to consider a pair of policy changes that would apply only to those working at city hall. Both were batted down.

One in particular, a call to add new rules around the food served to politicians at noon-hour debates, irked one council veteran.

“I really wish we would deal with these things off the floor of council,” Deputy Mayor Paul Hubert said. “I hate talking about us, because it’s not about us.”

Van Holst proposed politicians be allowed to get food at the top-floor cafeteria, rather than have staff supply it to them.

“I agree with the idea of reducing food waste,” said Coun. Jessie Helmer. “I do not agree . . . that this is the way to do it.”

City staff indicated the option van Holst suggests already exists. The committee voted to receive his request but take no action.

In a separate motion, the east-end Ward 1 councillor asked politicians to change to their expense policy, which he argued causes “unnecessary restrictions, delays and red tape.”

Van Holst suggested a switch from a “white list” — where only certain expenses are allowed — to a “black list,” where only certain expenses are expressly prohibited.

The committee voted unanimously to take no action.

“It was disappointing that the chair did not want to give me the chance to speak to comments about my submission,” Van Holst said by email later. “It means that more committee work has to be done in council and I will have a much more difficult time advancing my ideas to reduce food waste and red tape.”

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