The TTC union has taken it upon itself to try to reach out to its customers. In the last few weeks, Union boss Greg Kinnear has been behind a series of Town Hall type meetings with local users to listen to their complaints and suggestions for better service on the Better Way. It is not uncommon for ordinary folk to attend these meetings and express themselves, and their experiences. It can lead to a very emotionally charged exchange between TTC employees and the traveling public.
Two weeks ago I covered one of these meetings at Stephen Leacock Secondary School. For the most part it was a respectful setting with a healthy back and forth from those assembled, and TTC staff who volunteered to offer answers to questions. A few sore points did arise, however, it was near the end of the meeting when one woman stood to read from her list of issues that caught the my attention. I had purposely scooted along the floor to have a good view of her and quickly noted TTC Chair Adam Giambrone sitting quietly in the auditorium just a few rows ahead of the woman speaking. As she began to read her list of issues, she took note that the city councilor (and one time Mayoral candidate) was seated just in front of her. It didn't take her long to suggest Giambrone be removed from his TTC Chair job. Giambrone closed his eyes as she made her statement. The woman quickly moved onto her complaints but having had enough time to frame her with Giambrone in the foreground, I had a managed a few frames with his reaction as she continued to speak.
Its one of the tasks photographers face when covering sleepy, or slow, public meetings such as this. There was no fireworks, no banners waved about, no hysterical behaviour, but there was a very public call for the removal of the TTC Chair - and he was in the room to hear it. The picture failed to run - another chosen to accompany the story - but was one of those moments which helped to gather the overall elements of the story: People are not happy with the TTC service, and the call for the head of the lead politician who oversees the public service.