Tag Archives: Rob Ford

Rob Ford: Status Quo

22 Jan

When Toronto Mayor Rob Ford goes to an Etobicoke fast-food joint, he’s likely wasted, engaging in minstrelsy, and meeting with his accused extortionist buddy

Rob Ford, Buffalonian

2 Dec

Channel 2 anchor Mary Alice Demler met Toronto’s figurehead mayor Rob Ford at the Bills game yesterday and came away thinking he’s a troubled guy with a sweet punim

A man who was until recently entrusted – the city council stripped Ford of almost all of his powers by an overwhelming margin a few weeks ago – with running one of the largest and most vibrant cities in North America, has not merely descended into self-parody. He is the subject of a massive police investigation into crack-dealing Etobicoke gangs, may be implicated in some homicides, and has lied to his constituents about his crack use and otherwise embarrassed himself, his family, his political party, and his city. The guy is a mess who should have been removed from office a month ago

But because the Bills played a game in Toronto yesterday (that socialist hellhole has more people and money than WNY), everyone pretended like everything was normal. Under normal circumstances, Channel 2 would be “holding people in power accountable” and wondering how Ford got a ticket and how much he paid. 

But technically speaking, Ford is no longer “in power”, so Channel 2 can leave it to the Star, CP24, the Globe & Mail, CityTV, the CBC, CTV, and other media up there to hold him “accountable”. 

Instead, 

She deleted the original Tweet, so here’s Buffalo Rising’s re-Tweet of it.

The Bills are so shockingly popular in Toronto that a whopping 40,000 people showed up to watch them lose to Atlanta. The Rogers Centre has a football capacity of 54,000; the Ralph can fit almost 75,000. Let’s keep trying to make fetch happen.

But it’s good to know everyone can overlook shocking criminality and a Mayor who apparently stole someone else’s seat and tell us he’s a sweetheart who squeezed himself into a Bills jersey because he’s been effectively stripped of the powers of his real job. 

But he sort of looks like he belongs here, so maybe we should gush over him. He eats chicken wings, after all. 

Meanwhile, an Ontario Judge Kicks Rob Ford Out of Office

27 Nov

Although Ontario is right here in our own backyard, we think about it when it comes to sport or culture or shopping, yet most of us are blissfully ignorant of Ontario politics.  Yesterday, Ontario Superior Court Judge Charles Hackland ruled that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford be removed from office for violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.  Text of the decision is below. 

Ford wasn’t immediately dismissed; the removal is stayed for 14 days. Ford plans to appeal the ruling

For the uninitiated, Ford is a Tory from Etobicoke, a western suburb that is part of the City of Toronto. His family owns a label company there, and he entered politics as a Toronto city councilman in 2000. He was elected Mayor in 2010 as Torontonians sought to reduce fraud and waste in city government.  He positioned himself as a populist conservative, attacking perks in members’ budgets and calling for removal of long-termers in the council. He became mayor on a platform of “putting people and families first, focusing on the fundamentals, reducing waste, and eliminating unnecessary taxes.”  Think of him as a portlier, blue-collar Chris Collins. 

Like Collins, Ford has a reputation for being arrogant, ignorant, and disrespectful.

Ford’s removal from office had nothing to do with his fiscal conservatism, and everything to do with arrogance and ignorance. In early 2010, then-councilman Ford sent letters on official City of Toronto letterhead identifying him as “Etobicoke North Councillor” soliciting donations for his private “Rob Ford Football Foundation”. He collected just over $3,000 from donors, including several city lobbyists, clients of city lobbyists, and a company that did business with Toronto. His colleagues in the council sanctioned him and ordered him to pay the money back, and a taxpayer lawsuit was filed. 

“In his letter of response to the complaint, Councillor Ford wrote, ‘I do not understand why it would be inappropriate to solicit funds for an arm’s-length charitable cause using my regular employment letterhead,'” Leiper quoted him as saying.
 
Ford had said there was “no basis in policy or law” to stop him from fundraising this way. However, Leiper said she had advised him in December 2009 and in February 2010 that he shouldn’t fundraise in this way.

After the decision yesterday, the plaintiff’s counsel indicated that it didn’t have to be this way

“It is tragic that the elected mayor of a great city should bring himself to this,” Ruby said. “Rob Ford did this to Rob Ford. It could have so easily been avoided. It could have been avoided if Rob Ford had used a bit of common sense and he had played by the rules.” 

As Globe and Mail columnist Marcus Gee explains

What they missed was a dangerous strain of arrogance. This was the mayor who called senior civil servants to his office to demand paving and other repairs outside his family business in Etobicoke. This is the mayor who used publicly paid workers in his office to help coach his high-school football team. This is the mayor who called the head of the Toronto Transit Commission to complain about a late bus that had been pulled out of service to pick up his football players. And this is the mayor who wanted the city’s accountability officers reformed out of existence when some of them questioned his conduct and policies.

Here was a guy who ran as a man of the people but acted as if he were above the limits that apply to ordinary mortals. For Rob Ford, the rules were always for somebody else. Nowhere was that clearer than in the case that led to Monday’s damning court judgment. While he was still a lowly member of city council, a position he held for a full decade, the city’s Integrity Commissioner found that he had used his status as councillor to solicit funds for his private football charity. Among the donors he approached were lobbyists and a company that does business with the city. The commissioner found that seven lobbyists or clients of lobbyists who had donated to the football charity had either lobbied Mr. Ford or registered an intent to lobby him.

The danger is obvious: if a lobbyist does a favour for a councillor – even if it means donating to a good cause – he might expect something in return. Mr. Ford, who rails about corruption at city hall, should have seen that.

Instead, he brushed off the complaint.

In Toronto, they remove their elected officials for perceived conflict of interest over $3,000 to a personal football charity.  Anyone get the sense that, under those rules, practically every politician in western New York would be removed?  It comes as no surprise that Canada is the 10th least corrupt nation in the world, while the United States can manage 18th

Rob Ford Conflict of Interest Decision

Propaganda: Emotion vs. Fact

5 Jan

Toronto recently elected a new mayor, Rob Ford.  He’s a pretty conservative guy and strikes me as being a Chris Collins type.  He’s not real popular with the intelligentsia, but average Joe Taxpayer loves him.

Anyhow, one of his initiatives has been to advocate against a transit plan that would have dramatically expanded the city’s light rail and instead call for a much smaller expansion of the city’s subway system.

A Toronto environmental group opposes this, and came up with this piece of simple, completely fact-based propaganda that struck me as very persuasive (via BlogTO).

When I think of the civic arguments we have in Buffalo about development, I wonder why it is that the groups who agitate the loudest seldom have the facts to back up their arguments.  As a specific example, I’ll bring up the arguments against the Route 5 Southtowns Connector battles from 2007 – the opponents of that DOT plan came up with the most disingenuous arguments based more on emotion than fact; (e.g., the bermed Route 5 on the Outer Harbor “separates downtown from its waterfront”)

You can’t really argue with someone’s subjective emotion, but you can argue with facts, and you’ll note that the BlogTO article linked-to above specifically mentions that some of the figures contained in that propaganda piece may be flawed or, themselves, disingenuous.

But we can argue about the way in which facts are presented, because after all, they can be determined objectively.

I think facts, presented simply, are much more persuasive and helpful than emotion.