At this point, I don’t think it’s at all out of line or libellous to call Mayor Rob Ford a liar. Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker owes the mayor no apology for doing so yesterday as proposed service cuts were made public by city manager Joe Pennachetti. Throughout last year’s mayoral campaign, then Councillor Rob Ford went on and on and on and on about all the wasteful spending at City Hall, and how he, if elected, could cut spending, cut taxes without cutting services. Guaranteed.
We all heard it. Some disputed it. Others bought it. But it is on record and Mayor Ford can’t wiggle out from under it. He lied.
The alternative explanation is that he’s just flat out dumb. After 10 years sitting at council, a decade of experience with the budget process under his belt, and he still didn’t understand how it all worked. Mesmerized by the big numbers being thrown around, numbers that dwarfed anything he’d ever seen or dealt with at his family business, he wrongly assumed it was all so excessive. There’d be no problem trimming the layers of fat without laying a finger on any services. Guaranteed.
With reality’s baleful gaze quickly mocking such thinking, even the dumbest of dummies would eventually reconsider their errant thinking. Ooops. I was wrong, folks. Services are intricately connected to revenue streams. Who knew? I’m going to need a do over on all that campaign rhetoric.
But the mayor and those in his camp are no dummies. They knew all along service cuts were in the offing but saying so out loud during an election campaign was political poison. People like their taxes low, sure. Until you link low taxes to decreased services that many rely on and take for granted. My taxes pay for snow removal? My taxes put police on the streets? That’s an entirely different discussion.
So now we’re hearing that what the mayor actually said during the campaign was that there would be no ‘massive’ service cuts. It’s not cuts. It’s efficiencies. Wait, wait, wait. I especially love this piece of (and I summon the spirit of Allan Fotheringham on this… Fotheringham’s dead, right?) bafflegab: alternative service delivery.
Take that, English language. I tie you up like a pretzel and rendered you meaningless.
In an essential Ford For Toronto post yesterday, Matt Elliott linked the $100 million of lost revenue to the city after council froze property taxes and rescinded the vehicle registration tax and the $100 million cuts in services proposed in the Core Services Review report handed over to the Executive Committee. By forgoing the $60 VRT and any property tax increase last year, the city is now facing possible cuts in snow removal, policing, library service, the TTC, Planning and Heritage, Parks and Recreation and so on and son. A direct contradiction of what the mayor promised us on the campaign trail less than a year ago.
Now, if you’re OK with that, if paying as little tax as possible trumps maintaining current service levels that the city provides, fine. Let’s debate that. But let’s stop pretending this is about anything else. Let’s just be honest and admit tax cuts/freezes=service cuts. Anything else is simply lies, distortion, obfuscation and did I say lies?
And until Mayor Ford is candid enough to come right out and say what his plans have always been, that he doesn’t give a fuck about most of the services the city provides, that everything outside of keeping the streets safe and clean is gravy, he must be treated as a dishonest agent. Everything that comes out of his mouth is suspect. Everyone who steps up to come to his defense, spouting nonsense, claptrap and Six Sigma businessese is equally culpable of making honest discourse impossible.
An honest debate. That’s what we need to proceed.
– matter of factly submitted by Cityslikr