So late yesterday afternoon Mayor Ford called a press conference outside his office. Hmmm. Big news perhaps? A new budget chief? A confab with the incoming premier about transit strategies? His Super Bowl pick?
As per usual with this mayoralty, there was to be nothing as mundane as all that.
“Ooh, we are going IN the mayor’s office,” the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale tweeted. “This is not common.”
Along with the gathered press, TTC chair Karen Stintz had dropped by to see what the mayor had to say. This is not all that unusual at City Hall. Councillors frequently hang back and listen to their colleagues’ scrums with the press, many times with the intention of adding a counterpoint when the cameras and mics turn in their direction.
What transpired yesterday however was unusual.
“Ford’s aide tries to bar Karen Stintz and her assistant from his office,” Dale tweets. “’Mayor’s protocol.’ She just confidently walks past him.”
A short time later, Dale continues:
“Stintz to Ford aide Earl Provost, loudly: ‘What am I doing? I just want to hear what the mayor has to say. I don’t hear from him directly.’”
By all accounts from those present, Mayor Ford eventually appeared with nothing much to say, made a pointed reference to the TTC’s sole-sourced deal, announced he disagrees with three previous mayors who just came out against a casino in Toronto, took some questions and exited. Done in a matter of minutes. Just like that.
NOW magazine’s Ben Spurr basically summed it up: “So that was odd. Mayor calls scrum, has no prepared statement, cuts off questions after 2.5 minutes.”
I mean, C’MON!
All week we’ve been hearing from the mayor and his brother about the sole sourced deal the TTC commission signed off on with current operators, Gateway Newstands, to extend their contract on concession stands throughout the system. “This is what happens from a person in my opinion that has never run a business in the entire lives chairing the TTC,” Councillor Ford bleated. “What happened last week was absolutely appalling if you ask me,” the mayor said. “It’s absolutely an embarrassment.”
He went on to say he’d called the TTC chair to get to the bottom of things. She responded that she’d returned the call and left a message but hadn’t heard back from the mayor. No, she didn’t. Yes, he did. No, he didn’t. Yes, she did.
So like anyone with acute leadership skills would do at this point, Mayor Ford slaps together a press conference just in time for the evening news with the sole intent to publicly blast away at a colleague who also could be a rival for his job next year. Except she shows up to hear what he has to say, kind of cramping his style. So, he doesn’t say much. Certainly nothing that everyone hasn’t already heard from him.
So much for Mayor Ford being humbled by his recent adventure in the courtroom. He’s seized onto an issue that breaks down easily into campaign catch-phrases. Sole sourced deal. Another Tuggs? Corruption and skullduggery. Deliberately creating a rift in perhaps the single most important aspect of the city’s business – transit – at a critical juncture when everyone else is preparing to talk about how to finance a much needed regional expansion solely for his own political future.
That’s cancerous governance, pure and simple.
It seems Mayor Ford knows no other way to conduct himself.
If we haven’t already, we just need to accept that fact and push on without him.
– onward-ho-ly submitted by Cityslikr