“I don’t know what I can really do but—“
There’s nothing you can do by taking residents’ phone calls at home that couldn’t be better accomplished if you simply directed their concerns to the appropriate city department.
That’s not entirely true.
By encouraging taxpayers – to use the mayor’s vernacular – to call him any time of day, at his home or office, if they have a problem they need fixed, Mayor Ford succeeds only in burnishing his looking out for the little guy image. The municipal politics Energizer Bunny, tirelessly working for you, the taxpayers of Toronto, one complaint at a time. He’d wear a superhero cape but it keeps getting caught in his car door.
This point has been made countless times about the mayor but I think it bears repeating in light of his non-performance performance during last week’s snow storm. Stuck in a snow drift? Call DA-MAYOR.
Pick a comparable situation.
Your GE fridge goes on the fritz. Who you gonna call? Company CEO and Chairman Jack Welch? Hey, Jack! Your company’s fridge is a piece of shit. What are you going to do about it?
Well, that would be dumb and inefficient on a couple fronts. Jack Welch hasn’t been with the company for over ten years now, plus… plus, you want your fridge fixed, you call a repairman or the store that sold it to you directly. That’s just common sense and the shortest distance between point A and point B.
Now I get how, back in the day, as city councillor, it seemed sensible to residents of Ward 2 to call Rob Ford if they were having problems with city related issues. Their garbage didn’t get picked up? Call Rob. A tree limb crashed down into their yard? Call Rob. A mysterious pile of dirt? Call Rob.
Of course, it isn’t the most efficient use of city resources. 53, 660 residents in 18, 140 homes covering a distance 32 square kilometres, all tended to by one person. Representation is not about making house calls. It only gives the impression of solid constituency work, one complaint at a time.
Better to strengthen the services the city delivers and its ability to deal with individual situations when they arise rather than relying on singular feats of councillor crusading. But that runs contrary to the small government, libertarian impulses of Rob Ford where tax dollars are robbery and city staff are wayward children not able to compete in the private sector. Taxpayer problems he personally handles provide proof of the failure of government.
It also provided his fledgling mayoral campaign with a tantalizing voter base to ignite with righteous indignation. “He [deputy campaign manager, Nick Kouvalis] took the tens of thousands of phone numbers Mr. Ford had scrawled down over the years as a councillor and stuffed in bankers’ boxes,” the Globe and Mail’s Kelly Grant wrote in October 2010 before the election, “and had them entered into a database.” Pissed off at City Hall? Rob is too. Remember when he came out and fixed that leak in your kitchen sink? Join Ford Nation!
Now nominally in charge of more than 2.5 million people, the mayor has brought that personal touch citywide as if battling the forces of Mother Nature is as simple as one finger speed dialling.
“We’re trying to do the best we can and if there is severe problems call us. People can call me at home if they want it is 233-6934 – that’s my direct number at home,” the mayor said in a radio interview on Friday.
Severe problems? Call the mayor. He’ll pass along the message to somebody who might be able to actually do something about it.
That’s much more efficient during the biggest snow storm to hit the city in five years than say, Mayor Ford declaring a snow emergency that would’ve enabled plowing to be done more quickly by banning car parking along transit routes. A collective response that must just be too activist for the mayor, too reliant on the notion of the great good. How can he maintain and update a voter’s list ahead of the 2014 campaign if he simply utilizes the powers he’s been given as mayor without fielding taxpayers’ phone calls?
Mayor Ford and his supporters may look to his hands-on, 24/7 access as proof of some catch-phrasey concept of ‘improved customer service’ but, in reality and in a pinch, it contributes significantly less to the smooth running of the city than it does to the self-aggrandizement of one person, and one person only. Mayor Rob Ford.
– non-superfanly submitted by Cityslikr