Politics’ Raging Id

August 4, 2010

Here’s some news that’s not really news unless you’re simply pimping out your services for the cause of right wing reactionary outrage:

Councillors’ office tab — $500,000 and counting

According to the Toronto Sun, profligate city councillors are madly spending all our hard earned tax dollars before the next council takes its place after the October 25th municipal election. Halfway through the year and they’ve already spent half a million dollars. Wow! That’s a lot of money and displays the powerful but empty gesture of throwing around absolute numbers.

As the Sun article noted, after a vote to reduce their office budgets this year by 5% to $46,241.25, council members have already spent $500,000 between them. That would be about, well, 44 X $46,241.25 = $2,034,615. And, $500,000 ÷ $2,034,615 = 25%. So really, the story should read that, halfway through their last year, members of city council have only spent a quarter of their office budgets. Signs of Restraint, perhaps?

Not at the Toronto Sun and other organs of right wing ideological thought, apparently. When contacted by the paper about the alleged orgy of spending, Rob Ford stated that he was “disgusted”. Well, there’s a surprise. Rob Ford “disgusted” by spending at City Hall. The man is nothing if not consistent in his varying shades of dyspepticism. Team Ford then Tweeted: Proud to have spent the least of your money at City Hall. A sentiment that can be just as easily understood as: Proud to have spent the least amount of time and energy trying to further the interests of the city I serve.

Before readers can examine the article’s numbers too closely the Sun quickly moves the focus onto 3 councillors it loves to disparage. Joey Pants spent nearly 2K “sprucing up his constituency website” but clearly it’s nothing more than in aid of his mayoral aspirations. Then, naturally, there’s the matter of Kyle Rae’s retirement party. The Party. The Gay Communist Party. And Adam Giambrone is particularly targeted for doling out nearly 3 grand for French lessons. French lessons! As a councillor here in Toronto!No matter that Giambrone pointed out that he is “… the city’s representative at AFMO (an association of French municipalities in Ontario)” and is “a member of the French committee” and does “the media in French”. We all, right thinking tax payers know what’s really going on. He’s planning a run at federal politics and official bilingualism is a prerequisite. “He’s using taxpayers’ money to benefit himself,” Ford blustered.

Cue the righteous indignation. No questions asked about when Giambrone took his French lessons. Before his career at City Hall went up in smoke earlier this year? Maybe he thought that a bilingual mayor, even here deep in Anglo Ontario, wasn’t a terrible idea. But does it really matter to the likes of Rob Ford and his tribe? They recognize an opportunity to exploit bad optics when the Toronto Sun hands them one.

Which is what the right wing does best, thrive on bad optics, horribly disfigured through the prism of their skewed lenses. Optics and the mangling of them is all modern conservative thinkers have to go on anymore. Anything to turn on the venomous spigot of voter anger and misdirect it at the shadowy arch-enemy: government. They’re the bad guys. The cause of all that is wrong in society today. Government, and their taxes and spending and regulating and paving of roads and stitching together of a social safety net that picks the pockets of hard working taxpayers like you and me who don’t need anything from the government but to be left alone, dammit!

There is much to be done to set this city back on a healthy course again. Nickelling and diming councillors isn’t one of them. That’s a minor matter for small minds; those unable to imagine bigger things or brave enough to tilt at bigger windmills. Rob Ford is their Don Quixote (despite having an appearance more in line with Sancho Panza). Except the cause is far from noble. It is trite, petty, vindictive and reveals little more than a destructive streak that serves no purpose outside of satisfying inarticulate rage. Nothing good ever comes of that.

cervantesly submitted by Cityslikr