I don’t think it too off-base to say that the quality of candidates running for mayor of Toronto this time around is somewhat lacking. At least those who’ve been hoisted into the forefront of the campaign. It could just be one of those anomalies of timing and circumstance. Or perhaps it’s more systemic.
Who, in their right mind, would want the job? To be truly effective, a regular 80 hour work week isn’t out of the question. So the financial remuneration is modest by those standards. It is a thankless role that, more often than not, creates as many enemies as friends. You know that after a while, people aren’t calling you Your Worship with anything but contempt.
So maybe we should be surprised that a truly qualified and exciting candidate ever throws their hat into the ring.
Still, I can’t help thinking that this year’s crop of headline candidates is especially underwhelming. And I can’t help thinking that some of it has to with the media covering them. Why, that leap? Well, it was the media that created them, that lent them credibility, that dubbed them ‘frontrunners’ based almost exclusively on name recognition and name recognition only, whether that of the candidates or the connections they brought to the table with them. These are the media ‘darlings’ and so the media should be held accountable when their brood goes on a murderous spree, killing civic spirit.
None, more so, than the Toronto Star’s Royson James. Few journalists covering the municipal beat outside of those writing for the Toronto Sun did more to diminish the Miller administration and flog the tale of a profligate city council than Royson James. He led the sanctimonious charge to dislodge Adam Giambrone from the race after the councillor’s personal indiscretions surfaced. Not out of any prurient revulsion, you understand, but because the “Boy Wonder” didn’t come clean about the revelations in a timely fashion, revealing a lying, prevaricating and untrustworthy nature that was unfit for higher public office.
And yet.. and yet, there’s Mr. James taking to task Rob Ford’s detractors for their continued ‘demonizing’ of him and his supporters. No mention in the article of Ford’s lying, prevaricating and untrustworthiness, of which there has been plenty. Never mind in regards to his personal life but as recently as last night’s television debate (at which Royson James served as a panelist) where Ford continued to lob out nose stretchers like the one about the Jarvis Street bike lane costing the city six million dollars when, in fact, it lost less than 1/100th of that figure.
Instead of calling out Rob Ford for that kind of lying and prevaricating, Mr. James tries to make sense of the candidate’s proposed budget numbers. “Guaranteed, Ford won’t net all the savings he boasts,” James writes (in other words, he’s lying). But we’ll call it a “partial success”.
Double standard much? A lying politician who shares your views is a “partial success” while another not in synch with your ideology has lost the moral authority to even be in the race.
Just how hard is it to “run a smart, intelligent, disciplined and focused mayoral campaign,” as James claims Rob Ford has done, when opinion makers like Royson James, writing in the pages of what is supposedly a Liberal-leaning paper like the Toronto Star, give Ford a free pass, with a wink and nod at clearly defective policies? And then he’s got the balls to lay the blame for Ford’s success at the feet of all those who he sees as merely ‘demonizing’ Ford and his supporters. Where exactly is Royson James getting his news and information currently?
The anti-Ford camp that I encounter isn’t particularly involved in ‘demonizing’ anything other than the clumsy, unworkable platform Rob Ford has put forth and the blind anti-government stance he and his supporters are trying to foist on us. Of course, there are outliers who hurl personal insults. But, in my experience, that is hardly the driving force behind the Anything But Ford movement.
If anything, I might argue the exact opposite. The actual ‘demonizing’ going on during this campaign, that defines the very core of a particular candidacy, is that in the Rob Ford camp and its rabid followers. Their ‘demonizing’ of the downtown core and its elite inhabitants as the source of all the city’s problems. The ‘demonizing’ of unions and bureaucrats or all that ‘corruption’ that goes on behind closed doors at City Hall. Much of it factually challenged and, now that I think about it, much of it based on the ‘demonizing’ the current administration’s been subject to and that has been the bread and butter of Royson James’ screeds over the past 7 years.
A more cynical man than I might ultimately come to the conclusion that the sole intent of this Royson James article was to belittle critics of Rob Ford with the suggestion that they’ve got nothing more than the powers of ‘demonization’ at their disposal to try and discredit the Ford candidacy. Thereby, Mr. James sanctions the idea of Ford as a credible consideration for the job of Toronto’s mayor without having to actually come out and say so directly. A cowardly approach to informing public discourse, and proof positive of how our mainstream media is failing us so miserably.
— demonically submitted by Cityslikr
TorStar getting worried about unsubscriptions from the outer 416?
(I really must get around to doing the same, but more because I never get time to finish the paper on weekends these days and thus my blue bin fills needlessly. Oh, and hiring Heather Mallick presumably on the basis that annoying people make other people read newspapers to be annoyed at their latest random guff. Not this subscriber.)
Jesus, that’s horrific sentence construction above. I really hate website text boxes, especially when I can’t edit myself.
Dear Mr. Dowling,
If you want to make some changes to that previous comment, by all means send a revised version to us here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke and we’ll happily fix it in editing.
It isn’t the media its the lazy,apathetic citizens of this city that are to blame for Mr. Ford’s ratings. The pollsters take polls, but it is how the question is asked that determines the result. They ask only about the well recognized 4 front runners, as defined by the media, so what do you expect. They don’t look for ans ask anything of electors who might have taken the time to look at all the platforms of all of the candidates. This would be too arduous a task for a 30 second clip.
The end result is a poll that demonstrates nothing more than a slight amount of name recognition and a smattering of information gleaned from the mostly televised media. This is typical of a society that is complacent with itself and not really worried about what is happening at City Hall, because it realizes it can’t do much to change things and so why worry about it. If it could change things then it wouldn’t have to worry. Simple logic for simple minds.
Anyone can always find fault with others and that is the case here. However the real blame for the mess we are in isn’t the elected administrators but rather the citizens who elected them and those who helped by exercising their right to be apathetic.
This process will continue to take place every 4 years until the situation gets so bad that everyone will take notice and decide to do something,. This is unlikely to happen and so we are left stumbling in the quagmire of outraged but uninformed and apathetic voters who choose what they think is best for the city because they are too lazy to find out about more sensible and understandable means to solve the myriad of problems that have been created by the ill informed leadership of the past 4o years.
Biddy biddy bong bong……
Early, early Sunday morning…
Most of society works on the principle, “if you can’t beat them, join them”. So the Star and other media have tried to derail Rob Ford without much success.
Some councilors have seen the writing on the wall and changed their tune.
We will in a fickle world. Yesterday’s news, is today’s garbage.
You can ask Royson tomorrow at the Conference Centre at the Munk Centre 1 Devonshire. I would say that Levy and her ilk at the Sun did a lot of damage to Miller who is at the Gladstone tonight talking about his book.
Miller’s damage is mostly self-inflicted. Many of the issues of this campaign are the result of a two term mayor trying to create his legacy on the city.
We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke ask you for examples, please. Campaign issues = mayor’s legacy.
Let’s call the implosion of Adam Giambronne a dance around uncomfortable truths. Let’s start by admitting that Mr. Giambronne showed some lousy judgment. Let’s also allow that the real question of how much a city project costs, and how much a government can save, rests on imponderables such as the question of what your accounting includes as costs on a given project.
Now let’s veer into uncomfortable territory. In 2006, according to the Canadian census Mr. Harper wants to gut, just under half of the population of the Greater Toronto CMA consisted of persons of colour. So how come, on the “progressive left”, which has a long standing commitment to erasing these distinctions, our outstandingly blond mayor took for granted that he had the right to pass the torch to a successor almost as white as he? This city certainly does not lack for bright, politically committed, and articulate men and women of colour. If the “left”, led by Mayor Miller, or by the unions, or by any of the other institutions in town with a “lefty” power ase (try the universities or the arts community) made a serious effort to find mayoral candidates of colour, I must have blinked and missed it.
Dear Mr. Spragge,
So are you saying that because the “left” promotes the idea of diversity and equality, it is solely responsible for finding the appropriate candidate to fit that mold, and it’s failure to do so proves that it’s.. what? Hypocritical? Morally bankrupt? And if it did promote such a candidate, that the mainstream media and the rest of the electorate would join in and accept the duly chosen candidate as a viable contender? We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke assume then that you will step up and declare your support for one of the non-white candidates running for mayor?
Cityslikr, in the midst of my ranting research to dispel any critical value to Royson James’ bullshit opinion production in the TS I stumbled happily onto your post above. We be brothers!! Just take a look at Royson’s headline today:
“All Torontonians will pay for Rob Ford’s ‘wilful blindness’: James”
Might I suggest we all go back for a stroll through time, to October 2010:
“James: What I like about Rob Ford” (Published on Friday October 08, 2010)
In which he brings his very personal bias vs. Miller’s property tax hikes forward in order to incriminate the incumbent[‘s position and help to set up Ford’s BS for a “landslide” win. I’d be willing to bet that Royson,–like so many Torontonians who were watching their house values DOUBLE or TRIPLE in value–nonetheless felt that he should have his house and ALL THE PROFITS TOO…and so, in a clear conflict of interest, used the pages of his employer to sanction the ridiculous “gravy train” premise of Rob Ford and in doing so helped to ease the conscious of so many other “liberal” Star readers to do the same.
Cityslikr, how about we set up a ROYSON JAMES WATCH??