Some 292 days and 270+ posts since the beginning, it has come to this. The final weekend of campaign 2010. They grow up so fast and times passes so quickly.
At the mayoral level, it’s hard not to think of the past almost 10 months as one big, dispiriting cock-up. A year long orgy of slagging and recriminations directed at the very institution a near unanimous number of front running candidates want to lead. Dismal and dreary, I’d call it, enticing only at the level of vitriol generated by the discourse.
None uglier and more bitter and heated than in the office here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke. Blows have been exchanged. Invective hurled. Precious little meeting of eyes. Unsurprisingly, no consensus is possible at delivering one unified endorsement. (At the mayoral level that is. Still 6 big thumbs up from us for Karen Sun as councillor of Ward 19!)
So, we bring you three endorsements, one a day, Friday-Sunday. Up first, resident hippie, 1968 deifier and Hunter S. Thomspon wanna-be, Acaphelgmic.
My Endorsement For Mayor: Rob Ford!
In the immortal words of the Mahatma Gandhi (or perhaps it was MLK), I say, let’s tee this motherfucker up!
So you actually think Rob Ford is suitable to be mayor of the city of Toronto? A place of over 2.5 million people, representing a wide swath of the world’s populations? You truly believe that a government with over a $9 billion annual operating budget can be managed by pea-brained adages of looking after the pennies and the pounds taking care of themselves? You have no problem handing over the reigns of power to a councillor who readily admits, boasts really, about not reading reports before voting on items? It makes sense to you that slashing the number of councillors in half will somehow bring about a more responsive, approachable form of local governance?
If you’re OK with all that (and so much more lunacy to boot), if you search deep down into your soul and truly come to the conclusion that the kind of change this city needs is a coffer draining, vindictive bureaucracy purging, bring it on then. Give him the keys to the mayor’s office and all the inherent powers that go along with it. Wind him up and let him loose to have at it. Stop the Gravy Train. Respect the Taxpayer. Take Back City Hall!
And when he fails, when he falls, when he crashes and burns spectacularly, all of which he will do, probably sooner than later, because Rob Ford is simply unfit to manage such a complex and difficult task that is being the mayor of Toronto – nothing personal, you understand; anyone with his limited world view and complete lack of curiosity about anything much beyond his BBQ life would be similarly inadequately prepared for the job – when it becomes so glaringly apparent that he is a big-assed bust of an embarrassing mistake of a mayor, and has been marginalized as nothing more than that blustery, red-faced tool we’ll all regret having allowed to have been elected, we can get on with the job of really building the city.
Yes, there will be collateral damage. Repairs will have to be made. Fences mended. Apologies doled out. Probably by the bucketful.
But it will be worth it and let me tell you why.
In the inevitable disastrous wake of a Mayor Rob Ford, his ideological kin will be forced to run for cover. After an initial blush of success when a tax is cut, a union is busted or… whatever else it is that so engulfs his followers with such rage (although that seems to be about the extent of it), the reality will quickly set in, even for those who live their lives operating in the protective, impermeable bubble of right wing, libertarian belief. Governing isn’t just about saying no. A city can’t be run on the basis of simply what’s in it for you and yours. Being a successful mayor means reaching out not slapping away.
Rob Ford’s ineptitude will damage the modern day, small ‘c’ conservative, anti-government cause. Not for the blinkered, unwavering true believers, of course, who will continue to lock their jaws on the stick of dogma regardless of how hard you beat them over the head with a pipe of reason, logic and rationality. They will simply slink away, back into their dank burrows, awaiting for the next opportunity to pop back up and foul the public space with their acrid yapping, yipping and yelping.
The real damage will be done in the eyes of those who are truly justified in their anger toward City Hall. Those left behind and struggling in this city as it slowly pieces itself together from the rubble of an ill-thought out and malignantly intended amalgamation process. Citizens living in neighbourhoods where crime rates are actually too high and their prospects for bettering their lives too low. Citizens left to their own devices, stranded as they are in neighbourhoods without access to functioning public transit. When they realize (and the realization will come quickly) that their anger, frustration and resentment has been hijacked by the likes of Rob Ford and his gang of Etobicokan elitists, the gig will be up.
For a period of time after that, perhaps even with Ford still as mayor, ineffectually blustering and beating his chest and wondering why he ever ventured away from the comfy confines of his daddy’s business… that is, if he did venture away from the family business even as mayor… another solid majority of Torontonians will band together and get down to the task of building a better, more equitable 21st-century city instead of looking back and pining for a mythical town of the 1950s.
We must go forth into the darkness before emerging into the sunlight, my friends.
And for that reason I, Acaphlegmic, endorse Rob Ford for mayor of Toronto.
— feistily submitted by Acaphlegmic
Just as the trainwreck driving into a 9/11 on top of a tsunami that was Mel Lastman brought us David Miller and the inmitigated disaster of a presidency in the States that was George Bush Sr. brought us Cliinton (and his son, in turn, giving rise to Obama), so will a progressive voice rise from the ashes of a Blob Fraud mayoralty. It’ll be a hard four years, but maybe it’s all for the best. To borrow a page from Selwyn Firth for a minute, it’s what we deserve.
Man, I can’t wait for your feelings about the ones you didn’t endorse!
Can’t argue with your reasoning, although I do shudder to think of the collateral damage we’ll all have to deal with in the interim. Indeed, if it comes down to a choice between Ford and Smitherman, I’d rather see Ford take it. I suspect he’d actually do less damage than Smitherman.
But it sucks that we have to think of our choices in those terms, and decide which candidate is the least awful.
We got an automated phone call from Ford’s campaign about Smitherman and eHealth.
When I called Ford’s campaign to comment that I don’t care for this kind of negative American-style politics, the woman who had answered immediately launched into a rant about “slurs” in newspapers against Mr. Ford.
When she paused for breath I replied, newspaper slurs may or may not originate with the Smitherman campaign, I don’t know, but this call most certainly did come from the Ford campaign and that’s what I called to comment upon.
My tone was becoming as heated as hers, because I had not expected a tirade, but I was never rude.
She asked for my name and number so that “they” could call me about it. I said I’d rather not, I’m sure my comments can be passed along to the right people.
She hung up in my ear. Is that what he means by Respect for Taxpayers?
Rob Ford will now be living the hell that comes from not being careful about what you wish for because you may get it.
When challenged on his various points of “fiscal reform”, he reverted to his song of Gravy Train, simply because other than posing silly little savings with a huge cost appended to them to attract the votes of the disgruntled, he had no answers.
But the Mayoralty, in spite of its huge power to make changes in the city, will require answers to those challenges, because they were based in common sense and a lot more information than Rob Ford was willing to expend the energy to investigate.
As I stated in another column with regard to Ford, the worst he can do is just turn the city into a slum…and still the city will prevail until some future leader can haul it out of the dregs and again set it on a course toward magnificence.
The damage he will inflict is not comparable to what Smitherman’s election would have portended. His election would have poised the city on the verge of bankruptcy with his proposed additional $7billion investment in the Miller-begotten “Transit City” morass. Moreover, his Mayoralty would likely have reflected his ministerial depth and been filled with fiscal scandals, major policy oversights, and union friction.
However, my personal take on the election has to do with a more fundamental problem: the right of an informed electorate. As long as professional investigative journalism in the mass media continues to prostitute itself to the whims of an editorial management dedicated solely to a media outlet’s bottom line, there can never be a truly democratic election in Toronto. While the pen may be mightier than the sword, they are equally subject to a dedicated profit-making agenda on a local news front.
The writers hired (there are no journalists) are anchors, newsline readers, pundits and paparazzi. They reflect the demographic niche of the medium, and their subject matter is chosen for publication solely on the basis of promoting advertising sales through highlighting “reach” (the number of listeners/viewers/readers they can attract) as its main concern. Information to the public is never the chief concern of news media except in the case of international event reportage.
This leaves the area of mass media open for a clever entrepreneur to open outlets for genuine investigative journalism with no bottom-line agenda in almost every major city.