The People’s Mayor

Having rid beleaguered Torontonians of the scourge of a vehicle registration tax and the Cecil B. DeMille excessiveness of councillors’ office budgets, Mayor Rob Ford has now set his sights on the 5¢ plastic bag fee. Why? Because over the holidays, the mayor talked to a lot of people who didn’t like it. No matter that all indications point to such levies reducing the demand for plastic bags and therefore doing their part, however humbly, in reducing our contribution to landfills. No matter that it’s just 5 fucking cents we’re talking about here. The mayor’s spoke to a lot of people. The people don’t like it. So it’s gone.

I wish, I really wish, I could share the magnanimity toward Mayor Ford that Eye Weekly’s Edward Keenan exhibits. Mr. Keenan wonders if our mayor isn’t more of a populist, just giving the people what the want, than he is a right wing, anti-government ideologue. The mayor as a mere conduit through which the peoples’ will is done.

Certainly, the mayor’s been talking up doing the people’s will with almost every pronouncement that he’s made lately. Why just yesterday in response to a study suggesting that his move to scrap Transit City made little sense, either fiscally or any other way, Mayor Ford stated, “It’s very simple. I campaigned on subways, I was elected as you know by a large mandate…People supported my subway plan and that’s what we’re going to go ahead with.”

Yet he seems much more flexible in regards to his ‘large mandate’ when it comes to property tax increases. That should be very simple as well. The mayor campaigned on a platform of keeping any property tax increase in line with the rate of inflation, I believe, poo-pooing his opponents’ call for a 0% property tax increase as being fiscally irresponsible. But now, well, the people “…just need some breathing space.”

The fact is, Rob Ford’s ‘large mandate’ was predicated on nothing more than restoring fiscal sanity to City Hall. He was given a ‘large mandate’ to put an end to wasteful spending. 47% of Toronto voters elected Rob Ford mayor on his pledge to (say it along with me) Stop The Gravy Train.

But as the budget process looms, nothing he’s done would suggest that he feels the least bit bound to doing the people’s will. Killing Transit City and replacing it with his subway scheme will be, he claims, revenue neutral but service far fewer people. That’s before any financial penalties manifest themselves for broken contracts and agreements now in place. Can you say, ‘wasteful spending’? His symbolic gesture of slashing office budgets amounts to a tiny, tiny fraction of the revenue lost by abolishing the VRT. Add to this the $55 million lost by not raising property taxes, and the mayor has dug himself a serious money pit that needs to be filled. Let’s not even bring up the subject of the 100 extra police officers the mayor promised.

None of which smacks of fiscal sanity. We certainly know cutting any services that the city provided was not part of his ‘large mandate’. Guaranteed. The mayor can hardly go to that well, claiming that’s why the people voted for him.

So what’s a populist mayor to do when the peoples’ will he is so steadfastly determined to carry out works at such cross-purposes? Hopefully all those people he spends so much time talking to can provide him with the answer. Otherwise, he just may have to make some difficult choices on his own, consequences be damned. The mayor might have to actually lead. And what kind of populist would he be if he had to do that.

curiously submitted by Cityslikr

19 Responses to The People’s Mayor

  1. jerry says:

    hey citysliker nice to hear from you again and just wondering if there’s any way you can tell the mayor that it’s not the fucking 5 cents. it’s more about awareness, something the people he talks to don’t have.
    talk to him citysliker talk to him.
    j

  2. I still hate the other guy more than this guy says:

    I’m wondering if you’re really Rob Ford himself … Secret identity? Some people have been known to take on other personas …

    http://hubpages.com/hub/Alfred-Deakin-The-Only-Politician-Who-Could-Write-His-Own-Headlines

  3. Peter MacQuarie says:

    One study does not constitute “making sense” either. It’s just one study. A study showing what could be built with whatever funds RF’s friends DMG and SH surrender would certainly please the people. Those who voted for RF want that money to be spent building subways. That’s so simple I don’t see why you have to be so boringly belligerent. (I think you’re just still pissed that your guy lost the election.)

    What’s RF to do? Well, sometime in the future he’ll do as DM did and start believing he knows better what the people need. Then, with enough sycophants, he’ll try to press ahead with running this city. However, only fools and school boys predict any greater detail than that.

    I too agree with talking to the Mayor. (Maybe he’s just another victim of the last Council’s aloofness and inability to communicate?) There would have to a tad more respect showing though if it was anybody from AFUITBS. That’s just good manners.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. MacQuarie,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke agree. The Pembina study is just one study. However, the normal course of public policy debate would have you (or other subway supporters) point to another study showing how subways are a better alternative given the current state of affairs. We would then compare and contrast the two and hopefully come to logical agreement about how the city should proceed on the public transit front.

      We’ll await to read such a study when you send it our way.

      • Peter MacQuarie says:

        “the normal course of public policy debate would have”

        Really? That would be your “normal” I suppose.

        “given the current state of affairs”

        Under the current Council culture, it doesn’t mean RF has to deliver a plan he can’t support and which isn’t supported by the voters who were apparently to benefit from TC. And especially since RF wasn’t a fan of the type of spending that got us the “current state of affairs”.

        DM couldn’t think outside the box and RF believes he does. If I was a betting person, I’d say he knows where the funds for subway expansion are to be found and he’ll try to make subways happen. He’s starting at the beginning of his term which means by 2014 he will be well on his way and the next Council will be unable to stop it.

        He’s not as stupid as you kids say. He might even be smarter than you.

  4. Mk says:

    RF kills Transit City… pays the contract cancellation fees… and starts the plans for a subway expansion. In 4 years he doesn’t get re-elected. His replacement kills the subway expansion… pays the contract cancellation fees… and restarts Transit City. In 4 years he doen’t get re-elected, and his replacement… well, you get the idea.

    We’ll have the same old aging system in place for years to come. A system which we’ve paid a ton of money on “plans and cancellations” That’s a alot of wasteful spending, if you ask me.

    • Peter MacQuarie says:

      Agree totally Mk. This is our biggest problem and it doesn’t help that local media does not expose lazy career pols, a lack of term limits and 4 year instead of 3 year Councils.

      • Esn says:

        This has been happening for decades. Toronto really is pathetic in this respect, when you look at how fast transit construction is going on in other major cities.

        At least the TTC finally added those displays & voices on all of their buses. That was very useful (even though they opposed it at first…).

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mk,

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke agree. This city has a very long and sad history of start&stop plans for transit, leaving us with an almost antiquated system. Whatever else one may think of the David Miller administration, with Transit City he had the transit stars aligned getting both senior levels of government on board including the federal government which, historically and inexplicably, has kept it’s hands clean of involvement with public transit.

      Which makes Mayor Ford’s plan to kill it so absolutely head scratching. Almost as if he doesn’t want to see a functioning transit system in the city.

      • Sonny Yeung says:

        Transit City is not dead because portions of it will survive because Metrolinx and the Province are funding it. There are deadlines for the 2015 PanAm Games. Ford can’t even get people to balance their respective budgets to provide customer service and whatever else he said on the stump…

      • Peter MacQuarie says:

        “the transit stars aligned”

        Yes, but obviously he forgot to include the people of Toronto! Especially those who agreed with RF that the TC plan was not the right way to go. It has lots of merit but RF believes he can fund subways and the even the voters who will not immediately benefit from his subway plan agree TC is not the better way to go.

        This is not difficult stuff to understand at all – unless you have an agenda that refuses to quit. Which is probably behind cityslikr’s “fight, fight, fight” stance. I’m no fan of RF and would prefer a more socialist sounding Mayor but DM, AG and a few other “pinko” Councillors have done socialist-minded folk a disservice.

  5. mcflash says:

    @Peter

    Ford may or may not have been elected with a mandate to build subways (I find this claim rather dubious, but whatever) – but he was most certainly elected with a mandate to save the taxpayer money. He is going to do this, I guess, by tearing up a largely-provincially-funded (i.e very little net cost to the taxpayer) transit plan in favour of Allah-knows how many environmental assessments, consultant fees, cancellation fees, etc and that’s before you’ve laid an inch of track.

    What happens when Ford’s nebulous mandates are in opposition to one another? Does he flip a coin?

    • Peter MacQuarie says:

      @mcflash

      I guess we’ll have to wait more than a few weeks to see how he does.

      I don’t see him having any problem keeping the optics clean. Remember, those who voted for him were angry about constantly rising property taxes and Councillor foolishness. They weren’t sophisticated dome-watchers like you and me. As long as he looks like he’s cleaning up CH he’ll have satisfied them. However, he will have to deal with finances in the real world but by then he’ll be old news and living off his PR efforts just as Miller and Lastman did.

      The focus should be on those Councillors who don’t earn their $100K + and the poor quality of decision-making. I also suspect that RF will get his wish to reduce Council to 22.

  6. Joe Clark says:

    The possessive of people is people’s.

    • cityslikr says:

      Dear Mr. Clark,

      Mistake duly noted and corrected. Thank you.

      PS

      We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke take kindly to any reasonable, helpful and constructive criticism, so please, pay no attention to Mr. MacQuarie’s assertion. There’s a little love-hate thing going on between us. (whispering We think he has a crush on us.)

      • Peter MacQuarie says:

        Two writers at AFUITBS were siting in their office one day. They had run out of ideas for their blog but the office looked suitably shabby for a couple of losers.

        One said to the other, “I bet you some wanker will come by and ask us what we’re selling.”

        Just then Rob Ford looked in and said, “Hi, so what are you selling?”

        “Arseholes” they said in unision.

        “Oh,” said Ford “you must be doing well, you have only two left.”

      • cityslikr says:

        Dear Mr. MacQuarie,

        We two wanker writers here at AFUITBS are wondering if you made that joke up yourself for our benefit or did you modify it a little after stealing it from On The Buses or Are You Being Served?

  7. Peter MacQuarie says:

    Joe, they won’t believe you and they don’t take kindly to any criticism. So, as I’m here to help –

    The apostrophe in the plural possessive always comes after the word in plural, e.g., the “the canaries’ cage” (the cage with many canaries).

    With the word “people,” however, the tendency to use “peoples’ ” is incorrect, because the word “people” already IS the plural.

    So the correct spelling is as follows:
    “The People’s Mayor.”

    Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_plural_possessive_of_the_word_%27people%27#ixzz3DaKaCiMP

  8. Peter MacQuarie says:

    No surprise there. The writers at AFUITBS are incapable of original thinking and don’t recognise it when they see it.

    On yer bikes, ya bas.

    BTW, I don’t believe you’re wankers at all. More like grippers – who don’t know to move their hands.

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