Mark it down in your calendar, folks. The week of June 20th, 2011. It’s the date the mayoralty of Rob Ford officially jumped the shark. (If such a thing is possible. To jump the shark suggests that there’s a point of quality from which to jump. For example, can it be said that a Full House or Who’s The Boss? ever achieved the necessary creative heights to attempt the shark jump?)
Within a matter of days this week our very own Mayor Danny Tanner signaled that he’s unwilling, unable or just downright uninterested in reaching out past his core constituency. First, in Executive Committee he deep-sixed an offer from the province to pay for 2 public health nurses. Then the mayor announced that he would not be marching in the upcoming Pride parade, opting instead for a family long weekend at the cottage. In two fell swoops, Mayor Ford made it clear he was not the mayor of all Toronto.
I wouldn’t for a moment be presumptuous enough to try attaching a motivation for these decisions of the mayor aside from a reluctance to accept things that he doesn’t understand. Public nurses? We’ve got hospitals for sick people. Use them. T’eh Gays? Well, it’s all just a little too.. err… queer to him. Have at it. Live your life. Just don’t expect the mayor to endorse something he’s unfamiliar or uncomfortable with.
The real takeaway message here for me is that Mayor Ford doesn’t feel a need politically to broaden his appeal among Toronto voters. He’s perfectly happy wallowing in the pond of support that brought him to power, and that shares his uneasiness with extra front line health workers and homosexuality. These are his people and the decisions he made in both cases make perfect sense to them. His intransigence might even solidify his reputation as a straight-shooting, uncomplicated, apolitical, little guy. Our mayor doesn’t bend to special interests. Just like us hard working, taxpaying, regular Joes.
Or something like that. We who are flummoxed by the choices our mayor makes need to get used to it. He ain’t ever going to change, so stop expecting him to. That trait may be his greatest strength, his best political asset.
So, let’s stop trying to find common ground with the mayor. It is a small and barren patch of land. A my way or the highway mentality means that the only compromise we can ever hope to reach is all on our part. We give. He takes.
We need to set our sights elsewhere. The time has come to turn up the heat on those at city council who continue their willfully blind support of Mayor Ford and who continue to enable him to do the things he does. If the standard operating procedure so far has been to back the mayor or suffer the political consequences, we have to find a way to point out that such unstinting support will also come with adverse political consequences. A light must be shone on those councillors who have, so far, been quietly cowering in the safe shadow the mayor casts.
Sure, Team Ford is made up of a handful of councillors sharing the mayor’s limited view of politics and the city. Brother Doug, for one, and the Deputy Mayor. They will be immune to such pressure. You might throw in Budget Chief Del Grande and Councillor Shiner as well although, they like Speaker Nunziata and QB Mammoliti, former Ford non-allies present now because the going’s been good but alert to any changes of fortune that might come if the mayor’s destructive and narrow-minded policies become something of a drag on their standing with the electorate.
Even in toto that’s a pretty small group and won’t be able to help dig Mayor Ford out of any holes he gets himself into.
The councillors I’m talking about are the rookies who haven’t established any sort of real foothold besides being the mayor’s flunkies. There’s Vincent Crisanti, Gary Crawford and James Pasternak (the two latter elected in 2010 with the slimmest of pluralities, within the margin of error.) Councillors Michelle Berardinetti and Jay Robinson, undistinguished members of the mayor’s executive committee. And the deadweight veterans, Cesar Palacio, Mark Grimes, Frank DiGiorgio, Chin Lee.
Then there are the moderates from both sides of the political spectrum that have already started bucking under the weight of Mayor Ford’s missteps. Peter Milczyn, Michael Thomspon, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Norm Kelly, Joshes Matlow and Colle, Ana Bailão, Mary-Margaret McMahon. TTC Chair Karen Stintz could be counted on to bail out if things get a little rocky.
Let’s refocus a grassroots effort from the mayor to these councillors, the non-ideological hidebound and opportunists, and start holding them accountable for participating in this war against the city. Alert their constituents with loud announcements of their collaboration and facilitating of this ruinous administration. We need a catchy name for it. Project 23 comes immediately to mind but may not be ominous enough.
Mayor Rob Ford is a lost cause for anyone hoping to build a strong city. It doesn’t interest him and he wouldn’t have the slightest idea how to even if he had the inclination. That’s not going to change.
What can change is the support he now has at City Hall if more councillors begin to realize a price will be paid for their ongoing association with a mayor determined to do his thing and his thing only.
— start a firingly submitted by Cityslikr
In the ‘burbs, this is a non-issue.
wouldn’t it be beautiful if the Mayor got hit by Big Gay Al’s Big Gay bus on his way to the cottage?
“Let’s refocus a grassroots effort from the mayor to these councillors, the non-ideological hidebound and opportunists, and start holding them accountable for participating in this war against the city.”
Reading from the top after a pleasant respite from reading your painful writing, the above idea is commendable. If only you had the guts to follow through on it. However, I suspect you’re only an “activist” on your CV, not in real life.
Good to see Sonny is still a big supporter. You’d be lost without him, eh?
Dear Mr. MacQuarie,
You just can’t quit us here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke, can you?
What brings you back? Blocked from commenting over at Spacing?
When I saw that Spacing gives you the time of day I expected to be censored there too. They’re purely political too. However, to their credit and your annoyance, I have not.
What brings me back? I keep an eye on all crazies like you. There’s a story to be told and AFUITBS is part of it. It’s just a pity everything you write is so shallow and self-serving.
Rob Ford also didn’t attend the CHIN picnic. Does that make him anti-Italian or anti-bikini?
Like the mayor, you do love swiping away at the low-hanging fruit. Are you really equating the Italian experience in Toronto with that of the gay community? Really? We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke think you’re just having us on.
Ask any first generation Italian you immigrated to TO prior to the 1960’s what their experience was like and you will find many similarities.
If not attending one event labels the mayor, shouldn’t his non-attendance of other events label him as well?
Apples and oranges, oranges and apples, apples and oranges.
To make a reasonable comparison, the mayor would have to decline attending the CHIN picnic circa 1955 if it existed way back then. When you discover the secret to time travel, then you can compare the two events.
During last year’s mayoral campaign, how many times did you hear anyone say that Joe Pantalone’s Italian heritage was going to be a detriment to his campaign? Or Rocco Rossi? Or Giorgio Mammoliti? Yes, there was the occasional mob-gangster reference, usually from Sue-Ann Levy but Mr. Rossi felt comfortable enough with his background to co-opt the connection with some of his print ads.
Can you honestly say that being gay didn’t cost George Smitherman any votes? Honestly? Read the hateful messages in all 4 of our dailies’ comments section in defense of the mayor declining to take part in any Pride event and try and write back comparing that decision to him not taking part in the CHIN picnic, RV show or all the other inanities being thrown around. We here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke would like to think that you’re not that type of reader.
You take yourselves and the posts here too seriously at times.
I am waiting for Rob Ford not to attend the fall Ukrainian Festival so I can also label him anti-Ukrainian and anti-pierogi. Damn him and his stance against potato and sauerkraut filled dumplings.