The Tipping Point

The race is on!

Team Ford has climbed aboard the unofficial 2014 campaign bus, now doing weekly radio spots to get the word out to its nation of all the things accomplished in their first year or so power. Things the rest of the media have twisted and bent out of all recognizable shape. Re-Elect Rob Ford in 2014 for all the great stuff he did in 2011!

For its part, irrelevant city council is working to fill the vacuum and get on with the business of governing the city for the next two and a half years in the absence of any positive contribution from the mayor or those still trying to push forward his already shop worn agenda. The 25 or so can muddle through on an issue by issue basis, fending off the worst obstructionist tendencies thrown at it from the mayor’s office, with an eye on the magic number of 30. If council is able to cobble together that number, Mayor Ford would be completely sidelined and anyone who wants to contribute anything whatsoever to the running of this city will man the mayoral lifeboats and leave the ship to sink in the fetid waters of its own pigheadedness.

It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad political scene here in Toronto. Deathrace 2012. A council with a taste for doing things its own way without any input from the mayor or, at least, any positive input, discovers things run more smoothly without him. Why would it give that power up? So Mayor Ford must beat and berate a few lost sheep back into the fold with promised threats of electoral defeat in a couple years time in order to regain control of the agenda.

Where is the tipping point? If 27, 28 councillors become comfortable regularly working together, from those on the right of centre to the lefties, it’s no longer a black-and-white question of right versus left. The polarity that the mayor thrives on disappears. Those scary, frigid waters of partisanship moderate to more soothing temperatures. Come on, everybody. It’s beautiful in here. The once derided mushy middle, buffed up with increasingly impressive abs of steel, has transformed into a more desirable location. All reasonable councillors welcome.

Twenty-five councillors voted against Mayor Ford’s transit plans, twenty-six had Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby been present at the special meeting. Let’s say now since the petulant firing of former TTC GM Gary Webster by five members of the commission’s board, Vice-Chair Peter Milczyn has developed second thoughts about his close ties with the mayor. That’s twenty-seven.

And exactly how comfortable are the likes of councillors Michelle Berardinetti, Gary Crawford, Michael Thompson standing tall for a mayor who is clearly floundering and that they aren’t strictly ideologically bound to? Same goes for Councillor Mark Grimes. And the stalwarts like councillors Vincent Crisanti, Frank Di Giorgio and Cesar Palacio, all who gained exposure by their willingness to oust Webster, don’t exactly have iron grips on the respective wards. Any further diminuation of the mayor’s popularity would surely threaten their political futures.

And of course, let’s not discount the protean nature of Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti’s politics. An unconditional supporter now but remember back to those days he despised the mayor when he was just an outsider councillor? Is this somebody you want watching your back when the shit goes down?

I’d say we’re within spitting distance of reaching a critical mass of dissent where what Mayor Ford wants or thinks or says no longer has any relevance. That’s not simply wishful thinking or trying to undo the results of the last municipal election. The mayor himself is responsible for squandering the support he once had at council, support that, frankly, caught me by surprise. Perhaps he looked at the previous megacity administrations and believed that 2nd terms just came with the territory and carried on as if he were untouchable until 2017 or so.

And now he’s put his own political future ahead of that of the city by going all in with his ill-thought out, half-formed subway plan as a wedge issue.

“These guys, politically, they think they’ve got ya,” Councillor Doug Ford told the Globe and Mail’s Marcus Gee. “I was high-fiving Rob, even though he was down and out. I was saying, ‘Rob, this is positive, this is a clear agenda, you’ve got it.’” The mayor’s rivals “think they’re going to slice and dice him,” but defying him over transit was “the biggest political mistake they did.”

It’s not about better transit planning or some phantom mandate voters gave the mayor. It’s all politics. ‘A perfect springboard to re-election.’ “You can’t win the city unless you win Scarborough and Etobicoke. The numbers don’t add up.” So against all common sense and rational discourse, Mayor Ford offers Scarborough a subway, and we’ll get one going along Finch West too. You betcha.

How? M’eh. When? *Shrug* What’ll it cost to build? PPPs forever! How much to operate? Who cares? I’ll be Prime Minister by then.

If the mayor just wants to be the mayor rather than act like a mayor, his council colleagues have no alternative but to move forward without him. He and his brother seem to have decided to run for re-election instead of running the city. They’ve made their choice. Councillors now have to make theirs.

straight shootingly submitted by Cityslikr

3 Responses to The Tipping Point

  1. Running for re-election instead of running the City, on talk-talk-talk radio.

    There is no gravy train — there is no train of any description — out of the 2010 Ford platform…. just loco motives now facing off against local mojo.

  2. Sol says:

    Do you perhaps mean a “wedgie” issue?

    Think about it. A nice, big, non-ideological, bipartisan mayoral wedgie. The perfect response to Doug’s enema musings.

  3. Mark says:

    Looks like James Pasternak is getting cold feet and backing Mayor on transit file (at least on pushing for a Sheppard subway) according to his tweets last night and tonight. https://twitter.com/#!/JamesPasternak Now claims thought vote for Stinz plan was vote for continuing Sheppard subway…

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