Time To Move On

January 7, 2013

Sitting around, drinking holiday drinks during the endless drink drinking season, a drinking companion who follows the local political scene said: boredThis whole circus thing’s become so boring. Can we just move along already?

He’s right, of course.

The circus being the mayoralty of one Robert Bruce Ford. A train wreck of epic proportion that’s kept City Hall watchers such as myself appalled and mesmerized in equal measures for the past two+ years now. As a content provider, the shit practically writes itself almost on a daily basis. But as a resident of this city? Well… *sigh*.

It’s been a grand spectacle now grown tired and repetitive, the same beat played over and over again. One court case wraps up while another takes its next step forward. Campaign finance audit? What campaign finance audit?

So ridiculous has this thing become that the already entirely ridiculous Jose Canseco went Twitter public about mulling over a ridiculous run in a possible mayoral by-election, pending sorting out the whole citizenship requirement. repeatAnd why not? Once you willingly elect such an unqualified character to be your mayor, the door’s wide open to untold depths of mind-blowing absurdity walking in, uninvited and unwanted.

It would all be so entertaining and funny if it wasn’t so detrimental and destructive.

Council’s To Do list right out of the gates of the new year is impressive if a little over-whelming. The 2013 budget and the half billion dollar question of what to do with the Gardiner Expressway. Casinos, yeah or nay? Further transit expansion and funding mechanisms for that.

Almost none of which have any of Mayor Ford’s fingerprints on them except for maybe some nearly imperceptible smudges on the budget direction. invisiblemanAcross the board 0% increases and a miniscule property tax increase that’s already been exceeded by the budget chief while the mayor was away on his pre-Christmas Florida holiday. Otherwise, nada.

The mayor who wasn’t there. If it weren’t for all his miscues and scandals, it would seem as if Toronto doesn’t have a mayor at all. Just some guy elected to hog the headlines and to keep the 45th chair in council chambers warm.

Much has been made of the one upside to Rob Ford’s time in office as mayor, that of a surge in interest in municipal politics, at least here in Toronto. Traditionally, local levels of government have been seen as the poor cousins in the political hierarchy. In Ontario, they are still referred to as ‘creatures of the province’, subject to much oversight and whims of fancy depending on who’s in power. Amalgamation anyone?

Turnout is traditionally lower for municipal elections, mirroring the diminished expectations, I suspect. What’s it matter? shrugIt’s not like our elected municipal officials contribute anything of importance to our daily lives, right?

Through mismanagement and basic contempt for the job he was elected to do, Mayor Ford revealed how false that way of thinking is. Political decisions at the city level can have a huge impact on residents and businesses alike. To put someone at the helm who does not realize that or simply rejects the notion out of hand will adversely affect the proper functioning and operation of a city. The short, tumultuous rein of Mayor Rob Ford has shown the inevitability of that fact.

Now that we’ve learned that lesson after two years of hands-on experience, it’s time to turn the page, I think, which doesn’t necessarily mean counting on the mayor being booted from office. If he manages to avoid that fate either through winning today’s appeal or a by-election if his appeal is tossed or if he’s re-appointed after the appeal fails, he needs to start doing his job leading the city. taketheleadIf he’s incapable of doing so – and all indications would suggest he isn’t up to the task – council has to simply take charge, fully and completely.

Just being mayor shouldn’t automatically confer deference from the 45 other elected municipal officials. Acting like a mayor should. And for the better part of his term in office, Mayor Ford has been mayor in name only.

ennuily submitted by Cityslikr