So as the Scarborough subway saga continued to weirdly and depressingly unfold yesterday in and around Queen’s Park – essentially, This subway-No. This subway. – the man right at ground zero of the debate, he who declared Transit City dead and cast all future transit projects in Toronto underground, Mayor Rob Ford was conspicuous in his absence.
At least, absent from the raging transit debate. Instead, the mayor was out on the hustings making mayoral house calls, totally not campaigning during a whistle stop tour of a Toronto Community Housing apartment in Rexdale. A little electoral trick-or-treating, handing out fridge magnets, business cards and free advice in return for friendly photo ops and voter folks’ complaints, concerns and issues and in no way a shoring up of a data base.
I’ll get right on that, the mayor assured everyone he talked to, whether or not it was fixing a leaky fridge, a crack in a garbage chute or recovering someone’s hearing aid that had fallen down the drain. Too bad the mayor didn’t bring his adjustable wrench with him. He could’ve retrieved it himself.
This, of course, is what earns him the accolades of having that common touch, of looking out for the little guy. Customer service, am I right? You have a problem, call the mayor. He’ll be right there on your doorstep to sort things out.
That would be all warm and fuzzy if we were living in Mayberry and our biggest concern was Goober having more than a coupla pops and driving his truck through the front window of Floyd’s barber ahop. But it isn’t and we don’t. Toronto’s a big-assed cosmopolitan city with complex issues that can’t be sorted out by a one man door-to-door crusade.
Really? The mayor should be ‘hands on’ and get out there to personally deal with a stray cat problem in the Beaches? It hardly seems like an efficient use of his time and the resources of the mayor’s office. And Mayor Ford is all about efficiencies, isn’t he?
His Fuller Brush Man’s schtick was revealed for all its emptiness yesterday when he discovered a perfectly serviceable gym at the Weston Towers that was closed for use. Making his patented vow to get to the bottom of why and get the gym opened up, the mayor was then informed by the TCHC CEO Gene Jones that the gym wasn’t in use because there wasn’t any money in place to pay for programs.
Mayor Ford has spent parts of the last week, popping into various committee meetings to help vote down improved service level recommendations going directly to city council for debate on next year’s budget. Too many councillors would be spending like drunken sailors without his eagle-eyed oversight on things like, say, programs that would keep the gymnasium at Weston Towers open. The left hand, it would seem, isn’t entirely sure what the right hand is doing even though it’s constantly raised to register a ‘no’ vote.
That’s if I don’t want to be too cynical about it. The truth is probably closer to the assumption Mayor Ford goes out to make his rounds of glad-handing and customer servicing to put on a public face of caring about things like housing and social programs even while his votes at council are doing the exact opposite. Look at the mayor promise to single-handedly fix the damage and problems he himself has voted to create. Just like the firefighting arsonist who burns shit down in order to try and save it from going up in flames.
He is Shiva the Destroyer. He is Vishnu the Preserver. He will vote against any sort of Hug-A-Thug but will move heaven and earth to make sure your gym is open so he can do a photo-op lay-up. No questions, please. That’d be rude.
What Mayor Ford does in his respect for the taxpayers promenade with the media in tow is not customer service. It’s self-serving, giving the appearance of helping others when, in fact, the only thing getting help is Rob Ford’s image as a looker out for the little guy. It may not be official campaigning but it’s most certainly p.r. campaigning. And as revealed yesterday, it’s nothing but false advertising.
— not buying itly submitted by Cityslikr