What I resent most about this week’s mea culpa by Rob Ford… ok, not the most but in the top 5 things I resent about it… is that he mea culpa-ed this week. Why could he not come clean about smoking crack back in May when the allegations first surfaced? I was in town then, on top of the news cycle, living it, minute to minute, gory detail to gory detail.
Now, half a year later, I’m on a long planned trip, 20 hours away by air, 16 hour time difference. Or maybe 14. It’s too early to tell. I haven’t yet acclimatized.
(I can tell you however that in the international news roundup Wednesday night – your Wednesday morning… or maybe it was Tuesday? — an Australian broadcaster put the news of Toronto’s mayor smoking crack ahead of the election of a new mayor of New York. Big Apple that, NYC!)
Of course, I’m probably not alone wishing Rob Ford had been more immediately forthcoming about the crack story. If he’d taken the advice of his then chief of staff, Mark Towhey, and admitted he’d erred, took the summer of at least pretending to be contrite and getting his house in order, this could well all be behind him. Everyman Mayor Makes Mistakes, acknowledges them, promises it won’t ever happen again, moves on, moves forward.
On top of just being a bold faced fucking liar and world class weasel who seems like he’s not responsible enough to face the consequences of his actions, there’s the whole frantic search for the video purporting to show him smoking crack and making racial and homophobic slurs swirling around him. How involved was he in that caper? His staff? We know a close associate of his, Sandro Lisi, is now facing charges of extortion over the video. How much did the mayor know about that?
It’s all threatening to become Watergatian©®™ for the mayor where the cover up becomes greater than the original misdeed.
Undeterred by these seeming dire circumstances, Rob Ford remains defiant, refusing the advice of his closest colleagues (except for his brother) to step back, take a time out and, at the very least, look as if he’s actually sorry for the actions he’s finally admitted to. He blows kisses at the media photographing his every move. Even in our crazy, mixed up world, such hubris rarely goes unpunished.
If there’s any sort of silver lining to this sordid state of affairs in Toronto, it could be the opportunity for city council to step forward into the leadership void and exert its primacy in governing the city. There’s a motion afoot to strip the mayor of his ability to name committee chairs and deputy mayor, thereby wresting full control of the agenda from him and pushing him to the sidelines. He’d be neutered; a mayor in name only.
Of course, there’s some risk attached to that kind of drastic measure.
Rob Ford loves to play the outsider. That’s his bread and butter, his mashed potatoes with gravy. If somehow he survives this scandal and remains standing as a viable candidate in next year’s election, there’s little question he will play up this persecution complex and try to ride it all the way to re-election.
Frankly, that’s a scenario growing more unlikely with each day and every new revelation. The mayor’s admitted boozing and crack smoking, along with his inveterate lying, are very likely just the tip of the iceberg here. We can add extortion to the list of things associated with the video now in police possession and there is that little matter of the murder of someone seen in a picture with the mayor outside the house the video was taken. Shit like that doesn’t just go away. It tends to leave a stain on even the most resistant of materials including Teflon.
Besides, there comes a time when pure political calculation needs to be shrugged off. To all but the most biased of eyes, Rob Ford is unfit to lead this city. He is putting his own self-interest ahead of that of the citizens he was elected to serve. City councillors need to accept that and start working together regardless of political stripe to assume control at City Hall.
We seem to have been operating under the assumption that one politician, elected citywide, has some sort of mandate to run roughshod over 44 colleagues, held in check only by voters every 4 years at the ballot box. Uh-uh. A duly elected mayor is given the opportunity through an appointment process to shape an agenda. After that, success (or not) depends on an ability to get a majority of city councillors on board. Failure to do so is the fault of one and only one person. The mayor.
City council is not elected to serve the mayor. Councillors represent the views and opinions of the constituents in their respective wards, and to the best of their ability, try to work with the mayor to help shape a direction that a majority of people want to see the city head in. But if the mayor is unwilling to work with council or is derelict in his duty or just simply unfit to be a part of the process, city council must forge ahead in the mayor’s absence.
Hopefully such a situation doesn’t occur too often but when it does councillors must act accordingly. Now is that time. Rob Ford has gone AWOL and seems singularly unwilling to act like a mayor anymore. City council needs to start doing his job in his absence.
— hopefully submitted by Cityslikr