Not So FAST

It’s not unusual for me to be out socializing, dinner or drinks, and have the conversation turn political, and asked, with a side of rolled of eyes, if I still think John Tory will be as bad a mayor as Rob Ford. rolledeyesIt’s an especially laughable claim in the face of the revelations now leaking out from the book written by Ford’s former chief of staff, Mark Towhey. Nobody could be worse for Toronto than Rob Ford.

My concern was never about personal decorum, however. I never suggested that John Tory was going to turn out to be a street level gangster, send lawyers, guns and money, the shit’s just hit the fan. Obviously, he represents a clean, shiny face in the mayor’s office.

It was always, to my mind, about governance. And I still hold firm on my insistence that Mayor Tory could ultimately be as bad for Toronto’s future as Rob Ford. How? Because John Tory might just get things done, and not necessarily things Toronto needs getting done.

Lost amidst the noise of Towhey’s book, this little group had its coming out party this morning. FAST. Friends and Allies of Smart Track. Take a look.

An advocacy group established to help inform and educate the public about Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack transit plan, the transit plan he campaigned on, his signature platform item. Or, through a Rob Ford lens, John Tory’s Scarborough Subway.

FAST is an advocacy group full of lawyers, former politicians and a couple of Tory 2014 campaign teammates including Tom Allison, that campaign’s manager. sockpuppetThe group’s colour scheme matches the blue and green of John Tory’s campaign material. FAST echoes much of the Tory campaign talking points.

But, rest assured, there is absolutely no involvement in FAST from the mayor’s office.

FAST is just another grassroots group of concerned and well-connected citizens with a Bay Street office.

What FAST most assuredly isn’t is a group heavy with much transit expertise aboard. You’d think that’d be one prerequisite when you’re slapping together carefully curating your grassroots transit advocacy group. Somebody, anybody, to help inform and educate the public on the merits of this particular transit project, SmartTrack.

Especially since, in its current form, SmartTrack is this amorphous campaign pledge that is awaiting vetting and fleshing out by city staff. It remains a figment, as abstract a concept as it was when John Tory pitched it more than a year ago. There’s no meat on the bones, the bones themselves, theoretical.

Yet, now here’s this group, rallying around the void just ahead of when more substantive reports emerge about SmartTrack’s viability, treating and talking and cheerleading as if it’s already a thing. Lobbying it into existence. Daring city staff to step forward and deny it.steamroll

This is what I’m talking about when I say that a Mayor John Tory will not serve this city any better than Rob Ford did during his time in office. What we’re witnessing right now, just like we did with the Fords and their most excellent Scarborough subway adventure, is the politicization of public transit planning. It’s the exact opposite of everything this mayor claims to stand for. It isn’t reasonable. It isn’t rational. It isn’t prudent. It’s pure politics.

What’s more, why I’m still holding to the claim that Tory will be worse for us than a Ford, there’s every reason to suspect he’s going to get away with it.

suspiciously submitted by Cityslikr

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