Suck It Up, Losers

February 22, 2013

spite

During Wednesday’s city council debate over the Striking Committee’s appointment recommendations to the Executive and Budget Committees, Matt Elliott asked, “What would this administration do if they didn’t have so much spite to fuel them?”

Spite? That sounds absolutely benign compared to what some raging right wingers hurled around council chambers over the course of the past few days. Witness Councillor Mike Del Grande vituperative outburst. The sound a black hole makes when it’s collapsing into itself. (Video clips courtesy of Matt  Elliott).

To the victors go the spoils. Just like Jesus Christ himself said. To which the Romans replied, Hey, guy. You’re a carpenter, right? How be you build us a cross. We’ll bring some extra nails.

While the tone of the councillor’s screed was astounding, the really telling aspect of it was the claim he made early on in his speaking time. “… and we were denied getting on certain committees [during the Miller administration]. And the reason was, the mayor at the time decided who he wanted on and who he didn’t want on, and one of the early criteria was the bridge to the airport. Bridge to the airport. If you weren’t onside with the bridge on the airport, you were automatically discounted. So that was the key. And I remember going to talk to Deputy Mayor Pantalone at the time, and he made it very clear. That vote was important to the mayor, and that’s what differentiated whether you got positions or not.”

In other words, every mayor has an agenda and if you’re not on board, you’re on the outside looking in. So suck it up, lefties. That’s how things have always been done at City Hall.

Except for the fact, well, I’ll let Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby explain.

“Mayor Miller had an Executive Committee after the City of Toronto Act. I sat on that committee. He knew that I did not support – I mean, I did support the bridge to the city airport. He knew that. But he still asked me to sit on that Executive Committee, even though knowing that I am a conservative and that I would not support him on every vote, and I certainly did not.”

Oops.holdonsec

Now hey, who’s to say that Mayor Miller and his deputy mayor didn’t tell Councillor Del Grande and Speaker Frances Nunziata or Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday — who have both also endlessly complained about how they were sidelined during the previous administration (although, as noted by Councillor Paula Fletcher after Mr. Holyday’s similar themed left out in the cold rant this week that he was, in fact, chair of the Audit Committee under David Miller, just like he is currently) — that there was an anti-bridge litmus test for anyone wanting to get key positions? Maybe it was just a more diplomatic way of going about it. After watching their respective performances while in power over the course of the last couple years, isn’t it quite possible nobody in their right mind would choose to spend any more time than they had to in the company of such flinty, carping, divisive people?

That fact of the matter is, even the most cursory search through the archives of amalgamated Toronto will quickly show that the Ford Administration is by far the most exclusionary administration this city’s ever had. Neither Mel Lastman nor David Miller demanded such blind loyalty based solely along strict ideological lines as Rob Ford has. To argue otherwise is nothing less than to embrace revisionist history. It is perpetuating a basic untruth.

wipeclean

Which brings us to an even more problematic point. The appropriation of rightful anger, resentment and a feeling of exclusion purely for political purposes.

There should be no doubt that far too many residents in this city, entire under-served neighbourhoods and communities, have been excluded, neglected and sidelined in terms of economic development, transit, planning and representation. They have every right to be pissed off and resentful. That tune sung by many of their councillors, none louder and prouder than Rob Ford, hit the right chord for them. It sounded like fellow travellers.

The big difference, however, is that the isolation and bitterness spewed by the likes of Rob Ford, Doug Holyday, Frances Nunziata, Mike Del Grande was entirely self-imposed. Each of them chose to varying degrees not to play along with the previous administration because they did not agree with the agenda. And now they try to propagate a mythology of exclusion that does not hold up even to the slightest push against it. Councillor Del Grande’s is demolished within a minute by Councillor Lindsay Luby.upyours

These hardcore right wing ideologues were angry but not for the same reason many of those voting for them were angry. They frothed the anger in much of the electorate and used it to gain power. Achieving that, it’s all become about settling political scores and getting even while doing absolutely nothing to address the roots of the discontent and isolation that swept them into office.

In no way do any of them reflect the true outsider status many of their constituents actually experience. Taking their cue from Mayor Ford, they merely exploit it. To build walls and divisions that having nothing to do with good governance or positive public service. It’s all about laying waste to their opponents and playing the politics of destruction.

Thinks I’m exaggerating? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “The Burning Rage of a 1000 Nunziatas”. (phraseology h/t @ManuvSteele).

ragedly submitted by Cityslikr


Our Media Mayor

March 9, 2011

It’s becoming more and more apparent that Rob Ford isn’t so much the mayor of Toronto as he is the mayor of media. If the city is considered a creature of the province, then Mayor Ford is a creature of the media. He sharpened this image during 10 years in the political wilderness as a councillor, always giving good copy with an outrageous quote and crazy antics, and never confusing anyone with an interesting or complex idea or thought about governance. Talk radio supplied him with a weekly platform to vent his spleen and paint the world in his black and white terms.

The pattern continued (after heavily test marketing and packaging it) on the campaign trail last year on his way to becoming mayor. Headline grabbing claims and statements. Easily digestible chants that even the dimmest of media types could churn out as sound bites. A tightly wrapped message, so impenetrable no questions, concerns or suspicions could leave any sort of lasting impression on it. The Ford Phenomenon. It could not be explained, so don’t try and understand it.

And it’s now morphed into Ford Nation since his election. Rule by media fiat. The mayor declares. It is so. Council bends to the will of the mayor because the media says resistance is futile. The media doesn’t have to agree with the mayor or support his views at all. It just has to roll over and admit the mayor is all powerful, incapable of defeat or setback.

The media and the Ford administration have become co-dependents. They get breaking news stories via leaked documents and the mayor gets to govern without having to deal with the normal democratic process at council. Take the recent Auditor-General’s report on the goings-on at the Toronto Community Housing Corp. If my time line’s correct on this, the report was leaked to the Toronto Star on February 25th even before the TCHC had an opportunity to see it themselves on the following Monday. By the time they did, the mayor and his team had scooped it up and run with it, demanding exclusively through media channels that heads roll and calling for a complete overhaul of the management organization, all at the mayor’s behest, with minimal input not only from city council but the Audit Committee itself. The entity in place to deal with the report and to make recommendation that would then go to council for debate and ultimate decisions.

Guess what? The Audit Committee wasn’t scheduled to meet until March 24th. City council wouldn’t have dealt with this matter until after that, probably at their April meeting. It’s Mayor Ford who is demanding extraordinary, democratically dubious measures to be enacted here. He is trying to limit debate on this issue, seeking to undermine proper oversight and insisting on being granted carte blanche to fill the TCHC board and management purely to his liking. Don’t ask questions. Just obey. This is a strong mayor system after all, right?

Yet, reading the newspapers this morning and listening to the radio, the noble march of democracy and citizen accountability was stopped in its tracks at yesterday’s council meeting by 16 (mostly all left wing kooks… probably) councillors who denied the mayor his 2/3s majority needed to waive established procedure and start debating and voting on restructuring the TCHC immediately. Because the mayor wanted to! The heaping amount of scornful derision directed at the likes of Councillors Adam Vaughan, Gord Perks, Shelley Carroll, Janet Davis, Paula Fletcher and Pam McConnell by our local rags was shocking in the degree to which it barked out the mayor’s party line. In case anyone reading the Globe started to see glimmers of a more nuanced, multi-dimensional angle to the TCHC story from its regular City Hall reporters, it unleashed the unhinged fury of one of their resident hacks, Christie Blatchford to execute a full on, full fledged hatchet job of the mayor’s council opponents. Over at the Star, Royson James was at his execrable worst, completely twisting the events at yesterday’s morning council session to fit snugly into the mayor’s narrative. He might as well have added a little P.S. at the end of it. Can I have more access now please, Mayor Ford?

Even at the so-called liberal CBC, Metro Morning host Matt Galloway suggested that the councillors who voted against Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday’s motion were simply playing politics and delaying the inevitable. What’s that again, Matt? Exercising your democratic right to see that due process is followed is now ‘playing politics’? And why, ‘inevitable’? Simply because the mayor says so.

Remember when our mainstream press used to push back against power? When former mayor David Miller found surprise surpluses? (Creative accounting.) When Mayor Miller said he’d won significant concessions from city workers at the conclusion of the 2009 strike? (Oh, no he didn’t.) When he demanded that the province start paying its share of public transit and mandated services? (Going cap-in-hand to beg.)

What’s with the sudden turnaround and acquiescence toward the mayor’s office?  With such slavish devotion to the new boss, the press is undermining the democratic process at City Hall and inculcating the mayor with increasingly unchecked power that is answerable to few outside his inner sanctum. This kind of coverage allows Mayor Ford to bypass committees (and with that, citizens) and council itself where he just has to cobble together 22 other votes, a handful of whom simply fall into line because they don’t want to be seen bucking the trend of the inevitable that they read in their newspapers.

In his article, Royson James points out that the left leaning councillors ‘lost the last election’. As if that means all protocol, all normal procedures that have been set in place to get a vote passed at City Hall can be dispensed with. Yesterday, for the first time as mayor, Rob Ford lost a significant vote. It happens. But instead of adhering to the customary path when such a thing occurs, the mayor is seeking to smash up the established process and have his way with council. The press is not only falling down on their job by refusing to call him on it, they are actively helping him achieve it by vilifying everyone on council who is attempting to stand up to him.

This makes Rob Ford, the media’s mayor.

submitted by Cityslikr