Give Him The Business

October 17, 2012

Here was the original plan.

Wait a couple days, insert a few typos and some of my very own grammatical idiosyncrasies and then claim Ed Keenan’s Doug Ford doesn’t understand much about the private sector post from yesterday as mine. I mean, I’m no Margaret Wente. It could take everybody years to discover that kind of sleight of hand.

But my conscience (or whatever that thing is that causes me to have second thoughts, stupid second thoughts) got the better of me. So I decided to just harp on the article instead. Get all up in your faces and demand you read it, and read it now. It’s that important.

Go ahead. I’ll wait. Make myself a cup of tea. Fire off a few emails. Maybe play some Bejewelled, depending on how slow a reader some of you are. What are you waiting for? Chop, chop. Get cracking.

*  *  *

Am I right? Huh? Huh?

Keenan quotes Councillor Doug Ford from last Sunday’s radio show, talking about the $700 million of ‘unfunded liability’ for the new streetcars the city ordered a few years back:

I don’t think the average person… they wouldn’t do it. Do you go out and purchase a house, purchase a business, purchase a big capital piece of equipment for your business, and not have the money?

Correct, Councillor Ford. The ‘average person’ might not be able to purchase $700 million worth of streetcars on credit. But a house? A business? A ‘big capital piece of equipment’? As a matter of fact they do. Every day. It’s kind of what makes the business world go around.

Kennan goes on to eviscerate Councillor Ford’s ludicrous stance in much finer detail than I could, so I’ll leave you to that. (Except, I do need to point out that, according to the article, the mayor’s Cadillac Escalade birthday present is actually leased – “…absolutely the highest cost of borrowing in the market place. Hands down, no exceptions.” — through his family business. So, if it is written off as a Deco Label business expense, technically speaking, we the taxpayers are paying for it. In that case, Happy Birthday, Mayor Ford.)

The thing I want to know about all this is what the fuck is Councillor Ford’s m.o.? What’s the frequency, Kenneth? I ask.

As a business man, even one handed that title by his father, Councillor Ford can’t actually see the world as he purports to in his role as a politician. He’s not wealthy enough to simply buy everything he wants, cash on the barrel head. Deco Labels doesn’t operate that way, does it? Obviously not, what with the leasing of the mayor’s SUV. It doesn’t make any economic sense if he did. And that’s what he’s all about, isn’t it? Making economic sense.

He can’t be that dumb, can he?

If he’s not, if Councillor Ford and his colleagues following him in lockstep – the mayor, the deputy mayor, the budget chief, the speaker, councillors Vincent Crisanti, Denzil Minnan-Wong, Giorgio Mammoliti et al – are fully aware of best business practices, let’s call them, and do know all about manageable debt and capital expenditures, blah, blah, blah, how come they’re not applying that thinking to the finances of the city? How come they’re pretending Toronto’s financial situation is worse than it is? How (and why) does Mayor Ford make the bold-faced claim that the city’s ‘financial foundation is crumbling’ as he did last year in a speech at the Empire Club?

Is it because despite all their bluster, all the harrumphing and rhubarbing we hear from them about Toronto needing to be run like a business, the last thing they want to do is run the city like a business, and a successful one at that? Go back to Keenan’s article and note the rough comparison between Toronto’s debt to income numbers and Rogers. $4.4 to $11 billion versus $10.79 to $12.47 billion. That’s pretty healthy. Or how about the low, low percentage of the city’s annual operating budget goes to servicing Toronto’s debt versus, say, the percent you pay in terms of your annual income to mortgage payments.

Toronto is, and has been despite the ugly economic environment out there and the vagaries of assistance coming to us from senior levels of government, running like a very efficient, strong business. That’s what the likes of Councillor Ford either doesn’t understand or, more likely, wants you not to know. Their whole schtick, he and his brother mayor and all the far right, fiscal hawk councillors, is based on the dubious premise that the city’s finances are being driven into the ground by tax-and-spend politicians who have no respect for taxpayers.

Why would they want you to think such nonsense?

To admit otherwise, to come clean that Toronto’s books should be the envy of many businesses, would be admitting the unthinkable idea that government actually works. That the taxes we pay as residents of this city aren’t inherently evil and bad. It would be an admission that their political philosophy and view is nothing more than empty ideology. It is destructive. It is selfish.

Councillor Doug Ford simply hates the idea of government. He doesn’t believe it should be run as a business because, well, it’s not a business. Businesses should be run like businesses. Government? Taken out to the woodshed and cut down to size.

Unfortunately for the councillor, that’s not really a politically sellable idea. So he bluffs and blusters about Six Sigma principles, finding efficiencies, yaddie, yaddie, yaddie hoping that enough people will come to the same dim conclusion of government as he holds. It’s been working for him so far.

We just have to keep calling him on all his bullshit talk and force him out into the open. Make him run not as some sound, sane businessman but as the unhinged, radical, anti-government ideologue he actually is. Right now, he’s getting away with hiding in the tall grass.

prudently submitted by Cityslikr

The Unbearable Smugness of Being Doug Ford

December 6, 2011

As often is the case when sitting watching the proceedings down at City Hall, I often think of Edward Keenan. No, not in that way. I don’t even know the man. I think about something he’s recently written which is a frank admission that I’m always a couple steps behind what’s going on, playing perpetual catch-up.

The latest example came yesterday at day 2 of the budget committee’s 2012 capital and operating budget review. In walked committee member, Councillor Doug Ford, spouting nonsense and casting groundless aspersions as he questioned staff, this first time exaggerating sick days/holiday time taken by those working in the city’s 3-1-1 department. Later, he asked if the drug prevention program was still buying bottles of wine for patients. It wasn’t. Not yet done, the councillor then questioned procurement processes with the student nutritional program once more based on, what the Star’s Daniel Dale generously tweeted, “wrong info”.

Or as Mr. Keenan called it last Thursday when writing about Councillor Ford’s November 28th performance on LeDrew Live (still not up on the website), “It was either lying or, in the most charitable interpretation, being dead wrong.”

Another day, another blustery blast of misinformation. Whether owing to gross incompetence on the councillor’s part or crass political gamesmanship, it serves only to diminish the political discourse and reduce the budget debate to little more than he said, she said. Working with your ‘own facts’ to paraphrase David Frum as quoted by Edward Keenan.

I’ll let Keenan’s article speak to that particular issue but I have another bone to pick with the mayor’s brother here. After getting his facts a little askew on how much time of service earns how much vacation time and the actual amount of sick days taken over at 3-1-1, Councillor Ford jocularly asked the room where he could hand in his resume to get a job there. Ha, ha. What a cushy gig, eh? See what I’m getting at here?

As a matter of fact, councillor, yeah, I would like you to hand in your resume and get yourself a job answering questions from concerned, confused, distressed and disgruntled Torontonians at 3-1-1. Put in your 20 years or so to accumulate 6 weeks of vacation. Have at it. It might just wipe clean that smug sense of disdain you have for everyone not living the Doug Ford lifestyle.

That’s an open invitation to everyone out there who get their knickers all in a twist about allegedly easy jobs (usually of the union kind), where the living is large and the pay astronomical. Teachers with their summers off. Six digit making TTC fare collectors. Those goldbricking garbage collectors. Get a real job, you teat-sucking bums!

If these really are such great ways of making a living, why isn’t everyone applying for them? Yes, Councillor Ford, there’s an unusually high absentee rate at 3-1-1 because people just love working there. Like they do at call centre situations the whole world over. “In the private sector, call centre workers have the highest level of absence (14.8 days). This is also the highest level of absence for employees across all industries.” Evidently, taking people’s questions and fielding their complaints on the phone or via the interwebs is everybody’s dream job.

Unlike, say, inheriting a successful business from your daddy. Never having gone that occupational route myself, I can’t talk of its pitfalls and pressures but I’m going to assume being a scion comes with a better benefit package than manning the 3-1-1 phones. One of which seems to be an ease of transition into the job of city councillor despite a shocking lack of qualifications (aside from, I’m With Him) and a near debilitating disinterest in the details of the job itself.

And yet Doug Ford would leave all that behind to work at Toronto’s 3-1-1.

No, not really. He just can’t help himself when it comes to mocking and denigrating those he thinks get paid too much or are afforded too much time off. Why? Because of his deep and abiding respect for the taxpayers who just don’t think it’s right that they be forced to pony up to provide services they rarely use or, if they do, pay the actually going rates for. (Hint: roads.) Like his brother mayor, Councillor Ford is simply looking out for the little guy by stripping away their dignity one misinformed question and wisecrack at a time.

can I help yoully submitted by Cityslikr

The Mayor’s Business

November 3, 2011

Please bear with me if my initial points are a little blurry and all the thoughts not strung together in any sort of coherent fashion. No, Sue-Ann Levy is not ghost writing this post. It’s just that I’ve been banging my head repeatedly against the wall, trying to figure out the general m’eh attitude toward Mayor Ford using his own family printing business, Deco Labels and Tags, to whip up he and his staff a batch of gold embossed business cards.

What part of ‘The Mayor Using His Family Business To Print Business Cards’ doesn’t immediately scream ‘Wrong!’ to everyone? I don’t care if he’s been judicious in not sole sourcing the job out or if he paid fair market value for the order or..or..or.. whatever other flimsy justification he, his brother and staff come up with. There’s a point at every council meeting I’ve ever attended where councillors have to stand and declare ‘an interest’ in a particular item that’s coming up for debate. It’s short hand for ‘conflict of interest’, usually entailing some family member working for the department in question or ownership of a property that may benefit (or not) in a decision council is about to make. Declaring a conflict of interest.

So how can the mayor of Toronto using his family run business to print his business cards be anything other than a conflict of interest? How? How?? Oh. Councillor Minnan-Wong? You had something to say about the matter on The Agenda Monday night?

“But I can also tell you that if the mayor had his druthers about this that he would’ve just had Deco Labels do it for free and had it just delivered to City Hall. But the problem is there are other individuals at City Hall that don’t want him to have these free contributions made to save the taxpayers money for some reason beyond me that was made a few years ago. He would’ve just gone to Deco Labels, had them printed and had the city not be expensed at all. But city council won’t let him do it.”

Hmmm. ‘… other individuals at City that don’t want him to have these free contributions to the taxpayers money…’? Could one of those ‘other individuals’ be the city’s Auditor General, Jeffrey Griffiths? Or then Integrity Commissioner, David Mullan? Seems this practice of using his family business to outfit his office with supplies has been an ongoing concern since back in the early days of Mayor Ford’s time as a councillor. (h/t Edward Keenan whose dynamite article I’m just riffing on here). Turns out, it’s a force of habit that’s been frowned upon but Rob Ford just keeps plugging away at it. Somehow.

And yet the mayor’s council colleagues like Denzil Minnan-Wong, presumably without benefit of a similar family business to help him out around the office, can’t see what the problem is. It’s beyond him why anyone could object to Mayor Ford conducting his official business on his own or Deco Labels and Tags’ dime. (Can you say, `corporate donation`, Councillor Minnan-Wong?) Pish-posh. All’s fair as long as it saves the taxpayers money.

Well councillor, if that’s the case, I say why stop at just measly business cards and letterhead? If it’s all about saving the taxpayers money, let’s try and hand the whole shooting’ match over to anyone who can afford it? Surely there’s got to be someone out there with $9 billion/year they’d be happy to part with in order to run the city. Be great if they could match that again to cover off some of our capital costs too. Then it wouldn’t cost us li’l taxpayers a thing to live in the city.

Never mind the darker implications of public service becoming only the domain of those who can afford it. What about oversight and accountability? Personally, I want to know what our elected officials spent and where the money came from. And frankly, I don’t care if the mayor wants some fancy business cards although I do have to agree with Mr. Keenan that coming from Rob Ford, it is a bit, errr, rich with a noxious whiff of hypocrisy to boot. We’re going with the cheapest bid in contracting out waste collection but not for our business cards? And trying to placate the situation with an ‘I’m paying for it out of my own pocket’ doesn’t cut it either. That money may have come out of your pocket but how exactly did it get in there in the first place? That’s the kind of thing I want kept above board and on the table for everyone to see.

Openness and transparency. That’s a concept Councillor Ford promised to usher in to City Hall if elected mayor. Yet, here he is, still playing fast and loose with his office expenses, maintaining ongoing business with his family firm, fighting off a Compliance Audit Committee request to look through his campaign financing books. It’s all so unseemly and smacks more of disrespect for the taxpayers.

by the numbersly submitted by Cityslikr

Numbers Numbers Numbers

October 18, 2011

Frankly, given Mayor Ford’s disinclination with numbers it’s a wonder how he pays for a Red Bull at a convenience store counter without constantly being stiffed on the change. Or how he ever ran a business. It’s clearly inhibiting his ability to properly run a city.

Writer John Lorinc over at Spacing reveals the mayor’s inability to cite basic facts and figures. It’s a mess. He lowballs some numbers and wildly inflates others. All in order to make the highly dubious claim that municipal services and those providing them are really, really expensive. The question is, does he do it intentionally or does he simply not understand the complexity of running a multi-billion dollar organization? Either answer is truly troubling.

It’s a similar propensity to play fast and loose with the numbers that the mayor displays when it comes to how he finances his office budget and campaign finances. Some stuff gets included. Some doesn’t. A habit that is dogging him currently with a compliance audit hanging over his head and the legal fees piling up as he tries to fend it off. Questions about unaccounted for campaign expenses now wash over to fundraisers he’s held to come up with money to pay his lawyers. Once again, John Lorinc goes through all that with a comb and comes up with plenty of dander.

Oh, and let’s not forget the most recent nugget. The mayor’s family firm, Deco Labels and Tags, invoiced the city $1,579.15 for business cards for the mayor and his staff that has not yet appeared on any official accounting ledger. Not to mention… well, let’s just get Mr. Lorinc to explain it again: “Two companies owned by the Ford family provided goods and services worth $187,730.96 to Mayor Rob Ford’s election team, accounting for almost 10 per cent of campaign spending. But documents filed with the city indicate that while the campaign waited up to a year to pay many of these bills, the two firms – Deco Labels and Tags and Doug Ford Holdings Inc. – did not charge late fees.

Many suppliers, including the City of Toronto, impose such charges after a 30-to-60-day grace period, typically in the 1 to 2 per cent range, compounded monthly.

With Mr. Ford facing a possible compliance audit, the forgone late charges raise new questions about whether the campaign benefited from an indirect corporate donation worth at least $12,000, according to a Globe and Mail analysis of the campaign’s accounts payable payments. Toronto council policy prevents candidates from accepting corporate or trade union contributions.”

All these numbers! It’s just too hard to keep track of all these numbers. Stop asking me to try and do it.

The mayor’s present legal pickle has also revived the legal fees battle that flared up with the previous council when it went against a staff recommendation not to pay legal expenses incurred by 3 councillors, Giorgio Mammoliti, Adrian Heaps and Sandra Bussin. Council passed a bylaw that permitted the city to reimburse the councillors. Incensed, Doug Holyday went to court to quash the bylaw and won, racking up $125,000 in… wait for it… wait for it… legal fees.

And here’s the kicker. Holyday forked over $42,500 out of his own pocket, another portion was paid by an award for costs. The rest? Wait for it… wait for it.. Holyday’s lawyer ‘forgave’ him. To the tune of $67,000.

So Doug Holyday went to court to make sure none of his colleagues could ask taxpayers to pick up the tab if they were taken to court. On your dime, fellas. And if the price is too rich, hey, find yourself a lawyer who’ll forgive you some of the expenses. Here, let me give you my guy’s card. (Or as the Toronto Star’s Royson James sees it, ‘principled man that he is’ Doug Holyday took council to court in defence of the taxpayers and his lawyer, equally as principled I guess, ‘forgave’ the councillor $67,000 for fighting the good fight.)

That’s a pretty generous reading, in my opinion. Doug Holyday was conducting city business by taking city council to court and in so doing received a below market rate for the services of a lawyer. Them’s mighty murky waters that makes it difficult to see any principled bottom.

But that just seems to be how this gang rolls. Numbers, whether on their own or with dollar signs attached, add up to different things than they do for most of us. Every taxpayer nickel and dime must be accounted for while the ins-and-outs of who pays what when it comes to running your office, campaigns or legal battle, well, never you mind. Chalk it up to the costs of doing business. As long as we’re looking out for the taxpayers, who cares who or what is helping us do it.

calculatingly submitted by Cityslikr

Attention All Pillagers

September 12, 2011

So, you say you’re feeling a little entrepreneurial and on the lookout for new and exciting business adventures? You like animals, perhaps. Wouldn’t it be cool to own a zoo? Who hasn’t always wanted to own a zoo? You could ride your own panda and nobody would say no.

Or maybe you’re more partial to old people. Grandma once took care of you and now you want to give something back. What better way than running your own senior citizens’ home?

Or how about kids? Those tousled-haired little rug rats, they kind of pull at your heart strings. Imagine overseeing thousands of them with your own string of day care centres.

Huh? Huh?

Too touchie-feelie, emotionally cloying for you? How about the razzle-dazzle, bright lights and broken dreams on offer as a high-flying theatrical impresario? You too could adapt a movie into the next big stage musical sensation. I got two words for you. Two words followed by a colon followed by two more words. The Godfather: The Opera. Have your people call my people.

Hold on a second, I hear you saying. Even if I do want to buy a zoo/retirement home/child care centre/theatre where does one go about finding such things? Besides, those are pretty big enterprises. What if my pocketbook doesn’t match the size of my dreams?

Listen, have I got a deal(s) for you…


A fire sale’s going on down in old T.O. and there’s never been a better time than now to swoop in, vulture like, and get yourself a zoo at a cut rate price. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is just some chintzy, late night commercial, Oliver Russell-like sales pitch, fronting an actual solid business plan. I know, I know. The mayor and his councillor-brother Doug are always talking up their business savvy. The budget chief will tell anyone who listens that he is a chartered accountant. As much as they claim they want government to be run like a business, they would never run a business like they’re trying to run this city.

Publicly devalue it? Signal serious desperation before negotiations even begin? Make like the fiscal straits you’re facing are much worse than they actually are?

Surely the Ford Bros. did not learn that at their daddy’s knee when climbing the ranks at Deco Tags and Lables. If that’s what they’re teaching at whatever business school/chartered accountant chop shop the budget chief got his diploma/certificate from, I’d be asking for my money back. No. These guys aren’t intending to run City Hall like a business. They’re looking to put it out of business.

I’ll let you in on a little secret, prospective zoo/retirement home/child care centre/theatre buyer. (And I really shouldn’t. They could take away my licence for this. But since the sellers have been so naked in their intentions, so lacking in circumspection, I can hardly be accused of talking out of school. BTW, if you’re looking to buy a school, I think we might have a few of those for sale too.) These guys don’t want to maximize value. They don’t really want to plug budget holes, now or ever. They want to get rid of government. They want to shrink it down small enough so they can drown it in the bathtrub. Just like Grover Norquist bid all conservative politicians to do.

So yeah, this is on the up and up. Everything must go and prices will be more than negotiable. These guys aren’t just motivated sellers. They’re very, very motivated.

Get in and get out while the going is good. If you’ve long had your eye on city assets there will never be time like now to give it a whirl. It is truly a buyer’s market. No one’s made more sure of that than the current administration at City Hall.

pitchmanly submitted by Cityslikr

Mr. Ford Goes To Queen’s Park

August 18, 2011

If nothing else, events of the last few days — especially Mayor Ford’s Excellent Adventure At Queen’s Park — have revealed for all to see that running a government is nothing at all like running a business. At least not running a successful business.

Assuming for the moment that, in fact, Rob Ford has successfully run a business. That he’s not just some hereditary caretaker, handed the keys to the offices built by his daddy and simply living off the proceeds. That before turning to municipal politics, he actually had hands-on experience in helping to make the family business the enterprise it is, employing 200 people in Toronto, Chicago and New Jersey.

There’s no reason to think otherwise. His brother, Councillor Doug Ford, has 3 homes. Clearly he’s in the pink. Both Ford’s seem able to chip in and run their respective offices with their money. Deco Labels and Tags has been “Partnering with our clients to provide Solid Labelling Solutions for over 45 years…” Somebody must be doing something right there. Why not the mayor?

Reading about the mayor in action with the premier yesterday, however, it’s just not clear what business acumen he’s bringing to the table of public service. I mean, would a business go to an investor and ask for money to build some questionable infrastructure and then muse out loud for everyone to hear about what life will be like after the investor goes bust? I know some people can compartmentalize and erect a solid wall between business and personal, still… It’s not very good form, as I imagine they say at the Empire Club.

Or imagine the provincial government as a bank, and a company or corporation, say, like the city of Toronto, having eliminated various revenue streams, comes to them and asks for money to help make ends meet. And then when the bank politely turns them down and calls security to escort them to the door, this company, corporation or city threatens to rain down a force (Ford Nation, let’s call it) to bring about their demise. Seems like a dodgy strategy if you ask me. The only business I can think of that might employ such tactics is the mafia.

David Hains over at The Clamshell breaks down the business oriented Six Sigma craze now sweeping through City Hall, a ‘lean mfg / 6 Sigma’ version which Deco has been a practitioner of. According to Hains, the thrust of the idea is “…to eliminate process steps that might increase the likelihood of error…” Well, by that metric, the first step we should take is to eliminate the process step that allows the mayor to participate in any of the city’s business since every time he does it only increases the likelihood of error.

By going to the province asking for money to help the city balance its books (a practice he gleefully derided his predecessor for doing), the mayor is admitting a couple things. One, he didn’t know what he was talking about during last year’s campaign and after 10 years sitting on council. Two, that running a government is an entirely different beast than running a business especially a government dealing with billions of dollars, not millions, with tens of thousands of employees not 200 and serving 2.5 million ‘customers’ whose needs extend beyond just labels and packages.

By going to the province asking for money in such an inept fashion, the mayor does reveal one absolute overlap between government and business. Neither one can function in the absence of good management. If Rob Ford was a good manager in the private sector, you wouldn’t know it by the job he’s been doing for the citizens of Toronto.

going about businessly submitted by Cityslikr

A Little Opaque Is Not A Little Transparent

June 17, 2011

How’s that old saying go? You can’t be half-pregnant? Same principle applies, I think, to being half-transparent. To be half-transparent really means you’re opaque.

So it is with our Mayor of Transparency, Rob Ford. As he awaits word of his court challenge to an audit of his campaign finances word comes of questions about his office expenses for his first four months in office. As John Lorinc writes today in the Globe and Mail, there are huge gaps in how the mayor financed the running off his office. Apparently, “…receipts for basic expenses such as office supplies and cellphone subscriptions…are missing…” God knows we hear about how much time the mayor spends on his phone, listening to the public’s views, complaints and grievances. And how does the office of the mayor running the 6th largest government in the country function without office supplies?

Ahh, we’re told. Out of respect for the taxpayers, Mayor Ford dips into his own pocket for such trifling matters. Rather than treat that habit as suspicious or running contrary to established council protocol, we should look upon it as nothing more than a beneficent gesture on the part of a dedicated public servant, selflessly devoted to the city he leads. None other than our deputy mayor Doug Holyday – a noted skinflint himself when it comes to councillor expenses – assures us that there’s nothing to see here. He told the Globe that ‘…Toronto residents aren’t bothered by the fact that Mr. Ford appears to self-finance his political duties. “I’ve not had any complaints come my way about Ford’s expenses at all,” Deputy Mayor blithely said.

What kind of self-imposed bubble do these people live in? Because no one’s called them up personally to complain of irregular or missing expenses, everything is fine and dandy? Never mind that the Globe and Mail is expressing some concerns about the mayor’s spending practices. Or the city’s Compliance Audit Committee wants to do its job and make sure that then councillor Rob Ford played by the rules in financing his run for the mayor’s job. Or that Rob Ford has consistently been challenged over his office expense claims during much of his time at City Hall even by those who have now become his closest allies.

The hypocrisy at work here is nose bleed inducing. While fighting (admirably we will admit noting that the adverb and Mayor Ford seldom go together in our writings) for complete transparency over how members of city council spend the good citizens’ money, the mayor doesn’t seem to see any inconsistency in his not fully reporting how he spends his. If he forks over his own cash to run his office or uses the photocopier at Deco Label and Tags for official city business, that’s nobody’s business but his own. The important point is that he’s not wasting taxpayers’ money. End of story.

Except that it’s not. At least, it shouldn’t be.

There are rules in place so that the public can see exactly how their municipal representatives are spending the money they are given. Rules that the mayor helped spearhead (again, admirably) and ones he’s spent just as much time trying to skirt. It would be one thing if he seemed to be aware of the unhealthy double standard he’s operating under but the truly disturbing aspect is he doesn’t. Mayor Ford appears to honestly believe that he’s doing a good and noble thing using his own finances as a public servant.

I can no longer engage in a debate with those who think that wealthy individuals financing their own campaign or their time in office is no big thing. It seems so self-evidently wrong to me that it is hardly worth the discussion. Just turn and face south and the shocking state of democracy in the United States to see what can happen when you encourage the well-to-do to buy their way into public office. Unsurprisingly, you get government that is by the rich, for the rich. Unregulated campaign financing and spending tends to attract the more undesirable elements of society.

The view Mayor Ford (along with his councillor brother, Doug) espouses about open and transparent expenses and spending for others while getting all hot and bothered when questions arise over theirs strikes me as equally indefensible. At the very least, let’s stop pretending this is an administration that can boast about transparency. An unwillingness to fully disclose either who or how the piper is being paid amounts to a full on attack of the fundamental principles of our democratic process. Even notorious fence-sitting councillors like Josh Matlow should be able to admit that.As a matter of fact, Councillor Matlow, there can be no more important reason why you came to City Hall.

full disclosurely submitted by Cityslikr