The Gift That Just Keeps Giving

April 4, 2010

As best we can, we promise not to make this a weekly (daily?) habit. Highlighting the latest Rob Ford eye-popping head-scratcher is too easy. Like shooting fish in a barrel. A barrel with no water. And with one of those huge ass, on-the-shoulder anti-tank guns.

So easy as to almost make you feel embarrassed for doing it. A bully picking on the fattest, dumbest, most disagreeable kid in the school yard. You don’t want to but you just can’t help yourself.

Besides, the man is running for mayor.

We’ve already publicly shaken our collective heads at some of candidate Ford’s ideas that emerged during the first unofficial official mayoral debate last Monday. Somehow this little gem whizzed in under our radar until a couple days ago. It seems that a Mayor Ford (the bowels loosened a little just writing that) would seek to bring back Julian Fantino as Toronto’s police chief.

Wha’!?-Huh?!?-You Got To Be Joking!-Are You Nuts?!-What The Fuck Is On Your Mind!?!-Wh-wh-whaaAAAATT?????

It is a testament to just how out of step Ford is with what’s been going on in this city that he could even contemplate restoring such a divisive figure as Fantino to the office of police chief. Has the councillor not noticed how quiet and peaceful relations have been between the public and the police since Fantino left in 2005? Aside from the annual questions about its ever-growing budget demands, calm has descended under Bill Blair’s watch. Meanwhile controversy and cantankerousness have followed Fantino to his position as OPP commissioner just as they did here in Toronto and during his tenure as police chief in London throughout the 90s.

Why would Ford even contemplate stirring up the hornet’s nest again with Fantino? What does it say about him as a politician and possible mayor? (Yikes! The bowels went jittery again.)

Like Fantino, he displays little aptitude for working well with others. He has no time for those who don’t share his point of view. What he thinks of as down-to-earth bluntness and straightforward directness is, in fact, bull-headed, willful stubbornness and single-minded ignorance. Qualities you might find admirable in a guard dog but wholly ill-fitting in a mayor of a metropolitan city.

Why, oh why, is anyone other than the truly boneheaded taking this man’s candidacy as mayor of Toronto at all seriously?

non-rhetorically submitted by Cityslikr


Meet A Mayoral Candidate — Part VII

April 2, 2010

Good Friday. A good Friday for another installment of Meet A Mayoral Candidate!

In the spotlight this week… Wendell Brereton For Mayor!

With the 1st unofficial mayoral debate officially behind us and nothing much gleaned from it aside from the fact that none of the candidates who have been mysteriously tapped as “serious” contenders have given us any reason to vote for them (and plenty why we shouldn’t), it is timely that we present to you the Wendell Brereton candidacy. One of the 19 registered candidates uninvited to Monday’s Summit of Giants®™©, even a cursory glance at Mr. Brereton’s website reveals the omission to be a glaring gaffe on the part of debate organizer, Councillor Mike Del Grande. Candidate Brereton possesses a platform packed with details in such depth that puts the front running campaigns to shame.

A 12 year veteran of the OPP, Mr. Brereton calls himself an entrepreneur and activist. Many of his approaches reflect that dual sensibility, with a heavy emphasis on promoting public-private enterprises in areas ranging from transit to waste and energy management while showing a Keynesian predilection for government spending during a recession on things like child care. He is for road tolls albeit much more modest than the $5 proposed by Sarah Thomson. Brereton would also introduce fees for bike permits as part of a very interesting approach to dealing with cyclists and traffic that is worth further exploration. His thoughts on the matter underline just how empty the bike lane debate that’s been going on between the “serious” candidates has been. Nothing but pure puffery.

This is true of almost every aspect of Wendell Brereton’s candidacy. After reading through his platform and watching his announcement video, we asked for some further details of his campaign and were almost immediately presented with 7 pages! Unlike his higher profile rivals, Mr. Brereton is not merely sloganeering. He appears to be slowly putting together a… what you call that?…  A vision thing. A vision for the city. A vision for how a Mayor Brereton would lead.

What stops us up of a full fledged embrace of Wendell Brereton for Mayor is his overt and enthusiastic public embrace of his religious beliefs. A Pastor at the Glorious Church-Faith Temple, there is no doubting the importance religion plays in Mr. Brereton’s life. To a bunch of godless heathens like we here at All Fired Up in the Big Smoke, this makes us supremely uncomfortable especially when it manifests itself in an anti-gay pride position as it does in Mr. Brereton’s platform. He will have to explain himself much better than he did to us about the matter if he wants to speak to a wider audience.

On every other issue, however, Wendell Brereton deserves a fair hearing. Although excluded from Monday’s debate, he was in attendance and passed along a number of interesting points about what the candidates didn’t talk about. Waste and energy alternatives. Day care. Infrastructure. Serious plans about transit in the face of the provincial governments $4 billion renege delay. All important matters Mr. Brereton has views on and ideas for implementing.

How we ensure that he secures a place on stage at the next all candidates debate is in and of itself a matter for debate. Better civic minds than ours are at work devising a formula to allow serious candidates like Wendell Brereton in the door. Although at this still early stage in the campaign, there is little reason to exclude anyone from the fray and arbitrarily handicap the race. The time for winnowing comes later after we’ve had an opportunity to look at and assess all the candidates. Yes, that paves the way for the true fringe candidates, the cranks and crackpots (as if a few of those haven’t already slipped past the gatekeepers) to let loose. But we do live in a democracy last I heard. Everyone’s voice must be heard. It will be worth the effort for the exposure it would bring to viable and significant candidates like Wendell Brereton.

When asked our requisite question, If the present mayor would like his legacy to be that of the Transit Mayor, how would a Mayor Brereton like to see his legacy written?, he responded: Mayor Brereton, the Innovator.  That hardly does him justice in our opinion. A little too prosaic. So let us supply our own answer to the question: Mayor Brereton, bringing 22nd-century thinking to 21st-century problems.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr