Ooops!…We Did It Again

December 2, 2010

How quickly we forget.

Just a little over a month ago we misunderestimated him as a candidate and now, a day+ officially into office, we’re misunderestimating him as our mayor. How long’s it going to take us to learn, people?

Mayor Ford (**Simpson’s Shudder**) is not an idiot. Or he is but has surrounded himself with at least one person (but very likely more) who is not an idiot. He (they) got (him) elected mayor of this city with nothing more than tribal chants. We laughed, mocked, huffed and puffed until we were blue in the face. Nothing we did, however, could stop him from winning.

Now, just a day into actually being mayor, he’s got us doing it all over again with his imperial pronouncement (with a dollop of faux-populism) that “Transit City is over, ladies and gentlemen.” We laughed. We mocked. We huffed. We puffed. We demanded to understand matters of procedure. Can a mayor actually nix something like that single-handedly? Who died and made him complete and total boss?

More to the point, is our new mayor really that big of a feckin ejit?!

And we were off, misunderestimating him again.

Over the course of the day, it slowly dribbled out that the real crux of Mayor Ford’s… sorry, just threw up in my mouth a little… early a.m. meeting with the TTC’s GM, Gary Webster, was to get some sort of report on what it would cost to cancel Transit City’s existing contracts, work, etc., and replace some of it with subways. Get back to me about 6 weeks will ya, Gare?

Just enough time to really get all us downtown elites in a lather, foaming at the mouth, yelling at the top of our lungs about the idiocy of the man and his supporters, how the Clampetts have arrived and ruined everything, oh my god, the PTA has DISBANDED!!

Also time to deliver up a little council strategy intel for Team Ford. Which councillors immediately stood firm against them (and who would be subsequently ignored regarding everything) and those that kept their heads low and traps shut (who could be badgered and bullied into falling into line.) Not in terms of deep-sixing Transit City, you understand, because that’s not going to go to council for a vote because it’s not going to happen.

What’s that you say? The mayor (if I don’t attach the proper name to it, I feel less queasy) couldn’t shut up about killing Transit City. Of course, he’s going to do it. He’s a man of his word. Guaranteed. Remember?

Nope. TTC report’s going to come back and tell the mayor (yeah, still holding) what everyone else in the city except for the willfully ignorant streetcar haters already know. The costs will be through the roof exorbitant to halt Transit City and build subways instead. It makes no economic sense. None.

And the mayor was swept to power not on a promise to kill Transit City and build subways. Yes, he said he hated streetcars and everybody he talked to wanted subways during the campaign but that was nothing more than a seat of the pants, fill in the gaping hole that kept opening whenever anyone asked about his transit plan. It was conveniently divisive and provided red meat to his supporters. It just wasn’t a real priority. Stopping the Gravy Train was.

Even the malevolently brilliant minds directing traffic at the mayor’s office will not be able to spin the millions and millions of dollars it will cost the city to change courses on Transit City into popularity gold. Instead, they will look at the numbers, throw up their hands and say that it just isn’t feasible. The Silly Socialists®™©* of the former regime handcuffed them with this white elephant. There’s nothing they can do about it now without incurring heavy costs on you, the taxpayers. So… Blame Miller for all the new streetcars. And let’s keep Stopping the Gravy Train!

The downtown elites will then be fully blamed for foisting a major transit expansion onto the inner suburbs against their will, providing them with their first ever workable form of public transit. The dividing line between Ford Country and the core will be further entrenched and the ground salted for good measure. Yet another veritable virtuoso strategic sleight of hand by Team Ford, reminding us once again that we misunderestimate them at our (and the city’s) peril.

Otherwise, if I’m wrong, it means that our new mayor and the brains behind him actually believe that they can bend reality to their will. That with Ford’s election, the Mayor of Toronto has elevated itself to an all-powerful, superhuman entity capable of bringing city council and senior levels of government to heel with a mere declaration of intent. It would mean our new mayor is, well, insane, and just two days into his reign, I am unprepared to go there that soon.

So, for the time being, I will stick to my guns and think of the Ford Administration as evil genii not bat-shit crazy. It will allow me to sleep better for a little longer.

* while the etymology of this phrase is unknown to us, we ascribe its origins to the Toronto Sun’s Sue-Ann Levy, now official Mayor Ford stenographer/courtier/jester

— deconstructingly submitted by Cityslikr