"Where else would you go when you have an ax to grind?"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the obligatory Rob Ford post

The Mound of Sound had the best headline on the topic I've seen and my fellow inkstained wretch and once and future podcast guest Boris had the most poetic post about it that I've seen so far, but since I live in the neighbourhood now, I suppose I must address the election of Rob Ford.

Seriously Toronto? Rob Ford?

I get that you're all angry. Angry that the city government hasn't been run very well in recent memory and that taxes are kinda high.  And you keep being told you are angry by the Toronto Sun and National Post and the U.S. cable news channels with all that coverage of the Tea Party down south about how voters are angry at politicians and angry about taxes and angry about political correctness and angry at all those snooty elites and angry at those damn kids who won't get off your lawn and angry about all the anger. You are sick and tired of being sick and tired you're as mad as hell and you're not gonna take it any more. Just like you are every four years, when almost half of you bother to pay enough attention to actually vote. Sorry if that sounds a little snarky, but if - as we keep being told - everyone is so pissed off and disgusted at the terrible things their local council is doing, then why is the voter turnout so poor for municipal elections?

So Rob Ford feels he has a mandate, and so does every headline writer in the country. He got about 47% of the votes cast, which means more people voted for other people than for him. Ditto in Hamilton, where I keep hearing about Bob Bratina's decisive win in which he got 37 % of the vote compared to his nearest rivals who got 28% and 27%.
 "But wait Rev.Paperboy," you say. "The voter turnout was near record levels in Toronto! And more people voted in the election in Hamilton this time than voted in the last very serious Hamilton municipal election! This a victory for democracy! The people have spoken! Hurrah!" you say.

"Bah, humbug" says I. The "near record" voter turnout in Toronto was a little over 52% of registered voters. In Hamilton, it was up from 36% to about 39%. So Ford's "mandate" consists of about a quarter of the registered voters in Toronto, and Bratina has the support of fewer than than that. Even if you cut them all the slack the numbers allow and round every number in their favor, fewer than three in ten registered votes back these two new mayors with enough passion to actually go cast a ballot. I'll save my rant for how many people living in big cities aren't even registered to vote and who those people might be for another time, but suffice to say I don't really buy this "mandate" stuff.

But I digress.

Rob Ford won the election for mayor of Toronto.

I guess this is the two steps back, but I don't remember the steps forward that preceded it.

I know George Smitherman isn't everyone's cup of chai, but at least he walks upright and can do simple math. Rob Ford is going to make Mel Lastman look like a humble, digified genius. He claims he can slash the budget and reduce taxes without cutting services or firing anyone.  I remember another guy who claimed he could do that and it didn't turn out so well. And he's going to put the budget in order and curb spending while at the same time building a $3 billion subway system. It just isn't going to happen.

Ford is well known in for taking good care of his constituents and spending a lot of time listening to their concerns, and that is all well and good, but there is a little more to running Canada's largest city than that.

Putting aside for the moment his anti-immigrant comments and the accusations of wife-beating, the conviction for drunk driving and the bizarre drug story, his general record of behavior as a classless yahoo, my real complaint about Ford is that he one of two things: A bald-faced cynical liar or an absolute fool who wears his ignorance like a badge of honor.
He cannot do the things he has promised to do and still get the results he has promised any more than you can subtract two from five and get six . If he has any brains at all, he knows this and has been lying to manipulate Toronto voters. If he doesn't know it after three terms on Toronto council, then he's a fool.



Dana said...

Don't really see why he can't be both Rev.

David Webb said...

Ford wins in Toronto, Fontana wins in London...I gotta go on vacation more often. Things are much funnier when you go off the grid for a week.