Archive for March, 2013

Ford still using city resources for football foundation

Posted on March 29th, 2013 2 Comments

Hurray! Now that Rob Ford has been shown that laws and rules don’t apply to him, he’s once again free to use city resources for his own personal pet projects like the Rob Ford Football Foundation.

Yesterday it was revealed that Chris Fickel, a Ford office staffer, had sent out a solicitation email to Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School (note how those rich, elite public schools are not part of Ford’s ongoing efforts). Fickel is a regular part of Ford’s program, regularly appearing in photos with the teams, driving a city hall car to practices and games, etc.

In Fickel’s defense (not that he needs one), the email was sent from a GMail account. While it was time-stamped 4:37 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, the fact that Rob Ford is regularly and mostly absent from his duties indicates that this may not actually have been done “on city time” (which, according to Ford, is any time he says).

And who gives a rat’s ass anyways — Rob Ford says it’s okay so just shut the fuck up and accept it.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Star complaint against Ford tossed by Integrity Commissioner

Posted on March 28th, 2013 1 Comment

It’s been almost a year since I reached out to the Star to see what was happening with their complaint against the mayor. You may not remember it — it had to do with how Ford was excluding media from City Hall (and especially the Star).

Well, the much-maligned Integrity Commissioner recently released her report on the incident and decided that there was nothing to follow up on. In other words, case closed.

Unsurprisingly, no one from the Ford camp is so much as mentioning the decision. I suppose it must be a foregone conclusion now that Rob Ford gets away with breaking every rule and law out there, why should this be any different? And, of course, further discussions about the balance in the office of the Integrity Commissioner are completely absent. In other words, if she’s questioning the mayor and doing her job, then of course she’s irrelevant, biased, and just the scum of the earth. If she’s siding with him, it can be ignored so that she can continue to be demonized.

But let’s put this to the side for moment and see what the report actually said. First, some history.

In February 2011, members of the City Hall press gallery put together a brief note stating what they expected of the mayor as a public servant:

The Gallery expects that all of its members will be treated equally and fairly. As such, all media releases, circulars, agendas, notice of scrums and other events, and other official communications from the City of Toronto, including the mayor’s office, must be communicated equally to all members of the Gallery, without favour or prejudice.

Ford ignored this and didn’t respond (surprise!)

In December of that year, a formal complaint was filed and, indeed, Rob Ford was once again found to have been doing exactly what he’d been accused of doing:

The complainant provided examples of bulk distribution of news releases and statements made by the Mayor to the media that were not given to journalists writing for the Toronto Star. The Mayor acknowledges that these were not delivered to writers for the Toronto Star. A search conducted of press releases from the Office of the Mayor during the relevant time period identified the recipients.


The former Press Secretary for the Mayor confirmed that after taking office the Mayor’s flatly stated position was, “I do not talk to the Star.”


One journalist for the Toronto Star described the situation as an “underground economy” in information. Material was often provided on an “off the record” basis. Another journalist from the Toronto Star described the relationship-building with the Mayor’s Press Secretary as a “long hard slog” which improved over time.

And just to clarify:

The subject of the Mayor’s relationship to the media was discussed with many of those interviewed in this investigation. Staff members from the Toronto Star spoke about the difficulty of doing their work without up to date information about the Mayor and his activities. This complaint was not limited to the Toronto Star. Other journalists described the flow of information out of the Mayor’s office in these terms:

  • “few and far between”
  • “we aren’t kept up to date regarding what he is doing”
  • “occasional” statements
  • “less than once per week and sometimes once per month”
  • “It is not as if we have a direct line to the Mayor”
  • The Press Secretary is “inconsistent” in responding to journalists

On the continuum of “sparse or sparser” access, members of the Press Gallery said that the Toronto Star has less access than others. The media members interviewed, and those who commented publicly on the issue have said a number of times that a Mayor should be even-handed with the press and treat all outlets “fairly.” Others felt strongly that there is a democratic obligation on the part of elected officials to be open with the press and to be fair in access to information about their activities.

In the end and despite this overwhelming evidence, the Integrity Commissioner ruled in favour of Ford:

I conclude that on the particular facts in this case, there was no breach of the Code of Conduct by Mayor Ford. The reasons for this finding can be summarized as follows:

  • There is an accepted practice of elected officials, including the Mayor, determining how and when they will grant access to the media, by way of interviews, answering questions during scrums or providing information about their views, outside of the formal and publicly accessible mechanisms that exist for ensuring transparent municipal democracy;
  • The Mayor did not interfere with the access of Toronto Star reporters to significant avenues of information about the workings and agendas of City Council, the public service, or other councillors;
  • The City of Toronto has an open access policy for disseminating information to the media and to the public;
  • The Mayor’s personal policy of “not talking to the Star” was incomplete, with his knowledge and approval, as shown by the following:
    • distribution of some bulk e mails to;
    • distribution of most bulk e mails to other members of the Star Media Group, all falling under the direct supervision of the Publisher of the Toronto Star;
    • distribution of all bulk e mails to the affiliated sister company of Metroland;
    • the unofficial and multiple “work arounds” by staff and Toronto Star journalists, known, tolerated and cited by the Mayor in his defence.
    • The originating story which led to the Mayor’s reason for not speaking to the Toronto Star was written during a political campaign and was newsworthy because of his status as a public and political figure;
    • The ability of the press to publish, comment and otherwise hold politicians to account for their media communications practices.

So once again, Rob Ford smugly walks away from the fray because there’s really nothing in place to hold him to account.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

The Star responds to Ford

Posted on March 27th, 2013 1 Comment


This is, of course, in response to Ford’s latest bluster about how people need to sue him when he calls them liars (I’m sure it makes sense to him).

Filed under: Contributed, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Don Bosco questions Rob Ford’s presence

Posted on March 27th, 2013 2 Comments

Don Bosco, Rob’s old alma mater and the shining jewel in his infamous football foundation, is set to produce an official “will of the people”, of sorts, as both school staff and the community recently tossed around their feelings on the mayor’s involvement in the institution’s sports program (he coaches football there).

This follows a very public airing of grievances against Ford’s characterization of the community (and especially its black kids), as being poor, disadvantaged, and basically one step away from becoming drug dealers, pimps, and whores. Ford said similar things about other schools in his foundation, places like Forest Hill where the average income hovers at around $100K. Yeah, I know, it’s not rich by today’s standards, but it ain’t exactly no skid row neither.

And that reason is why the Don Bosco folks are talking about potentially putting the mayor out to pasture. The article didn’t impart the impression that the community is roiling with rage, but there’s definitely disquiet and unhappiness at being made out to seem like a ghetto (which it most certainly is not).

In case you can’t read between the very wide lines of this story: Rob Ford’s own school is claiming that the mayor misrepresented them, and are mulling kicking him out because of community disquiet. And these are his people, his old school, his old community.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Blair rips into Toronto cops

Posted on March 27th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Toronto’s top cop, Chief Bill Blair, sent out an internal video to his staff a couple of days ago to express his displeasure at some of his members’ conduct — things like beating handcuffed and defenseless suspects, turning off dashboard cams to hide their behaviour, lying to courts, etc. And part of his statement seemed to hit the nail on the head:

“…you don’t get to be an idiot in our uniform, you don’t get to be an idiot diminishing our organization and you cannot hide behind the badge to abuse the authority so carefully earned and so carefully used by all of us.”

Nice words, but as critics are quickly pointing out, if words are all there are, nothing’s going to change. After all, if there are cops out there who are not only not doing their job but willing to publicly break the law (while simultaneously collecting a hefty salary), I don’t think the situation is one that requires a stern tongue lashing.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Ford to liars: “take me to court”

Posted on March 27th, 2013 2 Comments

In response to the (somewhat) explosive allegations yesterday that Rob Ford is almost perpetually publicly plastered, the mayor responded by inviting his accusers to take him to court:

“It’s just lies after lies and lies, and I’ve called you guys pathological liars, and you are, so why don’t you take me to court? Let the courts decide. You guys are liars!”

I’m pretty sure Rob doesn’t read TCL, but I know his handlers do so this little tidbit of advice might find its way into his ear: when someone’s slandering or libeling you, it’s you who take them to court, not the other way around.

Also, it’s worthwhile to keep in mind that although the Star revealed the information, of you’re going to be suing anyone it should be the well-named and very public people who are sourced in the newspaper’s claims.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Time for a test

Posted on March 26th, 2013 Be the first to comment

The Star’s Robyn Doolittle seems to be gunning close to the core Rob Ford issue of the moment: his alcohol / drug abuse. Not terribly surprising given both the rumours and some earlier contacts (this date last year, in fact):


The story, apparently, is that Rob made another slovenly mess of himself at a war veteran’s charity ball, and had to be shown out.

Three members of the Garrison Ball organizing committee said Ford was asked to leave because he appeared impaired. One said, “he seemed either drunk, high or had a medical condition.”

Doolittle goes on to name a variety of sadly but understandably anonymous (all fearing the mayor’s wrath),  sources who detail the alcoholism that Rob Ford is “battling with” (seems like a warm embrace to me, but that’s just my take). Some of the guest descriptions of Ford from the military ball, however, should remind us that there’s probably more than alcohol involved:

“incoherent,” “stumbling,” “rambling,” “intoxicated,” “slurring,” “seemed to be drunk,” “was nervous, excited, sweaty, out of it.”

I’ve had my fair share of alcohol, and I can’t say that I’ve ever been nervous or excited. Quite the opposite, in fact.

I know that Fordites are going to cling to their main mass no matter what, but to the rest of us, doesn’t it seem like maybe it’s time for a random drug test? And before anyone raises a fuss about inequality, I’d definitely be in favour of all the Councillors taking one.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Pictures

Jerry Agar on telecommuting

Posted on March 25th, 2013 6 Comments

Ah, Agar … what a boob.

Yes, that’s Newstalk 1010’s Jerry Agar who recently made a video pushing his brilliant idea to solve Toronto’s commuting problems: telecommuting.

In his video, Jerry tries to make out like he’s the one that came up with the genius concept, or at least was one of its prime champions (which, as a formerly avid Agar listener, I can unequivocally say is a complete lie), and isn’t it amazing how people are finally catching onto it? And he uses a Star article to “prove” his point, no less!

See for yourself:

What I find fascinating is watching Agar weasel between the tight squeezes of his (surprisingly) logical position in support of telecommuting, his even more blusterous support of “free market” and “business knows best”, and then on to, “yeah, but big business like Yahoo don’t want people telecommuting.”

I don’t call people “mentally ill” lightly nor pejoratively (unlike Ford and his neo-Con buddies, I actually believe it exists), but people like Agar exemplify why I’m so quick to jump to the term when talking about their “logic”. I mean, if someone randomly said to you (in the same breath no less), “I love big business! Big business sucks!” , would you not be tempted to say that something is genuinely wrong with their minds?

Sorry, Jerry, just calls ’em like I sees ’em, and you are one messed up individual. Please get help.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay, Videos

Ford solidifies his position as Toronto’s chief ignoramus

Posted on March 25th, 2013 1 Comment

Yesterday afternoon Rob Ford called in to Newstalk 1010’s  Closing Arguments show to once again put his ignorance on display for the world at large.

The topic of discussion was Richard Kachkar, the guy who ran over a cop in a snowplow and is now pleading insanity. Ford called in and boldly stated that lawyers shouldn’t be defending Kachkar. At least that’s what I was able to get from a Newstalk blog post that’s since been yanked.

Looks like Newstalk is in the process of covering up Rob’s words (the story yankage, all other shows except this one episode being available, etc.), so I’m not sure we’ll ever have a reliable transcript, but one of the show’s guests, defence lawyer Leora Shemesh, summed up Ford’s comments:

“I just think that it’s perplexing to have the mayor of the city calling in about this issue, particularly because it’s in front of a jury and he knew that, but more so because he seemed to be uneducated about not criminally responsible and what that means.”

Additionally, Toronto lawyer Sean Robichaud weighed in:

“It is truly astonishing that the Mayor of Toronto espouses such a gross misunderstanding of the law and mental illness. There is also something unsettling and disrespectful to the justice system when a politician of his position provides his opinion on a verdict that he seems to know little about, the night before the jury is set to deliberate.”

Is it really astonishing to discover such qualities about Rob Ford at this point? Only if you’ve been living under a rock.

And is it really surprising to hear neo-Cons spouting off such unhelpful, angry, and ultimately harmful ignorance? Ditto on this one.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Evening drama

Posted on March 24th, 2013 2 Comments

Evening drama

Filed under: Patrick Bay, Pictures