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Toronto City Life » 2013 » May

Archive for May, 2013

Full circle Ford

Posted on May 30th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Seems like these days you hardly have time to turn around before another casualty of the Rob Ford administration comes out of the woodwork.

Just today another two staffers have been “escorted” out of City Hall. This time around it was Brian Johnston, Ford’s policy advisor, and Kia Nejatian, his executive assistant. That makes five people in total. So far.

Then comes the news that someone involved with the crack video (at least in terms of being in it), has been arrested in connection with the murder of Anthony Smith, the guy standing next to Ford in the same video (at least in the still that’s been floating around). In fact, they’re all hugging it up, making Ford’s presence smack dab in the middle of the group just that much more suspicious.

And the “non-existent” crack video, as Ford vehemently claims, seems all the more real every passing day as additional details surrounding his staff’s efforts to hunt it down have emerged. Seems Rob was personally involved in trying to get his hands on the video that doesn’t exist.

There’s also that pesky rumour that Robbie’s been busy behind the scenes destroying records — presumably of his misdeeds. Regardless, that’s just plain illegal.

If that wasn’t all bad enough, both friendly and not-so-friendly politicians are all taking a step back and saying they want nothing to do with the Fords.

And in the meantime, as a little gift to all of his taxpayers, he hasn’t even mentioned the one thing he vowed to be fighting: excessive spending at City Hall, specifically a computer project that has ballooned from around $8 million to $70 million on his watch.

This project sounds eerily familiar to the MFP computer scandal … that one resulted in the creation of the conflict of interest rules that Rob Ford was the first one to test and get away with on an egregious technicality — and then wanted the watchdogs responsible for preventing a repeat of that fiasco to be gotten rid of (among others asking too many questions for his liking).

Basically, the muddle of corruption, greed, and criminality has come full circle, and the Fords are sitting right in the middle of it in one way or another.

But don’t worry, maintains Robbie … everything’s fine!

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

It’s not all about frothing anger

Posted on May 29th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Sometimes, it’s just about the pretty pictures, like the ones that ones that were featured in the 2013 Toronto Workforce Innovation Report: http://workforceinnovation.ca/sites/default/files/TOP2013_WebVersion_0.pdf

Here are the originals:

http://www.torontocitylife.com/2010/04/20/going-parking/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/torontocitylife/3685347357/in/photostream/

The second photo was also used, oddly enough, in an Israeli textbook (or so they claimed!)

So you see, it’s not all about Rob Ford all the time. It’s just that he makes it so damn easy.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Porter visits Ford Nashun

Posted on May 28th, 2013 Be the first to comment

It takes some guts to insert anyone critical of the Fords smack dab in the middle of Ford Nation these days. After all, these are the same people who openly threatened to cut Sarah’s head off on Facebook (I wish I was kidding).

But Catherine Porter of the Star did it anyways, standing outside of Rob’s cherished Humbertown Mall with nought but a sign inviting people for a talk, and a smile, asking Ford supporters what they thought of their man these days.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Ford Nation if at least a few of them didn’t throw out insults like their corpulent hero, but thankfully a few people decided to talk to her and provide us with a glimpse into the brilliance that makes up their ranks.

The person that stood out, for me, was one Robert Tycholiz, a former drug addict turned musician, and a die-hard Ford backer.

“I have a lot of faith in the mayor. The things he’s done for the city are the ones he promised to do,” said Tycholiz, 54. “I believe him.”

The word “believe” here is really very appropriate, because it exposes a sort of blind faith. And it would have to be blind to claim that the mayor has “done” anything for the city outside of an extra $0.12 each day in your pocket (but only if you can afford to drive a car; go figure), and privatizing half of Toronto’s garbage collection (which doesn’t exactly qualify as the City Hall “gravy” that Rob used to scream about).

I guess this is enough to impress some people. Fine.

Then there’s this little gem:

“Anybody on coke, addicted to coke, could never carry weight like Rob Ford. He’s a big man. Those drugs slim you down like nobody’s businesses,” he said. “He’d have to be very, very stupid to have that happen, and I don’t see him as a stupid man.”

To claim that Ford’s tenure has shown much intelligence is a huge stretch. And about drugs like cocaine slimming you down like “nobody’s business”…

ChrisFarley

This is Chris Farley, in case you don’t recognize him; a jolly, good-natured, and infinitely more intelligent version of Rob Ford who died of a cocaine overdose, and who remained quite beefy right up until the end. Farley exhibited the same sweaty, ruddy-faced demeanor that Ford does, making accusations of Ford’s drug use all the more plausible.

But not to Ford Nashun, the people who are willing to believe a known public liar (remember how vehemently he denied his Florida DUI charge? Or the drunken hockey incident?) over overwhelming evidence and fact. Reality clearly doesn’t matter. They’ll buy whatever the fat man is shoveling, even if that happens to be so much fetid bullshit.

The questions I’m left with at the end of all of this: should these people be allowed to walk around without a chaperone and some sort of protective head gear? And for God’s sake, we’re letting them behind the wheel of a car?!

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Everything’s fine!

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

I could be wrong, but I believe this is the first time Rob Ford has publicly apologized:

I’m sure you understand this has been a very stressful week for myself and my family, but that doesn’t justify using the terminology I did to describe the media, so I sincerely apologize to each and every one of you. I understand you have a job to do. It’s been bothering me a lot: I know we agree and disagree on some issues, most of the time, some of the time, but you have to move on.

So, to be fair, we have to give him this little ray of sunshine. Plus, he knew that “maggots” comment would be a stinky turd the moment he opened his mouth.

But the rest of his statement, delivered this afternoon with the intent of addressing the recent “personnel” changes in his office (plus those additional, pesky, ongoing stories), don’t fill me with much additional confidence:

And that’s it, it’s business as usual.

Everything’s fine. I have no idea what the police are investigating. It would be best to talk to the police about that.

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Two more bite the dust

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

Last week it was Towhey who was cast adrift on the high seas, today it was Rob Ford’s press secretary, George Christopoulos, and communications aide, Isaac Ransom, who decided they don’t want to sail on the S.S. Ford any longer :

“Mayor Rob Ford’s press secretary has quit”, Toronto Sun City Hall Bureau Chief Don Peat tweeted Monday.

Ford communications aide Isaac Ransom also quit, according to Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale.

Seems the smart rats can all sense the impending wreck. Maybe it’s Ford’s latest “the media are a bunch of maggots” comment, or maybe the crack thing, or maybe it’s the connection to the murder of Anthony Smith, or maybe it’s the fact that brother Doug is now under the microscope for his own history with drugs, or maybe the uncountable middle fingers Rob has given to supporters and detractors alike. Any way you slice it, shit’s getting real, and it’s about damn time — just in time for the Crackstarter campaign to wrap up (only a few thousand to go as of this post).

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Ford fires chief of staff

Posted on May 23rd, 2013 Be the first to comment

Rob, in proper Ford fashion, continued to stay mum and ignore the swelling crack scandal, and has instead decided to fire his chief of staff of just 10 months, Mark Towhey.

The firing was likely pretty sudden and not terribly congenial as Towhey was escorted out of City Hall by security. Rumours are that it had something to do with football, but it’s hard to imagine what exactly that could be.

This is Rob’s second chief of staff in as many years, and is in line with the Fords’ disdain for pretty much everyone and everything that doesn’t lick their shoes.

It should be noted that the choice of the mayor’s chief of staff is well within Ford’s purview, so I’m not suggesting that he did anything wrong or illegal, but there’s obviously a tempest brewing behind the scenes, and we all know who’s providing the hot air for that storm.

Shit’s about to get real!

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Ford’s coaching is officially kaput

Posted on May 22nd, 2013 Be the first to comment

Seems like the Don Bosco community’s grievances have come home to roost:

“He can coach wherever he wants, but not at a TCDSB school,” [TCDSB spokesperson John] Yan said Wednesday.

In case you’re wondering, TCDSB is the Toronto Catholic District School Board, meaning Ford is now banned from coaching at any Catholic school in the city.

The review was prompted by an interview with Sun News in which Ford made comments that were called inaccurate by Don Bosco’s parent council, many teachers at the Etobicoke school, and even the offensive coordinator on Ford’s coaching staff. Among other contested statements, Ford said that Eagles players would not attend school if not for the football program, that many players “come from gangs” and from “broken homes,” and that Don Bosco is a “tough school” in a “tough area.”

I don’t think there’s a need for any follow-up commentary here — just another day in Ford Nation. I just can’t help but wonder how he’s going to use his newly freed time — attending City Hall and doing his job, maybe?

Filed under: Dispatches, Patrick Bay

Toronto casino is officially kaput

Posted on May 22nd, 2013 Be the first to comment

I don’t think the fact that the proposed Toronto casino was voted down is a surprise to anyone. Neither is the standard Rob Ford follow-up finger pointing and deflection:

“It seems no deal is good enough for this premier [Kathleen Wynne],” the mayor said. “The fact is she simply doesn’t want a casino, at least not in Toronto.”

Fact is, Fordo is the one who didn’t want a casino in Toronto unless it was entirely on his own invented terms. If you’ll recall, he didn’t even want to talk about a casino if Wynne wasn’t willing to concede to his demands, which almost everyone else agreed were unrealistic and overly optimistic.

There’s nothing to indicate Wynne wouldn’t have moved on a City Council motion to build a casino in the city, if that was what had been decided — it just wouldn’t have generated the $100 million that Ford pulled out of some bodily cavity.

The vote went ahead, and the casino was shot down as expected. No surprise.

I probably wouldn’t even be writing about it now, but I found it interesting to note how support for Ford and his ideas (assuming their his), has plummeted. I mean, support has hardly ever reached into the double digits (that’s with at least 22 votes needed to win a vote), but the fact that it’s dwindled down to 4 councillors backing Ford on this speaks volumes.

Ford chalks this up to undemocratic practices because it should only be him deciding on things and not “gangs” of councillors capable of building consensus and agreement among a majority. Presumably, that criticism also extends to his brother Doug — the vote included all 44 councillors and the 4 in support didn’t include him.

Then there’s the unfortunate fact that Rob himself publicly stated he wouldn’t be supporting the kind of deal he voted in favour of yesterday:

If the province won’t agree (to) that $100 million, then folks, the deal is dead. We are not going to carry on the casino debate.

Crack’s a hell of a drug.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay

Christopher Hume: bang on

Posted on May 21st, 2013 Be the first to comment

Although I tend to lace my political analyses with a lot more profanity and not so subtle calls to action, I’m heartened to see that the mainstream media seem to be waking up to what’s happening — at least here in Canada.

Christopher Hume’s piece in the Toronto Star today, for example, demonstrates a willingness to no longer tip-toe around the issues. Although I wish I could quote the entire article, the last few-ish paragraphs sum it all up perfectly:

It was painful to watch our prime minister and chief environmental scofflaw, Boss Harper, squirm in New York last week as he tried to talk his way out of his antediluvian attitudes to climate change.

It was just as excruciating to witness Sheriff Ford’s efforts to deal with reports of a video of him apparently smoking crack. The man has yet to mount any defence beyond, “ridiculous.”

Through it all we remain so polite, deferential and glad to be of use, that a good many Torontonians lined up to denounce the media that did them the favour of revealing the mayor for what he is, an overgrown man-child who does what he wants, the city be damned.

Harper, by contrast, knows what he’s doing. He knows his actions are reckless, but to him ethics are a nicety leaders can’t afford.

Neither Harper nor Ford respect government, its institutions or the positions they hold. Both believe themselves exempt. To them, Canadians are gullible or too preoccupied with getting by to hold them responsible.

As bad as things may be, Canadians are terrified they could be worse.

I applaud you, Mr. Hume, for taking a stand against the blithe illegality and corruption of our various levels of government. Now we just need more people to do the same.

Filed under: Dispatches, Pictures

Between the lines of the death of the Toronto casino

Posted on May 19th, 2013 Be the first to comment

Was the proposed casino supposed to bring revenue to the city of Toronto, or “10,000 jobs“, as Rob Ford repeatedly pronounced?

I suppose if the numbers were as high as Ford asserted ($100 million, minimum), a casino could’ve potentially brought both. But those idealized revenues turned out to be about half (or a quarter, or an eighth, depending on what day it was and how he was feeling), of Rob’s projections.

So faced with the reality of only about $54 million under the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission’s formula for divvying up casino spoils, Ford declared the project dead:

If the province won’t agree (to) that $100 million, then folks, the deal is dead. We are not going to carry on the casino debate.

Well, that’s it. Ford’s one and only source of potential income for Toronto projects has dried up (aside from the mysterious public-private partnerships that never materialized). So if the city can’t get a bigger chunk of cash out of the deal then it’s pointless.

Oh, and about those jobs — if the city can’t get a bigger chunk of cash out of the deal then they’re pointless too. Sorry, single moms, I guess it’s a future of frying up chicken for the foreseeable future.

Okay, snarkiness aside, I hope you see what I’m driving at here. Rob has no problem pulling the “jobs, jobs, jobs!” card out of his ass when it’s expedient for him, but when something like the casino fails we quickly see that it was never about jobs, his constituents, or the citizens of Toronto — it’s about gobbling up money for use by the government. Okay, yes, we do need transit funding, but we also need jobs, so to sacrifice one at the expense of another belies the true intentions behind the casino push.

Not that I believed the job numbers either, but that’s kind of beside the point.

At least there was a smidgen of honesty in some of Ford’s remarks:

Contrary to what many people have said, I’m not married to a casino, I never campaigned on a casino.

That’s true, unless you consider marriage to be an exclusive commitment. Then again, he never campaigned on subways either, but that never stopped him from claiming the opposite at every opportunity.

Filed under: B Sides, Patrick Bay, Videos