Whenever I see articles that come from the Toronto Star which relate to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, I cannot resist the temptation to read through them – not to see what the Star has to say, but more to see how the Star spins it to show the Mayor in a negative light. Clearly still upset that Ford will not speak with them because of their pro-George Smitherman, anti-Rob Ford stance in which they tried to promote Smitherman for teh top post in the city even though the Pronvicial Ministry he oversaw wasted a BILLION dollars of taxpayer’s money. Since that time, The Star just keeps finding ways to alienate readers through their opinions on Toronto City Council and the Mayor.
But, the article that came out on February 14th was a classic, even for the Star!
In this article (and I noticed there was nowhere to leave comments), author Royson James takes three pot shots. One at Mayor Ford, one at voters in the City of Toronto and one at those of us who are fiscally conservative. I could not believe my eyes. I actually reread the article 3 times.
The Title of this article is; “Ford’s ‘mandate’ not what it appears – Most voters neither expect nor want Rob Ford’s campaign pledges to be fully fulfilled.”
How could I not read on…
Shot number one comes in the first paragraph, here; “Torontonians left no doubt that they wanted Rob Ford as their mayor when 383,501 of them — 47 per cent of those who voted — chose him to lead the city in 2010.” 47%, eh? So 53% didn’t want Ford is what I am reading here and why that is important to point out, I don’t know other than to make the point that there was not a clear mandate from the citizens in Toronto to have Ford there, or to point out to voters that if 53% vote for a certain candidate in the next election, Ford will not be re-elected. Either way, not so important in this article but worth noting.
Shot number two comes in this sentence; “Except for a few simpletons and wilfully blind acolytes who consider grants to cultural and community groups a waste of tax dollars, few drank the Kool-Aid. Most citizens liked the rhetoric. Few expected he could carry out his threats. City council wouldn’t allow it.”
I’m sure Royson didn’t mean to imply that by “drinking the Kool-Aid” that people were just following a leader blindly to death as referenced in the Urban Dictionary; A reference to the 1978 cult mass-suicide in Jonestown, Guyana. Jim Jones, the leader of the group, convinced his followers to move to Jonestown and then late in the year ordered his flock to commit suicide by drinking grape-flavoured Kool-Aid laced with potassium cyanide. In what is now commonly called “the Jonestown Massacre”, 913 of the 1100 Jonestown residents drank the Kool-Aid and died. One lasting legacy of the Jonestown tragedy is the saying, “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.” This has come to mean, “Don’t trust any group you find to be a little on the kooky side.” or “Whatever they tell you, don’t believe it too strongly”.
Even more interesting is the use of the term “Simpleton”, because only a “simpleton” would consider grants to cultural and community groups a waste of tax dollars – well, I guess we need to re-define simpleton for Mr. James, because this simpleton (armed with a MBA) - and probably many of the 47% who voted for a stop to the “Gravy-train” have plenty of issues dismissing that any funding – even to community groups and cultural organizations – is not being duplicated through another part of government or to assume that 100% of any funding – no matter to whom and for what - is used for what it was requested for, or that these organization need to be funded by the taxpayers of Toronto at all.
To wave a hand and insult any fiscally conservative person in the Greater Toronto Area is not only insulting but a little short-sighted unless Mr. James knows for a fact where each dollar of grant money goes and that each and every cent is being used according to plan. Or maybe Mr. James prefers that those in the city who earn the most money simply keep their wallets open for the local government to use as their bank account whenever they need money or want to sue someone to prove a point. This narrow-minded left-wing attitude in the City has to be stopped. If the City spent more time performing checks and balances on where the money goes when it leaves City Hall and less time looking to see how it comes in (ahem: $3500 donation to a football team), our taxes would not be so high, our streets and infrastructure would not be crumbling and City Council might work better.
I mean when you write this; “For one, the mayor’s promises of cuts to government spending rested on the shaky ground of no service cuts. Ford has cut some services, so the foundation of the promise and mandate is fractured” and don’t or cannot name the service cuts (if there were any at all), then you are eluding to something which may not be there, maybe so the “simpletons” who read your articles will think Ford is a fraud.
So no matter how much the Toronto Star tries to justify the agenda of the left, or promote their own agenda at City Hall, they have to realize that by making comments like this, “If citizens expect the mayor to do the best he can to achieve his campaign promises — not necessarily achieve them 100 per cent — then the same citizens expect city councillors to save the mayor from doing outrageous things. Apparently, at city hall, the mayor’s mandate is not sacrosanct; it’s as flexible as the mayor’s ability to convince and win over city council with sound arguments and compromise.” When in actual fact, citizens want the councillors to not “save” Ford, but “Support” Ford. The Mayor will not be able to work with Council not because he’s a brute, or a bully, but because the majority of Councillors on Council have fundamental differences in opinion as to how they personally feel about the role of government and are unable (or unwilling) to cast that aside and work on a truly non-partisan council.
Did you know, Mr. James that before the election, I reached out to my City Councillor, Joe Mihevc and asked him on the phone and then again in an email if he would support Rob Ford as Mayor of Toronto, if Ford was elected, because if he said yes, he would get my vote as councillor. If Mr. Mihevc said no, then my vote would be directed elsewhere. Mr. Mihevc was adamant that he would support Ford as Mayor and work with whomever was chosen to represent us, his constituents, blah, blah, blah. Then the moment Ford was elected, there is Mr. Mihevc blathering about what a poor choice it was and how he would need to keep Ford in check and now 2-years later, each newsletter.
Here was Mihevc even before the election; “it is absolutely imperative that I/we do everything possible to stop Rob Ford from becoming mayor. This is a powerful driver for me. Rob Ford and his associates would destroy so much that we value about our city – its diversity, animated neighbourhoods, care for the newcomers and the poor, our quality of life. Very simply, and without getting too personal, I have watched him for the last 10 years as a colleague on Council, and Rob does not have the skill set required to lead a complex city hall and its agencies. Simple one-liners, an angry persona, a divisive disposition is not leadership and will only hurt Toronto. Under Rob Ford, City Council will not function, our city agencies will be in disarray, economic development will be hurt and our city will suffer in many ways.”
Short of predicting that a Ford win would topple the CN Tower, maybe Mihevc was worried that a right-wing council would question how a $42-million dollar St.Clair traffic right-of-way turns into $142 million dollar driving disaster. Say what you will about St. Clair – pro or con – but to drive it is a fiasco and with parking already at a premium they’ve done a great job to ensure that those outside the strip find other streets to shop along because of the headaches involved in waiting in long-lines or making left-turns. Expecting residents to use public transit because you think they should is not the mandate of Council, and if they really cared about moving people quickly in cars, on foot, through transit and on bikes, they would build subways already, open up the road and add dedicated bike lanes and enforce rules for cyclists.
I’ve called him on it and will continue to call him on it because my ward does not deserve to be represented by someone who will tell you one thing to get elected, then another once in power. All along, Ford said what he was going to do, and every day in office, the left find ways to hold up council, make Ford look bad and slow down the proceedings at City Hall. Hello… Bag tax?!?
So before the Star calls out the citizens of Toronto for their support of Ford keep in mind that the 47% who voted for Ford want AND expect him to cut waste in government, and reduce the red tape, and where red tape should not exist, make that go away too. If City Council does not want to get in line and follow – if they want to go more than 3-times over budget and try to explain it away on additional hidden repairs – then that tells me that they either have no idea how to plan through a project from start to finish or that they just don’t give a damn about taxpayers money and they will continue to spend, then raise taxes and blame it away on Ford’s inability to run council, or on his weight, either one.
I’m sorry, Mr. James, but I cannot and will not support a councillor, or council, who disrespects and takes for granted my tax dollars, any longer. I trust you understand this simpleton and understand that for all the negatives that come with Mayor Ford, the positives far outweigh them (pun intended).
P.S. I have actually used big words like ”Sacrosanct” before (Regarded as too important or valuable to be interfered with. Holy.)
I’m such a simpleton.