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What Does a Mayor Do?

Let’s start with the actual job description as laid out in the Municipal Act, shall we? Are we getting bang for our buck here? Is Mayor Rob Ford satisfying the criteria of the job description?

JOB DESCRIPTION

as laid out in the Municipalities Act

MAYOR

QUALIFICATIONS:

The Municipal Act and the Municipal Elections act define a person is qualified to be

elected or to hold the office of Mayor who is:

– the owner or tenant of land in the municipality;

– the spouse of an owner or tenant of land in the municipality;

– a Canadian citizen;

– 18 years of age;

– not disqualified under any legislation.

These qualifications must be maintained during the whole of the term of office.

Previous public or volunteer work would be an asset.

HOURS OF WORK:

The position of Mayor requires a full-time commitment. The Mayor will be required to

attend Standing Committee and Council meetings on a regular basis. These meetings are

held during normal business hours and evenings.

In addition, appointments to various statutory and non-statutory boards and commissions

will require regular attendance at meetings. These meetings are held during normal

business hours and evenings.

Regular attendance at official/social functions during the day and evenings are also a part

of the Mayor’s duties.

(A recent survey indicates an average monthly time commitment of 246.5 hours.)

RESPONSIBILITIES:

Municipal corporations have extensive

legislative as well as administrative functions.

The council of a municipal corporation is its law-making body ,…………………………

…………….

1. [Revised pursuant to Municipal Act, S.0. 2001, c.25]

The Municipal Act, S.O.2001, states that it is the duty of the head of council,

a) to act as chief executive officer of the municipality;

b) to preside over council meetings;

c) to provide leadership to the council

d) to represent the municipality at official functions; and

e) to carry out the duties of the head of council under this or any other Act.

2. Pursuant to Section 69(1) of The Municipal Act, the Mayor is the head of the

Council and the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation.

3. Maintains links with Federal and Provincial Governments through appropriate

Ministries.

4. Maintain strong liaison with the municipality’s Federal and Provincial

Members of Parliament.

5. Represent the Council declaring its will and implicitly obeying its decisions in

all things.

6. As a member of Council, to participate in making decisions on issues that will

have long-term consequences on the municipality, in context with the by-laws,

policies and strategic plans established by Council.

7. To represent the views of constituents as closely as possible when dealing

with issues that come before Council.

8. To participate in establishing policies and ensure that such policies are

implemented and observed in an objective and consistent manner.

9. As a member of Council, delegate the carrying out of policy and daily

operations to administrative staff through the City Administrator.

10. As a member of Council, ensure that funds are being spent as authorized, with

the most efficient possible use being made of the municipality’s human,

natural and financial resources.

11. As a member of Council, conduct regular reviews of programs, services and

delivery methods.

12. As a member of Council, manage land and resources through careful

land use planning while satisfying important social, economic and

environmental concerns.

13. To liaise with the various statutory boards, commissions, committees and

other levels of government on all matters of mutual concern or as directed by

Council.

14. To chair the meetings of City Council and ensure the meetings run in

a smooth and orderly manner, in accordance with the Procedural By-law.

15. Be aware of the impact or consequences of Council decisions, on citizens citywide

and within the Councillor’s ward, preferably before Council decisions

are made.

OTHER RELATED DUTIES:

– Attend the meetings of outside agencies;

– Other public relations as required;

– Chair meetings as required;

– Appointments to ad hoc committees as required;

– Attend official and social functions representing the City Council.

So you tell me. A mayor who wanders in to work at noonish, wanders out at 4:30 – 5, no shows to scheduled events without explanation , and refuses to make his itinerary public. Is serving the needs of his constituents? We pay this man $167,769.64. He puts in a solid 30 hour week and I’m being generous based on what The Star has obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. I don’t know about you but I make around 65,000 a year for a 60 hour week. With no perks like free tickets, and office expenses, and arriving whenever I feel like it without explanation. He’s making 116 dollars an hour kids.

To put that in perspective. Most of the dedicated councillors put in upwards of 60 to 70 hours a week. At least 6 days a week. We’ll say 60. So if you have one of the good ones, they are making about 36 dollars an hour. If Mr. Ford were working as he should I’d say he was underpaid. The Mayors of several smaller cities in Canada make more. But he isn’t. So he isn’t. You aren’t supposed to go into public service to get rich. It’s a thankless job. Don’t do it if you want or need approval at every turn. If you can’t do something you don’t necessarily like or agree with, without a smile on your face, you’re in the wrong profession.

Why in the name of the Lord are we blithely tolerating this. Why do certain citizens blindly believe that this spoiled, rich, Momma’s boy actually has the first idea what they want or need. He has a public record 12 years old and counting rife with bigotry, slander, lies, and actual illegalities. Yet they see him as their guy? What is that all about? Nothing anyone says seems to shake them from their avowed belief that he is one of us.

I have come to the conclusion that we so desperately want to believe that something will change our crappy little lives that it is easier to believe in a complete fiction than to listen to the truth. This chubby entitled man has sold us the goods We so badly don’t want to believe that we get what we pay for. We have abandoned all logic. This uneducated man who can barely read and has not the first concept of how to actually run the city has your futures firmly squeezed in his chubby little fist. You believe that because he sprays down some graffiti, uses buzz words like “gravy”, and knows Don Cherry, he has your best interest at heart. Come on, snap out of it.

You pay him nearly 170K a year to do what? Refuse to attend meetings of other like-minded city organizations where he would be representing us and LEARNING how others deal with the problems of large cities the world over. Refuse to even show up for the opening event of one of the largest tourist attracting, economy boosting events of its kind IN THE WORLD. Blow off scheduled events that would have him meeting with visiting dignitaries from other cities whose issues are the same as ours, and who just might have knowledge to share. Continually belittle and verbally abuse the duly elected councillors of your city IN PUBLIC.

Read the job description again. He is legally obligated to execute the will of council without argument. Does he do that. Hell no. Let me qualify this a bit. This is a guy who proudly bragged that he had sat in council for 10 years and NEVER eaten lunch with a fellow councillor. Is that really how you build a rep to be mayor? A job that requires as much diplomacy as any other skill required. This man may be well-meaning but he is not a leader. He has no idea how to lead. He has spent a life time glad handing and bullying to get his own way. The mayor isn’t about getting his own way. He’s supposed to be about getting us our way.

That the largest daily in the country has to use the Freedom of Information Act, after the fact, to find out what the mayor is doing is a travesty of democracy. Not even Harper gets away with that. As long as we continue to sit back and say “what can we do” or worse, “good ole Rob he’s our guy” our city will continue to deteriorate. People in the know tell me I’m naive and he has a pretty good chance of re-election. I cannot fathom that the majority of citizens of this fine city will sit back and let that happen. It’s such an easy thing to beat. Just get up off your collective butt’s and vote. How can that possibly be a problem?

Women Power!

I am electrified. We had the #WiTOpoli panel thingy. Kudo’s to the absolutely incredible energy of Miss Stephanie Guthrie and her little cadre of equally energized young and seemingly indefatigable women. I was doing what I always do. Hiding in the kitchen. Which is not to say I am really hiding because what I am doing there is truly what I love to do. I do believe I was put on the earth to feed people. But I was listening and then I was being drawn into the room, hearing these fabulous young women speaking. At some point I was all the way in and standing right beside the group. I don’t actually remember how I got that far but as I listened to a particular exchange, I had to speak.

Truthfully I was a little bit angry. I don’t think that showed but that’s not for me to say. Women are half the population and yet somehow we are not equal. I don’t subscribe to the thought that this is entirely man’s fault. It was. But I think that fell away to a certain extent years ago. Except that we women allow the social stereotype to keep perpetuating itself. In a million ways. Thing is, we WiTOpoli women are not doing that. But most of us don’t necessarily live where we see what I am talking about. If you are a 20 or 30 something young woman living in the city and communing with the likes of a Sol Chrom or a Lucas Costello or a Goldsbie or any of the other amazing men we all know and love. You aren’t seeing what I see out here in the Burbs.

Here’s an example for you. Last night I’m in the parking lot of a mall loading dog food into my car. Sitting on the curb beside me are two 20 something guys and a similarly aged gal. They are bickering about whether to go to the bar or go home. She says “we need to go home, we have to work tomorrow and we still need baby food and milk” and …. he says, I swear….. “Oh shit better go with the bitch or there’ll be no fucking for a week.” As their friend heads for the bar and they walk the other way I stand gaping with mouth open at the girl. Thinking “say something or I will”. But I don’t because I’m not in the mood for the fight that I know will start, where she will tell me to mind my own business. Because at 20 something she has already defined herself as somebody’s woman. Not her own woman but somebody else’s.

I want to say to this young woman. You are not beholden to him. As a matter of fact, he’s beholden to you. You bore his child, you probably feed him, clean for him, change all the diapers and you have a job too. Didn’t we already fight this fight? Didn’t you get the memo? Well actually, that’s the whole problem. To damn few got that memo. We are our mother’s children and if they didn’t all teach us we were allowed to think our own thoughts and be just as smart as, or dare I say, smarter than any man in the room. So you get where we are now. Draconian laws being passed in such forward thinking places as Arizona. A right to lifer (disguised though he may be, I’m not buying it) running for President of the USA. Our own parliament discussing the whole when is the fetus bla bla bla.

My body is my body. It’s quite literally the only thing that can never be taken away from me. So if you think some man is going to tell me what I can or cannot do with it, and anything that happens to be in it. Snap out of it! I view this current craziness as a good thing actually. I have this theory that it is coming about because we ARE approaching equality. A certain kind of man is seeing his presumed God-given right to be in charge stripped away. His own daughters are saying no. A woman ran for president and well could have taken it. Can you imagine that in the good old USA it was more desirable to elect a black man than a woman. Think about that, let it sink in. Had Obama been up against a stronger male possibility do you really think the Democrats would have run him? I don’t.

Well we’re here boys and we aren’t going anywhere and we’re tired of the bull shit. We don’t think we’re better than you. We just think we’re the same. Exactly the same. But girls, we need to step up. The beloved Alicia Pang who started all this, said men may need to step back a bit so we can move in. I don’t agree. I’m not sure she does either but she sure got us talking.

We need to step forward and if we have to push some guy out-of-the-way, well, that’s OK. They’ve been doing it to us for way to long. But, they do it to each other too. Those are their rules and we need to learn those rules and play by them. The women who do that now get called all sorts of names but that doesn’t even slow them down. They are the women who get, if you want to win in this game, you have to play by their rules of engagement. No pouting allowed.

As I alluded to the other night, my generation did not have the same choices offered, that girls have today. But even though my mother came from a traditional family and offered me the choice of dental hygienist, teacher, or nurse. My dad came from a family where women worked. My Grandmother was a suffragette and a compatriot of Nellie McClung, my aunt was a double MA and a founder of the modern Women’s Movement in Canada. My grandfather worked for the first woman cabinet minister in Canada. While the vast majority of my girlfriends went to university to find a husband as much as for any other reason, I knew I had a choice or two. The fact that it took me a long time to figure it all out is irrelevant. I had that choice too.

We’re out of the kitchen now, we know we don’t necessarily have to have a child til we’re at least in our 30’s and maybe not at all if we so choose. We know we have a voice and thoughts and we know we often see the solutions our male counterparts might not. So why aren’t fully 50% of us in all 3 levels of government? Why aren’t that many more writing. Especially in the mainstream media. I think our voice in the media is growing louder by the day. I suspect that it won’t be long before we surpass men. But politics is a thankless job. It requires a very thick skin. It might take us a bit longer to get our heads around that particular barricade. Still, I think the angrier we get the more likely we will just climb over the damn barrier.

This week gave me hope. Our voices will be heard. It may be a tough political climate the world over right now but it will change. It always does. I look at the Arab Spring in Egypt and see how many women took part in an entirely male dominated society. As horrifying as it is to hear of the Taliban poisoning wells in girls school’s, it tell’s its own story. Education ladies. The genie’s out of the bottle fella’s. We’ll have skirmish’s and in some part’s of the world the battle’s just begun. But the world is a very small place these days. Twitter reaches a long long way.

I want a world where when my great-niece is introduced you will not think “Oh a woman, or oh a black woman, or oh a gay woman or oh a straight woman, or oh a woman with glasses. Just oh a woman. The only relevant information comes from conversing on an utterly equal footing. What do you like, what are you interested in, where do we agree, where do we disagree. No qualifiers. There are none in an equal society.

A Tale of Bullying

This is a story about bullying. I have tormented myself about putting it out on my blog for days. I think I have to. I think it’s time for people to tell these stories. The real stories of real bullies. So I offer up a story about bullying. With apologies for the length.

She was only 12 when it started. Her birthday was in November so she was always a little younger than everybody and was still very much a child. It was junior highschool and it started out so exciting. She was going to learn French (it was B.C.) and make new friends and see old ones. There were going to be school dances and parties with boys. It’s important to know that though she was only 12 she was 5″11″ tall and over the summer had developed a woman’s body that she was none to comfortable with. Plus she was plump. She stood out, at least a head taller than all the girls and most of the boys and even some of the teachers.

He was a smallish boy. He had the look of a boy who would never be tall. He had that cocky smile that a slight chip on the shoulder will give. Half way between a sneer and a smirk. Always looking like he knew something no one else knew. He was the leader of a group that nowadays would be called a gang but nowadays they use that word a little to easily. They were a bunch of insecure boys who weren’t quite cool enough to be athletes and not quite smart enough for the chess crowd. So they followed this boy around and laughed at all his jokes and did his bidding so they too, could belong somewhere. She didn’t belong anywhere.

It started in the library. In full view of the librarian who probably was younger but seemed to them to be ancient, and who simply looked away. The boy cornered her against a shelf and began grabbing and touching in places that scared her half to death. She did not understand what was happening, only that she did not like it and it made her want to run far away. She wiggled free that first day, attempting to laugh as though it didn’t bother her but terrified by this strange behaviour. Each time it happened, it seemed as if there were more boys involved, more hands, more ugly words.

The phone calls began that first evening. This, thank God, was before cyber bullying. The telephone was their weapon of choice. Like a moth at a flame she stood frozen in place in the middle of the kitchen listening in shock to this boy saying unspeakably graphic things she barely understood. Her mother was there. She could only hear half the conversation so she only knew that her daughter seemed horribly transfixed by whatever was being said. She said, hang up the phone. So the girl did. She could not bring herself to repeat what had been said. She could only stand there and sob and say they were picking on her and she didn’t know why. Her mother said suck it up, to her chubby girl. No big deal.

It went on for almost 2 years. The phone calls came almost nightly and the contact became progressively more physically abusive. They would follow her home, quite literally attacking her in the street. She would often arrive home sobbing uncontrollably and fleeing to her room in the basement. Her mother would tell her not to be such a cry baby. Her mother did not know what was happening. She began staying later and later at school, hiding in the wash room until she was sure they were gone. She became a withdrawn and socially awkward shadow.

The phone calls began to involve more and older guys and even some girls, for the story was getting around. The boy had an older brother at high school who involved his friends. There were stories about other girls who had answered the invitations to go meet them somewhere, and what went on at these meetings. The girl would not ever consider doing that, though they asked, and told her what they would do. She could not bring herself to believe that such things happened. Still she listened until her mother would make her hang up. Somehow she developed the idea that this was all her fault.

It was in the second year of this horror that she began to think of ways to escape. She doesn’t remember when the idea of death entered her head, but it did. There did not seem to be any other alternative. Hours and hours were spent contemplating the best way to do it. But through it all there was just enough good still in her life. Somehow, as bad as it was, it never quite became the option. It just became a constant and reassuring friend. If it gets any worse, if she just couldn’t go on, it was always patiently waiting.

One night her Dad who was a travelling guy and rarely home during the week, was there when a call came in. She did not know that he knew about these calls. She did not know that her mother was pretty sure who the culprits were. Her father took the phone from her hand and informed them that if they ever called again or bothered his daughter in any way, they would be dealing directly with him. It was clear from the tone of his voice that he did not mean anything nice and in those days a parent could and often did speak to someone else’s kids in that sort of tone. Villages still raised children back then.

It stopped. A parental voice carried a lot more weight back then. They made a wide berth around her from then on. The boy never stopped smirking at her but he moved on to other less troublesome victims. There were no more calls. It was shrugged off as a sort of “thing that happened”. No one asked if she was O.K. but the damage was done. It could not be undone. She no longer trusted anyone, not those she loved and certainly not those she did not know.

She still thought that somehow it had been her fault. Nameless fears triggered gut wrenching panic attacks. She could not, would not tell anyone, it became her secret. She was afraid of any new situation to the point of paralysis. She became an expert at hiding and she became an expert at hiding the fear behind a facade of cheerful words. She began to build a protective layer around herself that remains in bits to this day. There were years of therapy, and lots of meds. There was that recurring nightmare that stayed on for 20 years. There was that plumpishness that at one point became a nearly 500 lb. shell. There were years of drugs, the not so legal kind, that made you forget.

I have never told that story in its entirety to anyone. Only my sister who passed away over 30 years ago ever knew the whole incredibly humiliating story. I never discussed it with my parents, never asked them if they knew how bad it was, or if they did, why they let it go on so long. Didn’t ask if anyone knew what it was doing to me, never even shared it all with any of the shrinks I saw. Didn’t even know what to call it. I was in my 40’s before I understood that I was an abuse survivor. I would never have called it that and argued when it was first suggested. It was “that thing that happened”.

It was abusive bullying and it took a very big chunk out of my life. But that’s what so many don’t understand. It’s a secret you don’t tell. You think it’s your fault. You think no one will understand or they’ll laugh at you or you’re imagining it or telling will make it worse and that’s the biggest fear of all. The kids who tell survive. The one’s who take it all on their own don’t. Even if they get past it, they don’t live the lives they should have.

That happened to me over 45 years ago and I still live with the dregs. It never really quite goes away.  The nightmares stopped years ago but the physical sensations stay on as a more or less permanent part of my persona. A word, a touch, a smell can transport me right back to some moment of terror. I was nearly undone when my sister died, but then I found a place to belong. A community where everyone had a secret and no one judged. They wouldn’t ever hurt me and they wouldn’t ever question. They just accepted me for who I was. I knew why. I watched as many of them were arbitrarily harassed by strangers on the street and more often than not rejected by their own families. I understood, I was living it. I became a sounding board, a confidant, a beard, whatever was required. I had a place to belong for the first time in my life. It was a loving and warm and fiercely loyal community where one could just be.

Everyone should have known and learned from the gay community of the 70’s and 80’s. Not because it was perfect. There were plenty of unfriendly bitchy gay men and women who could and did pass judgements, fair or otherwise. But this was a community that knew a common theme and if you were an accepted member then you belonged. Even the bitchy ones respected that fact.  We were in this together, fuck with one of us you fuck with all of us. That’s what stops bullying. Caring. Simple straight forward caring. Being willing to step forward and say loud and clear “this is not acceptable, you will not be welcome here as long as you choose to marginalize a single one of us for any reason”.

Now bullying is a public issue and it has become too damn easy to drive a child to the point of no return. That adults entrusted with the safety and well being of the children in their care can behave in the callous and unfeeling way they are currently behaving is beyond hypocrisy. Where is their forgiving God? Who are they that they can make such insane judgements over a word? We live where gay couples can wed. Yet these people refuse to acknowledge the simple dignity of students who want to build the sorts of bridges that will stop the victimization of our children once and for all. Shame on them. Have we really moved so little in 45 years that we have to have our government legislate our children’s right to feel safe and free in  their own schools?

It is time to acknowledge what bullying does to children. Period. It is time to stand up and say “no more”. Not gay students, not nerdy students, not fat ones, not odd ones. It is time to teach children to celebrate each other’s differences. It is time to offer the cruel boys and girls and their families, real consequences for their behavior. This behavior is not acceptable, not now, not ever, not toward anyone. Not gay, not straight, not fat, not thin, not anything. Just NOT! It is just time.

Toronto the Damn Good!

So I had to drive to City Hall and then park and walk over to Queen and Yonge on Friday. I started at Steele’s and Dufferin so if you know anything about this city you know that at 4:30 on a Friday before a long weekend that’s probably a horror show! Except it wasn’t. It took a while to be sure. But I wasn’t in the mood for road rage so I rolled down the window and opened the “sky dome” and just decided to give in. It was a slow trip but here’s what I saw.

Drove down Alness to avoid Dufferin. Turn’s into Champagne which then turns onto Chesswood and takes you to Sheppard. No Dufferin at all. Point is, I was driving down streets with no sidewalks but plenty of pedestrians. Plant workers walking in clusters toward bus stops. Laughing and enjoying the gorgeous day and the start of a long weekend. multiple ethnicities and all Canadian. Asian, Russian, Polish, South American. If you listen you can count literally to a hundred the number of languages you’ll hear. It just feels so natural and right. I almost wanted to start waving.

Whipped down the Allen to Lawrence and then across Lawrence to Avenue Road. At Bathurst I watched an Orthodox Jewish family heading to the Shul for the start of sabbath. Little boys in too many clothes skipping along behind Momma and Daddy in his wide-brimmed hat. Pretty little girls in long skirts. Everyone smiling. Bathurst sidewalks full of folks walking to and fro with shopping carts, briefcases on their way home, care workers pushing wheelchairs, kids whisking by on skateboards, an elderly lady walking 3 very old poodles.

Avenue and Eglington. The intersection crowded with people on foot. Everyone seemed so damn smiley. Eglington south on Oriole Parkway and then across to Davisville and Yonge. Everywhere, people on foot and bikes. Three lights to get turned south onto Yonge because of all the foot traffic. Didn’t even care. Watched a wee little boy charging thru the crowd, way ahead of his Mom to get to the subway. A young guy with a skateboard caught hold of him and waited for his Mom to catch up to him. Smiles, hops on his board and is gone.

St Clair and Yonge plugged with pedestrians on both sides, shopping for the weekend, going home, whipping back and forth across the street dodging cars. Grinning at each other, walking into things, chattering in groups. Cars inching down, not really seeming to  mind the speed, except for the occasional lunatic cabby. Bicycles taking up the curb lane and all of us working at giving them space though they are getting down the street faster than us. I pass one for the 4th time and he gives me the biggest grin and a high-five!

Swing across to Bay at Scollard. Bikes, roller blades, skate boards, pedestrians of every persuasion. Everybody still smiling. Everybody whizzing to some condo or other unknown destination. Fight the cabs for possession of a lane all the way down Bay thinking,who says the streets don’t belong to the people? The park north of the old Bistro 990 is packed with dog walkers and nannies with kids in tow.

Nathan Philip’s Square plugged with folks doing everything and nothing. People up on the green roof are waving at people below. City Hall workers with their ties loosed rushing away from the building as if to escape before someone calls them back. Obvious tourists staring up at the two curved buildings. The fountain splashing away in the sunlight making me feel that inside good feeling you get when things just feel right.

Walk behind the old City Hall and down to Queen dodging people rushing to get to the Duke or some other pub. At Queen I can’t believe the crowds on the street. Nearly get run down by a gang of young boys on skateboards. Hollering “sorry” as they race by scaring people half to death. A few random couriers still working, race by on the street, dodging cars at break neck speed. A cab driver stops dead and everyone starts honking while he gets out to help a lady into the car with all her packages from the Bay.

I think the point of this post is, HEY you guys. Could we stop seeing all the things wrong with the city for a few days and see what’s right with it? Don’t believe the media. The Toronto I grew up in still exists. You have to look harder to find it but it’s there. Little India, Kensington Market, Roncesvalles, Bloor West Village, College and Ossington, Port Union, The Toronto Zoo, Mt Pleasant south of Eglington, Rouge Park. Come on people. This is your city. As I write Shawn Micallef (@shawnmicallef) is Tweeting from the line to the Toronto Island Ferry. It sounds like a party. Follow his tweets. This is Toronto.

I’m writing an unabashed love letter to this city. I have been to cities all over the world. They are all wonderful in their own way but they are not home. Toronto is home. Sure we need to make it better. But let’s not lose what’s already good about it along the way. Let’s just love it. Please.

In which the Mayor Behaves like a Mayor

Much discussion about the Mayor‘s sudden unexpected appearance at the Rainbow Flag raising has seemingly polarized the social media community if not the entire city. As would be expected by any intelligent being, there was no winning for him. Was it for the PR of it. Did someone force him out the door? Was he finally growing up, giving in, selling out, showing generosity of spirit hitherto unseen in him?

Frankly I don’t care why he did it. I am not his greatest fan. I’m not his fan at all and I say it often and loudly. I do not think he is any kind of mayor at all. That hasn’t changed and isn’t likely to. I do not see what he did that sunny day as anything more than a random positive moment in an otherwise lackluster mayoralty term. But, he did it. Knowing what we know about this man. Not what we think we know, but what is fact. What exists as fact in the public record. It is reasonable to assume that last Thursday Rob Ford exhibited real momentary courage.  For a brief shining moment he behaved like a real honest to God Mayor with a capital M.

In Toronto we have 44 councillors and a Mayor at City Hall. They each have one vote. No more no less. The position of mayor in TO is largely ceremonial in nature. His/her function is to represent us. Proudly wearing the chain of office, he/she should be meeting and greeting dignitaries and representing the city at ALL important public functions of any import. He/she should also be representing us, as the world-class city we in fact are, at events, conferences and conventions of international value all over the world.

The mayor of Toronto can lead us. He or she can be  smart and strong with clever arguments and an ability to debate diplomatically and bring a majority of councillors to his point of view. In this fashion he/she can, in fact, lead the city, get his election mandate passed, and theoretically, leave his/her mark on Toronto. Or he can be Rob Ford. The man who coaches a high school football team at least 20 hours a week. Something none of our hard-working councillors would be able to find the time to do.

This is a man who seemed to think he had been elected king in 2010. He began his term by cancelling a transit plan he did not have the right to cancel. Council reacted in the beginning in a sort of shock as he went about bullying his way through his mandate. While spouting fiscal responsibility he tore through the surplus left to him by the outgoing mayor and kept right on increasing the liability with little sense of what he was costing us in cancelled contracts. New councillors were getting their footing, older councillors couldn’t quite seem to believe what was happening. Fortunately as he became ever more irresponsible with our city, council seemed to wake from its stupor. I do not need to go into the details of his downfall. It’s all been well documented. Suffice to say he has been relegated now to his one vote seat. Where when he is actually there, he postures histrionically, misleads and misinterprets, spreads misinformation and often seems to go so far as to knowingly lie. He is often quite obviously not up to speed on the facts of an issue. He has become a hugely embarrassing fact of life for the City of Toronto.

Toronto has disappeared off the world map while this mayor has been in office. We are no longer represented at multiple world conferences on everything from The Eco City World Summit to The World Conference on City Diplomacy to City Planning and World Design to Global Metro City an organization of City Mayors working to improve the connection of world-class cities to the Global community. But then we’re not world-class. Rob said so.

There are those who will say these are unnecessary and expensive activities. The mayor is one of them. But I would counter, how do you suppose people hear about us, and our convention facilities, and all the reasons why we should be hosting some of these functions and drawing the economies of the world to us? Why would they want to come to Toronto instead of Paris or Rome or Sidney or Berlin or even San fricking Antonio, Texas? Our next mayor is going to have quite a job bringing us back on-line, where we should still be.

Last Thursday for one brief shining moment with the look of a deer caught in the headlights, and surrounded by a phalanx of his crew cut minions as if to keep him safe from God knows what. Rob Ford behaved like a mayor should. I don’t care why he did it. I care that he did it. I was proud of this man for that moment. For just a moment he was the mayor of a world class city.

There has never been any doubt in my mind for 12 years, that he is homophobic. I don’t say that with malice. Homophobia is just that. A phobia. Phobia’s are born out of fear of an unknown terror. They come from trauma and/or ignorance and they include things like fear of snakes and rooms full of strangers and Gay people. When you practise de-sensitizing therapies you can lessen or defeat a phobia. Rob Ford began that process on Thursday. He shook hands and even hugged real genuine Gay folk and guess what, he survived.

I’m not one to believe in miracles. Maybe he’ll come to the Pride Flag raising. Maybe he won’t. I’m good either way. My friends will have the good time they always have and the tourists won’t miss him. They’ll just keep on keeping on. I don’t see him in the Pride parade. He should be, he’s the mayor and it’s one of the largest and most profitable city-wide celebrations in the year. He came to the Flag raising on Thursday. let’s just leave it at that.

Smoke and Mirrors

I haven’t written in a while. I know that’s not how you get followers but frankly, I’ve been wordless. Many writers across the city, pro and blogger alike have said it all very well. But……… Only Royson James seemed to get the real story behind the temper tantrum. Rob Ford’s reaction to Daniel Dale in the park, for that IS where he was, simply made no sense. He knows Daniel Dale. He outweighs him, bare minimum 2 to 1. Danger to his family?

Stop here and just think about it. All he had was a Blackberry. Ever take a picture with a Blackberry? Unless you are on top of your subject there will be zero detail. How the hell would anyone take a picture of any definition from 30 feet away through a small back window? The mayor’s children are small. His daughter is only 7. Unless she were standing on a tall chair in front of the window she would not be viewable. So what’s that about?

This man will give you his phone number and address at the drop of a hat. Good God he has broadcast it over the radio. Is this the action of a man concerned with the safety of his children? He refuses to have a security detail. He refuses to be driven. It is my personal view that he does not give a damn about the safety of his children.

He was quietly making a move on this piece of land which is a part of our nature conservancy. He knows that he is not entitled to this land on multiple levels. He does not think the rules apply to him. When he saw Daniel outside I believe he exploded in rage because he knew the jig was up. Once again the Toronto Star was going to thwart him and show him up as the sneaky bully he continually shows us he is.

He doesn’t need that land to build a fence. He has a nearly 6 foot fence now. I’ll bet any money, the ultimate goal has always been to expand his land. Swimming pool, maybe, but I bet it’s reno time at Casa Ford. Rather it was. There is no way in hell he is getting approval for this now. He had very little chance anyway. But now he has created such a storm that he is under a microscope yet again and his favourite whipping post, The Toronto Star, will get the blame.

Stop again. Think for a minute. It is now Day 5 or 6, I forget. Point is, the police have the security film, the phone and the recorder. No charges have been laid against anyone. Curious that, don’t you think? Try and convince me it isn’t because they can’t make up their minds what the fall out could be if they charge the mayor with assault and theft. Because that’s what it was. Plain and simple. You cannot think for one second that if that evidence showed Daniel Dale had done one single thing wrong he wouldn’t be in jail right now. Please! The mayor would eat off that for the next year.

What would you do if a neighbour told you there was a man out back in the park taking pictures? I’d head out there, watch for a minute, assess the situation, decide if there was danger. The I would A/ call the police or B/ ask the man what he was doing. That’s all. If I recognized the man as the mayor did I might be a bit more assertive. But charging him with up raised fists, possibly entertaining the thought of hitting him? For the mayor has publicly admitted this. Why? Why would I do that? Why would anyone? Unless they have paranoid anger issues and are seeing their grand plan evaporate.

I think the police are hoping that if they maintain radio silence this will go away. It probably will. That is outrageous. This is a man who has multiple tangles with the police in his past. All are about out of control rage. He has been charged with domestic violence, DUI, uttering threats. Is there really any reason to doubt he broke the law yet again out there in that public park? Why does he continue to get away with this? That’s the real question. Neither you or I would have gotten the same deal.

I’m sick of the embarrassment. I’m sick of the sense of entitlement. I’m sick of the arrogant self-righteous crap. I’m sick of the complete ignorance of the obligations of the office. I’m just plain sick. This man needs to be read the riot act. It might do him all sorts of good to be held accountable for his actions. A sensible judge could then order him into anger management treatment. The day will come when he goes too far. It is the history of such men. Pray he doesn’t hurt anyone too badly and pray it happens after he leaves office for we can’t take anymore international embarrassments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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