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T-Bor

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Hey all

I'm mostly just looking for more information, but why do a lot of people (particularly on this site) refer to Ford as though he's the worst possible thing that could happen to Toronto? I know a fair amount about Smitherman and Rossi, but on the surface it just seems like Ford is the right-wing candidate who has shot his mouth off (albeit, stupidly) a few times.

Fiscally speaking, he's the only one who talks about scrapping transit city (which I personally agree with, except Eglinton, since the majority of the lines will save a few minutes max vs the express bus routes, and a dedicated HOV bus lane could probably accomplish the same thing. But I digress...). Admittedly, his statement that people want more subways and saying that the private sector would pay for them with air rights above stations makes no sense, but it seems to me like he's be the candidate most willing to take on the unions which would probably be necessary to free up more cash for transit construction.

Anyway, I don't know much about him, just hoping some of you could shed a little light on this.
 

toraerach

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There are many reasons not to vote for Ford, and I'll leave it to others to get to the more substantive details about his past, the policies he espouses, etc. What I will give you is the thing that really bugs me about Ford, though I must warn you that it is almost entirely based off of my personal impression of him.

Basically what really worries me about him is that he's great about talking about what he hates about the city: the taxes are too high, there's a war on the car, etc. What does he actually like about it? What is his vision for the city as a community (and not as just another level of government)? What is Toronto to Ford? The economic engine of the country? The cultural capital of English Canada? A centre of learning, creativity, and commerce? Or is Toronto just the tax man?

The problems facing Toronto today are the same problems faced by cities and other municipalities across Canada. Our country's institutions were designed and built when the vast majority of the population lived in rural areas. Now the vast majority live in cities, but the country's structure hasn't changed at all to reflect this. More than anything there is a need for a new deal for cities, and I just don't see Ford leading or championing that cause - or championing Toronto in the face of often hostile upper levels of government for that matter.
 

nfitz

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I'm mostly just looking for more information, but why do a lot of people (particularly on this site) refer to Ford as though he's the worst possible thing that could happen to Toronto? I know a fair amount about Smitherman and Rossi, but on the surface it just seems like Ford is the right-wing candidate who has shot his mouth off (albeit, stupidly) a few times.
There's only so many times that someone can be caught making racist, sexist, and bigoted comments, before it's clear that this is not simply a person who has shot his mouth off a few times, but is a racist, sexist, bigot.

Throw in his drunk escapades, encounters with the law, ethical issues, several reprimands at council, and years of complaints that he shows up at council unprepared, and unaware of what's going on ... and I just don't understand how anyone can take his candidacy seriously. Is this the image we want the world to see of Toronto?
 

gei

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It's not even worth discussing his policies or political platform. The man is a buffoon and has no business even being a city councilor.
 

kEiThZ

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I'm not as left leaning as most posters here and I find Rob Ford distasteful. He's entertaining on Council to be sure. But would he make a good mayor? Hell no. Even setting aside his boorish behaviour, as a policy maker he lacks heft. His platform consists largely of criticizing the innovation other make and the chances they take. He has nothing to offer in terms of a cohesive city vision or for that matter, any vision.

Even if he just ran as the "good manager" who would clean up the streets (which really are getting littered), fix the potholes, make the buses run on time, etc. I would have more respect for his platform. But he simply runs off in all sorts of tangents. He promises to sell air rights in one breath and in the next is pushing for a crackdown on a small, informal market in St. James Town. Just bizarre.

It's really unfortunate that we don't have great right-of-centre candidates who put forward modest sensible visions.

That said, I don't think Rob Ford's popularity should be under-estimated (which a lot of people on here do). Large chunks of this city are frustrated. And Rob Ford is doing well to empathize with their concerns.
 
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kettal

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Ford is a clown. He will have to work with all council members to be an effective mayor, and that is something he has completely failed to do in the past 10 years.
 

Junction416

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Would you want to vote for someone who gets this kind of play from around the country to represent our city. Some international coverage he got in 2007:

Joey "AccordionGuy" deVilla reports on the single dumbest thing I've ever heard of an elected city official saying. Toronto councillor Rob Ford told the Toronto Star: "I can't support bike lanes. Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it's their own fault at the end of the day."
Joey highlights a comment from the Raise the Hammer blog,

Ford is an idiot, there's no defending that, but he highlights a common problem among City Councilors:
a. he does a great job at meeting his constituent's needs. A recent Star article highlighted a day with Councilor Ford which found him working 12 hours, and visiting constituent's homes personally, along with various city staffers, to address their complaints directly. Now that's service. He is also ethically astute and regularly files the lowest expense reports of all Toronto Councilors. But:

b. he has a complete lack of understanding of how to build and manage a livable city. His ignorance is truly astounding.

I don't know if a) is true, but b) is clearly demonstrated

http://www.boingboing.net/2007/03/09/toronto_councillor_d.html
 

bigkiwibird

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Leftist Toronto

I've always been perplexed at the left-leaning councils and mayors that we seem to elect. Certainly they at times have some good ideas but I would expect that a city that is such an important corporate and industrial centre would have fostered a more centrist or slightly right-leaning political atmosphere. Any ideas how the left has been able to succeed or is it as simple as the idea that left-leaning persons are more likely to get out and vote for their cause and this leads to success in an apathetic voting environment? :confused:
 

voxpopulicosmicum

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^I, too, have always been perplexed at the left-leaning councils and mayors we seem to (occasionally) elect. I mean, left wingers are obviously going to pursue policies that don't favour the rich, and since the rich are the ones who control the media, development and other lobbies (everything except the self-immolating union lobbies, actually), it is perplexing that right wing candidates don't win more often. I guess it's just that right wing policies are really, obviously disfavourable to the vast majority of urbanites such that even a concerted money/media bias is insufficient to buy office every single time.

But then I remember that Mel Lastman was a multi-term mayor and I realize that dirty money politics is still capable of some success.
 

SimonP

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I've always been perplexed at the left-leaning councils and mayors that we seem to elect. Certainly they at times have some good ideas but I would expect that a city that is such an important corporate and industrial centre would have fostered a more centrist or slightly right-leaning political atmosphere. Any ideas how the left has been able to succeed or is it as simple as the idea that left-leaning persons are more likely to get out and vote for their cause and this leads to success in an apathetic voting environment? :confused:

This is something that thas been happening across North America. Increasingly major cities are moving left when compared to more right leaning suburban and rural districts.

One theory is that social issues have trumped economic ones as the flash points in society. For the most part, there is a broad consensus in Canada on economic issues. When fiscal policy becomes the centre of debate its usually over alegations of mismangement by whomever the incumbent is, not notions of broad philosophy. It's issues like gay rights, the environment, and immigration that really get people riled up. Urbanites tend to be far more progressive on these topics. These issues are less important municipally, where it is bread and butter concerns like transit that get the most attention, but it still does play a role. It's Ford's comments about AIDS, minorities, and arrest for domestic violence that makes him such an anathema to a lot of city dwellers. Red Tories like John Tory that don't have this baggage are increasingly rare.
 

CityPainter

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Ford is abrasive, unpleasant, negative, and divisive. He complains bitterly about the status quo whilst simultaneously voting against almost every proposal to solve the city's current problems. He often votes alone against 25 or 30 other councilors seemingly as much out of spite as out of any conviction beyond mere cheapness. As a mayor, it is difficult to envision how he could possibly build any kind of consensus around any difficult issue, something that is crucial considering that the Mayor of Toronto is (thankfully) not a dictatorship.

Ford sees all tax dollar allocation as mere wasteful spending and seems to not understand the concept of investing money now for potential future benefits. For example, he opposes investing in anti-smoking initiatives which might save millions in health care costs down the road, and he also opposes investing in youth culture programs designed to reduce future crime rates and save the judicial system millions. Ford apparently sees a city as little more than businesses, homes, and the streets connecting them. I fear that he would implement drastic social and cultural cuts that would save us all a few dollars in taxes while making Toronto a far less vibrant and engaging place to live.

Ford obsesses over petty expenses instead of thinking outside the box about ways to prepare Toronto for the future. He voted against repairing and refurbishing Nathan Phillips Square and City Hall itself, both of which have been neglected for most of their 40-year lifespan and are in an embarrassing state. I think that having a public infrastructure we can be proud of is important symbolically: it gives Torontonians shared spaces we can be proud of, and portrays a positive impression to visitors. Apparently Ford disagrees.

Ford's ideal Toronto, as pieced together from his voting record (cars everywhere, no bike lanes, on-street parking, no traffic tolls, no light rail transit, no publicly supported cultural programs) seems to have more in common with the 1950s than the 2010s. This mindset perhaps relates subconsciously to his repeated racist and homophobic statements, which I find absolutely unacceptable for someone hoping to lead one of the world's most diverse cities. Right now we need a mayor who is looking to the future and willing to implement changes, even unpopular ones, if that's what it takes to remain relevant. Ford's backward thinking will only leave us behind and irrelevant.

I am confident that Torontonians will not elect Ford. The question that worries me more is: who can we vote for instead?
 
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jn_12

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How is it perplexing? it's Politics 101. The breakdown of Upper/middle/working class is typically broken down as a 20/30/50 split. If the working class leans left (which it tends to do), then you have a huge left-wing base. Then look at the nature of our middle class. We have a rather progressive middle class in this city and that base is growing as more and more of the "creative class" moves in to Toronto. So it's pretty obvious why we don't see right wing candidates having a lot of success.

To be honest, I hated writing that paragraph. I hate thinking in terms of left-wing/right-wing. We need to move beyond such labels because it does everyone a disservice and pigeon-holes people into perspectives that they might not agree with. It also eliminates any chance for substance. If a candidate comes out in favour of something that is traditionally left-wing, he pretty much doesn't need to expand on other areas of his platform because the rest can just be assumed. It's also very divisive and does nothing to create a united view of what this city can become.
 

hbl33

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Ford is abrasive, unpleasant, negative, and divisive. He complains bitterly about the status quo whilst simultaneously voting against almost every proposal to solve the city's current problems. He often votes alone against 25 or 30 other councilors seeming as much out of spite as out of any conviction beyond mere cheapness. As a mayor, it is difficult to envision how he could possibly build any kind of consensus around any difficult issue, something that is crucial considering that the Mayor of Toronto is (thankfully) not a dictatorship.

Ford sees all tax dollar allocation as mere wasteful spending and seems to not understand the concept of investing money now for potential future benefits. For example, he opposes investing in anti-smoking initiatives which might save millions in health care costs down the road, and he also opposes investing in youth culture programs designed to reduce future crime rates and save the judicial system millions. Ford apparently sees a city as little more than businesses, homes, and the streets connecting them. I fear that he would implement drastic social and cultural cuts that would save us all a few dollars in taxes while making Toronto a far less vibrant and engaging place to live.

Ford obsesses over petty expenses instead of thinking outside the box about ways to prepare Toronto for the future. He voted against repairing and refurbishing Nathan Phillips Square and City Hall itself, both of which have been neglected for most of their 40-year lifespan and are in an embarrassing state. I think that having a public infrastructure we can be proud of is important symbolically: it gives Torontonians shared spaces we can be proud of, and portrays a positive impression to visitors. Apparently Ford disagrees.

Ford's ideal Toronto, as pieced together from his voting record (cars everywhere, no bike lanes, on-street parking, no traffic tolls, no light rail transit, no publicly supported cultural programs) seems to have more in common with the 1950s than the 2010s. This mindset perhaps relates subconsciously to his repeated racist and homophobic statements, which I find absolutely unacceptable for someone hoping to lead one of the world's most diverse cities. Right now we need a mayor who is looking to the future and willing to implement changes, even unpopular ones, if that's what it takes to remain relevant. Ford's backward thinking will only leave us behind and irrelevant.

I am confident that Torontonians will not elect Ford. The question that worries me more is: who can we vote for instead?

Thanks for insights. Still, I find that hard to believe that he's from T.O., regardless of urban or suburban precincts.
Interesting that he's using the word "subway" as a bait to gain some fan base. Still no mention of his "transit plan".
I think Torontonians must know that T.O. is only a part of Ontario. Beyond the Mayoral election, one must anticipate the bigger turning event: provincial election 2011. McGuilty isn't only killing T.O.; he's trying to ruin our livelihood in outer areas and even Northern Ontario.
Just bring someone who is socially liberal and fiscally conservative at the same time. No more or less.
 

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