MUSIC

Toronto City Council Reassures Austin About Music City Alliance Amid Rob Ford Scandal

11/19/2013 05:01 EST
Colin McConnell via Getty Images
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 3 - The Mayor ,Rob Ford showed up late and missed the ribbon cutting with the premier but managed a dance with some of the revellersThe Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival,Known as th the Caribana Parade took over the Exhibition Grounds and the Lakeshore with lots of music and colorful costumes The Grand parade went from 10am in the morning until 6pm at night with people and families attending from all over the country attending Toronto, (Colin McConnell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

The capital of Texas' slogan is "Keep Austin Weird" but the weirdness that has pervaded Toronto politics the apst couple weeks has put Austin on edge after the two cities signed a Music City Alliance back in early October.

"I really wish I could bring the whole council down here and see it," Ford said on Oc t 5, according to the Toronto Sun while taking in the Austin City Limits music festival. "It's a win-win situation, I just don't see anything negative about it."

But with the almost daily admissions and embarrassments Ford has caused Toronto regarding using crack cocaine, drinking and driving and "drunken stupors," the image of Toronto has taken a hit. And it's causing concern among some in Toronto's music circles.

The Toronto Star exclusively reported Councillor Michael Thompson -- who showed his disdain for Ford's actions last week when questioning him about frequenting a reported crack house -- wrote a letter to Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell regarding what has transpired while trying to reassure Austin.

"The incidents involving Mayor Ford are both unacceptable and extremely regrettable," Thompson wrote. "This note is to advise and assure you that Toronto city council is seized with the matter, and has taken action to ensure that all matters of the city business are considered and dealt with appropriately."

In October, Thompson was part of the delegation who toured Austin and told The Toronto Sun the trip was a "15" on a scale of one to 10 in terms of success.

Don Pitts, Austin's manager in charge of the city's music and entertainment division, stated the music industry ties between the two cities "will transcend any particular private company or office of government." Pitts also said the current "unfortunate issues surrounding Toronto's mayor is none of our business here in Austin."

The Austin Business Journal posted a similar article, reminding readers of their earlier piece in October about the oddity of a "international dignitary visiting Austin" while being asked about "repeatedly, and dodged, repeatedly, allegations and suspicion that he's used and purchased street drugs. All while Austin elected officials and staff mingled just feet away on the balcony at City Hall."

"The spotlight has been on Toronto the last couple of weeks," Music Canada's Amy Terrill told the Toronto Star. "The alliance is about more than two mayors. Yes, there was an official signing by two mayors. But the alliance is city to city, council to council, industry to industry, artist to artist -- it's that deep. It's about more than one person."

The next order of business for the Austin/Toronto partnership comes this Friday (Nov. 22) when Toronto City Council's economic development committee consider the alliance's framework.

4479 -- the campaign geared to make Toronto one of the world's bigger musical hubs -- posted its own statement on Toronto City Council. A Nov. 15 Facebook post said the council "has sent a clear message that it recognizes the importance of Toronto's music sector." The campaign cited the Toronto-Austin Music City Alliance, a motion regarding the Sam the Record Man landmark sign and the vote to request changes and exemptions to the Temporary Worker Fee.

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