"We got this mayor, who I would argue is the worst mayor in the modern history of cities." - Richard Florida, urbanist and academic. Toronto mayor Ro...
Well, I hate to say that I told you so. Actually, that is not entirely true. I am laughing my behind off, as I type this in the wee hours of the morn...
Daily updates of the scandals washing over politicians from Montreal to Ottawa to Toronto have some officials looking more like Clay Davis of The Wire's Baltimore than much else. Where have all the leaders gone? Part of the problem, surely, is who we deify. We are guilty of perpetuating a celebrity-obsessed culture, whether those figures drop rhymes, dimes, or guidelines.
I'm troubled that the police knew about the video showing Mayor Ford smoking crack cocaine before Gawker and The Toronto Star revealed its existence. I'm troubled that the Chief of Police won't answer direct questions. I'm troubled that the wider implication is that Ford is involved with a gun-running gang, with people who smuggle guns up from the US, through Windsor, and into Toronto in order to shoot and kill people. I'm troubled about what this means for future business in our city.
The usually sure-footed Ontario Premier, Kathleen Wynne, has apparently made a serious political misstep. It could come back to haunt her, especially in a provincial general election, in Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough provincial ridings, where support for Mayor Ford is strongest, unwavering, and very deep.
While the Ikea Monkey "Darwin" had the fate of his permanent residence decided in court this week. Darwin isn't the only monkey business that continues to concern Ontario. As if being a Maple leaf fan wasn't bad enough, controversial allegations of financial evasion continue to be thrown "monkey poop style" at Prime Minister Harper.
Handling media relations, whether for a politician, a corporation or an NGO is not for the faint of heart. Or the weak of stomach -- I always tell new-to-the-job media relations specialists to lay in a supply of Maalox. And go easy on the Scotch.
The French have a word for what? Who can't be Republican? Take our news quiz and see how much you were paying attention to the week's news.
Our crack team at City Hall wasn't all that caught my attention this week. Funny parenting videos, more viral ads from Kmart, technology in sports and a great bike for families, all the way from Denmark, made the list. Sorry Rob, you've had too much air time already.
Is the media being fair to Rob Ford? How about Mike Duffy? My conclusions? "Yes" to the first, "maybe" to the second. Bad guys unquestionably deserve bad press. But like the rest of us, they also deserve fairness -- particularly at a time when a cynical public's in the mood to swallow any negative innuendo they hear. Ethics aren't easy, but they're always right.
I've had conversations with some in the media and I've yet to see someone quote me, so I'll say it here; we are insular and provincial in B.C. And unless we ignore the Alex Tsakumises of the world when they piously bleat about the Premier being unfit for office because she showed some goodwill and good nature by sharing a joke about MILFs with a radio host (who was fired for it btw), or ignore the media prattling on for weeks because of a dancing penis prank on a gay MLA (I've yet to meet gays who don't enjoy dick jokes) we are going to reap what we sow -- which is small numbers of people running for public office and even less numbers qualified to run for premier.
We hold those in positions of power to a higher standard, as we should. These are people whose roles authorize them to act in our name and on our behalf. However, we also recognize their fallibility. When those in power fall, and do so publicly, we look to them to make it right. How should leaders right the wrongs?
Why didn't the mayor issue his denial sooner? He had never demonstrated any reluctance to defiantly challenge his accusers in the past. The mayor is a pitbull, not a puppy. At his press conference, Rob Ford revealed the reason for his silence: ''For the past week, on the advice of my solicitors, I was advised not to say a word.''
More than one online commenter has asked whether Gawker will share revenue from pageviews with their donors if they are able to purchase the alleged Ford video. I'm more curious whether the donors will share the credit and the blame if crowdfunding checkbook journalism becomes the next big thing.
The public needs to be engaged in order to resolve the humungous problems facing the city, such as crappy public transit, insane traffic congestion, aging and inadequate infrastructure, and so on. Just as an alcoholic derails a family so that no member can function adequately even at work, so has Mayor Ford derailed us.F
Dear Mayor Ford: Like it or not, you have a drug problem. I'm not referring to your alleged issues with alcohol, or your DUI in Florida all those years ago. I'm not talking about the time you were arrested for possession of marijuana, or even the alleged video that's said to depict you smoking crack cocaine. I'm not talking about the claims that you were inebriated at a Garrison Ball, or your brother Doug's alleged running of a hash ring during the 1980s. Your drug problem is the fact that nobody believes you. What other mayor could ever be accused of smoking crack cocaine, and have their constituents pause, and say, Yeah, that makes a lot of sense?