Canada's largest city has a world-class problem with poverty, and yet we hope that maybe, just maybe, it will go away. Rest assured it's not. Far from an old-school approach to budgeting, we need leadership and new approaches to revenue generation unless we want to be paying for the growing costs of poverty for years to come.
As Mayor, I will make sure Toronto leads the way in data transparency. I want to disclose more datasets at accessible standards than any other comparable city in the world. But this information must also be easier for coders and citizens to use. Toronto's existing Open Data releases often have limited value because the data isn't in a usable format.
This is why council is so important. As a unified body it has immense power to shift the agenda of our city. A mayor should technically be able to unite and determine solid goals for Toronto along with a strong policy agenda designed to solve our toughest of challenges. Unfortunately there hasn't been much unity on council and partisan-politics has stifled much progress. The never ending subway vs. LRT debate creating a rift between the downtown core and the suburbs and a lack of true 'big-picture, visionary thinking' has seriously stalled Toronto's ability to capitalize on its unique potential.
As mayor, I will move to adopt ranked ballots, a model that would help to unite our divided city by rewarding candidates with a broad appeal within the electorate. Too much of our current political discourse is spent on negativity, or pitting councillors against one another. Ranked ballots would help eliminate this rancor, fostering a more positive political environment. Ever wonder why political parties choose leaders this way? It's because ranked ballots help maintain a certain level of civility that has been AWOL from Toronto politics for quite some time.
Relieved of most of his civic responsibilities, Rob Ford is occupying his time by campaigning for re-election and torturing the premier. He's got her over a barrel, and he knows it. Premier Wynne, on the other hand, has nothing to gain in this dispute. She'd love to dodge it, but Ford won't let her. She can't be seen to reinforce Ford's misbehaviour by ignoring it and meeting with him. But, she can't stand up and publicly disenfranchise a democratically elected civic leader, especially one whose electoral mandate dwarfs hers 15 times over.
Most importantly, unlike Springfield Toronto has a city council and councillors. Unlike Mayor Quimby, Mayor Ford is not a power unto himself (as much as he thinks that). Oh, I almost forgot. Unlike Springfield, which is a fictional town in a cartoon, Toronto exists in the real world -- as real as the world gets, anyway.
Throughout the drawn-out Rob Ford crack-smoking saga, one thing has been made abundantly clear: Rob Ford has very poor judgment. As a Mayor, as a person, and as a representative for the City of Toronto, Rob Ford has continually proven that his judgment is lacking. This, above all else, is the reason that he should resign immediately. As I wrote in previous articles about this subject, it's not his now-confirmed crack use that's even the problem. However, exercising terrible judgment in the consumption of crack brings a world of other problems with it, not the least of which is criminal association.
I think all those years of drinking fancy tea at David's Teas, sipping Almond Milk at Whole Foods and eating organic beef from Rowe Farms, where everybody knows your cow's name, may be the cause. I don't think even 30 days of rehab in Scarborough will do the trick. But I will try one more time to explain the populist and enduring appeal of the Ford phenomenon. I have known and met many members of Ford Nation in the last few years. I have met them at coffee shops, restaurants and in their homes. I have met them at Ford Fests. The bulk of Ford's support is in the cities of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough.
Google Rob Ford and you're met with the latest on the "Crackgate Scandal." In what can only be described as a whirlwind of chaos, Toronto's Mayor is in the news again with another bizarre allegation. What needs to happen next is that the Mayor should address the allegations head-on then move on. What Toronto needs to do is start vetting potential Mayoral candidates for 2014 as Ford has made it clear that he'll be running again. When you honestly think about it, our standards are not that high when it comes to politicians; we need to raise the bar.