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Sonia Hong

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America, Stop Giving Our Embarrassing Mayor So Much Attention

Posted: 03/04/2014 4:27 pm

Dear Americans,

There is no question that your country's entertainment industry has an enormous influence on ours. From TV, magazines, movies to music, we eat it all up. That being said, as a Torontonian who is extremely happy and proud of this city, for the love of god, please stop enabling Rob Ford.

If you weren't already aware, a big election is coming up. Our politicians are currently putting signs on lawns, dispersing flyers, magnets and stickers. They want to get their names out there. By inviting Rob Ford to attend the Oscars, appear on your talk shows and featuring him on a crack-smoking Mardi Gras float, you are doing just that.

Even if you are making fun of him, 1) he's not in on the joke, and 2) you are increasing his chances of re-election through not only name recognition, but helping him to seem "funny" and "cool". This might be hilarious to you, but you are seriously affecting the future of Toronto. He doesn't have to be your mayor, but unfortunately he has to be mine. I've heard Jimmy Kimmel and various Americans (and Canadians) say, "Well, he seems to be a pretty good mayor". Rob Ford also seems to think so too. To help you better understand what you are really doing to our city, here is a list of truths the Ford brothers want us to ignore amidst stories about Hollywood visits and PR gaffes:

He is not saving us money

He likes us to believe that he looks out for the taxpayers' dollars and has saved us an insurmountable sum of money. More specifically, he likes saying "$1 billion dollars". He is wrong. It's been proven over, and over again. His numbers don't add up. He's been using the past years' surplus from previous administrations to balance his budget out, and though he may have saved $60 on our vehicle registration tax, and some money here and there, he is actually running our city into more debt. These are just a few examples of his lies and incompetence in terms of budget.

In reality Ford carelessly wasted $65 million of the taxpayer's dollars by cancelling an existing fully funded and approved transit plan that's been years in the making. It was also essentially illegal. He moved an entirely new bike lane on Jarvis Street, to one street over (that's $86,000 to have it installed in 2010 and $200,000 - $300,000 to have removed in 2012). He has saved some money on office budget cuts but doesn't mention large increased costs in other areas such as labour deals. Toronto's long-term debt has also increased by $800 million after his first two years in office, following David Miller's administration.

Basically, Rob Ford is telling you that he is saving money, but really borrowing more money, which we will have to pay for in the long-run. Borrowing isn't the same as saving. He also championed an inefficient subway line this year, promising that he will find a way to fund it without raising taxes. Surprise, surprise, taxes had to be raised to pay for his subway line. Despite this fact, he keeps saying that he hasn't raised taxes? His level of delusion in general is astonishing.

He doesn't actually care about poor people

Rob Ford supporters are predominantly from lower income households. He claims that he "sides with poor people". Yes, he visits Toronto Housing Community buildings, shows up with gifts and fixes their playground. That's great, it's important to make people in your community feel like they are listened to, even if he is a millionaire.

My issue is not that he cannot understand realities of a poor or even middle-class life, but rather, the fact that he has consistently voted against helping these people in any way. From social programs to housing, according to Councillor Vaughan, Ford has "done everything in his power to cut funding for public housing and undercut pleas to Ottawa for funding." Showing up and handing out toys like Santa Claus does not fight poverty. It's the big picture decisions that need to be made. He is lying to these people, like that kid at school who pretends he's friends with you for your tasty sandwhich, but talks behind your back at recess. It's downright dirty. In lower income families, members may not have the resources to access information and understand the reality of what Rob Ford is doing to their communities. This makes the name recognition factor, and him standing on the red carpet next to the likes of Brad Pitt, even more influential in the upcoming election.

He really, really doesn't care about poor people, women, at-risk youth or crime

Simply put, in every society, it is proven that more poverty equals more crime. This is not to say that all criminals are poor, but a higher percentage of the population who lack the basic necessities of life means an increase in people taking desperate measures to provide for their loved ones, or to turn to crime because there are no other options. How do you combat this? By providing education to low-income households and starting with programs that will help youth, so they grow up making better choices. This means they will have more opportunities to climb out of poverty and contribute to the economy. More people who can afford to buy things means a better economy as a whole. By investing in this, you are also keeping kids off the street, out of jail (which saves taxpayers' money), and subsequently, making your city safer.

Despite his own suggestion that he is the man for poor people, Ford has voted against EVERY motion and social program to help them. For reasons he unwilling to explain, he has voted against accepting money from the Canadian government (meaning, would not cost the city a cent), for a gangs prevention program. He has also voted against programs to make neighbourhoods safer, as well as programs and workshops for women new to the country. On top of this, Rob Ford has proposed cuts to libraries, community centres, daycares and nutrition programs for youth. Oh, and trees. Dude doesn't even support trees. This is the kind of thing that will affect generations of Torontonian families, including mine. But sure, invite him to the Oscars for a laugh.

He is a huge homophobe

Toronto is a very gay-friendly city. We're proud to be hosting World Pride 2014. At least, most of us are. As Ford recently said: "I'm not going to go to the Pride Parade. I've never gone to a Pride Parade. I'm not going to change the way I am."

Besides generally voting against any grants or health initiatives relating to the LGBTQ community, our mayor has never attended the Pride Parade. He refuses to do so based on his own personal prejudices. He also threw a public temper tantrum about the 519 Church St. Community Centre's request to raise a rainbow flag at City Hall during the Sochi Olympics to show support for our LGBTQ athletes. He kept kicking and screaming about how the Canadian flag should be put back up, but if only he had looked further, he would realize that the Canadian flag was still up there, with the rainbow flag on another flag pole. Thankfully, our deputy mayor, Norm Kelly is a sensible man. Regarding the Pride flag, he has stated, "We're not afraid to stand up for the rights and privileges that are being abused in other parts of the world," and "There's nothing un-Canadian about that. In fact, that's a very Canadian thing to do."

He is a bully

Rob Ford likes to act like he is a warm, fuzzy, teddy bear-like man. However, if you've ever watched a council meeting in the last year, it's a giant gong show. His ugly side is constantly revealed. Rob and Doug Ford heckle people, mock and threaten councillors, yell, scream, get kicked out and act like two insufferable frat boys.

Here are some examples:

Rob & Doug shouting match with taxpayers in the gallery -- Rob Ford also asked his "driver" to tape the people yelling at him on his phone as a threat.

Rob Ford in Action -- after man calls him a "fat fuck"

Rob Ford sulking in a corner because he feelings got hurt -- he does this often, gets up and walks around during important debates.

The time I almost peed myself when Rob Ford compared himself to Kuwait -- this was right after he admitted to smoking crack, so council voted to strip him of most of his powers.

My heart goes out to the councillors who try to be as diplomatic and mature as possible in the face of this behaviour. Prior to the stripping of his powers, they had been reduced to asking him exclusively "yes" or "no" questions in his capacity as mayor. He could not understand more complicated questions. It was extremely painful to watch, like a terrible reality show, except it's real life and very real decisions are being made.

I'm not even going to get into how he is essentially a criminal currently being investigated by police, his substance abuse problem, his terrible character or his evident racism, homophobia and sexism. Oh, and the part in the police reports where city staffers claim they were sent to the LCBO on numerous occasions to purchase vodka for him, during office hours. People tend to overlook his personal shortcomings because they relate to the less-than-perfect man and are solely concerned with their imaginary saved tax dollars. He is running the city to the ground and compromising our quality of life. He is not just a cartoon character, but the chief magistrate of Toronto. He is supposed to lead and be a role model for our youth.

Sure, Rob Ford may want to keep taxes low, but at what cost? If he were to be re-elected and run the city his way, it would mean more crime, more poverty, more illness, more discrimination and undoubtedly higher taxes to offset his poor decisions. You can't have a mayor that doesn't understand the bigger picture of running a city, and reduces the role to returning phone calls and fixing potholes. To fellow Torontonians in the GTA: have more pride for your city and expect more. We can have a mayor that is considerate of our taxes and also considerate of the fact that Toronto is a thriving city. To our lovely neighbours in the US: we see where you're coming from, but please stop making our embarrassing mayor more famous than he needs to be. You're not the ones that have to deal with the repercussions of him being the incompetent leader of your city. We are.

Sincerely yours,

A very worried Torontonian

This was originally published on She does the City.

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  • Ford vs. Hulk Hogan

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  • Bongos

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  • Flashdance

    He's got the moves like Jagger.. He's got the moves like Jagger. <a href="http://www.postcity.com/Eat-Shop-Do/Do/November-2012/In-tribute-of-GIF-being-the-word-of-the-year-heres-our-favourite-Toronto-GIFs/" target="_blank">From PostCity</a>

  • Self-Fumble

    Invisible defenders take down the mayor with an invisible tackle.

  • Foiled By The Jedi

    <a href="http://i.imgur.com/JrKal.gif" target="_blank">From Imgur</a>

  • Falling Off The Scale

    Did we mention this <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/12/12/rob-ford-ballet-nutcracker-toronto_n_1143708.html" target="_blank">man once performed in a ballet</a>? From <a href="http://robfordfalls.tumblr.com/">Rob Ford Falls Tumblr</a>

  • Running Man

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  • Maniacal Laugh

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    <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/22minutes/videos/clips---season-20/robbie-boo-boo.html" target="_blank">"22 Minutes" strikes again</a>. From <a href="http://thishourhas22minutes.tumblr.com/post/34114355293/22-minutes-discovers-mayor-rob-fords-new-honey">This Hour Has 22 Minutes</a>

  • Word Vomit

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  • NEXT: The Many Faces Of Ford

  • Toronto Rob Ford, right, gestures to Councillor Paul Ainslee in the council chamber as councillors look to pass motions to limit his powers in Toronto on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. Blasting what he called a "coup d'etat," Ford said voters should be able to pass judgment on him, not his fellow councillors.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (centre) dances with participants ahead of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival in Toronto on Saturday July 30, 2011.

  • Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford, left, celebrates after defeating wrestler Hulk Hogan in an arm-wrestling match to promote Fan Expo in Toronto on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 .

  • Twenty-two month-old Micah MacMilan reacts as he is picked up by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford while Ford was signing bobblehead dolls in his likeness at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday November 12, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds up a replica Grey Cup as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laughs with fans as he attends the Toronto Argonauts and Hamilton Tiger-Cats CFL Eastern Conference final football game in Toronto on Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013. Ford showed up at Sunday's Canadian Football League playoff game, despite a request by the league's commissioner that he stay away.

  • Canadian recording artist Drake, left, and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford laugh at a news conference announcing that Toronto will host the 2016 NBA All-Star game, in Toronto, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford displays a milk moustache as he takes part in voting with city council members in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford watches from the sidelines near the Argos bench during a CFL football game between the Toronto Argonauts and Calgary Stampeders in Calgary on Saturday, August 18, 2012.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for photographs inside a giant shark mouth while attending the grand opening of the Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. After two years of construction, delays and (Canadian) $130 million in costs, Ripley's Aquarium of Canada opened to the public Wednesday.

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford poses for a photo opportunity with other dignitaries in a shark's jaws at the opening of Ripley's Aquarium of Canada in Toronto on Wednesday, October 16, 2013.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is hoisted into the air by his Don Bosco Eagles team after winning the Metro Bowl quarter-final at Birchmount Park in Toronto, Thursday Nov. 15, 2012. A civil trial hearing in which the mayor is accused of libel against a restaurant owner went on without him.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (center) smiles as he officially opens the refurbished Sunnydale rink with Toronto Maple Leafs' coach Ron Wilson (right) and other dignitaries who were on hand as well as the Toronto Maple Leafs who practiced on the outdoor rink in Toronto on Wednesday, January 4, 2012.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford grabs the Grey Cup by the handles during a parade celebrating the Toronto Argonauts victory in the Grey Cup final in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012 .

  • Rob Ford Meets Butter Rob Ford

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/31/rob-ford-butter-sculpture-ex-cne_n_1846616.html" target="_hplink">Toronto Mayor Rob Ford comes face to face with a butter sculpture of himself at the Canadian National Exhibition</a>.

  • Butter Rob Ford

    As part of an exhibition at the CNE, Toronto-based artist Olenka Kleban has made a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/24/butter-rob-ford-sculpture_n_1828527.html" target="_hplink">butter sculpture of Toronto's mayor</a>.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford hoists the Grey Cup on stage with Toronto Argonauts players while celebrating the team's Grey Cup victory in downtown Toronto on Tuesday, Nov.27, 2012.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford stands at the door to his office as he waits for an elevator in Toronto on Thursday November 14, 2013.

  • Mayor Rob Ford speaks at city council in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

  • Nov. 13 2013. Toronto mayor Rob Ford during the afternoon session as councillors continued to debate a motion asking mayor Rob Ford to apologize to Torontonians for misleading therm about his use of crack cocaine.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to his Don Bosco Eagles team during the Metro Bowl quarter-final at Birchmount Park in Toronto, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012.

  • In this Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 file photo, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford holds a bobblehead doll depicting him at Toronto City Hall. An electoral map of the 2010 mayoral election shows that Ford's voter base resides mainly in a more conservative constituency than the downtown electorate.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford (left) and city councillor Michelle Berardinetti (right) smile on stage during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford jumps on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)

  • Rob Ford's ballet debut

    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford acts on stage dressed as a Cannon Doll during a performance of the Nutcracker in Toronto on Saturday, December 10, 2011. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit)

  • City of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses the media outside office in Toronto on Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, after the release of a video. A new video surfaced showing Ford in a rage, using threatening words including "kill" and "murder."

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  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford arrives at City Hall in Toronto amid allegations of crack cocaine use on Friday May 17, 2013, in Toronto. Published reports say a video appears to show Ford smoking crack cocaine. Ford called the allegations ridiculous.

  • Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford watches players from Don Bosco Eagles, the High School team he coaches, warm up before they compete against the Huron Heights Warriors in the Metro Cup in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012 Those whose antics threaten to besmirch the party name normally don't get a second chance with Canada's federal Conservatives. Not so, it would seem, for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford carries the Pan American games flag in Omnilife Stadium during the closing ceremonies of the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico on Sunday, Oct. 30, 2011. Toronto will host the games in 2015.

  • Toronto City Mayor Rob Ford reacts after Don Bosco Eagles, the High School team he coaches, lost 28-14 to Huron Heights Warriors in the Metro Cup in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford talks to a staff member at city hall in Toronto on Wednesday November 6, 2013.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford addresses reporters at City Hall in Toronto on Tuesday November 27, 2012.

  • Toronto Mayor Rob Ford briefly takes the stage to greet the crowd as part of the New Years Eve celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto on Monday, December 31, 2012.


 

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