Oct. 31 was certainly a wild day in Toronto City Hall.
Reporters leaping up and down on the Mayor's private driveway like jackals.
Disclosures of secret meetings between the Mayor and his buddy Lisi. Revelations about the lost video.
The usual lefty suspects on City council calling for Ford's head on a platter. And urging the Mayor out of faux concern for his health to resign, to step aside, and to commit political hara-kiri in the City Hall lobby.
And of course, these councillors were claiming, for the good of the city, that the city should not be distracted by the circus, surrounding the Mayor.
A circus, ironically partially created and fuelled by these very same Ford opponents competing with each other before the cameras to denounce Ford. And by those very same reporters cornering Ford and Ford opponents for juicy anti-Ford quotes.
The reporters are trying to do their jobs. They're trying to get to the truth. Report dirt on Ford and sell newspapers. I get that. But who is ultimately responsible for the circus at City Hall? Who is really distracting whom?
Ford is trying to do City business. Toronto councillors are more interested in Ford's removal than in doing their jobs for which they were elected. The press appears to prefer sensationalism to the reporting on the more important, but mundane problems of Toronto residents -- i.e. transit, social housing and infrastructure.
For Ford Nation, it was just not another Thursday.
I cannot speak for Ford Nation. But I do know some Ford Nation members who are not thrilled by the recent revelation that there does exist a video in which Mayor Ford is allegedly smoking a substance through a crack pipe.
According to Dennis Morris, Ford's counsel, Ford has not technically lied, when he stated there was no video in which he was smoking crack cocaine. The assumption is that the substance was tobacco or pot. To date, Chief Blair has not stated that Ford will be charged on the basis of the video of Ford and the pipe.
This video may not be disclosed to the public until the trial of Mr. Lisi, which may be another 1 to 2 years.
Ford may never be charged.
The contents of the "pipe" in the video, may never be learned.
Also many Ford Nation members are not thrilled by the numerous photos and evidence of Ford and Lisi having secret meetings and exchanging mysterious packets.
However, once again, no charges have been laid as a result of this information. And no charges may ever be laid against Mayor Ford.
Even if charges were laid against Mayor Ford, he cannot be removed from office unless a criminal conviction is imposed upon him.
Legally, Ford can remain as Mayor to the end of his term. He is not legally obligated to resign or step aside. Notwithstanding Ford's messy personal life and all his mishegas (craziness), Ford Nation still stands by their man. His fiercely loyal supporters strongly identify with their unsinkable mayor. And they hate the Toronto SWAGs (elites) who want Ford gone and wish to do undemocratically what they failed to do democratically. Hence his approval rating has increased.
The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, and the Toronto Sun have called for Ford to resign, for the good of the City.
TheSun believes that "he is a liability to his own agenda of fiscal conservatism, because the longer he stays in office, the more City Hall will become a circus preoccupied with the mayor's personal issues".
The Post argues, "Ford's personal life is now so thoroughly beset by crisis that the people of Toronto cannot count on him to fairly represent them and give his duties the time and consideration they require."
Marcus Gee of the Globe maintains "the noise over this shabby business (Thursday's revelations)... will drown out everything he tries to do.
The Star argues, referring to the video, "the sight of Ford in this footage... will drag the mayor's office to new depths of degradation."
In summary, the press argues that the sight of Ford in the video, the surrounding circus, crisis and noise will render Ford incapable of doing his job and thus justify his voluntary resignation.
With respect, I beg to differ.
Rob Ford has the rare ability to focus and execute on his political/public agenda, notwithstanding the messiness of his personal life. During the first three years of Ford's term, he was hit with numerous law suits, investigations, and judicial inquiries. A lesser man would have cracked under the pressure.
Notwithstanding these pressures, Ford has delivered on his promises. He has achieved significant tax savings for taxpayers through: successful union negotiations; contracting out garbage services; killing an unpopular vehicle registration fee; reducing councillors and his office budgets.
He has also gained control of city spending and reduced the rate of taxation well below the Miller years.
Ford also secured historic tri-level funding for the Scarborough subway even while under criminal investigation. Clearly, Ford has an uncanny ability to compartmentalize.
Ford reminds me of a once obscure Arkansas governor, who shared with Ford a love of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He was beset, both as a governor and as the president of the United States, by personal scandals, extra-marital affairs, judicial inquiries, shady financial transactions, associations with sleazy characters and impeachment proceedings. But Clinton succeeded through his personal crises as has Ford. And look at Bill Clinton now.
My point is that Ford thrives in these crises. He is a formidable street fighter. If Toronto city councilors prefer preening for the press and concentrating on Ford's personal issues, rather than dealing with the real issues that affect Toronto residents, then they are not acting in the best interests of Toronto for which they were elected. And come next election, those councillors may be in for a rude awakening.
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