Reaction roundup: guess which city columnist called Rob Ford a “rotund, rich, balding guy from the suburbs”?
Because newspaper columnists love tying their columns to milestones—for instance, say, the first anniversary of Rob Ford’s 2010 election—some of the city’s finest weighed in this weekend on the mayor’s tenure so far. The columns were roundly predictable, but they do provide something in the way of worthwhile analysis, as well as a few lines we’re sure to be quoting for the coming months (the Toronto Star’s Royson James said the mayor treats Toronto “like a bastard child he’s never hugged and doesn’t know how to love”; we reluctantly concur). A roundup of who said what on Ford’s performance thus far, after the jump.
• Once he’s finished calling Rob Ford a “rotund, rich, balding guy from the suburbs whose suits don’t fit,” Royson James poses a question: are Ford’s brash personality, his unwillingness to compromise and, apparently, his appearance overshadowing the worthwhile exercise of examining government spending? James spoke to two city councillors with divergent opinions. Ana Bailão thinks Ford’s hasty retreat compromise on the waterfront suggests he might be amenable to working with his opponents (though she also says the Ford administration is “a lot more divisive than I anticipated”). Adam Vaughan, on the other hand, thinks Ford’s opponents will simply have to contain the damage done by Ford and ride out the remainder of his administration. He also doesn’t think Ford is a very reasonable guy. On this we agree.
• Sue-Ann Levy directs a fair bit of disapproval at Ford, calling his promise of no service cuts “naïve” and gently criticizing his recent concessions to police. But Levy—and Ford, of course—won’t draw any sort of link between the city’s current financial problems and the tax reductions and freezes that have characterized the mayor’s administration to date. It’s pretty easy to list cutting the vehicle registration tax as one of your major achievements, but it’s a lot tougher to wrestle with the implications. Oh, and Levy also quotes Ford as saying that he hasn’t closed a single library, a statement that can be refuted by a few quality seconds on Google.
• Following a pretty impressive shootout metaphor that involves Ford’s gun belt falling down around his ankles, Marcus Gee suggests that Ford mix his message of fiscal conservatism with one of optimism and progress. He also suggests the mayor be more transparent with his schedule. Although both may be worthwhile suggestions, they’re still contrary to Ford’s ideological conservatism—and his personality. We’re not saying Ford won’t take this advice; we’re just saying he really, really won’t like it.
• The Toronto Star’s editorial board notes one positive, and perhaps unexpected, highlight of Ford’s early months in office: a newly engaged citizenship. People are staying up for all-night executive committee meetings and mobilizing to save the waterfront. This is somewhat reassuring—but, really, it’s probably little more than a silver lining.
• An uneasy year for Rob Ford and Toronto [Toronto Star]
• Bad news for Ford: It gets harder [Toronto Star]
• Year of Ford had ups and downs [Toronto Sun]
• To rescue his mayoralty, Ford needs to be more positive [Globe and Mail]