Five things we learned from Rob Ford’s year-end interview with the Globe
The mayor’s first big meeting with city council was a marathon affair in which he got everything he wanted. Rob Ford’s plan for the new year is more meetings like that; even if he doesn’t get everything he wants, he sure plans to keep council busy. According to a year-end interview with the Globe and Mail, the mayor has a bunch of priorities for 2011. Here, five not-entirely-unpredictable things we learned from his Fordship.
1. Remember yesterday’s exciting speculation about elevated rail? Well, forget it
That was a fun 12 hours: for about a morning and an afternoon, we were all excited about elevated rail. What was it? Would it be cheaper, better and uglier than Transit City? And was Metrolinx serious about it? Apparently, we can all stop talking about it now because the mayor has made his decision: “No, everything’s going underground. I want to do subways. Every poll you see, over 80 per cent of people in the city want subways compared to LRT or streetcars,” he told the Globe. Who cares what Metrolinx thinks? It’s only their money.
2. Gravy-bashing, this time with more facts
One of Ford’s signature issues is waste cutting, and his demand that city staff find efficiencies in how they run things. Apparently, the new year is going to bring us a report from the city auditor about how poorly run the city actually is. “I can’t tell you what that is right now, but there’s a lot of waste… I’m not happy with what he found, but he did his job and I’ll have to deal with it,” Ford says. We hope that, at the very least, this means we’ll stop hearing about Kyle Rae’s retirement party.
3. Get ready for a fight with the cops
As part of his “no sacred cows” promise, Ford says he’s willing to tackle the city’s police budget—nearly a billion dollars. How he can do that while filling his promise to put 100 new cops on the street is left unanswered, but that might just go out the window, seeing as the police don’t want the extra staff anyway.
4. Privatization—it’s what’s for dinner
Ford has already let it be known that he wants to open up garbage collection for privatization, as they did in his hometown of Etobicoke. He’s also got his privatization sights set on park maintenance, because, as he says, “There’s a lot of grass to be cut.” Why not just get in on the urban farming boom and let people graze their goats in the parks? (Note to council: we might need a livestock diaper law.)
5. Remember the 2009 strike? Ford’s willing to roll the dice again
Speaking of privatization, Ford says he’s going to pursue it even if it results in another strike, and the TTC is going to be an essential service even if it means more work-to-rule campaigns like ATU leader Bob Kinnear has threatened. Ah, labour relations in Toronto—they always seem to be about six months from Lord of the Flies–style anarchy.