Mayor Ford might be an improvement

I’ve been reading the letter sent by the Mayor to one of the community groups involved in the Albert-Scott busway detour brou-ha-ha.

It is a masterpiece of seeming calm and logical. It is also full of slight of hand, of implications that simply don’t pass the smell test for those actually in the neighbourhood and close to the issues. It is, in fact, far too clever by half. I find myself having to examine every sentence carefully to see what is glossed over, what is missed, what is slid by, through the careful selection of words that conceal more than they reveal.

Thoughts that come to mind include Slick. Evasive.  Insincere.

It makes me — almost — long for a Rob Ford down on Laurier Avenue. He at least came out to face the media, gave a mea culpa, and acknowledged concerns from the little folk. His press conferences weren’t tightly scripted by PR professionals. ┬áI suspect Ford simply couldn’t be as Machiavellian as this City’s Albert-Scott detour strategy has turned out to be.

10 thoughts on “Mayor Ford might be an improvement

    1. If this is the George Dark that Eric introduced us to could you please explain the reason we pay salaries for planners employed by the City of Ottawa and then must pay again to hire planners “from away?” And why do we need to pay a third time when neither the locally employed planners and the foreign imports fail to listen to the people in the community and proceed to destroy the community fabric that the taxpayers spent considerable time in developing?

  1. Umm, he only gave a mea culpa after months of out and out lying to the public. I’ll take carefully parsed double-speak over that any day. Annoying, I know, but to shine a light on Rob Ford as some kind of paragon of plain-speaking (I only answered the question of whether I was an addict or was currently smoking crack, not whether I had ever done) and honesty is just plain stupid. Sorry, but maybe you should rethink this…

  2. I’d have to assume Chianello and Reveely keep tabs on your missives. That’s three checks on the guff coming out of City Hall, and there’s doubtless many other skeptics with some clout in their communities.

    Mind, not everyone reads the Petfinder. Too many people get their news from the free Metro and, gasp!, some of them even vote.

  3. I think people have this idea Ford is for the people and does not spend well lets look at some facts they could have gone with the far cheaper lrt but there going with a subway that many don’t think is the right move but council wants it.

  4. I think there’s an important point here. I don’t think Eric is calling for a Ford-nation approach. I think he is exploring different pros and cons of Ford and Watson.

    To riff on what Eric said, Ford and Watson are both problematic in different ways. Ford is a cynical buffoon. He harms public discussion and engagement primarily by brazenly asserting the impossible – even grade separated LRTs impede traffic, and he’s saved a billion dollars in gravy. Simply not true, right? But he won on the gravy train line, he won on the LRT vs. subways fiasco, and had stunning message discipline doing both.

    Watson’s different. He’s mostly better. But he’s in some ways worse. Watson employs just as many ad hominems. Watch on twitter – very often, substantive critiques turn into dismissive attacks on the questioner. The classic version of this is how, in a city that admits being terrible at consultations, the mayor also frequently dismisses critiques of process as being merely sour grapes. This is actually more shameful and cutting behavior than just calling someone a left-wing loon, as Ford would do. It’s more personal, and implies insincerity and deceit. Watson also has a unique ability to bullshit, in the technical sense – he’s a huge fan of saying things that are true but irrelevant and misleading so that the discussion falls apart. For example, the mayor helpfully assured us that the RCR won’t get a subsidy, and that Eugene Melnyk can bid on the casino operating contract…..which was the point of all the concern, right? Meanwhile, the RCR will get what it wanted and Melnyk will not.

    So when people engage city hall, given that Watson and Ford actually have fairly similar political agendas, it can be actually less frustrating to engage a Ford. There is less undermining, slippery, garbage there. It’s a different, more straight-up, type of garbage I guess.

  5. Asdf

    Well they could have gone with a light rail system that would have cost the city very little but Ford wanted a subway system that will cost the city alone just under a billion then you have some saying Ford does not spend some even say they don’t have a debt.

  6. I just don’t think it’s necessary to bring up Ford’s name just to prove a point. I hope it’s not to get more people clicking and reading the blog. It’s a bit Sun Media-esque. I don’t think it enhances the conversation.

  7. I heard from someone that Mayor Ford is great to work with – the Council has approved more and gotten more done with him (since he doesn’t oppose anything – except if it is in relation to hockey) than with his predecessors! : )

  8. As for they have got more done with him no question certain projects have got done now as for he does not oppose anything thats really not true there are many that wanted a light rail system but he wanted a subway there is alot of issues in Toronto.

Comments are closed.