Rob Ford himself is not a smart individual; this would be forgivable (and perhaps even endearing) if he acknowledged his issues with intelligence as candidly as he does his issues with weight. There are some things he does well and some things about which he is clever, but he has difficulty with abstract thinking. (For example, he lacks the capacity to empathize with people with whom he has not made direct contact.) So I don’t think, in his mind, there is anything inconsistent about his approach. Nor does he grasp that many of the promises he made on the campaign trail were fanciful ones that, for any number of reasons, cannot be implemented in the context of reality. But the people on his team know what they’re doing and are embarking on a deliberate strategy to advance as much of their agenda as possible as quickly as possible, because they know it will only become more difficult as the months wear on and Ford’s momentum wears off. They’re never going to have as many allies on Council as they do now, and every day they put something off, the more likely it is to be subjected to credible scrutiny. Their method is smash first, ask questions later: As a tactic, it’s suitable crafty, but as a philosophy of governance, it is (by definition) about as short-sighted as you can get.
7 December 2010
Well, it looks like our new Council could very well roll back four years of planning and billions of dollars of committed funding so Rob Ford can go back to the drawing board on Transit City. (See the great G&M editorial here.)
I moved to Toronto in 2006, and in four years NOTHING NEW HAS BEEN BUILT, nothing has changed. This will be four more years wasted, if not more: New designs, new environmental approvals, new RFPs and contracts, and hundreds of millions in cancellation clauses. At this rate our transportation network will be paralyzed and strangled before we have any meaningful transit development. What a joke. I realize this is an oversimplification, but we have in front of us what is regarded as an ambitious plan in Transit City — a plan that the incoming Mayor plans to abandon.
If you hate this as much as I do, start writing meaningful letters to your new Mayor and Councillor. Do your research. Cite Montreal and Vancouver as possible examples of what you want to see here. Regardless, please take action any way you can.
1 December 2010