Every Sunday, Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Doug, host a two-hour talk show on Newstalk 1010. This week, we listened for you. You're welcome.
It’s the Rob and Doug Ford show, Super Bowl edition! What kind of extravaganza was in store for loyal Newstalk 1010 listeners? A blitz on the campaign compliance audit report? Some unnecessary roughness on lefties? Our recap is below.
1:10: Councillor Frank Di Giorgio (Ward 12, York South-Weston) joins the show. He’s one of the least memorable members of council, but, as Doug points out, “one of the most loyal.” Doug also says he’s a “numbers person,” and it’s true—he was a high school math teacher before his life in politics.
1:12: Rob makes some major news on the show by announcing that he hopes to appoint Di Giorgio his new budget chief. If this was all a ploy to elicit sympathy for outgoing budget chief Mike Del Grande, it’s working.
1:14: Rob and Doug speak very briefly about Rob’s campaign compliance audit, which found that the mayor’s campaign had committed over 100 apparent contraventions of the Municipal Elections Act during the 2010 election. They stress how compliant they have been in co-operating with the auditors.
1:19: Coming back from commercial, Rob touts new funding for the arts, and how he’s a big supporter, citing his high school performances in Grease and The Princess and the Pea. He doesn’t mention that this arts funding was based on the Beautiful City campaign, a 12-year effort from activists and artists to increase Toronto’s per capita arts funding to $25.
1:21: Rob says it’s his favorite day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday. He likes the Ravens, presumably since he’s a big arts dude and the team is named after an Edgar Allan Poe poem.
1:23: Doug says Speaker Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston) is a terrible singer, thus providing a rare thing on which we can all agree.
1:27: Rob is now talking about the city’s economic development strategy, and he says it’s really awesome and cool and stuff. It sounds like he’s reading from prepared notes, but either way it doesn’t matter much. The recently launched economic strategy amounts to saying ‘jobs are good’ while continuing almost every single David Miller policy.
1:29: Rob says the City’s Aa1 credit rating shows his policies are working. It’s the same credit rating as under the previous administration.
1:32: Councillor Vincent Crisanti (Ward 1, Etobicoke North) joins the show, and Doug calls him the “Italian Stallion.” This is what happens when you ally yourself with adults who haven’t stopped using frat-house nicknames.
1:51: The show hits its boring stride as the Brothers Ford, Di Giorgio and Crisanti chat with Mike Williams, the City’s general manager of economic development and culture. Doug says Mike totally gets it because he worked in the private sector, where they teach the alchemy of “getting it.” Crisanti then puts Williams on the spot by asking him what the city really needs—subways, right?—and there’s some awkwardness before commercial.
1:55: Rob wishes Councillor Paul Ainslie (Ward 43, Scarborough East) a happy birthday. He turns 46 on Monday. Doug wants to call him, but Rob moves on.
1:57: Rob congratulates the York University shuttle bus system, saying it’s very efficient. He was also very impressed that there were no drunk students on the bus at 10:00 p.m. Standards!
1:59: Oh boy, it’s time for calls. Joseph calls in and praises the Toronto Sun‘s coverage, saying they’re doing a great job. He also likes how cool and collected Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre) is and thinks Rob is the greatest mayor Toronto has ever had. Even better than Rebel Mayor!
2:05: John calls in, and he doesn’t like how long the TTC takes to renovate stations, arguing the private sector could do it better. “Private Sector”: the number 42 of conservatism since Ronald Reagan.
2:08: Peter calls in to share his inside knowledge. He says he knows experts who say the recent TTC sole-source deal with Gateway Newstand should have got $300-$500 million for the city, not $50 million. He also suggests the City sell parkland to develop it. “That’s a sacred cow,” advises Rob. “No one wants development on parklands.”
2:15: In addition to real estate and transit, everyone in Toronto is an expert on the future of Blackberry, so that’s what we’re discussing now. Don’t worry though, potential budget chair Frank Di Giorgio thinks they’ll turn it around. Analysis!
2:17: Out of context Doug quotation on Blackberry and changing technologies: “I even notice the kids are Skyping.” Insight!
2:25: The gang calls Ainslie and sings him “Happy Birthday.” It’s really sweet. As weird as city hall is, there’s a genuine camaraderie among those stuck in the bubble together, and it comes through in small moments like this.
2:27: Sharon calls in and says Rob is the best mayor Toronto has ever had. Even more perfect than David Crombie, folks! She adds that she doesn’t know how he does it, but that he must have the strength of I-don’t-know-who. Does Rob Ford have the strength of Voldemort? Oh my.
2:29: Dave calls in and says he likes the Ravens in the big game. Sports, folks!
2:32: Bob calls in. It turns out he used to work with Crisanti, and he asks what’s going on with the casino at Woodbine. It’s unclear whether Bob is referring to the new casino proposal or the Woodbine Live! deal which has not materialized. Crisanti says the Woodbine Live! proposal, which was supposed to be worth $1 billion and bring in 9,000 jobs, has fallen through. Doug then jumps in to say how Rob got Woodbine and developer Cordish together, which the mayor touted on the campaign trail. It might just be me, but taking credit for a failed project/dirt farm probably isn’t the best tactic here.
2:40: Kim calls in and apologizes her call isn’t about football. She asks how Toronto can trust Rob and Doug’s promise to watch the City’s pennies if Rob’s campaign compliance audit turned up so many apparent contraventions of the law. Rob and Doug reassure Kim everything is cool, but she is unappeased. “It’s not the first time your words don’t match your actions.”
3:00: We reach the end zone of the show, and Rob spikes the ball, saying it was great. We didn’t get any fireworks on the compliance audit, but there was lots of sports content, so there’s that. We also heard a strange segment on Blackberry that, as much as it pains me to admit it, would have been more interesting if Kevin O’Leary was hosting. Two out of five contraventions.