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politics

The Rob Ford Radio Recap: Owls and Crack Addiction

Every Sunday, Mayor Rob Ford and his brother, Doug, host a two-hour talk show on Newstalk 1010. We listen so you don't have to.

Rob and Doug Ford in the studio; photo courtesy of Newstalk 1010.

Rob and Doug Ford in the studio; photo courtesy of Newstalk 1010.

It’s the Ford Radio extravaganza, with all of your favourite Fords! Except Doug, because he’s not joining us today, which is sad. Will Rob power through without his brother-in-arms? Find out next!

1:07 p.m.: Rob says the city has done a great job on snow removal—he has only received 100 calls on the subject.

1:09 p.m.: The mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti, is now on the show. Sadly it’s not Hank Scorpio, the best CEO in Simpsons history.

1:12 p.m.: Rob really envies that Markham council only has 12 members, rather than Toronto’s 44. “Wow, listen to that, Frances,” Ford says to Toronto city council speaker Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston), who is co-hosting today. But Scarpitti adds some much needed perspective: “Toronto,” he says, “is different.”

1:16 p.m.: Rob tells the audience Doug can’t make it to the show because he’s in a serious meeting. Let the Twitter speculation begin.

1:18 p.m.: Scarpitti starts to promote a prospective NHL stadium for Markham, a contentious issue in the growing city. His comments include the words “3P,” “private sector,” and “stadium,” which is the equivalent of scratching behind Mayor Ford’s ear if he were a cat.

1:25 p.m.: After speaking about Markham’s proposed development levy to finance the aforementioned stadium, Rob reiterates his desire to reduce the Land Transfer Tax. “We’re the only municipality that has this,” he explains to Scarpitti. “We’re going to table something in the next few months.”

1:38 p.m.: Caller Brian says he thinks the idea of an NHL stadium funded by taxpayers stinks of Skydome. He also strongly dislikes parked cars which block streetcar tracks in the snowstorm (and that caused massive streetcar backlogs), and thinks the city should be able to more easily remove them in such a situation. I like Brian, and want to give him a hug.

1:39 p.m.: Ford tells Brian to call his number next time that happens. Mayor Ford, I follow Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s Twitter feed, and you are no Cory Booker.

1:41 p.m.: Caller Kurt really likes the stadium idea and says the only people who are opposed to the project have their own political agenda. This is presumably opposed to supporters who do not have an agenda other than a noble love for Canada’s soul: hockey.

1:46 p.m.: Rob reads out talking points about how awesome his administration is when it comes to finances. Scarpitti then matches the Ford-like finance speak, including citing a 2009 report called “Excellence in Efficiency and Effectiveness” that seems to have been named by the world’s worst focus group. The conversation sounds like every single PowerPoint presentation at the Economic Development Committee, except without the shiny graphics. I hope you’re tobogganing instead.

1:57 p.m.: The mayor mentions “cutting red tape,” and in the distance you can hear a faint cry of Ford Radio ‘Bingo!’

2:07 p.m.: Scarpitti talks about how Markham council voted for an extra 0.5 per cent tax increase to address the emerald ash borer, a big problem for cities across North America. The metallic green beetle is predicted to wipe out 10 per cent of Toronto’s tree population by 2017—860,000 trees in total.

2:10 p.m.: Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32, Beaches-East York) joins the show. She’s one of the few non-right wingers to appear on the show in its one-year history. (The others: Sarah Doucette, Paula Fletcher, and Mike Layton.)

2:12 p.m.: McMahon, who supports term limits, engages in Mamet-esque dialogue with Nunziata, who opposes them—

Nunziata: I think the voters decide on who they want to elect, right?
McMahon: Right…
Nunziata: Exactly.

Well then.

2:13 p.m.: “It’s not that hard to beat an incumbent,” says Nunziata, politician since 1988.

2:30 p.m.: A caller complains about graffiti on Highway 401. Rob says he really hates graffiti and he’ll get right on it, sending out someone to take care of it tomorrow. This is a good time to remind readers of Toronto’s 311 service and even a dedicated graffiti app to complain about sightings.

2:41 p.m.: Caller John complains about a report from the health department, which warns about gambling addiction that would accompany a casino, and argues there’s hypocrisy in their support for harm reduction sites, “I can’t see how one department says heroin and crack are okay, but blackjack isn’t.” The mayor emits a stifled guffaw.

2:51 p.m.: Rob recaps his trip to the Toronto Sportsmen show, including holding a skunk and having an owl on his arm. It produced some of the best ever Rob Ford photos, which is saying something.

3:02 p.m.: Newstalk 1010′s news update of Ford’s radio show—which is on Newstalk 1010—calls his claim that the city would get $150-$200 million annually from a casino “not entirely accurate.” More recent estimates from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation put the figure in the $50-$100 million range.

Verdict The show was absent its ringer, Doug Ford, and Frances Nunziata just isn’t the same. We only got the tiniest amount of real news, that Ford wants to move ahead with a cut to the Land Transfer Tax soon, and not much else. Two out of five owls.

CORRECTION: February 12 12:25PM Previously, the reference to the Simpsons CEO read Frank Scorpio instead of Hank Scorpio. For Simpsons fans, we apologize profusely for the egregious error. For everyone else, we regular apologize.

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