Every Sunday, Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug host The City, a two-hour talk show on Newstalk 1010. We listen so you don't have to.
Two weeks after explosive new allegations surfaced about Rob Ford’s associates and their connections to a video that supposedly shows the mayor smoking crack, will the Ford brothers address the startling accusations? Will the mayor stand up and unequivocally deny the news report, or will he accept responsibility so the city can move on from its leadership vacuum? Or will we just talk about Hulk Hogan? Probably Hulk Hogan, but let’s find out!
1:08: Rob opens the show, and he says it’s going to be a “hot one.” We will hold him to that.
1:10: In passing, Doug mentions that two of his daughters are cheerleaders for the Laurier football team and are in Guelph today for a game. Remarkably, Rob then rhymes off the university football schedule for the day from memory. If only the mayor paid this much attention to, say, transit proposals.
1:12 Rob claims that 83 per cent of people who voted in a straw poll at a Wednesday community meeting in Ward 3 preferred a by-election (as opposed to a council appointment) to replace former councillor Doug Holyday. The mayor then claims that all the people who voted against a by-election live outside the ward— an assertion that is in no way verifiable.
1:13: Rob urges people to come down to City Hall for the August 26 vote on the Ward 3 by-election issue. We here at Torontoist agree. If you can make time to check out a meeting, it’s a great way to learn more about and keep tabs on the city. Make sure to say hi to your Torontoist-writing friends, too. If you can’t make it out, you can watch the live feed.
1:14: Rob marvels at the fact that the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun editorial boards both support a by-election, saying that if they agree on something, it must be right. Umm Rob, you might want to read this editorial. Or this one.
1:16: Doug says there should be a rule that makes it so all council vacancies trigger by-elections. Rob agrees, saying, “That’s what I’ve always been thinking.” As it happens, there is such a “rule.” Adopted in February 2000, council’s policy is that vacancies that occur before the November 30 preceding an election year are decided with a by-election. Vacancies after that point, like Olivia Chow’s or David Soknacki’s in 2006, get appointments. And the mayor hasn’t always been so single-mindedly focused on by-elections: in 2005, then-councillor Rob Ford seconded a motion for an appointment in Soknacki’s Ward 41 (Scarborough-Rouge River).
That he now insists that council must always choose by-elections speaks less to democratic principles than to heavy-handed politicking. Rob and Doug Ford are right that a by-election is the right way to go, as per council procedures, but they are not right to make this about themselves.
1:17: Doug says that if council chooses to appoint someone, they’ll see lobbying like they’ve never seen before, and he hates that. Of course, this comes from the councillor who once crowed about his “backroom vision” for the Port Lands, and who is a key part of an administration that has seen a tenfold surge in registered lobbying efforts since 2010.
1:17: Rob mentions being at the unveiling of the Jack Layton memorial at the ferry docks on Thursday, and speaks kindly of his former seatmate at council. He adds that he doesn’t like it when people phone him up and say that he shouldn’t have been there for the ceremony. Who the heck are these people calling Rob Ford?
1:21: Mayor Ford announces that Councillor David Shiner (Ward 24, Willowdale) will take over as the new chair of the Government Management Committee. (The chair became vacant when Norm Kelly was made Deputy Mayor to replace Doug Holyday, who is in turn replacing former MPP Laurel Broten at Queen’s Park. Is that confusing enough?) There’s still a vacant spot on the mayor’s Executive Committee that Rob says will be filled soon. However, that spot will have to go to council for approval.
1:32: Doug asks Rob if he’s a pinko today, because he’s wearing a pink shirt. Rob clearly does not enjoy this. “Unbelievable,” he mutters in a tone that sounds like it’s accompanied by an eyeroll.
1:33: We have our first caller of the day, Mac. He says that if there’s any basis for the allegations against Rob and he’s still able to accomplish what he does, he should run for premier. He says he’s a former TCHC employee, and he thinks there are structural flaws at the housing provider and a culture of waste within the administration. He’s in favour of co-ops and drug testing, and holds that a lot of these people have “flat-screen TVs and nice cars and taxpayers bear the brunt of their lifestyle.”
Rob says he would like to meet with the caller and adds, “I can assure you one thing. Until we get our housing in order and fixed up, we’re not building any more government housing in this city.” This is neither council policy nor what is actually happening—nor should it be.
1:36: Doug and Rob say they want referenda on the next municipal ballot. Issues they would like to see covered include cutting council in half, whether Toronto should have a full-fledged casino, and whether all of the LRT money should be allocated to subways. Coincidentally, they lost all of these votes at council.
1:45: Robert calls in, and he’s angry that Toronto keeps on building these “damn condominiums” rather than preserving industrial lands. Rob and Doug correctly point out that these kinds of re-zonings are very contentious at council and are undergoing a review.
2:01: Now we’re talking about the big news item of the week: Hulk Hogan. Rob’s transformation into the city’s mascot is now complete.
2:05: Adam calls in, and he’s frustrated. He says Yonge Street will be closed for two years between Sheppard and Finch for water main construction, and he blames local councillor John Filion for this. Adam is correct that there is water main construction, but only certain lanes will be closed, and construction is expected to last nine months, not two years.
2:14: A caller asks about privatizing the TTC, an idea supported by the likes of former Ford chief of staff Mark Towhey. Rob says he doesn’t like the idea, although he would hear someone out if they had a proposal for it.
2:28: Doug jokingly suggests Newstalk 1010 host Jerry Agar would be a good fit for the vacant Ward 3 council seat. Agar, a Ward 3 resident and right-wing commentator, is a good friend of the Fords, and occasionally meets Doug for meals on the weekend.
2:34: And now Jerry Agar joins the show! How about that. Doug asks where Agar stands on the issues, and he turns out to have the same views as Doug. How about that. Who said all lamestream media types were against the Fords?
2:39: Kevin on line one asks why it takes five days for a bylaw officer to come to his house. Rob says that shouldn’t be the case, and that whenever the mayor makes a call, he gets an answer the next day. Kevin also asks about the water main on Yonge Street, but he gives the correct timeline.
2:41: Rudy on line five suggests left-wing councillors Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) and Gord Perks (Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park) eat cronut burgers. Rob says he feels sorry for everyone who got sick, but urges people to go out to the Ex.
3:00: God bless Ford Nation!
We talked about a potential by-election or council appointment for Ward 3 and about Hulk Hogan, and we heard lots of bugaboos from callers. Which, really, makes this a pretty uneventful episode. As always, God bless you, Raccoon Nation, you nibbling nuisances.
Two out of five Hulkamaniacs.