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Duly Quoted: Mayor Rob Ford

In which the mayor tells us everything we need to know about his political MO.

“It’s just common sense, when you break it down to chairs. Some people can’t comprehend billions, but when you talk about chairs? I mean, everybody has a chair.”

—The mayor, speaking with Newstalk 1010 host Jerry Agar about how furious he (the mayor, not Agar) is over the City’s decision to spend $75,000 on 30 chairs for City Hall, offhandedly gave this unusually honest assessment of his own political strategy. One of Ford’s biggest assets as a politician is his intuitive sense for the PR gymnastics involved in things like advocating for unnecessary multi-billion-dollar subway projects while still maintaining a reputation as a penny pincher.


  • wklis

    Seen those chairs. Nothing special to me.

  • Welshgrrl

    The stupid, it fucking burns. Councillor Ford would have spontaneously combusted if this had been $70,000 for 30 chairs when Miller was mayor.

    • dsmithhfx

      Now you’re making me wish Miller bought the chairs.

  • vampchick21

    The facepalm jpeg is not strong enough for this. Chairs. Seriously? My office bought all new chairs last year without batting an eyelash.

  • OgtheDim

    He’s right.

    $2500 per chair?!?!

    • Dogma

      Yeah yeah, great quote. What isn’t he telling us?

      • Lloyd_Davis

        “Mayor Rob Ford made the announcement Friday afternoon after spending the
        day trying to find out details of the controversial purchase.” Good use of a day’s work there, Robbo.

        “‘I’m responsible for every dime that’s being spent and I’m not going to
        make an excuse. At the end of the day, it falls on my lap…” Oh good Christ, that’s a disturbing image.

        “The new chairs replace original Warren Platner pieces that have been at City Hall since it opened in the 1960′s. The chairs have been re-upholstered and refurbished twice according to city staff, and new ones were required.”

        So they got 48 years’ use out of the old ones. That seems pretty prudent, actually. But we could just follow Mayor Farley’s advice and pick up those $29 specials at Staples and replace each of them an average of two or three times a year.

        • OgtheDim

          I’m not saying that.

          I’m saying that not many companies spend that much on what amounts to side chairs.

          I get the desire to maintain architectural integrity.

          But realistically, that’s a lot of money and, yeah, there are alternatives.

          Oh, and are people assuming these will last as long? Not sure why but that is really doubtful.

  • Gordon Yarley

    Millions of dollars, no billions of dollars for wasted Transit Projects. This is why you won’t be reelected Mr. Ford. You have no clue what a waste of money is.

  • Dinah Might

    Okay, but, are these normal chairs, or super-swivelly funky padded “Voice”-type chairs? Does the cost include the buzzer hookup?

    Just think, they could listen to transit proposals WITHOUT EVEN LOOKING and buzz in to dramatically rotate and claim them as their own!

  • Paul Kishimoto

    Bonus points for “PR gymnastics,” a very entertaining mental image.

  • CrankyOldProf

    Folks, chairs are the ORIGINAL kickback scheme, raised to a high art by Boss Tweed of NYC in the 1850s:
    Chair dealer: “I’ll sell you chairs for $5 each.”
    Boss Tweed: “No you won’t. You’ll sell them for $50 each, and you’ll give me $20.”
    Chair dealer: “Deal, Boss!”

  • glenn_storey

    “a cynic is a man who knows the price of everything, and the value of nothing” oscar wilde.
    who cares about the price? are they worth it? that’s the question
    for example; i’m a carpenter. i have 4 air compressors, the first one i bought, 30 years ago. it cost me 1000$, and other than new oil, hasn’t cost me a dime. the others all cost a lot less to buy, but the repairs over the years have been expensive.
    my mitre saw cost 1800$. you can buy one for 200$. go ahead, it’ll be a piece of junk. the blades for my saw? 175$ each. they’re sharper than shit, and are still going strong, 8 years after i bought them.
    i can go and on, but the point is, good tools cost a lot more than bad tools, and what is a chair really, but a tool?
    and lastly, i would think a guy who weighs almost 400 lbs would be cognizant of the fact that your basic 100$ ikea office chair can only take so much abuse.

    • danieljchristie

      There are a few quality tools left at City Hall but for the most part now-a-days it’s mostly just tools. Tools like the Ford’s themselves, such poor quality they can’t be sharpened, not even once. Or those formerly high-quality Italian-made tools like the Mamolitti Grinder or the Nunziata High-Speed Blower. Both were once known for their quiet reliability. But then the cheap bearings failed and both machines started screaming like heck under even the slightest load. At one point the wheels flew right off the Mamolitti Grinder and almost impaled passersby. Around the same time the Nunziata Blower actually started to suck instead of blow but by that time the warranty had long expired and Voter Depot refused to excange the inferior product -even though Voter Depot’s reputation was at stake. Yep, tools aren’t what they used to be. Especially the tools at City Hall.

  • Lloyd_Davis

    Wait a minute. These chairs are replicas of ones that have been at City Hall since 1965? If they’re built to the same specs as the originals, sounds to me like a frickin’ steal. That’s, like, fifty bucks per chair per year.

  • Johnny O’Keefe

    If you want to spend that much money on chairs for your personal use at home then fantastic but spending that much public money on chairs that none of us will neither see or enjoy is rediculous… this type of draconian behaviour will serve only to secure another 4 years for Robby at City Hall… The last thing (most of us) want is for him to be put into a situation that makes him look good… this unfortuntely does.

    • dsmithhfx

      Rob says he takes full responsibility. I’m fine with that. Heck, he should personally pay for those chairs, he can certainly afford it. I bet he blew more on Fordfests, and if he had been doing his job instead of fiddle-fucking around with that he would have known about the chairs.

  • John D.

    Also, that the supposed adults in the room are completely unwilling to smack him down, thus adding to the perception of Ford being a “winner,” and that he actually has principles he’s willing to fight for. No, he doesn’t: He backed off from the Casino proposal quickly enough when it became clear he wasn’t going to get his way. With the subway boondoggle, far too many politicos got greedy, stupidly thinking they could benefit from it as well. It’s not that Ford played Karen Stintz and company so expertly; they played themselves.

  • danieljchristie

    On Agar Friday, Doug-The-Enraged-Porcupine said he was “angry” about the chair procurement. But Doug-The Enraged-Porcupine is angry about everything, isn’t he? I mean he’s just all quill-throwing anger all the time. So where’s the impact of Doug-The-Enraged-Porcupine being ‘angry’ about chairs when Doug-The-Enraged-Porcupine’s anger is all over the place all the time anyway? If Doug-The-Enraged-Porcupine was actually Doug-The Happy-Go-Lucky-Non-Quill-Throwing-Porcupine who, for some really good reason got angry just this once, well, the anger might mean something. But no, it’s lost its meaning. On Friday it only served to make Jerry Agar look like he had a bowl of Valium and milk with some sliced banana on top for breakfast. That’s hardly the role of Doug-The-Enraged-Porcupine now -is it?

  • tongjun