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.
It’s everyone’s favourite City Hall brothers, back for another week of radio! Hoo boy, will Rob discuss the City’s ongoing high-stakes review of priority neighbourhoods? Or will Doug talk about how, despite its recent violence, Jane Finch isn’t actually the way it’s often perceived? Or maybe they’ll discuss the fractured relationship between Toronto’s police and the city at large? Sadly not. Here’s the recap:
1:07: As bagpipes open the show, Rob marvels, “I guess we are at war.” Ever the populist, Doug clarifies that he and his brother are fighting “for the people,” which is a relief to all us humans out there. I’m still not sure who the enemy is, but maybe we’ll find out later?
1:10: Rob calls TIFF “vibrant.” Is our mayor turning into an urbanist? Has he been replaced by a Richard Florida word generator? I’m scared.
1:11: Doug says Friday’s Ford Fest will have George Brown culinary students preparing food, which sounds like a great idea. Also, there will be 6500 cobs of corn, in case you really like corn. Check it out at Centennial Park. It’s free!
1:13: Rob learns there’s a beer tent at Ford Fest, and he wants to talk about that. “Let’s get our priorities straight.”
1:13: Rob says the lefties at Government Management Committee kept on wanting to spend and spend and spend, and that’s why he had to take the unusual step of sitting in on the committee’s latest meeting and breaking tie votes. What Rob doesn’t mention is the reason two left-wing councillors on the committee—Pam McConnell (Ward 28, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) and Mary Fragedakis (Ward 29, Toronto-Danforth)—voted to improve service standards. Every year, 120,000 people who call to inquire about tax assessments hang up because they’re on hold too long. The motion the mayor opposed tried to reduce that number by 24,000 calls.
So the mayor went out of his way—he almost never attends committee meetings—to oppose making it easier for people to find out how their taxes are being assessed and implemented. Customer service excellence!
1:15: Doug on the media: “I can’t stand those SOBs.” Oh, Doug, we all know you love the attention.
1:21: Rob again guarantees that the Land Transfer Tax will be reduced by 10 per cent in the next budget cycle, although there appears to be no appetite on council for doing this. Doug again claims that Toronto has balanced its budget for the first time under Rob’s leadership. Doug is again wrong. Toronto has done this every year, because it’s legally required.
1:26: Rob takes credit for delivering subways to Scarborough, despite the fact that he had little to do with the province’s decision to build them—and also despite the fact that they haven’t been delivered. Doug goes on to refer to the proposed subway extension as “crumbs” for Scarborough. There you have it folks—the Ford administration is taking credit for delivering crumbs, which may or may not ever come. Solid messaging.
1:28: Doug says the media really believes the people are stupid, and they’re not. Don’t believe Doug, Raccoon Nation. I think you’re the best.
1:29: Lorne calls, and he says he’s a businessman, not a socialist, so his advice can be trusted. He says the Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star should pay taxes to have their newspaper boxes on street corners, because darn it, that’s valuable real estate.
Rob says the City has a lot of money, and so he doesn’t want to tax anyone, not even the Star and Globe. What a good guy! Maybe this is the beginning of a détente in Ford/media relations? Then Doug says something about Pravda journalism, and we go to commercial.
1:39: Rob talks about positive economic indicators for the City, including a drop in the unemployment rate from 11 per cent to 7.1 per cent. (Actually, the unemployment rate was 9.4 per cent when Ford took office, but he has repeatedly misstated this.) It’s true that a 2.3 per-cent drop in unemployment is good for the City, but the mayor has been unable to articulate the specific policies he has implemented that might have been responsible for this change. Instead, he throws out vague phrases like “cutting red tape” and “creating the climate for business.” It’s the kind of business presentation that wouldn’t pass muster in the private sector.
1:52: Eddie from Mississauga complains about a proposed new tax on impermeable construction materials— a tax that would supposedly go toward flood management projects. Eddie asks whether Rob read about in the Star, and the mayor says he doesn’t read that “red rag,” and is unfamiliar with the tax. Actually, he was asked a question about the proposal at a press conference on Thursday, and said he didn’t like it. It’s almost as though Rob is winging this whole mayor-ing thing.
1:58: Rob leaves the show to go to his son Doug’s sixth birthday, leaving brother/uncle/councillor Doug in charge of the show.
2:17: Doug says he’s very, very confident that the federal government will come to the table with funding for public transit. He says he’ll go after it if it doesn’t, and tells people to remember this. We will.
2:19: Caller Tom says he’s worried that random people on Facebook and Twitter could be tapped to fill the Ward 3 council seat left vacant by former deputy mayor Doug Holyday, who departed City Hall after being elected to Queen’s Park. Council controversially decided to appoint Holyday’s replacement, rather than hold a by-election.
Councillor Doug (so many Dougs!) channels his inner Kent Brockman and responds that democracy just doesn’t work when it comes to city council. Related reminder: Doug Ford is a democratically elected councillor.
2:31: Now on the show is Kent Plummer, the principal of the marketing firm that made last week’s “Summer of Ford” video. Plummer says he was inspired to make the video after attending a community meeting where he felt the media didn’t focus on the important things. In case you’re wondering, Plummer’s video features Ford Fest and the mayor’s arm-wrestling match with Hulk Hogan. The important stuff!
2:39: Doug: “The media can’t comprehend a positive video [of Rob Ford].” Maybe that’s because everyone is focused on a different kind of video.
2:40: Doug, who called members of the media SOBs just over an hour ago, says he takes the high road while the media doesn’t. Oh, Doug.
2:46: Caller Joanne is concerned about a crosswalk at the Queensway and Parklawn Road. She wants the crosswalk taken out because cars drive very quickly and could hit someone, and there’s a stoplight two blocks away. This doesn’t sound pedestrian friendly.
3:00: And God bless Ford Nation
And God bless you, Raccoon Nation, you scavenging scourges of Fordisms. There weren’t any big announcements on today’s show, unless you count Doug’s calling the media SOBs an announcement. The banter followed the classic Ford formula: declare you’re at war with an undefined enemy, state that the Toronto Star is really smelly and that subways rule and LRTs drool, and then throw in something about football for folksy good measure.
3 out of 5 SOBs.