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.
There was no show last week, because Rob was meeting with the bestest prime minister ever, who wrote a novelty cheque for subway money because he’s a nice man. So hopefully we’ll get a double dose of fun today to make up for it. And, hey, even if it’s not quality time, at least it’ll be quantity time. Let’s check it out!
1:07: Rob leads off the show by saying we need to talk about priorities, and so he proceeds to talk baseball. He thinks the Red Sox have a good chance of winning the World Series.
1:10: Rob refers to his favoured subway proposal, a three-stop subway extension along McCowan Road, as the “Sheppard subway line.” He quickly corrects himself. “But it’s going to be the Sheppard subway soon,” he adds. And our transit nightmare keeps chugging along.
1:15: Rob says that purchasing “went off the rails” when it came to 30 replica Platner chairs for the City Hall members lounge—chairs for which the City paid $75,000. City CFO Robert Rossini comes on the show to detail the purchasing process. He explains that City Hall is a heritage building, and that certain items within it, like the Platner chairs, have heritage properties too. City staff sought bids to refurbish the original 1962 Platner chairs, but that would have cost $225,000, which was deemed to be too much.
1:17: Rob says he’s going to review the heritage policy. Doug says the heritage department has to be flexible. This will go well.
1:26: Rob says listeners have to buy a copy of the Toronto Sun today, because Sue-Ann Levy has a column about the expense accounts of Pan Am Games officials. He reads off a list of the charges, including $0.91 for parking and $6.45 for bottled water, and declares that the officials have gone “offside.” Levy joins the program and calls the expenses an example of “eating at the trough.” She says she’ll keep after them. Classic Sue-Ann.
Rob says he’ll get the City auditor to have a look at these “shenanigans.”
1:35: Doug confesses that he had lunch with the Star‘s David Rider at Massey College, where the former City Hall bureau chief is doing a fellowship. Upon hearing about the meeting, Rob jokingly suggests that Doug has to leave the radio station.
1:45: Rob wishes his chief of staff, Earl Provost, a happy birthday. Provost is one of two Liberals who work in the mayor’s office.
2:05: Graham Henderson of Music Canada joins the show to explain that the mayor’s upcoming trip to Austin, Texas, will help Toronto learn how to emulate the Texas capital and better leverage its music industry. Doug keeps saying “I love it” in the background, because talking about business turns him into a purring cat.
2:15: Councillor Frank Di Giorgio (Ward 12, York South-Weston) joins the show, making himself the fourth councillor to join Rob and Doug in the studio since the crack scandal broke. He’s on to talk about a youth basketball program in his ward and the event it held this Saturday.
2:20: Doug says he’ll go over the budget line by line with Di Giorgio to find “all the waste” again. At this point, I feel it would be a waste of time to go through the problems with that statement.
2:22: As Rob lists community events for the next week, Doug mentions that he likes coin collecting. “I like money,” he says, conjuring an image of Doug Ford diving into a pit filled with gold.
2:25: Doug says there’s no other mayor who has put more into arts and culture than Rob. Of course, Rob routinely votes against arts-and-culture grants, although council approves them.
2:26: Caller Rick says he’s looking forward to the Ford brothers running provincially. Rob says he’ll be running for mayor, so that won’t be him, but Doug says he appreciates the sentiment. Notice how he didn’t say he wouldn’t be running provincially?
2:30: Robert calls in, and says he’s appalled that the CEO of the Pan Am Games expensed 91 cents for parking.
2:33: Betty calls in to say that City Hall’s Platner chairs should have sponsors. Getting sponsors is how they raised money at her church when they needed new chairs, and she says doing so could work at City Hall too. Says Rob: “[We] could make a killing on this.”
2:36: Our new caller suggests that the Island Airport be moved to the Leslie Street Spit. Doug says he agrees, but that the conservation people would go ballistic. He says people are always getting in the way of good ideas, like when he came up with the idea of developing the Port Lands.
Rob agrees. “We have to undo the handcuffs, the TRCA, the heritage…” Silly handcuffs, binding us to nature and history and a sense of who we are.
2:44: Daniella calls in to say that she supports more of a focus on the city’s music industry. It’s the first time Bonnaroo or Coachella has been mentioned on Rob and Doug’s show.
3:00: God bless Ford Nation!
Well, that was a boring show. There was surprisingly little talk about subways, but a lot about chairs and bottled water. Priorities!
So, yeah, it was no Breaking Bad finale. Mind you, Raccoon Nation, maybe that’s a good thing. 2 out of 5 Platners.