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144 Comments

politics

Duly Quoted: Karen Stintz on Being Just Like Toronto Voters

The home-owning Toronto voters with soccer-playing children, that is.

“I am like you. I have a mortgage, kids, one car, and soccer games. Lets [sic] make it better.”

—Councillor Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence), in a tweet sent this morning. Stintz officially entered the mayoral race on February 24. This message of solidarity from the freshly minted mayoral candidate was greeted with a certain degree of skepticism on social media, with a number of Toronto tweeters offering variations on “I have none of those things.”

Comments

  • Rishi Maharaj

    When a candidate’s appeal to voters is based on identity politics, it is a call to action for everyone else to oppose that candidate strongly. It tells us that Stintz sees her issues – as an affluent, middle-aged, Lawrence Park homeowner – as the City’s issues.

    For the majority of us who do not live Karen Stintz’s life, her leadership would be destructive and blind to the issues that we face as suburban residents, retirees, students and young people, downtown residents, anyone who thinks one car is a luxury not a sacrifice, and many more.

    What’s good for Stintz is not necessarily good for the city. The scary thing about her candidacy is that she does not realize or believe this.

    • SonuvaScrimbro

      Not sure I would read all that into her campaign from one solitary tweet… but yeah, this sort of stuff doesn’t help her at all. The last thing we need in this election is to turn it into a clash between identities, with the candidates going all out to show how they’re more “just like us” than the rest.

      I really hope someone on her team is getting the message, and making sure this kind of stuff doesn’t happen again.

    • iamrobfordsaneurysm

      She’s angling after Ford’s effective suburban demographic by playing up the ‘Gee, I’m just an average schmuck/soccermom/disaffected suburbanite’ angle. She hasn’t much of a hope courting the core, so, why bother even pretending? This mayoral race is going to be chock full of this divisive bullhonkey.

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    “If you rent, don’t have kids, or don’t drive, I can’t relate to you.”

    • SonuvaScrimbro

      Yep, pretty much.

    • Canadianskeezix

      Unbelievable. All she is saying is that she has a life outside city hall and deals with many of the same things as other people in Toronto. No wonder so many good people (especially women) shy away from politics, because you can’t even mention your kids and your car without the knives coming out. Unreal.

      • SonuvaScrimbro

        I share your frustration to some degree, skeezix, but we have to deal with the reality of the situation. And the reality is, it’s very easy for her opponents to take her “I am like you” comment here and twist it into “I am like you unless you don’t have these things, in which case I’m not and I don’t care about your issues.”

        Is it fair? No. Does it frighten away people from politics? Doubtful, but it doesn’t help. But it’s a good lesson in the power of words, and why it’s always a risky move for politicians to play the identity card, esp, in a city as diverse as ours.

        • Canadianskeezix

          Honestly? She’s playing the identity card? Not being rich and having a life outside politics is an “identity card”. Jesus. God, Karen, don’t even admit you’re a woman or from Toronto.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        She didn’t say “I have a life outside City Hall” (who cares?), she said she has a specific sort of life – house, kids, etc – “like you”.

        • OgtheDim

          Did she ever say “I only relate to this.”?

          That’s your interpretation.

        • Canadianskeezix

          You’re reading it so literally you’re missing the meaning. You honestly think her strategy is to appeal to soccer-lovers only?

          God forbid that she try and talk about herself or suggest she relates to the people of Toronto.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            I don’t pretend to understand what she meant by it, I can only judge the words she used.

          • Canadianskeezix

            You certainly do seem to pretend to understand what she meant, by insisting that she was looking to connect only with homeowner soccer moms who carry debt. And you certainly do seem intent on judging.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Well, no, the quote marks around what I said indicate it’s a paraphrasing, a re-reading.

          • Canadianskeezix

            You’ve taken a lot of liberties with your re-reading.

      • jimro

        No, I don’t think that is what she is saying! I think she is trying to preempt accusations of her being an “elitist”.

      • robertoB

        Well, what do your kids, your car and the suburban home have to do with politics in the first place? Why not focus on issues that are important to the city, not trying to cosy up to a wealthy suburban neighbourhood which in itself does not represent Toronto.

        • OgtheDim

          Only the wealthy have kids, bills (that’s what a mortgage means to most people – another bill to pay) and a car?

          Although I agree that identity politics is not as important as policy, there are a lot of people in this city who think city hall doesn’t understand them. Stintz, clumsily, is trying to say she does.

          its a way of differentiating herself from Ford and Tory (in her mind).

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      Hardly fair. She doesn’t say that. She’s saying she’s got the same concerns as everyone else — kids, a car a mortgage.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        You’re doing it too. Not everyone has kids, a car, a mortgage, so when you say “everyone” does, you’re excluding – roughly along socioeconomic lines – a large chunk of the population (renters, the young, the working poor, DINKs, etc, in various combinations) you want to agree with you.

        • Canadianskeezix

          Yes, it’s a dastardly socioeconomic attack against the citizens of Toronto. That’s clearly what she intended.

          We all pay bills. We all have lives outside work. We all have personal reasons for wanting this to be a great city. Most of us read her comments in that spirit. Some of clearly think they need view it as an attempt at exclusion. I’m not sure she’s done anything to merit the latter approach.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            She may not have intended it that way, but the reaction here and on Twitter is enough to demonstrate she chose her words (or examples) poorly. You may not like it, but the reaction is valid in the context of a political campaign.

          • Canadianskeezix

            A reaction isn’t valid simply because it exists. The people at Rob Ford HQ who booed Smitherman in the last election when he mentioned his husband – that’s not valid. And the upset of people who don’t understand context does not mean that she chose her words poorly. Here, the comments simply seem to point to a small subset of the electorate who seem to latch on to petty criticisms and can’t find real issues to complain about. As has been mentioned many times before, Twitter and comment boards are rarely reflective of anything other than Twitter and comment boards.

            I hope the paragraph above didn’t somehow suggest you were misogynist.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            I’m not sure why you think I’ll continue this conversation now that you’ve cast me and everyone else who balked at her tweet as “people who don’t understand context”, “who… latch on to petty criticisms”. Should I dismiss your opinion on the matter as completely compromised because you’re desperate for an alternative conservative candidate, so you’ll forgive her anything? Would that facilitate the discussion in ways I’m not seeing?

          • Canadianskeezix

            It became very hard to talk you seriously when you started throwing around the word misogynistic. If you want people to respect you, please act respectfully to others. I started treating you like a troll the moment you started acting like one. In any event, not sure where you get the “alternative conservative candidate” thing from, but the only desperation I’ve seen here is how hard you are working to convince everyone about the hidden meaning behind a tweet.

    • OgtheDim

      How exactly did she say that, trex?

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        By inadvertently saying she’s not actually like those of use who haven’t bought a home, don’t drive everywhere, and don’t live the suburban soccer mom life.

        • OgtheDim

          Did she use “not”?

          No.

          So that subtext is only based on your expectation of what it means to be “like you”.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            It isn’t subtext, it’s text. She claimed to be like me, then listed examples from her life she assumes exist in my own. But they don’t. As someone downthread said, she should have stuck to non-specifics like “pay the bills”.

            If she had said “I’m like you, I put on my Hermès earrings one lobe at a time” or “I’m like you, I spend four hours commuting every day” there would be no debate here about what she did or did not mean by those words and who is included/excluded by them. But because she appeals to the Suburban Dream she gets a pass, and anyone pointing out what’s true for her isn’t true for all is called irrational? (By two of the very few self-identified conservatives in the Torontoist comment pool, I note.)

          • OgtheDim

            Something that is not there is text?

            In a 140 character tweet?

            Oh, and if you think I’m on this because I like Stintz for Mayor, ur mistaken.

            And if you think the “left vs. right” thing is going to help this city get past identity politics……….see the guy above who said every slogan out of the right causes him to barf. Bad communication happens. To say what occurs only happens on the right or left is stereotyping.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Is it your belief the first two sentences are non sequiturs? That inter-sentence (intra-tweet?) context, because it isn’t expressed as an alphanumeric symbol, is “subtext”?

          • Canadianskeezix

            Oh my God. How do you ever read anything, rek, without getting worked up over imagined subtext? And now you’re throwing around accusations of mysogyny. Unbelievable.

          • OgtheDim

            If you believe that mortgage, kids and soccer are exclusive terms, you need to get out more and deal with how people relate to each other.

            We are all different.

            What we have in common is not sameness.

            Its bits and pieces within our diversity.

          • Canadianskeezix

            Well said, Og.

        • Canadianskeezix

          You’re trying really, really hard to find negative subtext to a rather simple message, which is that she too pays bills and has a family.

          It’s a good thing she didn’t identify herself as a female, because you would construe that as excluding men.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Why do you keep trying to frame everyone who has taken issue with this tweet as misogynistic?

          • Canadianskeezix

            Again, you’re reading things into comments that aren’t there. Calm down. I’d like you to point out the specific accusations of mysogyny that I’ve made. Here, I was simply pointing out that if we follow your logic she can’t identify anything about herself without being accused of being exclusionary.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            On the contrary; as I and other posters said if she wanted us to identify with her in some way she should have stuck to non-specific examples. 99% of people of voting age can identify with “bills to pay”, but a large chunk of this city can’t relate to owning a home, and many will never be able to afford to own. She can say “I’m a woman” all she wants, but “I’m a woman like you” won’t connect with male voters.

          • Canadianskeezix

            Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? Don’t talk about yourself, Karen, unless you use “non-specific examples”. Do you honestly think she was suggesting all Torontonians are car-driving mortgagor soccer moms? Because that’s the only way your comments make any sense. And being in agreement with some of the other posters here, by the way, does not mean that anyone out in the real world shares your views.

            And, I ask again, could you please explain how I have accused you of being misogynist? Otherwise, please delete your accusation.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            It’s isn’t that she identified herself as X and Y and Z, it’s that she said being X and Y and Z is what makes her “like [us]“. This is also where the apparent accusation of misogyny comes in: you seem think it’s enough to admit being a woman to turn the same people away, but that doesn’t hold with the form of the tweet at all – it misses the key part of the message causing the problem.

            To that point: would she be ‘excluding men’ if she said “I’m a woman”? No. But would she be talking to men if she said “I’m a woman like you“?

            By claiming to be “like you” based on having a mortgage and driving her kid to soccer, she isn’t actually identifying with a lot of Torontonians.

          • Canadianskeezix

            “apparent accusation of misogyny”

            What’s apparent about it? You clearly made the silly accusation.

            And you completely missed the point. Much like Stintz’s tweet, you’ve gone out of your way to concoct some hidden meaning to my comment. Stintz made some general comments about her life, which clearly were intended to show that she, like most others, is not rich and politics is not the only thing in her life. I was pointing out that she ought not point out even something more basic, like her gender, otherwise this same small gang would accuse her of excluding the other half of the population. It wasn’t missing the key part of the message – I was pointing out your obsessive need to twist innocuous comments into some exclusionary statement.

  • SonuvaScrimbro

    To be fair, Stintz is likely a lot closer to the average Torontonian than, say, a crack-smoking, drunk-driving, criminal-associating son of a millionaire who never had a job interview of moment of panic about how to pay the bills in his life.

    That said: yeah, let’s tone down the “I’m just like you!” stuff, Karen. Because there’s no way any one person can possibly pull that off in a city the size of Toronto, and we need people willing to own their leadership credentials, not try to pull the same “one of the real people” stuff that got us…. well, him.

    • SonuvaScrimbro

      Also, I’m very aware this might be my own personal pickiness and/or sign I need therapy, but… apostrophes, Karen! You want us to trust you with running a city, but you can’t even proof your own tweets before they go out?

      • Canadianskeezix

        Yes, because Twitter is full of people that correctly use apostrophes. Frankly, I like the fact that she is probably doing her own tweets, and isn’t running them through a PR firm.

        • SonuvaScrimbro

          Like I said, skeezix, I’m well aware this is a personal peccadillo of mine — this preference I have for people who take the time to put their thoughts within proper grammar. I’m not accusing her of purposely dropping the apostrophe to show she’s “average,” nor am I discounting her for doing it on Twitter (hardly a medium where the Queen’s English prevails).

          I’m simply saying this is how something as trivial as a dropped apostrophe can be perceived these days among voters — either a sign of lack of attention, or a cynical ploy to show voters you’re not “edjumacated” (see also: Ford). So it’s better to err on the side of caution and get it right the first time. (Or, in the case of this tweet, don’t send it at all.)

          • Canadianskeezix

            I didn’t say it was wrong to care about apostrophes (don’t get me started on commas). I just strongly doubt most people care either way about lack of an apostrophe on Twitter. And to the extent any actually cares, I suspect that their reaction will be to simply notice that she doesn’t have a political hand doing her tweets (I doubt they will read it as carelessness or cynicism).

  • Laurent Beaulieu

    I agree with Rishi M. when you say you are like me I start wondering who you are.

  • torontothegreat

    “I am just like you – a soccer mom”

  • jimro

    She is so out of touch with the majority of Torontonians.

    • Canadianskeezix

      Really? How so? On the basis of this tweet?

      • jimro

        That’s what the article is about, isn’t it?

        • Canadianskeezix

          No. It’s not even an article.

    • OgtheDim

      Again, how so?

      People live in places.

      People have family relationships.

      People do things.

      Did she say that its tough having a mortgage for a $3 million home, keeping 4 cars going and the kids in private school?

      No.

      All she really said is she is a Mom who works and pays bills.

      A lot of people will relate to that.

      • Canadianskeezix

        I think it’s important for us to discuss why Stintz hates non-Moms and those who don’t pay bills. She was clearly making a statement about people who don’t go to soccer games.

  • ROB FORD, MON

    ROB FORD MON DISAGREE WITH KAREN. KAREN VERY BAD MAYOR. ROB FOR 4 MAYOR 2014

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    I don’t need my mayor to be just like me. I need them to be able to understand issues beyond the scope of their own experience.

    • SonuvaScrimbro

      As another commenter pointed out, this appears to be part of a strategy to market Stintz to the suburbs as a typical “soccer mom with a car and a mortgage,” in an effort to pull away from Ford’s support base — probably because Stintz’s team knows how badly she hurt her support in the downtown core by signing on to the Scarborough subway boondoggle. I expect we’ll see her campaign last to mid summer, but not much longer than that.

      • Canadianskeezix

        Nobody downtown has kids, soccer games and mortgages?

        While I agree it’s a boondoggle, let’s not get delusional about how closely people in this city, downtown or otherwise, keep track of the machinations at city hall, or how many people outside Scarborough are basing their votes on the Scarborough subway. If she’s gone by mid-summer, I doubt it will have much to do with transit planning in Scarborough.

        • SonuvaScrimbro

          I don’t believe I said that about downtown residents, Skeezix. What I was saying was that my impression is that Stintz was using this tweet as part of a strategy to make inroads into areas that leaned towards Ford in 2010 — areas where words like “mortgage” and “soccer” would resonate more. Take that for what you will, it’s not meant as a slight on downtown residents.

          As for people not paying attention to city hall, I’ll agree with you there. But given how her highest profile in this city is TTC chair, and most people will recognize her as such, I don’t see how her role in the Scarb subway won’t come up as an issue in the election. She’s going to get flak for “flip-flopping” (Ford’s word, not mine) from a lot of his supporters, and flak from pro-LRT types (like me) who think she put votes ahead of common sense. She didn’t make it easy for herself to grow support in either camp, and that’s going to be a challenge for her.

          • Canadianskeezix

            I didn’t suggest you were insulting downtown residents. Just that you seemed to making bizarre assumptions about them. You said it was an attempt to appeal to suburbanites. That doesn’t make much sense unless one assumes downtowners can’t relate to mortgages, kids or soccer games. I am baffled with you think personal finances and activities for their kids have no resonance downtown.

            We’ll have to agree to disagree on whether anyone other than a handful of poeple will actually be thinking of last year’s vote on the subway when marking their ballots. The only people who will think of the “flip-flopping” expression are the denizens of Ford Nation who aren’t voting for Stintz anyway. As for pro-LRT types (I wouldn’t describe myself that way, I just think transit $ is better spent on other projects), I just doubt this is an election issue. Honestly, the only people who are going to worked up by this are the people who follow Steve Munro on Twitter (note: I think Munro should be on the TTC board, and I follow him on Twitter). If she leaves the race, it will be because the money and supporters she is after are coalescing behind Tory.

          • SonuvaScrimbro

            I am making no assumptions about anyone. I did not say downtowners can’t relate to soccer and mortgages; I simply said this “appears” to be part of a strategy to appeal to the suburban mindset that sees soccer and mortgages as part of their experience. Please do not do that thing that people do, assuming that a comment made about people in Group X automatically rules out or has no relevance to people in Group Y.

            I appreciate that you are defending Stintz’s tweet as “just a tweet,” and that people should lighten up about what politicians say. I happen to agree… to a point. But the reality is people get bent out of shape over all kinds of things, stupid or otherwise (see also: my grammar fixation). If your job is to connect with them and get them to vote for you, then it’s easier to do your homework and adjust your approach than to try and change the world — and one real test of a leader is the capacity to show that ability to adapt to different audiences when you need to get out your message.

            As you said, it’s just one tweet. But we’ll see soon enough is this is a small faux pas, or indicative of a larger issue with Stintz’s campaign approach. Either way, I wish her well, and hope this is just an early stumble.

          • Canadianskeezix

            “the suburban mindset that sees soccer and mortgages as part of their experience”

            Now you’re making judgment calls about suburbanites. And given that many of Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods are in the suburbs, I’m not sure I’d be making such broad and sweeping claims.

            And, again, I repeat that it seems odd that you think nobody downtown has mortgages or take their kids to sports. Why you seem to think this is uniquely suburban is perplexing.

            I’m not defending Stintz’s tweet as “just a tweet”. I said she made an innocuous statement, intended to convey the message that she’s more than a municipal politician, and people are misinterpreting her comments and working really hard (for some reason) to find a nasty subtext to her comments.

  • estta

    Let’s make it better: three cars and extra kids for everyone!

    • OgtheDim

      That would be more DMW’s style.

  • Eric Doolaar

    I think this statement would find a lot more resonance with the kind of people who listen to talk radio. I don’t find it so offensive or out of touch, and it doesn’t necessarily mean she will ignore people who aren’t “like her”.

    • Canadianskeezix

      But Eric, unlike some people, you aren’t grasping for excuses to be snarky, so you’re simply reading this one tweet for what it is.

      • Eric Doolaar

        I know, I’m new here :-P

  • Astin44

    Poor choice of forum. If this was taken from a speech at a suburban rally, or interview, then it would be a non-issue. But a tweet? Wrong audience for that sentiment, and the reaction is as expected.

    Doesn’t change my opinion one way or the other though, because it’s clear what she was going for.

    • Canadianskeezix

      Twitter is the wrong place to tell people she’s not independently wealthy and has a family/life outside City Hall? I had no idea.

      • SonuvaScrimbro

        Agree with Astin – it’s the wrong forum for that kind of message because Twitter is not a place where people are encouraged to absorb the message and consider all its nuances. Plus, your audience on Twitter is theoretically “everyone in the world with internet access” — so the “I’m like you” sentiment won’t resonate with someone who is not like her as opposed to, e.g., a speech to women voters in a suburban community hall.

        • Canadianskeezix

          What nuances? She’s saying she isn’t rich and her life consists of more than politics. People are trying WAY too hard to read secret meanings into this.

          • MaryL

            If Stintz wants to say she shares concerns with a fair number of people in Toronto, while also saying that she is concerned about issues important to many other people in Toronto, even though these issues don’t directly affect her, that’s a good message.

            But Twitter limits you to 140 characters per message, so shortening that to a blanket (and inaccurate) “you” statement while implicitly excluding all the people not like her was just dumb.

          • Canadianskeezix

            How is it inaccurate? Most people in Toronto *are* independently wealthy and have no life outside politics?

            And when did she say that she didn’t care about issues that don’t directly affect her? Her political career to date is summed up in one tweet? Is this woman not capable of having more than one message?

            The lengths people will go to criticize is truly astounding.

          • MaryL

            Her exact words were not “I’m not independently wealthy and I have a life outside of politics”. They were: “I am like you. I have a mortgage, kids, one car, and soccer games.”

            Lots of people lack one or more of those things. If her team sent this out anyway, there are several ways to take it:

            1) Middle class and EEVILL Karen Stintz thinks think that everyone else in Toronto is or should be like her in those specific ways. That’s a really malicious interpretation, and I don’t think it’s one anyone here or even most of the Twitter universe is making.

            2) She knows that her statement excludes a lot of people who she intends to represent anyway, but she figures the cost in snark and outrage is worth building solidarity with those who are like her in those ways. If this is strategy, it carries its own risks. We’ve had enough of the Fords’ polarizing nonsense.

            3) She meant to make the kind of statement you made, but was too inept or too blinkered to see how it could be taken as exclusionary. She and her team are getting a tiny little wake-up call about that kind of carelessness.

            If message like this go out once, it’s happenstance, but if it becomes more frequent, it looks like deliberate, polarizing strategy or one hell of a blind spot.

            Let’s see what happens after this.

          • Canadianskeezix

            Ughh. You honestly think she was trying to enumerate specific things she shared with Toronto’s 2.7 million residents? Seriously? She was telling us about herself and that she has many of the same concerns over money and family.

            Wow. This “people lack one or more of those things” nonsense makes me sad for our city.

          • MaryL

            I listed three options, one of which I explicitly said was malicious and which I implicitly said that I didn’t think was plausible. (Did you note the sarcasm of the EEVILL part?)

            You really seem insistent that YOUR way is the only RIGHT way to interpret her statement.

            Enjoy your thread.

          • SonuvaScrimbro

            But like I said elsewhere, that’s what people will do: read too much into things. Which is why public figures need to have a plan for what they’re saying, and why they need to carefully consider their message.

            I agree, it’s just one tweet. But it helps reinforce an image that Stintz is living a privileged life compared to a lot of people in this city, and you can bet a huckster like Ford will pound that image as much as he can. Is it fair? No. Is it insane that a millionaire’s son would say that about her? God, yes. But this is the world we’re in, and Stintz can’t afford to feed into those preconceived notions.

          • Canadianskeezix

            Just because people are being ridiculous doesn’t mean we should shrug
            and say “that’s what people do”. Honestly, let’s demand better rather
            than simply throwing up our hands and saying “she should know better”.

      • Astin44

        Twitter is reactionary and full of users who will come back with a “witty” (snarky) response immediately. The message is then forgotten (unless it’s from a public figure and can be ridiculed). Twitter’s demographic for voters is also largely 20-30-somethings. In Toronto these days, there’s a very good chance those users don’t have a mortgage, don’t have kids, and don’t have a car. Sure, there are users who DO have those things, but they won’t be the vocal ones.

        Also, while that was clearly her intended message, its wording opened it up for this sort of thing. Again, a different venue and that would have gone over just fine. In the broader, snarkier audience that is Twitter? It’s needs some alteration.

        Something like “I am like you – bills to pay, mouths to feed, doing the best job I can.Let’s make it better.”

        • MaryL

          Now that’s a much better draft tweet! Some snark would still go her way — it’s Twitter, for God’s sake — but not a lot.

          But if J. Random Person on Disqus can come up with that in a snap, what the hell is going on with Stintz’s campaign team that they can’t pull this off? Social media can be loose and spontaneous for civilians, but whether or not you think it’s fair, politicians are generally held to a different standard.

          • Canadianskeezix

            Yes, it’s a really good thing apparently that our municipal politicians never tweet what they are thinking, but first run everything through focus groups and a PR firm. That will make for a responsive City Hall, no doubt!

            I have no idea what “different standard” you personally hold politicians to, but it sounds frightening.

          • bobloblawbloblawblah

            I read an article recently about how Harpers Gov’t is doing exactly that: vetting tweets. At least one department. It seems it takes weeks just to decide on the wording a tweet. A bureaucratic nightmare!.Really, people are being tough on Stintz. She’s just trying to say she’s got the same concerns as the rest of us

          • Canadianskeezix

            Yeah, I read that article, how it takes weeks for a tweet to be approved within the federal bureaucracy.

    • torontothegreat

      Exactly my thoughts. Stintz needs a social media advisor stat! The problem with trying to deliver this message on Twitter is that she is trying to personalize instead of using it as a professional. At the end of the day as a voter I’m expected to essentially hire a professional to run this city.

      Tory’s strategy on Twitter is what I’d expect from someone running a campaign outside of school trustee (although he seems to have his own problems). Stintz’s “I’m just like you” not only doesn’t resonate with me, it doesn’t give me any indication of who she supports, what her vision is or what her listening-loop looks like.

      There is definitely a time and place for Twitter, but this kind of communication from a mayoral candidate, which maybe rivals posting instagram photos of your kids, isn’t useful, IMO.

  • Dinah Might

    “Let’s vote on who should land the plane!”
    “Okay! Well I don’t trust that pilot full of qualifications and knowledge and expertise. I vote for the stranger in seat 5B because our demographics overlap slightly!”
    “I second that! All in favour!”
    *CCRRAASSSSSSHH*

    • Canadianskeezix

      Amazing how people can go out of their way to mock a fairly innocuous tweet. Politics is clearly nasty, but I always thought it was the politicians who were the nasty ones.

      • SonuvaScrimbro

        Well, that’s the beauty and the curse of the internet, Skeezix — it’s allowed us all to be a little bit nasty, not just the professional nasty people. I don’t envy any public figure in this day and age, but it is what it is, and people running for office have to come to grips with that.

        • Canadianskeezix

          Fair enough. Just disappointing. We want better candidates, but then we spend all this time reading insults into innocuous comments and tearing people down for non-issues. No wonder so few talented people run for Council. They probably all read this comments.

          • SonuvaScrimbro

            I hear that. I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve quoted Kent Brockman’s “Democracy doesn’t work” line after reading comments online. And I’m pretty sure the dust-up about this tweet will be forgotten before bedtime. It’s just serves as a good example of how literally anything you say can be read and re-transmitted differently than what you intended, when a lot of people have a vested interest in portraying you a certain way.

          • Canadianskeezix

            Agreed.

      • Dinah Might

        We’re not so much railing on Karen specifically as the long history of “Vote for me because I resemble you” messages (from countless different politicians) that have been pushing aside “Vote for me for this sound policy reason” messages for what seems likes ages. Or at least I’m not.

        • Canadianskeezix

          Let’s bash politicians for what they say, not for things other people say.

          • Dinah Might

            Well she DID say it though, even if she’s not the first (or sadly the last).

          • Canadianskeezix

            No, she didn’t say “Vote for me because I resemble you”. She said that she, like other Torontonians, pays the bills and has a family. In a race where he two main opponents thus far are two rich guys, not sure why this is a problem.

          • SonuvaScrimbro

            No, she didn’t say “I pay bills and have a family.” She said, very clearly: “I am like you. I have these things.” The implication being either: (1) she’s speaking only to those people who have the same things or (2) she’s only interested in reaching out to people who have those things.

            Is that the impression I got? No. Is it the impression that others might get? Yes. And they will get that because her words are very clear: “I am like you because I have these things.”

            While you gripe about others reading their own things into that message, I suggest you refrain from doing the same. We’re not attacking her (at least I’m not), simply pointing out the risk she ran in going with this approach — and you translating her message on her behalf kind of proves the point that it’s not as simple and cut-and-dried as you’re trying to make it out to be.

          • Canadianskeezix

            She clearly wasn’t boasting “I have these things” and there is nothing in her record to suggest she is only interested in people who do. She quite clearly was talking about the things that are personal to her, and that are consistent with those aspects of the lives of most Torontonians (finances, family, etc.). To read it any differently is just being obtuse.

          • SonuvaScrimbro

            But as I’ve said before (and tried to argue in a devil’s advocate kind of way, but not apparently succeeding)… people as a general group are generally obtuse and quick to read what they want to read into anything.

            And you can either grumble about how that’s not fair and people should play nicer and accuse other people of “not getting it” when they misinterpret (intentionally or no) your meaning… or you can make sure they don’t get that chance and get your message right the first time.

            Stintz’s intended message was clear enough to me; her execution left something to be desired. If nothing else, this is a good example of how a breezy medium like Twitter is a risky tool in the serious business of winning votes.

          • OgtheDim

            I don’t think the word have means possess in this case. I believe she uses it to mean experiencing.

            Nobody says “have a mortgage” as a pride thing. They say it because its something that has to be done in order to live in a home like they want to.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            “Let’s bash politicians for what they say”

            That’s what we’re trying to do!

          • Canadianskeezix

            No, you’re making shit up and complaining about it. Oh my God – she’s attacking renters!

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            Excluding (unintentionally – I’ll extend that courtesy) isn’t attacking.

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      I’m votin’ for the drunk, angry guy at the back because he’s REAL and says what he thinks and likes the same sports I do! Not like those elitist pilots with their education and blow dried hair!!! GRRR! They think they know everything!

  • 2615152613

    Kid? No. Kids plural? No. Mortgage? No. Car? No. Soccer games? No. Well, I like watching the World Cup if that counts? She’s going to need more than female Gen Xers.

    • Canadianskeezix

      Yes, because it is important to read the tweet so literally that we lose sight of its obviously intended meaning. It’s clearly her campaign strategy to only appeal to soccer-lovers.

      • 2615152613

        I just find it humorous that people have to “identify” with politicians (perhaps most clearly and recently exemplified by Rob Ford and his voters). To the extent she isn’t anti-social (like some prominent recent examples), I could give two $hit$ who Karen Stintz is.

        I’m not saying I’m not influenced, like everyone else, by all the cognitive biases that clog people’s minds. Consciously though, I care about what her policies are.

        She felt the need to identify who she wants to be perceived as being. I don’t blame her for doing that. It’s branding. It’s good politics. It’s 3/4s of what politicians do. Grown-up politics isn’t that fundamentally different from a high school popularity contest.

        I just think if that’s the tent she’s pitching it needs to be bigger. Although, truth be told, female Gen Xers and potentially by extension male Gen Xers, let’s say 35-50, are a lot more likely to vote than Gen Yers (who have fewer mortgages, fewer kids, fewer cars and fewer soccer games to attend with kids; to say nothing of boomers who don’t really have children anymore unless they really delayed it and are far more likely to have paid off the mortgage).

    • vampchick21

      Female Gen Xers? So you are assuming that all of us have a kid, a car, a mortgage and a soccer game?

      • 2615152613

        And what would lead you to make that inference phrased as a question? The fact of the matter is most women with children fall in the Gen X age range. Does that mean every single, last, solitary woman between the ages of approximately 30-35 and 50ish has a car, mortgage, children and likes taking them to soccer games like the mythical soccer mom? Uhhhhh….no Does that mean NO women under the age of low 30s or over the age of 50ish have a car, mortgage and a kid or two? Uhhhhh….no It does mean that when you say children, mortgage, car and soccer games you’re speaking to a fairly specific, if reasonably large, group of people.

        • vampchick21

          Well sweetheart, since you asked….

          you very clearly stated that “She’s going to need more than female Gen Exers”. Look up there honey, see that? You typed that out.

          So that, my dear, is what lead me to make that inference phrased as a question.

          Not sure how that could possibly have confused you.

          • 2615152613

            I’ll try this again cupcake. ;) Since you were seemingly offended I’ll rephrase in a way that you can understand. She needs to appeal to more than the group of people (as of 2014) who are statistically most likely to have a car, non-adult offspring, a mortgage and take their children to soccer games (aka Gen Xers aka soccer moms).

          • vampchick21

            Sigh.

            You’re the one who clearly stated “She’s going to need more than female Gen Xers” and left it at that in your initial post. You have since clarified that, with snark to spare. Don’t take me to task with what you actually said, they aren’t my words.

  • IB

    The whole “I’m just an average person like you” thing is supposed to be subtext, you aren’t supposed to just say it and expect people to accept it. Even Ford seems to grasp that…

  • OgtheDim

    I remember a long time ago somebody making fun of women who did things in certain ways and identified themselves as such.

    And thus was lost a Quebec referendum.

    Be careful about suggesting that people who have kids and drive around and have to pay bills are somehow less average a Torontonian. There are a lot of people who live that life, and a many who aspire to it.

    I don’t.

    Many do.

    Now, can we get back to talking about policies?

  • Matt Patterson

    God. Can we please have a left-wing candidate already?? Enough of all these conservatives and their vomit-inducing conservative campaign slogans.

    • OgtheDim

      Yeah, because nothing says “I’m able to listen to you” more then:

      “Not your Average Joe”

  • SonuvaScrimbro

    The problem, I think, is in the “I am like you” part. It sets up a needless comparison between Stintz and the reader where one wasn’t intended.

    It’s all about where you position yourself in relation to the audience. As another commenter pointed, if she had gone with “Like you, I’m trying to do the best job I can” or “Like you, I want to live in the best city possible” — then she’s positioning herself standing next to the reader (with the natural next line being something like “let’s be the best we can together”).

    In that kind of sentiment, there’s no checklist of material things that a person can read and say “yes I have those things” or “no I don’t” — just an aspirational statement that everyone can agree on.

    Politics has a bad name in part because politicians are often in a race to be our buddies, because it actually does matter to some voters which candidate they’d rather have a beer with. To each their own, but I really hope we see less of this kind of approach in the months to come.

    • OgtheDim

      She’s not very good at communication.

      Mind you, neither is RoFo.

      And Tory has his issues with running his mouth off.

      And Soknacki does sound like a school principal.

      And Chow is a bit too measured and calculating for my liking.

      What…we vote for mayor’s not based on how well they speak?!?!

      • MaryL

        One swallow does not a summer make. (Do you remember summer? I can’t. /cries). One tweet does not a campaign make, either. It’s a morning of snark, mixed with WTF, on Twitter and Disqus today and forgotten tomorrow. I’m still curious to see what happens next.

        • SonuvaScrimbro

          Agreed, it will be forgotten soon enough (the tweet, I mean — not summer, though I’m getting close to forgetting its warm embrace). Can’t wait to see what happens next, either.

      • SonuvaScrimbro

        On this we can agree — all the candidates need to step up their communication game, and get themselves some people who can help correct their comm issues. I modestly accept the assignment (except you, Rob — nothing personal, I just like having a soul). :)

        • tyrannosaurus_rek

          On the topic of campaign communications, I really wish the city or province or whoever would lift the ban on campaign posters. Lawn signs are of no use to apartment- and condo-dwellers, and it should be impossible to walk downtown without seeing evidence of an impending election.

          • Canadianskeezix

            Agreed. The ban on campaign posters was implemented by the City primarily as a means of protecting sitting councillors.

    • torontothegreat

      Especially when Torontonians are fatigued by “I’m just a regular guy”. However her whole campaign seems to be a mix of “I’m going to continue to do the work the mayor did, without all the crack stuff” and “I have no actual ideas – SUNFLOWER!”

  • rogerdoger

    if she was just like me, she wouldn’t have voted for a subway along with Rob Ford instead of the LRT.

  • torontothegreat

    What I think is a real #fail on Stint’z part is that she didn’t respond in any way, shape or form to all the negative feedback she got from that. Her twitter seems to be on autopilot and has a “daily quotes” feel to it. If you’re going to use Twitter, you need to engage with people, it’s hardly a 1way communication channel (unless you’re a bot).

    She had a real opportunity to turn the confusion into clarity and she didn’t even bother to address it, just followed it up with another bot-tweet: “We need a new way of doing things, fresh new ideas and new solutions.”

    • Punned_It

      Yes Karen we do – and we need more than slogans.

    • Canadianskeezix

      “Negative feedback”?

      You mean the squawking of a small number of bored Twitter users? In an election, I suspect every tweet, regardless of what the candidate says, attracts the same amount of nonsense.

      • torontothegreat

        For one, it wasn’t a “small number of users” – You are obviously looking at this from the outside.

        Secondly, you obviously have no idea how social media (especially Twitter) works when it comes to presence, marketability and dealing with fallout.

        Thirdly, your “suspicion” is dead wrong. Maybe you need to learn about Twitter first before commenting on it.

        But hey, gloss over all the valid points I made and “stick it to me” with your obvious ignorance of how social media campaigns actually work.

        • OgtheDim

          Personally, I think you are right about engaging the people in social media.

          However, like it or not, #topoli, and the people who post on here for that matter, are not representative of the world at large.

          Our inside is rarely as large as we think it is.

          Which is why I state what I did below.

          We are all different.

          What we have in common is not sameness.

          Its bits and pieces within our diversity.

          • torontothegreat

            I completely agree with you that #topoli isn’t representative of the world at large. You have your regular group that posts on there, but there was a huge influx of people that normally don’t engage in municipal politics that were calling her out for that tweet.

            I do still stand by my opinion that even if #topoli isn’t a representing factor, the fact remains that she received a lot of negative press about it, which could have been a HUGE #win for her if she actually dealt with it (or had someone on staff that knows how). Most of the time on Twitter, dealing with negativity in a positive way can lead to huge success, instead of just leaving it unchecked.

    • Savannah

      Ever seen @TOMayorFord’s account? Nothing but canned nonsense. Never a response to anything. Completely written by staff.

      • torontothegreat

        What does that have to do with anything? Are you saying that Stintz is no better than Ford? If you are, I guess we agree on something!

        • Savannah

          Whether you approve of her use of the medium or not, Stintz actually tweets.

          And FYI, there are literally millions of accounts that tweet and don’t respond to the vast majority of responses they receive. Most celebrities come to mind.

          • torontothegreat

            Most celebrities aren’t running for mayor and have no reason to engage with the public, so not sure what that even means or why you’re using it as a comparison.

            Bot-tweeting is usually done by the person in advance. I think you have misunderstood what I was saying there.

          • Savannah

            Happy to parse your original words, which were:

            “If you’re going to use Twitter, you need to engage with people”

            So my first point is that there are all kinds of people who use Twitter that don’t engage with people, regardless of the fact that you say they “need” to.

            “it’s hardly a 1way communication channel ”

            My second point was that it’s often a one-way communications channel, even if you’re not bot-tweeting.

            “(unless you’re a bot).”

            You might want to read Stintz’s Twitter feed if you think she’s exclusively bot-tweeting. Kinda impossible to do when you’re sending out photos of an audience immediately before speaking to them.

            And regarding the post I’m replying to:

            “Most celebrities aren’t running for mayor and have no reason to engage with the public, so not sure what that even means or why you’re using it as a comparison.”

            Celebrities are really no different than those running for mayor, in that both are looking to the public for approval and support – through a ballot or by paying for their products. Each has an equal stake in motivating their supporters. But if you’d like to compare other Canadian politicians, off the top of my head here are a few others who never respond to anything:

            Rob Ford
            Stephen Harper
            Thomas Mulcair
            Justin Trudeau
            Kathleen Wynne
            Andrea Horwath
            Tim Hudak

            Karen Stintz is hardly an anomaly.

          • torontothegreat

            I couldn’t disagree with you more. Celebrities hardly need public approval, this is easily illustrated by Justin Bieber, Jared Padalecki, Piers Morgan, Kanye West, etc, etc. (I could name THOUSANDS)

            “there are all kinds of people who use Twitter that don’t engage with people”

            Apples vs Oranges, none of them are running for mayor. There are many reasons to use Twitter, presumably Stintz is using it as a means to market her brand, not to tell us what she’s eating for lunch – and she failed in this regard.

            I also think you completely misunderstand what I’m saying when I say “bot-tweet” – these are scheduled tweets. Scheduled and non-scheduled tweets aren’t mutually exclusive as you seem to allude to. My original point was, after the fallout, the autopilot was left on – this was a huge mistake by her social media team.

            “But if you’d like to compare other Canadian politicians, off the top of my head here are a few others who never respond to anything”

            But I’m not, you’re the only one that is. Pointing out how other’s aren’t using it correctly hardly proves that she IS using it correctly. All I’ve consistently said, was that she missed an opportunity by having a poor social media strategy and not leveraging Twitter and owning her failure, which is a proven strategy on Twitter. I stand by that statement and you haven’t convinced me otherwise.

            “there are literally millions of accounts that tweet and don’t respond to the vast majority of responses they receive”

            Considering there are over 600 million twitter users, it’s a moot point.

            Also in the spirit of transparency, I am a digital expert that has successfully strategized many Twitter campaigns and I often provide consulting to PR firms in the education of Social Media and how their clients can leverage it for success. My track record is thus far flawless.

  • John Duncan

    Well, I am now even less likely to vote for Ms. Stintz now that she has revealed herself to be either a space alien or robot.

    Kang: Fooling these Earth voters is easier than expected.
    Kodos: Yes. All they want to hear are bland pleasantries embellished by an occasional saxophone solo or infant kiss.

  • OpportKnocks

    LOL – at all these posts parsing a single tweet. Karen Stintz in this year’s mayor’s race has one positive outcome for her, she can spend more time with her family next year.

    • dsmithhfx

      You wish, apparently.

  • anthony

    In a city with such low standards that they elected a couple of bafoons like the Ford brothers, (who spent their day challenging the Cheif of Police ), how does this even get a second thought from anyone ? Kind of like discussing the cool temperature during an earthquake.

  • dsmithhfx

    This is starting to piss me right off. Everybody STFU and chill out. If the rest of the campaign goes this way, we are toast, the whole goddamn city.

    • OpportKnocks

      This is just the warm up, the fireworks begins when Chow declares.

      • dsmithhfx

        Did you find the DVDs?

        • OpportKnocks

          Diane Ford used them for drink coasters at the xmas party.

  • Savannah

    Seriously people?