The Rob Ford Radio Recap: Death and Taxes
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The Rob Ford Radio Recap: Death and Taxes

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.

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Rob and Doug Ford in the studio. Photo courtesy of Newstalk 1010.

Another week, another transit debacle for the Ford clan. Rob may have won his executive committee vote to prevent city council from discussing taxes and fees for public transit expansion, but he’s losing the media war. Now, he takes to his bunker where he can’t be criticized, so he can plot his next attack. What will he come up with? Find out next!

1:07: We open the show on a solemn note. Rob remembers former Don Bosco Eagle football player Kwado Mensah, a 20 year old who was murdered in Malvern Thursday night. The mayor chokes up remembering the young man and who he was, both on and off the field. It’s genuinely touching.

1:17: Doug isn’t in the studio today—although Speaker Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston) is—so he calls in from Florida, where he’s at the world championship of cheerleading. His daughter Kyla is on Team Canada, and they won the gold medal in their category. Congratulations to Kyla and the rest of the team.

1:19: We shift gears. Doug says, “Let’s talk about these taxes.” Rob mock-corrects him: “No, they’re called revenue tools.” The mayor chortles at what he sees as a misleading euphemism.

1:20: Rob plays off of Doug, and agrees these transit revenue tools are nonsense. He then calls the Gordon Chong report on how to fund subways the best report he ever saw at City Hall. Chong’s report, if you’ll remember, was over budget and delayed, and ultimately argued some combination of taxes and fees would be needed to fund the mayor’s transit plan. These included zone-based tolls, expressway tolls, high occupancy vehicle lanes, a parking tax, a parking space levy, a regional sales tax, a gas tax, a passenger vehicle charge, a payroll tax, tax increment financing, and increased development charges. And even after some optimistic assumptions, there was still a billion-dollar funding gap.

1:22: Doug argues the mayor and his team had a solid, executable plan for subways that the province and the federal government agreed to. World’s fastest fact check: No.

1:22: Doug, on TTC Chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence): “In my opinion, in Doug Ford’s opinion, Karen Stintz is the most untrustworthy, deceitful—I’m not even going to use the word dis-disgenuous [sic], nothing but a liar.” He goes on to discuss the process of picking a TTC chair. “I stood up and said, ‘I don’t trust her.’ I don’t trust her as far as I could throw her. I went up to her and said ‘I don’t trust you’ and she said, ‘Oh, don’t worry, we’re going to build subways, no problem.'”

1:30: Doug crows about how Toronto has the lowest taxes of any major city in North America. This will not stop him from claiming, in the future, that we’re unfairly taxed to death.

1:30: For the second time in the show, Doug Ford refers to himself in the third person. If Doug were slightly more adorable, this might be cute, like when Elmo pulls off this verbal tic. Sadly, Doug is not Elmo.

1:39: Doug continues to read a list of revenue tools, and the Fords scoff at a potential parking fee. Part of me wants Rob Ford to time travel and debate Rob Ford of February 23, 2012, who endorsed this idea in the Globe and Mail.

1:39: Doug wonders why Toronto isn’t doing a public-private partnership to fund its transit. It’s probably because that’s a misinterpretation of a public-private partnership is supposed to do. The private sector does not give out free government loot bags, Doug.

1:40: Doug argues that true leadership isn’t following like sheep. To show his approval, Rob baaaaahs three times, lending new meaning to the phrase “Sheppard subway.”

1:47: Rob says the prorogued government at Queen’s Park was crazy, and I agree with him. Government should be able to be held accountable for its actions. Not mentioned are the prorogations by the conservatives on Parliament Hill.

1:47: “I can’t wait for the election,” says Rob. “My feet are on fire.” If only Rob was this excited to govern.

1:48: Doug says if the province were a private company, then the board would have fired the premier long ago.

Oh, business analogies, I like these! So, let’s say there’s an employee who routinely demonstrates gross incompetence, doesn’t show up for work half the time, doesn’t read their employee handbook, gets involved in conflicts of interest, is involved in three court cases, shows a fundamental lack of understanding of how their institution works, and doesn’t co-operate with colleagues. What happens to them?

1:49: Doug leaves the show, and gives his customary “God bless Ford Nation” blessing. And God bless you, Doug.

1:50: Rob continues to talk about how transit and everyone in charge of the file is whack. He starts building up to a comment about TTC Chair Karen Stintz before he thinks the better of it. “I was going to say something, but I better not,” he says. Oh come on Rob, say it, say it. Cave in to peer pressure—everyone else does.

1:58: Rob says there have been very few shenanigans in the past couple of years since he became mayor. I’m guessing he’s referring to wasteful spending, but considering all the football games, weigh-ins, gaffes, and .GIFs, it’s funny to hear.

2:00: Rob says he was in Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) and Josh Matlow’s (Ward 22, St. Paul’s) wards doing constituency work, and later mentions Shelley Carroll (Ward 33, Don Valley East), too. Whatever you think of any of these councillors, they are some of the hardest working at City Hall, so when Rob scoffs at the job they do, it’s uncalled for.

2:38: “I know Stintz is in over her head,” says Rob, who selected her to be TTC chair.

2:42: Rob brings back one of Rob’s greatest hits: “I would love to just be able to rip up the St. Clair [sic], but it would cost a fortune.”

2:47: A caller complains about the cost of two statues in the Church-Wellesley Village that he says were $80,000 each. The caller’s complaint is confusing at first, because an Alexander Wood statue went up in the area in 2005, but he’s likely referring to the rainbow gateway markers that were more recently installed. Their cost was shared between the local business improvement area and the City, but it’s still a perfect issue for Rob Ford, who loves these types of trivialities.

2:48: Rob says he’ll come out to the Village and set up a meeting with the caller. There you have it folks: if you want Rob to make a visit to the Village, all you have to do is tell him there’s some wasteful spending.

2:50: “You’re the greatest mayor we’ve ever had,” says a caller. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

2:52: A caller says that when he wears his Rob Ford for Mayor t-shirt people come up to him and shake his hand. This surprises me, because I get very different reactions when I wear my Giorgio Mammoliti for Mayor leather jacket.

2:53: Caller Anne says she’s overtaxed, but that a once-a-year transit tax of five or 10 dollars might be acceptable if it were put to a referendum. Sadly for Anne, this does not solve our problem. If every person in Toronto paid five dollars a year, you could build about 35 metres of subway a year with $12.5 million raised. Metrolinx’s Big Move calls for $2 billion in funding a year for 25 years, and that’s just to keep traffic congestion at the status quo. But there’s also a high price to traffic congestion, so we’ll pay one way or another.

2:57: A friendly radio advertisement tells us about this great Etobicoke company called Deco Labels and Tags. You may have heard of it, because Rob and Doug are co-principals of said company. Synergy!

3:00: With Doug absent, Rob steps up to the plate and wraps up the show, “God bless you Ford Nation.”

And God bless you for reading, Raccoon Nation. It was another week of tearing down rival politicians and no clear transit plan was in evidence. What was in healthy supply was anger and spite, the fuel that drives so much talk radio. In that sense, it was classic Ford, especially since it solved nothing.

Five out of five transit plans.

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