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.
A few days after Toronto’s “greatest day” at council (at least, according to Mayor Rob Ford), will we have the greatest Ford radio show in history? Will we finally solve transit? Or maybe break it for good? Who knows! Find out next.
1:09: Rob opens with a Mother’s Day salute. Moms are awesome, he says, and we agree.
1:12: Diane Ford, Rob and Doug’s mother, is on the show. She describes Rob’s birth as an “afterthought” and says that he was supposed to be a girl. Rob’s response? “Wow.”
1:15: Diane says she’s very proud of everything her kids have accomplished.
1:20: We now have a marmot from the zoo on the show, which does not make for good radio. The next 20 minutes are pretty boring.
1:40: Here we go. Doug says a fuel tax to fund public transit would absolutely kill the economy, and Rob proceeds to name all the councillors who voted in favour of one at the last council meeting. Oh, I get it, Rob is trying to shame those councillors and gain an electoral advantage because he feels they don’t represent their constituents well.
I like this idea! Here’s a list of councillors who voted for more subways at that same meeting without supporting a single way to pay for them: Vincent Crisanti (Ward 1, Etobicoke North), Doug Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North), Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre), Gloria Lindsay Luby (Ward 4, Etobicoke Centre), Mark Grimes (Ward 6, Etobicoke Lakeshore), Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West), Anthony Perruzza (Ward 8, York West), Maria Augimeri (Ward 9, York Centre), Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston), Cesar Palacio (Ward 17, Davenport), Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 28, Scarborough Centre), Mike Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt), and Ron Moeser (Ward 44, Scarborough East).
These are the councillors who tell you that you can have it all without making sacrifices, and they’re either not being honest with themselves or not being honest with you.
1:42: Scarborough councillor Michelle Berardinetti (Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest) joins the show and says she thinks the most important vote was the one on extending the Bloor-Danforth subway into Scarborough. She goes on to say it’s “problematic” that downtown gets underground transit whereas in Scarborough it’s at-grade. You know what else is problematic? Applying a silly “downtown privilege” lens to transit without discussing the underlying merits of what mode of transit works best in different situations.
1:45: Berardinetti cites Japan’s transit system, although Japan has far different population-density numbers than we do. She adds that she’s not opposed to light rail eventually, but wants the subway first, to provide the “bones” of the system.
1:48: Rob says that his opponents thought they were going to be heroes by bringing the idea of dedicated taxes and fees for transit expansion to council, and they wanted to raise taxes by $1,000 a year. First of all, no one wants to raise taxes, but if the alternative is to face far more costly congestion down the road, then it might be necessary. Second, Rob’s $1,000 figure is inaccurate. The Globe thinks it’s closer to $500, and if the implemented revenue tools were regional and also captured tourist dollars, it could be half of that. It’s like that old journalism maxim: if you see round numbers, there are probably hollow arguments.
1:49: Rob is angry. We just spent $1.2 million on showers, he exclaims, even though the City actually spent $20,000 on showers. The $1.2 million was spent on a new underground bike-parking station at Nathan Phillips Square with showers, 380 bike parking spots, and a bike mechanic workshop—plus the cost of the design and implementation. But in the kindergarten world of City Hall, Rob just really hates showers.
1:51: Rob is angry. He opposed a traffic light in Maria Augimeri’s ward that he felt wasn’t needed, but council voted for it. It was a waste of money, he argues, and plus it slows down our City’s godly cars. We can’t have that.
1:52: Rob is angry. He doesn’t like how a development in Kristyn Wong-Tam’s ward (that’s Ward 27, Toronto Centre-Rosedale) requested lower-than-minimum parking requirements. (It’s across the street from a Green P parking lot and steps from a subway station.) He argues that the development needs free parking for visitors, even though there’s no such thing as free parking, because it will just be reflected in the cost of the units to tenants. But, at least to Ford’s way of thinking, if there’s one thing people are entitled to, it’s free parking.
1:54: Doug gives his weekly reminder that he and Rob had a solid plan for a Sheppard subway. I give my weekly reminder that they did not.
2:08: Rob tells everyone to call their councillor in support of a casino for Toronto, saying that they need to put on a full court press. “We need to win this vote,” he says.
2:09: Doug says that he’s never seen an entrepreneur attacked as much as Porter Airlines CEO Bob Deluce was at council’s meeting last week. “Only in Toronto this would happen, Rob.” Doug is referring to a moment when Gord Perks (Ward 14, Parkdale-High Park) argued that council was elevating Deluce’s desire to make money over the priorities of other stakeholders involved in the Island Airport issue. That Deluce is out to make money is no secret, and my guess is he’d be proud of that fact.
2:11: Doug, who was forced to apologize at council for homophobic remarks relating to the proposed City Hall bike station, doubles down with even more ignorance when he sarcastically says, “Why have a splash pad when you can have a nice little shower with a towel boy downstairs.”
2:18: Doug reads out the names of the Toronto intersections that get the most vehicle traffic, and Rob says “subways” after each one. Of course, many of those intersections already have subways that are underused, but that’s something only a pesky fact-checker could care about.
2:40: Rob calls Gus Cusimano a “great candidate” for Ward 9, and says he’ll run in the next election. Of course, he has had campaign finance difficulties, including allegations of cheque fraud. He was also accused of voting illegally, but no bother.
Rob should really watch campaign violations of his own, including organizing for candidates like Cusimano before election season.
2:43: A caller suggests raising money for subways by selling nameplates at stations, like they do in hospitals or theatres. Doug lauds the caller for thinking outside of the box, and chastises the TTC for not doing the same. But he singles out Andy Byford for praise—Byford being the same guy who steadfastly states the Downtown Relief Line should have priority over suburban subway lines, and that the City needs to gain more political will to make transit solutions happen. Sigh.
2:49: Rob and Doug talk about the Humbertown development proposal, and Doug reiterates his opposition. He adds that they always do what the community wants, not the developer. This is likely news to people who live on the Toronto Islands, people who supported the original Port Lands plan, local opposition to a downtown casino, people in favour of ending Pusateri’s valet parking, and many more.
3:00: We get our customary farewell, as Doug blesses the GTA, but “most importantly” Ford Nation.
Well Raccoon Nation, we got through another one. We heard a lot more transit nonsense from people who clearly have no interest in getting anything done, but at least we got to hear from Mama Ford, who seems quite nice. Two out of five marmots.