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 the biggest blockbuster of the weekend, where Rob and Doug will meld minds in the Newstalk 1010 machine and stomp all over downtown Toronto. Okay, so I just saw Pacific Rim. But I’m pretty sure this show will be exactly like that anyway. Let’s find out!
1:07: Rob welcomes everyone to the show, and says it’s a hot weather day out there. The mayor also comments on the ongoing Etobicoke-Lakeshore by-election that includes two city councillors: Liberal candidate Peter Milczyn (Ward 5, Etobicoke-Lakeshore) and Progressive Conservative candidate Doug Holyday (Ward 3, Etobicoke Centre), “Nothing against Peter—Peter’s a good guy—but he’s in the wrong party.”
1:09: Rob and Doug announce that their mother Diane will host a $350-a-plate fundraiser for Holyday at the Islington Golf Club on July 22. Doug points out corporations can donate too.
1:10: Doug is now bringing back his segment “Setting the record straight,” wherein he rails against the Toronto Star for something he perceives as being inaccurate. Rob says the Star is lying again as Doug takes issue with a recent Star article that criticizes the mayor for Toronto’s increasing debt while in office. Doug blames the Miller administration for buying streetcars, even though he wants to unnecessarily spend over a billion dollars to get three subway stops. But Doug has a point here. The Star article was unfair as it only looked at debt without evaluating the underlying value of that investment and who was responsible for the decisions. That said, in Doug’s rant he continually blurs the operating and capital budgets and shows a basic lack of financial literacy.
1:14: Rob and Doug now discuss the rainstorm that overwhelmed the city last week, and they say it brought the city together.
1:15: Mark calls in, and says Rob and Doug are doing a great job “bustin’ their butts.” He also supports repealing the Land Transfer Tax, getting more subways, and Doug Holyday. Mark is a living Newstalk 1010 Mad Libs game.
1:19: Rob and Doug now have NFL player Orlando Franklin on the show, and Rob is jealous that his brother has met him but he has not. “I’m supposed to be the football coach,” says Mayor Rob.
1:32: What does Rob want? Subways. When does he want them? Subways. He reiterates he’s willing to go for a 0.25 per cent property tax increase to pay for subways, the equivalent of $5 per household. The thing is, this only adds up to $5 million a year, which would be just enough to pay to have dialysis patients use Wheel Trans. A subway would cost at least $1.1 billion extra in 2013 dollars, and the province wouldn’t cover inflation and overages, as they would for LRTs. Rob characterizes this as a choice between $5 a year for subways or $3 a year for LRTs, neither of which is true. There would be no extra taxes for the LRT extension, and $5 is nowhere near the amount needed to fund a subway—it would need $1,100 per household if no other fees were applied.
1:34: Doug, on Rob’s subway plan, “When Rob Ford says he’s willing to put a quarter per cent skin in the game to fund subways, he’s dead serious.”
1:40: Sean from Scarborough refers to streetcars as trams, and argues they’re a “19th century contraption.”
1:57: Doug on Rob’s transit prowess: “You’ve built a consensus, Rob.” Nonononononono.
1:59: Doug announces he made a $5,000 donation to Flagstaff Park, and plans to donate to 10 more, which sounds great. Except then he uses it as a platform to attack the province’s section 37 legislation. Doug, charity is great. But when you use it as a political tool to attack Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina), you’re not really looking all that virtuous.
2:10: Al on King Street phones in, and he favours subways and expanding the island airport. He hates backed-up streetcars, and Rob says he wants to get rid of them altogether. Doug says King Street needs articulated buses to weave in and out of traffic, presumably because he has been playing Snake Deluxe on his Blackberry lately. Doug says he never understood before how bad streetcars were, because he wouldn’t go downtown.
2:14: Michelle calls in and she’s worried about a living wage with privatization. Rob vigorously defends privatization, saying it’s a myth he wants to lay people off, that he’s a businessman and a job creator. He cites an expanded island airport and subways as examples, which means he believes in make-work projects when it comes to the latter? I’m confused.
2:16: Caller David challenges Ford’s math when it comes to funding subways, saying that the city manager’s report calls for a property tax increase four to eight times greater than Ford’s. Ford says the city manager’s is a one year thing (it’s not) and his would be spread over four years to be the same. The mayor doesn’t do math well.
2:21: Lisa on line one says she support Scarborough and supports subways, but is concerned about Rob’s property tax increase. Lisa says she heard it’s going to be $8 from CP24, and that this would be too much. Doug, always the dealmaker, says why don’t we split the difference and call it $6. But Rob doesn’t like this, and mutters, “it’s not true.”
Okay, let’s try this math thing again folks. Toronto has 1 million households. Before inflation, converting from an LRT to a subway—with about the same service level—will cost around $1.1 billion extra. If extra development charges deliver a rosy $100 million, overall how much more will each household contribute in 2013 dollars to construct the transit line?
The answer is D. If you’re quibbling over three dollars, then you don’t want this transit conversion.
2:32: Lance on line three says he loves the Fords, but asks why he should trust the conservatives to build transit when Mike Harris cancelled the Eglinton line. Doug says that was a long time ago, so no bother.
2:40: A caller asks the mayor about a secret subway under King or Queen Street, and the mayor says he’ll have to ask TTC CEO Andy Byford about that. Doug says he’s heard of it, they do filming or something there, and Rob says that you learn something new every day. Presumably Doug is referring to Lower Bay Station.
2:50: Alan calls in and refers to himself as an “able-disabled person,” in response to which Rob sounds very confused. Alan wants more representation for disability issues at City Hall.
2:57: A caller who went to school with Rob’s brother Randy says 80 per cent of users of the Kipling bus don’t pay their fares. Rob says he will be happy to ride the bus to nab these people. Seriously. This is the mayor of North America’s fourth largest city.
3:00: So that was a radio show. It featured: anger, subways, bluster, subways, poor math, and subways. Of note: continuing their streak since the crack scandal broke two months ago, no Toronto city councillor joined their program. Doug blessed Ford Nation, and I bless you, Raccoon Nation, for getting through another week.
Four out of five fundraisers.