Rob Ford going off the rails! Part II

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Sineed
Rob Ford going off the rails! Part II

The last thread ended with this cogent comment from Cueball:

Cueball wrote:
If the Star had actually endorsed "Transit City". as opposed to George Smitherman, then Ford might have been defeated on the issues.

Sineed

On December 2nd I sent a letter to Mayor Ford's office expressing my concern regarding his transit plan.  Here's the response:

Mayor Ford's office wrote:
Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns regarding the future plans for Transit City. The Mayor's plan is to centralize investment in underground rapid transit. The Toronto Transit Commission will respond with options and a more cohesive plan by the end of January.

 

We would like to assure you that the taxpayers will continue to come first. Our team is confident that the revised plan will provide a cleaner, safer and more reliable transit system for the citizens of Toronto.

 

More information will be available following the late-January proposals.  

 

Office of the Mayor

Stockholm

Its a waste of time to write to Ford. PHONE HIM. I hear he personally returns every single solitary call placed to him.

Stargazer

Sineed, I received the exact same reply in response to my email pushing to keek Transit City.

 

Rob Ford is not interested in us. He is all about his "base" and we can just go screw ourselves. Bike riding commie pinkos.

N.R.KISSED

I also got the exact same response. This is the customer serevice they have been crowing about, meaningless formulaic crap

Maysie Maysie's picture

I got the same response, twice.

N.R.Kissed wrote:
 meaningless formulaic crap

After the Cherry fiasco earlier this week, I welcome meaningless formulaic crap with open arms. Look how low my expections are now. Damn it all to hell.

Sineed

Stargazer wrote:

Sineed, I received the exact same reply in response to my email pushing to keep Transit City.

I suspected such; that was partly why I posted it :-)

I'm thinking of getting a winter coat in flamingo pink for riding my bike downtown.

What has been happening: Ford had a meeting with the premier, primarily about transit, that was mysteriously cut short.  Now Ford has been saying that he doesn't need council to vote on cancelling Transit City because council never voted on Transit City as a whole in the 1st place - the province may disagree, and insist on a vote.  Opinions?

Aside: I haven't bothered dignifying the Don Cherry speech with a response, but it does set the tone for a divisive style of this mayor's office.  I'd point out to Don Cherry and Rob Ford that transit isn't necessarily a left-wing versus right-wing issue; reliable public transit is good for businesses downtown.  And right-wing people, church-goers and veterans ride bikes too.

Le T Le T's picture

I emailed my councilor Ana Baileo weeks ago and have still heard nothing from her. I see that she was recently given a pretty nice appointment by the Mayor considering she only has a few days experience as a councilor.

Olly

Ford ran on a platform of scrapping Transit City. Why is anyone surprised he's doing it? Same with Miller and the bridge, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars to scrap. I'm just so glad that right wing Smitherman didn't win! Then we'd be in real trouble!!

Maysie Maysie's picture

We're not surprised. We're fucking angry.

Well, I am.

jrootham

The cost of the bridge was due to fraud on the part of the Toronto Port Authority.

 

Stockholm

Correction - Ford ran on a platform (released on Youtube at midnight and given as little publicity as possible) to REPLACE Transit City with his etch-a-sketch drawing of subway lines criss-crossing the city and he promised that it would be NO PROBLEM AT ALL to get the billions of dollars extra to build subway lines to all the places that LRTs were supposed to go to in Transit City. People did not vote for Ford to scrap Transit City and replace it with NOTHING (which is what will happen). Ford avoided talking about transit during the campiagn as much as possible and when pressed he said that by "stopping the gravy train" (ie: stopping city councillors from getting to go to the Zoo for free) - he would be able to pay for his etch-a-sketch of subway lines.

Aristotleded24

Sineed wrote:
What has been happening: Ford had a meeting with the premier, primarily about transit, that was mysteriously cut short.  Now Ford has been saying that he doesn't need council to vote on cancelling Transit City because council never voted on Transit City as a whole in the 1st place - the province may disagree, and insist on a vote.  Opinions?

That form response tells me that Ford was prepared for the backlash against cancelling Transit City.

Here's how I can see this playing out. Although McGuinty technically can insist that Toronto go through with Transit City, I doubt he thinks he has any political capital to do so, and if the city and the province both bail, there is no way the feds are going to interfere. Transit City is probably not going to be killed outright. What will probably happen is that come budget time, the Liberals will pull back any funds for Transit City that haven't already been spent or projects that haven't been started, and make some vague allocation for subways. Why not? If he's going down, he certainly doesn't have to worry about spending that money. And don't forget that the most recent provincial budget basically killed Transit City anyways.

Here in Winnipeg, the current mayor's first major action in office was to cancel plans to build a rapid transit system here, and Winnipeg is still paying for it. So my suggestion to Torontonians concerned about public transit? Make an action plan for the worst case scenario.

A political

jrootham wrote:

The cost of the bridge was due to fraud on the part of the Toronto Port Authority.

 

Now that is funny.  Miller runs up millions of dollars in costs cancelling a bridge and that is someone else's fault . 

Gold that's lame!

edmundoconnor

N.R.KISSED wrote:

I also got the exact same response. This is the customer service they have been crowing about, meaningless formulaic crap

Good news: they're about customer service (I prefer to be a citizen, but moving on)

Bad news: they learnt about customer service from Rogers

edmundoconnor

Stockholm wrote:

Ford avoided talking about transit during the campiagn as much as possible and when pressed he said that by "stopping the gravy train" (ie: stopping city councillors from getting to go to the Zoo for free) - he would be able to pay for his etch-a-sketch of subway lines.

He talked about the 'gravy train'. Real trains, not so much. Even less about how he's going to pay for them, and have them built by 2015.

I've been engaging the pondlife on the Sun's comment boards (hey, I like blood sport), and the best they've come up with is that the Liberals will be so scared of losing Toronto in 2011, that they'll give Ford anything he wants.

edmundoconnor

Stockholm wrote:

Its a waste of time to write to Ford. PHONE HIM. I hear he personally returns every single solitary call placed to him.

Has anyone here actually done that? Should I expect a screaming match if I call?

Polunatic2

Anyone notice that Ford is unable to say "citizen" or "resident". He reports to the "taxpayers" only. No one else matters. 

The Don Cherry thing was so revealing.

1) Conservatives have a hate on for anyone who doesn't vote for them or who takes transit (even if they vote for them).

2) The "war on cars" is over. It's more important for Mississaugans to have a fast drive in and out of Toronto than it is for Torontonians to get around on transit. They're taxpayers too.

3) Millionaires now speak on behalf of working people. Transit riders are elitists. 

Now that Ford is mayor, the focus is quickly shifting to electing Tim Hudak as premier next year. Expect to see more of Don Cherry campaigning in T.O. for "the little guy". 

This is worth reading. 

John Moore: Don Cherry’s ‘swaggering performance by a classic bully’

Quote:
Cherry’s behavior should come as no surprise. He’ll likely say it was all for show. But what has better than fifty percent of the population of Toronto done to be verbally abused at the induction of their new mayor

Here’s my challenge to those who were thrilled by Cherry’s braggadocio: provide me with a single example of a formal swearing-in ceremony where a left-wing office holder or one of his proxies turned to the audience and essentially said “suck on this”. In fact, I’ll widen the challenge: when has an incumbent liberal ever said “hey fascists, I’m in charge now. Screw you.”?

Papal Bull

Aristotleded24 wrote:

Here's how I can see this playing out. Although McGuinty technically can insist that Toronto go through with Transit City, I doubt he thinks he has any political capital to do so, and if the city and the province both bail, there is no way the feds are going to interfere. Transit City is probably not going to be killed outright. What will probably happen is that come budget time, the Liberals will pull back any funds for Transit City that haven't already been spent or projects that haven't been started, and make some vague allocation for subways. Why not? If he's going down, he certainly doesn't have to worry about spending that money. And don't forget that the most recent provincial budget basically killed Transit City anyways.

Here in Winnipeg, the current mayor's first major action in office was to cancel plans to build a rapid transit system here, and Winnipeg is still paying for it. So my suggestion to Torontonians concerned about public transit? Make an action plan for the worst case scenario.

 

I agree with your prediction. It really isn't positive and I have a few conspiratorial notes to add...

rob ford is basically going to stall on transit city, as you mentioned. he will do what he can to get votes to go his way or find ways to ignore the will of council. it is going to become a media issue and be put off as long as possible. his talks with mcguinty are going to go nowhere. the premier, intrepid adventurer that he is, will make some vague promises about funding a new transit idea. transit city as an item will gradually loose funding.
mcguinty is dead in the water. he has nothing left and unless he resigns as premier or pulls some sort of rabbit out of the hat and everyone in ontario becomes millionaires (my preferred route), hudak will win. this will allow for a more syngertistic province-municipality interaction as ford will likely throw a bit of weight behind hudak in the inevitable election. ford doesn't have a plan right now, and he may very well not have a plan when his evil plot comes to fruition. he is not a politician with a lot of personal substance in terms of policy generation or implementation. that doesn't matter to the electorate when it comes time to vote, sadly. rob ford is a smart politician in that he plays the game very well. he does it as well as any other modern politician that is riding a 'populist' wave of disillusionment and money. when leaders become media figures and try control image it distracts them from doing anything but playing games of dischord. it then falls to their circle of lackies and assistants and allies and aides to make these dreams a reality and develop a policy without vision - just 'subways'.

there are a lot of ways for this to pan out in the long run. perhaps by some satanic ritual the combination of a provincial pc government and a retrograde toronto mayor can make work what few other places can manage - a major subway expansion that is on time and on budget. more likely the inaction of the liberals and the mendacity of mayor ford will simply kill off what is a viable, problematically presented transit plan. this will leave toronto in the lurch until ford tries again with the new premier, banking on reelection. the new premier may be a bit more receptive than the last to a radical overhaul of long term planning in the expansion of the ttc. what form it will take is anyone's guess, because 'subway from here to here' is pretty vague and manages to delibertily obscure the costs to the immediate infrastructure and residents. besides the technical and engineering side of it (which i imagine will probably face considerable challenges) that hasn't really been talked about (hard to talk about when you've been given something so nebulous) the actual costs to torontonian residents hasn't been assesed.

this total lack of vision for policy and implementation in favor of media presentation does not auger well for even an optimist prediction that ford could be maligned by council and made in some sort of 'duck'.

jrootham

Somebody doesn't remember their history.  It was a scam from the get go.

Oh, and even inflated, it was $35 million, not hundreds of millions.

Also, check out the Porter Air books.  They are going bankrupt.

 

A political wrote:

jrootham wrote:

The cost of the bridge was due to fraud on the part of the Toronto Port Authority.

 

Now that is funny.  Miller runs up millions of dollars in costs cancelling a bridge and that is someone else's fault . 

Gold that's lame!

Polunatic2

History? Facts? All they do is to call into question the talking point. 

Le T Le T's picture

It's not like the TTC rushed to secure a bunch of Transit City contracts with heavy termination fees when they found out Rob Ford would probably win.

Aristotleded24

Le T wrote:
It's not like the TTC rushed to secure a bunch of Transit City contracts with heavy termination fees when they found out Rob Ford would probably win.

Wouldn't have made a difference in the politics anyways.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Free Transit and Movement Building

Quote:

Among the strengths of the free transit campaign is its potential to foreground and develop an analysis of our collective stake in the protection of public goods. It is not difficult to talk about public goods in the context of mass transportation infrastructure. The shared benefits of public transportation are difficult to deny, particularly in a city as large and as sprawling as Toronto. Even setting aside the obvious ecological imperatives that should be driving public investment in greener infrastructure, there are powerful economic reasons to support a massive re-investment in Ontario's transportation sector. A serious effort to expand the reach and accessibility of the public transit system would serve not only to ease the burden of Toronto's most vulnerable residents and reduce the economic and health costs associated with air pollution and traffic congestion: such an investment could re-direct the wasted skills and resources embodied in Ontario's laid-off auto-workers and silent auto-plants, which could be converted to the production of high efficiency mass transit vehicles. As Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch (2010) argued recently in the Toronto Star, public borrowing to finance such investments represents not a wasteful burden on future generations, but a commitment to securing them a future. The real squandering of our collective resources lies not in public borrowing or in benefits packages for public employees, but in our failure to direct existing skills, knowledge, and material capacities into a coherent strategy for building sustainable communities.

The idea of a free transit movement immediately foregrounds a number of thorny strategic questions for the left in Toronto: how to build trust, dialogue, and support for a free transit movement within the transit union; how to address and re-focus the widespread anger, mistrust, and resentment directed at the public sector in the current climate; how to sustain and advance anti-capitalist principles while building productive relationships within broader progressive milieux. Navigating these questions will be challenging, and the Assembly is still a long way from a coherent and systematic approach to answering them. But the fact that these questions surface so quickly and urgently is a positive sign of the ambition and seriousness with which the Assembly is approaching the organization of a free transit movement. The free transit campaign will push the Assembly to develop further its internal organizational and decision-making capacities, but it will also demand an outward-looking, inclusive process, in which the Assembly's role is to open space for debate, dialogue, and collective strategizing.

In fact, the transit system itself can provide the venue for us to stage public discussions about our collective resources and to share alternative visions for our city: the transit system is a readymade classroom, theatre, and art gallery, attended every day by people who could come to recognize their stake in the de-commodification of public goods of many kinds. My hope is that Toronto's buses, streetcars, and subway platforms could be places for experimentation, places to develop the new tactics, organizing skills, and relationships that might permit us to really depart from the prevailing script.

adma

You know, given that Don Cherry's shoot-from-the-lip reputation precedes him, it's noteworthy who he didn't refer to in his speech: hyphenated-Canadians.

After all, they were a powerful base of Ford's support--if Cherry started ripping into them, then presto, Ford honeymoon over.  (OTOH left-wing pinkos are safe targets, never having been part of the honeymoon in the first place.)

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Olly wrote:

Ford ran on a platform of scrapping Transit City. Why is anyone surprised he's doing it? Same with Miller and the bridge, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars to scrap. I'm just so glad that right wing Smitherman didn't win! Then we'd be in real trouble!!

The details of the settlement for the bridge cancellation remain a secret to this day, although the Port Authority immediately committed 4 million for a new ferry. But the difference between four and "hundreds of millions" is pretty wide. Do you have an insider source for your information, Olly?

Or is your claim as ridiculous as I suspect?

edited to add

I see the issue was already dealt with earlier and better. Thanks to JR for this link.

A political

Certainly I have heard much larger numbers the 35 million, but let's concede that is is 35 million that Miller wasted because he promised in his campaign to dump the brigde.  Ford promised dump transit city.  So what is the difference.  Oh yeah you don't agree with Ford but you did with Miller!

N.R.KISSED

A political wrote:

Certainly I have heard much larger numbers the 35 million, but let's concede that is is 35 million that Miller wasted because he promised in his campaign to dump the brigde.  Ford promised dump transit city.  So what is the difference.  Oh yeah you don't agree with Ford but you did with Miller!

Miller didn't waste anything because it wasn't city money. It was money paid by the Federal government to some corporate friends who were offered deals by the Port Authority just before Miller was elected. The difference was the port authority a federal body and run by a conservative shill was responsible. So once again conservative equals waste

A political

N.R.KISSED wrote:

Miller didn't waste anything because it wasn't city money. It was money paid by the Federal government to some corporate friends who were offered deals by the Port Authority just before Miller was elected. The difference was the port authority a federal body and run by a conservative shill was responsible. So once again conservative equals waste

Oh I am so out of touch-so if city officals waste my federal tax money that's okay, it only counts when it is city tax money.  NEWSFLASH   We are all the same taxpayers.  Gosh you don't make sense.  I hate the cancelling of Tranist City but frankly I see no difference between the two. 

N.R.KISSED

A political wrote:

N.R.KISSED wrote:

Miller didn't waste anything because it wasn't city money. It was money paid by the Federal government to some corporate friends who were offered deals by the Port Authority just before Miller was elected. The difference was the port authority a federal body and run by a conservative shill was responsible. So once again conservative equals waste

Oh I am so out of touch-so if city officals waste my federal tax money that's okay, it only counts when it is city tax money.  NEWSFLASH   We are all the same taxpayers.  Gosh you don't make sense.  I hate the cancelling of Tranist City but frankly I see no difference between the two. 

Try paying attention, the Port Authority made deals when they knew David Miller was coming in. Forget your tax payer rhetoric the Port Authority is an unelected undemocratic body, they made these deals against the democratic interests of citizens and the waste was created by them, intentionally. The federal government then paid out more money than the project was actually worth. IF you don't see the difference with that and cancelling a plan that had approval from three levels of government then your not looking.