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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford


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To me, it does seem Ford has that problem that plagued mayor Kwame in Detroit. Well, not plagued HIM, but wound up plaguing the CITY.


And that's the Nixonesque ability to feel that because he's in charge, he can do NO wrong, no matter how wrong it really is!


In Detroit, there was a woman, Christine Beatty, who had a high position in Kwame's administration. Once, she was pulled over for a traffic violation. She reportedly jumped out of her car and faced the officer who pulled her over and angrily asked him, "Do you KNOW who the F*** I AM?" So it seems that attitude spilled over to others in his administration.


Subsequently, it was revealed in uncovered text message records that she was having a sexual affair with mayor Kwame, those records also used as evidence of his corrupt dealings with handing out lucrative city contracts to old college and high school buddies, or other people willing to line his pockets in order to obtain the contract. With Ms. Beatty's help, too.


The sad part in all this hilarity is that as a state legislator, Kwame had an impeccable record, and he is the son of Carolyne Cheeks Kilpatrick, one of her district's most outstanding congressional representatives.



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Now don't get carried away there in "Cheese Steak Central", finance!


(...I mean you DO know that your city's nickname just stems from the Greek translation of it, and NOT that everyone there is ACTUALLY so full of "Brotherly Love", don't ya?!) ;)

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I suppose it's taken everyone by surprise that the antics of an out-of-control wacko mayor have gone so internationally viral.


So why do Americans enjoy Ford so much? I've read it speculated that at a time of disillusionment with institutions and politics in general that Americans are feeling today, that it is a relief to see a mayor so nutty, PARTICULARLY because he is from safe, middle of the road, "boring" Canada. It's comforting for our friends to the south (I'm Canadian, living right outside Toronto) to know that they're not the only ones with kooks running loose.


And I can understand that. I've seen a few clips from the American late night comics taking their cracks, and I can't say that I find the humour (notice my Canadian use of the "U" in my spelling of that word there) all that great (especially that blah Saturday Night Live skit a week ago- sheesh).


The one exception to that would be many of the comments I've seen of Jon Stewart on The Daily Show. That man, for me, is downright brilliant, at times. His wheel chaired reaction to Ford's potty mouthed reference to his wife's you-know-what was an hilarious spot on response representative of many who couldn't believe what they were hearing a politician blurt out in public, I'm sure. But I digress.


Ford is unlike other politicians who have been in trouble. This man and his brother have no crisis management advice being given to them or, if they have, they sure are ignoring it. People are used to a politician once he's done or said something inappropriate then responding with talking points, saying the "right" things (or, at least, trying to) and then ducking for cover.


But Ford comes on like the train wreck that he is, talking to all American media around, bombastic, unfiltered. He recently declared war on Toronto City Council when he was stripped by them of most of his mayoralty powers. (Those bizarre comments comparing himself to Kuwait being attacked).


He may settle down but he's an incredibly hard headed, vindictive guy so many are waiting for the next shoe to drop (either out of his mouth after he puts his foot back in it again or with another police revelation about him of some kind, as there is probably still an ungoing investigation of him, as well as more facts that will be coming to the surface in the upcoming trail of Lisi, his parttime driver/suspected drug dealer).


The concern, of course, that many Torontonians have is that Ford's international coverge is hurting the city's image and potential business prosperity. Today Rio announced that it no longer wants to have a freindship agreement with Toronto to explore business opportunities as long as Ford is mayor.


More troubling, since the mayor announced that he used crack a couple of weeks ago, the city's business costs have been impacted, with borrowing costs through the interest paid to the bond market having risen 4 per cent - said to be directly related to the mayor's scandal.


Incredibly, the latest poll released says that Ford's approval among Toronto voters stands at 42 per cent, even after all the recent foolishness. When Ford rushes around like a bull in city council chambers, colliding into a councillor, or does a grade 9 stunt, pretending to be drunk driving, in the chambers, some of his voter base cheer "Right on." They love it! That's part of his unorthodox boorish appeal to them.


While the rest of the world's mouth falls open in amazement or laughter, Ford's largely (and I know I'm sterotyping here but it appears to me to be largely true) red neck, beer guzzling, economically disenfranchised followers yell "That's my Robbie" and say they'd never vote for anyone else in the next election. The power of a classic populist politician.


As a fiscal conservative, Ford has also very skilfully convinced (hypnotised?) many imnto believing that he is the ONLY politician in the city that will save them money. And as long as they believe that is the case they will vote for him, no matter how much he embarrasses the city with his bull-in-a-chinashop antics.

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