Thursday, March 22, 2012

Rob Ford loses on transit. Again.

It's been a tumultuous few weeks in my own life, such that I haven't been posting as much as I'd like.

Some important events in the larger world have occurred in the meantime.

First, the month-long transit strike here in Hali ended:

As a sort of bonus, bus and ferry service will be free until the end of March. I made use of the ol' No. 7 today to go up to the Hydrostones. Of course, since my Dal bus pass lasts until the end of April, free service is somewhat redundant. Happily, Dal has provided all of us impoverished students with a $33.04 rebate on our transit passes. Yay.

But the big news is that Toronto City Council voted 24-19 to build the Sheppard East LRT, thus rejecting Rob Ford's unfunded and unfounded subway plan (at this point, all he was proposing was a useless extension to stops east to Victoria Park instead of building an LRT all the way to the edge of the zoo).

To quote Steve Munro:
This is an important day for Toronto. We are on track for an LRT-based plan and for a more detailed evaluation of our transit future than we have seen for decades. Talking about one line at once, about fundraising for one project at once, is no longer an accepted way of building the city. Leaving the debate to a secretive Provincial agency is no longer acceptable, and the City is clearly setting out on its own review. Co-operation is essential given the funding arrangements, but Queen’s Park must stop hiding from the transit planning and financing files.
Of course, as Hamutal Dotan noted in the Torontoist, Rob Ford's reaction was predictably obstinate and incoherently combative:
“The election starts now.”

That was Rob Ford’s response this afternoon, when asked by reporters how he felt about today’s transit vote—a vote in which council overruled Ford’s wishes and opted for light rail rather than a subway for Sheppard. A vote that, by any realistic measure, was devastating for the mayor.

The mayor, in short, has not, will not be persuaded. What happened at council, he remains convinced, is overreaching by an unruly group of councillors who are actively subverting the will of Torontonians by ramming light rail down residents’ unwilling throats.


As a councillor, Rob Ford was always the lone wolf in City Hall—often quite literally a minority of one when it came to votes. As a mayor, he seems to be reverting to that position, with even his supporters and allies working around rather than with him. It isn’t because they haven’t tried. The mayor is increasingly isolated at City Hall, and it’s an isolation of his own making. Never one for policy details, he is trying to govern in platitudes, and increasingly, he is doing it alone.
Anyway, I cannot imagine how Ford expects to be able to continue a "campaign" for his unfunded unwarranted subways without proposing new revenue tools. Spreading half-truths and outright lies and a naked disdain for those damned streetcars is really not something that can be sustained for 2-and-a-half years.

Is that all Ford's mayoralty is about? Listening to the "People" who say they "want subways"? Does he have any vision or any ideas for bringing the city together?

(These are rhetorical questions as the answers are Yes, Yes, and No, definitely not.)

Of course, said campaign may all be moot if Ford is removed from office due to his clear violation of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. That would unfortunately remove the spectacle of his flailing about until 2014, but then we can't always get everything we want.

No comments: