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Going off the rails on a Gravy Train
September 3, 2012 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Don't look now, but Toronto mayor (and perennial Metafilter favourite) Rob Ford may be kicked out of office due to a conflict of interest charge.

Not that it needed to come to this. Still, this could put an end to one of the strangest mayoralties in Canadian history (and this is coming from the city that elected Mel Lastman twice, no less).

Ford's term as mayor has become of topic of conversation among many Torontonians, with even his brother Doug and his niece Krista getting in on the ongoing controversy. As for the man himself, Rob Ford believes the voters and not the courts should decide whether he stays or goes.
posted by spoobnooble II: electric bugaboo (43 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Still, this could put an end to one of the worst strangest mayoralties

Fixed.
posted by Fizz at 12:40 PM on September 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Seems like there's a lot of maybe/if written into the statutes for the judge to let Ford off the hook. I certainly wouldn't hold my breath expecting Ford to lose the office.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:54 PM on September 3, 2012


I find much western canada schadenfreude in comparing the trainwreck that is Rob Ford to (supposedly more conservative Calgary's) awesome Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
posted by chapps at 12:54 PM on September 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


I also think this conflict of interest... while real... was less of a disaster than almost everything else Ford has done... at least he wouldn't gain personally, it would go to a charity to help poor kids afford to play football. Admittedly the charity is named after the mayor, etc, but still. I think it's one of the few things Ford has been involved with that sounds like a good idea.
posted by chapps at 12:56 PM on September 3, 2012


oh please oh please oh please can we be rid of him.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:01 PM on September 3, 2012 [6 favorites]


Too good to be true. But fingers crossed anyways. He's a boor.
posted by parki at 1:03 PM on September 3, 2012


and yes chapps, I am totally jealous of your mayor!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:03 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have to agree with chapps on this. He's a boorish oaf who has made many, many mistakes during his tenure that are much worse than this. I find it bizarre that this might be the straw that breaks the camel's back and I doubt we'll be fortunate enough for it to follow through.

Bloody hell though, he needs to go. I can't believe that he garnered enough votes in this city to win that office.
posted by purephase at 1:22 PM on September 3, 2012


oh please oh please oh please can we be rid of him.

I was just about to type pretty much these exact words.
posted by jokeefe at 1:23 PM on September 3, 2012


I'd be a little disappointed if he goes down for something relatively penny-ante like this, rather than World Class™ corruption or a thorough stomping at the polls that repudiates every jackass move he has ever made.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:34 PM on September 3, 2012


All you need to do is apply some heat and he's done.

I mean, the man's made of butter.
posted by mephron at 1:37 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd be a little disappointed if he goes down for something relatively penny-ante like this...

Hey, they got Capone on tax-evasion. Gone is gone.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:38 PM on September 3, 2012 [8 favorites]


If the recent Mississauga mayoral conflict-of-interest case (which was a much bigger deal) is any indication, nothing will come of this.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:49 PM on September 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good freaking riddance. I hope this works.
posted by gingerbeer at 2:06 PM on September 3, 2012


"I also think this conflict of interest... while real... was less of a disaster than almost everything else Ford has done... at least he wouldn't gain personally, it would go to a charity to help poor kids afford to play football. Admittedly the charity is named after the mayor, etc, but still. I think it's one of the few things Ford has been involved with that sounds like a good idea."

Yeah, but the conflict of interest is apparently when he took part in a council vote that relieved him of the obligation to pay back the charity money. It's not about the money itself, but rather the fact that Ford voted on a matter where he should have abstained.

But that said, I really don't think the judge is going to make history by throwing Ford out of office. His offense would have to be much more outrageous before any Canadian judge would go to such an extreme.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:24 PM on September 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


As much as I'd like to see Ford gone... this is likely not the right way for it to happen.

I mean he's totally in the wrong and needs to be shown that in some way that might actually sink in. Not that I actually believe he's capable of understanding the concept of being wrong. But even Ford doesn't deserve to be kicked out of office over a couple of grand to a charity... and yes I realize that it's mostly caused by his stupid pig-headed stubbornness.

If only he could listen to reason and see that government has rules and ways of doing things... but then if that was true he might not be such a major embarrassment in the first place.

This is just another example of a simple rule of politics... If you screw up, admit it, apologise, make it right and move on. If you fight an obviously losing battle from the wrong side you just make it worse.
posted by cirhosis at 2:43 PM on September 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Rob Ford Administration: an obviously losing battle from the wrong side.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:47 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm agreeing with most people here that he won't likely be thrown out of office. Our best case scenario, really, is that he will simply stay until the next election and continue to fuck up in various ways to the point where he and his brother (and hopefully Mammoliti, and Minnan-Wong) are basically unelectable. I think, regardless of the verdict, Clayton Ruby's cross-examination will be an important factor in this process. The real issue is how badly can the Fords fuck up the city until this point, and what can we do to mitigate it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 3:23 PM on September 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm embarrassed that Rob Ford is our mayor and I saddened to think of the big steps backwards this city is, and will be, taking during his tenure. But I'd hate to see him go down like this.

It's just too convenient to be able to toss out an elected official like this. If he pocketed the money it might be a different story. I'm afraid it would further lower the standards of the political culture in this city, which is actually pretty constructive overall. It's just too petty a thing to have him thrown out for. If he's ordered to pay the money I'll be satisfied.

I'm comforted that he's probably not on the road to re-election. The thing that really gets me is that the character flaws and lack of leadership/vision/competence/consensus building that he's disliked for now could have been apparent to anyone who read the god damn newspaper once in a while before he was elected.
posted by beau jackson at 4:06 PM on September 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, Tom Jakobek managed to hang on for a good 18 years. Some people have a knack for survival.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:33 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


As mentioned before: this really is trivial issue... but the hardliners are always crying about getting tough on crime, so dish it out...
posted by ovvl at 4:36 PM on September 3, 2012


It's just too petty a thing to have him thrown out for.

No, what's petty is risking your mayoralty over three thousand bucks. If a court finds him to be in clear violation of the law, he should be punished accordingly. That's not "convenient", that's the barest requirement of justice.
posted by mek at 4:38 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just think that the punishment would be too severe. But God damn, he's not helping himself by refusing to pay back the money! Talk about the wrong time to dig in. He's a millionaire for crying out loud.
posted by beau jackson at 5:00 PM on September 3, 2012


...too petty a thing to have him thrown out for

He's a scofflaw. This was not an accidental slip-up. He ignored a ruling from town council followed by literally a half dozen warnings from the ethics commissioner, then used his own powers as mayor to quash that ruling and hold on to the money. If he'd do this over a petty sum of cash (thousands of dollars is petty?), what would he do when the stakes are bigger?

He should be removed from office and exiled. (his idea)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:39 PM on September 3, 2012 [7 favorites]


I'll say what I think lots of people in this thread are thinking: trying to get Rob Ford thrown out of office for this will backfire because if it fails—and it almost certainly will—it'll give Rob Ford's supporters the martyr they want and need. It'll be all the evidence they need that the leftist wing of city council is out to get their guy, and they will return him to office handily come the next election.

That he doesn't deserve to be kicked out based on $3,000; that he's done far worse (both objectively and from a "what was he thinking?" standpoint) during his tenure as mayor; that the city would indeed be better off if he were gone; these are all incidental. The real reason most people don't want to see him shut down like this is because the penalty for failure would be four more years of Rob Ford.
posted by chrominance at 5:41 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


trying to get Rob Ford thrown out of office for this will backfire because if it fails—and it almost certainly will—it'll give Rob Ford's supporters the martyr they want and need.

Yup, all thirteen that remain.
posted by mek at 5:43 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


The top rated comments on this reddit thread sum it up nicely:
it's also worth noting that Rob Ford has denied that he benefits politically from his football foundation. Leave aside, for a moment, the fact that Rob Ford cannot go one day without talking about his involvement in football...

Remember last month when Rob Ford was the sole member of council to vote against community grants to at-risk neighbourhoods? And then a couple days later all hell broke loose and 21 people got shot? We were treated to this devastating piece of journalism:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwNIh02HAmU

This was a political crisis moment in the Rob Ford mayoralty. That bit is uncomfortable as all hell. But notice his only defence: his football foundation.
posted by anthill at 5:44 PM on September 3, 2012


I want Ford gone more than anyone, but please, not for this. Better he be voted out. Let's not make a political martyr our of him.
posted by Go Banana at 5:46 PM on September 3, 2012


Well, I for one, hope he stays.

My reasons are purely selfish. We in the Hammer also have mayor-and-code-of-ethics problems. But as poor a mayor as Bob Bratina has been, as strange as Peggygate could be -- hey -- at least he's not Rob Ford.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:00 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Let's not make a political martyr our of him.

Like most bullies, he'll whine and cry and play the martyr card while it suits him, but if it actually came to a vote, I would like to think that he would have worn out his credibility by now.
posted by ovvl at 6:01 PM on September 3, 2012


I wish I could play this on banjo so I could sing “The Wreck of The Etobicoke Gravy Train”.
posted by scruss at 6:38 PM on September 3, 2012


He should be removed from office and exiled. (his idea)
During his own NewsTalk interview on Thursday evening, Ford sounded unfamiliar with the Charter provisions on mobility when co-host John Downs mentioned them.

“You know what, John, maybe you’re an expert at that,” he said. “I wish I was as smart as you are, but I’m not, so ...”
...I'm going to ignore that and continue to make utterly insane suggestions.
posted by jaduncan at 6:43 PM on September 3, 2012


I think the only way he avoids getting booted is if the court accepts the argument that it doesn't have jurisdiction by virtue of the City of Toronto Act. There's no way he can argue that it was inadvertence in the circumstances, and there's no way that $3000 is insignificant.
posted by Dasein at 6:53 PM on September 3, 2012


I'd prefer that he lost his position due to some driving violation. People can relate to that, can understand where he did wrong. But for that to happen someone innocent would probably need to be injured by his new Escalade. The present case would too easily fit the narrative that all his supporters believe - that the honourable gain power through achievement and the money achievement delivers, while lefties wield power by inventing and enforcing useless rules and regulations.

Still, it will be satisfying to see the lawyer make him squirm for a day.
posted by TimTypeZed at 7:13 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's no way he can argue that it was inadvertence in the circumstances, and there's no way that $3000 is insignificant.

Certainly, he can't argue inadvertence anymore. If it was inadvertence, the good faith thing to do would be to correct it as soon as it was brought to your attention. Having refused to do that on multiple occasions, that ship has long since sailed.

So many of Ford's problems could have simply disappeared if he said 'You know what, guys, you're right, it was stupid of me to do that, and it won't happen again.' Instead, he doubles-down on his blatant mistake/misconduct/whatever, and makes it so much worse for himself. Acknowledging his obvious errors could actually endear him to quite a lot of people.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:28 PM on September 3, 2012


Good ol' Mike Harris. He must sleep contented knowing that his attempt to neuter Toronto by creating an ungovernable megacity, beholden to the 'burbs, worked.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:29 PM on September 3, 2012 [4 favorites]


If the recent Mississauga mayoral conflict-of-interest case (which was a much bigger deal) is any indication, nothing will come of this.

Mississauga is a parking lot where every parking spot comes with a house.

Toronto is a city.

Totally different things.

[I grew up in that parking lot BTW and Hazel is the only mayor I can remember. Corruption isn't what was wrong with her tenure. Massive uncontrolled soulless mega-suburban expansion is what was wrong with her tenure.]
posted by srboisvert at 8:57 PM on September 3, 2012


From Torontoist: A History of Formal Complaints against Rob Ford.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:39 PM on September 4, 2012 [2 favorites]


By the way, the Globe has been showing a decent twitter feed of the court case here. Or follow #fordcourt.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:25 AM on September 5, 2012


Rob Ford Pleads Incompetence.
posted by mek at 11:52 AM on September 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


@goldsbie's having the time of his life covering this: Ford sums up everything: "Sir, with all due respect, I don't know what page we're on."
posted by scruss at 1:48 PM on September 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


All he wants to do in life is coach a football team. He doesn't really want to be mayor. He just wants to coach a football team. Why can't he just coach a football team? Is it because the football team that he coaches looses? Why can't he just coach a football team? He wants to coach a fucking football team! Please let him coach a fucking football team!
posted by ovvl at 8:10 PM on September 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ovvl. Tell me about it. He leaves the office in the middle of the afternoon to go coach football and then tells us that he's the hardest working mayor ever. And he seems to sincerely believe that he's some kind of victim. He's no longer a lame duck. He's just a joke.
posted by beau jackson at 4:29 PM on September 12, 2012


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