What if?What if Mayor Rob Ford wasn’t a rotund, rich, balding guy from the suburbs whose suits don’t fit, who doesn’t deliver a great speech and who didn’t have a big brother who doubles as mayor and says outlandish things?
What if Rob Ford hadn’t slobbered you with incessant talk of “gravy train” a year ago?
The above is just a smattering of language in to-day's Royson James column . The top sentence is the opening. The theme has been constant since the announcement of candidates in the last municipal election.
The column parallels one about the new Calgary Mayor whose "honeymoon" continues.He is young. a rookie, good-looking, slim, single, raised by Muslim immigrant parents, Harvard-educated with no sign of a portly white brother on the scene and lots of other good stuff.
Ford is going to save $12 million dollars by reducing the city payroll by attrition by 1500. A far cry from the $200 million he said could be saved when he was a candidate.
Calgary's Mayor is proposing a 5% tax increase in this and each of the next three years. Three new libraries,one central branch and four recreation facilities are on the horizon.I suspect already planned before his advent.
Calgary residents are hoping to shed their "red-neck" image. The Mayor is hoping to persuade the Alberta government to open up the purse strings. He has an in there. He helped the new premier get elected.
His colours during the campaign were purple. A mix of red and blue to signify allegiance to both or neither, Conservative or Liberal philosophy..
Cute ... eh!
The story states the Alberta government has already taken $45 million off their share of the city's property tax bill. The Mayor however is telling Calgarians not to look for a tax break.
It's a tad difficult to make the comparison between the two Mayors and cities Toronto has had a larger budget than prairie provinces for most of the last century.
Calgary's Mayor has failed to reduce the police and fires services budget as promised during his campaign.
Rob Ford did succeed in obtaining a commitment over this year and next from the Police Services Board, to a reduction of ten per cent. I missed seeing the final figures on the city's budget so the picture is still a bit fuzzy. Because obviously it's still not finalised.
It's clear enough though for Royson James and the Toronto Star. It's probably safe to conclude James and the Star were Smitherman supporters in the last city election.
Didn'r help him much. Maybe the support for Smitherman blew a Chinook in Ford's favour.
I am amusing myself We have no stake in Toronto or Calgary politics.
But media involvement. or lack thereof, in municipal politics always intrigues. The area where they have greatest opportunity to comprehend, they don't. It's where Canadians live. But it's not worth the time or space.
On the other hand Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan,Libya, Belarus,Bosnia, they really help us to understand our world, right? I don't think so.
The media deplores, as a matter of course, lack of public interest in government affairs.
Their own role is becoming increasingly irrelevant.
Still they employ guys like Royson James to turn us off.
Four decades they nurtured Hazel McCallion . Now Hazel advises young people not to get involved in municipal politics. Because of the merciless media.