Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wanted: 2 new mayors

I'm not an HR specialist, but a little voice inside my head says a couple of plum positions in southern Ontario could be opening up in the very near future. Job-seekers, if you've ever wanted to be the mayor of either Canada's largest city or its 11th largest, it's time to start polishing your resumes.

Toronto the not-so-good

To the east, Toronto, where gravy-train-busting, onetime-football-coaching, texting-while-driving Mayor Rob Ford has been embroiled in one battle after another since being swept into office almost three years ago. Despite his reputation as a scrappy survivor, he may have just slammed headlong into the battle he ultimately cannot win. After months of speculation over the validity of a video of His Worship allegedly smoking crack cocaine, that reporters for the Toronto Star (disclosure, I write freelance for the paper) allegedly viewed, the Toronto Police now say they are in possession of said video (Toronto Star story here), and Toronto police chief Bill Blair says it contains images consistent with previous reports in the press.

Interpretation: The video shows the major smoking crack.

It won't be long before we, too, can watch the video, and rest assured I'll be making lots of popcorn before the first viewing. But if you've got issues with your top elected officials hanging around with drug dealers and murderers and potentially partaking in some consumption along the way - hell, even if you don't - the next few days and weeks should be rather entertaining. For now, Chief Blair says as a citizen, he's disappointed. I can't blame him.

My $0.02? Toronto deserves better than to be turned into an international laughingstock by its top elected official.

The other London

To the west, London, my burg, where career-politico Mayor Joe Fontana has spent much of the past year saying precious little about RCMP allegations he misused taxpayer money to pay for part of his son's wedding reception. He was subsequently charged with fraud, and yesterday a judge at a preliminary hearing ruled there was enough evidence for the case to go to trial. Fontana has steadfastly refused calls to step aside while the case proceeds, claiming there's so much work to do on behalf of Londoners that we would be ill-served by his absence.

My $0.02? London deserves better than a mayor who doesn't even live in the city, who can't remember writing a four-figure check for his kid's wedding, who refuses to put the city's well-being ahead of his own. We've become so mired in the affairs of our mayor that we've become completely distracted from the issues that could help this city achieve truly great things. It's time to get rid of the deadwood and all the other useless flotsam that accumulates around it. As long as you stick around, Joe, you're hurting this city. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Democracy can be a cruel mistress on the best of days. But on this particular day, I think anyone who voted for either of these gentlemen might want to look in the mirror and ask themselves what they might have been drinking or smoking before they did so. While everyone has the right to vote - which is as it should be - everyone should also have the obligation to educate themselves before they step into the voting booth.

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