Toronto political freak show continues
The choices we as voters make in elections do matter.
DC's politics have been consumed by scandals over the past three years, over allegations that an off-the-books political campaign helped Vincent Gray beat then Mayor Adrian Fenty in the 2010 primary, followed by other scandals involving now imprisoned former Councilmember Harry Thomas and the resignation of then Council Chair Kwame Brown, and later, misdeeds by Councilman Michael Brown, which contributed to his losing re-election--he was charged with criminal acts later.
But Toronto has been a worse freak show than DC since the 2010 election of suburban councilor Rob Ford as Mayor, who won on a campaign that there were billions of dollars of waste in government that could be eliminated, supporting a low tax environment.
Ford's major policy initiative was to junk the previous administration's Transit City program of transit expansion, in favor of a much more limited program of subways ("subways are for everyone"), in large part because Ford sees surface transit (and bicyclists--he also had removed some bike lanes) as a hindrance to motor vehicle operators.
It took almost two years for a ruling that the Mayor doesn't have the authority to change such policies without the approval of the City Council, but in the meantime, the transit discussion, abetted by the Ontario Provincial Government, has gotten all mucked up.
Meanwhile there have been plenty more questionable initiatives and miscues, from a waterfront casino proposal to using the Mayor's office to ask for funding for the private high school football team that the Mayor coaches
But stuff (stuff is the other "s" word) really hit the fan in May, when it was alleged that Mayor Ford was caught on a video smoking crack cocaine. But he sort of sloughed that off, and focused more on villifying the Toronto Star as out to get him ("Toronto finally knows the truth about Rob Ford," Star) and the video wasn't made available to the public.
I didn't realize that one of the other people in the video was subsequently murdered.
In turns out that the police investigated, and yesterday released a report and charged a drug dealer "intimate" of the mayor. AND THE POLICE HAVE THE VIDEO. See "12 highlights from Thursday's dramatic Rob Ford revelations," "Globe editorial: Toronto deserves better than Ford," and "Rob Ford under fire after new police revelations over alleged crack video" from the Toronto Globe and Mail. From the last article:
“As a citizen of Toronto I’m disappointed,” Police Chief Bill Blair said. “I know this is a traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and for the reputation of this city – and that concerns me.”
According to the Toronto Star, "Toronto mayor can't be forced out." So Toronto is way worse off for the next year politically than DC, even if there continues to be a hangover on the upcoming 2014 election on whether or not Mayor Gray will be running for re-election as no charges have been made against him ("Time's up for US attorney's decision on Vincent Gray," Washington Post), yet.