Archive for the ‘ROB FORD’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TORONTO’S SELF-INFLICTED TRANSIT WOES – A MAYOR WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING – THE HIGH COST OF SUBWAYS VERSUS LRT   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Toronto has become a laughing stock with this whole long transit fiasco.

A guaranteed project with funding from the province (the Scarborough LRT), a project suitable to the real needs of Scarborough, is allowed to lapse.

Meanwhile, the Mayor and his followers, bellow about a subway being what people want.

But there are no means of financing a subway.

And when you ask people: “Would you rather have a new Chevy or a new Rolls?” without any reference to what it will cost them, you are asking a pretty stupid question, but that is Mayor Ford’s approach to transit.

Costless wants are nothing but childish fantasy, not serious political mandates.

Further, given the nature of the Scarborough route, a subway this far out makes no economic sense.

Previously, Toronto built the Spadina Subway – in effect, a subway to nowhere – and that line never reached the capacity required to justify it.

At that time, the Yonge Subway was already at capacity.

Subways are the most expensive public transportation you can build, and they make no sense in semi-suburban locations.

Years ago, we should have built a Queen Street subway, for that is the kind of location that would warrant the huge cost.

Today, with costs having risen hugely, subways are so terribly expensive to build that many cities in the world are going with light-rail.

It does seem that Toronto’s situation would be best served by a good light-rail system combined with restrictions on private car access downtown, at least during rush hours.

It is well to remember, too, that Toronto proper has a great stock of extremely modest homes. They will not bear great increases in tax.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE REAL REASON FOR TORONTO’S ROB FORD FARCE   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

 

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN THE TORONTO STAR

I believe we have Mayor Miller largely to blame for the Rob Ford farce.

Miller was an incompetent mayor and a blowhard talker.

He did a poor job of looking after basics – garbage, potholes, and the Gardiner’s maintenance – yet he chased after silly objectives tirelessly, as with his Don Quixote, anti-Island Airport campaign, all the while raising taxes regularly.

Ford is a form of Montezuma’s Revenge.

A lot of ordinary people like Ford’s inarticulate, shady, and rule-breaking ways, and they don’t care whether he’s an embarrassment to the city, which he most certainly is. He’s at least not blowhard Miller.

Readers may enjoy: http://chuckmancartoons.blogspot.ca/

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TORONTO’S MAYOR FORD DENIES RESPONSIBILITY FOR TTC BUS FIASCO WHERE PASSENGERS WERE DUMPED SO THAT THE MAYOR’S HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL TEAM COULD BE PICKED UP – MY PARADE BALLOON SUGGESTION   Leave a comment

CHUCKMAN - FORD - AS PARADE BALLOONJOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TOTONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

He’s a character right out of fiction – a lowlife in Dickens, or perhaps more suitably, Damon Runyon.

A personality absolutely without color but colorful in the limited sense of doing so many bumbling, stupid things.

A buffoon who cannot frame an articulate sentence, a man whose views on almost anything are close to one hundred-percent predictable before you’ve even heard them, a man who does what he does because he’s got to do it, and yet a man who somehow is never responsible for anything, including his own bad manners and stupid acts.

He’s an odd conflation between the sheriff in High Noon and Bozo the Clown.

And he’s running our city.
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Perhaps some civic-minded group of citizens could put together enough money to construct a balloon – like the ones they use in New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – resembling His Worship.

As it bounced and tumbled along – tethered by a dozen or so lines held by attendants who were gaily costumed to resemble figures such as Chief Blair, the TTC’s Andy Byford, Giorgio (George) Mammoliti, Doug Ford – a recording would play, in a squeaky, high-pitched voice, “I didn’t do it! I’m as clean as the days are long! I’m not a crook!”

The tableau would be a deadly accurate representation of government today in Toronto.

Perhaps the organizers of Gay Pride could take up the idea if those running the Christmas Parade aren’t enthusiastic?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: NEW POLL SHOWS ONLY A QUARTER OF TORONTO VOTERS WANTS ROB FORD TO RETURN AS MAYOR   Leave a comment

Gorilla, Apenheul Primate Park, Apeldoorn, Netherlands.JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Ford undoubtedly has roughly the same base fraction of voters that Harper does.

For those people, I’m sure he can do no wrong no matter how irrational and nasty his acts.

It is one of the not-so-pretty aspects of democracy that Churchill spoke of quite strikingly.

After all, the Bell curve means nearly half of any population is sub-normal in intelligence, and if you go down the curve another standard deviation, you reach Rob Ford’s base territory.
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Statistics say that 1 out 4 people need psychiatric care so this would explain 25% of the 26% of these voters. The other 1% must just be totally insane.”

That’s darkly funny, but it is not so far from the truth.

The percentage of mentally unbalanced people in any society does vary, but it is a surprisingly large number for a place like Toronto when you take account of all the different problems from schizophrenia and manic-depression to depression and autism.

This represents another way of segmenting the total population over and apart from the intelligence spectrum.

Whatever way you segment the population, a guy like Ford attracts the group you wouldn’t want to have an extended conversation with.
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“Judging from the fat, hill-billy jokes, the majority of Ford bashing here centers around Ford’s looks: He’s short, fat and doesn’t have an $80 haircut. He also doesn’t mince words.”

They do that only as a short-hand way of describing his ugliness.

What makes people dislike him viscerally is his mouth and his behavior.

The guy was a spoiled brat kid, and he thinks he’s entitled to act the fool and insult people.

How can you defend a man who runs a streetcar door and then reports the poor driver who chided him, trying to get the driver fired?

How can you defend a man who gives the finger to an old lady who observes him breaking the law?

How can you defend a man who calls 9-1-1 when he sees a well-known comedian in his driveway?

How can you defend a man who yells at the poor 9-1-1 operators, “I’m the f-ckin’ mayor”?

How can you defend a man who was arrested years ago for drunk-driving?

As for not mincing words, you confuse stupidity with force of mind.

The man is a complete slob, ethically, physically, and mentally.
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“Tribe Smitherman will be avenged. They lost their big chance.”

You have that just plain wrong.

Smitherman was a terrible candidate, one who failed in his every big responsibility in the provincial government and lacks an attractive personality too.

It was only because there was no good alternative choice that the Big Fat Idiot won.
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Leaving aside his ugly personality and genuinely stupid stunts, the basic fact is that Ford has achieved very little.

Toronto remains an inefficient city, and Ford has not sorted much out.

He spent a huge amount of energy and time on his anti-streetcar theme – it was as stupid an effort almost as Miller’s huge flap over the perfectly good island airport – and he lost.

And you don’t balance budgets by cancelling a tax – the vehicle tax, used in many, many cities, including the Chicago he visited – to start with.

There are many gigantic problems he doesn’t touch, including, for example, the disgraceful fact that Toronto sends daily fleets of garbage trucks down the highway or that the high-rise population does not have a good recycling program.

He has also gone out of his way to alienate groups, as the clear example of gays, for no good reason but as, one supposes, a quiet statement of his own limited beliefs. The Mayor of Chicago would never do that.

He’s not a man who can finesse anything, and good mayors must be able to that.

His general mental outlook, judging from his own words and deeds, is that of a Sarah Palin – that is to say, an unintelligent bubble-head.
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“These 11 reasons are why many people say Toronto is a failed city, with nothing interesting to offer , the Detroit of Canada”

The Detroit of Canada?

Have you ever visited Detroit?

Your comparison is ridiculous.

Detroit is a totally decayed hellhole.

Toronto is a prosperous city with some problems which need sorting out.

A great man once said: Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent. You’d be wise to heed him.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE ON TORONTO’S DISASTER OF A MAYOR – SHOULD HE BE DRIVEN RATHER THAN ALLOWED TO DRIVE? – MY SUGGESTION FOR A MAYOR FORD LIMO   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED COMMENTS TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

“We cannot let authorities like Mr Ford manipulate language in the public sphere in this way…”

Yes, indeed.

Although, for thinking people, when a man, a 315 pound man at that, tells us he was “accosted” by a TTC operator, you already know you’ve entered cloudcuckooland.

The mayor is an unbalanced man, and “unbalanced” is the kind word.
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“I think we can agree, in the interests of public safety, that the city should hire a 24/7 driver for His Worship. The car should be a former police cruiser, with no handles on the back doors and a big, red siren so everyone knows when he is coming.”

Yes, but the vehicle needs to be something like the St Hubert Chicken delivery cars in Montreal.

With a big yellow, plastic, lighted-up chicken on top.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ROB FORD, TORONTO’S FIRST GRAIN-FED 315-POUND MAYOR, CAUGHT BREAKING THE LAW AGAIN AND ACTING THE GENUINE COWARD’S PART AFTER   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Not only is Ford, in the words of a famous American comedian describing Rush Limbaugh, a big fat idiot when it comes to doing his job, it turns out that the people of Toronto literally have to fear him driving on the streets.

He’s been spotted talking on his cell phone while driving.

He’s flicked his middle finger at a couple of observers, including at a woman.

Now, he’s caught threatening the lives of streetcar passengers in passing an open door.

And what a coward Ford is to report the streetcar operator’s doing what most people would regard as the right thing, stopping a moment to remind him of his dangerous error.

Hey, Rob, how about that family of yours you always prattle and whine about after doing something utterly stupid like calling 911 on a well-known comedian trying to engage you or on a reporter near your house whom you knew perfectly well? Would you like them endangered by a driver like yourself?

I’d like to suggest that all citizens tired of this inept and dangerous clown serving as mayor chip in to a fund to buy him a beautiful spot in a trailer park somewhere in Arizona: he could be offered the keys free upon receipt of his resignation.

The streetcar driver deserves recognition for conscientiously doing his job, having admirable regard to the safety of his passengers.

It is Rob Ford who needs to be “counselled,” starting with how to act like a responsible human being.

He should be so ashamed of reporting this conscientious operator to TTC management over something that was completely his own fault.

But the very fact that Ford knows no shame for endangering the man’s job under the circumstances shows what a genuine sicko Ford is.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MARGARET WENTE ENLISTS JONATHAN HAIDT’S UNSUBSTANTIATED NOTIONS ABOUT CONSERVATIVES IN POLITICS – WENTE’S CHEAP TECHNIQUE DEFINED – ROLE OF MONEY – ROLE OF STUPIDITY – INTELLIGENCE AND POLITICS   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED COMMENTS TO A COLUMN BY MARGARET WENTE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Margaret Wente is back with her favorite cheap-trick “analysis” of a serious matter.

She gets one person who has written a book or is known for his/her views on a topic and treats the person’s unproved notions as authoritative research, here that person is Jonathan Haidt.

She did the same thing in Iraq some years ago, quoting the infamously one-sided scholar on the Mideast, Bernard Lewis.

She did it in Vancouver where she was supposed to be studying free-injection sites and sourced a single prejudiced “authority.”

Her method represents hack journalism at its most developed. It just happens to be one of the basic techniques of propaganda too.

It’s all very much like the notorious legal practice of expert witnesses: a single expert witness is brought into the courtroom and paid for his/her one-sided opinion in hopes of influencing the jury when indeed the reality is that hundreds of experts disagree and only their full range of views offers the state of the truth.

Her “authority” in this case just doesn’t begin to get it right, offering a specious notion dressed up as an idea.

The political Right’s success anywhere is not owing to a better understanding of human nature. That’s actually rather a sophism and an indirect way of saying what would read as foolishness were it phrased more clearly: the Right is right.

The Right’s success is owing to a couple of extremely basic factors.

The first is money and lots of it.

We always and everywhere observe the Right pandering to special interests for campaign funds.

Money doesn’t buy a seat in a legislature, at least not yet, but it gives politicians the wherewithal to market and advertise and travel and put on an impressive show (everything from stages and backdrops and music and big flags and the ease to ship them around quickly like a travelling rock band) and just saturate the airwaves with their pancaked faces, fluffed hair, and bleached teeth.

And then there are constant polls to test the effect of statements day by day, sophisticated polls that are very costly to run.

We know marketing and advertising work: tens of billions are spent every year just to sell this versus that soda pop or burger or deodorant, and the companies spending those vast fortunes know they are not squandering their money.

It is no different in politics.

Human beings are highly susceptible to suggestions, only the suggestions must be cleverly phrased and they must be tailored to the needs of the individuals or groups – the job of marketing. It is very costly to create and tailor these suggestions across millions of people.

Genuine issues have long receded into obscurity in elections. Rather we get costly advertising pitches designed to just suggest a position on a matter of public importance, and we get swirling dust about non-issues like patriotism, religious views, families, or flags.

And just whom do you think it is that has the best access to money?

Second, there is what we might call the stupidity factor. It is an established fact that conservative views tend to be correlated with lower intelligence. Like all correlations in statistics this one does not hold in every individual case, but it very much does hold on average.

It doesn’t take a great effort to sell stupid people: just look at the millions who bought books and tickets supporting that total air-head, Sarah Palin.

When you direct your appeal to this group, it doesn’t take much imagination or hard work to come up with the right words.

Witness Rob Ford’s (relative) success: he’s actually convinced that if he asks people in general, people who have no idea of costs or finances or urban planning, about wanting subways, that he has earned a mandate to build them. But it is an illusion, one built on asking a simplistic question of lots of people with no background in the subject being asked. It much resembles asking a very young child whether she wants to be a princess or he a magician or armored knight.

Were the same question put, as it should be: here are the choices and briefly here are the costs and taxes and difficulties associated with each, the results would be quite different.

It is actually part of the approach of genuinely stupid politicians – the Sarah Palins, the Rob Fords, the George Bushes – to elicit public responses with the least possible thought or detail or accountability. That makes their jobs so much easier. And as any good advertising person knows, selling a complex idea is very difficult.
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“Liberal$ have lost the trust of Canadians. The need to learn some lessons about telling the truth from the Conservatives.”

A 39.6% majority represents lost trust in the other side? After all, this is not just about the Liberal Party, it is about liberal views.

This reader brings up, inadvertently, a major factor in our politics: our democratic system is broken.

There can be no mandate to do anything involving great change, change which affects everyone, when more than 60% of voters don’t want you in office.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ROB FORD WRITES DEFENDING HIS OBTUSE ACTIONS – THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WANTS AND DEMANDS – POLITICIANS’ MEANINGLESS QUESTIONS TO THE PUBLIC   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY ROB FORD IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

A reader writes:

“Rob, I’ve read that you quote the “man on the street” and people “in Tim Hortons” telling you that they want subways. In fact, I believe you just recently said that “everyone” tells you that they want subways.”

In economics we distinguish between what people want and what they demand.

If “wants” ruled the world, beggars would be kings. Wants are only wishes, and generally uninformed wishes.

Demands are wants backed up by the willingness to pay for them, and demands are a large part of what all of economics deals with.

People may want subways – I’m not even sure of that – but are they willing to pay for them?

Do they even have any notion of what they cost? Of how totally insignificant a distance you can build for even a hundred million dollars?

No, they mostly do not.

Add to that the troubled economic times we are in, and people’s genuine demands – what they are willing to pay for through taxes at all levels – will be markedly different to simplistic responses to a politician’s simplistic questions in a subway car.

Rob Ford’s questions only sharply define one of the fundamental problems of our politics: politicians offer glamorous schemes without taking any trouble or responsibility to cost them and explain their costs. It is a practice which is irresponsible.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MAYOR ROB FORD’S HIGH-HANDED FIRING OF TORONTO TRANSIT MANAGER GARY WEBSTER: TRANSPORTATION POLICY THROUGH IGNORANCE   Leave a comment

 

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY MARCUS GEE IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

A cheeseburger-eating dullard from Etobicoke who likes driving his car every day into the city, often while illegally using his cellphone, fires an experienced expert in transit.

And this is transportation policy?
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“Rob Ford clearly campaigned and won on a platform of subways. The bureaucrats are there to serve the government of the day.”

A mayoral candidate may campaign on any issue he or she likes, but being elected does not mean, in our system, that your campaign issue becomes law.

The Council – the genuine political authority for the city, just as Parliament is the genuine national political authority – has voted, and Ford lost.

We’ve had that happen, many times.

Just because Miller was elected, we did not close down the Island Airport, and that is a good thing.

Ford simply does not know what he is talking about. What kind of city do you build on the basis of ignorance?

Toronto is a city of narrow streets for the most part, and it has almost no grand avenues going its length or width to permit the flow of cars.

It absolutely must think in terms other than the car for the future.

And subways are terribly expensive.

The world’s great subway systems – like London or Paris or New York – were mostly built when labor was extremely cheap: you could not reproduce one of them today unless you had a hundred billion dollars available.

When you ask the general public a question in which either they are not competent or that is loaded with emotional baggage, you can often get just the answer you want: polls and marketers do that all the time.

So asking people in general about subways – without their having any hint of knowledge about technical or financial realities – borders on meaningless fantasy.

Claiming campaign slogans as representing the voice of the people is simply unthinking nonsense, much like giving weight to a candidate’s asking people if they’d all like free passes to an expensive restaurant.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ROB FORD’S VICTORY AS TORONTO MAYOR PART OF A LARGER ZEITGEIST? NO – JUST LOCALS TIRED OF BLOWHARDS AND COSTS   Leave a comment


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN BY GARY MASON IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL

Mr. Mason offers up a steaming plate of political garbage: there is no larger zeitgeist involved in Toronto’s election.

The impetus behind Ford’s victory was local: people were tired of years of empty windbag talk, many new taxes, and a city that in terms of what cities are about pretty much went down instead of up.

Fleets of garbage trucks burn diesel fuel down the 401 everyday carrying away Toronto’s garbage – now there’s something to be proud of.

Most of Toronto’s high-rises have no recycling program – another source of pride.

A windbag mayor who wasted time on pet schemes like killing the island airport – a perfectly good enterprise creating jobs and services and making the waterfront more complex and interesting.

Violence in the streets with people – unprecedented in Toronto – being shot downtown, and a mayor who wonders ineffectually about kids becoming killers. There are genuine born killers and we have some now, dangerous morons carrying loaded guns to school and to parties.

An expensive new garbage collection system that leaves Toronto’s thousands of tiny semi-detached homes with sets of stupid-looking wheel-bins permanently on the front porch or in the front yard – a truly ugly and costly solution when there were far more elegant ones. Plus a fleet of costly new trucks so collectors don’t even have to lift bags.

An ineffective police chief who has more than once been treated with contempt by his own officers, who then received no proper punishment for doing so. This included their showing up at a city hall rally in uniform, against orders, creating a clear threat to civilian government. It also included out-of-control cops during the G20 who were never corrected or reprimanded. Where was the mayor’s voice on the G20 fiasco?

A mayor full of puff-piece stuff about “vision” who in fact has left dirty streets, potholes everywhere, and many sad episodes of incompetence – all the while taxes raced upward.

There is no meaningful project in the city displaying the fabled vision. Vision-level stuff would include things like taking down the Gardiner, solving the garbage problems, or creating a magnificent waterfront.

The excesses of City Hall, especially in flagrant expenses, have long been criticized by Mr. Ford, and the people have now given him his chance to show what he can do. It’s called democracy.
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While there may be some like your neighbor who rejected Smitherman for his sexual identity, the truth is Smitherman is a rather nasty piece of work just as a human being.

He has an ugly temper.

He is aggressive.

He has no record of achieving anything, other than favored status with Dalton the Magnificent.

He copied Ford right away on costs, showing no originality.

He played at the role of hero for the progressives and the art set, but he has no record of representing such interests.

Smitherman strikes me as a political hypocrite, as I’m sure he does many others.

He wouldn’t even reveal his campaign contributors. Some progressive.

He took unwarranted help from Dalton’s flaks.

The man was simply a poor candidate.

Nothing to do with being gay.