For Ford, credit when credit is due

The Toronto Sun’s Don Peat scored an actual, honest-to-goodness interview with Rob Ford. It’s rather light on detail and hard-hitting questions, but it’s worth reading anyway.

I liked this part:

Ford laughs when he’s reminded that retiring councillor Kyle Rae predicted, if elected, Ford would be mayor in name only. Retiring councillor Howard Moscoe said Ford wouldn’t be able to pass gas without council’s permission.

“Well, I’ve done a lot,” he says, shaking his head and smiling. “I’ve done everything we’ve said we were going to do.”

via Six months in: Ford is large and in charge | Home | Toronto Sun.

I already said this last week, but I find it incredibly disconcerting that Ford believes he’s nearing the end of his political agenda. Not only because the agenda is so light on ambitious — though it is: rescind a tax or two, eliminate potential for annoying strikes, kill some council perks, and he’s done? — but because it’s not even accurate.

The Sun also has a list of Ford’s supposed accomplishments. But here are some things Ford hasn’t actually done, despite claims to the contrary:

  • reduced the city’s overall operating budget, or “reined in spending.”
  • secured funding — much less broken ground — on any new subway project
  • privatized garbage collection, or done anything that has ‘reined in’ public sector unions or reduced labour costs

His actual accomplishments so far are actually relatively meagre, typified more by the city’s new lack of ambition, and a handful of spite-based initiatives, instead of some kind of Brave New World of fiscal conservatism.

If Ford can succeed in delivering on his promises for a reduced operating budget, high-quality/low-cost privately-delivered services and a funded subway extension (The Eglinton LRT is a David Miller legacy, and does not count), then he can realistically crow about his accomplishments. But that hasn’t happened yet.

Also from Peat’s article is a bit from Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday:

Asked why the Ford administration has targeted so many of Miller’s legacy projects, Holyday says it’s due to necessity.

“So many things we couldn’t afford to do in the way he planned to do them,” Holyday says.

He pointed to the $24-million Fort York pedestrian bridge blown up by the public works committee.

“We would have had to borrow every cent to build it,” Holyday says.

I’m very confused by fiscal conservatives who savage the idea of debt, as if it’s some terrible way to finance capital projects. How are they suggesting the city invest in infrastructure, if not through financing? Is the province supposed to fund everything for us? Or is this just another private-sector magic beans thing?

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