Patrick White has a very nice feature story on Councillor Doug Ford in the weekend Globe & Mail. Very much worth reading:
“He’s like a walking pollster,” says Doug of his younger brother. “Just imagine calling 80 to 100 people from all across Toronto hearing what they have to say. He gets this city. It really bothers me when people say this or that about him.…That guy is brilliant in his own way. Is he a brilliant speaker? Not all the time. Is he eloquent? Not all the time. But man, Rob’s my hero. Rob’s a political genius.”
Making political decisions based on amateur phone polling — of less than 100 people, apparently — doesn’t really seem like something to brag about, but I guess it’s worked out pretty well for him so far.
White also gets Doug talking about the plans for Sheppard Subway financing:
He’s heard a number of serious proposals already for financing the $4-billion line privately, including at least one from a Chinese firm. He insists the city should start digging with partial funding: accepting a few hundred million from the federal government, borrowing against future tax revenues (known as tax-increment financing) along Eglinton and Sheppard and diverting cash leftover from the $8.1-billion the province has promised for the Eglinton subway. “I know for a fact Eglinton won’t cost that much,” he said. “Let’s just get the shovels in the ground,” he added. “Even if we go a kilometre a year, just don’t take those boring machines out of the ground once they start going.”
So: Taking future tax revenues from development around Eglinton and applying them to Sheppard. Getting construction started before all the necessary funding is in place. Hoping that the Eglinton line comes in under budget. This, apparently, is what fiscally responsible government looks like.