Come with me on a whirlwind tour of smallish Ontario community newspapers, as we look at their many and varied references to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford over the past month.
Ray Martin, Cambridge Times:
[Cambridge Mayor Doug] Craig said he will also report on the fiscal health of the city as it rolls out of the recession.
“I want people to know that we are in strong shape and our focus now is on creating jobs and building our economy,” he said.
Unlike Toronto, where Mayor Rob Ford is seeking to cut 10 per cent from his budget, Craig said Cambridge has already been there and done that thanks in large part due to the work of senior city staff.
Chip Martin, London Free Press:
[London Mayor Joe Fontana] said an ongoing review is better and more comprehensive than the one-month quickie review of the budget last year before it was passed.
“And it’s better than what’s going on in Toronto,” he said, referring to the proposals for budget cuts there by the Rob Ford administration that is producing public outcry.
“We intend to engage the public once we’ve decided on a cut- and-add list,” Fontana promised.
Brian Holstein, Guelph Mercury:
We have seen it before: voters believed Rob Ford and his Toronto gravy train; Guelphites were led by mayoral hopeful Kate Quarrie to believe the deliberate mismanagement of the city budget. There was no mismanagement, and the only thing deliberate was unfounded fear. But the people believed, only to quickly find they had been duped.
Editorial Board, Simcoe.com:
Rob Ford’s campaign for Mayor of Toronto is an example of a taxpayer-first tactic at work.
Ford promised ‘taxpayers’ that he would derail Toronto’s gravy train, ending wasteful spending at city hall.
What Ford discovered once in the mayor’s chair, however, was libraries, community grants, grass-cutting in parks, snow-plowing, neighbourhood zoos and child-care subsidies were not considered superfluous spending by citizens.
John Kastner, Stratford Beacon-Herald:
Why is it when we talk cuts it’s always the things we hold most near and dear that are the first things rushed up to the sacrificial altar?
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has said the first tasks of his new financial regime will be to sell off theatres and zoos and cut back on snow-clearing and transit service.
Not sure how much that will save, but people will sure notice — and you almost get the impression that’s the plan.
Politicians aren’t really interested in cutting spending. The real goal is just to give that impression by picking the most visible targets possible.
Mike Norris, Kingston Whig-Standard:
Madeleine Ross stands directly in front of [PC Candidate Rodger] James and expresses concern that the governments of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, a Conservative supporter, are making decisions with little public consultation. How can Ontarians be assured that Tim Hudak won’t do the same if elected, she asks.
Editorial Board, King Township-Sentinel:
It’s been wisely stated over the centuries that people should be careful when it comes for what they wish for, because they may get it.
We believe voters in the City of Toronto are getting a good lesson in that, and we hope it resonates as far as possible.
Mayor Rob Ford and company have called for an across-the-board 10 per cent budget cut from all departments at the City of Toronto. That includes police and fire (Toronto residents might want to bear that in mind the next time they have the urge to call 9- 1-1). There’s no doubt that has a certain political appeal, but it sounds very simplistic to us. It could also result in a big mess that no one has yet thought through.
Geoff Zochodne, Oshawa Express:
The largest reaction of the night came when [PC Candidate Jerry] Ouellette made a jab about the NDP and their association with former Toronto Mayor David Miller. [NDP Candidate Mike] Shields fired back that he’d rather be associated with Miller than with Rob Ford to raucous cheers.
Ronald Zajac, Brockville Recorder & Times:
[Brockville Councillor Mary Jean] McFall stressed she is not interested in a broad service-cutting exercise such as the one proposed by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, but rather in looking for ways to deliver the same level of service – or almost the same – at less cost.
Rob Ford was elected with more than 47% of the popular vote last year. Recent polls have put his approval rating at very low levels. He chose not to endorse any of the candidates in the recent provincial election. He has not said why.