Feb 12

Ford in decline: populist mayor is unpopular

The Toronto Star’s Wendy Gillis:

Research and communications firm Stratcom polled 1,300 Torontonians on Thursday and Friday and found that 35 per cent of city residents “strongly disapprove” of Ford’s performance on the job.

The figure represents an 11 per cent jump in the past six months, and double the number from last March, when only 17 per cent of Torontonians voiced their strong disapproval of the mayor.

via Ford’s approval drops after transit defeat | Toronto Star.

The full Stratcom results peg the mayor’s approval rating at 43%. For comparison, Ipsos declared “Miller time is over” when David Miller polled at 43% in June of 2009. (A month later, in the midst of a labour dispute that saw mountains of garbage stack up in public parks, Miller’s approval was 33%.)

These are not good numbers for a municipal leader just a year into his mandate.

For the most part, Ford can’t point to extenuating circumstances (like a strike) or external factors (like a bad economy) to explain his spiking disapproval numbers. His administration dug this hole all by themselves: with obstinate refusal to compromise, a continued inability to play well with others and a series of ridiculous controversies.

The labour victory that wasn’t

Even when Ford does achieve a victory, his ability to capitalize  is limited. Just a week ago, the Ford administration achieved a negotiated settlement with Local 416, averting a labour stoppage and reportedly wringing some significant concessions from its workers.

By all accounts, this should have been a time to celebrate for the mayor and his supporters. Ignoring the particulars of the deal — which we don’t even know yet — this was an easy play for the mayor’s communication team: Toronto elected Rob Ford to deal with out-of-control unions, and now he’s succeeded.

But they couldn’t even get a Toronto Sun cover out of the labour resolution. The mayor bounced so quickly to the next contentious issue — transit — that his strategy on labour barely had a chance to register.

Ford Nation Redux

In the wake of last week’s vote on transit, the mayor and his brother have plunged headlong into campaign mode. They’re at least two years early. Their strategy seems to involve leaning on subways as a wedge issue designed to sow resentment between the suburbs and downtown. From there, I guess, the Fords will achieve such widespread support in Scarborough, North York and Etobicoke that they’ll end up unseating a dozen incumbent councillors who oppose them and emerge into a second term with solid control over council.

And then: utopia. Magical budget reductions without service cuts. The Land Transfer Tax tossed into the lake. Subways raining from the sky. Rainbows. But not those kind of rainbows.

I got some flack for calling the mayor a ‘lame duck’ last week, but I’ll stand by it with one added qualifier: Rob Ford is only a lame duck because he insists on quacking. At every turn, council has offered the mayor a face-saving compromise. In almost every case, the mayor has rejected the compromise. Then he’s publicly attacked the compromise.

In today’s political panel, the National Post’s Jonathan Goldsbie sums up the situation:

Ford sells portions of the public on impossible solutions to real problems, and then tries to lead his disaffected followers in a full-on charge against reality, hopefully to eventually beat it into submission. The only thing keeping this from being deceitful is that the mayor himself is too dim to understand that the things he is promising are wholly made-up.

via Posted Toronto Political Panel: Rob Ford derailed by subway debate | National Post.

If Rob Ford insists on continuing down this course — rejecting compromise, alienating allies — he’ll never have the votes he needs to effectively move his agenda forward. Without council’s support, all he can be as a lame duck.

Oct 11

What they’re saying about Rob Ford in other municipalities

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.

via Mayor looks to big picture for city | Cambridge Times.

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.

via It’s open season | London Free Press.

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.

via Smart meter-era bills can bring validation | Guelph Mercury.

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.

via Be a citizen | Simcoe.com.

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.

via Hitting beloved services the unkindest cut of all | Stratford Beacon-Herald.

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.

via He’s all business | Kingston Whig-Standard.

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.

via Be careful about cutting programs | King Township Sentinel.

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.

via Candidates square off on the eve of an election | Oshawa Express.

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.

via Council gives lukewarm OK to service review | Brockville Recorder & Times.

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.

Sep 11

The week Rob Ford unravels

I don’t think it’s possible to overstate just how critical this week is to the continuing success of Rob Ford’s mayoralty. Either he and his backers find the workable strategies they need to navigate the coming obstacles or all the political capital built over the last ten-and-a-half months will simply and spectacularly blow up in the mayor’s face.

Here’s some thoughts on the stories that will shape the week ahead:

Marathon Meeting 2: The quick, cash-in sequel

Damned reruns. In an echo of that thing that happened six weeks ago where hundreds of people signed up to give deputations and contribute to the longest committee meeting in amalgamated Toronto’s history, we’re looking at yet another marathon-length meeting Monday. The circumstances are almost identical: executive members — and, yes, the public — are only nominally closer to having any real sense of which program and service cuts are actually on the table. The mayor continues, as a point of communication policy, to deflect blame and point fingers at consultants and staff whenever anyone accuses him of supporting cuts to service.

Committee members will undoubtedly complain about both the length of the meeting and the lack of workable solutions brought forth by those giving deputations. The latter is a familiar refrain at this point: those lefties just want to keep the spend-spend-spend status quo but we have a massive budget hole, so we need to make cuts, so where are their ideas and suggestions for cuts?

But it’s insane to demand that the bleary-eyed guy speaking at 5:30 a.m. in support of libraries should also give a three-point summary of his preferred fiscal strategy for the city. We elect councillors to handle the fiscal strategy — to look at the numbers and the charts –, with the full faith and understanding that they work for us and will defend the things we care about. It isn’t crazy, far-left socialism to demand that the mayor and the executive committee start doing the job the voters hired them to do.

I’m in no position to give advice to the mayor, but if I was it would go like this: step up and be a leader. Speak confidently about your fiscal plan for the city. Be plain about the programs and services you feel need to be reduced. Stop trying to scare people with talk of a 35% tax increase and instead start focusing on truth.

The Waterfront Saga

The Port Lands item goes to council on Wednesday. It will play out one of two ways. Either the mayor’s office has been successful in brokering some sort of compromise motion — moved in the form of an amendment — that they know will pass with support from the usual gang, or they’ll simply make a quick motion to defer the item and it will come off the agenda without a significant amount of debate. The latter is the better outcome, though the best thing would be an up-and-down vote that would rightly see council reject any notion of change to the current plan.

A compromise that violates any of the guiding principles of the process up until now is a very bad thing.

No matter how things shake out on the floor of council, however, this whole item has to be chalked up as a major defeat for the Fords. Every move they attempted on this file was a bad one, starting with Doug Ford’s monorail dream and continuing through to today’s revelation that the mayor’s brother apparently tried to get Councillor Josh Matlow to trade a supporting vote on this item for a guest spot by Ford on Matlow’s radio show.

In contrast to the previous contentious battles that have marked the run-up to every council meeting since Ford took office, this one had the immediate effect of pissing off an audience of older people and business types. Whereas it’s easy to dismiss those who would rage about bike lanes and affordable housing — the young! the poor! — an angry cabal of planners, businesspeople and seniors is way harder to sweep under the rug.

The vanishing Ford Nation

One poll last week had the mayor at a ridiculously low 42% approval rating. A second poll revealed that only 27% of Toronto residents would vote for the guy if an election were to happen tomorrow. The same poll also pointed out that the mayor has shed more than a quarter of his core support, when compared to the October 2010 election results.

Some have tried to dismiss these numbers as irrelevant, but it was clear late Friday that the mayor’s office is taking them pretty seriously. A hasty email was sent out to Ford’s old campaign mailing list reassuring people that “[this core service review process] is what you elected me to do as Mayor.” Someone is panicking. (The Toronto Sun is also playing defence, publishing a Ford-praising column by Joe Warmington that can only be fairly described as remarkably terrible.)

Ford is never going to be the kind of politician to draw broad, across-the-board support. He made his political fortune by demonizing certain groups across the city, including essentially all of downtown. But that his popularity is flagging with the core supporters — the true believers — is the thing to note from all of this. Without the highly-mobilized base, Ford is nothing.

The loss in popularity amongst those who bought into the stop-the-gravy-train, respect-for-taxpayers sloganeering also goes back to an issue of leadership. As a generalization,  right-leaning voters tend to appreciate a more paternalistic approach to government. Think Stephen Harper, wearing his sweater, making us feel like he’s got a plan for the economy. Ford’s erratic and irresponsible behaviour on fiscal issues — blaming others; focusing on scare tactics instead of workable solutions — isn’t giving anyone any sense of security or confidence. There’s no authority there.

In theory, the mayor’s popularity doesn’t matter. He won the election and that fancy chain is his for the taking until 2014. But the only real leverage Ford has had over council in these early months is that spectre of popularity. Without it, the only tools he has left are the confusing procedural powers of the mayor’s office, which can’t take him that far.

Sep 11

Despite leading question, CUPE poll still bad news for Ford

Toronto’s mayor is deeply unpopular.

The Toronto Star’s Robyn Doolittle:

A Forum Research telephone survey of nearly 13,000 people reveals that more than three-quarters of Torontonians want their local councillor to protect services rather than comply with the mayor’s wishes. And only 27 per cent of residents say they would vote for Rob Ford if an election was held tomorrow.

via Toronto News: Massive poll shows Toronto is united against Ford’s proposed cuts – thestar.com.

Forum Research is a respected pollster, but this poll — which is notable for just HUGE a sample it took, going far beyond what’s generally necessary for statistical accuracy — was paid for by CUPE Local 79, which is undoubtedly going to prompt supporters of the Ford administration to cry bias.

And they have a point. Looking at the poll questions, the one the Toronto Star highlights — “How much do you agree that your councillor should vote in the interests of protecting city services in your community, even if it conflicts with the wishes of Mayor Ford?” — is so leading as to render those specific results mostly irrelevant. Because what kind of person doesn’t agree with that statement? They might as well have asked if you want your councillor to be a spineless wimp or a super tough champion of the people.

Perspective is important with things like this, as it’s very likely a similarly-leading poll could come out that “supports” the mayor’s budget cuts. I’d bet they would see similar support numbers for a question like “Do you support an approach that will lead to balanced budgets this year and prevent large property tax increases?”

That said, the other two poll questions, which asked how views on Rob Ford have changed since the election and whether people would vote for Rob Ford if the election was held tomorrow, seem rather straightforward and free from bias. And the results are more insanely bad news for Rob Ford: a full 54% of respondents say their opinion of the mayor has “gotten worse” since his election and only 27% say they’d vote for him if an election were held tomorrow.

Speculation zone: Ford has lost a ton of support for two reasons. First, I don’t believe that there is a lot of support out there for the kind of budget cuts he’s left on the table. He needs to start speaking authoritatively about the budget to assure people that he does have a plan and that it won’t involve outright cuts to the things people care most about. More honesty and leadership would help a lot.

The second thing: pure overexposure. The mayor has been at the centre of a non-stop media cyclone since the day he took office. Every week brings us another wacky adventure, whether it’s the will-he-or-won’t-he storyline with Pride Toronto, the special all-nighter episode of the Executive Committee, the Jarvis bike lane saga or the recent let’s-sell-the-waterfront gambit. Ford desperately needs a month or two of relative quiet and calm at City Hall. But with this budget process sure to drag on for the next four or five months, there may not be a way for Toronto’s populist mayor to regain his popularity.

Sep 11

Toronto’s unpopular mayor

A new Forum Research poll has the mayor’s approval rating at 42%. This is crazy low for a municipal politician, especially one who is not even a year into his term of office.

I’ve thrown together a quick chart which shows his previous favourability numbers as also reported by Forum Research along with some comparisons to former mayors David Miller and Mel Lastman, compiled via a variety of sources. In summary: his numbers don’t compare very well. Ford’s about as popular right now as a guy who had been in office six years, had pushed through two unpopular new taxes and was staring into the face of a municipal workers strike that would see garbage pile up in public parks for a month.

And Ford hasn’t even got to the big cuts yet.

The Toronto Star’s David Rider looks at the steep drop for Ford support in the suburbs:

Half of Etobicoke-York respondents approve of “the job Ford is doing,” down from 58 per cent in June. In Scarborough, his support is 49 per cent (down from 59 per cent); 43 per cent in North York (down from 69 per cent) and only 30 per cent in Toronto-East York (down from 44).

via Toronto News: Ford support plummeting, poll suggests – thestar.com.

That 26 point drop in North York is crazy.

The obvious retort to this kind of thing is just to fold your arms and say polls don’t matter. Which, sure, is true. As the mayor said yesterday, the only poll he cares about is the one on election day. But behind the scenes, this is a mayor who has built his political power on the premise that he is a very popular and well-liked guy in suburban Toronto. With that premise looking shaky if not shattered, there’s no compelling reason for certain councillors to always look so intently to Giorgio Mammoliti’s thumb when items come to a vote at council.

It’s probably no surprise that the release of this poll coincidences with news that certain councillors will oppose the mayor on key items related to waterfront development and the upcoming budget process.

Jun 11

Ford’s approval rating down, weak support for Sheppard subway

The Toronto Star’s David Rider has details on a Forum Research poll regarding municipal issues:

Asked if Ford is doing a good job as mayor, six months after his upset victory, 57 per cent agreed, down from 60 per cent in a late-February Forum Research poll. An early-May Toronto Real Estate Board survey pegged Ford’s support at 70 per cent.

As a whole, the new results aren’t great news for Ford, said Bozinoff, who said he did the poll independently to gauge opinions on civic issues.

“Ford’s support appears to have plateaued and these trial balloons being floated on how to solve financial problems, like road tolls and cutting the number of police, have no real support,” he said.

via Road tolls to pay for Sheppard subway a non-starter, poll finds – thestar.com.

A 57% approval rating is actually remarkably low for a sitting mayor less than a year into his first term, especially because Ford hasn’t had to make any unpopular decisions.

The big news springs from the two questions asked about road tolls. When asked if they would support road tolls to reduce traffic congestion, 43% of people approved. (With a strong majority of 58% in Toronto & East York.) On the other hand, when asked specifically about road tolls to pay for the Sheppard Subway, support drops to 35%. A loser of an idea anywhere in the city, apparently, as the mention of the subway doesn’t even draw increased support for road tolls in Scarborough, where the new subway line would go.

The full report detailing poll results is available as a PDF. Other findings:

  • Privatizing garbage collection is still popular with residents, with 52% approval. This is down 2% from Forum Research’s last poll, in February. I’m still surprised that this doesn’t poll higher. Interestingly, a majority opposes privatization of garbage in Scarborough.
  • The five cent plastic bag fee enjoys a majority of support with 52% in favour. Not sure how this squares with the populist mayor continuing to push the idea that people hate paying a nickel for a bag.
  • A strong majority — 57% — oppose “reducing the police force to help freeze property taxes.” We are unlikely to see either a property tax freeze or a reduction in the number of police officers this year.
  • A whopping 72% of people support “physically separating bike lanes from car lanes.” I wonder if this question is too vague, however. Phrased as “adding a new, fully separated bike lane on Richmond Street”, would the results differ? Either way, this is an encouraging result.
  • In the most ridiculous question in the poll, 65% express support for “having public festivals, marathons, marches and walkathons in city parks, rather than closing city streets and expressways.” This would appear to suggest that moving, say, the Toronto Marathon to High Park is feasible when, of course, it isn’t. These events don’t happen on the street just for the hell of it, but rather because they require the space.


May 11

70% of Toronto loves Rob Ford

From last week, The Globe & Mail’s Patrick White:

As Mayor Rob Ford heads into a contentious period of labour strife, spending cuts and possible job losses, a new poll suggests he has political capital to burn.

The survey of 913 Torontonians, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Toronto Real Estate Board, found that 70 per cent approve of the mayor’s performance and 65 per cent support the way city council is handling tax dollars.

via Mayor Rob Ford’s approval rating rises to 70 per cent – The Globe and Mail.

A couple of points about this.

First, while not invalidating this poll’s methodology, this whole thing was commissioned by the Toronto Real Estate Board with an intent to show public support for repealing the land transfer tax. Their press release practically drips with excitement: these people are downright jazzed at the thought of the mayor eliminating this tax:

“The public’s support for Mayor Ford and the current direction of Toronto City Council is high, and it is clear that moving forward with repealing the Toronto Land Transfer Tax will help to keep it there,” said [TREB President Bill] Johnston.

via Realtors Take Public’s Pulse on GTA Issues, Including Toronto Land Transfer Tax.

That 68% of the public wants to repeal a tax isn’t surprising. Nobody likes taxes. But it’s hard to be sympathetic to the TREB when there’s not really much to indicate that the Land Transfer Tax has had a negative impact on home sales. We still have a healthy market.

Second: I don’t know how anyone could reasonably expect Ford’s approval rating to be much lower. As far as the public is concerned, he’s done only a handful of things as mayor, most of them popular proposals he laid out when campaigning last year. He’s killed the car tax, frozen property taxes for the year, eliminated the threat of TTC strikes, ‘cleaned up’ TCHC, and started the process of privatizing garbage collection, eliminating that threat as well.

It’s actually surprising his approval rating isn’t higher. That he’s not riding David Miller-style approval numbers in the 80% range shows that the mayor is still fairly divisive.

Council-watching nerds know that Ford’s record since taking office is more complex. There have been TTC route cuts, attempts to eliminate oversight and consultation, a bizarre campaign to sell the waterfront, short-sighted fiscal maneuvers and just downright embarrassing moments.

But the general public is unlikely to have felt any of these things. Many of them are still largely conceptual: ideas that have been floated to the media or voted on, but not implemented.

Will the public ever tire of Mayor Rob Ford? I think so. Eventually. The Ford Team has shrewdly — if somewhat short-sightedly — removed the two major obstacles that hurt David Miller: transit and garbage strikes. That should help him. But I don’t believe Miller ever faced budget circumstances as tough as what we’re looking at for 2012.

We’re just getting started.

Mar 11

Ford enjoys a 60% approval rating, says terribly misleading poll

Kelly Grant with the Globe & Mail:

Rob Ford enjoys a 60-per-cent approval rating, according to the first public poll released since he took office Dec. 1.

However, Toronto-based Forum Research, Inc. found that urban and suburban Torontonians remain deeply divided about Mr. Ford: His approval rating was highest in Scarborough (71 per cent) and North York (65 per cent) and lowest in the old cities of Toronto and East York (46 per cent.)

“That puts him higher than his vote, so somehow he’s got the approval of some of his opponents’ supporters, which I think is quite a task, especially given how polarizing the election was,” said Lorne Bozinoff, the president of Forum Research. “My gut feel is that’s a good rating.”

via Rob Ford more popular now than at election – The Globe and Mail.

Always fun to see pollsters going by their “gut feel.”

Grant points out that while a 60% approval rating isn’t bad by any means, David Miller’s approval rating was 82% six months into his first term. Quick googling reveals that Miller’s approval ratings stayed very high until the garbage strike in 2009. In 2005, well into his first term, Miller sat at 69%.

More troubling is the nature of the poll questions. Forum Research asked respondents 11 questions about various policies. Of those, several of the questions are incredibly misleading, generally skewed toward pushing support for the mayor’s initiatives.

Here’s a quick breakdown, I’m assuming all questions began with “Do you agree with…” or “Do you support…” but that’s been omitted in the report.

  • “The privatization of garbage collection for parts of the city” – A fine question. Notable that only 54% of people agree with this. I’d have pegged popular support at a higher level.
  • “The mandatory 5 cent plastic shopping bag fee” – Another appropriate question. It’s hilarious how much older people hate this fee.
  • “Declaring the TTC an essential service that would ban strikes and lockouts” – I don’t have a huge problem with this question, but I’d guess that rephrasing it as “Declaring the TTC an essential service, increasing labour costs related to transit” would see very different results.
  • “Tearing down the eastern end of the Gardiner expressway” – Why even ask this? Has it come up at all? Was there more context given? A weird question.
  • “Providing jobs for life for city employees” – This is where these questions go off the rails completely. They might as well have phrased as this “Do you support fatcat union members?”
  • “Using private sector financing to pay for the Sheppard subway so it can be built sooner” – What the hell is this one? No one is proposing that private sector funds will get transit built on Sheppard faster than originally planned. The Sheppard East LRT would have been open in less than three years.
  • “Spending $3 million to hire an outside consultant to look at ways to make the City more efficient?” – If there’s bad news for Ford in this poll, it’s this question. Only 38% of people support the move to hire an outside consultant. A fair question. (Interesting, too, that the $3 million dollars only become public knowledge at council on Thursday, February 24  – this poll went into the wild on Friday, February 25.)
  • “Relaxing liquor regulations so that you can walk around with a drink at licensed events instead of having to stay in a beer tent?” – This is a provincial issue that doesn’t have anything to do with the City’s government.
  • Licensing bicyclists so that traffic laws can be enforced with them?”Oh, screw off. I love the implication that traffic laws can’t be enforced with cyclists currently because of the lack of some kind of licensing program. Cyclists already are subject to the rules of the road. A municipal licensing program wouldn’t do anything to change that and would cost a ton of money.
  • “In order to improve public transit, do you think more below ground subways or more above ground light rail streetcars should be built?” – No one is proposing more streetcar lines as Toronto knows them. A ridiculous question in the sense that even diehard Transit City supporters would probably be forced to answer for below ground subways. In an ideal world we’d have below ground subways everywhere.
  • “Should the City build more City owned social housing units or should the City provide rent subsidies so those needing social housing can rent privately owned units instead?” – Not as egregious as some of the other questions but, again, there’s a clear skew here. The subtext is “Should the city keep spending YOUR TAX DOLLARS on public housing or should we just let the awesome private sector deal with it?” As I noted yesterday, Section Eight housing subsidies exist across the United States and still lead to the same issues we see with our public housing system — slumlords eagerly accept the subsidies while “nicer” market rental buildings refuse them.

In summary, this poll reveals primarily that Ford is currently a semi-popular mayor and little else. Anyone who can read some of the questions contained within this poll and feel like they’re an accurate representation of anything is kidding themselves.