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[URBAN NOTE] “Coun. John Filion’s Rob Ford book to hit shelves in October”

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CBC shares the news from the Canadian Press.

The antics of Coun. Rob Ford have inspired yet another book — this time written by a fellow city councillor.

Random House Canada says John Filion’s The Only Average Guy: Inside the Uncommon World of Rob Ford will examine “what drives him, why he acts the way he does, what’s important to him.”

Filion was a journalist before entering municipal politics, and Random House says he developed an unlikely camaraderie with the wildly unpredictable councillor from Etobicoke, Ont.

Written by Randy McDonald

September 30, 2015 at 10:05 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Rob Ford skirts law by using HOV lanes while driving alone”

CBC shares the Canadian Press article noting how Rob Ford breaks traffic rules for his personal convenience.

Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford admits he has broken the law by driving in special high-occupancy-vehicle (HOV) lanes set up for the Pan American Games while he is driving alone.

The Ward 2 city councillor told reporters Wednesday at city hall he watches out for the police as he moves in and out of the lanes that are reserved for vehicles with at least three people inside.

“Go in and out, obviously,” Ford said. “You gotta watch the cops over your shoulder… I have to get to where I have to go.”

[. . .]

The temporary lanes will be in operation from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. during the Games, which run in Toronto and surrounding areas from July 10 to 26. The lanes will be restricted to at least two people per vehicle during the Parapan Am Games from Aug. 7 to 15.

Written by Randy McDonald

July 9, 2015 at 10:31 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Toronto’s Mayor returns to Pride Festival”

The Toronto Star‘s Michael Robinson reports on a long-overdue event.

For the first time in five years, Toronto’s Mayor will be showing some pride.

When asked on Sunday his thoughts on why his appearance at the festival is newsworthy, Tory’s answer was clear and abrupt: “It shouldn’t be.”

“(Pride) is one of the biggest celebrations in our community, period,” he said during a phone interview Sunday. “We are celebrating what I think is at the essence of what makes Toronto a great city: how we live together.”

“And the leader of this city, if you believe as I do, if your core values as a person as mayor are consistent with that notion of embracing and respecting everybody . . . you should be there.”

Pride Toronto co-chair Aaron GlynWilliams referred to Tory’s commitment to participate in the week-long festival as “the start of a new relationship between, not just this festival and the Mayor’s office, but the broader LGBTQ community.”

Written by Randy McDonald

June 22, 2015 at 6:54 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “‘Daddy smoked crack’: Toronto’s former mayor Rob Ford, on cancer, drugs and his political future”

Global News’ Laura Stone interviews Rob Ford at length.

This is so infuriating.

I ask him if he thinks he should have been punished, by the public, for what he did.

Yes and no, he says.

“Yes, because I didn’t get the help earlier on that I needed. And I was lying and conniving and just doing what an addict does,” he says.

“Then on the other side of it, I didn’t do it here. I wasn’t high here, I was doing my job, showing up every day, running a great city. That was in my private life.”

He stares straight ahead, and pauses for a few moments to reconsider.

“But then I look back on it and say, would I have wanted my mayor to do what Rob Ford was doing, regardless of if it was at his private time or not? No, I wouldn’t. And I don’t think anybody would want a mayor who was, you know, an alcoholic and a drug addict, and not recognizing that, and not getting help for it.”

Much much more at the link.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 18, 2015 at 7:18 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “John Tory, councillors attend transgender flag-raising ceremony”

John Tory’s attendance at an event of note to Toronto’s GLBT communities, as reported by the Toronto Star‘s Jennifer Pagliaro, is a refreshing change from the Rob Ford era.

[F]acing biting winds on the podium roof of city hall, dozens including Mayor-elect John Tory gathered on Thursday afternoon to witness the raising of a flag in remembrance of transgender people lost to violence, suicide and who are still missing.

[. . .]

The significance of Tory’s attendance, despite not being the mayor quite yet, was not lost on organizers.

“I think it’s amazing that even before he’s had the privilege of being sworn in as the mayor of our city, that John Tory, the mayor-elect is here and we are so glad to see you,” said former MPP George Smitherman. “It’s a signal of better days ahead here in Toronto and at city hall.”

Pride and LGBTQ events have been contentious at city hall in recent years, with outgoing Mayor Rob Ford’s absence noted — including his refusal to march in the annual Pride parade — and his documented homophobic slurs criticized. Ford attended his first Pride Toronto event in June 2013, also a flag-raising. He had previously attended flag raisings against homophobia and transphobia.

“While I’m not yet the mayor of Toronto, I have been elected as the mayor of Toronto and I’m going to be the mayor of all the people,” Tory told reporters after the ceremony. “To me it is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to go to events like that.”

Written by Randy McDonald

November 21, 2014 at 7:01 pm

[LINK] “Jian Ghomeshi, Rob Ford and the cost of Canadian politeness”

Twitter pointed me towards Madeline Ashby’s opinion piece in the Ottawa Citizen, one noting the ways in which famed Canadian politeness actually manifests more like indifference where the fate of women is concerned.

As the stories about Jian Ghomeshi grow in number and deepen in depravity, Canadians have asked themselves painful questions about how and why his alleged behaviour went ignored for so long. But if the history of Rob Ford is any indication, Torontonians are experts at not asking questions about a charismatic man’s treatment of women. And while the allegations against both Ford and Ghomeshi have not been proven in court, this reluctance to even talk about it suggests the famous Canadian politeness might give men cover for how they treat women.

It may seem strange to compare Ghomeshi with Ford. On the surface, they appear to be polar opposites. While Ghomeshi gleefully exploited his hipster cred among left-voting CBC listeners, Ford gorged himself on their frustration. But beneath their brands, the stories about them are disturbingly similar.

While Ghomeshi was allegedly busy intimidating his co-workers, assaulting his dates, and playing with his teddy bear, Ford was welcoming Toronto police officers into his home to deal with domestic disturbance complaints. In 2008, Rob Ford was arrested for assault and allegedly making a death threat against his wife. The charges were later dropped, because the Crown found his wife Renata Ford’s account to have “credibility issues.” In 2011, Ford’s mother-in-law called 911 to tell them Ford was taking his two children out of the country without their mother’s consent. The Ford family said the police had it all wrong, that everything was fine, that “a lot of people you know have problems behind closed doors.” But those problems continued: in 2012, police found Renata Ford with bruises and contusions on her face and body. When asked about the possibility of abuse, she refused to cooperate.

[. . .]

As the stories about alcohol and drugs and secret videos mounted, Renata Ford’s story slipped through the cracks. It’s not that it the public didn’t know there had been interactions with authorities — journalists at multiple Toronto newspapers knew and some even published stories about it. It’s that the public simply did not care. A mayor who smoked crack was a tragedy. The woman who lived with him was just a statistic.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 5, 2014 at 4:53 am

[BLOG] Some Monday links

  • blogTO notes that television comedian John Oliver called for Doug Ford’s election, to amuse the rest of the world.
  • Centauri Dreams considers philosophical considerations to SETI.
  • The Dragon’s Tales links to a paper simulating the tides and currents of the seas of Titan.
  • Eastern Approaches notes the generally pro-European results of the Ukrainian general election.
  • Far Outliers’ Joel notes that dozens of Hawaiians were actively involved as combatants in the US Civil War.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes that upstate New York is not like Alabama.
  • Steve Munro offers new mayor John Tory friendly advice on transit in Toronto.
  • pollotenchegg maps the results of the Ukrainian elections.
  • Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc touches upon the many issues not raised in the Toronto elections juyst concluded.
  • Torontoist notes the worrying ascent of anti-Muslim sentiment in Toronto’s elections.
  • Towleroad looks at homophobia and violence in Serbia and Macedonia.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy considers if Facebook is a secure enough means of communication for a Facebook message to be legally adequate to let a potential father know of a partner’s pregnancy.

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