By TOM GODFREY
These days Mayor Rob Ford is no longer the only cock in the fight as John Tory and Karen Stintz scrap to split the right-wing vote with Olivia Chow targeting the left.
The race for the Mayor’s Office is becoming more exciting as plans and visions for the city are slowly being unveiled by candidates who have a proven track record of working with others in getting things done for residents.
Sure, Ford has the support of Jimmy Kimmel, but voters want a functioning City Council and most are not willing to squander another four years by returning him to power.
With yet another Ford video making the rounds of a seemingly drunk, speech-slurring Mayor; how long before people vow enough is enough. This would be the fourth video to surface showing the Mayor in unflattering situations.
Things have become so tense between Ford and top cop Chief Bill Blair that the two men are now sparring in public. The mistrust has placed the OPP in charge of the Project Brazen 2 probe, which sprung from the arrest of the Mayor’s casual driver and friend, Sandro Lisi.
Toronto residents have had a long winter and more than enough of Ford’s antics and want a Council that will work together to build transit or reign in property and other taxes. Some even question if Ford really did save taxpayers $1 billion as he claims.
If anything, the Mayor sure knows how to rack up headlines during his three to four visits weekly to the homes of Toronto Community Housing residents, many whose units or buildings are in dire need of repairs.
To these residents and other Ford Nation supporters, the Mayor is the greatest, since he is a proven City Hall waste fighter who returns all phone calls and will show up at their door to address concerns.
But, the majority of us want less drama, bickering or grandstanding. This Mayor cannot even garner enough support on Council to have a simple motion passed. If he wins a second term, we can expect more drama, finger-pointing and “I told you so”.
Some people shake their head claiming they have had enough of Ford and cringe at his drinking, partying and having his name, and that of our city, being the brunt of crack cocaine jokes on U.S. late-night TV shows.
The leading candidates trying to unseat Ford are competent, hard-working and any one of them will represent voters responsibly in the Mayor’s Office. They are very experienced and will work hard for taxpayers.
Chow, a former NDP-MP and city councillor, is culling left wing support from those who never liked the rambunctious Ford and just want him to disappear.
“I have worked in this community for many years,” Chow told Share last week. “I have been involved with many issues in the Black community and people know where I stand.”
Chow, a former board member of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, lives in Toronto and is familiar with the issues facing city residents.
Tory, a former Rogers executive, is an experienced politician with a battle-tested team around him. He is in favour of subways and vows to fight traffic gridlock, but will that be enough to take him to the top?
I have covered Tory off-and-on for about 12 years and I know he is a hard worker who is open minded. I have walked through some of the city’s worst housing projects with him in campaigns against guns and he is well-liked by members of the community.
But, critics claim Tory is too pro-business and will do anything to get elected. Fine, but he is willing to learn, is a team player and genuinely cares about people.
Stintz has been making inroads chipping away at the downtown anti-Ford crowd. The former chair of the TTC is a hard worker who is also advocating subways but is not popular outside the downtown area.
At the bottom of the pack is former Councillor David Soknacki, a lone wolf with some good ideas but is facing an uphill battle due to the big bucks required to launch an effective campaign.