By TOM GODFREY
Two strong Black candidates for City Council are battling it out to end a 14-year Ford family stronghold in Ward 2 in Rexdale.
Financial planner, Andray Domise and real estate broker, Benn Adeoba, say few people have seen rival Michael Ford in the ward and hope voters do not give him a free ticket to City Hall due to the Ford brand name.
Michael, 21, is the nephew of Mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug, who is not seeking re-election for the ward that he has held for four years. It was previously held by Mayor Ford for three terms and has been part of his family dynasty.
Michael Ford does not plan on conducting interviews or posing for photos, said Doug, his campaign manager.
Domise, who recently quit his job to focus on the race, is being supported by mayoral candidates John Tory and David Soknacki.
He knows the Ford brand is strong in Rexdale and is hoping Tory’s popularity in the polls, with 42 per cent of support, may translate in gains for him as he knocks on doors.
Mayor Ford is in second place with about 28 per cent and Olivia Chow is in third with approximately 26 per cent.
“Michael Ford is running on a brand name,” Domise told Share. “The Ford Dynasty in this riding is coming to an end.”
He blasted outgoing councillor Doug Ford’s record of “being absent from the ward for four years.
“He (Doug) spent more time at City Hall than he did in the ward,” said Domise. “Doug Ford thought that this was a part-time job and it is not.”
If elected, he plans to build a new library, recreation centre, introduce more programs for youth and improve public transit.
“Residents know that the younger Ford lacks any type of experience,” said Domise. “Nobody in the ward has seen him around.”
Adeoba is also counting on the lack of trust voters have for a “young and inexperienced” Ford, who has the guidance and financial backing of his uncles.
“We have been gaining ground so far,” Adeoba said of his campaign. “We have been listening to the concerns of the people.”
The former soccer coach arrived here from Nigeria 16 years ago and has been active in his community.
“People are looking for someone more experienced who have dealt with real issues,” said Adeoba. “I will work hard for residents and not be a ghost councillor.”
He is working for a stronger economy, safer communities and more spending on infrastructure.
Adeoba said the daily sniping and name-calling in the race for Mayor has little impact on his run for councillor.
“People here want to know how I can make the area better,” he said. “They want to know about crime and our roads and city services.”
The candidates are hoping Michael Ford’s chances of a victory in Ward 2 will slip away as Uncle Robbie takes a pummeling from his rivals.
Tension among Ford and Tory ran so high that I thought blows were going to fly at a debate last week that was sponsored by the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP).
More than 200 members packed a Royal Canadian Legion Hall in Etobicoke to hear from the candidates on issues concerning seniors.
At one point, it appeared as if a sweating Ford was going to backhand Tory in a heated exchange over transit and the Mayor’s “over-exaggeration of his claims”.
What should have been a routine debate turned into a testy session between the two front-runners, who frequently eyed and glared at each other.
Tory, like a charging bull, accused Ford of “exaggerating the truth” about his savings for taxpayers.
Ford again accused Tory of being an elitist.
Chow and Soknacki shook their heads and tried to speak but could not get their voices heard.
Back in Ward 2, Domise and Adeoba are slugging away trying to score votes and hoping to debate young Michael Ford before election day on October 27.