Monday, May 26, 2014

Fact #24: Rob Ford's drug money funded a gun smuggling ring


It's true. Rob Ford has admitted to buying narcotics while he was mayor. He and/or his associates have purchased crack cocaine (and likely other drugs) from the Dixon City Bloods street gang. In Project Traveller wiretaps it was revealed that the gang smuggled numerous handguns into Canada via Detroit. By purchasing his drugs from this gang, Rob Ford was helping to put guns on the streets.

Why should I care?

Over 900 Torontonians have been shot since Rob Ford became mayor, at least 92 of those fatally. While many shootings are gang-on-gang violence, innocent bystanders are frequently the victim. Getting guns off the street is one of the top priorities of a big-city mayor.
Unless, of course, you are Rob Ford. In that case you can talk tough, demand harsh jail sentences and threaten to deport anyone caught with a gun.... and then buy your crack from the same people who are smuggling guns into the country. You wouldn't be happy if your neighbour was helping to get guns onto the street in front of your house, so why does the mayor get a free pass?
"All I’m saying is, if you’re caught with a gun and convicted of a gun crime, I want you out of this city."
- Rob Ford, 20 July 2012

How do I know you're not lying?

Monday, May 12, 2014

(Not a) Fact: First clue that Rob Ford's Deco clients get special treatment at City Hall


No, not really. Well, except for the part where Rob and Doug Ford's Deco Labels clients get special access to top City Hall bureaucrats and private lobbying for tax breaks by Doug and Rob without declaring a conflict of interest. That's completely true.

Why should I care?

We covered this story a few posts ago, and now it looks like the corruption and misuse of taxpayer dollars is even bigger than originally reported.

Remember when Rob said “I will guarantee there will never be a scandal at City Hall with me involved in stealing one cent of taxpayers’ money”? Seems that a Ford guarantee doesn't even last two months. Any chance for a refund?

How do I know you're not lying?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fact #23: Rob Ford called you a... (check all that apply)


It's true. Play along at home by checking off just some of the racist and derogatory terms from the vast repertoire of colourful invective that Rob Ford has employed over the years:

 Dog
 Dago
 Fag
 Gino-boy
 Kike
 Nigger
 Paki
 Pedophile
 Pussy*
 Taxpayer
 Wop

Know any more? Add them in the comments below!

*ok, so technically he may have only said that about part of you
** trick question - that one was actually Doug

Why should I care?

True, the language is offensive, but if it's ok for the Mayor of Toronto to say on air, in council, in a bar or in a crack-fueled drunken stupor, it's ok to print on the Internet.

Maybe you think it's wrong for the mayor to insult the very people who voted him in. On the other hand, maybe you think his language is ok so long as he saved a billion dollars (he didn't), shows respect for taxpayers (he doesn't) and reduces the size of government (he didn't).

This one's up to you.

How do I know you're not lying?

See sources above.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Fact #22: Doug Ford used tax dollars to help his Deco client avoid a pollution fine


It's true. In August 2012 Doug Ford (and his brother) intervened when one of their Deco Labels & Tags clients was facing a fine for dumping sewage into a North York river:

"Mayor Rob Ford and Councillor Doug Ford summoned the highest levels of the city’s bureaucracy to a meeting after they learned a Toronto company that has done business with their family firm was the prime suspect in a sewage spill investigation, newly released records show. 
In a series of after-hours e-mails and phone calls from Aug. 14, 2012, Mayor Ford and his staffers, along with a staffer for Councillor Ford, contacted Toronto’s top managers – including city manager Joe Pennachetti, deputy manager John Livey, as well as the head of Toronto Water, Lou Di Gironimo – after bylaw inspectors descended on Apollo Health and Beauty Care, a manufacturer of soaps and shampoos. The Ford family business, Deco Labels and Tags, has manufactured labels for Apollo’s products. None of the senior bureaucrats were made aware that Apollo has contracted Deco Labels and Tags to make their labels, city officials said in interviews. 
On Aug. 15, three senior Toronto bureaucrats – Mr. Livey, Mr. Di Gironimo and Joanne Di Caro, the head of the division that responds to environmental spills – met with Apollo’s chairman, Richard Wachsberg, along with Mayor Ford, Doug Ford and the city inspector who first traced the spill back to the company, records show. The North York factory is not in Councillor Ford’s ward."
It should be noted that Apollo acted responsibly to correct the problem:

"Since the spill and the meeting, Apollo has co-operated extensively with the city to improve how it treats its discharge and is participating in a compliance program, Mr. Di Gironimo said. He stressed that city officials want to work with businesses, especially new businesses, so that they can comply with the city’s sewer bylaws rather than have staff automatically take an adversarial approach to policing the sewers. Apollo has not been fined."

Why should I care?

Want a good definition of gravy? How about tying up the mayor's office, a councillor's office, the city's top bureaucrat and several senior civil servants to to handle a minor issue that could have been resolved at a much lower level and with far fewer people. How many thousands of dollars of staffer time was wasted on this exercise? And why was Councillor Doug Ford's (Ward 2) office involved when Apollo's operations are in Councillor Anthony Perruzza's district (Ward 8)? Doesn't Doug have his own constituents to look after?

This is a textbook definition of conflict of interest. Did did Rob or Doug not have time to bother telling anyone that they had a personal financial stake in Apollo's operations? How many similar activities has Doug undertaken for companies outside his ward that aren't business customers of his private company?

Remember when Rob testified in court that his definition of conflict of interest was that a member of council needed to benefit? So using city resources to bail out your business partners doesn't count? Maybe the Ford brothers should have taken five minutes to actually read the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

Next time you see Doug or Rob, let them know how pleased you are that your hard-earned tax dollars are being used to increase sales at Deco. Because that's what an open, transparent, gravy-free government is all about.

How do I know you're not lying?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fact #21: There's no evidence that Rob Ford is actually in rehab


It's true. On April 30th Rob Ford announced that he was taking a leave of absence, saying:
"Today, after taking some time to think about my own well-being, how to best serve the people of Toronto and what is in the best interests of my family, I have decided to take a leave from campaigning and from my duties as mayor to seek immediate help."
Ford travelled to Chicago the following day, but on May 6th but it was revealed that Ford had been turned back by US Customs and Immigration and returned to Canada. He has not been seen or heard from since.

Rob Ford's lawyer said that it was his "understanding" that Ford was in rehab, but did not provide specifics. Doug Ford said on May 6th that Ford was in rehab, but refused to provide any details such as where his brother was, how long he would be there and what treatments he was receiving. Instead, Doug said that the public needed to trust him that the story was true.

At no time has Ford or his family ever admitted that he has an addiction issue, nor have they ever admitted that the mayor abuses narcotics such as crack. The statement on April 30th did not say that Ford was entering a rehab program, and Doug Ford has declined to back up his assertion with any facts. “He’s in rehab, and that is all everyone cares about. "

Maybe Rob Ford is in rehab. Maybe he's not. We just don't know.

Why should I care?

Rob Ford needs help. He clearly has serious drug and alcohol issues, and more than likely is an alcohol and drug addict. However, he has never admitted to an addiction, has repeatedly denied that his drinking was a problem, and has never said that he would undergo rehab treatment for these issues.

If Rob Ford were a private citizen then his medical issues would be a private matter. However, not only is Ford currently the mayor, he is also running for re-election. The public deserves to know whether Ford is fit for office, and evidence that he is moving beyond his current challenges should be a precondition for returning to office, now or after the next election.

The Ford family has a rather complex relationship with the truth. The language in Ford's statement is very similar in tone to his "I am not a user of crack cocaine" declaration from a year ago, and we all know how that turned out. Employing weasel words for a straightforward issue only complicates matters and increases the likelihood that Ford is not doing anything substantive about his health.

On the other hand, if you're Doug this all good news. If Plan A was to re-elect Rob, then Plan B is to have Doug take his place on the mayoral ballot. The longer Rob disappears and fails to get help, the better prepared Doug will be to step in fill his brother's spot. How convenient.

How do I know you're not lying?