Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fact #28: Losing a few pounds doesn't make the _________ ok


It's true. One of the key campaign narratives of Rob Ford's return from extended leave/rehab for unspecified substance abuse is that he has lost a significant amount of weight. This, the argument goes, indicates that he has solved his personal drug and alcohol problems and is now ready re-election. As the National Post reports:

Councillor Doug Ford predicted in an interview Thursday that his brother will “turn the race upside down. They’re both, in my opinion, Tory and Chow, are absolutely terrified, and rightfully so,” said Councillor Ford, the mayor’s campaign manager... Rob Ford has had more than 450 hours of counselling while in rehab, he said, and trimmed down from a 52 pants size to a size 44.
Rob Ford was "spotted" in Barrie buying new suits in advance of his return to politics, reinforcing the weight loss narrative.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fact #27: Doug Ford bought his Rotary Club award for $1,000


It's true. Doug Ford's official City of Toronto councillor bio states:
"Doug was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award. This is the highest award you can receive in Rotary for outstanding service to your community."
According to Rotary International, The Paul Harris Fellow award:
"Acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of US$1,000 to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International... Paul Harris Fellows receive a certificate and pin. They are also eligible to purchase a Paul Harris Fellow medallion."
The award is for donations only. It was "established in 1957 to show appreciation for and encourage substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study." The Paul Harris Fellow is not even the highest award possible for forking over cash. The Arch C. Klumph Society, for example, recognizes lifetime donations of over $250,000. At no time does Rotary International link the award to public service. Rotary Club chapters can even apply for special recognition when all of their members are Harris Fellows.

The actual highest award is the "Rotary International Service Above Self Award", which is awarded to "up to 150 Rotarians each year who demonstrate their commitment to helping others by volunteering their time and talents." In contrast, there have been over 1,000,000 recipients of the Paul Harris Award.

Why should I care?

In most companies, lying on your resume is grounds for dismissal. However, the Ford brothers never let facts get in the way of a good story. A closer reading of Doug's bio shows that his community service is largely restricted to coaching his kids' sports teams, having Deco throw a few dollars at the odd local sports league and paying into Rotary Club's coffers.

This also shows how Rob and Doug Ford assume that spending money is the same thing as actually doing something (i.e., Doug's tendency to throw $20 bills at public housing residents). They even lied about the nature of the award when they asked for a park to be named after their dad (Doug Sr. himself being one of the over one million Paul Harris Fellows worldwide).

Cost of a bogus Rotary Club award? $1,000. Knowing that you've made absolutely no difference in the world? Priceless.

How do I know you're not lying?

Councillor Doug Ford

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fact #26: Rob Ford is using the taxpayer-funded mayor's office for campaigning


It's true. The City of Toronto's election rules are quite clear:

"City of Toronto resources cannot be used to promote one candidate, political party, registrant or a supporter of a question on a ballot during an election over another candidate, political party, registrant or a supporter of a question on a ballot during an election."

However, on more than one occasion Rob Ford has been shown to use his taxpayer-funded mayor's office for campaign purposes. Most recently, Doug Ford accused the Stintz campaign of taking the Ford supporters list out of the mayor's office - where it should never have been.

In February, David Soknacki accused Ford of using his office for political purposes, including organzing and promoting the Ford Nation radio and YouTube shows, and having public servants accompany Ford to mayoral debates.

Why should I care?

Once again Rob Ford is in a conflict of interest. He is wasting tax dollars meant for public use on his personal re-election campaign, he is diverting public servants away from helping Torontonians to helping himself, and he is using tax dollars to gain an unfair advantage over his rivals.

The rules are quite clear, but as usual Rob and Doug are ignoring them. And wasting your tax dollars in the process.

On the other hand, Rob's having a great time rehabbing/vacationing in Muskoka so it's all good.

How do I know you're not lying?

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Fact #25: Rob and Doug Ford used your tax dollars to help close their private business deal


It's true. "Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his councillor brother Doug Ford helped one of the world’s largest commercial printers, RR Donnelley and Sons, lobby city staff about taking over part of the city’s printing operations around the same time the Ford family’s label business was negotiating to accept business referrals from Donnelley, a Globe and Mail investigation has found."

"The first meeting between Doug Ford and Donnelley that is captured by public records – the City of Toronto’s lobbyist registry – was on May 3, 2011. Two Donnelley representatives, including the company’s director of sourcing services, Barry Waddick, met with Councillor Ford. A little more than a month later, on June 9, 2011, the mayor joined Mr. Waddick and Councillor Ford for another meeting, according to the registry. The next week, the city’s director of purchasing at the time, Lou Pagano, received a phone call from the mayor."

“I just got a call from Mayor Ford … he said to me that a supplier wants to meet to see how he can bid on printing contracts. I offered to meet with the supplier directly, but [the mayor] said that he wants to be there,” Mr. Pagano wrote in a June 14, 2011, e-mail. The next day, Mr. Pagano was told to come to the mayor’s office, where he was greeted by six representatives from Donnelley – including the president of RR Donnelley Canada, Allen Hallis, and Mr. Waddick – as well as Councillor Ford and Mayor Ford."

Why should I care?

Doug Ford loves to talk about the Rotary Club's motto: Service before Self. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to have been listening.

Politicians are elected to serve the public's interests, not their own. Tax dollars were spent, at the Ford brothers' request, to entertain an untendered business contract that would directly benefit the Ford family business. Citizens of Toronto with real needs were pushed aside so that a Deco business partner could get priority access to senior bureaucrats. While Rob and Doug Ford (who doesn't even bother to have a constituency office) should have been solving problems for Torontonians, they were busy trying to boost their company's bottom line. Other companies, with potentially better products and prices, weren't given the same chance to compete. When a politician abuses the public trust to promote their own businesses, taxpayers lose more than just their money.

But Rob Ford is losing weight in "rehab", so all that corruption stuff is in the past, right?

How do I know you're not lying?