Friday, July 25, 2014

Fact #31: Winner of the Great Pothole Challenge!: Perks crushes 311 at the wire, Rob Ford never returned our call


(Go back to the first post for background to the Great Pothole Challenge.
Previous posts on the Challenge are tagged here.)

We have a winner!

And on the tenth day we received an email from Councillor Perks' assistant to let us know that the repair had been completed the previous day. A quick visit to the site of the crime confirmed that the hole was indeed no longer. The 311 tracking database was updated shortly thereafter.

Despite the fastest response time, Toronto 311's pothole still remained unrepaired at press time. Perhaps this is because a councillor's inquiry gets higher priority, or because it was flagged as a more urgent repair. It also didn't hurt that we were able to attach a photo to the email vs. the 311 online form that doesn't allow images.
Meanwhile back at Ford Campaign Headquarters the Mayor's Office, things must be busy because nobody has responded to the message we left (we even called twice to try and get a live person, but no luck).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pothole Challenge Day 8: Perks sneaks into the lead!

Day 8 Update: Perks sneaks into the lead!

Well, what a difference a day makes. On the eighth day the city got back to work, because Perks' status was also updated to "in progress". An afternoon check confirmed that either the transportation department had visited or the area was being tagged by the worst graffiti artist in history. The other potholes remained in an unpainted state, raising the potential possibility that Perks' pothole will be patched with pitch post-haste.

Rob Ford remained a mystery, wrapped inside an enigma and smothered in jerk chicken. His Bletchley Park boffins low paid civil servants in the mayor's office had still not replied to the initial call.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Pothole Challenge Day 7: What a difference a week doesn't make


Can you fix a pothole in a week?

Turns out, no. However, on Day 5 Toronto 311 came back and changed their pothole's status to "In Progress - additional work required". That's an encouraging sign - perhaps someone from the city has even been out to confirm the damage. Councillor Perks' pothole had been re-categorized from "Pothole" to "Road Damage", but status still listed as inspection scheduled.

Rob Ford and his crack team of bureaucracy-busters in the mayors office had yet to respond to the original call.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fact #30: Rob Ford voted against funding the community street festivals that he uses for campaigning

Really? 

It's true. Rob and Doug Ford were the only two members of council to vote against the 2014 Operating Budgets for BIAs. Once an area's businesses vote to form a BIA, they can apply to have the city collect a mandatory levy from commercial property owners on their behalf. Note that this is not a property tax increase, and is not paid for by anyone other the businesses who need it. These requests get rolled into one motion and are voted on in Council. The 2014 budgets passed by a vote of 36-2 with only the Fords opposed.

Pothole Challenge Day 4: Guess who finally returned our call?

Who finally called back?

If you said nobody, you are correct! After 96 hours, Rob Ford was still sifting through his voicemails or saving kittens from a burning building or whatever it is he does in his free time. Ford did mention at his press conference that he's "a few months" behind on returning his calls, so let's wait and see if he gets around to helping us before October 27th. It's good to see Ford "running the city like a business", since taking four months to action a phone call is pretty much the gold standard for customer service.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pothole Challenge Day 3 Recap: Silence in the asphalt jungle


Here's a visual representation of the relative response times after Day 3 (counting from initial reply). If it takes about 15 minutes to make gravy, Toronto 311 took 1/3 of a gravy boat, Councillor Perks rolled in at 12 gravy boats, and Rob Ford was up to 288 gravy boats and counting.

What's this about?

We're running the Great Pothole Challenge, where we pit Rob Ford head-to-head against a random city councillor and 311 to see who can fix a pothole the fastest (we're reporting the contest with a time delay to prevent manipulation). We filed all of the requests on a weekday morning so there would be an even playing field. Here's how the first 72 hours played out:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fact #29: Ford math, or how spending $1/week is actually $1,664 in savings

Really?

It's true. Rob Ford's billion dollar savings claim is fueled by pure unicorn blood. If a city agency (say the parks department) asks for a $50 million increase on their $200 million budget, and council only approves a  $10 million increase, your spending has gone up by $10 million. You haven't saved $40 million, and you definitely haven't saved $320 million over eight years. But that's how Ford math works.

Pothole Challenge Day 2: Oh Rob Ford, where art thou?

Here's a visual representation of the relative response times after Day 2 (counting from initial reply). If it takes about 15 minutes to make gravy, Toronto 311 took 1/3 of a gravy boat, Councillor Perks rolled in at 12 gravy boats, and Rob Ford was up to 192 gravy boats and counting.

What's this about?

We're running the Great Pothole Challenge, where we pit Rob Ford head-to-head against a random city councillor and 311 to see who can fix a pothole the fastest (we're reporting the contest with a time delay to prevent manipulation). We filed all of the requests on a weekday morning so there would be an even playing field. Here's how the first 48 hours played out:

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Great Pothole Challenge Day 1 Recap: 311 takes the lead, Perks a close second, Ford stuck at the gate

What's this about?

We're running the Great Pothole Challenge, where we pit Rob Ford head-to-head against a random city councillor and 311 to see who can fix a pothole the fastest (we're reporting the contest with a time delay to prevent manipulation). We filed all of the requests on a weekday morning so there would be an even playing field. Here's how the first 24 hours played out:

Monday, July 14, 2014

Introducing the Great Pothole Challenge: Ford vs. Councillor vs. 311


What's this all about?

One of the persistent themes of Rob Ford's administration is his willingness to personally return calls and help individual taxpayers by fixing their problems big and small. That's how he made his name as a councillor, and that's how he continues to serve taxpayers. This is a key plank in his re-election campaign. As the logic goes, "I don't care if he lies about smoking crack, LRTs and saving a billion dollars, as long as he saves a billion dollars and fixes my potholes he's got my vote."

Ford claims to respond to up to 100 calls every day, which at five minutes a pop comes out to about 8 hours daily on top of his mayoral duties, sleep and whatever it is Ford does in his time off. He also claims that this personal treatment is the best way to get things done at City Hall*. Is Rob Ford telling the truth this time? let's put that to the test.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fact #M1: Mikey Ford's Ward 2 Resume


Really?

It's true. As the rumour mill ramps up about Michael Ford running to fill the vacating Ward 2 council seat (stories fed in no small part by Uncle Doug), it's time to add a third-generation Ford scion to the political mix.

Why is Mikey uniquely suited to serve as a city councillor?

  • He works as a camp councillor in Muskoka
  • He has an "account job" with Deco Labels
  • He has graduated high school
  • He can apparently fly a small plane