Sad to see the once proud City of Toronto in a downward spiral with little prospect of a turnaround in the near future. Toronto has had only one—maybe two—effective leaders since David Crombie resigned as mayor in 1978. And the chance of this record of failure ending any time soon seems remote.
Leaderless and rudderless, the wannabe world-class city meanders along on the edge of financial ruin, while its city council of fat-cat career politicians sit impotently by and watches—when they are not snarling and scratching at each other’s eyes.
With 44 city councillors and a mayor supported by an operating budget of $9.2-billion, Toronto could be world-class, but chooses instead to be progressive, overgrown with weeds and littered with trash.
In contrast, consider a real world-class city. Consider New York City, which has a population of about 8.4-million to Toronto’s population of about 2.5-million, making New York 3.3 times larger in population. In land area, New York is almost double the size of Toronto, making New York considerably larger to manage and finance.
And yet the world-class New York is managed by a city council of 51 members, while Toronto—half the size in area and 30 per cent of New York’s population—has 44 councillors. Toronto boasts about being world-class, New York merely lives it.
Toronto’s 2006 operating budget was $7.6-billion; for 2010 it is $9.2-billion, an increase of over 21 per cent in five years. The average annual inflation rate in that period was 1.75 per cent, the percentage change in the inflation rate was 9.06 per cent and the rise in the CPI was 9.7 per cent.
Toronto is in a financial death spiral.
So desperate have the residents of Toronto become, polls show they are prepared to elect as mayor in November a blowhard, gaffe-prone, anti-intellectual, anti-immigration candidate with an astonishing lack of savoir-faire, creativity and vision, and a rather tacky background that includes brushes with the law.
The dilemma faced by Toronto’s residents is that, although Rob Ford is totally unsuitable as a future mayor, he is undoubtedly the least obnoxious of the choices they face in the fall election.
It’s Rob Ford against a hostile and uncooperative city council or one more in a line left-wing mayors in cahoots with a free-spending, out of control bloated city council. What a choice.