Thursday, January 23rd Commentary
As for Rob Ford, he spoke to NewsTalk 1010 host and Sun columnist Joe Warming last night about what he calls his "unfortunate" slip drinking Monday night. In Ford's words "I have no excuse, but I am not apologizing."
Reporters at city hall were trying to get him to answer whether he did any illegal drugs that night...partly because people who saw him in the west-end restaurant just prior to his bizarre rant and said he showed no signs of intoxication and they were surprised at how he was acting on the video. Ford has gone nowhere near that issue...but to Warmington last night he said he has again sworn off alcohol.
You should also be aware that on the very night Rob Ford said he slipped, he met with the newspaper editors of 40 ethnic media outlets at city hall. He took their questions for two hours from 6:30 to 8:30 Monday evening and one of the editors there says that on 3 occasions Ford told them what he'd been telling anyone else willing to listen that he had quit drinking for good.
Somewhat lost in the din over the Mayor's foibles, has been the battle over Toronto's operating and capital budgets for the upcoming fiscal year and how much residential property taxes would be going up.
Ultimately city council will make the final judgments next week.
It was last year when council endorsed the mayor's idea of holding the property tax hike to 1-and-3-quarters percent. But then the mayor said he'd cut the land transfer tax by 10 percent...so that would be revenue lost. Then he went to the wall to get a subway extension into Scarborough and that alone would add half-a-percentage point to the property tax levy for years to come. Ford, in his frantic attempt to get re-elected has now tried to twist that all around insisting the land transfer tax and the subway extension were part of his 1.75 percent. It's not true and everyone on Rob Ford's handpicked executive committee knows it's not true. So when they made their recommendation yesterday it was for a property tax increase of 2.23 percent. Ford was the only member of his carefully chosen executive to vote no. That I would offer is so he can try to save his political bacon....and nothing more.
He's been saying for weeks that he'll easily find 50-million dollars in savings which will have no impact on city services. We haven't seen one clear idea from him yet. Now he says he'll have them ready for next week's council meeting. We'll see. I am not about to take him on his word about anything. I am not even sure I believe him when he said his slip-up Monday night was booze.