Mayor Rob Ford’s leave of absence statement

- April 30th, 2014
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Rob Ford touring school kids around City Hall earlier today (Don Peat/Toronto Sun)
Here is the statement Mayor Rob Ford’s campaign issued tonight:
For Immediate Release
 
April 30th, 2014
 
Tonight I want to take some time to speak from my heart to the people of Toronto.  It’s not easy to be vulnerable and this is one of the most difficult times in my life. I have a problem with alcohol, and the choices I have made while under the influence. I have struggled with this for some time.
 
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.
 
I have tried to deal with these issues by myself over the past year.  I know that I need professional help and I am now 100% committed to getting myself right.
 
I love the people of Toronto, I love being your mayor and I hope you will continue to stand by me.  
 
With the support of my family, friends, professionals and the people of Toronto, I will conquer this.
 
Please keep me and my family in your prayers during these difficult days ahead.  
 
I just want to say to the people of Toronto that I thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement.  I cannot tell you enough how much I appreciate it.
Mayor Rob Ford

 

Giorgio Mammoliti running for re-election

- April 30th, 2014

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Giorgio Mammoliti is giving a thumb’s up to running for another term on city council.

Mammoliti told the Sun he plans to register to run for re-election representing York West (Ward 7) on Thursday at 9:30 a.m.

“The cutting at City Hall isn’t finished and while nobody is really talking about it in the mayoral race – they all just seem to be talking about how to spend money – there is $100 million or so that we could probably save the first year in amalgamating our housing offices,” Mammoliti said Wednesday.

“I need to stop the LRT on Finch Avenue … and try to get Finch designated for a future subway line and bring on busing lanes in the meantime.”

The controversial councillor – and one-time NDP MPP – was one of Mayor Rob Ford’s council allies at the start of this term although he later jumped off the mayor’s executive committee (and eventually came back after a few months).

But will Mammoliti support anyone for mayor? He says he may end up backing Ford.

“At this point the only one talking about keeping the agenda going … seems to be Mayor Ford,” Mammoliti said. “Unless he does something outrageous and crazy it looks like my community (and) myself may be supporting him.”

Before making a formal endorsement, Mammoliti said he plans to have a meeting with his “advisors” ahead of Election Day.

“It will be about 200 people that will tell us, me, where Ward 7 will be throwing their support in in the mayoral race,” Mammoliti said. “We’ll probably be inviting all the mayoral candidates to prove to them that it is them that should be elected in Ward 7.”

The veteran councillor is still facing problems from his 2010 election campaign.

He’s facing five charges of violating the Municipal Elections Act. Those charges were brought by a special prosecutor appointed by the city’s compliance audit committee.

Mammoliti maintained the allegations are “frivolous.”

“I’m going to take it as serious as I always have,” he said.

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Even Rob Ford can’t get Raptors tickets

- April 30th, 2014

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Rob Ford in a Raptors jacket last week (Don Peat/Toronto Sun)

Mayor Rob Ford is on the hunt for Toronto Raptors tickets.

Ford revealed Wednesday he’s having a tough time getting tickets to the hottest game in Hogtown.

The Raptors play Game 5 of their series against the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night in Toronto at the Air Canada Centre.

But while Ford had tickets to Game 2, he said he’s still looking for tickets to Game 5.

“I’m very tempted,” Ford said at City Hall when asked if he’s going to tonight’s game. “I need some tickets.”

“I need tickets. It is pretty rough getting tickets.”

When a TV reporter pointed out that he’s known to “curse the team” when he wears their jersey (see examples of Ford wearing Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Blue Jays, Buffalo Bills and Denver Broncos jerseys and those teams going on to lose), the embattled mayor acted like he’d just been kicked.

“Ooooooh! Did they win last time? OK,” Ford asked.

Another reporter pointed out Ford didn’t actually wear a Raptors jersey last time, only a Raptors jacket.

“Aaaah, now you’re taking shots,” Ford said.

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Rob Ford at City Hall on Wednesday (Don Peat/Toronto Sun)

Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly is getting into the Raptors spirit – and even gave a shout out to Drake and his lint brush.

Here’s what Kelly tweeted Wednesday afternoon:

Sarah Thomson punks the media

- April 30th, 2014

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Mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson invited the media to her campaign headquarters for a “major announcement” on Wednesday.

“Sarah Thomson is set to make a major announcement which may affect the course of the mayoral race,” read the press release for the event.

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t what I’d call a “major announcement”

At 10 a.m. with a handful of media outlets filling her tiny campaign office, Thomson came out and delivered an announcement about her plan to reform Toronto Community Housing (TCHC).

Asked why her campaign described this as a “significant” announcement that would “affect the course of the mayoral race,” Thomson argued that’s “exactly” what it was.

“There’s two major issues I see in Toronto, one of them is transit and we’ve been talking about that a lot, the other is Toronto Community Housing and affordable housing across the board and nobody’s been talking about it,” she said. “I’m bringing that forward today and I’m calling on the other candidates to address it and to have real solutions to the problem.”

I wouldn’t bet on a large media turnout at Thomson’s next “major announcement.”

Mayoral candidates blame Rob Ford for TCHC mess

- April 26th, 2014

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As Mayor Rob Ford fumed about the loss of Gene Jones, his mayoral rivals attacked him over the mess at Toronto Community Housing.

Here’s a rundown of what the mayoral candidates running against Ford said in response to news that Jones was gone:

 

“Let us hope TCHC is not this year’s last change in leadership. The next needs to happen on October 27.”

“Because whether it’s the mayor or head of TCHC, rules aren’t annoyances and accountability counts. Under Rob Ford’s failed leadership, our city is failing to make the crucial investments we need. On files from housing to transit to showing up for work at noon, it’s clear Mr. Ford cannot lead a city of our scale. As such, the next leadership change needs to be at the top because it’s time for a new mayor.”
- Olivia Chow

 

“This is just another example of Ford chaos. Instead of getting things done we have a huge City organization with tons of work to do totally consumed instead with another Ford era sideshow. This is another example of why the City desperately needs new leadership.”

“Whatever else he may have done, Mr. Jones broke many rules, many times and suffered the same fate most other people would suffer if they did that where they work. The TCHC board appears to have concluded no one is above the law, a lesson Mr. Ford seems unable to grasp.”
- John Tory

 

“I welcome the decision of the TCHC Board to accept Mr. Jones’ resignation. As I stated earlier this week, I am concerned by what was happening at Toronto Community Housing. In her report, the Ombudsman identified a number of instances of waste and mismanagement at TCHC, which point to an alarming lack of leadership by the organization’s former CEO and his number one supporter, Mayor Rob Ford.”

“The Mayor came to office on a promise to clean up TCHC, but he has obviously failed. Today, the board of directors acted responsibly. This is clearly an organization that is not functioning as it should be, and the Mayor’s lack of leadership is to blame. We need responsible and accountable leadership at both TCHC and in the mayor’s office. Today, the TCHC board did their part. On October 27, the voters of Toronto will have the opportunity to do their part.”
- Karen Stintz

 

“The issue has been festering for some time. It is incumbent that the resources are available to address these issues and to act on them.”

He promised that if elected he will have a dedicated pool of investigators available for the city’s integrity commissioner and Ombudsman

“(Ford’s call for the Ombudsman to resign) shows complete disregard for the rules that we have. It shows disrespect for the public … In other words, it is just plain wrong.”
- David Soknacki

Just in time for Mother’s Day … Rob Ford inspired cards for mom

- April 25th, 2014

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Because nothing says Mother’s Day like Rob Ford?

From the guy that created the Rob Ford Valentine’s Day cards, you can now get Rob Ford inspired Mother’s Day cards.

Toronto designer  Scott Graham has three Mother’s Day cards based on Toronto’s embattled chief magistrate.

You can pick up the cards at scotty2naughty for $4.50 each (reminder: Mother’s Day this year is May 11).

“Let Mom know you’re no screw up, and neither is she!” reads the tagline in the online store for these cards.

If you or your mom are followers of the Ford saga, these cards are pretty funny.

Here’s a rundown:

Card 1

Front: “So I didn’t grow up to become the Mayor of Toronto.”

Inside: “You’re welcome. Happy Mother’s Day!”

Card 2

Front: “The bar has been lowered.”

Inside: “You can finally be proud of me! Happy Mother’s Day!”

Card 3

Front: “You did a good job mom!”

Inside: “Thanks a billion! Happy Mother’s Day!”

Rob Ford says goodbye to Jim Flaherty

- April 10th, 2014

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Mayor Rob Ford paid tribute to Jim Flaherty at City Hall Thursday shortly after news of the former finance minister’s death broke.

Here is Ford’s complete speech:

“It is with profound regret that I’m speaking to the people today. In this time of great sadness, I wish to offer my deepest condolences to Jim’s wife Christine and to his sons Galen, John and Quinn. 

Jim will be remembered as a relentless fighter and a champion for the people.

He will deeply be missed by everyone who had the good fortune of knowing him. 

Jim served in the provincial legislature with my late father, Doug Ford Sr., and was a close friend of the family for many, many years. 

I can never thank him enough for his friendship and his loyalty through the years.

He was an honourable man, husband, father and politician who dedicated his life to his family and to the Canadian public service. 

As the finance minister Jim had a stabilizing influence on the Canadian position in the international financial community.

He kept the country on track in the most difficult of financial times. Canada would not be where it is today without the efforts of Jim Flaherty. 

It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that I say goodbye to a very special friend. 

We love you, Jim. We’ll miss you.

Rob Ford really hates streetcars

- April 10th, 2014

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Mayor Rob Ford at Soccerworld on Wednesday (Ernest Doroszuk, Toronto Sun) 

Mayor Rob Ford came out Wednesday saying Toronto has “a terrible transit system compared to other major cities in the world” and promising, again, to try to phase out streetcars (story here). 

Ford’s anti-streetcar rant provided a lot of insight into how he sees transit in Toronto and if you’re a transit fan, you’re probably going to disagree with everything he said.

The mayor argued congestion is “only going to get worse.”

“As Toronto grows there is going to be more cars, there is going to be more congestion,” he said. “There is no magic solution.”

But Ford argued subways were the only form of transit that would get people out of their cars.

“I know one thing, I won’t get on a streetcar,” he said. “If I have an option of driving or streetcar, I want to get in my car.”

Although mayoral candidates John Tory and Karen Stintz have promised to focus on building a downtown relief line as the city’s next major subway project, Ford repeated Wednesday that a downtown relief line is the third most-important line on his subway wish list.

He wants the city to complete the Sheppard subway from the end of the existing stub to the Scarborough Town Centre and then build a Finch subway before focusing on a Downtown Relief Line.

“People are getting ignored up in North York, people are getting ignored in Scarborough,” Ford said.

Mayor Rob Ford’s backstage pics

- March 11th, 2014

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Councillor Doug Ford sent me some behind the scene pictures from Mayor Rob Ford’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel last week.

As you can see in the pic above, Mayor Ford was hamming it up with his dressing room door the night he appeared on Kimmel’s post-Oscar special. On that show, actor Kevin Spacey ended up cracking jokes about the mayor (story here).

A day later, Ford was the main event on Jimmy Kimmel Live (story here).

Now Doug Ford says Kimmel will be a guest on the mayor’s YouTube show, Ford Nation (story here).

Here’s some more Ford family snapshots from their Hollywood trip:

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Councillor Doug Ford, Jimmy Kimmel, Randy Ford (the mayor’s other brother) and Mayor Rob Ford

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Doug Ford, Mayor Rob Ford and Randy Ford with a Jimmy Kimmel pool table

 

What time is it in Ford Nation?

- March 9th, 2014

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Mayor Rob Ford – or at least whoever runs the mayor’s Twitter account – might want to double-check what time it is today.

Ford’s account tweeted out a reminder to folks last night about the time change.

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The only problem is that tweet was wrong – the clocks are supposed to go forward an hour overnight not back an hour.

Leave it to the Ford camp to turn a simple time change into another embarrassing episode for the embattled mayor.

Other people on Twitter – who remembered that you spring forward/fall back when it comes to daylight saving time – were pretty quick to point this out and crack more jokes at the mayor’s expense.

It is worth mentioning Ford has testified under oath that he doesn’t run his own Twitter account (it came up during his conflict of interest trial) so it is entirely possible the mayor had nothing to do with this blunder and is aware the clocks spring forward this weekend and fall back in the fall.

Ford’s Twitter account eventually got it right.

The original tweet was deleted and this one went out:

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Hopefully all the clocks will be right in the mayor’s office on Monday.

Meanwhile, Ford’s rival David Soknacki – who appears to run his own Twitter account – tweeted this last night:

Quite the contrast between these two mayoral candidates even on Twitter.

UPDATE: 

Dan Jacobs, Mayor Rob Ford’s chief of staff, confirmed Sunday that he was the one who tweeted the daylight saving time tweet from the mayor’s Twitter account.

Here is what Jacobs told me via email on Sunday:

“This was my error, I had just been talking with friends that it’s spring forward, and when I posted the tweet I wrote it backwards.”

The story of Ford’s Twitter account messing up daylight saving time was picked up by several U.S. media outlets on Sunday.

Unfortunately, USA TODAY ended up making its own Twitter error – tweeting out a photo of Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, with the story rather than Rob Ford.

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Five minutes later, the newspaper tweeted out a correction: