“I just picture Rob Ford sitting behind his desk with a crown on his head, a giant turkey leg in his right hand, barking, ‘NEXT!’” Room mate Dave’s Not Here laid a serious head trip on me when I spoke about my intention to attend Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Levee at City Hall. The annual day when Toronto city hall opens its doors to residents is News Year Day – for a mayoral meet and greet. Except his worship changed the traditional date – going back to 1968 – with one of his own choosing, January 2.
Ford can blame Toronto alt-weekly NOW for tipping the people off to the day change. Friendly folks – after all most in line are happy to be here because it’s like meeting Santa or Mick Foley or Justin Bieber – said they showed up News Year Day. Ford the record, Toronto city hall website does list the day as Jan. 2. Beside true Ford Nation fans know Sunday is football. With games heavy with playoff berth action it was bound to be extra exciting for Ford Sunday Football. A haven known to Toronto Police Service for its drunken good times and 911 calls.
I know all this because I have a twisted fascination with Conservatives. My fandom goes so far I’m willing to line up for 40 minutes (told it was 20) to shake hands, pose for a photo and exchange pleasantries. Today is not the day to roast Rob Ford. We have all year for that.
In Toronto mayor Ford gets more ink than Prime Minister Harper. His celebrity is so over alt-weekly NOW has used his naked likeness twice on their cover in one year. The Naked Ambition cover became a piece of political art – Woody Harelson got in on the act for his NOW cover photo shoot weeks later it stirred such a fuss. An exceptionally rare feat is happening here. Something Mayor David Miller never accomplished during his eight year reign. Miller never inspired me to lineup on a cold winter day. Nor did he have NOW editors call Mayor Miller’s people to ask if he would pose naked with just his prop political broom. Are Toronto taste makers trying to say we love it better when it’s served to us overcooked, ugly and sour?
Ford sells as a heel and baby face. It’s his extravagant microphone skills. He works a mic like a pro…wrestler. Whipping up both boos and cheers. He puts civic butts in seats. Mayor Miller could never sell seats, papers and airtime like Ford does. The intensity is so hot in Mayor Rob Ford Media Room his press adviser quit because she couldn’t handle his heat.
He claims his mayor celebrity draws cranks – like the one Shania Twain had. When CBC comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes tried to include him in a gag he became fearful and fled into his home to dial 911. On Christmas cops returned to confront a drunken Ford, who was threatening to take his children to Florida. I’m making bets Ford will be arrested before his term is out. Back at the levee it was an activist in handcuffs. Forcefully removed by security. Ford hung on to finish the meet and greet, but was clearly visibly shaken when I came up for my opportunity.
Did he smell the leftist in me or the weed? If it was the weed, he should have asked, I’d hook him up. Despite legal implications no one would argue a stoned Ford is better than a drunk Ford. I was all over getting a great photo with the mayor I didn’t want to spook him. I did my classic fan boy smile for him. “This is for my FaceBook profile, Mr. Mayor!” I gleefully encouraged him. Unfortunately I couldn’t get him to break into a Chris Farley pose. Maybe next year.
Afterwards, I could have bitched about something like the Comprehensive Review of Vapor Lounges or that stupid marijuana grow room prohibition bylaw he passed when he was sitting on Licensing and Standards Committee or the nightmare that is 29 Dufferin bus, instead I wished him good fortune and he enthusiastically did the same.
Our city and mayor need some luck because according to NOW and Toronto Star we’re fucked. Toronto, apparently, will only be saved by the kind of luck that disables a mayor with a lightening bolt. I’d write heart attack, but I’m also taking bets Toronto mayor has heart attack before his term is out.
I was anticipating meeting my city councilor. The seconder to the terrible lounge review and chair of the licensing and standards committee. However, we’ll probably pass each other at DeSotos, where I met my MPP the other night. There was a few councilors on the receiving line, but not nearly enough to hold quorum for a council meeting. Or even a committee meeting for that matter. I did speak with councilor Mike Layton, who’s father was the late MP Jack Layton, regarding the comprehensive vapour lounge review and the grow bylaw. He is aware of these problems. Asking me how lounges remained opened. That was one thing he didn’t understand, why police just couldn’t close them. The charge is too trivial (simple possession) for Toronto Police Service to make time, I explained. He agreed Toronto Police Service would be better suited to more challenging issues.
I’m focused on a positive outcome with the review, like my charter challenge, in 2012. We all need a little good fortune in the months ahead, even our mortal enemy the mayor.
Protesters Disrupt Mayor Levee CTV Toronto Video
Praise And Pans For Rob Ford Globe and Mail