Niagara Gazette

November 14, 2013

GLYNN: Ford's 'Job No. 1': Take a leave from city hall

By DON GLYNN don.glynn@niagara-gazette.com
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to smoking crack cocaine. He was caught on a video stumbling around in what appeared to be a drunken stupor. 

People have seen him more than once talking on a cell phone while driving in busy traffic.

On one occasion, when a woman driver pulled alongside his SUV waiting for a green light — she motioned that he should instantly get off the phone — Ford gave her the middle finger, the ultimate gesture of defiance. It also is documented that he has had personal relationships with convicted criminals. And there’s more to make honest and trusting citizens cringe.

Not what you’s expect from the top elective official of Canada’s largest city (pop., 2.6 million). In fact, it’s a huge embarrassment.

Ford needs help but he’ll never get it as long as simple-minded constituents and misguided admirers stand in line for hours, as they did Wednesday, to get his autograph on those new 1,000 bobblehead dolls labeled “Robbie Bobbies.” (Hours later, the dolls were popping up on eBay for at least $150.) True, United Way officials decided on those dolls as a fundraising mechanism before this latest flap with Ford, but he hasn’t been playing with a full deck for months.

Amidst the caustic debate that has gripped city hall since late last month, a number of city council members have been demanding that Ford take a leave of absence. Others want him to just go away. Still, one of the most positive suggestions to deal with the present crisis comes from Councillor Giorgi Mammuiliti: “If one of your loved ones suffered from an addiction, would you want the whole street to come out and start throwing stones at him?” he asked. “Or would you prefer to take a more sympathetic approach and make sure he does the right thing — enter a rehabilitation program for 28 days or more?”

Also, Mammuliti said it would be important for Ford’s colleagues to assure him that he would not lose his job just because he seeks that kind of help.

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WHAT’S TO DECLARE?: Former Buffalo Sabres player Pat LaFontaine told on himself Wednesday about crossing the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge on his trip to Toronto. 

At the border, the customs inspector checking LaFontaine’s photo ID card quickly recognized him as the ex-NHL star. “You should be coaching the Sabres now,” the inspector said. The mild-mannered and soft-spoken former Sabre replied: “Well, maybe some day.” In less than 24 hours, he was named director of hockey operations for the Buffalo franchise.

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MIXED EMOTIONS: That’s when you’re filling up at the service station under the sign $3.55 per gallon (regular unleaded) and the national average is $3.18. Now they’re saying that national figure could drop below $3 a gallon soon for the first time since 2010. Don’t look for any such reduction in the Buffalo-Niagara area. Analysts cite one major factor for the steady slide in prices: the increased supply of low-price crude. It’s time for U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer to call another Sunday press conference and announce that he’s looking into the situation.

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TRIBAL MOVE: As you can imagine, residents of Martha’s Vineyard, an island resort area in Massachusetts, are less than enthusiastic that a Native American tribe claims it has won federal approval to open a small casino there. A spokesman for the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah said Wednesday that its campaign for a casino was cleared by a legal opinion issued from the National Indian Gaming Commission. Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, tribal chairwoman, confirmed it has approval for a facility that will include slot machines, bingo and poker. It could become the first casino in the Bay State.

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FOR THE RECORD: A friend in Philadelphia sent a copy of this exchange transcribed, word for word, by a court reporter. 

Attorney: “How old is your son, the one living with you?” Witness: “Thirty-eight or thirty-five, I can’t remember which.”  Attorney: “How long has he lived with you? Witness: “Forty-five years.”

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TRIVIA QUIZ: What was the original nickname of the Erie Canal when it opened in 1825? (Answer Sunday)

Contact reporter Don Glynn at 282-2311, ext. 2246.