Oh, the irony of it all!
Who could ever imagine that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford would be more “American” than the new mayor of the greatest city in the world (for now)? Side by side, the story of these two mayors makes one think about what the job of mayor really should be.
Simply stated, a mayor is supposed to keep citizens safe, streets clean, and trains running on time. Anything else a mayor does (or purports to do) is window dressing.
In Ford’s case, he’s a fiscal conservative with a Libertarian bent (to put it mildly). While his personal life appears over the top by most people’s standards, there is no evidence that he isn’t successful at achieving the basic duties of mayor. Still, the Toronto City Council, cratering to media pressure, made the stunningly stupid move of stripping Mayor Ford of all his real power.
So what did he do in response? Predictably, he soldiered on and last week filed to run for reelection. He should win unless the City Council can figure out a way to keep him off the ballot on Election Day. Victory should be his because despite his drug use, he reduced taxes and removed snow from city streets in a timely fashion.
Contrast all of this with NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio, who barely squeaked out a primary victory to represent Democrats in the mayoral race. Never mind that he blew away his Republican opposition. In heavily Democrat NYC, that’s to be expected. I’ll make a prediction. In short order, NYC will wish it had overlooked Anthony Weiner’s indiscretions.
For starters, De Blasio decided to showcase his swearing in ceremony with one of the most shameful exhibits of race baiting we’ve seen since the Civil War. That’s probably fitting since one of the featured speakers, the NYC Minister of Rubbish, decided to compare the Big Apple under Mayor Bloomberg to a “plantation.”
And it got worse from there. The entire message from De Blasio and the cast of bummers on display was that success is very bad. They plan on fixing this vexing problem by making everyone the same. Kind of like what the former U.S.S.R. did so successfully (if you just overlook all those Russian billionaires running around the French Riviera these days).
De Blasio’s basic message is that he plans on running the city like his own little empire instead of keeping the Empire State of Mind that’s made the city successful the past twenty years. If you’re successful, he’ll fix that and take your “excess cash” off your hands. That is, of course, unless you can get out of town fast enough.
I may not have liked everything about Mayor Bloomberg. Okay, I hated a lot of it. The part I didn’t like was when Bloomberg went off doing his own thing. What he did extremely well was all the things a mayor is supposed to do. He kept the city successful, safe, and for the most part, happy.
De Blasio seems prepared to go straight to the “extra” things outside his job description. Instead of being focused on doing the job of running the city (he’s way behind on appointing the people necessary to make city government run), he’s focused like a laser on his anti-business and anti-success mission.
New Yorkers are a tough lot. They should be able to survive the David Dinkins 2 Administration. Unfortunately, the road to get there won’t be pretty.
In the meantime, I wish Rob Ford well in his mission towards reelection.
As for Mayor De Blasio?
I look forward to the day he rides out of the city at the end of his tenure in a horse drawn carriage with a sign on the back, “The Empire Strikes Back. May the French be With You!”