The grace and charm of Rob Ford.

Rob Ford is mayor of Toronto.  As former mayors have noted over the years, it is not an overly rewarding experience being mayor of Canada’s largest city.  As someone mentioned this morning, “Do you know Ford’s approval rating is at 29 per cent?”

That seemed high.  We are sure that buyers’ remorse set in the day after Ford was elected more than a year ago.  He has not endeared himself with Toronto voters since that fateful day.  The only thing that might be keeping his approval rating artificially high is his ability to work the telephones.  When a constituent telephones Rob Ford, they get a call back.  Ford prides himself on doing that.  Anyone can call him.  His only problem is convincing many recipients of his calls that it really is the mayor calling them back.

In Babel, the first time we called the new mayor, we were grilled by a secretary who did not know us.  She wanted to be sure we were not going to waste the mayor’s time.

Rob Ford not only calls people back but if he can do something to help them, he will.  He learned the trick in business a long time ago to immediately get a problem off his desk.  Give the problem to somebody to fix and woe betide the flunky who drags his or her feet in getting it done.

This also seems to be Ford’s budgeting theory.  He does not believe in using a sharper pencil to do budgeting.  He just uses a larger bludgeon.  This guy does not believe in subtlety.  One of the few city departments to get away with more money this year was the police department.  This seems to have happened after someone explained to him what would happen if the police caught him one more time using his cell phone while driving.

Admittedly, Rob Ford is distinctive.  He is not a handsome man.  Compared to the chief of police in his natty uniform, Rob Ford comes across as a bit of a slob.  He is one of the few men in public life in Canada who must have a barber who hates him.  His haircut usually looks like somebody got even.  Not only does it look like a bad cut but he must use some type of gel to keep it spikey.

But we hear his mother loves him.  His brother seems to be his buddy.  He has drawn together a motley crew of right-wing councillors to help him control a large and unruly city council.  Could he be all bad?

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Copyright 2011 © Peter Lowry

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