Straight Talk
SUE-ANN LEVY - Rob Ford's stay means council must now concentrate on city business

Toronto City Councillors Gord Perks and Shelley Carroll

Credits: DAVE THOMAS/QMI AGENCY

SUE-ANN LEVY | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - So the pinot noir-sipping leftists/elitists/union bosses/Twitterati won't be able to dance on Mayor Rob Ford's grave just yet, poor dears.

Thankfully, some common sense prevailed and it was determined to be in the "public interest" to allow Ford to stay on in office until his appeal is heard and decided in January.

No kidding it's in the public interest.

It's not bad enough that the sore-loser leftists vultures here at City Hall and their friends at the Toronto Star have dined out on the mayor's situation since Justice Charles Hackland first determined a little over a week ago an ouster should be Ford's punishment for his crimes against humanity.

How councillors like Adam Vaughan, Shelley Carroll, Gord Perks, Paula Fletcher, Josh Matlow, Janet Davis and Joe Mihevc had any time to actually do the work they're paid to do with all their grandstanding, media appearances, jockeying for attention, tweeting, heckling and childish gossiping is beyond me.

But can you imagine the circus City Hall would have become if Ford was booted from office as initially ordered next Monday?

We would have been subject to another sideshow consisting of days of debate about a $7-million byelection vs. an appointment followed by a nasty fight for the mayor's chair.

I believe Ford has grounds for appeal and even if he can be his own worst enemy (and far too often), I must reiterate strongly that the mayor's punishment did not fit the crime.

This is about fairness.

As I've seen during my 14 years at City Hall, there is forever a double standard when it comes to applying the rules. The fiscal conservatives are targeted for the most petty nonsense with a blind eye turned towards those on the left who do far worse like throwing themselves $12,000 farewell parties on the taxpayer purse or breaking laws to pay the legal bills for their council colleagues.

The left-wing will never ever admit it, but the public backlash following Justice Hackland's ruling caught them by surprise (being as they only talk amongst themselves) and probably contributed to The Great Man, Clayton Ruby's decision not to contest the stay Wednesday.

I suspect The Great Man and his sidekicks Paul Madger and professional activist Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler, were quite surprised to learn that there were many of us who didn't much like their democratic rights being trampled on and saw their efforts for what they truly were - a nasty little palace coup to get Ford out of office before his term is up in 2014.

That said, I'll use a term often used by parents - since we are talking about a bunch of children here at City Hall.

This is an opportunity for everyone to take a Time Out.

I sincerely hope Ford will go off and think about the hard lessons he can learn from this.

I know he fought the integrity commissioner's obsessive efforts to collect $3,150 from him on principle. As much as I understand how obnoxious, hypocritical and unrelenting in their attacks the left can be, sometimes it is far easier to lose the battle in order to win the war.

Let's start with how much attention this has this taken away from the good work the Ford regime has done to streamline the operating budget, kneecap the CUPE unions and clean up both the TTC and the Toronto Community Housing Corp.

What about the personal toll on Ford and the family around him, never mind his rising court costs.

Was it really worth it?

As for Vaughan, Perks, Carroll, Mihevc, Matlow and others who've enjoyed every minute of the mayor's legal troubles, perhaps they can make an early Christmas vow to be charitable and think of what all of their constituents want, not just the special interests.

I'd like to see them focus a little less in the next few weeks on the sideshow and more on bringing in a 2013 operating/capital budget that both respects taxpayers and preserves key services. I challenge them to be cooperative.

Councillor Doug Ford says he's focussing on a budget overseen by Del Grande that will include the construction of four new fire stations and $500-million in repairs to the Gardiner - things totally ignored under the David Miller regime as he directed considerable funds into his environmental agenda.

"We're focussing on the fiscal foundation of the city," he said. "We're getting the budget through."

I hope he means it.

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