Recognize any of these 14 lies Rob Ford has told since taking office?
1. The promise during the election that there'd be no service cuts has followed a familiar trajectory for the pathological exaggerator. First he said there'd be no cuts, "guaranteed." Then that there'd be no cuts in 2011. Then no "major" service cuts. Of course these were all lies. The city manager has identified 50 for council's consideration September 26.
2. Ford said on election night that he would work hard to earn the trust of those who didn't vote for him. Instead, he's completely shut them out of the decision-making process - and hasn't stopped the knuckle-dragging gorillas on his executive from demonizing his political opponents as "communists."
3. He invoked William Lyon Mackenzie in his inaugural address, promising to fight against privilege and for the "little guy." Guess that big social housing sell-off he's orchestrating is for the "little guy" and not his development friends. The horrible truth: the Ford administration is the Family Compact all over again.
4. Ford promised "respect for taxpayers." Made it his campaign slogan. Yet he's abolished dozens of citizen advisory groups, and his single-minded obsession with cutting the size of government is leaving tens of thousands of Torontonians behind. On that "respect" thing, the mayor's giving us the finger.
5. Ford promised to stop the "gravy train" at City Hall, but it turns out there is no gravy unless you happen to be his friend. In which case, you might be in line for a six-figure gig like the ones handed buddies Case Ootes and Gordon Chong, members of his transition team.
6. He promised transparency in government and no more backroom deals but put locks on his office doors and has spent most of the first year of his tenure hiding from the press. Has there been a more secretive and paranoid administration? As we learned recently, he's been backroom-scheming with brother Doug, the councillor from Ward 2, to sell off publicly owned port land to his developer buddies.
7. He made much of his business background during the campaign, saying the city would be run like a business. Barely 24 hours into his term, Ford announced Transit City was dead, thereby throwing away some $4 billion in public transit improvements. He's traded in shortsighted retail politics from the start, opting for symbolic one-time savings (see councillors' office budgets and the vehicle registration tax) over the city's long-term financial health. Simple math: he entered office with a $300-million-plus surplus, and now we're supposedly facing a $774 million deficit.
8. Ford followed up that Transit City doozy by promising that not a cent of public money would be spent on building his Sheppard subway extension. Now he admits there's a funding problem. There he was a few weeks back doing what he'd pledged never to do - go cap in hand to the province for money for his Sheppard subway.
9. During the campaign, Ford was fond of trotting out the old Tea Party line that the city doesn't have a revenue problem - it has a spending problem. That doesn't explain why he jacked up user fees in his first budget. But back to the point at hand. The city now has a revenue problem thanks to Ford's ditching of the vehicle registration tax and the zero property tax increase delivered in 2011.The $100 million from those two sources alone would have made many of the massive cuts now being contemplated unnecessary.
10. Ford pledged to achieve staff reductions through attrition, but it's now clear the plan all along was layoffs and buying out hundreds of city employees.
11. He promised to hire 100 more cops, but the police services are now contemplating a hiring freeze and buyouts for several hundred officers. We mention this not because we necessarily agree that we need more cops, but to illustrate the fact that Ford was prepared to say anything to get elected, even to BS the law-and-order vote.
12. Ford made a big production during the election about not being homophobic, complete with photo-op apologizing to one person with AIDS for his past ill-considered remarks about gays. But then he refused to attend any Pride events while threatening to cut funding to the organization. He was also the only one to vote against accepting AIDS education funding from the province.
13. He said that when he was mayor the city would be a fun place to live where everyone is happy. Remember that? Now it's just a place where grass isn't cut in parks, kids don't get gifts for Christmas and libraries are shuttered.
14. He promised to make customer service priority number one at City Hall. Reality check: just how is laying off thousands of workers going to improve customer service? Ever tried to get hold of your local councillor only to get that automatic email reply?