In politics, boys will be boys - or, in the case of the Rob Ford administration currently in free-fall over at 100 Queen West, grown men will be sucky babies.
It has become painfully obvious, if it wasn't before revelations late Friday afternoon of a special meeting called of the TTC commission to axe TTC general manager Gary Webster, that Rob Ford is not fit to be mayor. He's ill-equipped. He lacks the moral character.
To him and his cronies, politics is a football game where there are teams - us versus them - and the object is simple: to destroy the opposition. What's best for the city or taxpayers is not the prevailing consideration.
Those TTC commissioners now in cahoots with Ford to chop Webster's head off for doing his job and speaking truth to power about that Sheppard subway scheme that was a non-starter from the get-go - remember these names: Frank Di Giorgio, Cesar Palacio, Vincent Crisanti, Denzil Minnan-Wong and Norm Kelly - are just as unfit to hold public office.
They've broken their oath to taxpayers. They're cowards, little fish willing to fuck the city over (sorry, there's no other way of putting it) for what crumbs will be thrown their way by the mayor for doing his bidding.
And let's be clear. The mayor's bidding in this case is to carry out a personal vendetta. Nothing more.
I thought I heard Minnan-Wong say something about the need for council to move on after its vote to shelve the mayor's Sheppard subway plans last week. Di Giorgio, when talk of getting rid of Webster was rife a few months ago, offered then that if it were up to him, he wouldn't fire the TTC general manager.
Whatever verbal gymnastics they're prepared to offer as justification for their sorry actions now, the fact is, it's not the public's interests they're protecting. It's Ford's sorry ass they're looking out for, and in the process their nests that they're trying to feather.
In that sense, Di Giorgio et al are arguably no different than a certain criminal organization known to operate by a ruthless behavioural code.
Here are the facts: We heard from Gordon Chong last week what any casual observer of the subway versus LRT debate has known for months - that the private billions needed for Ford's subway plan just aren't there.
More to the point, the mayor was told months ago in a report written by TTC staff that his plan for a private-funded Sheppard line wouldn't fly for a whole host of other reasons, besides the fact the private sector isn't interested in funding it. The business case can't be made. The job, office development and ridership numbers just aren't there to support it. Period.
Ford concealed that report. Let me repeat that part. Ford concealed that report until it was leaked to the Star's Royson James and made public last week. Respect for taxpayers? To suit his political aims, no cost is too high for Ford & Co. The mayor's nefariousness on the subway file doesn't end there.
Before the Star got the goods, TTC chair Karen Stintz attempted to find her own answers on the other part of the mayor's plan - that to bury the Eglinton Crosstown in its entirely - at a cost of $2 billion to taxpayers, which would leave riders on Finch West stranded without LRTs. The mayor's allies on the TTC board ganged up to outvote Stintz on that one.
That's ultimately what caused the TTC chair to engineer the special meeting of council that ended up shelving Ford's subway plan. Stintz showed great courage in taking on the mayor. After a year at the helm of the TTC, she's gained an appreciation for the science of transit. She did what's right for riders and taxpayers. For that, someone had to pay, since offing Stintz would have to be approved by council and the mayor doesn't have the votes. And so the plot to fire Webster was out in play.
Perhaps the hope is Stintz will resign in frustration. TTC vice-chair Peter Milcyzn has been noticeably absent from the treachery. His office says he was not approached to sign the petition calling for the special meeting to lower the boom on Webster.
But others on council suspect he may be lying in the weeds for now. It's Milcyzn's name that most often comes up when talk turns of a replacement for Stintz.
He's had supportive words to say about Webster, but more tellingly did not support Stintz's motion at council to shelve the mayor's subway plan, bring parts of the Eglinton Crosstown back aboveground and build LRTs on Finch West. Milcyzn did not immediately return a request for comment from NOW.
But he apparently has been on the phone with former Ford chief of staff Nick Kouvalis, who has been absolutely beside himself over the mayor's Sheppard subway loss. Time to move on Nicky - sorry, Mr. Kouvalis.
Kouvalis has taken to the Twitterverse to manufacture the unreality that the Libs never had any plan to fund transit in Toronto and don't now in the wake of the Drummond report recommending a host of austerity measures. As if that rationale somehow justifies Ford's subway scheming or makes the mayor's plan any more doable.
Perhaps Kouvalis hasn't noticed. There are forces beyond the political at work here. Can you say gridlock? It's costing the region $4 billion a year. Enter the Board of Trade whose president Carol Wilding has weighed in on the subway versus LRT furor. It's time, she says, for the province's transit agency, Metrolinx, to start building and that means LRTs, now. It's called the "5 in 10" plan, the same one council endorsed under Stintz's motion. So please, let's stop with the BS.
City Hall watchers say Ford's attempt to remove Webster sends a terrible message to other bureaucrats - that to disagree with the mayor may mean it's their job next. Nothing new there. Top civil servants have already been working under the assumption that it's Ford's way or the highway. See City Manager Joe Pennachetti's extraordinary reversal from highly-respected ‘crat to Ford sycophant.
No. Ford's Webster offensive sends another very important message and that is to councillors who were still willing to work with those on Ford's executive who in their heart of hearts don't necessarily share the mayor's politics. (Here's looking at you Jaye Robinson and Michelle Berardinetti, maybe Norm Kelly and Doug Holyday, too.)
For those on council who still thought there was room to maneuver there, it's time to stop being polite and go for the jugular where Ford is concerned. As one centrist councillor told me Friday, when historians look back on this administration, it'll be the Webster firing (which seems like a forgone conclusion) that changed everything. We'll see about that.
It may be truer to say that history has shown it's when governments are teetering that they make the biggest mistakes.