The city is in such a shambles that even if the corporate bid hits the Olympic jackpot July 13, it's still a long shot that Mel will be around after this term. And if the bid loses, there will be people in all camps anxious to give him a one-way ticket to Florida sooner rather than later. So any way you look at it, the mayoral race is on. Here are the pretenders and contenders to the throne.
Olivia Chow -- Councillor (Trinity-Spadina)
What has she done for us lately? Championed children's welfare, co-sponsored an alternative budget, was a police watchdog.
Points for: smart, articulate lefty who's as good with the books as she is with working the grassroots.
Points against: has been way too soft on Mel.
Odds: NDPers, Liberals and maybe even moderate Conservatives would back her. But another big-name progressive or moderate in the mix (see Anne Golden) could scuttle her bid. Corporate kingmakers cringe at the thought of having Chow and her partner, fellow councillor Jack Layton, running the show.
Mike Colle -- Liberal MPP (Eglinton-Lawrence), former York councillor
What has he done for us lately? Helped build citizen opposition to Oak Ridges Moraine development.
Points for: Positioning himself as a progressive.
Points against: Helped Mel get elected.
Odds: Could call in some IOUs from the Mel crowd. But if the provincial Liberals stay high in the polls he could be a minister in three years. Progressives don't trust him.
Anne Golden -- Former head of the United Way
What has she done for us lately? Spelled out the city's homeless crisis for Mel and the rest of the city's political elite.
Points for: A fresh face who has a profile and the right connections.
Points against: No council experience.
Odds: Should have a broad coalition of NDPers, Liberals and moderate Conservatives. But she could make enemies of the politicians whose ambitions she'll quash.
Barbara Hall -- Former Toronto mayor
What has she done for us lately? Beats us. Haven't heard much since she was appointed chair of feds' national strategy on community safety and crime prevention.
Points for: She's sensible, green and wise.
Points against: She's yesterday's candidate.
Odds: The corporate kingmakers hedged their bets with her in 1997. She won't get that close again.
Tom Jakobek -- Former councillor (East Toronto) and budget chief
What has he done for us lately? Left City Hall.
Points for: Leaving City Hall.
Points against: Leaving city's finances in a shambles.
Odds: He wants the corporate kingmakers to anoint him Mel's successor. But after he browbeat senior staff and colleagues, making him chief might just be asking for trouble.
David Miller -- Councillor (Parkdale-High Park)
What has he done for us lately? Champions public transit, opposes suburban sprawl, helped scuttle the Adams Mine garbage deal.
Points for: Former Bay Street lawyer, smart, articulate and compassionate.
Points against: Doesn't have a high profile outside the old city.
Odds: The forces behind Mel, Queen's Park Tories and some Liberals will want to keep him out. But he could attract a broad coalition.
Case Ootes --Councillor (Toronto-Danforth)
What has he done for us lately? Talked the province into giving Toronto another short-term bailout package.
Points for: He's a nice guy.
Point against: He's a Tory, a Mel puppet and uninspiring.
Odds: The corporate kingmakers would love to have him in the mayor's chair. But can they make him exciting enough to get elected? Progressives have him in their sights.
Chris Stockwell -- Provincial labour minister, former Etobicoke councillor
What has he done for us lately? Forced teachers back to work.
Points for: Didn't pull punches when he was speaker of the house.
Points against: He's a Tory. (Need we say more?)
Odds: Political support from a narrow group of Conservatives. His days as a penny-pinching councillor could come back to haunt him.