So, yesterday evening in broad daylight in a public park in Etobicoke, this happened.
If you don't want to click on that link, let me sum up: Rob Ford, the mayor of the largest city in the country, was alerted by "a neighbour" who "rapped on his door to say, 'there’s some guy looking over your fence taking pictures.'" So Ford did what any of us with young children at home would do: he went around to the back of the house to see what was going on. That part I don't think many people can quibble with.
However, it went off the rails immediately after that.
The "some guy" was Toronto Star's Urban Affairs reporter Daniel Dale, who has spent the past 18 months on the City Hall beat and should have been instantly recognizable, even to the mayor's idiot brother. Dale was there to do his due diligence in gathering facts for a piece he was filing on the attempted purchase by Ford and his wife of a piece of parkland next to their home (and very likely wasn't taking pictures of the Fords' backyard, but that's another point). Ostensibly, they wanted this land to "install a better security fence that will help to enhance the safety of [their] children", although today in an appearance on AM 640 in Toronto Ford said he was trying to buy the land to give his children more room to play. If he can't even get that small and relatively easy part of the story right, then how on earth can he be trusted with the rest of the details?
On that same show - the John Oakley show - this morning, Ford also said that "[Dale} was like a cornered rat, he didn't know where to go...every single person says I should have just cooked the guy." He added, "I never laid a hand on the guy." (For the record, Dale never accused Ford of laying a hand on him.) But read the rest of that quote. After sleeping it off, Ford goes on the air and still talks like a thug, bragging that he had another, smaller man "cornered" and that everyone he has talked to (because he only associates with thugs and bullies) has told him he should have hit Dale. Anyone else see any kind of a pattern of behaviour here?
Before I get to the other side of the story, here are pictures of the two men involved.
Not exactly a fair fight, but then bullies don't normally choose victims who are bigger than they are.
Here is Daniel Dale's account of the events of that evening. I urge you to read the entire account; however, here is the part that shocked me the most:
At some point...he cocked his fist near his head and began charging at me at a full run. I began pleading with him, as loud as I could, with my hands up, for him to stop...Perhaps two metres away from me, the mayor did stop moving toward me, but his face remained menacing, and he continued to cock his fist and shake it. “Drop your phone!” he demanded, shouting louder than I have ever heard him. “Drop your phone! Drop your phone now!”So, to sum up the encounter: our esteemed mayor robbed a private citizen of his Blackberry on public property in broad daylight by aiming his fist at him and threatening him with physical violence. Do I have that about right? Today the Star said they have "no intentions" of pressing charges against Rob Ford. I really hope they reconsider.
Every time I tried to sidestep him to escape, he moved with me and yelled at me again to drop my phone. I became more frightened than I can remember; after two or three attempts to dart away, I threw my phone and my recorder down on the grass, yelled that he could take them, and ran.
Also, remember when you listen to the sound bites from Ford's quickly-arranged, damage-control presser last night in his driveway in the dark, that it was broad daylight when the whole thing happened, the incident took place on public property, it was investigative journalism for a story the mayor himself created (and, seriously, what idiot who is "worried about the safety" of his children uses their names on the record in an offer to purchase land?), and Ford most definitely knew who he was menacing - and what paper he works for - when he decided to threaten him, meaning - as Toronto Mike's blog so eloquently puts it - Ford wasn't "fearing for his safety, [he was] employing his personal vendetta against the Toronto Star."
So. That's how things stand in our wonderful city. The divide between ideologies has perhaps never been broader than it is this morning and all because our drunken buffoon of a mayor can't stop tripping all over himself.
And how are things where you live? There's a good chance that I am jealous, no matter what your answer is.
* The Incredible Bulk was the title of an old SCTV sketch starring John Candy. It was a satire, obviously, of The Incredible Hulk. It is not simply a name I made up to poke fun at our mayor's weight problem. So there.