Why does Toronto hate Rob Ford so much?

Marion Barry caught red-handed
Marion Barry caught red-handed

There are no doubt dozens of mayors and other local officials in the US and Canada who are awash in wrong-doing and very bad habits.

Take the infamous black DC mayor Marion Barry who was elected to the city council in 1992 and ultimately returned to the mayoralty in 1994, serving from 1995 to 1999 after he was caught smoking crack.

In January 1990 Barry was videotaped smoking crack cocaine and arrested by FBI officials on drug charges. Barry made a comeback after he served six months in a federal prison.

But why no wall-to-wall coverage of other foibles? The revelations must be serving some purpose to rid the city of Ford.

Since the 1970s, Toronto has been home to the largest Jewish population in Canada and a centre of Jewish Canadian culture. Why do Toronto’s elites, and by extention the media, really hate Rob Ford so much? CNN gives a clue:

Part of that building has been a heavy emphasis on being accessible to constituents: Mayor Ford even gives out his cell phone number to voters, to call him any time about problems with city services or taxes.

He eschews a chauffeur and other city perks, all in the name of keeping spending down for the average taxpayer. He’s even been photographed reading work documents while driving on an expressway.

“I don’t believe in wasting taxpayer’s money,” he later said about the controversial photo.

Upon winning his first election, Rob Ford immediately garnered a reputation for keeping taxes and city expenses down. In 2001, he advocated cutting limousines as a city perk and slashing each councilor’s $200,000 budget, used for travel and club memberships. “If we wiped out the perks for council members, we’d save $100 million easy,” he said, according to the Toronto Globe and Mail.

In 2006, then-Councilor Ford offended the gay community when he questioned $1.5 million for an anti-AIDS program: “It is very preventable,” Ford said about the disease, according to City News Toronto. “If you are not doing needles and you are not gay, you wouldn’t get AIDS probably, that’s bottom line.”