As mayor of a large city you may well be familiar with Thomas Hardy’s 1886 classic The Mayor of Casterbridge, but to paraphrase Oliver Hardy, not Thomas, ‘Well, here’s another nice mess you’ve gotten into’.
Let me start by mentioning that as a Montrealer through-and-through I am in no position to point fingers of blame or chant nah-nah-nah-nah-nah derisively in light of your troubles. Given our City Hall track-record – when the mayor steps down amid swirling accusations of mismanagement and fraud, and the guy selected to fill in as interim mayor is arrested on suspicion of fraud, you know you’ve got a problem – let’s look ahead instead.
Let me start by mentioning that as a Montrealer through-and-through I am in no position to point fingers of blame or chant nah-nah-nah-nah-nah derisively in light of your troubles.
Let me just say I do think you should step aside for a bit, but you’ve made up your mind not to, so here is my advice going forward.
The first thing you need to do is fire your public relations consultants, or hire some if you don’t have any. May I suggest you consider a firm from Montreal as I’m certain there is a plethora of tarnished-city-image specialists here! It should have been brought to your attention that, as a mayor who isn’t keen on media attention, by wearing an NFL team logo tie at yesterday’s news briefing you essentially guaranteed your place as the lead story not only on news networks around the world, but on a whole raft of sports specialty stations as well. Lose the tie; and for that matter don’t loosen the tie, if you’re going to wear one do it up, if not, go without.
It will be a great improvement both to your health and that of Toronto’s to hear people saying “I saw Rob Ford coming out of an AA meeting today” instead of “I saw Rob Ford last night, man was he hammered!”
Secondly, when Dr. Phil comes knocking, and you know he will if he hasn’t already, have someone tell him you’re out. Without doubt you need help; but not with the whole world watching. Start taking those steps one at a time – yes, those steps, all 12 of them – with a local group. You are a man of the people; let those people help you now. It will be a great improvement both to your health and Toronto’s image to hear people saying “I saw Rob Ford coming out of an AA meeting today” instead of “I saw Rob Ford last night, man was he hammered!”
Finally your police chief has to either resign, or stand by you. Unless you can orchestrate a news briefing – sorry, last one – with him beside you pledging to work together, one of you has to go.
Toronto has been through worse; let’s face it, almost 50 years without a Stanley Cup is nobody’s idea of fun. Look at Boston and how that city rallied from a terrorist attack last spring to win the World Series. Boston Strong! Maybe your new PR firm can come up with a catchy slogan too. (Please, please don’t let anyone tell you Toronto Strong is the way to go. It’s been done.)
Godspeed Mayor Ford and Toronto