He’s not resigning, he’s not taking a leave of absence and he’s not admitting he has a problem. So what’s next for Rob Ford, Toronto’s delusional crack-smoking mayor?
“There might be a hanger left in my closet,” he admitted Wednesday during a raucous Toronto City Council meeting.
He’s the subject of a police investigation into misbehavior that includes not just cocaine, but possibly prostitutes and drunk driving. (He won’t cooperate with the cops, he said, but that’s only because he’s acting on advice of his attorney. “I support the police more than anyone,” Ford told the City Council. “I’m a positive role model in kids that are down and out.”)
He’s such a great role model for kids that nervous organizers have begged him to stay on the sidelines of the city’s annual Santa Claus parade, according to the Toronto Star.
“Due to recent events in the mayor’s life, there was a decision made that he would not walk the parade, but would be a spectator watching the parade with his family,” wrote parade Co-Chairman Ron D. Barbaro in a pleading letter to Ford’s chief of staff. “However, last night the mayor announced that he has changed his mind and will now walk ahead of the parade. We are appealing to the mayor, as a parent to reconsider this decision…. The Santa Claus parade is presented for children and families and the single focus is the magic of Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving to usher in the holiday season.”
I assume Ford wants to be there because he heard they were letting it snow.
The 44-year-old mayor is so clearly in the grip of denial that it’s only a matter of time before he implodes.
He’s already admitted smoking crack cocaine while in what he called a “drunken stupor.” He was caught on tape in an advanced state of inebriation and agitation threatening to kill someone. On Wednesday, he admitted to the City Council that he has purchased illegal drugs in the last two years.
But he’s not an addict, and he’s not going anywhere to deal with his drug and alcohol problems because, according to him, he doesn’t have any drug and alcohol problems.
“I can understand how people would perceive my behavior,” Ford said. “I can assure you that I am not an alcoholic. I am not a drug addict.”
And I can assure you that I am the queen of Sheba.
Anyway, he’s sorry. He “effed up.” Isn’t that enough? “I have asked for forgiveness,” said Ford. “I have apologized, and I want to move on.”
Some Toronto council members were empathetic, others were furious. But no one was ready to “move on.”
“Because of my mayor’s behavior,” said Councillor Karen Stintz, “I’m explaining to my 9-year-old what crack cocaine is.”
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti urged Ford to “take 28 days” to deal with his problems, and asked other council members to have compassion. But, he warned, “If he doesn’t do what some of us are asking him to do he will find himself alone among some of us who are trying to help.”
The help is not appreciated.
That much was apparent when the meeting dissolved into recriminations and yelling after the mayor’s brother, Councillor Doug Ford, berated his fellow pols as hypocrites. “Everyone in this chamber is coming across as holier than thou, lily white,” he said. “Have you ever smoked marijuana?”
The brothers seem to be working a coordinated scorched-earth defense: “We have a few members of council that got charged with criminal offenses this year, but we didn’t have a public flogging,” Rob Ford said.
Later, sounding more Mafia than mayor, Ford hinted darkly at exposure. “We all know stories about each other,” he said. “I wasn’t brought up that way. I’m not a rat.”
By afternoon, Mayor Ford was still on the offensive, introducing a motion to require all members of the Toronto City Council to take drug tests, at the mayor’s expense if necessary. That drew hoots and hollers of derision from members of the audience. The motion failed.
“I’m so proud of the record I have,” Ford told the City Council. “I’m moving on. You guys can do what you want.”
They did; they voted 37 to 5 requesting that he take a leave of absence and cooperate with the police.
Unfortunately, the measure was nonbinding.