And under Ford's stewardship, for the first time ever, the city's spending has flatlined.
His commitment to put taxpayers above special interests who rely on public-funded entitlements has made Ford plenty of enemies. The Toronto Star has been relentless in attacking the mayor, devoted unprecedented resources to defaming him and actually libeled Ford by falsely accusing him, based on hearsay, of assaulting a high school football player. A charge that the student, once located, refuted himself. There hasn't been a week when the Star hasn't found some petty grievance that it tried to magnify into a mountain of disdain against Rob Ford.
And now it emerges that Rob Ford may have smoked crack cocaine.
Even if the charges are true, while expecting the mayor to seek help and conduct himself with more decorum in the future, the city is still far better off with Ford as mayor than it would be under any of his spendthrift opponents.
When Grover Cleveland, the former mayor of Buffalo and a man considered to be a thoroughly honest politician, was running against James G. Blaine for the US Presidency in the 19th Century, it was considered a scandal that Cleveland had fathered an illegitimate child. The Republican Blaine was a good family man who was widely believed to have accepted bribes while Speaker of the House of Representatives.
A newspaper editorial at the time said in effect that Cleveland was a disappointment as a family man while staying honorable in his role as a public servant, while Blaine was immaculate in his private dealings but thoroughly corrupt as a politician. The right thing to do therefore, was that the two should be consigned by the voters to the lives they led best - Cleveland to public life and Blaine back to private life. Grover Cleveland defeated won the election.
The analogy holds true of Ford. The man has never taken a cent in public funds in any way that could be deemed inappropriate. He is even famous for paying his office expenses from his own pocket rather than charging them to the taxpayers.
Lucia Corbella noted in The Calgary Herald that the hypocrisy exhibited by Ford's enemies regarding his alleged substance abuse is astounding:
"Funny how quickly, though, lefties who use that excuse for beautiful losers they admire, or for the downtrodden on their city streets, have abandoned their hackneyed mantra when a person they despise is a user."The Toronto Star lavished praise on the unbalanced kleptomaniac MP Svend Robinson. But he had, in their eyes, the benefit of of being a member of the socialist New Democratic Party.
In the last municipal election, The Toronto Star endorsed George Smitherman, a drug-addict who was responsible for a billion dollars worth of wasted taxpayer funds. But he was a Liberal, so as far as the Star was concerned, he was just great.
Ford's Council opponents are incompetents who lavish public money on their special interest friends. To put them back in charge of the city's coffers would be disastrous for the taxpayers of Toronto.
While we want to get Ford to get of his crack, he spends other people's money responsibly. Whether sober or on drugs, leftist city councilors like Adam Vauhgan, Joe Mihevc, Janet Davis and Gord Perks spend tax dollars like crackheads who have just pulled off a successful home invasion.
And that's a type of addiction Toronto really can't afford.