The Emperor wears no clothes, sees what he wants to see.Mayor Rob Ford says his administration has done a â€œfantastic jobâ€ in 2011.
â€œPersonally, I think Iâ€™ve done very, very well,â€ Ford told the Sun Thursday in a year-end interview. â€œIâ€™ve campaigned on a lot of issues and Iâ€™ve done, Iâ€™d say, approximately 70% of what we campaigned on.â€
â€œI think weâ€™ve done a fantastic job in the first year, when everyone said you arenâ€™t going to win a vote, you arenâ€™t going to get anything done, well I proved them wrong,â€ he added.
While Ford calls it a good year, heâ€™s been under fire countless times in 2011 and is facing a looming showdown with labour in 2012.
The mayorâ€™s rivals on council have decried his agenda as one that makes the city worse, dismantles services residents treasure and Councillor Adam Vaughan has even called Fordâ€™s 2012 draft budget a â€œwar on children.â€
Just a year into his administration, Ford has been the subject of countless protests and heâ€™s already had to stomach pushback from some councillors on his executive committee.
Toronto residents saw Ford repeatedly step into controversy ranging from when he and his brother Councillor Doug Ford raised and then sank a controversial bid to strip the Port Lands from Waterfront Torontoâ€™s control to his refusal to march in the Pride parade or take part in any event from the week-long festival.
Even while driving Ford courted controversy.
He was repeatedly caught using his cellphone while driving, including one incident where another driver claimed Ford gave her and her daughter the middle finger when she honked at him to stop dialing while driving.
After the cellphone incidents, Ford changed his personalized licence plates. His cancelled ROB FORD vanity licence plate now hangs outside his office door.
But sitting in his office this Thursday morning in December, Ford trumpets his accomplishments in year one.
He points to killing the $60 car tax, a 0% property tax increase in 2011, cutting councillorsâ€™ office budget expenses, contracting out more of Torontoâ€™s trash collection and removing the board of directors of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation after a scathing report from the cityâ€™s auditor general.
â€œThe car tax was huge, it effected a lot of people, the first council meeting (we) got rid of it,â€ Ford said.
During public consultation on Fordâ€™s proposed 2012 budget, the two almost 24-hour long executive committee meetings debating cuts and at Wednesdayâ€™s TTC meeting, hundreds of people have lambasted Ford and the rest of council for cutting the car tax and eliminating a revenue source for the city. Several urged councillors to reinstate the tax they voted to scrap a year ago this week.
â€œMaybe you hear that, when I go out here, there and everywhere, I donâ€™t hear that,â€ Ford said. â€œPeople come up to me and say, â€˜Thank you very much and stay the course,â€™ and I hear it over and over and over.â€
â€œYouâ€™re always going to have your naysayers, the people that probably are saying that donâ€™t own a car, never had to pay the tax in the first place,â€ he added.
As for the protesters - the hundreds that have come and the hundreds more likely to come in 2012 - Ford shrugs them off.
â€œItâ€™s the same group of 400 or 500 â€¦ youâ€™ve got these professional protesters, I call them, or paid protesters that come down here and try to stir it up,â€ he said.
â€œItâ€™s the same group so I have 500 people against me in a cityof 2.5 million, Iâ€™m happy with those numbers. Itâ€™s a small minority making a lot of noise.â€
In spite of his size, Frod does not have the clout or capacity for tough negotiations with the unions.^There's no doubt Toronto voters were angry about the strike, so they elected someone to slap the unions around. Makes perfect sense. Whether Ford can deliver lower labour costs or not, he is certainly going to slap the unions around..