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Opinion: Unhappy With Rahm? Be Glad You’re Not in Toronto

Mayor Rob Ford is under fire for video showing him smoking crack

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Unhappy With Rahm? Be Glad You’re Not in Toronto

AP

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, right, makes a few remarks as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listens, before the pair signed a new "sister cities" agreement Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, in Chicago.

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Did you hear the one about the big-city mayor that arm wrestled Hulk Hogan, likes to be drunk in public and got caught smoking crack on video?

If not, just take a look at Toronto.

On Thursday, Rob Ford, Toronto’s mayor since 2010, told a packed news conference that he has no plans to step aside despite reports police have definitive video proof the mayor was seen smoking crack cocaine with a friend who has been arrested and charged with extortion.

The news is just the latest in an ongoing saga of a larger than life politician who wants to be known for helping turn around a big city but is likely to be remembered as giving a new definition to the term "scandal-plagued."

A few examples:

There are the accusations that his brothers and sister have a long history with the suburban Toronto drug scene, and that his brother, adviser, and current Toronto city councilman Doug Ford was a major drug dealer in the 80s.

In 2010 when, as a candidate for mayor, he said he forgot about the time he was arrested 11 years prior in Miami for drunk driving and marijuana possession.

In 2012, he was caught reading while driving his SUV on a busy highway.

In Chicago, he forgot Canadian geography and confused Winnipeg and Windsor.

He was seen in a photograph posing with two men arrested for involvement with guns and gangs, and a third man shot dead outside a club.

In May, he denied he was seen in a cell phone video smoking crack cocaine.

In August, he said, 'Oh yeah, I won't deny that. I've smoked a lot of it,' in response to a question about whether he'd used marijuana.

That same month, he was filmed stumbling drunkenly down a city street.

Yet he still managed to beat former wrestler Hulk Hogan in arm wrestling that month, too. 

Thursday, however, police said the video showing him smoking crack was real, and had been found.

On Friday, the front page of the Toronto Sun newspaper showed an unflaterring picture of the overweight Ford with the headline "Dead Weight."

While there are undoubtedly some people in Toronto enjoying the spectacle, many, many more are embarrassed and aghast at the way their mayor has turned their city into a global laughingstock.

So the next time you feel like venting your anger at Chicago’s mayor Rahm Emanuel, feel free. There’s certainly more than enough about the man and his policies to make some Chicagoans unhappy.

But also remember: at least he knows the difference between Wilmette and Wheaton. 

Related Topics Rahm Emanuel, Rob Ford
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