Rob Ford has been Mayor of Toronto for just over 8 months now. In just those few short months, he’s set himself apart from his predecessors, in the worst ways possible. His mish-mash of regressive proposals threatens to destroy everything that makes Toronto one of the world’s great cities. His administration has been an insult to democratic process, and rife with corruption and scandal since day one. And by all accounts, that’s just the way he likes it. Indeed, Mayor Rob Ford may already be the worst mayor in the history of our city, but he has three long years left to really cement his legacy as the worst of all time.
What of Mayor Ford’s contemporaries? Many cities around the world are facing the same sorts of budgetary restraints and growth pressures as Canada’s largest city. Tough decisions are being made every day. Yet almost every day, a news story comes out about a big city mayor facing tough circumstances who stood up for progressive city-building policy, and who is making international headlines for all the right reasons.
Not too long ago, I began reposting these stories to my Twitter account, with the tongue-in-cheek proclamation “EVERY MAYOR IS BETTER THAN OURS!” Now I’ve seen enough of these stories that I’m starting to believe it’s true. Along with possibly being the worst mayor in Toronto’s history, could Rob Ford also be the worst mayor currently serving in the world?
Rather than go down that rabbit hole (I find it depressing,frankly) I’ve decided to collect these stories of progressive heavyweight mayors around the world, to celebrate their amazing work. This morning I started the Every Mayor Is Better Tumblr at mayorisbetter.tumblr.com. I’ll be posting stories of mayors doing great things in their cities, in hopes that maybe some of Toronto’s city councillors and other leaders might be inspired. If you know of a great story to post, stay tuned while I come up with a way to submit links. And please feel free to share the links.
Who knows, maybe one day Mayor Ford will do something amazing and I’ll be posting a link to a story about his great vision. But between you and me, I think it’s more likely that I’ll end up with a story about mayors in every other city in the world, and prove that every mayor really is better than ours.