Watch the video above: Rob Ford ducks questions about the video while denouncing budget. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford said his drunken, Jamaican-accented tirade against the police chief and police surveillance Monday night was “unfortunate” and a “minor setback” – and none of your business.
“I’m entitled to a personal life and my personal life does not interfere with the work I do day in and day out for the taxpayers of this great city,” he said. “Monday was unfortunate, I had a minor setback. We all experience these difficult bumps in life.”
Ford has said for months he’d sworn off booze, snapping at a reporter last week who dared to ask if he’d been drinking when spotted at a dance club.
Videos of Ford at the Steak Queen restaurant in Rexdale, swearing in Jamaican patois and sitting with Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, the man accused of extortion in trying to retrieve the video of the mayor smoking what might be crack cocaine, surfaced Tuesday.
“This is completely a private matter. There are some councillors who claim that my personal life is somehow impacting their work. Folks, that is absolute nonsense,” he added.
Watch the video below: Rob Ford denounces budget and says Monday’s video is a “personal matter.”
Ford also denounced city councillors and the proposed city budget, declared himself “100 per cent” opposed to the 2.23 per cent property tax increase approved by the executive committee.
“What I’m extremely, extremely upset about is that since they undemocratically stripped my powers [in November], it goes back to the old mentality of spend, spend, spend, tax, tax, tax.”
Ford also promised to introduce motions that could bring about savings of $50 million – a promise he has been making since December – but refused to divulge any details of those motions or the “efficiencies” he expects to find in the budget. However he has hinted at contracting out more services and increasing wait times for 311 response.
Earlier in the day, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong called Mayor Rob Ford a “coward” for not taking ownership of the budget.
“He’s disrespecting taxpayers in the most fundamental way possible by not telling the truth,” Minnan-Wong said. “He was there from January to November. What did he do during that time? Did he propose efficiencies? No he did not.”
“That’s not being a leader, that’s being a coward,” he added. “He should be honest and tell the people that ‘I raised taxes.’”
Minnan-Wong made the comments earlier that afternoon, after Ford called it one of the worst budgets he had ever seen.
Watch the video below: New Rob Ford video raises concerns among councillors.
The executive committee voted late Wednesday afternoon to approve a property tax increase of 2.25 per cent. City council will debate the proposed increased Jan. 29.
The city had recommended adding 0.5 per cent to property taxes, about $1 a month for the average household, to grow a reserve fund to pay for the cleanup from severe weather events like July’s flooding or December’s ice storm. The executive committee said no.
The property tax has been a topic of vitriol since November.
Rob Ford had promised a 1.75 per cent increase and suggested anything higher was a return to the often condemned “gravy train.”
Other councillors say a 1.75 per cent increase is simply not possible if the city is to pay the $910 million bill for the Scarborough subway extension, which Ford championed.
City manager Joe Pennachetti said it would be “extremely, extremely difficult” to fulfill the mayor’s demand and he doesn’t know how the mayor is tallying up that number.
“I don’t even know quite frankly know what he means when he says 1.75. Is it including the subway, is it excluding the subway… what is it including? If it’s including everything, it’s going to be very, very difficult to meet that target.”
© Shaw Media, 2014