Saturday 21 November 2015

Book ~ "Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable: How I Tried to Help the World's Most Notorious Mayor" (2015) Mark Towhey and Johanna Schneller

From Goodreads ~ In February 2013, Toronto’s former mayor, Rob Ford, was caught on video smoking crack cocaine. Weeks later, he was accused of groping a campaign rival, had to leave a gala for being too intoxicated and was fired as the coach of a high school football team. The events were part of a stream of Rob Ford “mishaps”, which include a DUI, accusations of domestic violence, a trial where the Toronto City Council stripped him of his powers, even accusations of murder.

Through it all, Ford’s former chief of staff, Mark Towhey, stood by his side. Towhey was part of Ford’s inner circle; he’d joined Ford’s mayoral campaign in 2010 and quickly became one of his closest advisors. He responded to media questions regarding Ford’s drug and alcohol additions, his anger management problems, and, of course, the video of Ford smoking crack.

In May 2013, Mark Towhey had a confidential conversation with Ford. Much speculations has been about this conversation but thus far, the public only knows two words from that conversation; Towhey told Ford to “get help.” They also know what happened next, Towhey was fired.

In "Mayor Rob Ford: Uncontrollable", Towhey recounts the conversation and shares what Ford was like behind the scenes. This is a candid insider account of working with Ford, covering for him, respecting his strengths, and managing his weaknesses. 

Mark Towhey was senior advisor and Chief of Staff to former Toronto mayor Rob Ford from 2010 to 2013.  This is his story of what it was like working with Rob Ford and his brother, Doug, and all the damage control he and others did to protect Ford and make decisions in his absence.

I've never been a fan of either of the Fords ... I think they are lying arrogant bullies.  But from the sound of it, Ford's heart was in the right place in the beginning ... fighting for the "little guy".  But as Ford's alcohol and drug addictions took hold of him, having him as our mayor became an embarrassment to our city (it is North America’s fourth largest city and Canada’s sixth largest government) and he became a laughingstock around the world.

As time went on, Ford spent less and less time at City Hall and more time on the missing list.  He started showing up at events hammered and stoned.  There were rumours that he was hanging out with drug dealers and murderers.  When it was reported that there was a video of Ford doing coke, he denied its existence and proclaimed that he didn't do drugs.  It was only when he was backed up against a wall that he admitted the truth ... that seemed to be the way he dealt with everything.  Deny deny deny until proof comes out to show he was lying.

Eventually because he couldn't be kicked out of the office, the councillors voted to strip him of his powers so for his last year he was our mayor in name only.  When yet another video surfaced of him in less-than-stellar behaviour, he said he was heading to rehab (he was only there for about a month).  All these events played out in the news and it was interesting to get a behind-the-scene view of what was going on.

I enjoyed this book.  It's an interesting read, especially for people living in Toronto.  If more of the "Ford Nation" read it, perhaps they wouldn't be as brainwashed into still idolizing Ford.

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