Ford hammers away at dual themes: customer service and accountability

Rob Ford is a mayoral candidate who is showing the three Rs – “Respect, Regard and Responsibility” for the people of Toronto.
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September 20, 2010

David Rider

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/torontomayoralrace/article/863720–ford-hammers-away-at-dual-themes-customer-service-and-accountability

Rob Ford didn’t take any time Monday to gloat about his commanding lead in Toronto’s mayoral race, instead hammering away at his theme of city customer service and accountability.

On the heels of a Nanos Research poll that gives the Etobicoke councillor a 24-point lead over second-place George Smitherman, Ford said the only poll that counts is the Oct. 25 election.

Announcing the second part of his “taxpayer protection plan” outside his company’s Etobicoke label-making factory, Ford did say his team is “running a very good campaign.”

“We’re going to put an end to the party at City Hall … I’m the only one who can grab the bull by the horns,” and dramatically cut city spending, he said.

Asked about comments that he’s “scary” — from rival Sarah Thomson in the Star last week and others now trying to mount an anybody-but-Ford campaign — he called the description of him “comical.”

Torontonians should be “proud” of him, he said, because “We’re going to put more money in their pocket.”

Ford’s brother and campaign manager Doug did crow a bit.

“What’s really surprising, in the poll that I read, is that Rob is actually leading George Smitherman downtown,” Doug, who is running to replace Rob as Ward 2 councillor, told reporters.

A Star-commissioned poll in late August suggested Smitherman was the choice for mayor in the old city of Toronto, with suburban residents backing Ford.

The Nanos poll, released Sunday, gives Ford a slight edge in support by downtown voters.

The survey of 1,021 Torontonians pegged cross-city support from decided voters at: Ford — 45.8 per cent; Smitherman — 21.3 per cent; Joe Pantalone —16.8 per cent; Rocco Rossi — 9.7 per cent; and Sarah Thomson — 6.4 per cent.

However, fully one-quarter of the respondents in the poll, conducted Tuesday to Thursday for CTV, CP24 and the Globe and Mail, remain undecided with five weeks left until the election.

Smitherman is pleading with undecided voters and others who don’t want Ford to be mayor to shift their support behind him.

At the press conference, Ford announced measures to improve customer service and staff accountability.

They include: tying senior managers’ pay partly to “measurable results in customer service; allowing members of the public to address full council meetings; recording every council vote and putting the results online; and giving community councils more powers over such things as tree removals on private property.

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