Now let me be clear I’m not a journalists, I’ve never written an article for anywhere and I’ve never been to journalism school but that won’t keep me from talking about the state of one of the world’s oldest professions.
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Now let me start by saying that I’m a supporter of Rob Ford. I believe that in regards to what he’s been trying to do down at City Hall he has been on the right track, he came into office pledging to reduce spending while attempting to reduce our taxes both of which he has done well and it has not left the city in dire straits swinging from financial crisis to crisis.
But even before he came into office, Rob Ford had been at the center of a concerted attack from left leaning councillors and organizations (unions and media alike)
I have to get this off my chest and most of you who know me knows I love politics so this is really important to me
I can understand people disliking Rob Ford for his aggressive & abrasive style that’s fine, I can understand if you don’t like his policies cause you are of a different political stripe
But criticizing his work with the kids at Don Bosco and with the players of the Eagles is beyond the pail and ridiculous and I personally believe that it makes the detractors look stupid.
Today the The Toronto Star printed an article on their front page that “Catholic school board investigating Rob Ford’s ‘inaccurate’ Sun News interview“. Now I wasn’t shocked at the title (as The Toronto Star has been after Rob Ford since he was a councillor) and since I am a municipal politics junkie I figured I needed to give this a read
Well lets look at what the article said and what I have a problem with this whole thing
This whole article is hinged on this interview:
According to the article “a group of teachers and parents” were outraged with the “demeaning way” he portrayed the school and that his statements were “filled with untruths.”
They allege that the school is not as bad as he makes it out to be and that he makes it out to be that all progression of the school is due to him and his program.
Board spokesperson John Yan said the interview contained “a number of inaccuracies,” which he would not specifically identify. In general, Yan said, “the interview is an inaccurate portrayal of the community.”
The article makes short reference of several parents who support the program and understand its importance while a longer portion made reference to parents who didn’t like his portrayal of their school.
Some Don Bosco students, parents and staff, however, have bristled at Ford’s portrayal of students as would-be criminals. Some teachers were unhappy when Ford said, during a high-profile controversy about the team’s use of a private TTC bus, that “very few people can control these kids.” His brother, Councillor Doug Ford, drew private criticism for saying players “look up in the stands and they don’t see a father, they don’t see a mother, they see Rob Ford standing there and supporting them.”
well lets take a look at the facts and what was said by Rob Ford, Doug Ford and some of the parents that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has had interaction with and see whether his statements in the interview were inaccurate.
First Let’s start from the beginning of the interview… Rob Ford indicates that he restarted the Don Bosco football program largely using his own money. Well that is fact which is disputed by no one.
Well next is the “several kids have gone on to university in both America and Canada and to me that is the main goal is to send kids to university because many of these kids come from gangs and from broken homes” – so is it true that students that he dealt with in the program many have gone on to Canadian and American universities partly because of the football program and its standards regarding grades.
Quick answer – Yes
Also if we are honest with ourselves, city statistics for the area tend to support his statements that there are students that have been part of his football program that have been involved with gangs or have come from broken or single parent homes. The surrounding wards including the “Priority Neighborhood” of Weston-Mt. Denis. where as of 2006 30.1% of the families in this area have lone parent homes in comparison to the city average of 20.3%.
And while it seems like a blanket statement of all the kids of the school, he is talking specifically of the students that have been in his program.
Problem is that most don’t like to admit that,
men lie, women lie; numbers don’t
And it seems that the numbers lend credence to his statement.
Mayor Ford 2 – Clowns 0
Ok so now on to the apparent “untruths” of Don Bosco that upset many of these “teachers and parents”
“Its a tough area, its a tough school, one of the toughest areas in Rexdale, and for many without this football program they wouldn’t go to school… you can’t tell them to go to school”
Well here is where the Controversy comes from: Rob Ford was actually telling the truth
School officials know it but don’t like that he to said it
“Don Bosco’s students and staff have made a concerted effort to repair the school’s reputation. In April, three busloads of supporters attended a board meeting to ask for trustees’ help in eliminating the spread of negative messages about the school, which they said has improved markedly in recent years under principal Ugo Rossi.”
Why do you send three busloads of supporters to the board to beg that people re-frame your reputation. Because whether you like it or not there are issues in your area and you would like to have the school seem above it and that it is a safe place, an oasis from the tough surroundings. I think that it is a smart thing for the school and its supporters to push for the change in outlook and schools should strive to be that, but when your neighbourhood ranks above the city averages in every crime statistic and thats just for your neighbourhood not to mention your immediate surrounding neighbourhoods there is a slight chance that there are gangs and that they’re affecting your students either through pressure to join or general intimidation.
For those who have joined the football program and left the gangs, the poorer surroundings and the broken homes on the sidelines, they have found an outlet that actually gets them intrigued in school and wanting to actually do their work, something that likely no other program would have. The program has been a positive part of the schools reaffirmation that they are an oasis from the troubles that area may be facing, Can some one tell me where the untruths are in his statement.
Now there is more to the interview including strong points made by Ford that there are only a handful of councillors or previous mayors that have actually taken their time out to actually be with the kids they so desperately want to help, which has more impact and effect than another gov’t program could, and his openness to his kids to the point that they call him when they get into trouble with the law, but that these 3 points made by Ford seemed to spark this letter from “concerned parents and teachers”
Now I think of myself as a simple man who wants to believe that people would speak honestly when they see an injustice but for these people who wrote the letter to the TDSB and the TDSB itself, You should be ashamed of yourselves and you look about as petty as Paul Magder, Clayton Ruby, Adam Vaughan and the rest who are looking to somehow discredit the mayor.
Mr. Yan as a board spokesperson comes off as a tool because he is backing the letter yet can’t explain the “inaccuracies” in the interview and here is why… THERE AREN’T ANY
Regardless of whether you like Ford or not he has started this program back up with his own money, he’s helped quite a few kids make it back into school and helped them graduate, from a “priority neighbourhood” that many would consider needs more programs and people like Mayor Ford and what he’s doing for the kids at Don Bosco
These are all facts whether people want to admit it or not
So Please can we cut the crap and have people go back to doing their jobs and let the mayor do his.