"I've changed the culture down here. You don't hear about the scandals anymore. I mean, a money scandal."
I'll admit it. I'm a sleazy voyeur. Apparently I am completely incapable of getting enough of this train-wreck of depravity. Fortunately, it seems that many others are in the same boat I am.
I'm talking, of course, about Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's horrific meltdown as a politician and as a human being. It's like watching a Jerry Springer episode except way funnier because it's not staged. And like Jerry Springer, it makes the viewer feel bad about themselves.
I'm not gonna lie. I am taking satisfaction in watching this law-and-order champion get exposed as a crack-smoking, drunk-driving hypocrite. The German's call it Schadenfreude and it refers to the pleasure one takes in watching another's misfortune. It's not a good thing for the soul and I hate myself for it. But, I also don't think I'm going to stop feeling it until he's off the front pages and I don't think that's gonna happen until this train has finished cartwheeling off the bridge, over the cliff, and into the red-hot magma core at the center of the earth.
First, let's take a quick look at who Ford is and how he came to be mayor of the fifth most populous city in North America. It's probably worth noting that I'm just stealing this basic background of Ford from Wikipedia so if any of it is incorrect, please feel free not to give them any money during their next donation-drive.
In 1969, Robert Ford was born in Etobicoke, a wealthy area of Toronto, Ontario. He was the youngest of four children and his parents had founded Deco Labels and Tags, a grocery/packaging company with annual sales estimated at $100 mil. Ford would become a football enthusiast and his parents would send him to train at the camp of the Washington Redskins and at the University of Notre Dame. He would then go to Carleton University where he made the football team and studied political science. Unfortunately, he would not play any games and went back to Toronto without getting his degree.
Ford would then get a sales job at his parent's company and get married to high-school sweetheart Renata Brejniak in 2000. He would continue being involved with football by coaching at Newtonbrook Secondary School in 2001 until he was dismissed for a dispute with a player. He would then coach at Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School until earlier this year when an interview, unrelated to his current scandals, got him dismissed. Essentially, he was saying that many of the Eagles players, the team he coached, are from broken homes and gangs and only go to school thanks to football.
In 2000, Ford would get elected to city councillor of Etobicoke North, ironically with the endorsement of his later arch-nemesis, The Toronto Star. He had lived in this ward, with a 53% immigrant population and a reputation for gang violence, until his marriage in 2000. He would go on to hold that ward convincingly with 80% of the vote in 2003 and 66% of the vote in 2006. In 2010, he would run for mayor and be elected with 47% of the vote.