Mayor Rob Ford grabs playground spotlight

Mayor Rob Ford grabs playground spotlight
By Don Peat ,City Hall Bureau Chief
First posted: Monday, July 21, 2014 08:17 PM EDT | Updated: Monday, July 21, 2014 08:35 PM EDT
TORONTO - Mayor Rob Ford showed up in mayoral rival Karen Stintz’s ward Monday to help her community celebrate two new playgrounds.
Stintz shrugged off Ford’s attendance despite the fact he left little room in the media spotlight for her at Woburn Park as he climbed up and down playground equipment twice, took questions from reporters and posed for selfies with fans.
Ford’s wife, Renata, and their two children, Stephanie and Doug, also attended the event on Cranbrooke Ave., near Bathurst St. and Lawrence Ave. It was the first time Ford has brought his family to a public event since he returned from rehab June 30.
Before Ford entered rehab, he was captured on an audio recording in an Etobicoke bar making sexually explicit comments about Stintz. He has since apologized for those remarks publicly and to Stintz in a private meeting.
On Monday, Stintz chalked Ford’s attendance up to city protocol.
“Protocol includes the provision for the mayor to be invited and so he was invited and he attended,” Stintz said.
She delicately pointed out that fact to her residents before introducing Ford to speak at the event.
Asked how she felt about Ford coming into her ward during a major announcement, Stintz acknowledged he’s the mayor and is entitled to attend.
“I’m glad that our park got more media attention because of it,” she said.
Others were a bit more blunt.
“I was surprised that he was here and taking the spotlight away from this community and what we’ve done,” said Sherri Glassberg, of the Woburn Park Re-Development Working Group. “We’ve worked on this since last summer and all the spotlight was on him.”
She thought Ford could have “at least” introduced himself to the residents on the park’s working group and said she was “somewhat” suspicious of his motives for attending.
“Another view of all the media attention that has been garnered is that people get to see that things are going right in this city, especially when we look around in the world and all these sad, sad things are happening,” Glassberg said.
According to the city, the park improvements cost $361,795 to build — around $300,000 came from Section 42 development charges while the rest was funded through the city’s capital budget.
The mayor played on a rope jungle gym called a “space net” with his son, Doug.
“C’mon Dougie, let’s go!” Ford said encouraging his son to climb.
“You’re higher than me,” Ford told him once Doug got the hang of the ropes.
Amin Massoudi, the mayor’s press secretary, said the mayor wanted to bring his family to the playground event.
“No one told him to bring his kids,” Massoudi said.
For the first time Monday, Ford addressed a Globe and Mail report alleging that he helped a company that had a business relationship with his family’s company Deco Labels lobby the city for potential business.
“You know what, I help out anyone that calls me,” Ford said.
“You think I give preferential treatment to someone, you prove it, you write that story.”
Ford denied he did anything wrong. “What’s wrong with helping people?” he said.
“I help out everybody, I help out everyone and I’ve never (taken) one dime of taxpayers’ money. Just be careful what you write. I’ve never a taken a dime of taxpayers’ money and I never will.”
“This guy is as honest as the day is long with taxpayers’ money,” he added.
Mayor Rob Ford grabs playground spotlight | Toronto & GTA | News | Toronto Sun (external - login to view)
Raw video: Mayor Ford climbs new playground equipment in Toronto
July 21, 2014
The City of Toronto celebrated the opening of new Woburn Park playgrounds on Monday. Mayor Rob Ford tested out the equipment by climbing the jungle gym with children.
Raw video: Mayor Ford climbs new playground equipment in Toronto | CityNews (external - login to view)

if he had fallen the city would have been leveled.
Good for Rob. Stintz is a dim-witted broad.

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