Councillor Doug Ford, the brother and closest adviser of Mayor Rob Ford, said he would appear on colleague Josh Matlow’s radio show only if Matlow voted in favour of the Fords’ controversial Port Lands plan at council, Matlow told listeners Sunday.
Doug Ford then called in to Matlow’s afternoon Newstalk 1010 show, The City, and angrily denied trying to buy Matlow’s vote. He said what he told the councillor was: “I don’t believe in supporting someone that doesn’t support us.”
Speaking with guests Michelle Berardinetti and Jaye Robinson, both councillors on Mayor Ford’s executive, Matlow noted Doug Ford was scheduled to be on the Sunday afternoon show but cancelled.
“He came up to me (Friday) and he told me that actually there was going to be a problem, he couldn’t come on the show,” Matlow said.
“And I said, ‘Doug, I was going to give you a couple of hours to express your vision to talk about why you love Toronto, what you want to do, talk about the Port Lands.’
“And he said ‘I can’t come on the show this Sunday, but maybe next Sunday.’ I said, ‘Okay, sure, let’s organize that, we’re going to have a lot of fun.’
“And he said: ‘It depends on how you vote on the Port Lands.’ My jaw dropped and I looked at Doug Ford and I asked, ‘Are you serious? I don’t horse-trade.’ He replied, ‘Everybody does; everybody’s got their price.’”
Doug Ford has been vigorously lobbying councillors to support a motion at council this week that would start negotiations for the city to regain sole control of the Port Lands from the intergovernmental Waterfront Toronto.
The Fords want to abandon Waterfront Toronto’s long-gestated plan for a mixed-use neighbourhood on the eastern waterfront in favour of one with more development, including a huge shopping centre, Ferris wheel and monorail, with all revenues from land sales flowing back to the city.
Berardinetti and Robinson last week broke ranks with the Fords and said they won’t vote to take the land from Waterfront Toronto, although they would like to see plans speeded up and parts of the new vision considered.
An angry-sounding Doug Ford called the radio show soon after Matlow’s bombshell.
“I didn’t listen to the show, but I’ve had a half a dozen phone calls that you’re implying that I’m buying votes. I find that personally insulting,” he said.
“As far as I’m concerned, that’s libel. Because if there’s one thing, agree or disagree, and there’s a lot of people (who) disagree with us down at city hall, no one, no one questions the transparency and integrity of Rob or myself and I find it insulting …
“I don’t believe in supporting someone that doesn’t support us. I think we agreed on that Josh, out there, and I said, ‘When you move forward, and you start supporting some of our agenda that’s the right thing for the taxpayers of Toronto, looking at efficiencies, looking at cost savings, then I’d have no problem coming on and supporting you.’
“I think the reason you’ve made that comment, to take a little shot at me, is because when your producer called me, Josh, I said ‘I’m tired of Josh backstabbing me, going around smiling and being the nice guy and then running around the back door and lobbying constantly against us.’
“That’s what I said and I think that’s the comments you’re ticked off about, Josh. Let’s get the story straight, that I don’t buy votes.”
Matlow said “I felt bullied,” to which Doug Ford replied: “Oh, come on, Josh. Get off it.”
Ford also suggested that talk radio conversations about his Port Lands plan constitute some of the public consultation people complain it lacks.
Matlow later noted many prominent people have raised concerns about the new vision, including urban designer Ken Greenberg, part of the team that won Waterfront Toronto’s international competition to design the area known as the Lower Don Lands.
Doug Ford shot back: “Ken Greenberg’s wife is executive assistant to (Councillor) Adam Vaughan, if I’m not mistaken. Gimme a break. Ken Greenberg has a vested interest. He has done the work for the Waterfront, so let’s get off the Ken Greenberg.”
Vaughan, a prominent critic of the Fords and their waterfront plans, then called the show to note his executive assistant, Ange Kinnear, is, in fact, not married to Greenberg. He said the Fords had previously, and also falsely, accused her of being married to TTC union head Bob Kinnear.
“We have to start dealing with facts and we have to stop personalizing things and we have to stop attacking people’s integrity,” Vaughan told Ford, to which Ford accused Vaughan of whispering “gravy, gravy, gravy” into his ear during council meetings.
Vaughan called on Doug Ford to apologize to Ange Kinnear.
“I’ll apologize to Ange. There you go,” Ford said.
Matlow thanked Ford for appearing on the show after all, and said he hopes Ford will make another, scheduled appearance.
Doug Ford replied: “I look forward to getting on with you and I think all the council, we’re all in this together and we have to move forward and we have to do the right thing for the folks of Toronto here.”
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