Philip Preville's Slate piece on Toronto mayor and possible crack-smoker Rob Ford is not exactly kind—he calls Ford "a crass, offensive, and ill-tempered buffoon" with a "capacity for breathtakingly stupid behavior," among other things—but, Preville says, you have to admit Ford has been a pretty good mayor. He's a "highly effective populist," even known to answer his phone calls personally; he's cut spending; he's eliminated ineffective officials; he excelled at labor negotiations; he even revoked "a much-loathed $60 annual vehicle registration fee."
"He’s no Michael Bloomberg, but his list of accomplishments is nothing to sneer at, especially when you realize, as the world surely does by now, that he’s a fairly dim bulb," Preville writes. Toronto has been embarrassed by him for years, thanks to behavior like reading while driving, pretending to retch on camera, drunkenly yelling at a couple at a hockey game, allegedly sexually harassing one of his opponents, and almost losing his office due to a conflict-of-interest lawsuit. But, though none of his accomplishments are likely to redeem him, Toronto shouldn't be ashamed. "Like it or not, Rob Ford just put us on the map." Click for Preville's full piece.