Partisan issues that need to be avoided

I have been following this group and I agree with the general message that Rob Ford needs to go. However, I am worried about the potential backfire of some partisan positions that many sit-in members hold. There are 3 issues that should be avoided because they are vote losers and advocating these positions will lose you votes.

1. Advocating the teardown of the Eastern portion of the Gardiner is a vote loser. There is still a large portion of people who drive in this city and they will draw the line in the sand on removing the connection between two highways. Also how much strong support is there for tearing down the Gardiner anyway? Do you think people at Jane and Finch care about the pedestrian environment at Parliament and Lakeshore? They do not, but you can believe that a driver from Eastern Scarborough will think twice about allowing a highway connection to be torn down even if they don’t personally use that route for their commute. I have a lot more to say on this issue but I am not trying to start a debate. I am just trying to put it into a political stratagy perspective.

2. Whining about the island airport is not a very good idea either because in reality most people could not care less about noise issues with the airport and other things of that kind. Also, the issue to me seems like a downtown vs suburbs issue. For some reason the arguments against it seem that the downtown is somehow too good for Jets somehow. Here is the news, the downtown waterfront is not sacred ground. There is no logical reason why having jets at Pearson is preferable to having them on the island. It is really a NIMBY issue that turns people off even if they don't have any particular fondness of Porter Airlines or Billy Bishop Airport(like me). Do you want to turn the mayoral debates into a downtown issue debate so the suburbs can feel like they are being left in the dust again?

3. This one will probably annoy people who participate the most but it also probably the most obvious misplay that I have seen. People do not care about Ford attending the pride parade and he likely wins more votes by not going than by going. There are two reasons this is a bad idea. First is the obvious loss of the homophobic vote. Now most would argue “why do we care about this vote” and this is a fair point but just so you know it is not a small portion of the population. The stereotype of the old white guy who hates gay people like Fred Phelps is really only a small portion of the homophobic population. There is a large portion of the immigrant population that is deeply homophobic(see the guy at city Hall filming the sit-in yesterday for an example)

The second reason this is a bad idea is that there is another group that this pride parade complaining alienate, and that are the more swing voters and people who are not homophobic but are not that comfortable going to the pride parade themselves. Rob Ford is attacked for not wanting to attend a parade because he is obliged despite the fact that it has been confirmed that the pride parade is considered a place where pubic nudity laws cannot be enforced. So basically he is forced to watch naked men despite the fact that he is not personally someone who takes part in homosexual activity. That is the definition of forcing sexuality onto someone. Saying that someone is homophobic for having a problem with this is like saying someone is homophobic for not wanting to watch gay pornography. It is blatantly false and it brings a lot of sympathy onto someone who does not deserve it because of his many other problems. Focus on real issues not one that causes even people who dislike him to have sympathy for him!!!!!


Also, special mention to the Scarborough Subway. I was going to put that on the list but I will admit that the pro-LRT side has done a good of swaying this issue in their favor and the pro-subway people have come across as being a bunch of whiners in most cases. Though being from Scarborough I can still tell you there is a lot of Subway support here so tread carefully with this one.

This is meant as friendly advice. I voted for Ford in 2010 and will vote anyone but Ford this year though I do think it is winnable by Ford if his opponents make mistakes in their strategy. I am trying to do my part to prevent that.

Have these matters been discussed at the sit-in?  I have not spent much time there.

For my part, I haven't learned enough about the Gardiner or the airport expansion to form a firm opinion on them.  

Regarding Pride, I haven't been to the parade myself in over a decade (I don't like standing/sitting in the sun for long periods of time), so my information may be outdated, but when I did attend, the public nudity amounted to a few naked middle-aged people walking down the street in a very matter of fact, non-sexual manner and several floats of young men in Speedos dancing to disco.  I appreciate that this may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it is not what I would call pornographic, nor is it "the definition of forcing sexuality onto someone".

Further, if Ford were in the parade he would be in a car or on a float being driven down the street.  He wouldn't have to witness the whole parade.

Anyway, if Ford's homophobia stopped at not attending the Pride parade I'd agree it was a fairly minor issue, but he's become more aggressively anti-gay in the past few months.  The flag shenanigans last month were inexcusable.

When I'm tweeting from the main account, I try my best to focus on Rob Ford, since he's why we're there, and anything of interest that I am witnessing. Those are also the kinds of tweets that I look for to highlight on the main account. I try to keep my opinions to my personal account. I may fail or err at times, but that's my intent.

When I'm talking to Ford supporters or others passing by the sit-in, I try to let them choose the direction of conversation, then discuss those points based on facts and my considered opinions, including why I've come to my conclusions. Occasionally we even agree on some issues!

I think there have been occasions when particular issues that are not necessarily about Rob Ford leaving office have been raised by participants, either in conversation with non-participants or on the Twitter account. It can be difficult to separate disagreement with Ford's policies and the reasons why one believes that he is not fit to remain in office, which I think are distinct: I don't like what he wants for Toronto or his lack of realistic planning to achieve that, but that isn't why I think he needs to go now (if not sooner). It can be especially difficult to separate them when one feels particularly strongly about an issue. I think it's great that people are actively engaged in important issues affecting our city and its people, but we should do our best to remember to stay on-message at the sit-in: Rob Ford Must Go, not that jets must stay away, or the Bloor-Danforth extension must not happen, etc.

That said, if the topic is raised by those stopping by, or when discussing amongst ourselves, have at it! But try to be clear with the former that you're speaking for yourself and not as part of the group, even if the majority of us do happen to hold the same opinion on an issue.

By the way, unknown_man, I was born and raised in Scarborough, and have lived here for all but about one year of my life, and I disagree with your positions on the issues you mention. :) Your opinion is welcome here, though, and I'm pleased to know that you're not planning to vote for Ford this time! Thanks for starting the discussion about this issue.