Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is the best thing the city's poor black kids have going for them.
If you don't believe me, just ask his brother, Toronto Councillor Doug Ford.
"There's no one that helps black youth more than Rob Ford," Doug said on the NewsTalk1010 radio show the brothers host on Sundays. "These are kids who have nothing."
And the mayor, well, he reckons it'll be Toronto's funeral if he's ousted because of controversy over his football charity.
"If I don't get re-elected for helping kids, then I feel sorry for the city, I really do," Ford told his listeners Sunday, according to the National Post.
Ford, never exactly a wallflower when it comes to avoiding controversy, is in hot water for his work organizing and coaching two high school and amateur football teams.
He's facing potential dismissal from the mayor's chair and a lengthy ban from political office over an alleged violation of Ontario conflict-of-interest legislation because he spoke and voted on a council motion connected to donations his football charity received from a lobbyist.
He's also being scrutinized for having aides in his office working on the football program and using taxpayer-funded cellphones for football-related activities. Ford has insisted his assistants, including a former university football quarterback, had volunteered to help coach football.
The mayor dismissed criticism after leaving early from a meeting of the council executive committee he chairs to coach a football game, and said he would not sacrifice his work with disadvantaged kids.
His brother Doug said it was "a lie" spread by the media and civic unions that Ford was misusing his office staff on his football program, the Post said.
Ford won a solid victory to take the mayor's chair in 2010 on a cost-cutting platform, his maverick nature well known at the time. But there are signs his act is wearing thin with voters.
CTV News reported last week that a Forum Research poll, taken before revelations about aides working on his football program, found 55 per cent of Torontonians surveyed believe Ford should lose his job if a judge concludes he violated the conflict law. Some 42 per cent approved of the job Ford was doing as mayor.
In a column in the Globe and Mail, columnist Ian Brown said allegations of misusing city resources and skipping out early from a key meeting has undermined Ford's image as a serious civic leader.
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Mayors of large cities like Toronto are devoting more time positioning their cities as important players in the global economy, consequently spending more time acting as tribunes on the world stage. They put in long days on the job.
"Mr. Ford, on the other hand, has stated that his coaching duties may require him to be out of City Hall for three to six hours many weekdays, from September to October," Brown wrote.
"Do you want Rob Ford, the shrewd-but-stubborn red bull of Nathan Phillips Square, to represent Toronto in the onrushing high-stake negotiations to create a new world order of powerful cities? He might have a game that day."