Dear Mayor Ford
Dear Mr. Mayor
Excuse this letter as I know that you prefer to receive phone calls. I am one of your tax paying constituents and the owner of a small business in downtown Toronto that employs a few other tax paying individuals. The reason I write rather than call is that I am presently in Paris and I know how you hate wasting taxpayer’s money. So while taking a walk on the “Paris Plage” I thought that a letter would be the ‘better way’.
Though I digress a bit, I must tell you this “Paris Plage” is a crazy idea if I ever saw one. Several years ago, the newly elected mayor and his collaborators took a perfectly good road on the riverside and turned it into a beach with sand and all sorts of activities from dancing areas to kids’ playgrounds and everything in between. It has now become so popular with the gravy train recipients (yes they seem to spread quickly around the world) that the “Paris Plage” on the Seine is now an annual event for a month, to the great frustration and expense of the hard working citizens of this city. Not to mention the aggravation the closing of the road is causing to the drivers – as you know the most important people in a modern city.
Just so that you don’t get the wrong idea about me, I was not planning to spend the summer in Paris but five months ago while I was cycling in Southern India on a paved road that runs through a forest, a wild elephant thought I had no business being there and attacked me. I know how you feel about cyclists so I am sure you understand the elephant. Since then I had been going through all kinds of convalescence but I am not complaining. As you have pointed out in the past, if you are going to cycle on roads, do not be surprised if you get hurt. I got what I deserved but when a friend from Vancouver offered his empty apartment in Paris I had a notion that I use my downtime and do something I wished I had done 30 years ago – work on my French.
The truth is that I am really not writing to ask for something or to criticize. I thought I would simply let you know how your fame is growing and how the world needs you. I mean you should see what is going on in this City of Lights.
Just a few weeks ago one of the dailies here described a proposal by the city council to reduce the speed limit in the suburban areas from 80km to 70km. And the reasons – you will not believe it: to reduce noise, pollution and improve safety. The worst part of it – the newspaper even carried a story of a driver, so intimidated by this extremist city hall, that he actually agreed that it was a good idea.
Another story a few days later in the same newspaper mentioned that the Velib – you know the bicycle rental system that was started here in 2007 and a Montreal version of it has even spread to Toronto – now has 180,000 subscribers. These bikes are used to make 75,000 rides daily in Paris. According to a city guide there are now almost 1,800 Velib stations across the city – one every 300 meters sporting about 20 bikes each. What is really unbelievable, according to the article, is that by year 2014 Paris will have an additional 700km of bike paths and ten thousand more parking spaces for bicycles. They are calling it a ‘revolution in habits’ but to me it seems more like the dictatorship of the cyclists.
So what I am trying to tell you is that you are absolutely right when you want to close the few bikes routes that the previous pinko socialist council of Toronto approved. More to the point, when I meet locals and tell them I am from Toronto, they have all heard of you and wish that there would be someone like you that would lead and fight against these ruthless cycling radicals that are taking over the world. I mean London installed tolls for vehicles that drive into the city years ago. Under Mayor Bloomberg, New York City has installed hundreds of km of bike lanes and more are in the making. City after city around the world are doing the same. Just three weeks ago the Mayor of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, used an armored vehicle to crush a car innocently parked in a bike lane. Something has to be done and you are the man to do it.
So what I am trying to say is that you should realize that there are other people beside those in the Ford Nation that wish that you would pick up the mantle and lead them. I mean you have the charisma, the vision and the ability and the world needs you. I think you should assign the mayor’s job to your brother and lead a world-wide movement to bring back the self evident right for all seven billion individuals on the planet to have an automobile and drive it anywhere they want. You have a choice; you can be a hero to a city of three million people, possibly the last metropolis on the planet where cars rule, or you can save civilization as we know it. I hope you make the right choice.
Read more letters to Mayor Ford here.