Alan Redway, popular mayor of East York (since amalgamated into Toronto), is a Red Tory who has made a career of fighting for affordable housing, a key element - some would say the key factor - in lifting the poor from a cycle of misery.
In 1991, Redway promptly resigned the federal cabinet after joking about weapons at Pearson not long after a new government prohibition against doing so.
Rob Ford doesn't deny he was using a mobile telecom device while driving his van a few days ago. But the Toronto mayor has shown no contrition over breaking a widely enforced law. Instead, he has joked about his illegal activity on talk radio.
Into the bargain, Ford gave the finger and mouthed obscenities at a woman and her six-year-old daughter in a nearby vehicle who attempted to alert the mayor that he was breaking the law.
Not that it should matter, but Ford is no Alan Redway, who brought a dignity to public service we have yet to see from our current mayor.
Metro Police have not brought charges against Ford, and there can be ony one reason: Our police chief is cowering at bring Ford to justice. Ford's power is strictly limited - he is but one vote of 44 on City Council. Yet Ford who could wage a bully-boy campaign against the cop shop, or so the chief imagines.
Between the insolence of Ford and the cowardice of police who choose only selectively to uphold the law, it is difficult to assess which party is the greater embarrassment to our city.
If he was a man, Ford would accept a suspension from office for two weeks to a month. He would apologize to the City and the two upstanding citizens he abused. And Ford would present himself to the precinct where his illegal act occurred and accept the same fine and loss of demerit points that other violators of this overdue law must endure.
Just to be clear about this, use of a mobile device while driving has been found in every scientific study to debilitate one's driving abilities to a degree equivalent to intoxication. Indeed, University of Utah researchers have found that drunk driving is less dangerous than driving while using a cellphone or other mobile telecom device.
Especially in N.A.'s seventh-largest city, with its multitude of delivery vehicles, private cars, taxis, cyclists and pedestrians all vying for use of the same roads, this law is needed. It needs to be rigorously enforced with no exceptions, and especially against the mayor given his role-model status.
A negative one, so far.