Toronto School Board Is Playing Politics
So, let me get this straight. The Toronto District School Board is about to have one of those photo ops where everyone stands around and gleams and people talk about how great they are - this time trying to dish out credit for helping to keep football alive.
Well, hold on. First, the news is out. The press conference set for this week is what they call "old news" - other than some pictures here and there. There might be a few new things added. But attempts to keep the news hush, hush by the TDSB's Communication staff, well, failed - and even with a gag rule sent out to say nothing if guys like me happen to call.
Here's something else that smacks of, ah, stinky politics. A key guy responsible for doing a huge job in helping football from sinking into a smelly pit is Toronto Councillor Rob Ford.
Ready? He still hasn't even been invited to this event.
All Ford, along with many corporate folks and football fans have done, is forked over close to $100,000 in small amounts of $10,000 to kick-start programs the past few years at Newtonbrook, Forest Hill and Westview. Lately, it's been Eastern Commerce (twinned with Monarch Park), Lester B. Pearson, Danforth, C.W. Jefferys and others set to start playing this week. North Albion was approached, but the school never got back to Ford.
No recognition for Ford. Whoops. Political interference - 15 yards.
Ford doesn't need the publicity. I have watched and spoken to students, teachers, coaches, parents, principals who have been very outspoken showing their appreciation. That means a great deal more to him.
There are also some who don't like Ford. Maybe they can't get over the fact that he wears a suit when he volunteers coaching a school team at the Toronto Catholic Board. He's taken Don Bosco High from non-existence to a citywide final. I think some jealousy is also showing.
And, the Toronto Argonauts - a team that has trouble winning on the field - are also involved in this upcoming announcement. Yes, hoping to show their support for amateur football when the Buffalo Bills In Toronto Series have been all over the Boatmen in Toronto schools and kids tell me they prefer the NFL over the CFL.
The Argos did run a clinic last week and are pitching in to help improve select school football fields and have offered funds for therapists at games. Even have Argo stickers on some school helmets. Wonder if they're also handing out free tickets to football players to help fill those empty seats?
Ford, as the story in the Star today says, has been a penny-pinching politician and very controversial. Yes, he's no angel. But, he does have another side of him that shows he cares about students - and he's been coaching football for the past eight years. Show me another politician who has done that or even some of those highly-paid TDSB administrators. Like I have said before, I know they're all very busy.
The TDSB still has time to show gratitude to everyone pitching in to help football in high schools. They should do the right thing and avoid the embarrassment.