Media would rather scrum Rob Ford at city hall than in his driveway
Our poor beleaguered mayor is at it again, scolding reporters for invading his privacy by swarming his driveway to ask questions he’d rather avoid.
In this week’s episode of the Ford melodrama, Robbie's pal and occasional driver Sandro Lisi was arrested and charged with various drug trafficking offenses.
It must have been quite a shock for the mayor, who said Lisi is “straight and narrow,” and a good guy who has never done any drugs in front of him.
The Star’s Kevin Donovan (a pitbull, and thank God for that) reported that one of Lisi’s neighbours says Ford is a frequent visitor to their street. She said the mayor pulls up outside Lisi’s house several times a week in his Cadillac Escalade, and that Lisi comes out, leans into the open window and engages in a brief conversation before the mayor takes off.
I guess they have a lot to talk about, and not by phone. But Lisi obviously provided RoFo with no clues in their frequent meetings that he’s up to something that could get him in trouble with the police, or the mayor wouldn’t have been so blindsided by the charges.
Imagine how you’d feel if you found out that your shoe salesman buddy of 20 years was pedaling more than Buster Browns. You’d be shocked, just like Rob.
A cynic might wonder if those encounters took place for reasons other than old buddies keeping in touch. Not me. I won't go down such a speculative, mean-spirited road.
But for some people, the mayor’s track record might feed into vile conclusions, which is why there was an appetite among the media to quiz him about his friend.
A throng was waiting for Ford in his driveway when he left the house and jumped into his big black Caddy without responding to questions. He later gave it up at an Esso station, where he offered his good-guy endorsement of Lisi, saying, “you don’t throw your friends under the bus.”
But he refused to answer other questions about his relationship with Lisi, or drugs, just shrugging.
Ford then admonished the media for invading his privacy by staking out his driveway, saying, “that’s pretty low” and again mentioning his children as a reason to resent the intrusion.
But here’s coin the mayor can take to the bank: The media would much rather scrum him at city hall than his home. No reporter wants to spend hours hanging around anyone's driveway to ask questions. I've done it, and it's a drag.
The intense interest in Ford's private life is legitimate. He lurches from one personal conduct calamity to another and consistently ducks questions from the media about them. He addresses them only when he can no longer run, and sometimes long after.
Remember the outrage when Mel Lastman posed for a photo with a Hell's Angel at a downtown hotel, not realizing who'd asked him for the picture? Oh, for such touching innocence today.
Reporters have no choice but to stake out his driveway, even if it seldom yields comment worth reporting. If the Star doesn’t, the Globe and the Sun and CP24 and CTV will, so everybody ends up at Ford’s place, just in case.
It would be easy for the mayor to avoid the scrum outside his door. By now, he should know when the full court press is about to come down on him. Wednesday was definitely one of those days.
His press people could have emailed media Wednesday morning, saying the mayor will take questions outside his city hall office at 11 a.m., or something like that. It's a time-tested method successfully used by many other mayors.
The throng at his house would glady have scattered, preserving his children’s privacy.
But that assumes he is willing to face questions that loom larger by the day about his connections to people in the drug world.
By the way, can anyone ever remember the media besieging David Miller’s house, or Lastman's?
I wonder why.