You probably saw my picture in your newsfeed last week. I’m your mayor. I wore a sporty (but not flashy) jacket and I stood near a pothole while men in yellow construction suits filled it in. You see, I’ve declared war on potholes. If you know anything about my political career, it’s that I have an utter disdain for any kind of unauthorized hole or crater.
Would you like to see a photograph of me holding a shovel, wearing a hard hat and filling in a pothole? Here you go: They took that one this morning.
As mayor, it’s hard for my constituents to understand what I do. Is my job ceremonial, they wonder, like the Queen’s? But when they see me taking on potholes, it’s very clear that I am a man of action. I’m a problem-solver. Got a hole in your road? Well, I suggest we fill it.
What’s that you say? Toronto is the sixth-worst commuting city in the world? And it’s growing worse each day?
Thank you for your question!
Did I mention that there are 20,000 potholes in this city – by my estimate – and at $25 a pothole that’s up to $5-million in costs. I don’t care. Spend it. That’s how committed I am.
Look, I’m a measured, moderate person by nature and I don’t give way to hyperbole, but I’m not afraid to employ terminology normally associated with the terror of the Third Reich and call this what it is – a “blitz.”
This is a blitzkrieg, people.
This is a “lightning war” in which a dense concentration of armoured, motorized and mechanized road crews will break through the potholes’ defences in a series of fast, powerful, highly publicized assaults.
Speaking of which, have I shown you this latest photograph of me at a podium getting tough on “earth holes,” as I now call them? There’s a video, too. I stand next to a road worker and watch him fill in a pothole near a manhole. Those are caused by snowplows jarring the manhole covers. I know that because I know virtually everything there is to know about potholes, including types.
What’s that? You say that another pedestrian was killed yesterday?
That is disheartening. That kind of tragedy leaves me with a great, dark emptiness, the kind you would find at the bottom of a really deep pothole.
That’s why my crusade against “Satan cavities” (as I like to call them) is so vital. City crews are working Saturdays. They don’t normally do that. I made them. That’s how seriously I take this threat. Check my record. You’ll find that, when it comes to the scourge of “hell pox” (potholes), my record is consistent. I have opposed them my entire career.
Other politicians are lax. They say my blitz on potholes is just annual road maintenance ginned up into a crude public-relations stunt. They would say that. They take it easy on potholes. Not me. I have no pity. Let me put it this way: I don’t have any “body ink,” but if I were to get a tattoo – for instance, a large one across my back – I can guarantee it would say “Tough on Holes.”
I’m sorry, can you speak up? You want to know why our public transit is a global joke?
You may need to repeat the question. Me, the mayor, is being interviewed “live” on the street and I can’t hear much over the thunderous orchestra of shovels and asphalt. Cacophony is a word that you don’t get to use much, but feel free to now. It’s a cacophony created by thousands of shovels, filling thousands of holes.
Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not a hero.
I’m just a mayor standing in front a pothole hoping the media will photograph me filling it.
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