Saturday, October 9, 2010 – Globe and Mail
ANNA MEHLER PAPERNY
Seven years after he swept into office on a broom, Mayor David Miller still knows the value of a good prop.
He flips through a mini photo album with images of himself opening the city’s public pay toilet earlier this year (after 2,000 visits it has become, he notes with a degree of pride, a tourist attraction).
He pulls open the book of policy promises he ran on in 2006 – “I’ve done everything that’s in it.”
A book of elementary-school drawings of things students love about Toronto sits on the coffee table in his office, which overlooks a construction-ridden Nathan Phillips Square. Neighbourhoods, knights and “the ocean” figure prominently.
It’s kinder feedback than the outgoing mayor has gotten in a while. After months of an election in which candidates railed against a non-existent incumbent and a dysfunctional municipal government, all eyes are on an Etobicoke councillor leading the pack on promises he’ll clean up City Hall by doing the polar opposite of his left-leaning predecessor. And the electorate, if you believe every poll since June, loves the idea.
But barely 90 minutes before he formally endorses Joe Pantalone, the faithful deputy mayor polling in a distant third place – and on the same day the Canadian Club canned a speaking engagement featuring the departing mayor that had managed to lure only 19 attendees – David Miller insists we’ve got it all wrong.
Torontonians love the city, he says, and they love what he’s done with it. He wouldn’t change a thing. And although he refuses to summarize his legacy, he’s convinced that everyone – the premier he has slagged, the unions whose garbage strike cost him his popularity, the voters and his replacement – will figure out he was right all along.
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