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Toronto’s disgraced Mayor
still in with a good chance of
being re-elected in October
Toronto, 26 July 2014: No major city in the world would tolerate a mayor who admitted smoking crack cocaine after first having vehemently denied any drug use, but in Toronto different rules apply. Mayor Rob Ford, who was last November seen in a number of video recordings using crack, being heavily intoxicated and threatening to kill, is still in office - albeit with reduced powers - and determined to win re-election this October. With solid backing from what newspapers describe as Ford Nation, the mayor’s support among the electorate has never fallen below 20 per cent in a three-way contest. In the most recent opinion survey, support for Rob Ford stood at 27 per cent, only two percentage points behind the front-runner. His lowest rating this year was 22 per cent, on the day he admitted himself to a two-months drug rehabilitation programme in May.
While there are more than 50 registered candidates for Toronto’s mayoral elections schedule for 27 October, only three have a realistic chance of winning. Since the beginning of the year, in addition to Mayor Ford, only two other candidates have consistently polled above 20 per cent.
Olivia Chow was a Member of Parliament from 2006 to March of this year, when she declared her candidacy. She is a member of the centre-left New Democratic Party and sat on Toronto’s City Council from 1995 until 2005. Until recently, her poll ratings topped 30 per cent but she dropped to 29 per cent in the latest survey.
The third member of the triumvirate of favourites to win in October is John Tory, a former leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. He contested the 2003 mayoral elections but lost to David Miller. John Tory, who describes himself conservative on economic issues, holds socially liberal views. He supports, for example, same-sex marriage. His candidacy appeals to Toronto’s young entrepreneurs who support fiscal prudence but abhor Rob Ford’s homophobic outlook.
Recent opinion poll findings by Forum Research
21 July 2014
1st: Olivia Chow (29%)
2nd: John Tory (28%)
3rd: Rob Ford (27%)
4 July 2014
1st: Olivia Chow (36%)
2nd: John Tory (27%)
3rd: Rob Ford (26%)
30 June 2014
Rob Ford leaves drug rehabilitation clinic
23 June 2014
1st: Olivia Chow (34%)
2nd: Rob Ford (27%)
3rd: John Tory (24%)
1 May 2014
Rob Ford admits himself to rehabilitation clinic.
1st: Olivia Chow (33%)
2nd: John Tory (24%)
3rd: Rob Ford: (22%)
24 February 2014
1st: Rob Ford (31%)
2nd: Olivia Chow (31%)
3rd: John Tory (27%)
Less than 20 per cent
of America’s cities are
led by women mayors
New York City, 9 July 2014: Less than 20 per cent of America’s city mayors are women. Following mayoral elections across the US last November, data shows that of 1,351 cities with more than 30,000 inhabitants, only 249, or 18.4 per cent, were led by women. The share of women mayors among very large US cities is even lower. Houston’s Annise Parker is the only woman governing a city with more than one million people. Twenty of America’s 150 largest cities have women at the top (13.3%). Nine of them belong to the Democratic Party, seven are Republicans, while four mayors are non-aligned.
The longest-serving mayor from the group of top-20 female mayors is Laurene Weste from Santa Clarita, California. Mayors, who assumed office this year, include Betsy Hodges (Minneapolis) and Lovely Warren (Rochester).
In 2010, Susan Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu presented a paper to Midwest Science Association, which investigates the backgrounds of women mayors and their decision to seek municipal office for the first time. The authors found that while it was generally assumed that women fare well in local politics, the number of women mayors in larger cities had not increased over time.
Women mayors among America’s top 150 cities
US mayors take
a stand against
Dallas, 26 June 2014: Mayors from some of the largest US cities defied their state legislators and took a stand in support of same-sex marriage. At this month’s annual conference of the US Conference of Mayors in Dallas, mayors from Arizona, Texas, Ohio, Colorado, Missouri and Georgia - all states that forbid gay marriage - signed up to a resolution that urges US federal courts, including the Supreme Court, to allow American gay and lesbian couples to marry in every state of the nation.
Among the supporters of the resolution were mayors from gay-hostile states such as Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, Arizona; Annise Parker, Houston, Texas; Kasim Reed, Atlanta, Georgia as well as Francis Slay, St Louis and Sly James, Kansas City, both from Missouri. One of the few Republican mayors who supported the resolution was Kevin Faulconer from San Diego.
A spokesman for the same-sex marriage advocacy group ‘Freedom to Marry’ welcomed the resolution and applauded the mayors for their courageous stance against bigotry. “From small towns to big cities, America’s mayors know that including gay couples in the freedom to marry does nothing but strengthen families and communities for all,” he said.
With its appeal, the US Conference of Mayors has made it clear that it was time for the federal appellate courts and the US Supreme Court to follow the lead of numerous states and a wave of over 20 federal and state courts and bring an end to marriage discrimination nationwide. A year after the Supreme Court demolished the arguments propping up marriage discrimination, it’s time for the Court to finish the job and rule in favour of the freedom to marry once and for all.
Same-sex marriage is legal in California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State and the District of Columbia. Final court verdicts in favour of gay marriage are awaited in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Michigan, Idaho, Arkansas, Texas and Wisconsin.
Resolution on the Freedom to Marry
by the US Conference of Mayors
1. WHEREAS, The United States Conference of Mayors has long stood for full equality for same-sex couples, including endorsing the freedom to marry in 2009; and
2. WHEREAS, since the time of that resolution, support for marriage for same-sex couples has grown to nearly 60 percent nationwide, with majorities in every region of the country and opposition diminishing dramatically; and
3. WHEREAS, today, nineteen states plus the District of Columbia have now ended discrimination in marriage, so that now 44 percent of Americans live in a state where same-sex couples can marry; and
4. WHEREAS, in 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the core of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and in so doing eviscerated justifications for excluding same-sex couples from marriage; and
5. WHEREAS, as of June 17th, 2014, every one of the 15 federal district court judges who has ruled in a marriage case has found that state marriage discrimination violates the US Constitution; and
6. WHEREAS, there continues to be an untenable patchwork imposing great legal uncertainty and hardship on committed same-sex couples in the 31 states that deny their freedom to marry and refuse to respect their lawful marriages, even as the federal government rightly treats these couples as married for federal programs and purposes; and
7. WHEREAS, more than 400 mayors from 39 states and the District of Columbia have so far signed on to be a Mayor for the Freedom to Marry,
8. NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that The United States Conference of Mayors reaffirms its support of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples and urges the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, to speedily bring national resolution by ruling in favor of the freedom to marry nationwide.
Resolution submitted by: Greg Stanton, Mayor of Phoenix, AZ; Annise D. Parker, Mayor of Houston, TX; Eric Garcetti, Mayor of Los Angeles; Michael Nutter, Mayor of Philadelphia, PA; Kevin Faulconer, Mayor of San Diego; Christopher Cabaldon, Mayor of West Sacramento; Ed Lee, Mayor of San Francisco; Michael Coleman, Mayor of Columbus, OH; Jonathan Rothschild, Mayor of Tucson; Charlie Hales, Mayor of Portland, OR; Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines; Michael Brennan, Mayor of Portland, ME; Pedro Segarra, Mayor of Hartford, CT; Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Mayor of Baltimore, MD; Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City, NY; Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston, MA; Francis Slay, Mayor of St. Louis, MO; Ed Murray, Mayor of Seattle, WA; Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago, IL; Bill Harrison, Mayor of Fremont, CA; Michael B. Hancock, Mayor of Denver, CO; Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta, GA; Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, TX; Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, KY; Martin J. Walsh, Mayor of Boston, MA; Toni Harp, Mayor of New Haven, CT; McKinley L. Price, Mayor of Newport News; Mark Kleinschmidt, Mayor of Chapel Hill, NC; Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, MO
join forces to fight
Dallas, 24 June 2014: Mayors from some of the largest US cities have joined forces to fight economic inequality. New York’s Bill de Blasio, who in last year’s election campaign made the issue his number priority, announced together with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson the creation of a task force to leverage the power of municipal governments in the US to advance a national, common equity agenda. The mayors of Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Dallas and Houston have all indicated that they would support the initiative.
Speaking to journalists at the US Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Dallas, de Blasio and Johnson said Americans were living in a time of rising inequality and declining opportunity. “This is a threat to our fundamental values and an obstacle to the nation’s economic growth. Cities are the problem solvers and the centers of innovation. As mayors, we are on the front lines,” New York’s mayor stressed.
Kevin Johnson added that the goals of the task force would include higher minimum wages, expanding the supply of affordable housing and ensuring every child has access to pre-kindergarten programmes.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, the conference host, said the gap between those of means and those that are not as fortunate would only be closed with new, long-term non-partisan and pragmatic solutions.
The newly formed Cities of Opportunity Task Force will meet for the first time on 11 August in New York.
New York City police
limits seizure of condoms
from sex workers
New York City, 17 May 2014: In a significant policy change, since New York Mayor Bill de Blasio took office at the beginning of the year, the city’s police department (NYPD) announced that it would no longer confiscate condoms from sex workers and use them as evidence in prostitution cases. For a long time, the practice has been condemned by sexual health practitioners who have argued that it undermined efforts to limit the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Mayor de Blasio added that a policy that prevented people from having safe sex was wrong and dangerous.
Under the new rules, police may still seize condoms in cases where they suspect sex trafficking and pimping. Civil rights groups and advocates for sex workers believe all seizing of condoms should stop. Corinne Carey, of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said city councillors should go further than the NYPD by prohibiting law enforcement from seizing condoms as evidence of sex trafficking and other prostitution-related crimes. "This new policy is really too limited for us to be happy about it. The message needs to be that condoms aren't criminal," she added.
Two years ago, Human Rights Watch described the impact of condom seizure in four US cities - New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. “For many sex workers, particularly transgender women, arrest means facing degrading treatment and abuse at the hands of the police. For immigrants, arrest for prostitution offenses can mean detention and removal from the United States.” Some women told Human Rights Watch that they continued to carry condoms despite the harsh consequences. For others, fear of arrest overwhelmed their need to protect themselves from HIV, other sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. One prostitute quoted in the report said she resorted to using a plastic bag as protection during intercourse.
Human Rights Watch urged police departments to cease using the possession of condoms as evidence to arrest, question, or detain persons suspected of sex work, or to support prosecution of prostitution and related offenses. Police officers must learn to appreciate the public health importance of condoms for HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health.
White Americans are
a minority in most of
the largest US cities
Washington DC, 10 April 2014: While ethnically America is still predominantly White (2), in many of the country’s largest cities people of European ancestry are in a minority. Overall, White Americans make up 63.7 per cent of the US population, Hispanic or Latino Americans account for 16.4 per cent with African Americans on 12.6 per cent. But in 18 out of the 25 largest US cities, White Americans comprise less than half of the population. The cities with largest African American populations include Detroit (83%), Memphis (63%) and Washington DC (51%). El Paso has the largest share of Hispanic Americans (81%), while San Francisco is home to more Asian Americans (33%) than any other large US city.
In Detroit, Memphis and Washington DC African Americans form the majority, while Hispanic Americans account for more than 50 per cent of the populations in El Paso and San Antonio - in Los Angeles, 48.5 per cent of people describe themselves as Latino. In San Francisco and San Jose, both in California, Americans of Asian origin represent almost one third of the total population.
Ethnic make-up of America’s largest cities
(2) 2010 data: White Americans have ethnic origins in Europe but can include people from the Middle East and North Africa
(3) 20210 data: Black or African American have ethnic origins in sub-Sahara Africa.
(4) 2010 data: Hispanic or Latino Americans have ethnic origins in the Latin-speaking countries of Latin America, Portugal and Spain.
(5) 2010 data: Asian Americans have ethnic origins in the Far East, Southeast Asia and South Asia.
26 mayors from across the world are competing for this year’s World Mayor Prize. VOTE FOR THE WINNER NOW
Toronto’s disgraced Mayor still in with a good chance of being re-elected in October
Less than 20 per cent of America’s cities are led by women mayors (Photo: Houston’s Annise Parker is the only woman governing a city with more than one million people)
US mayors take a stand against gay-hostile states
American mayors join forces to fight economic inequality
New York City police limits seizure of condoms from sex workers
White Americans are a minority in most of the largest US cities