In October 2010, voters in the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada elected a fiscally conservative city council member – Rob Ford – as mayor. Ford campaigned on the idea that “city hall has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” He vowed to cut the costs of city government to save money for taxpayers, without cutting services.
His campaign platform included reducing the size of the city bureaucracy, reducing the cost of government by cutting waste and privatizing government services such as garbage collection, and creating an incentive program to identify areas for cost savings. Ford emphasized his credibility by noting he was the “strongest voice” on the city council for better fiscal management and cost efficiency.
- Both Ford and DeMaio served as the most vocal leaders on their city councils for lower taxes, less spending, and more government efficiency.
- Both candidates based their campaigns on a need for dramatic change in the fiscal management of their respective cities: Ford had a “Saving Our City Plan,” while DeMaio has his “Roadmap to Recovery Plan.”
- Both Ford and DeMaio are policy-oriented, bold, and committed, with brash, colorful personalities.
- Both Toronto and San Diego are sprawling cities with a liberal urban core and more conservative suburban areas, although Toronto has a higher population and a bigger government. Toronto has a population of 2.6 million; San Diego has a population of 1.3 million. Toronto has a $9.4 billion budget; San Diego has a $2.75 billion budget.
- Both Toronto and San Diego have suffered from long-term budget deficits and other fiscal problems that have wearied taxpayers.
It’s not wise to make election predictions, but I suspect that the campaign message that worked for Rob Ford in Toronto will also work for Carl DeMaio in San Diego.