Sometimes smoking crack is a great idea.

Apparently, Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s antics might actually be good for the city, because they take the world’s eyes off the fact that the city itself is in way bad shape politically.

According to this article in the Toronto Star, back in 1998, Ontario’s premiere forced the legislature to collapse the city of Toronto and its surrounding towns into one megalopolis to save money. Everybody except for the premiere himself thought it was a stupid idea, but he did it anyway, not least because it meant that Toronto’s then-mayor Barbara Hall would lose her job. Apparently they disliked each other.

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photo courtesy policymic.com

At first glance, Toronto’s forming a megalopolis looks like a neat way to combat the fact that people in large metro areas spent decades taking their tax dollars with them to outlying suburbs and leaving the cities to die. In Newark, the first thing mayor Hugh Addonizio did when he was elected in 1962 was move out to a big house in the leafy suburb of New Shrewsbury.

But this “amalgamation,” as it’s called in Toronto, doesn’t seemed to have worked very well. Nobody in or around the city liked it then, and nobody seems to like it now.

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