Let's face it - Toronto is stuck between a rock and a hard place at this point in time. While I think Smitherman would make a good mayor, he's no David Miller in terms of popularity or even capability. With Ford's populist rants and base popularity sticking to him despite a hypocritical past, we need someone who can combat him and his uber-conservative rhetoric that scares even conservatives. Plus, does Toronto really need a Hudak-lover in power?
Going against the grain, and the Sun's paranoid conspiracy theories, I think Rocco Rossi, at various times the third, fourth, and fifth place candidate, is still the best choice for Torontonians and their future. With some pragmatic, thought-out, and rock-solid ideas for the city's residents, he's got the substance and so far, the guts to seemingly win this battle of the midget titans.
Of course, ideas, substance, and guts are not all necessarily the stuff you need to win. Rossi is no John Tory, and his experience isn't great in electoral politics, or even business administration (though a helluva lot more than Rob Ford). Rossi is not necessarily charismatic, though to his credit, he's very loud. But being loud is not always going to help - just ask Jon Gerrard.
If Toronto had a preferential ballot system, he'd be my first choice, Smitherman second, and Ford somewhere between last and dead last. Unfortunately, that's not what Toronto has - so for the time being, I'd be willing to tell folks to vote for Smitherman if it really comes down to the wire. Ford is an overriding concern for us all. Does this mean I lack loyalty? Maybe - but that's better than Mayor Ford.
But, before you do decide to vote against your conscious, just remember - the campaign has barely started, and Rossi is far from out of the race yet. Smitherman is like a last resort - exhaust all other options to make Rossi the most electable before you vote for him.
But wait, Volkov - you aren't from Toronto! What say do you have?
Well, I grew up in Toronto, in Ignatieff's current riding, in fact. I lived in Mimico during the amalgamation, which at the time I didn't like because I thought Etobicoke's odd vertical shape was cool beans. And though I live at the fringe of the GTA today, decisions made in Toronto will affect me severely, especially in the area of transit, as even Burlington Transit is slightly connected to the TTC in some way. What Toronto does, so goes the GTA - and I prefer having a Mayor at Nathan Philip's Square who can play nice with others, something Ford is definitely not inclined to do.
So, once again - Rossi for Mayor!