Jim Watson’s Trump Moment

A curious thing happens with the twitter account of the bigoted, racist hate-filled Republican Presidential nominee, Donal Trump. He’ll tweet something outlandish, something hateful and self-serving, then a few hours later, he’ll change his tune and act like a human being being.

You can see this phenomena in action with the murder of Dwyane Wade’s cousin. First, he used the tragedy to tout himself and his agenda, then a few hours later, expressed condolences.

There’s a theory that you can tell when The Donald is actually tweeting and when it’s his staff. (The theory suggests that whenever a tweet comes from an Android device, it’s Trump; when it’s from an iPhone, it’s his staff.) Whether that’s true or not, it seems like someone shakes some sense into him after he pulls his usual crap.

Enter Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.

On Thursday, Nusrat Jahan was killed by a truck driver. He right-hooked her as she was trying riding in the Laurier bike lane. As reported by CBC, and as noticed by many, many people on Twitter, the mayor’s initial response was to tout his own accomplishments and his agenda:

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 10.20.25 AM

That’s right. A woman was dead, and he was touting his record spending on bicycling infrastructure.

He was also bragging about a bike route that was hacked up in order to preserve parking.

And he was bragging about how the city wasn’t going to do any more, but he’d get the federal government to do his fucking job for him.

Well, I guess someone suggested to the mayor that this wasn’t the best way to respond to a body in the street. Three hours later, he had more to say:

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 10.23.50 AM

And then two minutes after that, he finally decided to say something about the dead woman:

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 10.24.51 AM

If that was it, it would have been bad. He did what others ridicule Trump for doing, and deserves ridicule for his callous, self-aggrandizing response to death. But he couldn’t help himself. He had to keep going…

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 10.26.32 AM

This is a lie. Booth Street. Kent Street. Bank Street. Innes Road. O’Connor Street. Huntmar Drive. Our streets have been intentionally designed to be dangerous under his watch. He is not trying to make our streets the safest in Canada.

Further, he’s not trying to start a dialogue. He has willfully eschewed the dialogue. People have been trying to make bicycling and walking in this city safer for years, and he just likes to respond by touting his “record spending” and ignoring everything else.

You know who’s having this dialogue? The people behind Bike Ottawa, the people behind Pedal Power, Eric Darwin, David Reevely, Metro Ottawa, Joanne Chiannello, Charles Akben-Marchand, Alex deVries, Kathryn Hunt, Lana Stewart and whole ton of other Ottawa residents.

They do it on blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook, at community events and public consultations. They talk to the media. They write their councillors. They write the mayor. They’re banging the hell out of this drum, and the mayor has refused to listen.

So don’t be fooled. The mayor’s initial response was the honest one. By his actions, he doesn’t believe in promoting safety. By his words, he doesn’t believe in dialogue.

Nusrat is dead, but he has made a record investment in bicycling infrastructure.

7 thoughts on “Jim Watson’s Trump Moment

  1. So, in the last election, I voted for Jim, but mainly because his only opposition was an actual Trump-loving bigot. What I want to know is: How do we stop history from repeating? How do we convince somebody who’s progressive and electable in Ottawa to actually try and unseat Mayor Jim? One of the “Urban 5” councillors might be a good fit, but I’d hate to take away their representation on council. Alex Munter was a really good candidate for Mayor once upon a time, but I don’t think he’s interested.

    • This is a good question. I don’t know who has the desire to run or who would have the chance to unseat Watson. It might depend on how the next year goes. Watson has taken a few more hits, recently, but I don’t know if it’s really done much to his popularity.

      The problem, of course, is that he panders to certain large segments of the population. So people who are okay with trashing the central communities and ok with unsafe streets may still support him. He’s also benefitting from a lot of stuff he didn’t do: Lansdowne and the return of the RedBlacks, 2017 spending, the Grey Cup, the NCC finally giving a damn (at least a little bit).

    • no truly progressive changes will happen to Ottawa proper (ie inside the Greenbelt) until amalgamation is reversed. suburbanites have little in common with folks who live in the core, and folks in the rural corners have even less than the suburbanites. the only way to for someone to become mayor here is to appeal to a broad demo that lives in the beige sector of the City – not too conservative, not too liberal, not too progressive, not too reactionary. candidates at ease in a space dominated by the status quo will always do well in such municipalities; Jim Watson is this to a tee.

  2. What’s key to election of a diff person is how elections are funded; someone with principles, who has appeal of the people and can work with all parties is critical; yes this could be Leiper or McKenny but their voices on council are critical and may not carry the suburban vote (suggests we consider some form for de-amalgamation…..). But what about Dewar? Or Nussbaum? Or Doucet?

  3. The whole council has lost their way in response to business and suburban interests. Not just Jimbo – Fleury, Nussbaum, Chernushenko. Almost all the downtown councillors are in Jimbos pocket, making the real decisions and having the real debate behind closed doors before rubber stamping them in chambers. This city needs a political enema. Who can be the champion for a truly urban and multimodal vision in 2018 because I am fed up with being dictated to by the suburbs and the self interested business and landlord groups.

  4. Pingback: biblio, un vélo, une ville. school, evergreen | bellscorners

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