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SPOTLIGHT
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Up in smoke

Published on -11/14/2013, 8:32 AM

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Famed Kansas Dwight D. Eisenhower perhaps said it best when he proclaimed: "The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army or in an office."

So when you begin to question a leader's integrity and ability to make wise decisions, what do you have to build from? Nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Take, for instance, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. He's been heavily bombarded with requests for him to submit his resignation as the leader of one of Canada's largest cities.

Why, you ask? Ford has admitted to smoking crack cocaine a year ago while being in a drunken stupor. Those aren't the words we are using, but the words Ford, himself, used.

Seems to be an easy case. A leader with strong integrity and a forward-pointing moral compass would admit to the transgressions, offer his or her resignation and begin putting their crumbling life in order.

Not so for Ford. Instead, he's continuing to stand his ground -- and taking much-deserved heat for that stance.

"I understand the embarrassment that I have caused. I am humiliated by it," Ford said while being questioned Wednesday by Councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong.

"I'm most definitely keeping this job. I am not leaving here. I'm going to sit here and going to attend every meeting."

Interesting, to say the least. Ford has admitted to smoking the illegal drug, but testifies he doesn't have an addiction problem.

That might be true, but what about the lack of integrity? The smartest thing for Ford to do is to resign amid the controversy and let the city go back to savoring the love of hockey and waving their maple leaves until they are crazy.

Instead, those in Toronto are looking at the top of city politics and wondering if Ford's hearing them clearly -- or hearing voices during a drunken stupor.

Additional details recently released link Ford to a "crack house," where he was photographed with gang members, and information about staffers purchasing alcohol regularly for him.

It also includes Ford saying he was "out of control" drunk during St. Patrick's Day 2012.

In what should be an open-and-shut case allowing Toronto to move forward, Ford won't relinquish his title. He's even vowed to try for re-election. He believes he's a "positive role model for kids who are down and out."

We're not saying that isn't true -- sometime in the future. But Ford needs to get his personal life in order before making Toronto even more of a laughingstock when it comes to politics.

Ford might be able to turn his life around. But right now, he's falling through a large crack -- no pun intended.

If he wants to show integrity as a leader and be a role model, Ford should resign his position and get his life in order. Then, he can decide if a life in politics is where he belongs -- or if he is better suited for the "crack house."

We only hope he choses the former.

Editorial by Nick Schwien

nschwien@dailynews.net

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