Huffpost Politics

24 U.S. Mayors Who Prove We're Also Better Than Canada At Electing Embarrassing Officials

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In a comically Canadian exchange, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted to reporters Tuesday that he'd smoked crack during one of his "drunken stupors."

Despite the embarrassment, Ford said he wouldn't resign, and in fact plans to run for reelection next year. Maybe Ford is hoping that his admission won't hurt him. Or maybe he thinks it will make him more popular. After all, he did see a five-point boost in his popularity rating after reports of the mysterious crack-smoking video first surfaced earlier this year.

While Ford's inappropriate behavior is disturbing, many Americans will find the controversy familiar and perhaps be surprised that it isn't taking place closer to home. As we're sure many of our neighbors to the north are well aware, U.S. mayors have a storied tradition of shady deeds. Below, a list of 24 embarrassing and sometimes disgusting mayors who prove the case for American exceptionalism:

1. Bob Filner (D) -- Filner resigned as mayor of San Diego earlier this year, after a number of women came forward with graphic allegations that he'd frequently targeted them with inappropriate sexual behavior.

2. Kwame Kilpatrick (D) -- Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in prison last month, punishment for an extensive catalog of criminal charges of corruption, extortion and fraud while he was mayor of Detroit.

3. Buddy Cianci (R) -- Cianci's mayoral run came to an end (at least so far) in 2002, when he was sentenced to more than five years in prison for his involvement in a racketeering conspiracy that brought about the end of his second stint as the top official in Providence, R.I. The first ended when he was forced to resign after putting out a lit cigarette on a man and assaulting him with a fireplace log. Despite his rap sheet, Cianci continues to walk the line between hero and villain. After being released from the slammer, the former mayor, now 72, suggested he might pursue another career in politics.

4. Marion Barry (D) -- Ford is not alone in the crack-smoking mayor department. While mayor of Washington, D.C., in 1990, Barry was arrested in a sting operation that caught him freebasing crack cocaine in a hotel room. Four years after the scandal and the now notorious "bitch set me up" quote, Barry was elected to his fourth term as mayor, during which he was ultimately stripped of nearly all authority over what Congress saw as his financial mismanagement of the city. But he didn't step down after the crack video or the congressional slap -- and today he stills serves on the city council.

5. Joseph Maturo (R) -- In 2012, the East Haven, Conn., mayor countered claims that he didn't care about the Latino community by saying he "might have tacos when I go home." Maturo resisted calls to resign.

6. Philip Giordano (R) -- Over a period of nearly a year between 2000 and 2001, the then-Waterbury, Conn., mayor paid a prostitute to bring him young girls -- including the woman's own daughters -- for sex. He was ultimately sentenced to 37 years in prison.

7. Sheila Dixon (D) -- Dixon resigned as mayor of Baltimore in 2010, after being found guilty of using over $600 worth of retail store gift cards that had been designated for poor families. She was also indicted on a number of other charges, including theft and accepting illegal gifts, but a jury found her not guilty of those.

8. Billy Eugene Wilson -- The Greenbrier, Tenn., mayor was recently indicted for theft of over $60,000 from the local Toys for Tots charity he had founded.

9. Frank Rizzo (D) -- Following a controversial career as police commissioner, Rizzo became mayor of Philadelphia in 1972. He ruled with something of an iron fist and attracted the ire of the African-American community, who believed Rizzo's policies were discriminatory. During his reelection campaign in 1975, he entered this quote into history books: "Just wait," he told a reporter, "after November you'll have a front row seat because I'm going to make Attila the Hun look like a faggot."

10. Wilson Goode (D) -- In 1985, then-Philadelphia Mayor Goode approved the bombing of a house occupied by a self-described radical group. Eleven people, including five children, were killed in the bombing and resulting fire, which spread across an entire city block and destroyed 61 homes. The debacle led many to call Philadelphia, "The City That Bombed Itself." But Goode still won reelection two years later.

11. Neil Goldschmidt (D) -- As mayor of Portland, Ore., in the 1970s, Goldschmidt engaged in sexual acts with a 14-year-old girl. He didn't admit the abuse until 2004.

12. Danny Sparks -- The mayor of Olive Hill, Ky., was forced to resign last year after being arrested for allegedly selling marijuana in the parking lot of an elementary school.

13. Oscar Hernandez -- While Hernandez was mayor, salaries for top officials in Bell, Calif., surged to two or three times those of other cities. The city manager was earning nearly $800,000 a year when the controversy broke. Hernandez was eventually recalled and this year was found guilty of misappropriation of funds.

14. Martin Resendiz (D) -- As mayor of Sunland Park, N.M., in 2008, Resendiz got hammered and signed contracts with an architectural design firm worth more than $1 million. He remained mayor even after he fessed up two years later.

15. Eddie Perez (D) -- The Hartford, Conn., mayor was arrested on charges of bribery and corruption two separate times in 2009. He later resigned after being convicted on five corruption charges, including bribery and attempted extortion.

16. Larry Guidi -- As mayor of Hawthorne, Calif., Guidi stole a $1,300 commercial food mixer from a local school district so that he could make pizza dough at home. Last year he pleaded guilty to the deed and didn't run for reelection.

17. Mark Lewis -- The El Cajon, Calif., mayor resigned last month after accusing Chaldeans (Iraqi Catholics) in his town of inappropriately taking advantage of "freebies" and damaging the fabric of the community.

18. Frank Melton (D) -- Melton was the highly controversial mayor of Jackson, Miss., until his death in 2009. Among his list of questionable actions: He bulldozed an elderly woman's house, telling her that he'd build her a better one. He didn't.

19. Ron Hinkle (R) -- Facing allegations that he had drunkenly used racial slurs at a local festival, Hinkle stepped down as mayor of Florence, Colo., in 2012.

20. Mark Nadeau (R) -- Nadeu resigned as mayor of Cobleskill, N.Y., in 2010 after a tape emerged showing him using the n-word in reference to President Barack Obama.

21. Dean Grose -- Grose resigned as mayor of Los Alamitos, Calif., in 2009 after sending out an email that included racist jokes about Obama.

22. Gregory Max Taylor -- Following a third DUI arrest, Taylor was forced to resign as mayor of Aurora, Ore., earlier this year.

23. Dean Armstrong -- Armstrong also stepped down earlier this year after a third DUI arrest, hanging up the reins as mayor of Helper, Utah.

24. Josh Thomas -- As mayor of Mascotte, Fla., in 1994, Thomas was arrested for allegedly stealing nearly $7,000 worth of dirt from a construction site. Facing a number of more serious allegations a year later, Thomas opted not to run for reelection.

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