City council approved the 2013 operating budget just after noon today, and, despite $12-million in last-minute spending additions, this year’s debates weren’t nearly as dramatic as last year’s coup by centrist and left-wing forces. That’s not to say there weren’t shenanigans, the best of which starred habitual headline-grabbers Giorgio Mammoliti and Rob Ford.
Dumb and Dumber: the most idiotic things Giorgio Mammoliti and Rob Ford did during the budget debates
Although Giorgio Mammoliti leapt from Rob Ford’s lurching bandwagon in November, the two city hall fixtures still have a lot in common. Messy campaign finances, for instance. According to an audit released Friday afternoon, Mammoliti blew past the authorized campaign spending limit of $27,464.65 by a not-insignificant $12,000. If an audit committee decides to initiate legal proceedings on Feb. 4, the shaky math could cost Mammoliti a fine, some jail time or even ejection from office (another experience over which he and Ford could commiserate). In other words, his latest goof could be the end of Mammoliti’s run as a councillor, a 15-year career we honour below with a roundup of his most bone-headed comments and off-the-wall antics. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
The voting pattern will stay the same; I’m just not going to be the guy with the thumb.
Given the number of times Rob Ford has had to say he’s sorry over his political career, it’s odd that he doesn’t yet have it down. This week, integrity commissioner Janet Leiper (whose job, incidentally, Ford has made noises about eliminating) slammed the mayor for his latest apology, which she says didn’t show enough remorse for some offside comments he made last spring. Of course, Ford’s not the only Toronto politician to issue a flimsy apology of late—we’ve counted four in the past month alone. Below, we break down half-baked mea culpas from the mayor, his brother Doug Ford, Giorgio Mammoliti and Gord Perks. Read the rest of this entry »
Read the rest of this entry »
Toronto newspapers can’t help but quote councillor Adam Vaughan with startling regularity, and a Toronto Star article last weekend looked at why. The (somewhat obvious) answer? He’s a bon mot machine, with a sharp wit and a sharper tongue. This takes work: Vaughan, a former CityTV reporter, reads books of famous quotes and sometimes works on a one-liner all day before saying it aloud to reporters. Naturally, they take the bait, resulting in plenty of media attention for the would-be 2014 mayoral candidate. (Though we’re sure the fact that Vaughan frequently targets the eminently newsworthy Rob Ford doesn’t hurt, either.) Given the extent to which Vaughan prides himself on his wit, we decided to rate some of his most memorable quips.
Seeing as Giorgio Mammoliti’s curfew suggestion hasn’t gained much traction, the offbeat councillor has offered up a different idea to stem gun violence in Toronto: appoint himself anti-gang czar. Mammoliti told the Toronto Sun that, with four years to work his magic, and the help of the municipal, provincial and federal governments, he would send gang activity plummeting. “If that did not show results over a four-year period then I would resign my seat,” he offered, graciously. Mammo proposed a host of measures, including cutting social benefits for anyone found with an illegal gun in their home or cooperating with gang members; evicting anyone in TCHC buildings harbouring criminals; and cutting money from mentorship programs for older teens and spending the money on kids under age five. He also took this latest opportunity to again lobby for bringing back the death penalty. We don’t imagine council will be handing the crime file over to him anytime soon. [Toronto Sun]
While Toronto reels after another public shooting, Giorgio Mammoliti is recycling his much-loved curfew idea. During the “Summer of the Gun” in 2005, Mammoliti suggested a 10:30 p.m. curfew for kids under 16, and then revisited the proposal during his short-lived bid for mayor. This time, the councillor believes the 14-and-under crowd should not be able to venture out past 11 p.m., asking “what are they doing out at that time of night?” Putting aside that 14-year-old Shyanne Charles was shot a full twenty minutes before Mammo’s would-be curfew, wouldn’t it make more sense—and be more sensitive—to focus on the perpetrators and not the victims? Then again, Rob Ford has gone that route, and he’s not making much more sense than Mammoliti. [Toronto Sun]
Adam Vaughan’s bullet ban received a lukewarm response from his colleagues at this week’s meeting, the last before the summer break. Council voted not to debate asking city staff to study the proposal, and here’s the weird bit: even Vaughan voted against having the debate. Apparently, he preferred to have the topic shuttled off to the mayor’s executive committee in an attempt to ensure it gets public hearings: “I think when they hear the evidence and hear the arguments that they’ll understand that this is actually a way to create a good, strong, public safety program.” That’s a nice spin, but we wouldn’t bank on that happening: Mayor Rob Ford has already called the ban unfair to hunters, and executive committee member Giorgio Mammoliti has vowed to do all that he can to “shelve this thing forever.” [Toronto Sun]
Yesterday, the Toronto Standard posted a roundup comparing Rob Ford, Karen Stintz, Giorgio Mammoliti and other city hall figures to characters from the HBO medieval fantasy sex-and-violence-fest Game of Thrones. We have to admit: both the Quentin Blake-esque illustration, and the casting of Kristyn Wong-Tam as Arya Stark are spot-on. (No thanks for the Frances Nunziata breast feeding reference, though.) Read the entire story [Toronto Standard] »
—Giorgio Mammoliti, on why Canada should start handing out death penalties in response to two terrible, highly publicized and very different crimes: the Eaton Centre shooting and the Montreal murder and dismemberment allegedly committed by Luka Rocco Magnotta. Pointing out that the perpetrators “don’t have any morals,” Mammo said execution would be a fitting end for murderers, cop killers and pedophiles—though, as a city councillor, his opinion has no influence over the federal policy on capital punishment. Horrible crimes usually spark tough-on-crime rhetoric from politicians, but Mammoliti has outdone most by advocating for a justice system that looks a lot less like Canada and a lot more like Texas. [Toronto Sun]
Nothing (except maybe this) is more off-putting than remarks about sucking from city councillors. After Shelley Carroll made slow-news-day headlines for criticizing Rob Ford’s governing style, Giorgio Mammoliti came to Ford’s defense, saying Carroll should “suck it up.” Carroll, who will likely run against Ford in the next mayoral election, shot back with this gem:
I actually do suck it up every day, work goes on here at City Hall and it goes on in our wards whether the mayor is involved or not. Councillors do suck it up in a way that kind of leaves the mayor on the outs of the action at council. I can’t imagine that (Ford) wants to suck that up.
We’re hoping less-than-eloquent verbal sparring like this doesn’t take over the 2014 campaign, because that would really…suck. [Toronto Sun]
—Outspoken and often idiotic councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, airing his grievances with the Toronto Police Service’s recent decision to put a hold on john sweeps. The cop shop is putting a temporary stop to the long-standing sting operations in light of the court ruling in March that declared Canada’s prostitution laws unconstitutional. Police spokesperson Mark Pugash says the force is against using resources to arrest johns when there’s so much uncertainty surrounding prostitution laws. Mammoliti, on the other hand, says the laws should be enforced as long as they still exist—if only to save people from sloppy seconds. [Toronto Sun]
The Price Is Right icon Bob Barker is riled up (but not this riled up, thank goodness) that Toronto Zoo management is delaying sending its remaining three elephants to his sanctuary of choice. The animal lover is threatening to withdraw his offer to pay for the elephants’ $800,000 flight to California (via private aircraft, no less) unless there’s an “ironclad guarantee” that they’ll make it to the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary, near Sacramento. Problem is, talks between Toronto Zoo chief executive John Tracogna and PAWS director Ed Stewart have gone so badly that they now only speak to each other via lawyers, and zoo staff have waged a campaign against PAWS, claiming elephants there have tuberculosis. Then there’s Giorgio Mammoliti, the former chair of Toronto Zoo’s board, who has tried to stop the deal since the zoo allegedly lost its accreditation over the plan to send the elephants to PAWS, which doesn’t have the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ stamp of approval. Trying to salvage the deal, Councillor Michelle Berardinetti, who orchestrated the vote last October when council decided to move the elephants, has challenged Mammoliti and Tracogna to go to PAWS with her next week to check it out—but we doubt Barker would cover the airfare for that trip. [Toronto Star]
Giorgio Mammoliti has canceled his ward’s environment day tomorrow, and he says it’s CUPE Local 416’s fault. The councillor and commie sniffer says the union planned to hit up residents at the event with a pro-labour petition, and he won’t stand for union organizing on city property. For his part, Local 416 president (for now) Mark Ferguson said petitions are a fundamental freedom in a healthy democracy and Mammoliti was being “a bully boy.” In the spirit of playground spats, Ferguson then said the Toronto Civic Employees Union would host their own environment day for the residents of Ward 7 (so there!). Unbelievably, things went even worse at last year’s event, when Mammoliti called the cops to force union members to leave, and he and Ferguson got into a yelling match. We never knew handing out compost was such a lightning rod for labour tension. [Toronto Sun]