Giorgio Mammoliti

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Rob Ford’s friend count is dropping fast

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Although Rob Ford is calling it the “best budget in Toronto’s history,” the 2013 budget process has certainly diminished the mayor’s inner circle (which was already down one with Giorgio Mammoliti’s recent departure). Mike Del Grande resigned as budget chief yesterday after the meeting, following through on threats to quit if council added spending to the budget (they did). Del Grande railed at Ford for effectively voting against the budget that he’d worked with the mayor to prepare, saying “I thought it was a mistake…you don’t do something like that.” Meanwhile, Denzil Minnan-Wong, another executive committee member, also slammed Ford for that voting misstep, and deputy mayor Doug Holyday accused councillors of lacking “backbone” for caving to pressure and voting to allot extra money to firefighters—something Ford himself did. Heck, the mayor’s list of friends is now so short that he’s even stooping to hanging out with Adam Vaughan. [Globe and Mail]

Update: In a lunchtime interview, Del Grande told CP24 he’d return to the job if council showed him some love and unanimously voted to ask him back. He admitted, however, “the probabilities of that are next to none.”

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Dumb and Dumber: the most idiotic things Giorgio Mammoliti and Rob Ford did during the budget debates

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.

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Giorgio Mammoliti’s most memorable gaffes, including the one that could end his political career

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. 

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QUOTED: Giorgio Mammoliti on where he plans to put his thumb

(Image: Christopher Drost)

The voting pattern will stay the same; I’m just not going to be the guy with the thumb.

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Power Moves: six city councillors making early political plays following Rob Ford’s ouster from office

Since a judge took the unexpected, unprecedented step of kicking Rob Ford out of the mayor’s office on Monday, city hall watchers have alternated between pontificating and head-scratching. It seems that the only things everybody can agree on are that Ford definitely did something wrong and that nobody is quite sure what will happen next (and that transit is still a really, really big problem). Meanwhile, a handful of city councillors, who are ultimately going to be responsible for guiding Toronto through the turmoil, have already begun early jockeying for position in the brave new post-Rob Ford world. While Adam Vaughan, Kristyn Wong-Tam and other left-leaners have used the opportunity to loudly blast Ford and call for a new era at city hall, Ford’s supporters must negotiate the most delicate political manoeuvring. Below, we look at how Ford and six of city hall’s other power players are responding to the bombshell news.

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Sorry seems to be the hardest word: four lame city council apologies

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. 

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We rate some of Adam Vaughan’s best zingers, in honour of his profile in the Toronto Star

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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.

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Giorgio Mammoliti thinks he should be Toronto’s anti-gang czar

(Image: Christopher Drost)

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]

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The Scarborough shooting prompts Giorgio Mammoliti to suggest a curfew—for the third time

(Image: Christopher Drost)

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]

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Adam Vaughan votes against further study of his own bullet ban proposal

(Image: Christopher Drost)

Adam Vaughan’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]

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Which city councillors are most like which Game of Thrones characters?

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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] »

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QUOTED: Giorgio Mammoliti pushes for the death penalty after Eaton Centre shooting

(Image: Christopher Drost)

—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]

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Shelley Carroll and Giorgio Mammoliti fight over who at city hall should just suck it up

(Images: Christopher Drost)

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]

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QUOTED: Giorgio Mammoliti explains how to have sex with 150 men at once

(Image: Christopher Drost)

—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]

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Bob Barker and Giorgio Mammoliti face off in the Toronto Zoo elephant saga

(Image: John Vetterli)

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]