By Edward Keenan
Welcome to City Council Club.
The first rule of City Council Club is you do not talk about Giorgio Mammoliti press releases.
The second rule of City Council Club is you do not talk about Giorgio Mammoliti press releases.
The third rule is GUY, KEEP YOUR SHIRT ON.
And the fourth and final rule: If this is your first day at City Council Club, you have to share a video of the mayor in a drunken stupor.
Now, I look around, I see a lot of stories and tweets and talk about Giorgio Mammoliti’s latest press release. Which means a lot of you are breaking the first two rules of City Council Club. So let’s talk about why we do not talk about anything Mammo says or does.
Giorgio Mammoliti does not care about what’s right and wrong, about what’s good or bad for the city, about what makes sense and what is complete gibberish. He. Just. Likes. Causing. A. Fuss.
He likes it. He wants to get you mad. And he’d like nothing more than to have you shouting about pedophiles and sexual perversion than the actual matter at hand. Let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane:
There was the time he took his shirt off in the council chamber in order to protest the sanctioning of a nude beach at the Toronto Islands. There was the time he left a city council meeting at lunch to go to a strip club so he could understand how they work. There was the time he called gay people unfit for parenthood and decried their bizarre sexual practices. There was the time he videotaped topless women at the Dyke March, allegedly on the prowl for hate speech but clearly attempting to intimidate and creep out the participants. One of his personal pet projects has been the erection of the largest flagpole in the world in his ward—a perfect symbol of his politics because it suggests juvenile sexual double entendres, pointless triumphalism, and serves little purpose other than attracting attention for its exceptional size.
He is always—always—willing to shamelessly hijack some very important cause to attract attention to himself and distract attention from the actual issues the city is looking at. Hate speech and anti-Semitism become basic rhetorical tools in his creepy fixation with the gay community. The lives and safety of women in the sex industry become stunt material for his dual vendettas against Toronto island residents and the nude beach at Hanlan’s Point. Even while he’s crusading against homeless people panhandling, he’ll co-opt their plight to stick it to provincial politicians at Queen’s Park. Meanwhile this is the very same jackass who muscled his way into getting Mayor Ford to appoint him to head up an anti-homelessness task force to great fanfare, and then did no work at all on the issue.
Of course, on a whim, he’ll indulge ridiculousness for its own sake, without invoking some serious cause—such as when he put a motion before council saying cars should be banned from the downtown core and only horses and buggies should be allowed as a heritage project, or when he throws a zero-tax-hike motion before council every year when the budget comes up (trolling the mayor, successfully). Or when he suggests the right place for a casino would be in a boat in a harbour, so if it causes problems we could just get it to sail off.
So yeah: It’s not exactly surprising that he’ll fire off a quick out-of-left-field note accusing Parkdale of being full of perverts, and one of his council colleagues of catering to them, whipping up hysteria on behalf of “the children.” As people have already pointed out Parkdale is a wonderful place to live, work, and play. It is home, near as we can tell‚ to fewer than 200 registered sex offenders (not all of them—possibly very few of them—convicted of offences related to children) per 100,000 residents, above average but not the highest in the city. And if he was concerned about pedophiles having access to children at events, he might be more suspicious of the CNE festival that draws tens of thousands of young children to the Exhibition grounds rather than all-ages EDM events that might draw a handful of high school and university students. But, of course, he is not concerned at all about the welfare of children—he just thinks accusing people of supporting pedophiles will whip up outrage and be good for a laugh.
This is not just silly, and not just provocative. It also has no basis in fact and it is not related in any way at all to the issue at hand.
He. Just. Likes. Causing. A. Fuss.
So here at City Council Club, we prefer to ignore him when he pitches the tent for his sanctimony circus. It helps us focus on the things that matter.
But if we do have to talk about Giorgio Mammoliti, we might ask what exactly in his psychological makeup makes him try to turn so many unrelated issues into discussions about sexual perversion. And we could talk about how this tendency to project his twisted sex garbage onto everything perverts the whole political debate.
Or we could talk about how he has spent his entire grandstanding career with his snout in the trough, opportunistically aligning himself with whoever is in power (from the NDP to Rob Ford and everyone in between). He’s been famously lavish in partaking in expense account spending (his indulgence of travel expenses during his time at Queen’s Park—even though he lived and represented a riding just a quick transit trip from the legislature—earned him the nickname “Hot Wheels”). He insisted on continuing to draw a full-time taxpayer-funded salary from a job with Toronto’s social housing agency even after he became a full-time, salaried elected official.
Perhaps we could talk about the lobbyists who attended a highly irregular fundraiser for Mammoliti, one that drew the attention of the integrity commissioner. We could talk about how one of those who attended that fundraiser has lobbied Mammoliti this spring on behalf of Muzik nightclub. Since it is the business concerns of that nightclub that prompted the issue Mammoliti now wants to grandstand on, that might be the place to focus our attention.
Or hey, as long as we’re talking about his relationship with lobbyists, maybe we could have another look at the suspiciously low rent Mammoliti seems to have paid on a two-bedroom midtown apartment since 2011 in a building owned by a company that does significant business with the city. (Mammoliti has called the report of that rent deal “inaccurate,” but has refused to provide details about what exactly is inaccurate about it).
Or we could talk about the loans he has apparently received from developers, at least one of whom he then moved motions for at council. One whose daughter spoke to the Star: “Champsee’s daughter said Mammoliti had approached her father for assistance. She said he had felt pressure to help a councillor he was worried about angering.”
If we want to talk about Mammoliti, there’s lots there to talk about. We don’t need to talk about his perverse press releases that do nothing but distract us from the actual issues under debate, and the actual issues that are of even passing importance to the city.
Which is why we have the first two rules. And the third one. The other rule is suspended until June 30.
PHOTO: BORIS SPREMO/TORONTO STAR