(Today marks a month into the 2014 municipal campaign and, from an election standpoint, it’s been relatively quiet. At the mayoral level, more time has been spent on who’s thinking about getting in than who’s actually already in the race. Only two candidates have received any attention so far. One is the incumbent who is telling us that he’s busy out there campaigning which you can’t deny him, if by campaigning he means making a drunken spectacle of himself every time he appears out in public. The other, former Scarborough councillor David Soknacki, pretty much has the field to himself. With no one else around to lay a glove on him, he’s simply going about his business, delivering policy platforms and getting himself some name recognition in the vacuum that is nobody else being in the ring with him.
It’s a far cry from this point of time in the last campaign in 2010. The presumptive favourite to win it all was already hard at it. Giorgio Mammoliti was pretending he had what it took to be mayor. There was a nobody named Rocco Rossi threatening to come out of nowhere.
And on this day in 2010, with much hoopla, a young, baby faced contender kicked off what looked to be a serious run from the left as the heir apparent to the outgoing mayor, David Miller. Oh, what heady days those were. When anything seemed possible. Nothing was going to stop the Giambrone express!)
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Adam Giambrone has a huge set of balls. [No comment. -- ed.] They must be so big that he has to leave one at home any time he goes out because it would be impossible to cart around both at the same time for fearing of falling forward onto this face. We’re talking major league cojones.
How else to explain his declaration yesterday to run for mayor of Toronto? Adam Giambrone 2010. It’s a suicide mission. A World War I-like lurch up and out of the trenches onto the muddy, bloody, barbed wire fields of gore where the only realistic expectation is to be cut down in your prime. Giambrone is either deluded, blindly full of himself, youthfully idealistic or ambitious beyond the pale. Quite possibly, it’s a combination of all of the above. [We didn't know just how right we were. -- ed.]
Most rational politicians in his position would scan the political landscape in front of them and decide to sit this one out. There is anti-incumbency in the air; howls for the heads of any elected official held responsible for the abysmal shape of things. Look outside your windows, people! Crime is rampant. Roads are clogged and filled with rage. Rats have overrun the subways cars. And the Leafs, oh the Leafs.
Somebody’s got to pay. So if Giambrone were smart, he’d keep his head low, his ward 18 constituents happy and settle back into council this fall as one of the progressive headliners, standing up to the reactionary element that’s been beating its chest in these early days of the campaign. [Hello! Why was nobody listening to us? -- ed.] He bears a double burden this election. As chairman of the TTC, Giambrone is the poster boy for all that’s wrong in the eyes of the media with our public transportation system. A coddler of evil unions, he’s also portrayed as one of Mayor Miller’s minions which is a bad space to be occupying presently.
Yet, there he was in front of a raucous crowd that was packed to the rafters in a bar in Little Italy, going public with his preposterously unlikely bid. So unlikely that cynics have suggested he is simply raising his profile and will retreat back to his ward race by September. [HaHaHa! If only it had been that simple. -- ed.] That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as Giambrone’s got a fairly high profile as it is albeit largely negative if our daily papers are to be believed. If he is using this now as a profile raiser it would be for an all out run at the job in 4 years time after he steps away from the partisan rancor of City Hall and is seen to be doing good deeds in a social agency or the private sector. Or with an eye toward provincial [How'd that work out for you, Adam? -- ed.] or federal elections in the near future, what with the French and Arabic he was throwing around during his speech.
Although judging from that speech last night, Giambrone seemed to be in this thing to win. He was passionate, articulate and spelled out the reasons why he wanted to be mayor. Yes, much of it was filled with broad generalities and pep rally platitudes (Better Tomorrows, Brighter Futures and all that). Still, I got a sense of the kind of city he wanted to build. Prosperous, of course, but with an emphasis on an equality of opportunity for everyone living here and not just us downtown fat cats and upscale suburban types. But even for those toiling away in Scarborough!
While short on details, he laid out in broad strokes how he wanted to do this. Ease of access on multiple levels. Opening voting to landed immigrants who have a stake in the city. Continued intensification of community policing in order to not only make neighbourhoods safer but to reduce a siege mentality that has descended on some places. And rather than run and hide from his TTC ties, Giambrone feistily embraced it, fully behind the idea of Transit City [No mention of a Scarborough subway in sight. -- ed.], explaining that making it easy to get to work and back home and to all places in between will ultimately connect and bind people, neighbourhoods and communities.
So a full All Fired Up in the Big Smoke endorsement, you ask? Hardly. While impressed certainly, the devil will be in the details. Among other things, we most certainly will want to hear from AG [about any sort of monkey business on an office couch. -- ed.], how he’s going to deal with the constant fiscal shortfalls that the city faces and the seemingly intractable approach City Hall has in coming up with solutions to that pressing problem.
That said, Giambrone projected a positive, can-do spirit as he entered the race, stating that Toronto is a good place to live. As mayor, he just wants to help make it better. A welcome relief from his opponents who are big on the cut, slash, cracking heads, general all round panic rhetoric that makes great headlines but seldom improves lives. That’s what running for public office should be about, right? [Note to self: ask the Toronto Star's Royson James what he thinks about the scandal which chased Adam Giambrone from the mayor's race in light of our subsequent scandal-plagued 4 years. -- ed.]
– cautiously optimistically submitted by Cityslikr