… And Speaking Of Resigning

July 4, 2014

Think there’s no party politics at play at the municipal level? Look around at what’s going on at City Hall right now, folks. pitypartyTell me we aren’t awash in one great big Pity Party.

According to the mayor’s councillor-brother-campaign manager, there’s a “full out jihad” against the Fords now in response to yet another complaint registered with the integrity commissioner, this time about Councillor Ford’s comments made about autistic kids under care at the Griffin Centre. This jihad comes on top of the media jihad that’s been waged upon the mayor since his planned triumphant return from rehab this week.

Happy Ramadan, Muslims. The Fords feel ya.

Not to be outdone in this woe-is-me parade (never to be outdone when it comes to grandstanding), Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti wants everyone to know that he was sick, very, very, gravely ill, so, you know, don’t be pointing the finger at him about some ‘illegal fundraiser’ as alleged by an obviously ‘unfair and biased’ Integrity Commissioner, Janet Leiper, yesterday.

mybrainhurts

How can anyone have done anything wrong that was in a hospital bed with his head carved open?

If there was some improper, shady shit going on in terms of this so-called ‘illegal fundraiser’ – and that’s a big ‘if’ since the integrity commissioner is obviously out to get Councillor Mammoliti as she is always, always ‘breathing down his throat’ – he’s blameless due to medical reasons.  “Some short term memory loss during this period of time.” “I can barely remember any of it.”

The claim, as full of holes and leaky as it is, might hold some water if this was the councillor’s first ethical lapse in judgement. countingfingersI don’t know. The surgeon must have cut out the moral compass of my brain! But it isn’t. Giorgio Mammoliti has come under scrutiny for at least a couple other violations. He’s currently in court facing campaign finance irregularities. There’s the below market value rent he’s received for an apartment owned by a company that does business with the city. Never mind the illegal re-election signs that have popped up.

That’s just this term alone. Let’s not forget the oldie but goodie from way back when the councillor got the city to pay his legal defense against a challenge of his campaign financing in 2006. So either, the thing that was wrong with Councillor Mammoliti’s head was long term and slow growing or the guy simply operates under the premise that The. Rules. Apply. To. Other. People.

Perhaps the most egregious bit of conduct the Integrity Commissioner laid at the councillor’s feet in her report was his accepting of $80,000 from the fundraiser that was attended by lobbyists and companies doing business with city. whome1Even if he was non compos mentis at the time, wasn’t there anybody surrounding the man, family, friends, staff not busy planning the event on the city dime, who thought such a gift might be, I don’t know, a little out of bounds? I’m not a politician, Councillor Mammoliti, but accepting money while you’re in office seems… not quite right. Especially when it’s from people who might benefit from such a transaction with an elected official.

Even when the councillor had seemingly recovered from his brain affliction and returned to his normal state of assholery, he didn’t bother to respond to the integrity commissioner’s offer of allowing him to return the money. Money? What money? Short term memory loss, remember? Remember what? Money? What money? Short term memory loss, remember? Remember what? Money? What money?

And here’s the real kick in the nuts to any and every right-thinking resident of Toronto (and beyond). Even if the integrity commissioner’s recommendations are adopted by city council and Councillor Mammoliti is docked 3 months pay, slaponthewristthe maximum penalty that can be dealt out to him by the city, he’d still walk away with over $50,000 in his pocket. Money paid to him by registered lobbyists and companies doing business with the city.

“This is as offside as you get when you come to a code of conduct violation,” said Brian Iler, the lawyer who brought the original complaint to the integrity commissioner.

Is it any wonder politicians like Giorgio Mammoliti and Rob Ford continue to disregard the rules put in place to ensure ethical behaviour from our elected officials? Why wouldn’t you if you can still come out ahead of the game. It’s a twisted realm of thinking that, if there are no deterrents to your questionable conduct, if there are no tangible repercussions to your actions, like jail time or being chased from office, then clearly, you did nothing wrong. If you did, where’s the appropriate punishment?

getawaywithit

The system as it’s currently set up at the municipal level may not exactly encourage bad behaviour. I can confidently declare that ethical, upstanding councillors heavily outnumber those who aren’t. Those so inclined to disregard the rules, however, are hardly dissuaded from doing exactly that. Ethics preferred but not required should go with the job description. Cheaters sometimes prosper.

cleanly submitted by Cityslikr


Be Better, Angels

June 18, 2014

Let me run one of those chicken or egg questions by you. What comes first? chickenoreggBad political representation or a preference for bad political representation?

Now, I know the second half of that makes no sense. Who would prefer bad political representation if they had an alternative? But I have to tell you. Sitting through yesterday’s Etobicoke York Community Council meeting and watching councillors Doug Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti go through their paces, two long serving local politicians (I know Doug Ford’s a first timer but let’s think of him as the Ford brand extension), you have to wonder. Who keeps putting the likes of these two back into office?

At issue was, to an outside observer at least, a seemingly benign new development proposal along a western stretch of Eglinton Avenue. badpoliticianSixty-eight, three story townhouse units built on the intended route of the new Eglinton crosstown LRT, phase 2. Not entirely surprising, really. Even plans for a new rapid transit corridor tend to encourage new, denser development. At least, that’s how the theory goes.

Councillors Ford, Mammoliti and many of the people in the filled to capacity plus overflow rooms were having none of it. An outrage! A threat to their way of life! Another example of downtowners inflicting their new urbanism on the unsuspecting residents of Etobicoke!

More traffic chaos!!

Both Ford and Mammoliti took the opportunity to deride and denigrate the very concept of the LRT or, more specifically, its above-groundness. They filled the air in the room with misinformation and misdirection. demagogueCouncillor Ford’s main target was Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby, the local councillor for the development, and her support of the LRT. Councillor Mammoliti? Well, he was just making noise in order to be heard. I rant, therefore I am.

Now it might not be all that disconcerting if they were just a couple stray mutts, snapping and yapping in an attempt to mark out some territory. Sadly, much of the public who got up to speak encouraged the outburst, feeding it and into it with their angry deputations and demands that everything remain just as it is. How dare you try to change the composition of our neighbourhood. We bought a home and settled here in the belief that it would stay the same forever.

I exaggerate for effect. It wasn’t quite that unreasonable. I am happy to report that more than a few in attendance were clearly appalled at the tone of the proceedings, shocked by the sniping and full on frontal attacks between councillors. angryvotersThat said, the vibe in the room over these plans was pitchfork-y. You will build this development and LRT over our cold, dead bodies, yaddie, yaddie, yaddie.

Perhaps that is the key to understanding the enduring presence of piss poor political representation in the system. Angry matters. Angry gets heard. Angry gets indulged. Angry is easy.

It’s easy to incite. It’s easy to maintain. It is easier to make people angry than it is to inspire them.

Thus, the always present demagogue in our midst.bullhorn

Councillors Ford and Mammoliti are the dark angels in our political process. They prey upon our deep-seated fear of change. They paint pictures of chaos and disaster, assuring us that will be the inevitable result if we take a different approach or alter things from the way they are now. Only they can protect us and our way of life from the future. Sure, things might be bad now, they could be better. But they also could be worse, folks. The devil(s) you know are preferable to the ones you don’t, and all that.

The likes of Doug Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti appeal to our very worst instincts. Unfortunately, those tend to be our easiest to access instincts too. We are perpetually vulnerable to attack from lazy, dyspeptic and ill-informed politicians who honestly believe themselves to be the standard bearers for the status quo. goodangelbadangelLooking out for the little guy, am I right?

As long as we continue to leave that flank open to them, they will take it. That’s all they’ve got. They know no other way. The Fords and the Mammolitis (and the Minnan-Wongs and Nunziatas) will continue to represent us until we push back against their brand of divisive fear-mongering. Until we stop being a little less like we are and a little more like we should be.

angelically submitted Cityslikr


This Fucking Guy

June 17, 2014

There are many reasons to dislike many politicians. From fundamental disagreements over policy matters to simply, shirtlessmammolitiI don’t know, their general tone of argumentation. He’s such a smug smart-aleck. I just don’t care for the cut of his jib.

And then there’s Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti.

If there’s a more loathsome politician at work today, I would be very interested to hear about them. Actually, no. Scratch that. Spare me the details. I’ve had my fill of vileness, following along with City Hall these past four years.

It takes some doing, in this the Age of Crack Mayor and His Numbskull Brother-Councillor-Consigliere, to outdo the prevailing degenerate tone of discourse and governance. But hey. Giorgio Mammoliti has proven himself up to the task.

His latest foray into dim-witted fuckery is his continued entanglement with the Muzik club and electronic dance music doings down at Exhibition Place. spewIt is hardly worth delving into except to say it’s all about vested interests, and a business that has close ties to the mayor and the rather unsavoury side of his time in office. Booze, drugs, barfing.

Why Councillor Mammoliti has taken a special interest in the situation is anyone’s guess. It’s the way he’s gone about it that is beyond shameful. Reprehensible does not go far enough to describe it. Like the mayor he’s so strategically defended, this is a man who apparently operates without any sense of shame.

“Given the many issues surrounding children relating to these events [EDM parties] there should be great concern over the fact that the neighbouring Parkdale is home to one of the highest concentrations of registered sex offenders, including pedophiles, living in the City of Toronto,” the councillor wrote in a media release ahead of last night’s community consultation. “With ‘all-ages’ parties being held next to a pedophile district we are simply encouraging the continued abuse of our children. Given the rampant alcohol and illicit drug abuse and poor security, our children can fall victim to peer pressure participating in these activities or becoming victimized at the hands of current and past pedophiles. It is a disaster waiting to happen. The question needs to be posed to the Parkdale representative, Councillor Gord Perks, who has publically condoned the all ages promoters – why are you advocating for children and adults to be partying together right next door to your ward which has one of the largest concentrations of registered sex offenders in the city? Who are you really representing? This is about much more than a dance party.”

This guy. This fucking guy. Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti is the reason some people think so poorly of local representation. miredinthegooWhy doesn’t Toronto have more legislative power to decide its future? Because Toronto keeps electing the likes of Giorgio Mammoliti is why. That guy. That fucking guy.

Set aside for the moment how mired in ethical lapses Mammoliti is currently. On trial for campaign finance violations from his 2010 election campaign(s). Allegations of an illegal fundraiser held for him last year. Below market rent on an apartment owned by a developer who does business with the city. Just last week, he had re-election signs up nearly 4 months before the allowed date. The dude simply does not abide. By any rules he finds inconvenient.

Clearly, he doesn’t abide by acceptable methods of debate either. Rolling around in the goo of darkest paranoia, tapping into our worst fears and prejudices, scotfreehe has little compunction tossing around rhetorical pipe bombs just for the sake of it. The sensational sake of it. Giorgio Mammoliti engages in distressingly nasty outbursts of bile because that’s the only way he can get noticed. If there was ever a time in his political life where he contributed positively, it was a long time ago and even then, you’d be hard pressed to point to many examples of it.

Giorgio Mammoliti does what he does because he’s never had to face the consequences of his actions. There are no repercussions for him. Despite delivering up little more than nonsense and malevolent parochialism throughout his nearly quarter of a century — yes, Giorgio Mammoliti has held elected office for almost 25 years, yes, 25 years – he continues to be rewarded by the voters in Ward 7. Nothing could be better for the tenor at City Hall if 2014 was the end of that improbable and destructive run.

Giorgio Mammoliti needs to be chased from office. pitchforkFor the good of Ward 7. For the good of the city.

If you’ve ever needed a reason to become politically active, if you’ve found yourself fed up but unsure of just how to go about making a contribution, find yourself a candidate who is running against Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti this year and donate some time or money or both to help defeat the incumbent on October 27th. You would be doing Toronto a great service.

call to armsly submitted by Cityslikr


Here’s A Better Idea

May 2, 2014

Just how depraved, deranged and defiled has the atmosphere at city council become? And no,  this isn’t about Rob Ford. denofinequityNot directly, at any rate.

In the wake of the mayor’s departure to clean up his act, into the spotlight stepped Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, hoping to maintain the crazy factor. Second to our disgraced mayor, and arguably in the political arena, second to none in terms of being, how do you say it nicely, ethically challenged? Councillor Mammoliti selflessly volunteered to run for mayor on the low tax, looking out for the little guy mandate that Rob Ford was elected on in the event Rob Ford wasn’t able to run himself because of his personal problems.

As of this writing, Councillor Mammoliti is embroiled in a court case over alleged violations of campaign finance laws. There are also questions of below market rent he’s been paying in an apartment owned by a company that does business with the city. Oh yeah. hydraAnd about that possibly illegal $5000-a-table fundraiser thrown for him last year. (Read all the gory details here.)

But whatever.

As long as Councillor Mammoliti promises to keep our taxes low, well, why shouldn’t he be mayor of this city? That’s never turned out badly for us before.

It’s not just Rob Ford. He’s only one head of the hydra at City Hall that spits at good governance and flaunts the rules put in place to ensure integrity and trust are honoured there.

Giorgio Mammoliti as mayor? Voters shrugged that idea off already, back in 2010. In 2014, he needs to be chased from the building for good.

helpfully submitted by Cityslikr


It All Depends On How You Define ‘Respect’

April 24, 2014

This isn’t about Rob Ford (although he’ll think this post is about him, about him). At least, not directly, it isn’t. dimmenIt’s about how we’ve slipped into his skin, donned his way of thinking, his attitude toward government.

Following along yesterday to the monthly proceedings of the Executive Committee, the committee the mayor no longer chairs but remains part of only out of legislative necessity – everyone elected to city council must serve on one standing committee – it all felt so petty and small-minded. Bereft of heft. Lacking in rigour. These are the tiny men of a big institution.

It’s no surprise, really. They all were picked to be there by the mayor before his tumble from the seat of power. Not one to challenge his own preconceptions or belief systems, unLincolnian in assembling a team of rivals, the mayor sought nothing more than to surround himself with fellow boobs and yes-men. The worst and the dimmest.

During the debate over somehow commemorating the 1915 Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire, Councillor Frank Di Giorgio presented a muddled view of history where the Holocaust was fact but South African apartheid was still contested. Or something. badhistoryCouncillor Peter Leon referred to the Armenian genocide as an ‘unfortunate mishap’ which he later upgraded to a ‘horrible atrocity’.

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti moaned about not being paid to have to deal with international issues like European history. He was elected to fill potholes and cut grass, he told the room. If only you would stick to that, Councillor Mammoliti. If only.

Councillor Anthony Perruzza mentioned prosciutto.

But where that item, tabled late in the afternoon when many members of the Executive Committee might’ve been passed their nap time, brought out the dumb, fizzleit was a couple matters earlier in the morning that really saw the collective sparkle fizzle.

A proposed council pay increase, council office budgets and city travel expenses, all the mayor’s bread and butter, led to not so much a healthy debate as regular opportunities to politically grandstand. Protestations of We Are Not Worthy (which is true for many in that room) mixed with talk of gravy and the need for more oversight and micromanaging. Apparently, our city councillors aren’t paid enough to sort out matters on an international scale but don’t make so much money that they can’t waste time looking through colour swatches to find just the right colour at the right price for their office walls.

Of course, there was no way this committee was going to push forward the 12.9% pay increase for council members recommended by the OCG Strategy and Organization Consulting company after surveying 16 Canadian municipalities. puntDespite the fact that, comparatively speaking, our mayor and city councillors are not in the upper echelon of renumeration in terms of their fellow municipal representatives, this is an election year. Nobody’s dumb enough or brazen enough to face the voting public after giving themselves a substantial pay hike.

OK. Maybe Giorgio Mammoliti is. And Frank Di Giorgio might push the wrong button when it came to casting his vote.

It would also be monumentally hypocritical for this group of men to give themselves a raise after nearly 4 years of preaching the gospel of austerity and penny-pinching. What’s good for the goose and all that. They kind of painted themselves into a fiscal corner on this one.

“We can all agree we are well compensated for the job we do,” declared the mayor, mindful I’m sure of his own financial situation as the scion of a wealthy family. In his case, it’s true. Given the job he does, the time he puts into it, I’d argue Mayor Rob Ford is amply compensated, as are many of his colleagues sitting on Executive Committee with him.

livinglargeHow much should the going rate be for bad representation at City Hall?

How much should the going rate be for good representation at City Hall?

I’ve seen how much work the diligent and dedicated city councillors put in on a daily basis. Forget your notions of any 40 hour work week. Double that. On call 7 days a week most weeks of the year. You break their 6 figure salaries down to an hourly rate and I think you’d find a much more modest pay rate.

But because we’ve assumed the anti-public sector stance that the mayor believes so passionately in, any amount is too much. It’s our taxes that pay their bills, we trumpet. Respect, we demand. Why should they be entitled to anything more that we are?miniscule

We’ve willing agreed to travel down the deceptive road of misconception, believing that somehow the taxes we pay at a local level don’t go toward paying for all the useful things we use on a daily basis. We hear that this councillor makes $100, 000 a year in salary, plus perks, and imagine, well, there goes all my money. Straight into the councillor’s already stuffed pocket, so they can jaunt off to some all-expenses trip to somewhere they have absolutely no need to be going to, somewhere I’ll never get to go.

In actual fact, the operations of city council costs us collectively around $20 million a year. Throw in the mayor’s office along with the city clerk, and I’ll generously round it up to $30 million. $30 million, in a $10 billion operating budget. Do that math. .003 Every municipal tax dollar you submit, missthepoint.3% of that goes to our elected officials, and the general operations of their offices and meetings.

So, if you pay $5000 a year in property tax about $15 of that is used for your mayor and city councillor to do their respective jobs. Do that math. $1.25 a month. Less than a nickel a day.

So when the mayor goes on some outraged tirade about all that gravy, pointing to $150,000 in councillor travel expenses (.00000015 of the operating budget, I think) or the not quite $6 million in city staff travel expenses, reach into your pocket and pull out all the change. We no longer use the denomination small enough needed to pay for your portion of that. And then stop to think about how we’re paying someone $170+K a year to fussily focus on saving us that amount of next to nothing.

Then honestly tell me who exactly it is respecting the taxpayers?

generously submitted by Cityslikr


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