Meet A Mayoral Candidate XXI

July 16, 2010

It’s Friday and time for another Meet A Mayoral Candidate.

But first, a pop quiz. Which mayoral candidate said the following:

Again we have witnessed a regime taking the easy way out by abusing the poor taxpayer who after this latest tax increase may just have to turn in the keys to their home. Where is the vision in that? Where is the restraint and belt-tightening? Where are the real cuts necessary to combat the foolish and extravagant spending that has been going on far too long under this regime?

A) Rob Ford

B) George Smitherman

C) Rocco Rossi

D) Sarah Thomson

E) None of the above.

If you said ‘E’, none of the above, you are absolutely correct!

These are the words of JP Pampena, the Man With A Vision. (A punning reference to Mr. Pampena being blind for over 30 years after an adverse reaction to penicillin.)

Now maybe it’s people like us who are woefully out of step with the times. Our only tattoo is a single anchor on the forearm that signifies time spent in the merchant marines. We wear our pants over our hips not under (but not as high up as, say, Cary Grant did). And we have no idea who this Seamus O’Regan fella is. So the failure of comprehension could very well be on our part.

But why are there so many candidates out there running for mayor both above and below the sightlines that think the solution to all Toronto’s woes is that it be more like a business? I assume they mean like a successful business as opposed to, say, Eaton’s or the Lehman Brothers. It’s all Canada Inc. Ontario Corp. Toronto and Sons.

JP Pampena takes the idea to its logical extreme. If the city needs money, why not list it on the TSX? That’s right, put Toronto on the stock market. And while we’re at it, toss the TTC on too. I don’t know if it’s ever been tried before but certainly when Mr. Pampena  “…discussed this idea with key people at the TSX and the Toronto Board of Trade…” a number of eyebrows were raised “but overall…received positive support…with many commenting that it is an interesting and intriguing concept that definitely merits further discussion.”

Now who am I to debate economic issues with the likes of the Toronto Stock Exchange or Board of Trade? I have no head for business. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t be writing a blog for free. But if we were to take the city and transit system public, wouldn’t investors start demanding more and more returns? So the city could no longer lose money or even be content to just break even. It would have to start making money. Ooops. There goes that underused bus route. Couldn’t we start charging for all those library books we now just lend. For free?!

For someone who claims to think outside the box Mr. Pampena, executive vice president of JP Public Relations Inc. and a successful entrepreneur who runs four different companies, he winds up sounding an awful lot like most of the front running candidates. Aside from a constant flow of private sector rhetoric, Mr. Pampena views bike lanes on the arterial roads as “boneheaded” and espouses largely unsubstantiated opinions about cycling that could come from the Rocco Rossi camp. “… a recipe for disaster that would punish city drivers with more gridlock and increase safety concerns for all users of the roads…putting bike lanes – segregated or not – on main arterial roads is simply a further attack perpetrated on motorists by car-phobic councilors.”

He’s against road tolls but, interestingly enough, for heated highways. Crime rates have reached such levels in Toronto for Mr. Pampena that he thinks it’s time to call in Curtis Sliwa and the Guardian Angels! Is he still doing that? The last time I saw him, I think he was the right middle square on Whoopi Goldberg’s Hollywood Squares.

“Who better than The Guardian Angels to help improve the safety of our students in the hallways and schoolyards of our schools, especially with their world-renown anti-bullying programs,” states Mr. Pampena.

Who better indeed?!

When we posed our question, If the present mayor would like his legacy to be that of the Transit Mayor, how would a Mayor Pampena like to see his legacy written?, he answered that a Mayor Pampena would like to be remembered as a “pro-taxpayer and pro-business mayor.” So if you don’t find any of the frontrunners pro-business-y or taxpayer-y enough, well JP Pampena may be the candidate for you.

Us? We are clearly out of step here, head tucked down against the prevailing winds. Waiting for the mayoral conversation to open up wider than simply balance sheets and business plans.

dutifully submitted by Cityslikr