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


Our Own Worst Enemy

September 18, 2013

hanghead

*sigh*

No wait. I said I wouldn’t get despondent. No travelling down that gloom route. There’s an upside. There has to be an upside.

[hangs his head]

Nope. Just not feeling it right now. Today’s transit information flow could only be more disheartening if representatives of all three levels of government announced they were getting out of the public transit business altogether and, Oprah-like, everybodygetsacarwere giving us all a car to make up for it.

Actually, I’m not sure that wouldn’t be better news than what we heard today.

The Battle of Subway Press Conferences, pitting Premier Kathleen Wynne on one side, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak on the other. Wow! Two mid-week transit announcements, fighting it out for media supremacy. Must be big news a-coming! Come on, come on. Spill, already!

*sigh*

[hangs head]

The only thing we’re any the wiser about now than we were earlier today is the roster filling out the panel we absolutely don’t fucking need but were told about last week headed by Anne Golden. Now, no disrespect to Ms. Golden or the other members I know of – Paul Bedford, Cherise Burda of the Pembina Institute, Gordon Chong even – I believe you’ll be operating with the best of intentions. But we’ve already heard what you’re going to wind up saying to us. Transit expansion costs money. pissingmatchThat money doesn’t grow on the trees lovingly nurtured by the private sector. The only way to get this done is through taxes, tolls and other sources of revenue that must come straight out of the wallets of us taxpayers.

We know. We know. We’re just hoping somebody has a better idea.

That somebody won’t be PC leader Tim Hudak, if you were wondering.

His press conference was even less necessary than the premier’s. Essentially he strode to the mic to tell us the Liberal’s Scarborough subway was stupid face. The one championed by the TTC chair Karen Stintz and city council back in July was better and that a Queen’s Park ruled by him would fund it through… You all know where this is going right?… finding efficiencies.

How do these people keep a straight face? It’s almost like their sole intention with any of this is to make the public even more cynical and jaded. They know we know they are trying their damndest not to build transit if it means siding with new taxes and tolls. iknowiknowiknowWe know they know we know. But somehow, we keep up this fucking pretense of earnest hope that those we elect as our representatives will actually show some leadership and make the hard choices that need to be taken.

That’s hardly possible, though, when we insist on electing people like Councillor Michelle Berardinetti to city council. It takes some doing to top the bullshit inanity of the provincial transit press conferences but Councillor Berardinetti did her level best to do so.

At issue? High Occupancy Vehicle lanes along Eglinton Avenue East in her ward. Seems they are driving non-HOVers around the bend.

I’ll let the councillor speak for herself. She does wild-eyed, babbling indignation so much better than I do.

“HOV lane’s are designed to drive motorists off the road and all it does is serve to drive motorists insane. It’s not working. You’ve got two lanes that are backed up half a mile and you’ve got one that is completely underused. I think that we should remove them.”

But wait. It gets better.

angrydriver

 “We have one of the worst transit systems in the world.”

“What’s the alternative for drivers right now? To jump on the transit system? The TTC? Are you kidding me? They’re not going to do it because it is a deplorable system.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Michelle Berardinetti. Your councillor for Ward 35, Scarborough Southwest.

Now it would be easy to just lay on the horn and blare away at the quality of our politicians but they are simply doing our bidding. If those we elect are cheap, short-sighted and always on the look out for easy solutions to complex problems, it’s just a sad reflection of ourselves. If our transit is substandard, the system deplorable, there’s nobody to blame for that aside from us. outofmywayYou get what you’re willing to pay for, and recently, well, we haven’t been willing to pay for much.

Aside from one shining moment in our city’s history, from the end of World War II until the 1970s – transit’s greatest generation – it seems Torontonians have always been something of penurious lot, both with our wallets and attitudes toward public transit. It comes natural to us. A 1912 plebiscite to raise funds for a Yonge Street subway was rejected by voters. The late-50s saw court battles over extension of the Bloor-Danforth and University lines.

We want transit that will make Toronto ‘world-class’ (or, a little less grandiosely, make our lives more pleasant) but we don’t want to pay for it, spending inordinate amounts of time bending over backwards trying to figure out ways how not to spend money. No number of expert panels or public consultations will alter that fact. Until we come to grips with our continued cheapness in mind and money, all we’re going to do is what we’ve being doing for the better part of a generation now. Talk about it.

shame

*sigh*

[hangs his head]

sadly submitted by Cityslikr


Credit Not Where It’s Due

July 11, 2013

This is not Mayor Rob Ford’s debt. Don’t give him the credit. He doesn’t want it. dontlookatmeHe doesn’t deserve it.

As was pointed out in at least a couple corners (Matt Elliott here and Rob Granatstein here) yesterday, the Toronto Star’s headline, tagging the mayor with the increase in debt for capital spending was misleading at best, flat out wrong at worst. The city sets out a 10 year plan for capital expenditures which it adjusts annually. Incoming administrations inherit capital plans (and costs) from the preceding one and can only tinker so much with them. Such is the case currently. Mayor Ford took on much of the debt run up by the Miller administration.

AND THERE’S ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

Among other things, the city is getting a new fleet of transit vehicles including much needed streetcars rolling out next year as part of the capital spending that’s lead to the debt. This is neither unusual nor a bad thing. Governments, businesses and individuals rarely purchase big ticket items with cash up front. notthattheresanythingwrongwiththatIt makes no sense to do so especially with things that are going to be used over long periods of time like streetcars.

But almost all government spending is anathema to politicians like Mayor Ford. Debt is a red flag to him, proof positive that the gravy train chugs on and wasteful liberals are out of control. Since becoming mayor, he has done everything in his power to roll back the city’s debt including diverting money from the operating budget to pay off capital purchases outright.

(Everything, that is, outside of ensuring a proper revenue stream. There was a compelling argument as part of Matt’s Twitter stream above that by reducing revenue in the form of freezing property taxes and cutting the VRT, Mayor Ford had, in fact, contributed to the growing debt. moneydownthedrainThat’s not an unfair assessment.)

While certainly there is a bump in the city’s debt load currently, in looking over the various 10 year capital projections, you get a sense of, if not an overall decrease in debt, a definite flat lining of it. I think it’s safe to say that the mayor has successfully wrestled our debt to a stalemate. Done his best to put a lid on it.

Hold your applause, folks.

There’s nothing admirable in the mayor’s approach to debt. There’s nothing even remotely fiscally responsible about it. As was pointed out today in the probably not left leaning magazine, Canadian Business, congestion could be costing the GTA as much as $11 billion a year. Congestion caused by decades and decades of inaction on transit building.

And as was pointed out to us by the undeniably non-partisan storm on Monday evening, our sluggish investment in infrastructure under our streets is costing us millions and millions of dollars as well. “We’re hanging on by a thread,” said our debt-averse mayor in reaction to the damage inflicted by the heavy rains. Shut off your lights and power down your computer. floodTO3Half measures, long after the barn doors’ been kicked from their hinges, called for by a mayor unwilling to spend the money on real solutions.

The truth of the matter is, in his obsessive drive to reduce government to little more than a police force that keeps our roads paved and clear of anything but cars and trucks, Mayor Ford is limiting our chances in dealing with some serious changes that have already arrived while we’ve been pretending not to notice. Councillor Janet Davis pointed out that over a billion dollars was cut in the 10 year capital plan for the city’s Wet Weather Flow Program in this year’s budget.

What’s that you ask?

“Toronto’s Wet Weather Flow Master Plan (WWFMP) is a long-term plan to protect our environment and sustain healthy rivers, streams and other water bodies. And it’s about reducing the adverse effects of wet weather flow, which is runoff generated when it rains or snows.”togridlock

“The adverse effects of wet weather flow…” Ring a bell for anyone whose basement flooded Monday or who hoped to go for a swim in Lake Ontario this weekend before this week’s massive sewage dump? Adverse effects? What adverse effects?

Earlier this year, Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee – the committee that oversees much of the substantial, debt-inducing spending that helps keep the city up and running properly – floated an idea to cap the revenue brought into by the Land Transfer Tax. It was intended to be a compromise between the mayor who wanted the tax eliminated entirely and those councillors who saw it as an important piece of the budget puzzle. The net effect, if it had been adopted by council (it wasn’t), would be to ultimately reduce city revenue.

We’re hanging on by a thread, and our mayor and chair of one of the most important committees in terms of building for the future are busy figuring out ways to generate less money. As if somehow, magically, leaving more money in the pockets of taxpayers will rebuild aging infrastructure and new transit lines and not simply rewrite the formula for inaction that it’s been for decades now.

takecredit

So stop trying to discredit Mayor Ford with our increased in capital debt. It’s none of his doing. He hasn’t earned such praise.

tightly submitted by Cityslikr


Too Far Gone

December 7, 2012

Another Friday, another less than flattering photo making the social media rounds showing fingerinthedikeMayor Ford painting the town red. And then there are rumblings that one of the city’s newspapers is sitting on another mayoral scandal. A non-contested stay granted for the mayor on his conflict of interest conviction pending an appeal; an appeal John McGrath exhaustively assesses and concludes does not look overly strong. News from the Ford For Mayor 2010 campaign finance audit waits ominously in the wings.

Such bad boy/cowboy behaviour would all be so riveting if Rob Ford was, I don’t know, the professional football player he always wanted to be, or a rock star. It would be gripping fodder for the yellow pages of tabloids if he was a member of the royal family. Right proper grist for the infotainment mill.

Unfortunately, he’s the mayor of our city. His Worship and all that. Instead of providing leadership, he’s simply proving to be a major distraction.

And hey, that might not be too great a blow to his own cause, given the news trickling out of this week’s Budget Committee review of the staff’s proposed 2013 operating and capital budgets. badnewseveryoneWhy just today, word emerges of the cuts to the city’s Fire Services. A Swansea Runnymede Road firehouse closed, reduction in trucks to others. It can’t possibly help already worrisome response times in the city. I wonder if Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong plans on alerting insurance companies to that fact, see if they can scare council straight like he did with the plastics lobby and the bag ban.

Councillor Janet Davis has suggested this is the year the city will eliminate some 41,000 shelter beds. A fight is a-brewing over budget reductions for the Toronto Police Services. The Planning Department remains woefully under-staffed. TTC rider subsidies shrink again with another fare increase and a flat-lined budget from council.

This is nothing like the easy finding of efficiencies and gravy that the mayor promised during the campaign in 2010. It is the slash and burn scenario all his opponents promised. No service cuts, guaranteed is a broken pledge much harder to dismiss than any onslaught of personal foibles.

Especially if you can blame those kind of setbacks on others, that ever growing list of far left enemies who’ve spent nearly 3 years now trying to discredit the mayor and nullify his election victory. Mayor Ford’s just trying to do his job, looking out for the little guy and respecting the taxpayers, hediditif only bullies like Adam Vaughan, Gord Perks, Shelley Carroll and their cabal of sore loser whingers in league with unelected and activist judges would stop trying to subvert democracy. Who hasn’t occasionally slipped up and fallen afoul of the rules and regulations? Everybody knows everybody does it. Buried bodies will be unearthed.

The amazing thing is, we wouldn’t accept such shirking of responsibility from a wayward teenager, trying to blame their failing grades on the distraction of classmates. Yet plenty of voices are still willing to give Mayor Ford a pass on his growing pile of transgressions. It’s not his fault but the fault of the fault finders. If a mayor breaks the rules but there’s no one around to see him do it, does he really break the rules?

Every time he digs himself out from under some sad spectacle or sideshow he’s served up, he vows to forge ahead, get on with the job he was elected to do and [fill in meaningless campaign slogan here]. But increasingly, there’s nowhere for him to go. He’s the kid at the back of the room, disrupting class. Teacher! Teacher! Look at me! I don’t have the answer but let me crack wise and make fart noises!

Whatever happens with his appeal in January and a possible by-election as a result of it, it already seems as if we’ve passed the point of no return where redemption seems even beyond a faint hope. Rob Ford has become a punch line not a mayor. overthefallsHis edict from afar to hold the budget line at 0 and keep taxes low is making him no new friends while even once steadfast allies are lining up behind each other to keep their distance from the toxic cloud billowing from his office. It’s hard to see how he can take control back of the wheel at this point.

The question at the end of another roller coaster week is why does Rob Ford even want to try?

wonderingly submitted by Cityslikr