Giorgio Mammoliti, City Councillor of Ward 7 (in the Etobicoke Region) has been described as Mayor Rob Ford’s “Quarterback”. Although the two of them were sworn enemies during the Mayoral race, pitted against each other, when Mammoliti realized he was not going to win, he swiftly changed his tune and began backing Ford.
But despite this battle of political will, these two are quite similar in their philosophical approach to city management. Never was this more apparent than Mammoliti’s escapades during the Dyke March back in June, during Pride Week.
Armed with his trusty handy-cam, Mammoliti set out to dish the dirt on the Dyke March, determined to find some smattering of controversy that he could use as leverage against the festivities. What he captured was an anti-Israeli group chanting the controversial phrase “Israeli Apartheid”. His footage was then swiftly uploaded onto YouTube.
To date, Councillor Mammoliti has a colourful track record, even making some US GOP candidates seem PC. He has been published in the Toronto Sun waxing philosophic about how the downtown core is just one big red light district, full of drug traffickers and those in the sex trade. He is now renewing his push to make the Toronto Island a taxable red light district – his reasoning being that there is already a nude beach there.
The Toronto Star recently reported:
Asked if a red-light district would take away from the island’s wholesome family vibe, he [Mammoliti] responded: “I’m not sure how wholesome it is with the whole nude beach,” referring to clothing-optional Hanlan’s Point Beach. “If you look hard enough, you’ll find somebody without pants on.”
So no doubt the Pride festivities are just another thorn in his side, offending his self-righteous family values. But what does this mean for next year? Glen Brown pointed out that, “The Pride festival generates about $130 million in economic activity and about $4 million in tax revenue for the City; however we are aware that some Councillors are prepared to jettison many of the cultural, educational, recreational and health programs that keep Toronto vibrant and healthy. We hope they are in the minority on Council.”
One of the first to capture his foray into amateur journalism was co-city Councillor Shelley Carroll, who took a snap-shot of Mammoliti in full creepiness and the picture was then subsequently published in a print article, to which she was bestowed a photographer’s credit.
“The thing that is most upsetting is that at the point he showed up, the issue had already been resolved, it was over,” Councillor Carroll stated in an interview with The Gaily. “He did not have a case for singling them out. Our policy clearly states that those who receive special events funding have the right of freedom of speech. It had already been resolved and was very upsetting.”
“Mayor Ford [and his allies]”, Councillor Carroll stated, “are alienating a significant portion of the population, and we need to rein him in. You can’t count the number of gay people and then proceed to discount those votes.”
City staff had already determined that the phrase ‘Israeli Apartheid’ in and of itself does not violate the City’s Anti-discrimination policy as it does not impede the provision of services and employment provided directly by Pride or the City to any group on any grounds provided for in the Policy.
Furthermore, City staff reviewed the matter of whether the participation of QUAIA [Queers Against Israeli Apartheid] violates the City’s Anti-Discrimination Policy and determined that the phrase “Israeli Apartheid” does not violate either the Criminal Code or the Human Rights Code (Ontario).
City Councillor Carroll further commented: “I think Mammoliti will go after next year’s funding in a quiet way. The funding for events such as these sits in a basket, The Community Partnership and Investment Program. So he will likely attempt to reduce this drastically. Then they [Ford & Mammoliti] will choose which events they like and go after corporate sponsorship, the Pride event not being one of them.”
But aside from Mayor Ford’s and Mammoliti’s obvious dislike of the gay community, the Mayor and his Quarterback are already thinking ahead of the game. As Councillor Carroll adeptly pointed out, “Rob Ford is likely very cognizant of the fact that World Pride is due to be held in Toronto in 2014, the very same year as his re-election.”
This of course could be a major embarrassment for him, especially because he didn’t show up for Toronto Pride this year.
“We really are at the mercy of one person. The Mayor is now stronger than before,” were Councillor Carroll’s final words on the matter.
The Gaily contacted Mayor Rob Ford’s office and Councillor Mammoliti for comment; the response was deafening silence.