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Toronto Councillor Mammoliti: A Bully in Our Chambers

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Earlier this year, I appeared before the Civic appointment Committee regarding my application to become a member of the cities Sign Variance Committee.

I was looking forward to being interviewed by the Council members, save Councillor Georgio Mammoliti. I believed I had a fair shot until I found out he was the one asking most of the questions.

Before I appeared before the committee where Mammoliti is the most visible member, I was advised by friends to sound more conservative in order to be successful. I did, and tried my best. It seemed to work until I mistakenly mentioned that I wrote for a now defunct magazine, Sway, owned by the Toronto Star. From then on, I knew my chances were slim.

I felt I was a communist like "them." Them seems to be his mantra.

I forgot how to be a citizen and became a political football without knowing it. I felt I was not practical nor conservative enough. It seemed being thoughtful has become a sin in our local government.

Earlier today, the councillor caused a stir when he discounted an independent report by Toronto's esteemed Ombudsman Fiona Crean. In her report, she found that the appointments to city agencies and boards had been "compromised" by political influence, mostly by Mayor Rob Ford.

In the report that came out last week from the ombudsman, it mentioned how Coun. Mammoliti "verbally lashed out at staff who had forcefully noted that the man he wanted to become chair of the Sign Variance Committee was an executive in a related industry and had an apparent conflict of interest." The councillor bullied him by remarking, "I'm going to get you," to the staff member who dared challenge his authority.

Coun. Mammoliti discounted the finding of the report as "politically motivated" and questioned the mandate of the ombudsman before uttering any direct questions or being specific to her reasoning in his criticism when she appeared before councillors.

The ombudsman insisted her report was not political and that she was tasked with reviewing the actions of city staff, not the mayor or Council. "My investigation did not review the decision of council or the civic appointments committee. I do not have jurisdiction over council," she said.

For Mammoliti -- he has lived a public life that is full of shortcomings for each elected position he has held. In the first months of the Ford administration, he set up a Facebook group to help him find spending cuts and warned, "you must not emit the sour odour of communism" to contribute to the discussion. It seems citizenship is secondary to status and perspectives for constructive discussions on a matter that affects all.

As a public servant, he has advocated ideas that are disturbing at best. For Toronto's financial woes, he has proposed disturbing solutions. Looking at Toronto Island, he has proposed to have it become a red-light district and has called for prostitution to become legal and easily accessible.

Youth crimes? Capital punishment. Made-in-Canada gang members? Deport them.

Earlier today, as he was bullying the Ombudsman, he was asked to apologize. In a heated exchange, Councillor Perks spoke for all of us when he told Councillor Mammoliti, "Shame on you -- get out of this chamber" and called him a "bully."

I hope the electors will pass a correct judgement on him in 2014. We do not need bullies in our city, and our corridors of political power should be no exception.

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