The top 5 Giorgio Mammoliti controversies
To think city hall would calm down with Rob Ford temporarily out of the picture would be to forget about Giorgio Mammoliti, the councillor who has been trolling the city for close to two decades. His latest headline-grabbing stunt involved some ridiculous remarks about Parkdale, but it's only one incident in a long line of controversies. Originally an NDP member of the Ontario legislature, Mammoliti has gradually shifted to the right, opposing same-sex spousal benefits and backing a series of fringe ideas, including making the Toronto Island a red light district.
In 2010, Mammoliti made a short-lived bid for mayor, in doing so promising to become the architect of a frightening dystopia that would have included sponsored subway routes (think the "McDonald's Subway Line,") an 11 p.m. curfew for children under 14, and armed bylaw enforcement officers.
Here are the top (read: bottom) 5 Giorgio Mammoliti moments to date:
GETS TOPLESS TO PROTEST NUDITY
In May 1999, back when Giorgio Mammoliti was just "George," the councillor for North York--Humber was vehemently opposed to the idea of officially allowing a clothing optional beach at Hanlan's Point, fearing it would lead to rampant public nudity in Toronto. "Today it's a secluded beach, tomorrow it will be the beachfront and then it will be the streets," he said.
City council approved the idea 41-9, but Mammoliti refused to let the vote pass without a spectacle. "After removing his shirt and tie, Mammoliti briefly posed half-naked for television crews before the air-conditioning prompted him to slip a jacket over his bare, hairy chest," the Toronto Star reported. "Mammoliti declined to remove his pants."
TOURS A STRIP CLUB
Mammoliti with fellow community councillors Cesar Palacio and Frank Di Giorgio toured and lunched at the House of Lancaster Gentlemen's Club on the Queensway as part of an "industry facility tour" in 2009. It's not clear what the visit involved, but the trio claimed to have inspected working conditions without watching a show. Cllr. Di Giorgio later reported "everything was OK" inside.
According to the Star, the Mammoliti, Palacio, and Di Giorgio dined from a menu that included items with nightmarish titles like "finger me foods" and "seafood sex platter." The eight other community councillors who were invited declined to attend.
WANTS A RED LIGHT DISTRICT ON THE ISLAND
More than a decade after mounting a bizarre half-naked protest over nude sunbathing at Hanlan's Point, Mammoliti decided that the Toronto Island would, in fact, be the perfect place for a red light district. A long-time supporter of city-regulated brothels, Mammoliti predicted the city sanctioned district would draw in hundreds of millions of dollars in "sin taxes," never mind the loss of the world famous bucolic vibe.
"I'm not sure how wholesome it is with the whole nude beach," he said. "If you look hard enough, you'll find somebody without pants on." The red light district idea also came bundled with a floating casino, because why not.
WINS APPROVAL FOR GIANT FLAGPOLE
Nothing screams "quality tourist destination" like an oversized version of an everyday object, according to Mammoliti, who has been agitating for construction of the largest flagpole in North America since 2010. The 125-foot pole, complete with a massive steel-rimmed Canadian flag, would be the centrepiece of the town square in Emery Village, near Highway 400 and Finch, if only it could be built.
"It waves so slowly," Mammoliti said of the Mexican flagpole that inspired the plan. "You want to cry about how proud we are to be Canadian." The idea received council approval but the project stalled when the city failed to secure the required land.
CALLS PARKDALE A "PAEDOPHILE DISTRICT"
The most recent Mammoliti moment is arguably the most outrageous of the lot. In a news release speaking against all-ages music shows at Exhibition Place, the notorious councillor branded Parkdale a "paedophile district" and a danger to young people attending events at the CNE. Cllr. Gord Perks, who represents Parkdale and has previously come close to blows with Mammoliti, said he wouldn't tolerate the remarks.
"This is about children partying with adults and it is stupid," Mammoliti told CP24, refusing to back down from the statement. "It is absolutely stupid and now that we know that 120 sex offenders live in that area it is even more stupider [sic]." Doug Ford said Mammoliti had "lost his mind," which really is something.
BONUS: GETS CREEPY WITH HIS VIDEO CAMERA
Back in 2011, Mammoliti campaigned hard against the inclusion of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid in official Pride celebrations. Even when that group bowed out of the parade, Giorgio went down to the Dyke March with his video camera in order to catch any QuAIA members breaking their own rules. This mission was not a success.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
Photo by John Tavares