Giorgio Mammoliti is back making headlines with his idea to turn Toronto Island into a big — but most importantly isolated — red light district. Citing the fact that prostitution could produce valuable revenue for the City, the Ward Seven councillor promised that he'd take the issue up with Mayor Rob Ford. Unafraid to offend, one assumes that Mammoliti isn't worried about the optics of proposing to isolate and further stigmatize sex workers even as he positions them as a legitimate source of income.
This isn't the first time he's piqued interest with a wacky idea or statement. In fact, one could argue he rivals the mayor when it comes to controversial headlines. The difference is, however, that Ford is often guilty of verbal gaffes, while for the most part, Mammoliti just has crazy ideas.
Let's take a look at his 10 most quotable moments.
- "I'm not sure how wholesome it is with the whole nude beach. If you look hard enough, you'll find somebody without pants on." — On Hanlan's Point and the idea that Toronto Island is ripe for a red light district (March 2011).
- "In my neighbourhood, prostitution is not wanted. On the island, prostitution is going on in the nude beach." — Ditto.
- "The city of Toronto right now is the biggest pimp in North America." — On the proliferation of massage parlours in Toronto (October 2009).
- "Ours is becoming a city filled with illegal posters. We have to expand the number of enforcement officers and give them some teeth. I am in favour of giving them guns and the power to arrest people.... I think people will stop painting graffiti or putting up posters if the fine is high enough." — On arming bylaw officers with guns to fight graffiti (April 2010).
- "It's an agenda that seems to be taking over so far in this election. Its all about the downtown core and the downtown agenda and the suburubs don't want to continue to subsidize these pet projects. If those that want to ride bikes want to continue to change infrastructure and cost the tax payer $4 million a year, then they should pay for it. The fee itself has to be determined, but I could see a fee of $20 to $30. It's time for those who want to change the look of our roads to actually start paying for it." — On a cycling tax in Toronto (April 2010).
- "I'm telling you very clearly, in your community you have a little bit of a problem, whether you want to admit it or not. At first glance, I can tell you maybe it is the hoops." — On his decision to remove basketball nets from Strathburn Park, where he claimed they attracted troubled youth and drug dealers (November 2008).
- "I never, ever suggested that we roll in tanks or we bring the machine guns in. All I'm saying is use the resources and the legislation that you have at a federal level to deal with the urban terrorism that exists." — Mammoliti clarifies his position on using the army to fight crime in Toronto (February 2009)
- "Emery Village, right now, that is my ultimate goal. That flagpole, that flagpole means so much to me because it's a destination place. It's going to change everything, everything, in this community. It is going to make the livelihood in this community be a lot better, it's going to provide jobs for our kids in our high schools, the work that is going to come out, the restaurants, the boutiques, the coffee shops. With that flagpole, that 50-storey flag pole, we'll attract every tourist into a community that has rarely seen a tourist." — On the importance of a giant flagpole to his ward (October 2009).
- "This is history in the making." — Upon City Council's approval of the Emery Village flagpole.
- "I've made a lot of mistakes in my life as a politician, mistakes I have apologized for politically, which I have done. I don't ignore those. I have taken positions that have been very controversial and that I have had to apologize for. But that comes with the style and if I chose to just sit on the fence and not say anything, then I wouldn't get myself into any trouble either, would I? — On his style of leadership (February 2009).
Photo by Tomasz Bugajski