Mammoliti can really get under a guy’s skin
Councillor George Mammoliti has a unique quality unlike just about any other politician at City Hall: He makes people want to punch him.
And when a weedy type like Councillor Gord Perks, who looks like he couldn’t lick his teeth, ends up nose-to-nose with George, it is proof that he drives people crazy.
Anyone who hasn’t seen the video of Perks confronting George over his statement at city council Wednesday that a report by city Ombudsman Fiona Crean is politically motivated should check it out at once. http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/cityhallpolitics/article/1266202--toronto-council-mammoliti-and-perks-almost-get-in-a-fightI promise it’ll be worth your time.
Crean found that the public appointments process for members of city agencies and boards was compromised by political meddling, mostly from Mayor Rob Ford’s office.
George stood up at council and suggested that Crean’s intention in drawing such a conclusion is less than honorable.
Councillors urged George to apologize. Ever the willful naïf, he kept asking what it is that he’s supposed to apologize for.
He declined to apologize, even after he was threatened with expulsion from the council chamber, and left on his own. But he soon returned to the media area in the chamber and started to expand on his theory to reporters.
Perks spotted him, rushed into the scrum and put the tip of his nose right up to George’s. He jabbed his finger in his face and kept telling him to leave the chamber, that he is a bully who is trying to destroy the public service.
George calmly told Perks to stop touching him or he would be forced to defend himself.
It reminded me of when I was a city hall reporter for The Star and George managed to make me want to assault him.
I wrote stories in 2002 on a construction company that got an untendered city contract to build a kids’ splash pad, with George’s assistance.
One of the councillors who piled on George was Ford, long before he became mayor. In those days, Rob and George were enemies, not the pals of expediency that they are now.
Remember Rob’s “Gino boy” swipe at George? They nearly came to blows over it.
Anyway, George took exception to my stories, and to quotes in them from Ford.
At one point he told me - in front of other people in the council chamber - that I wrote the stories because I was anti-Italian. And then he walked away.
I was livid, not just at the comment, but at his timely evacuation of the danger zone.
In those days, I was a lot more jumped up and charged with testosterone. It was a serious challenge not to chase him down.
I called aside his executive assistant at the time, a good guy named Anthony Cesario, and asked him to pass along a message to George: If he ever said anything like that again, I’d drop him.
I was quite capable of it, and George knew it; he never came near me for months afterward.
I have since made up with George and get along fine with him. It’s a lot easier when you don’t work at city hall.
But I can tell you for sure that he has a special knack for getting under a guy’s skin.