Incumbency has its privileges
A member of Mayor David Miller's executive committee, Mammoliti weighed in big time this week, urging the committee to exempt seniors from the unpopular $60-a-year personal vehicle tax, a move that would cost the city about $7 million a year.
While other mayoral aspirants can only speak from the sidelines, Mammoliti was in the spotlight when he called the tax the city's biggest mistake and pleaded for seniors at least to be given a break from it.
His motion lost but his argument received lots of attention and presumably goodwill from the 15 per cent of motorists who happen to be 65 or older.
Less enamoured with Mammoliti were young people who had hoped the committee would support taking money from the new billboard tax, some $10.4 million next year, and give it to the city's important arts and culture sector.
Mammoliti voted against even getting a staff report on the idea.
"Now is not the time for that," he said in a news release the next day. "Until the city can get its books in order and fund what needs to be funded - like infrastructure, the TTC and seniors programs - nobody will get a dime when I'm mayor."
BeautifulCity.ca, the group pushing for arts funding from the billboard tax, urged supporters to contact Mammoliti "and let him know how you feel about using the arts as a punching bag to win votes in the upcoming election."
It was politics, not policy, that was behind Mammoliti's comments, said Devon Ostrom, BeautifulCity.ca spokesperson.
"I think it was a little bit divisive, as far as trying to pit an initiative by young people against the needs of senior citizens in a bid to get votes," Ostrom said. "I think it was a straight-up bid for votes and profile."