I started thinking a bit the other day, as I am wont to do sometimes. About why municipal politics catches my interest while, at the same time, I just couldn’t care less about anything beyond that.
I live in Ontario, but other than the way the provincial government’s been hosing the city lately, I don’t follow anything Queen’s Park. Federally, well, who’s our Prime Minister again? Some wet blanket, obviously.
So why do I care? Local politicians may be mouthier than their higher-ups but it’s still politics. Oh yeah, says the brain, there will undoubtedly be rallies and bullhorns and all sortsa shit to complement the summer. Eureka!
Instantly puts a smile on my face. Plus, apparently the local campaign is considerably longer (10 months), than any other level of government, so it tends to attract hardboiled characters. Everything about it just seems feistier, grittier. And I want to be perfectly clear; I definitely DON’T want anyone to be assassinated or even hurt, but wouldn’t an attempt be the coolest thing ever?
The hardboiled characters are in a constant state of flux, which is also a bonus. Back in early January there were 7 potential or confirmed candidates. The one candidate I just knew would take a pummelling was, within a few months, blasted with a scandal. He shuffled off the stage in tears after delivering only half of his resignation speech (hardboiled characters only, Jammers).
The roster of current candidates has grown to 26, with an additional 6 having dropped out. I’ll try to keep it quick, but I suspect I’ll need to draw on it in the future, so this list may be a necessary evil. No particular order.
← Rocco Kusi Achampong; born in Ghana on Christmas day, 31-years-old, had the foresight to provide a profile photo on Wikimedia Commons.
→ Don Andrews; born Vilim Zlomislic, leader of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Party of Canada and unremitting racist.
← George Babula; no public profile, but let’s assume he’s born in Toronto. It would make sense considering George’s “Parkdale Party” is running mostly on a platform of nostalgia.
→ Andrew Barton; I thought Jammers was young! I think Andrew is just doing this for a school project.
← Wendell Brereton; the inner city reverend needs to get a name that’s easier to spell. Excellent headwear and best campaign video yet.
→ Douglas Campbell; another old fuddy-duddy with no online presence, not even a photo. His legacy: “If you vote for a capitalist candidate, you’re voting to kill children.”
← Jaime Castillo; is this how they run things in Peru?! Every single thing on the web page (including the “new plan”) links to the 2003 campaign, now offline. You think you’d have your shit together this time around.
→ Mark Cidade; constantly changing hair style may leave voters anxious. Marxidad is a catchy moniker, and I also speak nerd, but is that enough to win an election?
← Keith Cole; right … fucking … on. If one thing’s sorely missing in municipal politics it’s drag queens. Most direct campaign slogan yet: “Get over it!”
→ Selwyn Firth; hides behind a carefully veiled wall of secrecy and factoids. Facebook profile nearly empty. His kind will take over humanity if not contained. Slogan: “Science should trump emotions.”
← Rob Ford; political heavyweight muscling his way onto Smitherman’s scene (see George Smitherman). He’s a contender. Media connections, dad’s political grease, his own largesse around City Hall – all these add serious weight to his campaign.
→ Baquie Ghazi; obvious name problem aside, why choose to email the platform to some random dude’s blog? If he’s not going to be serious about this…
← Howard Gomberg; how can you not love this guy? Stage experience ranks high on my mayoral skill set, as do improv skills. Keep watching this guy.
→ Monowar Hossain; can’t understand a word you’re saying, my friend! I think I picked up “ruling ideology” in there somewhere, and I appreciate you showing off your diploma, but this is not a great platform to run on.
← John Letonja; misspelling his own site name on his own site makes me dubious of John’s qualifications. But I’d still like to see us “build are own products and manufacture are own goods”.
→ Colin Magee: Tweets need work. That is all.
← Giorgio Mammoliti; did I say he looks like a gangster or what? Giorgio’s another politician who’s been around the block a few times and he’s well supported by “legitimate” business interests.
→ Joseph Pampena; I actually think Joseph’s idea of listing the city on the Toronto Stock Exchange is worth discussing. Let’s see if JP Public Relations Inc. (one client?) can get it out there.
← Joe Pantalone; this is the guy in the current mayor’s butt crack, the Deputy Mayor. I guess he’s pretty well qualified, but won’t everyone just step all over him once he’s mayor?
→ Rocco Rossi; sports a Smithermanesque (see George Smitherman) dome and pretends to be Italian, but lacks a red-meat rage. Lackadaisically high in the polls.
← George Smitherman; Furious George has an interesting back story, apt mix of social awareness, a “fuck you we’re getting it done” attitude, and occasionally resembles Lex Luthor. Front-runner and still my fave to win, even if I didn’t like him.
→ Mark State; resume says born in South Porcupine; okay, good start. Experience includes “Casual Worker”. Good. And “NLP Practitioner”. Interesting. I wasn’t aware that NLP Practitioner was a profession but I’m sure it comes in handy. We’ll call you as soon as we’ve made our decision, Mark.
← Tom Sullivan; he’s busy disseminating his message far and wide. Just not anywhere I can find it. Apparently he exists, that’s all I can say at the moment.
→ Sarah Thomson; Sarah Thomson … Sarah Palin; the coincidences are hard to ignore. Although Mrs. Thomson comes across as carrying more in the attic, her hyper-businessy past doesn’t sit well with me.
← Rata Wadhwa; Rata continues to plug away at his campaign from a very low profile. His 2003 platform of legalized prostitution, pot, free condoms and Viagra, didn’t win him much initial support. Seven years later and his third time around, can this 55-year-old Charlie Chaplin impersonator give the other candidates a run for their money?
→ Sonny Yeung; Sonny describes himself as a “successfully nominated” candidate, probably owing to his “I won’t be an autocrat” left-wing and “I love deregulation” right-wing olive branches. However, Sonny seems unfocused, stating that his “aim is to offer thought and analysis of the whole campaign.” See, I thought it was to become mayor.
I think it’ll be good fun watching these hardboiled candidates crack. I gather that, for a number of them, the campaign is being run for ulterior motives, but for most of them it’s going to be a brutal, sweaty six months. Many won’t make it.
Maybe I’m stuck in my plebeian ways but this is my kind of politics.