Dean Blundell and Giorgio Mammoliti chat candidly about crack, heroin, Rob Ford, and whether or not Doug Ford should be mayor.
With Rob Ford in treatment for substance abuse, Raccoon Nation’s regular recaps went on hiatus. After all, where could we find comparable content featuring two loutish loudmouths that would come anywhere close to the Rob and Doug show? And then Dean Blundell did a 49-minute podcast with Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) about Rob Ford’s issues.
So if you can’t afford the $15 to go see Godzilla this weekend, why not enjoy our recap of Mammoliti and shock jock Blundell stomping through Rob Ford’s world instead. Grab your popcorn.
4:00: Mammoliti describes the time he and some other councillors visited a strip club and says they were there doing research on a City Hall issue, and the club was closed at the time—and, lest you think his willingness to visit a closed strip club somehow jeopardizes his sexual orientation, Mammoliti then adds, “I’m heterosexual, and I’m proud of that too.” What a hero.
4:20: Mammoliti now seems to speculate that the press made something of his strip club visit because of some kind of bias against heterosexuality—because they wouldn’t have run the story if he’d gone to a gay bar. Okay, then.
8:00: Mammoliti says he’s known Ford for about 11 or 12 years, although they’ve served on council together for 13 years. He says he didn’t like Ford much at first, which is entirely true. In fact, Mammoliti and Ford didn’t seem to become buddies until Ford started leading in the 2010 mayoral race. It’s funny how that happens.
9:25: Mammoliti: “I don’t know the real Rob Ford, and I say that for a reason. I think he’s been an addict for quite some time.”
11:58: Mammoliti says that when Ford called him a “Gino boy” in March 2002, he was “high on something.” Asked by Blundell what he thinks Ford was on, Mammoliti says, “My view today is that it was consistent to the crack or harder [substances].”
12:40: Mammoliti claims that Mel Lastman told him that in 2002, Ford once cried uncontrollably in the mayor’s office while curled up in the fetal position. When contacted about this claim, Lastman denied this ever happened. It might be worthwhile to mention here that Giorgio Mammoliti can be an unreliable narrator and that his statements should be taken with a grain of salt.
15:30: Mammoliti says he approached the mayor’s then-chief of staff in November 2012, before the story went public, and said that Ford needed to go to rehab—and that this led to his quitting the executive committee. Of course, Mammoliti does not mention that he resigned from the executive after it appeared Ford had been kicked out of office as a result of a conflict of interest and so did not seem to wield much power. So maybe Giorgio Mammoliti is not as altruistic as he portrays himself to be? Just speculating.
18:50: Mammoliti describes a situation in which a constituent of his—who was an addict—called him and tried to sell information for $5,000 about where then-councillor Rob Ford was getting high and how high he tended to get. Mammoliti says he declined to make a deal, because he’s “not that kind of guy.” Worth noting, perhaps, is that in 2003, Giorgio’s son Michael ran against Rob for the Ward 2 council seat before dropping out of the race in September.
19:30: Mammoliti says the individual who tried to sell him this information used crack and heroin and had done drugs in the same room as Ford.
21:10: Now Mammoliti and Blundell are sharing unconfirmed reports they have heard about Renata Ford, Rob’s wife. Our understanding of Canadian libel law is that you can’t say “Hey guys, I’ve heard stories” without doing such things as conducting research, discovering evidence, and acting in the public interest, but hey, we’re not Dean Blundell.
24:00: Blundell asks Mammoliti if Ford is racist. Mammoliti hesitates and then says, “I think the comments he makes are certainly racist”—but he stops short of calling him racist. We might have taken this opportunity to ask a follow-up question along the lines of, “Do you think someone with a consistent pattern of racist remarks is racist?” But, as we have established, we’re not Dean Blundell.
25:00 Mammoliti says that Ford is not knowingly racist, in part because the mayor has limited intelligence and in part because he’s not sober when he says racist things. Blundell is somehow the voice of reason and says those can only work as excuses for so long. “These are some of the most hateful, obnoxious things you can say,” says Blundell, who knows a thing or two about hateful and obnoxious things you can say.
25:30: Mammoliti, on Ford: “Let me just say this based on my own experience: This is a guy who hates his life.” Blundell: “No shit.”
28:00: Mammoliti says he doesn’t think Doug knew everything that was going on with Rob. “I don’t think they thought it was to that degree until it happened publicly.”
35:00: Mammoliti singles out Gord Perks, Janet Davis, and Paula Fletcher because they said that the City should be helping addicts and “gangbangers,” yet they do not feel sympathy for the mayor, whom they want to bury. Of course, he fails to distinguish here between supporting someone on a personal level and politically supporting a mayor who is unfit for his professional responsibilities, but who needs such nuances?
Blundell rejects Mammoliti’s argument, saying:
“But he treated those people like shit. All the names you bring up—he’s treated people like shit. He has disemboweled council with his behaviour, his comments, running people over like he’s the fucking raging bull. He’s lied to everybody. He’s misrepresented and embarrassed the city of Toronto. You can’t blame any of them, really. And I know the human part of you because I know you well enough to say, ‘You know what, give the guy a break’—but we’ve given him breaks for years.”
I’m cheering for Dean Blundell, which makes me feel really queasy.
35:30: Mammoliti says that “If a buddy of his acted the way [Ford] has, he’d call him a dick.” But Mammoliti adds that he won’t call Ford a dick, because that would be unprofessional.
36:30: Mammoliti implies that other members of council are on crack. Professional!
38:40: Mammoliti: “I think he drinks and that’s the only time he can actually socialize and say hello to somebody and feel comfortable. He is in a shell if he’s not under some kind of substance.”
43:45: Mammoliti says that he hopes Doug Ford runs for mayor and that Rob’s brother would have his support if he did. “With the right people around him,” says Mammoliti, “he could be a good leader.”
45:30: Mammoliti explains that despite what he knew about Rob, he had to support him in the 2010 election because 70 per cent of his ward supported Rob Ford. He says, “That’s the politics of it” and add that politics is “stupid” that way. Gee, if only politicians were empowered to make difficult decisions and display leadership for the public good and didn’t always have to listen to the tyranny of the majority. If only there were some kind of representative democracy we could implement—then we could elect courageous and honourable people to make informed and enlightened decisions.
46:30: In case you really need to know, Mammoliti thinks John Tory is becoming “more of a socialist than the rest,” that all Olivia Chow would do is spend money, that Sarah Thomson needs to lose the dreadlocks, and that he doesn’t know who David Soknacki is (joking about his lack of name recognition).
And that’s it. So there was a lot of gossip and innuendo, and Mammo being Mammo. Which was pretty much to be expected given the people involved.
Two Mammoliti thumbs up.
Thanks for reading, and as always, God bless Raccoon Nation.