Mammoliti Consults With the (Facebook) Public
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Mammoliti Consults With the (Facebook) Public

Mammoliti’s first post on the Save the City..Support the Ford Administration Facebook group.

You may have missed the memo from the City (so did we), but at about 7 p.m. last night, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West) started a Facebook group, called “Save the City..Support the Ford Administration.” The purpose of the group is, it seems, to consult with Torontonians about what the City should and should not be funding (didn’t we already do this?), and what it should do about issues like homelessness and panhandling.
As of this morning, the group had about 340 members and it’s caught the attention of City Hall watchers, but the vast majority of comments were left by couple dozen individuals. Is this really an exercise in consultation? The group is “open,” in the sense that anyone can view it, but an invitation from a current is needed or your request to join must be approved in order to leave comments (though it seems most, if not all, requests to join are being promptly accepted).
Some threads have attracted measured responses and even good ideas, but the tone of the group has turned nasty at some points. After Mammoliti began a thread with “I would like to know about your views on homelessness and pan handling,” one commenter wrote, “The ‘de Pape’ types with attitude and a refusal to work need a one way ticket out of town. The mentally ill need forced lockup. Those that worked had all their lives and lost everything through no fault of their own, need help.” The thread stretches out well past 100 comments, much of which is back and forth bickering, and if there are constructive ideas for the City to pursue therein, it’ll be a tedious task to pick them out. Another thread, which began as a discussion about police services spending, transitioned into a discussion about threats of sexual assault made against G20 detainees, which led to such illuminated comments as “so what… rape happens every day in jail.” Some members have also complained about posts being deleted.
Mammoliti is correct in saying that not everyone could make it to give deputations at last months mammoth executive committee meeting, but is a Facebook group—where access is initially restricted, where there’s no guarantee comments will be taken seriously or even read at all, and where there is apparently insufficient moderation in place to keep those presenting reasonable ideas from being drowned out by other participants berating and insulting each other—any better?