2015 Villain: Jim Karygiannis
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2015 Villain: Jim Karygiannis

Nominated for: challenging Rob Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti for the title of biggest council blowhard.

Torontoist is reflecting on 2015 by naming our Heroes and Villains—the people, places, things, and ideas that have had the most positive and negative impacts on the city over the past 12 months. Cast your ballot until midnight on January 7. At noon on January 8, we’ll reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.

Jim Karygiannis by Brett Lamb

When Mike Del Grande announced he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2014, many longtime council watchers felt a sense of relief. Council’s Oscar the Grouch was going to leave, and the feeling was that his successor couldn’t be worse. After Jim Karygiannis was elected, it was clear that optimism was misplaced.

It takes a lot to make the shortlist of worst councillors when the competition includes the likes of Rob Ford (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) and Giorgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West). But Karygiannis, who represented Scarborough—Agincourt for in Parliament for 26 years, quickly proved their equal in all the worst ways.

The rookie councillor proved adept at bullying senior city staff at council meetings, and repeatedly clashed with CEO Andy Byford over the local McNicoll Bus Garage the councillor opposes.

Karygiannis elicited sympathy for Speaker Frances Nunziata (Ward 11, York South-Weston), as he frequently dismissed and ignored her rulings in a condescending manner, causing meetings to halt while the obstinate councillor loudly worked out his opposition to commonly held facts and rules. It does not help that Karygiannis is as unacquainted with city hall’s procedural bylaws as he is with a sense of humility.

Karygiannis also helped turn the Municipal Licensing and Standards Committee on which he sits into a gong show. He raised his voice and wagged his finger at members of the public he disagreed with, behaviour the mayor rightly referred to as a “disgrace.” Aided and abetted by his pal Mammoliti, the two councillors also acted like raccoons to protest the new green bin proposal; our raccoon friends deserve far better.

Karygiannis’ behaviour could not be contained by city hall, either. He followed and confronted an UberX driver in the wild, and intimidated a young woman over her parking job. Karygiannis later claimed he was the victim.

There is a pattern here. Karygiannis appears to be a bloviating, bullying blowhard, and we deserve better. Council’s standards should be higher than that, Ward 39 deserves better representation, and the taxi industry he purports to represents should get itself a better champion.

Come back Mike Del Grande, we miss you.


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