Dear Mayor Tory,
I am writing today to encourage you to remove Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti from the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee.
As you know, this past Tuesday, a cyclist was killed in a collision with a truck at Bloor and St. George. Also on Tuesday, we learned that a cyclist who had been in a collision near High Park, had died of his injuries.
Also on Tuesday, Councillor Mammoliti said, in a meeting of PWIC, “I do not believe bicycles should be on roads at all.”
I believe that with this statement (which you yourself characterized on the record as “outdated” and the sort of thinking that belongs in the 1950s), he has disqualified himself from membership on the committee.
Frankly, I think his many actions and statements over the years have disqualified him from being taken seriously as a city councillor, but the voters of Ward 7 have returned him time and again, and I have chosen to assume they know something I don’t.
Similarly, I had to assume you had your reasons for rewarding the councillor by appointing him to a committee as influential as PWIC. But if it weren’t already painfully clear, it should be by now that there is no room for a councillor of this calibre on such an important file. He is an embarrassment. He is frequently disrespectful towards deputants who, unlike Councillor Mammoliti, are not paid for the time they spend at City Hall.
(One might suggest, in his case, he is being paid for the time he all too frequently doesn’t spend at City Hall.)
His remarks suggest he is not interested in a safer city for cyclists or pedestrians (and I’m anticipating your response that we need a “balanced” approach that also ensures the safety of motorists, and I will point out that I am of the view that if cyclists and pedestrians are both safer and more plentiful, motorists will in turn be safer), and it is hard to imagine him acting as anything other than an impediment to your stated goal of Vision Zero.
Do I think Councillor Mammoliti’s presence on PWIC is the only reason that, in the two short years since you proclaimed a commitment to Vision Zero, the lives of 93 pedestrians and cyclists have been lost? (The trend line suggests that even your original, overly timid, goal of reducing such deaths by 20% over 10 years is nowhere near being fulfilled).
As a matter of fact, no. The committee comprises enough voices hostile to cyclists and pedestrians that it is little wonder few take seriously your “commitment” to Vision Zero and offer the phrase “Zero Vision” as a more apt descriptor. A serious re-think of the composition of this committee in your inevitable second term is definitely in order.
But Councillor Mammoliti is the most egregious. In the absence of tangible, substantive, constructive action to make our streets safer for their most threatened users (and erecting speed limit signs in the absence of a redesign of our roads and/or a review of traffic enforcement is neither tangible, nor substantive, nor constructive), removing him from the committee before the end of this term would at least hold symbolic value.