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Candidates to watch in Toronto municipal election

Several LGBT-unfriendly candidates face solid challengers

Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti and Mayor Rob Ford at city hall.  Credit: Andrea Houston

Voters citywide will not get the opportunity to vote Rob Ford out of office, thanks to the 11th-hour shenanigans that led to his brother Doug taking his place on the mayoral ballot and Rob shifting back to run in Ward 2 (Etobicoke North).

It almost seems redundant at this point to go over the Ford brothers’ records of homophobia and general unfitness for office. Suffice it to say, voters citywide get the opportunity to can Doug Ford, but it’s up to the voters of Ward 2 to end the Rob Ford saga themselves. Rival Andray Domise is a progressive who’s grabbed attention in the media and online and looks to have the best shot at taking down Rob Ford once and for all.

And the youngest Ford on the ballot, 20-year-old nephew Michael, is running for Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustee in the same ward. No one knows much about Michael Ford, who is refusing interviews. He’s in an eight-way race, along with incumbent John Hastings, who endorsed Sam Sotiropoulos’s motion to ban nudity at the Pride parade and is facing allegations of misspending as trustee. The other sponsor of Sotiropoulos’s motion, Irene Atkinson, is retiring.

Sotiropoulos himself is in a four-way race to retain his Ward 20 seat on the TDSB. Sotiropoulos is notorious for his statements against trans people, against the Pride parade, against gay people and for alleged bullying and intimidation of TDSB staff. No one knows what’ll come next from @TrusteeSam — literally. Less than three weeks before the election, his website still said a platform was “coming soon.”

A chief Ford supporter over the past term of council, Giorgio Mammoliti is another candidate who will hopefully say goodbye. He’s represented the Ward 7 (York West) area since 1990 and his anti-gay record goes back about that far, too. His bizarre antics in recent years have included skulking around the Dyke March with a videocamera, claiming that Parkdale is full of pedophiles and attempting to defund Pride. He was also recently accused of corruption for accepting $80,000 from lobbyists at a fundraiser and receiving below-market rent on an apartment from a developer who does business with the city. Mammoliti’s challengers include Nick DiNizio and Keegan Henry-Mathieu.

Ford ally Mike Del Grande is leaving city council to make a bid for his son John’s former seat on the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB). Neither Mike nor John has been a friend to the LGBT community, but at least this will be one less Del Grande. Voters in TCDSB Ward 6 (Scarborough) have three other candidates to choose from. Just sayin’.

James Pasternak is seeking reelection in Ward 10 (York Centre), after a term in which he distinguished himself by his repeated attempts to defund Pride in order to keep Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from marching in the parade. Pasternak is a walking advertisement for electoral reform, having won in 2010 with only 19 percent of the vote. Five people are running against him.