Who is this guy?
Joe Pantalone has worked in the public sector for almost 30 years. He was a Councillor for Metropolitan Toronto back when that meant something different than just "Toronto" and has been at City Hall consistently since he first became an alderman in1980. He made an unsuccessful run for Provincial office in 1987, running as the NDP candidate for Fort York. He served as the lefty voice (of reason?) regarding budget issues during the reign of Mel Lastman and was one of three Deputy Mayors appointed by David Miller in 2003. Since 2006, Joey Pants has been the only person to hold that position.
Which way does he swing?
If his run for the provincial NDP and his appointment by David Miller didn't give it away, Joe bats left.
What's his deal?
It's pretty easy to pass Joe off as "Miller Lite," if only because it's fun to say and it actually is a beer. But also because he seems to naturally agree with virtually everything his outgoing boss has done and wants to continue in the left friendly footsteps of his predecessor. As a guy who was deputy mayor during it's invention, Pantalone is obviously all for Transit City, so you could count him among Rossi as one of the two candidates that is actually showing a drawn out plan for transit (whether you like those plans or not).
He is also probably the most aggressively pro-bicycle candidate and has taken other candidates to task over their stupid comments about bike lanes (don't link to Rob Ford, don't link to Rob Ford...ah, shit I have to!), a stance that is consistent with Joe as the "green candidate." As deputy mayor, Pantalone pioneered the position of "Tree Advocate" a position that "continues to plant tens of thousands of new trees in Toronto yearly," also, according to his page on City Hall's website, "Joe has been a leader in Toronto's efforts to become North America's leader in implementing best practices in environmental sustainability."
Apparently Pantalone is also responsible for the continent's only Green Roof plan (I haven't seen any around town though, have you?) and is responsible for the first urban windmill.
Part of his pitch also seems to be about extending the feeling of "community" in Toronto, which he'll do, in part by inventing the Toronto Order of Community Excellence and increasing support to arts and culture.
The Real Johnson
I think Joey Pants is a cute little man. Look at him. It's like if Santa had an NDP elf. He just seems like a nice little guy.
Unfortunately, like yesterday's entry, Rocco Rossi, nobody is really expecting Joe, nice or not, to win this thing. At time of this posting, most polls have him sitting in fourth place, and some (probably those conducted by her staff) have him even behind Sarah Thomson.
I think the problem is that he's too much associated with Miller, and right now people are tending to focus on the bad stuff Miller was responsible for (i.e. spending). The difficulty for Joe is going to be dissociating himself from the stuff that's driving upset (and dumb) taxpayers away from Miller-style politics to Rob Ford's camp. Joey Pants is trying to do this essentially by echoing his old boss' sentiments, namely: Blame McGuinty.
The common refrain from Miller's city hall was that city deficits are due mainly to the province uploading services on municipalities and yanking promised funding for transit.
While Pantalone is right (at least in my opinion), his message doesn't seem to be hitting home. He is promising a line-by-line review of city budgets, likening the process to that of a surgeon. While his careful consideration may be logical, elections are about showy "Stop the gravy train!" bullshit, and this is never more true than when the voters are upset with the last guy's methods. The surgeon's scalpel, while effective, doesn't play as well in the sticks as the swinging, sweaty wrecking ball that is Rob Ford.
He also promises to take McGuinty and other more senior government to task, starting with demanding the funding for Transit City, but if it didn't work for Miller, I think people know it won't work for Pantalone.
I like Joe, I like his stance on the environment and I think he has good ideas (if a little wishy-washy from time to time) and I wouldn't be unhappy with Joe Pantalone as my mayor. Unfortunately, with Joey Pants way down in the polls and that lumbering asshole behemoth Rob Ford leading the polls, I don't think I can spare my vote Joe. Sorry little guy!
Tomorrow: Sarah Thomson
I'm by no means an expert on this candidate and I don't claim my research was completely exhaustive. Have you got some info on Joe Pantalone that I missed or an opinion you'd like to share? That's what the comments section is for...