With a shoestring budget, a flurry of flyers (printed on recycled paper, of course) and a growing number of innovative and dedicated supporters, mayoral hopeful Tooker Gomberg's campaign is raging full-speed ahead.
"I'm the first to admit that my chances of winning are pretty slim," says Gomberg, sitting before a captivated group of supporters at his inaugural Free University of Toronto class last Monday night.
Sitting under the fluorescent lights of a U of T classroom, he and his partner, Angela Bischoff, unveil some of their secrets to electoral success in a course called Activist Elections: Just Do It running every Monday evening for five weeks.
"Our campaign is stunt-oriented," says Bischoff, who helped coordinate Gomberg's winning campaign for an Edmonton councillor position in 1992. "Colour and creativity are key."
Once a week, the campaign team -- made up of about 450 volunteers, and growing -- hires a Red Rocket streetcar for a few hours. It drifts along downtown streets to live tunes, opening its doors at regular TTC stops to let unwitting commuters in to participate in political debates.
"People don't know what they're getting into when they step inside," says Gomberg with a cheeky chuckle. "It's like they're slipping into the twilight zone."
Every day before the vote date of November 13, the Tooker Team plans to unveil a new plank to its platform. Last Friday (October 13), he and a group of supporters delivered a blanket to the mayor's office.
"Anyone who takes on the job needs to put the homeless issue at the forefront of their agenda," says Gomberg.
The following Sunday afternoon, he was outside baking bread in Dufferin Grove Park in preparation for World Food Day.
There are about 40 bicycles circuiting the downtown core bearing campaign flags on fishing rods. He claims to have about 700 people on his listserve (firstname.lastname@example.org) and says www.GombergForMayor.org has already taken 200,000 hits.
"It's phenomenal the number of people who keep coming out of the woodwork," says Gomberg, who refers to his election strategy as "guerrilla action."
Direct action for the Gomberg campaign takes place daily, but you have to check his Web site to know where he's going to be.
"We decide the night before what we're going to do -- it's a surprise," says Gomberg. Some of this week's sure sightings? Friday (October 20) outside the Tory convention at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre; and 12:30 pm Sunday (October 22) climbing the CN Tower during the annual United Way Climb.