Originally a psychologist and community worker he was first elected as a member of the North York city council in 1985 representing the troubled Jane and Finch area. He campaigned for development in the area, including extending the Spadina subway. He also argued that the media was biased against the region, and attempted to set up a fund that would sue for libel any media outlet that spoke negatively of the area.
Prior to the 1993 federal election, Li Preti had sought the Liberal Party nomination in the York Centre riding. However, Liberal leader Jean Chrétien directly appointed Art Eggleton, a former Toronto mayor who did not live in the riding, to run in the seat. Besides Li Preti and his supporters, the appointment was criticized by several high profile Toronto Liberals including Joe Volpe, Dennis Mills, and John Nunziata. Allegations of racism against Italian-Canadians were also levelled. Others questioned Li Preti's charges, pointing out that he had only been a member of the riding association for ten months, and had previously described himself as a New Democratic Party sympathizer. After battling Chrétien in the media and in the courts, Li Preti eventually chose to run as an independent, branding himself an "independent Liberal" using the Liberal colour red, and promising voters he would ask to join the Liberal caucus in Commons if elected. Li Preti came under some criticism for potentially misleading some voters as to his affiliation with the party. Unlike the pro-choice Eggleton, he took a pro-life position opposed to abortion. He emphasized his support for industrial development in many of the CFB Downsview lands in the riding that were being decommissioned. While Li Preti's showing was strong for an independent candidate, he came a distant second to Eggleton in what has often been called one of the safest Liberal ridings in Canada.
Li Preti remained a North York city councillor, and with the merger of Toronto with five of its suburbs, he was elected to the new Toronto City Council in the 1997, 2000 and 2003 elections, despite a strong challenge each time from former NDP Member of Provincial Parliament Anthony Perruzza.
Li Preti sought re-election as Ward 8 Councillor in Toronto's 2006 municipal election. Several incidents occurred during advanced polling on the weekend of November 4-5, 2006, leading to Li Preti and Perruzza accusing each other of dirty campaigning and the breaking of numerous election and criminal laws. Among other claims, each candidate accused staff from the opposing campaign of interfering with elections staff, campaigning illegally at polling locations and intimidating their opponent's voters. No criminal charges were laid by police. However, in a completely unprecedented move, the City of Toronto hired off-duty police officers at a cost of approximately $23,200 to guard all 40 voting locations in the ward on election day to assure that voters remained safe and free from harassment. Li Preti ended up losing to Peruzza by a count of 579 votes.
Note: This list is incomplete.
Downsview Park and City of Toronto Build Partnership with Cricket Community New Cricket Pitch Built in Downsview Park. Inaugural Game September 16
Sep 12, 2006; TORONTO, ONTARIOCCNMatthews - Sept. 12, 2006) - Parc Downsview Park Inc (PDP) in collaboration with Toronto Parks, Forestry and...