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Morning Brew: TTC customer service report, G20 mass court appearances, earthquake crippled government web page, Pattison ads replaced by art, pizza eating contest wows Barrie

Posted by Jerrold Litwinenko / August 23, 2010

ttc customer service reportThe long-anticipated blue ribbon panel report on the state of customer service at the TTC is due to be released today. The document will feature 75 recommendations for improvement and "cultural change" including easily implemented strategies (for example, having the sign on the front of a full bus indicate that it's full) to more complex, long-term overhauls (such as modifications to the hiring practice, to bring in more customer service-oriented people). Councillor Joe Mihevc says that "Torontonians will hear they've been heard," but hopefully this report won't simply be reiteration of what we already have said time and time again, without action.

The circus is back in town this morning. In what is being described as "one of the largest mass court appearances the city has ever seen," over 300 people facing charges stemming from the G20 weekend will all appear in court. Today. All at once and at the same place. Court staff are apparently prepared to handle the hundreds that will descend onto the Finch Avenue court house, but there will likely be logistical challenges. Why the heck would they hold proceedings for all 303 accused at the same time and place? Perhaps most will be processed quickly when charges are dropped? Will it look good or bad to have all the "anarchists" and "activists" herded up one more time for the media cameras?

Remember the rare, rather strong earthquake that shook Toronto back in June? Documents obtained via Access to Information show that the event caused major problems for the government of Canada's Natural Resources'website, which couldn't handle the influx of viewers.

Pattison Outdoor ad pillars and billboards, some of which the legality remains unclear, were the targets of guerrilla activists "Public Ad Campaign," this weekend. Armed with tools and works of art from around the world, a team of 15 activists quickly replaced ads in the downtown core. Comment from advertising company Pattison about the mission -- dubbed the "Toronto Street Advertising Takeover" (TOSAT) -- couldn't be obtained yesterday, although I suspect they'll have something to say (perhaps via the courts) if indeed their pillars and billboards are fully legal and were messed with in such great numbers.

Speaking of ad's a recent urban cool, street-level publicity stunt that managed to create a bit of a traffic snarl on Yonge Street:

And because advertising is everywhere and companies are working extra hard to attract our attention in an ad-heavy world, it makes sense to bring in a champion eater Takeru Kobayashi to Barrie to devour 40 slices of your pizza in 12 minutes. Food eating competitions are pretty disgusting but seem to be a trend gaining steam.

Photo: "St. George station" by asianz, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.



Chino / August 23, 2010 at 08:25 am
That was tight. Any confirmation that it was indeed a Red Bull stunt (as titled on the vid)?
George Smitherman / August 23, 2010 at 08:36 am
That's great! Mayor Miller has made Toronto a wonderful place to do business and showcase skills.
It's unfortunate George Smitherman is running for mayor...He oversaw the billion dollar E-health scandal and has been recovering from an addiction to stimulants (most likely Crystal Meth) for the past few years.
jacob / August 23, 2010 at 08:46 am
Good old Ryan Decenzo, killin it as always. Video was so sweet.
Brian / August 23, 2010 at 09:42 am
Why is there so much negative coverage of ads when they are vital to blogto? (Comment brought to you by Bud Light Lime).

Also, Mad Men was good last night.
mr hate / August 23, 2010 at 10:36 am
Isn't there some site that's tracking/hunting down illegal billboards in Toronto - and didn't that guy discover that 20 -30- 40? % of them are illegal?

If people wanna vandalize those, more power to them.

Ryan L. / August 23, 2010 at 10:56 am
Rami of Illegal signs is an example of an activist doing things the right way (ie, the way that makes a difference). Exposing advertising companies using legal means.

I guarantee you that advertising companies are 100 times more scared of that one man than they are of groups of people vandalizing their signs.

But go ahead, have your fun. Go and stick up a poster of a skull on top of one advertising the latest car or beer, but it won't really have any impact.

I've said time and time again that activists need to take a good look at their methods and if they <i>really</i> want to make a difference, perhaps they should be focusing less on things that are fun to them and more on things that get things done. The contrast between these two different methods of anti advertising (/anti-corporatism) activism is a perfect example of this.
LJ replying to a comment from George Smitherman / August 23, 2010 at 10:59 am
GS, you brought nothing to this conversation.nothing.
can you enlighten us as to what Mayor Miller has done for Toronto for businesses and what skills he brought? i'd like to see some examples. as for GS's past addiction issues, its been said before, to death. move on or don't "contribute" more BS.
hbr / August 23, 2010 at 11:15 am
Isn't it great how the idiots applaud Americans coming to Toronto and telling us how things should be?....going onto privately owned property and plastering up their version of what public visual space validly represents?...If i Choose to paint my house shocking pink is it an activist's job from the US to come here and tell me otherwise?
Um / August 23, 2010 at 11:46 am
Jerrold, are you stupid? That "traffic stunt" obviously had permits. Do you know how many police would have showed up if it was illegal?

Oh right, they were out manhandling innocent left wingers for no reason, so they possibly couldn't have been there anyway.

Take off your tin foil hat and bring this site back to what it used to be.
shannon / August 23, 2010 at 11:56 am
hey no fair Jerrold i want a tin foil hat i hear its the latest craze.
Brian / August 23, 2010 at 12:23 pm
That sounds swell! I want a pirate version. Arrr. Zombie. Vampire. Platypus.
Jerrold replying to a comment from Um / August 23, 2010 at 02:16 pm
What? Did I even say the publicity stunt was without permits or illegal? No, I didn't. Please don't mix my words.
noruhangra replying to a comment from LJ / August 23, 2010 at 02:31 pm
what about green businesses?
James / August 23, 2010 at 04:20 pm
I love that TOSAT decided to "advertise" their own organization along the bottom of the pillars. Plus, the PR tactics that would have been required to get their story in so many of today's papers just drips with irony.
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