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Morning Brew: Rob Ford's chief of staff to step down, Toronto's private streets, Ward 9 election win called into question, Jays trade Vernon Wells, year-round patios coming to town?

Posted by Derek Flack / January 22, 2011

Cold TorontoNick Kouvalis, the man who is often credited as the architect of Rob Ford's mayoral campaign, is stepping down as the mayor's chief of staff. At some point in the next few weeks, he'll transition to a role in which he spearheads the effort to privatize city garbage services. Rumours of Kouvalis's depature have been swirling for a while, but statements made by both parties yesterday showed no hint of animosity between them. Instead this is the explanation that Kouvalis offered: "It's been fun working with these guys [Rob and Doug Ford] on the campaign. I was never really supposed to be the chief of staff ... I wanted to try it and they needed someone to get them started."

The Post takes a look at private streets in Toronto, unsurprisingly paying particular attention to Wychwood Park. The gated community of some 60 odd homes north of Davenport between Bathurst and Christie contracts out snow removal and road repair with residents paying a fee commensurate with the size of their property and its street frontage. The owner of an average sized home would appear to pay about $600. So here's a question: would you absorb that cost for faster service and to avoid being left high and dry in the event of a strike?

This could be interesting. Ward 9 councillor Maria Augimeri's seat is being challenged by former rival Gus Cusimano, who lost by just 89 votes. Cusimano claims that there were problems with over 400 voting forms filled out on the day of the election, many of which weren't signed. "I've got a problem with the integrity of the system," Cusimano said. "As a candidate, as a voter, everyone expects a fair process. We live in a democratic society here. In this case, the process broke down."

The Blue Jays traded Vernon Wells to Anaheim yesterday in exchange for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera. In moving Wells the Jays lose their highest paid player, but also one of their best. But, to have any hope of signing Jose Bautista to a long term deal, they had to get rid of Wells's contract. There are conflicting reports as to whether the team will carry any of his salary post-trade.


Photo by Still the Oldie in the blogTO Flickr pool.



TR Randolph / January 22, 2011 at 10:13 am
That's so cute. Pretending like baseball still matters enough in Toronto to be newsworthy.
RKMK / January 22, 2011 at 10:19 am
FYI - "private streets in Toronto" link goes to the Star's Augimeri article, not the Post.
Stra replying to a comment from TR Randolph / January 22, 2011 at 10:41 am
actually - that trade is the talk of baseball right now - Vernon was trending #1 on Twitter. The Jays made the heist of a life time. It's newsworthy definitely.
TR Randolph replying to a comment from Stra / January 22, 2011 at 11:33 am
If Twitter was indicative of reality, Rocco Rossi is Toronto's mayor. And I assume Vernon was trending #1 in Canada/North America? Regardless, that doesn't matter, as news outlets simply Tweet in masses their latest headline. The fact is, baseball in Toronto doesn't attract flies and Rogers/Jays have lost money every year since ownership (Jays have been losing money even longer than that). Given Toronto's demographics, that 50% of us born outside of Canada now are no longer forced to consume North American 'entertainment' thanks to satellite/digital cable, Jays' optics look even worse for the future.
Rob replying to a comment from TR Randolph / January 22, 2011 at 11:54 am
Baseball still matters in this town. Just because you aren't interested in it doesn't mean there isn't interest. I guess all the people who showed up to pack Skydome to see Cito retire don't matter nor do the fans who went to Philly to see Doc play.

Baseball in this town certainly has its challenges: horrible ballpark to play in, the team hasn't won since 1993 and there's a lost generation of fans from roughly 1998-2008 because of a number of circumstances which include foreign ownership (Interbrew) and, frankly, J.P. Ricciardi who decided moneyball was the answer to the Jays issues.

Toronto is a major market in baseball and Rogers certainly has the dough to fund the team. What we have here is a fantastic GM who unloaded a contract that handcuffed the team. Now that money can be spent on keeping homegrown players on the team.

In this town we lament why the Maple Leafs, and possibly the Raptors, didn't blow it all up and stick to the plan by drafting and rebuilding. Here we have a team doing it the right way (for once) and now you're going to come along and pretend like your opinion matters because I'm willing to be you're one of those people who are bandwagon jumpers. You're just waiting for the right time to "rediscover" the Jays.

Now, I will agree with you that with immigrants coming in greater numbers to Toronto makes things challenging but if you knew anything about the team you'd know that they've finally brought back the Jays Caravan and travel the entire country to spread the news about the Jays, like they did from their inception until Interbrew bought them. They're actually in Vancouver right now talking to kids across the Vancouver and BC area about Jays baseball and introducing them to the team.

So before you go making some douchebag-y shite comment read a bit about the team and what they're doing and you'll see they're still relevant in this town.
Stra replying to a comment from TR Randolph / January 22, 2011 at 01:55 pm
Jays will do just fine. They have a winning program being fashioned out as I write this care of the new GM. And Rogers will do just fine too - they did just buy that stadium a few years back for pennies on the dollar. Baseball is not just a N.A. phenomenon as you're well aware of I'm sure (unlike hockey to a degree), and if the Jays do well in the coming years (everything points to that being the case), they won't be ignored for much longer. Keep the faith brother.
Aaron / January 22, 2011 at 02:16 pm
Dear Randolph the Red Nosed Jackass,

You have no idea what you're talking about.
Chris Orbz / January 22, 2011 at 03:32 pm
When I went to vote I noticed that everyone in my household was registered twice, a duplication error based on a streetname typo. I very well could've come back later in the day, approached a different staffer and voted again. (I didn't.) When I took my ballot to the electronic reader, as far as I can recall, it only confirmed that it had read a vote. It gave no indication (sensibly, given that it would've been public) as to who I voted for.

So I voted once, could've voted twice, and can't be 100% sure of who I voted for.

Kieran / January 23, 2011 at 01:51 am
Augimeri was also the councillor who claimed that she was attacked by other councillors for voting NO on the PVT. Made a big fuss about it in council. They immediately looked up the minutes which revealed that she had voted YES.

She needs to go.
Todd / January 23, 2011 at 11:34 am
The Jays are not losing money, in fact its quite the opposite. Rogers is not a baseball charity--they are a publicly funded company whose responsibility lies in maximizing shareholder value and holding a portfolio of efficient assets, one of these is the Toronto Blue Jays whose nationally televised games have unbelievable television ratings. The several thousand people who came to see them in Calgary, Vancouver, and Southwestern Ontario the last few weeks on the winter tour suggets the national following of this team is at an unbelievable high.
nippleholic / January 24, 2011 at 05:46 pm
i still find it absurd that someone can be paid $126 million to play what amounts to a recreational activity..
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