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Morning Brew: Ford vs. Dale day two, Councillors not elephants go to California, residents want electric air-rail link, Ford's war on bikes gets international attention

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 4, 2012

MB Brass BandHoly mackerel - what a day yesterday. The dust is finally settling on Fencegate - the mayor's Press Freedom Day altercation with Star reporter Daniel Dale - and a consensus is forming among reporters about what exactly went down. In an interview yesterday, Dale once again gave his account of the events - claiming he really was out to photograph an area of parkland the mayor is trying to buy. Ford says he feared a peeping tom and took appropriate, though suspiciously OTT, action. This morning, The Star says someone made a call from Dale's cellphone to executive assistant to councilor Maria Augimeri 45 minutes after he dropped it - with a dead battery - in the altercation. This one is getting good.

If you're having a hard time imagining all this, the Star has a handy map and timeline. Elsewhere, The Grid's Edward Keenan calls what transpired in Etobicoke assault. Is this just another Ford sideshow meant to distract us from something else?

In other Toronto Zoo news, Councillors Giorgio Mammoliti and Michelle Berardinetti say they'll be flying to California with zoo staff to help decide whether to send the Markham attraction's three ageing African elephants to a sanctuary. Guys, the elephants are supposed to go - not you.

West end residents are soldiering on with their fight to convert the Air Rail Link between Union and Pearson from diesel to electric trains. According to Torontoist, residents are concerned train emissions will adversely affect the overall health of the neighbourhood before the line is upgraded by Metrolinx after the 2015 Pan-Am Games. The regional transit authority says it can't make the line electric and meet its construction deadline.

Rob Ford's war on bikes (see how that's been turned around?) is now an international topic of conversation thanks to a piece on BBC News' Magazine website highlighting our mayor's history of incendiary rhetoric and bogus bike infrastructure plans. The article includes a video interview with Globe and Mail columnist John Barber on the tensions between cyclists and drivers in what was once the best city in North America for biking (seriously).

In other two-wheeled news, the Toronto Cyclists Union (or whatever they're called now) says car-bike collisions are down 29% on Jarvis Street. What'll happen to that stat when the bike lanes are scrubbed?

And finally, today's Tweet of the Day comes courtesy of Matt Elliott, weighing in on the news of the mysterious phone call made from Daniel Dale's cellphone after it was grabbed by Rob Ford.

There's a perfectly rational explanation for why Daniel Dale's phone was used after Ford took it. And that reason is -- HEY, GET OFF MY LAWN 8 hours ago via Echofon ·  Reply ·  Retweet ·  Favorite · powered by @socialditto


Photo: "Jam Band at College & Yonge" by GregoryIV in the BlogTO Flickr pool.



Fajita Fart / May 4, 2012 at 08:39 am
Being south of Finch, the Zoo is in Scarborough and not Markham.

oh / May 4, 2012 at 08:54 am
When the bike lane on Sherbourne is opened collisons will be down even further as the cyclists will maturely follow the improve infrasture put in place for them. They won't even notice that a high capacity north/south route will have been returned to normal. Thus both cyclists and drivers win
This really is a plan with vision
Fajita Fart replying to a comment from oh / May 4, 2012 at 08:57 am
Sadly, the administration in this City has lost its way and our vision is myopic.
mike in parkdale / May 4, 2012 at 09:07 am
sheesh.... maybe if the plan had been to use electric trains from the very start, they wouldn't have wasted so much time? It almost seems like a stalling tactic.
Aline C / May 4, 2012 at 09:08 am
More Ford/Dale stuff? I don't remember hearing this much coverage when that attempted assassination at the Prime Minister's place in '95; and he was in the house for like an hour!
Neutral / May 4, 2012 at 09:12 am
Rob Ford needs better PR staff. This is spinning out of control and all this crap could have easily been avoided. Don't press charges, you'll only make things worse.
alex replying to a comment from Fajita Fart / May 4, 2012 at 09:15 am
It's blogto, here everything north of eglinton is the gta
chris klimack / May 4, 2012 at 09:18 am
What does Mammoliti and Berardinetti know about proper elephant care? (not a Rob Ford joke). Certainly there's more local things they can direct their attention to instead of flying to California.
Angela / May 4, 2012 at 09:21 am
Are we really to believe that politicians have the skills and knowledge to be able to determine if the sanctuary is appropriate or not? Shouldn't this decision be made at least in part with I don't know, conservationists, biologists, etc? Oh wait. I forgot. In this new age scientists are all evil.
auditorydamage / May 4, 2012 at 09:29 am
The shitshow continues.

There are now *three* alleged plots of land in question. I wish I'd saved the graphic the Star initially posted with Dale's story, because it clearly demarcates the area directly between Ford's home and the west end of the community centre, not the fenced-off area behind his and his neighbour's home.

The TRCA map, included in a PDF linked from the original Star article, really isn't particularly clear. I'm doing a side-by-side comparison with a map from Google, and it's not clear if the highlighted "subject property" is aligned with the land to the east of the Ford home or the home itself; it only demarcates roads and TRCA property, and no private property lines are indicated. It no longer appears the "subject property" on the TRCA map could have applied to the area behind the home, but the original map posted by the Star makes me think this is what Dale thought it referred to at the time, before he travelled there and noticed the angle of the Fords' fence made that impossible. The area that the Star claims Dale thought was the subject property in the map linked above makes no sense, except as a "WTF is going on here?" thought when he discovered the layout and fencing of the area behind the homes.

IOW, Dale probably really was there trying to determine which parcel of TRCA land the Fords wanted to buy, Ford got angry when he was warned of someone back there taking photos around the fence, and completely flipped out when it turned out to be a Star reporter he admittedly recognized, blowing the whole thing up into another Bozo Explosion.

Sure, this *could* all have been avoided with a simple phone call from the Star to Ford or one of his staff prior to the visit, but as we all know the Ford administration doesn't talk to the Star for any reason; if they did, Dale could have called about the purchase itself before going to press with the initial article, Ford wouldn't have lost his temper upon seeing a Star reporter taking pictures of the land behind his fence* in a public area, and this whole stupid incident would never have happened.

This grudge match needs to end, for the good of the city. All of this over a stupid application to buy land for a bigger yard (I don't buy the security claims, given the location of the subject TRCA property and the existing fence already on the Fords' land) that would probably have been rejected anyway.

The Star needs to at least attempt to reach out to the mayor's staff (even if only to be summarily rejected; at least they could say they tried, again and again), Ford desperately needs therapy and assistance gaining control of his temper, and we all need to move on to more important issues.

* It's still possible Dale did get up on those blocks to take photos across the area behind the Fords' home from a higher angle. It's even possible he took shots over the fence. However, if the claim of a call from Dale's BB 45 minutes after abandoning it is true, and no incriminating photos have appeared in the Sun, then I'm inclined to think there's nothing to the allegations of spying over the fence. I'm sure there will be more stupidity to come, though...
auditorydamage replying to a comment from oh / May 4, 2012 at 09:34 am
Right, because cyclists would never have a reason to go on Jarvis ever again. It's not as if they might have homes or businesses to visit along that major road.
Adam replying to a comment from chris klimack / May 4, 2012 at 09:34 am
That's exactly what I was thinking.

Isn't Berardinetti the councillor for that ward? If so, alright, she's got some skin in the game... But what committee is Mammoliti on to warrant this?

There's gotta be something!
marlon / May 4, 2012 at 10:07 am
its fucking hilarious that he used the phone. this essentially means ford rolled some pipsqueak in a public park for his phone and camera. Charges need to be charged. how great would it be to see our mayor doing community service with street punks?
marlon / May 4, 2012 at 10:11 am
also whats with ford always having evidence but always refusing to share it with media? either share the evidence or stfu.
RESPECT replying to a comment from marlon / May 4, 2012 at 10:11 am
I want to know how much this clown show has cost the taxpayers of Toronto.
jer / May 4, 2012 at 10:28 am
I was against removing the centre lane/ and parking and adding the bike lanes but now that it is already there, it seems stupid to revert it back to what it was. There is a lot of added bike infrastructure along that route now (Bixi Stations).

I say don't bother with the Sherbourne lanes and leave things the way they are.
Steam / May 4, 2012 at 10:37 am
I don't think pollution is a good way to argue for electrifiction. There are other benefits and even the dirtiest deisel trains in our city pollute much less than the number of cars that would transport the same amount of people.
John / May 4, 2012 at 10:38 am
Still pushing the Toronto Star's version are we? Is the Star now the owner of this blog or just your ideological brother? The guy was stalking and harrassing the mayor, the Star is desperate to do damage control and is using their bullhorn to do it. They are completely wrong on this, like most things. They need to apologize and ensure this harrassment stops.
skeeter / May 4, 2012 at 10:39 am
Dear media (and now BlogTO), stop using the suffix "gate" to every political scandal. It's been done to death, it's annoying and not clever, and it doesn't even make sense whatsoever when used in a Watergate context. Thank you.
foo replying to a comment from John / May 4, 2012 at 10:49 am
Wow. YOU are hilarious, sir.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from John / May 4, 2012 at 10:50 am
Prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dale was deliberately working to stalk and harrass the mayor. Prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that Dale was on public property with the full intention of taking pictures of the house and family with equipment he didn't have on him. Prove beyond the shadow of a doubt taht Dale's intentions were anything other than what he has stated, that he was trying to gain an understanding of what piece of land it was specifically that Ford put in a request to purchase for the purpose of either a better security fence or a bigger back yard for his kids (he's stated both).
hehehe replying to a comment from Adam / May 4, 2012 at 11:02 am
Mammo and Berardinetti want a little romantic get away to California. Hopefully mammo choices never to come back lol
Tommy / May 4, 2012 at 11:06 am
If the parcel of land was the bit at the back of the property, I could understand Ford's desire for more security. But the report on CTV news shows a HUGE wooden fence at the back of the property, and I can't see security being a concern. More property isn't going to make that fence any more secure - maybe barbed wire.

As it turns out, Ford is trying to buy the street facing property to the east of his house, in front of the community center. This is starting to look like a property grab from Ford, because there is no way this property is necessary to provide security for his children. Maybe he's trying to increase the size of his property for better resale, because his is the smallest on the block.
Occupy Ford's House / May 4, 2012 at 11:20 am
Occupy TO should set up a camp on the vacant land Ford is trying to buy.
Ratpick replying to a comment from Occupy Ford's House / May 4, 2012 at 11:33 am
OccupyTO and the Star should stay the hell away from Ford's house. Hound him at work instead, leave his bizarre home life out of it.

Bothering the man and his family at home risks providing him with a perfect opportunity to look like a victim/hero.
brian / May 4, 2012 at 11:40 am
diesel trains are absolutely ridiculous in this day and age.

we're going to allow the city to mess this up? and eventually replace them = pay for them twice? how do we stop this?
Trevor / May 4, 2012 at 11:43 am
How in the world could you think the Toronto Zoo is in Markham? I mean, if it were in Markham, why would it involve Toronto Council? Yikes!
John / May 4, 2012 at 11:57 am
The property Ford wants is no where near where this stalker was found. Who takes photos with a blackberry? A dead one at that. You believe the little shit because it fits your anti-Ford beliefs. Any impartial person with a functioning brain can see this is a case of the Toronto Star stalking and harrassing the mayor at his home.
D replying to a comment from John / May 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm
You can make all the accusations and insults you want, but unless you can back up your assertions with any evidence, I think it's pretty obvious to everyone who the biased one here is.
Jim / May 4, 2012 at 01:09 pm
So the TORONTO zoo is a Markham attraction? Wow...this is coming from blogTO? How are you even qualified to blog here? Between you and Derek, there isnt an informed opinion on this site. Bunch of monkeys.
STFU replying to a comment from John / May 4, 2012 at 01:19 pm
STFU troll.......
Mark / May 4, 2012 at 01:20 pm
In BlogTo's world, the Toronto Star isn't stalking and harrassing the Mayor and the Toronto Zoo is located in Markham. Bunch of geniuses working here I see.
I see .. / May 4, 2012 at 01:44 pm
... the Ford sockpuppets have showed up to do their master's bidding ...
steve replying to a comment from John / May 4, 2012 at 03:14 pm
who is to believed, an accredited journalist that not changed his story from the first telling or an habitual liar that has yet to give the same version twice.
Is this is stalking then Google maps has stalked everybody int he city.
Walter replying to a comment from Adam / May 4, 2012 at 04:33 pm
Berardinetti is not the councillor for the ward that contains the Zoo. She "covers" Scarborough South-West.

So, your guess is as good as mine why she's getting a trip to LA.
james / May 4, 2012 at 04:35 pm
Watching the Ford supporters blindly defending their fearless leader is hilarious. He lies and his mindless supporters start trumpeting it like fact. "If someone was creeping around in the my backyard in the dark taking pictures of my family I'd do worse than what Ford did!" Cool, most people would. Thing is you morons, that's not what happened.
jen / May 4, 2012 at 05:12 pm
But what of the cinder blocks??? The photos from the night in question (after the reporter ran away) show two blocks nowhere near each other. Photos from the day after show the two blocks stacked together. Who stacked them? Ford? A neighbour? Some crony trying to make Ford's story more plausible? And why on earth would Ford use the reporter's phone? That makes no sense at all.

Also not making sense is why Ford wants to buy the land to the side of his house and not the back, when it would seem that THAT part of the house needs more protection from the supposedly unseemly youth that frequent the park. Or, alternately, why can't he just beef up the existing fence?
James / May 4, 2012 at 07:07 pm
You're right. It's far more plausible that the reporter was standing on cinder blocks taking pictures of Ford and his family inside their house. That is probably the story they were working on. It's unreasonable to believe he was there working on the story that actually involves the public space on which he was standing.
George / May 4, 2012 at 09:02 pm
Rob Ford did not ask for this. He was home minding his own business when the Star came snooping around...that much is true. When people talk about him having anger management issues, let's not forget the root cause of all this. Daniel Dale is a coward and a low-life who was sneaking around. If you were so innocent, Dale why did you run? Why would you stand your ground against Ford if you were so convinced that what you were doing was okay? Obviously he had something to hide. In fact, if Ford really wanted to hit you...let him hit you, and if you REALLY were on public property...Ford would have been in a lot of trouble...and you would have come out of this looking like a martyr...a hero amongst your peers. But nope...Dale acted like a coward and he ran...and probably ran because he knew he was doing something wrong. Shame on you Dale. Shame on you Star.
Pro-Ford Comment Trolls / May 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm
We think it's so awesome that the mayor mugged a guy in a public park!!! I put on my TapOut t-shirt to type this.
RealityCheck / May 5, 2012 at 04:33 pm
Dale's story regarding a public official's efforts to buy public land is legitimate reporting. But his skulking around the mayor's house with a recording device was inappropriate in the extreme. I say that as a former journalist ... and as someone who doesn't like most of what Ford has done. It was completely unnecessary to the story being covered. He was acting in a way that would likely be perceived as suspicious by virtually anyone, especially by an individual who for the record has received at least two death threats since he became Mayor. Yes, he may have been on public land, but it was evening and he was (as Ford's neighbors have said) using a recording device from behind Ford's house... and the land in question was at the SIDE of the house. Did Ford over-react? Maybe... but whether he did or didn't, it's the Star's own actions that have contributed to the erosion of civic discourse which it publicly laments. With this story following so closely on the heels of its KFC expose, the Star seems to have lost all sense of ethical conduct regarding reporting on the Mayor. I think this was a deliberately provocative act that ranks just below the paparazzi chasing Princess Diana into a tunnel. Covering Ford's efforts to buy that land is a worthwhile story. But the Star has crossed the line from covering and reflecting on events to blatantly creating news meant to satisfy its readers appetites for cheap thrills. If I want sleaze, I will pick up the National Enquirer...
Quark replying to a comment from Steam / May 6, 2012 at 11:42 pm
What would really help the 'electric trains for GO Transit' meme is if people supported nuclear power, and the building of newer nuclear plants. Unfortunately, you know how people are about nuclear power...
Mike / May 9, 2012 at 01:29 pm
Re war on bikes: Well it's true, i don't think Torontonians really get a grasp on how prehistoric their attitudes are when it comes to bikes (or runners). It's sad that Toronto's inner-American attitudes couldn't be curbed before international exposure.

I'm Australian and have lived quite a few places, Toronto is by far the most backwards city when it comes to bikes. First Montreal and Vancouver eclipse you, now even most American cities have more "shared" networks and attitudes than Toronto's 1990's USA attitude. Add in comparisons to Europe and Australia and Toronto is easily the most backwards cycling/pedestrian city in the west, fact. You're losing your way and giving into the lowest common denominator fast!
the lemur replying to a comment from Mike / May 11, 2012 at 01:51 pm
It's as much the attitudes as it is the infrastructure. Toronto is actually pretty well-disposed towards cycling but the infrastructure as an overall system is deficient. NYC has some very prominent bike infrastructure, but not really a general network in terms of overall coverage. Some countries in Europe, such as Belgium, have pretty good bike infrastructure but a generally lousy attitude to (urban) cycling.

I don't get the impression that attitudes to bikes and biking are that much better or less car-centric in Australia than here - wasn't there recently an ABC news anchor who suggested on air that when cyclists got doored it was their own fault?
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