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Morning Brew: Rob Ford faces libel trial, night vigil for the Jarvis bike lane, Queen West fire has a hero, broken bins, Underground Cinema for sale, and dangerous poo

Posted by Chris Bateman / November 13, 2012

toronto city hall christmasRob Ford will have to prove he didn't defame George Foulidis when he made controversial comments about the Boardwalk Café owner's lease arrangements during the 2010 mayoral campaign. According to The Star, Ford may be helped by changes to the "fair comment" defense. Former mayor David Miller and councillors Frances Nunziata and Doug Holyday could testify as witnesses in the $6 million suit.

The planned removal of the Jarvis Street bike lane was delayed yesterday after a small sit-in protest prevented work vehicles removing the controversial line separating road and bicycle traffic. Work is scheduled to resume at 10 this morning but more protests are planned. Last night die-hard cyclists held a candlelight vigil at Jarvis and Wellesley.

A man is being hailed a hero after running back into a burning Queen West building yesterday. Pavel Tosiek returned to the fire above a hardware store next to the Cameron House to rescue a trapped roommate after he heard his screams from the street. The cause of the fire isn't known.

Toronto's used and abused plastic street bins are the focus of the Toronto Star's "Fixer" column this week. Apparently, more than a quarter of the pedal-operated receptacles are broken, requiring users to push the slimy flap open by hand.

The Toronto Underground Cinema is up for sale for a cool $1.6 million, almost twice what the current owner paid for the theatre in the basement of a condo building near Queen and Spadina. The rep house ran into financial troubles in 2011 and was forced to close.

Hazardous poop from a community of barn swallows nesting in the rafters of the Toronto Police Marine Unit's boathouse is ruffling a few feathers. Airborne particles from the dried avian droppings can cause a serious fungal infection, but so far no cases have been reported.


Photo: "Approaching" by Joseph.Morris from the blogTO Flickr pool.



G A E / November 13, 2012 at 08:48 am
Bird poop is art. Love.
mike in parkdale / November 13, 2012 at 09:14 am
Those garbage bins were we a bad idea from the start.

They have a smaller opening that the old bins, a lower total volume and are dependent on an easily broken mechanism to function properly. They are a classic case of over design gone wrong. Plus they are much harder to clean out.

The only real advantage I can see is that they are mounted to the ground on a single point, which would make removal (for repairs) easier to do.
steve / November 13, 2012 at 09:14 am
Surprise! Another bright idea from the Miller era is a massive failure. The garbage bins did look nice but didn't last long. It seems that is a story that just keeps repeating itself
Cultosaurus replying to a comment from steve / November 13, 2012 at 09:21 am
Yes, because soooo many aspects of the Miller era were a "massive failure". Stop drinking the Ford Nation kool-aid.
Brie / November 13, 2012 at 09:25 am
Dangerous poo indeed, every park playground specifically says, "No Dogs Allowed", and yet dogs are roaming off-leash in playgrounds, with or without children playing in the same area. Where is the enforcement of this law??? I'm tired of finding poo everywhere and having to second guess letting my child play in the sandbox! Garrison Creek Park and Trinity Bellwoods Park are the worse for dogs and dog owners.
iSkyscraper / November 13, 2012 at 09:42 am
In New York many of the busiest areas have Business Improvement Districts (a concept invented in Toronto, by the way), and the BIDs tend to each brand a simple durable garbage can. There are many varieties, some with ads -- here is an example from Times Square:

This combination of can and local management is the way to handle it.

The only other best-practices solution I've seen are the solar powered compactor bins, which can suck in more volume due to the compacting. Pretty great, common now in many cities:

Astral has not lived up to the contract; the contract should be broken, and one of the above solutions explored.
Jer / November 13, 2012 at 09:46 am
Regarding the garbage bins, I am curious what they do to sort the garbage after. Does it really make sense to have a "Recycling" slot when people don't seem to care and put garbage in the slot anyway. One of my biggest annoyances, why not figure out where your "garbage" is suppose to go.
Al / November 13, 2012 at 09:47 am
I like the new garbage bins. The worst case scenario is that you have to operate the flap with your hand, which is the same as the old ones. Most of the new ones still have working foot pedals. There's nothing wrong with them that can't be fixed by occasional maintenance.
MrPotato replying to a comment from Brie / November 13, 2012 at 09:54 am
Same could be said about parents clogging the sidewalks with their SUV sized strollers, kids crying during my meals and at the movies, kids clogging up the malls with their slow walking, and kids getting their scummy germs on everything! Where is the enforcement by the parents? I'm tired of seeing kids everywhere and having to second guess whether or not I can go out for a shawarma without losing my hearing or catching a cold. The worst is Leslieville and the beaches for kids and kid owners!
McRib / November 13, 2012 at 10:00 am
how about using a metal fucking bin with a bag in it.

Why Astral and city council decided to try and redesign a garbage bin is ridiculous. the finished product is ugly, cheap, and breaks often.

Is Astral on the hook for all repairs? and if so, why are 25% of all the bins broken?

j-rock replying to a comment from MrPotato / November 13, 2012 at 10:14 am
Dog owners vs. overly entitled parents in a battle of most annoying Toronto archetype. I actually belong to one camp, but I won't say which one. FIGHT!
jer replying to a comment from MrPotato / November 13, 2012 at 10:16 am
Except that there are already by-laws about dogs off leash/etc and they aren't enforced nearly enough.
MRS.Potatowillbemine replying to a comment from MrPotato / November 13, 2012 at 10:30 am
what does mrs. potato see in you?
AV replying to a comment from MRS.Potatowillbemine / November 13, 2012 at 10:54 am
Big wang?
JudgePotato / November 13, 2012 at 11:24 am
I'm the judge and you're all going to potato jail!!!!!
potato bird / November 13, 2012 at 11:24 am
dont mind me im just a potato bird flapping around
noooo / November 13, 2012 at 11:36 am
What about the potato bugs??
CanoeDave / November 13, 2012 at 11:39 am
Ford can be called out on a lot of things but speaking out against the Beach's concession contract is not one of them. A 20 year monopoly handed out without public tendering against Staff recommendations stinks to high heaven of corruption and still does. If anything there should be an inquiry into how it happened and the political arm twisting that gave a private corporation closely allied to the local Councilor a contract to gouge the public for a generation when it provided crappy service in the last contract. How on earth can this guy Foulidis sue the Ford for damages when he has the contract to print money for 20 years?
Chris replying to a comment from CanoeDave / November 13, 2012 at 12:23 pm
I hear you. Certainly there are legitimate questions to be asked regarding why the local councillor pushed so hard for a sole-source contract on the concessions for the Beach, especially when it went against staff's own recommendation to seek competitive bids. That he contributed to her campaign certainly seems suspicious. After all, this is the issue that more than any other resulted in her defeat in the last election.

However, its one thing to ask questions about what was going on and suggest that something seems fishy and another thing altogether for Ford, in his usual manner, to loudly and publicly toss out a bunch of accusations of corruption and the like without anything to substantiate them beyond his own suspicions. We all know now that Ford has a tendency to speak first, think later (if he ever does think at all). He routinely states things as "fact", which are more often than not incorrect, or flat out falsehoods - how many times in his career has been caught out for flat out lying?

When you're just Joe Blow, its probably no bid deal. When you're the Mayor, or even a Councillor, your words and conduct do mattter adn there can be consequences - something that Ford refuses to accept, to his continuing detriment.

That's not to say that its a slamdunk for the plaintiff. Its simply to say that there is some basis for bringing forward a legal action. Its hard to argue you haven't been harmed professionally when you're publicly accused of corrupting public officials by an individual who subsequently became the Mayor. Now that he's made those accusations, its on Ford to substantiate them, or he may have to write a cheque to this guy. It is what it is.

Of course, as with any defamation action, truth is an absolute defence.

Chris on Bay St replying to a comment from steve / November 13, 2012 at 01:05 pm
From the City of Toronto website: "It is my pleasure to introduce the prototypes for Toronto's new street furniture program. The sidewalks are where people become Torontonians. The public realm allows us to come together as citizens, residents, and visitors to enjoy, discover and appreciate this wonderful city. The Coordinated Street Furniture program will not only improve, but elevate and celebrate Toronto's urban beauty." - David Miller

Thanks, Miller, for always putting form and facade ahead of functionality!
Khristopher / November 13, 2012 at 01:38 pm
What happened to the other court case with our mayor? The results were supposed to take a few weeks, but it's disappeared...
Alex replying to a comment from MrPotato / November 13, 2012 at 03:06 pm
Because children = dogs ... right. Dogs are just animals, and in a city they're a luxury item for someone to own (unless obviously it's a service pet), not a right.

Ford is so useless. If he thought there was a serious issue with that contract why didn't he do anything about it? Why didn't he try to initiate an investigation or get the ombudsperson(sp?) involved? All he did was yell about it on the radio, which is all he's good at apparently. Since it looks like it really was a case of corruption why hasn't anyone else looked into this?
MrsPotato / November 13, 2012 at 03:26 pm
Obviously we're a kid-free household.
And we keep the economy rolling by saving & spending.


Love you baby!
Chris replying to a comment from Chris on Bay St / November 13, 2012 at 04:20 pm
You guys makes me laugh - our current Mayor, barely halfway into his term, is in court for the 3rd time this year, once again related to his idiotic conduct, and all you're still harping on our former Mayor and some garbage cans - because you know, we NEVER had any problems with the previous garbage receptacles until Miller came along and ruined them, lol. Way to focus on the important things guys.
Nick replying to a comment from Alex / November 13, 2012 at 04:47 pm
What are you smoking? A kid is a luxury item. The reason you have one is because you want it (or screwed up), not because you need it.
Chris on Bay St replying to a comment from Chris / November 13, 2012 at 05:18 pm
We know it's you Adam Vaughan. Shouldn't you be doing some meaningful work to serve your constituents rather than attacking the Mayor on internet comment boards? Or have the Star and Globe finally stopped giving you a forum for your idiotic rants?
Alex replying to a comment from Nick / November 13, 2012 at 07:07 pm
What have I been smoking? Children are the future. Literally. A childless society would die out. If you don't have children and none of your siblings have children then you're basically screwed when you get older.
Gabe / November 13, 2012 at 09:27 pm
RE: JARVIS BIKE LANES (correction to previous post)

Just another 1st world white persons issue. This doesn't really matter with all of the other issues going on in the world an in all of the 2nd and 3rd world countries with really issues. You finally stepped up to the plate and spoke up about something to bad it doesn't really effect much in this world other that the pleasure of your bike ride to work. You can still ride down Jarvis as many have with our without bike lanes...
Steven / November 14, 2012 at 06:03 am
If a car hits a cyclist on Jarvis, it it because the cyclist was stupid sitting on the pavement looking like a dork?

Cyclists, fight city hall if you're angry - not motorists. If you lose, don't whine about it.
potatocycle / November 26, 2012 at 05:00 pm
potato bicycles for sale. they are bicycles made from potatoes. they don't work very well and fall apart pretty easily but you could deep-fry one and eat it.
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