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Morning Brew: Doug Ford OK with $7M for by-election, Del Grande says put up or shut up, tolling the Gardiner, Uber taxi gets in trouble, and a boring video

Posted by Chris Bateman / December 6, 2012

toronto financial districtCouncillor Doug Ford says it's worth spending $7 million on a by-election in January if his brother is removed from office. Mayor Rob Ford was granted a stay of removal yesterday by an Ontario Superior Court judge, meaning he'll stay in his job until an appeal can be heard in the new year. "What price do you put on democracy?," he told reporters.

Speaking of an election, councillor Mike Del Grande wants some risk for members of council planning to run for mayor in a by-election. To do that, Del Grande says, councillors should quit their seats to run, and he's willing to put forward a motion to make that happen. "Let's put some skin in the game. And you know what, let's have a byelection for all the positions that may end up being open, not a free ride," he said. Should councillors step down if they want to campaign?

There's new debate about whether the city should cough up $505 million over the next ten years to fix the Gardiner or seriously consider tearing part of it down to cut costs. The budget committee yesterday supported a motion by councillor John Parker to asses the minimum cost of maintaining the stretch east of Jarvis until an environmental assessment is complete.

Councillor Paula Fletcher suggested the elevated highway would be perfect for tolls if the city decides to go ahead with repairs. Do you agree? Should the Gardiner pay for itself?

Taxi company Uber has run into trouble with municipal licensing and standards over its smartphone app that allows users to hail and pay for a cab or limousine without a phone call or cash. Uber doesn't have a dispatcher's license, which the city says is mandatory if it's to send cars to customers.

Metrolinx unveiled its next wave of Big Move projects last week, promising a downtown relief line, an extension of the Yonge line, and bus rapid transit on Dundas West (if it can get the cash). The project now has an easy-to-follow website that explains some of the costs and where the money might come from (namely, tolls or fees.) Take a look.

Legendary Blue Jays' announcer Tom Cheek has been posthumously awarded the Thomas C. Frick award for broadcasting excellence by the Baseball Hall of Fame. Thanks to Reddit user killerbees19, Cheek's most famous moment, his call of the Jays' most recent World Series win, is available here. "Touch 'em all, Joe."

Aside from the astonishing machines involved, subway tunnel boring is, for the most part, boring. That is until the giant earth-carving apparatus bursts out of the dark and into the light of day at the end of a big dig. On Nov. 26, Torkie and Yorkie, two of TTC's preposterously named tunnel carving machines, broke through into an extraction shaft on Keele Street in a rare double exit. Here are the highlights of the action.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "Untitled" by Richard Rhyme in the blogTO Flickr pool.



steve / December 6, 2012 at 08:20 am
Councilors should quit to run for mayor. It only makes sense. If they are campaigning for another job they aren't serving their constituents
L. / December 6, 2012 at 08:46 am
Mike Del Grande is an idiot.
steve replying to a comment from L. / December 6, 2012 at 09:23 am
I think you made a typo. Its spelled "Paula Fletcher"
toooldforthis / December 6, 2012 at 09:44 am
re road tolls on the Gardiner. Makes sense to me. If we're sinking $0.5 Billion into fixing/rebuilding this infrastructure, why not have some element of user-pay to help offset the cost? Why should the cost be borne entirely by the property taxes paid by people and businesses in the City of Toronto, most of whom will not use the rebuilt/fixed Gardiner or use it infreqeuntly?
steveidiot replying to a comment from steve / December 6, 2012 at 10:05 am
You're right he did make a typo. It's spelled "steve"
cathy / December 6, 2012 at 10:14 am
I think the council should appoint an interim mayor until the next election and put the 7 million towards the Gardiner.
Flo replying to a comment from toooldforthis / December 6, 2012 at 10:20 am
How about a personal vehicle tax? I bet that could rake in some good dough.
Al / December 6, 2012 at 10:24 am
Making Councillors quit to run in a by-election plays right into Olivia Chow's hands.
toooldforthis replying to a comment from Flo / December 6, 2012 at 10:32 am
I have no serious objection to that either. Although, the revenue from that ought to be targetted to general funding of road maintenance and infrastructure within the City. The Gardiner is a specific large artery project designed to bring people from Mississauga/Brampton/Oakville/Burlington, etc., into downtown. The user base and the City's property tax base or vehichle registration base do not match up well. Using property tax or vehicle registration tax to pay for it goes after the pockets of the wrong people.
mark replying to a comment from toooldforthis / December 6, 2012 at 10:38 am
Fine, as long as you don't purchase anything or visit any restuarant or bar that gets deliveries from trucks that use the Gardiner. Everyone benefits from the Gardiner, not just car owners.
tugg replying to a comment from Flo / December 6, 2012 at 10:38 am
That's gravy.
Piero / December 6, 2012 at 11:18 am
What's the price tag to run by-elections for seats vacated by Councillors running for mayor? Surely it will jump up significantly from $7M while creating massive instability in council. This is a politically motivated move not one based on sound principles with net positive benefits. We should be making it easier, not harder for quality candidates to run for office.
Parkdalian replying to a comment from L. / December 6, 2012 at 11:36 am
Councillors should be required to resign if they run for another job. Mike Delgrande is the best budget chief in a long time and one of the better councillors around. Of course Adam Vaughn is right up there too. Either should be forced to resign if they want Ford's current job as it would show their commitment to the process. After all they would be endorsing the spending of the $7M of our tax dollars for this fiasco situation.
Jacob replying to a comment from steve / December 6, 2012 at 11:42 am
What about Ford? Even before the judgment was handed down he promised to spend the next two years campaigning. That's not doing your job, either.
toooldforthis replying to a comment from mark / December 6, 2012 at 01:02 pm
Don't worry, that cost of doing business gets passed on to the consumer. If I buy a bunch of things that get trucked in along the Gardiner, I'll be indirectly paying the tolls.
roadtrip / December 6, 2012 at 02:38 pm
If we tolled the Gardiner, would we toll the DVP too?
Mayari / December 6, 2012 at 02:43 pm
Have the left and right margins of this site always been a hyperlink to the top of the page? I keep clicking on it to focus back on the window and it brings me to the top of the article. Pretty annoying.
mar / December 6, 2012 at 03:41 pm
gotta say, I don't like del grande or ford but quitting your seat to run only makes sense
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