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Morning Brew: Stintz hits back at Ford over newsstand deal, Ana Bailao pleads guilty, Las Vegas Sands pitches casino, TTC names its new carhouse, and paying cyclists

Posted by Chris Bateman / January 29, 2013

toronto stairsTTC chair Karen Stintz says Rob Ford doesn't understand the sole-sourced newsstand contract the Commission awarded to Tobmar Investments International. Ford and his brother used a portion of their radio show Sunday to sound off on the 10-year, $50-million deal, calling it "appalling." Toronto's transit provider decided to accept a lucrative contract extension with the existing newsstand operator without seeking competitive bids. Was the TTC right?

The Star's Christopher Hume is calling the contract a missed opportunity to revamp an "invisible" TTC asset into something more attractive to riders. Is he right?

In a tearful press conference, councillor Ana Bailao announced she has pleaded guilty to drunk driving yesterday after initially saying she would protest her innocence. Bailao said her blood-alcohol level was 0.13, almost twice the legal limit of 0.08, when she was pulled over in October near Bathurst and Harbord Sts. Bailao had her license suspended for a year and fined $1,000. The Ward 18 rep will keep her position on city council. Is that the right decision?

The president of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation thinks the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is the best place for an "integrated resort" that comprises a casino, convention centre, and entertainment venue. Speaking before the Economic Club of Canada, Michael Leven said a revamped MTCC would attract world-class conventions and be "fun." Do you care which company runs the Toronto casino?

The TTC's new carhouse at Lake Shore Blvd. E and Leslie finally has a name. The Leslie Barns - not Leslie Barn or Ashbridges Bay Barns as was previously thought - will be complete in 2014 and house Toronto's new LRV streetcars. A short piece of connecting track will run up Leslie to Queen, connecting the new barn with the existing network.

St. Clair Ave. had a fiery awakening yesterday when an underground electrical transformer gave up the ghost in spectacular, smoking fashion. Several office buildings and a nearby school were closed due to a thick plume of smoke emanating from a manhole. As of last night some homes in the area were still without power.

And finally, one Toronto company is paying its staff to ride a bike to work. Consultants at Bursting Silver are allowed to bill the company $1 per kilometre for travel made on a bike compared to 50 cents for trips made in a car. The company's founder says it helps keep staff happy and fit and also saves clients money. Good idea?


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

Photo: "121025 Neighbourhood Walk 034" by Aben and Xiao Mei/blogTO Flickr pool.



Nick / January 29, 2013 at 08:22 am
Paying employees to take alternative forms of transit is nothing new. Check out Smart Commute ( The company I work for pays people to bike to work and also pays carpool drivers ($5/passenger) and give them preferred parking spots. Other companies have subsidized transit etc.
James / January 29, 2013 at 08:29 am
This Ana Bailao is nothing short of ridiculous.

For weeks on end she proclaims her innocence. "No, I didn't drive drunk and I will continue to fight and blah blah blah."

She then pleads guilty, and has the drunk driving charge dropped, while also retaining her position? What kind of nonsense is that? The woman is an embarrassment to not only her constituency, but Toronto itself.
vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 08:29 am
Bailao is a good councillor, who cares if she drinks and drives!
glenn storey replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 08:41 am
normally i agree with you vampchick, but this time you're just flat out wrong. i think pretty much everybody cares if she d.w.i.'s, and so should you. this is worse than robby's reading and driving incident by far, much as it pains me to say so.
iSkyscraper / January 29, 2013 at 08:42 am
The TTC knows how to keep old buses, subways and streetcars running, I'll give them that. Nobody knows how to do more with less when it comes to ancient and overtaxed transit infrastructure. They are the continental experts on streetcar track work and rightly so.

But they are hopelessly incompetent at everything outside of vehicle maintenance. Fare collection, cleaning, security, general HR, customer service, transit museums, transit shops, retail operations, development of property, etc. All of these should be handed off to a smarter agency to run. The problem is, who? Can we get London Transport or Singapore MRT to take an interest in Toronto the way airport operators are now international?
Jimbo replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / January 29, 2013 at 08:56 am
Having a transit museum falls under the same category as cleaning, fare collection and everything else?

Geez. I really hope they get their transit museum up to standards. I don't think I can ride public transit for a company who doesn't have a good museum!
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Jimbo / January 29, 2013 at 09:11 am
Actually Jimbo operating a decent museum is a pretty good proxy for an agency that has its shit together. (I suspect you have never lived in New York or London.) I could have just as easily said "graphics". The point remains the same -- someone else needs to run everything outside of the actual vehicles.
DL replying to a comment from James / January 29, 2013 at 09:20 am
At least she's not a mayor with a DUI. Oh...

Bailao's one of the more community-focused councillors we have. Yeah she screwed up. So what. She still serves her community well.
DL replying to a comment from glenn storey / January 29, 2013 at 09:21 am
Yup, anybody who drives under the slightest hint of intoxication is an awful human being who should be banned from doing any good for the rest of their lives.

DL replying to a comment from glenn storey / January 29, 2013 at 09:23 am
Chris Hume is by far the most annoying journalist in Toronto. Seriously, he takes an issue that is more about dollars and cents than service, and makes it about service. What does he want, boutiques in tiny subway concourses? They're newsstands, they are exactly what they sound like.
the lemur replying to a comment from DL / January 29, 2013 at 09:35 am
'What does he want, boutiques in tiny subway concourses?'

Hume: 'Not that anyone expects underground boutiques and pop-ups, but surely these shops could be a little more interesting, imaginative and appealing to commuters'

The outfit running the newstands has no incentive to offer anything interesting or even convenient or different from one location to another. It IS more about dollars and cents, but it's emblematic of the cheap-out approach used by the TTC and by sole-source contract holders (see also the TTC merchandising deal).
the lemur replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / January 29, 2013 at 09:39 am
Exactly. Running a decent transit museum might be (should be!) way down the TTC's list of priorities, but it would be part of an overall improved approach to the non-vehicle side of things. TfL has done an amazing job but the closest the TTC can get is having a guy who used to work for TfL on staff.

All those aspects you mentioned currently suffer from the TTC's indifferent attitude: that's not our job, we've always done it this way, we're not interested because it's not our idea, etc.
Chris replying to a comment from DL / January 29, 2013 at 09:47 am
"Yeah she screwed up. So what. She still serves her community well."

"Bailao is a good councillor, who cares if she drinks and drives!"

I find this unbelieveable, especially from posters on this board. Would you be so forgiving if it were Ford? Keep in mind that plenty of people in this City believe he does lots of good for his community, particularly when he was a councillor. Ask yourself honestly if you'd be so cavalier if it were Ford who just "screwed up" - who are we kidding, we all know the answer to that.

I'm not a member of "Ford Nation" by any means, but this kind of hypocrisy absolutely galls me. The message you're sending is, in essence, breaking the law is ok as long as you're a councillor we like. Sorry, but that position absolutely discredits you both.

Now, I'm not offering an opinion as to whether she should resign or not, but keep in mind her first reaction was deny that sge was intoxicated and claim she would fight it to the end - its only several months later that she finally owned up to it - presumably after disclosure was made and it was clear to her she wouldn't have much of a case. That behaviour sound familiar? Its the very same behaviour Ford routinely gets chastised for, and how many times on this board do people get accused of being trolls for using the very same language to defend Ford?

Keep that in mind as you're so casually dismissive of a DWI offence in which she blew almost double the legal limit.

cathy replying to a comment from Chris / January 29, 2013 at 10:08 am
While I don't expect Rob Ford's job to be affected by his driving I *do* think he doesn't suffer any consequences. Bailao got her license suspended and fined. What happens to Ford when he breaks the law? Nothing. I haven't heard anyone suggest he get fired for reading on the highway, but everyone seemed pretty ticked that the police brushed it off.

I have no problem with her denying that she did anything wrong before the trial because that's usually what people are advised to do. She doesn't have to incriminate herself. I don't expect public servants to be perfect, but I do expect them to be willing to learn from their mistakes. Ford never does. I guess we'll see with Bailao.
Rob / January 29, 2013 at 10:19 am
If you drive drunk, you're an asshole. I've yet to see an argument that shoots this basic point down.

She even lives downtown. She makes six figures. Too cheap for a cab? Too special to walk?

Either way, it's over now. We'll forget about this the next time someone we don't like does something similar.
Grant replying to a comment from Chris / January 29, 2013 at 10:22 am
Chris wrote "Would you be so forgiving if it were Ford?"

What do you mean "if"? Rob Ford has a DUI conviction too.
Realist (mostly) / January 29, 2013 at 10:27 am
Actually, she could have said she wasn't going to comment on an ongoing legal issue. Would that be evasive? Yes. Is it better than lying about it and then pleading guilty? Also yes.
glenn storey replying to a comment from DL / January 29, 2013 at 10:29 am
i said nothing about chris hume, but if you think he's more annoying than sue ann levy, than i suggest that you aren't paying attention.
K. / January 29, 2013 at 10:32 am
I hope Bailao is also banned from expensing her Taxi costs, otherwise Toronto tax payers are going to pay for a good chunk of her DUI.
the lemur replying to a comment from Rob / January 29, 2013 at 10:33 am
She apparently wasn't too cheap for a cab to take her TO her car.

It would be great if the one-year suspension gave her a new appreciation of cycling/transit issues, but she'll probably just get a family member to drive her.
McRib replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 10:53 am
is she a good councilor though? she's flip-flopped on a number of initiatives, including first voting for and then voting against the Jarvis bike lane, after telling her constituents that she would not vote to remove it.

she's also now a drunk driver and should not be defended.
McRib replying to a comment from DL / January 29, 2013 at 10:56 am
slightest hint? she was nearly double over the legal limit.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from glenn storey / January 29, 2013 at 11:29 am
That wasn't me posting that. That was one of the friendly neighbourhood BlogTO trolls using my name. I suspect a couple that I recently had a back and forth with.
Chris replying to a comment from Grant / January 29, 2013 at 11:29 am
Thanks Grant - I'm well aware of that, but it happened before he was in office, so it wouldn't make sense for him to resign on that basis, as is being suggested for Bailo.

My point was that DL and vampchick's casual dismissal of Bailo's DWI, on the basis that she's a "good councillor" reeks of hypocrisy, considering that this board has absolutely pilloried Ford over his various "errors in judgement" and lamented the fact that he doesn't appear to suffer any consequences, either legal or political for his various follies (and I count myself amongst those who have taken part in that). Ford's most common tactic is to deny, deny, deny, and only when confronted with overwhelming evidence that he in fact did what he was accused of doing, does he admit it, even grudgingly.

In this case, Bailo did the same thing - she denied she was drunk. She held a pathetic news conference with a bunch of weaselly councillors on both sides standing in support and insisted she would fight it, and only when it apparently became clear that she wouldn't win, did she suddenly develop a conscience and own up to it and plead guilty.

So, why is it that we accept that behaviour from Bailo, but not from Ford? If we are of the view that these character traits are part of what makes Ford so ill-suited to be Mayor, then why be so forgiving of Bailo for doing the same thing? That is the hypocrisy I was pointing out.

Alex replying to a comment from the lemur / January 29, 2013 at 11:30 am
I like the newsstands. They have very little space but offer pretty much everything you'd expect from a little in-transit store: magazines and food. I don't understand what else they could sell that would be useful. They charge a lot more than anywhere else because they pay such high rents to be there, so the only stuff people buy would be things you need right away and can't wait to leave the subway for (e.g. a quick bite, a magazine/paper to read on the train, etc.).

I rarely agree with Hume though, he generally likes to complain without offering any actual ideas. In this article he says the newsstands should offer more to consumers, but doesn't have any suggestion to what else people would want. Plus he says most of the time they're closed, which is just wrong so I guess he doesn't even take the TTC that often.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from McRib / January 29, 2013 at 11:31 am
Again. That comment was not from me, I don't even live in her Ward, I'm in Perks' ward. That comment was posted by a troll using my name. I am against all drunk driving, no matter who is behind the wheel.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 11:34 am
I should point out, I don't know if she is a good councillor or not, she's not my councillor. And again, I never made the comment prasing her under my name. I am against all drunk driving, period.

crc / January 29, 2013 at 11:43 am
One of the problems is that the penalty for driving with nearly double the legal limit is nothing. One year suspension? How about some legislation with some teeth? Criminal record? 360 day impound? Lifetime suspension? Maybe people will think twice about driving drunk.
Ben / January 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm
I live in the ward she represents, and I'm not comfortable being represented by someone with poor enough judgment that they would choose to drink and drive.
Jacob / January 29, 2013 at 12:28 pm
Regarding Ford: As the holder of the highest office in the city, he's set the bar very, very low for expected behaviour from an elected official.

If the Mayor, who is supposed to be a role model, can drive while intoxicated, drive while on the phone, drive while reading, drive while giving rude gestures to children, drive past open streetcar doors, and suffer no consequences whatsoever, you shouldn't be surprised if others start misbehaving too.
Curtis / January 29, 2013 at 01:06 pm
Ana Bailao was out drinking with casino lobbyists.

Ana Bailao was out drinking with casino lobbyists.

Ana Bailao was out drinking with casino lobbyists.

And then drove drunk. And then lied about it at a press conference where she was flanked by supportive gullible colleagues. Drunk or sober, her judgement is impaired.

glenn storey replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 01:20 pm
i apologize to the real vampchick. fake vampchick is a douche.
BR / January 29, 2013 at 01:21 pm
Stintzs' tactic of putting the spotlight back on Ford seems to be working judging by most of the chicken littles commenting. Let's see some bids like any other profitable company seeks!!
Daniel / January 29, 2013 at 01:28 pm
Bailao is Portuguese (like me)...we are always drunked.

steve replying to a comment from BR / January 29, 2013 at 01:54 pm
We can start by asking Ford to that.
DL replying to a comment from the lemur / January 29, 2013 at 02:01 pm
I know he said that in the article. I was being ironic because he doesn't offer an alternative. Just criticizes, like always. He then proceeds to claim that $1.5m to spend on reno'ing 67 stores (are there really only 2 subway stn's without stores inside?), which amounts to over $22,000 per store, isn't enough. What more are you going to put in a damn newsstand that costs more than $22,000?
DL replying to a comment from Chris / January 29, 2013 at 02:02 pm
Ford did get a DUI. He just wasn't mayor yet.

I wouldn't care. I don't believe things like this determine whether or not a person is fit to represent the masses.
DL replying to a comment from glenn storey / January 29, 2013 at 02:03 pm
The "replying to" button stayed checked for some reason.

Sue Ann's close.
DL replying to a comment from McRib / January 29, 2013 at 02:07 pm
She was .13, which would be .05 over the limit. Which is half of double. And in the grand scheme of things, probably is barely noticible. A second beer. But, alas, the law is the law.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 02:30 pm
sorry that was the troll posting, using my name.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 02:31 pm
Perks is a lousy Councillor!
vampchick21 replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 02:37 pm
Notahipster, fuck off. Try growing up. you got a bone to pick with me, then pick it like a man with a set of balls. Post what you have to say to me under your own damn name. Or fuck off. Either or.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 02:45 pm
quit stealing my nick, and grow up!
vampchick21 replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 02:49 pm
Seriously? This is seriously how you 'get back' at someone? Do you wear the mask of your current bully and run around the playground with your pants down too? Come on notahipster, let your testicles descend and post like a big boy.
vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 02:51 pm
Don't mind me, the rain makes me very moody. I apologize for my behaviour.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 02:53 pm
I guess you're too much of a chickenshit to post like a real man notahipster. Go back to your crumbling suburb.
vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 02:55 pm
Well I am done messing with this troll, I think I am going to eat some pickles and cottage cheese, be back later! Have fun troll!
Jacob / January 29, 2013 at 02:57 pm
Maybe it's time for BlogTO to tie comments into a system that doesn't allow duplicated names...
vampchick21 replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 02:57 pm
Surprised you can afford pickles and cottage cheese there notahipster. Food costs money and you're too stupid to hold a job.
Gumby / January 29, 2013 at 03:50 pm
It's the internet children. WHO FUCKING CARES!!??!!
vampchick21 replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 03:50 pm
come on troll no need, to be so nasty. You are not doing a very good job being a troll.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from Gumby / January 29, 2013 at 03:58 pm
Apparently notahipster cares. Cares so deeply he's gonna start a campaign! :)
Me replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 04:23 pm
I may not agree with you many times but still, it's just the internet. Besides you have as much a right to an opinion as I or anyone else does whether we agree or not. Maybe he forgot his meds today? Cheers!
vampchick21 / January 29, 2013 at 04:26 pm
Yeah i wish that troll would grow up!
realityCheck / January 29, 2013 at 04:54 pm
I'm not buying what Stintz is selling regarding the newstand monopoly...and I'm not a Ford supporter. While I do accept there are situations in which sole sourcing might make sense, she has not presented a well-reasoned argument that this is one of them. I'm wondering if, a few months from now, she will be flipflopping on this issue... as is her habit.
Manny / January 29, 2013 at 07:56 pm
I don't get Notahipster, I really don't. Actually, I'd give Notahipster $50 cash to see his face just once. Even if only for a moment, like on subway cars going in opposite directions. If for one brief shining moment I could look him square in the eye and truly see the kind of man he was...for that kind of glimpse into the abyss, I'd gladly shell out $50.
Doug / January 29, 2013 at 10:38 pm
The sweetest part of the Ana Bailao licence suspension is that she'll be dipping into city funds to shuttle her ass around town for the next year.
DougIntoTaxpayersPockets replying to a comment from Doug / January 30, 2013 at 03:58 pm
Aw, yeah! SOAK them taxpayers and feel the roiling BURN of indignation from the 'burbs!

Ana, for the love of god and all things holy/funny, please contract out a limo every chance you get. Better yet, a stretch Prius --that's what all us city-folk use to get to our snooty soirees, right?

Yeah...soak us taxpayers good and proper! We DESERVE it!
me replying to a comment from vampchick21 / January 30, 2013 at 04:24 pm
I agree. most of the people who attsck her have done the same thing and probably don't even realise it. / September 25, 2013 at 11:56 am
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