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Morning Brew: Coun. Minnan-Wong has a new tax plan, Mike Del Grande hospitalized, Hudak floats TTC-GO merger, SIU looks at Queen St. crash, and Harlem Shake

Posted by Chris Bateman / February 14, 2013

toronto tracksCoun. Denzil Minnan-Wong has an alternative idea to Rob Ford's proposed land transfer tax cut. The executive committee member is suggesting council cap the tax and reduce or increase it each year to ensure it always generates the same amount. Would you prefer that to a straight cut? Should council leave the land trasnfer tax alone?

Coun. Mike Del Grande has been hospitalized with an unknown illness. The former budget chief, who resigned his post in Jan., was active over the weekend helping constituents clear snow-blocked driveways. He was treated for a benign brain tumor in the 1990s but there's no evidence his current illness is connected to any previous health concerns.

Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak says merging Toronto's subways and LRTs with GO Transit is one of the ways the GTHA can improve the quality of its transit. TTC chair Karen Stintz re-iterated her stance that GO would need to absorb all, not just parts, of the Commission. Would you like to see the subways and LRTs run by Metrolinx and the rest left to the city?

Adam Vaughan won't be rubbing shoulders with Rob Ford at executive committee meetings any time soon. The city's striking committee recommend coun. Vince Crisanti fill the spot recently vacated by coun. Mike Del Grande instead.

The Special Investigations Unit has been called to investigate after a cyclist was struck and pinned between a car and a newspaper box at Queen and Augusta yesterday. The crash occurred during a police pursuit, bystanders say. The cyclist, a woman thought to be in her 30s, suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries. SIU investigates police incidents that involve death or serious injury.

In case you missed it yesterday, we at blogTO have released our new Toronto bars, pubs, late night eats iPhone app. It's free on the App Store and is your go-to guide for a night out. Like our patio guide and as the name suggests, it finds nearby bars, pubs and late night eats using your phone's GPS. Results include photos, beer lists, opening hours, and more. You know what to do.

The Ottawa Senators don't want Maple Leafs fans packing out their stadium anymore. The team is taking measures to prevent supporters visiting from Toronto and Montreal cheering too loud for the away team. "We want to make sure the competition stays on the ice," said a spokesman.

Finally, so far, this has been a Harlem Shake free zone. Not any more. Here's the Smoke's Poutinerie version of the viral dance craze that's sweeping the planet.


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

Image: "C911" by AshtonPal/blogTO Flickr pool.



Sheezy / February 14, 2013 at 08:36 am
Ottawa: pathetic. Preventative measures for visiting fans? Are you for real? Imagine if this was implemented at The ACC. The rest of the country would be in an uproar.
steve / February 14, 2013 at 08:54 am
Whew, now that Adam has been excluded the executive committee can continue to be effective and act maturely
j-rock / February 14, 2013 at 09:27 am
If it were any other city in the NHL, I would just assume that the Senators' management team were engaging in a clever bit of marketing, while having a bit of fun at the expense of a regional rival. But since it's coming from the most insecure city in the country (and very possibly the entire world) I don't doubt for a second that this silly, and rather pathetic idea, is 100% sincere.

It's a well-known fact that hating Toronto is Canada's third official sport. But the sumg taunts from people in Montreal, Calgary, Vancouver, and even Halifax for example, are ultimately rooted in the idea that where they're from is inherently superior to the "dirty", "crime-ridden", traffic-clogged (that one's true), "uptight" and all-around terrible place that is Toronto.

Ottawa on the other hand, hates Toronto because deep down in their hearts, they know that it's more interesting, richer, and more important; and that despite being the nation's captial, that their significance doesn't really extend much beyond providing large numbers of civil servants with a place to sleep at night.
vampchick21 replying to a comment from steve / February 14, 2013 at 09:44 am
Seriously? It hasn't functioned like that since Ford got into office. Why would it now?
JAAAAAAAT / February 14, 2013 at 09:46 am
we must not let GO absorb the TTC
if amalgamation has taught us anything - it is that dispersing the interests of the urban core to the extents of the periphery has crippled much of the city.

Philadelphia merged systems decades ago - and not a single new investment in downtown urban transit systems has been made. All new investments happen in the 'burbs . . . .

Stay away from toronto Hudak! Keep your hands off the already-stretched TTC.

- Keep the Urban interests in the Urban realm.
You helped bury the Eglinton subway / February 14, 2013 at 09:58 am
Hudak has ZERO credibility with regards to transit policy, but I hope he keeps talking. His ridiculous pronouncements and creepy uncle demeanor are the only things keeping the Conservatives from power.
Rob replying to a comment from You helped bury the Eglinton subway / February 14, 2013 at 10:10 am
Does it matter if he bungles the transit file? Rob Ford campaigned on magical subways and "sharing cabs and learning who your neighbours are". No one called him out on how backwards this plan is and he won, handily. No one remembered Harris canceling the Eglinton subway, clearly.

Thanks to Mike Harris, the city has now been divided into two sides. One side wants a functioning city and transit where it makes sense, the other side doesn't want downtown/old city to get anything and doesn't want to pay for it. Short of de-amalgamation or an even more massive downtown condo boom, this city, like the province, will be driven by suburban policy.

Don't be stunned if Hudak wins and look for him to further dismantle the province, especially if Ford or a likeminded idiot gets elected in Toronto, which is a very, very, very distinct possibility.
Rob replying to a comment from You helped bury the Eglinton subway / February 14, 2013 at 10:11 am
This place is doomed. We're not getting new infrastructure, just more residents. No politician-- again, thanks to Harris-- will ever campaign on raising taxes and that's what's desperately needed to bring this city's infrastructure up to speed.
iSkyscraper / February 14, 2013 at 11:05 am
I'm not sure what planet Hudak is on. Please name a city where rail services are under one agency and buses under a totally separate one? The closest parallel could be San Francisco, where BART and Caltrain are separate from Muni, but even there Muni still runs its streetcars and LRT.

I have zero problem with merging GO, the suburban transit agencies and the TTC. This is normal on most of the continent (Chicago, New York, Philly, Boston, etc.) But you can't just cherry-pick it. That's bizarre, anti-urban, possibly racist and plain stupid.
Mark replying to a comment from Rob / February 14, 2013 at 11:07 am
If you feel you are under-taxed, feel free to make an extra donation to any of the three levels of government.
Yawn replying to a comment from Rob / February 14, 2013 at 11:17 am
Same old down tower whining about the burbs. Power is shifting to the burbs get used to it. Burbs voted harper and ford in and we will vote Hudak in. Hudak will fix the mess that the scandalous liberals put us in. We know how you guys down town like to waste out tax dollars.
McRib replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / February 14, 2013 at 11:29 am
Hudak wants to cherry-pick the most profitable parts of the TTC and have them be run under Metrolinx, while the city of Toronto is left to greatly subsidize the underfunded and unprofitable bus routes.

what a complete fuck of a person.
j-rock replying to a comment from Yawn / February 14, 2013 at 11:29 am
I was going to take a few moments and post a reply to this, but it's actually too stupid to merit one. I despair for the future of this city, and region for that matter.
Rob replying to a comment from Mark / February 14, 2013 at 11:32 am
The thing is, Mark, I would happily do so if the rest of the city would realize that it costs money to have nice things. I vote for parties and representatives that recognize this. The suburbs don't and it's why these long-held "righty" wards are total shit holes.

They're the problem, not me, but of course, since I'm "a downtowner" it's my fault. Got it. Right.

Rob / February 14, 2013 at 11:35 am
Anyway, the fact that I'm arguing with a Rob Ford staffer on the internet is proof that the whole city is in the toilet. Congrats.
Mark replying to a comment from Rob / February 14, 2013 at 11:59 am
All I hear is: "Other people should pay more so I can have the things I want. I don't want to pay for it myself though". No one is stopping you from donating more to the city. You won't follow through though. You'll just bitch and whine on the internet like the impotent fool you are.
iSkyscraper replying to a comment from Mark / February 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm
Check your ears, because what I hear is "Everyone should pay more for services that will benefit everyone."
Rob replying to a comment from Mark / February 14, 2013 at 12:16 pm
There's nothing worse than someone who brings intellectual dishonesty to an argument. You're boring. You're just boring.
j-rock replying to a comment from Mark / February 14, 2013 at 12:18 pm
Go away. Shouldn't you be out buying chocolates for Mrs. Troll?
oph replying to a comment from JAAAAAAAT / February 14, 2013 at 01:39 pm
Because the hordes of people cramming the 36 Finch or the 45 Kipling two times every day don't need new investment...right. Stop making it a burbs v. core thing, one city, one love. I agree with Ms. Stintz, either the province absorbs it all or doesn't, you can't pick and choose. Hudak is the worst.
Mark replying to a comment from Rob / February 14, 2013 at 01:46 pm
Yep, more whining. Pay up or shut up. You don't want to pay more or you would do so. You want everyone else to pay more so you don't have to.
j-rock replying to a comment from Mark / February 14, 2013 at 01:58 pm
And in the absence of the political leadership required to discuss realistic options for funding transit, how do you propose that those of us who are not pathologically tax-averse contribute? Just leave envelopes stuffed with cash outside of City Hall with "Attn: Transit" written on them?

From the mayor on down, the inmates are running the asylum.
Rob replying to a comment from Mark / February 14, 2013 at 02:11 pm
Sure, bud. I'll get on that. I'll just leave some blank checks outside your boss' office because that's totally how he decides to do business anyway. Maybe if I leave enough, he'll name a fictional, will-never-be-built subway after me.
Craig replying to a comment from McRib / February 14, 2013 at 02:47 pm
It's worse than that. The TTC has been underfunded for so long that it would drain GO/Metrolinx to modernize it (or at least bring it into the 1990's.

At some point we, the citizens of Toronto, will need to raise taxes to fund it it we want to continue to function as a city. The longer we wait, the more expensive it becomes, because things don't magically repair themselves if left alone.
Craig replying to a comment from Mark / February 14, 2013 at 02:49 pm
I find it odd that you bitch about taxes, yet you spend you time trolling BlogTO. Doesn't Mr. Ford have some other work for you, like fixing the transit issue not just deflecting attention away from it with red herrings and strawmen?
Mark replying to a comment from Craig / February 14, 2013 at 03:00 pm
Don't know who you think I am but I don't work for Ford or the City. Just enjoying my retirement messing with you complainers and whiners.
jamall / February 14, 2013 at 04:25 pm
Is it a requirement to be a whiney baby to live down town?
tommy / February 14, 2013 at 04:28 pm
Hudak is the worst.
Friar Canuck / February 14, 2013 at 05:41 pm
Goes to show you how on the ball the Toronto Star is. That letter was sent out at the beginning of the season in January.

Although, this is pretty typical for the Toronto Star's Sports Department. Maple Leafs fans first, hockey fans second.
marmar replying to a comment from Yawn / February 14, 2013 at 06:54 pm
you are a satire right?
jim replying to a comment from Rob / February 14, 2013 at 06:57 pm
so true! the guys who vote with the right get what they deserve. we pay tax and have a great place. this tight asses. refused to buy toilet paper so they walk with shitty asses. Oshawa is a conservative strong hold. do the math
readingcomprehension replying to a comment from Mark / February 14, 2013 at 11:27 pm
Again, you're proving you have poor reading comprehension if that's "All i hear."

Why do you come here if you don't offer anything to the discussion?

Nobody here is a whiner when they respond to you. They're just pointing out that you're a fucking idiot putting words into other people's mouths.

Whether or not you're Mark Towhey, you're still just a miserable troll who spends too much time on here. (and if you are Mark Towhey, stop wasting my tax dollars and get back to work you chump)
Alex / February 15, 2013 at 12:43 am
Time to de-amalgamate. It's not working, especially when the first thing these puppets need to do is to learn how to do their jobs, at least some of it. Amalgamation is too big to handle for a disorganized place like Toronto. Amalgamation also allows the neighbouring 905 cities to keep on mooching off Metro Toronto (yes, I said Metro) and relying on it. They need to grow up too, and Toronto has to do their growing up and wising up as well. GO is regional and must be extended and fully running and has to be paid for by the ones who allowed so much sprawl, immigration and bad city planning in the first place. Same for those idiot culprits in Toronto who let the TTC subway system fall behind the times and protected certain groups.
Craig replying to a comment from Craig / February 15, 2013 at 08:00 am
Well ever since the Queens Quay Karen ploy came to light I automatically assume that anyone trolling for Ford is a paid shill. All you've proven is you're not good enough to get paid.
EtobicokeProud / February 15, 2013 at 08:10 pm
I've lived in Etobicoke for just under 30 years and despite one of "our own" taking power in the last election, it was clearly a once in a generation thing (Lastman, anyone?).

Power is definitely shifting, but not so much from the suburbs to the city centre as it is from the old establishment to the new. And this young demographic, while highly urban, isn't necessarily urban.

The next election will be fascinating, even moreso than the provincial one. We've reached the tipping point where the youth demographic will permanently skew things towards centre /centre-left. And centre-right and right-leaning candidate will see an uphill battle to win wards. The same will happen with the province, but not for another 4-5 years (based on demographics).

So, much like what we saw happen in the US last November, the more conservative voices in this part of the world are no longer going to be able to count on their blocs to pull out wins. Through such a natural regression we could see 10-12 years of non-conservative candidates which, while you downtowners may whoop at the concept, is actually not good for on-the-ground democracy.

We live in interesting times.
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