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Morning Brew: Rob Ford at a loss over gun violence, no more shelter beds says Ford, questions over Downsview Park, condo owners kept out, and Toronto sees Hadfield

Posted by Chris Bateman / February 20, 2013

toronto beachRob Ford says he doesn't know what else he can do to curb gun violence in the city, admitting he's "frustrated" by the deaths of three 15-year-old boys in a month. The mayor said that while he and his brother regularly volunteer their time, speaking on the issue of youth gun violence at council would be unlikely to have an effect. However, Ford maintained he's open to suggestions. Could the city do more to tackle gun violence in Toronto?

Also at city hall, Ford says he's against adding more shelter beds despite a recent protest outside his office by members of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, a group demanding an emergency meeting on homeless care in the city. OCAP will hold a press conference at today's city council meeting and coun. Adam Vaughan says he'll table a motion on the shelter issue.

More question marks surround the future of Downsview Park, the former air base turned political red tape dispenser. The federally-owned, 231-hectare site was slated to become an sprawling urban park but a change of heart by Public Works and Government Services Canada signaled the site could be sold for development. Not so, the site's custodian tells the Toronto Star. A review of the site is due imminently.

Residents of a Yorkville condo driven out by an electrical room fire on Jan. 30 won't be able to return to their homes for at least another eight weeks. The owners of the property cite difficulties sourcing replacement parts for a damaged generator as the reason for the delay. Emergency funding from the city, which includes a daily $10 lunch voucher and two TTC tokens, has expired for many residents.

A bar in Little Italy played host to a final town hall meeting organized by former mayoral candidate George Smitherman on the topic of an MGM casino complex at Exhibition Place. Coun. Mike Layton spoke against building a major gaming facility anywhere in the city, saying there would be "deep social costs" to any development. Council will vote whether to allow a casino in April.

Finally, the world might be getting used to being in the lens of Commander Chris Hadfield, the Ontario-born astronaut currently aboard the International Space Station, but earlier this month the camera was facing the other way. One of Hadfield's friends, Andrew Yee, snapped this neat timelapse of the Toronto skyline as the ISS streaked above. Around the same time the astronaut took this picture of a gigantic sunset.toronto chris hadfieldIN BRIEF:

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

Image: "Day at the Beach" by DdotG/blogTO Flickr pool.



Robert / February 20, 2013 at 09:07 am
Please put a warning when a Sun opinion piece is referenced,. I have to prepare my self for, the vile and dirty feeling I get after reading the comments. I always feel a bit queasy after reading them.
james / February 20, 2013 at 09:28 am
I thought robbie already had it figured out? Wasn't he going to beg the province for more money and figure out a way to deport gun criminals regardless of where they were born?
alex / February 20, 2013 at 09:45 am
The links for chris hadfield's and andrew yee's photos are the same
Aaron / February 20, 2013 at 09:51 am
He cut funding for youth programs. He froze hiring of new police officers, reducing the size of the force by attrition. He tried to stop the city from receiving federal anti-gang funding. What more can he do?
Blame the Absentee 'Fathers' / February 20, 2013 at 10:06 am
Don't blame Mayor Ford for youth crime, blame the parents...or lack thereof. When it comes to black on black crime, where are the fathers? Will this subject continue to be the elephant in the room, or will someone have the guts to do stats on how many of the shooters actually have father figures present? Everyone knows some members of the black community believe in having kiods, but not raising them! Or is it somehow 'racist' to point out the obvious in today's overly-politically correct world?
BH replying to a comment from Blame the Absentee 'Fathers' / February 20, 2013 at 11:23 am
Very true. It's ridiculous blaming everything on racism and economics when there are other marginalized and poorer ethnic enclaves that don't suffer the same degree of violence and gun accessibilty.

And taking a closer look you will see that--suprise, surprise--they appear to have more cohesive family units that have both parents (and even extended family) involved.
Alex replying to a comment from Blame the Absentee 'Fathers' / February 20, 2013 at 11:54 am
There are tons of programs specifically targeting young black men with no positive male role models. The Star did a big article on youth violence last weekend and partly covered this. Not sure why you think everyone is ignoring it. One of the points of the Africentric school was to give male role models as well to kids who may not have any.

If they had the money it would be nice to make some more separate spaces in the drop-in programs. E.g. One area for people who've been there at least a certain number of times before and not caused trouble, so that people have a bit of a sense of safety when going there. They'd need to keep a list of people's names, but not necessarily ask for any ID.
hoppoh replying to a comment from Robert / February 20, 2013 at 12:49 pm
You fear the Toronto Sun comments section? Try scrolling down or maybe not.
Robq / February 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm
Time to start paying the poor to not have children instead of paying them to pop out future "aspiring rappers who are known to police".

You want an uncomfortable 100% solution to the cycle of poverty which leads to crime? There it is.
Robq replying to a comment from Robq / February 20, 2013 at 12:53 pm
Oh, and sterilize serial baby daddies/absentee fathers too. It's time to start treating childbirth/bringing a child into the world with some respect.
iSkyscraper / February 20, 2013 at 01:09 pm
Oh Rob, such a simpleton. Why don't you just admit you don't know how to solve any of the city's problems, never mind youth gun violence. You're so over your head. Even on this one issue you are all over the map:




Meanwhile, Bloomberg in New York actually does stuff:


Maybe Rob should be putting the family money into taking political action rather than throwing company birthday parties on freshly repaved streets.
Daniel / February 20, 2013 at 01:10 pm
We need a "hug-a-thug" program.

I thought all the poor people moved out of Toronto by now...I guess its time to raise the property taxes.
steve replying to a comment from hoppoh / February 20, 2013 at 01:38 pm
They seem to have slithered over here. No stopping blaming the coloured folk for all the ills of the world.
Robq replying to a comment from steve / February 20, 2013 at 02:16 pm
Not all the ills in the world, just the fact that when I hear of someone getting shot, I can reasonably assume it's a black guy laying dead and a the shooter is a black guy running away from the scene. Also, check out TPS' majors section on their website. The suspect(s) in nearly every crime are black males.

That's a problem. Saying "whitey does bad stuff too" isn't a solution, in fact, it makes it worse.

steve replying to a comment from Robq / February 20, 2013 at 02:53 pm
I hear you and I can accept some of that analogy. Unfortunately many jumps right to single black mothers on welfare and lack of fathers.
No solution in that attitude either.
Robq replying to a comment from steve / February 20, 2013 at 03:10 pm
Aren't ill-prepared parents without the means to support a child the absolute, definitive, #1 leading cause of that child living a life of poverty?

If yes, isn't a life of poverty the absolute, definitive, #1 leading factor that steers folks towards crime?

It's tough. There's a grey line between victim and willing participant and single moms straddle it. Single moms who have more kids when they're on assistance or can't locate the father, and likewise, guys who do the same, they've crossed that line. That needs to end. That's a solution.
Chris replying to a comment from Robq / February 20, 2013 at 03:19 pm
See that's an interesting take on things, because whenever I read about "mass shooting in a shopping mall" or "mass shooting at a school", or "mass shooting at a university" or "mass shooting at a movie theatre" I instantly assume its a white guy (and it ususally is). Wonder why that is? Is it a problem with white society?

You say that pointing out that whitey does bad stuff too isn't a solution, well neither is fixating on the skin colour of the victims and alleged perpetrators in these cases. In other words, let's say that everyone involved in these shootings is black - so what? How does that piece of information lead to a solution any more than pointing that most of the people perpetrating mass shootings in North America are white?

Fixating on race just leads to simple-minded solutions (such as "midnight basketball" in the hood) that don't accomplish jack because they make assumptions about race and behaviour that just aren't true.

I'm not going to jump on the whole "racist" bandwagon, because I'm going to assume that ultimately we all want the same thing - no more kids getting shot in the streets. I don't think there's a conspiracy against black people going on here, I just think there's too much of a tendency to seek simple answers to complicated issues.

Me / February 20, 2013 at 03:24 pm
What can one expect when "Black Culture" is RAP stars boasting about selling drugs and shooting people. They're merely following their accepted role models.
Robq replying to a comment from Chris / February 20, 2013 at 03:46 pm
Ugh. Don't be intentionally dense. L2 statistics. I would hope that most mass shooters in America are white seeing as... most of America is white.

What's your reasoning behind the city of Toronto being less than 10% black, less than 5% black male, yet 90+% of the murder victims and murderers are black males?

Yep. Something absolutely rotten in those homes, in that culture, and in those neighbourhoods. Keep dancing around it though. It's cute.
lol replying to a comment from Me / February 20, 2013 at 03:48 pm
bingo, right on the money!
Robq / February 20, 2013 at 03:58 pm
Chris, how is being politically correct and ignoring statistics going to solve a problem that's predominantly black and poor?
Alex replying to a comment from Robq / February 20, 2013 at 04:38 pm
Dude, you just aren't getting it. There are already lots of programs aimed specifically at black male youth. Clearly they aren't working that well though, so people are looking for new solutions. Nobody ever said the programs won't be targeted to a single part of the population, so why would you assume they wouldn't be? Remember, when you assume you make an ass of u and me.

If we really wanted to reduce crime we'd reduce poverty, it's the obvious root of most crime. How we do that is anyone's guess though, it simply seems to be a part of our society. We thrive on competition and the result of any competition is winners and losers, even though the competition is never fair and probably never will be. Sorry, I don't mean to be depressing, I just don't see any end to poverty that doesn't mean a huge loss of freedom.
Marmar / February 20, 2013 at 10:19 pm
Eek it looks like the Toronto sun comment community has gotten wind of blogto. Chris said everything that needs to be said on this topic.
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