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Morning Brew: Ford gags over transit taxes, touts casino instead, court orders mayor to pay legal costs, Gardiner decision due during election, digital ads, and Jays lose

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 3, 2013

toronto cumberlandMetrolinx unveiled its shortlist of taxes designed to fund the next phase of transit expansion in the GTHA yesterday. While this was happening, Rob Ford was declaring battle in another round in the war on graffiti at city hall. When asked about new taxes, Ford responded by making a mock-gagging sound. Naturally, GIFs happened here and here. Audio (in case you need it) is here (via @goldsbie.)

Ford's response, when he was done making retching sounds, was to pitch a casino as a way of funding the Downtown Relief Line and other necessary investments. As municipal activist Robert Cerjanec pointed out on Twitter, the projected funds from the gaming facility would take 2,500 years to build the entire Big Move. Is it time Ford dropped the casino rhetoric?

Also in Ford (it's been a few days after all), the Divisional Court has ruled the mayor must cover his own legal costs related to the Paul Magder case. A panel decided that Ford did not achieve an outright victory as he was only successful in winning one of his four grounds for appeal. They also agreed the case helped clarify parts of the Municipal Elections Act. The mayor later complained about the "ridiculous" decision, clearly without concern for respecting the will of a judge.

The city could be about to write off $26 million in payment arrears owed by the Toronto Port Authority, a federal agency. The TPA owes the city $31 million in payments in lieu of property taxes between 1999 and 2012, according to the Star. The agency plans to pay $5.27 million in cash and give the city 94 cents per air passenger until 2021 to make up for the debt.

The Gardiner Expressway, another briefly forgotten relic, was back in the news yesterday. The city will discuss the fate of the eastern portion of elevated highway while it begins renovations on the portion near Strachan Avenue. The deck between Jarvis Street and the Don River is in dire need of repairs that could outweigh the value of keeping it up. A final decision could fall during the next municipal election.

Digital images could be allowed on the city's transit shelters if Astral Media gets their way. The company wants to amend its agreement with the city and install screens capable of changing ad every ten seconds. The brightness should be no more than existing ads, said coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee. Do you mind if bus shelters go digital?

The Toronto Sun's graphics department went in to full-swing yesterday when the paper realized it didn't have a stock shot of Rob Ford in a Blue Jays cap ahead of the team's season opener. This is surely a contender for worst Photoshop job of the year so far.

Finally, the new look Jays' big home opener didn't quite go to plan last night - the team lost 4-1 to the Cleveland Indians in front of more than 45,000 fans. Manager John Gibbons urged fans not to hit the panic button. "'We've got a good ball club. They'll be back. They'll have a fun, entertaining year this year, I believe," he told the press.


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

Image: Dominic Bugatto/blogTO Flickr pool.



RobK / April 3, 2013 at 08:22 am
I think transit needs a variety of funding sources. While, on their own, a casino or tolls or taxes may not come close to raise the necessary revenue, a combination of all of these is what is needed. Also, and this is just a curiosity, I wonder how many more people might be supportive of these revenue tools if the repair/rebuild of the Gardiner was included in Metrolinx's plan? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the expansion of public transit and getting people out of their cars but if there was a way to get anti-transit folks to begrudgingly accept that even the Big Move is taking care of roads it might be more palatable for them to accept tolls and taxes.
Bob But Not Doug / April 3, 2013 at 08:24 am
Give the poor guy a break. Maybe he was hung over.
steve replying to a comment from Bob But Not Doug / April 3, 2013 at 08:38 am
If you stay drunk you do not get a hangover, I am sure RoFo knows that by now.
Paul / April 3, 2013 at 08:44 am
This post just outline Rob Ford's election campaign. He will fix the Gardiner without raising taxes.
Jacob / April 3, 2013 at 08:55 am
Once his casino plan gets shot out of the sky in a flaming wreck, I wonder what hare-brained scheme he'll latch onto next.
Al / April 3, 2013 at 08:55 am
When a decision is reversed on appeal, it is usual not to award costs.
the lemur / April 3, 2013 at 08:57 am
I bet Ford is actually a Cubs fan or something. Also, what's the jacket he's wearing in the fake-puke video? Does it have the Glad logo on it?
glenn storey replying to a comment from the lemur / April 3, 2013 at 09:24 am
oh god, i hope not.
McRib / April 3, 2013 at 09:31 am
can someone explain why a federally funded agency is behind on its property taxes and how they can get away with it? And the city thinks that making a new deal with the TPA, in which we will still get less money than we are owed, is a good deal?

Force them to pay, its not like they do Toronto any favours.

Jordan / April 3, 2013 at 09:34 am
Screens in the TTC shelters - only if they provide next vehicle arrival information as well.
Alex / April 3, 2013 at 09:49 am
The Port Authority not paying taxes? But it's full of friends of conservative MPs that needed a high paying job and has a solid reputation as one of the most corrupt and inept federal agencies in Toronto. Why wouldn't it pay its taxes? That's almost as surprising as the Blue Jays losing after insane pre-season hype (though this time the hype is more Rogers and Bell than actual fans). And people say Leafs fans are delusional. At least we KNOW our hope is false.
cathy / April 3, 2013 at 10:31 am
Hey, blogTO people. I don't normally care much about the editing, but you might want to fix "The brightness should be no more than existing ads, coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee."

Also, your contest isn't really open to blogTO readers. It's only open to blogTO readers who have a Twitter account.
Todd replying to a comment from Alex / April 3, 2013 at 10:55 am
The Jays are favourites to win the World Series according to Las Vegas. It's not Rogers/Bell hype. This is legitimately, on paper, the best team any Toronto franchise has put together since 1992-1993 Blue Jays.

1 game is 0.6% of a season. Winning teams lose 70+ times a year.
McRib / April 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm
i don't think Bell owns any part of the Blue Jays
nardl blarn / April 3, 2013 at 01:29 pm
The sort of people who go to the Jays opener, especially this year, won't be supporting them in a couple of months anyway once something else has distracted them.
nardl blarn / April 3, 2013 at 01:49 pm
Re: the photoshop effort from the sun, they have to make it look like an obvious photoshop otherwise they would be in trouble for posting doctored images. Give them a break!
the lemur replying to a comment from nardl blarn / April 3, 2013 at 02:07 pm
No, they don't have to make it look obvious. They just have to call it a 'photo illustration' in the credit. NOW was forced to start doing that years ago as well.
Alex replying to a comment from nardl blarn / April 3, 2013 at 02:10 pm
They put a disclaimer at the bottom of the picture though about it being edited, so I don't think they'd be in trouble since they aren't representing it as a real picture.
Canada's Lie Machine replying to a comment from McRib / April 3, 2013 at 04:14 pm
I loathe the Port Authority, which only plays into Harper's hands. He knows we can't stand it, so he makes sure that they do something shitty to the city of Toronto every 6-12 months to poke the hornets nest. When Harper finally, finally gets punted from office (likely in can't run a corrupt ship that long without someone screwing up and/or breaking ranks), I think the next government will be quick to deep six that useless, bloated, money-hoovering political puppet agency. It won't come too soon. Until then, enjoy tormenting us Harpo.
Kiss My Purple Butt! replying to a comment from McRib / April 3, 2013 at 04:18 pm
He's talking about GEORGE Bell, not Ma Bell. :)
Mayor McCokespoon is scratching PM Harper's back replying to a comment from McRib / April 3, 2013 at 04:31 pm
Why should the Port Authority get off scott-free??? They are making money hand over fist. And if they aren't, then the feds can bail them out. Unless Ford is doing a backroom deal again to let more tax revenue slip into the pocket of Big Conservative.

Once a scammer, always a scammer that Ford.
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