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Morning Brew: Nathan Phillips Square gets Hero Burger, Ford hires his football coach, Doug Ford goes provincial, churches told to move, and hydro bills set to spike by $3

Posted by Chris Bateman / April 4, 2013

toronto humberNathan Phillips Square will get a Hero Burger after all. After a two-hour debate, city council voted 22-16 to put the homegrown hamburger outfit in the new concession stand building after a committee had earlier rejected the brand. The debate went on so long the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty were forced to return today to hear council discuss shelter beds.

Rob Ford's old high-school football coach Dave Price is his new "director of operations and logistics," a job the mayor's office is refusing to provide any details about. Price was also was also Doug Ford's campaign manager during his successful 2010 campaign. Should the mayor's office explain the role?

Speaking of Doug Ford and elections, the Etobicoke North rep says he'll run for the Ontario PCs at the next provincial vote. The party is apparently "thrilled" to have the older Ford on the ballot, though he hasn't started the nomination process. He'll have to quit city hall if an election is called before the next municipal election. Could Ford succeed at the provincial level?

Speaking to the Toronto Sun, Ford claimed he and his brother had saved the city over $1 billion since they were elected in 2010. Wait, what?

Churches located in heavy industrial areas will have to move now that a new bylaw has been approved by city council. Places of worship often seek properties on industrial lands for the cheap lower rent. 414 churches are located in industrial areas in Toronto, but it's not clear how many are on properties designated for heavy industry.

Charging road users a per-kilometre fee to use GTHA roads was one of the transit taxes pitched by Metrolinx earlier this week. A 3-cent fee, tallied up at the gas pump, could yield $1.9 billion a year for new transportation projects and improvements. The Star found out more about GPS tracked road tolls.

Hydro bills are likely to jump by around $3 a month now that the Ontario Energy Board is close to signing off on a $750-million spending plan to upgrade the city's aging electrical infrastructure. $184 million will go to building a new transformer on Bremner Blvd., just south of the Rogers Centre, the first to be built in the city for more than 50 years.

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

Image: Subjective Art/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

37 Comments

McRib / April 4, 2013 at 08:07 am
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could we really not have done better than Hero Burger?

first and foremost, the food isn't that good, and there are now Hero Burger locations everywhere. I don't particularly care, it just seems like a missed opportunity for something better. Mediocrity seems to be the name of the game around here.

And well done Ford for hiring your high school football coach.

I'm almost positive he's just trolling now.
McRib / April 4, 2013 at 08:12 am
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one more thing, what is it with journalists and reporters in this city? When a politician blatantly lies to your face, why do you not challenge them?

Doug Ford does this every day. Rob Ford does this whenever the media can actually locate him and ask him a question. They are allowed, unchallenged, to spout off whatever bullshit they want and are NEVER pulled up on it. They saved a billion dollars for this city? Ask them to prove it. With actual facts.

This isnt even just a Toronto problem, it seems to be the way the vast majority of the press operates these days.

Do your jobs properly, 4th estate.
Fordnation / April 4, 2013 at 08:21 am
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With the all the liberal scandals over the last few years, it is not impossible for a government change in the next election. It is very possible hudak can make up the next government and both fords are love in etobicoke, so yes doug could win his riding.
steve / April 4, 2013 at 08:26 am
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If OCAP had jobs they could pay for the shelter beds themselves...
Skye replying to a comment from McRib / April 4, 2013 at 08:36 am
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Why do you think Fordo refuses to speak to the Toronto Star? They're the only ones who would challenge him. He only speaks to the media outlets that are hopeless sycophants, like the Toronto Sun.
EricM / April 4, 2013 at 08:54 am
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If Hero burger got their act together first and got the contract, then fine. Not the best, but we have also seen what happens when council messes (Toronto a la carte anyone?) to much with these things. Still... with everything else going on, they spent two hours talking about the merits of the hamburger... *Sighs
steve replying to a comment from steve / April 4, 2013 at 09:26 am
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Your take on the issue is pathetic.
glenn storey / April 4, 2013 at 09:27 am
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Rob Ford's old high-school football coach Dave Price is his new "director of operations and logistics," a job the mayor's office is refusing to provide any details about. Price was also was also Doug Ford's campaign manager during his successful 2010 campaign. Should the mayor's office explain the role?

i can explain it. director of operations and logistics means bagman. he's responsible for siphoning gravy into the ford's pockets.
d.a.r.y.l. / April 4, 2013 at 09:30 am
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man it would've been funny if ford was lobbying for a subway to go in instead of the hero burgers.

'no, toronto wants subway, it's always been subway.'
Al / April 4, 2013 at 09:41 am
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Existing churches won't have to move. They are grandfathered in. The by-law only affects new churches.
Ford's my Hero / April 4, 2013 at 09:43 am
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I for one am so glad that our mayor used his considerable influence over Council to ensure that the most pressing issue facing the City was dealt with. Now that Hero Burgers will officially be the food service provider at City Hall, we can rest easy. All of our problems are solved.

I'm so happy that he has his priorities straight. I can't wait for the enthusiastic press releases trumpeting yet another Ford triumph, and more importantly the accolodades this historic moment will get on his radio show this Sunday.

This is clearly the most important thing he's ever achieved, both as a Councillor and as Mayor. Huzzah!!
the lemur replying to a comment from McRib / April 4, 2013 at 09:45 am
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Furthermore, any time an answer is desired or required of Rob Ford, and Doug Ford pipes up instead, why do the news media not follow up with 'Who the hell asked YOU anything?'.
Craig replying to a comment from Fordnation / April 4, 2013 at 09:55 am
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I think Wynn is going to frame the next election around solving gridlock. Hudaks record (he was part of the gov't when they stopped the Eglinton line, stop funding public transportation and sold the 407) and his statements about doing nothing until the debt is paid off will haunt him. Solving gridlock is a big issue for 905ers, his traditional base. So he has to convince people to vote against their own best interests (which does happen occasionally).

I'm not saying he can't win, but he has a huge hill to climb to do it.
Chris / April 4, 2013 at 09:55 am
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I'm sure Doug will run and will likely win his seat, easily. If your last name is Ford and you're campaigning in North Etobicoke, you really don't have to do much more than make sure your name is spelled correctly on the ballot to win.

And yes, I agree that the media in this country generally are cowards when it comes to confronting politicians of any stripe when they make blatant misstatements. But then again, in this country, elected politicians somehow get away with choosing to ignore the press at their will, and only speaking to friendly media (see Ford and Harper as just 2 examples). We have a passive mainstream media because we don't demand that our politicans be accountable. Sure, we listen and cheer when they campaign on transparency and accountability, and then the moment they are elected and blithely abandon those promises, we as voters never hold them to account.
And to make it worse, in the few occassions where the press are aggressive, they get condemned in certain quarters for invading a politicians privacy or having a vendetta - even when the stories themselves haven't been refuted, or are on matters directly related to their policies or ability to govern. In other words, shoot the messenger seems to be our response.

Say what you want about the Americans, but their press isn't afraid of anyone.
Jones replying to a comment from Chris / April 4, 2013 at 10:30 am
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Hard to be afraid when you're playing basketball with the president. The US media is in the bag for Obama and has been since 08. Just as the Star sucked Millers dick and the Sun whitewashes Ford's stumbles. Media bias is only a problem when it is against your opinions.
Johnny Tronno / April 4, 2013 at 10:37 am
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It's comical how people say we have a weak media landscape in this city/country yet when the Star comes out with a pretty compelling story about the Mayor of Canada's largest city likely having a drinking problem leading to bigger problems under his reign, they're picking on him and should let him deal with his personal problems on his own.

Reporters openly asked him to comment and he flatly denied it and called anyone within throwing distance of him a fat liar and they should take him to court?

The Toronto Star knows what Rob Ford is and what he's capable of ruining. They ask the hard questions and come out with the real stories and all the Fords do is redirect attention and lie and threaten lawsuits.
Blue Truck / April 4, 2013 at 10:45 am
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Why does City Hall need another gravy source?
Jacob / April 4, 2013 at 10:46 am
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Ford saved the city $1 billion?

He doesn't have to say anything, at all, to back it up. He just has to say it, and Ford Nation will accept it as fact.

This is how our city will fail.
Fact replying to a comment from Jacob / April 4, 2013 at 11:40 am
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The gross operating budget flat-lined for Ford's first three years in office, under David Miller the gross operating budget increased 15% over his first three years. By not increasing the government they way any of the left of centre candidates he faced (Pants or Smitherman) would have, Ford achieved the $1 billion in savings.
Robert replying to a comment from Jacob / April 4, 2013 at 11:43 am
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*sigh* so true.
It is a matter of time, time when the current mayor will be long gone, that the economic impact of what he has down, or should I say not done will be felt. The next Mayor and council will be blamed for causing the problem.
All one has to do is look at the condition Harris left Ontario and the mess is still not cleaned up. Mind you we did not elect a premier that was capable of fixing it.
Todd replying to a comment from Fact / April 4, 2013 at 11:46 am
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Except canceled transit projects and lawsuits ate into any hypothetical savings, which they are, since there isn't a scumbag lefty in office right now to jack up taxes or whatever nonsense you spewed. Also, the non-stop evidence that privatization costs more in the long run.

Whatever. All easily Google-able, but you don't care.

Want to try again?
Chris replying to a comment from Jones / April 4, 2013 at 11:56 am
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Give me a break. Please tell me you're not falling for the fiction of a "liberal bias" in media in the US. You do realize that "right-wing" media is hardly alone in the wilderness down there. Fox is by far the dominant news channel, talk radio is overwhelming dominated by right wing/conservative hosts, and is far and away the most profitable aspect of radio, and Rupert Murdoch controls many of the largest and most influential papers in the US. None of these sources, I might add, are what you would call friendly to Obama. In other words, even if you accept that there is some media that is overly friendly towards him, it is easily counterbalanced by media that is almost hypercritical of him.

Besides, my point was that no US president would ever get away with the disdain for media shown by Harper or Ford, period. You think the Mayor of NY would get away with never answering questions from the press and doing all of his talking on a controlled-access talk radio show? He would be eviscerated on a daily basis down there, because voters care about that kind of stuff in the US. Here? Not so much.

McRib replying to a comment from Jones / April 4, 2013 at 11:58 am
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BS.

The Star never sucked Millers dick and held him to account on a number of occasions. Royston James often wrote about Millers failings and was never buddy buddy with him.

The Star is there to uncover news and bring it to attention.

It broke the story of the Giambrone sexcapades.

It broke the story of the ORNGE waste.

I'm not a huge fan of the Star, but they certainly don't give people a free ride just because they may align with them ideologically.

The Sun on the other hand breaks news like the Shaky Lady and the Sticker Lady. Great for getting idiots incensed, but hardly news in the interest of how this city or province functions. It then breaks the news about Rob Ford hiring his football coach on the citys dime, in a 100 word blurb providing zero information.
Shane / April 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm
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take away from the Hero Burger debate
Kristyn Wong-Tam - we don't have to honour the bidding process, we will be able to recruit businesses- this effectively reverses the process, decide on the winner first then ask them to bid.

Shelley Caroll - the upscale elite restaurant won't make money on its own, it needs to be subsidized by the fast food consumed by the great unwashed.
Facts replying to a comment from Todd / April 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm
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15% of the gross operating budget is close to $1.5 billion even with the $65 million that the cancellation of TC cost Fords savings are still in the billions and there are not any lawsuits outstanding that would change that either. Garbage privatization is saving $11 million / year.
jer replying to a comment from Al / April 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm
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Yeah, seriously... I don't know why the headline here says that they have to move. The Toronto Star article clearly says it will just prevent new churches. Unless the other article was changed since this was posted?

Jones replying to a comment from Chris / April 4, 2013 at 01:21 pm
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So Fox is the equal to NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, PBS, the New York Times, Washington Post and others? Didn't know Fox was such a behemoth.

In Canada we have one Conservative friendly media source (Sun). The National post is owned by the liberal Asper family and has lurched left in the last five years. The next conservative friendly story on the CBC will be the first. The Star, Globe, Global, CTV et al are all left wing. The idea of 'conservative media' bias is laughable, and only believable to those left of Stalin.
steve replying to a comment from Facts / April 4, 2013 at 02:07 pm
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Since the whole idea that Toronto was in financial trouble was a a lie. To what advantage is it to cut services and compromise its economic development while the city grows in population?

There is no evidence yet that privatizing garbage has saved any money.

What have you personally gained?
Craig replying to a comment from Facts / April 4, 2013 at 02:13 pm
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A reduction in rise of spending does not equal savings.

Are you the latest recruit for the Mark Towhey Brigade, aka the 101st Fighting Keyboards?
Facts replying to a comment from Craig / April 4, 2013 at 02:35 pm
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I guess you're one of Mark Ferguson's lads, I know you union chumps are scared out of your minds that privatization will show you poor sods up. Word is you guys are showing up on time and doing your jobs well now that GFL is on the scene...
Facts / April 4, 2013 at 03:48 pm
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I hope chow runs, so i can vote for her! She will bring greatness back to the city!
Craig replying to a comment from Facts / April 4, 2013 at 04:30 pm
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I have no issues with the privatization of garbage collection. I also do not, and refuse to, work for a Union.

Any other strawmen you wish to set up?
Chris replying to a comment from Jones / April 4, 2013 at 04:52 pm
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Whoa, big fella - where exactly did you hear me say there was a Conservative media bias? I made no such statement. I simply said the media in Canada (on all sides) are not inclined to ask tough questions of our politicans and who willingly accept being shunted aside so that leaders can speak only in talking points and never have to deal with tough questions. I only cited Ford and Harper not because of their political leanings, but because they in particular are notorious for their disdain of the media (and if you doubt that, then you really have drunk the kool-aid).

My other point was that in contrast, the US media will go after politicians with questions that make them uncomfortable regardless of their political stripes. I pointed out to you that there's hardly a lack of conservative voices in American media, but somehow you read that to imply that any outlet that I didn't specifically name is somehow "liberal". How exactly did you conclude that each of ABC, NBC and CBS are liberal or left-wing? Have you ever watched one of their newscasts? At worst they are benign, and rarely show political bias one way or the other. And how on earth do you detect bias from a 30 minute a day newscast, which out of necessity barely touches on issues, yet alone offers opinions?

Most "opinion" news on TV nowadays comes from cable news, such as Fox, CNN and MSNBC (plus other smaller, more fringe outlets). Fox is clearly to the right and MSNBC has been its counterbalance on the left. Despite the bleatings of the right, CNN is at best Centrist, although I notice that conservatives have a tendency to brand any outlet that doesn't immediately and instinctively agree with everythig they believe as "left wing" so there you go - you seem to be following that pattern as well.

In other words, theres plenty of balance in the "opinion" news in the US, despite the constant whining of liberal media bias (which is really just another way of saying "I don't want to be criticized for stupid things I say and do"). Politicians who speak in something other than soundbites or slogans don't tend to spend much time complaining about a liberal media bias.

I might also add that Fox News, came out of nowhere, took on and trounced the far more established CNN, all without a handout from the government like the one Sun News is begging for, but that's another issue. Oh and Fox remains #1 in news by a WIDE margin.

On the Canadian side, the ability to question politicians should have nothing to do with left or right - it has everyting to do with one's responsibilities as a journalist to keep politicians accountable. Media is supposed to be independent of government not simply its mouthpiece, and yet we have a Mayor who gets away with speaking only to friendly media who never ask him hard questions, while demonizing the one outlet that does, and at the same time, a Prime Minister who disdains media altogether. And we are just as responsible because we act like it doesn't matter - look at all the people who just accept whatever crap comes out of Ford's mouth without question. Look at the Sun, which never challenges Ford on anything. Sure, the Star does tilt left, but it is far more likely to challenge a "friendly" politician than the Sun is. I'm not intending to pick on conservative politicians - I'm just highlighting two of them who are known for their media disdain, which I admit is a more recent phenomenon.

Oh and to address your points about Canadian media? Let's see - we've got 4 major newspapers in Toronto - the Sun, the Star, the G&M and the Post.

The Sun, clearly tilts right, and the Star, Left. The Globe was always a bastion of conservative views, but more from the Bill Davis/Brian Mulroney mold of fiscal conservatism. The Post was founded as a conservative paper and despite being recently owned by the Aspers (Postmedia was actually sold off from their holdings a couple of years ago), hasnt changed that focus. The Aspers are Liberals, but have never come from the left wing of that party - if anything they were more conservative Liberals. Besides - have you actually read the Post? Who out of Christie Blatchford, Terence Corcoran, Andrew Coyne, Conrad Black (4 of their best known and most popular columnists) would you classify as left wing?

So that makes, 1 clearly liberal paper (the Star), 1 clearly conservative/populist paper (the Sun), 1 from the centre-right (G&M), and another from the right/centre right (The Post). So where's that liberal bias again?

And TV? Sure, the CBC tilts left, but what about the others? CTV? hmm, their best known political reporter, Mike Duffy, is currently a CONSERVATIVE Senator in Ottawa. How about City? completely and utterly locally focused, not really a clear political leaning one way or the other, but it's worth pointing out that they're owned by Rogers, a long-time Conservative family. Global? Good luck finding a political bias in their newscasts, but they are owned by Shaw, a nicely Conservative family from Calgary. That leaves Sun News, whose bias is well-known and proudly articulated.

So again, I say to you that leaves 1 "liberal" news outlet (CBC), 1 "conservative" outlet (Sun News), and 2 others that don't appear to have a clear bias, but are owned by families with well-known Conservative connections. So again I say to you - where's the liberal bias?

Now I'm not suggesting that there's a conservative bias, I'm just pointing out that our media is actually more balanced politically than you've been led to believe (usually from complaining conservatives)

Best to do your own research on issues rather than relying on tired old out of date talking points.

Finally hit ROCK BOTTOM / April 4, 2013 at 05:13 pm
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Well, it's official...

Mayor Rob Ford has officially hit rock bottom.
Scraping the barrel replying to a comment from Fordnation / April 4, 2013 at 05:18 pm
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English-language much??
Fordnation replying to a comment from Scraping the barrel / April 4, 2013 at 07:06 pm
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A-hole much?
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Facts / April 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm
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Who are you calling a chump, you neocon chimp? Thanks to idiots like you, it will be a LONG time before Toronto (and Ontario) climbs out of the mess that you and your fellow neocon asswipes put it in by voting for Harris, McGuinty, and Ford. Miller tried to make this city great, and thanks to you, the greatness won't happen at all. 1955 called, they want their brainwashed, union-bashing dummy who knows only what comes out of their ass and who can't live in the 21st century back.

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