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Morning Brew: Mammoliti event under investigation, Fords should leave police budget talks, report calls for GO trains over relief line, and Rob Ford claymation

Posted by Chris Bateman / December 11, 2013

toronto graffitiCouncillor Giorgio Mammoliti is under investigation by the city's integrity commissioner over a $5,000-a-table fundraiser held for his benefit. Council rules prohibit members receiving benefits related to "the performance of his or her duties of office." The investigation was triggered by a complaint Toronto attorney Brian Iler. According to the CBC, several hundred people, including lobbyists, attended the event at the Royalton Banquet Hall in Woodbridge.

Some councillors think Rob Ford should bow out of police budget discussions since he's the target of one of their investigations and he keeps accusing Chief Bill Blair of playing politics. Ford suggested his suggested 10 per cent cut to the police budget two years ago is the reason cops initiated Project Brazen 2, the investigation that turned up new allegations of drug and alcohol abuse, in an interview with Conrad Black that aired Monday night.

When he wasn't defending controversial remarks he made about a Toronto Star reporter yesterday, Ford said he and budget chief Frank Di Giorgio would be aiming to cut the land transfer tax by 5 per cent in the next budget. "It's tax, tax, tax, spend, spend, spend," Ford said about the current atmosphere at City Hall.

Before making the land transfer tax announcement, Ford toured City Hall inviting councillors to a Christmas party as his mother's house tonight. The mayor's office emailed an invitation to all members of council but Ford also went door-to-door to confirm. It's not clear how many people will attend the event. Ford declared "outright war" on council when he was stripped of powers last month.

Metrolinx could use GO Trains to relieve the Yonge line instead of building a $7.4 billion subway, a new report suggests. Michael Schabas, the author, found "[the relief subway] will not provide enough benefits to offset even half of its $7.4 billion cost," The Star reports. Should Metrolinx consider converting part of the Lakeshore line?

Finally, Rob Ford is the star of a brand new stop-frame clay animation by the award-winning Cuppa Coffee Studios. In Fordtacular Spectacular, the mayor flies around his City Hall office, dodging all manner of obstacles and controversies. There is no dialogue, only sight gags. President and Executive Producer Adam Shaheen told Global News said he wanted to explore the circus around Ford while avoiding anything "mean-spirited." Check it out here.


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

Image: John Carvalho/blogTO Flickr pool.



Steve / December 11, 2013 at 08:42 am
What a surprise, that weasel Mammoliti did something against the rules for himself. How his voters can be dumb enough to elect him time and time again is telling.
Skye / December 11, 2013 at 08:57 am
Wasn't the point of the DRL to be running at all times, not just rush hour? This plan is much cheaper, though it doesn't take into account that GO Transit and the TTC will have to cooperate and collaborate on a solution.
Jeff / December 11, 2013 at 09:15 am
The Deputy Mayor needs to suspend Mammoliti and remove any powers until the investigation is completed. The Deputy Mayor needs to address the public and the media on this TODAY. His failure to do so will automatically make him an accessory to the crime.
iSkyscraper / December 11, 2013 at 09:20 am
FCP is an experienced consultant, and I do not blame them for seizing on the idea of using the GO lines better. As a firm, they have a bias towards heavy rail, and it would be common sense to make better use of those existing tracks in the interim with more frequent service and lower fares for short trips. (In New York, the commuter rail system on weekends can be used for travel within the city for about half-price). It's not a new idea (see GO ALRT).

But I don't really understand how adding long-term capacity on a commuter rail system at rush hour for intracity passengers would work. It goes against the grain of the entire system. Toronto already has things backwards where the subway is seen as something for long-distance commuters. Now you want short-range transit users to go on the commuter rail too? Taking advantage of Toronto's T-shape and using dead-end trains for short runs is cute but can't possibly be a permanent long-term solution. The city needs more trunk subway lines radiating out from the core. That's the subway political and financial capital should have been spent on instead of the childish "we deserve it" Scarborough extension. (And I say that as a conservative, born in Scarborough.)

Toronto's transit woes continue.
Gabe replying to a comment from iSkyscraper / December 11, 2013 at 09:24 am
Why don't they put stops along the airport train line? It runs right through the west end.
Tony replying to a comment from Steve / December 11, 2013 at 09:25 am
Hey Steve. Same way voters keep voting for the Provincial Liberals. You complain about Mammoliti but its ok for the Province to waste billions and not a peep from you??
Sam replying to a comment from Tony / December 11, 2013 at 09:36 am
Don't put words in other peoples mouths Tony! Steve was clearly addressing the Mammoliti issue of the day. That does not mean he supports or does not support the Provincial Liberals and their billion dollar scandal. Please send the link by noon to the Morning Brew Edition that covered the Gas Plant Scandal so I can review the past comments.
Steve replying to a comment from Tony / December 11, 2013 at 09:57 am
Commenting on an issue addressed in this particular article means I support the Ontario Liberals...

Fantastic logic, Ford Nayshun has.
Tony Jeff Dave Me / December 11, 2013 at 10:01 am
God I love how friendly Rob ford's mom is. We should elect his sons to govern us. Hey have you folks heard about the provincial government and its scandal?
McRib replying to a comment from Tony / December 11, 2013 at 10:37 am
your straw man argument is pathetic and shows exactly what is wrong with comment threads such as this, and with the people whoo frequent them.

you might as well complain that Steve didn't mention how much he hates Jim Jong-un, so clearly he must be a supporter. He also never mentioned told us his stance on date rape, so gee whizz he's probably out there right now doing god knows what with innocent women.

you are a fucking idiot and a fool.
Mayor McCokehoover / December 11, 2013 at 10:42 am
Always found it weird how unhinged Dave/Jeff/Tony/Me became when talking about provincial politics. He really loses his shit, must be personal.

Am just loving the fact Dave has had to suck on it for so long under McGuinty. Too, must chafe like crazy that the Libs might actually eke out a win, if not a minority.

(Hee!!) :)
Alex / December 11, 2013 at 10:53 am
Is people complained about a walk up some stairs to transfer from the LRT to the subway, then imagine what they'll do when you tell them to walk 250 metres to the GO? There's a wall of apartment buildings in between the two of them as well, so you'd need to tunnel under the road or ask them to just walk on the street.

If GO frequency is only restricted by money and not by sharing the lines with VIA and CN then Metrolinx should definitely invest in more frequent GO service. The Yonge subway is filled at Finch in the morning and I see all those people come pouring in off the Blue. If they could increase Richmond Hill service that would take a lot of pressure off the Yonge line, until they can build the DRL.
SammyBrown / December 11, 2013 at 11:15 am
YO BLOGTO! Where can I buy a real Christmas Tree in the west end?

I tried Dufferin Mall last night with no luck. Anyone know? Is there a list on here somewhere?
Alex replying to a comment from SammyBrown / December 11, 2013 at 11:40 am
I don't know the west end very well, but higher end grocery stores have them sometimes. Try a nearby Sobeys or Loblaws.
HY replying to a comment from SammyBrown / December 11, 2013 at 12:38 pm
The Galleria parking lot at Dufferin and Dupont
Shirley replying to a comment from Sam / December 11, 2013 at 01:08 pm
CW replying to a comment from Alex / December 11, 2013 at 01:19 pm
... and would the increased frequency of trains during rush hour service exclusively Toronto or would they be full by the time they hit the Toronto borders?

I think the only people that can answer those questions are the owners of the tracks.
Moran b eeghuzzar / December 11, 2013 at 01:23 pm
I would like to know if Rob Ford wears brief-style underpants. If so, what size. I would also like to know as he downsizes his undies due to weght loss. Does Renata buy his undies for him? George Richards maybe? Also, boxers?
Moran b eeghuzzar / December 11, 2013 at 01:25 pm
What about Doug? I don't think he wears undies! Ewww! Ugh!
Sharfina replying to a comment from Moran b eeghuzzar / December 11, 2013 at 01:51 pm
I don't know if he wears undies but I'll bet you that he's a rag-on-a-stick kind of guy.
iSlumdweller replying to a comment from Sharfina / December 11, 2013 at 02:47 pm
And then there's Smitherman, a Fag-on-a-dick kinda' guy.
Steve replying to a comment from Shirley / December 11, 2013 at 04:05 pm
The Communist party, of course.

I'd ask you but I'm sure it's whoever has the catchiest slogan and whoever Robbie boy says to vote for.
Alex replying to a comment from CW / December 11, 2013 at 04:28 pm
No clue. The last stop before Union is way up at 401, so this would basically just ease up the pressure from the north end of the line. Also the Oriole station on that line is 350m from Leslie station, so they could tunnel or bridge it and the people who would take Sheppard over to Yonge and get on the subway could instead go to Leslie and get on the GO. So long as they don't whine about a little walk this time.

They'd need to reduce the fare by a few bucks and run the trains more frequently. If it could take a lot of pressure off the Yonge line though it would probably be a lot cheaper than a lot of other alternatives. It's such an obvious solution though it makes me think they've already considered it and there must be a reason they don't do it.
Shirley / December 11, 2013 at 09:23 pm
Conservative (federal/municipal), Undecided (provincial)
Scott Highet / December 11, 2013 at 11:33 pm
The 1st picture looks like New York City/Cuidad de nueve york
Voting is stupid / December 12, 2013 at 01:44 am
Voting is a complete waste of time
Jeff replying to a comment from Jeff / December 12, 2013 at 05:27 am
The Deputy Mayor has done nothing!!!

The Deputy Mayor needs to suspend Mammoliti and remove any powers until the investigation is completed. His failure to do so automatically makes him an accessory to the crime.
realityCheck / December 12, 2013 at 05:45 pm
@Skyscraper... sorry but your criticisms of this new transit proposal rest on the assumption that "intracity" passengers are making short trips. And that is an erroneous assumption, especially for individuals on the periphery and in the inner burbs trying to commute down town or to the other end of the city.

I don't think this report gets everything right. But I think this study points to the paucity of solid analysis in what many so-called transit experts have so far said about transit plans so far. It highlights the ridiculous degree to which transit discussion in this city (and region) have been hijacked by an inordinate focus on the subway/LRT debate, when in fact, such a debate doesn't address the core issues, ie BOTH RAPID transit and VALUE (or Return On Transit Investment. I also like is the focus on using EXISTING infrastructure more effectively, even if it means going across jurisdictional silos. The fact that GO has so far been used in specific ways SHOULDN'T mean that we shouldn't look at whether it can be reconfigured to better meet existing needs. For example, I (and many others) have long wondered why the Union-Pearson link is being designed as a premium service line when it has the capacity to provide INTRACITY service in an area that is sorely in need of rapid transit.

I particularly like that it is critical of both the LRT and subway proposals (in their most recent forms) for scarborough. I am not against LRTs but MOST (not all) of the LRT plans for Scarborough and other parts of TO simply do not deliver the speed needed to qualify it as rapid transit...wich begs the question why embark on such capital intensive schemes if they are only marginally more rapid than a bus. As for the subway plan that ultimately did get approve, I think there were more cost-effective options, even though it was a better option that the plan it replaced. That said, the amount of vitriol directed against those lobbying against the subway extension into Scarborough was quite breathtaking and perplexing, especially when one considers that these critics seemed to be much much less critical about the subway extension into Vaughan, which should also have not gone forth if density was the only issue.

Of all the plans I've heard about for getting rapid transit for scarborough is one considered by Scarborough Town Council in its last few years... a diagonal line in a hydro corridor that extends from Victoria Park subway up to the Town of Markham bisecting virtually all the major east-west streets along the route ... that line is primarily open cut (no tunnelling) and is out of traffic (not just in its own right of way) so that it could operate at rapid transit speeds -- either using LRTs OR subways trains.
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