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Saturday Brew: Moving on from Miller, More TTC Problems, Provincial Budget Shortfall, Food Bank Running Dry, Meteor Spotted

Photo: The Sky's Tears, by Danielle Scott, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

What's happening in the GTA (and sometimes beyond):

With yesterday's announcement that David Miller will not seek mayoral re-election, the speculation regarding those who will replace him has elevated considerably. And although no one has officially declared his/her candidacy, there's certainly a decent number of potential combatants starting to make a little noise. I was always ambivalent about Miller, but, not surprisingly, reaction to his announcement has been quite mixed. But of the articles I've read -- and I must admit that haven't read them all -- I particularly admire Marcus Gee's analysis of Miller's strengths and weakness.

Amid all the talk of the TTC's 17.4 million dollar operating deficit and its putative source in the transferable metropass, the news that the commission is now seeking an additional 350$ million from the province for funding of proposed light rail vehicles (and specifically a garage to house them) has flown a bit under the radar. City council had originally ponied up the money when the Feds refused, but in the face significant capital shortfalls, the new Bombardier streetcar project needs an influx of cash. Although the two budgets -- operating and capital -- are separate, it seems pretty clear both are in pretty dire straits.

Speaking of troubled budgets, word came yesterday that the provincial budget shortfall is far higher than expected at 6.4 billion (up from estimates of around 3.9 billion). The major culprit? Corporate tax revenues, which fell an 'unprecedented' 48.1 percent. Worse still, the estimated shortfall for 2009/10 of 18.5 billion could now also rise.

The Toronto Daily Bread Food Bank is calling for contributions after a 'long' summer that that has depleted their supplies. With shelves nearing bare, they're asking for 500 000 pounds of food and the same amount of money (dollars). Although donations have apparently stayed high, tough economic times are being blamed for the increased need.

And, in another instalment of cool shit that I've somehow missed, numerous GTA residents reported the presence of a sizable blue-green meteor in the night sky yesterday. Eye-witness accounts spanning from Mississauga to Ajax, and as far north as Collingwood, confirmed the presence of the object but differ in their observation of its flightpath. I know it's just a rock entering the atmosphere, but I find stuff like this extremely enticing for some reason. Perhaps it's because I'm a former X-Files junky?

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