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Morning Brew: Shelley Carroll For Mayor?, Untendered (and Insanely Short-sighted) Street Light Contract Revealed, Siberian Tiger Dies at Zoo, Gordon Lightfoot Alive and Well After Twitter Fiasco

Photo: "Toronto" by Phillip Grondin, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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

City of Toronto budget chief Shelley Carroll is reportedly reconsidering a run for mayor. Being a female, a centrist, and having experience in City Hall (and... hair) means she'd have little difficultly distinguishing herself from the existing front running candidates George Smitherman and Rocco Rossi. Does she have what it takes to make a late entry into the race and come out on top?

On a related note, the City has been forced by a freedom of information act request to divulge the dirty details of a really bad deal the City made with Toronto Hydro. David Soknacki (former city councillor and budget chief during the March 2005 budget tabling) explains that a last minute loss of $60-million in provincial funding had to be made up somehow, and quickly. So the City sold its street lights, untendered, to Toronto Hydro for $60 million and signed an agreement that sees us paying the same company $14 million per year in service fees (which means that by the time the 30-year contract ends, taxpayers will have paid $420-million!). Wow. I wonder how many other closed-door deals like this have been made that we've not aware of.

A private member's bill from Liberal David Caplan proposes changes to water pricing that would result in monthly charges of about $50 per household for tap water. Aging pipe infrastructure in Ontario realizes water losses of about 25% due to leaks, and the idea of leveraging new water usage fees to help pay for the replacement of said aging infrastructure isn't a new one, nor is it likely to become reality.

For the second time in just a few months, a construction worker in Toronto has died after falling from heights on an active work site. Details about how it happened are still sketchy, but we do know that the Ministry of Labour will be involved in an investigation.

There's good news and bad news coming out of the Toronto Zoo today. The good news is that they've named a new CEO who is poised to take on the challenges of funding shortfalls, and the bad news is that they also just lost one of their two Siberian tigers. Tonghua died of liver disease (and possibly cancer), although at 17 years of age, she was within the normal range of life expectancy.

Famed Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot is not dead. What appears to have started as a rumour on Twitter was propagated on the web via both Twitter and a series of erroneous media reports confirmed his death. Unfortunately, once something quickly goes viral on Twitter and realizes more than 100 pages of mention, we can't see back far enough to investigate the source of the rumour. This is doubly concerning and may end up posing a problem for the social media web site's credibility. Or perhaps they're perfectly fine with spreading rumours, garning millions of pageviews, and not allowing us to dig deep enough into their public history logs to investigate the sources of viral rumours.


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