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Morning Brew: TTC copying Philadelphia's transit system, TDSB inner-city pilot project a success, pedophile watch in the GTA, Hazel McCallion's skimpy record-keeping, controversy over school named after a former professional wrestler

One wonders why they didn't do this sooner, but at least now the TTC has taken to consulting with another city's public transportation system in an effort to improve service. Philadelphia's SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) has experienced many of the woes that have plagued the TTC, and it's already clear that we're borrowing some of their solutions. Not only did they hire a hospitality expert as general manager of customer service, but Philly's transit workers are required to take customer service classes. Rule number one? Don't sleep in the collection booth...

A pilot project involving seven inner-city schools has been declared a smashing success. The $25-million TDSB program was designed to accommodate the basic needs of children, providing things like breakfast and lunch programs and funding for arts and after-school activities. Started three years ago, the project has seen a dramatic increase in the reading, writing and math skills of the students, who range from kindergarten to grade eight level. It has now been expanded to 109 more Toronto schools.

From good news to bad, there are reports that a criminally insane pedophile may be in the GTA. Eldon James Hardy is thought to have left an Ottawa hospital last Friday and headed to Toronto. Hardy, who is facing charges for attacking two young males in Ottawa last September is considered -- you guessed it -- kind of dangerous. Much of his sordid history can be found here.

Hazel McCallion's troubles continue, as a judicial inquiry has revealed that her office keeps rather skimpy records. Can you say "suspicious?" Apparently, the Mississauga mayor's executive assistant deletes McCallion's emails after they've been read. Could this be part of a cover up related to her son's failed land deal with OMERS? Or is it simply evidence that 88-year-olds don't tend to understand modern technology. Get a gmail account's free, and you can avoid having to delete your messages -- unless, of course, you want to.

And there's a mini-controversy brewing in Milton, after the Halton School Board approved the naming a of a new public school after a former professional wrestler. The worry is that it's inappropriate to honour someone who participated in a violent sport, but ultimately the trustees were won over by Tiger Jeet Singh's humanitarian work and community presence. I can't begin to explain why I'm pleased the board overlooked this silly complaint. I'm no fan of wrestling, but come on -- this guy has been a model citizen and the sport's level of violence pales in comparison to the average video game.

Photo: "Yonge Street" by the author, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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