smoking legs

Morning Brew: Billboard tax fight, laser pointer arrest, salary cap for civil servants, Nathan Phillips Square makeover, G20 costs, the lowly Leafs

Should civil servants have a salary cap? What might that cap be? Oshawa city councillor Robert Lutczyk wants to see a $325,000/year income maximum implemented for employees of organizations that are funded by the province. I'd like to shadow, for a day, a civil servant that makes anywhere close to that - just for fun.

Toronto's new billboard tax went into effect yesterday and it's already being challenged by the sign companies. Pattison Outdoor and the Out-of-Home Marketing Association of Canada are both arguing that the tax is "an indirect tax" because they'll need to reduce payments to landowners and increase rates for advertisers. Or they could reduce their profits and pay the taxes themselves, couldn't they?

Another person has been arrested and charged with endangering life in an incident involving a laser pointer and a helicopter. This time a teen in Durham stands accused, after a police helicopter used infrared technology to spot him and his friends in a backyard. I'll bet he never expected to be pinpointed so easily.

Coming soon to Nathan Phillips Square: Green space, a permanent stage, a two-storey restaurant and a new skating rink. On Friday, the City will unveil final plans for the $50-million makeover of the area outside City Hall. Is this money well spent? I tend to think so. It's our city's main meeting place, and it's far too sterile and concrete as it is.

Here's some perspective...
When the G20 meeting (stupidly!) descends on downtown Toronto in June, along with the G8 in Deerhurst, they will come with a "small army" of security personnel and gear that will exceed the amount needed for the Vancouver Olympics. And will come at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. For meetings that will last a few days.

And the Leafs lost their final home game of yet another dismal season, when the Flyers shut them out 2-0. How they remain a hot ticket at a high cost is nearly impossible to fully comprehend.

Photo: "Smoking Legs" by Todd Michael M., member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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