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Morning Brew: Rob Ford second in poll, Mayor Miller appeals to TTC riders on PA system, hydro rates going up, freight train derailment, strippers get free lockers

Rob Ford has surged into second place in the race to be Toronto's next mayor, and is within just a few percentage points of front-runner George Smitherman... this according to a Toronto Star-Angus Reid poll. In other news, pigs can now fly, and hell has frozen over. I can't help but question these findings. The results are from an online poll of just 413 Torontonians (were they blocking repeat voters by cookie? IP? both? neither?) and more than half of those responding were undecided. I just can't imagine 27% of decided voters backing someone with such a history of questionable behaviour.

Mayor David Miller is taking to the TTC's public address system and turning to TTC riders to join the crusade in pressuring the provincial government to come through in its full allocated financial commitments to Transit City. The cash-strapped province announced in late March that they'd be postponing some $4-million $4-billion in funding for transit, a move that puts a huge dent in Miller's transit plan. Listen to Miller's plea (mp3).

Changes to electricity billing in Ontario will go into effect on May 1st, and the average consumer can expect to see about an $8 increase per month on their bill. Higher usage rates have been applied to consumption of hydro during both peak and off-peak hours (which feels like a bit of a slap in the face to those who participate in conservation and strategic usage to save power and money).

A women was ambushed, viciously attacked with a hammer, and severely injured in Etobicoke yesterday, before having her child snatched by the suspect who fled the scene. Within an hour, the suspect turned himself in to police, with the child in tow in what appears to be a case of family turmoil. Of course, none of this would have happened if she had the freedom to carry a gun and shoot and kill her attacker - or so the nutty commenter on the linked National Post article would have us believe.

GO Train commuters coming in from west of Appleby station are dealing with shuttle buses and major delays this morning after a CN freight train derailed near Guelph Line and the QEW. There was no major damage or major injuries.

And because it's kind of a slow news day...
After a lengthy six-year battle, 1400 strippers in 31 GTA strip clubs have finally come out victorious -- they've earned free use of lockers and protect their valuables at work. Until now, the girls either had to spend a loonie each time they locked up their stuff or leave their lockers unlocked and risk having their property stolen.

Photo: "T.O." by dileeps, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.

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