Toronto lookout

Morning Brew: Ford courts friendlies, Rossi's backfiring bocce balls, McCallion defends her actions, Miller books it (literally), Toronto headed for warmest year on record

Rob Ford's campaign has launched an ambitious initiative aimed at creating a network of Ford-friendly council candidates across Toronto. The campaign aims to align itself with and then begin promoting candidates in wards across the city. Ford's team has been sending email questionnaires to candidates, attempting to gauge their support for his "five priorities:" abolishing the land transfer tax and vehicle registration tax, reducing office budgets at city hall, ending sole-source bidding and cutting council in half. "If one or more of your policy preferences aligns with Rob Ford's then we would like to hear back from you to schedule a meeting," the email asks. Neil Thomlinson, chair of the politics and public administration department at Ryerson University, says Ford's motivation for cultivating a cooperative council is clear: "He knows no one on the current council would work with him."

Rocco Rossi's new ad campaign, which uses mafia stereotypes in what Rossi says is an attempt to "redefine what those terms are in a positive way", is experiencing a backlash from Toronto's Italian-Canadian community. Rocco insists he is "a proud Italo-Canadian" and would never "poke fun at [his] own heritage," but many Italians in Toronto feel the campaign promotes tired, negative stereotypes and find it insulting. So do some of our readers. Check out this series of spoof ads based on Rossi's campaign. You can even add one of your own!

The judicial inquiry investigating the land deal involving Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion and her son finally heard testimony from the mayor herself yesterday, who maintains she did nothing wrong and that her intervention in the deal was "for the good of the city." The mayor went on to say that she was not in fact aware of the extent of her son's involvement, claiming she did not know he had an ownership stake in World Class Developments; McCallion witnessed a document for the transfer but says she never read it. Atta girl, Hazel. A mayor has no time for petty details like reading legal documents.

Outgoing mayor David Miller has launched his career as an author with the release of his first book, Witness to a City, co-written by filmmaker Doug Arrowsmith. The book tells the stories of 18 Torontonians (no, they are not referred to as the Toronto 18), with autobiographic sections on Miller and a section on the Humber River Pedestrian and Cycling Bridge. The people selected for inclusion in the book were chosen by Miller: "I'd been inspired by them [and] I wanted other people to have a chance to see the real Toronto." Arrowsmith conducted the interviews and wrote the profiles alongside photographs by Jeff Davidson. Miller wrote the opening and closing chapters and chose subjects. It is the first book for both authors. So that's what he's been doing...

In Brief:

Toronto is poised to break the record for the 2nd - and possibly the 1st - warmest year in its history.

There's still time to check out the first ever Toronto Beer Week.

Rob Ford's deputy campaign manager sent an email to his team warning them that, in the final stretch of the election, the Ford campaign will likely face "the dirtiest politics we have ever seen in Canada" and asking them to "be on their best behaviour - at all times." Presumably the email did not need to say, "I'm looking at you, Rob."

Photo by Brian.Nguyen in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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