Streetcar Toronto

Morning Brew: Fraudster for mayor!, Ford's plan costlier than claimed, Davis' $100 000 palm tree, open payment coming to TTC

Weizhen Tang, whom you may remember as the man who ran a $30-million Ponzi scheme and referred to himself as the Chinese Warren Buffet, has registered to run for mayor of Toronto. Even better, Tang says he will fight corruption in city government and has "the best chance to be mayor." He has written a manifesto claiming to explain "How the Canadian government is too fat to move, but Toronto, through extreme fitness, can save the country, and itself, from corruption and a Great Crash." He becomes the 40th candidate running for mayor.

Today is the deadline for firms wanting to bid for the opportunity to partner with the TTC in implementing the proposed "open payment" system which would allow riders to use credit and debit cards. Companies interested include all the national banks, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Accenture, who are building the Presto card system. The TTC will ask for formal proposals from qualified applicants on Oct. 25. Open payment has been touted by Adam Giambrone as a low-cost alternative to Presto, which, despite pressure from the provincial government, he says is too costly to implement in Toronto without substantial government help.

How do you cut down a metal palm tree? (If you guessed this was more politics, you're right!) City council candidate Rob Davis is livid over the city's plan to erect a metal palm tree on a traffic island in North York - at what he says is a cost of "$100 000." However, a staff report from community council says that $90 000 of the $120 000 cost is for roadwork and $30 000 is for streetscape improvements. Davis says the tree is wasteful and does nothing to celebrate Caribbean culture, as its supporters intend. "Nobody of Caribbean descent was involved in the decision," Davis said. You mount the soapbox where you find it, I suppose.

The Sun reports on the TTC's response yesterday to Rob Ford's proposed $4.7-billion transit plan, saying it could cost significantly more than estimated. The plan would involve the TTC cancelling or renegotiating a number of contracts, including the already-ordered LRT streetcars, resulting in "cancellation costs [running] into the hundreds of millions of dollars," according to Adam Giambrone. But Ford's campaign says that these costs could be offset simply by selling the unneeded streetcars to another transit system. They have also discussed changing the design of the tunnel boring machines ordered from Lovat, which Lovat's president says would mean higher costs and delays.

In Brief:

Workers at the Royal York began a one-day strike this morning after talks broke down Thursday.

OCAD has finally changed its name officially to OCADU. It's been a university since 2002.

There are two university parades taking place today: U of T's Students' Union parade, consisting of around 7000 people and 10 floats, starts at 2:30pm; Ryerson's Students' Union, around 2000 people, starting at noon. Check here for parade routes.

Photo by DdotG in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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