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Morning Brew: Police board votes to scrap TTC special constables, Globe endorses Smitherman, Ford and Pants reveal donor lists, Toronto still struggling from recession, Dalai Lama arrives

The TTC's request to save its special constables unit was shot down by the Toronto Police Services Board during a meeting yesterday. After three hours of discussion and a 3-1 vote, it was decided that Toronto Police will continue patrolling the system while uniformed TTC security staff will be stripped of their special constable status. The decision comes after allegations that some of the TTC's 100 special constables have been overstepping their authority. The decision means that come February, TTC security staff will no longer be able to arrest, detain or transport suspected criminals and will instead need to call police for assistance. The TTC can still appeal to the province regarding the decision.

The Globe and Mail released its pick for mayor last night with a frigid endorsement of George Smitherman. The paper wins for most reluctant endorsement, tepidly throwing support behind George Smitherman after concluding that Rob Ford's "small-scale, grassroots virtues are not enough by themselves to solve the ills of a huge metropolis." While admitting that Smitherman "has failed to articulate a vision or a strategy of his own" and could "easily end up as a second David Miller," the Globe resigns to the idea that "Smitherman's ability to get things done makes him the better candidate." In other words: "They all suck and we're picking the best of the worst, Toronto." Also notable is the Globe's mention of Rocco Rossi as "the preferable candidate." Ah, lost love...

Rob Ford has followed Joe Pantalone in releasing his donor list yesterday. The Ford camp had raised about $690,000 with less than two weeks to go until election day, with notable donations from George Smitherman's older brother Arthur Smitherman, former Metro Toronto councillor Tony O'Donohue and former city councillor Chris Korwin-Kuczynski. According to campaign spokeswoman Adrienne Batra, Ford's campaign has been receiving between $15,000 and $20,000 daily since then. Joe Pantalone released his donor list a few days ago with notable names among his contributors including Jack Layton and Sam Sniderman. The Smitherman camp, however, says it will not be releasing donation details until after October 25. Take that, transparency!

Although the recession is officially over, stats show that Toronto is still struggling to get back on its feet. Bankruptcies in Toronto are nearly triple the national average and higher-paying manufacturing jobs are disappearing. As well, welfare rates are the highest in more than a decade and more and more people are waiting for social housing. At 10.3 per cent, the unemployment rate is also well above the national average. "There are an awful lot of people who are facing very difficult and trying times," said Craig Alexander, chief economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank. "The aggregate economic numbers mask that story."

In brief:

The Dalai Lama arrives in Toronto today kicking off his weekend visit to the city. Thousands will hear his address at the Rogers Centre today, and he will perform an inauguration at the Tibetan Canadian Cultural Centre tomorrow.

The first snow has fallen just north of Toronto. That's right, it's all over. After wet flurries overnight, a few centimeters are on the ground in the Cookstown area south of Barrie. It seems its almost time to retire those fall jackets...

Photo by PLTam in the blogTO Flickr pool.


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