Cold Toronto

Morning Brew: Rob Ford's chief of staff to step down, Toronto's private streets, Ward 9 election win called into question, Jays trade Vernon Wells, year-round patios coming to town?

Nick Kouvalis, the man who is often credited as the architect of Rob Ford's mayoral campaign, is stepping down as the mayor's chief of staff. At some point in the next few weeks, he'll transition to a role in which he spearheads the effort to privatize city garbage services. Rumours of Kouvalis's depature have been swirling for a while, but statements made by both parties yesterday showed no hint of animosity between them. Instead this is the explanation that Kouvalis offered: "It's been fun working with these guys [Rob and Doug Ford] on the campaign. I was never really supposed to be the chief of staff ... I wanted to try it and they needed someone to get them started."

The Post takes a look at private streets in Toronto, unsurprisingly paying particular attention to Wychwood Park. The gated community of some 60 odd homes north of Davenport between Bathurst and Christie contracts out snow removal and road repair with residents paying a fee commensurate with the size of their property and its street frontage. The owner of an average sized home would appear to pay about $600. So here's a question: would you absorb that cost for faster service and to avoid being left high and dry in the event of a strike?

This could be interesting. Ward 9 councillor Maria Augimeri's seat is being challenged by former rival Gus Cusimano, who lost by just 89 votes. Cusimano claims that there were problems with over 400 voting forms filled out on the day of the election, many of which weren't signed. "I've got a problem with the integrity of the system," Cusimano said. "As a candidate, as a voter, everyone expects a fair process. We live in a democratic society here. In this case, the process broke down."

The Blue Jays traded Vernon Wells to Anaheim yesterday in exchange for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera. In moving Wells the Jays lose their highest paid player, but also one of their best. But, to have any hope of signing Jose Bautista to a long term deal, they had to get rid of Wells's contract. There are conflicting reports as to whether the team will carry any of his salary post-trade.


Photo by Still the Oldie in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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