Morning Brew: TTC chair defends cellphone attack, TCHC has new managing director, more on the graffiti crackdown, beer prices expected to soar next year and Air Canada adds a fuel surcharge

Karen Stintz is doing some more defending for the mayor. This time it's over Ford's "bizarre" attack on TTC workers for their cell phone usage. TTC Union President Bob Kinnear thinks it's a directive from the Mayor's office to justify designating the TTC as an essential service. "The union has been supportive of that (cellphone) policy," Ms. Stintz said. "It's unclear to me why Mr. Kinnear is trying to agitate his members and link those two issues, because they're not connected at all."

It's expected as early as today, city council will vote in Case Ootes (yes, that is his real name), as "interim managing director" of the Toronto Community Housing Corporation until a new board is formed. Ootes is a former city councillor who served as deputy mayor under Mel Lastman, is close to Mayor Rob Ford and his new chief of staff, Amir Remtulla. And if you think the choice of Ootes is a little too close for comfort, you're not alone. Says Councillor Joe Mihevc, "Frankly, at the end of the day, it's a concentration of power in the hands of someone who has been very unsupportive of affordable social housing."

The graffiti crackdown story we broke last Friday has been picked up by OpenFile and the National Post, with more juicy details coming to light. Perhaps most significant of these is that over 2000 removal notices have been served city-wide since Rob Ford took over as mayor. We're still following the story, and hope to have more to share today.

Looks like that buck-a-beer probably won't happen anyway. Beer prices worldwide are expected to rise next year after poor barley season in 2010. But don't worry, you have until 2012 before the 33 percent increase hits. However, if you're a fan of local brewery Steam Whistle, you could wait for another two years until your suds soar--unlike most domestic beer, it's all malt.


Photo by Phil Marion in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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