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Morning Brew: Mayor's office criticized by ombudsman, battle looms over LRTs, TTC OKs fare hike, we're tax friendly, angry chocolatiers, and dancing York U style

Oh, to own the royalties to a "sad Rob Ford" photo. A report from Toronto's ombudsman, Fiona Crean, says unnamed staff in the mayor's office interfered with the way the municipal government appoints members of the public to roughly 120 of its boards. Among various fiddling, staff deleted copy from an advert calling for applications from "diverse" communities and pulled communications from the Toronto Star based, presumably, on the Ford's feud with the paper. Forcing the appointment process to speed up led to a member with a serious conflict-of-interest to slip through, Crean says.

Two city councillors aren't about to let the province take the new LRT lines away from the TTC. Joe Mihevc and Gord Perks have tabled a motion that the new lines not be run by Metrolinx. Last week, the provincial transit agency announced it would seek a private operator for the Eglinton, Sheppard, and Finch routes. Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation Bob Chiarelli said the motion would further hamper the project. Should council be fighting to keep the lines in TTC red and white?

Also at the TTC, a five-cent fare hike moved a step closer yesterday with the Commission's board approving a raise in the price of tokens and Metropasses in line with inflation at a meeting yesterday. Under the plan, cash fares will remain at $3 but tokens will go up to $2.65, weekly passes to $38.50. Meanwhile, the transit workers union says it will fight outsourcing of cleaning jobs.

It didn't take long for first completed stage of the Sherbourne separated bike lanes to become, well, parking. @biketo Tweeted a picture of a UPS van blocking the lane, which is separated from traffic by a rounded curb designed to allow emergency vehicles to hop over in a crisis.

Time for images of an injured albino squirrel?

According to accounting giant KPMG, Toronto is home to the fifth least tax burdened population in the world. Everyone whinges about taxes but according to the results written up by Forbes magazine we don't have much to complain about. Does this sound right to you?

Push that fun mental image of a chocolate factory out of your head - a NestlĂŠ plant at Dundas and Lansdowne is waging war on a proposed condo development near their property with fliers, robocalls, and door-to-door campaigners. What, no Oompa-Loompas?

Finally, in case you haven't seen it already, here's York University student David Kim parodying the wildly popular South Korean pop song "Gangnam Style." Kim performed for Breakfast Television at Yonge-Dundas Square earlier this morning. Crazy.


Photo: No Parking Anytime by Dominic Bugatto in the blogTO Flickr pool.

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