toronto o'connor bowl

Morning Brew: Rob Ford happy TTC newsstand contact under review, Stintz claims radio silence, former mayors urge against casino, and credit/debit for Metropasses

Rob Ford says he's pleased the TTC's decision to award a contract extension to its newsstand supplier without seeking competitive bids is being reviewed by a third party. Ford told reporters in a rare unplanned press conference that he's "glad they've seen the light" as TTC chair Karen Stintz, who had publicly supported the deal, watched on.

The impromptu press chat was unusual because it was called inside the mayor's office, an area usually off-limits to the press. As if to illustrate the simmering tensions between the pair, Stintz's presence at the event was questioned by a Ford staffer. During the brief question period Ford claimed he had tried to reach out to the TTC chair about the controversial contract but been unable to get through. Stintz claimed a similar experience. Is this hostility troubling?

Speaking of the TTC, the Commission is hiring new bus, streetcar, and subway operators. Experience with large vehicles is an asset.

Three former mayors of Toronto have written an open letter to Rob Ford and members of council urging against a casino within the city limits. David Crombie, John Sewell and Art Eggleton, say "beware the sales pitch. The numbers don't always add up." Casino companies have been presenting their visions for a major gambling facility since late last year. Do you think Rob Ford will take the advice of his predecessors seriously?

The annual "coldest day of the year" bike ride - held every Jan. 30 - was decidedly lukewarm affair. This part of the winter is statistically sees the coldest temperatures but yesterday peaked at 14 C, the warmest end-of-January day on record. Organizer Jared Kolb told The Star's Katie Daubs the warm weather was "kind of a downer."

The TTC is now accepting debit and credit cards at all of its stations for Metropass purchases. Hooray! Plastic was previously only accepted for annual passes.

Mayoral possibility Olivia Chow says Canada needs a national transit policy if Toronto is to maintain the Gardiner and build the transit it so badly needs. Chow will outline her ideas in a speech at York University tonight.

Finally, A Revenue Canada employee has been fired after The Star ran a story on his video game creation, "I Get This Call Every Day," which is based on his experiences working for the agency. David S. Gallant from Brampton is taking the dismissal as a chance to work on his game career.


Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Photo: "O'Connor Bowl" by Dominic Bugatto/blogTO Flickr pool.

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