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Morning Brew: Stintz hits back at Ford over newsstand deal, Ana Bailao pleads guilty, Las Vegas Sands pitches casino, TTC names its new carhouse, and paying cyclists

TTC chair Karen Stintz says Rob Ford doesn't understand the sole-sourced newsstand contract the Commission awarded to Tobmar Investments International. Ford and his brother used a portion of their radio show Sunday to sound off on the 10-year, $50-million deal, calling it "appalling." Toronto's transit provider decided to accept a lucrative contract extension with the existing newsstand operator without seeking competitive bids. Was the TTC right?

The Star's Christopher Hume is calling the contract a missed opportunity to revamp an "invisible" TTC asset into something more attractive to riders. Is he right?

In a tearful press conference, councillor Ana Bailao announced she has pleaded guilty to drunk driving yesterday after initially saying she would protest her innocence. Bailao said her blood-alcohol level was 0.13, almost twice the legal limit of 0.08, when she was pulled over in October near Bathurst and Harbord Sts. Bailao had her license suspended for a year and fined $1,000. The Ward 18 rep will keep her position on city council. Is that the right decision?

The president of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation thinks the Metro Toronto Convention Centre is the best place for an "integrated resort" that comprises a casino, convention centre, and entertainment venue. Speaking before the Economic Club of Canada, Michael Leven said a revamped MTCC would attract world-class conventions and be "fun." Do you care which company runs the Toronto casino?

The TTC's new carhouse at Lake Shore Blvd. E and Leslie finally has a name. The Leslie Barns - not Leslie Barn or Ashbridges Bay Barns as was previously thought - will be complete in 2014 and house Toronto's new LRV streetcars. A short piece of connecting track will run up Leslie to Queen, connecting the new barn with the existing network.

St. Clair Ave. had a fiery awakening yesterday when an underground electrical transformer gave up the ghost in spectacular, smoking fashion. Several office buildings and a nearby school were closed due to a thick plume of smoke emanating from a manhole. As of last night some homes in the area were still without power.

And finally, one Toronto company is paying its staff to ride a bike to work. Consultants at Bursting Silver are allowed to bill the company $1 per kilometre for travel made on a bike compared to 50 cents for trips made in a car. The company's founder says it helps keep staff happy and fit and also saves clients money. Good idea?


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

Photo: "121025 Neighbourhood Walk 034" by Aben and Xiao Mei/blogTO Flickr pool.

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