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Morning Brew: Ford gags over transit taxes, touts casino instead, court orders mayor to pay legal costs, Gardiner decision due during election, digital ads, and Jays lose

Metrolinx unveiled its shortlist of taxes designed to fund the next phase of transit expansion in the GTHA yesterday. While this was happening, Rob Ford was declaring battle in another round in the war on graffiti at city hall. When asked about new taxes, Ford responded by making a mock-gagging sound. Naturally, GIFs happened here and here. Audio (in case you need it) is here (via @goldsbie.)

Ford's response, when he was done making retching sounds, was to pitch a casino as a way of funding the Downtown Relief Line and other necessary investments. As municipal activist Robert Cerjanec pointed out on Twitter, the projected funds from the gaming facility would take 2,500 years to build the entire Big Move. Is it time Ford dropped the casino rhetoric?

Also in Ford (it's been a few days after all), the Divisional Court has ruled the mayor must cover his own legal costs related to the Paul Magder case. A panel decided that Ford did not achieve an outright victory as he was only successful in winning one of his four grounds for appeal. They also agreed the case helped clarify parts of the Municipal Elections Act. The mayor later complained about the "ridiculous" decision, clearly without concern for respecting the will of a judge.

The city could be about to write off $26 million in payment arrears owed by the Toronto Port Authority, a federal agency. The TPA owes the city $31 million in payments in lieu of property taxes between 1999 and 2012, according to the Star. The agency plans to pay $5.27 million in cash and give the city 94 cents per air passenger until 2021 to make up for the debt.

The Gardiner Expressway, another briefly forgotten relic, was back in the news yesterday. The city will discuss the fate of the eastern portion of elevated highway while it begins renovations on the portion near Strachan Avenue. The deck between Jarvis Street and the Don River is in dire need of repairs that could outweigh the value of keeping it up. A final decision could fall during the next municipal election.

Digital images could be allowed on the city's transit shelters if Astral Media gets their way. The company wants to amend its agreement with the city and install screens capable of changing ad every ten seconds. The brightness should be no more than existing ads, said coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of the public works committee. Do you mind if bus shelters go digital?

The Toronto Sun's graphics department went in to full-swing yesterday when the paper realized it didn't have a stock shot of Rob Ford in a Blue Jays cap ahead of the team's season opener. This is surely a contender for worst Photoshop job of the year so far.

Finally, the new look Jays' big home opener didn't quite go to plan last night - the team lost 4-1 to the Cleveland Indians in front of more than 45,000 fans. Manager John Gibbons urged fans not to hit the panic button. "'We've got a good ball club. They'll be back. They'll have a fun, entertaining year this year, I believe," he told the press.


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

Image: Dominic Bugatto/blogTO Flickr pool.

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