Morning Brew: Ford repays car costs, investing in BIXI, Grimes takes tax-funded Vegas trip, TTC reveals station managers, Pan Am mascots, and a mystery beaver killer
Rob Ford has repaid $400 to the city for use of a staff car in September and November last year. Ford was criticized when his aide Chris Fickel used a silver Ford Fusion registered to the city to arrive at Don Bosco football practice. "Do your homework. I paid for it last year," Ford said when questioned at the time.
The city's cycling manager Dan Egan says Toronto was always meant to invest in and expand the BIXI program once it was established. A rep from BIXI said the company needs about 2,000 more bikes if it's to turn its fortunes around and make payments on its original loan. The city hasn't spent any money on BIXI other than guaranteeing its start-up loan. Cycling advocates say it should be viewed as a transit system. Should Toronto include BIXI in the Big Move?
Coun. Mark Grimes took a $1,095 taxpayer-funded trip to Las Vegas to learn more about the "Fremont Street Experience," a pedestrian mall that includes a light and sound show. Grimes says he wants to recreate the dazzling display at the CNE and is in favour of a casino there. The expense was filed as "Meeting with MGM and Caesar Delegations, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA," but Grimes says that's not correct.
The TTC has unveiled the six new Group Station Managers it hopes will improve customer service. One of the group, Michael Sosedov, is a former Russian deputy minister of transport, another, Bo Koch, used to manage J P Morgan clients. Do these guys have the chops to bring about real change?
The city is investigating why taxi drivers convicted of serious crimes are allowed to continue working on the city's streets. Coun. Glen De Baeremaeker motioned municipal licensing and standards to investigate how criminals are allowed back into the system and and weigh immediate and permanent bans for drivers who commit certain crimes. Good idea?
The 2015 Pan Am Games organizers have released their mascot shortlist, which includes a beaver with a maple leaf-shaped head, a happy moose, and a multi-coloured raccoon. Don't be too mean, the designs were created by kids. A winner will be chosen on 7 July.
Someone's been trapping and skinning beavers in the Don Valley, leaving the bare carcasses just off the main walking path. Snaring animals and using their pelt isn't illegal when it's done with permission on private land, but the mystery woodsman hasn't applied for a permit, according to the Toronto Star. There's concerns the leg-hold traps could injure a passer-by.
The prom at Earl Haig Secondary is shaping up to be quite a party. The school is the largest in the city - 680 students in grade 12 - and hasn't had a dance all year because of teacher strikes and work restrictions. One guest is flying in from Portland, Ore., and plus-one tickets are being scalped online.
Finally, this Saturday's closure of the University-Spadina line between Union and St. Clair West has been cancelled by the TTC because of "a malfunction of contracted rail grinding equipment." Sunday's shut down of the subway between St. George and Downsview has also been postponed.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
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