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Morning Brew: Special casino meeting May 21, subway plans frustrate Metrolinx, the TTC's remarkable Russian, patio battles, radio gripes, and a bad night for the Buds

Rob Ford has called a special city council meeting for May 21 to debate whether or not to allow a Toronto casino. The discussion was originally scheduled for the meeting next week, and the change prompted some councillors to accuse Ford of stalling on the issue. OLG announced yesterday that it had completed its review of revenue sharing options but didn't release details. Can Rob Ford get the votes for a casino?

Plans to revive the Scarborough subway debate in conjunction with a conversation on transit taxes isn't going down to well at Metrolinx. The provincial transit agency has already agreed to build a light rail replacement for the aging SRT. Changing the plans at this stage would be "difficult" and "expensive" according to Metrolinx chairman Rob Prichard.

Meanwhile, new Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray says he's not convinced the next phase of Big Move projects, including the Downtown Relief Line and various light rail lines, are set and stone. Murray calls the projects which have cost the province millions of dollars and years of planning "placeholders" and open to tweaks. Bad idea?

Michael Sosedov is one of the TTC's new group station managers. He's also a Russian ex-pat who has had a remarkable life prior to being the Moscow region's deputy minster of transport. In one story recounted by the Toronto Star, his mother, who believed Sosedov's father had died in the second world war, was reunited with her husband by pure chance while the pair were recovering from amnesia at the same hospital. Wow.

Spring weather's here, and that means it's officially patio season. But not everyone is happy with the appearance of outdoor tables and chairs on Toronto's streets - illegal set-ups block the sidewalk and impede the flow of pedestrian traffic. Getting outdoor seating approved can be tricky, too, if the neighbours don't like it. The Toronto Star delves into Toronto's patio wars.

A Toronto Chinatown gateway arch is getting the Canada Post stamp treatment for Asian Heritage Month. The Zhong Hua Men Archway at Gerrard and Broadview joins 7 other paifangs (the Mandarin name) on the series issued yesterday.

Threats by Rob Ford on his weekly radio show to read out the names of councillors who vote in favour of transit taxes has prompted a complaint to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. Lawyer Viresh Fernando says he "crossed the line" with his promise. It's not clear how announcing a person's voting record could be grounds for legal action.

Police have arrested a man in connection with a $2.2 million pot bust yesterday. More than 2,200 plants and 20,250 grams of dried marijuana were seized in the raid on a property near Gerrard St E and Leslie. 44-year-old Ping Jiang faces numerous charges over the drugs.

The Maple Leafs first playoff game in almost a decade didn't entirely go to plan last night. The Buds took an early lead but were outplayed for the majority of the game by the Boston Bruins. Game 2 is Saturday night, and fans of the Leafs will be hoping their team can muster a response to the rampant home team.

Things didn't go much better in town either - the Jays were thrashed 10-1 by the Red Sox.


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

Image: Jack Landau/blogTO Flickr pool.

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