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Morning Brew: Toronto casino is dead, Ford stays mum, Conrad Black speaks out, lake fill project cancelled, TTC mulls Gateway lease, and Ford makes the US talk shows

It's finally a done deal. The downtown casino is dead, killed off by a 40-4 vote against by members of city council. A plan by Rob Ford to throw support behind expansion at Woodbine was also defeated. The mayor didn't have much to say after the votes were tallied (he's still hiding from allegations he smoked crack cocaine, afterall) so we didn't get a sense of how he's taking the blow. In the end, not even coun. Doug Ford voted for the plan.

Meanwhile, a Sun columnist says Ford had a statement prepared yesterday but for reasons that don't entirely make sense decided not to deliver it to the media. "He feels he has addressed it through times when he called the whole thing ridiculous," Joe Warmington quotes coun. Doug Ford. "He is standing by that." Can the mayor avoid addressing the issue forever?

Meanwhile, Conrad Black is likening Rob Ford to "embarrassing guest at a family Christmas party," which is a pretty damning indictment from a convicted fraudster. Black told the Toronto Star if he was wrongly accused of being a cocaine user he wouldn't ignore the issue. "It's all a bit undignified. We shouldn't be going through this," he said.

It seems the Toronto Port Authority's plan to fill in a portion of Lake Ontario is also on ice. The TPA was planning to fill in an 8,000 square metre exclusion zone around the end of the existing runway, but the current environmental assessment didn't factor in the area being the site of a runway extension. Porter hopes it can get the city to agree to jets operating out of the expanded airport.

Three young people have been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed a Malvern playground earlier this month. The play area at Mary Shadd Public School was completely destroyed but community groups and local businesses contributed $80,000 to rebuild it. An 19-, 18-, and 17-year-old are charged with arson.

A TTC staff report is recommending the controversial sole-sourced Gateway newsstand deal be cut from ten years to four. The shorter time frame would allow a contractor be in place during the Pan Am Games in 2015 and give the Commission more time to find other operators for the 65 subway newsstands, handful of lottery booths, and two bakeries.

As you might expect, the Ford scandal has been popular in the United States on the late-night talk shows. Jay Leno has lampooned the mayor on the Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel did a fake interview, and now video is available of The Daily Show host Jon Stewart having his turn. The shame, the shame.

[Caution: Some of this isn't suitable for work, but you knew that already.]


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

Image: Jamie Nolan/blogTO Flickr pool.

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