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Morning Brew: Sandro Lisi sought Rob Ford's stolen cell with pot, Doug Ford eases off Cessna claims, council set to talk subways, and the Elgin Winter Garden turns 100

Yet another twist in the tale of the Rob Ford/Sandro Lisi saga last night. It seems the mayor's friend and occasional driver was trying to track down the Ford's stolen BlackBerry last March, and was offering weed as a reward, according to the Toronto Star. It seemed worked too - the mayor got his phone back, the paper says, but Lisi's actions led police to begin the investigation that led to his arrest last week.

Speaking to Sun columnist Joe Warmington, Doug Ford called the reports "politically motivated" and "a joke." Rob Ford said he doesn't know anything about the police document that seen by both newspapers that generated the story.

Doug Ford has eased off comments he made last week about a police Cessna watching his brother. Ford says he was "mistaken" when he told the Toronto Sun that police were flying past the mayor's house, and is now joking that "it could have been the media for all I know." "I know for a fact that the Star and the Globe, they harass us, and so that's my focus ... I'm not worried about the police," he told the National Post.

It's decision day for the Scarborough subway at city council. Debate will begin today about how to fund the city's portion of the line now that the province and the federal government have pledged their share of the funds. The city needs to fill a $910 million funding gap with a property tax and development charge increase or the line could revert to an LRT.

The TTC is hoping to win back special constable status for its transit enforcement officers. The transit agency lost the special designation in 2010 after accusations its cops, who issue tickets for fare evasion and panhandling, were overstepping their bounds. Without the status, TTC officers cannot make arrests unless they witness a crime and often have to hold scofflaws until a police officer arrives. CEO Andy Byford will make a business case at the next board meeting.

The cost of renovating Union Station is creeping up. The bill climbed by $80 million to $795 million due to cost overruns associated with restoring heritage features and keeping the busy transit hub during major construction work, a new report says. It aso recommends the city pick up the cost.

The Elgin and Winter Garden theatres are celebrating turned 100 years old yesterday. The double-decker performance venue at Queen and Yonge, which has at times been a palace to vaudeville, a grimy, second-run cinema, and a target for demolition, held a special event last night to commemorate the event.

Toronto needs to ditch its "knee-jerk disdain for apartment and condo living," according to Spacing editor Shawn Micallef in the New York Times. Micallef says high-rise living, whether it be an apartment block in the suburbs or a sleek new downtown condo, is essential to the Toronto's future, and claims impulsive opposition to new buildings is often rooted in our "ingrained provincialism." Do you agree?


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

Image: Chris Smart/blogTO Flickr pool.

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