Morning Brew: Rob Ford prepares to face motion to step aside, judge views crack video, bobblehead mania, city hatches plan to save BIXI, and TTC plans 2014 fare hike
A motion urging Rob Ford to step aside will trigger a "rumble in the jungle" at this morning's council meeting, says Doug Ford. The motion, submitted by Denzil Minnan-Wong, is ultimately powerless to remove the mayor. It will, however, give councillors the first chance to grill Ford since cops confirmed the existence of the video and he admitted smoking crack cocaine. Debate is due shortly after 9:30 a.m. An anti-Ford protest is planned in Nathan Phillips Square at 1 p.m.
The number of people who have viewed the video of Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine increased slightly yesterday. Justice Ian Nordheimer watched the digital file during court proceedings in which the lawyer for Muhammad Khattak argued his client should be allowed to play the tape in court as part of his defence. Khattak is charged with drug trafficking and participating in a gang. Nordheimer will make a decision at a later date.
Interestingly, the Crown confirmed the second video, first revealed by police chief Bill Blair, is a longer version of the original 90-second crack tape. No word if either will be made public.
In a bizarre juxtaposition, as Justice Nordheimer was viewing the crack video, Rob Ford was signing the last of 1,000 bobblehead figurines. The line-up for the strange merchandise, a United Way fundraiser, circled the rotunda at City Hall for much of the morning. When the toys ran out a member of the public began selling "Ford Nation" t-shirts that used the motor company's logo, which they didn't appreciate one bit.
Sensing a collector's item, several of the bobbleheads appeared on auction sites following the signing session. One, on eBay, was seeking bids of over $305.
The city may be close to striking a deal to save the ailing BIXI bike share program. Under the plan, the Toronto Parking Authority would take on BIXI and look for new operators. As the Star reports, the city may let Astral Media off the hook for several new automatic toilets, which would net $5 million and pay off the city's portion of BIXI's start-up loan.
the TTC is planning to hike fares by roughly a nickel in 2014. The increase on the price of a token would be applied proportionally to other fares, such as Metropass. Next week's board meeting will alternatively consider raising cash fares by a quarter to $3.25 or increasing the cost of a Metropass to the price of 49.5 tokens. Any of the moves will net the TTC an extra $36.5 million.
Finally, a group of U of T researchers have invented a cloaking device capable of hiding metal objects from radar, making it look like plastic, or appear a different size. It works by knocking out incoming radio waves. "It's a similar concept to noise-cancelling headphones that send out sound waves to cancel out incoming sound waves," said grad student Michael Selvanayagam.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
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