toronto vacant lot

Morning Brew: Two more arrests in Operation Brazen 2, councillors want Ford fracas investigated, Ford hires his former producer, and Gehry speaks against preservation

Two more people have been arrested under Operation Brazen 2, the investigation by Toronto police into Rob Ford. The Toronto Star reports Barbudan Dima, 37, and Andrei Dascaluta, 34, were both picked up a month apart and charged with trafficking marijuana and possessing $2,200 obtained from the commission of a crime after allegedly selling an undercover cop marijuana at Richview Square in Etobicoke, the same location where Sandro Lisi and dry cleaner Jamshi Bahrami were arrested on drug charges.

Toronto city councillors say they want the melee involving Rob and Doug Ford at the last special council meeting investigated. The brothers left the council floor to verbally fight with members of the public during a heated debate. Shortly after, Rob Ford crashed into Cllr. Pam McConnell, knocking her to the floor. At one point before the fracas, the mayor's personal security guard appeared to be filming the crowd while wearing a city ID card.

Rob Ford's office became much less transparent and accessible yesterday - literally. In the first round of changes after council's decision to slash the mayor's office budget, workers frosted over the windows of the famous fishbowl office and changed the locks. His staff will no longer have access to the area.

Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly announced Ford will keep 9 of his staffers, including David Price (if either office makes him an offer,) but lose Earl Provost, his chief of staff, press secretary Sunny Petrujkic, and Sheila Paxton, his policy director. "It was up to them to indicate whether they wanted to move or to stay," Kelly said.

Following the exodus, the Star reported the mayor's office had hired the former producer of the Fords' Newstalk 1010 radio show as a junior staffer. Dan Jacobs does not appear to have any political experience: he ran a DJ company for 18 years, was a manager at a sports store, and a city lifeguard before joining Newstalk.

Meanwhile, Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney says Rob Ford should quit and "stop dragging the City of Toronto through this terrible embarrassment." Speaking to reporters after question period, Kenney said Ford "has brought dishonour to public office and the office of mayor and his city." Ouch.

Yesterday the mayor told the CBC's Peter Mansbridge no politicians had called to offer support except Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, a family friend.

Even playing a satirical version of Rob Ford is dangerous right now. SNL comedian Bobby Moynihan injured his ankle lampooning the mayor on Saturday night and was forced to miss the red carpet screening of his new movie.

Frank Gehry has an interesting new idea for Toronto's heritage preservationists: Only save buildings directly associated with the architect himself. Speaking at a community council meeting yesterday, Gehry said only Osgoode Hall, Old City Hall, and the old General Hospital building (demolished) have ever been worthy of keeping. Building Gehry's trio of planned condos on King West would require knocking down several heritage properties.


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

Image: Stephen Sokolov/blogTO Flickr pool.

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