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Newsstand: September 9, 2010

matt_newsstand_newspaperlies.jpg
Illustration by Matt Daley/Torontoist.


Ripped from the headlines on this oh-so-special Thursday: Toronto is too self-centred, Ford hits YouTube, and the Royal York Hotel is perilously close to striking.

In a rare and glowing moment of consensus last night, Toronto’s mayoral candidates agreed that Toronto is too self-centred. The candidates assembled at the MaRS Centre for one in a series of what can only be described as a bazillion debates, to rail against the costly insular attitudes of civic politicians. Everyone mercifully agreed that the City of Toronto needs to work more closely with surrounding municipalities and with the province to encourage cost-saving synergies like more unified TTC services. Also of note were some great food-related metaphors, including “alphabet soup” from Rocco Rossi and that oft-heard promise from Rob Ford to “trim the fat and stop the gravy-train spending at City Hall.” Yum.
He’s hip, he’s with it, and to prove it, Rob Ford released his transportation plan for Toronto yesterday on that bastion of fleeting fame known as YouTube. The video included promises to build a twelve-kilometre subway track along Sheppard Avenue from Downsview to Scarborough, create one hundred kilometres of new bike trails, and replace downtown streetcar lines with buses, all by 2015. His opponents say the plan is a “fantasy” that is poorly thought out and impossible to execute on Ford’s proposed budget.
A hotel strike during a film festival is like a garbage strike during a long, stifling summer: strategically timed, incredibly inconvenient, and…stinky? Royal York Hotel employees voted with 87% in favour of a strike last night, just days before the stars are expected to roll up for TIFF. Hotel management and union leaders will be back in talks this morning, but if no agreement is reached by 11:59 p.m. tonight, Hollywood’s hottest may have to find alternative incredibly luxurious pillows on which to rest their disturbingly well-groomed heads.
The city block at King Street and John Street where the TIFF Bell Lightbox resides has been officially named Reitman Square. It takes the name of Leslie and Clara Reitman, whose son Ivan Reitman produced Ghostbusters. The couple immigrated to Canada from Czechoslovakia after the Second World War and built a car wash at the intersection where the Lightbox now sits. In 2001, the Reitmans donated the land so that the festival could build a permanent site, which, starting this Sunday, will play host to the film industry’s finest.
Do you ever feel like your boss is a robot? A dismembered head barking orders and taking names? For employees of Toronto tech developer Mike Beltzner, that’s actually the case. Beltzner keeps an eye on the California branch of his business with a robotic machine on wheels that is topped with a screen playing a live feed of Beltzner’s face. (The Times has video.) He can wheel his virtual self around the office to check in on employees and give weird virtual pep-talks, and Beltzner’s bosses at Mozilla are loving it. Employees are less convinced. “The general response was that it was kind of creepy,” says Beltzner.

Comments

  • http://bit.ly/jgk9h7 dandmb50

    dandmb50 – Ford’s been doing well in the “polls” but if he pushes this canceling streetcar strategy issue I think people will not respond well to it. I love my streetcars and now that the city has just built (over budget) streetcar right of ways all over downtown, this may be the one issue that finishes Ford. It’s “NOT” a plan to save money.
    How do we”save” money if we throw away all those streetcars and ROW routes, it doesn’t make sense and what about the orders for the new streetcars, will we get our deposit back? We need a plan that works.
    Daniel .. Toronto
    http://bit.ly/dueVZZpresto

  • http://undefined Matthew

    This self-centered tag is bullshit. Living in a big house in the 905 and driving alone in your car to a job in Toronto and opposing HOV lanes or road tolling on your route is self-centered.

  • http://undefined Colin

    I’m voting for Ford, but even I think getting rid of the streetcars is a dumb idea. What they really need to do to get traffic flowing better is ban parking on roads that have streetcars.

  • http://undefined Matthew

    I agree that too many roads allow parking that really shouldn’t
    But, what are the good ideas that Rob Ford has that are getting you to vote for him? Not hand-wavy “principles” like “taming the budget”. What concrete ideas from Ford make him worth voting for for you?

  • http://undefined rek

    Judging from some of his earlier comments, he’s supporting Ford out of spite for Ford-haters.

  • http://undefined Colin

    I peg myself as a fiscal conservative and Ford, a little unfortunately, is the most viable option on that front.
    I also believe that Toronto Council has a lot of stubborn left wing ideologues who have become very complacent and detached from a large chunk of taxpayers (particularly those of us who don’t live downtown). While he may be a bull in a china shop, I think the shake-up that Ford would cause from the Mayor’s office would be positive for the city at the end of the day.
    Would Sarah Thompson or Rocco Rossi be a more effective mayor? Probably. But neither of them is going to win and we can’t afford to have Miller-Lite walk back into office and ignore regular citizens for another four years.

  • http://undefined Colin

    …and yes, I will admit that watching commies squirm as Ford does well is bringing me infinite joy.

  • http://undefined JMcCormick

    What are ‘regular citizens’?

  • http://undefined Matthew

    I think they are people who like to drive alone in their cars, do not like to get stuck in traffic jams, do like the CNA Air Show and don’t like Luminato.

  • http://undefined Colin

    Close.
    People who are too busy working hard so they can pay their taxes, raise their family, save for their retirement, and generally make ends meet to have time to worry about Luminato or spend all night partying on a Tuesday.
    Basically, people who seem alien to Adam Giambrone.

  • rek

    I imagine it’s synonymous with the imagined blue collar down-home infinitely wholesome “silent majority” of American Republican wet dreams.

  • http://www.michaeljeremybrown.ca/ Michael Brown

    “People who are too busy working hard so they can pay their taxes, raise their family, save for their retirement, and generally make ends meet to have time to worry about Luminato or spend all night partying on a Tuesday.”
    That pretty well sounds like me…except the part about Luminato. I like Luminato and I like the CNE…I even live in the outer suburbs…but I commute to work on bike and I won’t be voting for Rob Ford.