Happy Tuesday! It's... oh, damn it. Those discount calendars seemed like a good deal at the time. Well, here's the news: The city's ombudsman wants changes at children's services, another consulting firm suggests library cuts, backyard chickens could become a reality, and the zoo has set a date for its elephants to be moved.
It’s always nice to see the little guy go up against a giant and win, and it’s all the better when the story isn’t from the Bible or starring Julia Roberts. In this case, the little guy in question is a father who was denied subsidized daycare for his children after losing his job, and then spent more than a year being jerked around by the labyrinthine bureaucracy in his quest for justice. The city’s ombudsman has stepped in, written some strong words, and made recommendations to the children’s services division that include apologizing, telling the truth, and not being dickheads to the public from now on. And, of course, better record-keeping.
Apparently consulting firm DPRA wasn’t paying attention to that part of summer where the entire city, rallying behind one of Canada’s most famous authors, rose up en masse against cuts to the library system, because the firm has recommended cutting 14 branches to meet Mayor Rob Ford’s call for a 10 per cent budget reduction. Never mind that the cuts are unlikely to happen, as they’ve proven to be the political equivalent of a growling, angry dog sitting on a crate of nitroglycerine. At least DPRA did the job it was paid to do. Incidentally, how much was the firm paid to do the job it did?
Councillors Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32, Beaches-East York) and Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul’s West) want you to be able to keep chickens in your backyard. And by “you,” we mean people with backyards. They will be asking council next week to request a report on changing the city’s hen bylaw, which would be presented in February. But before you get too excited, the change would only allow people to keep the boring egg-laying kind of chickens, not the entertaining fighting kind. McMahon says people keeping hens will cause no trouble to neighbours, and, to prove her point, cites knowledge of a clandestine chicken ring already active in Toronto’s underground, as if that’s not totally weird.
It seems simple: don’t lie in court, especially when a person’s future is at stake. But apparently that’s not enough for some Toronto police officers, and after two incidents this month of officers caught with their fingers crossed in court, a defence lawyer is calling for the Toronto Police Services Board to track and penalize dishonest cops. And the board just might do that, after police chief Bill Blair and chairman Alok Mukherjee meet to discuss whether the police’s current system needs improvement. By the way, Blair has already said it doesn’t.
Toronto’s zoo board and the PAWS sanctuary in California have set a date of April 30 for the zoo’s three elephants to be moved to the sanctuary. If you’re feeling sad to see them go, think about it this way: at least you’ve got more time to watch the monkeys.