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Newsstand: April 30, 2012

Morning. You'd be wise to escort yourself on a whirlwind tour of the city today, 'cause your April Metro Pass is about to expire. While you contemplate that, some news: Rob Ford is working on a three-year budget plan and looking, as he's wont to do, to the upcoming election; staff will explore bedbugs in a time of no-funding at today's Board of Health meeting; vendors and customers get riled up over the reassignment of long-time St. Lawrence Market manager; and Toronto's top doctor wants to take it slow.

In recent weeks, Mayor Rob Ford seems to have shifted his apparent mantra slightly, from the ever-popular “When in doubt, make noise about subways,” (that one was pretty cute), to “When in doubt, make noise about the upcoming 2014 election.” Similar, right? But subtle. It turns out he has been drafting a “budget guidance” letter to city manager Joe Pennachetti that lays out a three-year plan to freeze property taxes and garbage fees, plus build new arenas and pools using private sector dollars.

The letter, unfinished, has been obtained by the Globe and Mail, which forecasts a likely onslaught from a city council that worked so hard to overturn the conditions of this year’s budget. The article also cites municipal politics expert Myer Siemyaticki’s thoughts that Ford’s developing budget proposal indicates an early start on campaigning for the next election.

In a word, too soon.

Staff will wade into the dreaded bedbug issue at today’s Toronto Board of Health meeting. More specifically, they will address a staff report that warns the expiration of one-off provincial funding to combat the public health issue will probably increase bedbug infestations around the city. Yeah, that checks out. No money to combat bedbugs=more bedbugs. The funding largely aided the city’s most vulnerable, such as those living in poverty or people with mental health issues.

While the St. Lawrence Market seems an unlikely source of controversy (’cause it’s so goddamned pleasant there, is all), long-time vendors and customers were furious at this weekend’s news that Jorge Carvalho, the market’s manager for 16 years, has been moved to the city’s real estate services section. Mysteriously, the shift comes shortly after the market got a nod from National Geographic, which referred to it as the world’s best food market. There’s also the elaborate market re-design project (something something, glass, something something) slated to be finished in 2014.

As we mentioned last week, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health David McKeown thinks that pedestrians should get a leg-up (heh) on crossing the street, to potentially minimize accidents. Today, the good doctor will pitch to the Board of Health a proposal to reduce the city’s speed limit by 10 to 20 kilometres an hour.

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