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Newsstand: November 1, 2012

Oh, hello, November. It's been a while since we've run into a month with no holidays. In today's news: dogs could go off leash in all City parks, the City could be in a budget bind, and police release a slideshow showing the suspect in last week's Cabbagetown murder.

If you’re worried about the day when packs of trouble-making dogs will roam free, hassling shopkeepers and stealing people’s girlfriends, well, this isn’t quite that. But if you’re looking for the latest chapter in the ongoing and eye roll-inducing conflict between dog owners and parents with small children… jackpot. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) wants all City parks to have off-leash hours between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., presumably so that all those creepy nighttime dog people can do whatever it is they do. As you can imagine, the proposal isn’t all too popular with parents who think their kids should be able to go into a park whenever they please without getting mauled.

When City budget chief Mike Del Grande (Ward 39, Scarborough-Agincourt) makes a grim economic prediction, he does it right. And his latest is a real doozy. Del Grande says the City’s reserves—which it’s been depending on since amalgamation—run out after next year, meaning 2014 will be a real fire and brimstone year for Toronto, with no end of the land transfer tax and no expansion of the meal program in public schools. Del Grande says the situation is so bad that even introducing new taxes won’t solve the problem. So what’s the solution? We’re not sure, but we hope it somehow involves hot air balloons.

Just in case you’re wondering if city council’s left and right wings have figured out how to get along yet, they haven’t. The latest back and forth comes in the wake of ombudsman Fiona Crean, already in hot water for doing her job, distributing the mythical list of Mayor Rob Ford’s preferred candidates for civic appointments that Ford has repeatedly claimed doesn’t exist. And then it all went off, with Ford calling the whole thing nonsense; his brother Doug (Ward 2, Etobicoke North) claiming he’d have done the same thing if he were mayor; Denzil Minnan-Wong saying everybody does it and it’s no big deal; and council’s lefties whining about fairness and integrity. Yeesh.

Last week’s murder in Cabbagetown shocked both the immediate community and the city as a whole. To help with the investigation, police have released slideshows from surveillance tapes in the area that depict the suspect. They’re asking anyone who can help to give them a call.

Halloween might seem like an odd night to wrap up a two-week relationship-building exercise between police and young people in the Somali-Canadian community. But wrap it up they did, with a walk around North Etobicoke in last night’s rain. It might not seem like a big deal, but for a community that generally has less than stellar relationships with police, any progress is good.

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