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Weekend Newsstand: December 1, 2012

There are still 20 more days until winter is here, so just consider these next few weeks practice. In the news: the (potential) mayoral race heats up; city council budgets get a bump; TTC transcripts shed a little more light on that fateful day when buses were sent to "rescue" the Don Bosco Eagles; bad news for sharks and their fins, and for west-end commuters (though the news is not as bad for them, they get to keep all their extremities. Well, unless they get severe frostbite, but we're not going to speculate).

Through with being “coy,” Councillor Shelley Carroll (Ward 33, Don Valley East) made her intentions crystal-clear Friday: Yes, she will be running for mayor, and no, she doesn’t want you, any of you, to run against her. Though all this talk of a byelection may be for naught as there is still a chance that the mayor is allowed to remain in office pending his appeal of Justice Charles Hackland’s decision (or he may simply be reappointed), rumours about potential candidates continue to swirl. Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina), TTC chair Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence), New Democrat Olivia Chow, and former mayoral candidates George Smitherman and Joe Pantalone are among the names rumoured to be set to launch a bid against (current) Mayor Rob Ford.

The mayor’s week just seems to be getting worse and worse. City council budgets, which under Mayor Ford were reduced to $30,000 from $50,445, are going back up. In 2013, each budget is projected to increase by 2 per cent to $30,600. The exact increase has not yet been determined, but will be officially set when inflation for 2012 is known at the end of January. In addition, councillors’ cell phone roaming charges and newsletter distribution will now be covered by the City’s general funds. Mayor Ford’s face is probably growing redder by the minute, but it may help him to remember one thing: Soon, this may not be your problem.

The driver of one of the two TTC buses pulled from their routes and sent to pick up the Don Bosco Eagles, the football team coached by Mayor Ford, was concerned about getting “lynched” and hesitant to end her run and head over to the football field, since, ahem, her bus was full of people. In a transcript released by the TTC yesterday, both drivers express surprise over the plan to use TTC buses as shuttles, as does TTC head Andy Byford (at the time busy trying to arrange for a charter bus instead) who was clearly unaware that a plan had been finalized until after a TTC bus was dispatched to the high school.

Oh, sharks. We’ve got some bad news for you today. A ban on the sale, possession, or consumption of shark fins and shark-fin food products in Toronto has been declared invalid by an Ontario Superior Court judge. While a half-dozen other municipalities in Ontario have enacted shark fin bans, as have areas in B.C., this was the first court challenge in Canada of a shark fin ban.

Commuters, take note: The Bloor-Danforth subway line between Keele and Kipling stations will be closed Saturday and Sunday for track work, with shuttle buses running along Bloor. Oh, and in other, totally unrelated news, winter weather is here! But don’t worry, Bloor line travelers, you’ll hardly notice the temperature change when you head above ground to stand and wait for the (totally reliable!) shuttle bus to pick you up. Happy December!

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