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Newsstand: January 31, 2013

You know what they say: sometimes you eat Thursday, and sometimes Thursday, well, it eats you. In the news: a review for a TTC sole-source deal, Olivia Chow pushes for a national transit strategy, TDSB maintenance workers take one step closer to Big Brother, and the NHL could be a long wait for Markham.

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The latest on Gateway Newsstand-gate (we’ll come up with a better title soon, we promise): Mayor Rob Ford and TTC chair Karent Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence) bickered like schoolchildren yesterday over the TTC commissioners’ decision to extend a contract with Tobmar Investments—who distributes newspapers and snacks on TTC property under the aforementioned Gateway brand—without considering bids from other companies. Stintz later announced she’ll have staff conduct a third-party review of the contract for transparency’s sake.

As folks in the city continue to ponder whether or not Olivia Chow will run for mayor in the next election, the MP is taking on a decidedly more national issue at a talk at York University tomorrow night. Well, not exactly. Chow’s proposed national transit strategy would obviously benefit Toronto. But, you know, let’s keep that on the QT. In other news, the URL IsOliviaChowMayorYet.com is still available.

Nomenclature update: apparently it’s OK to use the term “Greater Toronto Area” around Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, but don’t even think about using the term “Toronto region.”

For TDSB maintenance workers, the possibility of bosses monitoring you while you’re in your car has taken a step toward reality. A committee has approved a proposal to install GPS systems in board maintenance vehicles, meaning the simple luxuries so many of us enjoy—such as taking extended breaks to go to the bar or doing work for someone else while on the job—may soon be out of their reach.

As a wise man didn’t actually say in Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” It seems Markham city council took that at face value as it approved plans to build a more than $300-million hockey arena in the hopes of someday attracting an NHL team to the city. But surprise surprise, that might not happen, at least not for a while. In response to the move, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman reportedly said, “Sure, Markham can have an NHL team… when the Leafs win the cup!” Apparently that’s just something people say nowadays.

The city’s population of fraudsters targeting specific ethnic groups has grown a little wider. Police have arrested an Israeli man on 64 counts of fraud for separating sympathetic Semitic suckers from their cash while riding the subway. Apparently the man tried to persuade fellow Jewish people to give him hundreds of dollars out of the kindness of their hearts. And it worked, which means he must have found the last 60-odd Toronto subway riders with any kindness left in their hearts.

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