TGIF, guys. In the news: Casino developers want help from Metrolinx; lobbying is up at City Hall; the library is selling ad space; and Ford's comments about Don Bosco anger parents.
Potential casino developers MGM and Oxford Properties both sought the advice of Metrolinx, the provincial transportation agency, in improving their odds of placing a winning bid for a casino in downtown Toronto. Metrolinx chair Rob Prichard and board member Doug Turnbull both earlier recused themselves from any dealings between the agency and a casino after it emerged that they are registered as lobbyists for a consortium lead by MGM Resorts, which the NDP criticized Premier Kathleen Wynne for in Legislature Thursday.
In other lobbyist news, lobbying at City Hall has exploded under Mayor Rob Ford—an analysis done by the Toronto Star found that daily communications logged between lobbyists and public-office holders was 10 times higher last year than in the year before Ford was elected. Misconduct allegations are also up, with 30 cases examined by the lobbyist registrar in 2012 compared to 10 in 2010. “Unless you can hire a lobbyist, you can’t get a vote through the mayor’s office,” Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) told the Star.
Toronto Public Library will earn $20,000 by selling ad space on due-date slips. Ads will begin appearing on the back of each slip later this month or early in the next, for a six-month trial period. The library approved the measure late last year as a way to help control costs, but the payday is just a drop in its $180-million annual budget.
Ford has upset parents at the Etobicoke school where he coaches football after he discussed the school’s problems with gangs and its surrounding neighbourhood in a television interview with Sun News last week. The Toronto Catholic District School Board is looking into the mayor’s statements about Don Bosco Catholic Secondary School, and parents of students at the school—which has faced declining enrolment in recent years—expressed their disappointment at the comments.