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Real City Matters

Join us Tuesday night for a discussion about municipal ethics in Toronto

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Newsstand: April 25, 2013

As you wake up this morning, prepare for a Wednesday like no other. Because it's Thursday, and you've been out for a long time. In the news: councillors don't take kindly to holding off on transit taxes, Mississauga makes its own transit revenue recommendations, police apprehend a second bank robbery suspect, and pollution is down in the city.

newsstand jeremy kai spring 3

The mayor’s executive committee might have decided to take the bold, visionary move of twiddling its thumbs for a month on the issue of new taxes and fees to pay for transit, but that’s not sitting well with other city councillors. Karen Stintz (Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence), a one-time ally of Mayor Rob Ford, came out swinging at Ford for the decision, while others are already starting to plot how council can force the issue. Whatever ends up happening, with political intrigue of this calibre, you’d be a sucker to try and lower your blood pressure with a vacation in the month of May.

Speaking of paying for transit, remember how we Torontonians always love ragging on the 905? It turns out that can work both ways, especially when they’re armed with some good old fashioned political buffoonery. Mississauga councillors took aim at their neighbours to the east as they debated their own approach to transit revenue tools. Councillors voted to recommend nine funding tools to Metrolinx, but shied away from raising property taxes and transit fares. Meanwhile, back in Toronto: this.

All that transit expansion talk especially rings true when you’re crammed onto a streetcar with someone’s elbow in your back. Which might be why customer satisfaction with the TTC hasn’t improved in the last year, despite a renewed focus on customer service and changes such as new trains and cleaner washrooms. Turns out people would still rather just get from point A to point B without feeling like they’re in a game of human Tetris.

The saga of the violent bank robbery that made news earlier this week has very likely come to an end. Police say they’ve arrested a second suspect in connection with the robbery, this one presumably the gunman who shot two people. Among his charges is attempted murder.

If there’s one good thing to come from the miserable, cold weather we’ve been having (and let’s face it, there probably isn’t more than one), it’s that we’re not breathing as much crap into our lungs as we have in the past. In fact, a new report from the provincial government claims Toronto’s air quality has gotten better over the last 10 years, due in large part to decisions like moving gas plants to Sarnia phasing out coal-fired electricity plants and requiring cars to meet Drive Clean standards. The cooler summers we’ve been having are also helping to mitigate smog, although if things don’t heat up soon, we might start burning our own coal just to remember what warm weather feels like.

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