Saturday! Saturday! Sat-ur-day! Bring out your inner Elton John and sing along! If that's not your bag, maybe some news? Today: Two of the men in the notorious Mayor Ford photo among those charged in Thursday's gang sweep, Mayor Ford talks about "trust," Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion not guilty of conflict of interest, Pixels for Pistols deadline extended, and private garbage collection may be resulting in fewer complaints.
All four men captured in the notorious photo of the group posed outside an Etobicoke bungalow have come into focus, their identities now widely known. Their reason for posing together? Not as clear. Two are alleged members of a street gang, while a third, who was shot and killed in March, allegedly had ties to that gang. The fourth? Well, he’s not talking. He also happens to be our mayor. A dramatic drug sweep, carried out on Thursday, led to the arrests of 28 people, including Mohammad Khattak and Monir Kasim, two men pictured with Rob Ford in the infamous photo. While we know a bit more about his comrades in this photo now, the mystery around His Worship’s ties to this group continues to swirl.
On a completely, wholly different note, Mayor Ford said on Friday that the question for voters in the 2014 election will be about who they “trust” to protect their tax dollars. It seems he was throwing around a few words at the Toronto Real Estate Board luncheon that he perhaps should have thought through. While a few may balk at the “trust” phrasing at a time that the mayor has stayed largely silent about allegations of illegal drug use, more still were probably surprised at other language he used in that same speech.
If it’s any concession, Mississauga has mayoral woes all their own, though theirs may be wrapped up sooner than later. Mayor Hazel McCallion was found not guilty of conflict of interest on Friday, which means that the feisty nonagenarian will keep the job she’s held for three and a half decades. Hurricane Hazel, as she’s widely known, had been accused of violating the Municipal Conflict of Interests Act when, during the Peel Region council votes, she moved amendments that would save her son’s company millions in development charges. However, the judge found that this would not regard the deemed financial interest of Mayor McCallion as likely to have influenced her vote. With this case wrapped-up, she’ll live to blow another day (like a hurricane? Blow? Yeah, that makes us feel a bit icky inside, too).
It seems the Pixels for Pistols program is having some success, with 100 firearms and 4,000 rounds of ammunition turned over in exchange for free Olympus digital cameras and Henry’s Camera School of Imaging gift certificates. The deadline has been extended to June 30, but if you are considering participating, remember to arrange with the police for a pick-up, don’t just show up to a police station or to a Henry’s store with a gun.
The average number of garbage collection-related complaints per week is cut in half in areas that have been privatized, according to a report going to the city’s public works committee next week. There were approximately 30 “daily service requests” per week during the first quarter of 2013 in the districts where city collection is City-run, while that number dropped to 15 per week in areas of the city where collection has been privatized.