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Newsstand: April 24, 2014

Why is it that so few decent songs have been written about Thursday? Monday is pretty well covered. Friday has a decent variety. What is so wrong with poor old Thursday? In the news: Adam Vaughan officially sets his sights on federal politics, Rob Ford rails against travel expenses, there is no big pay raise in the cards for councillors, the pedestrian tunnel to the island airport will be delayed … again, and the Gardiner will be closed this weekend.

matt newsstand newspaperlies

City Councillor Adam Vaughan (Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina) officially launched his candidacy for the Liberal nomination in the upcoming federal Trinity-Spadina byelection with an event at Madison Avenue Pub yesterday. Should Vaughan secure the Liberal nomination, he will face Joe Cressy, who was previously announced as the NDP candidate in the byelection. Vaughan was supported by former Toronto mayor and federal Conservative cabinet minister David Crombie at his campaign launch, where he vowed to bring his fight for affordable housing to the federal level if elected to Parliament. No doubt, Mayor Rob Ford will be utterly devastated to see Vaughan leave City Hall.

Yesterday, the executive committee voted against a motion that would have seen both councillor and mayoral salaries raised by 12 per cent. The committee chose instead to raise salaries in line with inflation, which results in a hike of between 1.5 and 3 per cent, which—if approved by council—will go into effect in January. City Councillor Georgio Mammoliti (Ward 7, York West), who opposed a pay increase of any kind, says that Torontonians should be in charge of politicians’ raises, with an arm’s-length panel polling voters about the issue and reporting back to council.

The executive committee also made recommendations that city councillors should provide financial details of all funding received from outside groups for trips abroad. After Mayor Rob Ford criticized Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong’s (Ward 34, Don Valley East) recent trip to Vietnam—which was chiefly funded by the Canada-Vietnam Friendship Association—the committee made the decision that all future travel expense reports should contain travel costs funded by backers. Ford also railed against the annual travel and conference expense budget for municipal bureaucrats, which hovers at around $6 million. “There’s no excuse to having staff spend $6 million on travel. Mark my words, I’m going to be on to that,” said Mayor Ford. You hear that gravy train, Mayor Ford is back on your tail.

The Toronto Island airport pedestrian tunnel was slated to open in August, but recently the Toronto Port Authority pushed back its completion date into 2015, citing the unusually harsh winter that has just passed as the main reason for construction delays. While workers have been forced to spend endless hours hacking away at built-up ice in the two main tunnel shafts, the National Post reports that delays were imminent long before the winter due to problems with contaminated soil and an inability to work around the clock because of the city’s noise curfew. The port authority has long been aware of these problems, which also include having to contend with removing metal leftovers from a previous tunnel-building project that was abandoned in 1935. So, why are we just hearing about these other legitimate reasons for delay now? Well, because no one asked about them specifically, of course.

Finally, be warned that the eastbound and westbound lanes of the Gardiner Expressway will be closed from Carlaw Avenue to Highway 427 for spring maintenance from 10 p.m. on Friday to noon on Sunday.

Comments

  • Sonny Yeung

    Vaughan is up against a few nomination candidates depending on when the byelection is called. Art Eggleton and mayoral candidates; Underhill & Thomson were a the Madison as well.
    It’s probably a good thing that they are keeping the raise at inflation given 30 something councillors will be up for reelection and are tough to beat.
    DMW did spent a bit but it was another Ford loyalist that spent the most on travel; Thompson.
    The tunnel is an example of a need to do a realistic assessment. Especially when it’s rushed for the benefit of a private corporation. While car driving suckers are paying record prices for gasoline and won’t have the Gardiner to drive on this weekend.

  • Jim_Clarke

    Pedant alert!

    When you say “Ford rallied against the budget”, you mean (I expect) “railed.” Rally might be stretched to cover the situation — but only if you can imagine Ford indulging in what my dictionary calls “good-humoured ridicule.”

    (That’s two rallies for rails in the last few days, and my delicately balanced urge to correct just went sproing. Sorry about that.)

    • TorontoistCopyEditors

      You’re absolutely right, Jim. Thank you for spotting this. It’s corrected now.

  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    ““There’s no excuse to having staff spend $6 million on travel. Mark my words, I’m going to be on to that,”

    But what if that(debatable amount of ) $6 million generated $50 million or more in business for the city? Wouldn’t that be a smart investment? it’s yet another example of Ford grandstanding yelling about costs that may actually have a beneficial result. We don’t know this for sure but he doesn’t either and just blusters on trying to score petty points.

    • dsmithhfx

      He’s just trying to shore up his budget-cutting cred after his sunshine list shuffle at TCHC hit the news.

      Always hilarious when he publicly excoriates his remaining closest ally, and former allies, Mammo, Thompson and DMW.

      Will he tell us how much local taxpayers are subsiding his outside city limits re-election fundraising? That’s something he could actually control. If he really wanted…

      • bobloblawbloblawblah

        Sure, he’s hoping we’ll forget about his buddy Gene Jones. This is one of the things about Ford that makes me so mad: his simple-minded approach to things. It’s like he figures we’re so dumb we’ll forget about that “other stuff” because we’re busy being angry over some flights that Councillors took and billed to the taxpayers. It assumes we can only focus on one thing at a time and that we’re too dumb to ask critical questions such as “did that trip to Vancouver help the city in some way?”.

  • OgtheDim

    So nobody asking the TPA the right question.

    The media in this city has form for not doing that.

    Darn media not asking questions properly! All these politicians and government agencies are just waiting to tell you salacious stuff and you don’t ask the right question.

    Shame

    Shame

  • Notcleverguy

    When Ford went to LA, on what he himself called “an official trip to promote the Toronto film industry” he was asked who was paying for it, he simply said “not the tax payer” and gave no more details. It seems to me, Minnan-Wong was much more forthcoming about who paid for his trip to Vietnam.

    To add to this, why was the “mayors” heroin addicted brother Randy on this official trip? In what capacity is he qualifies to promote the Toronto film industry? I imagine unlike these trips by various councilors, having Randy and Rob and Doug for that matter on this trip, it would do way more harm than good for the Toronto film industry.

    Bozo hypocrite politics strikes again!

    • rich1299

      Apparently heroin has been flooding places like LA, even people in its film and TV industry have been using. So Randy was probably there to convince them the heroin in Toronto is even better. That way they’ll move their film/TV productions here to sample some of Toronto’s ultra-fine heroin. Rob has already covered the crack appeal of Toronto but the problem with crack addicted movie people is that they tend to be assholes and only make low budget films in Toronto due to how expensive crack is here. Ford realized that if he wanted to bring big budget artsy type films here he’d need to connect with heroin addicted movie types. So of course they needed Randy with them in LA.

      • dsmithhfx

        I rather suspect Randy’s need trumped all others…

      • Notcleverguy

        Ha! Brilliant!