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Newsstand: May 28, 2014

Nothing says "Good morning, Wednesday!" like early morning police raids across the city. Because a whole bunch of them happened this AM. No word on what they were in relation to yet, but it looks like we are in for a long day. In other news: David Mirvish and Frank Gehry are back with a new plan for their King Street West condo project, the first-ever human trafficking conviction in Toronto is handed down, the executive committee rejects changes to the code of ethics, and Elections Ontario accidentally directs voters to a phone sex line.

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David Mirvish and architect Frank Gehry have revealed a dramatically different plan for their King Street West condo project, which will save the Princess of Wales Theatre and surrounding heritage buildings. Two thumbs up for historic preservation! The new vision is scaled back, with two buildings instead of three. These re-imagined towers would include 2,000 units, which is down from the 2,700 previously planned. They would also require special approval from the City to exceed current height restrictions in a big way, with one of the two towers planned to be 92 storeys. Both Mirvish and Gehry hope to fast-track the project now that City planners seem to be pleased with the design concessions. You may recall they were sent back to the drawing board after their initial plans were effectively quashed due to concerns about scale and density.

On Monday, a man became the first person ever to be convicted of prostitution charges related to human trafficking in Toronto. According to Det. Const. Peter Brady, who is a member of the Toronto Police Human Trafficking Enforcement Team, the conviction of Tyrone Burton is a coup, since instances of human trafficking are often difficult to prove in court. A recent report by the Library of Parliament found that Toronto is among the principal destinations or transit points in the country for the nearly 1,500 victims of human trafficking in Canada each year. The Ontario court ruling came the day before the City’s executive committee approved spending $850,000 on a pilot project that would repurpose a community housing building as a shelter for victims of trafficking.

When Janet Leiper, the City’s integrity commissioner, called for 11 changes to the code of conduct for city councillors, she explained that they were “a way of saying to the public: integrity matters here.” Well, apparently it doesn’t matter all that much, because members of the City’s executive committee shot down her report, which asked incoming councillors to sign an ethics pledge stating they had read the code of conduct. The winning motion to defer the report indefinitely came from Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East), and was supported by Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who said, “I think that we have already the tools at hand to regulate the relationships between us.” Really? Since when?

Finally, it is no secret that the world is a complicated place filled with unfortunate typos. Just ask Elections Ontario, which recently directed voters seeking information to a phone sex line due to a typographic goof. An incorrect numerical translation of the agency’s toll-free information hotline, 1-888-ONT-VOTE, was the source of the problem.

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