Welcome to the most wonderful day of the week. Saturday, it's full of opportunity. You can do it all! Or, you can go back to bed. Whatever. In today's news: Mayor Rob Ford continues to rock the (gravy) boat, city councillors spending less, how the libraries plan to save money, why your alcohol needs may soon be easier to meet, and getting around the city will be a real treat this weekend.
The gravy is flowing at City Hall and this time it’s the gravy-hater himself steering the train. Mayor Rob Ford outsourced the printing of his business cards to an outside company, costing the City’s taxpayers four times as much as if they’d been printed by the City. Oh, by the way – that outside company? It’s his family’s printing company. The printers charged the mayor and his staff between six and seven cents per card, which sure, doesn’t sound like a lot, but when the City-printed cards can cost less than two cents apiece, it begins to look a lot like the extra spending our mayor promised to trim.
But don’t fret taxpayers, because as it turns out, the City is saving money, too. During the first nine months of 2011, Toronto city councillors have spent a total of $511,401, down from the $2.03 million spent by this point in 2010. In December, Mayor Ford scaled budgets back to $30,000 per councillor, a cut of more than $20,000 a piece.
On the topic of budget cuts, it seems one group is not up in arms about proposed library cuts and closures – the City’s library board. The board is working on ideas of their own about how to conserve costs, which include closing 38 branches. Others include getting rid of all the computers, turning down the heat in winter and the air conditioning in summer, and increasing advertising in library branches.
A few new big-box stores are to be built in the Toronto, though these might not cause as strong of a NIMBY reaction as other stores might elicit. The LCBO plans to open a number of new stores in downtown Toronto, including one in the abandoned Albany Clinic on the Danforth.
If you are into large-scale urban obstacle courses, you are in for a real treat this weekend. Getting around the city and GTA is just the challenge you’ve been looking for. On top of transit strikes and subway closures, a number of events will be closing City streets this weekend. On Saturday, Occupy Toronto will march from St. James Park to the Financial District at 3 p.m., while the Syrian Canadian Council will be marching west on Queen, up University and back along Dundas from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. On Sunday, the United Mothers Opposing Violence Everywhere (UMOVE) will march from Queen’s Park along College, down Yonge to Dundas and ending at Nathan Phillip’s Square from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., a children’s charity event will close the Danforth from Kingston Road to Birchmount Road, and Highview Avenue from McIntosh Street to Kingston Road on Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Kensington Market will be closed to traffic for the last Pedestrian Sunday of the year from noon to 7 p.m.
Guess what, Toronto? Mayor Rob F’ing Ford has made Keith Olbermann’s Countdown…for being the Worst Person in the World. News of his run-in with This Hour Has 22 Minutes‘ Marg the Warrior Princess has crossed the border, and in Olbermann’s eyes, makes Mayor Ford worse than even Glenn Beck.