Newsstand: February 13, 2014




Newsstand: February 13, 2014

Shia LaBeouf is super-duper sorry for plagiarizing everything and everyone. Can we just accept his apology so we no longer have to suffer through his terrible attempts at narcissistic performance art? We get enough of that at City Hall on the daily. In the news: growing calls for police reform have people asking for Bill Blair to be shown the exit, Toronto’s ombudsman is having a hard time with the increase in complaints about city services, two more pedestrian fatalities are being investigated, and Avery Edison will return to the U.K. today.

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City Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37, Scarborough Centre) thinks that Toronto Police Services needs a total shakeup, and that the organization should start by replacing controversial police chief Bill Blair. Thompson, vice-chair of the civilian oversight board, cited new statistics that indicate police strip searches are conducted in a third of all arrests by Toronto Police as part of the reasons signalling the need for change. While Blair has not said whether he will seek to have his contract extended when it ends in 2015, Thompson says he will not support the move. Thompson isn’t Blair’s only opponent as of late. Board chair Alok Mukherjee has suggested that Toronto Police look outside of the organization to find a potential replacement for Blair in order to curb what he sees as leadership and direction problems within the force. Also drawing ire from both Thompson and Mukherjee is the pricy Internal Organizational Review report, which Blair is due to present at today’s board meeting. Costing nearly half a million dollars, they say it has provided little to no relevant insight into organizational structure within the force. Somewhere there is a Ford brother grinning from ear to ear.

Toronto’s ombudsman Fiona Crean says there has been a dramatic increase in the number of complaints about city services. Complaints rose by 28 per cent in the past year and, in Crean’s opinion, the 2,500 City of Toronto jobs that have been kept vacant directly contributes to the spike in customer service issues. It will probably surprise next to no one that the report says both the Toronto Community Housing Corporation and the Toronto Transit Commission cause the most amount of Motrin headaches for city residents due to poor communication and rude staff. What may come as a surprise, though, is that complaints have resulted in more frustrated Torontonians venting their anger at staff in the obudsman’s office. Crean said that security had to be called several times last year due to tempers boiling over at her office. Not cool, people. Not cool. Learn to channel your inner Spicoli, already.

After 2013 was a terribly bad year for traffic fatalities, 2014 is off to a rocky start. A pedestrian was killed after being struck by an unmarked police vehicle in Scarborough on Wednesday night. The province’s Special Investigations Unit will investigate the crash that happened around St. Clair Avenue and Warden Avenue at around 8:30 p.m. The woman—believed to be in her late teens—was declared dead at the scene of the accident. Police are also investigating another pedestrian death, where a man in his 50s was killed after he was dragged by a taxi on Danforth Road near Birchmount Road in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

And finally, transgender comedian Avery Edison—who was held in a men’s jail while being detained due to immigration issues—will be returning to the United Kingdom today, according to a Tweet from her girlfriend, Romy Sugden.