Ron Taverner’s Weston connection

As controversy builds around the appointment of local police Superintendent Ron Taverner (and friend of the Premier) as head of the OPP, the Toronto Star (via the paywall free ourwindsor.ca) has found that Mr Taverner purchased a home in Weston in July 2017. The deal was private with $550,000 changing hands for the ‘cottage style’ home on a tiny lot at the corner of Church and George.

The problem? The seller, Simone Daniels  worked for the Ford family business, Deco Labels and is currently employed as Deputy Chief of Staff for the Premier.

The home at Church and George Streets. (from Google Maps)

In related news, the Globe and Mail reports that when Doug Ford was a Toronto councillor, he suggested to former Police Services Board Chair, Alok Mukherjee that his longtime friend would make a good Toronto Deputy Police Chief (Taverner did not apply for the job and was not appointed).

Rightly or wrongly, this steady drip of negative stories adds to the perception of strong connections between Doug Ford and Ron Taverner and a possible conflict of interest.

It will take great deal of determination to stare down this kind of pressure. My guess is that Mr Taverner (who has not commented publicly on the current brouhaha) may decide that the job isn’t worth the bother, plus,  he’ll probably not want to begin his new job under a cloud that will likely persist during his term of office.

Weston’s TD closures–all a misunderstanding! (Or explained.)

TD Bank has realized the error of its ways, they swear. No longer will the bank  be closing branches, like they did in Weston (twice). No, TD told the Globe and Mail last weekend, now they’re all about the customer. And this time they mean it.

(And I’m giving up beer. Tomorrow.)

TD has noticed, somewhat belatedly, that “human beings are social animals, and for some crucial interactions, nothing beats face-to-face meetings.”

“For customers, it’s not branches or digital,” says Teri Currie, TD’s head of Canadian retail banking. “It’s both.”

According to the press release Globe and Mail, TD was closing branches because they were investing in ‘fintech’. Now, though, “TD is emphasizing a reinvestment in its branches, one that is multifaceted. For one, the physical formats are changing – fewer tellers, more wealth advisers; less total square footage, but larger meeting rooms.”

And there’s the rub. These aren’t branches like we used to have–places where you might quickly cash a cheque or have your kids turn in the rolled-up coins they collected for the cadets.  There’s no profit in that, so you’ll have to wait in line.

These are branches where the leather-soled won’t have to share their green Naugahyde lounger with the steel-toed. And that explains why TD moved to Weston and Oak: the distance and architecture of the bank will discourage actual banking but encourage high-margin loans and investment. They didn’t move there and make banking hard in Weston. They moved there to make banking hard in Weston.

Banking can be this uncomfortable.

 

Killer gets $500 fine

Zivorad Simich will get a $500 fine for his part in an accident that killed Gary Sim, a bicyclist.

Simich turned right into a shopping mall just ahead of Gary Sim, who was riding on the sidewalk. Sim was seriously hurt, and died later in hospital. The Toronto Star covered the case.

Simich pleaded not guilty. He said he braked and signalled before turning, and couldn’t explain why he failed to see Sim either as he passed him or when he checked his mirror before making the turn. The court heard the van he was driving had no rear windows.

Gary Sim
From The Star

The NDP has introduced a bill that would increase penalties for drivers who injure vulnerable road users, such as bicyclists, pedestrians, police officers and construction workers.

The bill would put drivers on probation, force them to attend court to hear their sentences (they have been able to avoid hearing victim impact statements in the past), and do community service.

Missing people

The police are asking for your help in finding three missing Weston-area people.

Justice Reid, 15, was last seen on Friday, November 30, 2018, at 3 p.m., in the Jane Street and Lawrence Avenue West area.

She is described as 5’8”, 140 lbs., with an athletic build, hazel eyes and long black curly hair worn on top of her head in a bun. She was last seen wearing a ¾-length winter jacket, black tights, black/red/white ‘Jordan’ shoes, and carrying a turquoise coloured purse.

Police are concerned for her safety.


Teodros Negussie, 18, was last seem on Monday near the Jane Park Plaza at Alliance Avenue. He is  5’11’ with a slim build and short black hair.


Ziwen Wang, 19, was last seen Friday, November 30, 2018, at 8:30 a.m., in the Woodward Avenue and Queenslea Avenue area.

He is 5’10″ with a slim build and short black hair.

Police are concerned for his safety.


Welcome to Weston Videos

I was away for a while last month and missed these two excellent videos on Weston produced by Options for Homes. OFH is currently building a condo on the banks of the Humber at 10 Wilby Crescent.

Both videos feature Squibb’s Stationers owner (and Weston Village Residents’ Association Communications Director), Suri Weinberg-Linsky talking about Weston and promoting it as a place to live.

Here they are in one convenient spot.


 

Nunziata acclaimed as Speaker.

Council Frances Nunziata thanks colleagues for her unanimous acclamation as Speaker at today’s city council meeting.

At today’s brief session of Toronto City Council, Frances Nunziata was the only nominee as Speaker and she was elected unanimously by her colleagues in a recorded vote. Similarly, Councillor Shelley Carroll was also the sole nominee and unanimous choice for Deputy Speaker.

Some random observations from today’s opening session:

Council opened with an acknowledgement that Treaty 13 granted settlement rights over the land that covers Toronto and lands to the north. The money paid for the quarter of a million acres or so? Ten shillings (nowadays 50p or 84 cents). Even taking inflation into account it’s less than $40.

Only four new councillors were elected in Toronto’s 25 wards.

Councillor Jim Karygiannis is a very tall man.

Mayor John Tory seemed to be nursing a bad back as he walked into the ceremony with some difficulty. In his opening day speech he mentioned:

  • We don’t need to be divisive to do our job – possibly a dig at the Premier.
  • Toronto is Ontario’s financial engine – a message for both the Premier and Prime Minister
  • We need to keep taxes low and spend money carefully  – more austerity coming
  • Land transfer tax revenues are falling – more austerity coming
  • Toronto needs to be a more liveable city (whatever that means).

Everyone was on their best behaviour today with lots of hugs, handshakes and nice words. We’ll see how long that lasts with the new, smaller and more intimate Council.

Toronto City Council kick-off tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be like the start of a new school year in Toronto’s council chambers. All 25 councillors and Mayor Tory will be present, freshly scrubbed and on their best behaviour to begin a new four-year term. This will mark the beginning of the new Ford-imposed slimline Council – according to Doug; fewer councillors means better government.

Work-wise, it will be a fairly light day that doesn’t officially get under way until 2:00 pm. The first order of business will be to formally introduce the Mayor and Councillors to the public and then they will recite the Declaration of Office.

Mayor Tory will then address Council and deliver a pep talk designed to motivate council. Tomorrow’s other important task will also set the tone of council meetings for the next four years. The mayor and councillors will elect a Speaker and Deputy who between them will adjudicate over Council’s affairs. According to the City website, the Speaker:

presides over meetings of Toronto City Council in place of the Mayor, although the Mayor may take the chair at any time he desires.

Unlike the Speakers of the provincial and federal legislatures, the City Council Speaker has no additional duties beyond presiding over meetings.

While most Ontario municipal councils are chaired by a Mayor, Warden or Reeve, the City of Toronto adopted a Speaker in 2006 on the recommendation of an expert governance panel. Having a Speaker chair meetings allows the Mayor to participate more freely in debate without worrying about the additional duties of running the meeting.

The selection of a speaker will be an open vote among the 26 council members. Ward 5 (formerly Ward 11) Councillor Francis Nunziata has held this post since 2010 and it will be interesting to see if she:

(a) still wants the job, or

(b) will be re-elected, or

(c) if a new candidate(s) will emerge.

In the past, the job has been a major chore thanks to the (then) larger council and the antics of a few whom Speaker Nunziata found particularly hard to rein in (the Ford brothers and Giorgio Mammoliti come to mind).

Tomorrow’s fun begins at 2:00 pm. To watch the action, tune in here.