Arachnews: January 20, 2020

This week’s Arachnews is a shorter one, as I’m catching up on a backlog of papers to sort. In this edition: charismatic Habronattus jumping spiders, the return of Silkhenge, fallout of the Australian bushfires, the latest volley in the are-horseshoe-crabs-arachnids debate, and more!

Read it on Medium.

The Cheat Sheet: April 2018 City Council

Livestream · Meeting Monitor

This month’s City Council meeting looks like it’s going to be a bit of a clip show. On the agenda: SmartTrack, the Scarborough subway, gambling at Woodbine, a 350-year-old red oak tree, and more. Read on for my overview.

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The Cheat Sheet: November 2017 City Council

Since the last regular Council meeting, Council narrowly voted to appoint a Tory supporter to replace late councillor Pam McConnell; Waterfront Toronto announced its partnership with Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs; and City Manager Peter Wallace frankly discussed Toronto’s possible futures in an annual address.

On this meeting’s agenda: the Bloor bike lanes; a Parks and Rec master plan; Metrolinx fare integration; the George Street Revitalization; and more.

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The Cheat Sheet: October 2017 City Council

Council returns from its summer hiatus today, and so I’m back with my usual guide to the agenda. Quite a lot has happened on the municipal scene: Cllr Pam McConnell’s death, Chief Planner Jen Keesmaat resigning, cops in schools temporarily suspended, harm reduction workers creating an unofficial supervised injection site, no doubt more I’ve forgotten. Anyway. Onward.

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Spiders of the Western Waterfront

If you follow my Instagram you’ll see that I spend most of my spider-watching time on the western waterfront. There’s an abundance of diverse spider habitats all along the Martin Goodman Trail, but there are several parks that are worth dedicated visits. Here’s a tour…

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The Cheat Sheet: July 2017 City Council

It’s the last Council meeting till October, and as you’d expect, the agenda is packed. There’s a ton of shelter- and housing-related items, the aftermath of this spring’s floods, banning penguins, terrible motions from Cllrs Ford and Mammoliti, and more. Watch the livestream or follow my tweets.

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The Cheat Sheet: May 2017 City Council

I’m back, bitches! On a site where I can say “bitches”! I’ll try not to go overboard. Here’s everything worth caring about on this month’s City Council agenda. Watch the livestream or follow my tweets.

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Diary of a councilspotter: Plastic bags

Wednesday, June 6, City Council meeting 24

Recap of this morning:

A bunch of councillors throwing hissy fits over the injustice of paying 5¢ for a plastic bag in a perfect microcosm of how conservative governments dismantle themselves by becoming so inefficient they’re not worth having around.

How this got started:

Berardinetti proposed having businesses donate the proceeds from the plastic bag fee to suitable groups, like environmental organizations.

This wasn’t a total dick move, so other people on the Executive Committee added a bit about rescinding the fee altogether.

(So wait, you may say. Are they proposing to get rid of the fee and donating the profits from the fee, in the same motion? Isn’t that kind of confusing? Yes, yes it is.)

And then Perruzza floated the idea of going in the other direction and banning plastic bags (as some cities have done), which made everyone freak the fuck out.

Ridonkulous arguments floated so far:

  • Scrapping the bag fee kills jobs at plastic recycling plants (Del Grande)
  • Dog poop!!1!!11 (Lindsay Luby)
  • If fee proceeds are donated to charity, people will buy EVEN MORE bags (Shiner)
  • Grocery stores aren’t giving out paper bags, so… (Di Giorgio?)
  • The bag fee is bankrupting corner stores and enriching big chains like Loblaws

As I type, the debate is still going on. FUCK EVERYTHING I’M GOING OUTSIDE.