"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday, 7 December 2017

'TIS THE SEASON FOR GIVING...AND TAKING

Community College instructors are back at work by order of the Ontario legislature. The long disruptive  strike was not about money.  It was about security of employment. 70-80% of college faculty work with short term contracts. The settlement partly changes that. Half the contract employees  move to permanent status. 

They will join the 20-30%  already permanent with  tax funded Statutary holidays, sick pay, health benefits and membership in the Ontario Municipal Employee Retirement Fund and a dozen other special benefits unknown  to workers in the private sector.  

They may qualify for a mortgage. 

The rest will continue to work alongside with the same responsibility for a reliable full-time program , without security of employment,health benefits, sick pay, paid vacations, pension fund or any of the numerous other employee benefits. In effect ,without equity on the job. 

Mortgage availability will still be a problem, as will raising a family.  

They provide the public services without equal compensation. 

The students supported the striking faculty. Secure employment isn't a dream. Without private 
wealth, it's a necessity. 

This week, a thirty year employee of the Town of Aurora retired from his job managing the parks.

Starting at eighteen , he grew with the town. Took courses paid by the town. Married, bought a home
raised a family, sent them to university ,sold his home,bought a farm. Now, in a new phase of life ,
he looks forward to leisurely retirement of travel and relaxation. 

Such opportunity is  not universal in a town work force today. Some have it. Some don't. Logic does not dictate. 

Nor in universities, municipalities, LCBO, and  numerous other public service agencies. 

On the other hand, government keeps expanding services. They travel the Province asking ,what else can the government to provide for you?

In Aurora, Councillors have decided to make elected office, a full-time job with no reference to job description. 

What they do not provide for full-time workers, they're ready and willing  to take for themselves. 

Sunday, 26 November 2017

FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "JUDGEMENT IS A RARE COMMODITY": 

Were there assaults coming from Town Hall?

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 26 November 2017 at 16:55

*******************************
 In reference to assault and battery from within the institutions , I was speaking figuratively. . 
 
In my judgement , holding up quite well thank you, disrespect for law and order comes mainly 
from within the institutions themselves. If they're not  prepared to uphold the principles, I don't 
see how they can expect anything different. 

The abuse hurled at me regularly during the Mormac years was not physical. It was abuse all 
the same . 

Even if I was an unlikely victim. 

Saturday, 25 November 2017

THESE ARE OUR TIMES

LAnonymous has left a new comment on your post "AURORA 2017": 

I agree. It does look like a disorganized mess. But you're going to have to picture multistory
office and condo buildings all along the major corridors and that will be the future landscape of the Town. Revenue is the driving development plan. All this money spent on all these development plans, Master, heritage, Secondary, Promenade (I'm sure there's others) all boils down to how much money can a development bring to the Town and Regions coffers to pay for pet projects. 
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 24 November 2017 at 12:14
********************************

You have missed my point. maybe deliberately..maybe not

Despite spending  on professional advisors ...staff and consultants....and despite Acts and Regulations, political decisions in Aurora are neither logical nor consistent. Neither town  business or  community is well-served. 

Special interest groups with neither interest or concern for  competence or integrity are generally in control. 

Mavrinac Park is such a great example. 

Legislation requires an updated Master Recreation Plan every five years.  To calculate accurate figures for lot levies. Lot levies are like legalized pilfering. 

The stated purpose is to ensure new homes pay the costs of new needs created by growth.

As well, developers  must provide land for needed parks. It's part of the overheard. 

Levies (taxes)  provide for additional  facilities such as swimming pools and arenas, fire halls ,police 
facilities,baseball diamonds, soccer fields and many needsthat might never be imagined. 

The Mavrinac neighbourhood had better than average park acreage.Taken care of in subdivision agreements and lot levies. At the expense of homeowners in the price of their homes. 

A separate school site proved unnecessary. . Because of a weird, inexplicable clause in the agreement, the town had a right to purchase the site. 

The town had no need for the site.

No purpose was identified for its use.  

Councillor Gallo, a surviving member of the Mormac gang, with an eye on the Mayor's chair,
curiously discovered the redundant clause

He followed the Mormac formula for success and circulated a letter to homeowners. The site should be a park,he told them, while bypassing the Council process.

Nothing daunted,Councillors Abel and Humfryes and others joined the chorus and valiantly declared all vacant spaces in Aurora should be parks. I kid you not. 

Mavrinac neighbours were naturally pleased and persuaded the cause was just. 

 With an election in the offing, misgivings received short shrift. 

The strategy didn't work for Gallo, as the hydro corridor issue worked for Mormac previously.

But legal costs were incurred to strong arm  the developer to sell the land to the town. Additional 
millions  were spent to develop a redundant park from which fund is not immediately 
apparent. 

Perhaps Capital Roads Reserve. Maybe Holman, Johnston and Browning re-construction was 
deferred a further four years , for development land to be used as a park without logical purpose.

From this day forward ,revenue from  land serviced with roads, sewers, water, street lighting,sidewalks,snow-plowing,fire protection,police protection and a myriad town hall functions 
Including high-priced professional advisors and elected representatives, is forfeit.

 News headlines are full of glad tidings and  pages of photos of smiling faces.

The town is named by an economic publication as a best place to live. 

Homeless families  are without homes. Food shelters provide food to people without food. 

Town services are provided by contract to avoid employer responsibilities and maintain inequity between two classes of employees. 

But  news headlines are full of glad tidings and pages are laden with photos of smiling faces. 

And very little interest is paid to how things are wangled. 
 

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

AURORA 2017

I took a little tour on Monday. 32 Wells Street was the start. The new build is up. It's  humungus . A tower  towers in one corner and the structure extends back twice as far as the neighbouring home. 

Stew Burnett  Park has a tennis bubble and a neat and pretty club house built in front. The 
parking  lot is a mucky unfinished mess  but full. The facility serves the tennis community for miles beyond our border. Why  not...it Is private enterprise.  But did Aurora taxpayers get shafted  for the club house and parking lot ? 

Mavrinac Park is huge and obviously unintended . On a major traffic artery with sewers, water service,
street  lighting, snow plowing, sidewalk plowing, police, fire and bylaw services and everything except homes to pay for all the services. A liability rather than an asset. 

In contrast to Well Street's new and deliberately-created congestion, the vast open space of Mavrinac Park is conspicuous in its emptiness.

We visited the playground for the disabled to see what $357,000. worth of special equipment looks like. Of all the spaces around the park ,three were disabled. No-one was using the facility.It was unimpressive. I understand  it's mostly used by neighbourhood children without special needs. I doubt the park is of any interest now it has been milked for all its worth. 

Our tour carried on to Wellington /Yonge intersection. 

We stopped at the lights and who should be crossing purposefully to the bus stop on the north 
Corner but my grandson Adam. He raised his hand in acknowledgement and made clear his independent bus trip home to Newmarket was his priority. 

He stepped up on the curb and my eye, following him, suddenly  fell on the dollar store, crouched in the shadow of the condo building under construction. So close it looked attached and built out to the sidewalk. 

For a second, I lost my bearings. Yonge Street shrunk.The most problematic intersection in town has been made permanently worse. 

A small town, perfectly organized for all of its 160 year existence ,is suddenly a disorganized higgledy-piggledy mess.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

JUDGEMENT IS A RARE COMMODITY

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "MAIS NON...MON AMI ... IL N'EST PAS VRAIMENT": 

"You argue the charge was justified It was in fact dismissed.
IT WAS A BULLSHIT CHARGE.......a total waste of public resources. "

So, in the case of a lawsuit by a former councillor against other councillors and former councillors, the case was dismissed... I guess the case was unjustified.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 21 November 2017 at 10:07

*************************
That complaint was not dismissed

The jury was dismissed. 

After a midnight e-mail  from opposing counsel,when the five week trial had ended , save for his instructions as to law from Judge Mark Edwards,who had sought to preside in the case, he ruled 
complainant's lawyer Kevin  MacDonald  had made an "egregious" comment in his summation 
and dismissed the jury. 

Mr MacDonald said John Mascarin, counsel retained by the Mayor and paid by the municipality, 
was "reckless".  The word reckless was defined  in the context used. 

Edwards refused to allow evidence of the Integrity Commissioner's negative decision on the  complaint
written by Mascarin, on behalf  the defendant Mayor and 5 councillors contravening relevant provincial law and Regulatikns. 
The complaint was dismissed by Integrity Commissioner David Nitkin, as " purely political"

It  had been published in two newspapers and posted on the municipal  web site, on orders of the defendants, paid for by the town ,though never  identified as a communication of the town. 

The Judge also refused to admit evidence of  the unsuccessful SLAPP  law suit filed against three citizens by the Mayor at town expense. Town  lawyer, Christopher Cooper, who swore the affidavit and was the only witness, was found by that Judge in that trial,  to have lied and evaded questions. 

Mr Cooper's services were terminated by the incoming council after the former Mayor and three of  
defendants were rejected  by the Aurora electors.  

After dismissing the jury, Edwards acknowledged the complainant's legal right to a jury trial and 
the injustice of being so deprived by the lawyer's error. 

He said special consideration would be extended to compensate for the inequity.  

That never happened.

Several more weeks of work were spent gathering municipal experts aswitnesses and preparing a new argument, only to learn no opportunity would be provided to present. 

Only written arguments were accepted.

Thousands more expense went into a second exercise in futility and frustration. 

The Judge took nineteenth more months to write his decision.

He held the Mayor and five councillors had authority to use town resources, staff and finances, to publish a damaging statement about another councillor in every venue available. 

According to Mr. MacDonald, Judge Edwards  continued to receive communications from 
defendants' counsel  long after deadline for submissions. 

Cost  to the municipality was 31%  increase in premiums resulting from almost $1 million legal
cost to defend a claim which was initially denied by the insurers.

Despite the question, reason for changing the initial decision was never disclosed despite the 
question being asked. 

Public respect for law and order is the essence of civilization. 

The principle applies to  Police and the Courts.

When the assault and battery come from within the institutions, the prospect is grim. 

Monday, 20 November 2017

I WANT TO WATCH CHARLIE ROSE DO WHAT HE DOES BEST

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "HELPFUL EXCHANGE": 

"Your knowledge suggests you are or were a policeman. You would likely not have laid that charge yourself but you're not unaccustomed to defending those who do. "

Wrong. I am not now nor have I ever been a police officer. However, ignorance of the law is not an excuse and as a driving enthusiast, I know where the limits of the law sit.  

Where you are wrong however is your assertion that the police are penalizing the young individual. Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h is an automatic suspension, vehicle impounding and a charge of stunt driving/racing. It is no different than the automatic 24 hour suspension of your license if you blow over 0.05 on a breathalyzer. The public as a whole (by electing the governments we have) has agreed to this level of automatic punishment.

No matter what age of the person doing the speeding, the same charges should be laid. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 20 November 2017 at 08:34

************************************

O.K.you're not  a policeman . So..we will just have to agree to disagree . A lifetime of experience
is behind me. It will not be ignored .

An elected official's first responsibility is to say nothing  to undermine public confidence in law and order. The police do not keep us safe. Our predilection to law and order does. But they do need our respect. 

I once covered public school board meetings as a reporter.  

Presenting  an award to a graduate student, chairman Don Cousins said his generation had made a horrible mess of things and the future rested with young people like the recipient. 

It must have been about this time of the year. My mind was occupied with the sacrifice of
the generation immediately ahead of my own. The comment was not appreciated.

Years passed and the chairman . He was a brave stalwart ...continued in public service in 
various roles including the last as Mayor of Markham .

The award winner would now be close to sixty without notable difference in society. 

My granddaughter and I debate. She argues I am not ordinary. I am egocentric.

I argue she doesn't know what she doesn't know. 

Charlie Rose has been accused and I've been asked why I have not commented. 

I've been gathering my thoughts. What do I know? 

I will no longer be able to enjoy something that matters  to me. 

I think what Charlie does is an art form.

 Stephanie feels Kevin Spacey is a brilliant actor. Both have apparently had careers cut short. 

She and I are of different generations but we each have a personal stake.  

Last night, I watched a video of David Letteman receiving the Mark Twain Award for Humour at 
the Kennedy Centre .

A few years ago,Letterman disclosed during a show, he had had an intimate relationship with a member of his staff. Because of his fame and wealth, blackmail was attempted. He took the bull 
by the horns. His career and his family survived 

Others have not. Many have been accused. 

Young women in media and political circles have had the platform for several decades now. 

They fought for equality. They got it. 

Newscasters are paired, one of each sex. 

Women in the military have the right to kill and be killed. Mothers go on tours of duty and leave infants and toddlers in someone else's care.  

They join fire departments. Have the same right to be out of shape and unfit as any man .

They become police officers and work until they can have a year's maternity leave after the birth. 
Office jobs and maternity uniforms are provided. They certainly can't get behind the steering wheel
of a patrol car. 

The right of women reporters to be in dressing rooms after a game, when players are showering and naked and generally in a state of disorderly conduct, was an issue. Not sure how that was resolved. 

They sought equality but apparently it wasn't all they wanted. 

The occupational hazards are not acceptable.The world of men must change to accommodate them. 

I'm waiting for someone to accuse Christopher Plummer, then try finding a second replacement 
for Kevin Spacey. 

I await a logical definition of a "slut walk". .. and the correct pronoun for a transgender person. 

When will art currently hanging in museums be removed forever because the artist was a miserable
wretch of an expletive -deleted male. 

Until that happens,I want Charlie Rose to continue doing what he does better than anyone.

If young women don't want to work for him, they shouldn't.

When he hires new staff , he should make sure they are straight males who won't be shocked to 
see him coming out of the shower naked. 

Saturday, 18 November 2017

MAIS NON...MON AMI ... IL N'EST PAS VRAIMENT

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "HEAR ME ROAR": 

Another vehicle doesn't need to be involved for a charge of racing to be laid. As of a decade ago, driving at least 50 kmh over the posted speed limit can result in a racing/stunt charge. It sounds like your subject was justifiably charged, and that your ire is misplaced. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 18 November 2017 at 18:03

*******************************************

Thank you for your  input but I disagree. You argue the charge was justified It  was in fact dismissed.

It took a court proceeding, legal fees and miles and miles of tedious travel,for car and licence to be returned to the lawful owner, after sitting unsecured in a junk yard for a week. 
 
The charge did not stand up in court. It failed. Evidence did not support it. 

IT WAS A BULLSHIT CHARGE.......a total waste of public resources. 

So far, I've focused on cost, though not all of the cost, to the person wrongfully charged. 

I've also touched on breach of trust between sworn officers of the law and the public. Their 
authority over our lives when they wear the uniform and carry a gun is no small matter. 

Loss of respect is real, not affordable, unacceptable and totally needless. 

The costs of court procedure is secondary but not insignificant. 

Police officers are paid witness fees and court time which of course is lost from policing.  Visit a 
court house some time and see the officers are there, milling about in their numbers,  for hours any 
day of the week. 

Judges or magistrates are occupied listening to arguments ....at their convenience. 

They are potentates of their domain .....paid regardless of competence .

Prosecutors have to be paid and facilities provided. 

People charged with crimes are released from jail because dockets are overcrowded and 
courts never get ito trial. 

I've spent  time in court houses. It's not like the real world in any sense. They create their own caliphates and it's theirs, all theirs.

And it's all on our dollar, yours and mine .

My "ire" is not misplaced, my friend. 

On the contrary, it is very well placed... right here in this Blog.