"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

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Like a Whirling Dervish

Politics in Aurora has never been thus . I am accused of being responsible for legal costs incurred by the Mayor and followers since the election.

The first two lawyers, were retained to pursue an action against the former Mayor and political rival. It came to nought. Costs were never revealed.

The latest adjective used against me is "relentless". I am accused of pursuing "those two women" Mayor Morris and Councillor MacEachern, the same who pursued the former Mayor, and made it eminently clear even before the election who were friends and who were not.

Relentless is not a character flaw in a politician. It's important to know your enemies. I make no apology for being focussed. I play the cards I am dealt. The game is not over until the term ends.

If legal costs incurred by the Mayor and followers are my responsibility, why is there such determination to keep them a secret?

Once I asked a question in Council; the Mayor scolded from the chair and said I should not speculate.

I answered respectfully: " Madam Mayor I asked a simple straightforward question. If I do not get the answer I will speculate". I got the answer.

I now speculate hundreds of thousands of dollars have been expended on legal costs by this Mayor and her followers.

Aurora taxpayers have never carried such a burden before. . It is not carried elsewhere in the Region that I have been able to uncover. Or perhaps, even in the Province of Ontario.

I asked the town solicitor to provide me with all legal costs for 2007/8/9. He said yes, but would I mind if he spoke to the Chief Administrative Officer. I did not mind. .

Why would I ? I asked for information which is part of the public record. The solicitor is free to talk to anybody .

After a day or two, I received a call saying the figures were forthcoming but it would take a couple of days.

"Would that be acceptable Councillor?"

Why not? I could not imagine in this day and age, why the figures were not on hand. But a relentless person tends to be patient.

Next was the submission to Council of an Interim Financial Report from the Chief Financial Officer. In non-sequitor, a comment from Councillor Wilson introduced the issue of legal costs. From there, on an equally divergent path, came a motion from the Councillor seconded by Councillor MacEachern, directing the following report be submitted.

"That the Director of Finance and the Town Solicitor prepare a report to Council which indicates on an issue basis, the totals of the year to date and of the projected expenditures for the legal services line under the CAO's office."

Was there a connection to my request? I decided it bore no relevance. Giving the benefit of doubt to staff, I did not vote in opposition to a seemingly innocuous motion.

However, subsequent communication from the town solicitor removed all doubt. He informed me I would not receive legal costs for 2007/8/9 as requested. The resolution of council expressly prohibited him from providing them,he said.

Now, I thought. There's an interesting kettle of fish?

The phrase brings back one of those childhood memory flashes I talked about in a recent post; I was seven, living in my grandparent's house. There was an explosion of laughter from adults in the house at my expense:

I had intended to say "I have a bone to pick with you " I forget now who or why.

Instead I said; "I have a herring to pick with you "

Herring is a fish with a thousand bones, difficult to eat . Split open,filleted, coated in oatmeal, fried and served with mashed potatoes, it's a tasty, nourishing meal and inexpensive.My grandmother told the story once of a shoal of herring coming into the harbour and staying for weeks. People were lifting herring out of the water by the bucketful.

At the time of my tale, I was seven ,for goodness sake, I deserved marks for trying. The right words would have given force and drama to my argument. But it was part of my family dynamics... in an argument... no holds were barred.... no quarter given. Old or young, the rules were the same.

So ... in response to the question asked frequently by taxpayers; how much has been spent by the Mayor and her supporters for legal support to provide comfort and relief in their own affliction?

The information, has been requested and refused by the town solicitor.

When I made my request, I was assured the information would be provided. Mr.Cooper asked only if I minded if he spoke to the Chief Administrator. Subsequently there was direction from council which bore no relevance to my request but was deliberately planned and apparently intended to be used as a rationale to refuse to provide the information requested.

Now you know everything I know. Until further proceedings.

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