"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

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Forum Is Yours

"You should know correspondence to elected officials is entitled to privacy unless you indicate otherwise."

I wish this was true. Years ago I wrote a letter to the Mayor and all councillors of the day about a particular subject that I had an issue with. Never got a response, I honestly did not think that I would.

Years later, during a job interview the question of my local political views came up - the company was not in Aurora; not even York Region. When I asked about the genesis of the question, I was given a printed version of my letter to council. Where did that come from I asked..... The Town of Aurora web site was the reply. Seems the letter (and others) were entered as exhibits at a council meeting.

Google your name, lots of stuff comes up!

And you wonder why people post as anonymous.....


I don't wonder why people post as anonymous. It's the same reason they have not  chosen to participate in  public debate until now.

Because they can do it anonymously.

I think their opinion would have more of an impact if people used their names.

But there is certainly more impact than when the communication wasn't happening at all.

Your letter of years ago was written to the Mayor and Councillors.

It would be treated as correspondence. The clerk made the decision it; belonged on the agenda. Correspondence was an  agenda item   years ago.

I was talking about your right to  privacy in  communication with the Mayor or Councillors. In the same way a personal phone call would be private. An e-mail to an individual is considered private. Especially if  the privacy clause is attached.

In the last term, the issue was discussed at length. Three different solicitors were asked to provide written reports. Each report came back saying the same thing. The privacy clause at the end of an e-mail must be observed. .

I wrote many e-mails to the Mayor and Council at the beginning of the last term. I  was never concerned  anything I wrote might become public. I was just determined it would be me who  made the decision.

The Mormac duo did it anyway until the final report from the solicitor allowed the clerk to say "NO, I can't do that"

I never understood the message  they wished to convey.

Once there was a fire in the MacDonald Drive town houses. By the time the former Mayor arrived,the fire was out and the tenants had left.

An  e-mail  was circulated  that  Councillors Mac Eachern,  Gaertner  and herself had decided to launch a fund raiser to assist  the burned-out family.

I e-mailed  back  and commended the trio for their concern . At the same time, I  noted the Mayor's office and town  staff could not be used for that purpose.

Nothing was ever heard  about a fund-raiser or the unfortunate family from that day forward.

The  former Mayor was in the habit of complaining about not being allowed to do her job.One time  the solicitor was invited to provide an opinion about the full time status of the Mayor's office, from the perspective of workplace harassment.

Anyway, before we had internet, people would phone their Councillors or if they met them in the street or the supermarket or wherever,they would tell them what they thought.

I wrote letters to the editor.

Now we  have Internet. I think a personal communication with your Mayor and/or Councillors is always more effective than a comment posted to a blog.

By no means do I suggest you forfeit opportunity to use this forum. It's here for the purpose.


Anonymous said...

"You should know correspondence to elected officials is entitled to privacy unless you indicate otherwise."

But, just a few weeks ago, didn't you post e-mail correspondence from Cultural Centre supporters without their permission?!

Anonymous said...

Very loosely borrowed to illustrate working together to make a bad situation into something better for Aurora.
"Long since in Hellas' golden days
When all the world was young,
The Torch Race earned the meed of praise,
By noblest poets sung.

Each runner in that lordly game
Strove only for the whole.
From hand to hand the living flame
Flashed onward to the goal.

And he/she who bore it first and she/he
Who last with eager pace
Fought forward, shared the victory,
Twin conquerors in the race.

Still through the world's uncertain dark,
That splendid race is run.
And each must bear the sacred spark
Until the course be done. "

Keep it up, Evelyn.

Anonymous said...

9:11 AM
Are you really comparing our ragged tag-teamers to torch bearers? Lovely !