"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

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Correspondence Re St Kitts Jazz Festival

April 9, 2012
Mr. Neil Garbe via e-mail: NGarbe@aurora.ca
CAO, Town of Aurora
100 John West Way, Box 1000
Aurora, ON L4G 6J1
Dear Mr. Garbe,
Thank you for calling April 5th to inform me about Council’s decision regarding the Aurora Festival of the Art’s (“AFA”) request package for Town of Aurora support of the 2012 Aurora jazz+ Festival.
The Board was surprised to learn that the AFA’s six small requests were divided into two separate motions. The requests are intrinsic to one another – to validate the Town of Aurora as a bona fide festival sponsor. The subdivision by Council effectively provides the Town with signage that is not supported with financial commitment. It also creates the misconception that the Town has actually sponsored the festival financially. No level of sponsorship has been offered by the Town for the 2012 festival. In fairness to other sponsors we cannot extend profile where it is unwarranted. However, we attach our 2012 Sponsorship Opportunities and would be happy to discuss sponsorship levels.
The AFA is a non-profit organization, which relies on financial support. The 2012 Aurora Jazz+ Festival requests were presented together in a written proposal to staff, as well as presented in person by Members of the Board at the November 28th Special General Council Budget Meeting. The AFA has waited since November 28th, 2011 for Council’s decision to support the 2012 festival. In the interim, we have created print materials and banners which do not include the Town’s logo as we did not have a timely answer.
Contrary to your conclusion during our conversation that the AFA has “declined” use of the Town’s logo, signage or media, without Council support for the complete package and in consideration of our other sponsors, we cannot use the Town of Aurora’s logo, signage or media. If however, if you would like to support this year’s Top 100 Aurora jazz+ Festival, we encourage you to consider the attached Sponsorship Opportunities.
As regards Aurora jazz+ Festival flags being flown from the stanchions along Wellington Street; this is a wonderful idea, which was not shared with us until after Council decisions. The AFA does not have funds to develop such flags. If the Town wishes to fly the festival logo on such flags or banners, we expect appropriate sponsorship from the Town and our approval/consent to the use of our logo and the design of such flags or banners. As mentioned, levels of sponsorship are attached for your consideration.
Once we arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement regarding Town of Aurora Sponsorship we can revisit the idea of placing the Town of Aurora’s logo on print materials, banners, flags and our website as a genuine supporter of the 2012 Aurora jazz+ Festival.
Susan Morton-Leonard, Chair
Aurora Festival of the Arts
Cc Town of Aurora Council
Cc AFA Board MembersOnce we arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement regarding Town of Aurora Sponsorship we can revisit the idea of placing the Town of Aurora’s logo on print materials, banners, flags and our website as a genuine supporter of the 2012 Aurora jazz+ Festival.
Susan Morton-Leonard, Chair
Aurora Festival of the Arts
Cc Town of Aurora Council
Cc AFA Board Members


Something Fishy in Aurora said...


Anonymous said...


Is this good news or bad news?

Anonymous said...

Well, Holy Shit! Way to bite the hand that feeds you! What is clear, delightfully so, is that we are not required in any shape or form. Therefore it would be imprudent to provide free use of facilities, signage or staff. Certainly funding cannot be provide. We have been set free!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I think it is also time for the Town of Aurora to investigate the ownership of the not-for-profit know as Jazz+Festival.
If you look into the archives of the Auroran newspaper you will find troubling details that confirm there is concern.
The Jazz Festival was in fact started with money that was allocated to The Aurora Farmers Market.
The amount was between four and seven thousand dollars.There was a resignation by the special events chair and what was supposed to be a "joint venture"with the farmers market became the market pushed out of the equation.
Sound similar to the museum?
Check the facts,they are there.
The town needs to answer to where the money was allocated because the market never got it.
Remember that the Lone Granger was the liaison and a player in the Culture Crew also.

Anonymous said...

We're offering this woman banners ? Why?

Tim the Enchanter said...

April 10/2012 Council decision re: financial support of the AFA Jazz Festival

Interesting debate at council on the Jazz Festival. Great indication of which councilors – Buck, Pirri, Abel, Thompson, Mayor Dawe – understand the concept of responsibility and accountability to taxpayers while others – Ballard, Gallo, Gaertner and Humphryes still cling to the irresponsible and divisive approach – fame and favours for my friends – that mired the last council in bitter and fetid swamp of dysfunction.

Last year AFA obtained over $5000 in cash and considerations from the Town yet in the AFA “thank you” letter – Auroran Nov1/11 only $6000 was donated to charity - $3000 split with two charities, neither of which are based in Aurora and each with a seven figure balance sheet according to the CRA listings.

Two years ago the AFA claimed attendance of 5000, Councilor Ballard mused that 10,000 could be expected in 2011 and in the end they sold 4000 tickets.

That aside, nary a negative word was spoken against the Jazz Festival itself as the feeling was generally unanimous that the event was a positive experience for those in attendance.
At no time was it suggested that the Festival should be shut down or forced out.

However, the business at hand was, and remained, the issue of whether or not taxpayers should help finance the Jazz Festival and it was a welcome change to hear sensible arguments for a change such as:

-The Jazz festival is not a charity – it is a business. The performers are paid and several “volunteers” received honorariums
-No other business or group gets to use Town facilities for free – why should the AFA?
-Why should an entire park be fenced off for 4 days just so the AFA can control their paid admissions?
- according to the AFA – last year’s event brought in $150,000 of funding - so why can’t they pay a $1300 park fee?
- there is no tangible proof that local businesses benefited in any way because the vendors, who have paid for the privilege and may not be local, are located inside the fenced area.

And the counter-argument?
If you can call it that.
It’s the same schoolyard argument used by the cultural centre.
“If you like Aurora you will like the Jazz Festival, and if you like the Jazz Festival you will show it by voting for financial support”

Councillor Gaertner read from some notes she had in front of her but aside from some references to anecdotal support of the festival I really couldn’t figure out what she was saying – which is nothing new.

Councilor Ballard warned that the festival could leave Aurora.
He argued further that “what is wrong with waiving the park fees – no one else is using it anyway” (or words to that effect).
So if I go to a car rental agency I can point to a car and ask for free use of it because – Hey, no one’s using it?

Councilor Humphryes made vague references to how much people enjoyed the festival and the supposed – but never proven – spinoff benefits to local business such as visitors needing to buy gas.
Any figures to back that up? Any testimonials from the Hotel Aurora or any other local business about how their business “skyrockets” on festival weekend?
If they had such figures and statements then last night was the time for show and tell.

And not to be outdone

Councilor Gallo claimed that refusal to grant the AFA a free pass on a $1300 park fee would be tantamount to a declaration by council that Culture was Dead in Aurora.

Yep – that’s what he said alright.
I’m glad I saw it myself because I wouldn’t have believed it otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Another ' hidden ' Board. I love the idea that they should pay fees just like all other groups. But the Heritage Centre also generates enough money so that they should at least be paying rent. What's right for one must apply to the other. .Words like ' core funding ' and ' not-for-profit ' make me want to gag.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if those who put the Jazz F. into the top 100 actually saw any real numbers. I have always believed their numbers were fudged and those were just the few we were allowed to see. Just wondering here. Hope my dumb bank isn't sponsoring them. There are plenty of up-front groups in Aurora who could use support. Can you just see this bunch giving money to the Food Pantry? Having said that, now they might make a token offering. Boggles.

Anonymous said...

Mutually beneficial arrangement would be to take your flags with you on your way out the door. I am so sick of this group!

Anonymous said...

2:30 PM
Don't tell us. Speak to someone with authority to investigate if you have facts of misconduct.

Something Fishy in Aurora said...

To Anonymous @ 4:53

Sher St. Kitts sits on the board of those who put the Jazz F into the top 100 in Ontario. No big surprise it made the list… The web is woven wide….


Anonymous said...

On one hand, you have to say “Wow – the Aurora Jazz+ Festival is Top 100” and the other hand as pointed out by “Something Fishy in Aurora” look who sits on the board of the Festivals & Events Ontario that gives out the awards. This is an internal organization award that is used to generate marketing value – so good for FEO. Businesses, companies and festivals do what they have to do to get their word out.

But… and I could be wrong but every board member of FEO gets on one of their lists of awards. Perhaps that’s the payoff for volunteering to be on the board. Why would you be on the board if every other board member gets their festival on the list and you don’t. Most people are not going to look that closely as to how they give their awards. Do you get the awards out of volunteering on the board? If so why won’t any organization do so, so that they can say they are Top 100 and use it in their own marketing material.

Perhaps the Jazz+ festival deserves it along with all the other 99 award winners but it muddies the water when you see the board and the awards. Do you still get the awards when you resign from the board? If so, is it done like an honourarium? Volunteer for a year and get 3 years of Top 100. This is not a 3rd party award. I am sure many business organizations do the same thing so FEO is not unique in trying to generate their own PR.

How does that make the FEO members feel who didn’t get in the Top 100 – if I only volunteered for the board I could have made the list this year and used the Top 100 in our marketing material.

So, in a reverse manner can we say “Kudos to the Jazz Festival”?

Anonymous said...

Susan Morton-Leonard's letter is a classic! She is a supplicant presenting herself as an equal partner with Aurora. She NEEDS that park and the fact that others might wish to use it is never considered. Me, me, me, always about ' me'. How selfish can you get? And how foolish to write such a letter? Classic.

Anonymous said...

9:33 AM
Say what?

Anonymous said...

Reply to:

Anonymous said...
9:33 AM
Say what?

12 April, 2012 10:17 AM

We'll make it clearer. Look at FEO's website, everyone who is on the board of FEO is in the Top 100. Join the board and get a marketing prize.