"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, 31 October 2013

My Preference

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Blog Update":

One is supposed to lead by example.

What would you have said and continue to say if Mayor Dawe had performed, in public, the way Rob Ford has done?

I wouldn't expect you to say that such a performance was enhancing our town's image or reputation.


Election  before last, I registered as a candidate forMayor.  On reflection , I  decided against . 

The town deserved a more youthful  image.

 I never had a  doubt about my competence to bring  a Council together to work for  the best interest of the community, to ensure accountability and share the satisfaction of a job well done. 

I have a few basic principles; 

Respect for the voters right to choose

The Mayor's role is pivotal. 

Judgement   is paramount.

Council authority  must be respected.

Taxpayers  must receive  full value 

Spending  must be controlled by Council. 

Fairness, Equity  and  Consistency  is the backbone of decision-making.

Employees  at every level, committed to the dignity and meaning of public service  are the  face of  the organization . Their role is the day to day  and face to face delivery of service  and must be acknowledged and respected.

Leadership comes from the Mayor's  Chair ...well not  precisely the chair....the Mayor 

We don't  need someone who thinks he's slumming.

Now then-----take what you like out of that

A Family Dispute

Numbers are  growing. With an Apple App Spam is almost negligible

Standards continue to evolve  as I become more surefooted.

Comments denigrating staff continue to be made, not published and numbers are reduced.

Councillors  are fair game but  I try to screen out personal  references. It would be better to stay away from the personal.

As I told the Mayor last Tuesday. I didn't learn what people expect of me from books. I learned the hard way.  I don;t think it  hurts for Councillors to  read reactions to performance  as long as it  is the political performance.

Growth in  the comment numbers is  the most positive from my perspective.

I've never understood why people can't get into a vigorous argument for the joy of  it.

My twenty -three year old grandson phoned me from Whitby today. He'd been listening to CFRB
speaking on the  release of documents from the Toronto police department

I haven't had television or radio  on , so I haven't heard it.

Aaron has been determined to prove I'm wrong about Rob Ford and he wanted  to rub my face in it.

I love my grandson and I love that he cares as much about something as I do.

We pick up the argument where we left off  whenever we see each other.

He thinks I admire Rob Ford personally.I continue to insist  the fact he  won  a decisive victory as  Mayor of  Toronto  in a fair fight against a number of valid candidates. must be respected.

I cannot begin to comprehend what it takes to  accomplish  such an overwhelming challenge.

In  Rob Ford' s  case it wasn't  urbane slick .

It wasn 't  self-proclaimed righteousness.

There was no vainglory .

I think it's because Rob Ford is  the common man with all the flaws and foibles plain to be seen.

Voters empathized and felt  every cruel cut of the machete attacks by the Toronto Star .

It  became  even more ferocious after he won the day and became the  City's  Mayor,

Cleaning Up In The Kitchen

I cooked yesterday. Ribs'n beans in  home- made barbecue sauce in the crock pot. I cleaned up as I went.

Doesn't matter there was still clean-up today. Not finished yet.

That's one reason  I posted someone else on David Suzuki.

Besides  enlightenment  there was the mention of speaker fees.

$40,000. a pop .

Travel, accommodation and meals would be provided by the host as well.

Think about that:

Suppose  Senators Wallin and Duffy were asked to  tally the number of speaking engagements on behalf of the Government(Conservative Party) .

Expenses  claimed  against the Senate budget  and speaker's fees would  be higher  than  that which they are now accused of improperly claiming .

The Prime Minister , to house applause , says they deserve to be suspended without pay and should  resign.

The Prime Minister made the appointments.  Did  he not know Mike Duffy worked and lived in Ottawa for years.

For sure, he knew Pamela Wallin had not resided in Saskatchewan  for  decades.

ThePrime  Minister's private sector brand of  integrity/ expediency is not useful in politics.

Every politician understands very well why Wallin and Duffy were appointed.

What is happening  to them now,at the ands of the Prime Minister,is  precisely  the reason Senate appointments  cannot be  put asunder.

Cheques from "private funds" of the PMO Chief of Staff, legal fees paid by the Conservative Party.
are  merely dots to be connected.

In the public eye, Wallin and Duffy can't be defended .

In Harper's estimation, they could be jettisoned. They should just crawl away quietly.

Well no, they were never going to do that.

Masters of Communication are  least likely victims.  Even if told in the first person, the more salacious the story the more delicious to tell.  This story is too hot to hold.

Duffy can't hide his glee.Wallin is more ladylike but she is a veteran  of wars.

The only Conservative with courage  intelligence and decency enough to defend their right to due process was Hugh Segal.  No slouch himself in the art of communication.

But never fear,  it was likely enough

Now I need to  go finish cleaning up in the kitchen


There are two David Suzuki’s.

Most of us know one of the Suzuki's. Let’s call him Saint Suzuki. That’s the Suzuki whose TV show on the CBC constantly lectures us about our lifestyle. He says we need to consume less, buy less and use less fossil fuels.

But then there’s another Suzuki. Let’s call him Secret Suzuki, because he’s far less well-known.

Secret Suzuki is the one who lives on Vancouver’s elite Point Grey Road, on a double lot, overlooking English Bay, right above the exclusive Kitsilano Yacht Club. The City of Vancouver assesses the land value alone at over $8 million. And that’s just one of Secret Suzuki’s properties.

He has another million-dollar home in Vancouver. And then there’s another home on Quadra Island. That’s three homes right there, if you count the double lot on Point Grey Road as just one property.

But then there’s his large property holdings on Nelson Island. What’s so fascinating about that one is that he co-owns the property with an oil company, Kootenay Oil Distributors Ltd. They don’t plan to drill for oil together. It’s a beautiful tourist spot — maybe perfect for a nice big condo development.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with co-owning any property along with an oil company. But isn’t Saint Suzuki against fossil fuel companies — especially oil companies?

Saint Suzuki tells us that the world is desperately overcrowded, that we’re overpopulated, and that we’re going to run out of things.

But in his own life, Secret Suzuki has five children.

There’s nothing wrong with having five children. It’s a blessing. But then why does he think other people should have fewer kids?

Saint Suzuki rails against corporations and profits. He even gave a well-received anti-capitalist speech at the Occupy Vancouver protest.

But Secret Suzuki himself has several corporations. One of them, the David Suzuki Foundation, took in a whopping $9 million last year and has $12 million in assets. More than 10 million of that is invested in stocks and bonds.

Saint Suzuki despises lobbyists, and says they have a disproportionate control of political power in Ottawa. But Secret Suzuki himself has nine paid lobbyists registered in Ottawa’s lobbyist registry. Not one. Nine.

Saint Suzuki despises politicians, and says they can’t be trusted. Secret Suzuki starred in a Liberal party TV ad along with former Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty.

Saint Suzuki says corporations have to be less obsessed by profits, and do more for the public good. They need to especially think of the interests of the next generation, our children.

But Secret Suzuki has made a tidy profit off young people. His standard speaking fee at universities in Canada is $30,000 plus expenses. He billed Quebec’s John Abbott College a cool $41,000 to visit them.

Saint Suzuki speaks in the language of tolerance and equality and liberalism — utterly politically correct.

But Secret Suzuki engages in conduct that should cause feminists to raise an eyebrow. When he visited John Abbott College, his assistant called with special requests to go along with his speaking fee. Here is an internal e-mail from the college’s Mary Milburn: “We have learned, via Dr. Suzuki’s assistant, that although the Dr. does not like to have bodyguards per se, he does not mind having a couple of ladies (females) that would act as body guards.” The college’s Jim Anderson got involved in selecting the coeds, too: “Please be certain that the women are nicely dressed, we don’t want them in evening gowns, but definitely NOT Police Tech uniforms.” All of this bizarre selection of girls, dressed just so, was the result of Secret Suzuki’s special request. If he were a conservative, he’d be called a dirty old man. But he ’s a saint. So the college went along with it.

David Suzuki is not a criminal. But he is not a saint. He’s a real man — a capitalist millionaire, a politician, a man with a staff of lobbyists, a prolific father, a wealthy landlord. If only he’d stop scolding the rest of us for aspiring to do the same.

This column was written for Sun News October 13 2013.

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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Tale becomes the Legend

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It's an Oxymoron":

@ 00:19
The Centre was clearly told by the treasurer that their support by Aurora taxpayers at such a level was unsustainable. And that was after the solicitor had to explain that their ' contract ' was out of whack.
They have learned nothing.
The initial figures that I have seen show that they are still spending beyond their means. And clearly expect Aurora residents to make up the thousands of dollars of difference.
How like the Senate are these folks ?


It's amazing how many people don't want me to talk about Church Street School.

They're not very nice either. They call me nasty  names and suggest I'm not wanted.

If I didn't know better  I could  easily get a complex. She who writes e-mails at the witching hour is back on track.

Should we be surprised  the Historical Society  has never given any sign of support for the museum's return. Well no!  They actually surrendered the right.

As time goes by the reason becomes more apparent. At first the commitment to manage the facility was withdrawn. They had too few members. The number was fifty-nine. 

It doesn't seem to have improved. The President made a presentation to Council at the last meeting
on the Fifty year History of the Historical Society.They wanted to change the name but couldn't because only twenty-six members showed up for the annual meeting.

I always had the impression the Historical Society was a really representative of the community.
Seems not.

Going back to the Culture Centre and the comment above. I didn't know the Treasurer told them
the town could  not continue to sustain that level of funding.  I don't recall Council ever being  so advised.

Of course we don't know what the Mayor has been  advising  the Board.The Mayor was attending the closed Board meetings for a year and Council knew nothing about that either. The Town solicitor apparently told him he shouldn't but he continued to do so.

The meetings are closed  so Council has no idea if he is still attending the meetings .

The Board started off with  a payment of $343,000. for purchase of culture.

In  the first  year ,a donation of $50,000 was received from theToronto Dominion Bank . It was solicited by the Interim Chairman and matched with town funds according to the contract.

No such donations were ever received again or solicited either so far as I know.

The contract called for the funding to be increased  by a certain percentage each year  without asking.
Last year the Board asked for more than theTreasurer recommended  to Council. They got that.

The new contract gives the town space to store the collection. It's not clear that a curator will be hired. I is also not clear the small group that is the  misnamed  Historical Society should continue to receive  $60,000 which was the grant provided last year .

Probably they will.  The museum has not been operated for ten years but they continued to receive the grant anyway. Now they don't even own the collection and that needs attention so we will probably pay twice.Plus Mr. Albino continues to promote the Heritage Disneyland/ real estate deal.

The original curator provided heritage planning services to the town. Now we have a heritage planner on the payroll as well as the grant to the Historical  Society.

Some  people  have the impression  town resources are being expended to  establish feasibility of the plan.  All I know about tat is Coucil directed the Director of Recreation and Parks to  do a little bit ofwork on feasability and tha

Last week we were talking about volunteer organization being provide space rent free.
his week we're talking about handing over $60,000 to a voluntary organization

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


O.K. 6.39.  I agree with you.  But if I  publish that  they will have  the R.C.M.P. after us both.

It's an Oxymoron

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Argument is Not Going Away Any Time Soon":

Colour me cynical
I have seen ads for people who might want to serve on the Board of the Centre
That makes me wonder if they are cleaning house before the next election
Fielding a few candidates
It also would ensure that any promises made in the last few years are no longer valid because " This is a new board 


It's another piece of the argument. Board members are volunteers. Well meaning individuals who put their names  forward because they were invited to do so.

A Board that operates a facility successfully has status and  the satisfaction of a job well done, recognized  and appreciated by the  wider community.

My impression is there has been substantial turnover  since the board was initially created.

They were not a part of the skullduggery.

The agreement was signed before they came on board.

Some  members jumped in with both feet  and  cheerfully joined the tumult.

 Centre staff  applied for and accepted the  positions.  They gave up jobs ..

The new agreement  specifically does not recognize them as town employees.

Some  past board members didn't have the sense to stay  clear of the politics.

One I knew for several years, introduced himself to me at the official opening as if I had lost my wits
and needed to be reminded who he was.

It was comical actually. I looked twice at him  to determine if he  had it all together.

Board  members  are not my target. Staff particularly are  not party to the dispute.

The fact remains ------ taxpayers are not well served  by  a Culture Centre managed by an 
independent Board completely  dependent on public funding. 

The Argument is Not Going Away Any Time Soon

In the Annual Report for the Culture Centre ,there's  an explanation of a substantial reserve..

It provides for the Board to wind up  Centre affairs if the town exercises  it;s authority and give six months notice of  the  agreement's termination .

There's an  itsy bitsy  detail that  prohibits a Council  from tying the  hands of a future Council.

It makes the argument about winning and losing and accepting defeat and  being a bad loser
and all that organic matter   a tad ridiculous.

The new agreement is something else accomplished by the current Council.

A great deal of work went into it. The town's interest is protected. To an extent.

This week a decision has been handed down from the  court establishing Councillors serving on the board will not incur a Conflict of Interest  by voting  on a matter  related to the Centre's finances.
That's a plus.

There is an outstanding question still. An elected member is bound to deal with  town business in public, with few exceptions. The exceptions are not about covering political posteriors.

In the negotiations for the new contract , the board  refused to agree to open meetings.

Council appointees to the Board will not only attend closed meetings, they will be bound by confidentiality of the board's deliberations.

There is little point in  Council having representation on the Board if they can't keep Council informed.    It's not like the Library Board whose meetings are also required to be public.

Like Thomas Mulchair I will keep hammering home the point.

If  an  arm's length board  is not charged  with operating the Centre like a business , on at least a break even basis,   the board has no  reason for being.

 Simply as a matter of equity between users, Church Street School should be like any other facility the town owns and  operates.

Programs are provided.

User Fees are charged.

Facility rentals produce revenue .

Sponsorships  solicited by staff  and generously supported by local business help to keep fees affordable.

The town's recreation has an annual budget of $5million and revenues of $5 million.Why do we need to mess with success?

Programs  cited in the  the Centre's Annual Report  were previously held  in the Aurora Seniors Centre; built for the purpose.

How many venues do we need to have a forties sing along and an annual  Horticultural Exhibition
and Sale.??

How many glossy publications, web sites, promotions, etc etc ????

Town facilities  and programs are  available on Statutory holidays

The question is---what is the Culture Centre doing that could not be done  as effectively, efficiently
and more economically under the  jurisdiction of the town's administration?

If it;s a question of winners and losers, the taxpayers are clearly losers.

As  a person elected to represent the taxpayers  interest, I am  not prepared to accept .

We are mad as hell and we are not going to take it any more.

At least not quietly.

Quid Pro Quo

 Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Color of Betrayal": 

A new Ipsos Reid Poll shows more than half of Canadians are following the Senate Turmoil closely.
They have got that one right.
Senator Duffy's statement is incredible.

Senator Duffy has been sending out signals for months.

What didn't we already know about Stephen Harper. We knew he  pushed  aside Preston Manning  founder of the Reform Party before swallowing the venerable Conservative Party of Canada holus -bollus  and alienated well respected Joe Clarke and other moderates like him.

We  learned of  his proclivity  to rage when Belinda Stronach  our M.P. was a member of his Party.

Another M.P. was expelled from caucus for daring to express an opinion different from the party.

No doubt if Belinda hadn't crossed the floor she might  well have found herself expelled  as well.

A person would  have to be several degrees short of sensible not to catch Duffy's drift when he was reported to have said  he ought  to be sending invoices to "the party " for services  rendered on the campaign trail.

Senator Wallin made the same point when she spoke of speaking engagements she travelled to by invitation and on behalf of the government  (read party)

Both Senators  had a value to the  Harper Party well above and beyond  service  to the country in the Senate.

How convenient to have two such  heavyweights on the payroll , ready to  take flight wherever
and whenever  to  carry the party 's message with all expenses paid from the Senate  Budget.

No doubt they did everything required  of them, secure in the knowledge  that everyone who was anyone  knew precisely what the deal was and  no questions would ever be asked about how they used the  expense allowance.

Alas, they knew naught of politics. None of them.

Harper's careless alienation of all and sundry, including the people he used to get  to and stay where he is, was bound to come back and bite him.

He is cold and bloodless. Doesn't have emotions. Doesn't understand them when he sees them.

Like Michael  Ignatieff's recent confession that not until the night before the election did he realise
it was not about him. It was about the people.

The people who came out on old,wet and windy nights  to meetings in Legions and village halls to get a feel about what he was about. Could they trust him? Was he one of them?

Thomas Mulchair knows it. He keeps hammering away and smiling.

 Knowing the fish is caught,reeled in  and floundering on the rock.

There is no escape. The more he struggles the  deeper the hook embeds itself.

It will not be a pretty sight. The longer he hangs on the hook.the greater the humiliation.

Harper has to go.

Conservative Senators will have to decide if they want to go down with him. Or support the rule of law.

Wallin and  Duffy will get to fight another day.

We will have a general election.

The Culture Centre's Audited Statement

I have in my hand  he 2012 Annul Repoirt of the Aurora Cultural Centre.

I have read the audited statement  at Dec 31 2012  and alongside it the unaudited statement up to June 30th 2013.

Italics in the previous sentence mean nothing. I don't know  how they got there so I don't know how to remove them. I pressed everything  saw. Put it in save . Checked comments .Came back to start again.
Italics  are still there.

It's kind of like reading an audited statement. I would not ordinarily depend on my own reading . 
For understanding I would lean on clarification or confirmation from  professional advice. 

There  is information in the document however  I can rely upon and pass along. 

As an elected representative, responsible  for the interest of  the taxpayers, the nature of analysis must be a critique. 

It's easy to criticize  Unless there is a valid point to be made ,it's not  useful. 

Cash flow from the town  to the Centre last year was  $370,000.

The pie chart shows town grant representing  61.9% of revenue. 

Programs  produced  21.8%. in revenue. 

Donations and  fundraising produced 6 %

Grants  ( other)  10.3 %

Revenue is shown as  $576,612. 

Expenditures  are shown at $597,789.

Elsewhere in the report, volunteer hours contributed are noted and the  statement made the Centre 
could not  provide the service without the unpaid assistance of  volunteers. 

No reference is made  to the value of  the one dollar a year  for rent.

Nor the $140,000 plus cost of maintenance and utilities. 

17,500 square feet of space  recently renovated  at a cost in excess of  $3 million  capital .
is not  beyond  evaluation. 

I am not the one to do that either.

Cost of utilities and maintenance  are precisely  accounted .

Hard costs are relevant,

They make the deficit closer to $230.000 than $23,000.

A statement in the report notes the Centre would  not be able to operate without the contribution 
of volunteer hours of service. 

It follows they would not be operate without  free rent and cost of maintenance and utilities borne by the municipalities.

The Nokida   Report  is referenced in the introduction to the  Annual Report .

I was there when the  presentation was made.

The  town treasurer of the day, warned the facility would become a sink hole for tax dollars .

In his view .an arm's length board, charged with operating the facility as a business  was the 
answer to the problem. 

The consultant recommended seed money  to  allow the program to get  up and running.. Fund raising   in the community was  presented as  essential  for self-sufficiency.

It was pie in the sky and I said so at the time. 

Nonetheless the, financial plan  presented by the Consultant was adopted by Council and conveyed to   in turn for public consumption.

The contract signed with the new board  in 2009  gave  scant recognition to the financial plan adopted by Council and conveyed to the public. 

I believe the interim board understood the concept. They were in place until the official opening. 

The new operating board had  the written contract  and possibly other guidance for direction. 

The contract signed by the current Council  effects no change  in understanding.

The Board  is in  the third year of operation 

The Annual Report indicates more staff will be needed to operate in 2014. 

A  Message from the President  starts the  Annual Report, The last sentence of the first paragraph notes the following.:

i am pleased to report  that our centre is poised for  a bright future of continued growth and contribution to  the Town of Aurora ad its surrounding communities. 

Yep !  It's a sink hole .

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Color of Betrayal

I left out the biggie  off the  list of space used by  various volunteer  organizations.

Church Street School  has been leased rent free to a  Board  without accountability.

They have closed door meetings.

Not only that, the town pays for all maintenance and utility costs. $150,000/

Not only that ,the town provides funding to the board that increases  each year.  Four years  ago, it started out at $343,000 a year.  Last year it was pretty close to $400,000.

Any revenue earned  stays in the pot. Programs with charge are advertised as "Free"

Aurora has always nurtured culture  for what it adds to life's enjoyment but alsofor a practical purpose.

A firm seeking to re-locate  hopes to transfer  key executives.

Quality of living for families is an  all- important consideration.

Supercilious , disrespectful,condescending, sly.sneaky, two faced , manipulation to steal the museum from its rightful occupant, double dealing in the extreme.

Contribution  to  an attractive image-----nil.

Foisting a new burden on  hard-pressed taxpayers without as much as a by-your-leave and without consultation
did little to generate trust or well being.

The  real irony  -------there was always  room  and support for heritage and culture but something more had to be insinuated.

 A town's population is fluid.  New residents  arrive and others leave.

I will tell the story again as long as  there are  new listeners.

If the straight goods in politics are preferred,  people need to know what the other stuff  looks like.

Spades Are Trumps

When  my motion on  Town Hall accommodation of Sport  Aurora was being considered  last Tuesday, Councillor Pirri proposed an amendment to terminate arrangements with  all groups
using town space,

It was not seconded.  No debate followed.  But the differences deserves to be explored.

Several organizations  have rent free leases with the Town.

Rooms are available  in theTown Hall  for voluntary organizations to hold meetings.

Space at the community centre is made available to sports  associations whose members provide
thousands of hours to make the programs available.

Theatre Aurora  occupies a building donated to the town for the purpose.The story of how the ramshackle concrete factory became a  bijou theatre can await another day.

The  Tennis Club and Lawn Bowling Club have use of a Clubhouse  built for them with funds raised by the Aurora Lion's Club.

The Highland Field used by  the Men's Soccer Club  was built  and is maintained by the Club as was the Club house.

The town has thirty hours a week use of the field for  minor soccer use.

Pine Tree Potters pay rent and made a substantial  capital investment in the space they occupy  in the

I have had vigorous discussions with the Director  of Leisure Services on the subject of free

He has been challenged to justify  town support .

His arguments  have trumped mine all but once.

I wont do it. You can't make me..You're not the boss of me

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Fantasy World":

You have to use something to clobber him because he is so right about himself, he will not permit anything bad to be posted about him. There was a blogger that tried but I think he got tired of the battle and has gone.

Watts makes you use a logon to make the comment so he knows who you are whether he posts it or not.

I don't have a problem if you ban people from slagging him on this blog, but you must also band posts of those that promote his blog - they are probably him anyways

We are early days  using social media. It's much like hacking a pth through a wilderness. Not that I"ve ever done such a thing. But I do feel I'm still testing how far I can go.

I've drawn some lines.  People who put themselves out on the public stage, be they politicians or activists are not in the same category as people who do not. 

People who do not , have a right  to be anonymous.  I understand some  who write blogs  also choose 
not to identify themselves. 

Peeople who write a blog have  a  right to decide  to publish or not anonymous comments. 

I want people to comment more than I need to know who they are.

It has it's drawbacks.

The  comments can be dismissed .

They can be abusive, insulting, inaccurate  and  on occasion downright disgusting .

Then a decision  has to be made. To publish or not.

I am criticized  when I  don't.

Though Council colleagues don't complain, I suspect critical comments appearing here may not be appreciated.

I understand I am criticized elsewhere. Since I don't read it.  I'm not disturbed by it. 

It comes with the territory of politics. 

Before social media the buzz around town was social media. People who paid attention had their say about things to each other wherever they happened to meet. 

That's how I see the blog. People having their say about things. 

But the blog is not without restrictions. 

Chris Watts writes a blog.  Far and away more professional  than mine. 

It isn't  mine. 

If Chris writes something  that displeases, my blog is not the platform for retaliation. 

We agree on some things. We disagree on others, 

He is free to criticize. I am a politician. That's his right. 

I an free to respond,,,or not. I an a politician. I do not.

I am also free not to allow my blog to be used to clobber him

It's beyond the pale so to speak----------. or the range of this blog.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

What Price Genius?

About the Stronach gift . Stephen Hinder made a presentation of spectacular generosity.

Wholehearted  appreciation on behalf of  the community  was expressed. May the Saints preserve us
it appeared the sentiment was shared.

Yet a resolution to refer the gift to the Environmental Advisory Committee was approved.

As often happens,  the logic escaped me.

I have heard committee members took  it upon themselves to make demands according to their perception of how things  ought to be.

Why an environmental assessment is required for land to be left in ia natural state as a wildlife park   with a foundation fund tp maintain it  also escapes me.

A check as late as Friday indicates no communication  between the benefactor and the town  since the presentation was made.

Not a dicky bird. Not a  whisper. Not even a whimper.

Nothing. Nada . Nil. Zilch. and Zero.

Question of the day!   What does it take to sabotage a  million dollar gift?

While applications are made for Awards of Excellence,  who  is  watching the store?

Saints Preserve us and Save Us from Ourselves.

Too Good For Politics

I was eating breakfast and pondering the question I posed.  Who messes with that stuff. ...awards and acclamations?

I recalled a proposal  during the terms before last; Aurora  should enter the Communities in Bloom competition.

the proponent had approached the hotel and received a commitment for accommodation for the judges. All the town needed to do was pay the $12,000 fee to enter.

Several towns and cities in Ontario were into  spectacular public floral displays.

Oakville, Burlington,Brampton. Richmond Hill where  the rose is in the town  crest and is their floral emblem.That level  of excellence came from years of investment and experience.

Aurora  could  not place  with such competition.

Another thought entered my  head.  Each year I argue against a budget item  of $10,000. for membership in  the Canada Institute for Excellence.

This week we've been hearing that motions moved and seconded and debated in Council  were senseless and designed to embarrass some poor helpless  innocent individual.

Well. you know, entering  a competition  designed by a distant institution , making an application for an award of excellence. Paying $10,000 a year for membership in an elitist organization, to become eligible  for  such an award , I think that's embarrassing.

It is affectation.  Empty ,frivolous, foppery. Flim-flam in the extreme . A pile of meaningless twaddle.

If any such assessment could or should be made, I think municipal employees. would be the ones to judge.  Not the ones at the top.

I  would be content to be assured  good town  employees   feel  secure in their  jobs.

Extra October Tuesday

This October has five Tuesdays .

The  regular schedule has two Council meetings and  two  Committee meetings.

I find  organization of the agenda a bit of a puzzlement.

Tuesday's Council  had little of substance to deal  with  other than the four motions I presented.

In May June July and August, going into and throughout the sumer recess, agendas were jammed with issues .

We dealt with half  at each meting though we worked until midnight,

Many important  issues  got short shrift  as a consequence.

Presentations and  awards got priority and  delegations took huge blocks of  he time allocated for town business.

Motions by Councillors  waited months not weeks to be  heard. It was hardly  worthwhile under  the circumstances.

Months ago Councillor Abel put  forward  a motion without notice ,to direct the director of Parks and Recreation, to do a  small study and report back on  "feasibility " of  the  idea of the town buying a block of land with Yonge Street frontage for a "Heritage Park"

That was after Council  had informed the proponent of the scheme , Bill Albino and a real estate agent owner of one of the properties  they should  prepare a business plan before coming back  and after they'd gone  to the Heritage Committee  angling for a recommendation from them to Council.

I asked the Director several weeks ago ,how was that feasibility report coming along ?how was he doing it ? and how much time was he spending on it ?

Turned out ,none at all, the task had been taken from him. 

I think he said it  had been given to the heretofore planner , now a special projects manager in the  CAOs  department.

I have since heard  from two sources,  the second being Chris Watts that $25,000 is being spent on it. 

I know nothing about that. But it's possible because the CAO has authority to spend far more than that without Council approval.

All of which leads me to believe there's very little respect for the role of Council and transparency goes by the board.

Last Tuesday the Mayor reported  the town had made it to  the short list of some institute of excellence  as one of  the top hundred  employers in Canada. 

The application was prepared by the  town's manager of communications

Who does stuff like that ?

When the town won the Prince Charles Award for something or other, I tried to find out who we were  our competitors. Who did we beat out?

It was a secret.

Could be we were the only ones who nominated ourselves.

I  concluded there weren't enough towns with enough staff with  enough time on their hands to be messing about with  stuff like that .

The  prize  might not mean anything at all. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Two Questions Answered

What  difference has this Council made in the term.

One comes immediately to mind;   the current Council made it impossible for this or any  future Mayor or group of followers  to retain legal counsel and  incur legal costs of hundreds of thousands of  dollars for a political  device,  

Not the business of the corporation

It  had never  before been necessary to have a written policy to that effect.

When it happened here,  it wasn't happening in any other municipality in the Region

I heard of one situation where a Mayor had obtained services from a lawyer. His Council called  him to a meeting and warned him if he ever did it again, he would pay  the bill himself.

He never did it again.

Because of a  contrived resolution full  disclosure of expenditure  was refused though  I  do not doubt invoices are still on record in the town's legal department.

I have written and removed several paragraphs  relevant to this issue.

Subject to  legal advice received   previously not to speak of matters before the court.

It  has been difficult.

And yes, they are  before the court.

The  Fall Session of the Court begins on November 12th.

A Chief Justice has accorded priority to the case.

It has been four years arriving at this point.

When is a Councillor an Engineer?

If I had a camera,

I would take a picture

If I had the skill I would post it here.

I do have a camera  I don't have a picture.  But we have words.

Pre-grading  according to approved plan for 33 Longthorpe Court is completed.

The drainage problem is  disclosed.

Also....prominently  protruding  from grade, within feet of the residence. stand two mounds. each  3 feet high,with  3  tall and wide , mature and weighty trees, perched precariously.

The  macabre scene awaits  inspection by  town engineers;

An eleven page  legal opinion from the town solicitor is  already part of the public record.

Council approval  for removal of  trees  was never  within  our domain.

The subdivision agreement,  a legal contract, determines the process.

Engineers are available. Builders  pay fees  to the town  for recovery of cost. Government regulations require it.

More than a year after the problem was identified  resolution  is not in sight..

Following   town direction, an  arborist report costing $4.000.  was obtained  and submitted.

Parks staff attended.,reviewed  and approved removal of trees.

Neighbors intervened.

Repeat  delegations  received .

Three  Council debates.

Decision  deferred  after second . pending  more information.

Third debate ,two hours long , tree removal again discussed out of order.  Question  to be decded  was   a plan for planting trees.

"Save the trees" was the clarion call.

Require a new grading  plan  to accommodate the trees  and the neighbors was the sequel.

The vote was five to four.

The property owner doesn't count.

November  28th ...closing date with obligation to leave one home and   take legal possession of another.

Two business weeks  have passed without action,

Except  grading in the back yard at 33 Longthorpe Court for anyone  and everyone who  cares  to see whaat foolishness  has wrought.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Fantasy World

From 10.00a.m. until  now twenty comments were received  In response to current posts.

I do believe I can take that to suggest active  exchange from the community.

Even from the ones who comment there is no such thing. It's all a delusion.

If you have an argument with Chris, make the argument.

Don't use expect to use this blog to simply clobber him.

Council's Authority Trumps ...Doesn't it?

Chris has submitted another comment / argument  complete with pictures.

The historic picture  shown was no doubt taken  at  a point in  the building's history  when it had lost the clapboard cladding.

I only became familiar with  te structure while it sat at the roadside

A remnant of clapboard could be seen still fastened under the peak of  the roof.  At one point,
patches of insulbrick, a cheap product used to keep the elements off the  shaved logs underneath were still visible.

It was never a log house as  some  have claimed.  Clapboard cladding was its original finish.

The lack of cladding is what caused the  log corners to rot and  require  replacement.

Christopher, I do not pretend to be an expert. But I accept that Van Nostrand of Vandorf  is as close to an expert on historic housing  in this area as any we are likely to find.

I am in the business of seeking out advice that I comprehend  and accept on the basis of the evidence.

$100,000 was budgeted for the project before I came back on Council  in 2003.  My position was , it should not continue to be included  in the town's budget.

I don't recall support from any other member of  any of the three Councils responsible for  ten  years of budgets since.

Taxes were raised and funds were allocated for the purpose. over and over again.

It was a majority decision of Council with  no public  outcry of note,

The location is fine, highly visible . How the building is used  determines the amenities required.

Sprinkler systems are not required in every building. Factory Theatre has no sprinkler system.

Hydro  is connected.. Heat can easily be provided.

Not only is the building visible to  the passing parade, it is situated at the beginning or end, however
your walk takes you , of the town trail system.

There's a bocce court, open to the public close by.

Chris, you are a  self-professed  aficionado  of history. You must know municipal  boundaries had little  relevance to the community  that was the  Village of Machells  Corners and the farms and families  stretching out from the intersection  where the post  master was located.

Former Councillor Walt Davis told me once how it was in Aurora in his younger days.

If a person wanted to make headway on Yonge Street, he  had to step off the sidewalk onto the road.
The sidewalk was jammed with groups  catching up with  a week's gossip.

Farmers and wives in from the country to pick up  the mail and grocery shopping chatting with the
town's residents.

Settlers families  on the farms grew up , found sweethearts in the villages and  elsewhere and founded their own families in the  town's and villages  or wherever.

Walt himself, married Jessie from  a  farm in Pottageville.

I believe the donation to support saving the Petch House came from an Aurora ancestor of the Petch family.

The name Petch is  common  in  Aurora. I think  a Council photo on the wall of the Town Hall
has a Petch in a Council group.  I  think I can see his face as I write.

I didn't favor  spending money on an old structure that no-one had a use for. But the  majority of   four Councils did.

The project  has finally moved forward.

The forlorn, decrepit ,old remnant of the past no longer sits  rotting at the side of  a road,  a testament to  a council's lack of resolve.

There was resistance within the town hall. There still is. Councillor Thompson's comments  bore  a reflection of it.

The  only question outstanding is; does Council have authority or does the town building department make the determination.

We are about to deal with that.

And  it's well past time.

Questionable Practise

Councillor Thompson provided  new information on  Sport Aurora when he was arguing in favor of continuing the arrangement the organization  has  for space ,an address and a telephone number at the town hall.

The  purpose of  being in the town hall , the Councillor stated,  is to enable receipt of grants on an on-going basis. To date, they have received $204,000. from various levels of government. Apparently for the benefit of all  Aurora sports associations  as argued passionately by Councillor Abel.

Listening  to multiple arguments and composing an immediate response  is tricky at best. At worst with time limits imposed, the debate is  seldom as  full and complete as it  might be.

I do not know the business affairs of Sport Aurora. I have neither interest nor the right  to know.  Members  are responsible for monitoring their organizations business affairs.

I do know sports organizations are well served in the town. Sports  fields are as  many and well if not better maintained  than any within  and outside the Region.

Sports groups  are represented on the town's Recreation and Parks Advisory committee with full and regular  opportunity to participate  and input into decisions made by the town.

I see no area of need for a separate organization to represent the interest  of sport to the town.

The  need to provide  a particular organization with space, an address and a telephone number
to facilitate receipt of grants from whatever government agency is in the business of giving away money escapes me completely.

I can see how the name Sport Aurora ,address Aurora Town Hall telephone contact ,Aurora Town Hall , could  create the impression Sport Aurora is a division of  the Town of Aurora business

I can see how that impression might  make grants more easily accessible

But since  the impression would be false ,  I  question  how the Town of Aurora can justify that  level of participation  in the affairs of Sport Aurora.

Nope!  I can't see that at all.

In fact , I think  it suggests an element of  impropriety

If  anyone at all out there is embarrassed by that  comment.   Tough!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Reversal Of Fortunate Circumstance

Christopher Watts has left a new comment on your post "A Council Divided is A Contradiction In Terms":

"A house divided cannot stand."

Actually the abomination that is Petch House 2.0 proves this statement to be false.

The Petch House couldn't be more divided, yet it stands. Unwittingly ts location and reconstruction was approved before arriving at a purpose. The result is an inside out house, with no plumbing or electrical located in a restrictive location at a cost more than double of what was received by the developer.

I think it is a testament to what this council can and has accomplished to date.
It is laughable to know the Town is not just entertaining the notion of a $10 Million heritage Disneyland but that they are spending $25,000 to do a feasibility study.

Is it feasible for Aurora to construct 3 more Petch Houses. You better believe it.

Thank you for your comment Chris 

Actually your  statement that  Petch House 2 is an abomination  proves nothing of the kind. 

There was nothing unwitting about its location and reconstruction. 

D'you think for one minute I was not fully aware of  political reaction to my change of mind  that the 
structure was an asset ,not a liability.

Fat chance  of that.

Since 2003, before my return to Council,  the town has had $100,000 in the budget for  restoration of the Petch House.  Every year I argued for  its removal. I was not successful. The majority decided otherwise. 

Smart Centre Developers were compelled to  retain the structure as  per the  subdivision agreement. 
legislated  by Town Bylaw.

Do as we say or hell will freeze over before  a permit  is issued for your project to proceed.

The   house was one of  identical twins. The second was a chapel  to serve the needs of the  Petch 

The chapel was purchased by Van Nostrand of Vandorf,  craftsman of renown in restoration  of vintage structures. 

Restored  years since, it occupies pride of place  on a site in cottage country. 

The portfolio presented to Council featured the impressive twin. 

The master craftsman  was  known to a  staff member. His opinion sough, given freely, of the potential of the building.

At the time it had  been but a short time languishing by the  roadside on Leslie Street .

The developer was committed to moving the  building again to a location  of the town's direction. 

How much  else was committed  became lost in the mist of antiquity. 

It matters not. The Town never came up with a site or anyone with a use for the building.

Van Nostrand's advice was ignored.

$800.000   of the budget was expended on an engineer's report at the  direction of Councillor MacEachern who had free rein by approval of the Former.

The engineer's advice indicated a cost of $440.000 to restore the building.

The account of the developer's commitment had grown significantly to  foundation ,installation of water sewers and  wiring and of course driveway construction.

That plan never flew. In excess of $800,000 of the budget was spent with nothing whatsoever to show for it.

When I came back on Council, I  was informed of an anonymous donation of $!8,000 from a  person anxious for the house to be saved.

Speculation was it came from an ancestor of the Petch family.

Several Treasurer's have come and gone. reserve funds have been reviewed and identified. At the preset time no-one in the administration has any knowledge  of the funds or where they were stashed.

At length a meeting between the Town solicitor and the developer  was necessary for some other purpose. I requested the solicitor be directed to obtain a clear commitment from the  developer  on what he was willing to contribute to the  Petch House  project whatever that might be. 

So, there was the balance of the budget  Council had  steadfastly refused to surrender; 

There was $50,000 developer  funds which would be forfeit if  not used for the purpose.

There was a donation made for the specific purpose of saving the house.

I was informed of an available site. 

Van Nostrand's reported the building could no longer be moved in one piece but it was still salvageable. 

An authentic facsimile could be restored located through   the arched  entry to the Arboretum,
off  John West Way  and part of the Town Hall , the Senior's Clubhouse. within the Arboretum and within budget

I had a dilemma .

It gave me pause.

But not for long..

What  was the worst that could happen? 

The  downside was political. 

The upside , a house of significant age would be preserved  with substantial support from donated funds.  

It would be an asset in the town's inventory.

It would be placed on a concrete pad. It could be moved .easily. Or even sold. 

I decided. the risk  was worth taking. 

The old structure was  scraped  clean by  parks department  men in masks and coveralls.

The structure was   left open to wind and sunshine to dry out.

Under supervision  of the craftsman building was taken apart ,piece by piece and it trundled down the road and round the corner to a yard in the  Village  of Vandorf,

During the winter months ,vintage lumber  as sussed for patching and replacement.

In Spring authentic  design windows were manufactured  in London Ontario. . 

Authentic clapboard was salvaged from  a protected area beneath the eaves was used  to mill to exact  dimension to clad the house  completely.

There are no separated rooms or second floor within the house.   No divisions. 

It doesn't pretend to be the original Petch house. But it is a bloody fine facsimile and a tribute to a pioneer family. 

Three Councils wrestled to do the right thing. 

Councillor  Evalina Mac Eachern did most to find a solution.

It didn't happen on her watch but that's how it often is in politics.

The house is there, pretty as a picture.

 It is wired for electricity.

It's  use will determine need for toilet facilities. They are close at hand in the Senior's Club House. 

Nothing  limits its potential but our own imagination. 

I make no apologies for the  final decision made by this Council .

And if $25,000 of taxpayers money is being spent on a  business plan for  real estate deal masquerading as an airy-fairy Dsneyland Heritage Boondoggle on Yonge Street, Council knows nothing-about it. 

I heard the  rumour .I asked. 

The pulse of the community ??

A recent follower of the Blog tells me the Blog is the pulse of the community. If  true ,I would be very pleased indeed.  A lot  of time and effort  goes into it  which I enjoy.  If the enjoyment is shared  that would be  bonus.

I don't make the assumption though.

Visits and views climb steadily . Then we have a statutory holiday and they fall off.   They climb again sometimes more slowly.

When  a controversial  issue takes hold ,the numbers shoot up and stay until  excitement fades.

When we  speak of things beyond our borders, it raises  the  ire of  some.  They jealously guard the local bailiwick.

That's alright.  The blog is my  small contribution to town affairs. Everyone brings something to elected office.

My commitment to the right togovern ourselves    is mine.

At the moment, Council  seems to have been relegated to the minor  role of  social convener.

It's a far cry from "meddling" in town affairs.

I  think  membership is as  reflective of the community as  it could be.

When it comes to  the election , options provided, voters will judge the sum and substance
of   the term's accomplishments.

We will live with that.

In the meantime ,Council shares a commitment to the  best interest  of the community as each perceives it

We  ought to enjoy the common endeavor.

 To do otherwise is such a waste of time.

A Council Divided is A Contradiction In Terms

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What does it profit man if he gains he whole worl...":

Is it an embarrassment when none of your motions pass? Is it even more embarrassing when the only support comes from Morris's minions?


I would be profoundly  ashamed and embarrassed if I did not  use the opportunity to bring to the table issues I believe need to be addressed. 

If no other  Councillor shares my concerns, I  must accept that as part of the democratic process. 

The community knows the issue haas been brought forward and addressed or not as the case may be. 

Every vote on Council has equal weight. 

My own of course  means most to me .

I am not inclined to disdain  support wherever the vote in favor comes from. of an idea

If  the  motion passes, I express my appreciation.

If it fails I offer no complaint.

I did what people expect of me.

If this Council is seen to be divided into camps, each camp is equally responsible.

Only rank amateurs  trap themselves into block voting.

A house divided cannot stand.

What does it profit man if he gains he whole world and loses his own soul

A Motion  for  consideration  is not  an automatic process. Before it reaches the  Council table it must be seconded by another Councillor.

I have a reputation for being  persnickety about rules. I think it must  be true.

I don't ask other Councillors to support a motion as a favor. I don't want to be obligated to support a motion because  a favor is owed.

My motions come to the table without a seconder .  To move forward . the idea must have sufficient merit  to move  to the next step.

I  risk embarrassment if a motion fails to win  a seconder. In  some respects, it's a  repudiation of the idea.

Once seconded, the motion belongs to  Council.

It's like pushing a small boat out on to the pond .Once on it's way, the current will  carry it forward.

Everything depends on the presiding member to ensure it does not go  of course.

I moved the motion on Tuesday requesting the Mayor provide a clarification of his role.

I meant exactly that.

It was sensitive but not intended to be a public referendum on the Mayor's performance .

He made it that.

The issue was  a  common understanding of the role of the office of the Mayor.

Not Geoffrey Dawe  as such. But whoever might hold the office.

Council needs an understanding  on the Mayor's authority .  No other body than Council can make the determination.

As a former Mayor ,I absolutely reject  the premise Council is without authority and the Mayor's office is  not the conduit for exercising  Council's authority.

Councillors are accountable to the community for whatever happens in the name of the community.

In the last term a Bylaw was passed outlining the authority of the CAO in matters of  human resources;  Hiring,Firing , Re- deployment, Promoting,Demoting Displacement, Creating Positions, Wiping out others you name it. the Chief Administrative Officer  apparently has authority to do it with no reference to  the elected body and no obligation to  provide information when requested.

It seems, in the Mayor's perspective , in accordance with his experience in the private sector, the  CAO Bylaw provides complete autonomy in that area. He answers to no-one.

 The Mayor see the title as Chief Executive Officer  as a meaningless term.

The judgement of whoever holds the  office of CAO ,in the Mayor's estimation ,is "sacrosanct" (his word)  unassailable(mine).

As a consequence,in the area of human resources Council is not fulfilling its responsibility. We are accountable in theory.  We are not in fact;

By virtue of the Mayor's refusal .

Council is denied and deprived of  its rightful authority.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

One Door Closes ...Another One Opens.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sans Souci":

the concern of the 2 senators about losing their Senate health insurance isn't winning hearts and minds. Most of the rest of us deal with the reality of OHIP, waiting lists, lack of doctors, and all the other trivial, trying necessities of existence with no special privileges.
Sans souci indeed


I think  our two senators  have stopped worrying about lost privilege. It's  likely they are concentrating on other things.

I  believe it's entirely possible  both were appointed for the advantage of their  high public profiles nationally and  corresponding benefit to the Prime Minister and his party.

Their connections and influence on the media nationwide  the political advantage  would have seemed invaluable.

Worth more perhaps than any  ten Senator in the house. 

I think there  might well have been an understanding their deal  had  little  to do with Senate function and everything to do with  political advantage.

The Senators Duffy have nothing left to lose. 

No more secrets to  keep. No innocents to protect.

Maybe a book  or two in the offing.

A musical.

T.V. series

Sans Souci

The only Senator ever fired was Andrew Thompson. He  had been  Leader of the Ontario Liberals for a while.

His  departure  from that job was permeated with emotion. Suggesting some personal tragedy.

He showed up a handful of times in the Senate. Then took himself  and his Senate salary off to Mexico to live.

For seven years.

Sadness  was no doubt assuaged  with  his good fortune.

Until public attention caught up to him.

No cameras allowed in the Senate.

We can't watch Senator Wallin.

The Light Dawned

Another  motion  I presented last night raised the ire of the righteous ones.

I moved space  provided to Sport Aurora  be terminated.

It's the use of a desk along with the town hall address and telephone number

It was like the night I  asked for a report on information about a bar at the firehall.

One after the other ,Councillor's rose to  address the chair and excoriate  me for my  dastardly deed . We didn't have microphones.

I learned that night ,beer was  being dispensed from a coke machine . I did not know that.

Nor  was I aware the firehall was a popular watering hole for those in the know, including the postman.

There had been a food drive at the firehall on Saturday. I received a phone call that two merry men in full uniform,drunk as skunks  and perfectly congenial were receiving donations.

My caller did not identify himself.  He was probably a public works  employee. There was  some discontent  there. They had asked permission to have  beer in their frig to have with their lunch on hot summer days.  Angus Macgregor, public works supervisor , no doubt with his own sense of mischief , forwarded the request to Council.

It was refused.

I asked for a report from the Fire Chief  about beer in the firehall.

The night it came forward volunteers' wives were in the audience.

Every  Council speaker defending the volunteers' contribution to the community was vigorously applauded.

Jeers and catcalls were my lot .

A coke machine appeared later on the verandah of a house on Metcalfe Street.

The same struggle was  reported in other places in Canada as Volunteer Brigades were replaced by full-time fire departments

Councillor Abel was applauded last night by a single spectator.

Sport Aurora has been given space and the town hall address to process grant applications from other levels of government.

The funds ,it's  said , are used for the benefit of community sports organizations ten thousand participants strong.

I listened to my colleagues.  I drove home in a mood of contemplation.

I was distracted for a bit with news of  Senator Mike Duffy.

 Then  my thoughts returned to the issue at hand.

Sport Aurora , I realised ,  by definition is a lobbyist  for sports organization in Aurora.

As if they need it.

In Toronto lobbyists have to register.

In the States , lobbyists  control the  government.

In Aurora,  a lobbyist gets a desk, a telephone and a Town Hall address.

Courtesy of your elected body.

How cosy is that?

Or chilling  depending on one's perspective ?

Just Give Us The Facts ...Ma-am

The Mayor was aggrieved  last night.

Understandably .

As I was, two weeks since .

I had  received information of a deeply disturbing nature.

I have to use language like that to convey the depth of my feeling.

I requested  the item be added to a confidential agenda.   I disclosed what I knew and sought the Mayor's assistance in determining facts of the matter.I perceive the role of the Chief Executive
Officer as conduit on  privacy matters between Council and administration.

The negative response  prompted the motion presented  last night to direct the Mayor to report to Council how he perceives his role.

The discussion was delicate. Information from an in -camera meeting is "sacrosanct"  the Mayor said. He  listened to the tape and  claimed he did not say what I said he said.

But he had . he said, said it  previously.in public ...during the election. He  gave the commitment then that he would not micro-manage.

He held up  three pristine paperback books to indicate he had learned his role from learned authors. And other Mayors.

The Municipal Act does give the Mayor the title of Chief Executive Officer, he acknowledged, but it  seems to mean nothing.

If he had executive authority " there  would be changes " he said

It was an illuminating discussion.  How the Mayor perceives his role and how not.

The vote was five to four .The deciding vote being the Mayor's, not to direct himself to report to Council  how he perceives his role.

He told Council, however, he will provide a report.

There  are some areas of disagreement.

I do not think of in camera meetings as "sacrosanct"  It's an odd reference in political  terms.

In the last ten years, a multitude of municipal officials were made redundant by amalgamation
of the boroughs that formed Metro. Metro itself was dismantled.

They  took to hanging out shingles, writing  books and conducting workshops anywhere and everywhere to make a living. Can't blame them.

Next week ,there's a two day workshop at the town hall on parliamentary procedure .The fee is $449.
plus tax  for each person.The consultant bills himself as a parliamentarian.  No indication he has ever held elected office.

In the consultant study on Service Levels one of the functions of the communications division is speech-writing  for the Mayor and  Councillors.

Wouldn't be surprised  to learn the column in The Auroran is written by staff  as well and reports from the Region and Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority .

Maybe when the Mayor writes his  promised report, he will include  remuneration for the job. Whatever he thinks it is.

That's the thing about elected office.

It's public.  Not private.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

I have discovered something else that I think I already knew. Immersing myself in a book means
my mind is not busy with my own thoughts.

I didn't write a post yesterday. I responded to a number of e-mails  as they came in though and late in the day I had to wonder. 

I'd like to respond to a few points made re the school site on Mavrinac.

First the neighborhood didn't come to Council up-in-arms about the need for a park if a school
was not going to be built on the site.

A Councillor went to them and alerted them to the situation and advised them , in his judgement, the site should be a park.

Homeowners  gathered in the Council Chamber on Wednesday  in response to the Councillor's invitation.

Some speakers  shared notes  at the meeting about what they understood to be the case when they bought their homes.

Not everyone was talking. Some  listened.

When one person ,seemingly impatient to know,  I would peg him in the Councillor campaign organization, posed the question to Councillors present,where they stood on the issue...Councillor Abel,Ballard and Gaertner were more than willing to  assure the crowd they were on side.

I couldn't hear what Councillor Thompson said. The Mayor did not make a commitment.

The Former, equipped with lap-top but carrying hard copies, referred to a clause in the contract
that  pinned down the price of the site and  proved there was no need for an in camera discussion.

The fact is...the developer owns the  site serviced at his expense, with roads, sidewalks,
boulevards, trees. lighting, storm and sanitary sewers, water mains, parks and schools as required by school board and town , Everything required to create human habitat.

I fancy it will take more than a clause in a contract to transfer title to the municipality.

The question of the much larger high school site in the vicinity never came up in the  discussion.

Yet it must.

To the residents, it is a far more significant factor.

The homeowners are not reacting  differently than most would in the same situation.

In my judgement, they are no better served than the rest of  the community by  receiving only enough information to  raise their  concerns

You know, if this was a challenger's strategy  to make inroads for the next election it would be  instantly recognized and rated. It would not be dismissed.it would be qualified.

But it wasn't a  declared challenger.

It was by an incumbent   using town stationery and town facilities to give credence to his

It's the difference  between the way it was and the virus.