"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

Saturday, 30 May 2015

THINK ABOUT IT

This morning's mail brought a question.

"Were you willing to settle ?"

I did settle with Aurora Banner on the morning the trial began. The local press, reported  the fact. 

Settlement with all the parties could have happened any time at minimal cost and damage after notification of  my intent to defend my reputation. 

In the seventh year,it still  hasn't happened. It takes two to tango. 

Results of the  last election indicates  the damage continues.

The defendants have had no legal costs. Town  insurance has paid their freight.  

The huge surge in premiums indicates these costs were not contemplated in the original contract. 

The question remains; how was the insurance company persuaded  to accept liability of  almost a million dollars in defense of the action. Who should know better than an insurance company how 
costs rise ? 

Why are Aurora taxpayers still paying for decisions that had nothing whatsoever  to do with the business of the municipality?

By people who were "stripped of their authority "  because of  their actions .

Yes, the matter could have  been settled long since.

They chose not to . After the notice of intent each and every one made a statement in council, Obviously  on legal advice , likely paid for by the town. 

Again, following the pre-trial conference part of the proceeding, even the courtesy of a response was 
denied. 

If somebody else is paying the lawyer, dragging litigation out for years until  the other party 
runs out of resources or  in particular circumstance expires whichever comes first.

The  more money  of someone else's money spent   the greater the risk there is in losing.

Do I present as the party whose interest is best served by exercising the alternate ?

Friday, 29 May 2015

SEQUEL TO THE TRUTH WILL OUT


---- Begin Forwarded Message ----
From: Anonymous<noreply-comment@blogger.com>
Date: May 29, 2015, 1:19:21 PM
To: <evelyn.buck@rogers.com>
Subject: [Our Town and Its Business] New comment on THE TRUTH WILL OUT.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "THE TRUTH WILL OUT": 

It is possible that individuals have asked Mr Mar in private. We might never learn anything unless the subject comes back to the table. 
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 29 May 2015 at 11:46

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

Before it was decided to find efficiency by eliminating  a Director's position, the Clerk of the Municipality was responsible for dealing with  town insurance matters. 

 The new municipal clerk was made subordinate to the Town solicitor. 

From affidavits provided to me, I am aware the first defense counsel provided was in  steady communication with all of the defendants for a number of weeks before he/she was replaced . 

From another source I learned the previous decision of the insurance company was  to decline liability. 

 Adrian Heap,  a  Toronto Councillor in the term before last was sued by a candidate for 
leaving  a defamatory message on a telephone voice message. 

The Councillor settled. He publicly stated he would otherwise have risked bankruptcy.

THe vice-president of the town's insurance company advised Aurora Council on his visit,thenormal process in the circumstance was to advise defendants to settle. It would seem the first counsel provided did that without success. 

He was replaced. 

Councillor Heap's Council  colleagues voted to pay his legal bills despite the city's legal department advising them they had no legal authority to do so. 

Councillor Doug Holyday took the issue  to court.  The court ruled Councillors had no authority to pay Councillor Heap's  legal bills. 

Councillor Holyday was a veteran of municipal politics having been Mayor of Etobicoke for many years. 

Councillor Heap was expected to repay the funds provided to him illegally.

Last I read of the matter ,Councillor Holyday  claimed  legal costs of his  action  from the city. 

THE TRUTH WILL OUT

 So.....complaints made against Richmond Hill's Mayor were not made under the  Code of Conduct . 

There was no slush fund  created by Council for the Mayor to spend willy-nelly. 

The charges were not found by Mark Edwards. He deemed  them to be suspicious. 

Mark Edwards is a Judge  in Newmarket  Provincial Court   

The accusers were challengers in Richmond Hill Mayoralty. One was the Councillor who bought golf clubs with town funds to save the town the cost of renting them when he partcipated in various chartity golf tournaments.

The complainant was ordered to pay the Mayor's legal costs. 

Richmond Hill's insurance policy obviously did not cover  defence costs for the Mayor. 

On the other hand, Aurora's insurance company has covered  legal defence costs for individuals 
Involved in a civil suit. 

Premiums were increased by 41% in the year 2014 because of the high cost. 

New  Aurora Councillors might inquire if  the significantly higher premiums  were intended  to recover costs  not  foreseen or future  coverage to defend elected officials .

The answer to that question has never been asked  or answered in Aurora. 





Thursday, 28 May 2015

A TALE TO BE TOLD

Last week a comment referred to  an unsuccessful Code of Conduct complaint against the Mayor of Eichmond Hill.

R.H. Council provides a slush fund for the Mayor to distribute as he pleases .Apparently, it pleased him to  be generous and he overspent the fund. The Integrity Commissioner's  decision was not to validate the complaint because the excess largesse went to deserving causes. 

Obviously the story has multiple facets. 

The first question that popped into my head was identity of the Integrity jCommissioner. 

David Tsubouchi was appointed by Richmond Hill after his twelve month contract in Aurora. He dealt with two complaints made  at the same time , by the same Councillor hagainst the same Councillor. 

Mr. Tsubouchi succeeded Aurora's first Integrity Commissioner who was "stripped  of his authority" concurrently with his first decision to find a complaint was made for "purely forpolitical purposes"

I sought to discover who  made that Richmond Hill decision. 

Wikipedia was no help. Mr.Tsubouchi has a colorful background but no reference is made to his 
Aurora stint as Integrity Commissioner or subsequent years in the same role in Richmond Hill. 

He apparently left Richmond Hill for another government appointment as Chair of a controversial agency that collects annual,fees from contractors who do not recognise a function.

I don't know when the Code of Conduct complaint was or who made it . 

I don't know why Richmond Hill Council provides the Mayor with a  bottomless pocket to pick. 

I'm not even sure there's anyone left who gives a damn. 

But if details are available ,I will post them to wit. 





Monday, 25 May 2015

NOW YOU SEE .IT ...NOW YOU DON''T

Rogers has stopped delivering my mail. I have been switched to Yahoo.  There are differences in process that I have not yet mastered. Particularly dealing  with comments.

I think I may have  removed content previously published. 

I apologize. I  get lost  If I travel  too deeply into squirelly stuff. I'm going to  leave it alone for the day and may not come back to it. 

If you don't see your comment ,or saw it and then didn't .....that's the explanation. Please send it again. Unless it was abusive ,.. then don't. 

There is a difference between critical and abusive. 

Criticism  is a legitimate component of politics. 

Abuse is  a component of ignorance. 

MONDAY......MONDAY

The comment  Councillors with charitable impulses should dip into their own pockets has been made before. Frequently.  It makes not a whit of difference.

Appreciation from those receiving the contributions is the relevant factor. When a member of Council votes for a fee waiver or deferment of development levies and suggests massive returns they are 
banking on the returns  at election time.

It's all very fundamental and the reason politics are considered  by many to be the second oldest profession. Shallow perception has become conventional wisdom 

Leadership is at an all time low at every level and the future is murky.

Councillor Tom Mrakas has opened up a line of communication on Facebook. 

I have seldom seen one that wasn't inviting. 

After listening to all the blether  about Saturday's Irish Referendum and last year's  Scotttish Vote for Independence , I conclude it's a feature of old country culture not fully developed  in Canada. 

"The Great Gaels of Ireland ,the men whom God made mad, 
For all their wars are merry and all their songs are sad."

Clubs are created over there for the intense and ferocious pleasure of argument.  

My views do not jibe with Tom's but it's great that he puts his ideas forward  Inherent  risk and at the same time benefit, is the possibility of dialogue. 

Long life and continued experience shapes my thinking. 

I'm glad to read Chris Watts is spending time at the museum. I'm planning a visit myself.

Christopher says  the old school is like a mausoleum. That's not how I pictured it. Council representation has changed. Maybe Councillors Mrakas and Kim should visit the facility themselves
to discover what's what.

C.C. Is celebrating  a five year anniversaryrepresenting more than $3 millions spending on programming .I believe at least six people are employed on a full-time basis. 


Saturday, 23 May 2015

APPLES AND ORANGES

I love oranges. I start every day with a sweet juicy seedless Californian Sunkist and consider myself blessed. 

A couple of City news items caught my attention last night. Mayor Jiohn Tory was speaking of  better management of week-end traffic when major arteries are closed for marathons and for essential repairs and re-construction. 

He said groups should sit down to-gether and pull names out of a hat if that's what It takes to create order out of chaos. Nobody has ever accused John Tory of being impractical 

The most interesting  item that emerged was city revenue  of millions  from charity marathons. 

Users pay. ...Handsomely. ...Taxes do not subside charitable fund-raising.  Toronto property taxes are are lower than Aurora. 

Contrast that with various charity runs and Chamber of Commerce Street Sale and Rib Festival in Aurora. 

No user fee has ever been charged for  Yonge Street to be closed for the Street Sale which by any measure  is a phenomenal  commercial success. 

On the contrary, the town pays week-end premiums for employees to be on hand before and after for set-up and clean-up. 

Like the Jaz┼ż Ferstival ,we hear about great advantage derived from the event. We see no signs of it. Yonge Street  Aurora is still the saddest, loneliest place on a Saturday. Wherever they are, Aurora residents are not crowding the sidewalks of any section of the  main thoroughfare. 

Councillor Abel and Humpfreys always find it in their hearts to waive fees for the charitable runs. 
"it's for a good cause " is they emotion expressed. "These people do good work" 

It means the funds collected for charitable causes are augmented by support from town coffers, are derived from taxes imposed on the same people running and sponsoring and voluntarily contributing 
to the cause. 

It's double-dipping. 

Council's role in operating corporation's business efficiently is not a consideration. Lady Almoner and Bountiful is how they see themselves. Doling out money they took from other people's pockets. 

The city is considering increasing  separate charges on water bills based on the square footage of roof. Run-off  from property contribute to flood problems . Infrastructure,neglected for years is in desperate need  of renewal . 

After the Region was created forty-four years ago, Aurora undertook to re-construct all roads in the old town. At the same time storm and sanitary sewers were separated. 

 Storm water ponds are constructed in all new subdivisions to deal with run-offs from roads and roofs .
Cost  adds to home  prices. Property taxes paid for ever and a day reflect those hidden costs. 

The town spends a million dollars iannually lining pipes with plastic

Despite infrastructure improvements adding  multi million dollar to the tax bill, water bills were deliberately increased 100%  in four years . 

One explanation offered  to explain the increase proved not to be factual.  Others were refused by the administration for  fear of how the information would be used .

iLike maybe telling the people who pay the bills how the money is being used.  

Toronto has authority to impose  a variety of levies. 

The city draws millions every day to work,and play. Toronto has expenditures nobody else has. 

It cannot be suggested the tax rate is readily comparable . 

At the same time, the idea that any part of the function of  a Municipal  Council is to distribute largesse from taxation to everyone who " does good work " is monumentally idiotic. 

Volunteerism is an essential part of any family community. Some being compensated while others not 
is anything but practical,sensible or fair. 



Friday, 22 May 2015

THREE STREAMS


I watched Rex  Murphy do his little stint at the end of THE NATIONAL, Peter Mansbridge's bailiwick
on CBC.  His  function is to end the news program on a light note. He's no Andy Rooney.

To-night he chose to compare various terrible  current events in the world with the long farewell to David Letterman on American television. The  late-night program has ended after thirty-three years.
By any measure ,it was an enviable success. 
Murphy had scathing comments about Letterman's lack of  wit throughout his career .

For all intents and purposes, Rex Murphy makes his living in an associate field of endeavor.

He reads his material in a monotone without a vestige of visual expression. His  presentation never varies. Obviously, it's not easy being funny on cue. He is not in a good place to criticize.

He might not even be there if the CBC was a private corporation. 

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

Our Lady Of Grace

The  Auroran has  published a slew of letters from parishioners on the loss of a  much beloved priest.

Joe Gorman's decision to leave the priesthood was communicated to the parish with simple dignity and a heartfelt message of  kindness and good will. 

I think the whiff of scandal may be exactly opposite to the former priest's intention. intention.

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

Magna Leaving.

Magna is  processing  an O.P. Amendment to King to change another farm or two in the rural municipality into heavy industrial use.

Word is there's not enough space in Aurora to meet the needs for angicipated  expansion.

 Magna's  decisions are theirs to make.

 They should not be expected to do anything but benefit Magna  interest.

Because of the reason given however , there is room for comment. 

Magna recently processed a  final parcel  in Aurora ,except for the private golf course, to  residential development. It was sold at auction. It wasn't the first sale of land designated for development. 

Making money by buying , processing and selling land is not a new initiative. Magna is not the first .
But it always helps to be well-in with the locals.

But  Magna's claims for  need to re-locate tbecause of limited space  in Aurora for long -term expansion is bogus. 

The Mayor of King is naturally delighted. Like a puppy dog barking for master's approval. 

Who dares oppose  Magna's Midas Touch .

Premier Kathleen Wynne perhaps. 

Regional Council is unlikely.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

WINNING BY SELLING

I caught a glimpse on T.V.. of Patrick Brown being escorted into the Legislative Chamber at Queen's  Park a day or so after he won the Conservative leadership. 

He is a slight insignificant-looking individual. I was frankly taken aback. 

It matters. 

In another shot, he was surrounded by Conservatives. They seemed to tower over him. The full Implication of his Pyrrhic victory was in that scene. 

He appeared to be meeting most  members for the first time.  In contrast, they are seasoned members of Provincial politics. However competent ,however effective, they are secure in their seats  at least until the next provincial election. They owe him nothing. 

As a party in opposition ,there are no appointment to offer a member to  persuade him or her to relinquish a  hard -won seat to Patrick Brown. 

According to news stories, he won the leadership by selling memberships to the South Asian Community.  A strategy  hardly guaranteed to inspire confidence  among  the Loyal True and Blue Members of the House ?

During the  campaign he criticized the party for not being  sufficiently patronizing  of ethnic groups. 

Premier Kathleen  Wynne answered a question from the press that she would not delay a byelection 
to elect the new leader to a seat in the  House. But, Yes, she said firmly ,the Liberals will field a candidate wherever that might be. 

I know nothing at all about Provincial Conservative rules for choosing a Leader, but whatever they are, 
a review is probably timely.

I think overly-ambitious Patrick Brown has a few hurdles to overcome before he takes a seat in The Ontario Legislature. 

Nothing indicates he has the skills, the personality the winning smile or support of the Party. They may put a good face on it. Or they may just not have the stomach. 

Membership sales  at $10.00 a throw may not be the cache it was to win the leadership. There's nothing there to inspire confidence and trust. Nothing more than sleight of hand. 

No loyalty. 
No political conviction. 
Nothing more than calculation. 
Nothing to hold  fast for the long haul. 
No Conservative values









Tuesday, 19 May 2015

A BUDGET STORY

It's  cool out this morning .Looks like rain. I finally got around to reading the budget news story a second time. Particulary for an indication staff followed Council direction and provided information on  disposition of the 2014 budget for staff training. Didn't find it. 

I found information the budget was underspent by $48,000 or $50,000. Both figures were referenced in the story.,

2015 proposed budget was $196,000. 

Councilor Mrakas proposed a cut of $100,000. 

Staff opposed it.  Training has great advantage this way and that was the argument. 

Chief Financial Officer cited serious impediments to documenting  how the 2014 budget was spent. 
Despite purchase of $ 440,000. software for work and asset management in 2011 for exactly the purpose . Last time  that  swoon doggle was mentioned it was not yet up and running. Bits and Pieces of hardware were still being added to make it functional. 

The Mayor and Councillor Thom voted against requiring the documentation. The Mayor being critical  of Council's effort to  "micromanage " the business.  

Debate on the issue was interesting if not completely logical. 

Councillor Thompson was reluctant to support the $100,000 cut because of not knowing what the impact would be. Despite the Councillor's initial support for precise direction to staff to provide figures that would inform Council of the impact. 

Councillor Abel professed clear understanding of the point "the new council " wished to make and 
"If they want clarity I am not going to stand in the way of that or their direction" Councillor Abel has clearly in his mind divided the Council between old and new. 

Councillor. Thom , a new Councillor, declared those pushing for the cuts should be able to "make the case" to the rest of Council. He acknowledged his lack of understanding "for the cut  other than it is a nice round figure"

In the news story, Councillor Kim rounded out the debate ;

"Given the lack of information (on training ) thus far;$100,000. Being a nice found figure is good enough reason for me." He said. "I don't totally agree that those who want to cut the budget  further by $50,000 that that party has the burden of proof to provide that evidence.It should just as likely be the 
other side who wants to maintain or increase to have that burden of proof as well"

In the end ,if one is to track the comments in support of the $100,000 cut ,it  seems a majority of five  spoke in favour. 

Yet  the  story reads the  tax increase is based on a cut of  $50,000 not $100,000.

Go figure.

The town's web site doesn't help.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

SEE THAT RAGTIME COUPLE OVER THERE

With one thing and another,I've been busy this week. If I start a post first, it takes several hours to finish then I have no initiative to start anything else. At this time of the year tons of stuff needs to be done. 

I haven't read the news story on the budget yet. Just the headlines and a quick scan. I do have comments but not until I've read the whole thing twice. 

I'm still thinking of a theme  change for the blog. 

Before I started it in 2007, I tried to discover what I could . I read of a wildly successful blog by a man who was dying of a terminal illness. He wrote every day  about his experience. Hundreds of thousands of people world-wide logged in to share the experience. 

I suppose if one has been given an approximate date for checking out it could become the most important date on the horizon and a person could easily become pre-occupied. But I don't want to read about Immediately impending death. 

I hope  this week-end and  to I get flowers  to plant.  I've never seen such beautiful flowers in the various markets.  I may try dahlias again. 

We have replaced the railing on my deck with black spindles in red cedar and it looks amazing. A couple of years ago, Heather placed a short rough grey stone faced wall three stones high around the garden. The effect of black spindles and red cedar against the grey rough stone was completely 
unexpected . And beautiful.  Now there's a lot of  Joe-boy work to do. 

I like doing it. Don't mind at all spending hours at it. I especially like the time to think while my hands are busy. The potential problem is finding myself on my ass on the ground and having to look around for a way to get back up or wait for hours for help to arrive. The extreme  has not happened yet. But there's always a possibility when I go out there on my own. 

I don't have a cell phone. I don't want a cel phone. I know it would be convenient but I've done without it  all my life and  I can do without the expense. 

I'm thinking about  a blog  theme of  changes in life style as one ages. 

Everybody's doing it. 


Friday, 15 May 2015

MEMORIES RUSH IN

Another flash back .A summer day on the way to the shore. Sand dunes covered with course grass. An empty cement bag made a  good slide. Sand dunes are good to run down as well .Soft sand makes for a soft landing. 

On the way home from school in my early years another slide on grass flattened by a succession of small behinds down the river embankment. It was a bumpy ride. 

In winter, slides on the road with fifteen or twenty kids taking a run and sliding on a path  of ice made by many feet taking turns hour after hour.. 

Not many had roller skates. Skate boards unknown.I do remember boys with bicycles that didn't have a seat, wheels but no tires or treads on the pedals. 

Nobody, absolutely nobody had a car. Not even the parish priest. He did have a bicycle. He was a short round Irishman by the name of Dermot O'Reilly ,irreverently known as Pop by non-Catholics among us. 

There were three mail deliveries; morning,mid-day and afternoon. Three trips daily by a postman to the station with a covered basket on two huge wheels with handles for pushing or pulling. No postwomen until wartime. 

A letter could be delivered the day it was posted. Trains were frequent.

Nobody had telephones. I remember the first red telephone boxes being installed in the neighborhood. We could dial zero without putting in a penny. Hanging around the telephone booth was good for a couple of hours of entertainment at first. 

Another option was to gather under a street lamp and tell ghost stories. Martha had the most amazing stories about her uncle. Later  we realized it was  an escape  from reality into  fantasy. Martha lived with brutal grandparents . Her single mother had gone off to America and left her. We listened enthralled and never doubted the stories for a minute. 

Most families had five or six kid and  had moved from two storey tenements in older parts of the town .

Kids congregating was natural . Our games were myriad.

There was no swimming pool, arena or organized sports.

None of  our activities were organized. We skipped rope, played beds with a peever (hop-scotch) bounced ball ,played hide and seek, races, guessing games and played cards in the lobby or close when it rained. Often.

There were circle games with songs. None were about winning  so much as who finished last and 
had to be IT. Usually the youngest or otherwise slowest. 

We walked to the woods in Spring and picked snowdrops. In May, mayflowers and marsh marigolds grew on the riverbank.

I looked for fairies there. 

"Down along the river bank ,some make their home
They live on crispy pancakes of yellow tide foam. "

The  summer I could read that was all I did. Pushed two wicker chairs together and read every book  in the house. Not iall suitable for an eight year old. 

I read it anyway not understanding so not coming to any harm. The Scarlet Letter  I read that summer. 

Childhood came to an end at fourteen years old. Though secondary education and post-secondary 
education was free, a student had to qualify to continue past legal school-leaving age.

Bursaries  were provided for those qualified  but family support was necessary for a person to continue school as opposed to going to work. 

Monday, 11 May 2015

HOW TO MAKE A MESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

So ...I heard stuff about  newly elected leader of the  Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown yesterday.

He is thirty-five years old. Has been an M.P. In the Harper Party for the past four years. 

Before that he was a ward alderman in the City of Barrie . He is said to be a lawyer. He was  elected at twenty-four years  of age without ever practicing law. Not sure what kind of a lawyer it is who does not practice law. 

He has never been married and has no children. 

He is said to be pro-life and against same sex marriage. 

His father and grandfather were/are solid N.D.P. supporters. 

He sold 70,000 memberships to win the leadership of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.

He acknowledged  during the vote he has does not have the confidence  of the party establishment. 

He also does not have a seat in the Ontario legislature. 

The last person who won the leadership without a seat was John Tory. An M.L.A. stepped  aside to allow him to run in a byelection in a safe Conservative Seat. John Tory  lost the safe Conservative seat for the Ontario Party. 

Can't say I remember John Tory ever actually functioning as leader of the Conservative party. 

If he did , it sure wasn't long enough to make any kind of a mark. 



Saturday, 9 May 2015

THE AIR SHOULD BE CLEARED

I'm not an active member of Our Lady of Grace parish. That's another story. 

I  decided against commenting on Joe Gorman's situation. I thought he would prefer that. But there has been discussion and despite high regard,affection and heartbreak In the parish over the loss, a cloud of doubt still lingers. 

I don't think that's fair. 

The spokesperson for the Archdiocese has been careful to stress  no financial benefit derived from financial irregularity. But it's not enough. The punishment outlined is extreme. 

As I hear it, a donation was made with instructions from the donor  how it was to be  shared. 

And so it was .

The donation was recorded .As was the disposition. 

According  to the rules, the Archdiocese was supposed to get a cut. 

That didn't happen. 

That was the irregularity. 

The parish priest is not the  parish book-keeper.

In the past , Aurora parishioners have taken themselves off on a Sunday to other churches.  Richmond Hill, Oak Ridges and  Newmarket when Father Bill Scanlon was the parish priest. 

Father Bill was loved far and wide. Baptisms ,First Communions were every bit the joyful celebration they were intended to be .  The Even the church he built was inspiring. 

But  the powers decided he should be transferred to Richmond Hill. 

And that's what they did. 

But they didn't lose a priest. 

Now they've done it. 





It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood

Whether or not State Farm was sold,it makes no 
never mind about whether or not people lose jobs. 

I attended the opening.It's  my impression State Farm took great pride in retaining staff long term
and in fact most employees came with them to 
Aurora. 

The fact the operation was sold and the Incumbent Mayor gave assurances no loss would accrue to the town matters little. 

The town could have done nothing even if it did mean losing jobs and assessment. The retention and expansion job description  in the administration is a bunch of twaddle. 

Neither mayoralty candidate stood to win or lose on the issue. 

Character was not an option either. 

In the world in general, poltics is in a state of ...
Flux. 

Netenyahu is forming a government with the extreme right-wing in Israel. That can't  be good. 

The Scottish National Party has replaced Labour in the U.K.  Cameron's majority is a questionable advantage.  America's best ally may have become their biggest liability. 

Alberta beef-eaters have elected the N.D.P.with five experienced M.P.s and tons of other problems. 
We'll see how that turns out. 


Evelyn Buck

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

ON IT'S AXIS

I thought about the days when Aurora residents had to pick up mail at the old post office on Yonge Street. 
There was always a line-up. People chatted while they waited. 
Same thing happened  at Elwood Davis garage where we lined up every year to re-new car licenses. 
Former Councillor Walt Davis told me once, the sidewalk on Yonge Street was impassable on Friday nights. Folks came in from the country to shop and gather in groups on the sidewalk to catch up on the week's news.  
A person on the move had to step into the road to make headway. Every store  downtown was a retail outlet. Retail is no longer in the same place. 
People need to drive here and there. No Chat. No gossip. No interaction among residents. 
The Aurora Banner was sold. 
The change was phenomenal. 
Modern planning is responsible.

Homes must be separated from commercial amenities. Homeowners are passionate about that.

Retail must have parking and planting and screening.

More space is required so it sprawls into the
countryside. 
Tenants pay rent for space and parking and lighting and cleaning and to be where retail is.
Downtown became an old-fashioned concept. 
Malls were the place to be. 
Then along came consultants with goofy advice about replacing sidewalks with decorative concrete and placing heritage street furniture.
where  crowds once entirely occupied said sidewalks standing about chatting and catching up on the news. 
Councillors, with little knowledge and less interest in how things were, before they became what they are and why...swallow the goofy advice holus-bolus to the delight of administrators, who take it as validation and proceed with time and effort to make it happen. 

Then .... common sense prevails ... it doesn't happen... it's back to the drawing board with  a new work load generated. 

And so the world turns. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

GATHER YE ROSEBUDS

Every time a comment expresses appreciation another immediately expresses the opposite.
Of course I make it possible by inviting comments.
Of course it wont be published if that's the decision I make. 
In my heart of hearts, I wish I could do more. 
The blog is my space. The hostile know very well they are not welcome. 
The comment box is like the front door. No entry unless admitted. 
Like normal. 
I visualize an aperture at a strategic height opening ,an arm projecting with extreme force launching offender  into the ether with velocity. 
Like the bridge approach  in the Monthy Python movie "In Search Of The Holy Grail"
Just writing about it makes me smile.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS?

We went at the end of May. A spur of the moment thing.Freddie Laker's Charter flights were in their heyday. 
Special attraction was a free rental car for a week if a child under twelve was part of the family group.
As soon as we were in flight, attendants served chocolate bonbons filled with fruit flavoured ice cream. Alcoholic drinks were free.
The car was an orange Ford, handled like a tank and comfortable like an orange crate. We had to return it mid-week because the driver's window didn't  close. 
It didn't dampen our excitement. So much to see,so little time.
We toured the Isle of Great Cumbrae in a taxi. 
All around then over the top. In Scotland, the land rises
In every direction. 
Even looking out to sea,snow topped peaks on islands form the horizon. 
We drove through a wooded area carpeted with
bluebells. A single bell on a stem rises inches above the foliage. In a mass, like a cloud shifting in the breeze they fill the air with scent. 
I'd never noticed that when I was growing up. I was
commenting to the kids on powerful scents of the wild flowers.
The  driver joined the conversation . 
"It's the salt air" he said. "You don't have that in Canada"
He had been  a resident of Calgary for several years.Emigrated. His marriage failed, he divorced and returned home to Millport. It's the only town on an island that can be circulated and crossed in less than two hours. He grew up there. Driving taxi was his livelihood. 

So many memories were crowded into that short time in Scotland. 

One of a scented dell with a translucent cloud of bluebells in the shade,swaying in a breeze and a man who travelled half way around the world only to return home to where he belonged.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

GENIUS AT WORK

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "VISION ! !  FANTASY! ! COLD HARD REALITY!"
Oh Goodness there's been a lot missed opportunities for our down town core. But of course there is the issue of the # of parking spaces that are required to develop an opportunity. If you're missing one or two that are required...no problem! The opportunity will cost you $$$$'s to build in lieu of those parking spaces, and of course the opportunity I
********************

It's a sample of policy that discourages business from locating here, while millions need to be expended to entice customers and business to the Heritage Core. 
A zoning-change requires  x number of parking spaces. If the site is too small, the town takes $13 k in lieu of each space and stashes it in a reserve fund. 
But space can't just materialize . 
So, the application gets approval  without the 
space and town pockets the dough knowing full well parking cannot be provided. 
The policy was struck forty odd years ago
An office suite was vacated on the second  floor of the building on the south-east corner of Wellington and Yonge. 
The Banner was on the ground level. Sounds emanating from above signalled construction and brought the town galloping to stop that. 
A re-zoning was processed and $13 k pocketed by the town in lieu of a parking space. A reserve fund was established. No parking space then. Not now. Not ever.
Y'know, if there is no space , there is no space. 
It's bureaucracy gone wild with no judgement in play. 
Unless  you have friends in the right place. 
Like St Andrew's College. Despite town bylaws, a permit to build was issued to St Andrew's without the development charge being paid.  
It doesn't have to be until the property is sold.
The Salvation Army  was similarly excused.  
But not the Separate School Board. When  St Max High School was built, they were over-charged and had appealed to the OMB to get that fixed. 
The town lost the argument. 
Both  town and board paid legal fees. Out of the same pocket. 
The Aurora-King Baseball Association got a sweet deal from the town as well this week.  
Initially, a request for fees to be waived was refused. But a way around was found.
The town will pay the association to maintain the mound. The association will use the money to pay students to maintain the mound. Then they will use the same money to pay the user fees. 
The association is no longer local. They are the Aurora/King  Baseball Association. 
So, as with the Culture Centre, largesse from Aurora treasury is spread around to all who come.

It's one term since we built a million dollar 
facility for Aurora ball players. They complained about having to go elsewhere to play. Now they complain they don't have enough numbers and fees are a hardship. 
And a way has been found for them  to evade paying.
Instead of paying to use the facility ,they are being paid to maintain it to their higher standard.

What a crock!

Six  Councillors bought the mullarkey. 
The Mayor did not. 
Unfortunately the guidance and leadership function as spelled out in the Municipal Act has never been his choice. Too late to try it now. Only Councillor Gaertner voted alongside so the story goes. 
Councillor Humfreys is quoted arguing against but  voting in favour. A well-established political tactic. 
Other than the "sports tourism" ballyhoo  trotted out by Councillor Pirri ,no arguments are cited in favour of the deal.

Friday, 1 May 2015

VISION ! ! ! FANTASY! ! ! COLD HARD REALITY! ! ,

I hear a sale has fallen through on the Horton house.
The list price is $1.4 million. Heritage restrictions on the property are said to be the reason the sale fell through. 
That's the second real estate deal I have heard of on Yonge Street that went south. The first was in the hollow on Yonge Street. 
Property, once site of first Browning House built in Aurora,was proposed for a Montessori school. Plans were made.Work started. Foundations discovered to be wonky. 
Similar to Church Street School and various other vintage properties in town. 
Exterior walls had to be propped on all sides with two--by -fours leaning counterwise. 
A sorry sight of blight on Yonge streetscape for several years
Signalling to all who passed this is not a place  where things get done in a hurry.
A Promenade Plan enveloped in a Strategic Plan 
envisioned decorative concrete sidewalks and designer heritage street furniture at public cost of millions.
While a ruinous structure seemingly smote by an angry deity towered at entry point to the heritage district.
Meetings had been held. Rear access proposed and opposed by neighbours. More meetings. New plans for elaborate underground parking and access from Yonge Street proposed.
Humungous expense. 
A final meeting. 
For sale signs posted once more. 
New sale complete to the point of obtaining financing proved unavailable for heritage restricted property
The tiny tale unfolds. Strategic Plan tangled with a Promenade Plan unravels and comes to nought. 
Good news is the town did not spend staff recommended millions on decorative concrete and designer  heritage furniture to accommodate phantom pedestrians promenading in the downtown envisioned in pretty pictures on the pages of a consultant study.
After three years staff are now recommending the. Strategic Plan be reviewed. With another consultant study  of course.