"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Bold As Brass And Twice As Brazen

Robert the Bruce has left a new comment on your post "SomeThings Stayed The Same":

Evelyn said...
"Last night Council had a delegation demanding $5 K for the second time for the summer Jazz
Festival. They came last week as well. Pointed questions were asked. It looked like they would not get what they wanted. I was encouraged."

Just curious... was it a DEMAND or REQUEST? If the former, I would have denied it outright no matter what they presented.


They came to Council in committee the previous Tuesday.as a  delegate to request sponsorship of $5K.

Staff recommended providing the same sum as they received in 2010. As well as waiver of the park user fee of  over  $975.

It was not approved. Pointed   questions indicated the request was recognised as  inconsistent with charges paid by  other facility users.

They returned a second time  this week with  several followers  and a second spokesperson to inform council of the considerable costs of putting on a jazz festival . And to repeat the request. At that point,  I considered it  to be a demand

Included in the costs are union scale rates for musicians. Advertising in radio and the press. Rental of porta-potties and promotions in Toronto and beyond.

They have applied  AND anticipate a Trillium grant of $25K. They expect 10.000 people to attend with
an admission charge of $5. They will rent space to vendors in our park and collect the fees.
 They are seeking other exhibitors to join the enterprise. No doubt they will pay a fee as well.
They intend to solicit sponsors  from tax-paying business in the community.

They claim to be a not-for-profit foundation. No particulars of how many members there are.or who they are are provided.

Council agreed to provide $4,230.

So...business providing sponsorships will also pay in their taxes for the town's sponsorship .

Residents  paying an admission charge will also pay in their taxes for the town's sponsorship.

People with no interest in attending a  Jazz Festival will also pay in the taxes for the town's sponsorship

A Jazz Festival which sounds to me like a highly successful commercial concert promotion with considerable numbers of participant enjoying a substantial pecuniary advantage.

In a park, by the way, which deed has a covenant attached  that no admission  may ever be charged
to town residents.


Anonymous said...

Cllr Buck, who are the members of the board of this Aurora Festival of the Arts foundation?

christopher watts said...

I wondered the exact same thing.

There is no evidence of any official "Aurora Festival of the Arts foundation" that I could find online.

You'd think if you were naming yourselves with such a title you might want a stronger "foundation".

That being said I assume all your questions could be directed to the Festival's "spokesperson" Ms. Leonard.

From her profile here she's proving to be as ubiquitous as that St. Kitts woman:

Elizabeth Bishenden said...

Susan Morton-Leonard appears to be a volunteer for all the activities described by Evelyn and Chris.

Not having an online presence doesn't indicate anything except not having an online presence. My dog doesn't have an online presence. I assure you he still exists and is pretty darned effective at being a dog as well.

A foundation exists to do something, not be online.

A lack of accountability is a problem. That's what I'll be looking for in the future for this organization if it wants Town money. I'll also be expecting the Town to partner with entities that are fully accountable. That wasn't happening last term, and it is not acceptable to me.

As for "ubiquitous", well, my take is that ubiquity is as ubiquity does.

In Aurora, the online profile of "Anonymous" is truly ubiquitous. Does that person really exist?

Anonymous said...

I think that the town should demand of them a line-by-line accounting of how every dollar and cent is spent... oh and an audit to make sure there is no fudging.
I have no desire to attend a jazz festival in the park. There are lots of people who do; that is their prerogative. However, I think that they should be paying for it and leaving me out of footing the bill. There is a limit to how much I can pay in taxes and I prefer to see them spent on essentials not niceties. With these legal fees looming too from the ex-mayor's lawsuit, I think a line has to be drawn. Not a popular postion in this town but necessary all the same.

Anonymous said...

So if we're demanding an accounting from the arts festival, I assume we'll demanding the same from all organizations looking for sponsorship.

Girl Guides, hockey teams, the Legion.

And we won't have a problem providing a line-by-line accounting to any organization that sponsors town-related events, like Ribfest and Aurora's Borealis.

Great way to foster trust and a real feeling of community.

Anonymous said...

One concern is that, according to the Markham Arts Council link above, Ms. St. Kitts is the contact person for the "Aurora Festival of the Arts" --- at her King City address. Is this all just a way to mask that nothing has really changed from last year?!?

Stephanie's Link: said...

Aurora Festival of the Arts

Aurora Festival of the Arts ("AFA") non-profit organization operating as Aurora jazz+ Festival 2011 Aurora Town Park. AFA Goals: to showcase & support local talents; to create a musical community gathering; to care for those in need; to build an inclusive Arts/Music Festival attracting those who love culture, arts and music to Aurora every August long weekend. Make Aurora/York Region a tourist destination.

Why Jazz PLUS +? Because it’s an all inclusive arts and music festival including visual artists, film festival artists, several genres of music with a jazz backbone including fusion/Latin/contemporary; big band; rock/roll; R & B; Folk; Soul; Motown, pop and multi-cultural music!

Also supporting two local charities CCAA www.abusehurts.com and Safehaven www.safehaven.to

Contact: Sher St. Kitts

1359 Wellingston St. W.

King City, Ontario L7B 1K5




Jacqueline Stuart said...

The 1867 deed (instrument 4702) for the Town Park does not appear to include any restrictions.

The Village of Aurora paid $1,000 for the four and a half acres of land included in the purchase--the present Park area. This was a bargain, as the going price was $150 for a quarter-acre lot. The vendor was John Mosley. The instrument is a standard printed conveyancing form, with the blanks filled in manuscript. No restrictions were added.

Jacqueline Stuart

diane said...

To Anonymous 7:08 pm
What is there to trust after the last 4 years of smoke and mirrors. Perhaps you have plenty of money that you don't need to keep a close eye on where it goes. I don't.
Also if there had really been close accounting of the US investment banks and what was actually going on, the world's economy might not have been brought to the brink of disaster a year and a half ago!!
If anyone goes asking for money out of others' pockets, there should be detailed accounting of what it is for and how it is spent... to the last penny.

Anonymous said...

Further to Diane's comment to Anonymous.
Three significant members of the federal conservative party are being investigated by Elaections Canada for spending 1 million dollars over and above what is permitted to be spent on a campaign. They did it fraudulently using smoke and mirrors, in this case local campaigns, and then channelled it back into the federal campaigns. What is most outrageous about this is that the local candidates could reclaim 60% of that million dollars that should not have been spent in the first place.
Now, who thinks that we should not be scrutinizing how our taxes are spent?
You talk about fostering trust. On what foundation should we trust when this goes on around us at all levels and from all sectors?

Anonymous said...

In response to Diane's comment to Anonymous.
Three prominent members of the federal conservative party, two of whom are senators, are being investigated by Elections Canada for over spending on the federal election campaign to the tune of a million dollars. They did it by directing the money to local candidates and then redirecting it back to bolster the federal campaign. It is against the rules. What is more, the local candidates got to claim back 60% of the million dollars which they never spent in the first place. Nice little lining of the pockets, eh?
You talk about fostering trust. Is this not an example of what goes on at all levels from all sectors when spending taxpayers' money? Is this not exactly the reason why we, as taxpayers, should be scrutinzing how our money is spent and demanding a line-by-line accounting of how much, where and to whom it went?
If not, then I don't know what is!
Where are the examples of fiscal responsibility that would give us cause to trust? In the motion that launched the former mayor's personal lawsuit that we are expected to pay for? In the recruiting and contracts of 2 unnecessary integrity commissioners in less than a year? In the cost of restructuring and renaming of departments that fulfil the same activities? In the endless hiring of consultants who tell you no more than the town staff could have done in the first place? In the failure of interest groups to provide financial accounting of expenditures even when specifically requested?
I see no reason to trust.