"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 28 April 2011

A Regional Question or Two And One At the Town Level

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "An $18million Story Of Stupidity":

Does the Region have its own parks, or are the parks within the Region the sole responsibility of the individual component towns?

Most plants, including trees, will flourish if located properly and managed appropriately.

Does the Region not have on its staff one or more persons who could have provided some criteria for this project?

This appears to be another example of gross incompetence and mismanagement involving the cost to taxpayers of many millions of dollars, not to speak of the lack of trees to soften and enhance a street, a neighbourhood.

The Regional chairman has never been elected by taxpayers so far as I know, rather by Regional Councillors, often unopposed.

Does any of this make sense?

If I wanted to write a note about every piece of government mismanagement municipally, provincially or federally I would need half a dozen stenographers to jot down my thoughts, my voice and appetite would have disintegrated and I would be on the edge of some sort of breakdown.

How do you manage to dish out all this crap so consistently?


It's not  hard "to dish out all this crap so consistently"  There's a ready supply . The story about the $18 million dollars worth of waste on planting trees in hostile soil, where they would be  splashed with road salt all winter and suffer from drought all summer was written and circulated  by the Region's communication department in a media release. The Chairperson was quoted and the Chairman of the committee, the Mayor of Whitchurch- Stouffville  They  particularly wanted people to know of their responsibility in the matter. Like they are proud of their efforts.

Furthermore, they are going to keep on doing the same thing, except they are putting in a trench of growing soil for new trees, watering them fourteen times a year  instead of ten and putting some kind of cap on them so that the water is directed to the roots.

That will mean  new watering  trucks and a manpower crew.The trees will still be drenched with winter salt,the roots will quickly reach the bad soil  and they will  continue to waste  millions trying to nurture trees in a totally hostile environment.

Because trees are good for the environment dontcha know? All you gotta do is  spend millions to get the little suckers to survive adverse conditions and your name will be forever known as a champion of the environment.

Undoubtedly  there were experts to advise. The Region does  nothing without an army of experts. We know them as consultants. Neither  as expert as they should be or simply masquerading for politicians or the high price personnel.

I am simply a channeler. I read or experience the stuff and pass it on. I am like Shirley Valentine. She talked to the kitchen wall and  a large black rock on  a white sand Greek beach. My wall is Blog. I only know people are reading in a  daily average of five hundred and  by  the occasional comment and the people who wring my hand and make me promise to keep telling them what's going on.

Fact is, I need to keep writing. It keeps me sane. When I fail to convince Councillors, I always have my readers to turn to for solace.

Take Tuesday night, there was the budget and skewed water  rates that didn't get fixed and a couple of other dooseys.

A cancer fund raising group had asked council to waive user fees of $650

There is no fee to use the park. Parks are public places. If an organisation plans an event in the park, they need picnic tables and garbage bins and a clean-up before and after. There is a cost.

User fees are not plucked from the sky. We know the hourly rate of manpower and the hourly rate for a truck. User fees are an exact reflection of cost. There is no profit factor. If we do not charge the user, the tax-payer pays the freight.

We pick the pockets of the taxpayers to fill town coffers. We do not have a money mint in the town hall basement.We are bound to use the money for services to the community.It is not our money to hand out as largesse wherever we fancy. like  Lady Bountiful.

Council struck the  user fee policy aeon's  ago in order to  assure  the community that everyone receives fair and equal treatment There is a grant policy and  criteria to determine eligibility.Eighty per cent of the group or organisation must be Aurora based, in order to receive a grant from Aurora funds

The most recent group soliciting a  hand-out  is an established  and successful cancer fund- raising group. They raised $80ks last year and anticipate more this year. But still they seek  to cut down on the overheads. They received it before so why not?

It swells their end numbers slightly and the plaudits they receive.

Councillor Thompson  has a resolution on record directing staff to prepare a policy to deal with such requests. So that Council will have precedents to lean on when considering requests. He has been publicly commended for his foresight.

This last request was referred to staff to process as a grant.

Staff  recommended it be refused. It does not meet the grant criteria.The 80% residential qualification is not met.

Ho! Ho!

Councillor Thompson  however solemnly and righteously moved the  hand-out  be  handed out.  . He said we should not use  grant funds. We should  use the Council's discretionary fund instead. As if the money did not still come from the  taxpayers' pockets and the group seeking  the hand-out were still not from outside Aurora.

He said the picnic tables and garbage bins are just sitting there anyway. They don't cost money.

Six  other councillors  and the Mayor agreed .Councillor Gaertner

So you see, the municipality  can have a policy. It can be clear and succinct. It can calculate to the penny, the cost of providing a service. It 's purpose  can be to assure the public of fair and equal and transparent decision making  and it can still be set aside for hocus pocus. smoke and mirrors and abrecadabra  accompanied by soulful glances, full of compassion.

A whole schmier of histrionics and not an ounce of integrity.

The policy  is applied to small groups who don't have much political clout. But not to organisations that  get public attention.

It's the kind of thing that earns politics and politicians  rancid reputations while they still fondly and sincerely believe, they are being righteous, full of the milk of human kindness and they will win he rewards  at the polls as being  solely in the interest of the common good  except for the people who trusted them to protect their interest. 

Like the blockheads at the region, who  themselves revealed the facts of their $18million tree planting debacle, they will reap what they sow and I cannot  help them or save them from themselves.

So...why should I protect them.

Unlike the Region, people in Aurora do pay attention.

They will have their day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Could you list ALL the events/charities to which the town makes a contribution, be it cash, waiver of fees, providing facilities requiring town staff labour/vehicles or any event that doesn't fall within the aforementioned?

Which are charities, which are entertainment and which are something else?

Finally, can you provide the cost to the town for each event, in direct dollars when cheques are issued, in waivers of fees, in labour provided by town staff including use of vehicles, and in any other category you can think of?

This will go a long way to being able to understand the demands made on the town, the problems, and how an appropriate policy might come to be written that is clear and fair to all.

Thank you.