"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

Tuesday 31 January 2012

It's Just A Few

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "In The Beginning":

To: Anonymous 31 January, 2012 7:51AM

Quote: "...so far you have seen one [side of the story] and are fabricating a second."

How do you know what I've read ? What have i fabricated ? The facts are rather obvious for those of us that have actualy done some homework on this issue.

You're lucky that some of people are prepared to defend your right to stick your head in the ground and say what-ever the heck you want in a political discussion without the fear of legal retribution.

It’s amazing to me how the comments on the blogs in Georgina are 100% against Grossi on this issue (to date) and yet in Aurora we see at least a couple of people who seem so willing to defend the absurd.


That's because we have a small cult in Aurora that  believes  only they should have rights .


The Right Decision Can Still Be Made.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Some Things Bear Repeating":

Petition is ' to revoke By-law to indemnify a member of council against damages and legal procedures


The petition should read;

 A request to Rescind the Bylaw.

The Number of the Bylaw must be cited.

It must be understood every municipality indemnifies elected officials against legal action  for making decisions within their duty and responsibility.

What isn't  provided is funding for them to undertake litigation against someone . 

There's no law to prevent them from doing it. They just have to pony up  for it themselves. 

That's why Council had to pass a Bylaw to allow town funds to be used for the Mayor to launch an action against John Maclean. Aurora Council didn't even do that.

A Bylaw is a separate piece of municipal legislation.

That's what needs to be rescinded.

Nobody  with any sense of balance or fairness needs a lawyer to tell them it's not right.

Canadians have rights,guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, signed into law by the  Late, Honorable  Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the Year of Our Lord,1981

Every Canadian home should have a framed copy hanging on the living room wall.

Municipalities can  not  pass Bylaws that contravene  laws of  senior levels of government. Dammit..you'd think they'd know that.

The  petition is to reverse the previous decision which Council was probably advised, possibly by a lawyer, was appropriate.

Give them the chance to exercise their own judgement and make the right decision.

If they haven't already done that after the Special Meeting on Thursday.

Public Notice of a Special Meeting

On Thursday at 12.30 p.m. there's a  Special Meeting of Georgina Council with an Agenda posted

So far as that goes. it is in order.

There's  the required  call for declarations of pecuniary interest.

Council will open the meeting and recess to go into closed session.

The purpose is stated. To obtain advice subject to solicitor/client privilege.

That might be  perfectly in order  depending on whose solicitor and which client.

If the solicitor is retained by Council to provide advice on town business, it is exactly as it should be.

If on the other hand, the  solicitor  retained by the Mayor  is advising on the  personal law suit  by the Mayor against John Maclean , funded  by the Municipality.... propriety of the item being  on a Council Agenda is less than seemly.

The right to privacy of an individual who can be identified is a legitimate reason for closed door discussion.

What politician would argue  a law suit against a resident, already made public by passage of a Bylaw,  would entitle the  politicians who passed the Bylaw or for whose financial interest  the bylaw has been passed, to  privacy not afforded the resident being sued with  his own tax dollars.

On the other hand, councillors may be seeking legal advice about what to do...what to do.

Anyway you slice it,  public resources are being expended for a  purpose not clear under current circumstances.

Our Own Stuff

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Keswick Pinhead said....":

Evelyn wrote "It is used asphalt from road re-construction projects, dumped in that location to save paying for disposal elsewhere."

Does anyone know where this stuff comes from.One of the new problems faced by municipal governments in these parts is the disposal of contaminated soils be it from closed gas stations or Toronto;s gift to other municipalities the development of what was once deemed the most polluted area of Ontario...Toronto's Portlands.
Either way nasty stuff.


 The used asphalt  was  from our own road re-construction projects. I found out what it was when  I was talking to somebody about the possibility of  the road being straightened and  better use of  the  space .

It would cost  thousands to remove it now.

They won an election on the promise the road would not be built.

It had to be built. Instead of a short straight stretch, they curved it around  alongside  the railway, several times more pavement and infrastructure than necessary  with  no publicity for the
promise broken.  They dumped hundreds of tons of used asphalt in the field they promised not to
cross to garner votes.

The more things change the more they remain the same.

Some Things Bear Repeating

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Brief Summary And Tally":

And........ ??

We know all this already.

Time to re-focus on Evelyn I guess - Grossi has had enough of this blog for now.


The Blog has a new audience.  Georgina residents have had a rude awakening to events. Aurora has already been through this experience. We can share.

Residents  need to approach their Council  to protect  their interest.  They need to convince them to reverse the  decision to fund Mayor Grossi's personal legal costs.

In Aurora , an election intervened. The new Council reversed the decision but not before $65,000 had already been spent.  As it turned out for no purpose, useful or otherwise.

It was not a solitary event. It was the culmination of  a succession of  events throughout a term that went from bad to worse.

Georgina Council has three more years to serve. People need  to act. They should  not accept financial responsibility for personal litigation undertaken by the Mayor.

When Aurora Council voted for the weasel worded motion, they had no idea what was intended
Georgina  doesn't have an election in the offing to allow voters to decide the matter..

If it continues for three years, God  knows what  legal costs will be on both sides.

What I saw of the R.O.C facility on television, it looks spectacular. . If it's going to cost  to iron out  problems, that's where  money needs  to be spent.

I don't know any municipality that can afford to spend taxpayers' money to  compensate for what it would cost every time a fragile political ego is assailed.

Four year terms for municipal government  has  reduced voters rights substantially.

Just appealing to the Mayor to think again would not be out of place. Georgina should not be tearing themselves apart. They  need to be working together to get over this hump...pardon the pun

A Brief Summary And Tally

Before gale force winds blew down from Georgina carrying all kinds of  familiar flotsam and jetsam  the Heritage Act was being referenced in our political circle. I will get back to it.

First it should be said, a Mayor doesn't have to defend him/herself for having  big ideas.

They just have to turn out well. Full credit is accorded if it does. A different result, if not.

Putting  the Blame on Mame doesn't  cut it. No politician worth his salt blames .They bite the bullet.  

Standing at the corner of Wellington and Yonge years ago, looking west at the chaos of re-construction,a municipal solicitor told me once, "If you want a career in politics Evelyn, you won't do anything. If you want to get things done, you won't have a career in politics"

He was partly right.

Stuff happened  during  the last term of Aurora Council to ensure a negative outcome. 

An e-mail was forwarded by a councillor  to the solicitor  for a client appealing a town decision. 

Councillors are bound by  Oath of Office to protect the municipality.Under Federal law,  Breach of Trust is a criminal offence. The Councillor had difficulty accepting the stricture. The town solicitor,  obliged to advise found other employment.

A Code of Conduct was custom designed  to serve a purpose other than integrity.

Complaint costing $70,000 legal fees filed,trumpets blaring.  A negative decision,  Number One Commissioner fired the day following.

New Commissioner after  a private meeting with the Mayor,  second complaint filed, same target.  Half- assed decision  never to be referred to again.Cost $40,000.

Still another complaint filed and withdrawn

The same  probationary employee coerced to file additional  complaint of harassment in the work place. Cost unknown.

Finally..... litigation....and a town  insurance provided defence.

Following that, failed litigation against three families costing to date, $65000 of public resources. Cost to families unknown at this time.

Mountain of a Molehill Of Blame

I have removed a letter I had cut and copied from a  link provided. A friend is convinced I could be sued and the prospect is causing him considerable disquiet.

Mr.Maclean's letter is but one of a deluge published in the local press. 

 Councillor Danny Wheeler signed the Bylaw as Acting Mayor.

Still no evidence the Mayor declared a pecuniary interest or absented himself from the meeting when the question was debated and the vote taken.Legality of the meeting itself is not established.

Righteous rage  over criticism is  a  peculiarity of  the modern- day breed of politician   After battling  their way  into the boiling roiling pot of politics, some of the little darlings, huff and puff in the heat and  in a new tactic,beat constituents about the head and shoulders with public resources  for daring to exhibit any signs of opposition.. 

I think it's the fault of the baby-boomer generation .They spoiled their kids rotten ,created unreal expectations and fostered  grandiose delusions.

That said, there is nothing extraordinary about staff being directed by Council. Council is the authority.

The  Mayor  is not  unless delegated by Council. Even then, staff  ignore a Mayor at their peril unless he is a de-clawed pussy cat.

If  no record exists of direction from Council, staff are left with posteriors uncovered and exposed to  the elements which  are the vagaries of politics. Teflon hides are de rigeur.

The current  over-run of the project  is $1.6million.  Add various potential costs of  litigation and it's big money.

Residents have a right to be infuriated  and concerned about  source of payment for over-run and litigation.

Development charges and  grants, would  cover expected  costs.

Contingency  allowed for  change orders,will not likely stretch to cover the overage.

That the municipality  may  sue the project consultant for a mistake in measurement as reported, is extraordinary.

 Normal advice issued to all and sundry, in the matter of litigation is as follows;

Button up....Zip your lip....Hush yo mouth,baby...Let the lawyer do his job.

Letters to the editor can be ignored. Litigation can be an excuse not to talk.

But Grossi's Mountain cannot be obscured.

Save maybe in a white out of man made precipitation.

Monday 30 January 2012

In The Beginning

When I started writing the blog, I was  naturally interested in how blogs progress.

I remember reading about one with thousands of visitors every day. The Blogger had been  diagnosed with  terminal cancer. He was keeping a daily journal of how of  his life leading up to his death.

It was not something that held any appeal for me.

My readers were few but I was delighted to have any and I  always  wondered if my own logging in accounted for most of the numbers. But the numbers slowly grew and I stopped being phobic.

Considering the subject was relatively narrow, I didn't really know what to think of the numbers.

My sole purpose was to inform Aurora residents.  I wasn't looking for a wider audience . Just being able to tell  what I  knew and thought about things was satisfaction enough.

In the last few days, since the situation in Georgina hit the fan,the numbers have taken a flying leap upward.It's exciting.

I  also think it's a good thing to know what's going on in neighbouring commuuities. We know through  national and local media  of  catastrophes happening in far-flung areas of the world. But we don't know what's going on twenty miles up the road or down for that matter.

It wasn't always like that. In the days when local weekly newspapers were in competition with each other for advertising,they did a fair  job of keeping us informed of issues within the County which became the Region and in the various Boroughs that made up Metro.

The  Toronto Star,  Globe and Mail and the Telegram all paid attention as well. The Telegram is long gone.The Toronto Sun took it's place and we get less local news than ever before.

It's another one of those changes people keep reminding me of,while they themselves have no idea of what they are missing.

Maybe the Blogs can fill the gap.

I am not proposing to become a roving reporter. But I will welcome news from neighbours. We can share some of our experience. I don't think it can hurt. Maybe it will help.

What say you?

I know What I Know

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Trail Continues":

I have no idea who you might be 'talking' to but it appears that we need a human body to go to Georgina's Town Hall with a FOI Request early in the week to determine how long the law firm representing Grossi has been working for the town. There may be other requests that someone like Paul Sesto could suggest.

Just phone the Clerk and ask if the law firm representing  Grossi  is retained by the town. If you need to file a request under  Freedom of Information,  the clerk  will tell you. It's your Town Hall.   In your service. You have a right to know just about everything they know.

Council  didn't make this decision in secret. There's a public record of  their culpability.I don't pretend to understand why they did it but there's no denying they did.

I  have no idea who you think I might have been talking to or needed to talk to but after a person has served as  Councillor,Reeve , County Councillor , Mayor and  Regional Councillor and back again as Councillor, actually in office  for twenty five  years over a span of forty five  of political involvement in Aurora and York Region's affairs, a person with any common sense, acquires an understanding of the rules. Sometimes  rules change but basic rules remain the same.

Then there are recorded  minutes of the  committee of the whole that morphed into a closed door meeting that rolled right into a Special Meeting without proper notice of an agenda circulated to inform  the public  of matters being contemplated and decided by their council, that somebody sent me from Georgina last week.

The agenda for the special meeting like all Council agendas, called for declarations of pecuniary interest.

It's the first thing on any agenda.  What could be more of a  blatant pecuniary interest than  a decision for the municipality to pay legal costs for a personal matter involving the Mayor.

Yet ,the minutes do not  record the Mayor declared a pecuniary interest . No indication he absented himself from the  in camera meeting, debate in the Special meeting,  or the final vote

Unless the person who forwarded a copy of those minutes, forged the document, then those are  the facts we have to go with.

There is no rule anywhere to stop Georgina residents from requesting delegate status at  Council and making  their opposition to Council's decision clear and succinct. Nothing to stop  anyone from calling Councillors and demanding the decision be re-considered and rescinded.

There may have to be a vote to waive the procedure bylaw to allow  the  question to be re-considered within six months. But there is nothing to stop the request from being made.

If there is  sufficient opposition to the Mayor's legal bills being paid by the municipality, it had better be heard. The Mayor  has every right to  pursue whatever legal action he chooses. He just doesn't have the right to have his bills paid by the taxpayer, In  particular by the taxpayer he is suing.

I know that from reading the news  from Toronto. They tried  it down there ,in the face of contrary advice from the city solicitor. That decision had to be reversed.

One  bill was paid .but if I re-call correctly ,the Councillor involved was serving as Speaker of the Council.The role placed  her in a different category.

The City of Toronto Act allows Council to appoint a Speaker. The Mayor  is free participate in  debates and votes without have to pretend  to be or in fact be impartial.

There's another thing I just thought of. Normally , when everything is kosher, direction from Council is to prepare a Bylaw. Bylaws are not normally  prepared ready for a resolution for the Mayor and Clerk to sign.

A Bylaw has to be given three readings. It used to be  first two reading would be read or taken as read. Third reading would be given at a future meeting.

Those were the days when the public's  right to know what Council was proposing to sign into law was a given. 

I don't know when that  changed or why. But I can guess.

Probably some aggressive  Councillor  or Councillors with private business  experience, thought the  idea people should or would  want to have a say, was just  a silly waste of  time and the legislative imperative should  be junked.

Oddly enough the process at the senior levels, government bills still require separate readings.

Anyway, there's always some jackass  ready to suggest that I don't really write this blog. That I can't possibly know all I know and write about.

Most of the time I pay no attention. But now and then  it p-s me off.

Sunday 29 January 2012

Saints Preserve Us

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Trail Continues":

But should a Georgina resident sue any of them over the breach in the Act, wouldn't it still be our taxes footing their defence through their insurance policies? Isn't that what passing the by-law was about anyway (given that Mayor and council were already financially protected should someone sue them but not the other way around)?


The Conflict of Interest charges against Aurora's ex-Mayor  have been  filed by a resident. The ex-Mayor will not be indemnified   since she is no longer a member of Council.

It does have to be a citizen who takes the action at his/her own expense. That's how serious the Province is about enforcing Conflict of Interest prohibitions.

They stick us with four year terms of office and  responsibility of private citizens having to enforce their laws.

 Aurora's  gang of six  continue to be indemnified  under another suit, apparently because they were councillors when the action began and even though they started the legal process with their phoney baloney Code of Conduct and a lawyer to contrive a complaint  who was paid a fee of $70,000.

I have been informed  the insurance company initially refused to indemnify. But yet another legal opinion was obtained  at taxpayer's expense to convince them they should.

I have tried to discover the total amount spent on legal fees from the start of  the four year term . Except at the beginning , before the wholesale turnover of staff ,I was stonewalled by staff and politicians. I haven't finished with it yet.

In Aurora, legal costs for the ex-Mayor's last Hurrah  of suing three residents, had not been paid  by the time of the election. . The new council  retained another lawyer at another  fee of $8,000. to tell them what to do. Of course  he advised the  lawyer's  bill should be paid.  So they did. They paid the  $65,000
tab run up by the defeated Mayor up to December 1st..

It seems to be a generational thing. Modern Councillors tend to  believe they are not  obliged to exercise any judgement. They need to be advised every step of the way by their professional superiors.
If the professional says it, it must be right.

It must have something to do with the educational system.

Councillors also willingly make themselves available to lobbyists and let themselves be persuaded to hand over the keys of  the kingdom willy nilly .

It fairly makes a mockery of everything I understand about accountability.

But...what do I know ?

From the extreme of getting rid of all staff who offered a hint of resistance to  the harridans, to the other extreme of  presenting  a soft plushy body to plunder with ultimately the same result:

The taxpayers get hosed.

But I digress.

Municipalities purchase indemnification policies to hedge against insurance claims. Premiums are paid.
If  claim are valid, the insurance company pays.

Indemnification does not provide for politicians or staff to sue people.  

Mayor Grossi's litigation could not be paid by the insurance company. They should not have been paid with  public funds either. Except for Council taking the extraordinary step of passing a bylaw. 

The community needs to see the bylaw. Who signed it ?.  Is the Mayor's signature on the dotted line ?   Is the Clerk's?

The clerk, who allowed Council to roll right on from a Council- in -Committee meeting into a Special Meeting  of Council without public notice or circulation of an agenda to notify the community of what their  Council is about.

Oh My Gawd!!

The Trail Continues

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Georgina.....There Is A Solution": The by-law was without any doubt passed behind closed doors-- this is taken from the Committee of the Whole Minutes from Monday November 21st, page 16:23. RECESS COUNCIL AND RESOLVE INTO CLOSED MEETING:
Moved by Councillor Smockum
Seconded by Councillor Craig That the Council Meeting recess at this time and move into a closed meeting pursuant to Section 239 of The Municipal Act, 2001, as amended, to consider:
i) Personal matter about an identifiable individual; Section 239(2)(b), MA
Moved by Councillor Smockum
Seconded by Councillor Davison

(unrelated topic between what I'm pasting here)

Moved by Councillor Smockum
Seconded by Councillor Davison
That the Committee of the Whole meeting resolve into a Special Council meeting at 11:40
a.m., immediately following the Committee of the Whole meeting to deal with the following
i) Roll Call
ii) Declarations of Pecuniary Interest
iii) Memorandum concerning appointment of members of the public to the Former
Sutton Public School Steering Committee
iv) A By-law to indemnify a Member of Council against damages and the costs of legal
v) Confirming By-law
vi) Adjournment
If you were to dig up the actual Agenda as a whole, you'd find
that nothing was recorded (at least publicly) after item iii) Memorandum concerning appointment of members of the public to the Former Sutton Public School Steering Committee

Hunting for RESOLUTION NO. CW-2011-0278 mentioned above through the Town's Electronic Records management yields nothing.
Fortunately, The Pefferlaw Post has identified the relevant By-law as No. 2011-0121
However, having searched this in town records online I can find the Bylaw, but for the past two days the webpage that it is supposed to open in refused to load (having taken too long to respond according to google) -- either their system has been down for the last two days or they are attempting to hide this by-law from the people like me following the trail of slime through the mazes of bureaucracy. Hope that clarifies a few specifics.

 Anything but.  It raises far more serious questions.

 Item 24.     The resolution contains  similar weasel words used in Aurora when staff were directed to take whatever action was necessary to resolve the situation.The election was underway. Council had no further meetings. Councillors heard about  the suit at the doors while  they campaigned .  The decision to  litigate  against  three local residents was made  without council authority.

Item Number 25.

"Adjournment was moved and seconded".

Presumably there was a  vote. No further business can take place following adjournment.Special Meetings require public notice of forty-eight hours  and circulation of an agenda stating its purpose.

Committee of the whole cannot  resolve into a Special  Council Meeting.

Did the Mayor attend the closed meeting. Did he participate in the vote to "request staff  to follow legal advice on a personal matter. Did he vote on the resolution in the so-called "special meeting of council?
Did he declare a  pecuniary  interest  when asked and abstain from voting on the resolution to " request  the C.A.O.to obtain legal advice to be sought on a personal matter"

Was the Clerk present? The Clerk is  the  statutory officer responsible to ensure municipal business is conducted in accordance with the statutes?

Aurora's former Mayor is currently facing a charge of Conflict of Interest because of the issue. It has been filed  by a citizen of Aurora. It was to be heard in February. It has been delayed until August.

The charge followed an investigation by a solicitor retained for the purpose of determining  how things evolved and  publication of his findings. Which included the statement the Mayor appeared to be in conflict.

The  Town Solicitor employed  by the town during the period no longer is.

Aurora paid  legal fees of $65,000 on behalf of the former Mayor for a case that failed miserably and caused tremendous stress  and horrendous expense to three families in the community.

Too damned right...I did not vote to pay that bill.

The families were served on the eve of Thanksgiving... for God's Sake.

Georgina residents can stop this now if they have the will. Your Council answers to you and not just at election time.

There is no weaselling out of it.   The town is not involved in litigation. The Mayor is. His is the personal matter referred to in the "request to the CAO to obtain legal advice to be sought on a personal matter " as stated in the recorded  minutes. .

Like a  cab, the meter keeps on clicking.

Georgina.....There Is A Solution

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Tobaggon Ride May Not Be The Only Slippery Slo...":

Judging only from the surface, it would appear that the Mayor expected McLean to roll-over and was not prepared to follow through with his threat. Much will depend upon who and what McLean is, if he is comfortable in his own skin. It is a big risk to bully someone who knows where all the bodies are buried. But bullies seldom consider that they might not be the victors.


I   read all the links sent to me. It  sounds as though  Georgina Council had their discussion about financing the Mayor's personal law suit  behind closed doors.

But that can't be. A municipality can't pass a bylaw behind closed doors. The town's web site will  provide  information on  agendas and meeting minutes.

A closed meeting requires  a purpose to be stated. The right to privacy requires no names to be disclosed.

But what  politician in his or her  right mind, believes spending public money on a personal objective   qualifies for closed door  secret discussion.

Of course I don't know that happened . 

A steady stream of letter to the editor expressing outrage over Council's action seem to think it happened that way.

Few dispute the Mayor's right to sue if he thinks he should, as long as he spends his own money.

I personally think any politician  worth his salt should be able to defend him or herself  against criticism without the help of lawyers. My goodness, yes. If you can't stand the heat, the obvious solution is  to remove oneself from the kitchen.

But when  lawyers  are hired with public money to mount an  attack on  the  freedom  to lambaste a politician , no self-respecting Canadian who values  the Charter of Rights and Freedoms can submit.

The fight for rights has been too long and hard and bitter to surrender  so easily. 

Georgina residents ,with opportunity to vote so far distant, should not content themselves with letters to the editor and comments to blogs.

They should delegate and take the issue directly to Council.

The people of East Gwillimbury  took the matter in hand.

The  people of Aurora tossed  the bastards. Most of them.

When people see something repugnant being done in their name, they have a right to call a halt to it.

Georgina Council can change that decision.

Aurora did.

Saturday 28 January 2012

The Tobaggon Ride May Not Be The Only Slippery Slope

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Keswick Pinhead said....":

It would appear that Bloggers communicate with Bloggers from other towns and we know Town Staff have a support network of staff from other towns. You would think the lawyers for Mayor Grossi would have been in touch with the lawyers for former Mayor Morris to head off this freight train.


I think  it's entirely possible lawyers for Mayor Grossi might have been  in touch with  lawyers for Aurora's former Mayor.

Lessons  were  obviously learned.  Like having Georgina Council pass a Bylaw  to  approve financing for  the Mayors  personal law suit.

It's not a freight train you have to worry about.

Out of interest, when was Mr.. Maclean a Regional Councillor ? When did he become Director of Leisure Services ? When did he stop acting?

Does Georgina have a ward system? How many wards? D'you think ward councillors might be dependent on the Mayor's good will? Would each be more concerned about their own  bailliewick than  about the rest of the Municipality?

Did the Bylaw to approve financing the Mayor's personal law suit pass with a unanimous vote  or a simple majority? A Bylaw can't be passed in secret.

Ours was a resolution  passed behind closed doors delegating  authority to decide on a process to a staff person. Some Councillors learned about the court action when campaigning at the doors during the election.

Why would  Georgina Councillors  be willing to carry that  can for the Mayor?

Keswick Pinhead said....

Instead of wasting taxes on this frivolous lawsuit, Mayor Rob Grossi could have saved us ALL a boatload of money, and saved HIMSELF from the disdain of an angry public by saying this:

"A disgruntled former employee has spoken his piece in this newspaper, as is his right.
Here is my rebuttal...."

I was unaware that he was using our money to sue the newspaper too...very interesting post.
Keep up the Wood Gork.
28 January, 2012 3:30 PM

Welcome Keswick...

I didn't say the newspaper is being sued. I said there was no  indication  the newspaper is being sued. Have you heard something different?

We have heard Mr. Maclean is  still a Georgina employee.

Somewhere else we saw he is a former Regional Councillor...that's interesting. 

We have something like Grossi's mountain down here although we didn't spend millions on it. 

There's a berm along the length of the soccer fields  at Sheppard's Bush. It follows the serpentine alignment of the Industrial Parkway. A rusty five or six foot high chain link fence and a boulevard  separate  it from  the road.

It looks like it's screening the soccer field from the view of drivers using the road. But  even if that was a useful purpose that's not its purpose. It is used asphalt from road re-construction projects, dumped in that location to save paying for  disposal  elsewhere.

It probably takes up ten or fifteen per cent of the field.

If anyone is interested ,there's another  story of political chicanery .

Grossi's Mountain ...2

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Grossi's Mountain":

As of Jan 26th, calls to Georgina's Town Hall were told that Mr. McLean was still an employee.

An even more  intriguing situation presents. 
I read the links. I saw  reference to disability.  Also  to Mr. Mclean defending his staff from blame by Mayor Grossi and Councillors for cost  over-runs and design flaws in Grossi's Mountain.

The "mountain" is man-made. Created by fill placed in a corner of the property by invitation of the Mayor.  I am not a reporter. I am going by what I have read. I don't have to check my sources.  While  the story  might seem crazy to any reasonable person, it's entirely plausible to me on the basis of my  personal experience

Georgina is part of the northern-six municipal pact. We  jointly obtained an indemnification policy at a favourable price together.
Staff  and Councillors in Aurora are indemnified against legal action  for decisions  undertaken in the course of their duties. .

Mr. Mclean  could   be eligible for a  legal defense from the town's policy against suit by the Town's Mayor.

I wonder if he knows.

I didn't a few years ago when the deadly duo brought George Rust D'Eye in to advise what could be done about moi. They identified a leak of information from a closed meeting which should have been reported out three months previously and to this day, never was.

A resident informed me the town would have indemnification in place, if legal action was taken against me for fulfilling my elected responsibilities.

So, I asked  about that. In all the  years I had been a councillor the question had never been raised.

But those who must  have known , denied all knowledge of indemnification 

Some time later  I inquired again. Council  learned they would  indeed be indemnified if sued while performing their duties  as elected representatives.

At the same time, we were informed  no indemnification exists to allow staff or council  to litigate against another. We received  a written report to that effect.

Now we know, Georgina Council  had to pass a bylaw to allow the Mayor's legal costs to be paid  straight out of taxpayers' pocket.

Wouldn't that  just take the cake if Mr. Mclean's  defence  was covered by town insurance while the Mayor's  is being paid straight out of the treasury.

A couple of posts back, I told you how the community in East Gwillimbury  filled the Council chamber at a meeting and said;

Enough of this damned nonsense, Mayor Young and Councillor Johnstone, get back into your seats and get on with the job.

I'm paraphrasing but I was there and  that essentially is  what happened. The issue  was a  Code of Conduct  complaint against the Mayor and Councillor Johnstone, filed by the Chief Administrative Officer with Mr. George Rust D'Eye , on hand to advise Council. 

It remains to be seen if the people of Georgina will be more docile than the people of East Gwillimbury
in the face of  nincompoopery in the first order and gross abuse of public resources.

The Meaning Of Integrity

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Mardi Gras In Aurora Is Spectacular ..Kudos To The...":

1:08 PM
Christopher, I think that comment was about You earning trust. And you have not done so. The fury over being asked not to meddle on Evelyn's Blog and losing the battle over the condemned house shows why people might be reluctant to sign in.
And you only know what you read and infer about what stands Anonymous Bloggers might take. There is a world of inter-action beyond the Blog. You have not been asked to participate as you are judged to be a 'wild cannon'.



I am happy to be the conduit between Christopher and the people he dismays. I am  confident of his ability to speak for himself.

But I need to clarify a couple of things. I  appreciate  advice  from Christopher on how to improve this great opportunity we have for carrying on a robust conversation about this and that but mainly town affairs.

I  sense  the world of interaction beyond the Blog . I  am also not asked to participate.I notice that.

I have an affinity for Christopher. He does what I did when I first became involved . 

For me, the next step was politics. No point firing off salvos if I didn't believe they were shared by others and should make a difference.

Aurora may be  the only place to elect someone like myself. They've certainly done it often enough to prove a straightforward position delivered with force of conviction is appreciated in this town. 

I have never felt pressure  to "play nicely". It's a good thing.

Politics is not kindergarten, a Sunday school picnic, a service club dinner or  the lady's auxiliary.

Criticism is a sign of good health and vigour. 

Politics is the one arena where the battle should be enjoined. People should put forward  positions  with all the force they can muster without malice aforethought.

It takes courage and confidence, a willingness to risk and it keeps you knowing you are alive.

It calls for sticking your head above the crowd and inviting dolly molly shots. There are plenty of those.

In my judgment, an unwilling,ill-equipped  council member,who aspires to popularity at the expense of  integrity, is mainly taking up space.


Pig ..sticking

I've been watching  debates between American Republican candidates for the presidential nomination.
Without knowing  pig-sticking ,  the word came to mind as I watched the process.

I thought it was in the category of  cock-fighting and dog fighting; Unspeakably cruel, appealing only to  sub-intellects and prohibited in  civilized societies

One reason  only could  compel a person to submit to such indignity..... overwhelming lust for power and total lack of self-respect.

Friday 27 January 2012

Grossi's Mountain

I've been asked to comment on the Mayor of  Georgina suit against a  former  municipal employee for defamation  and the rig-a-ma-role  undertaken by  Council to legitimize spending  public resources  to defend the Mayor's political reputation . 

Since I am currently engaged in litigation against the ex-Mayor of Aurora and five Councillors , which is in small part  about defamation of  my character, my solicitor would probably advise me to steer clear

But  there may be  a couple of observations I am free to make.

I have a satellite in Keswick. I called my son with birthday wishes on Wednesday.

He asked if I'd heard about Grossi's Mountain. I said I had seen some video on Roger's Cable  about the complex but I didn't know that was the official name.

He said it isn't. That's  how it's known locally.

He told of  a friend  who had been on the toboggan run with his children.  It was so fast it was terrifying.

Well, I thought, that's not good news.

Seems the snow-making machinery is situated  so it creates blizzard conditions on a public highway. White-outs and icy conditions on the pavement.

My word, I thought.

Seems   the former  Director of Leisure Services Director said that would happen but they didn't pay any attention.

The facility ran substantially over budget.   In the millions.

Hmmmm .....That's not good. 

What is  really odd about the situation is the former director speaking out.. He apparently wrote a Letter to the Editor in the local newspaper.

Two things about that.

First ....no  mention of the newspaper being sued 

Second .....public servants generally accept settlements and go away quietly. To do otherwise is to pretty well blow away your chance of being hired by another municipality. It's not professionally advantageous to take on a fight with politicians, except at the ballot box  maybe. 

It's not exactly a conspiracy of silence but it's close.

Keswick is a community of young families. The price of housing goes down the farther out  from Toronto. The  new facility would ordinarily be well received in  a young  community.

The municipality bought the  seminary and  farm years ago for a town administration centre.

I held a  Social Assistance Review Board Hearing there  in the eighties. The Council Chamber was a former chapel  complete with  light streaming from  the windows on our heads. Like the Holy Ghost. A Catholic altar is generally designed that way.

The reception area  had a  furry fish  that looked like rabbit in a glass trophy case  

It was  quite odd, presiding at a hearing seated on an  altar.It seemed almost sacrilegious

Maybe it influenced  Mayor Grossi's decision to sue a former employee for $100,000.

The Divine Rights of Kings and all that jazz.

 Maybe $100,000  was  the amount of  the  settlement

Litigation  may be  a way of trying to get it back now the beans  were spilled about what caused the split between himself  and the leisure services director.

A number of links has been provided to stories on the issue.

I  haven't read them yet. 

I didn't  want  to spoil my initial reaction.

What's Shocking Is It's Not Shocking......It's Commonplace

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Mardi Gras In Aurora Is Spectacular ..Kudos To The...":

"Christopher has earned our respect and admiration."

For "our" read "my" - please don't profess to speak for anyone but yourself.


Responses to my  posts  are  important to what I do here. They provide opportunity to  explain and provide background to issues  that isn't  possible in any venue available.including council meetings.

But sometimes  a comment stands out.

Like the one above.

I deleted it first. Then  decided it deserved an observation.

I am an elected representative. Despite  everything that could be done during the last term of council, was done at horrendous public expense, to destroy my reputation,I was re-elected and four of six of the  culprits were not.

Despite being chosen once again and  in my twenty-fifth year in office, as a spokesperson for the community, there it is; a  statement   revealing  a level of  ignorance and disrespect impossible to fathom.

"Please don't profess to speak for anyone but yourself"

In the last Council, a majority determined my right to speak had to be circumscribed by a Code of Conduct.

Canada may be the only country in the civilized world with a Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Freedom  of speech was entrenched in common law long before the Charter became law.

In terms of history,the fight for equal representation in government is a  recent victory.

The  right is not as old as the country. Education is.

So how does  such  abysmal  ignorance flourish  in Aurora in the year  of Our Lord 2012?

That it does is undeniable. The comment could  easily have been spoken by Councillor Wendy Gaertner.  As I read it,I could her voice.

The Councillor regularly objects, on  points of order  to something  she heard  which  hasn't been said, such is her sensitivity to the need to silence anything she does not wish to hear.

Thursday 26 January 2012

How Many Is Many

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Those Who Mind Do Matter":

You have mentioned the library and the demolished house many times.Now could you please have the integrity to post who owned the property the library was erected on.


Properties from  Church Street School to and including the corner at Yonge and points north, were acquired by the town for the library site. There were at least seven or eight.  I have no idea who owned them . The house I mentioned in debate  had been acquired previously by the town.

At one time, when I was Mayor, the entire square was envisioned as a Civic Square.and in fact was an addendum to the Official Plan.  We owned half of the block. We acquired the house on Yonge  with a view to making  the vision  a reality.

Councils change. new visions take the place of old and it became  Library. Square. Now the town owns about  two thirds of the square. Two library buildings are surplus. The old firehall  under-utilizes the ground it sits on.  The same can be said for Victoria Hall. Also once used as a library

A decision about the fate of  the  surplus buildings, has been pending since the new library was constructed. Thirteen or fourteen years since.

Studies have  shown  exorbitant  cost  required to keep the old library as it is and accessible

.Adapting it for re- use is impossible because of thickness of the concrete floor  needed to support the weight of books.

Neither this council nor the last nor the one before, ever  got around to tackling the decision waiting to be made

Instead we occupy our time spending  money on never-ending studies on the down- town, $84,thousand on a Strategic plan, A strategy for business retention and expansion. A data bank, for God's  Sake.

Files  full of  airy-fairy pages of pretty coloured pictures, hours and hours of meetings and public input,  turtle ponds and snake hibernaculums, and now $214. thousand  for a consultant to design a wildlife park on land we do not own  which will not get SLSCA approval.Oh yes and endless media releases about our exciting  accomplishments. .

On and on we go, spending millions to stack binders of verbiage of little substance while major issues languish on the shelf.

We  spend money on  bafflegab schemes about how to attract "investors" to our town and improve  "customer service"  for  " Clients and stakeholders"  while  we take three years  to permit a would-be investor to  invest . And by the way, while they persist, we treat them like pirates trying to rob us of our heritage.

We raise taxes every year and complacently watch shop doors close and businesses leave town. while we contrive every which way to put obstacles in the way of re-development and desperately needed new assessment.

We give away millions  of hard-earned taxes, hand over fist,  to self-acclaimed grandiose saviours of the community's well-being who  have never been elected to any position of accountability or given authority from anybody we know.

We seem to know best, cosily advised by our  experts,  how to spend money with no visible sign of return. Only in government you say? .Aye, ye're right ,we do say..

I have watched from a seat on council, powerless to stop it, the town going the way of  an atypical institution,  swelling like a bloated carcase, existing  only to serve  itself.

Are there any more questions for  me to answer with  integrity?

In The Eye Of The Beholder

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Mardi Gras In Aurora Is Spectacular ..Kudos To The...":

"It was only elite as far as people who supported the cause, were willing to contribute and have a wonderful evening of fun and entertainment while they were at it."

How is this any different than any of the events with Councillor Ballard's involvement that have been slagged here as being elistist? I see a double standard.


You see what you want to see.

I know nothing of Ballard's activities before he became a Councillor.

I know nothing of his  current extracouncilcurricular affairs.Whatever they are is  his business not mine. I have no interest in what  the Councillor  is up to.They have hereto not been slagged on this blog.

Yesterday I had an e-mail telling me he  was tweeting from the Council table after the decision   to grant the demolition permit.  The  inquiry was  whether or not  tweeting  is permitted.

Councillors are not students in  a classroom subject to teacher discipline though I grant that seems to have become  a common  concept.

People elected to the authority of public office should  be capable of exercising  judgement.  But  different people have a different understanding of judgement and ethics.

That's why a Code  for either  is a ridiculous concept.

Shameless pandering in my opinion is utterly degrading to everyone involved and completely lacking in decorum,judgement and ethics

Councillor Gaertner thinks it's  exactly a councillor's duty  to do what "the people " want.  The Councillor  is a strong proponent of ethics and good conduct. She always recognizes when either have been  contravened. 

And  My Goodness," the Code"  cannot be dismissed  for fear of being accused of not being in favour of proper conduct or ethics or both

And put at risk of running afoul of the judgement of someone like David Tsubuchi., an erstwhile Minister of Social Services who thought impoverished mothers should negotiate with supermarket managers for a lower price on a can of tuna in order to keep their children nourished.

For all I know, Councillor Ballard could have been tweeting for  advice about what to do once the vote was cast. He tried to get the item pulled after the agenda was approved. He called twice for recorded votes after a majority  had raised hands  in support of the motion. Like councillors might change their vote when they realised  their votes  would  form part of the record.

He tried everything he could think of to win the argument. He even plagiarised some of Christopher Watts comments. No wonder Christopher  was pleased with  the Councillor  comments . They were an echo of his own.

When all else failed  the Councillor tweeted.

I didn't see it.

Maybe we need  to consider  an  amendment to  the procedure bylaw.

Credit Where Due

The post I printed  on Sunday  with  research  on Bullfrog Power turned out to  have been from Councillor John Abel. He did the work, put the results into writing and forwarded it to me for my information.

I misunderstood and published it without attribution

Kudos to Councillor John Abel.

Those Who Mind Do Matter

I  just read how my opinion  on the George Browning House made Christopher cringe and infuriated him more than any other..

I have to correct a statement I made .I said the house the town demolished to make way for the library was a Browning house. That may be an error of memory. It was a dark and sombre house with little elegance.  I do not  regret  it's disappearance.There were other, more interesting houses on Church Street but not a whisper of an outcry.

I'm not concerned that I  infuriated  Christopher or made hm cringe  because our views differ..

Je n'accuse pas.

He has his opinion. I have mine, the twain do not meet.

What's to be done? What's to be done?

Nothing at all. Why should anything need to be done.? We do not agree. Like it or lump it.

I had a vote. Christopher did not. Christopher declares he has no inclination towards politics.

You can rail all you like but if you're not prepared to  take responsibility, you are hardly in a position to criticize those who do  and risk offending  fiery and articulate people like Christopher.

As a politician, I am prepared to be myself but I do not  accept Doctor Seuss's philosophy that  those who mind don't matter. They most certainly do.
I've been doing it a long time .I have scars to prove it.  I've taken the heat. I've stayed in the kitchen.

I don't run for office to be told what to think by someone  half my age and  none of my experience, who has the luxury of contemplating only one aspect of a particular decision and doesn't even recognize pandering when he himself  is the object.

It's So Silly

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Bric-A-Brac":


"Chris Watts expertise is the way of the future."

Not really. The future requires people with similar skills to be able to execute them without making an enemy of everyone. Believe it or not, you can't be right every time. He feels that his opinion is the only valid opinion. Personally his expertise is of today. The future will be different as technology evolves.

"Chris needs to think seriously at taking a seat at the table next term..."

I hope not. The last thing we need at the table is another diva that is not willing to work with others.

I think Watts' grade 4 report card probably said "Does not play well with others".

There's  a common perception  a person who chooses to express an opinion in unvarnished terms, is a person who believes there's is only one opinion  and of course, it's theirs.
How does one arrive at such  conclusion?

Where is the evidence that a person driven to express an opinion would deny anyone else[s right to do the same and the possibility there might be different opinions?

Why does  the critic not choose to refute the opinion rather than simply dismiss it with haughty rigeur?

Why does the idea  everyone should share the same opinion and "play well together"deserve to be considered seriously?

Why am I even responding to such nincompoopery?

Mardi Gras In Aurora Is Spectacular ..Kudos To The Ladies Who Organise It And The Contributors Who Make It Happen.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Bric-A-Brac":

I saw the recent Mardi Gras articles in the paper. I wonder where Evelyn and particularly Christopher Watts stand on this event? I would ask Mr Watts on his blog but you need to sign up in order to post anything, I am not prepared to do that.

It seems to me that this event is as elitist as some of the other events that Mr Watts has issues with


Mardi Gras at the Mansion (Di Nardos) is a spectacular event. I went as a guest to the one before last.
I sat at the table of the ladies who organised the affair. It was a magical evening.  The decor was magical. The ambiance is breathtaking. People wore costumes and masks.

Everything was donated. Funds  raised were for the cancer centre at the hospital.

It was only elite as far as people who supported the cause, were willing to contribute and have a wonderful evening of fun and entertainment while they were at it.

Everyone involved should be commended. They dun good.

I've tried to comment to Christopher's posts. I was willing to sign in. I have never figured out how to do that. Not sufficiently computer literate I guess but not inclined to blame Christopher for that.

Reading Comprehension Is Not As It Should Be

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "I"m Fine Thank You":

"For more than thirty years neither Aurora or Newmarket has discharged clean and clear effluent into the carrying stream that leads to the East Holland River."

So it is okay to continue this practice? I don't think so. Just because we have done something for 30 years doesn't make it right!


I publish the above comment to illustrate  lack of reading comprehension.We had that problem with leading council members in the last term.

The sentence quoted states Aurora and Newmarket have  NOT discharged  effluent into the East Holland River for more than thirty years.The commenter read the opposite.

But there was a problem. Waste water  treated in a tertiary treatment system , though clean and clear at the end of te process .is "dead" Ozygen has been removed . Dead water, in greater quantity than the capacity of the  carrying stream kills  live water.  Algae  multiplies.  Fish suffocate.

Tannery creek is a cold water stream . In the past, before urbanisation, trout were  plentiful. Upstream from the tanneries  of course.

The tertiary treatment system worked well. but in a flash flood, the gates had to be opened and raw sewage released into the creek. There were no storm sewers in the old town.Storm water filtered into the sewer system . The gates had to be opened to keep raw sewage  from  backing  up into  basements.

The town undertook to re-construct the  entire old town road system and separate storm and sanitary systems in the process. We completed the task  in twenty-five years.  Now it's complained that storm water is waste water.

Sometimes I think the only thing that would calm the vociferous clean freaks in the community would be for humans to abandon the planet .

When I was Mayor, the Ontario Water Resources declared the treatment plant at capacity. Development was frozen.

The oil crisis happened.

Interest rates climbed to double digits.We had no assessment growth to cover runaway inflation.

Farmers dumped dead cows at bank entrances and clogged city streets with tractors  to signify desperation.

Small  retail  business paid  more interest on a working overdraft than they earned.

It was a tough time.

We borrowed money. Bought Jack Woods farm  to develop a showcase industrial park.

And so it came to pass.

In time for someone else to take the credit and build that serpentine section of the Industrial parkway.

C'est La vie in Politiques !

Wednesday 25 January 2012


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Clearly and Succinctly":

I was watching last night, and here is something that has been bothering me lately. It is becoming a habit of some councillors, clearly exhibited twice last night by Clr. Ballard, to request a recorded vote AFTER the general show of hands vote was completed. Is that permitted?


It's another of the many changes made during the last term. It wasn't worth fighting about considering all the other stuff that was going on.


Chris Watts is  a friend, I have tremendous respect for his intellect and self- expression.

My grandchildren think he is....POW !!!  WOW!!!!.

He's like the engineer who blasts holes through mountains so trains can  get to where they need to go..

A toothpick doesn't  cut it .

Newspapers, radio, television, movies  are all  losing status in the field of communication. Change is happening at a rapid fire pace.

Chris Watts expertise is the way of the future.

His style  of communication could be the inevitable gut reaction of a razor sharp mind to  the upchuck politically correct style of the generation ahead of him.

 Smooth and Unctuous, he is not.

 How refreshing!

Clearly and Succinctly

It's how a point of order is defined in Rules of Order.

Last night, the Mayor provided a perfect illustration of failure to use the rules  to maintain order and demonstrate impartiality.

The question  before  council was a recommendation to authorize a demolition permit for a heritage structure.

The agenda of four items had to be approved by resolution. No objections were raised..The meeting proceeded.

The motion  for demolition was duly moved and seconded. Then  a Councillor moved immediately to   "pull".the item from the agenda.

The Mayor proceeded  with a  motion , re-stated by himself, to defer.  A kerfuffle emerged..The mover of the motion to approve offered to withdraw the motion.

It was pointed out,  a motion duly moved and seconded is on the table. Council is in possession of the motion..It no longer belongs to the mover

Refusal to grant the permit was argued. It morphed into future use and access to the property.

A point of order was raised. The Councillor's argument had strayed from the question. The  chair. ruled  the argument could continue.

A motion was again made to defer the decision. And defeated. The  Mayor voted. in support of the deferral.A subsequent vote on the permit approval was approved. The Mayor voted in support.

Council spent many hours in 2011 reviewing the procedure bylaw. An expert was brought in  for a peer review. He found the instrument to be  satisfactory.

It doesn't matter a hill of beans, if  a  bylaw  was brought down from the mountain, chiseled on tablets of stone, by a man with a long white beard and sandals,  claiming  divine intervention, if there is no understanding of the rules, there can be no fairness in their application. Order inevitably deteriorates.

The flaw in procedure  is not entirely of this Mayor's making.

The late Dick Illingworth and former Aurora Mayor was responsible.

Richard was a man of strong convictions.  And grouchy. He thought by not voting, a Mayor could hide or avoid taking a position. It never stopped him.

Prior practice required the presiding member to  vote only to break a tie.

Richard, in a series of moves which cost him the Mayor's Chair, became assistant to John White,a Minister of Municipal Affairs.  The Honourable Member was something of a dilettante.

The two made the rounds of  municipal conferences.

Richard carried a six quart  basket  covered by a snowy white napkin. Contents were the makings for the Minister's favourite cocktail. It's all I recall about the man.

Richard prevailed upon him to deliver an edict  requiring Ontario Mayors to vote on every question

When a Mayor votes, his position is obvious  but any semblance of impartiality disappears into smoke and mirrors.

The processs was not improved by the new imperative.

Leadership is not about imposing faulty logic.

It's about winning  and maintaining trust.

Clearly, succinctly and simply.


Tuesday 24 January 2012

I"m Fine Thank You

I don't often have to think about my health. All things considered, it's  good. I was busy at the week-end, going through the budget with a fine-tooth comb and responding to comments. I was looking forward to Councillors have an opportunity to impact  the budget with their own ideas.

My  task was not complete by the time I went to the town hall  last night.

I left the meeting at nine-thirty p.m. I felt my head bowed low with a sense of complete  futility and exhaustion.

Even Mormac did not have that effect on my spirits.

I cited a few items culled from the budget. Not the complete list.  Some  were discussed. The first  item was not mine. .

South Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority made a request . in October for work on the East Holland river. IN Aurora it's identified as Tannery Creek..The  memo received last night  indicated, if we contribute   $20,000, it would be "leveraged" to a  $100,000 of service. I asked how that would be accomplished. The Treasurer was unable to supply details.

Councillor Ballard  was in support. He said: we should give them the money.  "we use  the river We dump  waste into  it"

For more than  thirty years  neither Aurora  or Newmarket  has discharged clean and clear effluent into the carrying stream that leads to the East Holland River.  

Mayor Dawe supported Councillor Ballard. Said he didn't think that wasCouncillor Ballard's reference. .
The Mayor thought  he meant the  garbage we  dump into the river.

At  that point,  the sinking feeling overcame me.

When  I left, the recommendation for  three contract  positions  to be converted to permanent status at a cost of $77,300 was up for  discussion. 

The Chief Administrative Officer indicated extra cost was due in part to the employees becoming union members.

Flexibility in Recreation  and parks  programs is created by  use of seasonal contract positions.Programs may differ from year to year. Manpower needs may be less or more 

 Reserves were the next item.We have $69 million . This year  we will add , $1,240 million from 2011 budget surplus.Share of the  gas tax share from the Federal government  adds an additional   $1,419.million.

Councillor Thompson thought  the tax  could be reduced by $125,thousand .I thought the whole thing could be eliminated.

The Treasurer said:


The Mayor supported  the  cut of $125,thousand  because a Finance Committee  is proposed by Councillor Thompson.  His  stated preference is" to have  something put by for a rainy day"

When  I left, the recommendation for  three contract  positions  to be converted to permanent status at a cost of $77,300 was up for  discussion. 

The Chief Administrative Officer indicated extra cost was due in part to the employees becoming union members.

Flexibility in Recreation  and parks  programs is created by  use of seasonal contract positions.Programs may differ from year to year. Manpower needs may be less or more

Facility user fees  are impacted by the cost of operation .Five other contract positions alternate between parks and works.  If all seven contract employees received the same consideration, and why not, the costwould be  an extra  $203,900  on the backs of  taxpayers. And that would only be the start.

I listened to the argument about  why council is compelled to honour an agreement that hands over a building , rent-ree  that cost $3million to renovate,  $150.thousand to maintain. plus a generous   $353.thousand bundle of cash  to a self-appointed  board of management, accountable to no-one

The Mayor pomdered aloud, "What would people say about a municipality that doesn't  honour  legal  agreements?

The expenditure represents close to 2 percentage points in the tax rate.

I left before the decision to make three out of five contract employees full time and add them to the union.

I need  to  husband  my  resources. The final budget, pretty much the same as the draft document, received  approval in committee. It will be presented to  council  for approval.

Monday 23 January 2012

What !

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Come On.....Get With The Program":

Ah but this blog is written by someone sitting on council and is titled, "Our Town and its Business".

It doesn't make sense to ignore those in our town with whom an elected politician disagrees and hope hope that those with a different viewpoint will "blow away".

If this blog were a personal blog written by someone not sitting on council, Anonymous 10:04AM might have a point.


Comments containing a smidgen of argument are posted.  Even if they are mostly hinged on  personal invective.

Comments that are nothing but personal invective are  posted  occasionally as an example of nothing to contribute to the discussion.

Mostly they are blown away at the discretion of moi.

Anyone can write a blog. Councillor Ballard does.

Anyone can post a comment to a blog.

The only guarantee of publication, is to write a blog

Watery Financial Affairs

The budget got the better of me yesterday. I didn't finish it. I will try again today. I learned stuff from re-reading about how water revenue is generated. 

We know the Region is responsible for supply of water to  municipalities. Five years ago,a stand pipe was constructed on  Ontario Hospital Property on Bloomington Road  Water  supplied  came from Lake Ontario via Halton /Peel Region. We were informed  it was to augment our aquifer supply during hot dry spells

It  was to be a very small percentage of our supply. Aurora had to approve the new supply.

Documentation in the  2012 budget  indicates seventy-five per cent of  water supplied  by York Region  comes from Peel/Halton; only twenty-five per cent  from the Aurora aquifer.

It appears  wholesale water supply charges are discussed in  a meeting  of the  financial officers of  York Region. That would be ten.

It's interesting. for several reasons. It means prices are calculated  at several points. Peel/Halton are involved . They would calculate wholesale water charges. Then the Region of York would calculate their wholesale water charges.on top of Peel/ Halton's.

Then local  municipalities would calculate their water charges on top of Peel/Halton and York Region.
Presumably, since  they met together, they would agree what those charges would be.I think, in the private sector, there may be a law against that process. It's called price-fixing.

Presumably the meetings would be open and transparent. Yet I have never heard a whisper about them.

Development in Aurora and Newmarket  hinge upon availability of hard services;water and sewers.

Yet sewage is carried away elsewhere to be treated and now we learn 75% of  water comes from

Since  2010, regional water rates  have increased  every year  and  are intended to be increased by ten per cent a year until 2015. That's a compound  process. Likely gets close to 100% increase in five years

Water is a natural resource. It is not manufactured. .

Presumably  the cost is to cover  buying water from outside the Region and  pumping 25% from the aquifer.

During the last term,I sought assurance from a regional official in a public meeting in Aurora that the  ground water supply continued to be plentiful. Assurance was forthcoming.

Protection of the well  recharge area, was offered as a reason for a cockamamie salt removal,snow melt treatment system costing hundreds of thousands of  dollars and  still in the capital budget

The Region carried out a huge study. no doubt at great expense to determine threats to the ground water supply. Road salt was not a threat.

If we are only drawing twenty-five per cent of our supply from the ground, who bother. Why don't we just import all of it from Lake Ontario. Then we can  stop worrying and spending money  dreaming  up schemes to protect the aquifer.  It would certainly represent ultimate protection for the Oak Ridges Moraine. 

Developers are paying high development charges to the Region for  infrastructure for the  supply of water.

At town level, infrastructure for  distribution  is constructed and paid for by developers.

Where then does extra cost for infrastructure to supply water come from?

Apparently to create reserves.

Those pesky reserves again. They just keep popping up everywhere. 

The Region is said to be wrestling with the problem of water loss. They do not distribute water. Where would potential for water loss be?

We have 178 kms of water lines in Aurora. I don't have the budget book in front of me at the moment so the figure is from re-call. There's a difference between water and sewer lines. One is more than the other. It's water I think. Archerhill subdivision, twelve or fourteen  estate lots with  water but no sewers.

Nine water breaks a year occur in  the system.

Yet capital expenditures of hundreds of thousands of dollars a year  have and continue to be  invested for maintenance of  infrastructure.

In 2010, annual water loss was calculated to have increased  from 8% to 12%. The new  figure was used, in part,to justify a 12% increase in  2010 water rates.

How can water loss increase ,while infrastructure maintenance sees millions invested.

Does a total of nine water breaks a year justify investing ongoing millions in  maintenance?

I am told  fresh new pipes are cut into to introduce plastic lining. People have seen it.

We have not yet had the discussion on the water budget. The questions have not been asked. The answers will be interesting if I am permitted to ask them.

$116,000 has been transferred from the water rate budget to parks. A figure of; $293,000 has also been transferred that the administration can no longer support in the water budget. The administration has not revealed what it is they can no longer support.

Input from people who know about this stuff is welcome.

P.S. A plan is  being floated to provide services from Lake Simcoe for  urban development of millions of acres of northern York Region  It would take a ton of public investment to get that sucker off  the ground.and into the Lake. The Region is already $2 billion in debt.

P.P.S. Where, I wonder, are they planning to find the finances ? Shouldn't  we know about that? Can we trust the blighters?

Bullfrog Power... The Guest Post I Re-typed

The comment below about Bullfrog Power represents a tremendous effort. Both in knowing what questions to ask and pursuing information wherever it existed and compiling it into simple, continual and readable form.

John Abel received it and forwarded it to me. I felt the need to share it.

Whoever you are, on behalf of the people I represent in Aurora,I express our appreciation for your excellent enterprise and contribution to a well-informed community.

It is the program

Everything To Know About...Saturday Night Live Aurora

Bill Allison has left a new comment on your post "Time Out At The Legion....Burns Night":

Hi Evelyn,

Glad you enjoyed the show! Here is a bit about each of the acts that you mention.

The White Heather Pipes & Drums is a community pipe band here in Aurora. Started in the early '90s, the initial Pipe Major was Bob Dunsmore, who also addressed the Haggis on Saturday night. He was followed by myself for a few years, and the current Pipe Major is David Veitch. Lead Drummer is Kathleen Daly. The band plays in local parades and concerts and in competitions on the Ontario circuit. Burns' night is the bands biggest event of the year. They practice on Thursday nights in Aurora, are always looking for new members, both young and old, and provide group instruction for free. One on one piping instruction is also available through the Pipe Major or Ellen Mole, drumming instruction by Andy Luck. You can visit their website here http://whiteheather.fateback.com/.

Amanda Jones is a Newmarket resident who, as you might expect, performs as a professional opera singer in Toronto as often as she can, and she also sings Jazz and Soul with various bands, including that of her father. She began performing with the White Heather three years ago, and she was so interested in the pipe band music that she learned to play the tenor drum. Amanda is an immensely talented musician, as you found out on Saturday. I have heard her sing many time in practice and in performances, and she blows me away every time. She was accompanied on piano by Andy Luck, who is an elementary school music teacher, and a very talented multi-instrument musician in his own rite.

The dance band is called Hadrian's Wall, and they do indeed come from Glengarry county in eastern Ontario, a hotbed of Candian/Scottish culture, home of the North American Championship awarding Glengarry Highland Games, and my home county! The band is led and managed by Neil Emberg, and his/their website is here http://neilemberg.com/.

Thanks for the great review Evelyn. The pipe band will be playing at the Legion on St. Patrick's day (March 17, 2012), and Amanda may just sing one or two Irish songs on that night!!

Bill Allison

Sunday 22 January 2012

Come On.....Get With The Program

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "This Is Re-Typed.":

You are passing on ideas without attribution.
Poor show.
It DOES matter whose ideas you are promoting.
Transparency, anyone?


Every day I post anonymous comments. Including the one above.

If you find it hard to absorb the implications of what you read here,I understand.

I find it hard to accept myself and I am in the middle of it.

I deal with it by sharing. By laying it all out. Make of it what you will.

Some find it hard to believe. Others simply don't. They accuse me of all sorts of nefarious activities. Like lying. Distorting. Making it up.Being a puppet. Having someone else manage the blog.

It's never challenged with logic or facts.

Yet it's open to challenge.

Would anyone understand I wonder, if I express the hope, for the sake of the community, it can make a difference.

This Is Re-Typed.

Try as I would,it would not copy. It was sent to me.I do not know the author, It was too precious not to share.

Bullfrog power

What is Bullfrog Power. It is a private company that sells clean energy.Green energy.One of the most powerful phrases these days. Right behind open and transparent.Noble. Aurora pays $20,000 a year to bullfrog power and by doing so we reduce emissions from electric power production. Our payment makes an incredible impact on the Town's carbon footprint. One Councillor states that we eliminate 145 tonnes of carbon dioxide,430 tonnes of Sulpheric dioxide and 185kg
of nitric oxide. That's an incredible amount of emissions we save from our children. For just $20,000,wow. A Sherman tank weighs 30 tonnes.

The Councillor got his facts from our town's infrastructure department. I can forgive him for the stats. Myself,I found the numbers staggering. Unbelievable.

Are we to believe if we stop paying Bullfrog Power the equivalent of 65 Sherman tanks of CO2 are going to fall on the residents of Aurora, I don't believe it, not for a minute.

Aurora connsumes 800 MKw of electricity each year.

So do we get all that energy from wind turbines? Does bullfrog bypass the Ontario Power Authority grid and supply Aurora with green energy saving the emissions that the OPA burns to feed their grid.

I went to our town's infrastructure department to ask them where these figures cone from.These were calculations from 2008,the ones that the last term used to inform residents about the good they do here in our Town. Infrastructure would get back to me.

Naturally I went to the web site (do not go to the blogs about bullfrog power,they are not nice) There is reference to factors on how emission calculations are arrived at,It is very detailed ,so much so,that I had no way to understand what it was they were talking about. So are the audited financials,but that's another story.

Anyways, after a while I decided to call Bullfrog Power.The person I spoke to, understood the difficulties in my attempt to figure out the method of calculating the emissions. He would send me numbers later in the day and he did. They were half the emission totals that 2008 calculations had arrived at.

So what sources supply our electric grid here here in Ontario.According to Bullfrog power I was told 33% nuclear,27% natural gas,13%coal,22%hydro and 4% wind/solar.

Clean Air Canada states Ontario uses only 4% coal burning power plants to generate electric power.

It's getting confusing.So does $20,000 get us the equivalent of 800 Mkw of coal burning electric power reductions in emissions. Can't get an answer from bullfrog power either. It's not an easy question to answer.

So where does our $20,000 go? Right off the bat 10% goes to partnering non-profit agencies like WWF (World Wildlife Fund) There are over forty staff on Bullfrog's payroll.The rest goes into three Wind Turbine farms in Ontario. Don't know how big these farms are or how much electricity they produce. When we pay our money, Bullfrog pours 800 MKw of wind turbine electricity into the OPA grid. The OPA pays Bullfrog market rates for electricity. (Can we say double-dipping) We still draw our electricity from the grid as we did before. We just feel better about it ,than those not participating,because we get a sticker on the doors of the Town Hall. Bullfrog grows its equity and this private company gets richer,

Can we do better with taxpayers money? Are there options? Absolutely

Municipalities are the Number 2 consumer of electricity in Ontario. It is our responsibility to provide leadership.There are lots of Municipalities featured on Bullfrog's website. There are even a few Mayors that give speeches patting themselves on their backs. One of them was once Aurora's Mayor. She speaks glowingly about herself and Bullfrog.

Clean Air Canada also states that Ontarians have reduced their consumption by 10%.

That's an option that Aurora should explore. Efficiencies and reductions. Lessen the Carbon footprint by reducing our operating expense ,thereby reducing taxes to the residents.

Edmonton has a Revolving Energy Management Fund. Initially it began with $1 million. So quick was the payback, their fund has grown to $30 million. So successful was the program. The idea was to put money into the infrastructure in energy saving equipment, realize the savings ,and once they add up to the funds invested,re-invest into further energy saving equipment. It pays for itself in electric consumption savings.That's leadership. That's where Aurora should be heading.Forget about membership fees to join a fell good club.Let's make a difference right here in our town. Invest in Aurora and save the taxpayers money. Oh yeah, save the world and make it a better place to live, make a difference in the carbon footprint. Next Christmas get a present under the tree instead of a membership in a feel good private company. Geez.

I suspect certain members from the last term were gullible and vain.That can result in poor decisions costing the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. Hard earned dollars on the backs of hard-working Aurorans. Got to eliminate that item on this year's budget.

A Budget Sample

I haven't finished  with my budget cuts but I need to provide a detailed glimpse of an item.

Chances are I won't be allowed to make all my  points.

Three contract positions are recommended to become permanent.Cost difference being benefits.

Employee benefits cost approximately $30,000. Municipal benefits are in a class by themselves.

As I listened to the CAO arguing in support of the recommendation, I visualised three workers working in a hole in freezing muck.. Two with security of employment and all benefits and a third not. I  voted in favour of the recommendation.

A couple of meetings ago, a contract was awarded for repair of water breaks. There are nine in a year.

I have also since read in the budget.the aforesaid contract positions are  in a seasonal recreation facility.

User fees relate to cost of facility operation.

Leisure Services is responsible for calculating user fees. But now not for the cost of operation.

In re-organisation during the last term, management of facilities was transferred  to  Environment and  Infrastructure.That department has no responsibility for user fees. It dips directly into  taxpayers'  pockets.

The recommendation to make contract positions permanent does not refer to impact on user fees. No off-setting revenue is projected.

Readers of this blog are aware because I do repeat,  I did not vote for re-organisation of the administration.

My main concern was newness of the management team. Now known as " Executive Leadership Team".  No time was taken to  determine how the municipality  functioned before the decision was made for wholesale change.

Directors appointed with professional  credentials for specific  responsibilities and compensated commensurately, were stripped of  responsibilities. Directors appointed without credentials for specific  responsibilities received the responsibilities and were commensurately compensated for credentials they did not possess.

Placement on pay grids were changed. Some went up, others with the credentials went down.

Circumstances since then support my initial opposition. Some I can't discuss. This one I can.

The recommendation for contract employees in seasonal occupations  to become permanent makes no sense.

Contract employment opportunity is gladly sought and accepted.  $70,000. savings are realised.

User fees are more affordable because of seasonal contract positions and part-time employment.

It makes facility use affordable.

Without affordability, providing public facilities for recreation cannot be justified.

Taking responsibility for managing facilities from the department responsible for controlling costs made no sense when the decison was made. Herewith, the evidence to prove it.

It makes as much sense as the the Culture Centre Board's agreement.

If facility users are "clients"..."stakeholders"..."investors" or "customers" which they are,who else could they  be.  it sure makes a mockery of the  new "customer service" plan  adopted by this council  last year without a budget or an idea of  projected costs.

$70,000. is another budget cut that can be made without reducing an iota of service provided.

Now back to the budget analysis

Time Out At The Legion....Burns Night

Burns Night at the Legion last night. An excellent evening of food and entertainment.

Highlight of the evening was the White Heather Pipe Band. Highlight of the band was the powerful,  beautiful, ringing  voice of Amanda Jones. Accompanied by sixteen bagpipes, her voice rang clear and strong above them.

I do not profess to  qualifications. I believe I know the difference between  alto and  soprano but not enough to speak with certainty. But I know what I like and the voice brought tears to my eyes.

She  played a  drum as well  A  young black woman, in a kilt and vest, heavy woollen socks,sturdy  walking shoes and a Glengarry bonnet.She sang four songs including When the Pipers Play and Amazing Grace.  From the first note, we knew we were in the presence of something extraordinary.

The entire band was extraordinary in everything they presented. After the concert, the group from Gengarry County in Eastern Ontario who regularly come down  to entertain at the Aurora Legion on Burns Night, kept the dance floor filled and jigging. It was an outstanding evening.

I left wondering. I'm still wondering. Is Amanda Jones like so many others with  amazing talent, who  get to shine  on an occasional week-end. Only her name was on the program. She wasn't introduced separately. She wasn't asked to come forward to take a bow. She could not have known  from separate applause how her voice had enthralled us.

If anyone out there wants to fill  in on background  of Amanda Jones. The White Heather Pipe Band and the Ceilidh group from Glengarry County, I would be glad to publish it here.

The closest I can compare is to the voice of Kiri Jeanette Te Kanawa . The  New Zealand Maori opera
soprano who achieved world renown who until now, to my ear, has been incomparable.

Saturday 21 January 2012

Prime Purpose Of A Council Is The Budget

We 'll be back at the budget again on Monday. We agreed to bring a list of items each believes can be cut  without reducing service.

The Chief Financial Officer e-mailed from his blackberry afterwards directing the lists be provided  by six on Wednesday evening so that staff can prepare for  discussion.

I did not do that. Staff have had all the time needed for  input. It's council's turn. When approved, it's Council's budget.

Only Council is accountable for its content.

So, this week-end I will pore over  figures. There are obvious items. Grants to begin.

Funds in the amount of  $361,706  provided to the Culture Centre operation under an unsustainable agreement that  certainly can and should be revoked.

A Historical Society grant of $50,000,  intended for a museum  that doesn't exist.

$50,000 for the Arboretum to spend on their program.

$10,0000 for  Smart Commute to encourage car-pooling as if it needs encouragement. People paying the high cost of commuting should not be required to contribute to salaries of people sitting in an office in Newmarket making not a whit of difference to anything. And people not commuting shouldn't be expected to pay for it either.

$8,000. to the Chamber of Commerce to present a certificate in their name, in a banquet facility outside the town, to a successful  business in town that lasted a long time with no help from anybody we know about.

Whatever thousands it costs extra for  Bullfrog Power for the contradictory  notion  that supporting  the principle of energy conservation should cost more and not less. 

Ten thousand dollar membership in an esoteric Institute for Excellence ,so that certificates can hang on an office wall and appear  in an employee's  resume. We pay people commensurately for  skills needed for a particular responsibility.  I'm not interested in funding further fol-de-rols from my taxes.

There's  reference in a business plan to modernise the town's vacation policy.Because of re-organisation  new hires were  mistakenly provided with three weeks vacation  instead of two.. No doubt "modernisation" is intended to correct the mistake without drawing attention to it.

I will not agree to that. Unions need to bargain hard for improved benefits. They haven't..

There's  something called a business  retention and expansion program that amounts to creating a data bank. It needs more manpower. I don't see  a data bank retaining or expanding  business in Aurora. The Region has done it.Sounds like duplication to me.

There's a big dollar figure, almost a million I believe, to construct sidewalks on both sides of the Industrial Parkway.The Mayor says Policy requires it . Time to change the policy. Before you spend the money, not after.

Big numbers for the "Customer Service Plan " that nobody at the council table requested,  no budget was  provided, before the vote was taken.

Five years of rental revenue for the hydro building, swallowed up by spending on the building. Only a municipality can afford to be that kind of a landlord. We are not supposed to be landlords. It is a function frowned upon by Big Brother Ontario. 

A charge against the parks budget for a sewer rate for water used to irrigate that never finds its way to a sewer.

I need to find the  line item numbers and whatever else is in there that I am damned well not prepared  or willing to ask anyone else in  town to pay for.

It's going to be a busy week-end. It is my fervent hope it will not be a waste of time.