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

Wednesday 29 February 2012

A Snifter from Bruce McConnel ,non-resident

My email to all counselors  was meant to commend them on their "informative and professional " way they replied to me.  Possibly  I was too premature to suggest that ALL counselors  conveyed these two qualities in their emails.  I was informed there was a motion to terminate  the contract, which meant to me,  it would cease to operate .  I believe YOU have been misinformed.  I do not pay taxes to the town of Aurora, instead , I bring my support and my dollars from outside your wonderful town.  Have a nice day!   Bruce mcc.

Good Evening,
 I was in error in presuming you were a citizen of Aurora.
You were misinformed  quite deliberately I suspect, as were 340 others, that the motion before Aurora  Council intended the  doors of Church Street School  to be closed.
So you lent your effort, unwittingly it seems  but not to your credit, to  rampant mischief in our town.
Dollars spent do not compensate .

It Could Be Done

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "When Is An Amendment Not An Amendment ?":

Sorry. Rule question again. Is there anything to prevent an emergency Council meeting to say 'we screwed up' and correct this mess? It is their Council and they are entitled to goof. Is there no remedy?


It could happen . It would require at least a quorum of  Council to attend.

They would have to agree to the  need for correction. I think there was beginning to be a realisation the change  wasn't practical.

Before he would vote on the changed motion, Councillor Pirri asked for an outline of how exactly it was going to work. There was no  reassurance  that it would accomplish anything that had not already been tried.

The upcoming month is March break, nothing much can get during that time. A Special Meeting of Council only needs forty-eight hours notice and the purpose declared. The Procedure would have to be waived to re-consider the motion. Two thirds vote of council is required to waive procedure If the three remnants of the past were not willing, and six or even five were willing it could be done.

It should never  have happened. An amendment cannot change the intent of a resolution. Council should have been advised.

It's why we require notices of motion prior to motions. It provides  time for certainty of intent.

People were tired.

Nobody should underestimate the effect of a crowd like that.

The only thing missing was the stomp of boots on a bare floor to intimidate council. Misinformation and mischief was rampant.

Meek and mild expressions of willingness to co-operate from board members were refuted entirely by the statements of Mayor Dawe and Councillors Pirri and Abel of what they had encountered in their efforts.

The Mayor drew attention to a culled e-mail list used by a staff person at the centre to circulate the misinformation. He did not go easy on them. That's why the turn around was so unexpected and unbeleivable.

The campaign  to challenge  the town's authority was enough to get each and every one  responsible booted from any position of responsibility

Theresa met someone at the town hall last night who had been a member of the board and quit because of the politics. He wasn't there in their support.

Not only are they accountable to no-one, they have no sense whatsoever of the unacceptability of their conduct.No more than the three Councillors who created the contract in the first place.

Ballard wasn't even a Councillor. Just one of the many people promoted  in the last term to have influence never intended by the electorate.

As the saying goes;

It's not corruption you have to worry about. It's stupidity.

I'm Fine Thank You

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What!! What!!!":

Evelyn, You OK ? We re blathering on here to give you some space but can shut the F... up if you prefer?


I wrote a blistering blog this morning. On my third review I must have hit a key hitherto unknown to me. . It disappaared. I spent a couple of  hours contemplating its resurrection from the channels of my mind and decided better of it.

When Is An Amendment Not An Amendment ?

Resident has left a new comment on your post "What!! What!!!":

What the heck happened? Isn't this outcome very similar to the motion to defer that was defeated earlier on in the evening.

You've gotta love politics. A well written motion is put on the table, it's hotly debated. Somebody suggests an amendment that cuts the legs out from under it and the original movers all vote against it - yet it passes

An Amendment is not an amendment when it changes the intent of the original motion.

The normal process  if you can't vote for a motion is you vote against it.But that would be too too simple. 

What happened last night was a non amendment , moved by Councillor Humphryes,seconded by Councillor Thompson and supported by Mayor Dawe, in alliance  with Gaertner, Gallo and Ballard, to remove a clause from the motion ,which, as noted above "cut the legs right out from under it"

The castrated motion passed. It puts your elected Council, in the position of going cap in hand to a hitherto recalcitrant board now in charge of  negotiations.

It happened three hours after debate started. The town's business agenda was set side to accommodate  the crowd.

Only one  other item of substance was on the agenda.Three people  from an architect firm were in the Council Chamber to support a  presentation of the Director of  Parks and Recreationon  for a Teen Centre.

They left around eleven  A  fee  of course will be charged  for services not rendered. And maybe an add-on   for being forced to watch an indiginity performed on  an honorable institution of government .

Legal  fee for attending council for a consultation is $5000.

Twenty minutes are  allowed on a public agenda for public forum.The Mayor said, contrary to the Procedure Bylaw,  he would extend the time to thirty-five minutes. He did not request a vote to allow the bylaw to be waived.An hour later we were still listening to grossly exaggerated  statements in support of  an untenable and pigs trough scandalous  version of an agreement.

Councillors Abel and Pirri, mover and seconder of the motion , each told of  separate  futile attempts  over  many weeks to resolve the issue without the termination clause being cited. 

The Mayor, in a lengthy statement told of  earnest attempts  over the last year and a half  to win a modicum of collaberation from the  board and being  blunty told  it was not going to happen.

Susan Walmer was there working the crowd, handing out leaflets,
collecting names and addresses.  Catherine Marshall putting in her two cents and a host of others repeating the same fallacies over and over.

Hard, contrived  humourless  laughter  and  repeated applause for favoured speakers was permitted by the chair .

Finally, when all had been said and done and past time for the matter to be disposed, out of the blue,up comes a proposed  amendment which wasn't.

The vote was taken and lickety- split, we were a  mile  behind where we started .

 A self-appointed  board in possession of a valuable town asset leased to them for one dollar a year , utilities and maintenance paid   as well handing over a hulking sum  annually this year increased to  $356,000.

$325,000 is a full point in the tax rate.

This year,the town is imposing 4.77% increase  in taxes over last.
And presenting it as efficient fiscal management.

Three hundred and forty e-mails were received by  Councillors, all
displaying an astounding degree of ignorance and misinformation,
most likely  the responsibility of   Councillor  Ballard  and a board staff member   and probably two thirds from people who do not live in our town and pay no share of our taxes.

So  completely neutered was the motion, the  mover and seconder could no longer support it.

It was the first real test of the term. An issue pending for fifteen months.  The clock  ticks on.

Tuesday 28 February 2012

What!! What!!!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "An Exchange...Civil..,I don't think so":

Wow....I wonder if Mr Broughton appreciates the fact that he emailed you about a topic and you have in turn replied and published the reply in a public forum like this. I wonder if he expected the public wrist slap for bad manners.

It would be different if he published his email first but I think unless you have received his approval to post this email conversation, you have violated the confidentiality of email.
People wonder why there is so much anonymous postings.


Mr Broughton's initial e-mail was sent to all Councillors. He received the response I posted here. He responded  as noted and further circulated his response to anyone who might be interested to see how clever he is.

Mr. Broughton isn't much interested in privacy.

Councillors have received hundreds of e-mails in response to the rally to battle cry from the Chairman of the Culture Centre Board.

An e-mail list has obviously been utilized.

Members are falling over themselves and each other to provide assurance of their art appreciation.

E-mails have been received from all over the Province from people who don't know their ankle  from a hole in the ground about the background of this issue and pay not a cent contribution to our tax burden

They have no idea  and little interest in  how the Culture Board  squeezed the Town's  Historical Society and the museum from the facility they nurtured for years, spent thousands of hours doing the hard dirty work preparing for the beautiful renovation and  the specialist architect design they paid a quarter of a million for, only to find themselves locked out by a Johny- Come- Lately- Board eager to claim  for themselves whatever credit there is for providing the  Town with a cultural facility.

What a bloody insult.

Representatives of art groups all over the province  lecturing down their patrician noses at the  art philistines on Aurora Council, expected to crumple like  wicked witches of the east from the brunt of their  withering scorn.Which is exactly the objective of the likes of Peter Broughton and friends on the Culture Centre Board.

So sure are they of the virtue and righteousness of their cause, they have alerted the Toronto media to the battle they intend to enjoin at Aurora Council tonight.

 I must admit, Broughton Peter  is the only one who  has demonstrated a total lack of couth.

Write me an e-mail. Phone me. The communication will remain between us and us alone.

Direct  a crude and abusive e-mail at  me and circulate it to  all and sundry  then  stand back and  take whatever the consequences might come from that.

A slap on the wrist was not my intention.

I take no prisoners.

An Exchange...Civil..,I don't think so

Subject: Re: Aurora Cultural Centre
Good Evening Mr.Broughton
I have received your e-mail. Thank you for taking the time. I am glad you recognize the symbol Church Street School was intended to be when the town invested several millions of dollars in its renovation.
The primary purpose was to restore the Aurora Museum  to it's rightful place. in a  setting befitting  its importance to our community
Long before the Culture Centre Board was created ,the Aurora Historical Society invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in specialized architect plans for the renovation. Volunteers spent hundreds of hours doing rough and dirty work in preparation for the renovations and to save on costs.
The 2006 Council supported a resolution proposed by myself to use funds from  the sale of our Hydro asset to complete the work started by the Historical Society which had ground  to a halt because of insufficient funds.
The vision was for cultural activities to take place along with  the museum program.
The vision was frustrated by the Culture Centre Board when  they froze out the Historical Society from the building.
They were aware of the community's dissatisfaction. Yet they volunteered neither a  change nor an explanation of their decision.
The agreement  between the town and the board has been reviewed by the town's  solicitor. It is severely deficient. There must be a change.
It is entirely inappropriate for an appointed  Board  using a beautiful  building owned by the town, paying neither rent maintenance heat or light and receiving $356,000 of town funding, to  organize a  campaign of opposition against  Council's authority to conduct the town's business in the best interest of the municipality . 
You have enjoyed this building because the  Historical Society  and  the town made  huge investments in our future
You will enjoy it more when the original vision is realised. 
Mr.Broughton's response
Dear Ms Buck,
Thank you for your candour.  You are the first person to have admitted that this council's objective is to dismantle the Aurora Cultural Centre and particularly for political/antiquated reasons.  As I am sure you are aware, the constituency that voted for you is conservative and as a rule has little interest or appreciation for art or new ideas.  I suspect you treat the Board as an assault to your power, so I utterly grasp your initiative.  Please attempt to see your folly.  Police, jails, wars, militarization, attacks on our privacy and the middle class are the purvey of the federal government.  Surely you could see it in your heart to protect a little culture in Aurora, while the country goes mad in a sea of fear, greed and safety.  Your bleak boorish legacy can be resurrected!
Peter Broughton
My response though my mother would have said "Just ignore the beast"

*Good Morning Mr. Broughton,
I note your bad manners.
Let me assure you. I do not presume to speak for Council. 
 I speak for myself and the people I represent. I expect every  member of council to do the same.
 You on the other hand, may speak only for yourself. You do little to promote your own argument.
 I suspect nothing  would elevate your thinking, not excluding the  fine art and culture you purport to support

Now I'm done.

What's That You Say!!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Lookit Here":

"If you ever had the experience of listening endlessly to the same point being made over and over, a dozen different ways until Friday, you know how every ounce of energy can be sucked out of a room?"
Sort of like reading this blog then isn't it?
Come on. You are all for "informing" the public about what goes on at council but you have misgivings about letting the public address council? What sort of democracy are you looking for? As a council, you have the obligation to listen to the public.
Suck it up!


There are different kinds of  government.

There's the American style which I know little of. I understand they have something called a town hall meeting which allows everyone  to participate in decision making. When I say  everyone, I mean everyone who lives within a defined area.

I've  seen it maybe once in a movie.

The late Richard Illingworth  talked about  it wistfully. Dick always minded  not being able to participate vociferously at Council meetings. So much, he  would explode occasionally with an expletive deleted .

We don't have that style of town hall meeting here.

We hold elections. Not enough for my liking. We elect a Mayor and eight Councillors to make decisions.

We are not masters in our own house. We are creatures of the Province and  governed by a Municipal Act.

Council chambers are designed to separate the public from the elected body. In the Provincial House  and Federal Parliament there are galleries to accommodate the public.

In the Federal House and the British Parliament, it's called the Strangers Gallery to signify  the difference of being in that place but not being elected.

 It goes back to the time when a Monarch governed. There was a House of Commons and even the  Monarch had to have Black Rod knock on the door of the  House to gain entry.

It was symbolic of the power of the people.

Much has changed  but we are still a Monarchy.

We still swear allegiance to the Queen  and the Law of the Land when we take the Oath of Office.

Only those elected ,who have been delegated  authority from the people, are entitled to make decisions for the people.

For obvious reasons, an elected person is wise to listen , consult  at every opportunity, create and keep open lines of communication like I do here, and provide opportunity to address Council when  controversy arises.

 Addressing Council is  a privilege.  The majority understands that.

Invariably, a person who addresses Council, closes with precisely that wording. They need no coaching. "Thank you for the privilege of addressing Council" 

A privilege is something of value.It can be granted or taken away.

It should not be abused. Judgment should be exercised.

I was asked once if I put myself on a pedestal because of being a Councillor. I responded that I put the Office of Councillor on a pedestal.

I believe  respect for office is shared  by the community.

 I do not believe a Council  meeting is a place for delegates to appear in numbers,to hammer home a particular point of view with the objective of pummelling  council into submission.

I think that's an abuse of privilege.

If that sucks the breath out of my smart-assed commenter, that would be precisely my objective
Nobody is compelled to read the blog. Why do it if it sucks the energy out of you?
You obviously don't know your own best interest. Never have.
Elected representation at a municipal level is not the same thing as wielding power.
It doesn't  mean you get to destroy people's lives
It doesn't mean you get to steal a building out from under people who  put their heart and soul  and financial resources into preserving it for fifty years.
I  will  bet my last dollar and my last breath to prove  to you and anybody else with that illusion, you can't do that in Canada and get off Scot free.

Monday 27 February 2012

Lookit Here

   October 4th resolution,  states "THAT Council authorize the CAO, if he deems it necessary, to engage a consultant to assist with the development of the key performance indicators, subject to an upset spending limit of $20,000; and THAT Council authorize the CAO to work with staff from the Aurora Cultural Centre to define the reporting relationship between the Aurora Cultural Centre and Council including a plan to incorporate Council representation on the Aurora Cultural Centre’s Board of Directors.

It's the last resolution adopted by Council to deal the agreement between the   culture centre board and the town.

Note the date. It is nigh on five months since.

There has been no report..

 I've noticed, it seems whenever Council directs staff  many times it  ends up costing extra money. But that authorisation  came from council. See it there  in the resolution.

It didn't need to be. The CAO has authority to spend up to $50,000 (I think) without coming to council for approval .

Whether he did or not, I do not know. Why would  he need a know- nothing consultant to hold discussions with a board with whom he has regular communication.

The librarian  meets  regularly with the CAO .

 Before Mormac, the librarian was a member of the senior  management team but is now excluded from the Executive Leadership Team.

We  have been informed, by the board chair? there has been a reporting  relationship with  town CAO.

 So why would we need to bring a consultant at a cost of $20,000 to discuss the town's  position with the board and make change recommendations along the lines directed by Council  ?

I   just received  a copy of a  long communication sent to the Farmer's Market, from the newest board member (appointed in  October) Susan Shaw, who states" the Board welcomes the opportunity to discuss but have not been given the opportunity"

Many of the expressed concerns about the Centre are based on a report by the Town's Solicitor, which Council reviewed on Dec. 8, 2011 and directed Town staff to "initiate discussions with the Church Street School Cultural Centre to address the issues raised" in that report. Our Board has not yet been given that opportunity, in spite our assurances to Town staff and various councillors that we too would like to discuss the content of the report, as we do not concur with many of its assumptions.

The communication is soliciting support from the Farmers Market to oppose to a motion  on a Council agenda.Many of the vendors in  the Market are not Aurora  residents.

 The board, according to Ms Shaw has consulted with  their  own solicitor who "has given his thoughtful opinion"

Quote :
 The Board and several of its partners & supporters will be making presentations to Council on Tuesday evening, as will some of our detractors. Please join us, if you can, at Council Chambers, Aurora Town Hall @ 7:00pm on February 28th.

Why I wonder, would a board member be sending out this communication to the Farmers" Market? Why a new Member hardly there long enough to know what has transpired?

E-mail from a Culture Centre supporter:

My wife and I are appalled and very surprised that you would entertain a motion to discontinue the operation of the cultural Centre in aurora!!! We have very much enjoyed the various venues the Centre provides and would like to look forward to more in the future.Please reconsider this motion!!! .

 It's  shorter but fairly typical reaction to the information sent out by the Board .

Shocked and appalled is the general reaction  that  Council would  contemplate debating a motion the board and their supporters do  not support.

"The Board and several of its partners and supporters will be making presentation before the Council on Tuesday as will some of our  detractors"

You should know a little something about our procedure bylaw.

Delegates are allowed 5 minutes  to speak.There's no limit to the number who can speak to the same topic and keep repeating and repeating.

Currently the agenda shows Robert Layton , Board chair as a delegate.

Former Councillor Boll Hogg is  a delegate re. Aurora Culture Centre .   Mr. Hogg is not indicated as "a detractor"

Our procedure allows  delegation requests until Monday afternoon. We will not know until to-morrow, how many more delegates may appear , each  given  five minutes.

All  with opportunity to speak before Council gets to it. 

 The Procedure Bylaw is for the purpose of moving council debate forward in a time efficient manner.

If  you ever had the experience of listening endlessly to the same point being made over and over, a dozen different ways until Friday, you know how  every ounce of energy can be  sucked out of  a room?

 Believe me. It happens.

In our  wisdom, we have set ourselves up for it  in our duly approved Procedure Bylaw.

They don't even have to be residents of the town.

And Another Thing

I stepped away from the computer to obtain sustenance for my continuing task of chronicling events as they  occur and another blinding light smote me to  illuminate another detail of the onslaught.

The Mayor has told us of the  secrecy of board meetings and that  he was  not allowed to divulge any of the goings on to Council.

He was obliged to reveal that positively weird  circumstance because of an e-mail from residents disclosing that he "participates" in board meetings.

How would the resident, intent on letting council know of support for the centre and opposition to any decision council might make on the issue,  be aware of the Mayor's attendance, if she had not been informed of the fact  by  a member of the board.

Since the  board chairman is leading the campaign in opposition to any decision council might make on the issue, why should we not assume, the board chairman strategically leaked the information about secret meetings and "participation" by the Mayor.

Obviously it's all part of  a nefarious plot to usurp the authority of Council. 

The Mayor tells us the solicitor advised he should not  accept the chairman's invitation and why. He did anyway.

I bet he won't make that mistake again.

You wouldn't believe the number of e-mails we've received from people far and wide, who desperately wish they had a facility like ours in their community supported from town funds.

Once again Aurora, the only place in the Province, to open town coffers and allow  funds to flow unimpeded while  blandly proclaiming  efficient fiscal management.

More later

Where There's A Will

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "E-Mail From The Mayor":

I'm glad that the mayor is still committed to negotiating. However, invoking the termination clause will not facilitate those negotiations. One party holding a proverbial gun to the head of the other party is not bargaining in good faith.

I have had pleas to stop talking about Church Street School . It has been a pre-occupation since I discovered the museum would not be restored to its rightful place.

I've been told "Get over it"

Tat I will not.

It was my resolution to Council in 2006 to use some of  the hydro asset fund to finish what was started by the Historical Society: complete the renovations, get the collection out of boxes and available for  enjoyment and enlightenment of the community.

The Board would have to be completely out of touch  not to recognize growing resentment in the community at their decision to exclude the Historical Society and the museum from the building,
where they had invested all of their time  and resources for so many years.

In three years,  the board  has never acknowledged or attempted to resolve the situation.

Instead  an ill-informed  campaign has been organized to oppose any decision by Council to resolve the problem.

The solicitor's  report that the agreement does not reflect public interest was published several months ago.

 Still  no move.

For some of us on Council, it indicated  there is no intention to resolve the problem. For three others, no problem exists.

There is no gun at anyone's head.These are not union negotiations.

Council not only has  authority and obligation  to act  responsibly in  the interest of the people we are sworn to represent. If the will is there,that's what will happen.

A decision  is long overdue. .

Sunday 26 February 2012

E-Mail From The Mayor

Mayor Dawe has given me permission to publish an e-mail that answers questions asked on this blog
Dear ... ... ......
I see that both Councillor Able & Pirri have responded to your email, so I will not duplicate what they have already said.

However, I do wish to point out one very significant (so I believe) fact, and that is to do with my attendance at the Cultural Centre Board meetings.

You are correct - I do have a standing invitation to attend these meetings, and I do attend them (with the exception of the last one due to a last minute conflict).

Unfortunately, the assumption that I attend therefore that should be sufficient to satisfy the needs of Council is incorrect. The invitation from the President of the Board clearly stated that "discussions at our meetings are confidential" and "you will not have voting privileges" In other words, I have no input on any decision at the Board and further, I am precluded from reporting back to Council on what happened at the Board meeting.

Indeed, when this invitation came to me I spoke with our Town Solicitor, and his advice was not to accept, as he felt that my attendance at the meeting would give the defacto appearance that I was supporting the Board and their actions. Obviously, he has just been proven correct. However, I made the decision that I would attend, because I felt it was important to start the communication. Further, I would like to point out that this invitation came 6 months after I initiated discussions.

My goal has been to negotiate and it still is. However, negotiation requires at least 2 willing partners.

I hope this helps explain some of your concerns. But, if not, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Best regards,

Something New

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Another Sample":

Once the dust settles, Council is going to have to examine whether or not their CAO has exceeded his authority in his dealings with the Cultural Center. From the outside it appears as though he was working for the Centre instead of for Aurora. That has to be sorted since it quite clear to all involved in this blasted mess that there was no free flow of information. This doesn't have to be done now, but it does need doing.


I can't publish this without an accompanying comment.

Keep in mind the circumstances in which this board and the agreement were created. It was not  done  during this term.It was not done by legal counsel or Councillors. It was done by the Mayor's friends. 

The last term was four years. Much of the first three years spent trying to silence all opposition within the council

The lament was frequently heard throughout the land:

 "She is trying to undermine everything  council  does.. She must be stopped."

When the first  plan  failed , the next was to move corporation business beyond the purview of council or part thereof.

It was not easy to do with an administration which understood  shared responsibility.

So the administration was changed.  I used to  imagine  an entry  arch  to the town hall;  large wrought iron letters affixed

"ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE" with tiny  flames of  hell curling, twisting and turning between the letters..

After original familiar faces departed , even new faces were in the process of changing.

Silence in the halls and corridors tangible with tension while everyone waited for the next screeching harridan episode that echoed like a banshee.

People with  children  and mortgages to pay, do not simply  pick up and move on. Good gigs are hard to find.

In municipal public service, there's always  hope for relief in the next election, accompanied by the fear of retribution  with change.

One must simply weather the storm and master wooden inscrutable facial expressions.

Change comes  and of course ....Who  to blame?  Who to blame? Who else  is left but staff. It would be so-o-o easy.

No use to say" The devil made me do it." though  truth can  be contained in that small  kernel of cliche.

I had not heard the board was meeting with the CAO until Mr.Layton made the statement in his call to arms. It cannot be ignored.

The statement,it seems, has been circulated throughout Ontario.

But it has not been confirmed. 

I knew the financial statement was submitted quarterly to the treasurer to obtain the next payment of funds. There was no obligation  under the agreement  to report any part of the information to Council. 

I believe ,the agreement was written to keep council in the dark.

The  CAO  was not  intended to be exercising control.

The plan to sidestep council authority continued. Agendas  appeared with no  substantive business.

Decisions were made and actions taken without the messy time- consuming business of  obtaining council authority.

A new Mayor took office and discovered an arrangement much to his liking.He knew nothing  different.

To my knowledge, he and the CAO, without direction from Council undertook to meet with the Historical Society. They came forward with a plan.

Now we find  from a supporter's e-mail The Mayor has attended Culture Centre board meetings. It may or may not be true.

If true...to what end...does he contribute to board deliberations? Provide assurance of support?

It would explain the  board's confidence in  mounting opposition to any council attempt  to change the agreement.

I do not know

But we do all  know the Board's plans ARE  to counter any  attempt  by council to change the agreement.

The battle was enjoined as soon as the notice of  motion was reported. Did the Mayor discourage the Board from challenging Council's authority?

I wish I knew.

Whose side is the Mayor on? Does he represent  Council or the appointed board? Can he represent both?

I'm  doubtful.

The situation is obviously more complicated than first appeared. Sometimes politics have  to run  their  course for  the game plan to emerge.

Just as it has. Every day...  sometimes two or five,  here-to-fore unknown details, come to light.

This Just In

I publish this one in haste. It establishes yet
another fact about the success of the Aurora Cultural Cenre.

York Region Artists received free space for their show this year.Admission to the show was free. Not surprisingly It was the most successful yet.They appeal to council to maintain the status quo.

They have found the mother lode.

The Town has sponsored and fostered the Arts community for fifty years.The pottery group had its first kiln in town space. The organiisations have grown to what they are today with community nurturing.

When the town hall was built,I recalled what I had seen Vernon B.C. and Whitby Ontario. We built the Skylight Gallery on the third floor to accommodate the artists. We didn't build a museum. We had the Church Street school.

The new library accommodated the potters guild.

The Council Chamber was designed to hold concerts. A Sunday jazz concert was held early in its inception.

Artists have always paid a user fee like every other organization.

As noted in Nancy Newman's letter,they have been seduced by the Culture Centre with free accommodation
and opportunity to sell their art without paying a commission.

The letter notes artists from elsewhere are joining their organization. Why would they not? Where else would they get a free ride?

So who are the fools here. Town Leisure services lose revenue for space built to accommodate these groups.

How fickle they are.

The Senior's Sing-along was enticed, no doubt by the same offer.

We built a beautiful new facility for seniors with rooms to accommodate whatever function they might visualise. We provide staff to program events. But the Seniors pay. Most membership revenue is paid to the town for services rendered.Admission is charged for special events.

Along comes the Culture Centre, flush with town largesse, to lure them with free space and free admission. Why would they not be tempted?

It is not their job to look at the whole picture and reconise the impact.

But it is somebody's job.

We provide a free building to the Culture Centre Board. We pay for all maintenance, heat and lights. We provide a slush fund of $356,000 which allows to give away space that costs tax payers every which way to provide.

No genius here. No imagination. No intelligence.Just free money.

As a Councillor,I have to wait for evidence to appear. I know it's there. I just have to watch for it and know it when I see it.

What burns my arse is; we have an administration that costs us millions. This is all going on under their noses.

Board chairman, Rob Layton states in his call to arms, he meets with the CAO regularly.Keeps him up to date on activities at the Centre. No indication he does not receive tacit approval.

So, new we know how the stuff outlined above was allowed to happen?
Was anyone in charge? Some of us think we know the answer to that question.

What kind of fools do they think we all are? How long could they expect to keep it a secret?

When I asked for the solicitor to review the culture centre agreement last Fall, the Mayor demurred. He was concerned about the solicitor's work load.

I asked; "Mr Mayor, why would you not want to know what you need to know about that agreement"

He did vote for the direction. He now acknowledges the agreement does not represent town interest.It's a step forward.

Have I mentioned before my contention nothing was done in the previous term that did not serve the perceived political interest of the incumbents.

Refreshingly, the solicitor understood his task perfectly. He clarified. He would look "for omissions and shortcomings"

It was probably the most comforting moment of the last five years. To know that finally, there would be no deliberate obstruction.

It took a little while. Research was exhaustive.It had to be right. The report was more discreet than it needed to be, but fulsome nevertheless.

It made council realize the situation was no longer tenable.

Tax dollars flowing out of the treasury have increased to total millions.

Now we know we are losing previous revenue as well.

The town is probably not the only agency suffering.

Aurora's churches and service clubs have traditionally provided space for community functions and earned small revenues for their ministry as well.

I don't need a consultant or a survey to know there's an impact.


Mayor and Council
On behalf of the Society of York Region Artists, I would like to offer our whole hearted support for the Aurora Cultural Centre. In light of the recent contract controversy, we feel that it is important for you to recognize the extraordinary value of the Aurora Cultural Centre. In a very short time, the staff of the Centre has created an artistic hub for our community that is unparalleled anywhere in the GTA. We are indeed fortunate to have such capable and dedicated people providing opportunities for the visual and performing arts. The members of SOYRA feel that our recent 25th anniversary show held at the Aurora Cultural Centre was the most successful show ever, and that was largely due to the initiative taken by the enthusiastic and hard-working staff. As you may know, we had approximately 800 people who came specifically to see the show. With free admission, members of the community had the opportunity to become aware of and appreciate the calibre of artwork being produced by local artists. The artwork sold benefited the artist, the buyer who now has an original piece of local art rather than a print purchased from a Toronto gallery, and of course the Cultural Centre. Local businesses, through their sponsorship, became better known by our guests. Several visitors even decided they would like to join our group.

Many of our members are long time Aurora residents. Personally, I have lived in Aurora for nearly 30 years. We fully appreciate how the Aurora Cultural Centre is contributing to the quality of life in our town. Where there was a cultural and creative void, we now have the opportunity to attend outstanding concerts, art exhibits, historical lectures and a wide variety of art, photography, writing, and music classes for children and adults. We know that on entering those beautiful red front doors, we are being warmly welcomed and that we will find something exciting to see and do.

Disrupting the current contract will only result in damaging the reputation and programing of this town treasure. Can we not find a way to negotiate a new contract in due course? Let us recognize the outstanding efforts made by the current staff to make the Aurora Cultural Centre an effective and enjoyable space for all.

Nancy Newman

Another Sample

There are thirty e-mails on my screen this morning I've responded to most of them . Two have engaged in back and forth discussion.One from Aurora .One not.
I just responded to the Aurora resident for the third time. I used blogging time and I have some legal stuff to attend to so I will share the  last response with you.
Good Morning,
Your e-mail is again on my screen. You are making several erroneous assumptions. Obviously you feel your questions are rational and they are. Why therefore would you assume they have not already occurred to the people who were elected to represent your interests
The agreement ,according to our town solicitor was not written by a lawyer.It was written by friends of the ex-mayor and probably the lady herself. She was not re-elected. You might have noticed that. 
There was an amendment to the resolution to approve the agreement. It was made to respond to my concerns about the haste to approve it.
The amendment referred the agreement to the new solicitor, who was appointed that evening, to review the agreement and report back to council if any modifications were required.
No report  came  back. NOT  because the agreement was satisfactory as we have now learned, but for the same reason we had a new solicitor, a new clerk,a new CAO. a new director of public works.
I am not a lawyer either. The contract provides for a year's notice of termination.The resolution proposed by Councillors Pirri and Abel is in accordance with the agreement.
It's me who would break the agreement here and now by withholding funds from the board. I would have done that last year.
 It is my contention the board did not uphold the intent of the community and the agreement  when they froze the Historical Society out of the building. They did that from day one.
That was  adversarial .
They have never chosen to offer an explanation to the community.
The town did not lease a building to the board with  market value rent. The board contributes nothing towards the cost of the space they occupy.That suggests to me  something more  than a  strictly legal arrangement.
 Why do you assume the Historical Society has not interfaced with the board in the three years since renovations were completed? How reasonable is that assumption? I believe you are confused because you do not wish to deal with
the obvious.
I cannot believe you have lived in Aurora all these years and paid  nominal attention to your town's affairs and were not aware what has been going on. This issue did not spring up out of the ground overnight like a fungus.
Politicians tend not to be adversarial. They tend to look for compromise to avoid the kind of reaction you are perfectly illustrating.Councillor Pirri and Abel are doing exactly that and look where it has got them.
If anything is wrong it always has to be the fault of  politicians. Oh My God, we won't vote for them again.
Sometimes that's exactly the right decision. It was in the last election. It may be again in the next if   right decisions are not made.
I tend not to be typical and walk around carrying fear of consequences on my shoulders. I enjoy my responsibilities. I am glad to be where I am.
I asked for the job. I believe I may assume  people who vote for me tend to like that about me.
I am the kind of politician I would  like to have represent me. I keep putting my name forward for election because I have never found anyone else like me.
People who don't  like where I stand on any given issue, tend to accuse me of being adversarial. Usually when they can't find another reason  to disagree.
 I may share our conversation with my blog readers. I have  put  enough blog  time into it 

Have a great day

Another Sample

Dear Mayor Geoff Dawe and Aurora Councillors,

I am writing to express my disappointment with Councillors Paul Pirri and John Abel who intend to table a motion to invoke the termination clause in the Town's five-year signed contract with the Aurora Cutural Centre at Feb. 28th's Council Meeting.

I have been a long time resident of Aurora, since 1981, and the Aurora Cultural Centre has been one of the best ideas to keep the Arts alive in this area! It is much more than an idea. Many people worked very hard to transform the Church Street School into what it is today, a beautiful facility to display art, attract musicians, showcase Aurora's rich historical past, encourage the public to take courses, etc. The staff continues to work hard to provide relevant attractions for residents of all ages. The popularity of the Centre speaks for itself! Never have I seen people use this building like I have in the past three years since it became the Aurora Cultural Centre. Why would you want to terminate something that is of benefit to all?

Personally, I would be very upset to see this contract terminated. I have used the Centre on many occasions, taken courses there and attended functions. It has enriched my life and I would like to have further opportunities to partake in events organized by the directors and co-ordinators.

The Arts are IMPORTANT, just as important as parks and recreation (sports), environmental issues, the library, and the list goes on. Please reconsider the motion that is about to be tabled. It could adversely affect something that is truly important to many residents of York Region.

I picked the above because the writer claims long-time residency of Aurora.

How many times have I told the story of the purpose of the town's investment of millions into the renovation of Church Street School.

About the Historical Society's fund raising campaign and retention of architect specialists to design the museum. Of $750,000 grant obtained and used to create the controlled environment necessary to protect valuable artefacts.

I provided the facts so many times,readers complained about having to read it over and over.

I talked about it at every opportunity. Wrote letters to the editor.

The issue has been discussed again and again since the 2011 budget

The e-mail campaign to support the Culture Centre Board and staff, launched by the board against the Council has produced some surprises.

I have responded individually to most e-mails.Now I am calling a halt.

If they were sufficiently disinterested in town affairs to be able to write with knowledge aforethought, they are not likely to be interested in facts now.

The e-mail authors stick essentially to the script mapped out by Mr. Layton. The Board is doing an amazing job and staff are simply divine.

They critically identify the two Councillors who put forward the motion to deal with the problem.

They deny there is a problem.They know there's nothing that can't be worked out without knowing it has been tried.

They appreciate the beauty of the facility but know only what they see.

Probably half who responded to Layton's call do not live in our town. Do not pay our taxes. Have no idea of principles of equity between users of facilities.

Any suggestion that factors other than their own interest might be relevant to the question, would undoubtedly be dismissed summarily.

They have no idea of what went before. As though they have lived in the rarified atmosphere of some other place. Lofty condescension permeates the tone.

It will be interesting on Tuesday to see how Council responds.

Saturday 25 February 2012

A Sample

Dear Councillors,

I am currently in Arizona and unable to be personally present at the meeting regarding the Aurora Cultural Centre.

 It is with dismay that I have learned that a couple of councillors fail to understand what a fabulous facility has been developed utilizing the beautifully renovated and historic building and its very competent and imaginative staff  to enrich the community with tremendous opportunities to experience and participate in a large variety of activities.

I trust that the Mayor and the  remaining Councillors will prevail in their support for the continuation of the contract and that if adjustments need to be considered, that they can be done in an intelligent way that does not destroy the ability of the Aurora Cultural Centre to function effectively.


Ann Mortimer, C. M. RCA=

Dear Arizona Visiting Person.

It doesn't take much of a stretch of imagination to realise how easily one might develop a delightful program of art and culture if one is provided with a beautiful facility, rent free, with heat light and maintenance provided and a third of a million dollars in cash,  plus whatever revenues one may or may not derive from programs in the

facility, from fundraising activities and  from soliciting donations.

It may be the reason the  Aurora Culture Centre  is unique among all others

No other municipality  in the Province  would  likely be so profligate with public resources as to provide such  amenity with absolutely no accountability to any governing authority.

Evelyn M. Buck


I don't Go There

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Subtlety Is Lost":

An Ethical Question
This morning, I decided to bite the bullet and see what Councillor Ballard had on his Blog, or whatever he calls it. There I discovered a Poll asking about the Cultural Centre and asking me to vote. My question is whether my less than friendly visit should make me decline to vote ? Would it somehow be used to benefit his case? Is it simply a trap? I haven't voted and do not know if he can see if someone votes more than once. Don't know enough about computers. So, what do you advise ?


I never visit Councillor Ballard's Blog. From time to time somebody will tell me something he has said.

I think it's best for the sake of maintaining civility that  I do not know what he  has to say outside of a council debate.

I've never understood why people who hate me persist in visiting my blog. They are no more welcome than they would be in my home.

But to answer the question about voting on a blog poll. I can't.

An  anonymous person sent the questions to my blog.

Aha,I thought. It may be a trap. So.... I zapped 'em

When The Auroran started polls on line I wondered  what would hinder a person from skewing the vote by casting a vote every five minutes , yes or no, according to one's preference.

Somebody told me  a   second vote from the same computer would not  register.

 I tend to think that would have to be the case. How else would  the process  make any sense?

I tested it  once on a television polls. You call a phone number and state your  preference. I voted several times to see if anybody would catch on.

They  never did.

Huh, I thought, why would anybody pay any attention to those scores? I never had anyway. So it made no difference.

Any more than I am inclined to log in to Ballard's blog. I figure anybody who carried the former Mayor's purse for her wouldn't likely have anything to say on any subject that would interest  me.

I Am Fuming

An e-mail to all councillors:

I am a resident of York Region and have been involved in the
arts in York region for many years. For the past 21 years I have
been the artistic director of Thornhill Chamber Institute. I am ,as
well, a professional musicoan and private teacher of violin at the
Toronto Waldorf School.
As a member of  York Region arts community, and participant in
many musical endeavors in York region I feel compelled to address
you. I have been made aware of your  possibly taking away a clause
in the agreement which would threaten the Aurora building's
previously-agreed-upon contracted time of use.
The building has been a welcome change in serving the arts of
all persusions. I personally was thrilled to see it arrive and felt
that we
finally had a place to visit and use as a home base. We were
finally allowed a place similar to any  in cities and towns where
the arts are considered an integral part of the community. The
Aurora building is a visible presence and certainly draws
attention to the arts as being a valuable part of our culture.
Please do not take this away!!!
Yours Sincerely,
Gretchen Anner , Artisitic Director ThornhillChamber Music.com


This is typical of the numerous e-mails received by the Mayor and Council  in the last week.  I am posting it because I understand the York Region Arts group were leased the space  in the Church Street School that was intended for the Historical Society. It was one of the board's first decisions.

Under the agreement the board is  required to obtain town approval to lease space. It doesn't have to come to council.  Nothing does.

Because of  previous  re-organisation of the town's administration,  request for approval went to the Director of Public Works  or is as now known, Director of Infrastructure and Environment.

Responsibility  for management of facilities was transferred from  the Director of Leisure Services; the person thoroughly familiar with various programming and the significance of the request.

Approval was granted  by the new chief out of ignorance of the significance or perhaps by direction of the Mayor.

Who could know under the circumstances?
Half  the Leisure Services Department's  responsibilities were transferred from one  who had  credentials and  background in all town  programs , to one who had none.

The first person's salary stayed the same. The second  moved up the grid on the pay scale.

I need to stop now and have a nice calming cup of tea.


I've been kept busy for several days now responding to e-mails from all over  from ill-informed people responding to a rallying call  for support  of the status quo from the appointed board of the Church Street School  facility against a Notice of Motion on the town's business agenda on Tuesday evening.

I found this  announcement  attached to the undersigned  e-mail.


Please find attached my feeling of the subject to be raised on 28th and i hope this can play some part in focusing on the important of culture in our community. Thanks Pt. Doobay

From: bdoobay@hotmail.com
To: info@auroraculturalcentre.ca
Subject: RE: Friends of Aurora Cultural Centre Asked to Show Support at Town Council Meeting Feb. 28
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2012 10:50:15 -0500

Thanks for sending me the information of the up coming event and i can assure u that i will be attending the meeting on 28th. Let me say i am very disappointed with the intention of the councillors' and i would like to know what cultural qualification theses councillors have to guide them to make such irresponsible suggestions. I am a Hindu Priest and moved in the area just a few months now and i feel very strongly about community culture because this is the key to established the pure spirit and guidelines of our foundation of future generation. Pt. Ishwar Maharaj Doobay.

In  response to  one  of the many e-mails I have received in the last few days , I hesitated to suggest the board was responsible for the e-mail campaign to fight a decision by Council  that might impact the status quo. 

Well By Golly... how wrong I was . 

Note how Mr Layton fails to mention the town solicitor's review of the agreement which  found it to be without merit in  representing  the town's interest. Minimal change recommended was Council  representation on the board
That was before Christmas

Note also Mr. Layton  reference to  reporting to the town's Chief Administrative Officer suggesting the practice totally fulfills, in his view, the need  for accountability
Nowhere does the statement acknowledge the lack of  requirement under the agreement for the Chief Administrative Officer to report to  Council on the activities of the Board.

This board has been in operation since 2009. Nowhere is  there a direct public record  of accountability from a board that receives in  excess of half a million dollars of public funds plus a rent free building to operate in.

What does that sound like ?
Is it clear and transparent?
Does it respect the authority of the people as represented by their council?
Does it look like something  deliberately contrived to keep 
the business operation of the facility secret ?

Upon my word! I do believe it to be so.
The plan  of the board  is apparently  to fill  the council chambers on Tuesday evening with ill-informed supporters, an inordinate number of whom are not Aurora residents,to intimidate by their numbers and pummel council into submission.

The tactic has previously been successful.;

There's a Tigers hockey game that night. Cable T.V. will not show the Council Meeting until 11P.M.

If you ever needed to attend a council meeting and let your feeling be known, it is now. 

Remember how  the  insane and wildly extravagant monstrosity of a traffic calming plan came to be in the north-west quadrant of  town.

Hey!!! Check This Out

Aurora Cultural Centre
February 24, 2012

Friends of Centre Asked to Show Support at Town Council Meeting February 28

Aurora Cultural Centre Logo
Dear Friends of the Aurora Cultural Centre,

On behalf of the Centre's Board of Directors and staff, we would like to bring your attention to a motion that will be tabled by Town of Aurora Councillors Paul Pirri and John Abel, this Tuesday, February 28, to unnecessarily invoke the termination clause in the Town's five-year signed contract with the Aurora Cultural Centre. The contract is scheduled to be renewed in January of 2014.

For our many visitors, volunteers, suppliers and colleagues who wish to show their support of the Aurora Cultural Centre, you can contact Mayor Geoff Dawe and his fellow Councillors by emailing allcouncillors@aurora.ca and the Town Clerk at jleach@aurora.ca, or by calling 905-727-1375. We also invite you to join us at the Council Meeting this Tuesday, February 28, 7:00pm, at Town Hall, 100 John West Way.

The Centre has been operating out of the Church Street School for the last three years, and since its official opening in 2010, the Aurora Cultural Centre has grown by leaps and bounds with an attendance of more than 20,100 people in 2011. Thanks to you and the many residents of Aurora and York Region, visits to the Centre have already increased this past January from the same time period last year.

The Aurora Cultural Centre Board of Directors was completely taken by surprise with this unwarranted action by Councillors Pirri and Abel, who have spoken on the record as fully supporting the thriving Centre. We can assure you, the Board is committed to negotiating in good faith on all issues brought to the table and understands that final funding approval must be reserved for Council. As a termination of the current contract is not required to begin negotiations with the Town of Aurora, we have asked for the opportunity to resolve issues with the existing contract in collaboration with the Town. 

A Town ordered independent Contract Compliance Audit Report presented in late 2011 by Brooke Laker, concluded that the Aurora Cultural Centre is "in compliance with all of the CSA (Cultural Services Agreement) sections which speak to ensuring accountability and transparency of the Centre's actions. Since the Centre is compliant with all of these sections we therefore conclude it is acting in an accountable and transparent manner."   

We believe the Audit Report clearly concludes the Aurora Cultural Centre staff and Board of Directors are fulfilling our mandate of providing arts, culture and heritage programming year-round, as governed by the Town's five-year signed contract. In addition, Centre Board and staff have made it a priority to provide the Town's Chief Administrative Officer with comprehensive financial and programming status reports, including Key Performance Indicators, on a quarterly basis.

It is widely recognized that the existence of a facility such as the Aurora Cultural Centre brings an increased quality of life and economic stimulus to any community. A termination of the agreement could do irreparable harm to the Centre and would impede our ability to sign programming and supplier contracts, book events and workshops, and to attract long-term sponsors and funding partners.

We are committed to continuing a dialogue with the Town, and welcome the support of our community to ensure the Centre is in a position to deliver on its mandate for years to come.

Please visit our new website for more information and updates at www.auroraculturalcentre.ca, and contact us by email at President@auroraculturalcentre.ca. Additionally, some of our supporters have provided opportunities to share your comments on Facebook at Friends of Aurora Cultural Centre.

We thank-you for your continued support, and hope you will join Board members, staff, volunteers and fellow supporters at Council this Tuesday.

Yours sincerely,
Robert Layton, President, Aurora Cultural Centre    

Subtlety Is Lost

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Success All Round":

Newmarket?! That's heresy in a blog that's supposedly about "Our Town".

Ah!!  but you  fail to  appreciate my  subtlety.

In Our Town we regularly waive fees for use of town facilities. We have a line item in the budget.

Organizations  raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity think nothing of requesting a waiver of fees,year after year,for use of town facilities.

We are the target town for fund-raisers because of our munificent generosity. 

We   even provide "sponsorship grants",cash money, on top of waiving user fees as much as a thousand dollars, for a three day Jazz Festival that  last year  had reported revenue of $140,000...all on  the pretext it brought business and fame to  Our Town

What a crock.

It certainly contributed nothing to the cost of providing the service.

It was a deficit, deficit all the way.

We  regularly elect  people  who regard their role akin to    philanthropy. Nothing is enjoyed more than contemplation of distributing  largesse from tax coffers. 

Grandmama...Grandmama'''  How much  can we give away?

Oh dear children, lots and lots today

To  make ourselves popular with the unwashed masses who are too  preoccupied  to comprehend,  it's their resources we are giving away.

A few years ago, a fundraiser was held for a town event;the July 1st Parade. Traditionally the parade had always been financed from the fundraiser.

A Silent Auction  was  held. Four tables of prizes donated.

No proceeds were  reported.  No accountability required. Despite the event was held by a sub-committee of an advisory committee and prizes were solicited under the auspices of the town.

Instead the town ponied up  a $10,000 grant to fund the event out of taxes. The next year, $12,000

Every year, when that  small group of families  gather in Newmarket to work hard and put on a social event to raise funds  to make the lives of   specially abled  young adults  better, I think of the contrast of how things are  done in Aurora.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised for charitable and other events in Aurora. Possibly millions. The norm rather than the exception, is for organisation to ask for fees for town facilities  to be waived.

Why do they do that?

Small organizations that apparently don't rate, pay the  fees. Which  must inevitably be higher to absorb the cost  for free-loaders.

But successive  Aurora councils  think only of how to increase prestige by doling out the dough on the scale of importance of the organizations making the request.

I think it's shameless . Unconscionable.  Embarrassing. Politics at its least elevating.

So every year close to Valentine's  Day, I tell the story again of the amazing success of a small  group of families, some from Aurora, who have  created an event that people look forward to, that raises funds to contribute to the lives of people who need the  help and pay the user fee for the facility the town provides and  never ask for it to be waived.

I await  the final tally eagerly  so that I can make the point once more,  for the benefit of  neighbours and  colleagues.

We keep hearing of  affluence of the average resident in Aurora.

Why are  the merits of  paying  their share  not recognized?

Why are the scam artists so easily able to fold into the fabric of our community?

Why is there so much TALK about righteousness, good conduct and efficient  management?

Give me a break.

Why am I made to feel like a common scold for mentioning what appears to me to be so obvious ?


Friday 24 February 2012

Success All Round

My grandson Adam will travel to Edmonton this week-end. His brotherKeenan and partner Keri left this morning. His mother and father and sister  Robin will leave on Sunday.

They will be home again a week from Sunday.

Between times ,Adam will play goalie with Special Hockey International.

 He will travel for the first time in a plane. When he is on the ice, every member of his family, save one, will be there to cheer him on. There will be tears of joy on every face.

Last Saturday, the sixth Valentine Day  Fundraising Dance  and Social was held at the Newmarket Seniors  Centre.  Every year tickets are sought by  more people who have heard of the event and wanna be there.

The Silent Auction is the great attraction.Proceeds  are more each year and a good time is had by all.

This year the gross take was about $23,000. After all expenses were paid  net was $19,900.

They always pay the user fee for the facility. Never have they asked for it to be  waived. All of the family, including  Adam, work at putting the event together.

They move tables and chairs into place. Make sandwiches. Arrange sweet  treats. Put out the chips and  snack foods. Dad minds  the bar. Sister sells tickets on raffles. Adam plays host and kibbitzes with his friends  who drink gallons of free pop and eat chips and have a marvelous fun evening .

In the end, the money is counted and another great  adventure is a reality in their lives. The team will travel ,well equipped with everything  they need , self-sufficient,independent, knowing   it was acccomplished with kind hearts and  the willingness  to put their backs into it. Taking nothing for granted.

This year the silent auction raised $9,900 . The most yet

 Newmarket continues to grow. Still ,at the heart of it, the community  thrives , alive and well , caring about  things that matter.

Saints Preserve Us

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "All There Is To Know":
There are more penalties involved. Morris has to pay her lawyer/s and the town is paying to represent staff. Then the cost of bringing the matter to court can be claimed by the taxpayer doing it. That has already likely added up to some serious money due to delays along the way. Too bad we can't charge interest for the use of town money for what will probably be two years.

Correct.  Delays are contrived  But courts are not blind .They are not isolated from the community either.

There are more expenses coming down the tube related to the Morris debacle.  But they are not penalties imposed by the court when a defendant is convicted.

Which was the question I answered.

It's the reason I voted against paying  Morris'  legal bills.

It meant the town  accepted liability.

In my judgment, the lawyer who accepted the retainer shared  liability with Morris for costs related to the failed action.

I did not believe the matter ended with payment of the bills

It has not.

I did not believe Council should acknowledge liability.

Council  had an obligation to save the town harmless.

As we have done now  in releasing staff from the obligation to maintain confidentiality of closed session meetings.

 It is not our purpose to obstruct the purpose of Conflict of Interest legislation.

Much of Canadian law is derived from English common law.

Which means, commonly practiced  common sense and justice.

One of the common surprises of  modern times is how modern generations are so  completely in awe of so-called professionals.

A study done by Guelph University established that fifty-three per cent of all graduates cheat to obtain their credentials.

University faculties are aware of it. They turn a blind eye.

It may not be honorable but it is essentially practical.  A Bachelor of Arts cost a minimum of $30,000 to obtain. Much of it  borrowed.

 It stands to reason students are going to do what it takes to ensure  graduation. It may not mean they would have failed without cheating. It just means they can't afford to take the risk.

If students start failing  courses en masse. There 's a good chance the paper would no longer  be worth the expense.

Faculties might find themselves without students to teach.

Perish the thought...that would never do. Faculties are not above moving to protecting their collective arses. and promote their industry.Never mind the question of productivity and a guarantee of quality.

Another surprise is how modern  Councillors  tend not to think for themselves all the time,any more.  There were always a few that didn't. They coasted along on somebody else's coattails.

But now,  righteousness  and confidence are par for the course.  Now there are  professionals to advise.

Just do what you are told and all will be well. 

"Ah yes, but  the director said it, it must be right"

" Who am I to challenge the professionals?"

"I would like the director to answer my question, if you don't mind"

God Save Us All from Sins Of Omission.

Calling Keswickians

If the resident accused of defaming  Mayor Grossi, now being defamed by the Mayor, were to proceed with litigation against the Mayor, the  possibility is, the Mayor would be indemnified by the town's insurer,,
It has happened elsewhere.It doesn't make it right .It just means a Mayor can lean on insurers. It's a competitive world out there.  
Against  legal advice, Toronto council voted to pay  legal costs of Councillor Heap, who was sued for defamation by a competing candidate in the 2006 election.
He was quoted  that he was obliged to settle the matter  to avoid bankruptcy. 
Councillor Doug Holyday took the issue to court, at his own expense and the decision was reversed.
At the same time , Councillor Sandra Bussin 's legal costs were funded. That may be the case law cited by Georgina's CAO .who was  directed to speak  for Grossi the Brave One, when Karen Toomey delegated to  council recently. 
Councillor Bussin is  Speaker of  Toronto  Council.
The City  Act permits  election of  a speaker. The Mayor is not  the presiding member. 
If the process  is the same as higher levels of government , the Speaker is removed from the political process. except to cast a vote in the event of a tie.
It is possibly the reason the chair is indemnified while other Councillors are not.
Councillors are indemnified  by town insurers if  sued for a decision made  in  performance of their duty. Taking  legal action against someone else is not covered by  town insurers.  
i imagine Georgina was advised by some genius to pass a bylaw to get around that obstacle. It may have been legal. It would not have been right.
The  Heap case brought by Councillor Holyday against Toronto Council must be a matter of public record.  Sandra Bussin's also. 
Karen Toomey   would  probably find it helpful to obtain a copy. if the community is intent on  compelling  Georgina Council to pay costs of the acknowledged flawed judgement initially exercised. 
Since the CAO cited case law, it would be reasonable to request  it be produced and or posted on the town's web site.
Court numbers or even hard copies should be available for the price of copying.   
A formal request for an investigation into a closed meeting is a  right.  Legislation  was created to  serve that specific  purpose.
It can't be a matter for councils to decide.That would make no sense.On the other hand, there would be precedents for that.

I think some provincial laws are nothing more than window dressing to fulfill knee jerk reactions.
Municipalities are required to foot the bill for inquiries.  The legislation and the process should be on line.

There is legwork to be done that does not require legal services.
Forewarned is forearmed .
And Good Luck 

All There Is To Know

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Conversation Is Over":

Good call. I have a question about the blasted Municipal Act for anyone who knows that answer and won't charge for it. A hypothetical 'if' a Judge finds Morris breached the Act, what are the consequences? To date, I have learned she can be banned from elected office for 7 years [ which is already written ] and can be ordered to return the money from the Town. But what I'm interested in is if there is any sort of fine for doing this sort of thing when you have the experience to have known it was wrong. Can't find anything but am likely not looking in the right place.


I  think you have identified all the penalties.

Conflict most likely is to vote for something like a re-zoning that results in  property owned by the councillor to realise value it would not otherwise have.

There is no prohibition against a property owned by a councillor realisng a value through a re-zoning. The conflict arises out of the  councillor using his  position of trust to influence the vote on re-zoning. to his own financial benefit.

When  such a decision is being made, a Councillor with a conflict must not only declare the  conflict and a brief description,  he/she must leave the room where  debate and decision takes place.

The penalty on conviction is being banned from holding public office for seven years and returning ill-gotten gains to the municipality.

It's  rare  indeed for a Mayor to take a council  behind closed doors in the town hall, engage town staff  in a discussion and a decision to use public funds  and other resources to pursue an action which is  personal and not the business of the corporation.

Particularly where a town solicitor, whose prime  responsibility is as  officer of the court, is present.

Jamie Young had Mayor Grossi of Georgina on  his cable  program "Perspectives"  last week. The Mayor was invited to explain why he recently took the action  of  notifying a constituent of intent to file suit for defamation .

The Chief Magistrate  noted  his role as Chief Executive Officer   and proclaimed himself to be  "the face" of the municipality which obligated him to defend the corporation.

Without the proverbial unblinking gaze,  the Mayor claimed repeatedly  the defendant  had "lied"

He did not clearly articulate either the lie or the truth of the matter 

He exhibited  no  hesitation  in  defaming the character of his critic by publicly  accusing him of lying.

Throughout the interview, no reference was made to Canadian  law that prohibits  government  from suing   constituents.It 's another protection we have that others do not.

Mr Young, host of the show, is former Mayor of East Gwillimbury.

It may be ,neither host nor guest have been paying much attention to  recent news outside their  respective  balliewicks .

Either that or both  were betting  constituents in Georgina and  East Gwillimbury are equally inward- looking.

I think that might be a bet they would lose.

Thursday 23 February 2012

The Conversation Is Over

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Rules Is Rules":
This should not be discussed up here. We could do damage while trying to help.

I agree.

We can't have a conversation if only a few people know what it's about. I am not one of the few.

I started it in response to a question about a ruling I made on Tuesday.

David clearly indicated he was going to talk about someone and try to be diplomatic.

It didn't matter who or what he planned to talk about. It was not stated,as required,in his formal request for delegation status.

Had it been, it would have been explained to him by staff, it could not be allowed.

A meeting held for the purpose of conducting town business cannot be used for another personal purpose.

I have better reason than most to know it's a flagrant misuse of the authority of the chair to encourage and permit such abuse.

Ongoing ramifications can be severe. We all have good reason to understand what they are.

So this conversation is over.