"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

Friday 31 August 2012

Something You Ought To Know.

I keep meaning to explain.
Council  uses a consolidated agenda process. 
It means a  resolution can be put forward for an entire agenda to be approved without debate
The onus is upon  Council members to call  items they wish to be discussed.
A smooth, well-oiled Council could conceivably  and consistently approve entire agendas  without ever uttering a word pro or con.
The corporation could function without a ripple.Pretty much like operating behind a screen.
Never a hint of  disagreement or anything untoward.Not a clue of what's going on. 
Unless of course, residents set themselves to the task of reading and comprehending the agenda each week to satisfy themselves that all is well.
Council hasn't completed an agenda since May.Before June  agendas were relatively sparse.
One meeting was held in July and August.
The town hall is closed from  December 24th  until Jan 2nd or later, depending on week-ends.
Business gets suspended again for the March break .
Then ,there's the family day long week-end and other statutory holidays to be accommodated.
Last year we adopted a customer service plan. Newmarket and Whitchurch-Stouffville  had done it already.
A person with expertise in accessibility resources  was  transferred to the job of  manager of  the new customer service division. 
A youth liaison officer, without experience.of accessibility issues was transferred  to  manage of accessibility resources.With an increase in pay. 

Yesterday Council received the following e-mail:

Mr Mayor and Councillors,

I was dismayed last Friday, August 24th, when I called the Town in order to seek information on a very discouraging situation that has developed in our area of Aurora.  Homeowners have not been looking after their properties and/or the Town property in front of their properties.  I was told to speak to the By-law Department and the receptionist kindly connected me.  I was, in fact, connected to the department's voice-mail.  The message stated that my (obviously very unimportant) message would be responded to within two business days!!!  Two business days‽‽‽  What if the matter required immediate attention?  Unbelievable!

By Wednesday of this week, I was despairing and left a message for Mr.----.  No response there either.  R----- called ------- and finally managed to speak to her.  ----- required specifics.  R----- obtained them and gave them to me.  I was awaiting the response to my phone call.

The response finally came today, five, yes, FIVE (5) business days after my original call.  Who is responsible for this poor service to the citizenry of this town?  I gave the information to the person who called and he promised to act on the matter. 

Who is responsible for making certain that the town does not look like a slum?  Is it the by-law department? the parks department? or who?  Does nobody drive around town or notice the unkempt boulevards around town?  Are there no inspectors?  If not, why not?  Please let me know.

I look forward to receiving answers to my queries as soon as possible.


I have no answers .
I have asked the same questions.
Street sweeping is contracted out.  It's done twice a year.
We  own a street sweeper, relatively new, purchased the year before I asked ,  at a cost, I believe , of $187,000. 
Don't hold me to that figure exactly.
I was told the sweeper might be "down" .  That might  be the reason  catch-basins are  filled with litter after a  deluge .....left like that until the wind  blows  the stuff about again  ....until the next deluge when  everything  gathers again  in the same locations.

The procedure for me to deal with  such matters is to bring them  to the attention of the appropriate director.
I did. 


Quarterly Statement Received

I have tried to copy and print  the Quarterly Statement from the Church Street Schoool operationfor you. With no success. 
There's a letter to "Dan and Neil"  The Mayor is still attending board meetings . He has confided nothing to Council so I assume he is honoring secrecy  requirements.
There are a number of pages. I believe all to be of  interest .You are entitled to receive them and make your own judgement.
If anyone  can advise how to transfer them  into the blog, I would be pleased to receive instructions.  

Councillor Is Not Guilty

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Mayor Rob Ford ponders losing his job in conflict ...":

Please do not forget that Councillor Ballard has signed onto the Morris team and consistently votes to keep information in-house. The Hervey Conflict of Interest suit needed documentation from Aurora and is working without it. Specifically they needed the entire Rusty D'Eye report. It has been termed ' privileged' information, which means that taxpayers do not have access to it either. It is difficult to reach a decision without full disclosure.


Aurora taxpayers paid the fee for George Rust D'Eye to review the  circumstances and report to Council  how a decision was made to sue three residents of the town.
On receipt, I moved solicitor/client privilege be waived and the report be made public. 
Mr. Rust D'Eye suggested a summary as an alternative.
Council  has authority to  waive solicitor/client privilege at any time. So  long as the municipality's interest is protected.
I am not aware  a request was made for the report. 
If made, I am unaware of a Council  refusal..
Councillor Ballard has only one vote .
A single  vote does not serve to keep information "in-house"
Councillor Ballard  was not a member of the Council that  passed a  resolution  drafted previously that evolved into  litigation  against three residents during an election campaign when Council was not  available to authorize  that action.
Councillors Gaertner and Gallo are the only  current Councillors 
who attended the fateful meeting that gave the solicitor carte blanche ,adjourned after one a.m., and resulted in lurid headlines of three citizens being sued, with their own resources, by people elected to represent their interests.
Like the  meeting  when they stripped the Integrity Commissioner of his authority after he filed a decision that did not reflect to their credit. It ended after midnight as well.  

Have I Got A Deal ...

EB This post doesn't really correspond to yours but is actually in response to a report in the Auroran. What price heritage? I wondered exactly how, other than being on the other side of the street, is the Southeast Old Aurora Heritage Conservation District different from the Northeast Aurora Heritage Conservation District. A small bedroom community with a few older properties has to be DIVIDED into heritage districts? What - like we're London or New York? Then the coin dropped when I saw the idea of tax relief being floated. "I'm Special and I live in a Special neighbourhood and as such I expect I should pay Special lower taxes than the rest of you" As if. It's time to end this insidious "Special Aurora within Aurora" nonsense. "We're all Aurorans, but some are more Auroran than others"? Sure, designated and otherwise officially recognized Heritage properties are important. They should be preserved and maintained and it is often very expensive to do so. But if you on The End My Friend
It's natural to make the connection. The fact is the last change in the Heritage Act gave municipalities authority to designate homes whether  owners liked it or not. 
In compensation for interfering with private ownership, The Act permitted mnicipalitiies to take responsibility  for maintaining the properties they  designated,  including entire neighbourhoods.
Like the traffic calming project ,most people in the  north-west quadrant  weren't paying  attention while that was happening.
Some of them knew  the financial advantage though. Most likely the people who pushed for change in the legislation. 
Even before the Heritage Act changed,Aurora lent money   to replace the  roof on  a house on Wellington Street.
That was before  blogs and I wasn't a Council member at the time. 
Sweet deal eh1 There it  was  a beautiful big. home making a huge impression of status and borrowing money  from the rest of us to fix the roof to keep the rain out.
The idea of  looking for ways to keep an old house in good condition  and steal the argument in favor of demolition, came from complaints that the unappealing  falling down Browning house on 
Yonge Street would not have had to be demolished if the owners had been  required  to maintain it properly.
I/m not even sure  who made the argument.
The result was the current notice of motion to exercise  town authority to grant loans to maintain decrepit old bachles like the Yonge Street Browning house.
Of course it means  collecting more  taxes from people living in ticky-tacky modern boxes , who may be  having  a hard time  maintaining  their own homes, to provide loans to people living in  the central  core, to keep their homes in authentic condition for another hundred years.
The Auroran had a cartoon  deriding the idea of  taking  a free ride on the train to enjoy the sights and sounds of Toronto.
The argument for preserving entire neighborhoods relies on attracting tourism to the town. 
The cartoon could just as easily have  focused on  the likelihood of hordes of  touristos invading  Aurora by train  from Toronto to see streets and houses  they could see anywhere else,  maintained in pristine condition , at the expense  of people in humble abodes  living on canned tina to have enough money left  to pay the taxes.

Thursday 30 August 2012

No answer To This Question

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Mayor Rob Ford ponders losing his job in conflict ...":

Oh, and one more question that makes my head spin.

Morris' lawyer argued in her defamation case that her defamation lawsuit was always a private lawsuit and now her lawyer in the conflict of interest hearing is stating the exact opposite; namely that this was always a town initiative and Morris was just a “front person”.

Could someone please clear up the apparent conflict between the two conflicting statements ?

To begin with ,it's not the same lawyer .
Contradictions run amuk throughout.
Council, during that term , were  advised more than once,indemnity is provided for a member being sued for an action  undertaken  in the course of  a Councillor's authority.
At the same time, no coverage is available for a Councillor to litigate  against anyone else. 
Nor can a municipal corporation  file for defamation of  character and reputation. 
That advice was clear. . 
Where the  contrary information  came from is not clear but suspected.
When a majority of Council allow themselves to be persuaded an issue is entitled  be discussed in secret ,  not a lot can be done.
Staff  can advise. They cannot enforce.
It's not expected  Councillors , under an Oath of Office, will  flagrantly disregard the laws they have  sworn to uphold.
Conflict of Interest legislation  is not expected to be prosecuted. It's expected to be upheld by people who are themselves legislators.    Nevertheless weak instruments of  law bring the law into disrepute The decision to be made in Newmarket court  a few weeks from now is expected to change that. 

I hear, Codes of Conduct have fallen into disrepute and abandoned by many municipalities. They proved to generate  more problems than they solved.
The case  against Mayor Ford may resolve that problem once and for all.  
No slew of   requests for inquiries  into closed door meetingshave been forthcoming since that legislaton passed.
Another piece of provincial legislation that compelled  municipalities to retain investigative agencies to carry out investigations that  weren't likely to.be requested and wouldn't likely produce  information.
An annual retainer fee  needs to be paid anyway..

Rob Ford...Globe Editorial.,,,.An interesting perspective

Click Here
Globe Editorial

Rob Ford lets molehill become mountain

The indefatigably controversial Mayor of Toronto, Rob Ford, will face a moment of truth next Wednesday when he appears before an Ontario Superior Court judge to face allegations that he violated the province’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. If the judge rules against him, Mr. Ford will be summarily thrown out of office. This is a drastic outcome that does not correspond proportionately to the allegations. Furthermore, to unseat a democratically elected mayor so easily would set a terrible precedent.
 This mess was characteristically brought about by Mr. Ford himself: He puzzlingly did not recuse himself on Feb. 7 during a city council vote that concerned him in his personal capacity. The council had, 18 months earlier, ordered Mr. Ford to pay back $3,150 in improper donations to his charitable football foundation from lobbyists and their clients. Now, council was voting to overturn its previous decision, but not only did Mr. Ford vote for the new motion, he also gave a speech in its defence. A private citizen who worked for one of Mr. Ford’s political opponents seized on this and alleged that the Mayor had violated the conflict of interest rules.
That the Mayor would act so ill-advisedly is no longer a surprise. Mr. Ford has proved to be singularly unmanageable. He has had unnecessary run-ins with reporters, TV comedians and streetcar drivers; most recently he was photographed reading office documents while driving his car
.That the Mayor would act so ill-advisedly is no longer a surprise. Mr. Ford has proved to be singularly unmanageable. He has had unnecessary run-ins with reporters, TV comedians and streetcar drivers; most recently he was photographed reading office documents while driving his car.But he has been a successful mayor in more important ways. He was elected to cut costs, rein in the city’s unions and eliminate the city’s unpopular car registration fee, all of which he has done. And what matters in this case is that the money in question did not benefit him directly; it went to a charity to buy football equipment for under-privileged youths. As well, his vote did nothing to change the outcome; the motion was defeated 22-12. There is nothing here that would justify having a court overturn the democratic will of voters; this is not a criminal matter and should not be perceived as one. One hopes that Mr. Ford, when facing the judge next week, will realize that his intemperate style can have disastrous consequences and resolve to tone it down. But his actions to date do not merit the upending, by a court, of the hallowed primacy of a democratic election result.
The editorial above shows how it is possible to take the same set of circumstances ,arrive at the same conclusion , but lay the blame in a different location. 
Rob Ford has been himself throughout. 
"but his actions to date do not merit upending ,by a court, of the hallowed primacy of a democratic election result "
Exactly my point. 
Yet   the Province passed legislation giving municipalities authority 
to adopt Codes of Conduct with penalties, so as  to accomplish the "upending,,the hallowed primacy of a democratic election result"
without any court proceedings. 
They opted not to do that themselves. They haven't done it to themselves. Instead they passed half-assed legislation to create the mess  and slip-slide responsibility down  to the junior level of government.
We have seen how it was used and abused in Aurora.We do not yet know how much it has cost the town's taxpayers.
But  we  have had the opportunity to throw the responsible rascals out.  Court proceedings here are proceeding along different lines. 
Rob Ford should face the Judge next Wednesday and tell him straight what he  told  Council and the people of Toronto. 
The money was collected for a good cause, donors received tax receipts, it was used  for the purpose it was collected.
Refusal to repay  it  back out of his own pocket is  not about fairness. It's about common sense. Doing that  would depict  his efforts to help youth in need, as a sleazy, carnival huckster scam to benefit himself. It clearly was not.
He could work himself into a  red-faced sweat and use the  words  apparently understood by  Toronto voters,who elected him despite everything the Toronto Star could do to stop it from happening.
Frankly, I was surprised to read Clayton Ruby, champion of the underdog, had agreed to accept the case against  Toronto's  Mayor.
I will be equally surprised if the Mayor is found guilty of anything but  common sense ,  righteous  conviction and responding consistently  to the hounds yapping constantly at his ankles.


Wednesday 29 August 2012

Mayor Rob Ford ponders losing his job in conflict of interest case

Published 38 minutes ago

MIKE STURK/REUTERS Mayor Rob Ford said he will be grilled on the witness stand next Wednesday by renowned lawyer Clayton Ruby.
David Rider
Urban Affairs Bureau Chief
Famously combative Mayor Rob Ford sounds resigned to the possibility he might be kicked out of office over a conflict-of-interest allegation a lawyer says is consistent with past actions “as if the rules do not apply to him.”
Appearing on Newstalk 1010 on Tuesday, Ford noted he will be grilled on the witness stand next Wednesday by renowned lawyer Clayton Ruby.
A lawsuit accuses Ford of breaking provincial law in February by speaking and voting on whether he should have to pay back $3,150 in donations to his football foundation from lobbyists and a corporation.
“It really bothers me,” Ford said of the suit brought by Toronto resident Paul Magder. He then lauded his foundation’s work giving equipment to schools to start football programs.
Ruby is “going to cross-examine me and they want me out of office, and if I lose the court case I guess I lose my job and, uh, I don’t know, it really bothers me, it really bothers me, so just hope for the best,” he said.
Ford agreed with host Jim Richards that the conflict suit is a backdoor attempt to force him from office.
“If you don’t like what I’m doing then there’s an election Oct 27, 2014, it’s two years away, then have your say,” the mayor said. “But I don’t think it’s right what’s going on.”
If Ford took part in a debate or vote in which he had a conflict of interest, the province’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act decrees the judge “shall” force him out of office and “may” bar him from rejoining council for up to seven years.
If guilty, Ford could keep his job only if Justice Charles Hackland found he made an “error of judgment or inadvertence” or that the sum involved was “insignificant.”
The mayor talked to the radio station as reporters got court office access to Magder’s “factum” that argues Ford knowingly broke the rules as part of a pattern of defiance, so Hackland must decree the mayor’s seat “vacant.”
Council could then call a mayoral byelection or appoint somebody to replace him for the remainder of his term.
In 2010, city integrity commissioner Janet Leiper recommended council sanction Ford for using council letterhead and city resources to solicit donations for the foundation, and pay back donations from lobbyists and a business representative with whom Ford had met.
Council agreed. Ford voted against the recommendation, although then-speaker Sandra Bussin advised he appeared to be in a conflict.
Ford ignored Leiper’s six subsequent requests for proof he had repaid the $3,150. When the matter came back to council in February, Ford made an impassioned speech about the work of his foundation and said: “To ask for me to pay it out of my own pocket, personally — there’s just no sense to this ... The money’s been spent on football equipment.”
Ruby argues Ford admitted a “pecuniary” interest when he said the cash would come out of his pocket.
As for any argument the millionaire Ford makes about the sum being “insignificant,” Ruby wrote: “It takes a long time and a good deal of hard work for an ordinary Canadian to earn $3,150.00 … the respondent focused on the perceived unfairness of forcing him to reimburse such a sum out of his ‘own pocket.’ It certainly mattered to him.”
Rather than being inadvertent or a slip, Ford’s February vote was part of a pattern that saw him warned twice about using council letterhead to solicit donations before he was formally investigated in 2010, and ignore Bussin’s warning at the resulting vote, Ruby argues.
“Mayor Ford has a history on other issues of complying with the Act and a history on this particular issue of flouting the Act,” and also of displaying an “attitude that the rules do not apply to him,” the factum states.
The only conclusion, Ruby argues, is that Ford deliberately flouted the act because he was upset by what he considered an unfair burden, and correctly concluded he could turn councillors around by “speaking from the heart.”
Ford’s defence, according to his lawyer’s factum viewed by the Star on Monday, will be that the Conflict of Interest Act doesn’t apply because Ford’s actions were governed by a council Code of Conduct that falls under another provincial law, the City of Toronto Act.
Alan Lenczner also argues that the donations didn’t affect Ford’s “pecuniary interest” because they went to his football foundation, not his own pocket.
If Ford did breach the Act, Lenczner argues, the judge should deem it an “error of judgment or inadvertence,” because Ford believed the act only came into play if the vote had a financial impact for the city, and the sum involved insignificant.
Is the object of the exercise  to drive Ford out of the office he won in a free and democratic election?
Under  Aurora's Code of Conduct, Conflict of Interest charges  are not accepted as complaints under the Code.
If Rob Ford was breaking a law by using the  letterhead  and time of staff, public resources,  to raise $3,150. for charity, every Mayor in the Province is doing the same when they allow the title of Mayor to be used to raise funds for charity,
Rob Ford didn't argue it wasn't fair  for him to repay  money already spent  to donors. out of his own pocket. 
He said it didn't make sense. The money  had been spent for the purpose it was collected.People gave it of their own free will.It was a meagre amount in terms of charity fund-raising. It was used to assist people in income brackets who could not provide football equipment for their kids. 
Where is  common  law disrespected? 
Where is the logic?
Where is the crime?
Code of Conduct legislation was brought in because the City lost millions in computer contracts and  after $13 million had been spent on  the Bellamy Inquiry. 
No legal action was taken under that circumstance. No  refunds ordered. No penalties paid. 
In the last term, Ford denied being at a football game after a complaint about his personal conduct at the sports event.
He denied having a doobie in his pocket in Florida  years  earlier when he had been stopped by police.   
All of that was public knowledge and  thanks to the Toronto Star,dug up and well- aired  during the  election campaign for Mayor.
Despite the Toronto Star, or perhaps because eof them, Ford  won in a field of eight candidates.
Clayton Ruby, "renowned lawyer" according to The Star, apparently intends using the material in his argument for conviction and, no doubt  expulsion from office. Ruby goes for the jugular. 
As I see it, in this instance, several laws are on trial.
Permissive  legislation that allows each municipality to write it's own  rules of conduct.  And hire and fire the adjudicator of  their choice and at their pleasure. 
Provincial Conflict of Interest  laws  rely on civil litigation  by a private citizen at his own expense.
Where' s the logic in that?
In Ford's circumstance  the system requires  logical arguments to illogical laws.
The justice system is  required to make sense of a  potential dog's breakfast of  arguments.   
The challenge in thi instance ,is to the people's right to choose an elected representative  in a free and democratic election. 
Will a Judge decide the man chosen by a majority of Toronto electors to be their Mayor for the next four years, with all his warts and weaknesses plainly exposed, should not in fact be allowed to serve in that office.
Because he collected funds for a good cause, used them, saw no sense in returning them to willing donors and had the temerity to say so in public, in defiance of an appointed bureaucrat's directive  he should give  the freely given  and tax- receipted money back .
Interesting, isn't it?
None of the facts in  Ford's case can be compared  to the circumstances of the Aurora Conflict of Interest.
In Toronto, everything done was  done out there in the public domain.
The way it's  supposed to be .. 

Challenge Is Required...By More than One.

Anonymous has left a new comment on my post "Answers": 
6:41 PM.....

Stop with the G.D. Park!! They did it, they did it again, they did it again. More than one council has allowed it. No one in authority has challenged it. No one with authority will challenge it because of the s**t storm it would generate for their personal political goals


The comment  is right and not right at the same time It is a fundamental  but  incomplete view of politics.
I have been challenging consistently.  Even now, in my own blog,  without acknowledgement but not without support.
From comments here  and elsewhere, it seems  a substantial  body of  opinion  is scandalized by the deportment  of the St Kitts Cabal..
It happens that way. Obnoxious  and outrageous  aggressors  force  themselves to  attention of the general public with bold, assertive and insulting statements. 
Nobody does  it to them. They do it to themselves.
Meek and mild  disproportionate reaction from  the governing body is brought into perspective in contrast.
The issue becomes  full-blown controversy.
Actually, This one has taken years to arrive at  this stage.
Since  a fund-raiser  by a town sub-committee,for a July1st Parade,  produced neither funds nor  accounting of same in 2009.
Disgruntlement no longer simmers ,waiting for the cook to take it off  the fire. Like jam, it has reached  full boil, foaming  over the jelly pan, making a big mess all over the stove.
The question now  is how has public outrage  been expressed  to Council?
Will they be the last to know?  
Will this snail's pace reacting Council act without a shove?
Is  the indignation being felt where it can make a difference ?
How much will  it take for this Council to understand, no matter how much they cater to  St Kitts et al , they will  never  curry favour. That place is taken.
It's all about cold, calculated exploitation.
Instead, Council  loses with  people who elected them to put these things right.
Politics has many actors.
When it finally comes to a gell,  public opinion is the principal.  The warning knell to a final decision.
So don't be waiting for the  neophytes to interpret the notes;
Take a hammer to the bell.
Knock them out of their socks. 
Mix metaphors galore and do whatever it takes. 

Tuesday 28 August 2012

The End My Friend

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Answers":

"The traditional colour of green used for parks trucks is a no-brainer and a non-issue as far as I am concerned."

This is where you are wrong (again). The "traditional" green issue came from the long-since retired former staffer who felt that his legacy was being lost, so he wrote the editors, wrote the council and Ms Buck, always looking for a fight, took up the challenge.

Had he not said anything, no one would have cared and the time spent by staff to write those reports would have been saved to do other more meaningful work.

I am a firm believer that Police cars should be yellow. Can you please take up my cause and get the Region to go to yellow police cars? 


This will be the last of the yes you did,no I didn't, back and forth , scratching and clawing , hissing an spitting, pointless yowling.
If you think police cars should be yellow, you go to bat for it.
It will better occupy your time, entertain you just as well and clear the books at this end.

Vengeance is mine ,saith The Lord.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Against The Law ???":

On August 24th at 4:46pm Anonymous said.... "She is surely guilty of various crimes and misdemeanors..."

OK... I replied. If you believe this to be true, call the cops. Stop pussy-footing around if you think she did something wrong. Regardless of how many were in attendance, COUNCIL APPROVED IT.

Stop with the civil suits, press criminal charges or stop saying that she is guilty of crimes and misdemeanors.

Politics is a harsh taskmaster. It was true before the advent of social media. It is  more true today.
When the last Council was straining at the bit to adopt a Code of Conduct, after appointing an Integrity Commissioner, I cautioned   against.
They didn't hear. They had received  privileged legal advice that  a penalty clause inserted into legislation by the province provided a foolproof  method  of punishing a recalcitrant Councillor and enforcing Da Code. 
The  decision on charges against Mayor Ford of Toronto should engage all  GTA politicians.
The Mayor  is charged with voting  against a resolution requiring return of $3,800. to "lobbyists" who contributed to a fund to provide football equipment to a high school for students in need. .
Mayors in the GTA should  have a special interest. 
Golf tournaments  organised annually  raise funds in the Mayor's names, to be distributed to various charities.
The Mayor of Markham has a Foundation in his name. 
A Mayor in Halton Region exercises complete control of funds
raised in her name without disclosure.
In Aurora, proceeds are about  forty-five thousand dollars a year. 
Positive publicity results. Funds are disbursed with fanfare.
Recipients are extremely appreciative. Good causes are served.
I alone have  reservations.
Generally speaking, the funds  come from contractors doing business with the town, obviously grateful and wishing  to show  appreciation.
Nothing wrong with that, eh ?
Except how it might be perceived.
The term " lobbyist"  is not used in Aurora. Only in Toronto.
I am told the tournament  in Aurora is not organised in the Mayor's office. Town resources are not used. 
Still, it is The Mayor's Tournament. It  generates  funds.
It would be  hard to separate donations to the cause  from  influence of the office. 
My attention to fine detail is a definite irritant to some.
My impression is participants  are politicians, staff and contractors doing business with the town.
No doubt the Mayor generates  good relations with business and picks up   kudos from fund recipients.
None of it is secret. I am not telling  anything you wouldn't  know from paying  attention to town affairs. 
But here's the point; If the Mayor of Aurora can generate charitable funds  in an amount of $45,000 annually from people who do business with the town? ( we are pikers at the game)  Why can't the Mayor of Toronto  solicit a piddling amount of $3,800 to provide football equipment to  a high school for students in need, Why should his good intentions be viewed differently.
Toronto's Integrity Commissioner  recommended the donations be returned because  the Mayor's office staff  and stationary were  used to generate the funds. 
The Mayor's Office is a resource.
If Toronto's Integrity Commissioner's judgement is sound, every Mayor in the GTA should be shaking in their shoes for fear of being accused of dark villainy under  Codes of Conducts
 Clayton Ruby's legal argument in support of  Toronto's Code of Conduct should  interest all Ontario politicians who aspire to righteousness and virtue and proclaim  the same from town hall steps while organising big-money fund-raisers behind closed doors in  warrens and  back rooms.   

What Counts ??????

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

Who pursued the issue of the colour of Parks Dept. vehicles? Who wanted a return to the traditional green?

You (and Norm Weller, of course).

Who else really cared?


It seems to matter to you quite a bit and others who keep bringing it up.
And by the  way, Council voted, I believe unanimously, in favor of 
being green in parks. 
Surely that counts for something.

Monday 27 August 2012

When Is An Issue Not An Issue??

When a resolution  is moved and seconded , tabled for debate. No debate ensues.  Unanimous support is indicated.
It's Council's decision to make.
  Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Answers":

"...and a non-issue as far as I am concerned."

But, YOU made green trucks an issue!?! 

Did not. 
Council was informed green trucks cost more than white. 
Did not. . 
I did  my homework. I knew they didn't..
Returning to green  parks trucks seemed entirely logical. 
Acting on  factual information  and respecting  Council's   authority  became problematic.
Why  should that be? 
Six pages of  bafflegab was presented by staff  to defeat the motion.
All other municipalities have white vehicles. As  does the Region.
Powerstream has them
Also Enbridge Gas. 
Putting  one's  brand on the  fleet is important. 
A study from California suggests light-coloured vehicles produce  less pollution. 
A better deal can be obtained  at the end of a season. White is the colour most likely left on the lot.
If it's a fancy green, it costs more. 
If  it's a  van or a passenger vehicle it costs more.
So here's the thing:
The parks department do not use vans or passenger vehicles. 
Fancy greens are not  proposed.
Vehicles are purchased  by tender.. The best bid  gets the business. 
A California study  suggesting  less pollution  from a combustible engine clad in a light painted body, was  most likely  written through a pleasurable haze by a happy chappy smoking Caifornia Gold.
If everyone  is driving white, how is a  brand distinguished?
Tim is right. What is  significant about the colour of the parks trucks. 
Nothing much except they are parks vehicles. Parks are green.Why should the trucks be white?
The point of  dispute lies  in  entirely spurious arguments, presented in  writing, to prevent Council  from making the decision.
It took weeks for a notice of motion to reach the table.When it did,  the question was deferred for more weeks for accurate information to be provided about cost.
I already did that. My word was not accepted. 
A six page staff report was presented to negate the  fact.
Finally the air was cleared. The decision  was made. Still the issue is harked back upon in comments.
Like the point  went right over the heads of  readers. 
Complaints are made about Council not exercising authority
Then  Council does, even on a relatively  trivial  issue, complaints are made about that too.
Perhaps if I nodded my head and baad  repeatedly ?
"Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Three bags full"
 Not wool.   


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Against The Law ???":

Apart from being members of the tax-paying public, what exactly do Susan Walmer and Jan Freedman have to do with the "Culture (sic) Centre" (you'll get it right one of these days)?

Susan Walmer  is a person of extraordinary organizing skills.She is responsible for  Phyllis Morris elections along with  part of her slate of candidates.
Jan Freedman is part of the loyal opposition.
The occupying force at Church Street School is interlinked with the pair of them
Except for  St Kitts cabal, they are residents and taxpayers of the  town . That gives them rights and freedoms to pursue their objectives. 
They should not be underestimated.
The  traditional colour of  green used for parks trucks is a no-brainer and a non-issue as far as I am concerned.
Dispute came from the administration.
Not the Council. 
I believe the bylaw prohibiting the Mayor or any Councillor from retaining and have uncontrolled access to outside solicitors is already in place.
It would never have reached the table in the last Council.    

Against The Law ???

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Closed Meetings": 
To Anonymous 4:46pm August 24....
"She is surely guilty of various crimes and misdemeanors as she threatened our staff with her monstrous statement "If you work for the town, you work for me. Be careful who you choose as friends."
I have said this many times before. If you truly believe what you stated here, why don't YOU go to York Regional Police HQ and request an investigation into the criminal acts? 

All of the court nonsense going on now (both Morris and Buck as plaintiffs) is all civil stuff, there are no charges levied and the results will not be jail sentences but "Damages" which equal cash. 
If you really think something illegal went down, press charges!


The comment  is a quote. I read it as an expression of righteous anger. Canadians have that right.
Bad things happened to employees during the last term of office. Compensation  for lost employment was no small part of  the expense  to the municipality. .
But money wasn't the greatest loss.
Many benefits are derived from municipal employment   There are also disadvantages. 
A job ended, through no fault of the employee, means theoption for new employment is  another municipality or a different level of government.
It calls for a record of employment.
Politicians tend to be skittish. 
An employee,taking legal action against a municipal  employer, does not have a future in municipal government. .
Stuff like that tends to be noticed.
Generous settlements are  generally accepted  with  silent  departure amenable to all parties.
Legal action would be a last resort seldom resorted.
A law on the books is  not worth two in the bushes. 
Continuing dialogue:

"How does one determine if something qualifies for the G. Book of Records? Most people know about the 3 large lawsuits involving Morris & Company. If you add in all the suits against perceived enemies, former staff, the Region and other assorted victims, the number is quite amazing. It could be a cautionary tale to small towns who find themselves with such an individual in charge of litigation"

The last sentence  is telling.

Small towns do not "find themselves with such an individual in charge of litigation"
A small town is  highly unlikely to have  such an individual in office. Word tends to get around because it doesn't have so far to travel. .
Secondly, no single elected member has that authority in any municipality. . 
Both  the Code of Conduct and a policy statement deal with the subject. 
As well, a  majority of Council is far less likely to be elected in a slate.What kind of a perfidious notion is that in the context of democracy?
People in small communities are not so easily diverted from reality.
Lastly, no town  large or small, outside Aurora, allows a Mayor or any other member of Council unlimited access or communication with outside legal services.
It's insane. 
Our experience during the last  term  is all one needs to understand why.
Continuing  the discussion:

"7:00 PM Please do not forget to include on your list Ms. Walmer & Associates. Do not let her get the keys to the town hall with another candidate."

Ms. Walmer's group  flourishes still.  One need look no further than the Culture Centre , the Farmer's Market and the Jazz Cabal.
Coupled with ingratiating strategy  from current Councillors without enough  wit to come in out of the cold,while they try to  win over this bunch,  the community  continues to be insulted and denigrated.
On Saturday, three members of Council and  Theresa Buck
manned a booth for a fund-raising corn roast  at the Farmer's Market.
Two days before, Councillor Humphreys was informed organisation  was her job.
On the day, the event was relegated to an out of the way  location.
Jan  the Jam Lady chair of the market, friend of  culture centre and jazz cabal but not Council, failed to announce the event.
Market patrons had to discover it for themselves.
It seems Humphrey  was  being punished by Jam Lady for failing to acquiesce with market intent not to allow anyone other than  protegees of Mr  Bob Leonard, other half of Susan Morton-Leonard, to use  the town's band shell free of  charge.. 
Mr. Leonard, I am told  has a music school in another municipality.
The final occupied  post of the  enemy,  is Church Street School .
A  recent announcement  by  town staff  offers opportunity for input  about the future of  the museum collection. 
How should it be accommodated?
In one location? 
Or broken up and scattered about? 
Any place but Church Street School. 
How hard could  it be to stack the joint with culture fiends in favor of preserving the status quo?
Wherein lay the genius for that idea?


Sunday 26 August 2012

Closed Meetings

Last week's news story on  court proceedings  on  Conflict of Interest charges against the former Mayor  brought back  bad memories of the previous Council term.  From the outset they began. Like a floodgate opened.
An early  meeting was called  to discuss  what the new Mayor  considered  an invasion of her privacy and subject to litigation. 
Under the Municipal Act, the imperative is the public's  business shall be conducted in public.
Exceptions are precise and  specific .
Litigation between the town and other parties: real estate negotiations on behalf of the town;privacy of  an individual is the third.
Elected officials  are not private. They are public .
At the time of the election, the town solicitor was on  leave. An interim  solicitor was retained when needed . 
In  this instance,  need had not apparently been determined. 
The scene. like many others, is etched clearly in my memory. 
We used the Councillor's lounge for in-camera meetings. The Mayor occupied a couch..
A visual  image of  domination and control had already been adopted.
A  gaping  red shiny handbag at her feet. A file folder crammed so full, two arms were needed to hold it. A bunch of keys, twice as big as her fist and an impression of  white legs and red vinyl high heeled  shoes. A mouth crammed with food  sometimes  completed the picture.
Council were informed telephones in the Councillors' room had been monitored during the previous term. The position  was her privacy had been invaded.  That was cause for litigation for damages against  her predecessor and she had "no intention of spending my money" to pursue the matter. 
To cut a long story short, the new Council voted, eight to one,  to authorize  legal  counsel to be retained.
The municipal clerk was present. He had two years to serve  before retirement. He offered no advice. 
Two years and at least two solicitors later. I can't be sure.in a legal conference, again behind closed doors,  the matter was finalized.
There was no case to answer.Taking the matter to court would not result in  damages being awarded, The solicitor was surprised to discover Council  members had not been privy to various  communications on the issue.
It was the former Mayor's practice to read to Council excerpts  from letters only she  had apparently  received. Copies were  not circulated.
Thinking back,  the purpose of the final conference seems clear. The solicitor  was being  leaned upon heavily for different advice. 
Present at the meeting were the CAO,  town solicitor returned from leave and the municipal clerk,
As I recall , advice to Council from staff  was in the form of support for the outside solicitor present for the conference.  
It was  decided there was no merit in pursuing  legal action against the  former Mayor's predecessor.
How much  was expended ?  Heaven knows. How many lawyers? At that time, at least two..Switching  lawyers became a familiar pattern over the years  If one  failed to deliver the desired objective. they were not used again. 
The Council of the day had five new members . 
All of  the Morris slate had not been elected, Just enough to create  obligation and a  majority.
Lawyers, and public resources   were not the only tools used to wreak vengeance against anyone who dared to oppose.
After his defeat, town hall staff had posed for a  photo with the outgoing Mayor.
We  immediately heard of  the repercussion.
Staff  it seems ,were informed individually: 
"If you work for the town,you work for me  Be careful who you choose as friends. There's a list"
 I  have  made the point; the Municipal Act  is not  intended to cover for  politicians plots against opponents at public expense.
It is unthinkable.
Hundreds of thousands of  tax dollars were expended .Staff were eventually complicit in obscuring the numbers .
All of it  was cloaked in secrecy.
It had never happened before. 
The current Council has passed a bylaw making  it impossible ever to happen again. 
At the time though ,during that one and only term, everyone, particularly staff, knew their  fate if they dared cross the dreadful duo's determination  to wreak  terrible vengeance on their foes; real and imagined.
It started before the ink was dry on Certification of the 2006 election.
The slide continued downhill all the way until  litigation  again at town expense was processed  against town residents during the  2010 election.
It's 2012 and we are not done yet.           

Saturday 25 August 2012

Take A Gander At This

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

I also note that Oakvilles Jazz fest is free to all as well -- perhaps Markham and Oakville don't have a sitting councillor that has such a personal vendetta again the organizing committee or a blog constantly complaining about volunteers that bring something of value the community -- I don't hear them complaining about fences or wishing for rain on some one else's parade -- Other communities welcome their music festivals small minded Aurorans wish for rain on theirs!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FYI...Copied From Elsewhere":

"Feel free not to post this if it is a problem."

Why would it be a problem? You just took shots at three of Cllr Buck's favourite 'punching bags'


Above were the sum and substance of incoming comments this morning. My finger was poised to delete . Then I thought; sometimes  it's interesting to  peruse another person's  mind.
Coming on the heels of the letter to the editor  justifying  why the Mayor of  the  Town was not invited to  be part of the Dignatory 
Ceremonial Procession  at the St. Kitts Jazz Festival and market operation, occupying the Aurora Town  Park over a holiday week-end.
Sentiments expressed are singularly contradictory. .
Why would an entertainment  business displaying so much hostility towards owners  of a particular venue even want to be here?
Isn't goodwillthe essence of good business?
How much  does  it take before  exploitation, disrespect and abuse is  recognized?
Certainly Council and the Mayor and administration  have  been slow. 
But not,I think, the community.
It is interesting to contemplate the rational Council and the administration might offer in future  for extending services  to  this  crude and rude operation from out of town which has enjoyed munificent opportunity to fill their pockets by way of town resources and facilities. 
Bending over repeatedly and inviting  yet another kick does little to engender respect for the institution.
Neither is it a particularly astute political maneouvering.
I thought that lesson might have been learned. 

Friday 24 August 2012

Another FYI

Hi Ev -

Here's a link to a yorkregion.com story posted today, about the upcoming Markham Jazz Festival. Runs this weekend from Aug 16 - 19, multiple stages, workshops, clinics, beer & wine garden, and a huge line-up of big-name artists including several Juno and Grammy award winners. Huge list of sponsors including the City of Markham, Province of Ontario, Canadian Heritage Foundation, Trillium Ontario, Ontario Arts Council, etc, etc.

And one other thing...IT'S COMPLETELY FREE!

You gotta shake your head sometimes at the things Aurora lets some folks get away with...

FYI...Copiied From Elsewhere

  • |

Stouffville arts centre getting profitable

This is the year the Lebovic Centre for Arts and Entertainment - Nineteen on the Park may turn a profit.
Earlier this summer, it was predicted the three-year-old arts centre in downtown Stouffville would have a shortfall of $2,301 come the end of 2012. But thanks to an adjusted Ontario Arts Council grant, it may go into the black.
The facility – which cost $3.8 million to renovate and open in 2009 –  actually received $7,250 for the upcoming season, versus the initially reported $5,000, according to Steven Foster, cultural facility and programming co-ordinator for the Lebovic Centre for Arts and Entertainment - Nineteen on the Park.
Adding to the potential for a surplus is the anticipated ticket sales for shows this fall, according to Mr. Foster.
“This is really good news,” said Councillor Rob Hargrave, during Mr. Foster’s recent council presentation. “I know it’s a tough thing to get launched off the ground, Your value-add is getting out there.”
The arts centre board gave itself three years to break even. Although Mayor Wayne Emmerson noted it could take up to five years.
“It takes a while to get it off the ground,” he said during the council meeting.
Mr. Emmerson also noted the facility’s floor has some noticeable wear and tear to it.
“If a building is being used, that is what will happen,” he said.
In their effort to turn a profit, Mr. Foster said the board has worked diligently at cutting its maintenance expenses, which includes pushing the purchase of equipment they now have to rent on occasion, to 2013.
Savings have also been found with staff salaries/benefits thanks to a Trillium Foundation grant.
When it comes to generating revenues, the board has reduced its fundraising goal from $15,000 to $10,000.
“Fifteen thousand dollars was a rather ambitious goal,” Mr. Foster admitted to The Sun-Tribune in an interview.
This year’s inaugural fundraiser gala brought in $5,000 and Mr. Foster said the facility’s board is currently putting together another fundraiser to take place during the Christmas season.
Another revenue source – sponsorship – is expected to be right on budget at $10,000, according to the council report. But the board, according to Mr. Foster, is hoping to increase it.
“There’s a real effort this year to really go after the revenue side more aggressively,” he told The Sun-Tribune.
That includes changing things up a bit when it comes to booking performers.
Mr. Foster said there was a conscious effort on his part to book more popular/wider appealing acts, versus the indie performers of the previous seasons.
But that still does not guarantee more money, as ticket sales fluctuate from event to event. If 75 to 80-per-cent capacity is reached for the majority of the remaining 2012 events, Mr. Foster said it would equate to an additional $5,000 in revenue.
During the 2011-2012 professional series, there were three sold-out performances and according to Mr. Foster, most theatres anticipate 60 to 65 capacity for any given event.
“It can be pretty random,” he told The Sun-Tribune.
In order to bring performers to Stouffville, it will cost $10,000 more than anticipated versus the projection made at the beginning of the year. The cost is now expected to be $81,000, which Mr. Foster said is still in-line with previous years.
“I’ve been pretty good in working with agents to bring down the cost. Given the economic climate over the past few years, it’s easier to work with agents in negotiations,” he said.
The challenge no longer appears to be getting people to buy tickets, but to actually find the facility, according to Mr. Foster.
“It’s been a challenge. ... We don’t have a storefront,” he told The Sun-Tribune.
There is currently a message kiosk at the top of Civic Square at Main Street, which houses event posters, but the quality varies depending if it is a community event or part of the facility’s professional series.
Mr. Foster hopes early next year there will be a new electronic message centre in its place.
The approximately $10,000 unit is in the town’s 2013 capital budget, according to Mr. Foster.
In his council report, Mr. Foster noted the electronic marquee would establish the facility and Civic Square as a downtown “landmark”. It would promote not only facility events, but those taking place within the downtown, such as the farmers’ market and outdoor movie nights.
“A study by the Small Business Administration (USA) has shown that the use of an electronic message centre increases revenues by 15 per cent at a minimum. Based on our 2012 budget this would represent an increase of $15,750 in ticket sales,” according to the council report.

Thursday 23 August 2012

A Battle For Honour

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Shocking Revelation":

Wouldn't want to honour the person twice. Good work

I knew when I spoke about it , it might be hard for others  to understand why  the issue  was  important .
I said; "" Maybe it's because my uncle and  brother's names  are both on a war memorial "
I don't think of a name carved in granite in the circumstance as an honour  like a certificate of merit. 
It's a record of  sacrifice. A symbol of  terrible loss.
A memorial  that takes the place of a known resting place.
The reality is those  killed in the carnage of war, are unlikely  to have remains, let alone a resting place.
It would be no more appropriate to have a grave and  headstone    in a cemetery for a person who has been buried elsewhere.
A bomber crew or fighter aircraft blown to pieces in the sky are unlikely to  have  remains  gathered. 
The crew of a ship  blown out of the sea  by torpedoes are unlikely to have been  recovered from a sea of burning oil.
Thousands of rows of white markers in Allied cemeteries are nothing more than  physical a record of  names, ranks and numbers.
Memorials in towns and villages  and capitals all over the civilized world have a  significance  beyond material substance.
Far more than a list of names on a tablet to be added to on a  personal whim. 
During the 2003/2006 term another situation caused controversy. 
The fence around The War Memorial was in bad shape and had to be replaced. Parks staff discovered a veterinarian located in Edward's Plaza had cut an opening in the fence and installed a gate for  convenience of using town property  as a dog run for his patients because of a dog's need to defecate on grass.
The vet was informed by parks staff  the gate would not be replaced. He brought the  problem to Council.
Some Councillors found nothing wrong with his expectation . Especially since he had provided the fence around the leash free dog park on Industry Street
My objections were strenuous  for the same reason as cited above.
I could not understand their  argument any more  than they apparently understood mine.
I received a call from a high school teacher at G.W.Williams who did not choose to identify herself but had a listening  audience at her end of the phone. 
She infomed me she had lived in Aurora twenty-seven years. That's how old she was. Old enough to dismiss as ridiculous any argument other than her own; dog excrement is no worse than squirrels or bird droppings  and I was an out-of-date idiot. She seemed secure her status as a high school teacher lent weight to her logic.
Some years earlier , a  surplus tank became  available for anyone who would give it a home. Someone had the idea the war memorial would be a suitable location.Kids could climb and play on it.
It had to be pointed out  the War Memorial is not a memorial to war. 
Once again it had to be  stressed, it is a memorial to  human beings.
over a period of years, miles from home and families,  blown to pieces in infernal war machines like tanks and planes and ships and thousands of families left with the memory for the rest of their lives.  

A Shocking Revelation

To discover how quickly information and knowledge can get  lost.
Two weeks ago Council received a staff report recommending  a name be added to the Aurora War Memorial
An  ancestor of a soldier killed in the First World War, had done some research and decided his name  had inadvertently been left off the  Aurora Memorial. 
Staff accepted the contention, consulted with the Aurora Legion,. noted there was space for an additional name and recommended to Council  it be added.
My mother's brother , my grandmother's first born child, twenty-two  year old James Diamond's name  was chiselled into   the War Memorial of  our  home town.
After the  Second World War, my twenty-one year old brother, Patrick Finnigan's name was chiseled  into the same memorial.
For  eighty years ,War  Memorials have been sacred to the memory of  the names carved into history for the ultimate  sacrifice.
It is little enough.
In Aurora the Cenotaph is surrounded by green and  pleasant space.
A tree is planted for every name.Replaced immediately if it dies.
At  time of  planning a group  formed representing. King Whitchurch. and Aurora to create  the most  fitting memorial. Sir William Mulock at its head.
Funds were raised, land acquired and several years  later
the project  was  completed and pledged to the memory of sons who failed to  return.
It was a small community.
Names numbered in the twenties. 
Hardly likely a family would be slighted. A name overlooked.
Until almost the end of the century, a Board governed and cared for the Memorial. Norm Weller, town  parks keeper. in his time , provided care and  maintenance. 
Memorial Board Members grew  old.
They asked the Town  to accept responsibility.
The Town accepted. 
Ownership and assets were transferred.
Aurora Legion members, as veterans, are  committed  to keep the memory alive. They organize the annual parade and  service.
Aurora Legion does not own the Memorial. 
No jurisdiction or responsibility for its care and protection  falls on their shoulders.
The question  of adding a name to the  Aurora.,King and Whitchurch War Memorial  could not simply be a matter of adding a name  on the basis of  an  assumption of entitlement.
I have  received information, the fallen soldier's name appears  on the Memorial of Warkworth, Ontario.
I will provide  additional details  to those who should be concerned
 I thank the person who provided them to me.  

Friday 10 August 2012

A Wrong Choice Of Words

Anonymous said...
Are you saying that this Council is just as screwed up as its predecessor, only for different reasons?

That is truly depressing.
Anonymous said...
OK, I will bite. If everyone is a " Director ", how come Council is so far behind on so many items ? Is no one managing the Town Hall?
Chaos and confusion is exaggeration.
Though Council is not functioning as a unit.
It  hasn't since the beginning.
Part of the problem is the Mayor  carries out  the  role as if  he is   the new owner of a private corporation completely dependent on the general manager.
Actually every Mayor infuses the role with previous experience.But that usually includes Council experience.
It's not surprising. 
But it  contributes nothing  to making Council a cohesive unit.
Though it's not entirely responsible either.
Three  members  made it clear from the beginning, their  intention was not to be  part of a cohesive unit.
They did  not  understand  that's what's  required of  a newly elected Council.
And  they didn't much care. 
There really isn't anyone driving this bus.The  steering is erratic.
That's not the same  as the last Council.
There was never any question from the start that bus was careening  down a  long straight slippery slope.
It made it all the way. 
This term is not halfway over. . 
There is time for correction.
 Stuff that needs to be sorted.  

It's My Blog, If YOu Don't MInd.

Anonymous said...To 8 August, 2012 4:45 PM....

Other than Evelyn's musings, who said that Aurora is doing the same thing?

I would remind everyone, including our host, that this blog is called "Our Town and its Business" and not "Their Town and our Business"

Anonymous said...To 8 August, 2012 4:45 PM....

Other than Evelyn's musings, who said that Aurora is doing the same thing?

I would remind everyone, including our host, that this blog is called "Our Town and its Business" and not "Their Town and our Business"

I would refer  the reader  to the report of the Director of Environment and Infrastructure, previously known as Public Works Director, on the subject of colour of the town's fleet of vehicles.
I will publish it next week. if I  find it after the house is tidied for  the week-end. 
The Director's report  informed Council the  colour  white, was   chosen  by  administrative decision.
In other words,  Council was not consulted. 
The report  states colour  is a means of branding. 
It  further notes half a dozen municipalities. the Region, Power Stream  and .Enbridge Gas have all chosen  white..
If branding is a means of distinguishing  one municipality from another or from a private utility, how is it accomplished by everyone having the same colour  ?
I suspect it means administrations throughout the Region  and the Region.do not distinguish between the Region and  neighbouring municipalities.
We are told Treasurers throughout the Region  conference about how rates are to be charged for water.  Meter rate increases locally are attributed  to Regional  rate increases. If all  Treasurers  agree together what regional rate increases are to be,  would that not be called " fixing "  prices in the private sector?
Is that not why monopolies have to obtain government approval for price increases ?
A "Pending" Report will be submitted  to Council in August. 
The last  was in April. 
It's  coming up close to a year since Council approved  several resolutions for certain actions to be undertaken. 
I expect to see them listed on the Pending Report. Without progress noted. As they were in April.
Council did not direct staff to  review  " Customer Service " . Staff  recommended a " Program" be purchased without direction for review  from Council.  No report noted  unsatisfactory customer service.
One  reason for the recommendation was the Towns of Newmarket and Whitchurch-Stouffville  had purchased the program .
In response to the comment published above, a perspective  is formed with  time  and observation.
This Council started with three members making  a point of  detachmentfrom the newly elected body.
Councillor Gaertner repeatedly emphasised  loyalty to defeated comrades.   

Gradually it has become apparent , the  role  has steadily been. diminished 
The Mayor and CAO  have  meetings with this organisation and that, discussing whatever.
Council. as a whole,  is brought into the picture after the fact when   approval is sought without opportunity for  input.
The Mayor becomes peevish when "good ideas" do  not  receive  proper appreciation.   
In the meantime, direction  given to staff  by resolution of Council  is simply disregarded.
The role of Municipal Clerk is  to ensure Council's direction is followed. Pending reports  are  prepared by the Clerk . 
The role of  Presiding Member is to ensure the authority of Council is paramount.
What happens when the Presiding Member doesn't understand that  role ? 
Chaos and confusion ,that's what