"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

Sunday 30 September 2012

Hey Ho,,, Away We Go

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "By Their Deeds, Ye Shall Know Them":

Just let them go. It's like when your kids demand to do something that is seriously goofy but safe. Let them go


I know. I know. 
Politically, it's so much easier to go with the flow.
But when a staff report outlines half a dozen reasons why holding two business meetings of the Corporation  in two  different school  facilities is not feasible and the Mayor  simply waves his arm and  commands,  let's get at it, or words to that effect, and everyone else shouts Yippee i Yo, I really have a hard time overlooking the obvious.
Councillor Pirri offers the suggestion the agenda item for the "meetings" should be something to interest the  students such as a teen centre.
How would it  qualify as  a Council meeting? 
How would it conform to the Procedure Bylaw.
How would it be anything else but the show Councillor Pirri  believes should go on the road.?
Did I take an Oath of Office to be part of  a traveling circus.

Cowardy,Cowardy Custard

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "By Their Deeds, Ye Shall Know Them":

... and here was I thinking that the meeting went well, without you and Cllr Gaertner dragging things out.


Yes. there you are, cowardy cowardy custard with all the courage of your convictions , desperately seeking to prove  that  disorder at Council meetings is not the fault of the presiding member. 
From  your  cloak of anonymity  dumping  blame on two you  name  while failing to reveal your own identity.
A fine example for  youth in the community ?
I think not.   

Saturday 29 September 2012

By Their Deeds, Ye Shall Know Them

I did not attend Council on Tuesday. I watched on television.
Oh my! 
Oh My!
It was a short agenda.
Nothing much to be made of it
Much was made of it. 
It occurred to me, if I were a competent teacher of civics, the meeting could be used  as a classic example of how formal, decision-making can   be effectively screwed up.
Staff have been directed, despite solid  reasons why it shouldn't, to schlepp Council, staff, agendas  and all accoutrements to two high schools, to  encourage  student  interest in government.
The purpose  is to combat citizen apathy.  
Councillor Pirri brought  the notion back from a conference.
The Mayor  supports  it as an example of innovative thinking.
He  discussed it with  an educational official  who also believes it's a wonderful concept.
The majority of Council agree
Which leaves me to disagree. 
I am  left to wonder if they have ever watched  themselves on television.
Or...here's a thought...   being seen and heard on television  is so mind-boggling, it  has literally boggled  minds.
Or.. another ... Collective  understanding of how a meeting should be conducted is so skewed, confidence abounds.
Ah well, what's the point.
It has been decided.
But then sometimes  when Council  approves a motion , months go by and nothing comes of it. 
Nothing  indicates why some directions are promptly implemented,  some disappear and others  re-appear in a different format.Like an initiative of the Mayor and CAO. 
I am completing twenty-five years of  service as a Councillor and that many again as an observer.
I've served on a variety of Boards; Police,  Public Health, Hospital, Children's Aid Society, Library,  Recreation Commission, Conservation Authority,Children's Aid Society, a quasi-judicial review board, and dozens more committees.  
In the last Council, I saw rules of order regularly twisted to 
suit  exigencies. I saw provincial regulations ignored if they got in the way.I saw staff mercilessly abused in public.
But I have never seen  the disarray and confusion so consistently demonstrated as in  this Council.
It has been two years. Things have not improved.  
With the best will in the world, a  learning instrument for modern  high school students, this Council is  not.

Friday 28 September 2012

What Are You Implying

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Flags and Such":

"More ripples in the pond. Olivia Chow is seriously considering running for Toronto Mayor." 

No offence to Ms Chow. Is she qualified? Yes she was a councillor. Yes she is an MP, but are people expecting that something from her husband has rubbed off on to her? I do not see her as someone that could handle this job. 
Emotions aside, she could not do it.
No offense intended to the writer but the comment is offensive to all women. .
 Ms Chow, I believe, was an alderman in Toronto as long ,if not longer than her late husband. She was successful in her own right in Toronto politics and in the federal arena.Nobody gets a free ride. 
Not even Justin Trudeau, I  warrant.
Without a doubt, she was a valuable resource, as her husband  went forward to become leader of the NDP. and achieve success for the party, never known  before.
Her loss must have been devastating. She carried on.She stayed the course.
If she is now thinking about coming home and  how her  skills might be better used, it would surely be a logical  decision.
Campaigning for the office of Mayor of Toronto would be a formidable task to contemplate. 
It would require one or both of  these two.. 
Unlimited financial resources.  The support of a political party.
The NDP  have been successful in Toronto campaigns. People and passion can combat money.
Olivia Chow would be a very attractive candidate.She is small but mighty,
Certainly the equal of any man who might come forward.
Including the current Mayor. 

Thursday 27 September 2012

The Common Denominator

A common feature of politics is repetition .
 I've been reading a report on recorded votes in the last term.  A motion  and approved by Council, directed action on the surplus buildings on Victoria Street. 
It never happened.
It will soon be twelve months since a similar resolution was approved by this Council ,four years later.
 approved it.  No progress reported almost a year later. 
Provincially, Dalton McGuinty is trying to cope with trillions in  debt, attempting   to save public service jobs by asking the best-paid to accept a freeze on  public service salaries.
 Once again, we have Sid Ryan,spokesperson for  unions affected. 
He stated yesterday:"We should be grateful to Mr. McGuinty for bring every public sector union together  like never before". 
Mr Ryan is no doubt  thinking of his triumph in bringing down  the NDP  in their first opportunity to govern. 
Mr. Ryan has been a candidate for political office himself since then. Without success.
Previous to the last  election, Mr.Mc Guinty boasted of years of labour peace during his tenure. That would  no doubt be due to his generosity. 
Which likely contributed to the provincial debt.
In the last election, Mr.McGuinty showed himself willing to squander one hundred and forty million dollars by cancelling a gas fired  generating plant  under construction in Mississauga.
It was being built to fulfill a promise in a previous election to shut down coal-fired plants at the lake.
The most interesting angle of the dispute between Mr. McGuinty and his erstwhile teacher friends  is the fact neither refers to the particulars of  wages and benefits. 
To-day, a spokesperson for custodial employees said they were being asked to accept"less" pay to help the government  solve financial problems.
I think public service workers in certain categories are the new millionaires in our society. They earn far more than they need to provide for families . So they can invest in businesses, property, stocks and bonds.  Hours of employment are reduced  to the point they can take second jobs to increase their wealth.. 
Collectively,  the wealth of their associations could buy and sell several provincial administrations combined.
Power is money they say.
Well, they have the money.  
With  local boards of education, everybody had an idea how much a teacher earned, how much they thought they should earn and what was  received  in exchange.
Today's Powerful unions have something better  than money.
Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin , near famous Hanover City with  the River Weser deep and wide, washing  its walls on either side, they can lead the children chanting and chiming in support of  themselves against government in a struggle for dominance.
How appropriate is that?
People sit back complacently, having no idea what the arguments is about until such time as schools may close.
And nobody, including the press, has any inclination to dig a little deeper and reveal the details. .    

Flags and Such

newmarketfollower has left a new comment on your post "Mulcair in Macleans":

I haven't read the article. But Mulcair and his caucus silence after the PQ election in Quebec and lack of comment on the removal of the Canadian flag from the Quebec swearing-in ceremony all ironically speak volumes to me.

I want my PM to stand up to separatists. Mulcair is not that man. Broadbent and Lewis would have done it.

 Mr. Broadbent finished an election in 1989, winning more seats than anyone  had before. He resigned shortly after.
There was a hint of bitterness. 
Likely from the perennial betrayal of the UAW on  election eve.
Separatism was not an issue when Mr. Lewis was party leader.  I'm sure his approach would have been measured and carefully calculated. Mr. Lewis had an incredibly focused and orderly mind 
It was during his time the party accepted financial support from organized labour and  unknowingly exchanged their birthright for a mess of potage.
While Mr. Lewis was across Canada campaigning, his riding was   slipped out from under  him by a woman named Ursula Appoloni. No-one had  heard of her before and she was never heard of after. 
David Lewis exercised independent judgement as a leader of the NDP.  He was thrown under the bus..
I gave up on the NDP as a political party long ago.I concluded they was no interest in forming a government. The party's elite  wanted nothing more than an arm for organised labour.. 
The Canadian Union of Public Service Employees, Sid Ryan at the head, did it to Bob Rae as well. 
Tom Mulcair, with seats in Quebec, young people with fresh, open  minds, has the best chance yet  to make the party more than it has been.
The last epic political struggle  in Canada was when Pierre Trudeau. brought home the  Canadian Constitution and marshaled into law the Canadian Charter of Rights. He was said to have disdain for politics. He stayed focused long enough to accomplish his objective. 
My grandfather  helped  send the first Labour Party member,Keir Hardie, also a coal miner,to the UK Parliament.
My mother, passionate lifetime labour member,voted for Margaret Thatcher when hospital workers went on strike .The dead could not be buried  until the strike ended.
I was  always far more Scottish than I was British. I signed every home rule petition I saw .
They said it couldn't be done. 
Tony Blair, a new breed of politician, did it.
He had the greatest promise. But he made the deadly mistake of joining in the invasion of Iraq. He didn't have the  forefathers knowledge of the Middle East.
He didn't know the  years of struggle and  terrible atrocities it took for  colonial countries to extricate themselves.
Terrorism in Britain, France and Algiers was not a foreign concept.It didn't happen first in New York City.   
I hear of  few complaints  in Scotland about having independence. 
It hasn't brought the UK government to its knees.
I don't profess to  expertise about the aspirations of the people of Quebec.
But I'll tell you what, I think there's a lot to be said for protecting one's culture. Everybody  needs to feel they belong.That they have proprietary rights in their own community.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Mulcair in Macleans

The article was as long as it needed to be.Much to be told. All of it relevant.
Thomas Mulcair is where he needs to be at exactly the right time. 
Canadians are hungry for a leader.Someone they can believe.
 He looks to be serious, intense, determined and totally focused.
They will know him when they see him. 
Organized labour must become part of the fabric  It can not be the whole swatch of cloth.
Linda McQuaig should be recruited as a candidate.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Further To The Last Post

Following up on the last post:
 Staff  in attendance at the  meeting were ; Director of Planning, senior planner assigned to the project, deputy clerk responsible for the record and a secretary.
Also, there's Rick . He prepares the room and audio facilities for the meeting, provides security while the town hall is open, and closes down  audio and  the room after the meeting.
Rick  makes coffee and does other kind stuff as well. 
Former Councillor Nigel Keane had the quaint notion that because staff are on the payroll, their time is free. Doesn't cost the taxpayers anything to duplicate or waste time. 
Last night ,Councillor Gallo  again exploited  the opportunity, to find fault with  the Director of Recreation and Parks . It had been indicated no school sites would be required because of small  numbers, therefore no park would be needed either.  
 Town policy is to combine with school boards and include a park where schools are located, to maximize useable space.
Councillor Gallo was quick to point out   the  David English Park neighbourhood has only sixty-seven homes yet dual tennis courts,which he opposes, are being built.
The Councillor consistently chooses  not to acknowledge the Master Recreation Plan passed by the last Council, calls for additional tennis courts. The David English Park is the only available location..
Further to that, cluster housing proposed are condominiums.  If  family oriented, recreation facilities will be part of the project. 
They will be built by the developer and maintained by the condominium corporation.
And , of course, the huge  natural forest and open space will alsobe part of the neighbourhood.
It has been described as "the last vestige of arboreal forest" .What more could  a neighbourhood want or need ? 
Councillor Gallo has yet to share his idea. 

Round and Round It goes. Where it stops .nobody knows.

A planning meeting was held last night. A block plan was presented for approval. The  property parcel with separate owners, represented by a Consultant .
The  plan shows blocks that can be developed and those that can't.They are in the Oak Ridges Moraine. 
There's  a lot that can't.
To satisfy density permitted for the entire area, projects of  condominium cluster housing are proposed.
Roads are shown, private and public. A block for school sites and a park  as institutional.
The agenda  was  provided  to Councillors and made public on Friday. That's the norm.
Persons on the   list as interested parties were notified .
The issue is not new. It has been before the Ontario Municipal Board.
Re-zoning accompanied by site plans  is the next step  and  application was filed on August 11th.
The block plan is  a predecessor.
It was a performance. 
First up, the consultant proclaimed  unbounded admiration for  town staff and their work.
He anticipated concerns from neighbours. He felt there had been  mis-communication. He also responded to  concerns he anticipated being expressed by  neighbours. 
Concerned neighbours in the main are the Ratepayers of Aurora Yonge South a neighbourhood  organization created by Susan Walmer, master strategist, who no longer lives in the neighbourhood
Ms. Walmer was not present. 
Complaints were made by neighbours present about not being informed in time to prepare.
A dozen people were on hand. 
A letter was circulated with several points of concern articulated. 
Access points,two,  from Yonge Street were noted.
Residents of  Gilbert Drive  did not want a signalized intersection on Yonge, linking their neighbourhood in the east with the new in the west. 
They said  Gilbert Drive might become a  short cut to Vandorf  Sideroad.
It wasn't clear why  new residents would want to be on Vandorf Side road .Or why  curving subdivision roads  would present as a shortcut .
A Ridge Road resident worried  about  impact of the development on his private well. He was afraid there would be a draw down of the water. 
It was explained the development will be serviced by town water and sewer services. 
There would be absolutely no impact. 
After residents had their say, we heard from Councillors Gallo. Ballard and Gaertner. They repeated  the residents' concerns.  Including the complaint of staff failure to inform .
Although the residents' presence was writ large and they had had their say.
Councillor Ballard  introduced something new. 
Environmentally sensitive lands that cannot be developed are normally  required to be designated to the town. 
Councillor Ballard  suggested the lands might  be designated to the Oak Ridges Moraine Trust. The owners would then receive market  value for their lands.
Guess how that's funded.  
Susan Walmer is an official of that organization. 
If that happened, the town  is not required but expected to maintain the property.  But at the same time have no authority over how it might be used.
Susan and her crew are in charge of that.  
It's difficult to imagine  why Councillor Ballard  elected to represent  municipal interest, would  suggest something contrary to the municipal interest.   
Finally after endless repetition, the  recommendation was put to a vote. 
Councillor Gallo requested  a recorded vote..
Gallo, Ballard, Gaertner and Humphryes voted to reject the recommendation.
The motion passed with five votes in favour.
I was cold all day yesterday. I thought maybe I should stay home last night and try to get warm.Then I thought, there would be residents in attendance who would want me to hear their concerns.
Good thing I went.
The vote would have been a tie and  town business would have been stalemate once again. 
For no obvious useful purpose.
Just an endless, senseless waste of  staff and Council's time.
Since the strategy was clear from the outset ,we  may assume blocking the block plan was always the  intent  of Susan and her Council allies. 

Sunday 23 September 2012

Policies Are Not Cast In stone

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Riddle Me THis":

Whose Policy? Staff? Aurora? Region? And what are the consequences if Council does not adhere to it?

A policy may be recommended by staff.
Once adopted by Council it becomes a  corporate policy.
A  variance from  the policy is a decision for Council to make.
Everyone is expected to abide by the policies.
But if Councillors don't know the policies , they can easily be led astray.
We have had a workshop on policies pending for months.
Staff asked immediately before the last election, for authorisation under certain policies to be transferred from Council to staff. 
I argued it  would be an excellent project for the new Council and provide  much needed grounding on what is council's responsibility andwhat is staff's
I did a lot of spitting into the wind in the last term. 
This term, not so much.
Other than  the people  choice at election time, there are no obvious consequences for not adhering to policies. 
But that bespeaks everyone being familiar with the policies and the policies themselves making sense. 
At the beginning of  last term, the person in charge of corporate communications presented an annual report .
The Mormac twins grilled her about what  was meant by "corporate communications" When those two didn't like the answer, they just kept asking the question over and over. Until I shouted 'Stop it"
Corporate communications meant communicating decisions made by  the corporation.
The answer didn't suit the  Deadly Duo. 
It wasn't long before  corporate communications  became the publicity arm of the  incumbent Mayor's office. 
Nothing was allowed to appear that didn't show her name.. 
Communications staff were required to attend Council meetings for furtive purpose that didn't sit well.
It wasn't long after it ceased to be Corporate Communications   the  division  changed  hands,  as well as  its purpose. .
That's how it is now. 
Management has changed once more.
The division has four staff. It still functions as  publicity arm  for the incumbent Mayor.
He has no idea why that should not be.
It suits him fine.    
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Riddle Me THis":
Evelyn:A few quick questions about the 'policy' that requires Industrial Parkway to have sidewalks on both sides.

When and how was this policy approved, by whom, and what is the rationale?
Policy can be changed by legislative vote. At one time Canada practiced capital punishment and then, by an act of Parliament, abolished it.
Surely a 'sidewalks policy' can be changed.Is the September 25 Open House going to be all day or only between certain hours? Will there be someone there to explain and answer questions? Someone qualified to do so.
It seems to me that this 'policy' is without merit south of Wellington, and with questionable merit to the north.
A policy is a  guideline intended to ensure consistency in decision-making. Sometimes it spells out requirements already in government regulations. Like spending policies.
There's a policy for Council/staff relationship.
For example, no Councillor can direct staff to do anything. 
Staff direction must come from a majority decision of Council.
That policy is not being adhered to right now. 
Staff are as much responsible as  Council members. 
The sidewalk policy was updated in the last term. 
Many fifty year old roads  were built to rural standards; no sidewalks, drainage by ditch and culvert. 
Re-construction was to urban standards. With storm drainage, sidewalks on one side and boulevards for snow storage; depending on width. 
It  meant sidewalks abutted  property lines and front lawns were substantially reduced.
Many residents were not enamoured. 
The policy was to allow residents ti indicate  preference at the time plans were being prepared.
Invariably what happened was, people opposed to sidewalks shortening their front lawn and driveway turned up at open houses and said so. 
People who weren't paying attention didn't indicate preference until the plans were ready to proceed. Then there would be a kefuffle.
The obvious  requirement for a sidewalk would become evident and  plans would have to be changed. 
In the last term, we cut down a beautiful street tree and shifted the road  and underground services over a few feet to the west to satisfy the demands of a  single resident on the east, Never found out how much that cost. He spent the winter in Florida  and isn't there at all now. 
Anyway,  the policy was adopted to have sidewalks on both sides of streets during the last term. Theory being, people could still have input but first the designs would be for two sidewalks and Council would have to do the Solomon. 
A policy is not cast in stone.
 In a town  this age, many variables have to be accommodated.The Industrial Parkway is one. .
In my judgement, it  needs imagination. . 
Safety and accessibility are  worthwhile  objectives.
The project must be  realistic. 
Sidewalks on both sides  are not. 
I argued  when the  design contract  was awarded.
.But  Council  has been  reluctant to exercise personal  judgement. It  seems easier just to do as they are told.  And.there's safety in numbers.
But that may be changing.
The community is exerting its influence and that helps an elected representative  to understand and have confidence in his role.
We maybe  looking  at ways and means of accomplishing the objective of accessibility without cutting down hundreds of trees and needlessly spending millions of dollars.
It won't save money already spent on consulting fees.God knows that tap is still turned on full.
But there's still time to prevent the greater boon doggle* 

* Wikipedia
 A boondoggle is a project that is considered a useless waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy motivations

Saturday 22 September 2012

Riddle Me THis

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Many Twists and Turnes of Politics.":

Agreeing to pave the sidewalks all along that road was a fairly early Council decision. I would hope they regret that one. Is there no way the scope of the project can be reduced? Just one side of the road with sidewalks? Is it too late?

The decision was made to award the contract for design of sidewalk on both sides of the Industrial Parkway  in  2012. It was in the budget. It helped to increase your taxes. 
It is too late to save  the money spent on designs.
But it's not too late  to reduce the scope of the project
The Open House to see the plans will be held on Tuesday. September25th in the Holland Room at the Town hall.
You really need to let your Councillors know what you think. If they don't hear from you, they think you're not bothered  about   money being spent, you are all  loaded   and  can afford  increased  taxes  to pay for all kinds  of mindless projects.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "E-Mails Are Better":

Please. I have a question about how and why some things happen at Council and I don't know if it has to do with procedural by-laws or gremlins. Council seemed to have decided to give the Auroran that contract. But suddenly a new motion appears saying this should not be done. The same thing happened with the discussion about vehicle colours. What had been decided pops right back up. The term " Leadership Team " makes it hard to determine if an individual or a department is taking some matters to such extremes. Who sets the agenda?

This is a difficult question. It took me a while to understand  the turn that had been taken. 
Staff conducted a competition based on certain criteria.
They recommended the contract be awarded to the Metroland publication.
The main advantage they said  was a "readership audit."
Circulation was a factor. 
The Auroran's circulation was higher. 
The Auroran didn't have a readership audit. That was a negative.
In the course of debate, it turned out the readership audit The Banner had on hand was done in 2010. It was out of date and could n't be counted. 
Council decided on the basis of the criteria, the contract should not be awarded as recommended by staff. 
On the basis of strong  majority conviction, the readership advantage belonged to The Auroran. 
Council made that decision. As is our right.
Subsequently  staff became concerned  the RFP process  was flawed. 
CAO recommended  the decision  be set aside and the contract  awarded as a single source supplier. It is another option available.
The recommendation was not easily understood. 
It appeared staff were recommending the decision to award the contract to The Auroran was being set aside.
That could not  be permitted.
But it took a bit of to and fro before it was understood  that's not what was intended.
Staff  were given authority  to make an agreement with The Auroran as a sole source supplier rather than as the successful bid.
We certainly can do a good job of tying ourselves in knots at times. 
When you think of the numbers involved it's  not really all that surprising.
The six page memorandum about why the town fleet should  all be white was redundant and created needless irritation. 
 Councillor Gallo asked for a report from staff when all that was
needed was confirmation of no extra cost. 
I said there wasn't. The Director said there was. 
By my standards ,there really  is no excuse for the public  having to choose who  is giving factual information; a Councillor or a staff person.
Maybe that's another one of those changes I'm supposed to accept

I am not inclined..   

The Many Twists and Turnes of Politics.

Buses trunle around town regularly carrying no-one but the driver. 
At night, inthe dark,I think of a movie I saw when I was a child ,around about the time of SnowWhite and the Seven Dwarfs. It was  called The Legend of  Sleepy Hollow with a  headless horseman galloping  wildly through the forest terrorizing all who saw him.
It's hard  to see there's  a driver in the bus , let alone passengers.
A couple of years ago, Council was notified a bus  run on Industrial Parkway was  to be  cancelled.
Councillor Gaertner objected.
Council referred the matter to the Chamber of Commerce. They objected. . 
It was cancelled. We never noticed or heard from anyone inconvenienced by the cancellation. 
Since then, concrete pads  of different sizes have been laid at bus stops that  I never knew  were there. Never saw a passenger waiting or walking . Never saw a person dismounting from a bus. .
If there are any, I believe we can be assured they are being transported  by bus. They are not walking.
Nevertheless  we are  to build sidewalks on both sides of  Industrial Parkway to connect  the  concrete pad bus stops. . 
The project is so huge it must  be undertaken in four phases. 
The last figure I heard was $2 million.
One hundred and forty street trees  will  be removed from our urban forest to make way for  concrete sidewalks for  invisible pedestrians and  passengers  transported  by heavily subsidized  buses driven by  a  lonely  bus driver.
The  trees  to be  destroyed  are  probably along the road that services Sheppard's Bush on one side and the railway on the other..
Services is somewhat of a misnomer, since there are no  buildings   on either side of that  serpentine right of way.
Removing  trees  on the  Sheppard's Bush side will expose the rusty five foot high chain link fence that serves no useful purpose. 
Behind it , there's a  weed infested  berm that can't be maintained. 
That's a misnomer as well.
 It's a pile of  road rubble stashed  there to save money from disposing of it properly. 
It obscures the view of the playing fields. Like the  passing traffic might somehow interfere with the games. . 
It takes up  space that might  be better  used for parking and yes, a pathway for potential pedestrians and  people on scooters.Or even  mayhap,  straighten the crazy bends in the road.
The  road should be dubbed Timpson's Folly. It got him elected.      

Thursday 20 September 2012

E-Mails Are Better

This has been a busy week with lengthy e-mails flying back and forth seeking enlightenment from staff. on problems  brought to my attention by residents.
It's  more convenient than the phone. .
I don't have to wait for a call back. I don't have to get exasperated by a voice message five or six times and still not   speak to a human being.
I know it's not reasonable to expect Directors to be waiting for the phone to ring.  To interrupt whatever they are doing to respond.
 At the same time the image that comes to my mind is of a town hall completely vacant  except for the telephones.
With e-mail, staff can read  the  inquiry, respond to it when
time is available and that usually  happens before the day is out.
I circulate my e-mails to Councillors and the CAO  so that everyone is aware of the questions and answers. 
So that's what's Ive been doing this week
And not writing blogs. 
I'm going out to a barbecue at the Region  to kick- off fund-raising for  the Special Olympics Team that won gold in Alberta last  Spring. 
They are going to Korea next Spring to represent Canada .
They won gold because they scored the most goals, blocked the most goals and displayed the most sportsmanlike conduct.
I  like to think the last was the reason their team twas selected to represent Canada.
I am very proud.
On Tuesday's agenda, we had a report for information about where 
funds  might come from to pay $16million cash for the  joint centre planned for public works and parks departments.
It's not a done deal.
You may be interested in one of the figures; $1.3 million from water and sewer rates reserve.
The Region is responsible for supply and storage of water and transport / treatment of waste water at a Lake Ontario treatment plant that serves Durham and York. They  buy 75% of  the water we use from Toronto and Peel Region. 
The town is responsible for treatment and distribution of water and collection of sewage and delivery to .The Big Pipe.
Water rates charged to consumers  produce the revenue to pay  the region's bill. 
We found in the past, they paid for more than that.We got that changed.  
Huge increases have been imposed  in the past three years and more are anticipated in the next two.It is not clear why.
Now,here's the  current conundrum; why would we  have collected sufficient funds from  water and sewer rates to have over a million dollars to spare for  infrastructure that has nothing to do with treatment and distribution of water and collection of sewage. 
That infrastructure is in the ground.
We have been spending an average of a million dollars a year inserting plastic liners into sewer pipes to prevent ground water from seeping in and  thereby reduce  the flow of waste water to be treated and paid for. Also to allow more  capacity for new development.
We've been doing that for about ten years. Apparently a way to determine if  the practice works is yet to be determined..
I asked this year and was told the region is planning to spend millions to come up with a methodology.
Now I ask you. I am sitting at a Council table with eight other people hearing that.We spend millions on a scheme to reduce infiltration of ground water to mix with waste water  and ten yeasr after the fact we are plannin to spend additional millions to see if it works.  
How do you  calculate  how much water there is in the ground and how much managed to seep into the sewer pipes in the past  and how much isn't seeping in  now because of  a flexible  plastic liner    threaded through the pipes. .
Even when  ground water exists, how would a liner inside the pipe stop it from getting in at the joints and joining the gravity flow to  trickle merrily on down into the trunk sewer.
If anybody comes up with a sensible answer to that question, I look forward  to hearing  it. In the meantime, we spend millions hoping it's doing what I don't believe  it is.  
There are other figures in the list of likely sources to pay for the $16 million  joint facility. that might interest you. 
Why today's  taxpayers  should  pay cash for a facility to serve the community for the next fifty years is another  question that might bear examination. .
Gotta Go now.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Tuesday's Meeting

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "No Points Scored":

Can we take it from your lack of comment on the subject that there were no speed bumps at the Council meeting? I noticed from the Mayor's column that streaming, whatever that is, of meetings was to start - a trial - in the fall. It is now the fall. I would bet that cheque has been cashed.

It was a committee meeting of Council  on Tuesday. 
Councillors Gaertner and Gallo were absent. The agenda was sparse.
A  Hydro Reserve Fund Bylaw was  recommended for preparation.  
It was a dreary night. Our usual visitors didn't come out.Probably stayed home by the fire.
Streaming  means video production on  U tube for public viewing. Meetings will be on view at a time of your choosing
The town's web site should tell you everything you  ever wanted to know about streaming.  
When you find out how it works you can tell the rest of us.
I've been busy  this week with correspondence about problems in the community.
I appreciate  the comments that keep the conversation without me. 
It's neat.  

Numbers Are Easy To FInd

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "No Points Scored":
Possibly I wasn't trying to win points.

What I was doing is suggesting that Mr. Baker is dumb and should not express a very specific opinion about something that he obviously knows nothing. Possibly he is not an idiot, merely ignorant. Far too often politicians speak before they think.

A case in point is the Republican candidate for the US presidency. Mr. Romney seems to be a one-man wrecking crew with respect to his own campaign; the latest video relating to the 47% of Americans who survive solely on the basis of federal government largesse and who are beyond redemption.

M.P.'s are grossly overpaid for what they do. Bev Oda's pension, to which she is, I believe, immediately entitled, amounts to something on the order of $55,000 per annum. For how many years was she an M.P.? How long would a Ford assembly line worker or a primary school teacher have to work to receive this? Would they ever?

Our education system is completely broken. The provincial Minister fights with the Boards of Education
who fight with the teachers unions and with the teachers themselves. Parents use the school system as a baby-sitting service and refuse to become involved with the system that seems to be failing that most precious of commodities, our children. These are the hope for the future.

Yet no one seems to approach education with any sense of responsibility when all have important roles to play in its design and implementation. To see what can be accomplished study the German and Scandinavian systems. They produce young people who are well educated in broad terms and also specifically to meet the jobs requirements of their countries.

I will pass on the crime subject for now

So that means I have to look it up myself.
Statistics are for the years 2005/2006. There are federal. provincial and territorial facilities. 
Numbers  are complicated . Easy to read. Not so easy to interpret. . 
In that period,  131 per 100,000 population were in jail. 
232,800  people were admitted in 2005/2006.
On any given day 33,440 people are in custody. Half have not been sentenced.
Cost of incarceration is $259.05 a day for a male in federal prison. 
Cost in a provincial facility is $141,78.
There's more, tons more stuff. It's all depressing.
Guy Paul Moin was one of the statistics for seven years and he didn't commit the  crime  I think he was twenty-two when they charged  him and found him guilty.
I remember the day they arrested him. I met Dick Illingworth coming out of a building I was going into. 
We stopped for a minute 
." See they arrested somebody" he  said.
"By God. I hope they're right"  I said. 
"You and me both" he  said.
 Neither of us thought so.
 It was too quick. Too easy.
We were right
His family went through that nightmare. He spent seven years in jail for raping and murdering a child. 
The person who did it, was never apprehended.
Statistics don't mention how many people in jail can't read or write. 
Or whether  literacy  classes  are taught.
Aboriginal people, for their percentage of population. far  outnumber others in the jail population.

No Points Scored

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "14% De Facto":

The unemployment number normally relates to those who are actively seeking employment.

Then there is a percentage of the population who used to work, who lost their jobs or quit, and are not actively seeking employment. This number is difficult to estimate but a figure must be added to those seeking work in order to provide a far more accurate statistic for a country's labour situation.

George Baker is an idiot if he said that 14% of the population is in jail. Canada's population is upwards of 33 million; 14% of that is 4,620,000. This is greater than the combined population of the three prairie provinces.

Possibly Mr. Baker should resign and go back to school. He could then teach courses on matters political to prison inmates so that when their sentences have been fully served they can enter politics, run for public office and become legitimate thieves, the way so many politicians seem to end up.

By the way, check out Maureen in today's NYT. 


You don't win any points by refuting George Baker's statement by calling him an idiot. 
Maybe I heard him wrong. 
Your figures certainly makes  the jail population percentage even more unbelievable than when I heard him say14%. 
So, how hard can it be to determine what it  actually is ?
Have you nothing nice to say about federal M.P.'s proposal  to cut their pensions? 
I take it you have no concern either about what we are not accomplishing in the education system?
Or  that  petty crime incubates  while spending millions and at the same time withholding options for those who need them most.
I will read the Irish colleen now.   


Dear Mayor & Councillors:
The Newmarket Voice Festival is in its 17th year, and has been fortunate over the years to attract some very distinguished, talented and accomplished adjudicators to assist the singers in their field of study.  This year the adjudicators are Barbara Collier, Linda Van Winden and Donna Garner.
The Festival provides a wide variety of categories, representing many styles of singing and the music of many cultures.   Contestants range in age from under 8 years to University students and are primarily from Aurora, Newmarket and other areas of York Region.
With ever rising tuition costs for many of today’s university students, the Festival supports the further development of the art of singing and of talented singers through the provision of awards, trophies and scholarships.  Scholarship recipients are chosen by the adjudicators, and the minimum award is $100.00 to $1,500.00 for the higher disciplines.  Funds for these awards are made available through the generosity of individuals and business leaders within the community, and income tax receipts are available.
We are attempting to build awareness in the community and beyond, and encourage you to check the festival‘s website www.newmarketvoicefestival.com where everything from entry, syllabus and scholarship donor forms may be downloaded.
It is our hope that you will be able to assist us in providing these young singers with the support necessary to improve their skills, and achieve a level of excellence in the art of singing.  It is astonishing that with the right exposure, the nervous beginner quickly becomes the poised professional.
We look forward to your participation in this wonderful event, and please do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information.  We know that it will be a rewarding experience for you whether you are a competitor, or someone we can count on for financial support.

14% De Facto

George Baker, a Newfoundland Liberal Senator, appeared on a Sunday night T.V. show. called  West Block. How original!
 It was  set-up with a host, George  and a foil in Professor Lee of Carleton University.
The two contrived to have a dispute about political matters.
It was too hurried. Too many issuesIt was trite..
But one fact caught my attention. 
George Baker said, the government should be embarrassed  that 14% of the population is in jail.
Think about that. 
I've been listening since for current percentage of unemployed.  I  heard  numbers from  NDP Leader of the opposition. But  not  percentage.
I know it's not 14%. I don't think  it's that high  in the States with  a  meltdown of the economy.
Yet, 14%  incarcerated  are not employed.They are not in the job market.
Should the factor not be added to  percentages of unemployed ?
If  unemployed  are  8% and 14% are  incarcerated, that would add up to  23% of employable people not contributing to the nation's economy.
Add  numbers  dependent on social assistance , could it be as high as or approaching 50%?
!4% of the population in jails are not supporting  families..
But that's not the whole picture. 
Custodial services cost more than  a $100.000  per  inmate, per year. 
Last year, at the Canadian Federation of Municipalities,a workshop examined  high costs for policing.
A panel member from Social Services in Waterloo told  delegates,  it is possible to predict students who will  be in trouble with the law by Grade 5 .
Unable to master basic skills in reading and writing,by Grade 5, core resources  are no longer available in the school system.
They are children at risk.
Think about that. 
On the news recently, we learned teaching assistant jobs are earmarked for  elimination to help reduce the deficit.
In the last election, the nation's Prime Minister committed  to build more prisons.In select ridings no doubt. 
Think about all of that. 
14%  unemployed would be a horrendous statistic.
14% dependant  on social assistance would be equally dire. 
But 14%, spending  lives in jail cells are not even counted in the scheme of things.
Add it  together and contemplate, how much of our economy is based on misery and failure?
Is it our largest industry?
What percentage of  municipal budgets are spent on policing ?
What percentage of the  provincial budget , on the court system?
What percentage of students  leave the education system without the ability  to read or write or  consequently become employed?

What chance it might be exactly 14% ? 
Are we our own best friends?
I don't think so.

Monday 17 September 2012

I didn't know you could get the Times' columns for free. If they have a limit, can you use another computer to get around the cost? Might be good until the U.S election if I don't over-do? Otherwise, I'll have to shop-around with relatives. 
Same answer as below. Google New York Times.  any day of the week.

I Will Stay The Course

Anonymous said... Don't negotiate over such a matter of principle. Keep grinding until they are dust and their insurer has to eat it. 15 September, 2012 
12:59 PM Here is the hypocrisy of this blog. The "insurer" is now the bad guy. You are telling Ms Buck to continue until the insurer has to pay. You know what will happen after that? The "insurer" will raise the premium that they will charge the Town. And then, we the tax payers of Aurora will have to pay to cover that. Absolutely brilliant! 
I  have heard many accounts of  insurance indemnity; of how things might transpire and how they have evolved  to this point. 
I have no certain knowledge of how it should  or might be.
My focus has not wavered.

Sunday 16 September 2012


Many of the sentiments expressed in  comments to posts are not based on rational thought.They are reactions to  personal experience..
Are  feelings irrelevant?
Or. are they a barometer of public opinion?
Does a powerful and negative sentiment make us feel uncomfortable?
I think so.
Is that  a reason why it should be expunged ?
I thought about it before I published it.. 
 I thought about it before I removed it. 
When the gang of six  decided behind closed doors ,they had  authority  to use public facilities and resources to punish  people for criticism of  the former Mayor, I disagreed.
The crticism wasn't done during a meeting of Council and directed to be made part of the public record.
It was done in a forum outside  the authority of Council. 
Politics is a harsh taskmaster.
When a vote is cast in a candidate's favour, trust is the currency of exchange.
When trust is betrayed, coldly, blatantly, with calculated, ruthless intent, rage is the reaction.. 
Many had life-shattering experiences during  the 2006-10 term of office. 
The threat was heard ;  "I will destroy your life"
The election  results were  satisfactory.
But it would be a mistake to imagine so much harm could be so easily erased. 
Namelessly expressing  a sentiment in a blog, so strong, it is repellent to the rest of us, is  small  compensation
Fresh hostility  is  generated  with each reminder.
It's natural.
It should not  be repressed.
Politicians may come and go without making a ripple and sink softly, gently, into oblivion.
In different circumstances, they  will not.  

Saturday 15 September 2012

Pat It and Prick It and Mark it as Spam

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It's Just A Few":

Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I'll just sum it up what I had written and say, I'm thoroughly enjoying your blog.
I as well am an aspiring blog writer but I'm still new to everything. Do you have any helpful hints for novice blog writers? I'd
definitely appreciate it.
Feel free to visit my blog post ... United States Real Estate Directory


My website did not eat up your comment. I marked it as spam.
I don't  see why someone posting a blog for the United States Real Estate Directory would seek help here.
A small Canadian  town's political affairs and a  national  American real estate directory don't really have much in common.
Besides, reading my posts  surely provides all you need to know about  how  they are  written.
Reading  my response leads me to believe my first instinct to mark yours  as spam was the right one. 

Comment Noted

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Process ??": 
You state "that when insured legal services are provided...." From this I assume that the six individuals named by you in your suit are being represented by a lawyer under an insurance policy. I also assume that this policy was underwritten by the Town of Aurora. In other words, a policy on which a premium was paid was at that time being funded by taxpayers. How ironic!

Whether such a policy continues, you would know best.

It has taken nearly three years since you filed your action to get to where you are, which doesn't appear to be very far.

I realize you really can't comment about this in detail.

The Hervey suit against Morris on the conflict issue was initiated in early May last year. After receiving waivers from town Council Messrs. Garbe and Leach were examined on March 8, 2012.

Several former/present councillors (five in total) plus the former mayor were examined in very late May and Hervey June 1.

A court hearing date before a Superior Court judge was fixed for August 17 and because it did not conclude an additional date has been set for November 2.

The above information is all public and readily available to anyone who wants to search for it.

I suppose my question is: "What the hell is taking your case so long?"

It must be very frustrating for you.

Hang on. You will get them in the end.

Not the least of the frustration is that I cannot respond to your comment.
Except to say, when examinations for discovery are complete , I understand those documents also will be public for  anyone who wishes to search for them

It's All New To Me

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

I think actually that the "client" in your case is the insurance company. They instruct the lawyer, even if it is not visibly apparent to you. In this case, you are the "insured".

Everything on this isssue is new to me.
 I do know I am the client of the  law firm, MacDonald and Associates. 
The defendants' costs are  covered for  a lawyer provided  by the town's insurance company. 
Apparently,they successfully argued  six persons representing themselves as a Council of nine,of which I am one, were executing  responsibilities as elected representatives of the people of Aurora when they did the deed of which they are charged.
By moi. 
I am advised by town  staff, they are not paying legal fees.
In this case, the town is the insured.
Although four of the six  are no longer elected representatives , they are still  indemnified for their actions while in office. 
I understand your argument. 
But those named by me  on court documents are not  the Town's insurance company. 
The insurance company is not called to defend their actions.

Friday 14 September 2012

The Process ??

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Oh What A tangled Web We Weave, When Frst We ...":

A query from an admitted legal novice:
Is there not a required stage between examinations for discovery and an actual trial that requires forced mediation between the 2 parties. Not knowing where you are in the process, I was hoping that a trial could be avoided. Like all Aurora residents, I have learned that justice is truly a cumbersome slow slog. 

I too am a legal novice. Learning as I go. 
And unlearning.
A step following the examinations for discovery would appear to be logical. 
We are not there yet. 
I was informed in the beginning that when  insured legal services are provided , the client does not instruct the lawyer. 
The lawyer instructs the client. 
That has not been apparent.
Metroland  of course, has their own law firm. 

Yes Virginia , He really is what he appears to be

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Meaning Of Ethics":

Could someone please explain these 'Tweat ' things? and how we are getting them? I know zip about computers but Ballard claims to be an expert in communications. Could this be someone else using the heading? Surely he should not be this stupid? We should be careful unless someone is certain of the source of these items
 Sorry I can't explain the "tweating" thing .
The exchange between Councillor Ballard and Deborah Kelly  have been forwarded to me  exactly as they appeared on Councillor Ballard's domain. It's like a transcript.
I'm not even sure domain is  the right  word for  the address to  send and receive  Councillor Ballard's  "tweats".  I should stop with the quotes, I think.
If anyone was trying to pin this  demonstration of imbecility on to the Councillor, I think we might have heard  loud protestations by now.
My reader  ponders in disbelief that a Councillor could be so "stupid"
Well, we  have the evidence provided by himself. It's a pattern.
He has already referred to Aurora citizenry as "rubes" in connection with the high culture offered at the occupied museum facility in Church School.  
Don't forget, the exchange that started this thread was between himself and Deborah Kelly, managing- editor of  a group of Metroland newspapers, one of which failed to win the competition for the $30,000.  annual contract with the town.
The  subject of  exchange between the two professional associates, being Conflict of Interest and Ethics. .
Council had an e-mail from a Metroland  person the day before yesterday.
Ii contained information I did not know before. 
It seems  a hot-shot ad salesman with the  Era Banner approached the town in 1993 and sold  the idea of The Aurora Notice Board .. 
There was no other newspaper  in town at the time so, of course,  they got the business without  a competition. They have had it ever since.
Things changed. A new newspaper  emerged.  It was small. But it grew.It was published by  man who cut his teeth on local news.He understood what people wanted and had before Metroland gained a monopoly and provided it in spades.
Twice, it made a  failed bid for the town's business..
Now, it has succeeded.
Squawking ,accusations and threats of retribution have resulted, courtesy of Councillor Ballard,  from the managing editor of the newspaper  that lost the competition, against one Councillor who voted with the  majority vote of  seven  to two.
This time Gaertner and Ballard were the stand-out duo. 
Chris Watts, our  resident media wizard could perhaps  give us a primer on tweating.

Oh What A tangled Web We Weave, When Frst We Practice To Deceiveto deceive.

It has been an interesting and  frustrating experience to be  plaintiff in a legal action.
October 27 will be the third anniversary of commencement .
Time  taken  has of course been the first surprise. It would  naturally not have been my choice.
Frustration comes from advice from my solicitor not to speak  of the matter. 
It's hard not to speak clearly and frankly on a matter of such  serious importance to myself and interest to others. 
But some things are a matter of public knowledge  and can be referenced. 
In  Spring a Supreme Court Judge appointed  Justice Boswell of the Superior Court of Ontario to case manage the file. The idea came from Justice Boswell. We welcomed it. 
My understanding is,the case should be scheduled for  Spring session of the court in 2013 and heard by a jury trial.
 Not  cause for celebration in Aurora's Sesquicentennial to be sure, but an auspicious date for a first in  the town's  history nevertheless. 
Ms Milner, author of a History of Aurora,  is writing a second book. Specifically, first women in Aurora's history. 
Ms Milner informs me I have served longer in elected office than any other person in the town's history. 
I did not know that.  I was obliged for the information.
My complaint to the court is against seven parties.
Seventh is Metroland Media Group Ltd.
carrying on business as York Region Media Group,
580b Steven Court,Newmarket ,Ont.
L3Y  4x1
And  Ian Proudfoot at the same address. 
Clause B sub 5  in the list of complaints states;
The defendants defamed the plaintiff through the publication of 
"Statement  from the Town of Aurora Council" (the statement)which was published by Metroland in its print edition 
of The Banner and on its website on or about July 28th.2009.
The case is before the Ontario  Superior Court of Justice. 
The Town of Aurora is not involved in the matter. 
Last week, Council of the Town of Aurora voted to award a contract for advertising to The Auroran, a second and of course rival publication in the Town.
I voted in support of that decision. 
Unless there is  proof that I have a share in ownership of  The Auroran  or that I am employed by and receive remuneration from the owner, the suggestion I  have contravened my Oath of Office by voting in favour of the award to  that  publication, is at one and  the same time,  scurrilous and defamatory.
It seems clients may not  all receive the same advice from their solicitors. 

A Clarion Call

At the meeting for public input to the sesquicentennial celebration
a representative of the Royal bank committed to financial support.
 I  later suggested creating our own  artifacts and  revenue to help pay for the party  with souvenier beer steins and wine glasses ..
Tim Jones, a  committee member spoke to the Royal bank representative   and immediately there was a commitment to have the glasses made and donated  to sell for revenue.
It's the way things happen when the community is called upon.
I  spoke of having a calender printed  with a  notable scene for each month.  
Later  Chairman Allison reminded  all present of the limited time available.
That's true.
A calender should be ready for Christmas gift giving. 
The committee can't do it all. People  and  groups  can help. 
I have no  idea how to go about  preparing a calender for printing, what it would cost . I have no skill in photography.  Or selling advertising ..
But I  think  there  be people who do. 
Anna, are you there? Mr. and Mrs Yates, I know your love and skill in  photography. Larter's advertising  know their  way about the advertising world..
Mr. Downey is  staff resource  to the committee . His staff publish an annual  recreation directory which  I believe is financed by advertising.
Potential  photo subjects are many and varied;
Faces of people in the tenth decade of life and still living independently.
Aurora  new borns in 2012..
Cool tranquil shady places in the  town
Roads winding through forests.
Breathtaking expanses of sweeping hills, in sunshine, twilight, green or snow-covered.
Paintings of heritage buildings acquired by the town over the years from the Aurora Art Show.
The list is only limited by imagination.
No time to lose. 
Calenders should be ready for Christmas gift giving.
To send to friends in other places. 
Spread the  word.  


Thursday 13 September 2012

The Meaning Of Ethics

I'm having trouble with   comments again.
A response to a comment made at  a particular time is not useful  I can't keep going back  down the list looking for the time to identify the comment. 
Yesterday a comment referred to" a red-haired troll with a blog"
There's only one red-head on the scene I know. She is not a troll and she doesn't have a blog. But I published it anyway.
Later, I understood.I removed the comment.
It 's a pain trying to figure out  the comments .Not worth the trouble.
I am  going  to be more stringent. 
Ethics have been mentioned in the last couple of days. It reminds  me  of  Ethics  Professor, David Nitkin, the town's first Integrity Commissioner for ever such a brief time. . 
He  was so looking forward to the opportunity to elevate the level of discourse at the municipal level of government. 
First he scheduled two workshops,. To teach ethics.
They are not about morality. Nor  legality. Nor religion. 
Ethics are a separate discipline. 
Three people missed the first workshop; the Mormac duo and Councillor Gallo.
I asked at the end ofthe session,, how much experience the Professor  had had  with Municipal Councils?
He referred to collegiality.
Told us he had dealt with governments with blood on their hands. 
I shook my head sadly and warned him, not for the last time, they will not let you do your job. 
The second workshop was cancelled.  
Replaced with an oft-repeated  public display of  hubris about where the power lay. 
A lesser man might have been intimidated. 

Ideas Spill Over

The Sesqui-centennial committee met in the Chamber last night and heard ideas for the celebration . 
I was there. I had some . I have more.
The chairman reads the blog so I will  present them here while I think of them. 
There can't be too many ideas for a gig like this. 
Some will fit some won't.
At one time,  there was a town hall on the  north corner of Mosely and Yonge. Among other facilities, like a jail cell  a library, and the fire reel, a market  occupied  the building. 
For  the season of 2013, the market could return to Yonge Street.
From Mosely to Wellington the street could be closed for five hours, from seven on a Saturday  morning.
Vendors should be in the roadway, like at the street sale.
Sidewalks clear for store  and window shopping. 
The Historical Society could work with  store keepers and restore window displays to times past with artifacts from the museum collection.
Signs could  once again hang out over sidewalks to recapture authenticity and celebrate the freedom.of the past.  
The July 1st parade could be shortened.So that  children could  walk, in  home made costumes with decorated doll's prams and bicycles.
The  soap box derby  down Tyler Street hill, that used to be organised by the Volunteer Firefighters, should be raced once more.
A  sesqui-centennial coin featuring the Church Street School museum on one side and Brittannia on the other, bearing remarkably familiar features  could be struck.
The museum. could be  restored to  its rightful place. 
The Mackenzie Rebellion could be re-enacted in the parade.
Temperance  Movement Women in costume  could march down Yonge Street  singing and proclaiming  once more the evils of demon rum.
Councillors in costume around a table on a float, ever mindful of decorum by reason of a projectile mallet.  
I think  a festival of good ole country, rock and roll
and hip-hop music and  gyrations, all or one should be featured in the park on the August  holiday week-end.
Artists among us could be invited to fashion figures, using recyclable materials,  to be seated on various benches down-town leisurely observing the passing throng.
The gazebo at the United Church should have lanterns and carol singers at Christmas and other scenes depicting our Christian heritage
Maybe we could  have  traffic calming in the mid-town block to compel vehicles  to use  side street and leave Yonge Street for the purpose intended, shopping, and gather in groups to gossip on the sidewalks,
Maybe  an Easter Parade in  bonnets and parisoles  and dandies with fancy canes and Cousins Dairy  Ice Cream Shop or facsimile with sixteen different varieties. and Barber shop quartets and town band and Marian the Librarian and a chorus line of high steppin' dancers. 
I have to stop  now  and go hang out the laundry.