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

Wednesday 31 October 2012

Who Will Buy, My Sweet Scented Lavender

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It Is Misinformation":

Maureen Dowd this morning proves that leadership can even survive politics.
When will leadership surface in Aurora? 
Much as I detest the no-holds-barred  Republican ads in  the campaign for the American Presidency;
Much as the media frenzy irritates I am totally addicted to the incomparable drama of American politics.
Staged events have nothing to do with it.
Who could have predicted Hurricane Sandy, the  hundred year storm that would put long- stride President Obama ,front and centre, and  sideline the short-stepping challenger.
With the terrible costs of damage from the storm, comes  hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities.
Even in the depression, President Roosevelt had to make work . 
Will Romney insist only the private sector can  handle it properly ?
Will  tragedy and helplessness  stand up to  Romney's  argument that  government has no role in the affairs of the nation?
That profit alone signifies success and  money by itself, dictate measurement of  need ? 
No fiction writer could have come up with a better twist to the story,    
How great it is to be able to read  the New York Times, Maureen Dowd and other outstanding journalists, within minutes of publication.  
The Toronto Star is planning to set up a firewall to compel on-line readers to pay . 
Yesterday's story on the report of the unbelievably, unintelligent Ontario Ombudsman, Andre Marin, is one good reason I will not be buying.
No member o Aurora Council could fail to stand up in comparison to that individual
Yet he has been appointed  by  several  provincial governments to  act as judge, jury and executioner.
He has wallowed in the public trough for a couple of decades already.  

Tuesday 30 October 2012

It Is Misinformation

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

Hello Evelyn, (This question may be directed elsewhere but it was your latest comment string.)

In a letter to the editor in yesterday's The Auroran (see page 4) Steve Falk writes: 
"Now the volunteer Jazz+ Festival organizers have to waste time and resources going on the defensive to fight for the use of the Town Park on a weekend promised to them in writing and already part of a great Aurora tradition".

My question: Is there something in writing, a contract, a written commitment that the Town has given to the Festival future 1st refusal for the Park on the August long weekend? If so why hasn't someone on Council or the Jazz Festival come forward to state this fact. Or is this misinformation.

Haven't seem the letter.
It is misinformation.  
Had Mr Falk watched Council's debate on  the resolution he would have heard the question asked;  
Has  a permit  not already been  issued for 2013. 
Staff response was  NO. A permit application  was made. It was not issued.
The fence was known to be a concern in the last several years. Likely to be   a council debate.
Deliberate insul by  excluding  the Town's First Citizen,  a constant supporter. with other Councillors, was not likely to be overlooked.
Council's first loyalty is to the dignity of the community we serve.
Abuse thrown about. when funding  was refused after reported revenue of more than $140.000 from 2011.
None of these factors have  stood in the Jazz Festival's favour. 
If they were ever to  be considered personna non grata in the town park, this was the year all the signs orbited in that direction.
Council's decision is made. There will be a competition.
Unless a motion to waive procedure  to reconsider is successful, the decision  will not be undone. 
How exactly do they plan to do that?
By subjecting the town to more abuse. 
Ugly confrontation, unfounded allegations,  unsubstantiated  accusations, have not been known to contribute to civil resolution of a problem.
Quite the opposite.     

Monday 29 October 2012


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What's Going On":

So, Mrs Buck, when can Aurora's cultural institutions expect a donation from you

 Thanks for reminding me.
 I have been tardy about sending my donation to the charity I support. 
No  it's not  arts and culture 
I pay for my  arts and culture, whatever that may be, within my own means. 
I expect others to do the same.
Being required to fund it through taxation is  more than enough to incite  tea to be dumped in the sea.
It most certainly does not justify a  claim by any public officials to be  exercising  efficient  fiscal management.

What's Going On

Toronto Public Library foundation seeks ‘entry-level’ philanthropists

Published on Sunday October 28, 2012

Aaron Harris/For the Toronto Star New York author Amor Towles is among the speakers the Toronto Library Foundation has presented in a bid to attract young donors. Others include novelist Irvine Welsh and journalist Jodi Kantor.
2 of 2
Patty Winsa
Urban Affairs Reporter
Bestselling author Amor Towles is in the Yorkville branch of the Toronto Public Library, describing how a man in Manhattan once asked him for help and then led him down a set of basement stairs to an unknown destiny.
The author of Rules of Civility, dapper in jeans, a white shirt and beige jacket, is speaking at an exclusive event for the library’s New Collection, a group of under-40 philanthropists.
New Collection is the library foundation’s youth wing, an attempt to attract the dollars of the city’s rich young elite.
Their participation is vital if cultural institutions like it are going to survive as fewer and fewer people give to charity.
Since 1990, the number of people claiming charitable deductions on tax returns has gone down 22.5 per cent. And although the amount donated has recently gone up, it’s only because the baby boomers and civics, the group born in 1945 and before, are giving more.
That can’t last forever.
“It is critical for Canadian charities to start tapping into Gen X and Gen Y,” says Karen Willson, senior vice president at KCI, the country’s largest fundraising consultant firm. “They are the future to the financial well-being of our charitable sector.”
On this Saturday night, most of the 50 or so people in the audience at the Yorkville branch, which with no small irony was built by a donation from Andrew Carnegie — the U.S. titan of philanthropy — are in the right age group.
Towles, who moved from a Boston suburb to the Big Apple when he was 25, inhaled New York for more than 20 years before he breathed life into the pages of Rules of Civility, his first novel. The book is about how a woman’s chance encounter with a man at a club in the ‘30s shapes her life. It was named one of the best works of fiction in 2011 by the Wall Street Journal.
The author finishes his story about the basement in New York — it turns out a congregation of Orthodox Jews was eating dinner in a dark basement on the Sabbath and needed somebody to turn on the lights — and begins another. It’s about a dinner again, this time at a restaurant with his wife.
Towles was about to say hello to a man he recognized at an adjacent table — the father of a friend — when he heard the woman across from the man say: “For seven years you’ve been telling me you’re going to leave that woman. When are you going to do the right thing?”
Towles and his wife had inadvertently heard the details of the couple’s seven-year affair.
It’s those kind of personal stories the foundation hopes will entice young professionals to join New Collection for $300 a year. For $500 you can bring a friend.
It’s “entry level philanthropy,” says Gillian Hewitt Smith, who sits on the library’s board. The library holds similar events for over-40 patrons who give $1,000 or more.
The donations don’t replace core municipal funding. The $3- to $5 million raised each year is used to enhance programs and services, such as the Sun Life Financial Museum and Arts Pass, which gives library members — many in priority neighbourhoods — access to free passes for cultural venues including the zoo. The foundation raised $30 million for the Toronto Reference Library’s revitalization project.
“The country is going through a pretty significant transformation,” says Smith, referring to a StatsCan report that said by 2011 our net labour force growth could be entirely dependent on immigration, as would Canada’s net population growth in 20 years.
“Just think about that for a second. All we’re doing is holding the absolute number of people steady in the country,” she says. “So what that means is if you’re not fully engaging every single Canadian politically, socially, culturally and economically, the country goes backwards. It doesn’t matter if you’re an employer, a consumer or a cultural institution. We physically need all hands on deck.”
Getting that level of involvement means foundations will have to change the way they do business.
“I think they have to provide different opportunities to younger donors,” says Andrew Watt, CEO and president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Instead of sitting on boards and using their contacts, “people actually want to feel engaged, not just with the glitz and the glamour, but with the organization,” he says. “And understand what it wants to achieve.”
Smith says that when the New Collection committee did that research, they found that although younger patrons were interested in socializing, they “wanted the chance to think broadly about city building issues or issues in general. Those are the types of speakers that we’ve brought to their attention over the last little while.”
The series has included Jodi Kantor, the New York Times journalist who wrote The Obamas, and Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh who penned Trainspotting.
Next month, Helen Burstyn will talk about Eleven Out of Ten: The Life and Work of David Pecaut, the book she wrote about her late husband who co-founded Luminato.
New Collection hopes to attract 300 to 500 members.
“The spirit of what we’re trying to do, and the institution that we’re supporting, is open to absolutely everyone,” says Smith. “That’s the point. We’re trying to support an institution that supports us all.”

Top Of The Morning To YOU

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "COUNCILLOR ABEL"'S POSITION":

Evelyn, I know that you hate those that disagree with you but do you need to stoop to the level of other bloggers and start calling them names.....



I don't hate those who disagree with me. 
I live in the real world. 
I didn't  call Councillor Ballard a  "Clowncillor"
No matter what he says about me. 
I don't censor comments.
I publish them or not. 
You misrepresented facts but I published your comment.
I could not let you continue to think badly of me for something I did NOT do.
Have a great day! 

Rib Fest,,,Is It Worth The Spending?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Perception Is The Reality": 
To "Something Fishy in Aurora "...
"When Clownclr Ballard compares Jazz fest to Ribfest he fails to take into account that the other event does not charge admission."

You're right, the Ribfest does not charge admissions. However, once you are in there what do you get for your $0? You get to smell food cooking, watch people eating and drinking, listen to some bad music played at high levels over an old PA system. So, you get what you pay for I guess. 
Let's be fair, the Ribfest is really a traveling road-show that most Ontario communities (and probably others) have over a period of time during the summer and fall months. It's the same group of "BBQers" at every stop. I'd be interested to see the books about how much it costs the Town to allow them in, how much the Town pays them.
That would be disclosure.
Ribfest is a town sponsored event. I have the spread sheet for this year. Cost this year was $11,000.
Budget was  $30,000. Revenuewas $20,000. 
Thousands of people came during the three day event. 
They enjoyed food  they paid for which they apparently enjoyed  
becasue they return year after year. 
Children enjoyed the Midway. Adults enjoyed what I heard was excellent music. Rib and other vendors paid the town. 
On the down side I heard this year ,food vendors in town may just as well have kept  their doors closed .The impact of the Rib Fest was felt.
Rib Fest has become  an annual tradition.To some extent, I suppose it took the place of the Aurora Agricultural Fair.
We start budget discussions to-night. 
 Rib Fest, as an expenditure, can be re-visited. There's no secret about it.    


What Price Civility

Last week, Tracy Smith complained about  his e-mails to myself being published in the Blog. In the main, because I didn't publish my half.
He noted receipt of  three responses from Councillors which, even though they did not agree with him, were civil, as he has a right to expect  from an elected representative,as a twenty-seven year resident of the town. 
am in the habit of responding  promptly and civilly to e-mails   from residents. It's great to be able to do it so easily. .
This will be my last response to Mr.Smith however.  As noted below, we clearly have a different concept of  civility.    
Good Morning Mr. Smith,
I have received your e-mail and note your comments.  Obviously you are confident of your understanding of the issue,to be able to offer critical comments. I will not attempt to dissuade you.
I  am not  concerned about the town becoming the laughing stock of the music festival world.  We understood  we had achieved that status last year,  when for the first time , we failed to funnel in  tax revenues  as well as  the other amenities that allowed the festival to be developed. "using the town as a venue" is a term  obviously used advisedly.

When  Aurora's  first citizen  was excluded from ceremonies this  year and quotes about " only friends of the festival" were bandied about,  few illusions were left  about  the level of  "vindictiveness and score settling" employed.
FYI, the idea for a music festival in the town park was advanced in the fall of 2008. Not by the current "entrepreneur"
I am sure you will continue to enjoy a Jazz Festival. It was apparently a lucrative endeavour.
Since  distinction in the world of music festivals has also  been achieved , it will  probably appear close by: like  Snowball Corners perhaps.
Enjoy your day Mr. Smith. It will not come again.

Evelyn Buck

Sunday 28 October 2012


Councillor Abel has been a consistent supporter of the Jazz Festival 
When staff recommended a grant of $3,000. in 2011, Susan Morton-Leonard came to Council and said it wasn't enough. 
Council increased it  to $5,000. 
would never support giving them a thin red dime of town money.
Until now, my experience  with these people has been  different to  other Councillors.
Experience can't be shared.
It has to be experienced. 
Last week. a comment  reminded readers of the spate of scurrilous abuse  the St Kitts  woman hurled during a Council meeting in 2009, courtesy of the former Mayor. 
It was  a consequence of  questions  about funds raised at a fund- raiser, held under the auspices of the town  by a sub committee of an advisory committee, for the  2009 July 1st Parade. Despite prizes for a silent auction ebing donated, no funds  were reported raised. 
John Abel  left a new comment on my post "There Is Work To Be Done":

How many of us have heard from our children at one time or another, the rationale " If you don't buy me, or let me ....... (fill in the blank), then you don't love me "

Councillors Gaertner and Ballard often say, and I'll paraphrase " if you believe in Accessibility and Transparency, then you'll support our point of view"

I tire of hearing; if you don't support the Jazzfest and their request for funding, then you do not support Arts and Culture in your community.

What started in 2009 as a single day of music in the Town Park has morphed into 3 days, with 3 performing stages, and 60 vendors. A compound, encompassing not just the Bandshell, but also the Park and the baseball diamond, It is completely secured by fences, for 3 full days on the August long weekend and cost the residents $5 each day to enter.

Councillor Buck is absolutely right when she states that is not what a public park is to be used for. It is free for the public to use at their leisure.

Suppose I am a promoter, selling water bottles, when purchased and utilized, can save the environment from harm. Could I not rent the bandshell, fence the park and ball diamond, fill the area with vendors of all sorts, like energy saving windows, photo electric technology, chiropractic services, kids toys and some food vendors. If you do not waive my permit fees, then obviously you are not an environmentalist, and thereby are advocating for the destruction of the earth. Don't you care about our grandchildren?

Let's throw in that this Promotion organization has a political agenda as well. They will not partner with the Town, the Mayor or several of the Councillors. They are political and they are disrespectful.

I was excluded from volunteering at the Jazzfest in 2010. I supported and voted in favour of a $5,000 grant last year in 2011. I participated in their fundraiser this year at Jonathans. We have demonstrated support. We have attempted to collaborate with these people. It's possible we could have worked out issues. They have chosen not to include us.

The jazzfest have stated that they have developed and promoted this event. They have worked hard, with volunteer help. They have branded themselves as a top 100 festival. They have branded the event on the August Long Weekend.

I agree.

However, they would be wrong to assume that they are automatically entitled to the use of our Town Park as part of the branding for their event.

It is not a Town initiative like the Ribfest or Concerts in the Park.

And if you exclude members of our community based on your political agenda, then take it to private property.

Council has voted in favour, to entertain bids from other parties in our community, on what they may have in mind to provide local entertainment in our Town Park. I've got no problem with that. It is in the best interest of our community. Especially if it partners with the Town's 150th.

I read now, that the organizers, a Clowncillor and Councillor Ballard are accusing the Mayor, Councillor Pirri and myself of destroying the Jazzfest.

I say to them; Look in the mirror, that's who's responsible.

There Is Work To Be Done

There are a number of questions.
Let's see if I can remember them all. 
There is no meeting on Tuesday. It's an extra Tuesday. The next meeting will be a general committee meeting. 
Decisions are not made in committee. Matters are discussed. A vote is taken and a recommendation is made to Council. 
That's always a week hence. Time for a Councillor to  hear from the community, do  more research. dwelling on what has been said and possibly change one's mind.
Recommendation  to approve from Committee  does not always  succeed in Council. 
Three Councillors did not support  finalization of the draft  Only  two more are needed  for a majority. Which would be to continue with  the current contract.
I am not in favour of that.
It's the position of Councillors Gaertner and Ballard. 
Councillor Thompson's commented  the decision is not final.  Council  directed staff to finalize a "draft" agreement. It still has to return to Council for approval before it can be signed. 
It has to be taken back to the  Arts and Culture Board for the same reason. They were  the second  party in the negotiations that took place over the summer. 
When it comes back. I will not be voting to maintain the current agreement. I will propose amendments to the  new agreement. 

Councillor Thompson has  indicated he will prepare a notice of motion related to the court findings that a legal action taken by the town and paid for by the town was  found to be SLAPP
It means, the  municipality  took Strategic Legal Action to Prevent Participation. 
For that we have to thank six members of the former  council who  discussed and approved the action behind closed doors while an election was in progress. 
The resolution on the Music Festival was to direct staff to prepare 
an invitation for proposals  from interested parties.
Much is made about my personal animosity towards the Jazz Festival Organizers. 
From the beginning,I  objected to fees being waived. To grants being provided. To a fence being placed around the town park to keep people out of their own park for three days. To  ignoring notification by the town solicitor, that under no circumstances were people to be denied access to washrooms. 
To people being denied convenient access to public washrooms.  To others enjoying a breakfast sandwich at a picnic table in the park, being ordered out by the festival organizer. 
To the Rotary Club and the Optimist Club being asked to surrender  hard-earned proceeds of their labour.
I have challenged the right to permit vendors in the park and  pocket permit fees of $600.  from each. 
The contention  the purpose of the festival is to raise money for charity. 
I have insisted over and over, the Jazz Festival  is a commercial endeavour to the point where they no longer received a financial hand-out.
I made an issue of the pointed insult  when the town's first citizen  was excluded from a list of dignitaries in attendance
As an elected representative, I have only one loyalty. It  is to good and proper fiscal management of the  town I represent.
To ensure stakeholders  obtain value for  every dollar spent.
To see that  hard-earned  resources do not flow easily from  town coffers to the advantage of  this group or that, leading to scanda
and resentment within the community. 
I am not always successful.
But I try. 
I make no bones about it.              

Saturday 27 October 2012

I Don't Need To Ask

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

If you ask, I'm sure you'll find the insistence that employees not be considered municipal employees was most likely made by the Town's negotiators. Why would the Town want extra people on the payroll (probably at higher than present, pay equity wages), plus the responsibility of Town staff benefits packages (including an OMERS pension contribution)?

I do not argue that point.
It's another reason the munificent ,open-ended  agreement with separate, independent, Board of Management for Church Street School  was dicey from the start.
Some centre staff  may have  left secure jobs to accept appointments at  Church Street school.
I am convinced the former Mayor wrote the agreement,without   town staff involvement.How much she had to do with the operation after that is anybody's guess.
How could that have happened?
I am not in a position to provide that information with any degree of certainty. 
Certainly, the Council directed review by  the new town solicitor produced no information. 
How many votes were garnered by the sweet deal  that reflected anything but public interest,we will never know.
I gather weeks of document-shredding went on  in the Mayor's office after the election 
No more than we will ever know what  persuaded  the Historical Society to surrender legal contract that protected their financial investment in Church Street School.  
It was at that time, the President of the Society suggested  a budget similar to the library board for the program provided by a fifty-nine member association with a board of directors and a separate  executive committee.    

We Got Trouble, I think

The Province's Minister of Energy has indicated he will not be a candidate in the next election. Mr. Bentley previously apologized  for not producing all the documents related to the cancellation, during the last election,  of the natural gas  generation plants, already under construction in Oakville, to save a riding held by  Liberals.
The Minister of Finance has indicated he will not be a candidate for the Provincial leadership.
I think we are witnessing  an  unraveling .
I mentioned in the previous post, majority rule doesn't always get things right. Actually, the best we can hope for when we get it wrong,  is  the error will not be catastrophic.
I felt it was, the night Mr. McGuinty made the announcement. 
I could not imagine what spur of the moment,  made him do it .
Frankly, I was aghast.  .
Now we know, understanding  of the enormity has been growing behind the scenes since the decision was made. 
There can be no  satisfaction taken in the face of  political consequences of this mistake.
Provincial finances are  in dire straits. Desperate measures to cut 
expenditures are being witnessed on every side.
Freezing public service salaries. 
If the last figures we saw $640 billion  for cost of the cancellation are close, what might  that mean for the Province's Fiscal
If revenues are not sufficient to cover expenditures, borrowing has to happen  to make up the difference.
Cutting programs is never enough.Freezing salaries do not reduce them. 
Is it a fiscal cliff?
Does the government desperately need to keep the secret to protect the  public interest? 
Was that  the reason for the unusual step of prorogue of the Legislative Assembly ?
I think we  have every reason  to be concerned.  


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

"The Culture (sic) Centre issue is pending. I am not hopeful."

Hmm, do I detect a sense of resignation?

Resignation isn't the  right word.
We live under a democratic system; the majority rules .
It doesn't mean the majority is always right.  It means the minority will be heard.
Sometimes we do it right. Sometimes we don't
I use every tool I have to influence the decision.  I am not coy. Blog is a new and powerful tool in what is essentially a war of words.  
As well  other people's views, it influences mine. 
In St John's Newfoundland , at the time  the cod vanished, 
when things were tougher  than normal,St JOhn's Memorial  University carried out a project. 
They went to the  outports  with  video cameras  and invited people to express views about the problem and solutions. 
They returned  to the university, edited the film and went back out.  Participants  were invited to watch and  listen to themselves. 
It was like taking  thoughts out of their heads and putting them on a table, poking and prodding them to determine what was sound  and what wasn't. 
I often find when I  start a blog , it turns out to be something different. Blog forces me  to work at my arguments. 
I am against  having  independent  management for  Church Street School. The  experience of the last three years mitigates against  continuing the arrangement.
It  started  with exclusion of the museum from the building and concluded  with abject failure of the goal of self-sufficiency that underscored the principle of arm's length management. 
The proposed new agreement is an improvement but not much. 
Funding from tax revenue is still there.
Approval of a budget doesn't change that. 
Having two Councillors as members of an  independent board doesn't make the board  dependent. It  just makes the two Councillors independent of Council.
They will be unable to  function as Councillors, if a board matter has to be decided by Council. Unless of course, they oppose a majority decision of the board. How could that work ?
Insisting  employees of the board cannot be considered municipal employees  has peculiar  emphasis.
Library board employees are not  municipal  but public  resources   pay their salaries. They are therefore public service employees.
The draft agreement was recommended by staff to be "finalised"
and brought back for Council consideration prior to being signed.
Council  accepted the recommendation.  I disagree. 
If however, if the goal of self-sufficiency was re-instated, within a time limit I might re-think my opposition. 
I did not believe it when the consultant set out the theory. Actual  experience has done nothing to shake my conviction.  
But if Council is determined to  re-shape the agreement, there are suggestions to be made.
The Director should have more than oversight. 
Leisure service staff should  be re-located in the building. They are currently located in a storage locker. The town needs the space in Church Street School.  Staff  presence would provide security  and save on costs.
The Town Bulletin Board would provide for  program promotions. 
User fees for space should be charged  as in other town facilities.
For the purpose of obtaining donations by issuance of  tax receipts,
the charitable foundation board could continue. 
The agreement should be  annual . If  donations to cover the cost of programming are not forthcoming, the board should simply Sayonara . They have no other reason for being. 
Library service  is  century- established in  public support. Financial support for the service has never been challenged.
Library Boards are  governed by a Library Board Act. Some funding is provided but not enough considering the  status  of the service. 
Both the town's leisure services and the library board provide a variety of arts and culture services . 
There is no need for a third agency unless it is self-sufficient.