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

Friday 30 November 2012

Here's Another Fine Mess

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Hallellujah Hallelujah":

Justice Hackland has ruled that Mayor Ford CAN run in a by-election. This is contrary to the earlier prediction of John Mascarin from Aird Berlis in the Star.

MM.. hmm . I heard legal staff at  Cityhall had advised the same.  
Isn't it odd, how many instant experts there were on a decision that had no case law to speak of.
The Judge did not impose the penalty of not being allowed to hold office for seven years.
Immediately the  eager beavers  interpreted that  to mean, he could not be a candidate in a byelection  to fill the  vacancy  if  that's the decision Council makes. 
Providing it gets that far. 
What about all the  GTA Mayors with charities and  solicit support from developers and people doing business with the municipality. Like law firms, planning consultants, municipal insurers, garbage contractors , road contractors and an endless list of  persons of interest.
How can these  activities be ignored while the Mayor of the largest city in the Province is unseated for  sticking to his guns in the face of nincompoopery, while all the rest get free rein because nobody chooses to formally object. 
How long can a law like that be sustained.
Hazel McCallion casts a vote that might have secured financial advantage in the millions for her son
A public inquiry costing the city millions was held. .
The municipal clerk recorded a  conflict declaration had been made. The tape of the meeting disclosed it had not.
The Inquiry Judge expressed regret  that he had to find McCallion at fault.  
A charge is filed and a trial held months before Rob Ford. 
A decision  is  yet to be made.
Hazel McCallion continues to preside ,unassailed, as  Mayor of  Mississuaga.
Mississuaga is not put to the expense and upheaval of a byelection or a Council  appointment to the Mayor's chair.
But the City of Toronto is so abused.
I doubt the situation can be sustained.
Ia mental image, I  hear  and see Oliver Hardy saying to Stan Laurel.
Here's another fine mess you've gotten  me into Stanley             

Our Reason For Being

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Pay Close Attention To What I'm Saying It's Good N...":

Sometimes it's hard to see the sharks. Perhaps this has been an eye-opener but it must be a pain to have to second-guess those who work for you.


It's our job to scrutinize everything recommended to us. 
It's easier if there is complete confidence in the adviser
It does not relieve a Council member of  responsibility to exercise personal  judgement. 
It's our reason for being. 
It's how we govern ourselves as a community.
It's the essence of self-government.
The meaning of freedom.
The  core of democracy. 
I am not there to cover anybody's arse.    

Pay Close Attention To What I'm Saying It's Good News and Bad News

A single budget item  eliminated  on Monday night demonstrates progress. 
A recommendation was to add four light trucks to the fleet to replace  the use of personal vehicles
Uneven surface,obstructions, loose gravel and dust at construction sites was the rationale wear and tear on employee vehicles was the rationale.
Councillor Thompson started  the questions.  The vehicles were not replacements, they were additions to the fleet.
I picked up; additional space  would be required for accommodation, additional insurance, 4 new licenses , added demand for servicing.
Councillor Pirri took the opposing view. How would we like to be forced to use our personal vehicle and have them subject to damage and abuse?  or words to that effect,
The Mayor elicited  the information that use of personal vehicles is a job requirement. No-one is being  forced . 
Councillor Humphreys noted payment of 58 cents a kilometer for use of personal vehicles.
The rate was recently increased from 52 cents.
That's a dollar a mile. It's not chintzy.
It's the  CAA  calculation to cover all costs. 
Annual  payments to individuals  may be in the range of  $5,000.
I noted funds for the purchase were from development charges.
How much is in the fleet reserve fund. 
$3. million was the answer. "Oh My Lord". I said," that's embarrassing"

"Could we be  buying these trucks to use up some of those funds?"
I pointed out the recent OMB decision on D.C. overcharging means the town will have to re-imburse $700,000 to developers. The money will have to be found. 

The answer was  the  fleet reserve will be  extend  into  the needs of the future .
I'm not sure about that.
The town is required to re-calculate development charges every five years. If the funds are not  used within that period they are deemed not to have been needed. Could  re-imbursement be ordered there too.
The trucks are not needed because of growth. 
A further thought occurred  the morning after;  construction season ends in November. The trucks would sit idle  until June when construction starts again; six months.
 Outside or inside storage?
 W ere they included in   space requirement calculations  for the new joint facility planned at an estimated cost of $13.million?
 The Mayor made  the  final comment  this was obviously a policy discussion .The item did not belong in the budget.

At this point, I want you to note that  the budget is  a document  vetted at several levels within the administrationbefore it reaches Council. 
It has been subject to the scrutiny of the Executive Leadership Team. 
It bears the signature of the Chief Administrative Officer and the Chief Financial Officer.
The  four new trucks are in the budget of Infrastructure and Environment. the net  senior director.
No logic supported the recommendation.    
The item was struck. Your Council is coming of age.   


Get Your Own Blog

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "And So It Will Come To Pass":

Please take down your Dr.King quote as you are clearly not about free speech.

I am sorry I voted for you.

And So It Will Come To Pass

In  the community interest , no jealous bitchy comments will be published here relating to the gift about to be received from a generous benefactor.
No concerns  about  lights, traffic and a parking lot, generated by anticipated  success  of the  facility will  stand in the way of the community's gracious and appreciative acceptance of  this  wonderful gift.
Indulged  to the  extreme in the last term of Council., any display of  selfishness  in opposition to the interest of the community- at-large, might well  spell  the death knell of nimby ism as we know it in this community for at least another generation.

Let's Hear More About This

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It's Every BIt As Good As It Sounds":

More caustic commentary about the Historical Society I see, Mr Watts. Sour grapes is such a childish reaction to rejection, I'd say. The AHS didn't accept your application to be on the board - get over it.

I have posted this comment to give Christopher Watts opportunity to respond. 
I know something of  the "interview" with the Executive of the Historical Society when Mr.Watts, a citizen in good standing,  volunteered to serve the cause.
Enough to know it does not reflect well on  the erudition of a  body that depends  on public funds to survive.
It will certainly be a weapon in  my arsenal when I argue against 
continuing the grant.    

Thursday 29 November 2012

It's Every BIt As Good As It Sounds

KA-NON has left a new comment on your post "Visions Of Sugar Plums Dance In Our Heads": 
Yahoo! I think.
Until we understand the ongoing operating costs of this gift, we won't know what sort of impact it may have on our taxes. 
Here's hoping that it is at worst tax-neutral.
Let me repeat because  I know it's hard to believe.  I asked the question. "Is it the intent to maintain private ownership and responsibility for operating the facility?"
The answer  was: the intent is to set up a foundation to provide  resources for the facility to operate without being a burden on  taxpayers. 
It doesn't mean all uses will be free. It means governance will be without the profit factor.The model has to be worked on still.  
A huge amount of work has already gone into planning the facility with town staff. 
It  has apparently taken  a year. 
I heard about it a year ago. I chose to wait for it to be a reality before I got excited about it. 
It truly is a gift of monumental proportions. 

Visions Of Sugar Plums Dance In Our Heads

.I don't do gushing. Where gushing  happens, I wish  to be someplace  else. Gush and upchuck are synonymous in my book. 

I have something to tell  so unbelievably exciting, my main problem will be to refrain from gushing.

The Town is to receive a gift.  A parcel of  land, twenty times the size of Mosley park, is to be ours. 

A wildlife park , interpretative trails, a child care facility, classrooms for children, a cafe /restaurant / banquet facility will all be accommodated. 

Three soccer fields with artificial turf and lighting  are planned. 
A swallows nesting place,  song bird meadow, snake hibernatum, turtle pond, fox habitat , deer foraging area , interpretive trails  are part of the package.

An outdoor farmers market and  craft fair are potentials .

Wooded areas, wetlands , with  the East Holland river running  through the property form the ambiance.

Year round programs and banquet facilities  will be available.

Parking for 491 cars  in the hydro corridor traversing the south-west corner of the property. 

And finally, a foundation to be set up to provide for  self-sufficient operation .

An application was before Council last night for a change in zoning. 

The land is part of a larger parcel, currently designated as a settlement area of  Oak Ridges Moraine. Currently zoned to accommodate six residences and a multiple residential building for farm workers,  the smaller parcel  will be severed and rezoned to public open space with  buildings as described above, on the table land  on  the east side of Bayview Avenue frontage,  north of the Vandorf Sideroad. 

Residents within the required radius had been notified Numbers  attended the planning meeting.

One woman indicated  firm opposition  because of lights and increased traffic.

Another  expressed concern about lights.

Frank Stronach is our benefactor. Fortune and  Canada have smiled upon Mr. Stronach. His intent is to return something to the community which has been home to his children and  his grandchildren. 

I find the sentiment admirable. 

We must  celebrate the advent with all the grace and dignity of which we are capable.

I am happy to  be the  bearer of the good news.The press were not in attendance. 

If  Blog could sing, the song would be.

             God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
              Let nothing you dismay.
              A wonderful project to meet many needs 
              Is sent along its way
              With joyful approval and appreciation.  

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Hallellujah Hallelujah

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

Why they figured Aurorans would be interested in watching a Newmarket high school football team rather than their own Town Council, I have no idea. (Although, I am glad that Huron Heights beat Rob Ford's Don Bosco)

The council meeting was tape-delayed until 6 AM this morning.
Look  at us!!!!

When I came back to Council in 2003,  televised Council meeting were held in poor regard. Some  Councillors felt other Councillors were performing for the cameras
Nobody, but n-o-o-b-o-d-e-e  even watched Council meetings anyway.
Then  we had  regular commentary from the cheap seats about how badly Aurora Council compared to the civilized comportment of Newmarket Council. 

I had a different impression. People  were indeed watching .They were forming their own judgements about matters before  Council and  the decisions made. 

I was disappointed that social media and  blogs didn't make a difference in the turn out in the last election. 

I'm very confident, they  impacted  the decision.But I hoped for a bigger turnout. 

But look at us now. 

Indignant  that the Council meeting was displaced for a football 

We are reading transcripts of court decisions. The  Rob Ford decision  has a wealth of information including references to a comment made by  David Mulland Toronto's first Integrity Commissioner and others  that Conflict of Interest  legislation  needs to be changed for  provide fairness for  a Councillor.

Didn't I tell you about the legislation being half-assed.

When Bill Davis was Premier and before him, municipalities were
 the Province's " little brothers" We helped them  do their job in providing government services in a way they could not. In turn we were consulted and received  respect and appreciation. 
Nowadays, municipal councils  are  favourite whipping boy for successive provincial governments. 
Conflict of Interest legislation and   Code of Conduct Act were knee -jerk reaction to individual  incidences of  corruption.  They  never came close to dealing with the culprits..
Those acts have caused far  more problems than they solved.
Deaths from contaminated water in Walkerton were the result of   termination of  the mandate of the Ontario Waters Resources Commission. 
An ignorant Council put an incompetent person in charge of the water system in Walkerton. 
People died.
The wrong man went to jail for causing their deaths, 
Now every elected official in Ontario, in  accordance with  the Safe Drinking Water Act, is liable for a jail term should any harm come to a resident if anything  goes awry with the water system.
That's draconian. 
In municipalities with tons and tons and tons of resources,like ours,  it's not much of a thing. 
But many small places in Ontario, still need the support of the Ontario Water Resources Commission.
It no longer exists. 
Instead, elected Councillors have the threat of jail hanging over their heads  should  the Walkerton tragedy  ever be repeated
Like a politicain in jail  after the fact, might compensate for a resident being dead from drinking contaminated water.  
Before Blog, there was never an opportunity for  a discussion about stuff  like this. Details were always too many for an average exchange. Not that they were  complicated .There's just too many.
The more experience a Councillor has, the wider the gap. the higher the leap.
Then we had  the jackasses who argued experience is  a liability.
and  term limits should be imposed. 
So today I'm feeling very positive. 
Council is taking control of the budget.
People are coming to Council meetings.
They  are watching on television. 
And  there's  a growing group of engaged citizenry.
We are even reading court  decisions.
And we have help from one among us ,who may be a legal  practitioner
Hallelujah !!!