"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

Thursday 28 February 2013

What you hear is not necessarily real.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Oh that God the gift would gie us, to see oorselv...":

"Use of the old library site for social housing."

How would this be a Town initiative?


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It was an idea, put forward in what was thought to be a friendly   conversation.

The question of disposition of the buildings on Victoria Street  was still  in the forefront of  the town's concerns.

I myself had put forward an idea for use of the Hydro funds. A building   several floors high to  accommodate separate studios 
for whatever  pursuits one might  imagine, not sports oriented, including a cyber cafe for  all ages.

A Shakespeare workshop,music,dance ,sound,  to name but a few. 
Open from ten in the morning until ten at night with a steady stream
of people coming and going.       

The reaction  to Grace's  benign suggestion was all the more shocking for the circumstance. 

The rage  and  violence of the language  totally incomprehensible.

To Grace at least.

To myself, not so much.. I  learned to be prepared. No civilities  were extended at the town hall from any of the gang of six.

Yet if I happened to be at the same reception  or  social occasion,
I would find myself  receiving  warm and effusive greetings. 

Like a call  for others to hear and attend to:

"Evelyn, I didn't know you were coming. I'm so glad to see you"

Only myself and the other  knew how unlikely the sentiment or  the conversation.

The Town of Newmarket has been  successful in providing social housing. They provide the property. The Region fulfills it's role. with the housing.

In  our town  no such need was acknowledged.

Even now, the high average income in Aurora is cited  with  budget documentation.
       
   

Oh that God the gift would gie us, to see oorselves as ithers see us

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "An Echo from the past":

Oh yes that is true as physical contact against bloggers has begun.They do it to seek a reaction and then cry out.Kind of like the player in hockey who retaliates and gets the two minutes of shame in the box.  Bullying at its finest.

******************************

It's interesting that the effort  to prevent bullying is focused on  school children.

In the Mormac regime, bullying was constant  and concentrated. with every detail planned in the midnight hours in the Mayor's office.

But  carried out  in the public eye. On camera. For everyone to see.

Grace Marsh's  resignation came after  an episode of harridan screeching  and  the threat "I will destroy you if you dare  pursue that idea".  from the staircase in  the town hall.

The idea was  benign. Use of  the old library site for social housing.

The harridan declared she had plans of her own. 
   
Yes, it was an assault. 
No, there  was  no dignified response. 
No turning back.
No going forward from that point.
Grace resigned. 

Being elected to public office was the high point in Grace's life. She spoke regularly of her father who spent his working career in public service as a firefighter.  

No-one could have been more proud than Grace of  being  given the opportunity, hopefully, to make a difference.

In no other term of office in  the last fifty years of Aurora  politics could Grace  have had matching  experience.   

A few  comments back,  a leak from town staff sources was quoted   "Let's get Evelyn. She's poor. She needs the money"

I published it but knew it could not be completely true.

 My name was  never referred  save to be  spat out in hatred as "Buck" 

 I was not like Grace. 

They had to go the route of adopting a Code of Conduct.  Appointing an Integrity Commissioner to the public payroll  Using  $70,000  of town funds  for  legal fees to concoct  a Code of Conduct  complaint and have it filed by former Councillor Al Wilson and signed  by the other five. .

Wilson  also was fond of screeching rants of intimidation with Grace as the  favourite target. To excuse himself  he would  confidlater,  it was really  Buck  he was mad at.

Apparently  he  didn't think it  wise to spew  his venom in my direction.

Then there was John Gallo's request the day after the election, that I step aside and  let  him to have my seat.

And of course, the final act of  revenge of  slapping  constituents with a law suit paid for with their own tax dollars. 

Irony reigns supreme in  any contemplation of  a Code of Conduct.

A  litany of  numbered clauses of upright behaviour, standing like a glowing white Michelangelo statue in the midst of a cesspool of degrading human behaviour.  

    


Wednesday 27 February 2013

What will be

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Logic Prevails..or not":

Reason is subjective. 


*************

Right.  In debate,  reason put forward is subject to public opinion.  

When people sit back at home, watch  and listen,  without distraction, they are perfectly capable of forming  their own  judgement.  Then  sharing  and continuing the shaping with others.

Separating  wheat from the chaff, so-to-speak.

My confidence is  in the process. 



   

Logic Prevails..or not

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "An Echo from Tthe past":

Who voted with you in support of the resolutions?

*******
I believe the Mayor voted with me on the resolutions to refer the two properties to the legal department for review.

It was really quite extraordinary.  The resolutions were simply seeking a legal perspective. 

Councillor Thompson said he would have preferred the wording to be more generic. I'm not sure how much more generic the term  "properties" and "tax status " could be.

That's why I think the fear was about  losing support from the men's soccer club.

It wasn't a waste of time though.

It's satisfying  when one has  a resolution  approved .by Council. 

But  it's  useful to have the debate 

Any time there's a debate, there's an opportunity to measure capacity for reason

An Echo from the past

At  the Old Town Hall last night I had resolutions on the table  to direct legal services to review  tax status of two publicly owned properties. One  tax exempt. The other  not. 

The town is paying regional and educational taxes on the Soccer Dome. 

No taxes are payable on the soccer field at the south end of town  though there is  a club house on the property  with  a liquor license  that caters to receptions and business lunches and welcomes the public.

Both  resolutions failed.

It seemed Councillors were apprehensive  of offending  the men's soccer club by drawing  attention  to their affairs. Councillor Gallo revealed  himself  to be a member of the club. I assume paid up,  and said he did not know of any of the activities mentioned in the resolution.

I daresay I could find the ad in the Auroran ago  advertised business men's lunches at the club. 

 I'm sure  could track down the lighted sign on the road allowance at the time of the South African World Soccer Tournament . The public  were invited to come in and enjoy the brew and  amazing  television..

I could probably dig up a witness to  the  election victory party of the former Mayor

I could remind people of the fleet of school buses parked on the property  for years, in contravention of the lease

None of these things were done in secret.  

But none of it is the issue.  

Two publicly- owned properties similarly used one tax exempt .the other not is.the contradiction. 

The former Mayor was in the Council chamber last night.With a tape recorder. It's thought, to listen to debate on the Code of Conduct.

That's another story.

The confluence of events served to remind me of another night in the past.

 I had brought attention to the sign on the road allowance inviting the public into the  men's soccer club house to enjoy the amenities. 

Six or  eight  soccer club members  came to the Council Chambers. 
and  ranged themselves in the top row of spectator seats directly opposite myself.  

With folded arms and  grim countenances they glared at me in unison  as if daring me to  speak.

In my mind's eye  I see  great.hulking bruisers, in  black and  dark green striped jerseys, bare knees streaked with dirt, jammed together at the shoulders determined  to look fearsome.

The former Mayor  always  managed to find  people willing to do the dirty work of her bidding 

Naturally I crawled into my shell.  

Meek and mild , I told them. I said:

"It's  not right for you to take business away from people who are paying taxes and mortgages or rent and   creating jobs and struggling to stay afloat and sponsoring your junior teams while you pay  no rent or  mortgage or taxes or  meet a payroll and compete with them for town business.

It's not fair.    I should not have to tell you that "

Nothing terrible happened.

They went away, some telling others. "She's right, you know" 

Of course I was right. 

Somebody had to speak up for  people in the food business. 

They can't do it themselves.

 Business depends on good will.   

    
         

 .


Monday 25 February 2013

The Patience Of Job Merits Biblical Reference

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

You're obviously not a disciple of Dale Carnegie.

************

Jesus Christ himself lost his temper and upended the tables of the money-changers in the temple.

I do not profess to  saintly qualities . I'm a politician, for Christ's Sake .

The best of us run out of patience . I'm better than I used to be.

Andrew Carnegie I am familiar with. I believe Dale Carnegie was a proponent of the theory of how to win friends and influence enemies.

There were ten years in Aurora's politics when that  did not present itself as a solution to the problem.

Still doesn't . Although the crisis is surely past. 


    

Duh!!!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Three Questions In A Fountain":

"A conflict of interest happens when an elected representative
exploits authority..."

So, you agree that for you to lobby for your street to be re-done it is a conflict of interest? Regardless of how many other homes are on the street, YOU will benefit from the work.

***********

I agree  it is not your intention to post anything I might agree to. 

I have not lobbied to have my street re-constructed.

When the project comes forward to Council  for approval , if I am a member of Council,  I will consider then if I have an interest different from the general interest of the community.

Because of people like yourself and out of an abundance of caution, I will likely declare a Conflict.

For now, I would appreciate it if you would take yourself off to the nearest toilet, stick your head in the bowl and flush  ten times in sequence.


I do not anticipate for a moment , it will do anything to refresh what's between your ears, but it might remind you your time of influence on Aurora Council is done. 

Any potential  you might have had is in the toilet. 

And if I had or will have any part in making that happen, I shall  be forever grateful.    


Three Questions In A Fountain

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Degrees of Difference, Easily Identifiable":

Hi Evelyn,

Query for you, wasn't Holman and Glass repaved in the 1990s? I used to live on Knowles and remember getting a new pair of inline skates and found the new paving on Holman was perfect for skating?

I believe these two roads were repaved before the town decided to start using "urban" design standards and upgrading the sewers underneath. That would explain the existence of the ditches and the patching job along Glass as the sewer pipes failed due to age


********************.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Points of Debate":

I would think Ms Buck's flogging of her street is a conflict of interest isn't it?


 ************ Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Degrees of Difference, Easily Identifiable":

I guess we use different definitions of urban/rural...

ur·ban/ˈɜrbən/
adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or designating a city or town.
2. living in a city.

ru·ral/ˈrʊərəl/ adjective
1. of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the country, country life, or country people; rustic: rural tranquillity.
2. living in the country: the rural population.
3. of or pertaining to agriculture: rural economy.
noun
4. a person who lives in a rural area.

Based on those, from Dictionary.com, Hunter's Glen would be urban. Glass Drive would be urban.
**************

I've lived on Holman since 1961. I remember it  being paved once
Long before the 90's They re-shaped the slopes of  the ditches. . Made them  too steep for me to cut  and  introduced  weedsuch as we  had never seen in our lives before.We  were never able to get rid of them 

The sewers in Regency strated to collapse soon after the subdivision was completed. A new material had been used known as Johns Manvile Asbestos pipe.
The lots had been sold by the developer. Not all the homes were serviced with the new material. They collapsed like drinking straws 
and had to be replaced, mostly at the expense of the home-owner. 
   
***************
 A conflict of interest happens when an elected representtaive 
exploits  authority, in breach of the oath of office, to access public funds and sometimes private, to enrich themselves with   money, goods and services that  doesn't belong to them. .

It's a bit like stealing. Having your hand in the cookie jar.

Mike Duffy says he didn't understand the rules about claiming for housing. He claimed expenses for his home in Ottawa and said the cottage he bought in Prince Edward Island was his principal residence. 

He is offering to return the money he obtained  by claiming he had to pay for a second home in Ottawa because  his  real home was in P.E.I. 

If my property was the only one on  Holman Crescent receiving improvement and I spoke for/and voted  in favour of  improving it, that would be a conflict of interest .
 
On the other hand ,if I was being severely criticized by anonymous  constituents and  retained legal counsel at taxpayers expense, to advise it would be appropriate for an elected representatives to use public funds to file suit for^$6 million dollars in damages, payable to me, myself alone,or a close family member,  that would be a conflict of interest.

If I refused to sign a document committing to refund  cost  of the litigation to the town , if it was successful, it would  be quite difficult for a  person in their right mind,  to argue  such a circumstances did not constitute  a clear  and unmitigated conflict of interest.

A conflict of interest is  exploitation  of a position of  trust and authority to  improperly access  town resources to benefit oneself financially.

If I were required to vote on the question of improvements to Holman Crescent, I would not consider that a Conflict of Interest.
because the street serves fifty properties. The road is not unique to my property.
 
 I would probably refrain from voting anyway.  Just to be cautious. Look what happened to Rob Ford  at  the first hearing. The funds in question were just over $3 thousand and he never had them. 

Toronto's  Integrity commissioner never did have  authority to order him to return funds to  donors. But she  regularly creates her own ideas of appropriate penalties for  contraventions of the Code of Conduct..    

Don't feel bad about not understanding the principle. The Conflict of Interest Act obviously  creates more problems than it solves. 

Numbers of people in the most unlikely places,  have failed to comprehend  the  essential nature of trust.

Hazel McCallion's hearing under Conflict of Interest charges was heard months before Rob Ford's. No decision has  been delivered as yet. What should we take from that ?

It's my experience, that neither  a Code of Ethics, a Code of Conduct or a Conflict of Interest Act takes the place of personal integrity or a  conscience.

People who promote the concept are least likely  to have  a glimmer of  sense of the principle of personal integrity.

***********  

A dictionary is not the place to look for definitions of land use planning. 

Urban, rural , institutional , commercial , industrial.,  open space,  are terms used  in the context of planning,

 Check the  Town's Official Plan . Defnitions are part of the introduction.      
 

Sunday 24 February 2013

Change has A Ripple Effect

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Points of Debate":

Having listened to the Council ' discussion ' on Hunters' Glen, I think you may find some allies to at least reduce the grandiose spending. Bike lanes simply do not need to be on both sides of the road. Even in Europe, where bikes are king, there is a track on only one side, generally the most ' scenic '.
That lighting plan could be halved if it would reduce Mayor Dawe's angst. Although the upgrade is not essential, not even needed and was not even requested.
All projects that are needed in Aurora could move up a notch in time if this stupidity were curtailed. Councillor Gartner's & Councillor Buck's streets could be done sooner.


***************

Bike lanes that start  in the middle of nowhere and end nowhere and traverse a road that serves thirty homes  have no  rightful place. 

The  original  plan  to renew  existing  lighting  had a price tag of $33,000. The new one that sprang out of  hundreds of  thousands  over-budgeted for  road  re-construction, is more tha $300,000.

Until the  fight to move Glass Drive forward for the safety of 
students from two schools. I had never thought of querying the schedule  or design of road re-construction.

Until the re-construction of Spruce Steet that called for  the contractor to have an arborist on the job to protect the trees.and  there was none.

Until the Hunter's Glen dismally inaccurate estimates and budget 
miscalculations and insane proposal for a lighting design,  I never gave  much  attention to scheduling and costs of  roads projects.

I trusted 

It's a substantial  change that makes the part-time job of  a Councillor that much more demanding  than the days when .       

Pride Of Place

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

"It's also natural that those without experience might prefer everyone to function at the same level so lack thereof is not so blatantly obvious."

What you see is a virtue can easily be dismissed as irrelevant by many. Particularly when that "experience" is rooted in the 1960s and '70s, when Aurora was a much different place, and your council colleagues didn't live here (or were even born).


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Once again, right you are.

 Experience and  knowledge of the community's history could  and is easily  dismissed as  irrelevant by many. Especially if one lives in a ten year-old townhouse on the east side of town, has no interest,doesn't identify with the town, or wasn't even born within the last three decades. 

If however, one has aspirations to represent the community as a Councillor or even as Mayor, it would be unwise to dismiss as irrelevant, the history of a significant percentage of the community, who are proud to be several generations Aurora or at least long-term residents. who don't feel in the least bit irrelevant. 

Collegiality?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Points of Debate":

"...but it's slow going. Often tedious."

The feeling must be mutual, thus the interruptions.

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No doubt the feeling is mutual. 

The difference is, I do not interrupt the Councillor on  a  spurious point of order  that he is taking forever to make his point.

That's not a point of order. 

Nine people have been elected to represent the community. 

If we respect the decision of the electorate, we respect the authority of each member  to represent their particular viewpoint however they wish to do so. So long as they are not impugning  motives of a Council, casting aspersions on  integrity,  being uncivil to a colleague, repeating the same point over and over, not speaking to the motion on the table and generally being f-ng  obnoxious.  

It's natural that members with greater experience might have more to contribute to a debate. Yes... maybe too much at times.

It's  also  natural that those without experience might prefer everyone to function at the same level so  lack thereoff   is not so blatantly obvious.

It's the essential discipline of a  nine member Council.

Nuisance interruptions contribute nothing to a debate but childish  lack of discipline.

Brings down the tone of the whole affair.

We owe it to  the people who elected us to put our best foot forward.     
     


Degrees of Difference, Easily Identifiable

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Jehosophat and Geat Balls OF Fire":

It certainly is not rural!

 ************** 

Well, that can be argued. 

An estate lot must be large enough to accommodate a septic tank and a well, of sufficient distance from the septic tank.

Rural homes  do not receive urban services.

There are no water lines or sanitary sewers in rural roads. 

It's the difference between rural and urban. There are other differences but that's the main distinction. 

My neighbourhood was built with water services and sanitary sewers. Roads however,  were classified semi-rural.  They had no storm sewers.  curbs. or  sidewalks. 

Storm drainage was by ditch and culvert. The same as rural roads. 

My street, fifty-two years old is the last to be re-constructed to urban standards in my neighbourhood

When it happens, sidewalk and boulevard will be provided on one side of the road.  It's passing strange that Hunter's Glen, built twenty  years later, is scheduled for reconstruction before mine.

Two years ago, I had to  join in  battle with residents  o Glass Drive, with two schools and a park,  to be re-constructed with sidewalks for the safety of the schoolchildren. 

On my street, ditches and culverts will be replaced with storm sewers, gutters,  catch basins and curbs. 

Then like the rest of my neighbourhood it will no longer be semi-rural. 

It will be urban. 

I didn't see ditches and culverts on Hunter's Glen when I drove down there the other day.  So I'm not sure about storm sewers. But I am certain about septic tanks and wells on each lot. No urban services  are provided.

Hence it's not urban.

It is a neighbourhood.

It's not a farmhouse sitting in  relative isolation 

But it's more rural than it is urban.

Maybe we can stop this fruitless argument now