"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

Monday 11 November 2013

We will not forget

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Our Town ====NOT":

Looks like a busy week. Forget about us.


I  will not  forget .  You will be there with  me wheter you know it or not. 

You used to say  " I don't  know  how you  make yourself go every week  knowing what's going to

I  went  because you  sent me.

At an inaugural , I said once:

"When I take  my seat , you will be there with me. In the waft and weave of my garments ,in every hair on my head and every fibre of my being."

It  may have seemed a bit over the top.

Yet  I needed to say what it meant to have been chosen.

It's no small thing.

It  kept me going all through those four years.

Had I not  been the  foil for jeers and sneers and snide remarks ---constant denigration  and humiliation-----there would have been a different  performance on your  T.V.

For everything ,there is a reason.

What  was done to me, was done to you.

I was your choice to be at the Council table.

How could they not understand  and respect your right to choose? The same right that chose them?

How could they not comprehend the  trust invested in them ----to behave honorably, fairly and with respect for all.

How could that translate into power to harm ?

Even after you withdrew your trust , it's not certain they understood.

They  continue to believe someone else was to blame  and you will discover your error.

You made no mistake in me.

I will not forget .

The ultimate sacrifice has been paid.

Respect is our due in this wonderful country.

We will uphold the right.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Our Town ====NOT

I linked in to the Globe and Mail  and read Richard Florida's piece about Toronto politics

I read a front page story as well.  It reminded  me why I stopped reading Toronto's newspapers.

I saw somewhere The Star is offering  an "explanations" for paying drug-dealers $5,000. for the first video compromising Toronto's Mayor.  Did they give it to Toronto Police?

Did the Police find one of their own"

Who told Clayton Ruby, the Police had he video?

So  the police could be accused of covering for the Mayor

So the Chief got spooked and not only spilled the beans about the video and his "disappointment" .
And then threw in surveillance videos  filmed by Toronto' Police Department from a plane in the sky.

My God, those suckers cost hundreds of thousands  of dollars an hour  to fly in the sky.

Who is keeping check on the police Department and the judgement they exercise?

Now we have McCormick. son of a former Police Chief , now Presidnet of the Toronto Police Association weighing in on the discussion.

The same McCormick on trial for  something nasty----like extortion from people in the entertainment ( read drug dealing) district of Toronto-------Richmond Street...where a person associated with the
explosive video ----was shot and killed on the sidewalk----outside an entertainment club.

Anybody who knows anything about the police, knows, no police officer would ever be charged  with a crime if the evidence was not iron clad and insurmountable.

McCormick got off.  Does  anybody know?   who was his lawyer-?--Does Clayton Ruby ring a bell?

Soon after McCormick was President of the Toronto Police Association.

Here's something else not commonly talked about------ the real power in Ontario Policing lies with the Ontario Police Association.

Power corrupts---absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Since less than twenty years, the Province stopped appointing judges to chair Police Commissions.

It had been determined ----Ontario  Judges  consistently aligned  themselves with the Police and could not therefore provide objectivity  required  from a  Police Governing Authority.

The Judge chairing York Region Police Services Board  when I was a member was last to serve in that  capacity.

Since then---- Regional Councillors  have served as Chairmen 

If a judge can't be objective-----what can be expected of a politician? A regional politician at that---accountable to no-one--------How many reading this know who is chair of York Region Police Services Board? 

I don't read Toronto newspapers----because when I read ,I think.  When I think I need to write.

And since the blog is at hand  there's nothing to hinder me and lots to tell----at the expense of  Our  Town  Affairs .

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth and wearing of sackloth and ashes

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

A good day for reading. Incidentally, yesterday someone told me the minutes for the GC weren't up yet. Is that usual ? I wanted to see if Council ever finished messing with the property owner and his trees. 

I received my  agenda as usual. That's all I know.

The manager of parks has visited the lot and determined the trees are  compromised by the grading plan approved by the town. They will not survive. 

The Director of E and I  has  visited the lot  and submitted  a detailed report  indicating the lot cannot be properly graded with the trees in place. 

The  Solicitor's  Report is back on the agenda for Council to deal with.

There's a recommendation from the Planning Director for approval of a plan to plant seven trees to replace three .

The home -buyer has been in touch

All  except Councillors Gaertner and Ballard have visited the lot to see  the situation for themselves.

The lot was graded a week  before it was inspected.

It was inspected  two weeks before the report is submitted.

I think we  can predict all but three members of Council will  accept staff advice and  approve the recommendation of the  Planning Director.

There's  no indication at the moment of a third or fourth, I've lost count, delegation from immediate neighbors whose lots abut 33 Longthorp Court.

That's not to say they won't come back once more to fight for the right to enjoy the sight of their neighbors trees, is greater than his right to  have a properly graded yard that keeps the rain out of his

Well---dontcha know -----they bought  lots on the basis of  beautiful trees on someone else's lot.

He bought and paid for a lot with  three trees .

He is losing the trees on the lot  he  paid for .

But his neighbors are the ones losing out.

On the basis of that  logic, my bet is ,there will still be Councillors who insist -----despite all the evidence----and all the months of discussion  and delay -------the trees should not be removed.

Until Tuesday, we cannot know for sure

Saturday 9 November 2013


The text of the previous post is inexplicably chopped up. I didn't do it and I don't know how to undo it.

Sorry  I'm going back to my reading now,

Just a thought

I am still reading ---TEAM OF RIVALS---- on page 251 a paragraph reads:

Benearh his graceful facade, Seward was hurt, angry and humiliated." it wasonly some months later,"
the biographer Glyndon Van Deuseb writes,  " When the shock has worn off and hope of a sort revived, that he could say, half whimsically, half ruefully, how fortunateit was he did not keep a diary,
for if he had there would be a record of all is cursing and swearing" when the news arrived.

That was after Abraham Lincoln won the Republican  nomination .

Seward was confident of victory.

Could he ever have imagined a time , I wonder, that some sly.sneaky bastard pretending to be a friend might have been in  his  private company filming his reaction at  hat moment of  unimaginably intense  emotion.

Friday 8 November 2013

Repeating and Talking about

I published  Councillor Gord  Perkins  ruminations about poitics becuse  obviously it echoes what I said in the previous post.

Not that there's  anything new or original in the concept.

We have had plenty of examples in recent years of demands that somebody or other be unseated for this reason or that.

Closest to home was that Belinda Stronach be replaced because  she wa elected Conservative and crossed the floor to join the Liberals.  

We needn't fear interference in the people's right to choose.

I wrote the post because of Andrew Coyne's suggestion in response to a prompt from Peter Mansbridge, there should be a mechanism to undo an election .

Mansbridge and Coyne have influence.Thank Goodness for Chantel.

I don't echo Gord Perkins ideas about how people's reactions to government have to change.

I  don't echo his view Rob Ford is  a racist and homophobic.

I know nothing to support the statement. He offers nothing to prove it.

So Ford denies things

Oh my Lord, do we not see people twist themselves into pretzels to stay on the right side ---Even while they must know they can't get away with it.

 What is the  rational explanation?

There is none.

Nigel Wright said he wrote a cheque from personal resources to  reimburse the government for Mike Duffy's claimed expenses.

I don't believe it.

Neither do I believe the Prime Minister who says he knew nothing of it.

Stephen Harper invites us to picture him smoking pot like Justin Trudeau.

No  we can't.  It's the last thing we can picture.

Does that make him a better person. Ot more human.   I  don't think so.

It doesn't do much for Justin either but we're not talking about him.

Gord Perkins criticizes Ford for criticizing past Councils.  Does that mean Councils past were above criticism?

How many times have I referred to Toronto's salacious computer scandal? Many had to have been aware but it continued for months.

It resulted in  Provincial legislation to guarantee integrity against  corruption and we know how that turned out.

Perkins refers to "good government " and  how  Ford exploited public anger with low level accusations.

Well now, not much respect there for the public's ability to form their own judgement.

His sanctimonious  homily about how citizens should conduct themselves is  a tad nauseating

If  a person is not ready to listen.----- if he doesn't accept people the  way  they are,----that's like a marriage destined for divorceafter a whole lot of misery has flowed under the bridge.

Politics is  the art of compromise-----the art of  the possible---- the second oldest profession----

Whatever it is -----it is not like any other enterprise.

Can it be described-----No----it can only be experienced.

If you don't like it ---you don't enjoy it----if small victories are not enough ---- if  just being where your voice can be heard ------- is not  sufficient.--------the opportunity is void.

If someone throws your foibles  back at you and you can't laugh because you know they're true ---
politics is not for you.

It's the people's business------- people as they are and not how you would like them to be.

Well Worth Repeating

Christopher Watts has left a new comment on your post "Election is the only option":

Here is Toronto City Councillor Gord Perks response when asked how council should move Toronto forward (this was provided following Rob Ford's radio show apology on Sunday - so before the crack smoking admission and tape of the mayor screaming about how he wants to kill someone):

"Many people are asking me to work to remove Mayor Ford from office. To the core of my being I believe it should not be up to elected officials to remove each other from office.

It is axiomatic that in a democracy the community elects its government. It must also be up to the community to remove its government and replace it with another – through elections. Anything that displaces the electorate's power to choose its government is anti-democratic. Further, our system wisely allows for a range of different points of view in government. If we allow elected officials to force each other out of office, we risk having elected officials who oppose the majority view being pushed out of office. History is replete with examples of how bad that is for a society.

Both before and during the previous election, it was clear that Rob Ford was racist, homophobic, and had problems with substance abuse and honesty. Nevertheless he won the election. We, all of us who care about justice and democracy, need to ask ourselves why this happened.

I have what I believe is part of the answer. It is increasingly common for people and institutions to succumb to anger, resentment, and an urge to punish government for real and perceived failings. Ironically, it was this very anger that helped elect Rob Ford Mayor. Recall the relentless attacks he made as a Councillor and mayoralty candidate on factually small but symbolically large uses of Councillor's office budgets, and his mantra about ending the so called "Gravy Train".

This style of politics draws on the slogans of people like Ronald Regan who said "Government is the problem" and Margaret Thatcher who said "There is no alternative". Nonsense! Government is the tool we build together to solve problems. Its precise function is to find alternatives that bring us to a better future. Theirs is a politics of resentment and anger. Reject it.
When we succumb to that anger, important questions about how to build the City we want are lost and forgotten. For the record, I am not immune to this anger. Over three years of resisting the ugliest parts of the Mayor's assault on good governance I have on occasion lost my temper and have twice decided I had to apologise to Council. Frequently, I have to remind myself to step back and count to ten and remember that I am here to build the City. I am not here to get into pointless conflict. It's hard to do, but essential that I do it.

I want to ask you to count to ten. When you are angry at your government, remember that quick, anger-fuelled solutions usually make problems worse. When a neighbour expresses anger over a real or perceived failure of the government or public servants, speak up and remind them that so much of what holds our society together depends on those same public servants. They work to make sure that we have the comforts and community we all enjoy. When government does not solve the social problems that bring suffering to neighbourhoods, resolve not to grumble but instead to learn, participate, and organize for a better government.
Most of all spend some portion of every month – even just one hour – doing political work to ensure that we don't elect angry anti-democratic leadership to govern this wonderful City that is our home."

I agree that a 4 year term has proven itself counterproductive and would like to see some debate surface about returning to a 2 year term.

Election is the only option

I just watched the CBC trio  with Peter Mansbridge talking about  Toronto and the Senate situations.

Mansbridge asked the question and Coyne made the point ; voter loyalty to the extent information  provided by the media is ignored, is a problem for democracy.

There needs to be a mechanism to  remove people from office if need be.

He didn't  indicate who  should make the determination

i thought----- a committee of journalists perhaps, elected by their peers.

Heavy weights like Mike  Duffy and  Pamela Wallin  would  no doubt be perceived as excellent candidates.

Chantal Hebert, ever the voice of reason , pointed out -----we've just  had the debate about the
rule  of law. It would not be that easy to find  such a mechanism.

The  true irony is---------we have a mechanism-------it's called an election. ---- it's an established principle of democracy that the people have the right  to choose their representatives.

They haven't always had that right.  An entire generation of young men were torn apart by  the machines  of war ----on beaches drenched with their blood -----before the right to vote was granted.

A heavy price was paid .  To quote Winston Churchill. in the Second World War ------- Never has so much been owed by so many to so few .

We are about to remember that sacrifice.

 For a  century,  local elections were held every year,   For  about twenty, it was every two years. Then  it was three .

In  2003,  democracy was  substantially reduced ----- one might say---neutered---- snipped---scissored----emasculated....  sterilized----- take your pick----by extending municipal terms  to four years.

Four years is half as much democracy as two .  A bad situation is twice as onerous. 

Twice as much damage can be done in four years as in two. 

Four year terms were introduced when Toronto was amalgamated.

Odd thing---- I never heard of a  single learned journalist ---- or team -----.Mansbridge and Coyne were  both around at the time-------I heard  neither  one intone that a four year term  of office is a bad or a good thing.

It is bad but it wasn't even  worth discussing.

Election is  the only mechanism  possible in democracy for dealing with  a  problem of mis-representation.

Thursday 7 November 2013

Something and Nothing

We seem to share the feeling something very bad is loose  and  running amuk.

All the force of  malevolent media, focused on  an ordinary man. 

Police surveillance  and videoing from a plane---- said videos released to the media.

A Police Chief expressing  his "disappointment"

Small  children can take meaning from that--- precisely the reason the Police Discipline Code prohibits  any and all involvement  in politics.

A forest of  cameras and microphones ------voices shrieking  meaningless questions.

A cabinet minister speechless  ----save for concern expressed  for  the family.

A  grinning, exultant  inauspicious Councillor ----"If he can't find the door we should take him to it "

It's not clear there's anything we can do to help.

So we will simply not add fuel to the flames.

If something positive  comes  through , I will publish.

If it's cold-blooded and lacking in compassion or humanity----------I will not.

Tit For Tat

After municipal elections in 2010, a successful candidate in Toronto was  sued by a defeated candidate for defamation.

A  taped telephone message was the evidence.

The Alderman, Heap son of Dan ,I think  was obliged to settle with  a payment of  $10,000.  

His  quote in the press was ---- he had no option----to do otherwise would have bankrupt him.

A resolution  was put forward in a Council meeting  to  reimburse the alderman for his legal expenses.

The City's legal department  advised Council had no authority to do any such thing.

The resolution passed despite legal advice to the contrary.

The payment was put on hold.

Alderman Doug Holyday, with personal resources , retained legal counsel and took the issue  before a judge.

The resolution was indeed determined to be illegal. Council had no legal authority to use public resources for the purpose.

Legal  costs  of an alderman  who defamed a rival candidate  were not paid.

The story is based  on  recollection.

No doubt proficient research could verify the facts.

Doug Holyday was  Deputy-Mayor of Toronto and recently  elected  in a by election to fill a vacancy in the Provincial Assembly.

He also served as Mayor of the Borough of Etobicoke  for a number of years .

He and Councillor Rob Ford had complaints filed against them to Toronto's Integrity Commissioner
They had not  claimed against the $75,000 expense allowance for Toronto Councillors.

The complaint was filed by a Councillor who claimed the lot.

The complaint was ------by not filing a claim ---Holyday and  Ford made Councillors who did----look bad.

The Integrity Commissioner agreed. She  ruled they should claim.

They were ordered to do so.

Politics are  generally volatile.

Toronto is special

Tune in on Tuesday

KA-NON has left a new comment on your post "Lavender's Blue, Dilly Dilly----Lavender's Green":

I am not sure I understand this clearly. Are you saying that a $323,000 project was cancelled, or that we incurred costs of $323,000 for the Town Hall renovation, a project that was eventually cancelled, and that cost ($323K) was not referenced on the list?

The figure of $313,722 was made available to Council on November 5th, last Tuesday. The
number difference was my error. I was going by recollection. 

Because of the two hours spent on the question of an unwanted school site on Mavrinac Boulevard, the agenda was not  completed even though the hour of adjournment  was extended until 11.15p.m.

Monday night's report to  the budget meeting was  the  financial status of capital projects; completed, underway, not started and cancelled. It included various expenditures for projects that did not materialize.

In a separate report  on Monday. council were informed that because of a   projected 2013 budget deficit,  projects had been deferred  and other actions taken to "mitigate " the deficit and allow the year to end with a "surplus"

The figures on the cancelled town hall renovation project were not included in Monday's report.
They were not available when the report was compiled.

Although ....I  did ask a couple of  meetings ago... what had been spent on the town hall renovation project before it was cancelled?

The Treasurer answered  immediately, without having to check, $300,000;  to be just as quickly contradicted by the CAO.

The following week I submitted  Notice  of Motion to direct  a report  giving the figures to be provided.

The Motion was withdrawn with indication that a report was  forthcoming.

The report was on Tuesday's agenda.

We didn't get to it.

It will be on  next Tuesday's Council agenda

Council meetings are normally shown  on  Cable 10  

See you there

Lavender's Blue, Dilly Dilly----Lavender's Green

The contract award for renovations to Aurora Fanily Leisure Complex  was approved in committee last night. 

The  decision will be  ratified   next Tuesday.

I  have been opposed to location and not persuaded by design concept.

I voted  to award the contract.

It was the final step  after weeks of  duly authorized procedure. 

Not to award  the contract would simply deny reality. 

There are other practical reasons. 

Half a million dollars have already been  been spent .

A  financial report presented  to a budget meeting on Monday references numerous  expenditures for projects  eventually cancelled or deferred. 

Not on the list was $323,000  for renovations to the Town Hall.

No longer scheduled . Cancelled . Not deferred. 

The initial plan proceeded to tender, bids  were received, project cancelled  by staff in that order.

An  option  proceeded  as far as Council  before being cancelled. 

It's no small thing to cancel at that stage.

Staff , Architects and  Engineers  have completed their task. specification documents  prepared for  tender are  voluminous and expensive to produce

They are "sold" to  Contractors . hopefully familiar with Public Works projects.

Certified  cheques are posted with the municipality.

The process is formalized and legally circumscribed.

It's a competition. 

Bids  close at  an exact  hour.  On a specified  date.

They are  opened in public, read into the record and referred for analysis and a check on performance competence. 

Days of precise calculations  are essential to complete a bid. 

The investment of funds,  man hours and  risk  are  all inherent in the public process.

There is no room for error

A municipality that  makes a practice of cancelling  projects  does not build confidence.

A municipality can acquire a reputation of being fickle.

Flibberty Gibbet. 

A Reluctant Suitor

Cardboard Cavaliers

A House of Cards 

Slip out the back Jack and  get yourself free

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Shrinking Violets ....Not

The  names  David Heard; and Klaus Wehrenberg were mentioned in a post.

Somebody  says. that could be grounds for  complaint.

Is that so?  

The two  regularly  attend  Council  meetings.  Do not hesitate to take the podium to expound on  the singular interest each  has. 

When they've said  their piece , off they go home or wherever else they plan to spend the evening.

I'm  still there , waiting, to  get  at the job  I am charged to perform.

High -price  personnel sit with hands folded , a captive audience, accomplishing absolutely nothing.

There's a stack of work in front of me. I've read  the lot in preparation for debate and decision.

Eight others  at the  table have done the same. 

Our task requires  time, concentration and an awareness  of the fish bowl aspect is never far distant. 

We speak on behalf of the people we represent. 

Time slips away  as we listen. Energy ebbs  as David Heard reads poetry, delivers  lectures 
and waxes fulsomely about his  personal vision.

Last time he  attended ,I had a motion  to present on the agenda .

David took it upon himself  to  use public forum to oppose the motion before it even got  to the table.

Last night , the Council  Chamber was filled with residents from  a new neighborhood.
First time  perhaps for  many attending  a council  meeting. 

Three speakers made the case for the neighborhood issue. 

Council spent an hour  and a half in camera receiving legal advice and determining  how best to 
proceed .

We  reported out . Each  Councillor  spoke to the recommendation.

More than two hours  were spent dealing with one issue. 

Other  items  involved intense discussion .

 The hour of adjournment is 1030p.m.  We  adjourned At 11.15 p.m. 

Much of the agenda  was referred to Tuesday's Council meeting. 

Klaus Wehrenberg  waited five hours for an agenda item on a trail underpass to be considered.

It wasn't.

Klaus was not pleased.

When people choose to become involved to the extent Klaus and David have, they become part of the story.

If their names appear  in this post or elsewhere  that's  hardly surprising . Certainly , nothing  about it is either inappropriate or unexpected. 

They put themselves out there. 

I'll be damned if I see any cause for complaint . 

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Neither Rhyme nor Reason

Sugar coat ----scintillate

Sears is closing  a  number of  outlets including a"flagship" store  in Eaton's Centre.

There's irony for yiu. All that's left of  Eaton's is the name.How long, I wonder before the idea of selling naming rights  is proposed and even the name will disappear.

Yes, there's no place for sentiment in business.

Rona store at Smart Centre in Aurora is closing next month. It did only half the business expected.

I came home from  Budget meeting last night  and turned on the news.

Blackberry had withdrawn from the market. Apparently the market  did not put the same vaalue on the shares as Blackberry.

The Town is  a $51 million  operating business  the  Mayor  recently advised.

Politicians should not "micro-manage" he said.

The rationale is problematic.

Oversight , involvement, authority,control  Call it what you like. Those elected  are held responsible by electors for success or failure of town business.

The current Council is like two solitudes, on the edge of a precipice looking down into an abyss.

Town finances  are in  shambles.

With three months until year end,  the  2013 budget is overspent,increased taxes  were collected. ,  projects planned , either cancelled or deferred.

Supplementary assessment  forecast , but not in hand, failed to materialise. .

It was always a possibility.

Micro managing or not the Mayor and Council are in it up to their necks.

The Budget  was approved   in  mid-April.

In May, June, July and August, agendas were jam-packed with direction to b e given.

More  time scheduled for town business was  spent givig and receiving awards. Repeat delegations demanding we deal with issues we had no authority to deal with.  Lawyers retained and paid for  advice  already known.  There never was  authority to do what was demanded of us.

We  listened to David Heard tell us over and over about his vision and Klaus Wehrenberg  agitating just as often for trails.

Deliberations continued until midnight . Agendas never once completed 

 Short shrift  to major issues and ill-advised decisions. 

 In some circumstances .there may be satisfaction is saying "I told you so"

Not  politics. 

In politics , no discernment  is practiced , no justification sufficient, no  culprits to blame. 

Responsibility rests  securely at the feet of  power to make a difference ---- exercised or mot

Monday 4 November 2013

What price experience?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A perfect example":

Since there is a meeting tonight, perhaps you will be ' allowed ' to ask the solicitor a few key questions. If there is the slightest doubt about possible conflicts of interest, no councillors - including the Mayor - have any business at Centre meetings.
Looks like a bright very cold morning. Have a great day. 


To-night's agenda is budget .

I forwarded the question  on receipt  of the decision. No doubt the answer will be available tomorrow when the report  is tabled and direction sought.

You know, sheer genius is not the only explanation for my approach to the decision-making process.

( Evalina  should be choking and spluttering her morning coffee about now)

The Region was created in 1971. Work and study had been going on for years before that. It started with the Smith Committee Report of taxation.

There had been few changes in the structure since the British North American Act, a hundred years since.

Change was long overdue.

A number of  appointed Boards and Commissions were making decisions that rankled with local government.

There was a Planning Board,  A Recreation Commission,  Arena Boards of Management, Local Boards of Education . Library Board members were appointed by the Boards of Education.

Their  financial decision-making caused friction with Councils.

They requisitioned funds from the municipality which in turn took all the flack for  taxes collected.

Regions were created and the Province wiped out some boards , changed others slightly and allowed municipalities to retain Arena Boards of Management, or not.

Arena Boards couldn't requisition funds. They were charged with  financial self-sufficiency.

The Province acknowledged the accountability for spending should rest with the elected body.

County Boards of Education were formed in 1969.  There was no equality in education. Places like Markham could have everything the heart desired  while communities without wealth did not have
means to provide essentials.

Changes were drastic.

"What if " I asked,  "the solution is  worse than the problem.?"

The Honorable Minister Darcy McKeogh answered:

" You make the decision Then  you make sure it's the right one"

He didn't stick around to make sure .

Somewhere along the way ,the message  got lost.

Aside from everything that has happened at the Region, in 2010, the Culture Centre Board created in Aurora with an agreement  shaped by the municipality, so bad, it was thousands of times worse than anything ever seen prior to 1971.

No other member of Council has had my experience. They have not learned to depend on their own judgement.

From  mine and  the taxpayers' perspective, that is a definite disadvantage.

For the Councillors, the outlook is not  particularly rosy either.

To-night we start deliberation of the fourth budget of the term.

Last  chance to take control and show progress.

Whether  or not it's too late, is no longer  their option to decide.

A perfect example

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What's the price of trust":

Not being privy to the written legal questions and/or argument submitted on the Town's behalf, presumably by the Town Solicitor, with possible outside legal consultation, it does indeed appear to be most unfortunate that the matter of the Board meeting in secret was not mentioned and therefore the Judge didn't know this.

If this a correct statement then a further submission should be made on behalf of the Town to the Superior Court.

Meetings in secret are only permitted under the Municipal Act for a few very specific reasons. The secret meetings of the Centre Board don't qualify.


The above comment is exactly what  I mean with the phrase "insufferably condescending and  patronizing"

It has nothing to do with snobbery. It has to do with a limited range of judgement.

The writer learned whereof he spoke from my post. Proceeds to challenge the veracity. Then states "if correct"  and cites the point of the post.

Like  it would kill him to acknowledge a person  of my lowly status might  be correct in facts and judgement.

It's the very substance of the glass ceiling.

He is not unintelligent. He   simply either needs to withhold  merit----hog it for himself ----or both.

The problem would not be the same if a string of letters followed  my name.

It would be a different . If I had the letters , the illusion  would be they make up for experience in the field and judgement.

Sunday 3 November 2013

A Humble Apology

I'm having a slight butexasperating problem with publishing.

A pink line appears telling me an error has occurred that won't allow publishing.

Then a place to "dismiss"' the message. But t doesn't.

Then I fiddle  about with  Draft   I set about editing while  letting it it rest. Then I publish . But the edit hasn't happened. 

 I grit my teeth, edit again and click on publish , hoping it will. 

If I spent as long as I might , improving the writing , I would likely offer half as many  posts. 

I'm not being paid upwards of $100,000 a year with benefits to publish this blog. 

Nor $7.50 a week which is what I used to get paid to write a weekly column  for either of the two local newspapers. 

I do this as a labour of love and  a contribution to town affairs.  The object is to get as much information out to you as possible within the exigencies. 

So those who criticize  my spelling and editing can , with all due respect,  Go Fly A  Kite in their spare time. 

To the rest . I humbly apologize for  the myriad of corrections after the fact. 

Have a great Sunday 

What's the price of trust

At Tuesday's Committee meeting, Council will receive the judicial response a question posed by the town.  

Council members can be members of   the Culture Centre Board and vote on matters  of pecuniary interest  to the board without incurring a Conflict of Interest.

If  one understands the meaning of conflict , the answer was never in doubt. 

In the simplest terms, a conflict of interest happens when an elected member  votes on a motion that has the potential of putting money into her pocket or the pocket of a close relative .

The opinion was supportive and  considered good governance to have Councillors serving on the board.

It is said to be precedent setting decision. 

I don't think so. 

Half the membership of the Library Board are Councillors the rest are town appointees. 

Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority  and the Hospital Board  both have regional councillors serving;

Boards of Education are entirely elected. Police Services Board and  any other  board receiving public funding   has elected members on board including the Board of Public Health. 

The common factor is that meetings are conducted in public. 

The Culture Centre Board meetings are private. 

The Board would not budge on that in negotiating   a new agreement ,

They choose board members. 

They meet behind closed doors . 

They have a   valuable rent-free building, with utilities  and maintenance paid by the town and 
hundreds of thousands of public dollars  to spend, growing every  year.

They meet in secret. 

The Judge didn't know.  He wasn't  told. 

The night a motion was debated in Council to give twelve months notice of  termination  to the Board 
something  strange happened. 

The debate ended . Everything that could  be said had been said.  Support was evident.

The Mayor spoke at length in support of the motion. 

All that was left was for the vote to be called.  It  wasn't. 

A pause intervened; long enough to be noticeable.

Finally ,prompted by the Mayor, CouncillorThompson  and Humfrey's  moved an amendment that jettisoned the motion.

It was  about then I requested  a review of  the agreement by the town solicitor.

The Mayor demurred. The solicitor had plenty of work  to do , he said, without adding to it. 

Council discovered  about the same time , the Mayor had been attending board meetings for months against advice of the town solicitor.

The solicitor's review led to negotiation of a new agreement. 

It is better than the first. 

Asked  to guess the appointees to the arm's length ,self-appointed board with closed door meetings, allowing  secrecy in all their deliberations  I would say Mayor Dawe and Councillor  

As  members of the board ,they may speak for the public's interest. We cannot  be certain tof course.
Because they will be bound by secrecy  and independence inherent in the Board's  constitution.

Somewhere there's a reference to ex officio members. How is that useful? Ex officio members can attend, on=bserve,participate in deliberation; they cannot vote .

No conflict of interest presents for Council appointees. No obvious purpose of any kind really.

Only a breach of the requirement for elected officials to conduct all public business openly and without concealment. Except for a few notable exceptions. 

One of which is NOT participating in  secret meetings of a  board spending public funds 

Saturday 2 November 2013

It's about keeping faith

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Weird and Weirder":

CBC News
Forum Research Poll showed Mayor Ford's approval rating ROSE by 5% on Thursday after the police chief spoke.
I did not make that up


But you see,  I think the outcome was predictable.

It's what you learn, if they give you the chance to serve.

If  you're there for them when they need you if you never let them down even if it might cost you, they will  always be there for you.

It's a pact.

They just need to know you can be trusted. No matter what.

Rob Ford might have been unable to impress the editors. 

If they had learned  their craft the old-fashioned way, if they had  ever plumbed the depth of the stories they tell , instead of  collecting degrees in journalism and business administration  from  renowned universities, the ediots would have known they couldn't do what they thought they could.

Twenty per cent logic, eighty per cent emotion. 

Rob Ford didn't disgrace the city.

The Toronto media did .  
How could the Mayor be responsible for headlines they wrote?

Were they protecting the city's image when they  told the story of a video offered to them for sale 
by a gang of drug dealers and murderers.

It's  like the victim of rape becomes responsible for having been raped in the adversarial system of law as practiced in the courts.

Eight editors in the Sun tabloid had to band  to-gether to do the  damnable deed. 

None of them had the courage to do it alone or take responsibility. 

Guest Post on Stephen Harper

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Weird and Weirder":

It's interesting to do a bit of research on Stephen Harper's beginnings, his education and initial work experiences.

Harper was born in Toronto and completed his schooling there through his secondary school graduation. He enrolled at U of T but dropped out after two months. He then moved to Edmonton where he found work in the mail room at Imperial Oil. Later, he advanced to work on the company's computer systems. He took up [post-secondary studies again at the University of Calgary, where he completed a bachelor's degree in economics. He later returned there to earn a master's degree in economics, completed in 1993.

Harper became involved with politics as a member of his high schools Young Liberals Club. He later changed his affiliation because he disagreed with the National Energy Policy of the Trudeau government. For the next ten years he toiled in the political back rooms of the Reform Party, including the position of policy chief. Harper became leader of the National Citizens Coalition. He was skeptical about the Reform Party's United Alternative initiative, arguing it would serve to consolidate Preston Manning's hold on the party leadership. In 2000 the United Alternative created the Canadian Alliance as a successor party to Reform. As the battle for leadership took place Harper's positions on a number of issues hardened. On social issues Harper argued for 'parental rights' to use corporal punishment against their children and supported raising the age of sexual consent. He described his potential support base as "similar to what George Bush tapped."

I'm not going to go any further except to refer to a portion of his speech last night where he attacked academics (himself one), judges (how many Supreme Court nominations has he made?), Senators (again how many of these are his creation?) bureaucrats, bankers, big business (is the Keystone Pipeline not part of several big businesses?) diplomats, lobbyists and the Rideau Club.

He appealed to his "base" - the little guy, "cab drivers, the small business owners, the farms and foresters and fishermen, the factory and office workers, the seniors...those honest, hard-working Canadians, old and new," as Harper put it.

Will this speech be a success for Conservatives? if it isn't, it will be because it didn't matter what Harper said.

Weird and Weirder

Strange  times .  Yesterday we watched the Chief of Police make statements relating circumstances to the Mayor of Toronto.

He expressed "disappointment"

The Chief  and the army he commands, are public servants .Theoretically at least., they functions under the authority of those  who pay the  freight.  A hefty price at that.

The police are governed by provincial legislation. There's a police governing authority.

Politics cannot interfere with the work of the police. The police must steer clear of politics.

But yesterday we saw what we saw.

I doubtit was the  Chief's intention. There appears to be no artifice to the man. His character is written  large upon his face.

He  seems to be a good,kind,well-intentioned  policeman with a very difficult job.

We witnessed by the magic of television the instantaneous effect of his statement .

People were persuaded  his words  incriminated the Mayor. They said so into the camera.

They did not hear follow-up  information  of no evidence of  "criminality"  against the Mayor.

Senator Pamela Wallin's experience, at the hands of a Corporal of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police  is similar.

The Senator Wallexpense claims have been audited. Almost $200,000 were found to be invalid.
Despite her disagreement with the finding Senator Wallin refunded the money to the Senate Treasury.

Then along comes a Corporal and declares the Senator   is guilty of "fraud"

Since when does a police corporal have the authority to make that determination.

Are there no  proscuting attorneys? No courts ? No judges? No trials?

Are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police a law unto themselves. ?

Well. God Help Us All !

At the local level, a police officer is responsible for filing a charge.  The Crown Attorney's office is responsible  to determine if  evidence is sufficient to prosecute the charge under the relevant law.

They do a slip -shod job of it but it is their  jurisdiction.

A date is scheduled and trial proceeds ----or not . depending on other procedures.

It's a judge who decides guilt or innocence . Not a police corporal.

But when a revered Red Coat says it is so,  "She did it. Oh Yes Indeed , She did it alright"

Why would an average citizen suspect  the Corporal had no authority to say any such thing.

Having reached the level of Corporal, past the level of first-class constable, could he possibly be unaware he was speaking out of turn and doing inestimable damage  to a citizen  in the process?

Would anyon suspect a Corporal of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police of malce aforethought?

Yes  indeedy, the times they are aseething !

Friday 1 November 2013

When will it stop ?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Blog Update":

I'm no Ford advocate but I think the Police Chief has made an enormous mistake. He seems to be confirming suspicions about what was in that pipe. No way he can know for sure. there are at least 2 other possible substances. I can't see how he is going to wiggle out of that assumption. Mayor Ford has some pretty decent lawyers 


I  had the same reaction. The media were careful to say no  "criminality"  is alleged against the Mayor.

Yet  comments by passers-by were " Now the Police Chief is saying it ------it must be true"

Mr Blair stated they had the Mayor and his friend under surveillance.

The friend became aware of it so he set up counter-surveillance.

Then the police used a plane to follow them about

My God, how much did they spend to uncover nothing "incriminating" against the Mayor.

Last night, Halloween, David Letterman featured  various well-known figures in videos in a variety of costumes.

Morley Shaeffer  had little horns protruding from his head and wearing grey loosely hung wrestler's tights.

It was Morley's face alright and Morley's voice but the body  clearly didn't belong .

I've seen an all- out  effort before now to destroy a man's life.   It happens.

It's an ugly sight.

Nobody involved can be proud to have been part of it.

What's happening now in Toronto is a  firestorm   of hysteria ,

The Mayor is not the one fanning the flames. 

PSSHAW ---snobbery me arse

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "My Preference":

"We don't need someone who thinks he's slumming."

There's that reverse snobbery of yours again. 


At the last Council meeting , a motion on the table was an attempt  to clarify precisely  how the 
elected body exercises control and requires accountability  from staff.

The motion sprang from a response from the Mayor a query from Council was tantamount to micro-managing .

During debate, the function of the Mayor as Chief Executive Officer was dismissed as meaningless .

He indicated  with a glance around the table if he really  had  authority as CEO "there would be changes "

The comment was clearly not directed at staff

One is forced to conclude  the  remark was directed at Councillors.

At best it was unwise. At worst, downright stupid

The only meaning  possible was that some members occupying seats would not  if he really was CEO

The comment was offensive.  Not conducive  to  civil response.  In breach of the rule
requiring civility by the member responsible for maintaining  civility.

Insufferable, patronizing,condescending ,insulting reference deserving of  a  straightforward, figuratively speaking, smack in the  teeth.

There's nothing reverse, perverse  or snobbish about it.

It's just -----put  up yer dukes and let's have at you  me boyyo!

And may the better woman win