"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 December 2014

What creates an indelible memory?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "I trust everyone until they give me reason not to...":

It was early in the term when that whole performance happened. I remembered it clearly. It was at that meeting when I knew that there were people on that council that were weak and cowardly.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 30 December 2014 at 22:38


It is a beautiful morning. Not  special.  A start of the day like any other. 

A year, a month, a week, a life  all are lived one day at a time. Each with a  beginning and an end.

No dress rehearsal. Once played it's gone forever. 

Chris Watts' blog  has nuggets of logic to cogitate. 

Comment ID does eliminate unpleasant parlance. Weakness and cowardice do not enter the  picture  Just the nasty nature of the beast that knows not to expose the depth of spite.

That being said it's not a lot of work to hit the delete button.

This blog may be the only  opportunity to engage however brief and minuscule the sample, in conversation about many things. Some trivial. Some not so much.Everything does not have to be

We are not shaping each other's opinion as much as reflecting facets.

I often wonder why a particular event creates a detailed flashback in memory.

My memory of the event referenced in the comment is probably the same. But weakness and cowardice were not  to my mind the contributing factors.

Weakness and cowardice are only a betrayal of oneself.

Tuesday 30 December 2014

I trust everyone until they give me reason not to

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Since You Asked ,I will tell":

It's a volunteer board, 12:42. What extra costs?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 30 December 2014 at 15:00


It is a board that holds  meetings in private. How would it be known precisely how funds   received from the town are used. They received a grant from the trillium Foundation. They tap local business for sponsorships.

They are required to submit quarterly statements to receive their quarterly pay-out from the town.  in
How would that answer the question of specificity.

The question of employee privacy is pertinent. . Board employees are not town employees. The agreement  states in the event of dissolution ,board employes do not have status as town employees.

Think about that.  What do we know of conditions of employment that might not support that clause ? Are they members of  municipal benefit plans?

What if, when the Ontario Ombudsman receives authority to investigate validity of confidential meetings, will he decide. where public resources are being spent, meetings should be  investigated?

How would that all come out in the wash?

Did the board have legal counsel when the  second agreement was negotiated ?

What is  the staff complement ? What  titles.? Salaries? Are they better or lesser than  town employees?  Where do they fit in the grid?  What benefits?

Without knowing these answers how could it be known if  costs are higher, lower, or equal to  the town 's for similar service?

Is service provided at the Centre  exclusive to  Aurora tax-payers?

When the issue was first dealt with by the last council, Councillors received hundreds of  critical
e-mails from patrons from  a radius as far as Orillia .

The  Mayor expressed exasperation  when he spoke of centre staff involvement in the pressure campaign.

Only later  we learned he was attending board meetings unbeknownst to the rest of us.

At the Council meeting when notice of termination of the agreement was debated. The majority debated in favour of  termination.  The Mayor spoke more strongly and firmly than on any other  issue before or since.

Debate  concluded.
The only thing left was  to call the vote.
 It never happened.
The pause was palpable. Then  ,

what was clearly pre-planned , on a motion by Councillors Humfreys and Thompson the decision was reversed.

It  was early in the term. I believe Council was intent on doing what the voters intended.

But it didn't  happen. .  Instead the Mayor was meeting with the board unbeknownst to at least some.

Trust  is a treasured commodity.
It must be earned.
It can be squandered
Once tossed away lightly on the breeze
It can  never be recovered.

It was then he opposed a review of the agreement by the town solicitor.He said the solicitor had enough to attend to.

The agreement was found to be seriously deficient in the town's interest. It was re-written .and then ignored.

Regrettably it was the experience in many other areas as well.

The story unfolded as it  did.

Since You Asked ,I will tell

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Two wrongs don't make a right.":

09:44 I find it humourous that the discussion around the centre use war-like words.

"They occupy a building...." is just another in a long line of it.

The reality is, they are using a building that the elected officials of this Town have granted them access. Further, the Town has also decided to provide funding.

Short of ideas like storing a bunch of old garbage (under the guise of a museum), no one has a better use for the building. As well, no one can suggest anything that will not drain the treasury of the Town.

My point in this is to ask all of those so critical of the Centre - Ms Buck included - to provide a viable replacement?
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 29 December 2014 at 08:58


I left this comment in draft to consider how to handle it.  The language is abrasive. Yet  the writer clearly wants to engage. I am always happy to oblige though usually in respectful terms.

Reference to the museum collection being a  "bunch of old garbage " is scuttlebutt. The town treasurer  made similar reference. He suggested the collection was a bunch of stuff  collected from yard sales.

I thought it odd at the time. The collection had been stored when the museum was required to vacate the old school for renovations. Mr. Elliott was not in  town service then. Nor domiciled in the area. It was easy to conclude the information was other than from personal experience..

It may be safe to assume contemptuous  dismissal of collection value was part  reason  for the board decision to squeeze the museum out of the facility.

The board's first decision  was to lease dedicated museum space to a York Region Arts organization.

Rent- free lease with the town, required  permission to lease space to a third party.

Re-organization  of town management team shifted responsibility for facilities from the Director
 of Leisure Services to Director of Environmental and Infrastructure.(formerly public works) .Mr.
Simanovskis knew nothing of the matter and gave permission without a second thought. Didn't even ask

Truth  is the facility was always intended to serve the dual purpose.  Cultural events would obviously be compatible with heritage.

Only one objective validates separate management. Independence from tax support to ensure the program would not  be an additional burden  to taxpayers.

Annual increases  in financial support, even when space and responsibility were  reduced, establishes there is not even awareness  of the imperative let alone intent.

The Culture Centre Board of Management is redundant.

Leisure programming  under town management is self-sufficient.

Revenues more than offsets expenditures.

There is  no rationalization under any formula that justifies continuance.

The community is ill-served.

The Board should resign.

Monday 29 December 2014

Little Jack Horner Sat in a Corner

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Taxation for hand-outs is not O.K.":

Speaking of which, earlier this month the Cultural Centre held a Public Meeting ("The public is warmly invited to join us as we provide information on events and activities, and answer anyquestions you might have. Please join us. Everyone is welcome." - so much for a secret society.

How many of you supposedly outraged, anonymous keyboard warriors (including your ringleader) bothered to attend? How many of your allegedly 'ill-served' fellow Aurorans came demanding answers? How many disgruntled residents showed up expressing dissatisfaction with the facility and its function?

Answer: not a one. Nada. Zilch. Zero. No one showed up.

The only place "the place" is an issue is here. The trying to settle old scores is (still) here. The attempt to remanufacture controversy is here. The endeavour to re-animate a lost cause is here.

None was evident at the event created to address any potential disagreements - not one person deemed it necessary to attend the Public Meeting.

There wasn't a single pitchfork or torch in sight...

(If this comment isn't published, it won't be because it isn't germane to the conversation.)

Anonymous at Dec.29th 2014  18.08 p.m.


Ah yes the comment is indeed germaine for the information it provides. ...a  Spokesperson is ready to  do battle albeit anonymously .

A public meeting was planned with a warm welcome extended  to all who wished to attend and discover what a cornucopia of culture awaits in a town-owned and financed facility.

But nobody came. No interest whatsoever. Nix, nil,nada ...Not a smidgeon.

Wasted resources. A program prepared. Man hours expended. No doubt refreshments available .

All for nought

It must  have been disappointing to discover Aurora's  Centre of Culture is not the epicentre
it was thought to be.

The fact is Aurora Council has complete authority to determine use of town resources.

A clause permits termination of the agreement without cause.

Another establishes Council authority to determine a level of tax resources for purchase of culture .

Either clause could be used to bring the arrangement to an end . In any calendar year.

The agreement was adopted  by the last Council. Despite continued insistence on secret meetings by
the Board.

Failure to exercise  authority in the taxpayers' interest is not an issue between the Board and Aurora taxpayers.

Nothing the Board has to say is of consequence.

The Board was not elected to manage town affairs.

Political accountability is the issue.

No municipal Council has ever been elected with a mandate to drive people from their homes with a tax burden weighted  down with cost for Corporate Culture Welfare.

This fight is not with the Board.

The  Board member should just cool out and like;

Little Jack Horner
Sit in your corner
Eating your Christmas pie
Put in your thumb and pull out a plum and
Say  "What  a good boy am I"

Taxation for hand-outs is not O.K.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Budgeting is Annual":

"Comments to this blog indicate opposition to the expenditure."

I think that this statement would be more accurate if it was:

"Comments to this blog that the moderator decided to publish indicate opposition to the expenditure

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 29 December 2014 at 08:44


The moderator publishes comments that contribute to conversation. Name-calling and gutter-sniping don't cut the mustard.

The strategy appears to have changed this morning. People are back to work. Comments attack the town's management record while  Board management decisions are kept out of the public eye. 

The comments are not without irony since the board is not responsible for any aspect of maintenance of the facility they occupy. The building was handed over without ado. No proclamation of an agreement that betrayed the town's interest.  Most certainly public support could not be claimed while the  perfidy was kept secret.

Perhaps the term squat rather than occupy  better describes the circumstance.

Comments  from centre supporters echo of the reaction of the St Kitts outfit when Council cut off the mega thousand hand-out of funds and facilities and required competition for the advantage.

May our August  Council be respectfully reminded of the fickle finger of fame.

I awoke  this morning thinking of  frequent references to minuscule opposition to the centre expressed in this blog.

I thought of thirty people who showed up at the barbecue and open house to promote double digit millions being spent of the Joint works and parks facility.

The Mayor and staff thought  a turn-out of thirty represented a successful event.Attendees did not avail themselves of the opportunity to comment.

I thought of all the consultant "studies " to support this decision and that.  Not only are those numbers also minimal, they're the same people  who show up all the time

This Blog does not apologize for being.

Who else writes a regular blog and invites conversation.

Why do Centre supporters feel compelled to hurl invective?

Certainly no shortage of resources are spent on no centre promotion.

But is there a blog telling people why they did this or wouldn't do that again?

Or revealing strategy previously successful, to talk to individualt Councillors to secure  more money from town coffers while also soliciting  funds from small business in town.

The same business that pays taxes that replenish the town treasury.

They also support organizations that depend on volunteers and fund-raising to keep  programs going
While at the same time creating employment, struggling to meet a payroll and providing service to the community.

Sports organizations depend on small business for financial support  to keep registration fees reasonable while also  in turn pay user fees for facilities which in turn in theory at least, pay   The cost of operating the  facilities.

None of which can be claimed by Church Street School Management Board.

Sunday 28 December 2014

Non-Participatory Democracy

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Majority Is not necessarily right":

I believe residents are well aware of the aim of self-sustainability. The head of the board, or at lease one of them, acknowledged that he had never heard of such a thing. Perhaps this is why the board membership is constantly in a state of flux. Keeping minutes might be useful to pass along their history to those who follow.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 28 December 2014 at 14:14

If that is true and residents are well aware of the I of self-sustainability. How so you account for Cojncils consistent failure over a four year term to reference the on jectjveWhy do they keep increasing the operating budget 

And yes the Board Chair did acknowledge he was not aware of the self-sustaining objective  when I asked the question. 

If  residents were generally aware of the expectation ,where did he come from that he had no such understanding.?

If residents were aware  as I  was, and the commenter, why was o the last Council membership, so abysmally ignorant  of the objective?

Why was there no reminder from staff at the time of formulating each of four budgets during the term?

Did any of the residents take advantage of the opportunity to indicate to Council , they expect the Centre to stop swallowing three points in the tax rate?

A Majority Is not necessarily right

 I failed to mention  a major factor about the management plan adopted  by the town for  Church Street School; the theory wealthy donors  in this affluent community would contribute  generously to bring  much needed culture to the masses.

Within three years the facility would be up and running and completely self-sufficient which would of course entail paying all overheads like a commercial rent and maintenance.

An Arts and Culture Fund  was started by David and Ephraim Merkur , owners of the Aurora Shopping Centre forty years previously in thel hope others would contribute and it would grow to be a viable entity.

After probably thirty years ,developer Joseph Liebovitz  was  the only additional donor.

The  fund was swallowed up in  town resources during the last term. No reason given. Grant applications are no longer invited and presented to organizations within the community..

But I digress.

If the theory of self-sufficiency of culture programming by a self-appointed,independent board had proved to be valid, the right to conduct business behind closed doors would be val

Public funds would not be under the control of a non-elected  secretive body.

A  Board which is less self-sufficient with each passing year.

Annual requests are for additional support.

Local business are tapped for hand-outs and  Trillium grants received.

It 's not clear The Board  or Council is aware  of expectation  of self-sufficiency.

The town sees the  funds as an investment in Economic Development ; tourism for example.

That would  be  a reason for the place to be accessible  on week-ends and statutory holidays.

But it's not.

When the consultant's plan for management was adopted, it was likely on an eight- to -one vote.

I felt I no compulsion to accept the theory. My experience indicated otherwise.

It seems hardly necessary to point out....I was right....again.

Saturday 27 December 2014

Two wrongs don't make a right.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Nothing is free":

It is only natural, and justly so, that "we the people" should question secret meetings when:

1. The mayor and deputy mayor are in attendance.

2. "We the people" are contributing cash and kind in excess of $500,000 per year.

Are (1.) above permitted to share the contents of these secret meetings with other members of council?

This is a case of smut and mould continuing to languish and no one appears to have the means to remove it.

At one time the deputy mayor led the motion to terminate the agreement but now he is embedded in it. 
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 December 2014 at 19:56


The Municipal Act prohibits secret meetings except for specific items. Real estate negotiations ,
Protection of privacy, wage negotiations.

The idea a Council would publicly proclaim interest in real estate  is utterly senseless.Direction  to  staff to inquire the asking price is  a classic example of pitiful denigration of convention.

That a Council would closet itself with a lawyer  retained at public expense  to plot the political demise of a Councillor with different views is equally foreign.

The Act has not been much respected  during the last two terms  of Council.

A Board of Management was recommended to Council for the renovated Church Street School by a former Financial Adviser. It may have Ben  the last advice Council received on financial affairs.

A consultant was appointed and a format provided

The objective was  financial self-sufficiency.  For three years seed money would be provided on a
reducing sale . By the fourth year, no  further financial support would be available.

The Board  of Management would succeed  or not . If not, the Board would have no validity
and  would be dissolved.

The  legal agreement signed by the  for rear Mayor  was an abomination of the original concept.

During  the last term the agreement  was improved. On a motion by myself  and objected to by the new Mayor, the new solicitor was directed to review the agreement a and reported on the appalling

An  improved  agreement made no difference to  practice. The Mayor  had been clandestinely attending Board meetings. Funds have increased in each passing year.

.The town's interest is ill- served.

The Mayor and  a Councillor participating in private  meetings and maintaining secrecy exacerbates
a situation  already morally and legally unsupportable.

The election did not change that.

Don't jump the gun

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Budgeting is Annual":

From what the various re-elected councillors have been saying, all the remains to set the budget are a few little bits and pieces. The dead-line to fill out that ridiculous questionnaire [ it could not be answered with " yes " or "no " ] put out by the town has passed. I do not believe the new councillors will be allowed to make a difference.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 December 2014 at 09:43


You are probably right. 

We heard much about how positive everything is going to be . It's hard to see where any new Councillor might be inclined , let alone likely to make a difference.

And they do have that mandate. 

But maybe we should not jump the gun just yet. 

Nothing is free

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Love and Commitment Beats

Can any one tell us how much Ms. Tyson is paid, and how much revenue the
gig will generate?
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 December 2014 at  

The only two likely to know are the Mayor and Councillor Abel .The Culture Centre Board, in the negotiations for a new agreement allowed the town to appoint two members to the board.

Those two were it. The Mayor had been attending previously unbeknownst to anyone except the Board.

However the Board  did not agree to meet in public. They were using and spending half a million tax dollars but the taxpayer was not allowed to know their secrets.

The town also has the right to terminate the contract.

Nothing changed after the Mayor and Councillor  joined the Board. They kept the secrets as well.

Both would  know the cost of the gig. Ticket costs have to be public to be sold.

They could tell us they had a full house. But we would not know how many tickets were given away tok fill the house. They have all those friends.

They also solicit support from local business.

Imagine what it's like to be in business in Aurora. Every week a new non-profit organisation tagging them for a hand-out  .

The town does it too. That's how we are able to put on those special family events that are so  well received and don't cost the taxpayers a cent.

Budgeting is Annual

In Scotland Hogmanay was the traditional holiday . Like Hallowe'en originally it was a Pagan Festival.

It was more than a partee.

It was spiritual. But like everything else Scottish even spiritual is practical.

Home  had to be scoured clean. Everything that could be was polished to a gleam or sparkle. Every speck of dirt or dust remove

Knitting or sewing projects had to be finished. Any task uncomplete by New Year's Eve likely never would be.

A dark-haired man first across the threshold after midnight guaranteed good fortune in the New Year.

Merriment ensued.

War interfered considerably with tradition.

I moved to London before I was eighteen and lived the next several years in a Jewish household.

Jewish celebrations are not the same.

Merriment does not feature significantly.

Christmas became the focus afterwards but the imperative to complete tasks continues to be a driver.

The merit of turning over a publicly owned facility with financial support close to a million to a self-appointed group that meets in secret without accountability  is neither accepted nor considered a fait accompli.

A town  must strike an annual budget. . A million dollars represents 3 points increase in the  tax rate.

A conscientious Council must assure the community, taxes are  both reasonable and necessary

The community in turn must judge whether the assurance is  acceptable.

As long as the town hands over Church Street School  and hundreds of thousands of dollars to a non-
accountable body that makes decisions in secret no such assurance is possible.

There is no integrity in such a budget

Under the current agreement,Council must decide the level of financial support.

We have a new Council. Does community input mean anything?

Comments  to this blog indicate opposition to the expenditure.

Support is mainly expressed in name-calling and accusation.

People can make a difference.

Friday 26 December 2014

Credit withheld

I never knew the amount of  Margaret Brevik's legacy to the  Aurora Historical Society. It was added to the renovation fund for the museum.

I apologise for not acknowledging Margaret's contribution .

The funds were not used for the purpose intended  but her  name is attached to a room being used for a purpose not intended. 

There's not a lot to be said to commend the practice.

Love and Commitment Beats All

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Best is Yet To Come":

The seating capacity of Brevik Hall for a concert is 150. That doesn't sound like a "ridiculous" number does it?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 December 2014 at 21:35


Merry Christmas to you and thank you for the information on seating capacity of the space 
 referenced as Brevik Hall in Church Street School. 

I am familiar with the building. Two  of my children took drawing classes there many,many years ago. 

The facility had been leased to Remington Rand as a training centre for some years.The lease was not renewed and the town provided the space to various community groups to offer their programs.

Mabel Pearson,a talented young housewife and mother who lived in Jasper Drive set up drawing classes. Mabel and Cathan Schonicker  a neighbour in Sunray Place had started the Aurora Art Show.

Ernie Batson Arena Manager/Recreation Director provided  advice, support and space to get the
Project going.

Aurora had a list of accomplished artists . The pottery group got going in 1971 with opportunity
for a kiln in  what was the Old Waterworks building that  became the police station that became the
town's first museum  when a Regional Police Department was established in the early seventies.

It is now Park Place Manor.

The  new Community Centre Auditorium lent itself admirably. to  the function of an Art Show and so it became a top professional adjudicated Ontario Show in no time.

It never needed treasury funding. It went  from strength to strength. Artists from Aurora and elsewhere are beholden to the  community for encouragement and support long before advent of the  free-loading Culture Centre Board.

I was also familiar with the old school when it housed York County Board of Education headquarters.

I reported board  business for a couple of years. At the time when rural schools had to be closed and children bussed in the dark of early morning and brought home in the dark of early evening

Classroom space referred to as Brevik Hall was the board room.

Two classrooms  were made versatile by a movable partition. Always a feature.

The board  renovated  to suit its purpose. False ceilings  were installed to maintain a comfort level of heating,

After the  Board vacated,  the Historical Society  took over the second floor and created a museum. The town provided a grant and a curator was appointed.

The building was  shared  with the Senior's Friendship Circle. Big Brothers  and Scouts of Canada
rented office space also.

Later Historical Society board members devoted thousands of volunteer hours gutting renovations to  bring rooms back to original walls and smoke- stained tin tile ceilings .

When the task was completed , I had an opportunity to see it empty and returned to the condition it was when the last student left. I joined a number of last students on that occasion.

I saw  it again after  $3 million dollars had been expended to create a state of the art heritage and culture centre.

I spent some time this morning trying to discover  seating capacity of  Aurora Factory Theatre.

I'm almost certain it exceeds 150. The facility has a stage, sound system, control room ,flys, lights and curtains.

Seats  are comfortable theatre chairs properly graded for viewing pleasure.

A foyer provides a  cheerful reception area for gathering during intermission.

Except for the cinder block building, Aurora theatre group of several generations, entirely volunteer, created ,by the fruits of their labour, love and commitment, a theatre for enjoyment and satisfaction of all without ever tapping the town  treasury.

Thank you, yes,  I am familiar with Church Street School and  its  environs.

Seating capacity for 150 on small,hard,folding or stacking chairs  in an old classroom with ceilings far beyond normal  height,  is not my idea of an appropriate venue  for enjoyment of a  stellar concert performance.

We can do better.

We have been doing a hell of a lot better, for a lot less, during  the past sixty years without any help from our  free-loading friends of the Culture Centre Board.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

The Kindness of Friends

Any stage production is participatory but none  more than British pantomime.Stephanie's first night of Jack and the Beanstalk was fabulous . Even after driving home from Burlington and arriving after midnight, her eyes are shining with excitement and joy.

"They loved me Grannie"  she said and I knew that was true.

She is off again for the matinee to-day . 

Sunday was a great day at my house .Vanessa and the twins and Lane and James were the only ones missing. They live in Gig Harbor on the Pacific Coast . Makes a quick jaunt out of the question. 

But Zoe Gucciardi  from Baldwin came with grandson Michael,  Aaron brought Rachel Wedell from Keswick and Rory brought Amanda from Holland Landing. All very nice girls who  seemed. immediately comfortable in the gathering. 

Maeve, the youngest great grandchild was here but not here last Christmas.
 She was born in January.
This was her first Christmas here too. 
She looks like a little alien. Her eyes completely dominate her face giving  her an owl-like countenance.
The family have decided she looks like me. No-one else has eyes like that. 

Cheyenne is twelve. She is the first-born great grandchild. Already a pre-teen. 

Mickey the black lab is not entirely comfortable to have the house filled with people he barely
knows. Normally he retreats to my bedroom. Or outside.to the deck.

On Sunday the deck was his preference. 

Cheyenne asked for a blanket so that she could go out with him to keep him warm. 

They are good people, my family. They don't cheat on their wives. They love their children and are kind to animals.  

I am content. 

I wish  all of you the Blessings of Christmas and the Kindness of Friends. 

Tuesday 23 December 2014

The Best is Yet To Come

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Light at the end of the tunnel":

How much curating can a person do in one room?

Or am I missing something?

For this to be done properly you need an entire building, which is what there used to be before the hijacking.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 23 December 2014 at 15:44


The inventory has been done. The collection needs lots of work. Sorting and repairs. Yes we need the  building that was designed  and built for the purpose. 

How much of an audience can a Sylvia Tyson concert accommodate in a single classroom. 

How ridiculous is that? 

Or is it intended for an exclusive gathering?

Historical themes will be chosen and displays will be changed .

There will always be something fresh to visit.

People have artifacts waiting to be donated. The connection between the community and  town heritage will be restored.

Maybe we will teach children the nation's history in the museum. Make the Charter of Rights and Freedoms come to life.

The town and the community  is changing. History is ongoing and  needs to be recorded. Culture needs to be established.

Groundwork  is needed for the story to unfold.

Volunteers need opportunity and many skills for best results.

A museum is a labour of love; love for the past ,present and future .Love of community and what makes it real.

You can't buy it. You have to live it .. value it....experience  it....and create the record .....piece by piece.

How much time there is before Aurora vanishes into amalgamation is not known.

Logic would dictate if we keep going as we have in the last decade,it may be sooner rather than later.

What we do in Church Street School matters. It should not cost more than is currently being spent.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Force of Nature":

FALSE, 09:38. The Historical Society 'threw the keys on the table,' and even wanted it in writing that they were over and out of there. 

 Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 23 December 2014 at 12

That would be why the Aurora Historical Society retained specialty architects to design renovations in the Church Street School to fill  requirements of a state-of-the-art museum using funds,almost a million, raised in the community for the purpose.

And why the town adopted the plans and approved an allocation of $2.3 million dollars from the Hydro Reserve to complete renovations for the purpose of a museum.

 It was how the community understood the funds  and the building were to be used.

It was why museum curator Cathie Malloy was appointed by the Historical Society to take the place of Jacqueline Stewart, curator and heritage planner in the town's service for several decades.Salary funded by a grant from the Town.

And why Ms Malloy as curator successfully processed a grant of  $750,000. from a Heritage Foundation  to be used for the purpose of a museum in Church Street School.

If keys were thrown on the table by Aurora Historical Society, it did not happen at a meeting
of record.  Reference is  required  before that statement can be accepted.
AS for something in writing! the Historical Society had a legal agreement with the town to protect their financial investment in the project  and giving them authority to manage the project.

They did surrender the agreement  and secure $450,000 remaining of funds raised in the community
for the purpose of a museum.

A new agreement was signed  by the town with a temporary Culture Centre Board (Heritage
removed)of known citizens, providing the rent-free building with  all maintenance and $340,000 for purchase of culture without public consultation. No input on the new direction. No stamp of public approval.

Costs rose to almost a million dollars annually under stewardship of the council elected to replace the council that did the original nefarious deed.

The good news is a room  has been wrested  from the Culture Centre  Board for  the purpose of heritage displays and a new curator hired under the direction of Mr Downey ,Director of Recreation Services.  The curator comes from  a background with Mc Michael's Art Gallery in Kleinburg.

From a Heritage aspect, there is room  for hope.

But no sign of curtailment of funding for the culture  boondoggle as a result of having less
space and no responsibility for heritage programming.

The community should reasonably expect the culture budget to be reduced by at least the cost of
Heritage programming without being accused of "zealotry

Monday 22 December 2014

The tally is by no means complete

In response to a number of references to  town insurance coverage for civil litigation against  six individuals  for defamation of character; as a Councillor, I was unable to speak to the issue.

I cannot release my sources for reason but I can provide my understanding of the situation.

Initially defendants' claim  for coverage was denied.

That decision was reversed .

Since the exorbitant cost  is the reason for vastly increased premiums an explanation for the new decision can and should be provided by the insurance company.

According to statements to Council  the Insurance VP indicated  normal procedure is to pursue settlement.

Counsel assigned to defendants was replaced after several weeks of active consultation. Reason undisclosed due to solicitor/client  privilege.

Defendants were  subsequently authorized to retain counsel of their choice.

From time of  notification of intent to take action  and dismissal of the "wholly political "  complaint by the Integrity Commissioner David Nitkin ,opportunity to retract and apologize was always available

One after another,each took the floor at a Council  meeting  and stated they would not.

An offer to settle can emanate with a complainant.

Onus to respond rests with defendants .

One after another each defendant took the floor at a Council meeting and declared they would not.

It  has been the  consistent position  of the defendants throughout.

Other than the Aurora Banner's  no offer to  settle ever received a response

Other expenses for legal fees were paid from the town  treasury to "investigate" two blogs to discover comments contrary to the Code of Conduct  and write a report of findings and another for publication
of the complaint  referenced  which was dismissed by the Integrity Commissioner .

Following the  decision that the complaint was "wholly political"  and his dismissal , the annual  fee  for the newly appointed Commissioner was paid from the town treasury on termination of his legal I doubt it paid  for  legal fees to protect his reputation.

A fee was also paid  by the town to a public relations firm to "mitigate damage" caused by the Integrity Commissioner's conclusion.

All records of consultations were destroyed by the outgoing Mayor after her defeat and before her exit. No effort was made to halt the activity though it was known.

Full financial cost of the action described by  the Integrity Commisioner as "wholly political" can  not likely be known except through a judicial review. In itself it would cost taxpayers millions more.

Publicized cost of  SLAPP litigation undertaken against three residents by the former Mayor did not include severance  paid to the solicitor who ceased in the town's employ shortly thereafter.

Expenditures in that matter were paid directly from the town treasury.

As were costs for several lawyers retained early in the term to investigate the immediately preceding Mayor for potential invasion of the privacy of the succeeding Mayor.

Fes were paid to George Rust D'Eye and John Mascarin for various services provided in similar vein.

None paid by the Town's insurance provider.

All for the purpose of pursuing political adversaries and destroying reputations.

Pondering The Question

I just read a headline on my new thin screen elevated television. My Christmas gift from my children. Pixels  on my old T.V. were breaking apart . It was disconcerting. I watched mainly in the evening .

Apparently a court will decide whether Oklahoma's method of execution violates inmate residents of Oklahoma of their Constitutional Rights.

Imagine that!

The only thing I think I know  but am not absolutely certain is the American Constitution guarantees  to citizens is the right to Life, Liberty and Prosperity..

Obviously if  States have  a right to execute , the right to Life Liberty and Prosperity  may well be a hollow promise.

The argument might be Constitutional Rights can be forfeit.

Point granted.

Is  that in the Constitution?

Is there a right to define  a method of execution  too.

What about children in school? Are they entitled to a guarantee of Life Liberty and Prosperity ? Or not?

Obviously not.

Any  disturbed  citizen   has  a  right under the constitution to obtain high powered weapons for the purpose of killing the greatest number before they can be stopped, kill themselves or both simultaneously.

Yes, it will be an interesting  decision.

The closest thing Canadians have  to the U.S. Constitution is the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

I think American children learn  the Constitution in class rooms.

I'm not sure Canadian children learn  the words and meaning of the Charter .

Maybe  it a doesn't matter because the Charter counts for nothing.

People are not executed.

DNA can be recovered.

Mistakes can be rectified.

Guilt can be determined by evidence  not judgement.

Friday 19 December 2014

Force of Nature

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "There is no mystery":

I sure hope you're not surprised. The ramifications of your lawsuit sealed your demise. The presentation from the insurer's representative, aided by the mayor and his deputy, served as a pre-election reminder (you got schooled by a couple of rookies on that one).

While it is your right to seek legal redress, anyone could see the hypocrisy of a self-proclaimed defender of taxpayers' money causing the Town significant expense for purely interes

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 18 December 2014 at 23:48


I 'm still reading debate on Bill 52

All's Well

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "There is no mystery":

No, we cannot always expect the truth. It is a shame but just the way thing are and especially during an election.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 16 December 2014 at 19:46


People seated at a council table are there by virtue of having sworn an Oath of Office to serve without compromise. That hasn't changed.

We all have quirks and foibles. I believe when one places a hand on a bible and swears an oath in presence of... it means without  compromise.

I also believe  if  a tree isn't real, it's not a real Christmas tree.

When the kids were little,we went out to a tree farm. Picked out our tree ,cut it down and brought it home. It was fresh and full and filled the room with  scent.

It had to be of a height for the Angel to be within the top frame of the window.

We  dressed it with lights and decoration then trooped across to the other side of the road to see how it looked .

None of our babies ever stayed in  a play pen. At Christmas ,we put the tree in the play pen to protect it from the baby.

Our angel came from a religious shop on the north east corner of Wellesley and Yonge Street on our
second Christmas  in Canada. We lived two blocks north.

Mascot  Bakery was on the south east corner. They had the best meat pies, hot from the oven, dark flakey pastry and darker still savory gravy and the best big sticky buns .

Our last Christmas tree went  on the summer deck. There wasn't room inside  because of all the

One year, we fastened a  temporary shelf over the stair well at the front entrance. The tree was

 out of the way and in full view.  But I never did it again. It was a bit weird.

This year Heather and Robyn  have  re-arranged the sitting room. The sofa table at the window has been moved and the love seat  re-positioned in front  of the table. Room  vacated by the table is the the tree's rightful space.

The old boxes of ornaments  haven't  been down from the shelves for years.

There should be two little blue and white hanging yarn shapes Heather made when very young. Also
a  wreath made with card  and pasta shapes sprayed with gold paint. Paint was wearing off last time I saw it.

A little clip -on bird with tail missing .They were part of a set of twenty-four bought for a fraction
after Christmas in Kresge's on the corner of Yonge and College.Opposite the Gardens.

On Sunday , four generations will gather at my house.

Grandsons Aaron and Michael have special friends who will join the family for the first time.

Seventeen year old Maria will be with us for a second Christmas.She camped with the family at Sandbanks this summer.

It must be  more than twenty years since I last tried to set a table.

The house will be crowded with people who enjoy each other. Filled with sound and laughter and redolent with familiar aroma of beef roasting in juice and a savory rub.

The same family in the same house for fifty years.

With the tree in it's rightful place.

A Couple Of Loose Threads

There are a couple of dangling threads. The question of whether King is using OUR water is one.

The Region of York is responsible for  water supply. The municipality is responsible for treatment and distribution.  Councillors are legally responsible for quality of water.

There's a Provincial Act that could  send  elected members to jail if water quality ever caused a problem.

The Act was passed after Premier Mike Harris got rid of the Ontario Water Resources  the body
That guarenteed water quality throughout Ontario.

Walkerton  Council hired  a person not qualified or competent to do the job.

Their well was surrounded by farmers fields regularly doused with  manure. People died from E-coli from contaminated water.

The employee wept on the witness stand and went  to jail.  Mayor and Councillors of Walkerton were not held responsible.

 Nor did  Mike Harris  take responsibility . He saved money. by getting rid of the government agency that would have prevented deaths in Walkerton.

Ontario Water Resources were never re-instituted by Provincial Liberal governments Instead they made local Councils  personally and criminally responsible for quality of water.

The  Region supplies King with water. It's entirely possible taxpayers in Aurora helped to pay for
new infrastructure to bring  it to King City where there had been coliform from private septic tanks in drainage ditches  for the last forty years.

Millions of dollars were spent in legal fees to stop the Region from linking the Village to York-Durham trunk sewer . We would have helped to pay for that as well. Legal battles  went on for years.

I haven't read Alison's column about  selection of  the Regional Chair. Nor the Auroran story.

I fully anticipated  Wayne Emmerson to collect the  prize.

I knew he had it in the bag when he stepped down as Mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

It meant there would be no controversy bout the need for an election on top of an election to fill the
vacancy if he had hung on to the local office.

The Region has been in place since 1971. First chair was appointed by the Province. Three by Council  since.

The enormity of the challenge of campaigning for the job region-wide makes it a virtual certainty
no-one on  Regional  Council  who understands the  territory is  likely to vote for the job to be filled by election. Where would the money come from to pay for it?

The Region of York Act allows for a non- member to be appointed  by the Council.

I understand pay is around $240,000. plus  benefits .  The chair could still practise law if hw was a lawyer and so chose.

What chance the inner circle would allow the  Goose That  Keeps On Laying to slip out of the ranks.

Whoever gets the job is indeed the servant of the Council. What outsider could be counted upon to fill that Bill.

There was a  comment about in -camera meetings.

I understand some decisions are made  without meetings.

Councillors are polled by telephone.

Thursday 18 December 2014

To Kill A Mockingbird

Chris Rock was a guest on two shows last week to promote a movie he has  written and acted.

The first show was David Letterman's.  The comedian yelled all the time and contorted his face and I found little  humor in the routine.

 Only one thing made me smile. He said black audiences are better than white because they laugh with their feet. Then he drummed his feet on the floor and I recognised  it instantly.

But I thought , if I were in the habit of going  I would  pass that  movie a pass.

A couple of days later  he was a guest on Charlie Rose for the full hour. Charlie's program is not  interrupted by commercials. When he says so-and-so  is our guest for the full hour, the full hour is what you get.

Chris Rock was transformed.  Black history was part.  A lesson in humor. How hard it is to do and possibly the most difficult.

Denzil Washington and others  were referenced and what the black community expects from successful artists.,

The movie is apparently a step forward in  career evolution of Chris Rock.  I believe I will see it.

Charlie Rose  has apparently appeared in the movie. Being himself.

For all the intensity of the conversation , neither brought up the subject of events related to Bill
Cosby. I didn't think about it at the time.  Now considering the wide ranging conversation I think
that was odd.

Fear perhaps? Discretion?

Cosby had been entertaining us with family  humor for a very long time. His language was never offensive.  Neither lewdity or cruelty were in his wit.

He has had a long and successful career.

He is seventy-seven years old.
Still married to his first wife.
They jointly take care of business affairs together without a manager.

I think  about Bing Crosby...Bob Hope...Errol Flynn... and wonder.

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Innocent until proven

The blog will not  be used to promote the idea all politicians are criminals and should be in jail.

Our Justice  system doesn't even warrent that al prison inmates are criminals.

Any more than all doctors or  lawyers or police officers or any other group that exercises power
over our lives are criminals and should be in jail because some among them exploit the power.

Politics is the only one  called publicly to account  on a regular basis.

It's how it has to  be.

It's not easy nor to everyone's taste.

Those who volunteer to service should at least be deemed honest  until .or unless.

Monday 15 December 2014

Beating a dead horse

The Attorney General of Ontario has authority to order charges be withdrawmn.

 A local Councillor has no such authority.

Any citizen has a right to ask a police officer a question of procedure.

The Crown Attorney has responsibility to decide if a charge should proceed to trial.

The police officer who witnessed the incident ,and only that officer, has the duty  to lay the charge.

The Crown Attorney has responsibility to determine if the evidence supports the charge and is sufficient to obtain a  verdict of guilt.

On any day of the week, courts are filled with cases. where the Crown Attorney  has  not opened the file to make a determination until the morning of the trial.

The trial proceeds with no determination the weight of evidence is sufficient.

If a lawyer is assigned chances are there's not much of an argument on either side.

The police officer is in the court awaiting the trial. If he is not on a regular shift, he is of course paid extra for court days.

If the trial does not proceed for any reason  he will be in court on all future days until the trial is heard.

If he fails to show on a particular day, the charge will likely be dismissed.

And so the wheels of Justice turn and turn unless  they fall off.

There is no mystery

Friends are still wondering about the election

 I'm not in the habit of doing an autopsy.

It is what it is.

Life goes on.

Of course  there's a story.

It's relevant to why  Cabinet Ministers are compelled to resign when things go awry. When a seed is cast it always takes root.

I knew it the night of  the Sport  Aurora all-candidate meeting at the Legion And the  one before at the Town hall.

Gayle  McIntyre ,a former Councillor and not overtly hostile, confronted me with the statement
 I  was suing the town for $90. million.  Gayle is many things .Subtlety is not one.

"Add another ten why don't you". I said.  "And make it  a nice round figure"

I had an opportunity to speak to Gayle  again and perhaps make the correction.  I felt  it was already too late.

There were other signs

Bruce Walkinshaw laughed  easily and said he was still supporting me but no, he would not put a sign on his property again.

Another past supporter made a point of speaking to Councillor Pirri at his table and turning his back on me.

At a second presentation from a Vice President of the town's insurance company in September , Mayor  Dawe made the statement " people are  talking about the obscene amount of money being spent on the litigation"

The figure of $845,000 was  revealed for the first time at that meeting. He said the normal process

was to seek a settlement but failed to disclose why the normal process had not been followed.

He was asked.

Councillor Abel endorsed the Mayor's comment and added the action was to obtain millions of dollars in damages.

It wasn't hard to make the connection to  Gayle McIntyre's  expression of outrage.

It's five years since six members of Council retained a lawyer and instructed him to write a complaint
for  the newly appointed Integrity Commissioner.

Mascarin's report was published in two newspapers and the town's web site

It was read by Councillor Gaerner into the formal record of  Council proceedings.

The complaint was DISMISSED. by the  Integrity Commissioner as PURELY POLITICAL mere hours ahead of the decision of the same six individuals to strip him of his authority for not following the procedures they had set down for him.

Five years is a long time for people to remember.

When a  Mayor and Deputy Mayor make a joint statement,  people have every right to expect it to be true.

From my perspective, there really was no puzzle about the outcome of the election.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Hopefully it can change again":

Fat lot that did us

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 15 December 2014 at 09:47

Sunday 14 December 2014

A Valid Question

Last week the media reported Toronto Alderman Georgio Mammolito had filed a claim with the City Clerk for payment of  legal fees  for a judicial review of  a Council decision to suspend his remuneration  for three months.

A complaint against the Alderman  under the City's Code of Conduct was filed  for overspending in the last election. The Integrity Commissioner found  for the complaint.

 The Councillor pleaded guilty to overspending in the election.

Toronto provides an allowance  of $20,000 for an Alderman  to file for legal representation in a judicial review.

Apparently the cost is more than the allowance. Mammoliti has filed a claim for the difference.

The issue is of particular interest.

The complaint against Mammoliti was found . He acknowledged it by pleading guilty.

The  challenge is to the city's authority to suspend remuneration for a job he was elected to do.

He did it.

What the city could  not do was unseat Mammolito or compel him to cease and desist doing a job that was not the city's to give or take away.

The question of whether remuneration  for the job set by City Bylaw can be denied is certainly one ,to my mind , for a judicial decision.

It's  just another example of  half-assed Provincial legislation like the Conflict of Interest legislation.

Provincial  legislation is a serious occupational hazard for a municipal politician .

No offence can be charged under the  Municipal Bylaw. Without enforcement penalty, the Bylaw cannot be enforced.

The legislation so states.

An  Integrity Commissioner can recommend a penalty but cannot impose it.

ANeither can Council.

The question to be decide by judicial review is can a  Council enforce vacation of a council seat for any length of time?  If not can they  withhold  remuneration?

I would say not.

Saturday 13 December 2014

It's alright

Outside my window small  birds are feasting from seeds on the snow. My son Andrew  didn't
have time to remove the spent summer foliage this year. Andrew is a neat freak.

Thistle  heads still cling to fall asthers . They will still be there in Spring, providing nourishment.
for  the birds.

I had read the seeds nourish the birds that stay around in winter. I thought the seed would fall off and  wondered what happens with  a blanket of snow.

This morning I discovered . The birds land on the ground,  fly up and knock the branches about, then  they feast on seeds knocked off and clearly visible on the snow.

Putting bird seed out is an option. But it must be there every day. Birds have to feed every day to generate enough energy to survive the night.

If food is put out for them they depend on it. They don't look elsewhere for a food source. The feeder must be filled every day or the birds die.

The cedar hedge and spruce trees provide shelter, a tangled mass of withered fall asthers provide bounty and red cardinals, brilliant blue jays and  little birds in dark gray tuxedos and pale grey
vests find everything they need to make a home in my garden.

It's how things are supposed  to be

Friday 12 December 2014

I depressed myself with my last post. It's one thing to pay passing attention to politics at the provincial and national level. Writing about it means you have to think. And that is positively perilous. To-day I'm going to get my hair done and lunch with friends. My iPad is doing queer things.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Hopefully it can change again

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The loss is more than material":

Politicians were never on the short list of what you wanted your kids to be when they grew up.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 11 December 2014 at 20:14

It has not  always been true. 

Polticians have always been  easy targets for critics. 

It didn 't mean they had no sense of the dignity of their role. 

I am constantly being reminded how things have changed.

I keep providing glimpses of the past that illustrate the change.

If mistakes  or wrong-doing were uncovered  a Minister took responsibility and resigned

Resignations were accepted. A heavy personal price was paid by an individual.

It was how government assured the public of commitment to integrity.

They didn't sic the dogs on others to distract attention.

Slithering and sliding  and flat denials to escape responsibility were  not the norm.

Nowadays the public  is compelled to witness degrading conduct while politicians brazen their way through, playing for time and  banking on the short attention span of media and the public.

At times it seems there's nothing left. but foolish yammering.

We are all of us degraded. By it.

The loss is more than material

Joan Smith was an Attorney General in David Petersen's Liberal cabinet in 1989. A phone call in the middle of the night from a distraught constituent brought her to a police station.

The resultant uproar from the opposition, NOT  THAT SHE WAS seeking preferential treatment  on the basis of her office  for a constituent but that it might appear to be so.

The Honorable member submitted her resignation . It  was accepted by The Honorable David Petersen.

It would appear not only the standards of yesterday are no longer observed. But  modern  age politicians are not even aware they exist.

As I watched  question period  on Tuesday  another memory came to mind.

Education Minister Liz Sandals was responding to a question about the loss of day care spaces as a result of the government's introduction of all day kindergarten.

The Minister was seasonally clad in cyclamen jacket with satin tuxedo style lapels

Her style of presentation reminiscent of an experience I had on the hospital board.

A fund-raising tea being organized by the Women's Auxiliary had to be approved.

I asked why  permission was needed from the all- male board .

The President of the Auxiliary responded in a tone  heavy with long-suffering forbearance.

"We don't mind Mayor Buck"

The Honorable Liz Sandals  answer was longer but the tone was maintained throughout.

Answer completed,  she flounced  down so hard in her chair, she bounced .

The Honorable Premier and the Minister are both former school board trustees.

Trustees were always inclined  to define themselves differently to politicians Like the President of the Women's Auxiliary .... being  engaged in a higher purpose and all that.

It occurs Premier Wynne's need to demean municipal politicians may have a deep-seated prejudice
as well as the need to deflect  public attention from their own conduct of the people's business.

Unfortunately, municipal politicians themselves seem to have lost all awareness of the dignity of
elected  office.

They are fighting a rear guard action.

Yes Indeed.....Things do change

I was thinking  this morning of a man called Dalton Bales. He was a lawyer and a North York Alderman before being elected  provincially to the  Robarts government  in the late sixties.

He rom became Cabinet Minister in several important portfolios. A controversy erupted over a  joint purchase of land in Markham by several cabinet ministers.  Bales offered to resign from Minister ofMunicipal  Affairs Premier Bill Davis,who succeeded Robarts,refused to accept his resignation.

The first Conflict of Interest guidelines for cabinet ministers followed thereafter .

Mr. Bales was dropped from cabinet in the next shuffle .He quit politics in the next election.

He stepped off the curb in front of a car on Bayview at ten-thirty on a rainy night and was killed.
A small item in the media noted  the manner of  his death.

He was fifty-nine years old.As a student he was employed in a law office.

I often think of Dalton Bales.  And Darcy McKeough. He also was  Minister of Municipal Affairs.

At that time the Minister had to sign  off on all subdivision agreements in the Province.

His family were active in  development in the Sarnia area. He inadvertently signed an agreement
along with  a pile of others . Resigned his post. Returned to a comfortable and  secure private life soon after.

The day before yesterday,  even as Premier Wynn was proudly promoting her government's avowal to
municipal accountability, the  Minister of Energy was  angrily denying revelations of billions of dollars of waste and excessive spending and over and mis-leading  charges to consumers to pay for the boondoggle.

The Provincial auditor, appointed by the Province, to fullfill a function prescribed by law ,was being challenged  and  figures disputed by both the Minister and the Premier .

The Minister's resignation was  neither offered nor accepted.

The bizarre sequel to this story was provided by Andrea Horvath, august leader of the NDP.

Her profound observation  was the Minister was sexist because the  auditor was female.

It is to weep for what once was.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Off limits

I am trying to wean myself from Aurora council business.

Accordimg to observations ,the new Council  has been elected  in expectation of  positive  performance. As opposed to negativity of the  past Council.

Despite being defeated,  my thinking on any of the issues I opposed in the past term has not changed.

But authority to participate in decisions to be made is no longer mine.

Opposition will have to be expressed directly to Council members or I suggest a letter to the editor.

Open and transparent.

As a conduit this blog can not be effective.

I will take a position from time to time. Probably when it looks like an idea has traction.

See That ragtime couple over there...watch them throw their shoulders in the air

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What you see is what you get.

Better than Coles Notes? At least Cole Notes are validated for accuracy.

The problem with Wikipedia is exactly what you said "an individual can actually write a correction". But an individual can also write fiction and no one will know.

It is an easy place to get research, but I cringe every time someone considers it fact. 

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 10 December 2014 at 0

***** *************************

Coles notes would  probably be useful if I were trying  to compare to a Shakespeare character . 

Some might argue  there 's more than an element of truth to his fiction.

My first encounter with Fantino was as  large as life and twice as obvious. 

His progress has been fascinating to watch. He obviously knows  his value to politicians  and pursues it for all it's worth.

He understands the political imperative to curry favour with the Italian vote. For a multitude of reasons. Not least of it financial. It appears Woodbridge voters don't put much stock on competence.

I went to Wikipedia to confirm my recall of media  reports of his handling as top Provincial Cop,
of  a volatile situation of Aboriginal protest. He is reported to have pushed aside trained negotiators and made threats against an Aboriginal leader.

Dalton McGuinty Honorable  Premier at the time, also refused  demands for his resignation.

It's all there in Wikipedia .Complete news reports. Different newspapers. And lots more beside.

Yesterday Honorable Provincial Minister of Energy  Chiarelli was doing pretty much the same thing . as Fantino .. angrily denouncing  the Provincial Auditor .

Even as  Honorable Premier  Kathleen Wynn was answering questions in the house and waving acknowledgement of the Provincial  Omboogyman in the visitors gallery  to give assurance of the
Provinces new accountability rules, the Minister of Energy was energetically  excoriating   the  Provincial Auditor  for getting the figures wrong about more billions of dollars of wanton waste in his department's spending.

Ontario residents are paying millions of dollars of cost in phenomenally higher hydro bills.

It 's about Smart Meters.

It rather  reminds me of other  meters in Aurora . Hjgher costs of water never quite explained.

Save to say ...

It must be right because ...

Everybody's  doing it...doing it..doing it. ..

and all that Jazz.

Tuesday 9 December 2014

We should stop pretending

I have something else I need to say without further ado. It's been  pending for a while.It could never be an easy subject so it was not easy to start.

An 18 year old,mentally disturbed, unarmed  man was shot on an empty TTC bus by a Toronto Police officer. The event was  caught on cell phone video by a man returning from having dinner out with his family.

Police Chief Blair ordered an inquiry and  a retired Chief Justice was retained.

Media  headlines from completion of the inquiry stated more training was needed for police officers.

Of course the emphasis was by choice of an editor. It's the way it is.

My reaction was  .....another surface treatment of a serious matter.

Average awareness tells  of city streets populated with society's cast-offs:

the mentally ill  who do not use shelters out of fear.

Children thrown out by parents or having left  home of immature accord.

Addicts  unable to make decisions in their own interests.

The weak,  the ill, the young, the derelict, the hopeless,  the abused children,battered wives, inadequate spouses and others filled with despair and too far gone to lift themselves out of  the

Society's first line of defense from the underbelly is the city police department.

Their job is to deal with situations that very rarely have good outcomes.

They work with whatever volunteer agencies are available to provide whatever assistance there is to stem the flow and hold back the tide.

Thousands of acts of kindness and good judgement are never recorded. Nor can they be.

Except among themselves, the police do not speak of the nature of their work or it's impact on their lives or their families.

Bad judgement happens among officers. It can not be excused.

It is not the norm .

A police department should be judged less by aberration than any other segment of society.

The nature of the job should be  publicly acknowledged and understood.

There is no parity with fire departments.

It should  not be dressed it up to look like something it is not.

We should  also stop pretending the military is not  trained to be a killing machine.

What you see is what you get.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Story of Success":

I’ve never been a fan of Fantino, but I think being an MP or MPP is a different type of politician. I believe that those levels of politicians act for the most part, like good little soldiers. “Toeing the party line” is mandatory. I don’t think we’ll ever know when a politician is acting sincerely for the good of the people or when they are acting like good little soldiers

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 9 December 2014 at 10

There are  government departments  at both senior levels not expected to make great demands on a Minister. The Department of Veterans Affairs is one. 

Considering however that Canadian soldiers fought and died in a campaign in Italy in the second  war, choice of  an Italian as Minister of  Veteran's Affairs is a reflection  against the leader  Prime Minister  Stephen Harper.

 His decision showed an appalling lack of sensitivity to Canadian Veterans.

The particular Italian-Canadian chosen being

Julian Fantino  simply rubbed salt in the wounds.


It does not surprise me  the Legion  no longer abides by time-worn principles.

I would no longer seek advice on protocol either except from particular members. I'm not sure how many are left.

It brings up another iss

Canadian Legions were the single benefit provide toveterans after the First World War. It was a place they could be with people who shared their terrible memories.  Also communicate with government about the need  and availability of services

They had to build their own facilities.  But they paid no municipal or education taxes .
They had a bar they could afford . They were in charge of  Annual Remembrance Day Services.Royal Canadian Legions became respected institutions  and resources in their communities

A number of years ago ,the higher level of government turned over to Regional government responsibility to decide if Legion facilities should continue to have taxes paid for them by the local municipality.

There was no public debate that I recall. The Region decided  On the status quo.

We have  two buildings on  Legion property in Aurora. Both enjoy police and fire protection ,snow plowing, street lighting and all other amenities the town provides.

The town forfeits municipal share of the tax burden and pays Regional and Education taxes on the Legion's behalf.

Legion  membership must by now be almost 100% associate ? Little connection with the veterans

who earned the privilege of having all taxes paid by a grateful and respectful,community.

The facility  competes with local  hospitality business. Paying no taxes provides  an unfair advantage and an unfair burden to local business.

I think the situation could stand a little public discussion.,


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Story of Success":

Is Wikipedia the benchmark of research that you use? Do you not have something with credability?
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 9 December 2014 at 10:42


This is not  Christopher Watts Blog. It am not preparing a lesson every time I write. 

I write based on re-call, impressions, opinion and things I know for a fact.

I re-call headlines about Julian Fantino.

 I formed an impression from an interview and  his comment to  the Italian press after. 

I watched him on a witness stand during a trial in Newmark

I formed an opinion. 

I went  to Wikipedia to confirm  headlines and discovered others. OMG

If you know more  you are welcome  to contribute.

A Story of Success

Here's something you may not know. Canadian Legions have  always been the experts.
Any question the town had  about protocol,would be referred  to the Legion

The  Military serves Queen and Country.

Loyalty and Obedience are a requirement.

Political discussion  in a Legion was prohibited.

I first met Julian Fantino when he applied for the position of  Police Chief at the Region.

.For Veterans to criticise a Minister of the Crown  is far more serious than appears

It may be a first.

Not necessarily a surprise.

The Honorable Minister of Veterans Affairs ,Julian Fantino  recently  represeneted Canada at a Memorial  of the Canadian Campaign  in Italy in the Second World War

A number of years ago Canadian mothers organized a memorial of the Battle of Arnheim in Holland .
German mothers asked if they could join.

The Canadian mothers said NO.

Their response had nothing to do with facts or reason and everything to do with sorrow and loss.

Julian Fantino is not a sympathetic personality.

According to Wikipedia his career started as security guard at Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

When  he applied for  Police Chief of York Region he was not successful.

The Toronto press reported a quote in the Italian press from the candidate that York Region wasn't ready for an Italian.

At the time, he had held the position of Police Chief in the City of London for a short time.

He never moved to London.

Three years later, a second application to York Region was successful.

 He signed  a five year contract. Left after a couple of years to become Toronto Police Chief.

His contract there was not renewed after the initial term.

There were  reports of things like an illegal wire tap connected to Susan Eng, chairperson  of Toronto Police Services Board. And  an arrest of two hundred for child pornography without evidence. And something  else about a raid on a women's bathhouse.

Wikipedia has a note of a man's suicide with  note blaming Fantino for ruining his life.

Appointments  to  various responsible positions followed  by Former Premier Mike Harris and I believe, Dalton Mc Guinty .

The pattern continued.

Finally retirement and election to the Federal seat vacated by Mauricio Bevilaqua.

The Honorable Member  was immediately appointed Minister for Seniors.

I admit I wasn't thrilled.

Soon after he was appointed Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Y'all know the rest.

The Minister  has an impressive list of honours and awards following his name from both Canadian and Italian governments.

Monday 8 December 2014

"I don't always agree with you but "

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Happiness Grows in a Circular Motion":

I have to disagree with you. After blowing away billions with the last 12yrs of scandals, and coming back with a majority screams: “We can do as we please”. Hudak was a fool with his talk about cutting union jobs. He lost his status as leader and should have lost his seat as well for stupidity. That being said the Liberals will continue their scandalous ways, because the people of this province gave them the 2 thumbs up to continue.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 8 December 2014 at 14:3


You are not disagreeing with me. You  are saying the same thing.

 Isn't that comical?

Even when a person agrees with me, they always feel they have to qualify agreement by the rarity of the occasion. 

Long ago I came to the conclusion it had to do with my own proclivity for saying what I think without waiting to discover the prevailing opinion. 

Modern politicians of all stripes will do exactly what the noisy ones want.

It's the Yellow Brick Road to political success. 

Doesn't matter if  the demands are not emanating from all of the people. 

No politician in his/her right mind is going to take on  professional organizations of Police, Firefighters,Nurses Teachers and Doctors.

 I don't think the military is entitled to organise.

I don't think a police  officer,firefighter,teacher,nurse or doctor is likely to take on the force of their own  professional association.

.Many  professional organisations are more virally political than governments themselves.

They have more money. More than the government has debt.

No police chief in Canada is secure in his job.

When  pensions for public service were established and in the years thereafter,  government was able to borrow from  public pension funds at a preferred rate of interest to finance public projects.

The investment had to be safe . Borrowing was a benefit to the public sector and  presented earnings to the pension fund.

The pensions were not the same either.

But  that's a vestige of times long past.

Organizations  won the right through negotiation to make their own investments.

I may be wrong but I think if  an investment goes south , payments have to be made by the public sector to make up for the loss.

Most politicians are  contributing to the pension fund. It's not possible for them to take an impartial view of the matter.

Many , but not all, public sector employees are better off retired than working for a living.