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

Friday 28 February 2014

Keep 'Em Guessing

I've already said, if all things are the  same , I will be a candidate in the next election

I see no  special advantage in rushing out to register early.

Besides , at every election, I like to entertain thoughts  of making a bid for the Mayor's chair.

I can be tempted.

In my first bid for re-election to Council I learned two candidates  for the office of Reeve were knocking on doors in my neighborhood and telling people tey should not vote for moi.

Well... I thought... being young and feisty and knowing vey little ...if those two sweet fellows, are campaigning against my re-election,  I might as well run against them  for the office they're after.

So I did.

I won more votes than the two together and became last Reeve and County Councillor  in the last Council  in the history of  York County.

I ran for Mayor's office in the next election and  didn't make it. n the next election, I ran again for Council and came in with a substantial lead over all other Councillors.

I wasn't afraid then . I am  not afraid now.

I would like the current Mayor to contemplate the possibility of being defeated by an Octogenarian.

I know I could do the job better .

I think he does too which is what keeps him on edge.

My campaign would simply confirm the obvious .

Taxes are substantially higher than need be. We are not getting  what we are paying for.

This Council's emphasis has been  on spending  rather than saving .  And on pandering  to every special interest group that reared its head.

No second thoughts.

It is not in the tradition of Aurora.

Parrot everything  out of a lack of experience or learning and hope the voters are  not  listening.

Yes Yes... the idea is  alluring as ever.

No I am not afraid.

I will enjoy it a few months  more before I have to make a decision.

We've Done It Once.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Let's Have The Facts":

I colleague of mine told me she went to one of those art classes at the cultural centre. She paid a couple of hundred $ for an 8 week course. She said that she was pleased with it until I actually told her what she actually paid for it through her taxes. Saying she was not happy is an understatement. She freaked. She had no idea how much of her taxes was going to the center, especially when she could have supported a small business in the area for less money. Unfortunately residents don’t know where their taxes are flowing to. Its election year hopefully the word will get out soon.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 February 2014 21:12


Participation is growing . I do  not ask for more.  The rules need to evolve still.

Comments   that make me the issue to detract from the topic will not be published. 

When the discussion closes I will choose a comment. It may  be a cogent point.
It may throw a  new and different light on the  issue.

Like the one above.

The culture centre is competition  to  professional artists attempting to make a living from their
chosen  career.

It's not fair competition.

The Centre has  free space.  Pays no maintenance. Receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from
tax resources.

The independent professional receives no support  and ,insult to injury,  contributes to the taxes  that fund the competition.

The same point  has had to be made about the club facility at Highlanf Field.

They cannot be allowed to compete with  town restaurants. Who pay taxes. provide employment . provide their own facilities . Contribute  as sponsors  of minor sports  teams and other charities.

They cannot  speak to  unfairness. The hospitality business depends  entirely on goodwill.

It's the function of   the elected to speak to fairness and equity.

It's a simple concept.

One everyone  can understand .

Some  choose  to ignore it and agressively pursue their own interest at the expense of others.

Others have no sense of it at  all.

Social  media allows the principle to  keep being repeated.

If  judgement, fairness and equity  cannot be compelled in our small corner of the world,  at  least we can require accountability.

We have done it once already.

Thursday 27 February 2014

There are no two ways about it

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Let's Have The Facts":

This is an example of a new revenue stream for a non-profit organization which is tax receipt-eligible for the corporate sponsor (something the Town can't issue). You and yours want to lessen the reliance on Town funding, right?

You can't have it both ways

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 February 2014 13:


I don't want  it either way. 

I want the building  to be used for the purpose  intended  when millions of dollars were spent on it. 

The State of the Art Museum  design , funded by the Historical Society at a cost of $300,000 turned into a totally futile  extravagance by those entrusted with stewardship.

I too believed the town could not issue tax receipts.  

I was wrong .

The Town can ...can... can .

The fact is ,the original recommendation to Council , from our then  Chief Financial  Officer, was that a board be incorpored for the pirpose of   achieving financial independence from  taxpayers.

Seed money would be provided initially and reduced annually on a  short.tight calendar.

Instead, funding has increased each year. Board members select board members and conduct business in secret. Council knows nothing about those to whom we hand over a  valuable asset,rent free ,with all maintenance provided  plus almost $400,000 a year.

Now they trumpet a new corporate sponsor. to whom they have sold something they did not own, 
and payment for same,  they think they can keep secret . While they continue to suck  from  town teat, courtesy of the present Mayor and Council, resources to the tune of  three-quarters of a million dollars a year. 

I am here to say. as a taxpayer first, second and foremost  and  as an elected representative , I am not f--- ing satisfied with that deal. 

I was not asked and I did not agree .

It is no more acceptable to-day than it was the day I found out about it.

I don't much care what mealy-muthed , milque-toast ,  excuse for a taxpayer's representative has to say about  that.

They most certainly  have not represented my interest in the matter.

Let's Have The Facts

Whereas Council has been informed  by the Executive Director ,of a  sale of naming rights  of the Red Gallery in Church Street School, by the Board of the Culture Centre

Whereas, ownership of  Church Street School has not been transferred from the  municipality
and the question of authority to sell naming rights has not been established.

Now therefore be it hereby resolved that Mayor Dawe , the town's  legal representative on  Aurora Culture Centre Board be directed to report to Council how  and when  authority  was
established  to  sell naming rights to rooms in a building owned by the town.

And be  it  further resolved the Town solicitor advise  on ownership  of funds derived  from the  sale

I just  forwarded the above  Mr. Warren Mar ,Town Solicitor and Acting clerk of the Municipality.

Council received an e-mail yesterday morning ,informing  us joyfully of the "sponsership"

I understand the  story had already  appeared in the newspaper. 

In the town's budget, still to be approved,  an increase in funding  is listed to the Board for 2014.

No reference in the e-mail,nor I gather in the news report , is made of funds derived  from the sale of naming rights to a room in the building owned by the town. 

Twice not referenced can hardly be an oversight.

It must therefore be a matter the Board  perceives it has a right to keep secret. 

The town has  appointed two members to the  Private Corporation Board; Mayor Dawe  and Councillor Abel.

I have asked the Mayor . in a Council meeting, what  change Council might anticipate
with  representation on the board.

He responded that would be worked out  with  Recreation  Director Downey and Town Solicitor.
Warren Mar.

It seems not yet.

Let's Get This Striaght

I have lived  in Aurora more than half a century. That's a third of the Town's history. 

I was a candidate first in 1963. Again in 1965.  First elected in 1967.

I  served four terms with Councillors whose families were founding members of the town. 

Who were  students at Chiurch Street School. Played hockey for  the town when the League was all stops along the  electric rail on Yonge Street.

They were volunteer fire-fighters .

 Lived through the depression. 

Recalled the tramp camp at the railway tracks and men begging for bread .

One  recalled poachng rabbits  with his Dad in Shephard's Bush  to put a meal on the table.

I had some of the same memories. 

Friday nights  were re-called when farm families came into town to shop and  gathered in large groups  on  Yonge Street sidewalk.  Crowds so deep, a person had to step into the road to make headway. 

They were of my own generation. Glad to share their history with the newcomer  to Aurora and Council colleague. 
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Untouchable ....Not":

I  absorbed  it and  was always greedy for more

I lived through  the changes and  had a hand in some of  them. 

I  do have  a different perspective to the Mayor and other  Councillors. 

It's not skewed or distorted. 

It's not different to the communnity  I represent. 

As long  I am elected,  knowing what  people expect, I shall know that to be true. 

Subservience within this blog may not be assumed. 

It is what it is. 

Facts are delivered by one in a position to know. 

Deduction  is made  from facts , qualified  by long expeience in town affairs. 

Challenges made to facts represented  are minimal 

The Blog is an offering.

Take it or leave  it.

Either way, I will not be offended. 

I will not be offended. 

Wednesday 26 February 2014

By Their Actions Ye Shall Know Them

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Untouchable ....Not":

Speaking of physical, I noticed you were the only one who failed to applaud after Ms Schembri's presentation last night. Pettiness trumps common courtesy?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 26 February 2014 12:30


Did  you  listen to the presentation. The Aurora Culture Centre was in a competition for awards with charitable organizations. 

They received a plaque  for being in a group of a hundred contestants. 

The competition was for financial reporting. 

The award winners were Covenant House in Toronto and Hospice King. 

Covenant House takes in runaway and throwaway children off the streets of Toronto and gives them a second chance

Hospice King provides a nurturing ,caring place for terminally ill  patients in the last days of their lives. 

What is the  "Charitable" Aurora Culture Centre doing in a competition  with organizations like that. 

Miss Chembri was not the only presentation giving praise to Mayor Dawe and Councillor Abel who accompanied her to the awards luncheon .

Residents of  Mavrinac  were there  as well to express  appreciation for Council's decision to
to spend tax resources on legal fees to compel a developer to sell land to the town for a fraction of its
appraised value.

The residents have created a web site and want to be kept informed of all developments.

They  insist they were informed the site would either be a school site or a park.

There never was,  nor is there now a plan for a park on that site.

There is no indication the dispute will be resolved before the next election.

Still Council's decision  has the potential for winning  a block of  votes.

They  may not outweigh the votes of taxpayers who  do not appreciate  shameless pandering at their expense.

It will not go unnoticed.

It didn't work last time around.

We  are  entering the first phase of an election campaign.

No doubt the first in a succession of presentations showering plaudits on the heads of  the incumbents.

It's hardly subtle.

I am compelled to watch it.

I am not  required  to clap like a trained seal on cue  

Goodness Gracious....Great Balls Of Fire

Last night, the decision was made to approve spending  $26 mullion dollars on a Joint Facility for parks and public works.

It was the Mayor's decision.

Council was  divided.

The Mayor cast the deciding vote

$26 million  with  only  half  in support and half opposed.

It started at $12 million

It's not likely to be the end of it.

That's not a comfortable position for  a Mayor

A wiser man might have hesitated.

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Have a great day

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Colour me biased":

I have to say I used to enjoy this blog, but lately it is so very one sided
it seems a bit contrived ...

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 26 February 2014 08:29


Ouch,,,,that stings.

No Good Morning

Not as much as an Ow's yer Father

or Bob's  yer Uncle.

Not much of anything

Just straight for the jugular

No finesse

No  imagination

No rapier point

No word skill or good will

Just a heaping ,steaming pile of  nasty

And of course,,,no name

Tuesday 25 February 2014

Colour me biased

We went to Richmond Hill and drove up and down the town centre on Yonge Street a couple of times.

I was looking for  improvements.

Councillor Thompson indicated Richmond  Hill had  enacted  a Community  Improvement Plan.

That's where   a municipality  spends massive amounts on infrastructure improvements and offers to provide grants and loans to property owners to spruce up their properties at the expense of other property owners ,who may or may not be able to maintain their own property properly because of lack of resources.

Heavens to Betsy...whoever heard of such a thing in Aurora. Certainly not among the well-heeled crowd at the Council table.

Community Improvement  is a planners scheme for revitalizing town centers against all the odds.

It's what you get when you believe there is no  inevitability that can't be reversed if you just throw enough money at it.

 Exchange  excessive cash for excessive verbiage and you get the picture.

Change  the audience from experience  to eager neophytes , add an army of redundant civil servants heavily interspersed with  graduates from programs  taught  at universities by  those who cannot do and you have Australian sized  flocks of sheep  ready for shearing.

I noticed  little improvement in Richmond Hill.  Yonge Street is a higgledy-piggledy  mess with an assortment of store fronts  on  modest , downright plain, frame structures.

Signage  has no uniformity and  less style.

There is certainly plenty of retail  presence; not much in the way of pedestrians. Nothing to indicate business is flourishing.

Interlocking brick sidewalks ,the precursor of patterned concrete, are severely undulating and in need of replacement.

 Spindly scabby,unhealthy replicas of trees are perched precariously  at the edge of sidewalks.  Deformed stems lean out to avoid  structures in too close proximity.

I saw nothing in Richmond Hill  yesterday to encourage me to  accept  a Community Improvement Plan   as something we should follow.

It probably looks much better in Spring.

 Everything does.

But the fact is,winter in Canada is at least a third of our reality.

Beautiful pristine snow on trees and fields is a breathtaking sight to behold.

In a down town traffic oriented area ,it's just a mucky mess to be avoided if at all possible.

One of my first experiences in Canada was to be drenched to the shoulders  of my new camel- coat by a car driving through a puddle on a street north of Bloor.

It wasn't nice.

D'you know......I would rather find  a way to protect store fronts and pedestrians  from splashed up muck and slush  on Yonge Street in the down town core of Aurora than all the airy-fairy heritage schemes in Christendom.

I am beginning to hate the word  ...heritage.

Maybe we should label it  unacceptable ,,,,as  in biased against  being.

It has occurred to me ...downtown Aurora  is one helluva lot more tidy and attractive than anything Richmond Hill has to offer.

We haven't just kept talking about preserving what is best.

The private sector has just been quietly going about it for the last fifty years with a little encouragement from their friends and representatives  at the town.

Did I tell you this already

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Same Coin.":

Thank you for posting my response. There was no intent of "emotional blackmail". My intent was to make sure that you and your followers understand who and what the QYR are.

Comments in your previous post like:
"I don't know how long they've had a bus bringing cadets down from Sutton ,Keswick and Sharon.
Of course it would depend on how many cadets there are up there.

Maybe all of them.

Maybe that's where QYR should be located.

By the way, it's not Aurora Armouries any more.

It's Colonel John Graves Simcoe Armouries.

I didn't see anything in the program to indicate why they needed to relocate from the drill shed at the corner of Mosely and Larmont.

They teach cadets to drill, shoot rifles , polish their boots and iron a shirt."

This indicates to me that you feel that the QYR is a Cadet organization. RCAC Cadets occupy the building one evening per week with some weekend events (usually off-site at another DND facility).

The "meat" of the QYR is the reserve force regiment that I mentioned the link to Afghanistan. I know full well who coing the "kiddies" comment, but no one here - you included - has done anything to set the record straight on that so the bulk of your followers somehow believe that the building is used as a some form of day-care centre.

I am not expecting you to consider the well-being of the QYR in anything, that is what the Minister of Defence and his Generals are for.

The DND negotiated a lease with the Town and it's leaders at the time - both elected and appointed.

You cannot hold the QYR to blame for "needless debt". The only ones guilty of that is the Town, as it is the Town that entered into that agreement.

Why do you blame the QYR and the DND for bad decisions made by Aurora? Seems to me that the blame is being misplaced

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 February 2014 12:06


If I published this before  and I think I might have, I  apologize.

It's all  about budget, spending  and not increasing the burden on hard-pressed home owners and small business, 

I need to keep hammering away at it to stop another bad decision from being made. 

It's my job to do everything  within my  perspective and my power for the best interest of  town taxpayers. 

The same who pay federal taxes. 

I thank you for engaging and helping to draw attention  and provide understanding to the issue. 

I'm not blaming the Rangers for a bad deal made by the town.

But short of moving heaven and earth , I  will  use everything in  my arsenal  to  stop another, more catastrophic than the last,

Have a great day 

Who Calls The Tune????

In my previous post, I also viewed  hpuses on Irwin Ave down to Machell and behind the "jewels"
of HIllary. Spragg and McIntyre's property. 

I re-called Spragg's property did not have enough  frontage to provide access and egress from Yonge 
Street . John McIntyre  provided  information  of an agreement to share the Hillary House Driveway. 

To-night I learned the Historical Society actually sold an easement  to Spragg. 

So it seems  ownership by the Historical Society is firm. They can sell the property. 

It's verrry interrrresting how much  is learned when a conversation starts. 

Now,,,  before the  town agreed to use funds for Church Street renovation, AHS had raised 
$750,000 from the community to pay for the renovations. Part of that was the Brevik legacy. 

They had hired a retired director of  York County BofE to advise. 

They retained a specialist architecture team to design the state of the art museum. Paid them $300,000.

A fire suppressant  system  for  a museum was installed in the building. Not sure if that was paid for from Society funds. 

They  retained a solicitor to negotiate an agreement with the town to protect their financial investment and give them management rights over the building. 

Before  renovations were complete  they withdrew commitment to operate the museum and 
manage the building. 

After completion, when it  became evident  the building had been spirited out from under them, they 
surrendered the agreement and  protection of their financial investment and literally withdrew the scene. 

I could have used support  from the Society when I started  the fight to have the museum restored to its rightful home. But it came from the community. Not the Society.

I never understood why that was. 

I knew they wanted it. 

Last week , we learned from comments in the Auroran , the past president and the one before were 
bitterly disappointed  that it didn't happen. 

It took four years  for the public acknowledgement. 

When the agreement with the town was surrendered ,null and  void, I understand, the Society had $500.000 left of funds raised in the community for  Church Street school renovations. 

Last week  it was learned  $66,000 remain. 

To-night we learned no money had changed hands when the curator was in the Society's employ.  The salary was included in the town's payroll.

But since the curator retired, grant funds have been transferred. 

So half a million dollars ,plus  another quarter of a million in grant funds from the town ,plus  whatever  funds have been raised by the Society have all but , $66,000  been dissipated .

On the credit side of the ledger , many hundreds of volunteer hours have been contributed. 

With no pretense at auditing skills, I would argue, The Historical Society has been running at a loss for four years. 

In fact, without town funds, bankruptcy would have evolved before now. 

All the while, the town continues to funnel funds to them from taxpayer resources.

This year,  Council intend it to continue. 

While the town dips  figurative fingers into taxpayers' pockets for $70,000.,the Society  continues to dribble their provenance ,we know not where. 

Nor apparently do we care.

Because , to quote the Mayor..."this is not the time to have that conversation". the one about ending  the grant.

To quote  Councillor Humphreys..."They really  are having a hard time right now" 

I believe it was the outgoing President who indicated the  Society's objective  is for funding   to become a  "line item in the town's budget" rather than an annual grant. 

A question has been asked  which I think is valid;

If the Aurora Historical Society, as owners of Hillary House,become bankrupt, are  Directors personally liable ? 

Monday 24 February 2014

Go See For Yourself

I took a tour. My daughter volunteered to drive so that I could take it all in.

I went to  Richmond Hill, to the proposed new joint facility site, driveway to Lambert Wilson Park,
 Scanlon Court ...our hydro  property site  and Tim Horton's at John West Parkway

It mattered  not how many  people attended  open house at Scanlon Court.

Until now, there's been no dispute about the need for more space.

Liqui Force is the outfit that gets a million dollar  town contract  every year to line pipes with plastic.
They have five trucks in the town's  yard.

 Even if they  are working now, why would they not have their  own yard and building.

Why does Dimonte,  maintenance contractor for town sewer and water breaks,  not have
their own facilities?

Where's  the sense in contracting out work while providing the contractor with operating space?

What kind of  business is it that doesn't have their own premises?

The  kind that gets contracts with Aurora, the town that gazes  with equanimity at  incurring
millions of dollars  of debt for space.

Even with  snow cover,  piles of rubble and  cast away metal were  visible in the yard.

On the same road ,we drove  to another town site; the Hydro property.

Three cars were  parked in front. In  a far corner of the vacant yard of several acres, sat two military vehicles. Three non-military vehicles  were  tucked in close behind the building.

On the same road  two town-owned properties , one poorly organized .accommodating  vehicles  and supplies  with no  clear right to be there and  down the road a huge vacant yard accommodating one  truck and smaller vehicle clearly identified as military.

Still,  on the same road farther north , is the site for the new joint facility. A beautiful picture shows
a fine new architect -designed building on a nice level site.

Immediately on  the south  edge  of the property is  driveway access to the Aurora Arboretum. The incline does not have to be imagined.  It can be experienced .

A foray  in to several nearby developed sites  provide  a view of retaining walls of various heights
 and lengths are built to provide levels sufficient for construction and parking.

It's all there. Anyone can see it.

A conducted tour is not likely to be offered.

But  it's not really necessary. You can take it yoursef.

Tim The Enchanter Again

Tim the Enchanter has left a new comment on your post "I have to be fair":

Re: Only 29 residents at Joint Operation Centre Open House

"Possibly this is typical but one has to wonder when watching the heart-wrenching events these past few days in Kiev how seriously do we take our democratic form of government?"

As you noted - none of the 29 attendees filled out the questionnaire but according to the same report:

"The feedback from the 29 plus attendees was positive with no significant concerns raised that have not already been addressed through the planning and stakeholder consultation process."

So which of these statements is true?

1. This poorly attended event typifies the apathy of the average voter.
2. The fact that only 29 Voters showed up is proof that most people were not interested.
3. The favourable reaction of the attendees is a clear indication the residents are pleased with the project.
4. Low attendance simply indicates that residents are happy to leave these decisions in the capable hands of the duly elected council.
5. The open house is an example of how Town Hall is committed to engaging the input of Aurora residents in the town's affairs.

They are ALL true of course.
Such is the subjective nature of 'democracy'.

Is it council's intent that such public input shall carry weight in the decision-making process?
They've already decided on the JOC.
Was the open house simply a weak attempt to pay lip service to the importance of public input and voter participation?

If I voted for the new JOC, 29 approvals simply validate my decision.
If I voted against the JOC, 29 approvals are hardly proof that I subscribe to the minority view.

What if the 29 attendees were unanimous in disapproval?
Is that all the public input required to send council and staff back to the drawing board?
If I voted for the JOC won't I simply say that maybe these 29 folks don't like it but I've heard from other residents that do support the project so I see no reason to make changes?

And what about the Heritage Park proposal?
Will approval hinge simply on a pushy special interest group and five agreeable members of council?
What about public consultation and input?
Will that be just more "Come out to the open house and see what we've decided to spend your taxpayer dollars on"?

Or will our council, mindful of the financial commitment they are asking taxpayers to make, present the plan to us and base their decision on our reaction?
There's absolutely nothing wrong with council getting excited about the Heritage Park.
But what if we aren't?

What participation level would convince council that the residents endorse or reject the Heritage Park?

So the question was:
"how seriously do we take our democratic form of government?"

To which I ask - how seriously does council take their responsibility as our democratically elected government?

Decisions born of favourtism and shaped by subjective whim to suit trending popularity only represent an illusionary bubble of faux democracy, strictly within the rules but happily unfettered by moral or ethical limits.
Can councils not see the difference between "Yes we could - but it wouldn't be right" and "We are doing it - unless you can show us where it says we can't".

If councillors only value my opinion once every four years then why would I bother offering it at any other time?

Only 29 residents went to the open house?
Shame on us for failing to participate?
Shame on council for failing to convince us that our participation matters

Posted by Tim the Enchanter to Our Town and Its Business at 24 February 2014 12:41

The Same Coin.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A deal with the DND":

You do know that the Queens York Rangers are more than an Army Cadet unit right?

QYR (both in Toronto and Aurora) are unit's in the Canadian Army reserve force.

The RCAC (Royal Canadian Army Cadets) are affiliated with the QYR but are not the same thing.

The whole "kiddies" thing makes me mad. The reserves (which I was a member of a number of years ago) is an integral part of the Canadian Armed Forces. Members of reserve units are called upon regularly to deploy overseas. Just have a look though those lost in Afghanistan and see how many were members of a reserve regiment that had been deployed.

They are not kiddies nor is their job "to play soldier".

Only thing worse than the "kiddies" comments is the disrespect to these men and women that have volunteered to serve.


And you do know I hope ,the "Kiddies" comment was fiirst coined by the  town;s former Mayor. 

It was how she publicly expressed her satisfaction  when she announced the lease of a town-owned and needed facility to the Department of National Defense. 

Your suggestion of disrespect to  forces serving in Afghanistan does not sit well. It;s exactly the kind of emotional blackmail  and spurious allegation that  makes Aurora Council fearful of taking care of the  interest of the people they were  elected to serve.

QYR have occupied the corner of our town park for ...maybe close to a century ...and were always welcome in the town.

I have  personally enjoyed many social occasions in the mess and represented the town at  numerous pass out parades in the Community Centre.

I do not now nor have I ever considered the well-being of  QYR to be the  financial responsibility of any institution other than the Department of National Defense .

Aurora taxpayers should  certainly not be carrying any part of the load of the  Federal Government.  Quite the opposite

Your comment is a passionate defense of the Queen's York Rangers, their action  and sacrifice in Afghanistan and elsewhere our government chooses to send them.

I respect that.  I know how that feels.

I still have to  fulfill my  commitment.

For the town to incur millions of dollars of  needless debt  because a  town- owned facility , under-utilized by  Queen's York Rangers , was  secretly leased to the  Department of National Defense ,at a rent that doesn't cover  resources spent on the building , while the  federal government's  facility sits idle and empty more than three years  after it was vacated , is utterly ludicrous and an insult to our intelligence.

Sunday 23 February 2014

I have to be fair

A  discomfiting thought has occurred.

Since comments are anonymous , critical comments against the Mayor  could be more  than they appear.

We are into an election .candidates are declaring themselves.

There's little  to  hinder a rival from using the blog for his or her  own purpose.

I don't want to stifle discussion.

I don't want to  provide unfair advantage.

Criticism is an occupational hazard in politics.

I've not been light-handed with the Mayor.

But he has many  opportunities to  defend himself  from me.

We are both openly in the ring.

My criticism is directly related to my experience as a member of his Council.

Whatever I've said  is  related  to an issue already in the public domain and it has my name attached.

Now people are talking about the up-coming election  and that's a good thing.

Except I don't want  the blog to be  a medium for dirty tricks.

It's a  personal quandary.

Councillors are criticized  as well.

But the Mayor is a  singular target.

A solution  to the problem does not come immediately to mind.

If there's going to be a fight and we hope so ,I'm  fairly sure  voters would like it to be

Maybe  we should talk about that for a bit.

There's  no reason  why the Mayor should not be  called to account. That's what elections are about.

On the other hand ,there's no reason  rivals and enemies  should be able to flail away  without also being accountable.

I can't stop it from  happening  elsewhere but I am responsible for the blog.

Saturday 22 February 2014

The scheme is the issue

The comment  at  5.49  a.m. yesterday was a spirited defense    of  Mr. Albino .

A flurry of comments  have followed .

They  divert attention  from the issue to Mr.Albino.

That the town  could be  so nearly coerced into expending millions on a scheme  totally lacking in substance is ,to me,  the unbelievable  factor.

Mr.Albino did not  accomplish  it by himself .

Heading the  initial list  of supporters was the Office of Mayor.

No doubt it lent  immediate credibility to the project.

Yet it meant nothing.

 No serious examination of the scheme.

Names collected before Council had any idea what was afoot.

For a scheme that never amounted to anything but a  fantasy.

Despite town resources indiscriminately thrown at it.

The only  identifiable factor, a real estate deal, to transfer millions from public coffers into the pockets of  three owners  of unexamined  vintage  buildings hemmed in by private homes.

Mr.Albino is not the issue.

The crazy scheme  promoted  with the help of people from whom we had a right to expect better....

That is the issue

So, thankyou   for the research and up to date  information.

iIt will be filed.

Babies are amazing

I won't go to Richmond Hill to-day. I had a two hour visit from three  great-grand daughters and my grand-daughter ,their mother Lindsay.

Abigail, the middle sister is going with Aunt Stephanie to Guelph to be in a crowd scene in a movie.

Cheyenne ,  now  a sea cadet, is taking Mickey the dog , home with her .

Emma is eight months old and has grown from really tiny to a round chubby cheerful child.

Her eyes reflect her thought process.

 I am not a familiar face.

Two hours passed before she volunteered a smile.

I wasn't forcing it. I'm content to wait. The intensity of her gaze rarely faltered while she focussed and stored  information for future reference.

 'Tis said a child learns more in the first three years than the rest of life.

It's a phenomenal learning curve and  fascinating to  watch.

The path between house and car was iced over. Cheyenne had slipped on the way in,they said.

The wind whipped up  during the visit.

I remembered  another winter's night and a strong wind . I lost control of the car on Yonge, just south of Major Mack and drove into a  snow bank.

The same night, a Volkswagen, traveling north was blown across Yonge Street into the path of oncoming traffic.

A young Aurora mother, alone in the car ,was killed instantly.

I attended the Funeral Mass  at Our Lady of Grace.

I didn't tell the story.

When  you live  a long time, in the same place, it's  hard to separate from memory.

The Mayor and Councillors Abel and Gallo find  it difficult to conceal exasperation.

We all have idiosyncrasies to be sure  and burdens.

It may be  time for me to focus energy in a different direction.

Butter Fingers

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A deal with the DND":

R H has the same traffic funnel as Aurora and isn't wasting any time on dressing up the core of their town. It works just fine. One learns where to park off-Yonge and what hours to try to avoid. They even have a sign showing where their food bank is located for drop-offs.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 22 February 2014 11:47


Rejected accidentally

A deal with the DND

Last time I was in Richmond  Hill, I had to drive up and down Yonge Street looking for the funeral parlor.  It was in the same place it had always been but a number of high rise apartment building had been built and the land marks had vanished.

I plan to drive down  this weekend . Not because I want to. I freely  acknowledge i do not enjoy the change.

Councillor Thompson advises they did the Community improvement thing in Richmond Hill. I need to go and see how it improved the town centre.

When the Region was created, Richmond Hill inherited the  B. A.I.F. development. South side of Major Mackenzie Drive and west side of Yonge.

Tax revenue   would have multiplied many time over.

Their Hydro  was also sold to  Power Stream for  many .many millions more than ours.

The first wave pool in York Region was in Richmond Hill.

After Hydro was sold Richmond Hill  built a Culture Centre on Yonge Street and made a contribution of several  million to York Central Hospital.

I  logged in to Queen's York Rangers web site last night.

The  program is the same as always.

I don't know how long they've had a bus bringing cadets down from Sutton ,Keswick and Sharon.
Of course  it would depend on how many cadets  there are up there.

Maybe all of them.

Maybe that's where  QYR should be located.

By the way, it's  not Aurora Armouries any more.

It's Colonel John Graves  Simcoe Armouries.

I didn't see anything in the program to indicate why they needed to relocate from the  drill shed at the corner of Mosely and Larmont.

They teach  cadets to drill, shoot rifles , polish their boots and iron a shirt.

Living accommodation and meals are provided to people who join the army.But that would of course be in Army Bases.

I did hear sometime recently  the Government was planning to close down  both Armouries and that's why Aurora sprang to their assistance.

The main one is  Fort   York Armouries  in Toronto.

It may  be  the ability to design and build  to  our own standards park furniture and gazebos and such   at savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars is  more of a financial advantage to  Aurora residents than saving Queen's York  Rangers  from the  ravages of the Ministry of National Defence.

I  believe  rent of $31,000. rent  is collected. As landlords ,we are responsible to maintain the building Several  hundred thousand dollars  were spent to meet their requirements. We are not making any money from their tenancy yet.

We do forfeit taxes.

If the building  had been sold to the private sector we would not only realize tax revenue . the property would  add jobs to our employment pool.and  added several million to our Hydro asset reserve fund.

We never did explore that option.

We dealt  the potential away  when we made the  Faustian Bargain with DND.

Who was looking after our interest then?

And who is looking after our interest now ?


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Questions and answers.":

I don't beleive that the Town can charge property tax on a property that is being leased from the Town. Think about it, it's a bit of a circle isn't it?

What I don't understand in Ms Buck's post is what she expects the "kiddies" - by the way, these people at adults, some in the 30s and 40s - to do to "show" that they are there?

Would you like them to setup a rifle range on the front yard? I am not sure of the expectation.

Besides, if Parks and Rec was there, would we see anything? I am sure that they would build the picnic tables indoors. Seems that is the real tragic event here, they have no place to make picnic tables. 


The comment  is typical of entitlement  non-thought.

Empty. vacuous , dismissive of all but  personal special. selfish  interest.

The term "kiddies" is not mine. It was coined by the former Mayor, who spirited  the hydro property from  town use to the group who would  help ensure her re-election.

Did not.

No reference  here to the multi-million Town debt  created by their occupation of  town property.

The  writer may not even be a resident of our town.

Certainly association with Queen's York Rangers does not necessarily convey that assurance.

Like so many others making decisions affecting our lives.

They don't  live here. Pay no taxes. Don't meet us at arenas, soccer fields or anywhere families gather and share their worries.

Nothing is invested.

Connections can be severed with a moment's notice and leave not a ripple on the surface of our small pond.

Their multi-million dollar  dilettante demands and recommendations do not affect them.

They  have no commitment.

Friday 21 February 2014

Questions and answers.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Guest Post":

Someone mentioned yesterday that we might need to file FOI requests in order to find out what the town was doing. I'm fairly sure that they have to go through the Town Clerk.
Do we even have a Town Clerk ?


The town solicitor has been appointed Acting Clerk.

The talk now is about  an elections officer on contract. 

Someone posted a comment about  the two mechanics trying to manipulate their employer.

An  echo of immediate past chief magistrate.

Always Blame the victim.

We have had a  continued exodus of employees since 2006

Municipalities in the GTA  are a close knit community. Word travels fast .

On the other hand, last time we had to replace the clerk, four years ago, we had two applications .
One  had no idea what a municipal clerk's job was.

The time I exploded with the f-bombs in the closed door meeting was ia reaction Councillor Abel's indifference towards a  treasury-clerk  of  twenty-six years  employment manipulated out of a relatively humble job for no obvious reason.

Yesterday I mis-spoke when I said questions are not allowed. Of course questions are not disallowed. .
It's  the answers that are refused point blank.

And secrets are kept safe.

Everything can be  papered over with the old re-organisation sham.

In the meantime,  no employee can have security in the town of Aurora.

No loyalty can be assumed.

Second comment:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Guest Post":

"I was convinced the Hydro building and five acre secure yard should have been retained by the town and become permanent location for the parks department."

But all the others disagreed, stop crying about it.


You speak true. 

All who knew, agreed  evicting the parks department from the property and  leasing it to   Queen's York Rangers  so that "the Kiddies" could have a place to play was a stroke of genius. 

Councillor Ballard wasn't even Councillor at the time. But he was Chairman of the Economic Development Advisory Committee. The former Mayor had a penchant for putting her friends in  positions of influence, 

The problem with the comment is the deal was done quietly. Mostly behind closed doors. 

Not too  many  outside the magic circle did know  about it. 

Now they know. 

Because I keep telling them. 

Now they are looking down the barrel of millions of dollars of  needless debt. 

The Hydro property bears little sign of life  from "kiddies"or any other activity. 

The parks department could ,as they were before, be handily accommodated on the hydro property.. 

The Works Department could take over the space formerly occupied by Parks and build their new facility in a perfect location with  least disruption. 

People understand ,they do have power and authority. They can recognise a boondoggle as easily as the next person.

They can make a difference.

They can advise elected representatives  of their position on  issues at hand.

Councillors are compelled to pay attention.

It's as simple as tapping out an e-mail.

The Hydro property is ours. We need it ....desperately.

National Security does not depend on DND occupation of five acres of Aurora.

Surely, they have other things to worry about.

And they have an empty Heritage Armouries on the cormer of Mosely and Larmont.

Thursday 20 February 2014

Guest Post

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Dick Whittington ,Dick Whittington...Where have yo...":


There are two matters that I wish to address.

The Joint Operations Centre according to the information I located on the town website at a cost of $19,800,000 is to be financed by debt gradually reducing by monies from development charges and the sale of the 9 Scanlon Court property. Will the proceeds of sale of any other town properties by available to reduce this debt?

When companies agree to merge or when one buys out another, the first thing that is publicized is the degree of saving that the new larger entity will be able to accomplish, reducing duplication of staff and physical facilities, etc. In other words the combined company wii be more profitable because its overheads will be reduced.

I have not managed to see anywhere a similar statement on the overheads saved as a result of the Joint Operations Centre. I appreciate that staffs are not interchangeable but the larger, purpose-built structure must surely create savings. Has such a study been done and how does one access it?

The second matter must unfortunately once again address Mr. Bill Albino. He was described by another blogger as totally dedicated to the restoration, if not the resurrection, of Hillary House. His presence now on the Aurora Historical Society Board and as an officer of AHS provides him with a platform to meddle into areas where he is neither welcome nor is it appropriate for him to do so. Fifty members hardly represent the community

A recent blogger said that the asking prices for the two properties that would be required are apparently public knowledge. I have not seen any numbers and if they are public how do I find out what they are?

Hopefully the Hillary Heritage Park will fade from sight sooner rather than later and with it the COA's pretentious memorandum relating to a strategy to conduct purchase negotiations. 


Public works and parks are two  departments within the organization. 

Only facilities are to be joined. The departments  currently work together to ensure  all necessary areas of services are covered. 

More space is required. The project has gone forward . A new site  was purchased.

A budget of  $14 million  was projected.

A  status report was due in  October. It  never appeared.

Word was the  price had zoomed $10 million  higher.

November was the new date . It failed to emerge.

Finally it came forward with an increased budget of  $19 million plus land

Clearly the Mayor and several Councillors had been part of an effort to reduce the cost.

When the status report was finally presented , their support was  organized .

I  was never persuaded the facility needed to be re-located.

I was convinced the Hydro building  and  five acre secure yard should have been retained  by the town and become permanent location for the parks department.

Space vacated  by Parks on Scanlon Court  would have provided  adequately for expansion of  Public Works.

The  new joint facility site , on a  dangerous curve on  heavily travelled Industrial Parkway, in a ravine  was never suitable for a mainly truck operation .

 $3 million   additional cost to  remediate the site ,simply confirmed my conviction  several  wrong  decision had been made.

The Hydro property owned by the Town , perfect for our purpose,  needed for our use but leased to the National Defense Department, sits quietly idle  throughout the week.

The  Armories ,previous home of DND ,on the corner of the Town Park is  also vacant and abandoned.

I believe the town should put the interest of taxpayers first and take back the Hydro property

I believe the Department of National Defense Program, being accommodated in a property we need for our own purposes , may very well be on the Federal chopping block.

I believe Council should  seriously entertain the option of recovering our property at  this time.

There has never been a financial advantage.

What's at stake is $15 million of  needless debt to homeowners and business in our town.


Scuttlebutt has it , the town's two mechanics have jointly submitted resignations.

I cannot ask without being accused of micro-managing.

So I thought I would share.

Dick Whittington ,Dick Whittington...Where have you been?

I didn't attend the Mayor's Luncheon at the Chamber of Commerce.

I did read  an  account of the speech in The Auroran

Good thing I did.

I would not have known otherwise ,we were not successful in our bid to become a University city.
despite our willingness to  find and fund millions on property to  entice the University of Windsor
to establish a presence in our town.

Neither would I have known our effort to attract Seneca College to use the old library on Victoria Street  for a Fab Lab had fizzled and vanished without a trace.

The speech  did not mention the idea  to compete with builders in a multi-million dollar auction for a  designated land parcel with allocation for ninety-two homes on forty foot lots and turn it into  soccer fields and such.

Considerable staff resources were committed to the effort without prior Council direction.

Council's role continues to shrink in the overall scheme of things.

I didn't see a reference  to spending on legal services to compel a developer to sell land to the municipality for a fraction of its value.

I  must read it again to see what else has been going on  Council and the community didn't know .

Crying Foul Doesn't Cut It

In many ways ,Aurora Historical Society is like any other volunteer organization . members come and members go.

Some make a lifetime commitment and nothing is too much because theirs is a passion.

Preservation of  heritage was more than a volunteer commitment. It called for a partnership.

Without the town's financial support little of what was accomplished could have been.

Without the Historical Society's volunteer man-hours ,town resources could never have been enough.

The relationship  has been mutually respectful  and beneficial to the community.

Mr.Albino's methods to accomplish his objective have not been respectful.

His vision is not shared by all.

Those opposed have been as determined  as he has been devious.

He started the fight. He chose the weapons.

At the end , he went a step further and jumped in to politics with both feet.

Let him put his name on a ballot and take the question to the real authority.

The people who pay the bills in this town.

All of them.

Not just the ones who know no limits.

In answer to a question: The meeting was public. I heard from several sources.

Had I wanted to be present, the building is not accessible in the finest weather. With snow pack to the door and no attempt to clear a path, it was even less welcoming.

If anything cited here was incorrect .please clarify.

Wednesday 19 February 2014

Times change not necessarily for the better.

Aurora Historical Society is a private volunteer organization . They are not accountable to the Town. 
The Town has no responsibility for decisions the Society makes.

For almost fifty years the Town and the Society worked together compatibly ,productively and economically towards the same objective.


The Town provided  a grant and facilities .

The Society  and the museum curator provided  the many-faceted  and much appreciated  heritage programming. 

Times change.

The Aurora  Historical  Society no longer provides the service of the past. 

Funding continues  with substantial increase.

An aggressive recruiting drive was necessary to select , not elect an executive board. 

John McIntyre and William Albino were elected President and Vice President. 

Mr. Albino made a presentation to  the  members. He explained how  the idea  for a heritage theme park  arose during a conversation  between himself and Mr.McIntyre. 

He confirmed a statement by a previous president. The idea did not originate with nor was it endorsed by the Historical Society. 

With Mayor Dawe and Councillor Thompson before him in the audience , he  referred to  choosing new candidates in the next municipal election.

Yes indeed.

Times change.

They do not necessarily improve. 

Things are often what they appear

Members of  AYSC were in the Council chamber last night.

Council had directed staff to review the Sport Dome agreement  for a solution to the tax problem.

The situation morphed  from a way of getting out of an inequity into something else entirely.

The owner was asked f he was willing to sell.

It seems he is

AYSC were asked if they were willing  to buy the business  and operate it

It seems they are.

The Mayor expressed himself willing. Said it was the same as  building  and operating a hockey arena.

Now council was being asked to "endorse" the concept of forking out $1.1million to buy the Sport Dome and accoutrements to keep it aloft.

There we are, like ducks in a row ,ready to be separated into good guys and bad

Those  who will.

Those who won't

Councillor Pirri stood fast in opposition. As I did.

The discussion  ended  with  direction  to staff  to "explore" the concept further.

It seems  the direction might be problematic and  more time consuming than previously anticipated.

I voted for that.

The Mayor moved  to waive procedure to allow  AYSC  to have a say 

A motion to waive procedure  is becoming the rule rather than the exception.

Depending on which group is favored.

 It  requires  two-thirds majority.

It didn't pass.

Activity continued .

Soccer Club members lingered. One returned to the town hall as I  left.

At next Tuesday's Council meeting, we will discover the new strategy.

How  Council  will be further manipulated.

Occupational Hazards ...The field is full of pitfalls.

When I wrote the post on the plan to tax all property owners to provide support to  those
within a  "Community Improvement Plan"  , I received a comment.

"Aargh!  Enough already."

It typifies a political  hazard .

How many fights can one engage before  being tagged with  negativity,

It would be easier to go along to get along.

It would be simpler  to cast a negative vote and  say nothing that can be held against one.

Or  comment that sound like you're  leaning one way  and vote the opposite.

If there's no recorded vote, claim  the expedient  position  according to who you might be talking to
 any given moment.

They are  all  strategies   to confound   one's enemies and cover one's ass.

I'm not an artful dodger.   The risk is mine to take and I've never been able to avoid it.

There was a question about membership  on

the Economic Development  Advisory Committee.

Councillor Thompson is Chairman. I think he works for a pharmaceutical Company.I'm not sure of his responsibilities.

Councillor Abel is a member. He works at Westview Golf Course. That's how he knows so much about trees and  why they matter .

The Mayor is ex officio on all committees . He attends  EDC meetings regularly.
I believe he was  partner in a consultant business.

Councillor Pirri attends meetings as well.

Citizen members names should be listed on the web site. Not sure if  work background
is  also listed.

The Community Improvement Plan  on to-night's agenda went to the committee before it came to Council.

We had another million dollar spending  proposal on the agenda to-night,

The Sports Dome  was our  venture into public-private partnership. It is not a success story.

The Dome is erected over  a soccer field owned by the town. The Town bought it from the Legion.

The field was not taxable.

The agreement with the Dome owner  relieved him of  responsibility for all taxes.

On the basis there were none.

Turned out  commercial operation   on the land made it  taxable and the town has been paying through the nose since; $50,000  taxes to the Region and Board of Education.

It's a twenty year  agreement. At  the end the town will have forked out a cool million. But I think I heard to-night, we become the  proud owners of  whatever  is left standing or should I say floating.

Also heard to-night the accoutrement has a life of twenty -five years.

The main beneficiary of the agreement has been another business; Aurora Youth Soccer Club.

We are seven years into the agreement and out $350,000.

Staff were directed to review  with a view to  reversing  the original error.

The report suggests  an option of  the town purchasing the Dome at a  potential cost of $1.1 million.

The discussion calls for another post.

Tuesday 18 February 2014

The Election is Hotting Up

News of the Historical Society.

They held an annual meeting and had an election of officers. John McIntyre is the new President. William Albino is Vice-president.

Mr. Albino has offered to provide names of  Council candidates who should not be elected.

A former president of the association infrmed the membership ,the cockamamie scheme for
a Heritage theme  park did not emanate from the Historical Society.

We knew that.

We've always known that.

The  only mystery  initially was M.Albino's purpose on the Board

The claim  of  Historical Society  sub-committethe  status by proponents of the real estate scam
threw a little light. Endorsation of the scheme by the Mayor of the town added credibility/

The outgoing  Society President allowed the illusion to stand. Now that person is going to live elsewhere.Not much chance of accountability there.

Now with the new President -owner of one of the  properties  and Vice President -proponent  of the scheme to flog them to the town, ensconced in   two top offices, the  Honorable Historical Society
will  no doubt once again be  used by the  endlessly persistent and totally scrutable Albino anf his invisible partners,

Too bad they don't have  the same ample resources to  gamble as they have baffle-gab to spill.

Of course , the door is not closed yet,  Council's decision  was to defer for ninety days while directing staff to contnue  to search for partners with deep pockets.

The Gurus will continue to scheme.

That futile exercise will take them  forward to the next  election.

With Albino managing the political campaign , in the same way  he  surely believes he  almost pulled off the hysterical  heritage  theme park  campaign ......there's a chance  he might  still succeed.

Well, My Goodness Me, I can't think of a more  appropriate  campaign issue for  his times.

Castles  in the  air with gingerbread trim and without foundations

Patterned concrete sidewalk to connect jewel-like  synergies with Community Centre  1.

Trees that grow  out of the pattern without root space or room for a canopy.

Build it, they will come, the cry.

So many,  they will spill off  the sidewalk onto  the road

And fill the place with laughter and merriment, vitality and joy because of all you can  have with other people's money and without as much as a by-your-leave.

Monday 17 February 2014

Agenda Item 2...read it.

Item 2   on  tomorrow's Council agenda is the Community Improvement Plan .

The  brilliant plan where home owners and business in  town will  cheerfully and generously pay increased taxes to  provide grants and loans  and tax relief to property owners within the  Promenade Plan  thereby revitalizing  the down town and making it the pedestrian friendly hub of the community.

The report should be carefully read.

It's been in the works since it was adopted in September 2010. During an election campaign.

This year's budget includes  $220,000. for the great give-away.

$148,000 of that  was   "obtained " from Smart Centres  during the term before last.

Staff forecast the plan will require $200,000  from taxes in future years. No details of how that estimate came to be.

Also, applications  in 2014   are expected to be handled by existing staff but additional staff  are anticipated to be needed in 2015 and future years.

No numbers or details  are available to indicate future  cost  of the new Department of Largesse Distribution.

Scrutiny of the report  reveals no input from the Town's Finance department.

Manager of Strategic and Long-term Planning  authored  the report.

The goal of which y'all  may re-call is to provide "an exceptional quality of life for all "

The same consultant  who recommended the McIntyre -Hillary theme to Council is  involved in this ambitious plan to re-distribute  our wealth.

The total report is 81 pages long. The   Section written by Manager of Long Range and Strategic Planning is only 6 pages .

The rest  is the Consultants'  work and has already passed scrutiny  of the Economic Development Advisory Committee.

We'll talk  about this again.

And the question was ?

Tim the Enchanter has left a new comment on your post "Raw Meat on a bone or a monkey on a stick":

Where was I?
In my home where I live.
In my home where the Town mails a horse-choking tax bill to me every year.
In my home where I write the cheque for the money that the Heritage Park people want to spend.
In my home where I wasn't approached by anyone from the Heritage Park group anxious to tell me about their great $20M idea of which they expected me to pay half.
Not one phone call - not one knock at the door - not one mailing - not one flyer.

And why not?
If it was such a wonderful idea what could be easier than getting the Town behind it?

In my opinion your "where were you?" statement exudes the disingenuous bizzaro reverse-onus sense of civic responsibility nonsense that typifies the tactics special interest groups use in the attempt to advance their pet agendas.

The sad truth is that groups like the Heritage Park DO NOT WANT citizens sticking their oar in by asking uncomfortable questions or expressing disapproval.
Cheerleaders and supporters only please.
The equally sad truth is that not enough councillors realize I didn't hire them to be cheerleaders.
I hired a council that will ask uncomfortable questions on my behalf.

I am the boss.
The council works for me.
This isn't some chickenfeed hand out to a kids hopscotch team.
This is a multimillion dollar expenditure - and not for a 'need' either - but a 'want'.

In what workplace would it ever be acceptable for the employees to take it upon themselves to spend this amount of "mad" money and then dictate to the boss when and where the he may register his displeasure should he choose to do so?

You want to spend that kind of money you come to me and damn well justify it!
I don't go to you!

Unless of course the whole idea was to get this rammed through council before anyone realized what was happening?

What if this project turned into a $20M money-sucking white elephant?
Would that then be my fault because I didn't "do enough" to stop council from going through with it?

Would any councillor try that twisted logic at home?
"I can't believe you bought that new car, you know we can't afford it!"
"Well, I wanted it and you didn't tell me not to."

And would this be a good time to remind the "It's up to taxpayers to come down and get involved" crowd that a good number of taxpayers did exactly that when the last council debated by-election vs appointment after Ms. Marsh resigned?
I was there.

We waited patiently while at least three delegates took to the microphone and spoke in support of a by-election to much applause.
We waited patiently while it was pointed out that the council had placed so much value on the most important item that they placed it last on the agenda.
We waited patiently while they debated.
And then as they looked out over the crowd that was clearly in unanimous support of a by-election - we waited patiently while they voted 6 to 2 for appointment. ( Councillors Buck and Collins-Mrakas the Nays)

So much for the value of civic participation.
Stand and ye shall be heard.
Oh please. 

Posted by Tim the Enchanter to Our Town and Its Business at 17 February 2014 16:05

The Natives Are Restless

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Raw Meat on a bone or a monkey on a stick":

20:30 – They sure are subject to the promenade scheme and historic building thing! In fact private investors looking at other possible investments in Town are having a hard time with this study because the banks aren't looking to favorably at this study either. And that historical building thing is just pure hell to plan and navigate any type of development that can make a return on investment.


So...you think so...eh

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The best may yet become.":

Well, 19:54, we know which councillor doesn't have any influence like that, don't we?


Do we now? 

When  I come home from  a  Committee   or  Council meeting, comments  are waiting  from people who have watched the meeting and have something to say about it.

In all the years I have been involved in town affairs, I have never had that  level of communication and assurance that my views are on line with  such a significant number of  taxpayers in the town. 

The community has never had access to line by line account of how their affairs are being handled by their elected representatives.

It is participatory democracy for sure.

I provide the platform . I fill in the pesky details  People like Tim the Enchanter and Ka-non and countless others provide the fuel that keeps the pot boiling.

Enemies accuse me of beating  up on the Mayor and  Councillors..

No such thing.

I do not put words into  anyone's mouth.

If their views do not reflect well , the fault is not mine, Fair Claudius.

I  merely continue the debate and open the dialogue to whoever wants to join in

It is as it should be. It has never been better.

Councillors need to hear how people  are seeing things.  They   need to listen.

They  hear from staff and consultants and the noisy ones with their over-arching sense of entitlement.

Manipulated  this way and that. they are anxious to  get it  right.

I've never known an elected representative who strove to make a bad impression.

They do the best they can within the glass bowl.

They need to know, if they follow their best judgement, there will be support.

I frequently  remind  the Mayor if I'm not allowed to contribute what I know at the Council table,  I do have another option.

No doubt people who read and comment to this blog are  also letting their Councillors know their views .

Councillors  are wise to listen.

If  decisions are influenced  I am content .

Whatever  skills and resources I have, I use  wherever ,in the best interest of the community.

Everything doesn't happen at the Council table.

Nor should it.

It's not about me or any individual  member of Council.

It's about the  community.

It's about doing  the best we know how...


However that turns out.

Amen, my friend.

The last Council was an exception to all the rules.

Unfortunately, there are residuals.

Sunday 16 February 2014

Raw Meat on a bone or a monkey on a stick

Enough already with the rules , he said.  "Give us raw meat on the bone"

I smiled . Raw meat on the bone, indeed.

 D'you  forget where you live ?

Imagine the cast ... who are the leads?

What is the theme ?

Romance...Comedy... Murder....Mystery .....Musical....Evil Intrigue  ....House of Horrors ?????


Methinks,,,none of the above.

On Tuesday, we  watched the  final fizzle of a real estate scam to separate the Town from  $11 million dollars, the price of three run-down properties touted  by staff and consultants and Councillors as "jewels" and   the investment opportunity of a lifetime.

The properties  were at  immediate risk of being scooped up by developers  eager to get  greedy hands on   the investment opportunity of a lifetime.

Months  of  staff time , $25,000  for a consultant study , and something called the Probus Presentation have already been expended to sell the idea to the community.

Before that , the Mayor's  endorsement was used to give the project credibility and entice others to do the same.

Councillors Abel and Humphreys allowed the Heritage Advisory Committee  to be used to expedite the process.

President of the Historical Society  allowed the status of that  failing organization  to be used as a front.

William Albino presented repeatedly  on behalf of  proponents who were never identified.

The  clear objective was to use  the Hydro  reserve funds , just waiting for a use, to "save" the vintage properties from  being pillaged by the private sector.

At this point, reason for backing away from the investment opportunity of a lifetime, is the inappropriate use of public funds.  And the  need for private partners to put up the money.

The motion  on Tuesday  was to defer the decision for ninety days while staff seeks private
partners to finance the project.

The Mayor said, the consultants said,  public funds should not be used. There is risk.

The private sector should fund the enterprise.

Since when does the private sector take advice on investment from the public sector.

Who ever heard of such a thing?

I did not interpret  the consultant's report  same  as the Mayor.

I did not hear it during the presentation to Council ,the previous Tuesday.

I did not  interpret the  report from  special project manager in the CAO's department,  as advice not to make the investment.

I heard the opposite from all of the parties.

The Chief Financial Officer, whose job it is to advise on the merits of  investment was neither asked nor offered financial advice.

The project it seemed  was A-Go.

Suddenly the brakes were applied.

The decision was deferred for ninety days. At the end of  which we are close to sumer recess.

 At the end of  summer recess, we are into the next election.

A Lame Duck Council.

Effectively, the project is a dead duck.

If we have staff with sufficient time on their hands to seek out partners and private investment to invest in private property, as directed by Council,  it appears .....we  may have too many staff.

That meat is as raw as you're going to get, my friend.

But $11 million  isn't chicken feed either.

Such a good thing it's no longer on the table.

Too bad  another $50,000 or thereabouts was spent to accomplish nothing at all.

Can't think of a private business that could  survive by throwing money at projects and hoping some thing might stick.

The best may yet become.

I told you a story of love and made you cry.

I cried too.

Aunt Peggy died seventy  years ago and the sadness remain.

Life goes on because it must.

But it's never the same.

On one of my return visits to Scotland,  I  stood on the sidewalk and looked out the road towards the school. I attended and re-called the days when I walked that path.

I realized the  girl  I was no longer existed. She was a ghost of myself..

Life is lived in  episodes.

Chapters are outlined and marked with beginnings and ends.

Some are longer  and stronger and harder than others.

As  each one ends, a new one begins.

As the story continues , new facets  are added ..new features chiseled out.

Every  chapter is a new beginning.