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

Thursday 27 March 2014

Only The Shadow Knows

Born  of  wealth and privilege, St.Andrew's College might have been our Alma Mater.

We would have participated in theatre arts and a debating society and  become masters of the latter art.

No matter.  We can learn . This media provides the opportunity.

A question  under discussion  is  sufficient number of Council seats?  6 or 8

The task is to discover the merits  and prepare oneself to  argue for one or the other.

Rules  are civility and timing.

The first means  no invective, personal criticism of an opponent's intellect  is a no-no.

"Ya. yir ma wears army boots."  is not appropriate.

Itwould be definite lack of decorum . Points would be lost .

Timing in this media is not material but  precision matters. Rambling cost points.

Consider what is known.

In living memory,Aurora always had eight councillors since  a population of 5,000
and half its geographic area.

 With the creation of Regional goverment in 1971, with a population of 11,000. authority was given to reduce the size of Council.

It was proposed and promptly rejected by the community. The feeling was one of deprivation of rights.

Fast forward to 2010. Contemplate the last term of Council.

Fury swept through the community. Three citizens were sued during the election campaign by the Mayor using tax resources, compelling them to incure massive legal cost to defend themselves.

Already a strong  campaign had been mounted to replace the Mayor and five incumbents.

Twenty candidates were registered for eight  seats.

Despite a massive effort the campaign was only partially successful.

Turn-out, always the key ,only increased by .5 %

The Mayor 's office was handily won by a candidate without experience of municipal government.   A first in living memory.

Four  Councillors of unknown quantity , were elected.

Two  incumbents  and  a follower , all affirmed disciples  of the former Mayor, were re-elected.

A fifth was  squeezed out by the narrowest of margins.

A powerful campaign was only half successful

So, what did we learn?

Elections are hard. The electorate is a strongly independent entity. They do the best they can with what's available.

Half the Mormac Cabal  was re-elected.

New untried members  elected did not fulfill the promise of change.

Would  fewer numbers have  provided quality over quantity?

Would  candidate  selection  be enhanced  by a reduction in  Council seats?

How say you?

Mind..... no name calling.  It proves nothing .

And forby, how do I know you're not a candidate attacking  the competition. ?

If I do it, everybody knows it's me.

 If anonymous does it only The Shadow Knows.


Anonymous said...

I suspect this gambit is just another attempt at finding something on which to run. We can all remember the speeches given last time by the same individuals. All of them. That's going to be really hard for them to get past.

Anonymous said...

Christopher on something he read in your Blog.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Christopher will step up and run for mayor.

Anonymous said...

SAC is a boys only school.

Anonymous said...

A good rule by those who do a lot of hiring is that past performance is the best indicator of future performance. I look at the eight councillors and ask could the same work be done with six?

There seems to be a number of posters who think the 8 are sacred yet provide no substance as to why. I think a case could be made that there are a number of councillors who have contributed precious little this term. In fact, it could be argued some were nothing more than a nuisance.

I suspect nothing much will change where we have a mayor and deputy who think annual tax increases above the level of inflation are a must. And councillors foolish enough to believe this.

Anonymous said...

If we could only have elected 6 last time , Cllr Gallo & Cllr Pirri would have been left off. I voted for one but would have been able to deal with that in return for not having the other.

Anonymous said...

Federally and provincially the number of ridings (seats) keeps going up with the population.

But here in Aurora, where the population has increased 11-fold over a period of some years, there is a move to reduce the number of council seats from eight to six. Back in the days when the population was 5,000 there were eight seats.

Should we not be INCREASING the number of Councillors to follow the pattern of the two more senior levels of government?

Anonymous said...

That was a strange election. The newbies didn't have to run very hard because they were welcomed. And the incumbents didn't bother to run very hard because they thought they were completely safe.

Anonymous said...

@ 13:22
I am not pushing anyone to run - yet. Oodles of time left. In fact, I suspect we are only seeing surface tremors.

Anonymous said...

The Region gave us thumbs down for additional council representation based on our pop. #'s. (so they say). Lowering the # of councillors I don’t believe is wise. There was a post earlier indicated making the position full time. I do agree with that. You can tell who has a fulltime job and who doesn't. I don't believe a ward system will provide better accountability as stated by Mr. Pullano. I like the opportunity to vote on all councillors. There were issues in this term such as the heritage park, culture centre, joint op building, rec facilities that will not be in the same ward. I want my votes to reflect how ALL councillors voted on those issues not just the councillor in the ward I live in. This Town is geographically quite small. You can drive from the North end to South in 10-15min and East to West in another 10-15min. Every square inch of this Town affects everyone.

Anonymous said...

Newmarket loses OMB case on Glenway

Anonymous said...

Yes Aurora has had 8 councillors for a very long time. And yes, the population of Aurora has grown. However, the difference is that those 8 councillors "back in the day" were part-time (they had real jobs) and the committment was a lot less than now. Today, you could get away with a fewer number of full time councillors that do nothing else.

If it was to pass, I would hope that an increase in salary of the six would also happen to compensate the extra workload and entice some real candidates to make this a career move. I would take the current pool of salaries for the 8 and split it up to the 6.

Anonymous said...


If you total the salaries for the eight councillors assuming an annual amount of $30,000, you would have a pot of $240,000.

This would permit an annual salary of $40,000. This is totally inadequate for a person devoting his/her full time to the job of representing the interests of our town's residents.

There is a lot of technical data that they must consider and projects involving capital costs into the millions of dollars - Joint Operations Centre being but one. And even here the cost has mushroomed from an original $14million two years ago to $26million today, with possible additional costs.

Directors of Departments have had many years of experience in their given field and are looked upon by Council for their expert experience and opinion.

A newly elected councillor to a full time position could have virtually no experience, but nevertheless could be called upon to make serious decisions. And what if some of these full timers were defeated at the next election and a new group comes in? Again one starts with inexperienced people.

As a matter of curiosity Vancouver has full time councillors. They are paid $67,994 per year while the mayor receives $154,347.

So this matter is not a simple one.

Erin B said...

To 8:39 Will the Glenway group flex their muscles to develop the dangerously contaminated 45 Tyler St aka Collis Leather.That group had 45 Tyler thrown in on a deal I hear.The Mayor and Deputy have been heard saying the site is clean.What BS.

Anonymous said...

The OMB basically told Newmarket that their Master Plan didn't matter. Which Aurora is going to have to discover the hard way with our Promenade Study & entitled enclaves. There is a whiff of conflict as the Region needs the money such development will bring.

Anonymous said...

A full time councillor could only be someone who is retired, owns a business or is independently wealthy.

I don't see someone quitting a job for one that may only last four years and then have to go job hunting.

Anonymous said...


Rob Ford, Olivia Chow, John Tory, et al???

Anonymous said...

Gosh, Katherine Belrose has gone out of business....

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Like maybe she should rent the Petch House. no one else appears to be capable of using it and the town could use some income

Anonymous said...

You're bang on, 13:03.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe in the concept of quantity over quality.

The same should hold true in terms of the # of councillors making key decisions for the growing Town of Aurora.

Furthermore, presently the pay does not match the amount of effort required. The current compensation plan allows multi-million decisions to be made by those that earn no more than $12.00/ hour. Based on some of the decisions made over the past year, that is even too much!

Yet, others, who put in many extra hours to keep their community informed and truly understand their role, are grossly underpaid ( you all can guess who I am speaking of ? Clue: Starts with an E. Ends with a K).

I think the election should be staged.
First, we get a list of candidates and vote to decide who remains in the running. If your past deems you useless, you get booted of the stage just like on "The Gong Show".

Next, the shorter list must all write SAT exams just like university applicants to ensure they have an IQ above 1. If they pass the test, they remain on the list, if not, same as step 1.

Finally, whomever is left and is credible and smart(er) have a chance to be elected and get to split the aprox $240,000 in total compensation in the pool.

We may end up with 3 or 4 councillors but they could probably do a better job than 8.

Christopher Watts said...

15:56 you can go say hello at theWhitchurch-Stouffville Museum where she's a Historical Interpreter.

Anonymous said...

And what, pray tell, is an " Historical Interpreter ? "
I ask the question because her understanding of the history of Petch House was seriously flawed.

Anonymous said...

Do you mean the museum to the east that may have purchased some of our artifacts.I do 100 percent believe a historical board member told David Heard that they were applying for grants to obtain some of Auroras.Now we find out about 1500 artifacts are unaccounted for.The desks story did not jive.Thank you to Mr.Heard for his concerns.

Anonymous said...

I would only ask one question to any candidate. If you have $10.00 and something you “want” and not “need” cost $20.00, would you buy it? And if I hear anyone using the phrase “It will improve the quality of life” from anyone….Exit stage left please and thanks for coming out.

Anonymous said...

"...must all write SAT exams just like university applicants to ensure they have an IQ above 1."

The same standard wouldn't go amiss if applied to commenters.

Anonymous said...

Mr Pullano is twittering about having just "learned " about Christopher's Blog. I am trusting Mr Watts will not fall for that guff. Nor for the invitation for drinks, " My treat " which follows each new encounter.

Anonymous said...

Sort of off-topic
Has those free-loaders from the historical society found someone for that PR job they were trying to fill ?

Anonymous said...

Everyone here passed. How did you squeak by?

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, please. Did anyone at the Town Hall think to post signs about Earth Hour at the entrances to Aurora. None of my neighbours bothered with it. And, no, I did not phone them or slog across the ice to explain.
Another communications gaffe ?

Anonymous said...

Really, 14:21, what do you care?

Anonymous said...

20:44 Not in the budget.

Anonymous said...

Earth hour wasn't posted on their Facebook or twitter page either.

Anonymous said...

Spring might be coming ! We have had a single lonely robin for 3 days & the chipmunk is out & about.

Anonymous said...

Right. It's just taxpayers' money. Why should anyone be remotely interested in how it it being spent. Smacks of micro-management.

Anonymous said...

21:41 when you're paying for it...you care!

Anonymous said...

The source of funding for that position isn't necessarily from the Town's grant.

Just more hyperbolic "outrage."

Anonymous said...

Earth Hour is a waste of time PR exercise.

1 hour out of a year of 8,760 hours is joke.

I know no one that participates or ackowledges this tree-hugger plan to keep themselves in the news.

Anonymous said...

Cllr Ballard made a big deal about " powering down " for Earth Hour.

Anonymous said...

22:49- “Isn't necessarily from the Town’s grant” So how is that $70,000 being used? When they can stand up on their own feet and not ask for another red cent….your “hyperbolic outrage” comment may be valid. Until then….expect any and all types of “outrage”.

Anonymous said...

"Until then….expect any and all types of “outrage”."

Oh, I do...not that the whinging and whining makes any difference, though.

Anonymous said...

10:52-No difference in this term. Hopefully we'll see a difference come October.