"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

Saturday 31 May 2014

The Fatted Calf

A.H. is not a person. It is unflattering nomenclature, by defintion, vulgar.

I simetimes tire of being polite. It's not a natural  facet of my character.

Politeness is an acquired discipline.It's an essential of politics . For an argument to be effective  it must also be emphatic.

It's difficult to be emphatic while being cloyingly polite.

There's  has to be a way  to say what you have to say, so the opposition can't lay a finger on you for lack of civility .

The challenge is two-fold. Persuasion and if that fails ,make  sure the public understand your side of the argument.

That's what drove the last lot out of their minds.

They thought having a majority block  of votes meant absolute power.

Mr. Wilson was quoted ;"She's got to be stopped. She is undermining everything Council is trying to do."

Repeatedly advice  was demanded from town solicitor , Shelley Pohjola.

The advice was finally put into writing. "Councillor Buck has every right to say what she has to say.
 She goes right to the line but she doesn't cross it."

They found a lawyer at a municipal conference who  advized them  how to fix that,

 Create a new line.

Adopt a Code of Conduct  and create a new line. Insert a clause  prohibiting comment by a Coucillor after a  decision is made.

Adopt a procedure and  appoint an Integrity Commissioner to adjudicate complaints. The line up a couple.

Don't give him independent status. Make sure he knows he can be fired if he doesn't make the right decision. Have a second lawyer on  retainer to make the sytem foolproof.

All at taxpayers' epense.

The clause was a "deal-breaker" but he signed it anyway and soon had reason to regret.

It was a race to deliver the first decision before being terminated. He won the race and lost the job.

Had to retain legal counsel to protect his own reputation. He wasn't the first and he  wasn't the last.

Town reaources flowed unimpeded.

Councillor Abel put forwarded a motion last week that looked like a bit of a witch -hunt. It didn't pass.  Who was the intended witch wasn't clear either.

The beat goes on.

Sleeping-dog sleeps still.

For a while yet.

Fair is Foul...Foul is fair

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What's Up Doc?":

"I'm not pitting myself against Christopher. I am not discounting his opinion."

Yeah, that's the job of others. *winks*

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 31 May 2014 13:29


Not in my blog, AH

Who Will Buy ?

Additional  documentation was provided to Council on Tuesday by Anna Kroeplin . A letter from the Owner/developer of Wells Street School was included.

It was in response to the motion before Council for a review of the Market Bylaw with  reference to election of officers. 

Concern is focused  on representation. 

The developer likes things they way they are.  Business interest of the  development and Market 
are aligned . To that end a Platinum Sponsorship has been paid for three years.  There is no mention of  how much that's worth.

The  owner, speaking for future condo owners, sees the Market as "lifestyle enhancement"
and an "influence to bring more people downtown" 

There's more palaver. The gist of it  that Anna Kroeplin should continue as Boss of  Everybody and elected by Nobody. 

Having  more people aware of  new condos under construction is  obviously a sales advantage .

 I understand  no stalls  obscure the "For Sale" sign

Several people accompanied Ms Kroeplin  to  Tuesday's meeting. 

They might have been committee members.

Or Great Uncle George and  Great Aunt Annie and second-cousin Norm. 

They were not introduced. 

The Market's Mission  and  Vision Statements were offered as evidence :

The first . ..where food, art and community meet.

The  Vision is to connect the community with local growers and producers of fresh,healthy food. 
In addition ,promote a relationship between the arts  and cultural community in our area. 

A  visit to a Market is a must in any city. Granville Island in Vancouver. Byway Market,Ottawa.
Cleveland ,where fishmongers entertain patrons with a  fish-tossing performance.
The entire neighbourhood  is alive with sights and smells and throngs of people.

St Laurence Market in Toronto takes a back seat to none . Kitchener,Elmira,Hamilton,St Catherine's.
all have Markets worth  a drive. 

Growing a Market is a laudable objective. ... in the right location. 

But if it's going to happen, we need a better Bylaw. 

If business and service clubs are solicited for funds , accountability is a must. 

Public funds and resources invested  generate confidence.  

The Municipality has an obligation to ensure everything is, as it should be. 

Fiefdoms are not in the public interest. Piracy is not confined to the high seas.

No matter how many names with a vested interest, are attached ,

It's 1.15 P.M.  Already thirty-four Aurora Market vendors have packed up and gone home. 

Won't be back for seven days.

What's Up Doc?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Link is Here":

I tried that, Evelyn, and got extracts from 2 March GC's - this is going to take some time.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 31 May 2014 08:22


The information is the change-over is happening over the week-end.

I'm not pitting myself against Christopher. I am not  discounting his opinion.

 I am saying I am not sufficiently technically literate to formulate an opinion and I'm not in the business of echoing some-one else's.

Staff are working at it over the week-end . So keep trying.

Had I the skill I would fill this space with  animation, hopefully amusing.

I  copied  and pasted an entertaining piece about being old  on Friday.

It came up ,complete with colour and pictures on my screen.  I didn't know why,

I've tried it before Sometimes it works sometimes  it doesn't .

This time it did

I was elated. A little piece of me wanted to think I was becoming more proficient.

I received and e-mail saying  What's up Doc ? and knew it hadn't worked all the way.

So I return to doing what I do know how..

The Link is Here

Good evening,

Please note that if you had any difficulty accessing the agenda or if you did not receive the email below, the General Committee agenda for Tuesday, June 3, 204 may be found by clicking this link: June 3, 2014 GC Agenda.


I have clicked the link and the agenda for Tuesday is there .

I have not participated in this  conversation because I am not competent to judge whether or not what is happening is within the norms.

The above e-mail is the third received  on the issue. So staff and the Mayor  at the town hall are  
doing  what  needs to be done to keep the lines of  communication open/

They are not unaware nor are they unconcerned.

I'm not publishing the most critical comments because  I expect in a couple of days wharever is happening or not happening that should be happening will be like a blip on the history of web
communication.  But the searing criticism would still be on my blog.

In the meantime I am not criticizing because I am not sufficiently  cognizant to do so.

It's  great though that so many  are so anxious to stay on top of town business .

It sure knocks the heck  out of the theory nobody is paying any attention.

All good things come to those who wait

Have  a great week-end.

Friday 30 May 2014

Information I didn't just happen to come by

Notwithstanding  previous post. on Tuesday ,Anna Kroeplin provided additional information that might otherwise have been difficult to come by

A letter from the Richmond Hill M.P. provided his name.The Honourable member expressed wonder at the marvels of it all .and exuded praise for Anna Kroeplin , comfort and assurance of support in needed

This year's opening was his first visit.

The Honourable Lois Brown ,our riding M.P. also sent a letter extolling the virtues of  Ms Kroeplin and  extraordinary benefits of the Market to the community.

The Honourable Member takes a booth at the Aurora Chamber of Commerce Home Show, an entry in the July 1st  and Santa Under the Stars Parades.  And probably , during Federal elections,  a stall at the Famers Market.

The Federal Government  is not listed in the Ms Kroeplin' s 5 page presentation as"receiving contributions" from the Aurora  Farmers Market sponsorship program.

The item is at the bottom of page 3 of the presentation and  part of the public record on the Town's web site.

Fourteen business and organizations are listed as receiving "contributions"  from the Farmers Market by being actively promoted through Sponsorships they have provided .

It's convoluted . I've never seen income tabulated that way. And , there are no figures to indicate how much revenue is derived from  sponsors. There's nothing to indicate how the funds are used.

But no doubt the sponsors are aware they are  classified as recipients  and not  givers.

Ms Kroeplin notes  500  volunteer hours and each of 13 committee member clocks up 300 hours apiece.  As well. two people are employed by the Market.

The committee and staff work on promotions, sponsorships,special events, relocation, governance.
indoor and other events.

34 seasonal vendors set up in the Aurora Farmers Market.

For five months, they  vend for five hours on Saturdays or until produce or product is sold out.

The Town is listed as a sponsor receiving contributions from Aurora Farmers Market.

I found that intriguing.

During the last term, a grant  of $10,000 was made to the Market from  Council's budget.

The Mayor had authority over the fund.

The St Kitts woman was special-events co-ordinator on the Market executive. The family  business occupied a stall on the street. The member  demanded to  be paid for her efforts and quit when the market executive refused,

Sort of similar to the time she volunteered to organize "the best July 1st Parade the town had ever seen"

An event that  previously raised several thousand dollars annually  to help finance the parade,
suddenly went dry . A budget of $10,000 was provided, St Kitts  was paid and provided with an assistant in the last year she was involved with the July 1st Parade.

And feted by the Mayor and Council as the best volunteer ever.

From small acorns, giant oak trees grow. St Kitts Jazz Festival sprang from humble beginnings at the Market .

The Town provided sponsorship without  consultation with Council and  was not listed as such in the promotion materials.

The Festival was claimed to be most successful by an  Association of Festivals of which St Kitts Jazz Festival was a prominent member.

A $75,000 Trillium grant was obtained . But first, on the arguments of Councillor Ballard,  the town had to fork out  a Platinum sponsorship ( $7.500 )to give the application credibility.

But I digress.

The  Farmers Market grant disappeared from Council's  budget during this term.

I assumed it had terminated, the Market had become self-sufficient and
no longer required  any attention from me.

It appears not to have been so.

I called the finance department early to-day with several questions:

What amount  does the Town contribute to the Farmers Market?

How long has it been doing so?

What budget is it paid from?

It is 2p.m. I have not yet received the information.

Ms Kroeplin's additional information  provided on Tuesday, now part of the public record, is a treasure trove.

If I  stop for lunch , I may have the amount we pay out of taxes to
receive the vast benefits we derive from the Farmers Market through the efforts of Anna Kroeplin.non -vendor Chair of the Market executive.

Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down.

A motion requires a  seconder to get on the table. A Councillor is not required to second a motion they do not support.

It's a courtesy for a motion to be seconded for discussion.  Lack of agreement may even be stated at the time  of seconding.

Staff can  make recommendations without notice or permission. Delegations may appear on 24 hours notice  and speak  for 5 minutes to an issue.

A Councillor in Aurora is ham-strung  by a  Procedure  of their own making . If successful in getting an issue on the table for discussion, a Councillor may speak for 2 minutes.

The courtesy was extended on Tuesday. Councillor Abel moved a motion. Councillor Thompson seconded it for discussion but stated he did not support it. He spoke against the motion.

Three members of Council could not participate or influence the vote in any way because of Conflict of Interest.  Two did  participate before declaring the obvious Conflict.

Councillor Ballard was  absent . A bare quorum were left to debate the motion. Two of  five voted in favour. The seconder  was not one of them.

When no seconder came forward for the simple motion for a  review of the Farmers' Market Bylaw, it was  clearly an intended snub.

It was particularly  egregious since  a  non-elected person with a vested interest, had already  been allowed 5 minutes of Council time to speak against the motion

Dignity and authority of Council has steadily eroded  over the past  number of years.

During Mayor Jones last term, a loser in previous elections, came to the podium  in public forum soon after to upbraid myself . I had been elected with a forty- seven vote  advantage. His voice would rise in hysteria as he spoke.

I  informed my friend Tim  privately after the first occasion not to let him do it again

But he did.  I told him  again I would  take the matter in hand if it happened  once more

The  third time , The Mayor stopped him.  But not before  a couple of councillors, Nigel Kean being
one,  indicated Mr.Wilson was being denied his rights.

The  Mayor and the Mayor alone is responsible for protecting the dignity  and authority
of Council. If he/she has no respect, the principle is soon obscured.

Each member is elected separately but  once elected , Council is the representative body of the  people.

If any member is  disrespected,  the whole is disrespected.

If the choice of the electorate is disrespected, the community is disrespected.

When a Council disrespects  itself the community is  betrayed.

This Council has not done that before. I think they planned it this time. I  don't think they understood the implications.  But  there really is no excuse.

They are Canadians. They aspired to elected office. All of their lives they have lived under a democratic system of government.

Council Chambers are designed to de-note the separation between elected and non-elected.

No-one else has the right to speak  during a Council meeting, unless invited to do so by the Presiding member .

Members of Parliament are referred to as Honourable. It's not  done in deference to the individual . It's not a mutual admiration society.

The  Office commands respect as the symbol of  the right to govern ourselves.

However fraught with frailty and frustration that might entail, it is the best alternative.It is the one we have chosen.

The best part of my life has been spent defending it.

I am not about to back off now

Thursday 29 May 2014

It's Not In My Make-up

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Credit is Due":

I agree but cannot see how we can help him. Last night it was quite clear that Council, with the one exception, were not going to " micro-manage " the market even if a resident was being bullied. I had been fudging on Cllr Abel but am no longer

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 28 May 2014 14:


I have no interest in micro-managing the market. 

I support the intent of the Farmers Market Bylaw. 

Vendors should have representation for communication with the town and they should manage their own affairs. 

I presented  a motion on Tuesday to direct staff to review  the Bylaw  to ensure  wording  was clear as to intent.

Without a seconder the motion was not  tabled.

It  was a slight to be sure.  But it's always a possibility. I don't ask for favours.

A delegate, purporting to represent vendors had five mintes to speak to the issue but a colleague was denied the  right.

Any time a right is denied  the right is surrendered.

The enemy is within.

If anybody is keeping score ,,,that was a   minus zero.

Credit earned  for discontinuing the plan  for district heritage designation  was  reduced .

It had nothing to do with the Market Bylaw   It was fear of Anna Kroeplin.

A person not a vendor, was a vendor for one season,selling painted plates, sufficiently brazen to take the podium in  a  Council meeting and  lay claim to  represent  vendors has already spread a circle of intimidation.

On Wednesday morning, an e-mail  was copied to all Councillors. Unsigned  It came from  Park Residents Committee, in support of district designation. It included  Anna Kroeplin . It  appeared to warn Councillors against failure to act on the "compromise agreement " for protection of the neighborhood  against undesirable development,hammered out at the Heritage Advisory Committee.

Councillors Abel and Humfryes  are Council's valiant representatives on that illustrious committee.

 Sub-committee of the Committee was composed  of  Park Residents Committee .Anna Kroeplin is one.

I have an anecdote to share:

I have known Lynn Knowles and Mary O'Reilly since I was Mayor in the early seventies.

Mary and Lynn were members of a Sorority that raised $15,000. for development of Black Creek Pioneer Village  It's an opportunity to immerse oneself in history if one is so inclined. And it's on our doorstep.

It's a long time since both women established  their credentials in  heritage preservation in my book.

At General Committee ,when Council made the decision to disontinue designation plans Mary and Lynn were standing at the door of the Council chamber. The proponents were leaving  before the decision .

It must be noted throughout repeated appearances before Council , opponents have conducted themselves entirely professionally,  always respectful of  Council and  the proponents.

Never threatening but always firm in their stated determination to oppose the designation to the limit.
every time.

As  the proponents  were leaving the Chamber , a female member of the group, pushed her face  within three inches  from Lynn Knowles and  spat out "You are a liar"

It wasn't Anna Kroeplin. It was an associate, a member of the committee.

The e-mail Council received indicated 49% of residents had not  taken a position on designation.

Some have apparently confiessed to fear. I think that's a distinct possibility.

In this town, much is made of good work  by volunteers. Rightly so.

In every community, in every age, people work together to make a better place. It's a given. It's not extraordinary. It makes a community. But Thank you is always in order.

At this time and in this place and for some time there have been those  who loudly claim  and   proclaim volunteer status and use it to  cloak  selfish interest and club into submission  any who might get in the way of their intent.

"All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing"

Edmund Burke's quote may not be the precise ,but you get my drift.

It is the  five year anniversary of my personal battle against  harm in  our community .

The virus is not yet contained. The major decision is pending.

I am not about to surrender.

Wednesday 28 May 2014

A Natural Conclusion

The first item of business after being sworn into office is adoption of a Procedural Bylaw.

Witnin the Bylaw is a requirement to reviewRules of Order within  the first six months.

Council did that. A consultant was hired . New Rules were submitted and approved.

Old rules allowed for a Councillor to speak for thirty minutes. No-one ever did.

Older rules permitted a Councillor to speak once during  debate. Unless the Councillor had something new to say.

A question could be directed to staff. Presumable to support a point being made in debate.

Under old rules an elected representative had time needed to contribute whatever input he/she had before debate closed and the vote was called.

The rules resembled  the Public Planning Meeting .Members of the public are given every opportunity to be heard  before the public portion of the meeting is closed and Council debate begins.

It's ironic that  a member of the public has unlimited opportunity to express opposition or support to a planning  application, but  elected representatives,under to-day's  rules of order are restricted (two minutes)

Times  past, not every member of Council felt compelled to speak on every issue. Nor did they think it worthwhile to repeat an argument already made.

Endless questioning of staff was unheard of. The only staff present was the Clek and Deputy.

A Councillor was expected to be prepared to argue a position . Stand up.speak up and shut up.

Watching  nine people carrying out separate fact-finding ,fishing expeditions in the course of the decision-making process does not engender confidence.

Council meetings were not  televised  in the day.

Last night 's meeting  had an interesting turn-up for the book.

I had a motion on the table for a review of the Farmer's Market Bylaw.

Currently Market vendors  are required to have  representation for purposes  of communication with the Town. I  believe there's a lack of clarity about what represents representation.

Neither the current chair or vice chair are vendors.

Because of the  motion on the agenda, the Chairperson of the Market Executive,was granted delegation status to speak to the issue.

Delegation status provided  five minutes to speak.

If the motion did get on the table. an elected representative has  two minutes to speak.

The motion did not receive a seconder. Did not get on the table for discussion.

The only input on the issue  during a Council meeting came  from the non-elected,non-vendor chair of the Market.

In the circumstance,the elected representative was disrespected by elected representatives.

It is my position, when an elected representative is dis- respected, the electorate is dis-respected.

It's a natural conclusion.

Time moves on. Things change.  They do not  necessarily improve.

Credit is Due

A silver stake was finally driven  through the heart of district heritage designation last night.

The decision  was  finally made at the general committee meeting last Tuesday.

But  it's never certain a committee decision will hold at Council.

The Mayor was absent.  Even when there he tends to contribute little.  Like as not, he will  bring something in writing to Council and the  previous decision gets  changed

On a memorable night ,early in the term,  Councillor Abel gave notice of termination to the Culture  Board.  Ensuing debate was full and complete; nothing left to do but take the vote  There was a noticeable  pause .....we waited ...  Then incredibly,  Councillors Humfreys  and Thompson , orchestrated  a motion that resulted in an entirely different decision.

The ground shifted that moment. I felt it move. Betrayal was thick. A person left the Chamber overwhelmed with nausea. He had worked hard in the  previous campaign and attended every council meeting since  full of hope and certainty.

Immediately, I moved the solicitor be directed to review the  Centre contract. The  Mayor did not want that either. "the solicitor has enough  work to do" he said. I could have sworn I heard  the whisper in his ear from where I was sitting.

The  motion passed. The contract was reviewed and improved A full and enlightening report was submitted.

It made little difference.  The Mayor and Councillor Abel  are on the board and  heaping helpings  of tax dollars continue  to be siphoned from  treasury to board coffers filling their hearts with glee.

 I might  add with full support of Councillor Gallo.

So property-owners  from the S.E, quadrant were at Council again last night, hopefully for the final   decision. The cut to end all cuts.

It was the fifth time since February. The Consultant had  reported  to Council earlier, a "significant minority" were opposed to designation in the S.E. quadrant.

It was a contradiction in terms. Being dismissed as a minority spurred the group to greater  determination.

The  S.E. quadrant is  probably home to every professional service in Aurora.

Old homes on Wellington  and down through , are owned and occupied by planning consultants, architect design consultants, real estate lawyers, real estate brokers, insurance brokers, chartered accountants,  doctors, dentists, butchers,bakers and candlestick makers.

There were experiences to speak of from owners of individually designated homes.

Residents with roots several generations deep had no difficulty comprehending the significance of a restrictive bylaw registered against title of their property.

They wanted no part of that.

Owners researched  issues, ignored accusations, refuted claims, produced  professional documentation , knocked on doors, explained the process, collected names  and delegated to Council. Again and again.

To little avail.

The consultant  and some Councillors were certain if  only  they understood ,they would not  be "afraid". Scouts were despatched to the Market to "educate"  opponents.

The Market being a hotbed of proponents.

It proved to be ineffective.

Staff - assurances about  provincial assurance about problem -free insurance and accounts of
great  joy and satisfaction  experienced in other  designated districts in Ontario had to be reversed.

Four options were presented to Council. The first was to discontinue the study.

The town awarded a contract for $67 thousand and spent $34 thousand.

The  study is discontinued.

Another one bites the dust.

Months of  frustration and stress for residents, numerous discussions and deferrals by Council and in the end $34 thousand spent with nothing  positive accomplished.

Notwithstanding all  that , Councillor Thompson on another issue, commented last night.

 "Had we done a better job  at the beginning, there would  have been a different outcome".

I don't know what that is......political hubris...denial of the obvious...inability to comprehend facts...reluctance to acknowledge error ..... or WHAT?

The right decision was made in the end. People  who refused to surrender fully appreciate it.

Why not accept the credit?

Tuesday 27 May 2014


It is being siggested I have a secret nefarious plot to  jump into the Mayoralty  race at the last minute 
and steal the prize from both our Boy Winders.

There's  nothing  secretive or nefarious about my intentions.

I think about it all the time. How can I sut by and  watch  the town slip -slide in the rain.

I know  my knowledge and competence far surpasses either of the other  two contenders.

I also know that's not taking into consideration everything that needs to be considered.

If I were twenty years younger ,my name would be in like a shot.

I did it in 2006 and decided better of it. The Town needs  to present a vibrant,vigorous image of itself. 

That's  not what the Town got. 

Oh my  Dear Lord No. Who could have foreseen what the town got?

We had another election and  I  helped move the change. I don't regert it. 

But nothing was said of what was to be realised . We a world apart from where we were but on the whole, not where we should be. 

Now we are faced with a questionable  choice.  Little to choose. 

My friends shudder and say....Oh Evelyn, you don't need it.

I know that.

Nobody does 

But what about the town's needs?

So now you know.what I wrestle with...... Choices.

It's a Lie ,I tell you...a Brazen Falshood.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "What's the message?":

"The Hydro building needed for our purpose was transferred to use of the Federal Department of National Defense. As a result, we are now contemplating construction of a $26.9 million works yard and garage complete with an $814.000. treatment facility to remove non-existent salt from snow melting in Spring temperatures."

Again this old nugget! The building was declared surplus - if we needed it no one spoke up. You can blame the "former" all you want, but at the time the former had 3 "currents" on council as well

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 May 2014 08:14


Among  many advantages of social media is never having to say you are sorry for reminding people of what was done,

The list grows as the term extends and people do appreciate reminders.

This poster keeps insisting the building was declared surplus and no-one  spoke up. .

That's a downright lie.

(frog  is croaking in my garden. Never heard one like that before. Maybe a different species)

The  building was never declared surplus. We had to do  that when a property is being sold.

And we did have people making inquiries about when it might be sold.

I don't know why a politician would imagine they could get away with telling a lie like that .
A declaration of surplus is just that. Coucil has to approve it.  The notice has to be posted in the media.

One of the mysteries about the former Mayor was how she was able to entice people to say things she wanted to be said, without saying them herself and  taking responsibility/

There's speculation in Town that after enticing J.Gallo into the mayoralty, she plans to jump in at the last minute  and steal it out from under.

Yes I know it's ridiculous. But old Hollywood movies were full of such plots with dire results.Joan Crawford "Mommie Dearest,"comes to mind

That  such plotting would be feverishly explored in back rooms is alas not ridiculous.

Perspective  of reality has never been sharp .Positively dim,in fact.  Totally obscure in the short run,
intermediate and long run as well.

To be totally frank. ... comprehension  has never risen above zilch , zero, nada nil  nothing and  E minus .

But it's the followers who are truly mystifying in their loyal adherence.

Like the one above....  the battery,.... ever-ready to lie to obscure the obvious/

More Questions Than Answers

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "I LOVE YOU DAD":

I am not an expert at all. I am asking what the current process is and the cost... vs. what Ms Buck is suggesting.

If her plan saves money then I ould agree with it. If the current process is cheaper, then I say we stick with it. It really is a black and white argument

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 May 2014 08:25

It's not my job to present alternates to  staff recommendations .

My function is to  read, understand and agree with the recommendation before  I vote  to approve.

 Council  makes the decision .

Council is elected to act in the taxpayers' interest.

Council is accountable. Not staff.

We have been asked to increase the budget for salt and sand. It was a severe winter. Supplies were
used up.

Shortage resulted.

Prices went up.

 Nothing complicated about that.

In the course of discussion, I recalled the practice of collecting sand  and stock-piling  for re-use .

I asked if we still did that. Sand by the way is not  an expensive commodity.

The Director answered no, the sand is contaminated.

That brought me up sharp.   Wait a minte...sand is permeable.. washes clean... how clean does it need to be to be mixed with and re-used on roads.

Further explanation.... street sweeping is contracted, the contractor  takes the sand.

Next  question .... If it's contaminated, how does he dispose of it?

All the time , I'm conscious of the restrictions on  time a Councillor is allowed to speak.

How daft is that?

Also  the Mayor is bored,likely finds the discussion tedious and  any moment will call a  phoney-baloney point of order.  The Chair may uphold or dismiss it. Either way, no-one else will  indicate any interest and the moment will pass.

Answers  generally lead to more  questions. We bought a new street -sweeper fairlt recently/ It's an
expensive machine. How often is it used?

Street sweeping started  this year before the snow  and ice was gone. How much sand did the sweepers collect?

What does the contract cost. ?  A comment to the blog,  indicates we pay to have sand removed.

Is the contractor allowed to keep his equipment and supplies in the town yard.?

Are we paying for a yard big enough to accommodate contractors' equipment and supplies?

Why shouldn't  they pay for  theri  opwn yard? Does it save us money for them to use our space?

Or does it save the contractor on overheads? Do we benefit/?

Do we not have room to stock-pile used sand because of accommodating contractors equipment and supplies.

Just exactly how much are we  saving by contracting out  public works responsibilities?

Do they get to use our mechanics and parts department?

No I don't think that's a silly question.

If we are so cosy with contractors as to provide them a home why not all the comforts of home?

So, you see.  Doubting Thomas , I can't give you the answeres you want. Bbecause I can't get the answers I want.

I can't  because I'm the only one who wants them.

Staff don't need to pay attention to the lone councillor who thinks like a freak.

Monday 26 May 2014

What triggers a memory

The ducks are back.

My clothes pins were left out all winter'; on the deck under the maple. The  bucket lid was closed. But snow and dirt  got in anyway. I've been using the pins on top.

This morning I brought the bucket in after I hung  out the wash.  Cleaning was overdue and the pins given a bit of a wipe as well.

The pins are bamboo. Really cheap. As I washed and dried  with a dish cloth saved because it was sound if a bit discolored, I noticed  things.  Most of the bamboo pins are in good shape. Not too much rust on the springs. Only half a dozen plastic pins have survived and they have a lot of rust.

Replacing all of them would have cost  little.  Hardly worth the time it took to washand dry. But I can't bring myself to get rid of things  that are still useable.

Maybe it's not so much that I think like a freak but I am a product of my environment.

But planned obsolescence has been part of my environment longer.

So maybe  I  do think like a freak.

As I wiped  I thought of clothes pegs of the past.  Gypsy women  clad in shawls peddled them from wicker baskets carried  resting on a hip encircled  by an arm . Basket also probably woven by  themselves. Pins were  whittled with a knife from willow I think. . You  might  still find one here and there with  a  face painted on the knob and  body dressed like a doll.

They were big pins. Laundry was heavier in those days. No man-made fibres.

There were no washing machines. no dryers. No electricity in the beginning.

Poor women did  washing for better-off women. A boy might trundle  it to and from in a battered old pram with wobbly wheels or a mother carried it, borne down by the weight of it.

 Likely not much more than pennies changed hands. Storefront laundries were common.

People did what they had to do to survive.

You wouldn't believe the things we  saved. Bits of string. Paper bags folded and re-used. More than once.

Games  had  little but imagination and  organization. As many as fifteen or twenty kids got to-gether  for a game.

On the ground playing bools,plunking them of first finger with the thumb. Conkers ,dried chestnuts , on a string. They were boys games. I never understood that.

Hide and Go Seek. ....Leave A' ....... A circle drawn with chalk was the den.A kid  from the opposing team, running through the den  with a cry meant everybody who had been captured could run free.

Choosing sides or who would be IT.  One  potato.two potato,three potato,four. Five potato,six potato,seven potato more.  You're out.

Strange how often it was  the youngest or slowest kid who  was  TT.

The games were all hard. We were breathless most of the time. Speed or skill were factors. Reputations were built and lost in the games we played.

We went home tired. Little inclined to anything but sleep.  Just as well because there wasn't room for much else.

If the weather was bad we sat around the small coal range and listened to ghost stories .sang  songs or played guessing games  like My Grannie had a sweetie shop and in it she sold.,,,,
initials would be given and the sweetie had to be guessed for someone else to have a turn.

What's the message?

"Like a red rag to a bull"

 It's a familiar saying. It means an incitement to  rage.

If it has been discounted asa myth, I haven't heard it.

Not being terribly familiar ,I would still not  risk entering a field with a bull wearing a red jacket.

That was the sense I took of the criticism of The Honorable Kathleen Wynn's campaign advert.

I don't think criticism of a campaign ad is disrespectful.

I haven't seen that one but there are certainly plenty of them.  Without attention to content, they are attractive. But they are  political campaign ads.

All feature the Premier.

Maybe if the message was more  profound than locations schools,universities,hospitals,factories.train platforms,and now apparently on the family farm the Premier's wardrobe not draw any attention.

I just realized ......it's all about entitlements  in the Wonderful World  of Wynn.

Ads do not show the Premier in hard hat and construction boots at the chained  and rusty gate of the
abandoned construction sites of gas-fired Hydro generation plants in Sousa and McCallion
land.  Nor  does she  appear in those locations offering apologies with the appalling monuments to entitlement;  $1.2 billion worth. as a back-drop.

We have an oddly similar circumstance right here in River City.

The  Hydro building needed for our purpose was transferred to use of the Federal  Department of National Defense. As a result, we are now contemplating construction of a $26.9  million works yard and garage  complete with an $814.000. treatment facility to remove non-existent salt from snow melting in Spring temperatures.

Maybe  during this campaign ,we will see Aurora/Newmarket Liberal candidate in a brand new dress uniform of the Queen's York Rangers accepting honors from the Regiment for favors received.

More entitlement so willingly provided.

Sunday 25 May 2014


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Memory Lane. Thanks im Tim the Enchanter":

In the "good old days" referred to everything seemed simpler, and easier to repair.

Possibly life was more enjoyable then without the rush-rush of today and the intrusion of the world into our homes and into our lives.

I suppose it's a matter of perspective.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 25 May 2014 12:00


No it's not ....life  never  has been simple or easy to enjoy. 

People had the same responsibilities, the same joys,the same sorrows. 

Before phones and  family cars, they walked to bring news . We walked to the post office to pick up mail. We stood in line everywhere and  discussed  current affairs.

There were no malls , shopping centres, donut shops or bank machines.No online banking or bill-paying.

Taxes were paid over the counter and Dorothy Wardle and Colleen Gowan brought  people up to date on town business.

Water rates sent out  with the hydro bill were  paid at the office.

Polio left survivors crippled. Cancer was a death sentence. Childhood Diseases  long forgotten  were rampant .Epidemics carried off dozens. 

Life was precious, grief  just as devastating.

Tuberculosis was a scourge

A war that carried off hundreds of thousands of lives  settled nothing thanks to the incompetence of those in charge. It started again and hundreds of thousands more men were led to slaughter. 

Stupidity was obscured by jingoism and grief assuaged with medals,statues.monuments and endless
jargon about the glory of death and dismemberment. 

Damage to survivors and their families was smothered into silence. To speak of the horror became   a betrayal of those who did not return. 

We send young people today to the bleakest places in the world,  minds full of the same jargon.

It didn't work then and it's not working now.  Some come back in caskets. Others  terribly scarred by their experience. It's not new. 

What's new is, the reality and futility of war  can no longer be hushed up or glorified.We are not a country at war. Why are young Canadians being killed in God forsaken places and  paying such a  heavy price?

The  perspective of war  must change.

This post  has not gone in the direction intended. 

As well as citing cronyism and entitlements as twin problems for government of the day. the Economist editors  listed government involvement inareas that   are none of their business.

This week we have a Culture Master Plan on the agenda. Council directed it be prepared. 

The usual guff. Meagre participation measured against meagre participation, deemed to be 
satisfactory. But not.

We' compare it to other municipalities and feel good about ourselves.

We will refer to the  Strategic Plan  which promises an  "exceptional quality of life".is sub-sumed in the Official Plan , requires an army of managers  to implement and swallows up wheel-barrow loads of cash from our pockets.

Of  the nine representatives  sitting at the table to consider the plan. only one  opposed the Culture Master Plan.. Only one is likely to think like a freak 

The rest will raise their eyes  and follow the magician's instruction to a T.

More Clarity about Clear Bags

Tim the Enchanter has left a new comment on your post "Clear bags versus opaque...how obscure is the plan...":

A portion From the Ajax News May 8/2014

Ajax will be using the new incinerator as well so their council is doing the Clear Bag Boogie too.

The "reasoning" is the same used in Aurora - burning batteries and other recyclables will cause air quality issues.


"Mirka Januszkiewicz, Durham Region’s director of waste management services, says a “comprehensive” staff report on the issue is coming to regional council. She also noted that clear bags are not a magical solution to preventing hazardous items from reaching the incinerator -- or for increasing Durham’s waste-diversion rate. She says “education is the best safeguard” and that even in a clear garbage bag, a waste disposal driver will not be able to distinguish a battery, for example."


How hard is it to hide a few household batteries?
And why weren't those batteries disposed of correctly?
Because we all know how to do that - right?

I'm not sure who's been mixing up this "clear bags will save the environment" Kool-Aid but councils near and far have been drinking it.

Of course there are the privacy issues but there seems to be a workaround there.
So you stop buying green bags and buy clear bags.
What's the big deal?

Other than I don't appreciate the fact that my own town council has apparently given up on recycling education and decided that good old-fashioned public shaming is just the ticket, as if picking up our garbage was a favour and not actually financed by the piles of cash that we leave on the Town Hall doorstep every year.
And I'm a tad miffed, though not the least bit surprised that they've found a handy consultant, who for only $45000 will inform us all of the subtle, yet distinct difference between green (bad) and clear(good) bags.

That's almost a year's worth of Hillary House financing isn't it?


Posted by Tim the Enchanter to Our Town and Its Business at 24 May 2014 19:56

Memory Lane. Thanks to Tim the Enchanter

Tim the Enchanter has left a new comment on your post "Clear bags versus opaque...how obscure is the plan...":

This week at Council

1. Received an estimate from the Godson construction company of approximately $1,500 for paving, grading and curbing a strip of payment on the grade at Centre and Yonge Sts. 163' x 28' and left the matter to be included in the town inspection by council on Saturday.

2. Named Saturday, May 25 as inspection day of the town by council members.

3. Received a letter from the C.N.R. industrial commission regarding water facilities in town for an industry and asked for further information.

4. Appointed finance and property committee to deal with the offer of A.A. Cook for the purchase of the match factory property.

5. Conferred with Mr. Bazley of Dehydrating Processes Ltd. regarding the quit claim deed to be received by the town and received assurance of co-operation.

6. Heard report of Dr. C.J. Devins on the health of the assistant town clerk, M.L. Andrews, and on a unanimous vote of council granted Mr. Andrews a two or three months' leave of absence, the first month on full pay and the succeeding time on half pay.

7. Heard Dr. C.J. Devins present the recommendations and suggestions of the safety week committee.

8. Heard Robert Smith, town employee, request increased wages and placed him on full-time at $18 per week for four months ending Sept. 30. His services to be hired from then on at 35 cents per hour as at present.

9. Heard Dr. C.J. Devans suggest a clean-up campaign to keep the streets and boulevards cleaner and urge the use of street receptacles for waste.

10. Approved purchase by fire committee of 2,000 ft of copper wire and materials at a cost of $64.70 for use in installing bells in the homes of brigade members and of replacing worn-out lines in alarm system

11. Heard David Judd and his brother Donald Judd complain of the visciousness of a certain collie dog and discussed at length the dog problem and the question of a municipal pound.

12. Approved use of Constables Dunham and Goulding at a central crossing for public school children at Yonge and Church Sts. daily.

13. Passed recommendations of relief committee whereby inspection and supervision of relief gardens will be made and a certain quota of production attained before any relief will be granted next winter.

14. Learned the provincial government will contribute $87.50 to the town for the expenditures on relief gardens.

15. Referred offer of Professor Henri Lasere of the use of 25 acres on his property (the Collins farm) for use or relief gardens to the relief committee.

16. Approved purchase of transformers by the electric light committee from Maloney Electric, all prices submitted being the same.

17. Approved purchase of a new Union Jack for the town hall at a cost of $12.

Oh - did I mention it was this week in May 1940?

The Mayor was JM Walton and council meetings were on Mondays.

"Of Mice and Men" was playing at the Royal Theatre.

The British Expeditionary Force was trapped at Dunkirk waiting for evacuation.

In the first baseball game of season in the Aurora town league Collis Leather defeated Fleury Bissell 7-4.

(incidentally, Fleury-Bissell had confirmed in April that they were moving to Elora ON)

Regarding items 13,14 & 15.
Aurora council made it a rule that in order to qualify for winter relief one had to cultivate a garden and grow two bags of potatoes per person and two bushels of turnips, carrots etc.
The town was allotting land to applicants, inspecting the gardens and providing storage if needed.

Just thought we might enjoy an interesting little respite from some of the current political heat.

Posted by Tim the Enchanter to Our Town and Its Business at 24 May 2014 22:31

Saturday 24 May 2014

Clear bags versus opaque...how obscure is the plan. What else don't we know?

A garbage incinerator is being jointly built  by Durham and York Region. Garbage will no longer be trucked across the border to another country for disposal  because we are so pernickety we can't stand
the idea of disposing it  in our neighbourhood.

The last  person who dared to identify a suitable site sufficiently distant from all human habitation was Bob Rae when he was Ontario's Premier and we all know what happened to him.And if you don't.I don't

I don't know why you don't because we keep being reminded by other parties what an awful period that was.

He suggested public servants in all sectors take days off without pay so that nobody would have to be laid off.

Oh  My Lord , the Public Service Unions under Sid Ryan, new friend of the Liberals, can still be heard over the years in their screams of outrage.

Bob Rae gave up on the NDP after that. But he never lived it down. There was a perfect example of a Leader who tried to deal with entitlement and paid the penalty.

Anyway, back to clear bags and the incinerator.

When the incinerator is operating, garbage content becomes critical.

The  problem is about batteries and such  getting into the incinerator and causing toxic emissions into the atmosphere.

The problem with clear plastic bags is public acceptance .

People  don't like their garbage to be exposed.  garbage  men might have  similar reluctance.

So...small opaque bags  inside the clear bags, can be used for that stuff.

At first , I thought the plan was fine. Then a consultant was brought in .I didn't know we had hired a consultant.

He talked about enforcement. I asked "How is that proposed" He said "Bylaw officers would issue tickets."

I almost fell back in my chair.  Somehow I couldn't picture that.

Now the suggestion is a bag containing something it shouldn't would get a sticker and be left behind.

Well no. That's not much better.

Markham's experience has been positive. Rates of separation have improved tremendously.

Initial reaction in Aurora  is negative.  So....The first hurdle is overcoming the first hurdle.

We need a few answers. Getting permission to build an incinerator  is not a simple process.

Was the risk of toxic emissions. a known factor and a qualified risk. If not why is it offered as an
argument for clear bags?

Other countries use incinerators. Do they use clear plastic bags ?  Or what?

What else do we need to know we haven't been told until now?

We certainly don't  want  toxic emissions from a garbage incinerator.

If clear bags versus opaque bags are the solution ,I don't think that should be a hard sell.

I think we need to do a better job of informing than we ever have before. Including this time.

Contractors do well out of it

My street has a strip of asphalt down the middle. Grit,gravel and dust form the shoulders of the road.
It's referred to as "soft".  Drainage is by ditch and culvert.

It's been like that more than fifty years. Getting close to heritage status. Stable neighbourhood.
Street vistas unlikely to change. Tree groupings established. A former Mayor  has always lived  in a house on the street.  House owned  and occupied all those years by the same family.

We don't have sidewalks so we don't get sidewalk plowing in winter.  Why would we?

But we do have the privilege of paying for sidewalk plowing elsewhere.

We do get street -sweepng though. It's not clear why. The sand has washed off the street onto the soft shoulder and on into the drainage ditch long before the street-sweeper arrives.

What the machine does, is send up choking clouds of dust to come back down and settle on grass and gardens just beginning to green up nicely.

Windows,window sills and shutters  do not benefit.

Contractors probably appreciate the business though.

Think Like A Freak...It's a good thing

Charlie Rose is on from 5-6 on weeknights.All of his guests are interesting but some more than others
depending on one's interest.

Last Tuesday was very satisfying.  A full half hour  of discussion for each book; The Fourth Revolution and Think LIke A Freak.

My mind was still engaged when I  sat down at the Council table

Cronyism and entitlement. Think like a freak. How totally relevant to the times we live in.

There really is nothing new under the sun.

On the agenda ,a budget increase was recommended for sand and salt. Sand is considerably cheaper than salt. The winter was severe.  Stocks were used up Prices rise when demand increases.

I asked a question about re-using sand. as was the practice back in the day.

Sand collected from the pavement after winter use is contaminated.  So it  can't be used again for road maintenance. The answer was unacceptable. But if no-one else picks up on the question, I am left to spin my wheels.

The Mayor from his lofty perch will call a point of  order  and  ask  "What is the relevance?"

A point of order requires a statement , not a question, and a ruling by the chair.

I will react to the combination of  the Mayor's thin-lipped,pointy-nosed superiority and  ham-fisted  mis-statement of the rule.  At that point. I am  much more likely to break every rule in the book. The discussion will go off the rails. Maygem will ensue.

The town will continue to pay a contractor to sweep the streets, colect  the sand and truck it off elsewhere. We will probably continue to provide space in  the town's yard for the contractor to park his equipment at no cost to himself. While we contemplate with equanimity a figure of $26,9 million
for a  garage and yard.

Later in the meeting, the clear plastic bag program was recommended deferred. We spent 40 minutes discussing before  approving deferral.

In the course of discussion,Councillor Thompson revealed ,he and the Mayor had made an expedition to Markham where the program is in place, to discover how it is operating.

Councillor Abel indicated he had gone too.

I wondered  ...did they ride around on the garbage truck?

Maybe hanging on at the back?

Were they examining contents of the bags perhaps ?

Then I thought...wait a minute...why is it always these three?

The Mayor and Thompson  are monitoring financing of the Joint Facility project.

The  Mayor and Abel are  Council's representation on the secretive Vulture Centre Board.

What else are they up to , the rest of us don't know about?

They certyainly lined up the votes to approve spending $29.6 million on the joint facility?

We should re-think that name,I think.

Sounds a lot like cronyism to me. But then....I think .... I must  be thinking like a freak....because I seem to be the only one. 

Friday 23 May 2014

Cronyism and Entitlements

 has left a new comment on your post "Us and Them":

Even if the entitlement trend continues, the flow of money from governments
cannot. We just have a particularly virulent strain of it due to

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 23 May 2014 15:04 


This comment brings  a particular issue  to mind.

A  land parcel in Mavrinac was relinquished by the Separate school board.

The town has no purpose for the land. The neighbourhood  is fully serviced with parks according to approved standards.

Councillor Gallo hand-delivered aletter advising  neighbours  the land should be a park

He reserved the Council chamber and residents were invited to rally in support.

It had been done before.

Hydro One planned to distribute increased supply  in the  Hydro corridor.

The alarm was sounded. A ferocious campaign ensued  starting with the Council Chamber being reserved to rally the forces.

Aurora  joined the Town of Markham and a $100,000 was used to oppose the proposal.

The Ontario Power Authority, a second government agency was  eventually created a committee was   formed to develop an alternative to Hydro One's plans. They met over a period of months.

Natural gas fired generation plants were the agreed alternative.

An election was held. A promise  was made by the challenger to bury existing hydro wires.

A  partial slate was elected. The Mayor's office changed hands.

Councillor Gallo was a first-time candidate  in the election. The votes that changed the Mayoralty came from his neighbourhood.

He was appointed to fill the vacancy when Councillor  Marsh resigned

A site was chosen by the Ontario Power Authority and a natural gas fired generation plant designed and presented  to Council for approval.

No doubt land  had been acquired and contracts signed.

It was opposed by Aurora.

Had to be built in the neighbouring Municipality of King

The promise to bury hydro wires was never raised again by the  promised  ones or those who made the promise.

The story  continued to and the  Mayoralty changed  again. A further chapter is on hand and once again the Mayor's office is subject to challenge,

A successful strategy has been re-played.

Willing residents responded to Councillor Gallo's enticement.

Councillors nimbly leaped into the wagon.

The Town is in the process of litigation to compel the property-owner to sell  land to the municipality  for a fraction of its value.

The litigation could extend over years... with everybody on side ,it may not be an issue in the election.

All that's  at stake ?...public resources....tax dollars.

Peanuts in the grand  scheme of things.

Us and Them

When I responded to Mr. Newman's letter to The Auroran ,I had only read the headline. I didn't read the letter. The headline set me off.

Yes Yes,,,I admit to  human failings. What do you want from me? .Sackcloth and ashes?It's not going to happen.

Since the thread  continued, I thought I ought to check back to the beginning.

Mr.Newman's letter prompted my memory. It sent me back to twin letters in The Auroran a few years ago. One from Mr.McIntyre another from an apparent friend. I can't remember what it was about. But the most likely issue was The Petch House. 

The friend commented I had outlived my usefulness and should step aside. 

Just like Mr.Newman did. Now that I think of it, it may even be one and the same. 

Being scolded  for being disrespectful by a person being disrespectful is an interesting contradiction.

I have been elected a number of times in free and clear elections. 

I do hold the office of Councillor.

I have held the office of Reeve and County Councillor  as well as Mayor and  Regional  Councillor and sundry others.

It  appears my manners  were acceptable  to a sufficient number of Aurorans ,over several generations,  to generate sufficient support at the polls where it counts.

I am in the happy circumstance of being myself, being in politics and never having to say I'm sorry
because I  always did my best.

I thought about it as I listened to  the twin editors of The Economist talking  about their book The Fourth Revolution on Charlie Rose on Tuesday before I went to the Council meeting. They identified cronyism and entitlements as the main problems for governments 

Charlie asked who is the world's best leader." Angela Merkel" they said. But even she  is caught in the common dilemma. She knows the problem. Knows how to fix it. But if she does she can't get elected.

Well,I thought,there she is the most powerful woman in the world,carrying the heaviest burden she can't do what needs to be done because getting elected is the most important thing in her life . I understand that. I am not unsympathetic.

In my very much less exalted position , I think I am fortunate. I enjoy politics.  But most important to me is ,when people vote for me,they know exactly what to expect.

I will be true.

I have banked my life and everything else on the principle ...honesty matters ....to me ...to my parents and grandparents before me and to  people like me.

And there are more of us than there are of them.

Thursday 22 May 2014


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "To Lighten the Moment":

I was scouting for Father's Day cards this morning. What a bunch of drivel ! When I finally found a few possibilities, I realized that so many of the time-honoured words have lost their meaning. We have become a place of platitudes and political correctness lacking in humour and empathy.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 22 May 2014 10:29


Yes, Indeed we have,    It's why you are looking for a fancy card to tell  Dad how much you love him. 

He already knows that. He's known you all your life. You don't need to  hand your  Father a card
to tell him you love him. Just give him a  hug , hold him close for more than a minute. 

The card thing is about separating you from your resources. Doesn't have a damn thing to do with loving your  Dad.

We had a report on Tuesday recommending  a big increase in the sand and salt budget because of the severe winter we had  All  our stock pile was used up. 

I asked the Director if we still  collected sand and re-used it , 

"No." he said. "It's contaminated and the street sweeper contractor takes it away and disposes of it." 

"How does he do that if it's  contaminated" I asked. "And sand  is permeable. Doesn't it clean itself in the rain?"

I gave up on the argument at that point.  If nobody  else picks up on it, it means nobody is interested and nothing will come of it. 

But think about it. Sandy  beaches are our favorite recreation places. We can lie on it comfortably.
We can make a pillow of it. Be buried in it for our children's amusement. 

We dig in it. Make castles in the sand.  Put moats around them. Let the baby crawl on the sand. 
When they are really young we let them put it in their mouths to discover it's not candy. 

It's out  there in  the rain. They tell us pollutants  in the atmosphere come down in the rain. But the 
rain washes through  sand and cleans it. 

Why discard it instead of re-using it on roads for  next winter's maintenance. 

We  have $814,000 in the Joint Facility budget for snow storage. Why collect snow to store and  not sand ?

We could  buy a snow melter for half the money budgeted to store snow. 

Streets would be clear in half the time 

We would stop trundling trucks full of snow to an almost $million storage facility, 

We would save on gas and manpower and  stop polluting the atmosphere.

But  Oh Dear me! No 

There is no imperative to save...only to spend. 

A consultant would have to do a study. It would take six months, There would have to be surveys and interviews  and  a  mile long report written at a cost of $150. a word.

If Councillors didn't agree we could  get external legal advice  to tell us what decision we are allowed to make under the  circumstance. We have legal services on staff but if we don't like advice given
we can retain another lawyer.

 Judgement doesn't come into it. That's not why we were elected.

A learned Judge told me once .... "the law is not what people think it is...and it's not what it should be,"  By Jove, he was right.

So, if  we can't depend on the law to be what we think it ought to be, why should  we expect politics to be any better.

Well because we do....that's why.

Because we are eternal optimists, 

We have Blog and  every four years ,we have a vote.

The only other thing we need are honest, sensible men and women....good and true...to offer themselves as candidates.

You don't need a fancy card with words written  by someone else to tell your Dad you love him.

Just   hold him  tight in your arms and say  "I  love you Dad. "

Be glad you have a Dad.

Don't  wait for Father's Day. Tell him every time you  talk to him or see him.

Charlie Rose Has It All

Charlie Rose' program on Tuesday  was particularly interesting ...and satisfying.

Two books were on the table, each with collaboration of two authors.

First was  The Fourth Revolution  and  second... Think Like A Freak.

Half the program was allocated to each.  Authors of the first ,were Editor-in-Chief of the Economist, a British journal and its Managing editor.

The second  was a  journalist  of high repute and an eminent professor.

I don't remember names but they could  be googled

The first examined organized government from the  beginning of civilization. China having the first  civil service.

There have been three revolutions  already . We are in the midst of a fourth.

Governments world over have ground to a halt in chaos .

Twin problems  identified are Cronyism and Entitlement. 

We know about that don't we in Aurora. We could have written the book . the perfect microcosm.

In my mind  the difference is .......at our level of government,  a candidate ,who commits to  seizing cronyism and entitlement  by the throat and giving  the pair a bone -rattling shake ...can  get elected.

I've been doing it for years.  Hoping it would catch on. Maybe now's the time.

The second book was a serious look at our conditioning.

Analogy of an art was  used.

A magician , holding a kerchief, stretches his arm up and instructs his audience to pay close attention. Adults do.

A child, on the other hand,   looks where he wants to and spots  the magician's sleight of  hand .

The Professor  offered another analogy, closer to home.  A person ,very much his  junior ,could offer an idea to a group and get zero reaction.  Ten minutes later, the professor offers precisely the same idea  and  genius is instantly proclaimed.

As a person without credentials, what  I  offer  is simple and common  sense. But the table perceives it to be  too simple and too common.  It can't be worth much .

It's my experience... as one without status...  and outside cronyism , whose ideas  must  be squashed .... whose rights must be trampled with lawyers and such....

if that's what it takes. .. and that's what it took .

But the jury's still out.... thrown  out in fact


Wednesday 21 May 2014

To Lighten the Moment

  I guess your day wasn’t so good after all.


In church I heard a sweet elderly lady in the pew next to me
saying a prayer. It was so innocent and sincere that I just
have to share it with you:

"Dear Lord, This sure has been a tough four to five years.
You have taken my favorite actor Patrick Swayze, my favorite
musician Michael Jackson, my favorite Blues Singer Amy
Winehouse, my favorite actress Elizabeth Taylor, my favorite
singer Whitney Houston.....and now my favorite author Tom

I just wanted you to know that my favorite politicians are Stephen Harper,
Justin Trudeau, Dalton McGuinty, Kathleen Wynne, Mike Duffy, Pamela
Wallin, and Rob Ford.


An Item Of Correspondence.

The following is an e-mail forwarded  to the Chairman of the executive committee of theFarmers Market, in response to an e-mail received 

A 3 page PDF was attached .I cannot copy it for your information. If anyone can tell me how,I will be forever indebted .

Perhaps the writer could oblige. The missive was copied to all members of council, the CAO ,the Clerk of the Municipality and the two council representatives to the Market. 

I've opted to process a  resolution to Council for the issue to be discussed. 

It's a relatively long  and lugubrious process. 

But the Mayor does not encourage informal discussion of such issues. He believes it to be micro-managing. 

So other than ignoring the problem and hoping it will go away, there is no other option. 

Even this may not be available. If the motion is not seconded, it will not reach the table for discussion. 

Good Morning,

Thank you for the communication  received this morning.

The private nature of your organization is referenced multiple times. 
I assure you my interest is not invasive. 

I have been a member of Council since the market's inception.

It was a simple  project and small. It would never have amounted to anything, had it not been for the efforts of a  single Councillor with support  from town staff and the rest of Council.

It was well-received by the community and for that reason,I wished it well.

The original market  concept appears to have evolved into something more than  asimple  gathering on a Saturday morning, and an offering wares and produce, breakfast and lunch.

I am aware of  criteria required to be classified as a "Farmer's Market" in Ontario and appear on a  distributed list. 
I'm not  persuaded being listed makes  a difference  to Saturday morning Market activity. 

My interest in the  Market  extends only insofar as vendors are successful and return to do business with the town and  residents  enjoy  the Market experience.

I  believe I might share that in  common with vendors and patrons. 

I am aware activities at the market  may have little  to do with Farmers.  

Ticket-selling and other promotional events ,have used the gathering place to promote special  projects.  The  town uses the market to provide and collect  information for various studies underway.

Katherine Belrose used it  for fund-raising to save the  Petch House. Apparently unsuccessfully for I 
am not aware of funds contributed for the purpose. 

The Market was used  regularly to promote St.Kitts entertainment business. Ms St Kitts became event organiser on the executive and only surrendered that responsibility when the executive made the decision it would not be a paid position.

At one time a grant was provided by the town to fund special events. 

I believe the facility should be  accessible, as it has since the beginning, to any Aurora enterprise  that buys a permit .

The Market is a public venue  Permits are issued by the Town. It  should be inclusive.

Insofar as the Town's  Bylaw is concerned, for practical purposes,market representation. is required. The  model most familiar is  achieved by an election process.

Activities undertaken by the executive  outside and beyond town authority, as you have noted is not within the purview of Council. I have no interest in that aspect of  the Market operation.

I trust you now have a better sense  that my request for a review of the Famers' Market Bylaw  seeks only to ensure the original concept is upheld. 

Evelyn Buck

On May 21, 2014, at 10:18 AM, Anna Kroeplin <annasmosaics@gmail.com> wrote:
Hello Councillor Buck.
At our AFM Committee meeting last night, I was directed by the AFM Committee to prepare and send you the attached information to help in your search for answers.
Please note that I have copied all of Council, the CAO, the Town Clerk, plus the two Town Directors who are involved with the workings of our successful event. I've also copied our  active AFM Committee Members to assure them that this has been sent.  
Yours in trust,
 Anna Kroeplin
Chair, Aurora Farmers' Market & Artisan Fair
<Councillor Buck -Letter-AFM.pdf>