"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

Sunday 30 November 2014

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

No snow on the ground. Grass is still green, Birds find plenty of seed on the ground for daily sustenance.

 That 's a good thing. It's cold  but another decent day before summer's  return.

My eye fell on the last Council agenda this morning. No more of them. Space around my chair will be tidier. Wikipedia will be the magical resource.  Like going into the temple and seeking advice from  the oracle.

I'm  not proud. I don't mind asking.

Got to ruminating this morning. How many councils ?

Two in  the sixties. Two in the seventies. Three in the eighties and three in the new millenium.    Four two year terms. Four three year terms. Two four year terms. One term as  the last Reeve and  County Councillor . Two terms Mayor. The town's first woman Mayor.

Twelve times elected.

Twenty  eight years in all.

Not to be sniffed at. A goodly number. A round dozen. I am proud.

Mayors were...Clarence Davis, Dick Illingworth, myself, GeorgeTimpson, Dick Illingworth again, John West Tim Jones ,Phyllis Morris and Geoff  Dawe.  The last was not the worst.

The Final  community event of the last term was the Santa Claus Parade. I wasn't part of that.

I could get up into the Irish Jaunting Car council usually rides in the Parade. It's uncomfortable to be leaning to the side and waving for an hour . Hard on my ribs.

Last Christmas there was a blizzard. Snow flakes were  big soft and fluffy . They landed and melted on my eyelashes  There was a magical softness .

It's hard to get down from the cart without hands helping from behind.

After the first time using my own scooter, second in the horse-drawn cart, I  was provided with a golf cart.

I didn't ask for it. Shelly Ware ,special events do-ordinator arranged it . Shelley is  thoughtful and kind. Exactly what  might be expected  and more of a special events co-ordinator.

This year the election was just past. Eight thousand people did not cast a vote in my favour.
Temperature forecast  was really,really cold. I was inclined not to join the Parade.

The decision was made for me. There was no phone call asking if I needed Diane Buchanan to drive the golf cart for me.

The Jaunting Car had a Banner  attached wishing  Aurora Merry Christmas from the new Council and
interim Councillor Don Constable.

Councillors Gaertner and Gallo were not in the habit of joining Council for  the Santa Parade.

For the new arrangement , warm-hearted  Shelley had to be directed not to call me.

Saturday 29 November 2014

Informed Influence Is The Key

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It Doesn't Have To Be That

It is shaping up for a repeat of Glenway in terms of what is being demanded
& what is fiscally responsible. We are just fortunate that it did not
surface until after the election. There will be plenty of time for everyone
to become informed.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 29 November 2014 13:59.


Can!t say I paid  more than passing attention to. Glendale. The result was always obvious.

There seemed to be A differences in approach expressed at the town hall on Monday.

I certainly did not note  any practical advice emanating.

Real estate listing will produce the first useful  information.

Development opportunity determines value  from the perspective of seller and buyer.

It will not be a figure pulled from the sky. Research of the potential is essential to determining the reality .

Club Links  will not be inclined to offer the land for less than fair appraisal.

No astute developer  is likely to pay an unrealistic price.

Price determines everything .

OMB hearings, long drawn out negotiations, political posturing   and wanton  waste of resources,public and private , are all part and parcel of rampant development  in the Greater Toronto area.

All parties  are complicit.

An  OMB  hearing is the only practical  apolitical aspect of the entire process with  integrity.

Informed residents have opportunity for influence . The same opportunity as the municipality .

Influence is the best shot at managing how the land is developed.

Proactive is better than reactive.Being organized can be an advantage. But only if everyone is of the same mind. Individuals have the same right.

Aurora has not grown the municipality.  Growth has been influenced by the  municipality.

Influence is  all we have ever had within the inexact science of the planning process.

Everything else is  political posturing.

The  inexorable thrust of private resources grows a municipality.

It Doesn't Have To Be That Way

Water is hard in Aurora . It is treated according to Provincial requirements. It also  has fluoride treatment.m It used to have heavy iron content that stained the laundry and appliances. The lime content doesn't seem to be so bad anymore either. the kettle doesn't fur up and faucets and sinks don!t
have to be de-limed regularly.

Any time two people engage in a snippy exchange about something not referenced in a blog post ,I will take both out.


Abby and Emma  had an overnight stay with Auntie Steph. Chocolate chip pancakes and whipped cream for breakfast .

Abby goes straight downstairs to put on Stephanie's  stilletto -heeled boots the minute she arrives and they don't come off until she leaves.

Emma's favorite word is "double" delivered with finger-pointing imperative. Mummy's Tim Horton's is always  emphatically" double double."

Mjckey the dog retreats to my bedroom. C J the Phantom cat also makes himself scarce.

I hear small voices in the basement. It's nice.

Another  day at the eye doctor yesterday. A prescription. Six weeks to get pressure under control Then  begins the process to counteract cataracts.

Good  health was the conceit in my father's family. There's a streak of it in me. For the most part I stay away from doctors. They have a tendency to look for trouble.

A year ago eye stress became apparent. I read only what I needed . I was sure my lenses needed strengthening. I had  my eyes tested  for a new prescription. It was not so simple. Cataracts were indicated. An appointment made with a specialist.

I was  pre-occupied and the day came and went.

A year later strain could not be ignored.

Damage is not bad but not reversible. It could have been prevented with an earlier diagnosis.

The point of the post is, obviously it's sensible to keep tabs on one!s eyesight.

 Age is a reality not to be denied. Sight is precious not to be taken for granted.

So don't


Abutting neighbours of Club Link have gathered to hear what there is to hear. I read the story in The Auroran. Seems there is  no consensus and an element of misinformation.

You get that in politics.Sometime ignorance sometimes deliberate ignorance.

It's  a major part of the problem?  Various versions of facts are presented so no common understanding is derived.

If people  can't make sense of what they hear, hey have to choose who to believe.

Much is being said about Glenway in Newmarket; 148 acres of open space as opposed to 98.8 ienclosed  in an urban area in Aurora.

It's not comparable.

Millions of  public and private dollars later Glenway got the same plan for development as it would have had at the beginning without  steering by municipal politicians and without OMB involvement .

The politicians ,one and all, knew full well the eventual outcome no matter how much tax revenue would be spent.

But they minced through the well-worn  steps of the minuet the  Glenway community  demanded.

"Save us from human habitat"  they cried.

"We'll be there" came the response.

It doesn't have to be like that in Aurora.

 But it likely will.

Thursday 27 November 2014

Sorry,Sir Robert

Sir Robert,

Henry was my grandfather. Your generation. For the most part, four thousand miles removed from
yourself. Maybe you've met him since.

His son James was one of the Royal Scots Fusiliers you may have seen when you visited the rat and lice infested mud holes of trenches shared with your Canadians .

They became ready made graves after when it proved impractical because of the numbers to remove   dead and broken remains.

James was wounded in France, sent  home to recover from his injuries ,re- called still not recovered to be sent to Dardanelles and  killed immediately upon landing.

Sorry for the confusion about your first name.

I wish I was wrong about all the rest.

But it's a sad fact you learned too late about the reality of war.

Unfortunately nobody  learned from your experience.

War is still clad in dress informs, adorned with gilded laurel leaves, rows of colored ribbons, flags, theatrical performances  and marching bands to commemorate the vainglory and maintain the institution .

Such Deceit

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

That is true. I worked at Sunnybrook. But that was then. Now the support network for vets is being reduced across the country. And patients are still " trying to jump", some of them taking their families with them. We can do better and the billions of un-spent money in Ottawa is ugly.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 November 2014 10:20


I do not consider myself expert in much that is military. But it does seem a couple of things are being deliberately left out of the equation by all concerned.

Veterans  of World War 1 and 11 are not the same as veterans of  a volunteer  army serving 6 month tours of duty to wherever their government sends them.

The essential,differenceis the first were conscripted and spent the duration of a declared war  away from home.

The second  were enticed into  military  service with the promise of an exciting and fulfilling life style.
Nothing prepares them for the ugly reality they face in the places they never expected to see..

A couple of years ago, I watched a series on Prime Ministers of Canada .Probably on CBC.

Prime Minister Henry Borden 's name came up again  just before Remembrance Day.

Apparently in  the first war, he vowed to raise an army of 150,000 men to send  in defence of the Motherland.

Canada's population was less than 3 million. That was an entire generation.

He went to visit them in France as war progressed. Found them living  in unimaginable misery and so happy he  had come  to visit them .

As   he continued on to London , he  was so filled with rage he lifted  Brotish Prime Minister Lloyd

George  off his feet by his lapels and shook him.

He had a heart attack and died shortly after returning home to Canada.

I believe a person can die of heartbreak.

I believe Henry Borden died of heartbreak when he understood  a generation of young Canadians had been betrayed at his hand.

All those battles,  newly memorialized by monuments  because  thousands  died.

Canadians were sent  in because they were " green" troops.

 Crack regiments were held back for strategic purpose.,

Cannon fodder was the term used for all the rest.

Words like Glory...Courage...Heroism...Sacrifice...Defending our values ...that 's all bullshit crap,
used by politicians to obscure the reality of  failure , miscalculation and cold-blooded exploitation of trust.

So millions of dollars are  now allocated for mental health services to repair broken spirits of young men and women shattered by the horror of their experience.

Here  in Aurora, fund-raising dinners are organized by  the hoi-poloi to provide  dress uniforms for the  Regiment and  care packages for the soldiers.

Guest Post

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A False Premise":

He is entitled to call himself Veterans Affairs Minister because that is what he is. Why do you have take away someone's title because you do not like them?

Years ago, my father worked for a DVA Hospital in London, Ontario. Westminster Hospital was a huge complex in south London. It contained a number of buildings - a large "main" hospital building, a large building for vet's that were diagnosed with "shell shock" or similar mental issues (called the PI "phyc institute" and a large complex of smaller buildings that vets went to in order to live out their final days (Western Counties Wing). They also had a golf course, bowling alleys, swimming pools, etc. This was southern Ontario's vet hospital, similar to Sunnybrook in Toronto.

I remember going to work with him on weekends and I could not get around how much money had been spent on the care of these guys. This was like a small Town. In the PI, there were fenced in balconies at the ends of the building - too many of these patients tried to jump. At the time, the vets of WW I were approaching their 80s. They were becoming the minority. Vets of WWII were the majority. I would talk to some of them, some were okay to tell a stranger about their exploits overseas - they would spin stories. Others did not want to talk about at all.

Eventually, the population of Westminster vets declined to the point that DVA divested in the facilities. It was sold to the province and today in the site of London's renewed Victoria Hospital. The old Victoria, which was open for 20 years or so after the Westminster acquisition, was closed down. Some of the old DVA buildings still exist. But the vets are gone for the most part - a small group are left.

I am proud that this country spent an enormous amount of money to care for these vets. DVA needs to open the history books on how they were cared for then.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 27 November 2014 09:13

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Thank You

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Can We Talk About This ?":

You are quite right - the time lines are different but Cosby sure has built up a lot of anger for whatever reasons. It would be terrific is just a few gals were speaking out about what he had done for them & their families.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 26 November 2014 20:39


I spent the whole day writing and re-writing  the post to ensure  the question of fairness would be the one addressed. 

Thank you for your prompt response. It makes the effort worthwhile. 

Now the question is, how much  does social media have to do with  generating and portraying  Cosby as  a sexual predator. 

How many blogs will challenge the validity of the message? 

It isn't just those who may have benefitted from his generosity who have  a stake in  how this discussion evolves. 

Jian  Ghomesi was released from custody to his mother's care in his mother's home.

That cannot be a happy circumstance.

Can We Talk About This ?

 I am not comfortable about what is happening to Bill Cosby.

It may be a reflection of subconscious bias. I cannot be sure.

Experience is said to be the best teacher. Does greater experience mean better taught  ?  Not necessarily so.

In my faith, seven is deemed  to be the age of reason when a person can discern right from wrong.

I know something of my grandparents experience. I learned  from them.

I shared some of my parents' experience. Lessons derived there as well.

I had  a husband and many close friends whose lives I shared.

I have two daughters and five sons  and  while they were children ,much though not all of their experience was mine.

Grandchildren are already adults and embarked on life .

Great grandchildren  know me. I am an observer in their lives. The eldest is a pre-teen already.

As a politician, I have had opportunity to observe variances in how different people react  to

and handle identical circumstances.

Allegations against  Jian Ghomeshi's  appear to be appropriate.mThey are current and receiving  prompt  and proper attention.

His  high profile generates it's own  intensity.

He has an opportunity to defend himself.

Cosby's situation is not the same.

Accusations of wrongdoing  decades old are not easily defended or proven.

The burden of proof  not readily accessible.  But damage  is easily accomplished.

Any decision about guilt or innocence in decades old accusations is liable to carry greater bias than weight of evidence.

I think there should be a statute of limitation to accusations of sexual harassment.

Tuesday 25 November 2014

A False Premise

It 's still November...the month formerly set aside to pray for the holy souls in purgatory paying for their sins in life.  It  wasn't hell. There could be no escape from hell.  Purgatory was temporary hell.

I was still practicing my faith when I came to Aurora. I tried to attend mass daily in November.
Until  one day the parish priest made a comment about people attending  mass for reasons other than.

That was a jolt into reality. An ice bucket if you like.

Veterans Affairs Minister is in trouble with Vets for several reasons. Most recent being $1.7 billion  unspent funds  being returned to Treasury.

At the same time an announcement is made of millions available for mental health treatment for veterans returning from Afghanistan.

All matters faithfully recorded by the media.

Bad news for Veterans . Good News for media.

On the eve of Remembrance Day, CBC presented an hour long feature of the Silver Cross Mother to follow the Prime Minister laying a wreath at the National Monument.

No reference was made to a partner or sibling throughout the hour. The mother was alone in grief.

Her son had stepped on an explosive device . His broken body brought home to die in hospital.

Mother visits his grave daily.  They talk . Son reassures his mother.

Her home is a shrine. His uniform jacket is displayed on a manikin with rows of  medals on display.

Pristine army boots sit side by side ,laces loose ,waiting.

A snapshot of a seven year old  wearing a forage cap and carrying a stick for a rifle told of  his lifelong ambition to be a soldier.

A saxophone and guitar stood upright on  stands waiting to be picked up and played.

Mother told how he liked her to accompany him  on piano.

The  massive gravestone of black marble bespoke affluence. The home was comfortable. Mother  stylishly dressed.

But the story  was the  loss of everything in life that meant anything to her.

Denying the loss is the only way to cope.

The pain is too great.

No reason presents.

Why did he die so terribly? What purpose was served?

Canada is not at war. The country is not under attack.

His friends are still around, carrying on with their lives.

No amount of mental health services will rationalize, after the fact, a voluntary decision to risk one's life in such a fashion, in the absence of  real and meaningful cause.

A cause that makes sense in the face of the  terrible reality of his terrible death.

Young men who leave home and families behind , hearts and minds filled with noble purpose and just cause, can never be expected to come to terms with the reality of  being blown to pieces  or seeing friends blown to pieces, by stepping on an explosive device ,hidden in the sand  by the people they came to help.

There is simply no therapy that can make sense of that.

Monday 24 November 2014

Sorry About That

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "This Just In":

I have no idea what that means.
- that the lunatics are taking over the asylum ?
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 November 2014 19:34


Sorry about that. I found the item in  the regular newsletter of BILD.  

The Honorable is recently elected to the Provincial Legislature  and eager to show his mettle. At the same time  clearly showing he learned nothing as an alderman and Chairman  of the Planning and Growth Management Committee of the City of Toronto.

The item is particularly relevant for potential of an application from a potential new owner of Highlands  Golf Course. 

According to a  recent quote I the media,   a Councillor has suggested the town should buy the golf course.

One thing is not simply potential. From the day  the golf course was last purchased and before
the value of 98.8 acres of land within an urban developed area has been well understood.

When the evaluation is/was made , it will be done on the basis of  potential numbers of units
to. be built on the land.

It is not raw land. It is surrounded by municipal services

To contemplate  purchasing a golf course as a  golf course is wishful thinking at best and  at worst
the same level of competence as the Honorable Peter Milczyn . Frightening.

Add to the price,forfeited lot levies  and assessment revenue , which is the business of the municipality, cost  of  purchasing  Hjghlands Golf Course is out of the question.

That  it is cited as a possibility by a town official  is at best unbelievable.

At  worst , Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin might wonder at which  meeting the matter was discussed for such an idea to surface.

This Just In

The Private Member's Bill proposes a number of amendments to the City of Toronto Act, Planning Act and other regulations. They appear to reflect MPP Peter Milczyn’s intentions that he outlined during his provincial election campaign and are items that were of considerable interest to him when he served as a City of Toronto Councillor and Chair of the Planning and Growth Management Committee.

requires the OMB to make decisions that are consistent with municipal  council decisions..


The above is an exert from a  BILD newsletter received this morning .

It's one of those things you'd be better off not knowing.

I feel compelled to share anyway. This blog is not about leaving readers in blissful ignorance. 

Note the Honorable  mentioned was a city Councillor and Chairman of the Planning and Growth Management  Committee before rising to the austere dignity of  Honorable Member of the Legislative Assembly.

Note also the  long-held function of the Ontario Municipal Board  is to  hear appeals  and rule for or against municipal decisions. 

To require the Board to endorse municipal decisions, as proposed by the Honorable Member,  is to remove  entirely the function of the  board

That a Member of the Legislative Assembly, erstwhile chairman of the Planning  and Growth  Management  Committee of Toronto Council can be so utterly, appallingly  and dismally ignorant of the  function of the Ontario Municipal Board  is sufficient cause to send a sensible  person  run screaming into the night. 

Much  as many would have it otherwise, when selfish interest is affected, people who buy property with a legal designation have a legal right to use the property for the purpose purchased. 

At any time, under regulations of the Ontario Planning Act  there exists legal right to make an application to change the use of property if deemed  by the owner to be useful. 

All property owners have the same right. 

Under the Act , the municipality is required to process an  application within a certain time period. 
Failure to do so means the Ontario Municipal Board  may assume  authority to make the decision themselves.

Original purpose of the Ontario Municipal Board was to approve municipal budgets. 

During the depression, municipalities failed to collect sufficient revenues to cover the cost of operations. Some declared bankruptcy to escape payment for goods and services received. 

It was not a good thing. 

The OMB was created to be the  public watchdog .

Until  Regional Governments were created , the OMB had supervisory authority to approve  proposed municipal debt.

Think about that.

Finger slipped again

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Monday Morning Quarterback":

I wouldn't be able to refrain myself as well as you do. I would have called him a lot worse.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 November 2014 13:18


It's hard to tell if there's only one  but not hard to tell the objective. 

The incident happened at an interesting  time.

For several weeks, candidates had been busy plastering public property  with private property.,

Some went so far as to suggest  additional police should be scheduled at greater public expense to protect  the private property set out  in display on public property.

Some vigilantes formed a posse and rode out in dark of night to catch the blighters but failed to obtain a license  number thereby missing out on opportunity to provide information to support a charge or multiple charges.

Feelings of outrage were so high, no doubt they too felt jail time would not be too harsh a penalty for  miscreants within our midst.

It's a good thing stupidity isn't an offense against social order.

Wait a minute...what did I just say?

Monday Morning Quarterback

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Free As A Bird....I Shall Be":

I don't think anyone likes to be called a jackass Evelyn, but you call a spade a spade.

Was you intent to ask the question to actually get the charges dropped or were you asking what it would take to get the charges dropped.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 November 2014 09:10


Stephanie , like most of her generation ,spends a huge amount of her time texting reading texting and 
whatever else she finds on her  dinky tiny palm handy gizmo that connects her to the world.

I've  talked to her about trashing comments that contribute nothing to the conversation. Stephanie  finds it entertaining when  a blog moderator responds in kind.

I appreciate the point. Lively exchange  does attract more attention.  I do want to I grow the readership. I do have the advantage of the last word. But at this point in time, civility in the main has greater appeal to me.

Occasionally calling  an anonymous spade  JACKASS  is as far as I am prepared to indulge myself.

Yet still  the  redundant question  persists :  What did I say to District1Desk Sergeant about the theft of a plain little white cardboard poppy box which may or may not have contained coin?

Read the posts; both  of them, . My question and the response received could not be more transparent.

I did not use my elected office to obstruct  police in  performance of their duty.

The senseless,heartless comment of the Legion spokesperson that the person who took the box  should  be sent to jail for two or three years triggered my outrage.

I may or I may not attend  the court to observe the sequel.

Previous advice from sound authority indicates  Justice  is not what people think it is and it is not what it should be.

We shall see.

Sunday 23 November 2014

There is a Story

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Free As A Bird....I Shall Be":

Evelyn I believe the condo on Yonge was planned during your term as councillor 1986-88.Correct me if I am wrong

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 23 November 2014 11:21


You are not wrong.  It was a three year  term and I did not run for Council at the end of the term. The municipal election overlapped a Federal election. I was a candidate for the NDP and chose not to run for Council 

It was an interesting election. The late John West was incumbent Mayor and a challenger was the town's former CAO. the late Bud Rogers.

Highland Gate condominium construction was well up out of the ground by that time.

As noted in comments yesterday. Mr. Rogers enjoyed high status in the community and in his profession. He served numerous terms on the executive of the  Ontario Association of Clerks and Treasurers.

But it wasn't enough to take the Mayor's office from John West.

During the nineties I was not in office. Out of the loop so-to-speak. I believe the Rogers family moved to Barrie and  he took a position with Reid and Associates Consultant Engineers. I understand  a planning service  was added to their operation and Mr Rogers  had  that responsibility.

Saturday 22 November 2014

Free As A Bird....I Shall Be

It had a call this morning.

From a distance.

Do I remember an O.M.B. Hearing on a previous proposal for development of the Highlands under the ownership of the late  Joe Shaw?

I don't . I was out of office from 77/80 . My caller knew I was not elected recently but called anyway.

It's  a bit odd.

One particular jackass is trying every which way for me to confess I identified myself as an elected official  in order to get a charge dropped  against a person unknown to me for stealing a poppy box.

After the election a couple of comments expressed  ecstasy at the results. One stated how overjoyed he/she was.

Apparently not sufficient to be content. Hence the need  to gloat.

One person's satisfaction derived from knowing my "power" was ended.

It's  interesting to discover weird ideas.

I 've never thought of a single vote on Council in terms of power.

However , I do know at least five who consider five votes to be  beyond the law.

Since  the time approaches I am no longer a Councillor, I allow my mind to roam over alternate topics for Blog.

I 'm still on the Council e-mail list . Still connected for  thirteen more days.

 I shall be free.
 Free as a bird.
To do whatever comes naturally.
Whatever it might be.
That comes naturally to me.

Friday 21 November 2014

What does it take?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Facebook...Open Book....Few Surprises":

You can just as easily 'Unlike' a Facebook post/comment.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 21 November 2014 12:59


Stephanie just told me that. But my grand-daughter was not on hand at the time.

No matter. there are a couple of other things that need to be said.

The flyer posted by Councillor Mrakas  on Facebook  was not identified. I had heard former Councillor, now MLA Christopher Ballard was  calling for a town hall meeting to oppose
residential  development.

I had seen an e-mail indicating Councillor Abel had referenced  a park.

Now  freshly elected ,full of enthusiasm for how much better things might be done with co-operation,
Councillor Mrakas has  put both ideas forward obligingly ,with neither name mentioned.

It is noted the flyer mentions " passive park" as the second option to infill residential development.

A passive park is one with no activity; no baseball diamonds, no soccer fields, no skate board facility. no all-season tennis  courts ; nothing at all to disturb peace, tranquillity and absolute privacy of the

No pesky human activity of any kind.

The golf course stretches from Yonge Street, behind Highland Gate Condominiums, right out to Bathurst Street.

The town is entitled to take 5% of development land for parks .

There could be a trail.

The creek would certainly be conservation.

The province has a policy for high-density infill with the objective of saving  farmland and  preventing urban sprawl.

The Region's  Planning Department is charged with responsibility for making that happen.

The situation has all the elements .

Facebook...Open Book....Few Surprises

 Facebook is not yet a routine  I have not adjusted to the discipline.

Recently my finger hovered with no purpose in mind  and auddenly  "Like" activated .

By the nature of  Facebook, it would not normally be an issue.

But it was a political statement. Councillor--elect Mrakas posted an anonymous leaflet rallying home -owners to an organization  meeting at the town hall on Monday night.  The golf club  closure is the issue.

Two options present as future use;  high density residential or a passive park.

Councillors Abel, Humphreys,Mrakas and Thoms have been consulted. They look forward to meeting with residents at the meeting.

Before the issue hits the fan,I wish to note IPad is a highly sensitive instrument. Too damned sensitive.

I did not intend to click on Like.

The suggestion Highland Gate  Golf  Course  does not come as a surprise.

If a redundant  6 acre school site, why not a 98.8 acre golf course ?

Endorsation  by  Councillors is hardly unprecedented either.

The town is currently engaged in litigation to compel  the developer to sell the property to the town for a fraction of it's value for an unidentified need with no documentation to support a park.

Mayor  Dawe is responding to golf course neighbours on status and the requirements of the Planning Act which provides  ample opportunity for input.

Councillor Mrakas is quoted this week on how well things go when everyone is on the same page

I suppose  he could have been referring to the Facebook page.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Who The Hell I Am

On Friday evening, I called the desk sergeant at Number One District  and asked what it would take to withdraw the charge for stealing a poppy box.

A store can withdraw shoplifting charges if they choose. It occurred to me if an offer was made to restore whatever was in the  box considerable expense and misery might be avoided.

Charges could not be withdrawn. The process had to be followed. Canadian Tire was referenced.

I wrote a post about it.

A  furious anonymous demanded to know;  " Who the Hell do you think you are?"

I  did not publish it. I don't have to respond to it.  But I want to.

Blog Readers know who I am.  I have few secrets.

I am the daughter and grand-daughter of two mothers who lost sons in the carnage of two world wars.

I was fifteen when my brother was killed.  He was twenty-two. My mother was sixteen when her brother's life blood soaked into the sand at the Dardanelles in Turkey .He also was twenty-two.

They disembarked in their thousands armed with rifles. Young bodies were ripped to shreds by the machine gun fire that awaited them.

My brother was in the Air Force in the  Second World War.

On a bombing raid over the Ruhr, the plane took a direct hit.  The pilot and co-pilot were dead in the burning inferno. My brother was wounded and his parachute in  the burning  part of the plane . He and a surviving crew member ,with one parachute between them, wrapped  arms around each other and jumped.

He knew they would black out on the way down. He told me when he was on leave the week before.

He had to jump or be blown to pieces when the plane  exploded in the sky.

My brother was buried in Dusseldorf . His identification tag, rosary missing the crucifix and a small pen knife  were kept safe while my mother continued to hope he would come home. She grew a little stash of  his favorites like apricot jam  for his return.

When the  war ended, a few months later, Patrick was still officially "Missing In Action"

We learned  the details  from the father of the surviving crew member who was taken as a prisoner of war

I notified the War Office.

By return telegram the War Office notified  us ;  Flight/Sergeant Patrick Finnigan  is  confirmed killed in action.

After Remembrance Day, I watched a T.V. feature on Winston Churchill. In the First War he tried  to alert politicians and Generals to the reality of machine warfare. It was hardly a secret.

No matter.  They sent  millions of  men to their deaths carrying rifles and wearing tin hats against
tanks, howitzers and machine guns.

They sent artists to record the history of war , then banned the exhibition  because they depicted the awful fear,despair and certain knowledge of impending doom on the faces of men who were little more than boys.

Charlie Rose had an American General on his program last week.  He has written a book pointing out the obvious.

Lessons  we do not learn from history ,we are doomed to repeat.

Today's armies are volunteer. They do not number hundreds of thousands of  conscripted men. They
can't be court-martialled by an officer  and shot to death  on the spot for desertion.

War is not like anything previous. Friends are not who they appear to be.Enemies appear to be friends.

Wars  need to be fought differently.,

The General is frustrated. Just like Churchill was a hundred years ago.

I don't believe the awful nature of my brother's  or my mother's brother's deaths are respected or acknowledged by sending  idealistic young Canadians to be blown to pieces by roadside bombs in Afghanistan.  Or to return home traumatized by the horror they have witnessed  and the senselessness of it all.

I believe wars are lost  by the side whose army is decimated first.

At the ends of the second war, allied troops discovered they were killing fifteen year old children in uniforms.

I don't believe wars are won.

Quite the contrary.

No amount of money raised by the sale of poppies and wreaths, nor theatrical performances at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day convince me otherwise.

I am the daughter and grand-daughter of women who lost  sons in circumstances no mother should have to bear.

At the hands of their own leaders.

I do not forget.

It 's who the hell I am.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Slightly Indisposed

An eye test procedure  at 9.00 am has blurred my eyesight for most of the day.

Hence no post. Thank you for the comments.

No progress reports  have been provided yet on the Joint Work Space.

I would have voted to eliminate the more extravagant items in the design.; specifically the green roof and a complete floor of space  with no purpose  identified.

I believe the site location is completely inappropriate.

I  urged Council to step back and take time to assess.

The majority voted otherwise. The decision to proceed  was made.

I do not expect any change.

Obviously there is concern in the community.

 I think comment  is  always legitimate

In the matter of the food pantry and financial support from tax revenues.

I do not agree the town has authority to impose taxation for contributions to charity ...any charity.

I believe dependence on food banks in this Year of Our Lord  2014 is a both shame and  a disgrace.

That it co-exists with extraordinary affluence makes it even less acceptable.

Monday 17 November 2014

Aflluence is a Fact of Life For Some.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Seeds of Turbulence":

"We have our own top-heavy fire and police costs."

True dat. When people - and councillors - complain and nitpick about Town expenditures, looking to cut those of their hobby-horses, you never hear a word about the ginormous, uniformed 'elephant in the room.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 16 November 2014 18:17


Futility  and risk are likely consequence of focussing on the "uniformed elephant " drivers in the municipal budget.

Futility because contracts are aubject to mandatory arbitration seldom, if ever, favourable to management.

Risk because police and firefighters are local heroes.

As contracts are successfully negotiated , their wages, work conditions and benefits become the standard in all other professional negotiations.

They are the affluent. Their living is derived from tax revenues. High taxation is not  a concern.

Much of their high salaries are funneled off to senior levels of government in taxation to augment their revenues.

Political parties solicit their support. Dalton Mc Guinty on the eve of elections was surrounded by firefighters holding signs aloft . "Firefighters for McGuinty"

Does anyone question  how teachers and health care workers are likely to vote?

While Ontario cultivates public sector millionaires, $124 million are distributed in questionable Trillium grants, special education programs are cut in schools, funds  are not available for social housing and people at the low end of the scale are reduced to begging or stealing poppy boxes.

Food banks have become established institutions in a  modern  affluent society.

Sunday 16 November 2014

Seeds of Turbulence

Years ago, when Marjorie Andrew was librarian and some books were kept behind the counter so the kids couldn't get at them, we could buy books through the library.

Didn't do it often .

Nowadays books are purchased in a different format. All kinds of tasks  are completed by suppliers that used to be done at the library.

Things change.

Speaking of which; John Tory  has changed slightly since his election. On Friday he reminded a reporter he was not yet Mayor.

That's a change from a couple of weeks ago in response to a police budget statement in the news.

The  Chief was reported to request a percentage reduction in the budget .It meant reduction in  police complement.

Police Association President McCormack had something contrary to say about that on the basis of the police contract.

Mayor-elect Tory said the budget should be negotiated, preferably in private.

Exactly what one might expect from someone who doesn't know what he doesn't know.

Police administration is separate from city administration. The Chief was obviously not asking the city to cut his budget.

That he was not yet Mayor was clearly not understood by Mr. Tory. Forty-five Council members  elected in their own right, were not acknowledged. The suggestion of "private negotiations" undoubtedly brought forth an evil grin in some quarters.

Rob Ford is still Mayor of Toronto. His brother Doug still a Councillor. For all intents and purposes Rob Ford has been  elected  to the new council?

Days before Mr. Tory confided to the Toronto media he had asked the Chief Administrator to withdraw his resignation.

One can never know precisely all of the various reasons for timing of a top public servant's decision to retire.

After the tumult of the previous term, it may be a simple matter of getting out while the going's  good.

Whatever the circumstance,neither time nor opportunity and certainly no authority existed to consult with Council-elect  before Mayor-elect made the  request. Sharing it with the media may not have been wise.

The Province has scheduled second reading of a Bill to put municipalities under jurisdiction of the Ontario Ombudsman.Andre Marin.

The flap is on. The cat is among the pigeons. The fox is in the hen house.

Oh Lordy..Lordy!!! The pot is boiling and splattering all over the stove.

Andre Marin is not perceived with great affection in municipal circles.... political or administrative

The out-of-the-gate statement by Toronto's Tory Mayor- elect Tory of preference for private dealings would  undoubtedly be music to his ears and Grist for the Grinding.

Saturday 15 November 2014

Limits of Imagination

I called the police department last night. Asked for the Desk Sergeant for District One. That!s Aurora.

I  asked what it would take for charges to be dropped against the person who took the poppy box at Canadian Tire.

It occurred to me if the funds in the box were restored and no harm done a lot of time and public resources might be better used elsewhere.

 It might be as little as $5 or as much as $9.  It seemed hardly likely a significant sum would be sitting unprotected in a little cardboard box on a counter.

I was half listening  to  the play by play account of the theft as caught in security camera.

 A battered old car held together by string and duct tape pulled up at the door of the Canadian Tire and a male in a hoodie  got out ,went into  the store picked up the box, stuffed inside his jacket ,left the store and was driven away.

A spokesperson for Aurora Legion was interviewed and said  he couldn't imagine how anyone  could do such a thing. He hoped the thief would be caught and sent to,prison for two or three years.

The poppy fund is a charitable endeavor.  Reports indicate it's expected to raise $30 million this year.
More than ever before.  Incredibly, because two lives  were senselessly lost .

When  I heard  about the theft .I thought ... Poor b.....he must have been pretty GD desperate to steal a poppy box. It will
 likely buy him and the driver of the getaway car,  a coffee and maybe a doughnut between them

On the other hand, cost of processing  a charge through the courts will be thousands of dollars.
In the unlikely event of incarceration many more times multiplied.

Nobody knows  better than the police department the misery and degradation of the streets and the social costs of economic hardship.

Yet there is no area for judgement to be exercised .

Once the charge is laid ,there is no turning back.

The juggernaut takes a life of its own.

Plans Gang Aft Agley

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Precedents Galore":

That is where compromise and diplomacy come in. Confrontation appears to accomplish nothing. I think we have to wait until plans are available before getting set into rigid positions. Just a suggestion.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 15 November 2014 09:34


Confrontation  accomplishes little in the end. In the meantime, much can be achieved. 

People  can be exploited. Politicians can be divided into good guys and bad  guys. Reputations  can be ruined .

Public resources in hundreds of thousands of dollars can be squandered. A gigantic industry having nothing to do with building  can be supported adding to the cost of building a house.

Builders have to stand back , keep feet clear of the grunge and witness the  inevitable charade from beginning  to end.

Brookfield Homes will likely be more than willing to meet with  residents of Beacon Hall. Building homes is their business . They make a living at it. They provide opportunities for others to do the same.

Fifty years ago, the federal government used housing to stimulate the economy.  Central Mortgage and Housing  Corporation  was established.

Twenty-five year term mortgages  were created and  interest rates adjusted  regularly to keep things moving.

A down payment might be as little as a couple of months rent.  Monthly  mortgage payment the same or less than rent.

From the town's perspective, assessment growth meant a stable or reduced tax rate for municipal services.

Ah yes, those were the days, my friends . We thought they'd never end.

Still,  Brookfield Homes development is not likely to happen any time soon.

Aurora's  units  of servicing are fully allocated .

Unless something dramatic happens like the Region's planned sewage treatment plant at Lake Simcoe.

Friday 14 November 2014

A Challenge and a Question Answered

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Monty Pythonesque":

Of course your "stupid comment" comment was made by someone that DID NOT read the post that Evelyn is afraid to publish.

There are two people that read it. You can't comment unless you did.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 14 November 2014 13:07


Still on the Monty Python reality theme.
Black  Knight  engages in a sword  fight. with White Knight. Both arms and legs are severed  with blood  spurting  from the wounds. Black Knight  is wobbling on the floor of the forest  shouting  "Coward  Coward " at his adversary and accusing him of being afraid to fight.

My adversary doesn't get it still.

The Blog is mine.

Nobody gets to make false accusations against me on my own blog.

 It isn't a script for a Monty Python movie.

An anonymous  accusation doesn't set you up for an award for courage .


The  question of what is allowed in a residential neighborhood was answered, I thought.

Residents  are allowed to have home occupations.

A small business can operate in a home so long as  the character of the neighborhood is not negatively impacted.

Hope that helps.

Precedents Galore

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Monty Pythonesque":

Meanwhile the Banner ' reporters ' are beating the bushes to try and create
an uprising about Highland.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 14 November 2014 11:07


Several little pockets  of potential discontent  are percolating around  town. 

As a councillor, I received a copy of a thread of correspondence from a resident of the Timberlane /Beacon Hall Neighborhood.

It seems Mayor Dawe  and Councillor Thompson attended the annual general meeting of the neighbourhood association and gave assurance that whatever proposal might be made by Brookfield 
Developments, new owner of the property, would be dealt with publicly and every opportunity provided for input.

Included in the thread was a letter from a neighbour to the developer informing him residents  would not be pleased with a proposal for higher than existing density.

The writer is in the real estate business. He knows price paid for the property would be  based on
potential for  number of  residential units possible.

Buying property in an  already developed area is not the same gamble as buying raw land without
municipal services.

The residents may not know the most recent decision by Council,at the last meeting before the election campaign began.

Approval was given for six units on Bloomington Road on half an acre situated in the
rural/ estate lot area on the  extreme southern edge  of the municipality.

Bloomington Road is an throw-away road allowance, abandoned by the Region of York several decades ago. Bloomington became the town's southern boundary when York Region was created. The abandoned  section currently serves eighteen properties. Since the new alignment for Bloomingtion was  created, the south side of "Old Bloomington" serves no properties or any other purpose. No assessment can be derived.
The town's interest would have been best served by re-locating  and exchanging properties to  the rear of current lots to allow for practical future development and financial feasibility.

That is not what happened.

Stirling Cook, owner of  the half-acre lot , received that which he requested withoutconsideration of the town's  best interest.

Nor should we forget  the litigation in process for the town to acquire a  6 acre parcel on Mavrinac
Boulevard  at a fraction of its value to meet no specific need the town has for the land.

Litigation was undertaken in response to the demand of residents whose purpose is to prevent
development of the property.

Precedents have been set.

The town is encumbered.

Monty Pythonesque

I wrote a post in response to a comment that people who smoke should be required to pay for their own medical and hospital care.

I provided the colossal figures to illustrate how smokers and drinkers and lottery ticket hopefuls not only pay for their own hospital and medical care, they probably pay the better part of everyone else's  as well.

Then I get a  how-dare -you comment. Accusing me of  stating  smokers,drinkers and lottery ticket holders should have to pay for their own hospital and medical costs.

The writer points out how much revenue comes from smokers et al and how the Province could not make it up elsewhere. And concludes  in his/her surprise that a person with the liberal stance I proclaim could suggest medical and hospital care should be denied to people who smoke.

I am repeating the argument because it is such a perfect illustration of how a supremely  self-righteous person,can twist the reality to suit her/his preformed preference.

The optimum opportunity presents itself  in writing only occasionally.

Since the blog belongs to me It seems only fair that  I should  make use of it to establish the reality is Monty Python's Circus.

Thursday 13 November 2014

Figures To Boggle the Mind

We had a long comment the other day on the issue of smoking in public spaces. It ended  with an
opinion  that people seriously ill from smoking should be required to pay for  their own medical and hospital care.

My first thought was ....that should send a shiver up the spines of those making a lucrative living out of  the health industry. 

The next was ....how government pays the cost of medical and hospital care. Information  is at our fingertips. It can be shared. 

Tax revenue  from Ontario Liquor Control Board amounted to $1.4 billion in 2013.

The figure does not include  8% share of the Harmonized Sales Tax . Nor 10% tax collected from restaurants and bars.

Tobacco sales  produced $1,146.billion  The funds  all go to finance  health services.

A cool $1.8 billion from Ontario Lottery and Gaming  also went to support hospitals and other Ontario priorities.

It's entirely likely ne'er -do -wells who smoke and drink  and don't deserve to receive medical and hospital care without paying for it, are the same who purchase lottery tickets and visit casinos.

They may   be paying for their  own medical and hospital care care and  everyone else's as well.

It would be difficult to prove without knowing the costs of  hospital and medical care.

But we have a sense of that as well.  What with the various  recent scandals connected with the industry.

In a recent year, a list of  compensation for Ontario Hospital Presidents was forwarded in my direction.  In Newmarket, the salary was $450,000. Expenses charged were in excess of $200,000.
By the time he retired his salary was $471,000 and expense allowance $37,000.

It would certainly be sufficient to cover the cost of  more than a few muffins and coffees at the airport.

But who's counting?

Oh yes....millions  are collected in annual fund-raisers in the name  of family member victims of  the various terrible diseases that still kill.

Who  respects these volunteers with a regular update on  the difference their  heart- felt efforts have

Who thinks of family members, when property purchaesd with public funds is leased to the private sector to make a killing  when a seriously ill family member is occupying a hospital bed ?

Wednesday 12 November 2014


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Whatever it takes":

Regarding the New York City soft drink size ban. June 26, 2014, the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court, ruled that the New York City Board of Health, in adopting the Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule, exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority.

I think that common sense ruled in this case. I hope that those fighting to ban smoking in parks take this to heart. 

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 12 November 2014 08:45


Here's the thing; I am not aware of pressure from the community to ban smoking in parks,sports fields and patio bars.

We  had a discussion here but the blog is a microcosm. Ka-non regularly takes a position on issues .Others  have chimed in but I don"t sense any passion. 

If we put our mind to it, it must be realized the idea will not fly. Any attempt to enforce such a ban with penalties will not be kindly received.

The  whole schmeer  is  likely but a feeble attempt to distract  from  more distracting issues. 

Like the state of the  provincial economy .

Or degradation of education despite the money being  poured into it.

Or the fact, the government has created a  problem of child care availability by providing child care availability in the schools.

Or the sewage treatment plant planned to be built on Lake Simcoe which will guarantee urban sprawl from Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe. Exactly what Regional governments were intended to prevent. 

Oh yes, and there's the partially built gas fired power plants that will undoubtedly be needed after all. 

But fear not. Our doughty MLA is on hand to battle the problems. If he  can only  draw himself away from  municipal matters. 

I'm glad Remembrance Day is over. 

Apart from  sad reminders of  death and destruction and futility of  war, I find the politicization and commercializations of the day  just too excruciating .

There are no boundaries. No lines that can't be crossed . No  principles observed. No judgement 
exercised .

Words  and symbols like glory and bravery and heroism are tossed around to stir the masses.And they do...most effectively.

Words cost nothing. 

Grief and remorse, still fresh after seventy years, of those who returned is neither seen nor heard.

Traumatized walking wounded, hopelessly scarred by the modern concept of warfare that never  reveals the enemy are  not attended.

When the young men and women volunteers cheerfully hoisted knapsacks on their shoulders and went off to god-forsaken places ,it seems nobody told  them how it would be. 

Maybe because they never move their backsides of their comfortable pews.

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Whatever it takes

Once a resident complained about back yard fire pits. A family member had a rare allergy to smoke.

The resident also insisted it was her right to open all windows to circulate fresh air throughout the house.

A neighbour enjoyed his wood burning fire pit.

I never heard how the problem was resolved. I certainly could think of no satisfactory solution.

It seems to me any discussion on rights has to consider equal rights.

At what point does one person's rights infringe upon another.

Maybe options are the answer. One bar with a patio might be licensed for smokers  and another not; at the choice of the business operator.

Maybe space could be divvied up. A  legal definition of the word "public" could be written.

As in when public space is your space, my space,  air space, joint space, free space, private space or breathing space.

New York City recently decided to ban the sale of large size sugary soft drinks to solve the problem of obesity.

Right here, Sport Aurora  believes  more taxes are needed to provide more sports fields to solve the problem of obesity.

Then there would be more public space for bylaw patrols to ensure people are not polluting the planet by puffing on the dreaded lurgi or infamous weed known as tobacco.

The unemployment problem would soon  be solved.

I just remembered something. My grandfather smoked  Erinmore Tobacco. I loved  the smell. I liked it so much I tasted it once.

When the war started  Grampa switched to thick black plug.

He  also used to take a teaspoon of sugar after his meal. He stopped  that too when the war began.

It was like he  needed to sacrifice whatever small luxuries there were in his life.

Grampa was a coal miner.  Buried in the  black bowels of the earth

Walked  miles to and from work, wet clothes freezing on his body in the biting cold. Had to stand in front of the fire to thaw enough to remove them.

Come to think of it, a pipe of  tobacco was little enough reward.

Not unlike doctors and nurses dealing with sadness and sorrow every day of their lives. Needing whatever comfort comes  from a cigarette.

Monday 10 November 2014

Spinners are in High Gear

Absolutely  nothing  is extraordinary about Club Link's Aurora operation closing down.

No requirement to notify the town. Or provide a reason. Yet they did.

In turn,the Mayor immediately notified each Councillor of the  news. Exactly what he needed to do.

It 's understood the land will be offered for sale.

Already  wheels are spinning. How much mischief can be made of it. . How  fears can be exploited and mayhem ensue.

This  blog is not available for that purpose.

Other than a sale, nothing can happen to the land any time soon.  Years are a distinct possibility if past experience signifies.

Nothing has happened that should concern neighboring property owners.

If you haven't heard it from the town, it cannot be relied upon.

Aurora  will process any application exactly according to the requirements of the Planning Act.

On that you may rely.

To do less in a perfect environment would be nonsensical.

In the current climate it would be totally insane.

Two Birds With One Stone.

Aurora Highlands Golf Course was sold by the Nisbet family in the sixties. Joe Shaw was the new owner.. Word was he was a champion body-builder .He was also a developer. It was anticipated the land would be developed.

Yonge  Street  frontage was developed in the eighties. A fine Club house was demolished and Highland Gate  Condominiums rose from the ground.

Half the golf course remained . Any time a golf course exists within an urban area, it may be assumed that ultimately it will be developed. Everything happens later in Aurora. We have been fortunate.

The town has been informed the golf club has closed because it is under-performing.

It cannot be  developed until services are available.Likely when the Region builds  the sewage treatment plant  they plan at Lake Simcoe..

I figure that's what the huge increases in water bills is about.

Ka-non extends an invitation I can't resist. Where do I stand on the ban on smoking in public spaces?

First, I don"t smoke.  I did smoke and when I did I deeply resented being told I couldn't.

I stopped smoking when Brian Mulrooney introduced federal sales tax.

I sometimes wish I could still smoke.  I remember the pleasure. But I share the distaste  for the acrid smell of stale cigarette smoke.

I still love the smell of wood smoke.How,long wilol it be before the righteous among us decide that can no longer be allowed.

But  apart from all of that, Ii find lack of  depth at the senior level of government disturbing.

When a bylaw is  contemplated, the first thought must be about practical enforcement.

Next is how will it hold up to a challenge?

What are our rights? How much  denial is reasonable? When is the line crossed?

Many bylaws  are not  intended  nor can they be enforced. The intent is to convey a  community standard.

For the most part  the bluff works.

I think that's an abuse of legislative authority.

The Province has referenced heavy fines for illegal of smoking. How can they do that while collecting taxes from the sale,of tobacco?

Are they going to be responsible for collecting the fines?

Would jail time be the next step for failure to pay ?

Who pays the cost of jail time?

When was the last time the per diem rate was checked ?

The cost to keep a person locked up in jail is many times multiplied  over making sure  EveryGrade 5 students has learned to read and write.

Prisons are chock-a -block with people who can't earn an honest living because they don't  have those basic skills.

By the way, is that not what schools are supposed to be about.

Oops !!! there I go again.
Veering off topic.
Suggesting perhaps society's values might be in  need of perspective.

Is this a tweet?

I'm receiving a host of comments about things I know little about.

I don't know if the information is accurate or poorly expressed.

As long as no-one is being maligned I'm inclined to let  it run free and discover where that takes us.

I expect at some point someone  well- informed, like Chris Emmanuel might fill in the blanks and correct  any misunderstandings.

Whatever happens with the golf course will not happen soon and will depend on a good working relationship with the town.

One thing for sure, the  argument  neighbourhood property values will fall is unlikely to succeed.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Endless Possibilities

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "No Fair ...No Fair":

I've noticed that Ms Wynne is doing things that do not cost her government
much. Like banning smoking in playgrounds. Do you suppose she could be
convinced to shorten the municipal campaigns ? It is probably within her
scope and this last one really made it clear that they are toooo long.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 8 November 2014 18:06


That the smoking initiative will not be at the expense of the provincial government does not mean
it will enforce itself at no expense

Oh Dear Me No.

Patios,  playgrounds  and sports fields are all municipal .

How enforcement might be accomplished is interesting to contemplate.

Municipal bylaws are  mostly enforced by complaint.

Picture this:

A miscreant on a park bench puffing on the deadly component. Evidence of wrong-doing swirling about his head.

A neighbour or perhaps even a friend observes and furtively, because he is entitled to confidentiality, whips  out cell phone and calls in complaint.

A voice machine takes the message and assures of a response within forty-eight hours.

What chance the scene will still be of the crime?

Or alternatively:

The municipality hires a small army of bylaw officers, provides them with uniforms,means of transport, maybe electric prods  and hand -held devices to download input to the asset management program at the end of each shift, twenty four, seven .

Or alternatively:

Municipality installs cameras  to spy on people at all playgrounds, sports fields, and bar patio and installs a special unit in the empty floor of the new joint facility, like a bank of air traffic controllers, scanning the areas constantly,ever ready to catch miscreants in the act or anything else that might be going on.

Drones could be acquired  to zoom in and pluck the cigarette right out of the startled citizens mouth,or douse him with a bucket of ice water when he least expects it.

Revenue to pay  for all or any one program. could come from sales tax revenue generated by sale of tobacco products.

Didn't  hear anything about  enforcement in the government's announcement.

Nothing said either  hospital entrances where  doctors, nurses and perhaps terminally ill patients patients with oxygen carts gather collegially to satisfy their shameful craving.

Saturday 8 November 2014

No Fair ...No Fair

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Budget Process":

It is interesting. Those who lost, both here and in Newmarket, are blaming the uninformed electorate. I would lay the onus on badly run campaigns which frightened possible supporters.
And I am not including Evelyn in that list of whiners.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 8 November 2014 11:


Despite not being named ,I have to disagree about reasons for failed candidacies.

There's no great mystery .

Twenty -eight people  exercised their democratic right and offered to serve.

Eight seats were available.

Logistics dictate  twenty would not be successful.

They did nothing wrong.

They spent their own funds. Worked thousands of hours. Knocked on doors, wrote  speeches and stepped up to podiums.

At one all candidates  meeting, they were invited but served as nothing more than backdrop for the main players.

They must have wondered about that one.

Putting themselves out there and being  judged and rejected is not an elevating experience. They must find logic to carry them through.

Criticism is unwarranted. At least two candidates had done it all before. They worked throughout the term to establish credentials . .

I have done it around  twenty times. I've won and I've lost.

Winning is better.

But it's not a sinecure.

Nor a coronation .

And it doesn't carry tenure.

Friday 7 November 2014

Methinks This Story Has Legs,

The question occurs. Is there a statute of limitation on  sexual harassment?

I believe a Pandora's Box may have  opened on Parliament Hill.

I worked with a former Parliamentary  intern a number of years ago. We were members of the Social Assistance Review Board. The work took us all over Ontario . Much of it driving. Thousands of tedious miles and rivers of conversation to while away the time.

Audrey was a native of Ottawa and had worked as an intern. Only one story stands out in my memory. In  her thirties, she was as well endowed  betwixt chin and waist and had always been.

It must have been the mental image created that made it memorable. I have never been in the Parliament Buildings.

A  very young woman running down a corridor  to get away from a Member of Parliament. He was pretending  to give chase for her  obvious physical attributes but actually to entertain his male colleagues.

Was the miscreant identified. He was indeed. I cannot tell. I wasn't there. But should the story  be true the irony is absolute.

Every day new insight unfolds on the news item. Today Thomas Mulchair revealed the complaints were known to him .The complainants had asked for the matter to remain confidential.

said  as a result of  exposure, the M.P. complainants have been twice victimized.I hear an echo.

Last night CBC  journalist James Coyne ,in a panel discussion  said  "reputations  is everything in  politics". He wash speaking of  accused MP s  being suspended while not even informed  of what they were accused.

If Ottawa Police Chief were to invite victims to come forward  and give assurance  of right treatment
how far back might the story travel?

Sorry ,I Can't Help

Yesterday a  comment reflected  serious discontent with school politics.

No indication  of course of which school .

The blog cannot be used that way.

I do not challenge the circumstance.

 I've   heard it often enough to recognize validity.

For years, I've known dedicated, highly skilled teachers,completely frustrated within the system.

Nothing I read or hear convinces  the community in general, is well served by the education system.

But this  blog cannot be the medium for change.

My experience is far from adequate.

I could do more harm than good.

The Budget Process

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Hell...No":

I would like to see a line by line budget process one of these years. I don’t think that’s ever been done. If it has I've never read or heard about it. Evelyn…has that ever been odone ?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 7 November 2014 12:05


The main thrust of financial  advice to Council was contained  in the Town's promotion on Rogers during the election.

An affluent community.  Highly educated ..... average family income ...such and such high. 

At some point Council would be advised how many pennies a day the  recommended  tax increase  represented.

The tax increase does not reflect increase in spending.

Assessment  revenue increases annually. Supplementary assessment is  increased revenue.

It can be as much as 2  tax points. If the tax increase is 2% and revenue  increases by 2% .The  Increase in spending is 4%,

Increases in water and sewer rates in the double digits are never included in the published tax

Water and sewer and miscellaneous , being storm water pond management, are a service.
The rates are a tax like all the rest.  Therefore the annual increase for tax supported services is  artificially deflated and distorted. Knowingly and deliberately.

Senior levels of government have established  a fund to share gas tax revenue. It's an increase in general revenues.  It helps to pay for municipal services and obscure actual spending.

Many factors are obscured in the budget process . The Province has taken responsibility for increases in cost of education for at least the last fifteen years.

Education used  to be the second to the Region's share of the tax bill.
 It is now the lowest share at 21%

Financial advice  to Council is thatnthe Province wanted to provide municipalities with more "tax room" Meaning more money to spend.

The town's  share of the tax bill is now in second place and exceeds what the school board's share used to be.

School  boards have considerably less autonomy  than formerly. The  real cost of education is hidden in provincial budgets.

Many things are obscured in the municipal budget.

Costs of  severances  for example. When a long term employee's  job is eliminated or

otherwise manipulated, severances can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.. Councilors are not informed unless  there is litigation and perhaps not always then.

Jobs are  eliminated and created under the heading of "re-organization." Consultants are hired to produce data to support the  decision. Councillors don't have to exercise their minds .  It's all taken for them.

Inquiry is labelled micro-managing. Persistence is labelled  obstructionism or negativity.

Thursday 6 November 2014


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Multiple Choice":j

"Tax equity for seniors and low income families strikes a chord. Should we be compelled to pay for services we neither want, need nor are inclined or can afford to use."

Why should anyone be compelled to pay taxes for municipal services that they will never use? I have no children in the school programs, why should I pay education taxes? I do not use the pools, arenas, soccer pitches, etc... why should I pay taxes for those things?

I am not poor nor am I a senior, however if I have to pay for things that I do not use, why do others get off? If the cost of taxes for an individual is too high, perhaps they are living in the wrong  place.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 6 Noveu jjmber 2014 10:00


Seniors  should perhaps be content to  live in cardboard boxes under a bridge and  carry all earthly possessions around in plastic bags in a shopping buggy.

The view reflected above is neither fresh nor new. 

When government was first  organized in Ontario, responsibility for education rested with municipal councils. They were business representative in the main. Sending their own children back to the mother country for education in private boarding schools was not uncommon with little interest in providing education for the children of  their workers.

So they didn't.

Consequently the authority  was removed. An educated society was deemed desirable. Boards of Education were created with authority to requisition  funds from municipalities. Libraries were the opportunity for  education to continue beyond grade 8. They too were removed from municipal jurisdiction and authority to requisition funding provided.

Arenas, parks and leisure facilities are municipal assets. From an economic perspective ,they add value to property within  a municipality. The principle of sharing costs of building such facilities is fair and equitable. 

The  principle that those who use the facilities should pay a user fee is also fair and equitable.

A hand-out of  hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and a rent free facility to provide  "free"culture  does not conform to the principle of equity.

It is  precisely opposite .

The Chamber of Commerce has requested free use of facilities annually for the next several years. The idea came from a Councillor to compensate the Chamber for having to re-locate the Home Show to another facility.

A list of free-loaders by invitation can easily be compiled.

Seniors grew up in hardship during  a world-wide depression, fought in wars and made the sacrifices. worked  hard  after the war for modest wages, paid taxes to provide better opportunities for the next generation.

Now the question is ....can they and should they be compelled to lose modest homes because of  excessive taxes collected to provide free  luxurious amenities that have nothing to do with service to property or themselves ?

tell us more

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Where Does It End ?":

In my day, we took care of these problems on our own. No media, police, lawyers or judges. Just family or friends. Re-offending was extremely low if at all.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 6 November 2014 11:03


So, tell us. how did your friends or family do that ?

If children were afraid to tell be because  they would not be believed . Or they had been convinced the  guilt was theirs....how did you know you had taken care of the problem?