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

Friday 27 May 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WHAT YOU SEE ...YOU REALLY

Your wish is my command.

"During your term(s) as mayor of Aurora did council come anywhere near to the stupidity of present day ones?

Or were you and your fellows able to distinguish the nuts from the bolts, the wheat from the mouse poops?

Have times changed that much?

Has human intelligence changed that much?

When I see what is happening south of the border I must say, yes they and it have."

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 27 May 2016 at 07:49

This is a tall order.

 I was Mayor in a simpler time.The town was small,compact,and the office and Council Chamber were in the middle of the block between Wellington and Mosely.

People paid their taxes in person.They lined up daily for mail at the post office. Once a year,we lined up at Elwood Davis service station next door to Cousins Dairy, south of Mosely. 

Elections were held every year  until the sixties; then every two years.

Nominations were held in Wells Street School and the place was packed. People filled the stairs outside. Candidates had to be moved and seconded and names were written in chalk on a board. 

School boards were local and police departments. The Fire Department was volunteer except for the Chief. 

The Clerk conducted the nomination meeting. Each candidate had three minutes to speak. A small tinkle was the warning to wrap up and a final ring ended each speech. 

I was elected Councillor on my third try. I took  the Reeve's office on my fourth. Reeve and Deputy Reeve represented the town at County Council. I was the Town's last Reeve. 

 I ran for Mayor, in the  first year of Regional government and lost. Came back and ran for Council two years later and topped the poll.

The Mayor had to resign after the first meeting of the term. He had a conflict of interest with his job with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. I was appointed to the office by a vote of Council.

I was re-elected to the Mayor's office for a second term and defeated along with six Councillors in 
the next election. That was about entitlement. 

In my judgement, a valuable tradition was lost then. 

Conventional wisdom was  to re-elect incumbents ; experience was better than none. 

If  a challenge was made for the Mayor's office, it always came from the Reeve or an incumbent Councillor. 

When the election was over,council was expected to get down to work. New ouncillors learned from incumbents . The Mayor, council members and staff were all extremely helpful . 

There were no Pollyannas but everyone was civil, respectful and welcoming. 

A position or comment made that was clearly political would be greeted with a good-natured groan.

Council meetings were not televised. 

Staff lived in town . The clerk-treasurer managed the operation with the help of Dorothy Wardle ,
Treasury clerk and Colleen Gowan  administrative clerk. 

There was a succession of deputy clerks . 

The Supervisor of Public Works , Angus McGregor had a work force of fourteen. He lived  in Holland Landing. It was a source of  disquiet that he took a Town vehicle home and it sat in a Holland Landing driveway for all the world to see. 

There was no shortage of conduits for public opinion .

George Timpson took the Mayor's office after my defeat. George was very keen to be popular. He didn't learn much in his first two terms. None of the new Councillors had municipal experience but they had lots of confidence. 

The two surviving incumbents did not complete their terms. Staff influence was substantially reduced. 

Tradition ended and never returned.  

Four years later, I was re-elected to Council and found a very different atmosphere. 

It wasn't about Councillors being less intelligent. It was about being more focussed on themselves
and less on the community they served. 

Collegial is the word used in academe. 

Something Indefinable but valuable had vanished.  

It didn't get better . When I ran again in 2003, I hoped I could make a difference. 

I kept hoping. 


Anonymous said...

How many years did you serve as mayor?

Anonymous said...

I have been reading through the University of Waterloo Magazine, Spring 2016.

The university is recognized as one of the world's leading institutions of advanced learning and its accomplishments are many.

What impresses me is the fact that while words may be the most powerful tools that we possess, the ability to communicate with each other, they are meaningless without actions.

It strikes me that politics and politicians are spewers of words, reams and reams of them, often meaningless, just to fill a space on a page or to take up precious time.

But it and they fail badly because actions do not result, and without these there is no progress, there is no future.

Anonymous said...

I think you made a huge difference. Many times you were the one to break a stubborn log-jam by seeking middle ground.
If I were to cite one factor in your ability to cut through the garbage, it would have to be your sense of humour.
When was the last time we saw this Council laugh about anything ?

Anonymous said...

Mayor Dawe seems to exist in a dream world as he visualizes turning part of Yonge Street into a Parisian boulevard.

This "core baloney" is just that, and I am being polite.

A senior staff member should conduct an "audit" of empty commercial premises from Wellington to Henderson and enquire of present merchants and potential ones why there are so many For Lease signs.

Last night I was at the relocated Canadian Tire store in the humungous former Target building on Bayview. It was swarming with people, young and old and scads of kids - family shopping. What was most interesting is the broad ethnic diversity.

My only suggestion is that due to the enormous size of the place that electric trikes or similar be made available for those whose legs have seen better days.

Bayview and Leslie are the new shopping cores of Aurora.

Possibly the mayor is right. Turn Yonge Street into a social boulevard and scrap commercialism.

Anonymous said...

I think what we are seeing is that people's values have changed in all areas of life. A couple of big ones are family and work values. What a dismal decline in the last couple of generations. I find it truly shameful.