"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

Monday 31 October 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "POLLY PUT THE KETTLE ON": 

I would argue that having schools of any kind - public or private - paying development charges is wrong.  

How does the building of an arena on a school property generate an increased drain on Town resources that require DCs to be collected and then used?

Towns and Cities are so dependant on DCs that when they are not available, they get all bent out of shape. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 31 October 2016 at 12:36


No more than a retail facility adds to municipal costs . Additional park facilities are not required yet municipalities require a charge to be paid in lieu of a park at the time a permit is issued. 

In the past, I sussed out totals from various taxes imposed on a modest home prior to sale.
Land transfer tax,sales tax, development charges and various  permit fees none of which add value to the building but added twenty-five per cent to market value,the base for property taxes .

Forever and a day, the homeowner pays taxes on taxes. 

The over-riding principle that taxes must be easily understood is forever lost. 

Starting with water and sewer rates,municipal taxes are devious, underhanded and egregiously exploited by appointed and elected officials alike. 

The new homeowner gets less house on little more than a footprint  but development charges increase every five years along with master recreation plan reviews and the myth of spending discipline.

$26 million dollars for an architect designed public works facilities with green roofs, with $18 million of debt and never finished.
Arenas proliferate, baseball diamonds need users from King to make up teams. A new youth centre requires  promotion to encourage use. $6 million used to build a park in Mavrinac to prevent the land from  development  and adding  to the assessment base. 

$11 million used to buy land at Vandorf Sideroad for recreation and half a million for a musty old contaminated barn in the town park with neither use nor purpose possible in the private  or 
Identified in the public sector. 

Mayor Dawe regards the development charge as  price of admission to live in Aurora,

I think it's  sheer exploitation but as long as homebuyers are unaware, willing and able to pay, there's not much point in discussion. 

But heck, why not. 

Sunday 30 October 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "TAUT LIKE A WIRE": 

The 1%ers at SAC begged off paying the development charges on their new arena, but can purchase Willow Farm!?! The new section of trail better be protected for residents' use! 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 30 October 2016 at 21:12


An announcement in The Auroran reported  an appointment at St Andrew's College recently. It was noted the individual  had recently overseen $46 million of development at the college.

Successful lobbying at Aurora Council to forfeit Development Charges on the development was
likely a key point in favour of the appointment. 

As I read, I realised the cost to Aurora taxpayers was never revealed. 

In a letter to the editor last week,the Mayor outlined rigor observed by Council in decision making . 

He noted expert advice from staff is part of the process.

But that's not true. 

No advice was offered by  the Chief Financial Officer on the college boon-doggle. A delegate appeared at council. He asked and they received. With barely a quibble from the previous council. 

When York Region Separate School Board  built St Maximillian Kolbe High School on Wellington Street,
they  had to appeal to the OMB ,to have an inflated property evaluation corrected In order to reduce the Development Charge. The Board was successful. 

Lawyers were employed by town and school board at cost of the same taxpayers. Hearing  was also 
at public expense of course. 

We discovered then Aurora was the only town in the Region that required a public body to 
collect from taxpayers to pay taxes to the same base to cover development charges but we did 
not learn any of that from the expert advisor. 

If St Andrew's has purchased Willow Farm property,further development is likely planned. No 
doubt with full confidence the same friends on council will once again gift them the cost of development charges.

Thursday 27 October 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "FROM THE MOUTHS OF BABES": 

Why do you watch CNN? That channel is just as bad as Fox is on the other side of the spectrum.  

You need to get more. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 27 October 2016 at 14:37


CNN Is what I have . I don't get Fox nor is it likely. I save where I can. I mute CNN a lot. 

Last night, at supper time, I was in the kitchen....slicing lots of onions ...I like them.....listening to news
of the GOP nominated VP's plane sliding off the runway at La Guardia in the rain and waiting for the bellicose billionaire to blame Hillary. 

He didn't but there's time.

Y'all know I tried to avoid obsessing over the election of a President. I've been through this before. None of it is uplifting.  I remember when funds from the American medical and insurance lobby flooded  Saskatchewan to block universal health care. Lies about the British system were horrendous. 

This election promised to be worse than all the rest even without the bellicose bruiser at the head of the GOP ticket.

CNN persists  in discussing the candidate like he's a person of normal intelligence and character. 

Repeated video clips portray the exact opposite.  

A product of expensive schooling, without proficiency in language is alarming. It means he can't learn. 

Boorish, bullying, oafish talk is described  on CNN as "authentic", "direct" and "telling it like it is".

Words are the media's stock in trade and still they fail to recognise the signs. 

Telling it like the brutish low life with whom he shares the spectrum, is more to the point.

He's living proof intelligence is not the product of wealth and education.

CNN is still doing it,although most people,including supporters, are persuaded by his conduct, he is
everything he appears to be and none of it is commendable. 

Tonight, Carl Bernstein, journalist and author of a Clinton biography had seriously critical stuff to say about Hillary. He's been a panelist throughout the campaign and negative on an oddly personal basis. 

I had recourse to Wikipedia to re-call his surname from his involvement with Bob Woodward, reporting  Republican criminality  in Watergate Democratic headquarters.

Another query with the  promotion of a biography during the campaign, Revealed  Bernstein was husband to the late Nora Ephron, a successful comedy play and screenwriter. 

He cheated on his wife while they were expecting their first child. The marriage ended.

His lack of principles  is not connected to the presidential campaign. 

The same might not be said of the hostility he clearly harbors against the Democratic nominee. He's not alone. But his negativity is personal not political. In private moments ,one tends to look for cause.

As I write ,James Comey, FBI Director once again has stepped over the line of his authority.  

Considering what has gone before, in this and other elections, it's hard to doubt  it's  part of the Grand Republican Master Plan. 

The outcome may not be as cut and dried as feared. 

Intelligence of the voter is always underestimated by the media. 

But tension is terribly taut. 

Wednesday 26 October 2016


In the wee small hours of Wednesday morning, CNN offered a smorgasbord of delectable snacks.

They showed Meghan Kelly ,a Fox Anchor, in an interview with Newt Gingrich former speaker in the Senate and one of the three main surrogate stooges of the Republican candidate for President. 

It would appear he agreed to the interview for his own purpose. 

While he raged and ranted and pointed his finger and mocked Ms Kelly's head tilt, Ms Kelly's resolve visibly hardened and she  became more self-possessed. 

He challenged her to say the words "sexual predator"  and repeatedly claimed she was "obsessed with sex"

Ms Kelly had the last word though. She calmly advised him he should work on his anger issues as she ended the interview. 

Star Jones,President of Diversity Network, was in a feature that followed on the same CNN program. It was noted, when former President Clinton was being impeached, Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House. He has had three wives, cheated on the first two, one while she was dying.

An offer of "open marriage " alternative to divorce was part of his  plan for his own life, while active in the impeachment process in the Clinton Saga of several decades ago. 

Michael Moore followed Star Jones in the Don Lemon program. The focus of his latest movie is  on the current election and the catastrophic impact  of the Trump candidacy. 

His theory is, the people affected badly by the current economy are using Trump like a ballistic missile 
to take revenge for their poor circumstance at the hands of government. 

It's a valid  proposition and obviously solves nothing.  But for people without hope it's payback time 

As I write ,one of his sons responds in a taped interview to a question;

 "Does your father realise he is a polarizing figure ?"

Yes he does.

"Does he care." 

No he doesn't. 

What else d'you need to know?

Friday 21 October 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Modern American Politics": 

Drumph is the absolute worst candidate that Republicans could have chosen. He was a Democrat until a few years ago. Now they are faced with the monster they allowed to grow in their midst. He is their creation. Nothing has changed since his folks sent him off to a military style school in the hopes that his bullying would be curtailed. His wealth has insulated him from all responsibility.
I feel so sorry for the American public. They deserved better. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 21 October 2016 at 13:01


The candidate is not solely responsible for winning the GOP nomination.He had help. The other fourteen candidates lacked the stamina to stay the course. 

The " strategy" of bullying and abuse by Trump dominated the contest from day one. 

Yet the media accorded him credibility. They enjoyed his performance. Called it "muscularity".

After the primaries, CNN matched every negative report about the GOP nominee with something dug up  about the Democratic nominee . The claim was "to provide balance".  Statements with scant substance were repeated over and over and credence established to nothingness.

The longer it lasted, the greater the damage .

A monster was created. The loudest most strident voices filled the air time.

The claim of dislike and distrust against the Democratic nominee became a given. Despite the enthusiastic crowds at rallies.

Until Trump accused the media of dishonesty and corruption, the narrative continued in the same vein. 

The tune changed, late but better than never.  The Trump narrative widened. 
He was rich and famous.His power and belligerence were feared. Only when THEY  were threatened, they defended themselves in the way they know how. Payback time. 

Like the young women he  abused throughout his maturity, the media chose the moment to 
break reticence  and  change the Trump narrative. 

At the catholic charity dinner, Hillary suggested campaigns should be shorter. 

The guests  applauded.

It would not have been best.  The extra time was needed .

Braggadocio is puerile.

Reality finally came to the fore. 

Americans will do what they will. 

You can fool some of the people some of the time. 

You can't fool all of the people all of the time. 

Monday 17 October 2016

Modern American Politics

A couple  of weeks ago I concluded, for whatever reason,  the drama of the presidential politics could be enjoyed. 

I was wrong about that. 

The unfolding tale grows uglier and ever more bizarre. 

The "locker-room banter " and Confessions of a Sexual Predator last week brought the saga to a new level of  human degradation. 

Nothing learned about his life commends him. His children were raised by their mothers.
From  grade  school his father "had had enough"  and enrolled  him in a military boarding school.

He doesn't read. Words are mis-spelled and all bad acts are the fault of others. 

At an accountant conference, he evinced  no interest, leaving the spouse of the day to ask all the questions. 

In bankruptcies, bankers ,calling in loans ,left properties in his name for their advantage. Everything was forfeit. 

Contractors ,suppliers,architects, stiffed of payment,  all the little guys, never recovered what was owed.

On an audio- video he professed to lewd, lascivious  and criminal sexual exploitation,then passed it off as "locker-room banter"

Nothing in his character commends his intellect. 

His idea of campaigning is tearing others down. 

Unfortunately with the help of the media, that is exactly what he accomplished. Journalists persist in 
skirting the obvious.

Forget his lack of morality, the candidate is not mentally competent. 

The world is watching. There can be no doubt, yet the media continue to reference him as a credible 

This morning his voice is dragging ,the tone sagging , the panel continues to speculate about 
"Strategy" even as the acknowledge , based on everything that's gone before, there will just be more of the same incompetent rambling at the final debate in Las Vegas to-night. 


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCES": 

This is not a comment for this post but a new one for discussion.  

I read in Thursday's Era Banner dated October 13 that Council was to have debated on October 11 (that is correct, a newspaper talking about what was supposed to have happened 2 days previously) train whistle banning.... AGAIN!!

Why do we continue to waste time and money on finding a way to make it less safe on our roads? Transport Canada mandates that a train must blow their whistle/horn when approaching a level crossing. The mandated sounding is a long-short-long. Each engineer has his or her own style of this sounding - stop and listen and you will hear the differences.

As a train approaches a level crossing, it will encounter a small sign with a "W" on it. That is the trigger to make the sounding.  

In the newspaper, Mayor Dawe makes a brilliant statement. "There are 5 trains in the morning and 5 trains in the evening. Increasing the GO schedule will mean more trains." (I have paraphrased).  

We have GO transit level crossings at Englehard, Wellington and St Johns within the Town. We have had a death before at Englehard. Wellington is our "gateway" to downtown Aurora and the trains are either slowing down or starting out (depending on the direction). St Johns is a major 4 lane road taking a lot of traffic. 

I grew up in a railroad town with 24 hour rail traffic. The horns on the old diesels were a lot louder than the new GO equipment. I found it comforting to hear that sound. Even now, I will hear the whistle of the train as it approaches the Bloomington Road crossing just west of Bathurst. It is a reminder of my youth but more importantly it is a safety feature that has been in place for over 100 years.

Let's not screw around with something that will 1. cost the Town money and 2. make it more dangerous to cross the tracks.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 17 October 2016 at 08:09

Sunday 16 October 2016


I was in my teens when U.K. elections were held after the war. It was halfway through the forties
and there had been not been an election  since halfway through the thirties. 

The government had been a coalition of Conservative and Labour since war was declared. 

I wasn't old enough to vote in the post-war election.

 I had  accepted employment in London with a Jewish family that had left Germany and France a few years previously. 

I wasn't home in coal country Scotland to hear the political discussion but I didn't need to be to know how they would vote. 

Winston Churchill was Prime Minister and Conservative Leader. 

The war was won. He received much of the credit and it was well-deserved.

He never faltered in his support of the armed services. Broadcast speeches had no other purpose 
but to encourage resolve of the people. 

Every opportunity to be where the battle was and apparently much to the aggravation of colleagues in government and commanders at the front , he was there. The  men loved to see him. British Pathe 
and Movietone News left no doubt about that. 

Coveralls  in Air Force blue serge were made to fit his substantial bulk. His head thrust forward on his shoulders resembled nothing more than the British bulldog he came to symbolize. The black cigar 
in his mouth and the sturdy walking stick completed the pugnacious picture. 

Early in the war, he noted and compared the physical condition of the British Tommy and German soldiers. Programs providing free clinics, orange juice, milk and cod liver oil for babies and free milk 
for school children were introduced. 

Labour's leader in the election was Clement Atlee, a small stooped individual with a sharp nose and dark wire-rimmed glasses. Nothing about him is memorable. 

Labour won the election. 

The army vote was the deciding factor. 

After what they had been through ,they were not coming back to what they had left. 

The Conservative Party was not getting another chance to deliver more of the same. 

The opportunity to rebuild a country and a society changed beyond recognition  by six years of death and destruction, was snatched from the hands of the man who brought them through to the bitter end. 

Thursday 13 October 2016


CNN repeats programs,it seems like three times a day Panel shows are most tedious. People talk over each other at a frenetic speed. Hosts exercise sporadic control and often seem cowed by panel members. Trump's surrogates grow ever more fierce and desperate. 

It may not be easy to fill opposing panels on a daily basis. The same people re-appear over and over
and logic diminishes. Someone must be paying for their time. It's not clear who. 

Jake Tapper , CNN host,  appeared on Seth Meyers late night talk show this week and talked about programming. At the beginning they didn't know how they'd fill the time, he said. I don't think they've figured that out very well yet. 

Last night, around midnight, Don Lemon had a single journalist as a guest. The topic was Hillary Clinton's addresses to bankers Goldman Sachs. Hillary has refused to release the texts. Her fee apparently was $225,000. as declared in her tax returns .  While revealing nothing, Bernie Sanders  repeatedly suggested they indicated Hillary was in cahoots with greedy,corrupt bankers who were grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt. 

It seems Wikileaks has leaked all kinds of Hillary material. The talks to the bankers among them. 

Surprise, surprise, the talks are anything but supportive of the banks' activities. 

Journalist Dan, Don's guest, an expert in the banking industry, finds nothing blameworthy in the texts. 

The opposite is true. 

Hillary's understanding of the banking industry is remarkable. She pulls no punches in the talks and warns  the bankers if they don't change their ways, the government will take corrective action. 

Dan says she is absolutely right and doesn't understand why she refused to release the texts. 

It's a mystery. 

It's not the only mystery. 

Considering how much has been made of  the speaking fee and the implication Clinton is in
collusion  with  the corrupt banks, it is passing strange,  the news  is so quietly discussed at 
so late an hour in the day. 

Wednesday 12 October 2016


I changed the channel fromTVO . Three children were walking together wearing flimsy plastic 
capes to protect them from the rain. Dad was walking ahead, pushing a small cart. Mother also walked separately carrying a small child.  

Sister asked ; "Is this the border?" 

Mother stretched out an arm; "Is this it. All this mud"  her face and voice laden with despair. 

The scene was chaotic. People huddled under a sparse hedgerow, tarps gathered about them ,trying to stay dry and failing miserably. 

It was  the end of their journey. They  had nowhere else to go. 

In my house, warm and comfortable and safe. I changed the channel. Stephanie had come up to let Mickey the dog out. She looked at me.

"It's too terrible"  I said. I can't do anything about it and I can't bear it. 

"You could write a blog about it" 

"Why?" I asked. "D'you think there's anyone out there who doesn't know about it"

"You might make people  think about it. Talk about it. " 

"And then what? "

"It would be something " 

They are people, just like we are. A mother and father with four children.  As they walked, the girl
was telling about their lives before. Dad coming home from work every day with treats and toys. 

"Bags and bags of toys " she said exultantly.  She talked about their  home and family . 

All of it gone. 

Now they're on the road in the rain with no idea of what's ahead of them. 

Until that minute ,the border was the goal and they'd  just discovered. It is  a dead end. 

Hundreds  of thousands are displaced.  Mothers and fathers and children.

People just like us with the same modest hopes and dreams. 

Thursday 6 October 2016


OAnonymous has left a new comment on your post "TAX DODGER....DRAFT DODGER ..YA DI YA...YA DI YA": 

Mr. Balz is out to sea with a couple of his "opinions" notwithstanding his 38 year career with the Washington Post, now an Amazon paper.

And your love affair with Hillary is degrading.

She may be all you wish to see in an elected representative but she must also have a likability factor, that she does not and never will. 

Her husband, on the other hand, is so likeable that he has been able to charm billions of dollars out of companies and countries for his fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases (malaria) afflicting third world countries. Read "Man of the World" just published.

I will be glad when this election is consigned to the dust bin and you and we can get on with our lives, like picking the apples from the oranges in the next provincial election. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 6 October 2016 at 09:23


And a very good morning to you too. 

Mr.Balz opinions, his to express and he's being paid to do so, are no more out to sea than 
your own for example. That's the thing about opinions. They appear to belong to individuals though in this instance ,there's a common thread  that runs through.

Ii's the implicit bias being talked about during this campaign. By myself and others, if you like to know.

 I think your opinion about Hillary and Bill Clinton is all about implicit bias. 

You are biased against her and for him and you don't even know it. 

How d'you like them apples or insults? No better than I yours ,you betcha. 

Where do you get off saying  my respect for Hillary's competence, experience and accomplishment 
is a "love affair" ? 

Or that any love affair is degrading? 

Why do you take it upon yourself to speak for everyone? 

You don't even put your name forward to claim your own opinion. 

When this election is over ,thirty more days of our lives will be over. 

Thirty days of enjoyment watching the bellicose billionaire get knocked about like a penyatta with all his nasty, not -so -secret past, so far obscured by the media, spilling on the ground as they now try to justify promoting his candidacy.

Thirty days of watching them try to undo what they've done. 

Because if the world's worst fears are realised and that buffoon gets elected, the blame will be theirs,
one hundred per cent. 

No doubt the  implicit bias that yammers on about the ephemeral of like-ability .

They thought the boorish billionaire with the gold crapper was one of them until he trashed them as
he did his political opponents, to their huge amusement. 

Tuesday 4 October 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "YES...YES...AND YES !": 

Too bad she isn't more likeable.

That would cement the outcome 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 5 October 2016 at 13:25


I can comfortably watch the drama now. The plot became instantly more intense when the New York 
Times reported the belligerent billionaire has likely not paid federal taxes for two decades. 

Think about that. 

He has likely not contributed  one red cent to any expenditure in federal programming in that period.  He milked the system instead. 

Hillary Rodham Clinton is everything I like to see in an elected representative. 

I would be content knowing whatever decision needed to be made would be most seriously considered.

Personal affection is neither here nor there, 

I just want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to be safe, secure and enjoy their lives. 

The world has never been a more dangerous place. 

Alec Baldwin's caricature of the candidate brings humour to an otherwise humorless narrative. 

He reversed the role of hero and villain to fool with one performance. 

For in-depth coverage,Print media has triumphed over the cacaphony of talking heads.

Television brings up the rear. 

I still mute the vast right wing surrogacy but expect more changes momentarily. 

Last night's V.P. "Debate" passed the time. The GOP candidate concentrated on posing and peering intently into my soul.Mellifluous tones and meticulous coiffure suggested nothing more than fastidious toilette. 

Immediately after,Jake Tapp named Governor Pence the winner. 

The camera immediately swung over to a room with twenty independent voters who promptly and mostly raised hands for Senator Cain. 

Tapps response was to point out the Senator has been a Councilman, Mayor and Senator in the area and insinuated natural preference. 

Sometimes I yell at the T.V.  

When Tapper named his preference, I yelled " D'you think think we're all effing stupid?" 

I was alone in the house at the time. 

Paul Bagala predicts Governor Spence' sole  intent was to lay groundwork for a presidential nomination  in 2020. It sure makes sense to me. Spence is nobody's stooge. 

Tuesday started on CNN with a comment in the morning from journalist Dan Balz. He didn't think the belligerent billionaire's non-payment of taxes will be  a voting issue. Mr Balz once commended the "muscularity" of the candidate's performance. 

This week, the author of a book on the nefarious business career stated shareholders in a company
he created, were swindled of their assets, as were contractors who did business with the greedy,
glutinous, lewd and crude self-styled  behemoth. 

Mr Balz doesn't think that matters. 

It will take time to sink in.

There is time. 

Mr. Balz and the rest will soon discover how much it matters. 

Monday 3 October 2016


Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WEASEL WORDS": 

Did you always think that Hillary was the best candidate for president in this term. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 3 October 2016 at 20:12


I thought Hillary was the right candidate in 2008. 

My respect for Barack Obama's intelligence and character has grown. If he was following Hillary 
now instead  of the other way about, he would have been better off. 

It takes more than intelligence and principle to earn distinction. 

What it takes can be learned but can't be taught. 

Lyndon Johnstone is considered most effective. 

In 2008 , Hillary had already served as a  Senator and made a practice of "working across the aisle" 
to move things forward

As First Lady, she  probably learned at least as much as the President while they occupied the 
White House. 

She was an excellent presidential candidate. When she conceded, her deportmant was without peer. 

The moment  Barack Obama took the Oath of Office was intensely moving. 

But he did not have what he needed. It was not his time. 

The enemy that was the Tea Party was already within and strident . 

The outcome might have been the same with Hillary . But she had skills and life experience 
Obama did not. 

Intelligence and integrity are not the whole ball of wax.  

They say it helps for a policeman to have a little larceny in his soul...a  deeper humanity. 

 It's not gender specific but may be closer to maternal  than male instinct. 

Like a Warrior Queen in defense of her children. 

It's easy to  empathize with a person of high moral character.

Inadequate personalities are almost certainly likely to blame others for personal failure.  

They are hard to excuse and harder to like but in politics everyone counts. 

So yes ....I believe Hillary is  the right candidate in 2016  and was even more right in 2008. 

A victory for Hillary will be the great equalizer.