"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

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Separate the men from the boys

Dear Mayor and Councillors
 
My name is John Pearson  and I am the owner of 36 Victoria Street. I concur with the article in the Municipal World, February 2014, "current and future owners who wish to alter the exterior, renovate, or replace, or demolish the structure face a long and uncertain review process. Typically the authorities can delay such actions, impose penalties for noncompliance or "illegal" work or, in some jurisdictions, simply and unequivocally deny the request".
 
My experience in consulting with The Heritage Program Planner, which is required as the  property is "listed",  would verify the above  article.
 
For this reason I do not want a BY LAW registered against my title forcing Heritage Designation on my property or that of my fellow neighbours
 
 
 
 VOTE THIS STUDY DOWN -- DO NOT DEFER IT -- AND PUT IT TO REST FOR GOOD.
 
Thank You
 
JOHN PEARSON
 
 *******************

A Public Planning Meeting will be held at the town hall tomorrow night. 

A  report giving the entire history of  a consultant study with appendices attached  should be accessible on the town's web site . It is part of the program. 

No better example  exists to illustrate how a  "Study"comes about on a pretext of  demand from the community .

Get the popcorn and chips and whatever libation is to your taste and settle down to watch the shoot-out  at the old coral.

A determined effort  will be made to keep the  study going. 

An even more determined fight to stop it  in the here and now is on track. 

I am  wholeheartedly with the opposition. 

For the life of me , I see  no reason why anybody in his or her right mind would voluntarily agree to a restrictive bylaw being  registered against  title of their property, to be administered no less, by a faceless bureaucracy.

Furthermore, no business case  has been made to suggest  neighborhood heritage designation is of any benefit  whatsoever  to the municipal corporation. 

Council can and should  make the decision at the Public Planning Meeting. 

They may not. That's happened before.

This is not the first hearing.  A delegation expressing strong opposition has already presented. 

Council members, in favor of the project, expressed themselves surprised and astounded by the strength of opposition.  They stated they were certainly opposed to imposing something not supported by the majority.

Since then,  a measure of reversal appears to have happened. 

 Forces in support ,mainly staff ,consultant  and original handful of proponents, have presented  purported rebuttal on shaky premise. 

Opposing Forces  continue to gather strength  each and every day .

Powerfully worded e-mails from people with deep roots in Aurora have been forwarded to Mayor and Council .
 
Desperate accusations  of lies ,misrepresentation and worse have been hurled  by  proponents at opponents. 

Who , in turn, have held their ground and maintained dignity.

I  do not suggest to-morrow's meeting starts out without bias . 

Au contraire 

The outcome is not a foregone  conclusion.

This fight  will be well worth watching.

To coin a phrase ...  or two ....

it will separate the men from the boys....

the women from the girls.


This One Is Personal

The Easter Feast was at my house.  Lately the  gathering has been  at Heather's . Andrew and
Rhonda  hosted Christmas  last year. Everyone brings  a dish .

I  always roast the beef and make gravy . Crock pots are great for  keeping meat balls  and sauce
 simmering hot.

Between  you and me, it's not the same if  not at my house.

No small part of the  feast is  a house redolent with the aroma of beef roasting five hours and piquant sauce for the meat balls. It flows out the door  in welcome  and  puts a smile on everybody's face.

I can't help it. I  have this conviction  about details. I think it's a gene from my maternal grandmother.

My grandfather's porridge was  served with cold milk in a separate bowl so the porridge stayed hot
and defined in it's own dish.

Mashed potatoes were mounded, sides marked with fork tines.  A depression  on top, shaped  like a volcano was  filled with a  small pool of  melted ,creamy yellow butter,

Ayrshire potatoes with a floury texture are considered superior. Golden Wonders are the ultimate.

My grandmother made the simplest of homely tasks into artistry and precision.

Of all my children, Heather is most mindful.  Everyone else depends  on Heather to look out for Mum.

But her own house is full still.

Every one there is very comfortable with Mum looking after things and Dad being  best friend.

As Adam's life  grows more full and satisfactory, Heather's  life  is a continual round of fund-raisers, organizing,  and transportation to weekly games, events and tournaments.

The more normal Adam's life becomes, the more frenetic his mother's .

Yesterday was Heather's birthday. She was born  in the early hours of Easter Saturday morning.

Om his way home from work, Adam went  to  the new supermarket on Yonge Street in
Newmarket and bought pink carnations and a gift card for dinner  for two at Swiss Chalet.

He snuck out of the house in the morning without  wishing his mother Happy Birthday.

He had a  secret plan.

It was without a doubt, the loveliest of gifts,

Monday, 21 April 2014

No names..No pack drill

I received a comment  positing several ways of initiatingg support for a mayoralty candidate as opposed to  simply usurping the title.

The thought occurred , a mite tardy perhaps, blog could be used to promote  name recognition.

I  removed comments that could be abuse..

 I did not count them..

The person who noticed the deletions did though.

From hereon comments that include  the name  will not be published.


Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Slip Of The Finger

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Look Out World,,, Here we
come":

Is this the same guy who was quoted in the Auroran last term saying, " My
religion does not allow me to lie. " ?

**************************


Accidentally deleted

Why Oh Why

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Look Out World,,, Here we come":



Trying to put a positive spin on reversing his original dumbass move:

"Dear friends, family, Aurorans, the last ten days have been exciting. Letters of warm wishes, phone calls and emails have been overwhelming. In the last 36 hours, I have received a number of complaints about the name of this Facebook page. These complaints are enough for me to take action and to consider all opinions. Effective today, the Facebook page will now be named as “Gallo for Mayor”. Thank you, John"

*****************


What an intresting start to a campaign.

It would indeed be surprising if Councillor Gallo did not receive overwhelming good wishes from friends and family and supporters when they learned from  Facebook he was entitled to call himself Mayor.

Why would  friends and family and supporters think otherwise.

They wish him well. 

There it was. In  print.  In black and white.

He's a  registered candidate. 

He has sworn  an oath that he is who he says he is.

As a  registered candidate he is plain John

His name will not even appear on the ballot as Councillor

How  could he not know he cannot use  a title unless he has been elected to the office?

He has been in office six years . 

He  has been a candidate twice.  Once faileded. Once successful. 

He once  asked  a successful candidate to step aside for him. 

Wht would he do that?  Who would tell him that was acceptable behaviour? Why would he listen?

How could he not know a  candidate has to be elected to have the right to use the title?

Where is there room for misunderstaning ?

The decision to remove  the  Facebook title  of Mayor was not his to make. 

Any more than the claim he made the decision. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Look Out World,,, Here we come

We had an ice storm in December.  Everyone acknowledges it was the worst in living memory.

Trees and branches laden with ice cracked and fell and were immediately frozen to the ground and for several weeks added ice encased them and  snow covered them .

The winter continued ...on an on.

Finally in April, ice receded and  the full extent of  disaster  is exposed.

Weeks pass and  there is no indication of collection of what now constitutes yard waste.

A  question  at last night's committee meeting elicited no plans.

Other than the  explanation of a collection in January.

I knew about that.Debris by then was mounded under the snow and
stuck fast in ice.  No possibility of collection.

It was a critical time and more than enough criticism flying about. I said nothing.

But now.

Now we are engaged in a  frenzied  plan  involving  a committed giveaway of millions  to attract a
university campus .

While we apparently have no plan to deal with debris from the worst ice storm  in living memory

Basic service is not  available but Oh My ...we are movers and shakers and practitioners in the high -wire  world of academe...with millions to scatter  about on the path to fame and fortune.



Yoo..... Who ....what's another $70 thou

Last night was a committee meeting of Council. It was over in forty-five minutes.

I pulled  a Memorandum from the Planner  for discussion. It recommended approving $70,000
for  a Tertitiary Plan on the Community Improvement Plan which is  a Secondary  Plan included in the Official Plan .

I did not vote in favor of the Secondary Plan which is the Community Improvement Plan to provide funds for improvements like patterned sidewalks and street furniture and loans and grants to property owners needing to repair and maintain their properties. 

Street improvements are simply upkeep of existing service and operational in nature.

I do not favour taxing home owners  to help  business  property owners to maintain their property.

It's a matter of principle. 

I am therefore not in favor of spending another $70,000 on a study of how to accomplish the objective 
in a tertiary area of the downtown .

The funds are already in the budget. Which the Mayor has proclaimed  for all to know is a perfect example of prudent fiscal management. 

The vote last night not to spend $70,000  at this time was 5 to 3. Councillor Gaertner was absent.
Councillor Gallo was in the chair .I didn't notice how  he voted. Councillor Ballard and Pirri 
voted to spend. 

Councillor Pirri did not understand  the opposition. The  Director assured him the work would mostly be done by staff.  A traffic engineer  would be retained to advise on  traffic congestion.

I  did not understand why Councillor Pirri  did not understand why  $70.000 was needed  over and above salaries, if staff  did the work. 

Neither  did  I understand why hire a traffic engineer to solve a problem of our own making. 

In the last term,  millions were spent reconstructing roads in the north- east quadrant. Then 
 $220,000  were added , not on the advice of staff, to build an obstacle course to  prohibit  said roads from being used for the purpose intended; smooth and efficient movement of traffic. 

The plan was designed by a consultant who met with residents to determine their desires. The fee was $20,000.

This Council spent $59,000 to correct part of the problem and removed pesky chicanes. but did nothing about roads deliberately dead-ended to  keep the traffic on Yonge. 

Because people who like to live in the centre of things and enjoy all the  amenities but do not 
want to suffer the inconvenience of living in the centre of things and  at certain times  on certain days of the week, having traffic on their streets other than their own.

What traffic engineer would look at that situation and not immediately identify the problem and refrain from stating the obvious even if he was paid a fee  of $70,000 to do otherwise. 



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

New Bulletin on the Church

Councillors,

There was a site meeting yesterday at the United Church, with representatives of the Church, Central York Fire Services, the Insurance Company, Priestly Demolition, and members of our staff.

As you may already know, the building was completely gutted, and the west wall was totally gone. The side walls and the front wall were still standing (although rather precariously).

The conclusion is that the side walls and the front gabled wall must be removed in order to make the site safe. Equipment is being moved on site and, weather dependent, demolition may start today.

The sidewalk and curb lane in front of the Church will remain closed until the site is made safe. And, the pedestrian signal at Mosley will be deactivated until the lane and sidewalk have been reopened. Additionally, Tyler will be reduced to one lane due to the same safety concerns.

It is anticipated that the demolition will take up to two weeks.

Finally, you may have seen the update from Chief Lang. The cause of the fire has been listed as accidental as a result of the roof repairs that were going on. Further, the Fire Inspector from the insurance company has confirmed that Central York Fire Services conducted themselves properly and in accordance with their standard operating procedures.

Geoffrey Dawe
Mayor

Town of Aurora



The information contained in this message is directed in confidence solely to the person(s) named above and may not be otherwise distributed, copied or disclosed.   The message may contain information that is privileged, confidential and exempt from disclosure under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection and Privacy Act.  If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately advising of the error and delete the message without making a copy.  Thank you.

What Does It Take ?

A weekend comment pondered what it takes to be a politician.

If posed with a view to becoming a politician, the questioner does not have what it takes.

If you think it's about pleasing all of the people all of the time...it's not.

If you think about pleasing most of the people ,most  of the time...not that either.

If you  think it's about trying to guess what people want...nope

A couple of  perfect examples crossed the ether this week-end.

Negative  comment  made about candidates being on location when the Church burned down.

Then another  about a candidate being there and leaving  for an appointment at the Cardinal golf course, which "showed  where his  priorities were "

I referred to the Mayor explaining extent of damage to the Church  at the Home Show.

A comment came through... "Aha!!  campaigning at the Home Show Eh!

Later an e-mail  received  by Councillors about only two being seen  at the Home Show and the lack of interest would be "remembered  at election"

Small business expects politicians to pay them attention .

The Town  has a  Chamber membership.
Pays $thousands for a "platinum" sponsorship every year.
Buys a table at the Annual Mayor's luncheon.
Tickets to the Annual Dinner  costs $thousands.
The  Chamber building sits on  land leased from the town.
The  Chamber is represented on the Town's Economic Development Committee.
 Yonge Street is closed for  the Chamber Beer Garden the night before the street sale.
And closed again for  the  day of the Street Sale.
The  Aurora Home Show is possible by virtue of an excellent town venue, closed for all other purposes and revenue ,to accommodate the event....renamed this year ...The Chamber of Commerce Home Show.

There's appreciation for you.

Under the circumstances, I believe small business  in Aurora is  well-enough served by the town.

No  apologies are due for  lack of attention or partnership with all their endeavors.

But despite  that , one Chamber member at least, is sufficiently displeased to register a complaint
by e-mail.

Trying  to please divergent opinion can easily twist  a politician into a pretzel before your very eyes.

It's a pitiful sight to behold.



Monday, 14 April 2014

A Book of Condolences

A Book of Condolences is available at the Town Hall for the Honorable Jim Flaherty.

Mr  Flaherty  and his wife, MLA. Christine Elliott were responsible for  changing  forever  the lives of thousands, like my  grandson Adam . Providing opportunity to demonstrate ability  never seen before.

In Aurora ,Able Network meets in the Anglican  Rectory behind  the church.

In Oshawa, the group  meets at the Ability Centre.  Mr. Flaherty is there until the State funeral to be held on Wednesday at St. James Cathedral in Toronto.

The late Minister  of the Crown held many important positions. Deliberated with the world's most powerful movers and shakers.

In the end, it seems those who meant most to himself and his family were like my grandson Adam.

The Flaherty family used their opportunity to make a difference .

Lives  have  been enriched in a way that can only be imagined.

The Book of Condolence is a way of saying Thank You and God Speed.

Church Bulletin

The fire was  out on Saturday. Water has to continue to be poured on to make sure it doesn't start up again.

One lane of traffic  and sidewalk in front of the Church is closed  during demolition.

The intersection with Mosley will not  be in service while demolition  of unsafe structure
happens.

Bathurst Street is recommended.

The Mayor has made the commitment on behalf of the town to provide whatever help we can at this tragic time.

A careful assessment of what might be saved  is to be made;

Offers of help are flooding in.


A Lesson Learned

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sing a song of sixpence":

"Officially" the Hydro Building WAS NOT occupied by anyone. It was vacant, there were no interested purchasers.

The Parks department may have been using the facility to make picnic tables and storage, but they were squatters.

You can be revisionist but that is the reality. 


**************************

The comment  above is published to illustrate how determined people can delude themselves,
would delude others if they can get away with it . All without naming themselves. 

The hydro building was vacated by Power stream without notice. 

Nigel Kean. a councillor proposed it be used as a teen centre. An election was in the offing, .Kean was making a bid for Mayor. 

The incumbent Mayor  jumped on that wagon and agreed. 

I noted  twenty-seven jobs had been lost.  Assessment revenue on the building would be $69,000 a year. The  property should be sold. 

In the meantime, the parks department , a town operation .moved into a  town property  and proceeded to make good use of it.

Office space provided storage for town archives.

The yard provided storage for a barn that had been carefully dismantled  and moved to the location;heritage salvage,

During one season, a handsome gazebo was pre-fabricated  ready for  erection in a park in Spring.

The suggestion that parks were "squatters "  is preposterous.

There were inquiries if and when  the property would be offered for sale.

The property was never declared surplus to  town needs.

To the contrary. it was deemd to be needed in  a space needs report.

It was never listed for sale.

That there were no interested purchasers is craven falsehood.

That the property was a liability to the town is  nefarious untruth designed to deceive.

The decision  made can be explained  but by  no means justified , by the eagerness of known parties to accommodate  Queen's  York Rangers desire to move out of the Armories at the town park because of talk of the federal government shutting down the operation in the drill shed.

Town  needs were set aside without conscience.

In return for bumpkin, idiotic perception of  political advantage of accommodating  an institution entirely the responsibility of the federal government.

With a lease that had to be confidential for national security reasons of which town staff could be privy but elected representatives could not. 

Bullshit.

Attempts to whitewash  shameful betrayal of the town's  interest  with lies, deceit,blatant, twisted  misrepresentation  and perverted truth for cheap and paltry political advantage will not wash.

They doserve to remind us what was and could be again if we are not vigilant.



Sunday, 13 April 2014

Sing a song of sixpence

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "History Revisited":This is wonderful!

It's not even the middle of April and already we're chewing them to pieces.

What will it be like during the summer?

Will have to invent a whole new vocabulary

**********************

When Councillor Gallo proclaimed his bid for the Mayor's chair last week,  a flurry of unflattering comments  came through; mainly about the hair.

I  didn't publish them. I needed time to think how things might evolve and Blog's role. 

Then the candidate's reasons  were reported in the Auroran .   I realised ... a change in hair style was the only real statement.

Gaertner and Gallo are both registered candidates,  They offered themselves early.

Both are incumbents. Town affairs are current. Records can be checked. 

Responding comments to Blog  are bound to reflect perception of their contribution to the town's well-being over eleven years onthe part of Councillor Gaertner and  six for Councillor Gallo.

Good or bad, why should they be supressed ?

Comments will be heard wherever people gather. Why not here?   Social media is just another
gathering place. It's not a huge circle. But it is a circle.

The games, so-to-speak, have begun.

A little early perhaps but then again, eager candidates make their own choice.

At the last Council meeting, the 2009 report recommending lease of the hydro property to the Departmnet of National Defence was tabled for Abel at his request.

Gallo called it for discussion. It was an opportune moment for Councillor Gaertner and himself  to argue , after-the-fact,  merits of the decision.

Memory did not serve them well.

Significant and  cogent  details  had to be corrected  par moi in a post.

I was there.

Simmering, not still, waters quickly came to a boil. The kettle, like the blackbirds, began  to sing.

The rest is history...very much current.