"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, 29 July 2014

Not in the Sistine Chapel,...that's fore sure

KA-NON has left a new comment on your post "It's No Small Thing":

There were three legitimate possibilities. 1) Hold a bi-election, 2) Council appoints, in a manner that protects the dignity of any interested parties and council & 3) The seat is left open for the duration of the term. I would have preferred option 3, followed by option 2, and would never support option 1 at this late stage of the term.

The process that is being followed is a shameful farce, and is probably being pursued to avoid the sort of backlash that followed Cllr. Gallo's appointment in the last term.

Would it be possible to amend our governing bylaw to introduce a formulaic solution to this sort of situation, which would prescribe the approach in any given situation? It might not be a simple, single formula, but rather it may recognize what point in the term the seat becomes open and invoke an appropriate method.

For example,
- if in 1st year of the term, offer the seat to the failed candidates at the last election, in descending order of votes,
- if in year 2-3, hold a bi-election,
- if in first 6 months of year 4, council appoints,
- if in last 6 months of term, leave the seat empty.

Something like that would avoid all of the nonsense and awkward shenanigans that the current, ad-hoc process presents






Posted by KA-NON to Our Town and Its Business at 29 July 2014 07:59


*********************
Provincial regulation governs the process. By elections are not allowed within ninety days of the municipal election.

Council is required to fill the vacant seat even for such a short period.  It must be done  by appointment.

The tradition has been to appoint the runner-up in the previous election. It  was deemed to be as close as possible to  a voter decision without the expense and hiatus of a Byelection

The controversy in the last appointment was  not so much the appointment as the public image of the Council making the appointment.

It had become  clear a slate of candidates had been elected on the former Mayor's coat-tails. The had managed  a majority of five elected. They couldn't be absolutely sure of Councillor Wilson.

Former Councillor Grace Marsh's resignation provided an opportunity to increase their number by one,If there was any doubt , it did not take long for  the fact to become obvious.

As far as I am aware , Council was not consulted  about al process  for this appointment.

II was recommended by staff. It had been  used in Richmond Hill in :December 2013.

The more we talked about it the more I became convinced it was a contrivance .The fact it was recommended by staff did not rule out the possibility.

Then  the question was ,why would they risk controversy that

 late in the day.?

It didn't take long  to figure out. . Scheduled  date of the  special  meeting was changed from August 12th to July 29th.

The appointment to fill the vacancy had to be made by August 23rd.

On August 12th , award of the contract for the joint operations centre is to be presented for approval.

Council was evenly divided  on the issue with the  Mayor. holding  the swing vote.

On the eve of an election .,To undertake a project of almost twenty-seven million dollars, all of it debt, with clear support of  better than  majority of Council ,is iffy at best.

A bare majority within days of the campaign , is potential suicide.

An extra vote would make it that much more comfortable.

Call me cynical. I think the fix is in.

A recorded vote was called to approve this  process . It was 7---1.

No sir,   Honour Bright.....I did not vote for the. Schmoozess    Process.

If I don't want to...they can't make me.


Monday, 28 July 2014

It's No Small Thing

Tuesday's 3pm meeting will be streamed.Apparently it's a simple matter of clicking a button.

I am still conflicted about the meeting.

I've read  the candidates profiles.. Once.

I plan to attend out of respect for the candidates but for the same  reason  the process is even more
unacceptable. Amendments to the process do not make it better.

Appointments are  regularly made by Council within a term of office.

Councils are elected every four years.
The Municipal  Clerk is the Elections Officer . He makes the rules. Council has no authority in the
matter.

Candidates cannot make  rules whereby they are to be elected.  Obviously.

The Municipal  Act requires Council to  APPOINT  a person to fill the vacant seat.

I contend the Municipal Clerk/ Elections Officer has no role in  recommending  a process in the matter of  appointment.

Ample  precedents are established.

 The recommended  process is unworkable under the Town's procedure bylaw.

For a question to be considered  by Council a Mover and seconder are required.

Debate is normal though not essential.  Prior to discussion,  a motion to put the question without debate is in order .

A majority can adopt  a motion to proceed without debate.

In the process recommended  by the Clek/ Elections Officer, who has no authority in the matter because it's an appointment, not an election;  no provision is made for motions  to be duly moved and seconded ; no provision to debate the motions; and no provision for  motions  to be decided by separate votes.

Invitation extended to apply to fill the vacant seat  was not inappropriate.

Once invited , requirement to submit a profile cannot be  faulted.

Opportunity  to make public presentations becomes  problematic ....because...for  eight Councillors , after listening to eighteen presentations,  to debate  in public why the choice if this candidate would be more suitable another is both inappropriate and unacceptable.

The problem is not resolved by marking a ballot.

For Councilloars, to  vote for this person versus all others without giving a reason is not acceptable.

Certainly transparency is  not  the result.

I  will not vote in support of the  recommendation amended by staff.

Out of respect for the candidates I will  attend.

Out of  the same respect,  I will not  cast a vote without justification.

I will not  publicly discuss the merits of  one candidate over another

Given the opportunity ,I will do what I can to persuade Council the normal process for appointment be observed.

Privacy and dignity of the individual takes precedence  over. a pretext of openness and transparency.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

It's Not Like Any Other Experience.

I have probably Observed and participated in more than thirty elections in Aurora.

I've won some and lost others. Winning is better.

I have observed literally hundreds of candidates. Aurora elections attract usually in excess of twenty candidates.

It means more losers than winners every time.

A winning candidate has no idea how it feels to lose.

After a campaign taking every resource available,financial and personal, psyching oneself to believe
in a winning outcome right up to the.votes  are tallied.

Letdown after excitement peaks to fever pitch, cannot be imagined.

I've known losing candidates who deny the impact. I don't believe it.

One thing that cannot be denied ; by far the majority who try and fail, never
try again.

Many re-locate.

.Changes proposed. Time posted almost 5p.m.

Tuesday's agenda has a staff report recommending changes to the process adopted by Council on July 15th.

For a start it's  out of order.  A Resolution approved by Council, confirmed by Bylaw ,cannot be re-considered  within six months except by waiver of procedure requiring two-thirds vote of Council.

It's an attempt to  correct an oversight which would  not have occurred without the convoluted process set in motion without input from Council.

It's tied up in the knots we created for ourselves.

Who experiences the election process?  Councillors that's who.

Who has most experience?  Moi.

The  amendments  recognize  timing for questions is open-ended.

Change suggests questions and answers be "concise"

Responsibility for determining what is or is not "concise" rests with the presiding  member.

In this instance, Master of  Ceremony, Chief Magistrate, Head Honcho, probably helpful architect and consultant  for the entire nonsensical process, His Honour, The Mayor.

All Candidates Meetings  for town elections ,traditionally organized by Aurora Library Board
provides for a Master of Ceremony , a Person of Status, known to be completely detached from  the town's  political affairs.

Purpose is to  avoid all possibility or suggestion of bias or prejudice.

The process must be fastidious.

Between now and Tuesday afternoon Councillors have the additional task of comparing two questions for each of sixteen candidates.Two will apparently not attend.

I have an idea.

It's wicked. Promise you won't tell.

I contemplate  asking candidates who they plan to support as  the next Mayor.

Current choice  is between two .

Whatever decision the presiding member makes,  it can

under no circumstances be seen to be impartial or unbiased.

Yet the question is concise. The answer equally concise and within the rules set out.

Candidates can properly cite the right to a secret ballot.

If the decision is to disallow the question, the response to both must be the same.

But  what is opposed  is precisely what is being required of Councillors.

A second staff  change recommended in the process  requires ballots bearing the Councillor's
and candidates name  to be distributed.

Votes will be cast.....ballots collected.....votes tallied and  who voted for who will be publicly proclaimed.

The record will forever show which seventeen candidates were publicly rejected by which Councillors.

It is different to not being elected in a municipal  election.

By  attaching names of voters the selection becomes personal.

Having read the submissions, I have no stomach to do that to any of the eighteen who accepted an invitation to serve the community.


























The Process is Proceeding.

So....last night, Friday, after family  and friends left I read  of the submissions  by residents taking up Council's invitation to fill  Council's vacant  seat.

It's 2.30 Saturday afternoon. I just finished reading the last six.

I will read them  a second time before Tuesday.

Collectively, they make  an impressive  and highly positive statement about life in our town.

The sincerity  of the candidates cannot be challenged.

I have been pre-occupied by the process since it began.

I did not expect to be so moved.

It makes the task harder. Increases my feelings of unfairness to the candidates.

In  terms of opportunity,  the town has so little to offer and the candidates have so much.

Eighteen people accepted an invitation . Seventeen will be publicly rejected.

I cannot in good conscience believe that's a good thing.

Richmond Hill did it in December 2013. They had the option of calling a By-election.
Apparently their decision was not well received in the community.

Toronto did it in July. The city  is governed by the City of Toronto Act.What they do is not always
comparable to how we do.

Aurora has not  done this before. I continue to contend  an election by  Council is not
required to make an appointment.

Secret ballot is at the core of democratic principle.

My concern is not about political expediency.

It's about protection of privacy of the individual.

I see no merit in the process. In the  absence of logic I tend to look elsewhere.

I may be wrong  but in this instance I would argue the philosophy

"Perception is the reality"




Not the day I planned.

It's Saturday morning. I started a post yesterday but grand-daughter Lindsay , three great-grand-daughters, a friend of Lindsay's  and her four children came to play in the pool.

They live in Innisfill. The Lake Simcoe beach is posted unfit for swimming.

Grand--daughter Robyn came and swept and mopped floors before they got here. In case the babies
came inside.

I know more about dog habits since Lindsay's sister Stephanie and her dog and cat and budgies came to live with me.

I never felt human infants and dogs are hygiene compatible .Everything I've read confirms my fears.

I started a post before  I knew they were coming. I  didn't finish it. I Am compelled to watch  and keep count of all the bobbing heads when children are in the pool.

Abigail, when she was a bit younger,she is all of eight years now, used to stomp into my house,glare at me...and pugnaciously declare in a warning tone.....I AM  NOT SWIMMING IN  YOUR POOL.

She has since graduated to jumping from the steps in the shallow end,with a football sided and shaped floater  at her back and strapped around her waist .

Yesterday, there was a boy ,Langdon, a year younger that Miss Abigail ,doing the same wearing a life jacket.

Within the hour, Abby was jumping off the deck into the deep end. minutes after that,she jumped off the  diving board.

Scant minutes beyond that she was  standing in line ,running the length of the diving board and with one hand in dive position the other holding her nose,when she leaped from the diving board into the centre, as opposed to closer to the side deck.

Their grandmother Theresa and  Great-aunt Heather and  five Great -uncles, learned to  dive and swim  and meet every kid in town,  they hadn't  already met at  the community centre during the hockey season, at the town pool at George Street.

They finished off their childhood in the backyard pool.Before it's end, George Street pool was so crowded ,the kids  were organized in  half hour shifts.

The Aurora Lions Club raised the money to build that pool.

Lindsay who brought her children yesterday, bobbed  around with her sister like corks with air pillows on their arms ,when she was little older than Emma who chatted and chased  around the deck on her bum yesterday while her sisters turned blue but wouldn't come out of the pool to get warm.

The pool is not heated. I have an old-fashioned notion a pool is meant to cool a person off. Not to feel like swimming in hot soup.

Emma just turned a year. She had a companion  in Dallas, a smiling, chortling eight month old  girlchild  of Lindsay's friend ,Krista.

Being the eldest, Emma was in charge and decided who would. play with which of  the smaller child's toys.

Before  they left , they brought in the Agenda for Tuesday's meeting.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Sadly...This is not a surprise

Late last year, one of our many consultant studies  dwelt upon  town service levels.

The consultant concluded costs were higher than  all other municipalities  save two because we  provide a higher level of service.

I think it cost  between $60 and $70 thousand for the study.

Almost as an afterthought , the consultant suggested  cost could  be reduced  by eliminating  one director position.

And so it came to pass.  In February of an election year,  the Director of Legislative Services  position was eliminated.

The director's responsibilities were folded under the umbrella  of the Town Solicitor's department.
A new clerk was appointed Lickety-split.

A severance package  to the Director  was appropriate under the circumstances.

It would not likely be hundreds of thousands. The outgoing  Director was third since 2008. The current clerk is fourth in the job ..third appointment since 2008.

The  Director was approaching retirement after thirty-five ,maybe forty years in  the same department.

He  was competent.

His experience was valuable to the town.

All concerns  expressed were dismissed.

Assurance was provided  expertise required was on hand.

With the best will and understanding, I cannot vouchsafe for that fact

It's A Mess

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "TWO TEAMS DO NOT MAKE A WHOLE":

I am not thinking in terms of teams but of numbers and the silliness of the exercise. If one more councillor were unable to attend for whatever reason, there would be no quorum ? No ? What then ? Would the skies fall ?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 July 2014 14:39


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

Council normally goes into recess in July and August. Input from the community during those months is a lost cause. 

Children  are out of school. Families plan vacations. 

There was no reason to assume every member of Council would be at home.

Council was not polled  for availability.

There could be no indication on July 14th how many candidates might apply to fil the vacancy and how much time might be required.

Staff recommended each candidate be given ten minutes to speak. Council  reduced  it to three minutes.

But we still  have provision for. each Councillor to ask two questions. No time limit either for questions or answers. Ten minutes could easily be exceeded by another twenty minutes per Candidate.

A Council Meeting. Meeting is scheduled to follow . A Bylaw to appoint will  likely be  prepared and on the agenda  for passage.

It seems clear plans were  cut and dried  for someone's convenience.

I am not aware of  any consultation with Councillors at large.

Eighteen people have been asked to  accommodate  the meeting schedule.

If it doesn't take place,all will have been inconvenienced.

If it does take place without the full Council a  fair process will be denied.

Regulation  requires the seat to be filled by appointment. The appointment process does not require a public  election.

Nor is it required to be done before August 23rd.

The skies will not fall if the appointment is not made on July 29th

But many will have been badly served  in the process.









TWO TEAMS DO NOT MAKE A WHOLE

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "STUFF. HaPPENS":

Well, it sounds like the no-show excuses are already in from the three non-team players.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 July 2014 11:34

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

And that sounds like the predictable response from  one or all of the team players. 

It sums up the problem with the current Council. 

It's not a lack if commitment.

Nor an unwillingness to put sin the time needed  for town business. 

It' s not a lack of conscience or even terrible enmity between Councillors. 

There is the occasional jab or like last week  the gang-up on Councillor Gaertner who dared to put a motion on the table for discussion. 

There is no tension in  Council Chamber on meeting nights.

No...the problem is not mutual hostility .......or serious disrespect.

The problem is not understanding what it takes to succeed. 

A divided Council. never knows the satisfaction of  overcoming all prejudices and achieving  worthwhile  purpose  in the community.

I repeat. It's not easy . It calls for  learned skills  and a particular level of integrity.  

If members do not  comprehend  and accept the complexity...it's impossible.

Each Councillor  has a responsibility to put forward a particular perspective. And to fight for it. to prevail.

Out of that, because the community's interest come first, solutions must be found to everyone's near satisfaction. 

It may not always happen but the effort must be made.And when it does ,satisfaction is immense. 

Forming  a  voting block  or "team" to ensure one way or another prevails is blundering ,inefficient and frustrates everyone. 

It's the modern simplicity method. 

Everybody knows how things should be done without ever having done it. 

Nobody has to learn. 

Google has all  the answers .

Consultants do all the thinking

Excluding  Council members not perceived as part of  "the team"  does not  fool all of the people any of the time. 

Voters  most certainly expect that once elected , a council will  work together.

A Council is not a team or Heaven forbid, two teams. 

A team scores points ...wins or loses.... the Club increases status or  loses place. In the end it's only a game. 

A Council is not in competition.  The objective must be to find ways to do things better ,at least cost, 
to maintain and if need be improve services and  to. make progress.

it doesn't happen with "teams " pulling against each other. 

A Council divided is inefficient .

Bureaucracy reigns supreme.

STUFF. HAPPENS

Staff received an e-mail this morning that Councillor Gallo will  not be able to attend the meeting on July 29th. The possibility was previously indicated.

 Councillor Gaertner has indicated difficulty with timing of the meeting.

Night before last I had a fall. My tailbone took a hit and moving about is proving difficult and more than a little painful.

I am hoping  a week will make  a difference  and I can attend.the meeting . But  sitting from three in the afternoon until eleven o'clock   or  possibly later,  presents a challenge.

Despite my total opposition to the process , the person  who should occupy the seat is entitled to  my vote.   I will do my best.

I have  notified the town of  my  situation.

If I can't make it  the  meeting could proceed with a quorum.

Regulations provide  until August 23rd  to make the appointment.  No indication of dreaded  and heinous punishment if it's not made by that date. But there is no imperative to make it on July 29th.

On September 12th, everybody  becomes a candidate,including the group electing to elect a single candidate to occupy a single seat for a matter of hours of town business.

Eighteen  people have been  certified as  candidates for the vacancy.

Two are electing not to participate in the  hokey process. My word not theirs.

Fourteen will attend.  Anticipating a fair  and impartial hearing.

Some may  take a day off  work. Perhaps forfeit a day's pay. The chosen one will be more than compensated.

If three Councillors  are absent, five will make the decision.

What if the choice is the one I speculated it would be.?

What are people supposed to make of that?



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What You Just Said

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

"A bylaw requires dog-owners to stoop and scoop on penalty of a fine."

There are a lot of scofflaws out there. After the spring melt, it's disgusting the amount of "pathogens" left behind from winter dog walks.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 23 July 2014 14:09

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

Think about what you just said.

"After the Spring smelt, it's disgusting the amount of "pathogens" left behind from winter dog walks."

You  said.....left behind .

After melted snow left the scene, pathogens were left behind. They were not being processed through a treatment facility.

Probably at least ninety-five per cent of winter snow falls where there are boulevards ; built for snow storage. 

I live in the town. I've never seen  masses of dog poop in the Spring. 

I've been a Councillor for  the last eleven years, I've never seen 
a report on that particular health hazard.

I have observed  masses of litter in shopping centre parking lots after snow mountains melt.

Masses of pathogens left from winter dog walks?  No. I  would  have noticed that.

New subdivisions have storm water ponds ,constructed  at cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars,
adding to the price of their homes.

Their  purpose is to treat  rain flowing off roofs ,down driveways annd  off roads into the ponds. 

The expert theory is , pathogens sink as sediment to the bottom of the pond and allow  outflow 
of cleansed water to make it's way to the creeks,rivers and  finally Lake Simcoe .

It' s supposed to be an improvement over farmers' fields.

It's still unproven .

Not long ago we had an expert from South Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority make a presentation to Council to warn us lake waters are still deteriorating.

Rehash of a Rehash

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "A Little Hiustory":

"It's good for everyone to be aware toxic chemicals are still buried in creek beds. They never lose
toxicity. It's wise to ensure they should never be disturbed."

Also remember that toxic chemicals are found in snow removed from roads and parking lots. They contain salts and other chemicals. When the snow melts, it should be contained and not allowed to enter the ground water.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 23 July 2014 10:27

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

The above  is the second  comment to point out the error of my ways in opposition to the million dollar  treatment  facility for melted snow.

$169,000  was spent on the design during the last term. Total price  at original conception was $750,000.

It was a capital construction item pending.

Snow was  being dumped in the gravel parking lot at the leash-free    dog park on Industrial Parkway north . Before that it was at the side of the railway where the community garden is now located. It had to be shifted when we sold the Jack Woods farmhouse property.

We need a snow dump for an average of  three months a year.

The  parking lot is permeable. When temperatures rise, the dumped snow melts into the grounds like everywhere else.

The proposal was  to pave the parking lot , construct  gutters  and channel  snow melt into a treatment facility  to remove salt and release treated water  into the  arboretum.

There was something not quite right  about it. I went to sleep  thinking about it. I wakened in the night  with a start  thinking;

Wait al minute...salt is soluble in water .It can't be removed .

Well ....the next explanation was "pathogens"  needed to be removed  from the snow melt. Salt was no longer held to be the problem.

O.K. So I'm not a chemist. What are pathogens ?

Animal excrement.

Animal excrement!!!! When was the last time  a dog  was seen squatting on  a snow bank on Yonge
Street.  No recollection comes to mind.

The next explanation was windshield washer from cars. It gets on the road and  gets plowed aside into the snow banks and has two be removed by treatment.

The  final offering  was the snow dump is in the well-head protection area. The aquifer must be protected.

Well,you know, by this time I am done  listening to explanations.  The treatment facility was deferred. But not removed from budget forecaste.

Back  it came, included in the  planned Joint Operation Centre. Now, it's a million dollars less the
$169,000 already spent on  the treatment facility design.  No longer identified  as a treatment facility. Now it's called snow storage facility.

Sly smiles around the table indicate appreciation of  sleight of hand in getting back with the program.

In my judgement, the project is a gigantic boondoggle. Part of  an. even more spectacular piece of feather-bedding.

A. snow  dump accommodates a fraction of the snow that falls in the municipality.

A bylaw requires dog-owners to stoop and scoop on penalty of a fine.

Where there  is salt  or windshield washer ,there can be no snow or ice.


It has been established salt is a soluble and except in Israelthere is no process to remove it from a solution.

In the second place where  there is  salt  or windshield washer there is neither ice nor snow.

No snow needing to be stored.

Snow is not collected from probably ninety-eight per cent of town highways and byways. It's left to melt where it sits. Apparently without concern. for toxic chemicals within.

Snow dumps have had to be moved regularly over the years.

If the permeable parking lot on Industry Street  North  is not the right place. Shift it.

Forget the cockamamie million dollar scheme to remove chemicals that can't be where they say they are.

If you have snow or ice,, you can't have salt and windshield washer fluid.

If you have salt and windshield washer fluid ,you can't have snow or ice.

You don't have two be a chemist or an environmentL engineer to figure that one out.

You do have to sbe fifty different kinds of a fool to allow yourself to believe it.



Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A Little History

Before WW2  Aurora was a bustling progressive urban centre serving  surrounding farmlands .
Farming families were as much a part of the  community as town dwellers.Mny were family-connected.

Flour mills,a rope works, Fleury Plough Works  a  brickworks were all part of  local industry.

Numerous tanneries lined the creeks north and south. Water was  power.

The tanning process required toxic chemicals.

They are still  in creek beds buried under many layers of  harmless sediment.

So long as they are not disturbed,  the chemicals are  as harmless as the sediment that  has washed down to cover them over the last seventy-five years or more.

Collis Leather was still tanning when I came to Aurora and became a Councillor?

A calf skin was the gift of choice, if needed   to present to a special guest . It was a  symbol of Aurora industry.

It's good for everyone to be aware toxic chemicals are still buried in creek beds. They never lose
toxicity. It's wise to ensure they are never disturbed.

It was the worst of times

I published comments critical of Grace Marsh this morning. I didn't want to.

I don't mind being accused  of being a hypocrite. I don't  like to feel like one.

I had at  Marilee Harris last weeks when I read of her bid for the vacant Council seat.

I let people say nasty things about Councillors and the Mayor .I doubt they or their supporters appreciate it.

The  point is  no-one is forced to put their name forward for public office. Criticism is part of the territory. Social media just makes it more convenient and more.....telling.

Grace is criticized for quitting. That she did is  undeniable.

But there is a factor that may not be so well known.

Grace worked for a  municipal tax  consultant operating in Canada and America.

Letters had gone  from members of that Council to employers of other Councillors.
The intent being to cause damage  to a person's employment.

Even as I tell it, the nightmare returns.

I don't believe it. should  be hard for any fair-minded person to understand the level  of tension the. situation provoked.

A candidate for public office certainly puts themselves out there and by so doing invites
disagreement,opposition and yes, criticism.

Deliberate intent to hurt someone , beyond political, is not  part of the deal.

A sacrifice no Canadian is expected to endure for the privilege of  performing a public service.

It happened to Grace and it happened to  others.

Five years later, I am still intent on making sure nothing like it ever happens  again.

The SLAPP  litigation was just a sample of the malice permeating the town's public affairs.

The poisonous environment did not happen overnight. It grew unabated for fifteen years.

It was the reason I returned to politics.  I knew the problem.

My children could not  become targets.

 My job  was not at risk.

After the 2006  election I knew things were going to be much worse.

And it was.  Very much worse.

Grace's resignation was just a small piece  of  the  foul and pestilential swamp.

I do not exaggerate . One had to be there to appreciate the full horror.

It should not be forgotten .

 I never saw anything like it before. It should never happen again.

With social media ,it might be harder to get a toehold

A Rationale

Grace Marsh is eminently well suited to fill the vacant seat on Council we are required to fill .

Apparently sixteen candidates  are certified.

One seat to fill.

One significant decision to make before the end of the term.

Like all others,the decision we make is on behalf of the electorate.

It's not hard. The question I ask? If this were a general election what would be the likely outcome.

Based on known facts, Grace and Bob would both be chosen.

A person is elected based on  a sufficient number of votes. More votes don't make a person more elected.

Major difference between Bob and Grace? Grace is currently Vice-Chair of the Committee of Adjustment. It is a statutory committee. Quasi-judicial. Functions at arm's length from Council.
Has independent authority .

If Grace is appointed to the vacant council seat, a vacancy is created on the Committee of  Adjustment which must be filled.

The  job requires experience. Grace's experience would be missed.

The committee meets when applications  are to be decided. .They do not break for summer recess or municipal elections. I believe they serve two terms or until they are replaced.

Committee decisions are to grant or not to grant . A tie vote does neither.The committee,absent a member, could be non-functional.

That's. an injustice to someone who has paid a fee of $2,200. and waited weeks for a hearing.

If it's unavoidable ,it  can't be helped.

It is not unavoidable.

A person who wishes to respond to Chris Watts position on the vacant seat,
must do it on his terms,  on his blog.

This is not a broker blog.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Family News

My grandson Keenan is on his way to England with Kari Chung ,his special girl.

They made a two day stop in Iceland .

Keenan asked  Kari  to marry him this morning .She said yes and. Keenan  gave her the ring ha brought for the purpose.

They are engaged .

Happy pictures on Facebook.

It means a wedding. The first of Heather and Andy's children to leave home.

A new satellite branch of the family to  be established.

They love little ones. There will be  more babies.

The family is ecstatic.

I am too.

I so love that my grandson is romantic.

Apologies for previous shortcomings.

On Friday I spent seven hours  writing a pos with the iPad.  I've been using it for months. A year maybe.

The small separate keyboard I bought has given up the ghost.  I'm getting used to the keyboard on the screen of the iPad.

After seven hours ,split in two shifts, I was proof reading the post and had arrived at  the end when POOF!!!   everything but the title disappeared.

My confidence was shattered. My ego shrank to the size of a pin head.

The iPad does things like correct spelling with no help from myself. It replaces words with others completely inappropriate or a bunch of letters without meaning.

I think there may be a devil inside or perhaps  a spell cast, to terrorize me into submission.

I acknowledge fear of my iPad.

I clicked on "publish " before the  last post could escape.

I am ashamed of  the bad  construction.

I proof read it  again. I hope it's adequate .

I'm afraid to roll it back for a final check.

I fear  the devil may reach out and  WHACK !!! ...make it disappear again.

I cannot allow myself to be defeated by a small slim piece of  twenty finger technology.

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Early, in the term before last,I received a request  from a resident of Highland Green Conmdominiums. it was a small thing. The lady was in the habit of shopping at the Aurora Shopping Centre and trundling the goods home in a bundle buggy.

Could there be a cut in the curb on the south side of Gilf Links Drive that would allow the laden buggy to be rolled  off instead of lifted or bumped down onto the road surface.

I called the Director of Public Works to see what could be done.

I swear I heard a sigh at the other end of the line. The request had been made before and  he could not oblige. The road curved dangerously at that point . The town could not do something that would encourage a pedestrian to  believe it was safe to cross there.

Condo management was contacted. They did not support the request. Pedestrians  were encouraged to use the front entrance  of the building. It led directly to the Yonge Street sidewalk and  a
signalized intersection.

I could not  fault  the logic. I explained it  to the resident. The curb cut was no mu den to ask but in the circumstances it could not be done.

Her frustration I understood completely.

A second term passed I heard nothing. The Director of Public Works was first to abandon ship
In that term.

That's another story.

A third term arrived . A signalized  crossing at a cost of $85,000 was recommended  by The Director of Environment and Infrastructure. at the same curve in the road that was too dangerous for a cut in the curb.

Councillor Humfryes had received the same request I received seven years before.

Councillor Ballard lived on Golf links Drive .he confirmed  the location was absolutely the worst place for a  crossing, signalized or not.

It didn't happen.

A couple of years passed. Councillor Gallo requested a signalized crosswalk on John West Parkway.

Seniors living on the west side of the road  were taking their lives in their hands to cross the road to make their way  to shop  on Bayview or Civic Garden Park as it was then called .

It was provided at a cost of $85,000 or thereabouts and paid  for with development charge funds.

It brought back the question of  the lady who crosses Golf Links drive to shop with a bundle buggy.

The curve is no less dangerous. Now a  short stretch of sidewalk  is to be built at a cost of  $90,000.

It will be built across two double driveways ending at the  western edge of the second. A berm and a line of mature trees that screen the donut shop drive-thru with  microphone noise until the small hours of the morning is to be removed.

Residents if the five storey retirement building  opposite will have a new  but not improved  view from their windows.

I went to Tim Horton's to check things out.  I  parked and had a coffee. Saw a lady a with a shopping bag  walk down the existing sidewalk ,look from side to side and cross at the condo driveway.

All that was asked for was a cut in the curb.

A row of mature trees will be removed,  the berm levelled , removing a screen undoubtedly required by the town in a site plan approval.  The town ais spending $90,000 on. a short  weird stretch  of sidewalk literally  going nowhere while crossing two double driveways.

It may well be more dangerous to  compete with Tim Horton's drive-thru traffic than crossing Golf Links Drive.

I keep hearing how things have changed in fifty years since I first became involved in  the Town's affairs.

Yes sir?...Yes sir.....Three bags full sir!













The Choice is Not Between Equals

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Here's A Thought":

"A person who has never held public office. Has never competed in an election. May not even be known by many, may cast the deciding vote that plunges the municipality into mega millions of dollars of debt."

Is it better that some with experience on council cast the vote to plunges the municipality into mega millions of dollars of debt.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 21 July 2014 08:36

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

This is an interesting question.  What would be better?

It would be better if  the vacant seat  need not be occupied at this late date.

Someone asked about cost to the municipality?  A Councillor salary for four months.

There is not enough time to  have an experience Council, Certainly not enough to become familiar with the operation of a public institution. No time at all to determine how it differs from private  business function .

Certainly not  nearly enough time to win  confidence of taxpayers.

Never enough time to know if a person  could ever  win  sufficient votes to have authority for decisionsq on behalf of others.

Until the start of the next term,every  Councillor has been given that authority by  the voters.

I disagree with colleagues about the  spending on a works and parks garage and yard.

I do not challenge their authority to make the decision according to  judgement and conscience.

They were elected to do so.Now that we are required to appoint to fill a vacant seat...I believe the logical choice should be a person who has previously won sufficient votes to occupy a seat. Who left undefeated. Who has continued to attend Council meetings and stay on top of current events and is willing to accept appointment.

I do not know how he would vote on the Joint facility. I have not asked. Nor would it be appropriate for me to do so.

I believe he would be an acceptable choice to a majority of residents.

Since the Strategic Plan is the reason given for the extravagant joint facility I believe I know how Ms Harris would vote.

I also believe that vote would be the reason for her appointment .

Also the reason for going through  a cruel hoax with a pretext of an election.

I would not  ordinarily choose to make this choice.

Since the choice is forced upon me...that's my thinking on the matter.

Trees Removal Without A Permit

On Tuesday ,a recommendation to spend $90.thousand on a short leg of sidewalk was on the agenda.

It stretches from Yonge Street ,on the north side of  Golf Links Drive, to the western  edge of the double driveway of Highland Green Condominiums.

It includes that double driveway of Tim Horton's  drive-thru.

A berm and mature trees screen the  drive -thru from the multiple storey senior residence
on the south side of  the road . They would be a requiremed by the  town to allow a drive-thru to be in that location .

they will have to be removed to accommodate the sidewalk.

The  front pedestrian entrance of the condominium is serviced already by  Yonge Street sidewalk  south to the signalized intersection.

The south side of  Golf Links Driveway is serviced  throughout it's length by sidewalk.Paid for by the developer no doubt.

That side of the  donut shop parking lot is often busy with young people and their cars. It's a
gathering place.

There are a number of reasons why it's not a good place for a sidewalk besides those noted above. But the story of how it came about is even more interesting.

Tomorrow I will count the  number of trees to be removed.

 It's not mentioned in the report.