"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

Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Puck was dropped ...the game began

We are at the  point in the election when crazy reckless things happen

The  foolish floating flyer recommending a slate  to elect and a slate to reject is a sample.  The culprits .are apparently known.

It's actually no worse than Ron Weese's unsubtle device to do me in at  Sport Aurora 's All Candidate meeting last week.

I knew he had a plan. I anticipated trickery and skullduggery. He did not disappoint

Candidates were asked to forward. positions in sport and advised submissions would be copied and distributed at the meeting and posted on Sport Aurora web site.

Two questions related to  positions would be asked.

Uh-huh I thought, we'll see how that works with twenty-eight candidates.

The smartest, most effective way to do me in would be reduce me to irrelevance and ignore  me.

That's not how it happened .

The first question asked me to explain why I denigrated the thousands of volunteers associated with Sport Aurora by describing them as "takers"

I did no such thing.

The second was why did I  move to have Sport Aurora evicted from the Town  Hall when  staff  said it was alright  for them to be there?

Both questions were asked by the same panellist. Both  were distortion of the facts. Neither had anything to do with my position on sport.

The  audience was unlikely privy to the nefarious scheme.

The  first question was twisted.The second  score no points either.

Ron Weese President of Sport Aurora thinks he's entitled to office space and a Town Hall address.

I don't think he is.

So Ron Weese invites me to a meeting and  uses Sport Aurora to stop me from being elected.

Well... We shall see what Aurora thinks about a  person who thinks he's entitled to preferential  treatment at the Town Hall.

In a forward position, I play by the rules.

He plays dirty

What game  is that?

Not his

Friday, 24 October 2014

The Dance

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Ostrich Syndrome":

Only 3 & 1/2 days until one can speak or write without jeopardizing a candidate.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 24 October 2014 08:47


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

The blog hasn't been completely sanitized however strong my resolution .

I am a candidate for  the office of Councillor.

Except for the last election which called for desperate measures, my practice has been to speak 
only of my own reasons for seeking office. 

As an incumbent, my performance record  for good or ill, speaks for itself.

My main objective is to keep the town moving forward and  to speak for me and the rest of us.

The Mayor's office is most important to voters.

Both candidates  obviously have strong organizations and  substantial financial resources.

The incumbent should have an advantage. He too has a record.

But a record is subject to attack.

The  challenger,  on the other hand is also  an incumbent. His record or lack of it can also be attacked.

There is really nothing nascent about Aurora politics.

Except what we don't see going on behind the scenes.

I don't mean behind closed doors at the town hall. Not the best place for keeping secrets.

I mean what's whispered behind cupped hands.at the doors.

Or  proclaimed in the streets, on signs lining highways and byways.

In conversation in club rooms and  executive meetings, breakfast clubs and coffee klatches.

In commuter  trains and visa buses and everywhere people gather and have a minute to exchange beyond a friendly greeting.

In poll numbers lacking logic,web sites reflecting bias , in  twittering  and tweeting and Facebook pirouetting,

The  circle swirls and burls, growing larger spinning faster pulling in and tossing out.

Finally coming to rest.

Votes to be counted.

We will learn together what together we have wrought.

Whatever that may be, we will live with it for another four years.

It was ever thus.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Ostrich Syndrome

AAnonymous has left a new comment on your post "Dirty Tricks Again": 

21:01 – Have trust in Evelyn. She is wiser than most.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 22 October 2014 21:

Anonymous  has left a new comment on your post "Dirty Tricks Again":

21:01
Ditto that. She is not going to allow herself to  dragged  into what could be potentially dangerous..

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 23 October 2014

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


I don't know about being  wise ............well yes.....thank you 

But the  point about posting both comments is not about being wise or about not 
 letting myself be dragged into potentially dangerous situations. 

There is nothing potentially dangerous about maintaining civility at a Council table. Quite the opposite. Civility is unassailable. 
  I have sat at the table ,in civility ,with Councillors Gaertner and Gallo  for  four years because that's what voters decided in the last election. It is what they expect. 

A  relationship between Councillors can be personal. It's not required. An elected Council is not a friendship circle. Factions are an impediment to clear and distinct decisions. 

Civility is paramount . Each has been elected. Each for the same purpose. To work together in  the  best interest of the people we  jointly serve.. In accordance with what each perceives the best interest to be. 

It is simply stated. Not so simply understood. Nor easily achieved. 

It can be learned. Once learned it can't be unlearned. 

But it is also intuitive.  Outside of politics,the people understand it. 

Last night, I received a phone call from candidate Linda Stephens. She had already phoned the police and Brock Weir,editor of The Auroran in a desperate search for means  to disassociate from an anonymous leaflet circulated yesterday. 

Her name was listed  as part of a slate headed by the Last of The Mormackians. 

Chances are slight the slate was composed without approval of the two heading the list.

So ....while no-one is identified as responsible, I believe we can be assured of at least two who approved that ad. 

And perhaps one other.

The ostrich  is proverbial. When threatened , he hides his head in the sand and thinks no-one sees him.  With brilliant plumes  and completely exposed  rear raised to the elements ,he thinks he is hidden from view.

Whence comes the term bird-brain.

Candidates have been receiving lists of voters at the end of each day of advanced polls. Many,many people have voted already. For them, the decision is already made.

But Election Day is still the final tally.

We shall see what we shall see.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Dirty Tricks Again

I've had a call and an e-mail about a slanderous leaflet being circulated .

Sad to say we've seen it or other similar stuff before.

In 2003, an RV circulated the new areas of town during the two week-ends prior to the election. They ran past  polling stations  with advance polls operating with huge banners telling people who not to vote for.

It  wasn't successful. But  It left  a bad taste. Nobody claimed responsibility.

The meanness continued in the Council elected.  Almost the first motions presennted was to withdraw an honour given thirteen years previously to a veteran Council member sitting at the table with them. Nigel KeNe moved it. Phyllis 'Morris seconded .

At the start of this term, it was made clear the decision of the electorate was not accepted.  Though overt hostility could not be maintained for four years, there was never a time when it seemed the spite had dissipated.

It  was always there, awaiting the opportunity to rear it's ugly head again.

So once again the community gets  to turn thumbs down on  dirty tricks and spite.

We didn't root out the whole last time.  We can have another go at it this time. .


It's all part of the process

Greetings Candidates,

Thank you to those candidates who took time to respond to our question regarding a Council motion for a multipurpose, raisable sides structure. The ACTC Board believes that responding to a question from voters shows courtesy and respect for public input. It is evidence of being welcoming, transparent and valuing community input into important Town issues. 

On our website, you can review our candidate recommendations and scoring on candidate responses by clicking here

Thank you,
Brent MacKinnon, President
ACTC Board of Directors

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

I offer the above as a sample of inquiries candidates are asked to respond to during acampaign.

It suggests votes  can be assured  for acceptable responses.

Conversely,support is withheld if response is not favourable to Mr. MacKinnon's intent.

Candidates receive many inquiries for commitment from organizations. It's part of the process.

The Tennis Club is a member of Sport Aurora . The organization claims to represent thousands of volunteers . An all-candidates meeting  was organized to obtain  favourable commitments to their
objectives.

Provision of year-round tennis facilities occupied considerable attention  during the current term of Council.

A contract for  facilities was recommended  for approval in plenty of time for completion before the end of the term. A public-private partnership with the  town providing an eminently suitable site would have allowed  tennis to continue during winter. Months without interruption.

Needs met.

No cost to taxpayers.

But Oh dear me no.

That could not be allowed.  Mc MacKinnon had a different view.

The  bubble would be too hot in summer.

The real problem was rain.

The inconvenience if cancelling  a game because of rain is too much.

First , raised sides  of a facility were to overcome conservation principles in the event of flood in Fleury Park.

Then the purpose was to replace TImberlane's  year-round facilities when it closed.

Finally, after months of working  to establish  needs, inviting expressions of interest, receiving and analyzing  proposals, an award  was recommended to Council

Then the purpose changed. It was about being able  to play during the rain

Mr. Mackinnon did not like the contract.

The contract  was rejected.

Despite significant investment  of staff time and resources, nothing  was accomplished.

On the Club's web site , Mr. MacKinnon recommends candidates who have shown sufficient respect and courtesy for voters  based  solely on recognition of  the pressing need for tennis not to be interrupted by rain in the summer.

CONTRADICTIONS GALORE

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It's a business alright....unlike any other":

14:38

Got to love how he get's all bent out of shape about using stock pictures and the grass is not real. This is the same guy that steals images from all over the internet.
****************

Chris Watts is not a candidate for public office ..Therefore not seeking the trust of voters. 

He merely exercises his democratic right to criticize. 

The candidate has  previously demonstrated his view of the rights of others by taking legal action at public expense, more than once, against those who criticize. 

There is no greater contradiction. 

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Some things never change

After the prayer breakfast,Heather and I did the  sign patrol this morning. All Leaflets have been distributed. Thanks to all who helped. It was a gargantuan task.

I did what I could on the scooter. Heather,Robyn and Stephanie have done the bulk of it.The girls reLyenjoyed. All the lovely homes and gardens.

But the stairs....Oh My Lord, the stairs....there are millions of 'em. Mail boxes are are almost always at the top of stairs.

In my own neighbourhood many old  milk boxes are being used for mail. That took us back a year or two.

Our signs were mostly intact . One needed straightening. Two or three were down but well in on private property and not easy to get at. The owners very kindly put them for us.

We were fortunate to get the leaflets distributed while  weather was still lovely. We met many friendly people enjoying the last remnants of summer who extended encouragement.

It means everything to a candidate.

Today is typical campaign weather for a municipal election.

Signs are be-draggled and not improved by numbers. First-time candidates are learning stuff only learned by doing.


It's sort of like white water rafting. Once in the boat,no opportunity presents for a change of mind.  .No matter  the result, the candidate is in for the long haul.

Truth is, eight Council seats and one Mayor's chair  are up for grabs.  Despite all best and frenetic effort, twenty-one people will not be successful.

The gathering  at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic High School shared breakfast with Cardinal Collins
this morning.

It was a timely privilege.

Last night at a Celebration at the library, I had a conversation with the Librarian. We spoke of  changes in education and realised something  shared.

The catechism.

The first lesson.

Who made you?  God made me.

Why did God make you? To know him,love him and serve him in this world  and forever in the next.

All Catholic children within  months either way of their fifth birthday learned in the  first lesson of every day , five days a week ,the reason for their existence.

With fellow candidates I heard it again this morning  from Cardinal Collins of the Archdiocese of Toronto

Sunday, 19 October 2014

It's a business alright....unlike any other

I take my mind off the campaign by watching other  campaigns.  Particularly the Toronto mayoralty .

Today, the three were together in a forum  in North York. Non starter ,No Chance Lance was included.

John Tory had been  on camera  for a while when there was a break for a commercial.

An Olivia Chow commercial. It went on and on about the perfidy of John Tory. A request to vote for Olivia Chow came at the end without a reason for doing so.

The commercial ended. The camera returned  to John Tory.

Olivia had no control over the sequence.  Probably no-one did.  But...there it was.

John Tory was front and centre in valuable media space he neither asked nor paid for and may or may not to have been to his advantage.

Olivia Chow is a candidate of note. Gave up a safe seat in the federal parliament to serve Toronto .
Not the first municipal politician to prefer home turf.

Her experience  is extensive and professional.  An enviable reputation has been established at both government levels.

If  an option is timely in  thecity's politics, Olivia Chow is a real one.

Other than style, John Tory is not an option.

Toronto is only partly Rose-dale Golf Clubbish.

Without experience, he has no city politic skills.  Eminence gris  stature at Queen's Park and connections in Ottawa  avail him nothing.  Old boy at the Empire Club impresses little.

Local politicians tend to be  a mixed bag and notoriously independent.

Municipal politics are about people and people are the same the world over....  in towns villages and  cities...  quite unlike the denizens of the rarified atmosphere of corridors of power substantially removed from ordinary existence.

Toronto is Calvinist with a strong moral compass. It's a humane city with hundreds  of helping
agencies. Thousands of volunteers. Many programs are offered without user fees for other than the profit factor.

A  municipal corporation is a business..... not like any other. It's a business with a  difference...with a heart ....and circumscribed on all sides  by provincial regulation.

If John Tory understands the concept he hides it well.

The Mayor's office is not an entry level position.

So the campaign continues with drama . a series of lost opportunities, some misadventures and  continued possibility.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Questions answered


http://www.sportaurora.ca/Admin/SideMenu/10005.aspx?TopMenuID=10005

Check out the amount of their Trillium grant $193,500.00 ! Over three years

Questions without answers

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The last all-candidates meeting  has been held.  H...":

AYSC and AMHA must feel they have enough clout by their sheer size to not need Sport Aurora. Also, wasn't Sport Aurora organized in the wake of Mr Weese's ouster as president of AYSC? So, AYSC wouldn't be affiliated with Sport Aurora if there is still some acrimony there.

What is the governance model of Sport Aurora? It seems like they've only had one leader - does anyone know if they hold elections?

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 17 October 2014 11:17


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

I cannot answer any of the questions posed. Nor do I understand why Aurora sports organizations feel they need an intermediary to deal with the Town. 

The town operates a department to serve the interest of the sports community. I believe the service provided is first class. Sport groups in Aurora could have no better advocate than Al Downey our Director of  Leisure and Recreation services. 

No town in the Region  has a better managed Parks Department. 

The sports community has representation on Parks and Recreation Advisory committee. If there's a need for improvement they should request consideration. 

As far as I can tell, Sport Aurora is a magazine that sells advertising. Much likeThe Banner, The Auroran and Snap Aurora. 

The Town's Leisure Services Directory, published twice a year, also sells advertising to pay for 
 publication. 

That's a lot of competition in a small market. 

At Wednesday's all candidates meeting organized by Sport Aurora ,I was asked why I had put forward a motion  in Council to remove Sport Aurora from their office in Aurora Town Hall when town staff  had advised it was appropriate for them to be there. 

I had a minute to answer. 

Actually Sport Aurora does not have an office in the town hall.

Aurora  Council made the decision  to allow Sport Aurora to use Aurora Town Hall as an address.

The solitary  argument I recall was  to process successful grant applications. 

This year, Sport Aurora announced a grant from Trillium  of $75,000. That's a comfortable chunk of change. 

In my judgement , it is not appropriate for Aurora Town Hall to be used as an address by any person or group other than the  Municipal Corporation of the Town of Aurora. 

To do so is to set a precedent for any and all to make the request  for whatever purpose ,including commercial and financial benefit.

If we can't do it for everybody,we can't do it for anybody.

I should have asked the questioner why he thought Sport Aurora was entitled to use Aurora Town Hall  either as an office (incorrect) or an address.

It rained on the way home.

Council gathered yesterday for  a photo-op at the drill shed in the Town Park. And a musty smelly old  bachle of a building  it is !

How could it not be? Small  dark compartments have been built along the outside wall facing the park....shutting out  what little natural light  there was and no doubt air circulation as well.

A small door and a huge wide, ground to roof garage door built for personnel carrier trucks provide access direct from the street.

Council never did get a figure on cost of  heat and light. Closest resemblance to the building is the Aurora Memorial Arena that was.  It burned down in the early sixties. A new one was constructed by 1967.I doubt the drill shed could be built by to-day's building code.

A false ceiling  encloses pipes above  wrapped in asbestos ....apparently safe enough if not disturbed.

Sturdiest  thing on the property is the big blue plaque designating  the shed Ontario Heritage.

 Honorable Member Lois Brown MPP was present to hand over  the key. Like presenting a gift.

No sign though of the half million dollar cheque paid to the federal government to return property taken from the town in the first place. A hundred and forty years ago.

All that time they had  use of it and we paid them to give it back with nary a whimper.

A figure if $128,000 has been provided for immediate repairs. It might be enough if Councillors
themselves go out with tool belts, hard hats and construction boots. You wouldn't find me on that roof
hitting nails into shingles.

I might take photos though.

If I ever write a sunshine sketch on this little town  this will not be a sunny patch.
The last all-candidates meeting  has been held.  Hosted  by "Sport Aurora"

A substantial audience in attendance to hear  Sport Aurora President Ron Weese made introductory remarks

Mayoralty  candidates had time to speak. Council candidates responded to questions based on positions on sport in Aurora provided by candidates beforehand and distributed at the meeting.

Mr Weese made a couple of surprising references. He said the town has a  three figure deficit in parkland needs and referred to statistics of clinically obese children with a reduced  life span as a consequence.

No opportunity presnted to challenge either statement. One can never be quite sure who might worry about situation like that.

I am not a fan of statistics.

If a murder happened in Aurora in 2014 and none in 2013, statistics could be used to prove one hundred per cent increase in homicide in our community.

If we had none in 2015, statistics could again be used to prove  a hundred ore cent decrease and crime wrestled to a standstill.

The reality would be completely different.

So...even if obesity in  children is endemic....reduced lifespan may not be presumed.

Nor is it easy to make the connection to shortage of park space. Even if that was true.

Mr Weese used a figure of 178 hectares or acres.  Doesn't mater. Neither are accurate.

A Master Recreation Plan is the instrument of measurement to calculate development charges and  it is required by a regulation.

The current plan was completed  by a consultant and presented to Council early last term and
promptly whisked away into obscurity  from whence an edited version emerged twelve months later.

The percentage of parkland required by the plan had never been achieved and wasn't a remote possibility.

The Planning Act permits municipalities to require  a fixed percentage of land for parks to serve development. Acreage available for development therefore determines the amount that can be taken for parks.

The shortfall identified at the time of the Master Recreation Plan adopted five years ago is a fraction of the figure cited by Mr. Weese ,President of Sport Aurora. It was not realistic then and is still not

At the meeting last night the word "transparency "was tossed about will nilly by all and sundry.

How much infirmation is too much when an agency takes authority upon itself  to provide with all solemnity information substantially different from the facts.