"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, 16 October 2017

YOU ASKED....HAPPY TO OBLIGE

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "THE NATURE OF 

To change the subject to something more local,the JOC has been on my mind. What could have gone wrong? Seems it is now realized it was a very difficult piece of land. Did anyone know about this at the time? External auditors on the taxpayers' dime might be needed to figure it out.

I would love for you to refresh our memory here and perhaps in a letter to the editor on your advice at the Council table when the project was proposed.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 15 October 2017 at 14:50

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

The first half of this comment was rejected. Truth has to be twisted like a pretzel for such a statement
to be made.

I will not repeat it. 

The town's joint operation centre never had my support. Best use was not being made of existing facilities.

I had no confidence in recommendations from staff. It was not the professional advice expected. 

There was an exodus of senior staff at the beginning of the 2007/10  term. 

Under -qualified replacements  were made with the understanding the Mayor was in charge. 

Advice Council received would be what she perceived to be to her political advantage. 

Five Councillors consistently provided the support. Councillor Grace Marsh resigned and 
then there were six.

 Staff continued to be replaced . 

The first sell- out of town interest was  the former hydro property being  handed over to Queen's York Rangers to extend their existence. 

There were administrative offices, a garage /workshop, 5 acres of  electric-fenced storage yard 
and parking lot with landscaped frontage. 

Two lawful options existed; for the property to be sold, realizing the financial asset,obtain an industry, earn assessment revenue and replace the twenty-seven jobs lost when the utility was sold. 

 Municipal Act regulations govern disposal of surplus property. Leasing  to QYR forfeited the asset,  revenue and jobs. As landlord , the town is responsible for upkeep and receives no grants in lieu from the federal government. Adding insult to injury, the town paid the federal government half a million dollars for the drill shed that occupied a corner of the town park since the days of Queen Victoria.
Several hundred thousand was spent on the hydro building to suit QYR needs. 

The Municipal Act requires surplus property to be publicly declared. Invitation to tender to an advertised competition.

The second option, was already in place. The parks department had moved in. The yard was being used for storage, parks furniture was being built in the workshop and town archives were being stored 
In the office building. 

Either the sale or parks' use would have served the town's interest well. Instead parks was evicted
to make way for QYR. 

A newly elected Council could have changed that. Instead, the lease with QYR  was extended to thirty years.

The existing works yard was badly organized. Waste materials were hoarded. Heritage salvage was transferred from the Hydro property. Contractors used space for storing vehicles and equipment. I understood access to vehicle maintenance department was also available.  

A particular service contract, plastic lining  of pipes to prevent water loss, was re-signed annually
without tenders. Even after it was learned Newmarket was getting a better price.  Average of a million dollars is spent annually on the process. All of their equipment is kept at the town yard at no expense to the contractor. 

I asked once when the work would end and was cockily informed ,probably never. When it finished  
it would start all over again. I never saw the logic .
 
Original estimates for the JOC was $13 million ,moving to $18 million and again to $26 million.
 
Initial estimates  must have been meaningless. And that  raises the question of accuracy of specifications. The awarded contract,we now know, was not met. 
 
An audit might show is how much more will be needed  to complete the project as originally 
designed. 

Under the circumstances ,there can be no confidence in the design either.   

Had Councillor Ballard not vacated his seat,the project would not have proceeded. His replacement provided the vote to carry it forward. 

 Mayor Dawe is adamant, "micro-management" of decision-making  will not be permitted. 

So.....neither  Council nor Mayor has a meaningful function.there is no Council control. 

The youth facility addition to the Family Leisure Centre was a disastrous failure. 

As a result , a committee of the Mayor, Councillors Abel and Thompson were appointed to oversee the JOC project. 

The end result of the second was not an improvement. 

There's enough blame to go around. But two main protagonists have already flown the coop. 

The ravine site was  always a bad choice. On a dangerous curve of the Industrial Parkway, a road had to be built to circle the property for  access and egress for an operation composed entirely of trucks and equipment. 

I did not support the project going forward. I urged Council to step back and take a closer look.

The decision was a one vote majority. 

My opposition was noted as negative. A  frequent vote of eight to one was evidence of my failure 
to comprehend.

In Hollywood ,I could never hope to win an Oscar or have a Star on the Walk of Fame. 

In Aurora, my parting gift was a pad of lined copy paper with a plastic cover.... in a gift bag ...with a bow ...from the dollar store. 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

A STORY AS OLD AS THE HILLS

A recent comment referenced oral sex, sharp teeth and painful punishment. I didn't publish it  so
don't look for it.

Sometimes my imagination races forward out of control. Horrifying images have to be quickly smothered by different ones. 

I thought of my first catechism.  A small thin blue book. A little wider than a Woolworth diary and a whole lot thinner. Just the size for small four year old hands.

Who made you ? ....was the first question. 

God made me. ..the  answer.

Why did God make you ? 

To know him, love him and serve him in this world and forever in the next.

Catechism was first lesson of the day, every day, immediately after prayers. We prayed in the morning,
before  lunch,after lunch and at the end of the school day.

We prayed for fishermen at sea in storms. For farmers  who needed a dry spell to harvest.
We never needed to pray for rain. We prayed for black babies.  

We hadn't learned to read yet. Catechism questions were read by the teacher and answers rhymed out by the whole class. 

We learned  how God created man in his own image. Eve was an afterthought. Adam's left rib did the trick.The Garden of Eden was their domicile.

You know the rest. Left to their own devices,they disobeyed the rule they had to live by. 

The Lord called them out from where they hid and Adam whined.

The woman made me do it. 

And what did The Lord do? 

Right .... The Lord punished  the woman and every woman thereafter.

We didn't learn  that at the time. Previous  books of the bible, written by Moses apparently,contained all the details.  Our faith was pretty much based on the The  Life of Christ and the New Testament.  

It's two thousand and seventeen years old. It has stood the test of time. 

In short,  Man was made in the image of The Lord. Male. 

Eve was an afterthought. 

Eve committed the first sin . Adam poor boy, couldn't help himself and they lost the Garden of Eden.

That's the current version. 

Written by men. Pages and pages of it;  Gospels. Epistles. Parables. Beatitudes. Cardinal Virtues, Cardinal Sins, Letters to Corinthians by Mathew ,Mark,Luke and John.

Peter was a fisherman. 

Saturday, 14 October 2017

THE NATURE OF MAN ........???????

The picnic table had a mound of snow. On top, the owners had scattered seeds and nuts.Three handsome big pine grosbeaks were feeding greedily and noisily. Darting quietly in at the sides, to steal a seed or two ,were a dozen smaller, less green females of the species .They were getting their share but the bigger,stronger males raced down squawking and threatening every time. 

Looked like a simple lesson in survival. Four times as many females at the feeding station. 

This morning's New York Times has a story about harassment and intimidation  in the US Park
 Service. Horrendous reading. 

Similar problems in the US armed services are regularly reported despite their stated  role of protecting 
women and children .

Women of the Toronto Fire Service have made the same complaints recently. 

In TV family shows ,fathers of daughters, are hostile to boyfriends for clearly enunciated reasons.
And a laugh. Dad's always know what boys have in mind. 

Considering consistency of the message of the same complaints in similar circumstances,
a reasonable conclusion might be, every institution, public or private,shared by the sexes
shares the same problem. 

After years in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein is hounded like an animal for his transgressions.  

But in politics ,the acknowledged lecher gets elected to the highest office in the land. 

The woman with a lifetime of working to advance the cause of women and children and the disadvantaged , has her reputation chopped up in small pieces and ground into the dirt by 
male dominated media with the voice of women conspicuous in absence. . 

Back in the day, in rural areas, a  sign on a farm fence warned  "Beware of the Bull" 

Nowadays farmers purchase the product. 

When I was a child, in Scotland, men and women sat on different sides of the church aisle
on Sunday. I never understood why. Still don't. Maybe they knew something. 

Women were not allowed to mix with men in public bars.

But the only thing women sought was the right to vote. And not until men got "Universal 
Suffrage" which wasn't until 1924 or thereabouts. 

There's a pattern .

When women were not in the armed services, .. park services...fire services and every other service that employs males, women were not being harassed or intimidated or sexually assaulted . 

Ever since Hollywood came to be ,women in that industry have been used and abused. It's an 
Occupational hazard. 

So, what's the lesson?

Wherever men have power, it seems women are at risk. 

Can it be fixed ? 

 It hasn't so far and it doesn't look promising. 

Friday, 13 October 2017

FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE LASTING IMPRESSIONS

These days one of the uppermost  topics of topical news appears to be Harvey Weinstein and depravity. Like he's one of a kind. I know little about the man.His name wasn't familiar.  But I have a strong impression he isn't unique in Hollywood. And only a little less so in other sectors. 

Impressions are almost impossible to avoid if one pays  a minimum attention to  daily news. 

I was stirring the pot of left- overs for dinner. Butter chicken with Naam bread. The chicken is rich,flavourful and appetizing. A combination of meat with vegetables and savoury sauce 
improves with melding of flavours. 

Naam bread is nice  and has become better value. Crusty,chewy Italian country loaves
we're/are  a favourite thensupermarkets started churning out light spongy look-alikes at higher cost. 

Anyway, as I stirred the pot of savoury Indian food,cooked last night by grand-daughter Stephanie, 
I had another Sikh recollection. First there was the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Ghandi by her Sikh Bodyguard.  The there was the plane that exploded over the sea off the coast of Ireland. They picked up a baby shoe, a feeding bottle and a tatty little doll from debris in the ocean. 

After that, a young woman I knew, with small children, abandoned by an abusive husband in Vancouver was evicted by her Sikh landlord because  the house was rented to a man. 

Finally, Jag Bhaduria a Federal Liberal Member of Parliament for a Markham Riding was expelled by Jean Chr├ętien for bring disrepute to the  Party. He had written threatening letters to school board officials because he was not hired for a position advertised. 

Media reported he had a  landlord/tenant record of disregarding building  hazard orders .

Several petitions were collected by riding voters to have the seat vacated. But he stayed on. 

He sought the Liberal nomination in the next election with turbaned Sikh supporters surrounding 
him in media photographs. 

One must assume his  conduct was acceptable to his Sikh supporters. 

It did not impress me. 


Thursday, 12 October 2017

SCANDAL AND INIQUITY

A headline in a Sciottish newspaper proclaimed "Pervert Pensioner " watched porn on his phone while dining in a Chinese Restaurant. 

The story was, the 74 year old brazenly looked at porn images on his phone while tucking 
Into his food at Ruby 7 Days . AND ... "The creep"  blew kisses at a teen-aged girl. 

On a separate occasion he asked another  woman if he could go home with her. 

A solitary comment on -line showed four smiley faces. The language in Scottish newspapers takes a bit of getting used to. 

His picture  didn't look in the least bit scarey. Not much different from any other 74 year old and a lot more wholesome than another seventy-one year old we all know who's a lot more brazen and doesn't
get charged with anything 

The court was told the phone was lying on the table in full view while the creep ate his meal and brazenly looked at the images. On another occasion, a pornographic video was brazenly playing. 

The court ordered Brian Dunn's name  be added to the Register of Sex Offenders. 

picture of the restaurant was brazenly displayed with the  story with the photo of the named pensioner. Ayr ,the County town of Ayrshire , on the west coast of Scotland was the site of 
the atrocity. 

Another story down the side of the screen, noted a film-maker ,photo included , contemplated 
suicide after being  attacked by a "female sex thug" 

Well, y'know ,you have to wonder . Like how to get there. Train and bus schedule. The chance of catching a glimpse of a porn video exposed on a cell phone lying on the table of a Chinese restaurant by the name of  Ruby 7 Days would be too good to miss. 

The court might also be an interesting place to hang out and brazenly hear salacious details of the goings -on of pervert pensioners, "female sex thugs" and the like. 

If you don't own a cell phone and with movie houses closing down everywhere ,it might be the only possibility of entertainment  good for a furtive chuckle or two.

A couple of local newspapers might be good for an hour's reading in a wind shelter at the shore.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

BEHIND THE TIMES

Gwyneth Paltrow revealed today that when she was a young actress,Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed her in a hotel room. Ms Paltrow feels strongly, it's time for men to stop mistreating women that way. 

A whole host of  Hollywood women are hastening to out Weinstein for the miserable wretched, pathetic captiveof his own loins he is. The man is clearly deviate. 

What a sorry tale of obsession and millions paid to silence talk about a commodity that sells for a fraction of the cost of the " settlements" .

None of it makes any sense. 

I had to search to discover Harvey Weinstein. None of the movies listed to his credit strike a chord.

What power does he command  to "sexually harass" so many women in the same industry, alone in a hotel bedroom? 

What does "sexually harass" mean? Or "sexual assault" ? 

 Why does the phraseology keep changing ? Does it have something to do with modern sexual mores? 

I watched a scene on Sex and the City tonight .One of the four women is as much a predator as any man. I don't know her name. I can't watch it long enough to know names. To-night was no different. She was sucking on a microphone while gazing at a stranger. Is that "sexual harassment"?

In my mother's teen years ,silent pictures  became entertainment for the masses. In my childhood,  Snowhite and the Seven Dwarfs ,a cartoon movie in colour, enchanted children and adults alike. We have lived the history of Hollywood in our lives. It has never been scandal free. No small part has  
been exploitation and much of that exploitation of women. In every sense of the word. 

It's a jungle. 

The newsworthy aspect of the Weinstein story is not exploitation of women. 

The surprise is, they still accept the role. 

Instead, they insist it's  male behaviour that must change .

I don't think Harvey Weinstein of Hollywood  is an example of the change they have in mind.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

THE CHAMBER OF MIRRORS

I watched Larry David and Seth Meyers in a skit together. It had nothing to do with politics. It was clever and hilariously funny and I should go to bed on that note.  

But my thoughts still linger on an earlier,unbelievably unintelligent exchange between Zareek Faridah  and CNN host Don Lemon .

My  television wasn't turned on until almost ten pm. It's been happening more often than not lately. I turn it on and off again a couple of times during the day but the same talk is in perpetual motion. . 

Yesterday it was PumpkinHead's meaning what when he said  "calm before the storm". 

A couple of participants thought he desperately needs attention. He can't live without it. So they oblige.

Secretary of State Tillerson gave a press conference that got a quick whirl of attention. 

Did he or did he not call MelonHead an "f....ng moron" ? He didn't  say. 

General  consensus...indeed he did. 

Faridah thinks Tillerson is Dead Man Walking. He and Lemon deliberated why he endures being
belittled  by the President . He has wealth and status and they wondered why else would he want 
the job. 

Motives  of Chief of Staff John Kelly and James Mattis ,Secretary of Defence were also discussed. 

Both specialists professed to be totally mystified about why any of the three would wish to serve .
No matter how they turned the rubic cube,they could not solve the problem. 

I too am mystified. I don't know why either of them  is  paid to do what they do. 

Do they never listen to  themselves? They sit with umpteen panels, on high stools ,on a dais, in a 
Chamber of Mirrors  for hours on end with never an original thought. 

A marathon discussion about the flag,the anthem and respect for the military is still fresh and they 
can't think of a single reason other than status and money, for Kelly,Mattis or Tillerson to stay.

It's agreed, status or money can't  be the reason. 

What then?

John Kelly and James Mattis are retired generals of the U.S. Marine Corp. 

Rex Tillerson is never going to be more prominent in his own field. The lollipop  boys ponder the value of business experience in a political context. 

No longer do they echo with a sly twinkle..."Let Trump be Trump"

It occurs to neither that Kelly,Mattis and Tillerson must realize better than any, the level of liability PumpkinHead is in the President's  office. 

Preventing the unthinkable. Playing for time.... Could conceivably be urgent.

Special Counsel, Robert Meuller's team must be working  against the clock to get to the end 
of their task .

If I were familiar with the language of chess,I'd say Kelly,Mattis and Tillerson are the only figures left on that side of the chess board. 

If one gets taken, all three will go.