"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

Friday, 19 December 2014

Force of Nature

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "There is no mystery":

I sure hope you're not surprised. The ramifications of your lawsuit sealed your demise. The presentation from the insurer's representative, aided by the mayor and his deputy, served as a pre-election reminder (you got schooled by a couple of rookies on that one).

While it is your right to seek legal redress, anyone could see the hypocrisy of a self-proclaimed defender of taxpayers' money causing the Town significant expense for purely interes

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 18 December 2014 at 23:48


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I 'm still reading debate on Bill 52

All's Well

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "There is no mystery":

No, we cannot always expect the truth. It is a shame but just the way thing are and especially during an election.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 16 December 2014 at 19:46


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People seated at a council table are there by virtue of having sworn an Oath of Office to serve without compromise. That hasn't changed.

We all have quirks and foibles. I believe when one places a hand on a bible and swears an oath in presence of... it means without  compromise.

I also believe  if  a tree isn't real, it's not a real Christmas tree.

When the kids were little,we went out to a tree farm. Picked out our tree ,cut it down and brought it home. It was fresh and full and filled the room with  scent.

It had to be of a height for the Angel to be within the top frame of the window.

We  dressed it with lights and decoration then trooped across to the other side of the road to see how it looked .

None of our babies ever stayed in  a play pen. At Christmas ,we put the tree in the play pen to protect it from the baby.

Our angel came from a religious shop on the north east corner of Wellesley and Yonge Street on our
second Christmas  in Canada. We lived two blocks north.

Mascot  Bakery was on the south east corner. They had the best meat pies, hot from the oven, dark flakey pastry and darker still savory gravy and the best big sticky buns .

Our last Christmas tree went  on the summer deck. There wasn't room inside  because of all the
people.

One year, we fastened a  temporary shelf over the stair well at the front entrance. The tree was

 out of the way and in full view.  But I never did it again. It was a bit weird.

This year Heather and Robyn  have  re-arranged the sitting room. The sofa table at the window has been moved and the love seat  re-positioned in front  of the table. Room  vacated by the table is the the tree's rightful space.

The old boxes of ornaments  haven't  been down from the shelves for years.

There should be two little blue and white hanging yarn shapes Heather made when very young. Also
a  wreath made with card  and pasta shapes sprayed with gold paint. Paint was wearing off last time I saw it.

A little clip -on bird with tail missing .They were part of a set of twenty-four bought for a fraction
after Christmas in Kresge's on the corner of Yonge and College.Opposite the Gardens.

On Sunday , four generations will gather at my house.

Grandsons Aaron and Michael have special friends who will join the family for the first time.

Seventeen year old Maria will be with us for a second Christmas.She camped with the family at Sandbanks this summer.

It must be  more than twenty years since I last tried to set a table.

The house will be crowded with people who enjoy each other. Filled with sound and laughter and redolent with familiar aroma of beef roasting in juice and a savory rub.

The same family in the same house for fifty years.

With the tree in it's rightful place.

A Couple Of Loose Threads

There are a couple of dangling threads. The question of whether King is using OUR water is one.

The Region of York is responsible for  water supply. The municipality is responsible for treatment and distribution.  Councillors are legally responsible for quality of water.

There's a Provincial Act that could  send  elected members to jail if water quality ever caused a problem.

The Act was passed after Premier Mike Harris got rid of the Ontario Water Resources  the body
That guarenteed water quality throughout Ontario.

Walkerton  Council hired  a person not qualified or competent to do the job.

Their well was surrounded by farmers fields regularly doused with  manure. People died from E-coli from contaminated water.

The employee wept on the witness stand and went  to jail.  Mayor and Councillors of Walkerton were not held responsible.

 Nor did  Mike Harris  take responsibility . He saved money. by getting rid of the government agency that would have prevented deaths in Walkerton.

Ontario Water Resources were never re-instituted by Provincial Liberal governments Instead they made local Councils  personally and criminally responsible for quality of water.

The  Region supplies King with water. It's entirely possible taxpayers in Aurora helped to pay for
new infrastructure to bring  it to King City where there had been coliform from private septic tanks in drainage ditches  for the last forty years.

Millions of dollars were spent in legal fees to stop the Region from linking the Village to York-Durham trunk sewer . We would have helped to pay for that as well. Legal battles  went on for years.

I haven't read Alison's column about  selection of  the Regional Chair. Nor the Auroran story.

I fully anticipated  Wayne Emmerson to collect the  prize.

I knew he had it in the bag when he stepped down as Mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville.

It meant there would be no controversy bout the need for an election on top of an election to fill the
vacancy if he had hung on to the local office.

The Region has been in place since 1971. First chair was appointed by the Province. Three by Council  since.

The enormity of the challenge of campaigning for the job region-wide makes it a virtual certainty
no-one on  Regional  Council  who understands the  territory is  likely to vote for the job to be filled by election. Where would the money come from to pay for it?

The Region of York Act allows for a non- member to be appointed  by the Council.

I understand pay is around $240,000. plus  benefits .  The chair could still practise law if hw was a lawyer and so chose.

What chance the inner circle would allow the  Goose That  Keeps On Laying to slip out of the ranks.

Whoever gets the job is indeed the servant of the Council. What outsider could be counted upon to fill that Bill.

There was a  comment about in -camera meetings.

I understand some decisions are made  without meetings.

Councillors are polled by telephone.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

To Kill A Mockingbird

Chris Rock was a guest on two shows last week to promote a movie he has  written and acted.

The first show was David Letterman's.  The comedian yelled all the time and contorted his face and I found little  humor in the routine.

 Only one thing made me smile. He said black audiences are better than white because they laugh with their feet. Then he drummed his feet on the floor and I recognised  it instantly.

But I thought , if I were in the habit of going  I would  pass that  movie a pass.

A couple of days later  he was a guest on Charlie Rose for the full hour. Charlie's program is not  interrupted by commercials. When he says so-and-so  is our guest for the full hour, the full hour is what you get.

Chris Rock was transformed.  Black history was part.  A lesson in humor. How hard it is to do and possibly the most difficult.

Denzil Washington and others  were referenced and what the black community expects from successful artists.,

The movie is apparently a step forward in  career evolution of Chris Rock.  I believe I will see it.

Charlie Rose  has apparently appeared in the movie. Being himself.

For all the intensity of the conversation , neither brought up the subject of events related to Bill
Cosby. I didn't think about it at the time.  Now considering the wide ranging conversation I think
that was odd.

Fear perhaps? Discretion?

Cosby had been entertaining us with family  humor for a very long time. His language was never offensive.  Neither lewdity or cruelty were in his wit.

He has had a long and successful career.

He is seventy-seven years old.
Still married to his first wife.
They jointly take care of business affairs together without a manager.

I think  about Bing Crosby...Bob Hope...Errol Flynn... and wonder.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Innocent until proven

The blog will not  be used to promote the idea all politicians are criminals and should be in jail.

Our Justice  system doesn't even warrent that al prison inmates are criminals.

Any more than all doctors or  lawyers or police officers or any other group that exercises power
over our lives are criminals and should be in jail because some among them exploit the power.

Politics is the only one  called publicly to account  on a regular basis.

It's how it has to  be.

It's not easy nor to everyone's taste.

Those who volunteer to service should at least be deemed honest  until .or unless.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Beating a dead horse

The Attorney General of Ontario has authority to order charges be withdrawmn.

 A local Councillor has no such authority.

Any citizen has a right to ask a police officer a question of procedure.

The Crown Attorney has responsibility to decide if a charge should proceed to trial.

The police officer who witnessed the incident ,and only that officer, has the duty  to lay the charge.

The Crown Attorney has responsibility to determine if the evidence supports the charge and is sufficient to obtain a  verdict of guilt.

On any day of the week, courts are filled with cases. where the Crown Attorney  has  not opened the file to make a determination until the morning of the trial.

The trial proceeds with no determination the weight of evidence is sufficient.

If a lawyer is assigned chances are there's not much of an argument on either side.

The police officer is in the court awaiting the trial. If he is not on a regular shift, he is of course paid extra for court days.

If the trial does not proceed for any reason  he will be in court on all future days until the trial is heard.

If he fails to show on a particular day, the charge will likely be dismissed.

And so the wheels of Justice turn and turn unless  they fall off.


There is no mystery

Friends are still wondering about the election

 I'm not in the habit of doing an autopsy.

It is what it is.

Life goes on.

Of course  there's a story.

It's relevant to why  Cabinet Ministers are compelled to resign when things go awry. When a seed is cast it always takes root.

I knew it the night of  the Sport  Aurora all-candidate meeting at the Legion And the  one before at the Town hall.

Gayle  McIntyre ,a former Councillor and not overtly hostile, confronted me with the statement
 I  was suing the town for $90. million.  Gayle is many things .Subtlety is not one.

"Add another ten why don't you". I said.  "And make it  a nice round figure"

I had an opportunity to speak to Gayle  again and perhaps make the correction.  I felt  it was already too late.

There were other signs

Bruce Walkinshaw laughed  easily and said he was still supporting me but no, he would not put a sign on his property again.

Another past supporter made a point of speaking to Councillor Pirri at his table and turning his back on me.

At a second presentation from a Vice President of the town's insurance company in September , Mayor  Dawe made the statement " people are  talking about the obscene amount of money being spent on the litigation"

The figure of $845,000 was  revealed for the first time at that meeting. He said the normal process

was to seek a settlement but failed to disclose why the normal process had not been followed.

He was asked.

Councillor Abel endorsed the Mayor's comment and added the action was to obtain millions of dollars in damages.

It wasn't hard to make the connection to  Gayle McIntyre's  expression of outrage.

It's five years since six members of Council retained a lawyer and instructed him to write a complaint
for  the newly appointed Integrity Commissioner.

Mascarin's report was published in two newspapers and the town's web site

It was read by Councillor Gaerner into the formal record of  Council proceedings.

The complaint was DISMISSED. by the  Integrity Commissioner as PURELY POLITICAL mere hours ahead of the decision of the same six individuals to strip him of his authority for not following the procedures they had set down for him.

Five years is a long time for people to remember.

When a  Mayor and Deputy Mayor make a joint statement,  people have every right to expect it to be true.

From my perspective, there really was no puzzle about the outcome of the election.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Hopefully it can change again":

00:03
Fat lot that did us



Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 15 December 2014 at 09:47

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A Valid Question

Last week the media reported Toronto Alderman Georgio Mammolito had filed a claim with the City Clerk for payment of  legal fees  for a judicial review of  a Council decision to suspend his remuneration  for three months.

A complaint against the Alderman  under the City's Code of Conduct was filed  for overspending in the last election. The Integrity Commissioner found  for the complaint.

 The Councillor pleaded guilty to overspending in the election.

Toronto provides an allowance  of $20,000 for an Alderman  to file for legal representation in a judicial review.

Apparently the cost is more than the allowance. Mammoliti has filed a claim for the difference.

The issue is of particular interest.

The complaint against Mammoliti was found . He acknowledged it by pleading guilty.

The  challenge is to the city's authority to suspend remuneration for a job he was elected to do.

He did it.

What the city could  not do was unseat Mammolito or compel him to cease and desist doing a job that was not the city's to give or take away.

The question of whether remuneration  for the job set by City Bylaw can be denied is certainly one ,to my mind , for a judicial decision.

It's  just another example of  half-assed Provincial legislation like the Conflict of Interest legislation.

Provincial  legislation is a serious occupational hazard for a municipal politician .

No offence can be charged under the  Municipal Bylaw. Without enforcement penalty, the Bylaw cannot be enforced.

The legislation so states.



An  Integrity Commissioner can recommend a penalty but cannot impose it.

ANeither can Council.

The question to be decide by judicial review is can a  Council enforce vacation of a council seat for any length of time?  If not can they  withhold  remuneration?

I would say not.









Saturday, 13 December 2014

It's alright

Outside my window small  birds are feasting from seeds on the snow. My son Andrew  didn't
have time to remove the spent summer foliage this year. Andrew is a neat freak.

Thistle  heads still cling to fall asthers . They will still be there in Spring, providing nourishment.
for  the birds.

I had read the seeds nourish the birds that stay around in winter. I thought the seed would fall off and  wondered what happens with  a blanket of snow.

This morning I discovered . The birds land on the ground,  fly up and knock the branches about, then  they feast on seeds knocked off and clearly visible on the snow.

Putting bird seed out is an option. But it must be there every day. Birds have to feed every day to generate enough energy to survive the night.

If food is put out for them they depend on it. They don't look elsewhere for a food source. The feeder must be filled every day or the birds die.

The cedar hedge and spruce trees provide shelter, a tangled mass of withered fall asthers provide bounty and red cardinals, brilliant blue jays and  little birds in dark gray tuxedos and pale grey
vests find everything they need to make a home in my garden.

It's how things are supposed  to be

Friday, 12 December 2014

I depressed myself with my last post. It's one thing to pay passing attention to politics at the provincial and national level. Writing about it means you have to think. And that is positively perilous. To-day I'm going to get my hair done and lunch with friends. My iPad is doing queer things.