"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, 30 March 2015

WE HAVE OUR RIGHTS

Something went wrong with my mail ap and winding my way through to correct it, I find myself in a different ap. I have not mastered the new one. 

There is stuff I need to learn. Comments await moderation; 
mostly complaints about blog, moderator,readers and commenters.

Criticism is meanness of intent and inaccuracy of content. 

One complains his/her comments are never published because they disagree with blog moderator.  

Erroneous , ill -researched content  is remarked upon but no corrections are offered, no new or additional information. An obvious waste of time and opportunity .

The morning flurry of whinery is milksop defence of Mayor,Council and staff. 

Calling them out on blatant contradiction is considered a low blow, unworthy of the noble sport of politics and due entirely to ulterior motive of the moderator. 

Stuff and nonsense. My motives are not at all ulterior. 

A couple of weeks ago the Mayor told Brock Weir that risk-taking was necessary and a good thing. This week, his column states he would never make decisions without a sound business plan. 

So what does he really think?

$60 odd million tax dollars collected annually are under his control.People  being separated from their livelihood need to be aware of fuzzy thinking and contradictions wherever they exist in management of their resources. 

The electorate were able to stop the worst of the excesses in the last term. Not  all. 

The blog undoubtedly contributed to awareness but of necessity
was slightly muted. 
It's not any more. 
No debts are outstanding. 
No holds are barred. 
Ours is a free society. 
Political criticism is a right not a privilege

Sunday, 29 March 2015

MODERN MYTH AND OTHER NONSENSICAL DEVICES

I don't normally read the Mayor's column. I suspect  a ghost writer. Err I confide my suspicion I decided to read it one more time. 

Yup. I think so. 

A paragraph in the middle confirms my doubts.

It says the Mayor has "never subscribed to the  notion of making an investment decision without a business case"

Goodness Gracious ! Great Balls of Fire! That is just not so !

No business case was made to buy real estate for a heritage theme park. The Mayor's name complete with title was first on the list of VIPs supporting that airy-fairy boondoggle.
Procedure was twisted into a pretzel to reverse Council's  decision to require the proponent to provide a business plan.

A business case for creation of a Board to manage a culture centre was successfully sabotaged. Seed money on a reducing scale was to lead to self-sufficiency. Said seed money morphed into increased and permanent funding under the Mayor's selective oversight.

The intention to gift $11 million to entice York University to locate a campus in our town was  not accompanied by a business plan.

A few more can be named:
Fab Lab .
Thirty year lease of  property costing assessment revenue and  jobs. 
$514,000 to buy back a corner of the town park complete with a contaminated building and contaminated soil from a government that used and abused it for a hundred and forty years in exchange for one thin dime of comparative value. 
A clear bag garbage initiative.
$1 million salt removal treatment facility where there was no salt. 
$26million joint works and parks facility with most cost in remediation of a bad site in a worse location hardly qualifies 
as a business plan. 

Referenced in the column is a tax on current residents for fire protection needed for homes not yet built. Hardly business advantage to taxpayers already carrying the full burden for current service. 
 
Contradictions galore confirm suspicion the column is not authentic. This partial list of innovations and initiatives that bombed in the past four years had no business plans and simply do not accord with the written declaration.  

Not only do I believe  the column is ghost written,I surmise the ghost writer works offshore at a considerable distance from the real world.

Friday, 27 March 2015

ELEMENTS OF THE PUZZLE

One of the 12 has left a new comment on your post "REALLY ! ! ! !":

Are you forgetting that you were on the last council, and these are YOUR failures as well. If you were against any of them, you are still responsible for not debating the issues properly - but then again, I suppose that's why you are sitting on the sidelines.
Posted by One of the 12 to  Our Town and Its Business at 27 March 2015 at 07:44


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The comment is published because it reveals a mind set. Writing is a dead giveaway. Straight or twisted, hopelessly contrived,tangled in confusion,mired in prejudice, stunted,mean spirited and entirely lacking in logic, a mind set cannot be obscured.

Blog writing is available to anyone who wishes to avail themselves. 


It takes time,energy, skill, discipline and continuity. Like any pursuit, it gets easier with practice. 

I practice a lot. Fortunately  I have the time and opportunity to explore and articulate an idea without distraction. It reflects how much I enjoy telling the story in the language I
speak.

Readers are a bonus. Friendly exchange is double bonus. 

Comments like the one above  provide contrast. Light and shade.

Without it, no picture can be revealed, no story complete.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

MEANS AND SCHEMES

I am happy to receive comments.

 I publish most.

It is the better part of valour not to cross that invisible line.  

I recommend the option of direct and private word with the town's 
elected representatives. 

A week ago, Mayor John Tory expressed  fury over $148 million budget excess and tardiness of the schedule of the subway contract shared with York Region. 

Days later two senior management TTC officials were named and terminated . A Councillor commented publicly he hoped the officials were not being made scape goats. 

The two were long term employees of the TTC (25years) .

Whether or not the Councillor's fears were accurate,litigation for wrongful dismissal would likely have been the next headline. 

It hasn't happened so far that we know.  If it doesn't, financial compensation would have to have been sufficient to make litigation the lesser option. 

We may never know.

REALLY ! ! ! !



CAO Garbe's reaction to a suggested cut of $100,000 from staff training and education budget of $200,000 prompts  a response. 

His statement that training and education is :

"what sets Aurora apart as an employer " 

"That is how we produce innovation ..how we produce results"

"How we retain our personnel and part of our attractiveness"

With due respect, Mr Garbe's contentions are not supported by recent events. 

A number of failed  "innovative" initiatives come to mind:

Town hall addition plans cancelled after $300.000 had been spent on transition plans. 
Ballooning cost of  the Joint facility due to poor site location.
Completion of AFLC addition months late and 25% over budget. 
$167,000 on design of $1million treatment facility to remove non-existent salt from melting snow. 
$25k consultant fee for advice that a Heritage Theme Park represents no business benefit to the town. 
Weeks of time and staff resources expended on a failed competitive bid for a University campus with a serious offer of $11 million enticement from the town. 
Four year added delay on disposition of surplus buildings on Library Square. 
Failed clear bag garbage initiative after weeks of time wasted and $35 K consultant fee expended. 
Customer Service Plan promoted as improved service at no extra cost. Heavier workload now calls for additional manpower. 
Termination of a twenty-six year employee for no purpose
that can be justified. 
Repeated Administrative re-organization  for less than obvious reasons resulting in less than obvious improvement. 

The list continues and provides no support for Mr Garbe's contention the Education and Training budget of $200 Ks has achieved the results claimed. 

A PLACE LIKE ANY OTHER

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE":

18:40 - Who exactly is "you" and "we"?

There seems to be a real difficulty for some here in seeing the town as a whole, rather than as petty, perceived factions.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 March 2015 at 20:11


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I do have trouble seeing the whole town as an amorphous blob. Everyone  of a  mind ready to accept whatever foolishness is fed like pablum through a straw to a toothless infant. 

It has been said and I loved it when I heard it and wished I'd
said it. "Consistency  is the hobgoblin of little minds"

For all the time I've lived here Aurora has  been a place 
of robust opinion. Much like other places I imagine. 

One can be an individual. Or cling together for support 
with others. Part of a camera club ,book club,an association of artists or a garden society.  Or If words are a forte write a blog and exchange ideas 

Anyone with a particular interest can seek  help from the town's recreation department in locating or creating an association. 

It's a good place to be with everyone doing what they like and paying what it costs.

Not so great when I am taxed  to pay for someone else's taste in culture.

I object to that and I don't mind saying so.  Again and again 
until the message is heard.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AVAST YE SCURVY KNAVES !!!!!":

I have little knowledge as to what goes on at the culture centre. I have read numerous times that services provided elsewhere in town are being duplicated. Could someone provide some examples?
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 March 2015 at 14:29


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Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "AVAST YE SCURVY KNAVES !!!!!":

You've read that here, 14:29, and there's a high level of repetition on this blog.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 March 2015 at 15:00

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The repetition is strategic not by accident. The effect is beneficial to the argument.  People ask questions like the one above and opportunity presents to cover another a different aspect of the matter. 

No stone is left unturned 

Several programs have  been transferred to the old school by invitation. 

High school students recently  mounted an exhibition of their art. The Auroran published a feature on the event. 

Ample space exists within schools to exhibit student art. 

The  York County Board of Education Centre has ideal space to exhibit art within that facility. 

St Andrew's College exhibited an annual art show at the venue as well. They have better than adequate facilities in their own premises. 

I have no problem with either group gaining a larger audience for their work. But no urgent need can be argued for Church Street School to be made available. 

Aurora Town Hall houses the Skylight Gallery built for the purpose of providing a venue for the  Annual Aurora  Class A Art Show. 

The town built a fine  new facility for Aurora Seniors. A  large room full of light provides for all kinds of events. A Concert of Vera Lynn Songs was a feature of Christmas entertainment. 

Next thing we knew, the concert was held at Church Street School with nothing like the amenity of the centre. What was that about? 

The Town's recreation department with various revenue producing programs for children and adults suddenly found themselves in competition with programs at Church Street SchooL

Frequent reference  is made  to the blog of professional service providers scooped by  C.C. programs. 

Aurora Library has many activities beside book lending. All of them can be classified as culture. No need for duplication and yet there is. 

Space at the school is finite and limited. Yet staff are increased and must be accommodated. 

Nothing is going on in that building that could not easily be accommodated elsewhere in town facilities and churches within the community. 

Yes we will keep repeating the facts of the matter. Until every taxpayer In the town has heard the word:

The community is ill- served by such senseless extravagance. 

AVAST YE SCURVY KNAVES !!!!!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "THE QUESTION OF THE DAY":

@19:50/21:39/04:52/10:02 et al (the rest of the handful):

As our blog host said, "Whining and complaining does not make a favourable

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 March 2015 at 11:03


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Your blog host takes exception to words taken out of context. 

Rational opposition  by stakeholders taxed to purchase culture without as much as a by-your -leave, does not come under the heading of whining and  complaining. 

It represents the legitimate right of concerned and sensible property owners to object to a rash and incompetent annual budget decision to hand over almost $1million in cash and services-in-kind to a self-appointed board, that makes decisions behind closed doors, to spend as they will on programs already provided elsewhere in the community at no cost to the taxpayer. 

It represents 3 points on a tax bill set to rise by 5 +points with no obvious effort to exert control. 

From my perspective,opposition to spending on culture is strong, consistent,firm and continues to grow. The issue is still current. 

Sneering and jeering at those who oppose adds nothing to the cause. I suggest the opposite is true. 

Nincompoopery is not enhanced by hokerypokery. Snobby twits notwithstanding.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

THE QUESTION OF THE DAY

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "WHAT CAN WE MAKE OF THIS ?":

The loss of trust or even hope sometimes is reflected in the declining # of voters/ I have no idea how to remedy the 
situation.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 24 March 2015 at 08:35

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There is a major factor at play. People really need to believe in leaders. It's a double-edged sword. Trust  is easily given  because of the need. 

If it's not valued, it is easily betrayed. 

Life is tough for most people. Elected officials are required not to make things harder. 

It  is a compelling  need and anger knows no bounds if trust is betrayed.

A civil society needs  to respect its institutions.

When  a law is passed government needs to know it is accepted.

It is the definition of democracy.  An entire population cannot  be forced into respecting a bad law. No army is big enough to enforce a bad law. It will be challenged and fail. 

Like people cannot be forced to use clear plastic bags for garbage if it makes no sense.

Most of us can't be persuaded we should be taxed to buy culture for others.

But If a Mayor thinks it's a lovely idea and can manipulate things his way and  the tax is imposed on the rest of us whether we like it or not then we have the stirrings  of insurrection.

Ferguson is a tragic case in point. Two policemen have been shot. The Police Chief has had to resign. The Mayor's position is not secure. 

A study shows systemic racism exists in the police force? Was it also in the grand jury that found no fault with the shooting of an unarmed youth? What might  the same group  say about the random shooting of two policeman ?

Will the grand jury be next to fall? Where will it stop? What will it take to return Ferguson to the quiet orderly community it 
was thought to be? 

From a distance, it seems ordinary Americans have had much to endure in the last ten years. Rampant  greed and corruption leading to collapse of the economy and it seems government. 

Is Ferguson,  a community of 21,000 people at the "Tipping Point" ? Are others at the same point?

Was it O.K. for Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu  of Israel  to give a campaign speech in the American Senate attacking  the President because Republicans had control ?

Are more Republicans supportive of Israel than Democrats? 
I doubt that. 

Would Republicans have done that to Presidents Bush Kennedy or Clinton? 

Is there  a touch of systemic racism in the American Senate ? 

Is it easier for me as a white person to ask that question than it would be for a black person?

And Is that the essential definition of systemic racism? 

Monday, 23 March 2015

IN EVERYTHING THERE'S A LESSON

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "LIGHTER AND BRIGHTER":

15:16- I can see why candidates could have gotten upset with the vandalism of their signs. They do cost a lot of money to purchase, many hours from early morning to late evenings week days and weekends in all sorts of weather conditions. Candidates had family members, friends, neighbors giving their time to this task. Evelyn is right. It's all part of campaigning, but I can see why it was upsetting to some.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 22 March 2015 at 20:37


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Everybody gets upset when signs are vandalized. One learns from the experience. 

Signs are expensive. Maintenance is hard work.

Holding off on signs on public property means a shorter maintenance period.

Plastering the town with signs makes upkeep virtually impossible. 

Damaged signs must  be removed or replaced promptly.

The fewer and more strategically placed the more easily managed. 

Signs on private property may not be as visible but they are less liable to vandalism. 

They are also a declaration of support. 

Like everything else there are lessons to be learned. 

Setting oneself up for slights and hostilities that are not there is not helpful. It feels personal. 

Whining and complaining does not make a favourable impression.

Casting about for someone to blame is even worse. 

Pick yourself up. 
Dust yourself off . 
Start all over again.

WHAT DO WE MAKE OF THIS ?

As a child, everything learned about history was  too remote for relevance. I had to become fully adult to comprehend,

The  French Revolution is a case in point .The British government became fearful the abject misery of the poor might morph into rage  and blind determination for revenge. Police departments were created to protect private property and owners. 

The American Civil War was in my grandparents generation.
Immigrants were recruited for the army as they disembarked from leaky boats in New York. Many died cruelly ,fighting the same injustice they crossed the ocean to escape. 

Week-ends seem to be best for informative television. 

Last week W 5 told the story of 8  American "Whistleblowers"  inexplicably punished for steadfastly upholding the country's constitution against government transgressions. 

This week-end four programs were presented. Cave drawings in France between twenty and thirty thousand years old were ours to view in detail.Tiny flutes were discovered that still produced notes.

In a nature program a zoologist studying in Kenya for forty years to determine why lions live in a pride. All other cats are solitary

By studying several generations of lions in a single pride it was discovered whisker spots  are unique to each lion.
In the French cave drawings, whisker spots are clearly Identified on the muzzle of each lion.

Thirty thousand years ago,humans were recording in art for those who came after, the story of their lives and times in precise drawings on cave walls. 

A fourth story at the week-end told of a Canadian Judge convicted by a jury of murdering his wife despite irrefutable forensic evidence showing clearly ,the fatal shot was by her own hand.  

The Judge has spent three years in jail. All avenues of appeal have been exercised. To no avail. 

Canada's Justice Minister has agreed to review the case. 

Some years ago, a child of nine was raped and murdered in  Queensville. A young neighbour in his early twenties  was arrested and charged by York Regional Police ,tried and  found not guilty.

The Crown appealed. The second verdict of guilty was obtained. He spent seven years in jail. 

Eventually DNA evidence proved he was not the murderer.The crime was never solved.The story has no happy ending. 

When government institutions fail repeatedly I think the  accumulation of injustice is absorbed into the collective public consciousness. It erodes confidence and trust . 

Disrespect becomes the mode of reason.

Revenge becomes the coin of reckoning. 

In Ferguson Missouri, an unarmed black youth was shot by police in August 2014.  Strife continues. Even an appeal by the President has not ameliorated the situation.

Last week two Ferguson policemen were randomly shot during the continuing ferment.

Ferguson is a quiet unremarkable law -abiding community of 21,000 people.

Nine months  have passed. Still the community has not come to terms with an unarmed youth being shot by police and no satisfactory answers provided .

It seems nobody has any idea how to restore peace public trust and confidence in Ferguson, Missouri. 

THIS POST IS SHARED


R
                                Who died before they collected Canadian Pension Plan? (CPP)
  
                      
KEEP  PASSING THIS AROUND UNTIL EVERY ONE HAS HAD THE  OPPORTUNITY TO READ IT... THIS IS SURE SOMETHING TO  THINK ABOUT!!!!
  
         
THE  ONLY THING WRONG WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S CALCULATION OF  AVAILABLE CPP IS THAT THEY FORGOT TO FIGURE IN THE PEOPLE WHO DIED BEFORE THEY EVER COLLECTED A  CPP CHEQUE!!!
  
         
WHERE  DID THAT MONEY GO?
  
         
Remember,  not only did you and I contribute to CPP but your employer did, too. It totalled 15% of your  income before taxes. If you averaged only $30K over  your working life, that's close to $220,500. Read that  again. Did you see where the Government paid in one  single penny? 
  
     
We  are talking about the money you and your employer put  in a Government bank to insure you and I that we would  have a retirement cheque from the money we put in, not  the Government. Now they are calling the money we put  in an entitlement when we reach the age to take it  back. If you calculate the future invested value of  $4,500 per year (yours & your employer's  contribution) at a simple 5% interest (less than what  the govt. pays on the money that it borrows), after 49  years of working you'd have  $892,919.98.
  
         
If  you took out only 3% per year, you'd receive  $26,787.60 per year and it would last better than 30  years (until you're 95 if you retire at age 65) and  that's with no interest paid on that final amount on  deposit! If you bought an annuity and it paid 4% per  year, you'd have a lifetime income of $2,976.40 per  month.
  
         
Another  thing with me.... I have two deceased husbands who  died in their 50's, (one was 51 and the other one was  59 before one percent of their CPP could  be drawn). I worked all my life and am drawing 100% from my own CPP so I am receiving the maximum allowable payment per month. My two deceased husband's CPP money will never  have one cent drawn from what they paid into the CPP plan all  their lives.
  
       
     
THE FOLKS IN OTTAWA HAVE PULLED OFF A BIGGER PONZI SCHEME THAN BERNIE MADOFF EVER DID.
  
         
Entitlement  my foot, I paid cash for my CPP!  Just because they borrowed the money for other  government spending, doesn't make my benefits some  kind of charity or  handout!!
  
         
Remember  Senator's benefits? --- free healthcare,  outrageous retirement packages, 67 paid holidays,  three weeks paid vacation, unlimited paid sick days.  Now that's welfare, and they have the nerve to call my  CPP retirement payments entitlements?
  
   
          
         
They  call CPP an entitlement even  though most of us have been paying for it all our  working lives, and now, when it's time for us to  collect, the government is running out of money. Why  did the government borrow from it in the first place?  It was supposed to be in a locked box, not part of the  general  fund.
      

Sad  isn't  it?  99%  of people won't have the guts to forward this.   I'm in  the 1% and I just  did.
 

 
PS- Do you ever hear them talk about running out of welfare money ? ? ?