"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, 27 February 2015

Guest Post

GAnonymous has left a new comment on your post "Time Goes By In A Flash": 


It was just announced that Canada's inflation rate for January was up by only one percent from January of last year. This was a huge deviation from the expected one and one half percent that economists had forecast.

The culprit of the moment is the fall in gas prices, and related fossil fuel items.

Low inflation could lead to deflation, where prices and costs decline, and eventually even salaries and wages.

How to fight deflation? Look at Japan for over 20 years and they haven't overcome deflation.

Most western industrialized countries are trying to keep deflation at bay by central bankers reducing interest rates. This is supposed to entice companies into borrowing to invest in new plants, thereby 
creating new jobs. We have been living with these for six years.

But this is not happening. Corporate profits are at record highs as a result of severe cost cutting, sometimes even as a result of staff layoffs.

Apple recently borrowed $5 billion for five years at an interest rate of 0.7%. There are hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate treasuries, often borrowed, even though not needed, simply because the cost was so low.

There are now half a dozen European countries, including Germany, that are charging customers to keep their money in the bank; a so called negative interest rate.

But I don't see any of this reflected in our community, where this week's Auroran features an article that says the property tax rate for 2015 is now down to a proposed 5.66%. This follows fine tuning the Central York Fire Services request that would have seen a tax increase of 6.1%.

How is it that the country's inflation rate of 1%, and a great concern at that, can exist simultaneously with Aurora property tax payers who are looking at more than five times that?


Municipal government is obviously too expensive and its managers, both staff and elected members, are simply not doing everything necessary to contain costs, even if some services have to suffer.

Instead of monotonous discussion about clear garbage bags, why not cut collection days by fifty percent, or some similar service reduction.

By all means, explain it to the people, but then just go ahead and do it, and they might actually say thank you
Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 27 February 2015 at 21:32

Time Goes By In A Flash

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Saga Of Melting Snow. Now You See It. Now You ...": 


In his annual State of the Town address last week, Mayor Dawe's opening remarks 
"Taking risks - calculated risks - is an integral component of success."
L,,
This may be true if all the research has been expertly done. 

On the snow storage project, lacking even the most basic common sense, it would have been cancelled before huge amounts of taxpayer money were squandered.

Who was or who were responsible?

Does anyone know? Does anyone care?

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 26 February 2015 at 13:59


The project was a carry-over from the previous term. It kept coming back and being deferred. The  final vote was taken at the 
same time approval was given for the Joint Facility. 

Councillor Humphreys was absent. But mr. Constable had been 
brought  on board in time to safeguard the vote for the facility. 

He voted against the snow treatment facility which had reached a million dollars by that time. It was that vote that killed the project. 

The Mayor supported the project from beginning to end. 
Someone just commented we are only three months in to the term 
and three years until the next election. 

We have three new Councillors and Councillor Thompson.The latter may have realised his alliances in the last term were not particularly advantageous. 

The three new councillors acquitted themselves very well in their first campaign.They should be nurtured and encouraged. 

Stupidity Is The Coin Of The Realm

Christopher Watts has left a new comment on your post "Bathurst Tells The Story": 

"It's not indifference we see at election times. It's a severe malaise. Like a fever, it my have to run its course."

Brilliant quote Evelyn, but what if what we are seeing is not a fever but the return of terminal stupidity? 

Running its course seems to be the motto of the antivaxer movement when what we really need in out politicians is for them to muster the courage to roll up their sleeves and take a shot of common sense. 

Posted by Christopher Watts to  Our Town and Its Business at 27 February 2015 at 10:15


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I know nothing about the antivaxer movement.

Nor do I know what is meant by " the return of terminal stupidity.

What would encourage our local politicians "to roll up their sleeves and take a shot at common sense ? " 

Lack of success in the last election ? But that's not what happened. 

I was the champion of common sense. I was the one defeated. 

Mayor Dawe apparently confided to a colleague after his first election, he only wanted  two terms in the Mayor's  office. 

Now the second term is secure, we  are watching his successor, Councillor John Abel  being lined up to occupy the office next term.

Like....dividing the spoils. 

Now let's see how comfortable the rest  of Council is being clumsily shifted in that direction. 

It's the ultimate triumph of stupidity.

Bathurst Tells The Story

An elaborate accoustic fence  is being constructed to enclose the former Glenway golf course  on Bathurst Street in Newmarket. Obviously by the developer.

Further  south, in Aurora ,a decorator wood fence has been constructed on the same side of  Bathurst to enclose  back yards of subdivision.homes. It rises and dips with the contours of the land. In some places it disappears  below  the road level and serves no useful purpose whatsoever. Not even decorative.,

It was built by the Region. No expense spared. Trees were cut down. New trees planted.

Aurora originally  required lot lines be thirty yards back from  the.road  easement to maintain the ambiance of   countryside. No doubt the Region will be responsible to  maintain that fence forever and a day.

I believe $2 million tax dollars were spent. Regional staff  are said to be extremely accommodating to regional  council members. From the way it happened I doubt the fence was a capital item in any long term forecast.

It would not therefore be in any calculation of development charges.

Homeowners gifted with the fence had complained they bought homes when Bathurst Street was a country road with little traffic aand expected it to stay that way. Since they came ,traffic increased  dramatically and they were entitled to protection.

And so it came to be. At the expense of the rest of us. No principles apply. 

I doubt we should look for principles other than purely political in any Regional decision. Out of sight.out of mind.

Any more than we expect them  at the Provincial or Municipal or Federal levels of government.

The similarities are outstanding.

It's not indifference we see at election times. It's  a severe malaise. Like a fever ,it my have to run its
course.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Saga Of Melting Snow. Now You See It. Now You Dont

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Perception Is The Reality": 

Ah, 20:10. Do try to enjoy the bright days and the fact that no one here appears to be agitating for some scheme to treat our snow. I have to wonder how many, if any, municipalities bought into that region initiative. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 23 February 2015 at 20:5

*****************************
It was not a regional initiative. It was a copy cat from Richmond Hill. 

A new  budget item in 2006 was an environmental engineer at a cost of  $100.thousand a year to start off. It costs  $30 thou.to equip a new staff, plus space.The recommendation came from  the citizens environmental advisory committee.

I asked the function. .  "Identifying  environmental initiatives "  was the answer 

Each year thereafter I asked for  initiatives identified. 

The question would  be greeted with bemused but knowing glances around the table.

Subsequently $750,000. appeared in the capital budget for a treatment facility for "stored " snow.

By the next year $167,000 had been spent for a design of  a treatment facility. Approval  was sought  to build the facility.

Snow from a few central streets is dumped on a permeable parking lot that wasn't used in winter. The previous dump  is now the community gardens site. It just sat there minding its own business until it melts in the spring.

Now staff were ready to proceed to the next step of calling bids for a facility to remove salt from the melting snow. It involved paving the parking lot creating a runnels for the melt to dlow into the
"Treatment " facility.

My first thought was that parking lot is a permeable surface. Melt would filter through.The lot is
on the edge of  the Lambert Wilson ravine.Why is treatment needed? second thought :  salt can't be removed from water.  Third, where there is salt, there can be no snow.

Salt is contra-indicated.

Conclusion  :what kind of a cockamamie scheme is this?

Then  they said it wasn't really about removing salt. Pathogens were the problem. They come from animal excrement.

The unlikelihood of dogs squatting at the side of Yonge Street to relieve themselves in the snow was
pointed out . That explanation was not used again.

A Regional official  was brought in to inform Council the snow dump was on the well head protection
area.  The treatment was needed to protect the water supply.

So, why not just move the dump I said or buy e quip net to melt the snow where it falls.

Approval was withheld  but neither was the project rejected. Instead the price went up to $850,000.

Accommodation for the treatment facility was included in the plans for the new Joint Facility for parks and works department.

As luck would have it ,the price of that boondoggle rose to $26 million from $14 million.

Finally the snow melt treatment facility was eliminated.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sex Complicates Things

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Sex In The Classroom": 

You are clearly in the dark ages on sexuallity.Get with  the times or at least close to it 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 25 February 2015 at 14:01


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

O.K. So we are going to talk about sex.

The comment may be correct. I may be in the dark ages.

The question for him to consider is how many of us are. 

I have no inclination to tell another adult how they should live their lives. We can't know each other's experience. 

I believe marriage is essentially a legal contract. Whoever wishes to make a legal contract has a right to do so.

If someone dear to me informed me he was a homosexual, I would love him no less. I would not consider it glad tidings. I would be concerned about problems he might encounter.

 Child-rearing has never been easy. We do our best but I doubt many feel their best was good enough

Nurturing matters. Protection from harm is part of it. Knowing who they are with. What influence they are exposed to.is all part and parcel  It's hard.

Surrendering parental authority to guide character to a government institution is not going to be an easy sell.

Sex is more than  momentary satisfaction . It is part of a healthy relationship. And self-respect.

Take those two components out of the equation. What do you have left?

Sex In The Classroom

Do we have an opinion about the province's sex education curriculum. ? I think yes.

Are we going to engage in the discussion?  Maybe not.

The exchange between Barrie MLA John  MacNaughton and Premier Wynne makes for an interesting start.

Mr MacNaughton,leadership candidate for Conservatives ,said something about the government,
"Eapecially Kathleen Wynne" should not be .........

City line reporter Cynthia Mulligan asked the MLA directly if that was a shot at the Premier because she is lesbian.

Mr. McNaughton said  "Of course not".

But if it.wasn't,what was it ? Why did he say it? And why did he back off?

The Premier on the other hand decided to call Mr.McNaughton out on his comment.

In the legislative assembly  He was asked to explain:

"Is it because I am a woman ...is it because I am a mother...Is it because I have a Masters Degree in Education....is it because I have served as Minister of Education . Mr. Speaker" she asked.

She  did not ask . " Is it because I am lesbian?"

Both  members are equally aware of  what they were talking about.

Both tip-toed delicately all around it.

I think it may be the sticking point of the sex education curriculum.

Are.we  going  to teach children in the classroom that homosexuality is an acceptable life style?

Are parents prepared to  go that far?

I believe it's past time to accept that children are sexual beings and society needs  to have a conversation about how to teach them  what they need to know for their own protection.

The issue is huge. If parents don't do it, plenty of others are willing and apparently have filled the vacuum with stuff parents are not willing to live with.

If  sexually transmitted disease amongst children, particularly girls, is the crisis pushing this curriculum forward ,parents need to know and deal with it now.

I have read or heard about that  aspect but not extensively.

If anal sex and oral sex are the root of the problem  that's a question of hygiene and God  knows what other health scourge might develop.,

The awful consequence of the practices  is surely sufficient and natural argument against them.

To say nothing of the need  to respect one's own body.

Teaching children how to do it safely is ass backwards in my judgement.Pardon the pun .

It's not likely to gain acceptance. And neither it should.

Furthermore if parents are not the ones to teach their children, why would teachers do it better.?

Are they not parents also?

What  kind of a mine field is being set up for teachers ?

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

"A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." Jackie Robinson, first black baseball player in the national league.

Any time there's a gap in posts, you can be sure there are three or four drafts that didn't get published.

If the ideas expressed are  too depressing ,I am not inclined to share . Everybody has  stuffto cope with.

I am working on Heather to write a blog about the ongoing story of having a  baby, a boy,now a man like Adam in the family. We didn't have social media when he was born. He will soon be thirty years old.

Adam is Heather and Andy's first born. Two brothers and a sister  followed so he has always been there as older brother.

When  brother Aaron was about twelve he  had to teach a teacher. An assigned  essay was  handed in. The  teacher took it upon herself to make a correction. Teacher  learned something from  student
that day.

Aaron has many fine qualities I  particularly admire.

This journey has been on-going learning experience for all of ua. Adam has been our teacher.
He continues  to amaze and entertain .The day he was born he contradicted  conventional wisdom
and has been doing it ever since.

But social media allows so much to be shared. Many new parents do not know what to expect and
social supports provided is often informed by text books.Themselves  limited by the mindset of an author without the experience of a family.

As parents, Heather and Andy have quietly, steadily and persistently worked to make a difference in the lives of their children. They kept the faith and pioneered. They found hope, encouragement and success all along the way.

It may not be the same everywhere .  The experience needs to be shared for the greatest benefit

Adam's thirtieth birthday is at the end of May.

A good time to launch a  Blog

Monday, 23 February 2015

Perception Is The Reality

The sky is blue,sun reflection on the snow is blinding.

Grand-daughter Vanessa has e-mailed flights are booked for July 14th to August 4th.

Meghan went back to University yesterday. Her first year is almost over and she managed fine. She  is up to the challenge.

Stephanie is driving home from Peterboruogh but the roads should be dry and visibility good.

Ninth great-grand-daughter has made her appearance. All is well.A second set of three sisters is established.

It's still  bone chilling cold. I am no more inclined to go out for the sake of going  out. At least  I awake earlier and rise easier in the morning  Better  than snuggling in for another  hour under the duvet. 

Readers note,I am  consciously counting blessings.It is essential this Monday morning.

Beyond the family, the weekend was both worrisome and wearisome. 

Saturday's one-on-one interview between Premier Kathleen Wynne  and Peter Mansbridge to justify nefarious Liberal activities in the Sudbury by-election was an insult to intelligence.

Sunday's defence by Liberal Chair of the Standing Commitee of Inquiry into cancellation of
construction  contracts at a cost exceeding  a billion dollars was equally appalling. A  peurile attempt to justify  the unbelievable caprice of  past leader Dalton McGuinty.

It seems everything learned has been unlearned.

It's not enough for things to be right, they must appear to  be right.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

A Special Announcement.

Cecily Lydia Buck has arrived safely and is about an hour more than one day old. Already her perfectly beautifully formed  little face is familiar to dozens and dozens of family and friends and. her welcome is all encompassing.
Her sisters have claimed ownership and because Isla and Maeva are two and one year old, They will not  recall a time when she was not a member of the family.
She is ninth in the third  generation of my family in Canada .
This is a singular occasion.

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

Silence Is Golden

Comments of  Toronto 's. Mayor  and Councillors on thebudget  have been  interesting. Particularly  reference to the impact on taxpayers.

Staff are conspicuous in their absence.

Unlike Aurora. Opening statement on Thev budget  was delivered by  CAO. Neil Garabe

A hundred people  responding to an on- line invitation had it dubbed "Citizens Budget"

The main u request was to spend less on culture.

Manager of Communications  MIchael Kemp noted difficulty interpreting  because programming is provided by the Town and  the Culture Centre. Programs provided  by the town are not money grabbers. Revenues are derived.

Mr. Kemp's difficulty clearly derived from lack  of knowing whereoff he spoke.

Mr Elliott, Chief Financial Officer , was quoted the  "input" proved  "we are on the  right track"

Nary a word was heard from the Mayor or any Aurora  Councllor of  impact on taxpayers .

Never  a dicky bird quoted on  these or any aspect of the town budget.

Like silence on the failure to apply  within deadline for funding available  from the feds for severe winter storm damage from last year .

Mum's  the word on the barn we bought  for half a million dollars from the feds that turns out to have been a pig in a poke.

Structure  and site are contaminated. Cost of remediation unknown.

A comment has informed us the Mayor and two councillors went to Markham to see clear bags collected at the roadside to satisfy themselves the program was viable.

It explains how things were done in the last term. The close knit relationship with staff.
Exclusionary practice towards Council.

It's one way to ensure things get done with least public discussion.

It's just not what we are in the habit of thinking of as participatory democracy.







Friday, 20 February 2015

The Tip Tip Tipping Point

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Extreme Contrast": 

21:20 Ever think this might be smoke and mirrors.They know about the registered dump site on the moraine, in our Town, but have stayed silent.They want to look like they care about the enviornment.

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 20 February 2015 at 11:28


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

I am not sure who "they" are. The dump referred to  is probably the one closed more than forty years ago.

It was probably opened eighty years ago.  Long  before  there was a Region  Planning Department, before geological studies were undertaken and the Oak Fidges Moraine identified. That happened in the seventies.

It  took the Province forty years to  pass the Oak Ridges  Moraine Act, a long and arduous process . Not made  easier at the end by the nincompoopery brigade who arrived at the end and  leaped nimbly on to the bandwagon.

They claimed  discovery of the moraine for themselves like they had just climbed Mount Everest
and planted a flag.

Ever since they have been claiming beautitude  status as opposed to all the other villains who keep silent about a dump closed for years and constantly monitored.

Toronto's garbage is being trucked to London.. A  daily cavalcade of  diesel  trucks trundle down the 401 spewing out black exhaust from tiny chimney's with  asshat lids above the drivers' heads contributing mightily  to the grey pall of pollution that hovers over the city  and creeps ever further north into York Region.

It can be seen resting like a blanket over  entire the metropolis.iT used to be just over the highways.Yet no-one complains

Regions of York and Durham have invested mega millions in an incinerator to burn garbage produced by the denizens of the north.

Now proposed are see through garbage bags to prevent undesirable waste from reaching the incinerator. IF it does, the private company contracted to operate,the public facility can refuse to accept it.

We don't know if that has happened.

It has not been reported.

All we know is that from reporting initial phenomenal success of garbage separation and the green bin program ,we are suddenly advised of the need to examine the contents of garbage bags.

It looks  to me like we have reached the tipping point.

The program requires  public co-operation

By my reading, that is not going to happen.

The natives are restless ,Bwana