"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, 29 August 2016

SUCCESS IS IN ITS FUTURE

Michael Smerconish is a legal-analyst CNN Associate. He participates on the cacaphony panel 
discussions but also has his own program. On Saturday his topic was social media. He talked about blogs and comments specifically. He also has a column. 

Research indicates all comments are contributed by 6% of readers. Apparently comments to his 
column are all insulting and abusive. He doesn't read any. 

Blogs ,he said ,allow people to say things they would never dream of saying to a person's face. While hiding behind a pseudonym.

 I only read one other blog. But I know that's true of comments as well.  

Since my computer was hacked ,I receive mostly critical or abusive comments but not many. 

 I started sharing posts on Facebook about the same time. Traffic data shows most link-ins are through Google and Facebook. 

 I miss the conversational comments. The others are  deleted but I would just as soon be ble to shut them out altogether. They are not friends. 

It's going to be interesting to watch how social media evolves. I still think it's a living wonder but it's  not an unmixed blessing. Speed and power are positively mind-boggling and scary as well. 

I suspect whatever discipline comes to bear  must come from within. It's hard to see how since the media belongs to the young.  The  discipline of foregoing generations has not stood  up well to the test of time and there hasn't been time for them to fashion its replacement. 

If it doesn't happen, it will destroy itself and everything else along with it. 

In the meantime, we'll just keep pecking away at the edges

Saturday, 27 August 2016

A YOUTHFUL PERSPECTIVE

I just shared a video on Facebook about "The Problem with Millennials ".

A young woman laments the shortcomings of her generation.The list is full and complete ; Selfishness ,Entitlement,Lack of Respect for Values or Relationships,Contributing Nothing   to Society.

Finally, she says she knows they were raised better. 

Of course, she doesn't know that at all. 

She only knows how she was raised and assumes everyone had the same advantage. She also believes  everyone possesses equal shares of conscience, courage and intellectual competence

In several decades of involvement in our small town's affairs, I had a front row seat to the pageant of changing generations.The list of failings is familiar.

The  pattern was not even. The telling point was, when push came to shove ,too often
the majority were willing to pander. Whatever the demands,however selfish and unreasonable. however unfair to the taxpayers they were elected to serve, the easy path was the one most chosen. 

Four of the last elections changed the face of council but none had the effect of altering the pattern. At every level political expediency rules the day.  

Nothing makes the point more than former Premier Dalton McGuinty's decision to cancel construction of two gas-fired hydro generation plants on Lake Ontario, at a cost in excess of a billion dollars.
Partial  structures surrounded by rusting  padlocked chain-link fences are monuments to that betrayal of public trust. 

Two of McGuinty's staff have been charged with Breach of Trust. Himself however  resigned and wrote a book on successful leadership and toured the Province promoting himself and the book. 

Liberals were re-elected. Because the opposition offered nothing better. 

At our level, more often than not, mine was a lonely voice in opposition. 

I had five hours alone with my great-grand-daughter Abigail this summer. She loves to have time alone with Aunt Stephanie. She was allowed to stay one more night and go home after Stephanie finished a work shift.  She was not to go in the pool when Stephanie wasn't  here. 

It hardly seemed reasonable but she didn't argue. She wanted to stay. 

I went into the pool. She came too and stayed in the shallow end. When we sat drying on the deck after, I asked her. 

"What are you going to tell Mum If she asks?" 

She took a little time to answer.

"You can't  lie "  I prodded.

She raised her shoulders, spread her hands, fingers like spokes on a carriage wheel and said simply and obviously;

"I didn't drown "

The answer pleased me more than I can say. Abigail is ten years old and completely sensible . If 
nothing  happens to take her off course, she'll be fine. 

I asked about friends. She said her best friend might not be best for her. She uses bad words. 

I asked where she might have learned.  

Her parents fight a lot . She has brothers. 

Well,I said maybe you could influence her rather the other way about. 

I had no doubt she understood. If she really loved her friend and there is no love so pure as a child's, she would accept the challenge. 

I did not tell her to lose the friend. 

I used to think momentarily ,on occasion, there was little point in doing what I did as a Councillor. 
It would be so much easier to go with the crowd. 

Except, for me, it would have been impossible. I'm not bent that way.  Neither is Abigail. 

Nor is she alone either.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

MY WEE SHOE ALL DRESSED IN BLUE...DIED LAST NIGHT AT HALF-PAST TWO

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "THREE BLIND MICE GOT THEIR TAILS CUT OFF": 

I am not sure why our host thinks that the truck sign is out of place. The road is a fairly busy route from Yonge St to Bathurst St. I use it often. If I am getting a coffee at a drive thru on Yonge Street but I have to get to highway 400, what are my options? 

1. Yonge to King Road... drive through Oakridges at 60km/h
2. Backtrack to Wellington and take over to 400
3. Cut across Henderson to Bathurst!!  

Trucks started to do it.. so they put up the sign. Nothing out of place here... move on. 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 24 August 2016 at 15:55

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

The comment compels me to make some assumptions. 
The writer drives a truck. 
From various non-options presented, using Henderson to reach Bathurst is his only option. 
Despite that he thinks a sign banning trucks on Henderson Drive is sensible.
He doesn't see an issue. 

"Nothing out of place here...move on." he says.

I had actually moved on but his logic escapes me.

The first challenge  is authority to tell a trucker who has paid all Ontario taxes and permit fees to drive  on Ontario public rights-of-way,he can't.

Second is significance of the sign. It's a truck with a red line through it. 

No bylaw is cited. No indication of a bylaw. 

Police enforce traffic laws. No-one  else has authority to interfere with a citizen's right to go about his lawful business. 

A sworn officer has authority and responsibility to exercise judgement in the matter. 

No small consideration has to be validity of a charge for an offense.

A sign ,with an illustration , above a caution sign with an illustration,carries no weight in law. 

No bylaw is cited. No area designated . No penalty for the offense.

The crux of the matter is....the sign will not likely be enforced. 

It's all ballyhoo...the currency of our times. 

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

SAFETY IN NUMBERS


I am trying not to think about it. I don't want to write about it. Nothing about it makes me want to engage. 

The problem is, it stops me from writing about anything else. 

just watched a video of the late Patrick Swayze and his wife dance together at a 1994 music festival ..very beautiful ...but nonetheless , just an effort to occupy my own attention.  

For weeks I've sought distraction from the real world and the pall that seems to have settled with the U.S. Presidential election. 

It is so disgusting. Everything it touches is degraded.  There's no escape. 

It's like a horror movie script that's never likely to be produced because it's  just not believable.

Yet it is happening in real time and advancing like a juggernaut. Nothing it seems, can stand in its way.

We watch while a civilized society, turns barbaric with inexorable ease. 

I still wonder how The Holocaust could have happened in a civilized society in the twentieth century.

 I think I know after witnessing the conduct of the Republican candidate for the Office of President. 

The brutish duplication over and over, like the broom in Disney's movie,Sorcerer's Apprentice. 

Copies differ but only the original has thatch in varying tones of orange atop its head. Except for colour, not unlike the main character in The Simpsons T.V.series. 

Most units have block heads ,black hair, short back and sides and eyes glittering like black pebbles.

The females are mostly blonde with shrill nasal twang to their voices. 

Motor mouths dominate.They rise and speed up to drown any and all opposing opinions. From time to time, replacements create the illusion of multiplicity. 

With competing voices of journalist "hosts",  the resulting cacaphony is an assault to the ears.  

Lies, blatant distortions, shameless contradictions, false accusations, vile name-calling, none too base to hurl at the last competitor left standing in the way of the buccaneer determined to occupy the Oval Office of the American President. 

Republicans are in great disarray. Appalled by their candidate's conduct, many have defected. Others have obviously decided they can bring him to heel behind the Party line. 

He has obviously,oh so obviously, decided to play along with that belief. The mob backing him appears all too willing to follow. 

It's not how he won support in the primaries.

But no matter...whatever way they turn...they are looking into an abyss. 

The only way they can win is to grind Hillary Clinton into small pieces and feed her to the fishes. 

They are more than willing to try. All pretense at civility is scattered to the wind. 

 It's a sickening display.

It's authentic alright.

Pure and unadulterated vitriol. 

We've seen it before ....up close and personal. 

Friday, 19 August 2016

GIPSY,GYPSY,LIVES IN A TENT

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "THREE BLIND MICE GOT THEIR TAILS CUT OFF": 
Zero comments on this and the previous.

A disengaged public?

HEAT PROSTRATION?

Boring? 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 15 August 2016 at 21:01

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

None of the above. 

On Sunday evening, I received a message from my cousin in Scotland . She had received a message from me that I was stranded and send money immediately. 

Skullduggery was obviously afoot. 

It took until yesterday for Stephanie to restore Ipad to somewhat normal. It's not the same as before. The return has been sporadic. Comments to blogs I posted were the last to be recovered and posted. A nasty missile was first to appear. I couldn't help feeling I'd been missed. 

One argued putting up a sign notifying  truck drivers that children play where it would be utterly suicidal for children to play, makes obvious sense. 

Such a sign would make no more sense on Murray Drive, Kennedy Street West, Aurora Heights Drive, Orchard Heights ...all  are through roads from Yonge to Bathurst. 

In their right mind , no-one would suggest any are safe for children to play. And they don't have retail /commercial on both sides of the road at the intersection where Henderson Drive sign is posted. 

It was a week of computer disruption  But it didn't end there. 

On Thursday,Stephanie came up with Calico Jack cradled in her arms. 

"He's not well.Grannie . He hasn't eaten for two days and last night he was pacing the floor and crying". She had to take him to the vet ... a decision not lightly undertaken. Vets are a costly business. 

She came home alone, weeping. The cat was in renal failure, needed morphine to relieve the pain 
At sixteen, likely had reached the end of his journey.  We wept together. The decision would be made on Monday. 

The thought of him spending his last days in a cage in a strange place with strangers was too much. 

On Saturday, she brought him home. He took over the bathroom which seems to be his favorite place.
It's small and compact and has a soft welcoming mat on the floor. Stephanie transported cushions for herself. He promptly took possession of them as well. She had to inject the drug and he offered no resistance. Never moved from the bathroom. An air mattress was retrieved from camping equipment and Stephanie made her bed close by. 

C.J. Is still with us. The encampment has since been dismantled. 

During the day he stretches  himself in familiar splendour on my bed, where he knows he is not normally welcome. He is eating again and fighting the injections.

The house is no longer filled with foreboding. 

For all we know he may have eight lives left to live. 

ON-LINE BUYER BE-WARY

I've been dealing with a problem since March. I think it's worth sharing. 

A $60, payment was made in error to a seldom used MasterCard. I have little use for credit cards. I was  solicited in Superstore for this one. 

A credit can only be redeemed by making a charge against the card. I charged a gas purchase ,a hospital parking ticket and still had a small credit balance. 

I needed a moisturizing cream and did something I've purposely never done before. I gave my credit card number. 

A free trial was  being promoted on-line with payment of a small shipping charge. Ellen de Generis was an advocate.  I do not expect to turn back the clock to reverse the effect of decades of aging but for minimum cost and having the credit, I decided it was worth taking a chance. Whoopee !!!

My first statement showed higher shipping charges than cited but it was  still not a big deal. I made no 
issue. The second statement had charges of $260. and interest on purchases.

I started out on the first phone expedition to correct whatever error had occurred. 

It's an experience in itself. MasterCard's representative explained the free sample shipping container had fine print  attached. Dis-satisfaction with the product required return within fourteen days.

If not returned within the time, a contract would be entered , products would be shipped monthly and charges applied to the MasterCard account. Even as we spoke, new charges had been recorded and the statement balance was over $530.

MasterCard's rep was sympathetic to my plight. Eighty per cent of all client disputes relate to 
the same problem,she said. Which would seem to indicate something amiss.   Unfortunately, they could not correct the problem. 

I didn't see it that way. 

A request to speak to a supervisor required my phone number and a return call within forty-eight hours. I did not choose that either. I called the Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Commercial affairs 
to file a complaint.. The shipments were from Cambridge,London and the last from a North York P.O.Box. 

Ministry advice  was to contact the company selling the product. 

I did that. The contact was in South Carolina. The "subscription" was cancelled and a twenty-five per cent refund was  promised. 

My next statement showed a reduced balance and was followed by a notice the outstanding payment of $58. required  the account  be referred to an external collection agency. 

I  composed  a letter outlining my experience.

 I have never been so well off as to afford to be in debt. 

I made another call. Told the story one more time. Thanked everyone for their help and asked the name and address of Presidents of Superstore and Master Card each to receive copies of the letter. 

Scant  hours later,I received a phone call. The upshot of which, the problem is resolved. 

It took from March until August but all's well that ends well and it never hurts to be persistent. 

Sunday, 14 August 2016

THREE BLIND MICE GOT THEIR TAILS CUT OFF

YUp

What's  wrong with this picture?

 Posted by the town  Friday on Facebook , in response to a delegation from residents complaining about noise, speed and increased traffic on Henderson Drive.

Appreciation is expressed in a handful of comments.

In the exact location, retail/ commercial frontage occupies both sides of the street. Mary Brown's Chicken closed recently after many years in that spot. The  taters were a special favorite with my grandchildren. Sandwich and salads were the best. The vacancy has been filled but will not likely last forty years. Not without supplies. 

On the south side of  Henderson, Metro supermarket, Harvey's /Swiss Chalet, Dry  Cleaners, Pet Shop  and a couple of other units have also traded since the seventies. A dollar store recently replaced a Drivers' Examination Centre. The latter was a real problem for the immediate neighbourhood with drivers being put through test maneuvers on short ,interior courts . I never understood why the examination Centre was permitted in a retail/commercial zone. The Province doesn't require municipal approval.   

The sign carries a picture of a child running and playing ball on the street. 

It's a lie. A total Trumpian falsehood. I tell you this, it's a fabrication of a twisted and distorted mind. 

In forty years, since the road was opened, as I exited on to Yonge from my neighbourhood, I have never seen a child play on Henderson Drive. Not there , not with a ball, a hockey net, a skate board, a dirt bike ....nuthin'

Why would they? In that location ,both sides of the road are retail /commercial with access to parking lots for business that need deliveries. ..deliveries  that can't be made except with  trucks. 

Council, in all its wisdom, has decided it shall not be. 

Henderson is a through road to Bathurst. Throughout it's length, except for the town house complex
at the Yonge Street end ,one other residence has frontage but no access . 

Residential and  retail commercial at Yonge Street intersection was the original plan of subdivision. 

Henderson had to be constructed  from Lee Gate to Yonge  for the development to proceed, at 
the developer's cost. 

At Bathurst Street end, another developer was required to construct the road from Seaton to Bathurst ,with residential development on the north side only and no lots with access. The developer was bankrupted one Friday afternoon when the road contractor pulled men and equipment off the job because he hadn't been paid. 

Henderson Drive town house residents always shared the road with retail/commercial delivery trucks. The Region required that road configuration. 

Since the first sale, no buyer has ever have been unaware of the character of the neighbourhood. 

Deliveries  are an essential feature of retail business . Banning trucks is contra-indicated. 
People buy. Supplies must be replaced. 

No replacement......business trickles down . ..Zero, Zilch, Nil and Nada......Amen my friend...
Business ends.

Within Environment  and Infrastructure, the town employs a traffic engineering division. 
Untold millions have been expended for space to accommodate the division. 

I'd bet dollars to donuts, no professional input went into the decision to prohibit trucks from Henderson Drive. 

Enforcement of traffic regulation is the responsibility of York Regional Police Department. 

Unless it makes sense, it's not going to happen? How do you tell a truck driver he can't drive on a road he paid to drive on?

I daresay if remaining  business follows Mary Brown's Chicken out of town,  neighbours and Council will be happy to see the traffic problem resolved.

Monday, 8 August 2016

FLIES IN THE SUGAR BOWL, SKIP TO MY LOU

,Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "DICK WHITTINGTON , DICK WHITTINGTON WHERE HAVE YOU...": 

Maybe they were planning for a hotel? 

Posted by Anonymous to  Our Town and Its Business at 8 August 2016 at 14:39

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

Now that's funny. Again with pie in the sky. Everything except decisions within Council authority.

Like on a scale of one to ten, what are Aurora's chances of enticing a second hotel to locate in Town ?

CAO says 7. Like negating development charges will make the difference.

We already have a hotel. Closed. Defunct. Vacated. Vamoosed without as much as Farewell,
fair friend.

 They  did not exactly fold  their tent and steal away into the night, they certainly left without saying ,
So long, it's been good to know you. 

Whatever problems were there, were not shared with the town. Leaving Council in the awkward position of being last to know and still knowing nothing. 

When realisation set in,Mayor and Council fussed and mused. Oh dear, what can the matter be?

But the hotelier wouldn't tell. Didn't have to. No interest was shown while the hearth was warm, no 
explanation was forthcoming  when the lights were turned out. 

The town has an economic  development  division. Salaries in the sunshine list. Creating a line of communication between town and partners in business is not within their responsibility.  

Tinker Bell is in permanent residence at the Town Hall with an endless supply of thick fairy dust to persuade boys and girls in the circle who believe they have power they don't . 

A site for a hostelry was approved is out there by Hwy 404 seven years since. The  Mayor told 
guests at his first Chamber of Commerce luncheon, the good news. 

Like Stronach's Wilderness Park ,it came to nothing. But unlike the park, for no discernible reason.

So what would a potential seeker of a hotel location seek? 

Good business practices ? The  list of decisions pending, might  soon answer that question. 

Good Fiscal management? The  Culture Centre contract and ditched opportunities for revenue 
snuffs that feeble flame.

A relationship with existing business ? A poke at the archives dispel any illusion the most optimistic of entrepreneurs might have. 

A closed and shuttered modern hotel building would certainly be a red flag. 

St. Andrew's College Banners on town light standards might be noticed.  Does St. Andrew's still provide meals and accommodation to visiting team in summer? 

Competition from the Soccer Club facility and the Legion and all the other clubs that want the town to provide free facilities for meetings and dinners and fundraisers and such might easily be detected. 

A Council responding  eagerly to every citizen demand, at taxpayers' expense,without thought to those trying to make a living while carrying a disproportionate tax load might be a deterrent. 

A successful hotel chain would  likely know what to look for in a preferred location. And what to avoid. 

Damned if I can detect the fancy footwork Geoffrey Dawe and his merry men and maids might need to SKIP TO MY LOU.

DICK WHITTINGTON , DICK WHITTINGTON WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

Pre-occupation with the family gathering for the wedding meant I wasn't paying the same attention to the town's affairs. I wasn't even dividing my attention but I was keeping my eye on the headlines and  the last two issues of the paper were on the table in front of me, most of it waiting to be read. 

Seems the town had a visit from Patrick Brown, head of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. 
Hosted, it appears by the Mayor and one other,not Councillor Paul Pirrie. The doughty pair took  the provincial  pol on a tour of various points of non- interest in the town; the downtown core on a Saturday morning for example.

The Mayor and the  Honorable Member paused for photo opportunity at the library. 

One can't help wondering how the conversation went. 

Would they chat about twenty- odd years and thousands of dollars spent on engineering studies and successive councils that failed to make the obvious decision on redundant buildings on Victoria Street?

Would they lament  the fifty-five year failure to implement avowed intent to revitalize the down-town core ?

Would they show off  the  centre of culture in our town at Church Street School and tell him about the culture contract with a private self-appointed Board that pays neither rent nor maintenance for a public facility and meets in secret and discuss how to spend ,as they see fit ,hundreds of thousands of tax dollars transferred  to them by our elected council?

The old drill shed on the corner of the Town Park and the genius of paying the Federal government more than half a million for the contaminated antiquary  for which they have no stated use, might have been on the tour and entered the conversation while in the proximity, visiting  the Farmers' Market.

There would likely be no time to show off the wizard  traffic calming plan in the Heritage Neighbourhood in the central north- east quadrant or the resulting traffic grid-lock at Yonge And Wellington.

Or new joint Centre for works and parks completed and occupied without fanfare or publicity, almost surreptitiously, just a few short weeks  ago .

Or the six acres here and seventeen acres there, taken out of private  into public ownership at a loss forever of municipal revenue to pay for municipal services. 

Come  to think of  it...what would the trio chat be about? 

What could Patrick Brown, Geoff Dawe or John Abel have to say to each other about Aurora's affairs on a sunny Saturday morning in the vibrant, bustling Town of Aurora. 

What would be the point of the visit?