"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, 21 November 2014

What does it take?

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Facebook...Open Book....Few Surprises":

You can just as easily 'Unlike' a Facebook post/comment.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 21 November 2014 12:59


Stephanie just told me that. But my grand-daughter was not on hand at the time.

No matter. there are a couple of other things that need to be said.

The flyer posted by Councillor Mrakas  on Facebook  was not identified. I had heard former Councillor, now MLA Christopher Ballard was  calling for a town hall meeting to oppose
residential  development.

I had seen an e-mail indicating Councillor Abel had referenced  a park.

Now  freshly elected ,full of enthusiasm for how much better things might be done with co-operation,
Councillor Mrakas has  put both ideas forward obligingly ,with no other  name mentioned.

It should be noted the flyer mentions " passive park" as the second option to infill residential development.

A passive park is one with no activityNo baseball diamonds, no soccer fields, no skate board facility. no all season tennis  courts, ; nothing at all to disturb peace, tranquillity and absolute privacy of the
neighbourhood. No pesky human activity of any kind.

The golf course stretches from Yonge Street, behind Highland Gate Condominiums, right out to Bathurst Street.

The town is entitled to take 5% of development land for parks .

There could be a trail.

The creek would certainly be conservation.

The province has a policy for high-density infill with the objective of saving  farmland and  preventing urban sprawl.

The Region's  Planning Department is charged with responsibility for making that happen.

The situation has all the elements .

Facebook...Open Book....Few Surprises

 Facebook is not yet a routine  I have not adjusted to the discipline.

Recently my finger hovered with no purpose in mind  and auddenly  "Like" activated .

By the nature of  Facebook, it would not normally be an issue.

But it was a political statement. Councillor--elect Mrakas posted an anonymous leaflet rallying home -owners to an organization  meeting at the town hall on Monday night.  The golf club  closure is the issue.

Two options present as future use;  high density residential or a passive park.

Councillors Abel, Humphreys,Mrakas and Thoms have been consulted. They look forward to meeting with residents at the meeting.

Before the issue hits the fan,I wish to note IPad is a highly sensitive instrument. Too damned sensitive.

I did not intend to click on Like.

The suggestion Highland Gate  Golf  Course  does not come as a surprise.

If a redundant  6 acre school site, why not a 98.8 acre golf course ?

Endorsation  by  Councillors is hardly unprecedented either.

The town is currently engaged in litigation to compel  the developer to sell the property to the town for a fraction of it's value for an unidentified need with no documentation to support a park.

Mayor  Dawe is responding to golf course neighbours on status and the requirements of the Planning Act which provides  ample opportunity for input.

Councillor Mrakas is quoted this week on how well things go when everyone is on the same page

I suppose  he could have been referring to the Facebook page.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Who The Hell I Am

On Friday evening, I called the desk sergeant at Number One District  and asked what it would take to withdraw the charge for stealing a poppy box.

A store can withdraw shoplifting charges if they choose. It occurred to me if an offer was made to restore whatever was in the  box considerable expense and misery might be avoided.

Charges could not be withdrawn. The process had to be followed. Canadian Tire was referenced.

I wrote a post about it.

A  furious anonymous demanded to know;  " Who the Hell do you think you are?"

I  did not publish it. I don't have to respond to it.  But I want to.

Blog Readers know who I am.  I have few secrets.

I am the daughter and grand-daughter of two mothers who lost sons in the carnage of two world wars.

I was fifteen when my brother was killed.  He was twenty-two. My mother was sixteen when her brother's life blood soaked into the sand at the Dardanelles in Turkey .He also was twenty-two.

They disembarked in their thousands armed with rifles. Young bodies were ripped to shreds by the machine gun fire that awaited them.

My brother was in the Air Force in the  Second World War.

On a bombing raid over the Ruhr, the plane took a direct hit.  The pilot and co-pilot were dead in the burning inferno. My brother was wounded and his parachute in  the burning  part of the plane . He and a surviving crew member ,with one parachute between them, wrapped  arms around each other and jumped.

He knew they would black out on the way down. He told me when he was on leave the week before.

He had to jump or be blown to pieces when the plane  exploded in the sky.

My brother was buried in Dusseldorf . His identification tag, rosary missing the crucifix and a small pen knife  were kept safe while my mother continued to hope he would come home. She grew a little stash of  his favorites like apricot jam  for his return.

When the  war ended, a few months later, Patrick was still officially "Missing In Action"

We learned  the details  from the father of the surviving crew member who was taken as a prisoner of war

I notified the War Office.

By return telegram the War Office notified  us ;  Flight/Sergeant Patrick Finnigan  is  confirmed killed in action.

After Remembrance Day, I watched a T.V. feature on Winston Churchill. In the First War he tried  to alert politicians and Generals to the reality of machine warfare. It was hardly a secret.

No matter.  They sent  millions of  men to their deaths carrying rifles and wearing tin hats against
tanks, howitzers and machine guns.

They sent artists to record the history of war , then banned the exhibition  because they depicted the awful fear,despair and certain knowledge of impending doom on the faces of men who were little more than boys.

Charlie Rose had an American General on his program last week.  He has written a book pointing out the obvious.

Lessons  we do not learn from history ,we are doomed to repeat.

Today's armies are volunteer. They do not number hundreds of thousands of  conscripted men. They
can't be court-martialled by an officer  and shot to death  on the spot for desertion.

War is not like anything previous. Friends are not who they appear to be.Enemies appear to be friends.

Wars  need to be fought differently.,

The General is frustrated. Just like Churchill was a hundred years ago.

I don't believe the awful nature of my brother's  or my mother's brother's deaths are respected or acknowledged by sending  idealistic young Canadians to be blown to pieces by roadside bombs in Afghanistan.  Or to return home traumatized by the horror they have witnessed  and the senselessness of it all.

I believe wars are lost  by the side whose army is decimated first.

At the ends of the second war, allied troops discovered they were killing fifteen year old children in uniforms.

I don't believe wars are won.

Quite the contrary.

No amount of money raised by the sale of poppies and wreaths, nor theatrical performances at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day convince me otherwise.

I am the daughter and grand-daughter of women who lost  sons in circumstances no mother should have to bear.

At the hands of their own leaders.

I do not forget.

It 's who the hell I am.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Slightly Indisposed

An eye test procedure  at 9.00 am has blurred my eyesight for most of the day.

Hence no post. Thank you for the comments.

No progress reports  have been provided yet on the Joint Work Space.

I would have voted to eliminate the more extravagant items in the design.; specifically the green roof and a complete floor of space  with no purpose  identified.

I believe the site location is completely inappropriate.

I  urged Council to step back and take time to assess.

The majority voted otherwise. The decision to proceed  was made.

I do not expect any change.

Obviously there is concern in the community.

 I think comment  is  always legitimate

In the matter of the food pantry and financial support from tax revenues.

I do not agree the town has authority to impose taxation for contributions to charity ...any charity.

I believe dependence on food banks in this Year of Our Lord  2014 is a both shame and  a disgrace.

That it co-exists with extraordinary affluence makes it even less acceptable.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Aflluence is a Fact of Life For Some.

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Seeds of Turbulence":

"We have our own top-heavy fire and police costs."

True dat. When people - and councillors - complain and nitpick about Town expenditures, looking to cut those of their hobby-horses, you never hear a word about the ginormous, uniformed 'elephant in the room.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 16 November 2014 18:17


Futility  and risk are likely consequence of focussing on the "uniformed elephant " drivers in the municipal budget.

Futility because contracts are aubject to mandatory arbitration seldom, if ever, favourable to management.

Risk because police and firefighters are local heroes.

As contracts are successfully negotiated , their wages, work conditions and benefits become the standard in all other professional negotiations.

They are the affluent. Their living is derived from tax revenues. High taxation is not  a concern.

Much of their high salaries are funneled off to senior levels of government in taxation to augment their revenues.

Political parties solicit their support. Dalton Mc Guinty on the eve of elections was surrounded by firefighters holding signs aloft . "Firefighters for McGuinty"

Does anyone question  how teachers and health care workers are likely to vote?

While Ontario cultivates public sector millionaires, $124 million are distributed in questionable Trillium grants, special education programs are cut in schools, funds  are not available for social housing and people at the low end of the scale are reduced to begging or stealing poppy boxes.

Food banks have become established institutions in a  modern  affluent society.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Seeds of Turbulence

Years ago, when Marjorie Andrew was librarian and some books were kept behind the counter so the kids couldn't get at them, we could buy books through the library.

Didn't do it often .

Nowadays books are purchased in a different format. All kinds of tasks  are completed by suppliers that used to be done at the library.

Things change.

Speaking of which; John Tory  has changed slightly since his election. On Friday he reminded a reporter he was not yet Mayor.

That's a change from a couple of weeks ago in response to a police budget statement in the news.

The  Chief was reported to request a percentage reduction in the budget .It meant reduction in  police complement.

Police Association President McCormack had something contrary to say about that on the basis of the police contract.

Mayor-elect Tory said the budget should be negotiated, preferably in private.

Exactly what one might expect from someone who doesn't know what he doesn't know.

Police administration is separate from city administration. The Chief was obviously not asking the city to cut his budget.

That he was not yet Mayor was clearly not understood by Mr. Tory. Forty-five Council members  elected in their own right, were not acknowledged. The suggestion of "private negotiations" undoubtedly brought forth an evil grin in some quarters.

Rob Ford is still Mayor of Toronto. His brother Doug still a Councillor. For all intents and purposes Rob Ford has been  elected  to the new council?

Days before Mr. Tory confided to the Toronto media he had asked the Chief Administrator to withdraw his resignation.

One can never know precisely all of the various reasons for timing of a top public servant's decision to retire.

After the tumult of the previous term, it may be a simple matter of getting out while the going's  good.

Whatever the circumstance,neither time nor opportunity and certainly no authority existed to consult with Council-elect  before Mayor-elect made the  request. Sharing it with the media may not have been wise.

The Province has scheduled second reading of a Bill to put municipalities under jurisdiction of the Ontario Ombudsman.Andre Marin.

The flap is on. The cat is among the pigeons. The fox is in the hen house.

Oh Lordy..Lordy!!! The pot is boiling and splattering all over the stove.

Andre Marin is not perceived with great affection in municipal circles.... political or administrative

The out-of-the-gate statement by Toronto's Tory Mayor- elect Tory of preference for private dealings would  undoubtedly be music to his ears and Grist for the Grinding.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Limits of Imagination

I called the police department last night. Asked for the Desk Sergeant for District One. That!s Aurora.

I  asked what it would take for charges to be dropped against the person who took the poppy box at Canadian Tire.

It occurred to me if the funds in the box were restored and no harm done a lot of time and public resources might be better used elsewhere.

 It might be as little as $5 or as much as $9.  It seemed hardly likely a significant sum would be sitting unprotected in a little cardboard box on a counter.

I was half listening  to  the play by play account of the theft as caught in security camera.

 A battered old car held together by string and duct tape pulled up at the door of the Canadian Tire and a male in a hoodie  got out ,went into  the store picked up the box, stuffed inside his jacket ,left the store and was driven away.

A spokesperson for Aurora Legion was interviewed and said  he couldn't imagine how anyone  could do such a thing. He hoped the thief would be caught and sent to,prison for two or three years.

The poppy fund is a charitable endeavor.  Reports indicate it's expected to raise $30 million this year.
More than ever before.  Incredibly, because two lives  were senselessly lost .

When  I heard  about the theft .I thought ... Poor b.....he must have been pretty GD desperate to steal a poppy box. It will
 likely buy him and the driver of the getaway car,  a coffee and maybe a doughnut between them

On the other hand, cost of processing  a charge through the courts will be thousands of dollars.
In the unlikely event of incarceration many more times multiplied.

Nobody knows  better than the police department the misery and degradation of the streets and the social costs of economic hardship.

Yet there is no area for judgement to be exercised .

Once the charge is laid ,there is no turning back.

The juggernaut takes a life of its own.

Plans Gang Aft Agley

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Precedents Galore":

That is where compromise and diplomacy come in. Confrontation appears to accomplish nothing. I think we have to wait until plans are available before getting set into rigid positions. Just a suggestion.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 15 November 2014 09:34


Confrontation  accomplishes little in the end. In the meantime, much can be achieved. 

People  can be exploited. Politicians can be divided into good guys and bad  guys. Reputations  can be ruined .

Public resources in hundreds of thousands of dollars can be squandered. A gigantic industry having nothing to do with building  can be supported adding to the cost of building a house.

Builders have to stand back , keep feet clear of the grunge and witness the  inevitable charade from beginning  to end.

Brookfield Homes will likely be more than willing to meet with  residents of Beacon Hall. Building homes is their business . They make a living at it. They provide opportunities for others to do the same.

Fifty years ago, the federal government used housing to stimulate the economy.  Central Mortgage and Housing  Corporation  was established.

Twenty-five year term mortgages  were created and  interest rates adjusted  regularly to keep things moving.

A down payment might be as little as a couple of months rent.  Monthly  mortgage payment the same or less than rent.

From the town's perspective, assessment growth meant a stable or reduced tax rate for municipal services.

Ah yes, those were the days, my friends . We thought they'd never end.

Still,  Brookfield Homes development is not likely to happen any time soon.

Aurora's  units  of servicing are fully allocated .

Unless something dramatic happens like the Region's planned sewage treatment plant at Lake Simcoe.

Friday, 14 November 2014

A Challenge and a Question Answered

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Monty Pythonesque":

Of course your "stupid comment" comment was made by someone that DID NOT read the post that Evelyn is afraid to publish.

There are two people that read it. You can't comment unless you did.

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 14 November 2014 13:07


Still on the Monty Python reality theme.
Black  Knight  engages in a sword  fight. with White Knight. Both arms and legs are severed  with blood  spurting  from the wounds. Black Knight  is wobbling on the floor of the forest  shouting  "Coward  Coward " at his adversary and accusing him of being afraid to fight.

My adversary doesn't get it still.

The Blog is mine.

Nobody gets to make false accusations against me on my own blog.

 It isn't a script for a Monty Python movie.

An anonymous  accusation doesn't set you up for an award for courage .


The  question of what is allowed in a residential neighborhood was answered, I thought.

Residents  are allowed to have home occupations.

A small business can operate in a home so long as  the character of the neighborhood is not negatively impacted.

Hope that helps.

Precedents Galore

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Monty Pythonesque":

Meanwhile the Banner ' reporters ' are beating the bushes to try and create
an uprising about Highland.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 14 November 2014 11:07


Several little pockets  of potential discontent  are percolating around  town. 

As a councillor, I received a copy of a thread of correspondence from a resident of the Timberlane /Beacon Hall Neighborhood.

It seems Mayor Dawe  and Councillor Thompson attended the annual general meeting of the neighbourhood association and gave assurance that whatever proposal might be made by Brookfield 
Developments, new owner of the property, would be dealt with publicly and every opportunity provided for input.

Included in the thread was a letter from a neighbour to the developer informing him residents  would not be pleased with a proposal for higher than existing density.

The writer is in the real estate business. He knows price paid for the property would be  based on
potential for  number of  residential units possible.

Buying property in an  already developed area is not the same gamble as buying raw land without
municipal services.

The residents may not know the most recent decision by Council,at the last meeting before the election campaign began.

Approval was given for six units on Bloomington Road on half an acre situated in the
rural/ estate lot area on the  extreme southern edge  of the municipality.

Bloomington Road is an throw-away road allowance, abandoned by the Region of York several decades ago. Bloomington became the town's southern boundary when York Region was created. The abandoned  section currently serves eighteen properties. Since the new alignment for Bloomingtion was  created, the south side of "Old Bloomington" serves no properties or any other purpose. No assessment can be derived.
The town's interest would have been best served by re-locating  and exchanging properties to  the rear of current lots to allow for practical future development and financial feasibility.

That is not what happened.

Stirling Cook, owner of  the half-acre lot , received that which he requested withoutconsideration of the town's  best interest.

Nor should we forget  the litigation in process for the town to acquire a  6 acre parcel on Mavrinac
Boulevard  at a fraction of its value to meet no specific need the town has for the land.

Litigation was undertaken in response to the demand of residents whose purpose is to prevent
development of the property.

Precedents have been set.

The town is encumbered.

Monty Pythonesque

I wrote a post in response to a comment that people who smoke should be required to pay for their own medical and hospital care.

I provided the colossal figures to illustrate how smokers and drinkers and lottery ticket hopefuls not only pay for their own hospital and medical care, they probably pay the better part of everyone else's  as well.

Then I get a  how-dare -you comment. Accusing me of  stating  smokers,drinkers and lottery ticket holders should have to pay for their own hospital and medical costs.

The writer points out how much revenue comes from smokers et al and how the Province could not make it up elsewhere. And concludes  in his/her surprise that a person with the liberal stance I proclaim could suggest medical and hospital care should be denied to people who smoke.

I am repeating the argument because it is such a perfect illustration of how a supremely  self-righteous person,can twist the reality to suit her/his preformed preference.

The optimum opportunity presents itself  in writing only occasionally.

Since the blog belongs to me It seems only fair that  I should  make use of it to establish the reality is Monty Python's Circus.