Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Transparency and Accountability in Fundraising

Posted by auroracitizen on April 25, 2009

Our last post on the fundraising activities of the Dream Team has generated a tremendous amount of commentary — from both sides — second only to our invitation to the Mayor to set her up as an author on this site so she could post with complete confidence that her words would be her own. (We would extend that offer to any member of Council or allow guest posts by any interested citizen — hence the name Aurora Citizen — all are welcome to post or comment.)

But back to the post about fundraising.

Concern was initially raised about who the group holding themselves up as The Dream Team were and who they represented. This naturally led to questions about how the money raised was to be used.

The comparison was drawn to other organization such as sports association or community groups. In these cases, there are a specific group of stakeholders with a common goal who have agreed on a mandate for their organization and have clearly identified what the dollars are to be used for. This is called transparency and accountability.

Stakeholders for this groups should have the right to view the books and see how the dollars are being spent. If they have issues, the questions are raised and hopefully resolved. We see this with numerous groups within our own community.

However, we have seen circumstances outside our community where this has gone terribly wrong. People have not used funds appropriately and when the balance of stakeholders find this out they are naturally upset and take appropriate action.

Town committees (i.e. special events, Traffic and Safety etc.) are operated in a similar manner. They accountable to Council and are required to make public their financials.

The concern in this situation seems to be the perceived lack of transparency and accountability to stakeholders — which in this case are the citizen of Aurora not a small select group of stakeholders. Hence the issue. In spite of people suggesting that those who expressed concern about the situation were off the mark — there has never been any answers provided, just attacks against the questioners.

Why are the details of the workings of this group not available for public review by the people who are funding their activities either through taxes or direct donation and supposedly benefiting from their activities.

To be clear, there has never been any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour or misguided direction. There has simply been a request for information.

It is troubling that no one has been able to determine the legal status of The Dream Team. Why has someone who is in the know not shared the information with those that are asking simple, justified questions?

Clearly people are concerned about this lack of information. They are concerned about the perception of favoured status by Council. They are concerned about where the dollars are being spent. Simple questions that require simple answers.

Can any one help shine some light on this situation?

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78 Responses to “Transparency and Accountability in Fundraising”

  1. Heather said

    “Possibly because they see the agendas ahead of the general public? Hmmm, who could do that? Just wondering!”

    You might see the agendas in advance of the public if you’re one of the staff members preparing them, sure. I don’t believe the councillors see them until they’re prepared for distribution however.

  2. Anonymous said

    Possibly because they see the agendas ahead of the general public? Hmmm, who could do that? Just wondering!

  3. Heather said

    “Evelyn, during the Council meeting, you were encouraged to put your questions in writing and include them on the next Council agenda. You didn’t do that? Why not?.”

    I’ll bite – how can you tell whether there are questions included on the next Council agenda or not? The next council meeting is 5/26 and there is no agenda on line yet.

  4. Anonymous said

    In response to Evelyn Buck’s last post.

    Evelyn, during the Council meeting, you were encouraged to put your questions in writing and include them on the next Council agenda. You didn’t do that? Why not? Notice the question mark.

    If answers is what you were seeking, why didn’t you follow the rules and put your questions in writing? Notice the question mark.

    Are you pretending to ask questions when really all you are trying to do is destroy the reputations of good people by feeding the unfounded allegations and accusations? Are you responsible for starting these allegations and accusations? Notice the question mark.

    Is your agenda to destroy the good work of good people? Notice the question mark.

    Are you trying to destroy the reputations of local businesses? Notice the question mark.

    Your MO – to make a statement and use a question mark. And this you believe is fair game? I question the use of the question mark.

  5. Evelyn Buck said

    It’s a month since initial questions were raised in this space about voluntary donations made to a fund and accountability for their disposition.
    Seventy-four comments have been contributed to the discussions.
    Some of them angry attacks on the questioners.Few of them accusatory.Some simply respectfully and civilly repeating the questions.
    The head fund-raiser appeared at a council meeting and was provided a public forum before cameras by the Mayor of Aurora and some compliant members, to vilify at length a member of council
    who believes the public are entitled to an accounting.

    Still the answers have not been forthcoming.

    At what point may the public conclude they are not getting answers because there is no honest and straightforward explanation that can stand up to public scrutiny

    At what point may they further conclude there is a deliberate effort to head off a scandal by trying to terrorise the questioners in general and one in particular

    At what point do the public start to wonder is there scandal? How many people are involved in the subterfuge? How high does it go? How many corners does it reach?

    When legitimate questions are not asnwered, speculation becomes rampant. Conclusions,perhaps erroneous,are inevitable.

  6. Evelyn Buck said

    Robert the Bruce, you make a cogent argument.You are adept at creating facts to fit. You suggest mine may not be accurate but offer none of your own to refute.

    A point arrives in every argument when the thread is exhausted and to continue is futile.
    You obviously need to have the last word. I freely accord it to you.
    Have a great day!

  7. Robert the Bruce said

    Anonymous said:

    “You seriously think that Evelyn is one of the Councillors you want to get rid of? If telling you facts and opinions is a reason to not vote for a person, then is silence a good alternative Robert?”

    You’re right, I would rather have someone to vote for that would call anyone that disagrees with her position “STUPID”. How stupid of me. I once called a proposal that she supported stupid (not the person but the proposal) and she tried to go up one side on me and down the other. I guess it’s a different standard when you are on public’s payroll.

    As far as facts and opinions are concerned, we certainly get her opinions, I am less than 100% sure we get accurate facts though. Like statistics, you can shape facts to match any argument that you are trying to support.

    There are three sides to every story. The two opposed sides and the truth somewhere in the middle.

    You will also see from many blog entries here that when presented with facts or questions that can be substatiated with opposing facts, she never responds.

    I’ll be honest, there are not many current members of council that I would vote for. I recall that I maybe voted for 3 of them and only two are still there. I hope that answers your question Mr/Ms/Mrs Anonymous.

    Fuimus

  8. Anonymous said

    You seriously think that Evelyn is one of the Councillors you want to get rid of? If telling you facts and opinions is a reason to not vote for a person, then is silence a good alternative Robert?

  9. Robert the Bruce said

    Very mature comment Evelyn, I expected nothing less.

    18 months to go…..

    Fuimus

  10. Evelyn Buck said

    If The Bruce set himself up as a fund and asked people to donate, providing receipts for money received would likely be the least of his problems.
    Because it would be just plain damned stupid for anybody to give it to him.

    I said it. I meant it. And there…I said it again.

    So sue me why dontcha !

  11. M. said

    I don’t believe Evelyn Buck was calling anyone stupid….I read it that the idea of a ‘charitable foundation’ without proper backup is stupid.

    I also think that asking people to donate for what’s being perceived as a ‘fundraiser’ for the parade, and then it turns out to be just a ‘pays for itself only’ dinner, that’s stupid.

    I also think taking offense to something when you’re only posting as anonymous is stupid. Even if she’d said “Anonymous, you’re stupid”, how would you know she meant you? Don’t get your knickers in a twist.

  12. Robert the Bruce said

    To Anonymous at May 8, 2009 4:22 PM

    She is only calling you stupid if you contribute funds to The Dream Team I think.

    Regardless, I think she has answered some questions I had about this group and I can only assume that her answers are correct.

    1. The Dream Team is not a Town sponsored initiative.

    2. The Dream Team has not received funds from the Town.

    If you contributed to The Dream Team and you think that you have contributed to a Town sponsored group, you’ve been duped and should call Ms. St Kitts. They have no obligation to tell you how they have used your money.

    Your charity is like anything else you buy – “Caveat Emptor”

    Fuimus

  13. Anonymous said

    Is Evelyn Buck calling me stupid?
    How does that help me?

    I thought everyone had a different set of circumstances, and different considerations when making decisions.

    Now the way I read Evelyn bucks’ opinions, she is calling me stupid.

    That’s just plain wrong.

    I don’t care if she means me or someone else, she has no right to call anyone stupid.

    I don’t agree with a lot of what she says, what she does but I would never call her stupid.
    No one should do that to anyone.

    What gives anyone the right to call someone stupid?
    Especially a politician.

  14. Anonymous said

    “I can set up the “Robert The Bruce Fund” and encourage people to donate. I am not obligated to become a registered charity. People can give me money out of the goodness of their hearts. “

    True… but would it be different if you did it under the auspices of the Town? Advertised on their notice board, etc?

  15. Evelyn Buck said

    I answered the question as it pertained to an event organised and promoted under the auspices of the Town of Aurora.
    As a councillor, I have the responsibility and authority to establish and provide answers.
    There is still information outstanding. When I have it, I will provide it.
    As stated previously, the Dream Team is not a town sponsored event.Therefore there is no expectation of accountability
    from the town on that matter. No town funds I know of were or could be contributed from the town.

    People who contributed have a right to seek answers and conduct themselves accordingly.

    Robert the Bruce, if you set yourself up as a fund and asked for money, I doubt providing receipts would represent much of a problem.

    Generosity and compassion is not the same as being just plain damned stupid.

  16. Robert the Bruce said

    According to Evelyn:

    “Therefore, in answer to the last question,there appears to be no question of charitable fund-raising.”

    I may be splitting hairs, but there is no question about “fundraising”; I still have yet to see anything that proves that they are a registered “charity” and as such can provide receipts for income tax purposes.

    I can set up the “Robert The Bruce Fund” and encourage people to donate. I am not obligated to become a registered charity. People can give me money out of the goodness of their hearts.

    So, is “The Dream Team” a registered charity or an organization that is collecting money with no taxation benefit to the contributors?

    I think the answer should be easily found. Ms St. Kitt’s publishes her email address on her website and it was printed in the paper.

    Fuimus

  17. Anonymous said

    “The cost of the event was fully covered. No proceeds were reported. “

    There were no proceeds, or nothing was reported? I thought it was a fundraiser FOR the parade?

  18. Evelyn Buck said

    I need to make a correction.
    The budget for the July 1st Parade approved by Council is $10K not $8 thousand as I previously stated.
    The first figure was approved in the budget. Ms. St Kitts came to council- in- committee and stated it would not be enough to provide the bands to make a parade.

    Ms St Kitts is a member of the July 1st Parade sub-committee of the Leisure Services Advisory Committee
    The figure was increased to $10K on a motion from Councillor MacEachern, Chairman of the Leisure Services Advisory Committee.
    Though $10k was budgeted, no funds will be spent from the treasury without proper authorisation.
    No councillor or citizen committee member has authority to expend town funds for any purpose whatsoever.
    This week, Council- in- Committee received the regular Report of the Leisure Services Advisory Committee. It noted a report had been submitted by the July 1st Parade sub-committee.
    The report itself was not included.
    I obtained a copy.
    The report noted the “We’re Canadian Ay! Kick Off Awareness Party” held at the Aurora Legion was a great success. All tickets were sold. One hundred and fifty people attended and everyone had a great time.
    The cost of the event was fully covered. No proceeds were reported.
    No itemised account was presented.

    No questions were noted in the report.
    The event had been promoted on the Town’s Notice Board in the Aurora Banner and on the Town’s web site.
    Therefore, in answer to the last question,there appears to be no question of charitable fund-raising.
    I believe some members of council attended the party.All councillors were aware of the event.

  19. Anonymous said

    Councillor Buck – do you know whether anyone has asked Sher St Kitts point blank whether she’s a licensed charity? Do you know whether the mayor is aware of the issue? thank you

  20. Anonymous said

    Mrs. St. Kitts appears to feel that she knows what is best to promote Aurora.
    She doesn’t even live in this town.
    She is a simple soul with a good heart, I’m sure, but she is starting to annoy me now.

  21. Not a Shameless Self-Promoter said

    So, according to the article, Ms St Kitts is planning a trip to Ottawa to meet with Lois Brown. Yes, the local MP who lives just up the road in Newmarket. Is the road trip to the capital being financed by ‘Dream Team’ (what a cringe-worthy appellation) donated funds or Town-issued monies?

    Better yet, how about celebrating our “Red Hot” (I know, even worse than DT) Canadian heritage by utilizing Alexander Graham Bell’s invention and simply make a phone call.

    She could even wear her red and white ensemble when making the call…

  22. Anonymous said

    To Concerned Citizen:

    Yes, indeed, that St. Kitts woman has gone too far this time. Taken the law into her own hands, she has. Good grief, now she wants everybody to put up flags and act proud about their town.

    We can’t have that! Call in the constabulary, round up the horses and reserve a stall with the biggest iron bars for the outlaw Sher St. Kitts.

    Grinches, unite! Make sure there is no fun to be had in Aurora this July First. St. Kitts is far too jovial for the dour folks in this town — or at least some of those on this blog.

    Canada’s birthday town? Humbug! Better to silence St. Kitts, and call it the town that fun forgot.

  23. Concerned Citizen said

    Doesn’t mean you can’t re-open the barn door and round up the horses.

    It seems that Sher St. Kitts is a law unto herself.

    http://www.yorkregion.com/News/Aurora/article/91426

  24. Robert the Bruce said

    Anonymous at May 1, 2009 4:08 PM
    said:

    “Don’t you want to know how the “Dream Team” is spending the $8,000 taxpayer’s dollars that council approved to “give” to them?”

    Did council specify a use for those funds? Was the donation tied to any sort of specifc use? If they gave the money to the “Dream Team”, clearly there was a proposal made and specifics given as to where it was going.

    My contention is that Nigel is wrong when he says that they should be audited simply because a sitting councillor is in the group. That is a dangerous precident to make.

    It’s a question of the barn door being closed after the horse is left.

    Fuimus

  25. Anonymous said

    Robert the Bruce,
    Don’t you want to know how the “Dream Team” is spending the $8,000 taxpayer’s dollars that council approved to “give” to them?

  26. Robert the Bruce said

    This topic has really got out of hand, but I must disagree with Nigel on his call for an audit.

    First of all, The Dream Team appears to be a private citizen group that raise funds for various causes… Christmas time, July 1st parade, etc. It appears that they are not a registered charity – perhaps I am wrong – so receipts cannot be issued. Their membership includes a sitting councillor and Ms. St. Kitts (not an Aurora resident!).

    I would not expect Aurora Council to request an audit of this group because they have no jurisdiction. Just because a sitting councillor is on the group, does not mean they have the right. You can be a councillor and a member of any group, that does not give council the right or justification to demand an accounting.

    I could form a group to raise funds. If a council member decided to join my group, does that instantly mean that council has the right to audit my group’s finances? Not at all.

    While I agree that the Town needs to clarify it’s position with The Dream Team, there is nothing they should demand of the Dream Team itself… they have no power in that regard.

    Fuimus

  27. Nigel Kean said

    It is hard to know which anonymous to reply to.
    I have NOT at any time accused the dream team of any wrong doing. I have asked for an audit,or a public accounting of the funds raiased and spent since a councillor, Steve Granger, is on the committee and he is an elected official.
    The fact that I said that the dream team has Granger and Sher St Kitts on the committee and that they raise funds for the July 1st parade which as a sub committee reports to the Leisure Services committee.
    I am disappointed that one anonymous thinks that I am smug.Is this the mudslinging that he means.

  28. Anonymous said

    To anonymous who wants to spell correctly rather than get the facts.
    It is disappointing that a few on the blog seem to think that it is so important to shoot down ideas made by folks like Nigel Kean rather hae a good suggestion of their own.At least he has asked for what he thinks is agood idea yet you seem to think that his idea is not good but have not put forward a good idea. You mention mug shots as if he has convicted the dream team.You mention that other groups like the church,the Salvation Army in the same breath as if Mr Kean convicted all groups.
    I ask you a long time resident to look at the original blog and tell us all where did he mud sling this group.
    I have read carefully and found totally the opposite. He states that he does not think that the dream team has done anything wrong and that a audit would only clear the air of all of the gossip mongers who have tried to do harm to the group.
    He does not seem smug to me but rather strong in the fact that he chooses to use his name rather than you who likes the anonymous title.
    Again you would rather correct spelling than help fix the issue.You have tried and I would say unsuccessfully to make Mr Kean look bad.
    Why not answer his questions rather than try to tarnish his name.
    This mayor said she would clean up the council actions and run an open government. Why not attack her record of broken promises.

  29. Anonymous said

    Nigel Kean said, “Councillor Steve Granger,is on the committee and this committee through Sher St Kitts reports to the Leisure Services Committee” – This is not so!

    The facts please Sir…, just the facts!

  30. Anonymous said

    Mr. Kean seems to have a rather smug view of his correspondence on the Aurora Citizen. He believes that since he demanded an audit in this space, that should be enough to force council to act.

    He seems to suggest that the self-important mud-slinging on this blog constitutes a groundswell of public opinion. That is an odd conceit.

    If he feels so strongly, why doesn’t he muster that courage and integrity he keeps reminding us about, and go to council in person and raise the alarm about the treachery in our midst?

    Or at least send council a proper letter asking for that “external audit” he keeps going on about.

    I know Mr. Kean and others prefer to think notes like this are written by the mayor or certain council members or their friends. Not to disappoint him, but I am just an ordinary citizen, who has never spoken to a local politician. A friend told me about this blog. I watch some of the council meetings on TV. I try to make sense of the local newspapers.

    I also keep looking for some sensible, open-minded dialogue on this town’s affairs. I rarely find it here, but hope springs eternal.

  31. Nigel Kean said

    Anonymous April 30th 6:14
    Again no real response or ideas as to how to correct this issue but rather another non idea.
    I take exception to my name being spelt improperly and to me is important since I choose to use it.
    I had asked you for ideas that you might have and again you come back with a riddle.
    Please try answering my questions or are you the politician with more questions than answers.

  32. Anonymous said

    To Mr. Kean:

    In reply to your invitation, you spelled “publically” wrong. It’s “publicly.”

    No, I do not believe this whole issue would be solved by an audit. Why? Because council does not have the authority to order an audit of an organization over which it has no jurisdiction.

    You who so often criticize this council would have them extend their tentacles into the business of volunteer community organizations?

    Why stop with the so-called Dream Team? Why not subject all groups that have associated themselves with the Dream Team’s activities to a similar audit?

    Step right up for mug shots and fingerprinting, all of you in the service clubs, churches and Salvation Army.

    Granted, council has a right to know how our money is spent on a parade. But they have no authority over the fund-raiding activities of the local churches or the Rotarians. And thank goodness they don’t.

  33. Anonymous said

    Nigel Kean, you took harsh exception to an issue of spelling, referring to it as an “attack”.
    That would be one thing if you hadn’t written:
    “Also Kean is spelt with an “a” not 2 ee’s. Just trying to get you straightened out.”

    What does it all mean?

  34. Anonymous said

    Long Time Resident,
    Your focus may be different than the focus of another.
    Issues are complex, growing organisms, connected to many people in a
    myriad of perhaps unintended ways.
    We see here that many “Aurora Citizens” are opinionated, critical, and
    not too welcoming of the views of others.
    Perhaps some of us take ourselves too seriously.
    We need to admit that tit for tat communication does have its limitations.
    However, I do believe our Aurora warriors would scoff at these ideas,
    committed as they might be to the thrill of strategizing, and
    battling.
    I’d be the first to say I know nothing, but I do think.

  35. Nigel Kean said

    To Anonymous April 30th 2:23
    I am glad that you attack the fact that I spelt a word wrongly. That shows me that Anonymous can attack anything or anyone but does not have an idea that you can put forward.
    Do you think that this whole issue would be solved with an audit?
    Do you have any better ideas?
    Do you really think that using anonymous and attacking a spelling error makes you a better person?
    I wish that you would come up with a better idea to get this issue solved rather than correcting spelling mistakes.
    I will still use my name as I wish others would, but I do understand why some wish not to.I do not wish for anyone to say something publically that they might be held accountable for.
    Please check my spelling and let me know if I have spelt any words wrongly.
    Thanks

  36. Long Time Resident said

    42 Comments and they have deteriorated to correcting spelling and making disparaging remarks about other people — not their remarks. It’s no wonder people post as anonymous. Why is it so hard to keep focused on the issues — for or against?

  37. Nigel Kean said

    I have, through this blog asked the mayor and council to run an audit as I know that she reads the blog as do her councillors.You think that it would be enough encouragement for council to put this issue to rest and not let gossip possibly ruin the dream team.
    As for the municipality asking for the external audit that should be no problem as a member of the dream team,Councillor Steve Granger,is on the committee and this committee through Sher St Kitts reports to the Leisure Services Committee with Councillor Evelina McEachren on that committee.
    I think that these councillors would want to be clear of any so called wrong doing and would gladly ask for the audit.
    As I have stated I do not believe that there are any problems with the committee’s handling of funds but it should be clarified for residents who have donated money and finally put to rest.
    Please.

  38. Anonymous said

    Nigel Kean,

    “You speak of individual needs and wants yet you still use the all incompassing Anonymous.
    I rest my case.”
    April 29, 2009 4:25 PM

    Just a couple of questions;
    Did you mean encompassing?
    How does Anonymous not qualify for individual wants and needs?
    Anonymous has ideas and beliefs, just as you do.
    The name doesn’t make the man.
    Ideas stand or fall on their own merit, unless you choose to put your name forward to highlight your brand.

  39. Anonymous said

    Don’t you think if you decided to raise money for SOMETHING…anything, that you’d research how it all works first? Would you need a registered charity number? Maybe the Dream Team is PART of the Rotary Club or another organization?

  40. Anonymous said

    To Mr. Kean:

    You say you have “asked that the mayor and council do an external audit.” Just to clarify, does this mean you have actually made a formal request in writing to the mayor and council?

    Where does a municipal council get the authority to order an “external audit” of a volunteer community organization?

    Thank you.

  41. Anonymous said

    “Once sitting across from Buck – now sitting next to Buck. Can anyone tells us why?”

    So that the councillors are in order (from the mayor radiating outward – one to her right, one to her left) in order of the # of votes they received?

  42. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous April 29 10:47 pm

    First of all, Councilor Collins-Mrakas is not anyone’s asst.

    Secondly she has more intelligent, and integrity then the whole lot…

    The Mayor could only wish she had the ideas and visions that this ethical woman has.

    As far as to why she moved seats?

    Simple, councilors are seated in order that they were elected.

    Grace Marsh was 5th in ranking Councilor Collins-Mrakas was 6th. When Grace resigned the mayor figured she could stick her appointed pet in the 5th spot.

    Councilor Collins-Mrakas simply moved to the spot that is rightfully hers as voted by the public. Others chose not to move as to not upset the queen bees (Morris & evilina)

  43. Anonymous said

    When Marsh resigned it bumped Evelyn up on the list and added Gallow to the bottom of the list.
    As far as Alison being Evelyn’s personal assistant, well I think it just goes to say if you start to use your own mind to much then people think and say negative things. So really who wants to stand out from the crowd. If you choose to, then people just try to clobber you. Hence the term “Buck’s Assistant”.
    Thank-you Evelyn and Alison for having your own voice!
    Alison I guess that means you to will have to sit through the abuse that certain councillors are allowed to hurl at meetings without anyone stopping them!

  44. Nigel Kean said

    Audit of What!

    This whole story has been about the raising of money by the Dream team and the running of various events,with the July 1st day parade being at the top of the list.

    I have asked that the mayor and council do an external audit of all funds collected at the fund raisers and through other sources and an accounting of where the money was spent.

    With that we can put this issue to bed once and for all.

  45. Anonymous said

    Anonymous poster April 29, 2009 2:04 PM you asked Anonymous poster of April 29, 2009 7:46 AM to explain the following:

    “I see the same words and actions sitting at the circular table, hiding behind the chair of someone else. The consistency is insightful for anyone trying to figure out who writes which comments.”

    My guess, this post was submitted by Evelyn Buck’s personal assistant Alison Collins-Mrakas.

    Collins-Mrakas MOVED her seat at the “circular table”? Once sitting across from Buck – now sitting next to Buck. Can anyone tells us why?

    The Mayor needs to call an audit on this.

  46. Anonymous said

    Mr. Kean demands an audit.

    Of what?

  47. Heather said

    To anonymous who said “My daughter has told me not to use my name because I live alone and my address and phone number could easily be accessed from the phone book.”

    Wise decision…! Keep in mind that you can still ‘make up’ a name and just type it in the Name/URL box below the comment box. I think that’s where people get flustered….because so many post as Anonymous and it’s hard to keep track.

  48. Nigel Kean said

    To anonymous April 28-9:38 PM
    I choose to use my name as I would rather not hide behind anonymous to try and slur someone else’s opinion or in this case suggestion.
    It has nothing to do with fame or being an ex-politician.I believe, that I can use my name without fear,as I have in the past to have a say in what I believe. I do not ask that you nor anyone else has to believe in my views.
    You talk of strength, character,civil rights and dignity. I believe in all of those traits and that is another reason that I use my name.
    I also believe that you are innocent until proven guilty and that is why only the mayor and council can get rid of the gossip and mistruths about the dream team by ordering an audit to prove that everything is above board as I think it is.
    I have not made any negative comments nor have I accused anyone of wrong doing on the Team.
    You speak of individual needs and wants yet you still use the all incompassing Anonymous.
    I rest my case.

  49. Anonymous said

    Dear Anonymous April 29 7;46 AM,
    My comment to Mr. Kean was to communicate that there are more important issues for him to address than merely using his name publicly.
    He is, I understand, a politician… past and maybe future.

    I am not a politician. I just read about them.
    I don’t know why my description of what I look for in politicians is considered “pious” or why what I wrote is considered to be “throwing rocks from behind a bush”.

    I don’t understand why what I wrote, which is my second comment since my daughter brought me this computer, qualifies as “blind-sided cowardly attacks of people not issues.”

    I would also like an explanation for the paragraph:
    “I see the same words and actions sitting at the circular table, hiding behind the chair of someone else. The consistency is insightful for anyone trying to figure out who writes which comments.”

    What is the circular table?
    My daughter has told me not to use my name because I live alone and my address and phone number could easily be accessed from the phone book.

    I don’t understand how what I wrote resulted in such an angry retort.
    I look forward to your response.

  50. Evelyn Buck said

    A motion made in Council increased a budget for the July 1st Parade from $5k to $8K. Sher St.Kitts had informed council, $12K was needed to pay for bands to make it a parade.

    Organising a parade means encouraging support, sponsors, and entries, which in turn earns the revenue to pay the expenses.

    It is a long and arduous task.No sooner is it done than work starts again for the following year.A parade is always built on the year before. Our parade had been fading for years. Each year it was harder to find a volunteer organiser to take on the task.

    At the same time, thousands of young families were flocking to Lambert Willson Park to participate in the day-long July 1st Festivital organized by town staff.It had become the popular choice.

    In the first year of this term Council was advised the parade could no longer be sustained.

    Enter Sher St. Kitts. The lady declared she would take on the task and provide the best parade ever seen in Aurora’s history.

    Publicised events were held to raise funds.

    Nevertheless, Ms St Kitts informed Council public funds were needed.

    The town’s budget this year included $5k for the purpose. Ms St. Kitts appeared at council and stated $12K was needed to pay for bands and without bands there would be no parade.

    Ms St Kitts is a member of a sub committee of the Leisure Services Advisory Committee which is chaired by Councillor MacEachern.

    The Town’s purchasing and procurement policy is the instrument which determines how funds are drawn against the town treasury.

    Staff have assured me cash will not change hands.

    July 1st celebrations are an official town event. Public funds are to be provided from the treasury. Voluntary funds have been raised from the community.We knowthe amount of the first but not the second.

    Where public funds are involved, public accountability is required.

    Whatever one thinks of the merits of the ‘Christmas Dream” and the Dream Team, it is NOT a town sponsored event.No town funds are contributed.

    People who have contributed from private resources are certainly entitled to be assured of a proper accounting.

    But … It is not the responsibility of the town to require it …except in- so- far as the Dream Team and July 1st Parade have apparently been linked in the fund-raising strategy.

  51. Anonymous said

    “I maintain my anonimity because you force me to — by your blind-sided cowardly attacks of people not issues.”
    I don’t understand this sentence at all.
    Please explain.
    No one is forced to be anonymous.
    Most choose to be anonymous, for a variety of reasons.

  52. Anonymous said

    Perhaps you should consider demonstrating some of the strength of character you so piously demand from others instead of throwing rocks from behind a bush.

    If you really don’t want to polarize and dimish, why demonstrate the exact behaviours that do — hiding and accepting no responsibilities for your own actions. Against someone with the courage to accept their own.

    I maintain my anonimity because you force me to — by your blind-sided cowardly attacks of people not issues.

    I see the same words and actions sitting at the circular table, hiding behind the chair of someone else. The consistency is insightful for anyone trying to figure out who writes which comments.

    Mr Kean has more courage that I.

  53. Anonymous said

    Kean, I can’t believe that you’ve lowered yourself to the point that your claim to fame is using your name.
    We all know you’re a politician for goodness sake.

    I’m looking for strength of character, someone who acts on concern for civil rights and dignity.
    I’m looking for someone who acts on the belief that we are all innocent until proven otherwise, someone who believes in our due process justice system.
    I’m looking for someone who acts from good will, someone who sees the goodness in us, in our town, someone who gives me a feeling of community.
    In a community where residents are comfortable coming to council with their ideas, their wishes, needs, there will be mistakes made.
    I can accept any mistake made if I believe everyone had good intentions.
    We need to take risks to make change, move forward.
    We can’t be paralyzed by fear of making a change and being wrong.
    We can’t be handicapped by focusing on the negative side of each issue.
    We must create a climate that looks at all sides of an issue, and engages the community in ways that respect their individual needs and wants, exploring all options, looking for common ground.
    Those who would polarize us to promote their own views, diminish our community.

  54. Nigel Kean said

    To Anonymous April 27th,2009, 9:37 AM.
    I must say that you should read my original comment on this issue”I do not believe that there is any wrong doing” is what I said.BUT to correct all of the negatives I asked that the Mayor and council ask for an audit on the group to clear the air.

    NOW which part of that statement do you think was destructive gossip as you stated.I have not in any way stated that anything is wrong but rather the Mayor could stop the gossip with an audit.

    My comment was supporting the group but thought the audit once and for all would fix all of the nay sayers.

    Also Kean is spelt with an “a” not 2 ee’s. Just trying to get you straightened out.

    As for Joan Ransbury, what can you say. That was her opinion of what happened.I never read her column so I guess that is what she said.

    Also at least I use my name and do not hide behind anonymous.

  55. Anonymous said

    Just so the muddiness doesn’t get too thick …

    This thread, and the previous one, were given impetus by Councillor Buck. The record shows that the Aurora Citizen happily takes many of its cues from Councillor Buck. She suggests that the sky is falling and calls on right-thinking people to grab their umbrellas (or better yet, call in the authorities). The Aurora Citizen then earnestly takes up the clarion call.

    But curiously, Councillor Buck’s post of April 27, 9 a.m., addressed no issue. It was, to use her word, bafflegab, delivered with her usual broad brush and furrowed brow. How, one wonders, does it fit in this thread? Or, perhaps anything Councillor Buck writes fits anywhere she chooses.

    She says she likes the transparency in writing. Her own writing is indeed transparent, repeatedly revealing that her perpetual goal is to tear down, and sow seeds of suspicion. (Although in fairness, I must acknowledge that she recently found kind words for Ron Wallace, her patron saint of boundless newspaper space.)

    Earlier, Councillor Buck informed us that she is “unimpressed” with Sher St. Kitts. That observation, delivered with the voice of authority by a member of council, is presumably meant to make us all nod in agreement, simply because it comes from her. Good grief, Councillor Buck is not impressed! Therefore, it behooves us to fall in line and slavishly follow her latest trail of slanderous crumbs.

    In contrast to Councillor Buck’s righteous view, it appears that Ms. St. Kitts and her “Dream Team” did impress a number of charitable organizations – among them the Rotary Club, the Salvation Army and several churches, all of which were associated with her group in its suspicious activities. Perhaps we will now hear calls to investigate these groups as well.

    Thanks to another Aurora Citizen contributor, the next target, no doubt, will be the Mayor’s Breakfast Committee, another terrorist threat in our midst. As Councillor Buck regularly reminds us, nothing good can come of anything bearing the mayor’s fingerprints.

    There simply can be no other correct view of life in our seedy little town. After all, Councillor Buck tells us so.

  56. Anonymous said

    The Christmas dinner is not the issue here. The $8,000.00 donation from the Town is! How was this money used? Why did they get $8,000.00? Do other volunteer organizations receive this kind of DONATION from the Town. This is a large sum of money that seems to be simply given away on our behalf and there seems to be no accountability. Someone needs to fill us in on where OUR money is going!Did the Town receive a receipt to use for donation purposes on there income tax. I have sat on many volunteer boards over the years and accountability is always available at the drop of a hat and our money has been fund raised,not given to us.

  57. Anonymous said

    I’m sure that Mister Peabody and Sherman, more than most, would appreciate the importance of using the wayback machine to witness and learn from the lessons that history teaches us.

  58. Anonymous said

    Mister Peabody and Sherman,
    I think Anonymous April 27, 2009 8:00 PM answered your question rather well.
    Perhaps you missed that comment?

  59. Anonymous said

    The comment quoting the article by Persico says 60 residents attended, and 70 volunteers. Did the volunteers get ‘fed by the donation monies’ as well?

  60. Mister Peabody and Sherman said

    Anonymous said…
    Posted by Joan Ransberry – Sept 20- 2006

    You jumped into the Wayback Machine to find this almost three year-old blog entry about the last term of council for what exactly? Please explain what point you’re trying to make.

    Until then it looks like another case of misdirection, one more accusatory attempt to muddy an issue.

  61. Anonymous said

    Aurora
    November 06, 2008 08:57 PM

    Sean Pearce

    WHAT: Aurora Christmas Dream kick-off party.
    WHERE: Jonathan’s, 14845 Yonge St., Aurora
    WHEN: Nov. 20, 7 p.m.
    INFORMATION: Call 905-841-1807

    The holidays may still be several weeks away, but the Aurora Dream Team is already hard at work.

    The dedicated crew of residents, including Sher St. Kitts, Councillor Stephen Granger and Sue Walmer, is preparing to make yuletide dreams come true for the less fortunate in the community.

    That’s what the Aurora Christmas Dream is all about, said Mrs. St. Kitts, a founding member.

    “It is a wonderful moment for community spirit,” she said, pointing out the group works with The Aurora Food Pantry, The Welcoming Arms Ministries, which includes four churches in Aurora, and the Salvation Army to bring this event to life.

    Working with its foundational partner, the Rotary Club of Aurora, the Aurora Dream Team’s goal is to bring the community’s less fortunate residents together Dec. 25 to provide them with some holiday cheer and a warm meal.

    This will mark the second year for the event.

    To get folks into the spirit, the group will host a kick-off party at Jonathan’s restaurant.

    The goal of the party is to celebrate the start of the festive season and raise much-needed funds for the cause.

    In addition to fun and good fare, the evening will feature live entertainment from George St. Kitts and Motown.

    Jonathan’s will also be home to the first Aurora Christmas Dream Boutique Shopping Night Nov. 24.

    Running from 3 to 9 p.m., the event features an assortment of products from local vendors with a portion of the proceeds going toward the dream.

    It makes for a fantastic way to support the community in more ways than one, Mrs. St. Kitts said.

    A donation of $10 is requested at the kick-off.

  62. Anonymous said

    Of interest:
    Aurora
    January 02, 2009 04:55 PM

    By Amanda Persico

    Dreams can come true in Aurora.
    This holiday season, more than $16,000 was raised in support of the Salvation Army, Welcoming Arms Ministry and Aurora Food Pantry.

    Once again, the Christmas Dream Team brought holiday cheer and a festive dinner for more than 70 residents, including children, families and seniors.

    More than 60 volunteers showed up all decked with festive cheer.

    Many guests could not afford Christmas dinner or would otherwise be alone during the holidays, said Sher St. Kitts, one of the co-founders of the annual event.

    “Every child and family deserves a Christmas dream,” she said.

    The turkey was cooked and the air smelled of stuffing at the second annual Christmas Dream dinner at Jonathan’s Restaurant in Aurora.

    Brian Bishop of the Salvation Army read the Christmas Story and George St. Kitts entertained with holiday favourites that kept everyone’s toes tapping.

    Toys, mittens, scarves, hats, toiletries and other items are donated to provide gifts to attendees. Everyone leaves with something.

    “It feels great to have such a unique opportunity to give back to our community and bring some joy to others on Christmas day,” Mr. St. Kitts said.

    The Christmas Dream team hosted several pre-Christmas dinner events, including a silent auction that raised more than $5,500.

    The Aurora Dream Team is a group of individuals who work together to organize the Christmas Dream and other community events. Dream Team members change depending on the event.

    The Christmas Dream Team for 2008 was comprised of: Susan Walmer, Aurora’s Citizen of the Year, graphic designer Nidda Zaidi, artist Robin Matthew, Mary Georgopolous, owner of Jonathan’s Restaurant and co-chairpersons Stephen Granger and Ms St. Kitts.

    For more information on how to become part of the Christmas Dream Team for next holiday season, contact Sher St. Kitts at 905-841-6893.

  63. Robert the Bruce said

    I will withhold comments on the “Dream Team” until I fully understand who, what, why and how they are. However, just because a group is asking the general public for money, does not make them a charity that has to provide tax receipts. If they are going to the town for cash, that is an entirely different thing and I expect full disclosure if the town gives them the money.

    Regarding one of the anonymous posters talking about The Aurora Mayor’s Breakfast Committee. First of all, I do not think that in Canada there is a separation of church and state – that is supposedly something in the US Constitution. In fact, both Canada and the US have a large religious component to the political system and the traditions that legislative assemblies up hold.

    I personally do not have a problem with Mayor Morris taking part in a Christian breakfast meeting and I would not have a problem with her taking part in a Jewish meeting or Hindu meeting or whatever. This notion that elected officials must somehow shelve their religious belief system once elected is not valid to me. The problem people have is that she is a Christian (I assume, but can’t say with 100% fact) and this is a Christain group. I think the Anonymous poster would not have the same issue if this was a non-Christian group.

    For all of her failings – and there are alot – if this gives her an opportunity to met with the public and the cost to the town is near zero. I don’t see the harm. i think someone is just trying to stir up the pot.

    Fuimus

  64. Anonymous said

    Excellent comment Anonymous April 27, 2009 6:37 PM
    Indeed, the same ole politicians playing politics with whatever they can lay their hands on.
    And Buck accuses the mayor of using offense as a defense.
    I fond that amusing, considering that Buck is the master in using that strategy.
    And to suggest that particular strategy can’t be used in writing certainly insults the readers’ intelligence… or maybe her own.

  65. Anonymous said

    Posted by Joan Ransberry – Sept 20- 2006

    Remember, Mrs. Buck is not the only one with a bit of a temper.

    In fact, if your mother wears army boots, you might consider running for Aurora council.

    After Mrs. Buck swatted Mr. Wallace during a meeting, Mr. Hogg called Councillor Nigel Kean’s attitude “bullshit.”

    Meanwhile, Mr. Kean said he expected Mr. West to apologize for twice calling him stupid and threatening to strike him, forcing Mr. Wallace to step in between the two.

    Mr. West apologized. Well, sort of. He said he was sorry Mr. Kean was stupid.

    THESE ARE THE SAME CHARACTERS – JUST A DIFFERENT DAY!!!

  66. Concerned Citizen said

    Bill Hogg,
    Will you stand up before council and ask the question?
    Participants in this blog can ask the question, but don’t expect an official answer through this media.
    I look forward to seeing you before council asking the question – I’ll be right behind you – out of the target range of Mayor Morris’ withering glare.
    b-t-w, are you thinking of running for council again?

  67. Anonymous said

    Check this out!

    http://town.aurora.on.ca/app/wa/doc?docId=8798

    The Aurora Mayor’s Breakfast Committee? I thought religion and politics were supposed to be kept seperate. This is the first I’ve heard of this committee…I wonder whether they’re going to try their hand at raising some money?

  68. Anonymous said

    How is any of this a political issue?
    I have a serious problem with the violation of rights occurring, with named attached no less.
    We do have a legal system, Buck, Keen and Hogg.
    Let’s not confuse destructive gossip with using our justice system.

  69. Evelyn Buck said

    One of the things I like about writing is the transparency.

    A faulty rationale is there to see and dissect.

    A lie jumps out at you.

    Bafflegab obscures clarity.

    Obfuscation is easily identified.

    When challenged to explain, the Mayor and her supporters have a consistent strategy. Offense is the best defense.

    Verbally presented,it disarms and distracts.

    In writing…not so much

  70. Anonymous said

    Then make your request for “Transparency and Accountability in Fundraising” for the “Dream Team” to the Mayor and council OFFICIAL!
    Write a letter to council, or attend the next council meeting and make your concerns known.
    Send a copy of the letter to The Banner and The Auroran.
    This blog is just that. A blog.
    The readership is limited.
    It is a forum for expression, but no-one can expect an “official” response to the questions being asked.
    If you feel that passionately about this issue, stand before council and ask the questions.

  71. Bill Hogg said

    Nature abhors a vacuum. When facts are not present, poor decisions get made and even poorer assumptions. Until the facts are known, speculation will continue to swirl.

    If this team is supported by Council through our tax dollars they should be held to the same standards as any other publicly funded organization. Let’s have the facts presented by the Dream Team through Council and then all citizens can confidently support their efforts.

    And let’s not confuse legitimate questions with bad-mouthing volunteers. This is a Council issue — not a volunteer issue. People in Aurora are very supportive of volunteers and they are well appreciated.

    However, people in Aurora have a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent.

    It is irresponsible for these questions not to have been asked and answered before Council spent our hard earned money. Let’s not confuse the two.

  72. Nigel Kean said

    Once again I ask that the mayor push for an audit for the dream team as far as what was collected and what was spent.I do not believe that there is wrong doing but the only way to prove this is by an audit.The mayor and Grainger are strong supporters and members of the Dream Team so they should act responsibly and call for the audit.
    Let’s stop the gossip and get the facts.
    There is too much gossip and not enough facts.

  73. Anonymous said

    Strange to think that there is a foolish notion in our society that all are innocent until proven guilty.
    Such a waste of time and money when a site like this can deal with the matter so efficiently.
    Those accused have the onus on them to clear their names even though no charges have been laid.
    Puts the pressure on all of us to constantly search out any charges against us on the internet, in order to mount a defense.
    No need for courts, judges, juries.
    We don’t even need police.
    Now that’s what I call cutting costs.
    It’s better than just cutting costs for silly things like a community parade or farmers’ market.
    This system of justice will save substantial funds.
    We can call it community watch.
    Everyone can contribute by dishing on their neighbors.
    Sign me up, Big Bro/Big Sis.

  74. Anonymous said

    To Anonymous Apr 25, 10:12,

    So typical, no facts to support your accusations of misinformation and then immediatley throw dirt at someone else. Do you think your own bias is not showing?

    What questions do you have for Neighbourhood Network? Ask them and possibly they will be answered. They actually have a website you can visit for more information if you are really interested. https://www.neighbourhoodnetwork.org

    Until you made these accusations I knew nothing about Neighbourhood Network, because I have not heard about them running around for 2 years asking for my money.

    A visit to their site suggests they are linking willing volunteers with appreciative recipients. Boy that seems like a terrible thing. I also did not find any request for funding — although I saw a long list of community groups who are partners and some very fine organizations as sponsors. Is this what your problem with them is?

    Now if I was asked to fund those activities through my taxes, I would have questions about their financials, but until I am asked for money I wish them best wishes and continued success.

    Maybe your friends could learn from this example.

  75. Aurora Citizen said

    Feel free to add the correct information. That is what people are looking for. If you have some information — why don’t you share it?

  76. Aurora Citizen said

    What misinformation has been posted?

  77. Anonymous said

    You have posted a lot of misinformation, provided only to tarnish a great number of kind, generous and thoughtful people.

    No, you have not simply reported – “you” “Councillor Buck” and your “favorite Anonymous posters” have provided a lot of misinformation for the sole purpose of destroying the reputation of good people.

    Your view that Council has shown favoritism to the Dream Team.., exposes your motive.

    During the week of Volunteerism you choose to attack a good group of citizens and several local businesses.

    My guess is, your favorite group of “Neighbourhood Network” is feeling like the ugly cousin.

    This site is driven to serve the personal agendas of a “dirty dozen” and you and them will stop at nothing.

  78. Anonymous said

    Why didn’t you call the people involved directly, then report back?
    It seems a bit of a stretch to imagine everyone in town keeps up with the gossip on this site.

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