Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Freedom Of Information and Aurora Coalition – Part 2

Posted by auroracitizen on January 3, 2010

The following Freedom of Information requests were submitted by the Aurora Coalition in early December 2009. 

  1. An accounting of all monies paid to or on behalf of the Aurora Farmers Market annually since its inception, and decisions by staff or Council authorizing it.
  2. An accounting of costs to the town, including staff salaries for media and communications responsibilities associated with the Mayor’s office. This should include speech writing and media staff attendance at various events. In addition, please provide the number of staff involved in media and communications at Town at present compared with 2003.
  3. An accounting of any and all activities associated with the Town, together with dollars amounts where Sher and/or George St. Kitts were involved, be they as organizers or performers. This accounting should extend to all other events in which they were involved through the auspices of the Town, staff, members of Council or the Mayor.
  4. What exactly is the “Dream Team”? An accounting of its activities and how any Town monies allocated to support its activities were spent.
  5. An accounting on the raising and expenditure of monies relating to the July First Parades in which Sher St. Kitts was involved.
  6. An accounting of monies spent on Council Members’ lounge for furniture and reconfiguration after the 2006 Municipal election; likewise for the security doors for the Mayor’s and CAO’s area; finally for the new furniture that was delivered to the Mayor’s and COA’s office in October 2009
  7. An accounting of all OMB appeals arising from the Town’s planning/zoning actions, those won and lost, with dollars amounts for external consultations and lawyers, on a case by case basis.
  8. An accounting of time spent during General Committee and Council meetings in open vs in camera session, and during all these times were external lawyers in attendance? How do these hours compare with similar circumstances during 2 previous terms of Aurora’s municipal government/
  9. A list of all buildings owned by the town that are vacant and the annual cost of maintaining them. What efforts have been made to lease, sell or utilize them?
  10. Costs of legal expenses on fees specifically paid to Mr. John Mascarin.

Responses are expected within 30 days, so accounting for holidays, responses should be available soon. We will publish the responses as they become available.

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17 Responses to “Freedom Of Information and Aurora Coalition – Part 2”

  1. Fred said

    Shouldn’t the FOI results be available soon?

  2. Elizabeth Bishenden said

    I’m looking at a lot of pre-pre-pre-election discussion and thinking that many folks are saying someone else made a mistake.

    I’m a House League Hockey Convenor. When I’m told I’ve made a mistake, I usually smile and say something warm and friendly like, “Thanks.” No kidding, I make a ton of mistakes. Some good, some bad.

    In my inside-head voice I’m saying,”Just because I’ve made a mistake doesn’t mean you’ve had a good idea.”

    Creative thinking hardly ever involves pointing fingers.

    Mistakes abound. Good ideas not so much.

    • Anonymous said

      Elizabeth, what are you saying exactly?

    • Positive 2010 said

      Yes , please clarify what you are saying .

    • Elizabeth Bishenden said

      I’m saying that often people say someone has done something wrong and have pointed it out. That’s not a bad thing.

      On the other hand, that’s not like having a new idea and having a way of moving forward.

      That’s all I mean.

  3. Anonymous said

    So, let me play devil’s advocate. What is the actual end-game of the FOI requests? A lawyer friend of mine says “Don’t ask a question unless you already know the answer.”. So, is the intent to find some smoking gun that proves Mayor Morris is evil? What happens if the Aurora Coalition gets information that is not in line with their intent? Will the Aurora Coalition show all of the answers, even if they support the Mayor? Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to see her go, I am just not sure this process is going to bear fruit.

    • George Gonsalves said

      Why are you anonymous? What are you afraid of.

    • Augustinius said

      Any lawyer who says “Don’t ask a question unless you already know the answer.” has obviously never presented a case before Canada’s Supreme Court or appeared before the Parliamentary Committee investigating this country’s role in Afghanistan in relationship to the treatment of detainees.

      The Justices of the Court do not know the answer to the question being posed in any given case until they have heard all the arguments for and against, and have then had the opportunity to confer with each other, and examine legal precedent (should this latter be necessary).

      Likewise the Parliamentary Committee referred to above certainly did not know that it would hear many different answers to the same question, some from sitting Cabinet ministers and the immediately former Chief of Canada’s Defence Staff. Most of us still do not know the full and complete answer and may never do so.

      Questions are asked in order to learn the truth, if there be such a thing. Smoking guns are for children; the intent must be to to get at the truth, wherever this leads one.

      As a relatively new participant on AuroraCitizen, I must say that so far there seem to be too many smoking guns and not enough substantive facts. The single document of substance in Aurora is the Town’s Annual Budget. It is in here that the facts must be established as being truths or the opposite. The “power’ that we as voters and taxpayers volunteer to give to “politicians” at the polls is essentially the way in which they spend our money. All this other hokum about Codes of Conduct and Integrity Commissioners is absolute “landfill.” How wisely has this administration spent our money? Legal expenses? Petch House study? Chicanes? Codes and Commissions? Arboretum? Cultural Centre? How many of you have been in it since completion? Reorganization and renaming of senior staff? Look to the facts. Follow the money!

      The contributors to AuroraCiitizen should be directing their talents and energies a few months hence, by which time a solid group of candidates for elected office should be appearing. These must be men and women with experience at just about anything constructive, strength of character, demonstrable ability at getting along with all sorts of people, and a desire to serve and enhance the Town of Aurora and its residents, non-voters as well as voters, children as well as the elderly – all of us.

      Some of you might know other contributors to this site, and others some more, and your friends and neighbours. It’s time to start a political action movement to get people interested enough in Aurora’s politics and future to actually get out and vote on election day. Let’s shoot for at least a 50% turnout. I have no personal preferences to support. I do know that I would sooner vote for our budgie than for Morris and her clan of weasels. That’s what they are, and that’s what they use – weasel words, whenever they open their mouths!

    • Anonymous said

      George I am not afraid of anything. Have no fear, I am not some pro-Morris hack lurking in the weeds. Sometimes I think that a lot of you people on this board need to go out and get a job or something. You have way to much time on your hands.

  4. someone who loves this town more than politics said

    There are some great suggestions offered by the lady who writes the Mississauga Watch blog ( http://www.mississaugawatch.ca/blog/?p=6164) she has commented on the Mayor Morris vs. Councilor Buck fiasco.

    She has suggested filing F.O.I requests for “all records, emails, and any other documents pertaining to [insert name,event,issue].”

    Communications exist (lets not forget the Mayor’s blackberry) and emails are very telling provided you can get your hands on them.

    Make sure they are included in the instructions of any F.O.I. request

  5. Augustinius said

    WHAT’S IN A NAME?
    ___________________

    This relates indirectly to Freedom of Information – possibly disinformation might be more appropriate.

    In a Town Media Release dated November 24, 2009, I quote: “Council and I are very pleased that Mr. Leach” (John Leach)”will be joining Town staff as our new Director of Customer and Legislative Services,” said Phyllis. “This is an exciting time for the Town, having recently completed an organizational review, the Town’s administration is now poised to realize some of the changes that will allow us to manage and meet the needs of our residents today and in the future.”

    A few days ago I noted that the Director of Public Works was now to be addressed as the Director of Infrastructure and Environmental Services.

    What is an environmental service? garbage collection? Is a major pothole in a road going to be labelled infrastructure?

    The cost of this little exercise has apparently run into the many tens of thousands of dollars. No doubt all department letterhead stationary, envelopes and business cards need to be shredded and replaced by new. This is profligate waste, pure and simple.

    It’s the person in the job that succeeds or fails, not the title.

    Phyllis is the best example of this.

    Some days I think she’s on drugs, uppers, downers and in-betweeners.

    It’s possible we need the sort of raid at Town Hall that occurred recently at the Toronto Humane Society.

    • Thanks will be Given come October said

      Bit of a paraphrase of ‘Anonymous January 2, 2010 at 9:27pm’, but very true.

      It would appear that we’ve started creating the ‘look what I’ve done for Aurora’ list that will no doubt be featured on the election campaign drivel, oops I mean literature, we will be bombarded with soon.

      Let the games begin.

    • Augustinius said

      Sorry for the paraphrase, but I don’t read the posts that often so missed Anonymous’ January 2 piece.

      But it does show that people are thinking along similar lines.

      All we need now is 10,000 people thinking along similar lines and the Morris years will be consigned to the scrapheap of history.

    • Thanks will be Given come October said

      Actually 12,370 people voted for Mayor in 2006. 7162 or 58% didn’t vote for Phyllis! However in a three way race, it’s first past the post. But if only 211 voters hadn’t swallowed the ‘clear and transparent change’ line and supported Mayor Jones instead, well…

      Remember the retoric? Jones can’t control council. Well the prime uncontrollable one last term has now shown us what her idea of control was all about.

      Fortunately the voters regain control come October.

      Unlike council where as long as you don’t finish worse than 8th, or your name is John ‘which way is the flock heading now’ Gallo, you’re at the table. Phyllis’s worst nightmare is to have only one strong candidate against her.

      Remember, 58% said no thanks.

  6. Anonymous for a reason said

    The Aurora Coalition has really stepped up with the FOIs. The information they’ve requested could be very politically damaging to Mayor Morris and her cohorts, which of course is the object. However, if the Aurora Coalition are to truly get the attention and support of residents, then I believe they need to take a different tone with their advertisements.
    The ads to date have been juvenile and rambling, and too easily dismissed as anti-Morris rantings not based on facts.
    Let’s hope some other “member” of the coalition presents the FOI results with less rhetoric (and some much needed editing) and perhaps they’ll gain some members for their coaltion.

    • Richard Johnson said

      To: Anonymous for a reason,
      January 3, 2010 at 10:03 am

      I agree that the delivery of “the other side of the story” needs to be handled with care, but I’m not as critical of The Aurora Coalition’s efforts to date as at least a few other people have expressed.

      Some fine tuning may be required and brevity is key, but on the other hand the same could go for much of what I have tried to say over the years. That being said, I stand by every single stance I have ever taken on issues facing our municipality with the exception that some of my views on select politicians have most certainly evolved over time. Live and learn as they say.

      The Aurora Coalition has demonstrated that there is more than ample evidence to hold the Mayor and her crew accountable but we all have to do our part in sharing our perspectives. At least the Aurora Coalition has stepped up and shared information that the public would otherwise not have known. I think that the record shows that much if not all of what has been said is in fact accurate.

      It would be next to impossible to have an informed discussion if no one ever questioned or corrected the Mayor’s spin. Sometimes being blunt is what is called for and I can’t bring myself to feel anything but sympathy for the Coalition’s clear sense of frustration given that I feel the same way.

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