Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Candidate Questions

Posted by auroracitizen on August 12, 2010

We will be sending a questionnaire to each candidate. We would like your input on what the questions should be.

We can’t guarantee whether any candidates will answer them — but we want to make sure they are asked. Please indicate whether your question is for Mayor, Councillor or both.

Please send along your suggestions. We will probably send them to the candidates in early September.

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45 Responses to “Candidate Questions”

  1. Brian Duff said

    I think that this is an excellent idea. I look forward to your questionnaire and reading all of the responses.
    Cheers
    Brian

  2. Richard Johnson said

    Here are some more ideas to consider. Last night I actually watched a show on CPAC and it was fascinating. Professors from across North America were discussing the green economy and global warming.

    The topic dealt with the impact of energy generation on the environment and they compared Canadian and U.S. perspectives.

    California is clearly leading the way in many related initiatives and a few ideas were really interesting.

    Firstly, they have developed what is called “Pace Financing”. Municipalities will fund energy efficiency retrofits of homes and then residents are charged back over time on their future tax bills. The trick is that the costs are spread out over a long period of time and presumably the program would be much more cost effective than going to the bank for a loan. If the costs to participate were even less than the saving generated as a result of efficiency then you really would generate a lot of interest.

    California also has serious building code requirements that will require homes to be designed so that they are either energy neutral or they actually provide energy to the grid by a specific target date (I think it was 15 to 20 years out). This is an area that Aurora could make a serious effort in. Building codes and community designs could make a significant positive impact on our lifestyle as well as reducing impacts on the environment.

    These kind of programs could reduce operating costs of home owners, reduce energy consumption and help the environment. What’s wrong with that ?

    • Robert the Bruce said

      Mr. Johnston,

      “These kind of programs could reduce operating costs of home owners, reduce energy consumption and help the environment. What’s wrong with that ?”

      The cost of housing is already too high for what we get. These programs will increase the cost of housing.

      This is also something that I feel, is not within the mandate of municipal councils. Like it or not, energy is a provincial matter. We have finally got municipal government out of the energy delivery business. We do not need them in the generation business now. Let them worry about snow removal and garbage pickup.

      Fuimus

    • Richard Johnson said

      Hi Robert the Bruce:

      On a side note… I just finished reading a book about your namesake (Robert the Bruce) and he was quite the man. He stood up for what he believed in against all odds. His is an amazing story of integrity and perseverance. He even switched sides in order to follow his conscience. He was a real hero.

      As far as your comment about municipalities not having a role to play in development standards the building code I think that all levels of government have a role to play. The province obviously has a more direct link from a legislative perspective but it is municipalities that can influence the nature of nature of local growth; including the type of buildings we approve. I think the issues and the benefits are too great to let pass the buck on this one.

      I agree that the cost of living is getting to the point where most people pay far too much as a percentage of income in bank charges, taxes and insurance but when it comes to adding $5,000 to $7,000 onto a typical mortgage or a long term tax bill in order to lower operating costs while improving the environment I think we have to take a closer look. There could well be a business case that could actually result in a net gain. We can’t afford business as usual from any number of perspectives (especially when it comes to our local government and the environment).

      We seem to find money for the frills without addressing more critical issues. I (for one) think it is time to revisit our priorities.

      RJ
      .

  3. Anonymous said

    I would like to know candidates’position on affordable housing in Aurora. AFter watching the meeting of August 12th, which discussed the development of 2C lands, this mayor and her cozy little group of 5 definitely adopt a NIMBY attitude. They positively recoiled in horror when the presenter mentioned affordable housing as part of the plan.

    • Richard Johnson said

      I heard that Phyllis said that “those people don’t live in Aurora” as an explanation as to why she does not support affordable housing when the issue came up at the Region. You might want to ask her to confirm, her response will no doubt be “interesting”.

      The big issue for me in this election has to be he the fact that council sees fit to spend upwards of $200,000 on any given term (likely more – they way things are going) in order to pay an integrity commissioner and the accompanying lawyers, in order to shame fellow councillors into apologising for their actions, which offending actions, in some cases may only be caused by a difference of opinion.

      The fact is that there is guilt by association therefore the mere act of publicly accusing a politician of wrongdoing via money and effort spent by the town itself is enough to get the desired political effect, which is likely why Mayor Morris wanted to make every effort to keep the allegations against Councillor Buck posted on the town’s website and why the Mayor & co saw fit for the town to spend $3,000 on attck ads against Councillor Buck. In my opinion the money spent on attacking fellow councillors would be better spent elsewhere given the uneven and in my opinion unethical application of the code of ethics. We should leave the power of the vote and the media to do its work.

      Anyone that knows Phyllis and the antics at Council over the past few years, including the cease and desist order(s) issued against the Mayor for her comments concerning a renowned corporate governance and ethics specialist, David Nitkin, can see the political manipulation that has been on full display for years and the fact that the Mayor and Council ask residents to give generously to the under stocked food bank while the town gives not a penny, irks me to no end.

      Council sees fit to spend money on jazz festivals, parades, trails, trees, recreation facilities, log cabins and numerous law suits, but not a penny is contributed towards the food bank’s efforts to feed upwards of 60 families that need a helping hand.

      It is no wonder that the town dropped the motto “Character Community” given their new approach to spending our money. “Community of Characters” is more like it.

    • Richard Johnson said

      For further clarity I am not 100% sure if the town spent $1,500 or $3,000 on the attack ads referenced above (I think it was $3,000) and while I known there was one cease and desist order issued by Mr. Nitkin I was also informed that Phyllis once said there were two.

      The comment about “those people” was apparently made at a 2c land planning meeting.

      In any case, despite these small points, my conclusions remain the same.

    • Anonymous said

      Richard, I’m not following your reasoning as to why you think municipal taxes should be funding the food bank. Because this council has squandered money doesn’t mean it should have been directed elsewhere. It just shouldn’t have been spent, full-stop.
      I support the food bank personally, but I don’t expect my municipal taxes to do so when provincial taxes support social services to assist those in need. And how would any municipality determine this need over another?
      If everybody did a little locally, it would add up to alot. That goes for any charity, of which there are many worthy causes in our area. Charity begins at home, but it will always be the choice of the giver.

    • Robert the Burce said

      Is this not the chicken and egg? “They don’t live in Aurora” becasue there is no place for them to live in Aurora. Personally, I have to agree with Anonymous @ 8/19/10-11:22pm. This is an example of an issue that is not a municipal issue. It’s not garbage pickup or snow removal or parks. It’s not their business.

      Fuimus

    • Richard Johnson said

      To; Anonymous, August 19, 2010 at 11:22 pm

      I have no doubt that you are not alone in your views. I am of the view that we have a moral responsibility as a community to help others in need. the point I was making is that when you look at what we see fit to spend money on it clearly indicates our priorities.

      You and I can respectfully disagree but I do know that other communities do see fit to assist those in need.

      I’m not talking hundreds of thousands of dollars (i.e. the kind of money we seem to squander frequently). The food bank helps 60 families year around and the last I heard demand was increasing. $25,000 annually could go a long way.

    • Anonymous for a Reason said

      I’m Anonymous 11:22 (not quick enough putting my blog name in on that post….)

      Richard, while I applaud your community spirit with supporting the food bank, the real issue for those in need of assistance is a much larger issue that goes to the heart of our social service structure at the provincial level, and federal level for improved economic conditions for better employment prospects.

      To use your example, how could you reasonably expect a municipal government to fund $25K on the food bank and not expect other noble and worthy causes to want the same consideration? How is one cause more worthy than another? Because that is YOUR special interest? Then, by all means, help them directly to increase their fundraising through community groups.

      Or, another way to help the food bank is to work on reducing the need for it. Better employment opportunities and sufficiently funded provincial programs for those in need, i.e. low income earners, fixed-income pensioners, people with disabilities etc. etc. Press your local M.P. and M.P.P.

      I’ll continue to do my community bit with food drives and give any extra I have to the charities of MY choice that in turn support the food bank, but my municipal taxes – and those of our fixed-income pensioner neighbours etc.- shouldn’t be used to fund any particular charity. Fair and equitable.

      I agree with RtB. Let the municipal governments work on their mandate. Municipal taxes need no more burden than they already have.

      I always look forward to your posts, and the passion with which you share your concerns.

    • Richard Johnson said

      To: Anonymous for a Reason, August 25, 2010 at 10:07 pm

      “To use your example, how could you reasonably expect a municipal government to fund $25K on the food bank and not expect other noble and worthy causes to want the same consideration? How is one cause more worthy than another? Because that is YOUR special interest?”

      I see your point but to do nothing because of running the risk of lack of fairness seems to strike me as just plain wrong. Regional programs that support health, food, clothing and shelter are rather fundamental. Maybe we should have a fixed long term budget that is intended to help a limited number of good causes.

      If we can find millions of dollars (long term) for trails, trees, culture, recreation and law suites I think we can find some money (maybe even as much as 1% or 2% of the town’s budget) to help those in need. It would say a lot about our community.

      I fully appreciate that many people would not hold my view. I’ve worked at out of the cold programs and at food shelters and I’ve seen homes for mentally handicapped street people up close and I guess that once you’ve looked into the eyes of people in need it is hard not to hope for more compassion within our community. I think we can afford to do more than we typically do. We may not be able to save the world but we can make a difference.

      RJ

    • noseeum said

      we have a housing co-op already in Aurora, what’s the problem here…..

  4. Anonymous said

    Who else will be throwing their hat in the ring?
    Eric McCartney’s real-estate ads are getting bigger and more prominently placed in the Auroran. I’m thinking he’s leading up to another crack at it.

  5. Robert the Bruce said

    Given the number of candidates, do you really feel that staying in the race – and splitting the vote – is beneficial to the Town?

    Now that HRH Morris has declared, I fear the worst with the “other 3” in the ring – they should get together and figure out which of them will stay.

    Fuimus

  6. Dave Robinson said

    I do not expect perfection from my elected officials but I would like a degree of humility and thoughtfulness. So(for existing members of Council):
    “What do you regard as your greatest mistake as a member of Council?”
    In the answer, I would be looking for honesty and an ability to change one’s mind. Anyone who uses the question as an opportunity to denigrate his/her rivals is to be avoided.

    • evelyn.buck said

      It’s a good thing you don’t expect perfection in your elected officials .Dave. You would be seriously disappointed.

      I am most humble at realising I have received enough support to take a seat at the Council table. My silent prayer at that moment is I will not disappoint the people who gave me their trust

      Modesty or shyness, Nah… you won”t find any of that.

      But I do have a mistake to confess. I seconded a motion of Councillor MacEachern’s to create a playground in the former one acre site of the south end water tower. The site had been vacant since it was returned to us from the Region. It’s surrounded by homes. Initially it seemed like a good use for the neat little circle. .

      Then one day when I was driving past our park on Glass Drive I realised. parks are all open and in full view. Amd so they should be. The water tower site is completely enclosed from view.Houes back on to the property. It certainly was not a good place for a playground.

      I tried to have the decision rescinded. The Councillor would have none of it.

      Fortunately there was no support in the neighbourhood and it never happened.

      There now, I’ve started it, Let’s see who else can admit to being fallible.

    • Guy Poppe said

      To Mr. Dave Robinson;

      I hope I don’t sound patronizing, but you have raised a very interesting question.

      I also hope you continue to ask these type of questions,and not get discouraged with some personal responses.

      Someone much wiser than I, said tongue in cheek, ” If the facts don’t fit your position, argue the law: if the law doesn’t suit you, argue the facts. If neither helps, insult your opponent.”

      Welcome aboard.

    • Anonymous said

      Guy Poppe: now the “self-appointed” ambassador of the Aurora Citzen blog.

  7. Anonymous for a Reason said

    http://www.yorkregion.com/news/article/860178–morris-seeks-re-election-in-aurora

    Mayor Morris finally declares her candidacy for re-election.

    • anonymous said

      I am going to throw up!!!

      This woman should be in prison, or worse!!!!!

    • Fred said

      Anonymous 11:54, while I whole heartedly agree with your distaste for Mayor Morris, me thinks your comment about “prison or worse” is a titch over the top.

      Mayor Morris’ press statement is a perfect lead for the question I asked below in my post of the 12th:

      “I’d ask a candidate seeking re-election what they think was council’s biggest accomplishment this term. Then I’d ask them what they think is the most important issue facing Aurora, and what they plan on doing about it. Then I’d ask them why the heck didn’t they do anything about it during THIS term.”

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      “I am excited about the future of Aurora, pleased about the progress we have made and looking forward to continuing the agenda Aurora voters set for council nearly four years ago,” Mrs. Morris said. “With our hard-working team of councilors (sic) and town staff, supported by many active volunteers, we have achieved a lot for Aurora in this past term and we will accomplish more in the future.”

      Turn the egg beaters up a little higher Phyllis, this wasn’t quite fluffy enough. How about telling us about your accomplishments this past term that didn’t imvolve litigation, wasted taxpayer dollars or Sher St. Kitts.

    • really popped off said

      It is our great misfortune that the Mayor displays, with consistent frequency, diarrhoea of words and constipation of thought.

  8. Augustinius said

    Would you support a By-Law doing away with the odious Code of Conduct, its accompanying Integrity Commissioner, and legal bills running into the many tens of thousands of dollars?

    Elected officials should demonstrate integrity, not rely on a hired ‘expert’ to point out what is or is not appropriate behaviour.

  9. Richard Johnson said

    I could come up with a dozen more, but here are my first questions…

    1. What will you position be with regards to spending upwards of $100,000 per year towards an integrity commissioner and the accompanying legal fees in order for Council to police itself. Do you feel that elected officials should be able to speak their mind without the fear of persecution from the Mayor ?

    2. Given the current economic climate, what is your stance with regards to town staff hiring and the accompanying impacts on the town’s budget ? Do you support the 20% increase in staffing we have witnessed in the first three years of the current council term as well as the most recent accompanying tax increases ?

    3. Given the hundreds of thousands of dollars that have been spent on legal fees attacking staff, councillors and developers, plus the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on arboretums, cultural centers, trails and recreation centers, do you agree that the town’s stance to not give one thin dime to the food bank is consistent with our motto of being a “character community” ? Should our priorities be revisited ?

    4. Given the apparent increase of freedom of information requests being demanded by the town in order to answer even the most simple and reasonable questions and the increase in closed door (“in-camera”) meetings, do you feel that these policies reflect and open and transparent government and what would your stance be on how the town should conduct its affairs from a transparency and accountability perspective ?

    • fed up said

      why would they give any money to the food bank? one councillor didn’t even know where the food bank was located. talk about “out of touch”

    • Anonymous said

      To echo Fed up, why would the town be expected to give money to a food bank? Yes, it’s a worthy and seemingly necessary cause, but not the responsibility of the corporation of the town of Aurora.
      Lots of worthy causes for the community at large to decide to support as an individual.
      Perhaps what Richard means is the less waste of taxpayers dollars, the more left in our respective pockets to support the charities of our choice.

    • Richard Johnson said

      To: Anonymous, August 14, 2010 at 10:16 am

      Everyone is entitled to thier own views (I fully respect that), but I disagree that the town does not have an moral and ethical obligation to assist the most vulnerable in our community.

      I find it hard to fathom that the council of a “character community” would see fit to pay for trails, an arboretum, legal battles to fight itself and developers, an integrity commissioner (or two) to police council, a jazz festival, a cultutal center, parades and any number of recreation facilities when we don’t see fit to address the needs of the most vulnerable people within our community. While each and every one of the above expenses may be worthy in their own right, I think our priorities are more than a bit askew.

      I am not talking about commiting hundreds of thousands of dollars. Donating vacant town owned space could have been one solution but the best that the town can do is to ask for the community to donate generously to this worthy cause. I personally think that we could and should lead by example as others towns and cities have seen fit to do.

    • walt said

      I’m surprised how no one’s mentioned how the Town gave Habitat for Humanity the run-around for so bloody long I can’t even remember how it resolved itself.

      People in Aurora like the idea of helping the less well-off. They just don’t actually want them seen, or living anywhere near them.

      Witness the shabby little basement they’ve provided for them for the past 7 or 8 years in the old post office. We should be embarrassed that was the premises for so long.

    • someone who loves this town's food more than politics said

      I don’t think we should encourage the council to “lead by example”, can you imagine what that would look like.

      As for “the council of a “character community”…is the town afilliated with Character Community?

      I understand that that has been dropped as of this year.

      No surprise why.

    • Anonymous said

      Referring to Walt’s comment about Habitat for Humanity, did anyone else notice how the mayor et al shrank back with looks of horrors on their faces when the presenter last Thursday night mentioned a proportion of “affordable housing” in the proposal for the 2c lands? The defence was that the lands are too far way from the core to be of benefit. Hello! All the commercial facilities one could possibly want, including economical Walmart shopping, are between Bayview and the 404!

    • Richard Johnson said

      Walt and Anonymous August 15, 2010 at 9:59am make a good point.

      Did anyone notice how at the August 17th meeting council encouraged citizens to give generously to the needy and short supplied food bank when council sees fit to pay an integrity commissioner tens of thousands of dollars to get Clr Buck to say sorry, with the use of a lawyer / politician to establish what integrity is, when council gives not one thin dime to support the most needy ?

      I heard that Mayor Morris said at the Region that we don’t have “those kind of people” in Aurora so we don’t need to support affordable housing. Unreal, but true.

      It’s no wonder that we removed “character community” from our motto.

      If people don’t speak up loud and clear in the coming weeks we are in for more of the same. Evelina, Phyllis et al need to go.

  10. Augustinius said

    1. Why are you running for mayor/council?

    2. In a contentious debate among council members involving a matter of policy (or principle), how would you approach the matter to find a consensus that satisfies the majority and is in the best interests of the town? Are the two possible?

    3. How do you see the role of senior staff (department heads) in operating the town vs. that of council? Do we get sound management in place of political posturing?

    • evelyn.buck said

      I would refer you to a post I just published.

    • evelyn.buck said

      1. I am the kind of politician I wish to represent me.
      I am the only one I know who is exactly like me
      I am the only one I can depend upon absolutely.
      I regularly and consistently expound my views
      I do everything possible to make sure they are heard and understood.
      I run for Council to represent me and anyone else who thinks like me or likes that they know how I think

      2. Policies are set to provide fair ,equal and consistent decision-making. They should be upheld for those reasons.

      Principles involve personal integrity. Without them, there is no integrity. They should not be compromised.

      A majority vote is the constant. There’s no rule that requires your vote to be right. You just have to believe it’s right.

      The most important decision is the one made by each and every voter on election day.

      The government you get is the government you choose in a free vote.

      God Bless Canada and all the privileges and freedoms we enjoy together.

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      Evelyn, how about the third question, I’m sure you will have an equally well thought out response to it as well.

    • Hello! said

      I think if you read the post Evelyn mentions in her first response you will find her answer there.

  11. Fred said

    Probably with their ears….

    Let’s face it, they do “listen” to the community. They just don’t necessarily do a rat’s bottom thing about it, and their hearing is selective. The more special interest the group, the more likely a good hearing they’ll get.

    Better to ask an issue based question with some teeth to it.

    I’d ask a candidate seeking re-election what they think was council’s biggest accomplishment this term. Then I’d ask them what they think is the most important issue facing Aurora, and what they plan on doing about it. Then I’d ask them why the heck didn’t they do anything about it during THIS term.

  12. David Heard said

    How will you “Listen”to the community?

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