Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Dick’s Pick’s

Posted by auroracitizen on October 7, 2010

Christopher Watts has a brilliant post over on his site Temporary Sanity. The site is a must read for anyone interested in Aurora politics — or anyone with a quirky sense of humour.

The focus of the recent post was Dick Illingworth’s analysis of the outgoing Council before he passed away last year. For those who didn’t know Dick, he was a highly regarded and well-loved fixture in Aurora politics who alway spoke his mind and provided great insights on the goings on at Council.

Some may even recall that Phyllis Morris took a quote from one of Dick’s column many years ago and continuously used it in her election brochure because she acknowledged the impact his point of view had on readers.

It would be worth noting that Dick would probably not be happy to see his quote used this election.

Chris has taken the time to review all of Dick’s Brickbats & Bouquets and provided a neat summary for your review. It is worth the time to read.

Dick also wrote an opinion column (Poor Richard) in the May 2008 Auroran. Reprints were distributed at the Library Board all-candidates meeting on Sunday. You can see a copy <> of the reprint if you are interested.

In it he stated that in almost 50 years of observing council meetings; “I have never seen a more fractious council than the current Aurora Council. It’s an embarrassment and a disgrace!”

He went on to say, “If some of the senior members of staff start looking for positions elsewhere, council members will only have themselves to blame.” It is almost prophetic — 6 of 8 positions left this term — but Phyllis and crowd accept no responsibility.

Remember this column was written in May 2008.

Please take the time to visit Temporary Sanity and read the post. It will give you greater insight into what has been going on these last 4 years.

Then get out and vote!

43 Responses to “Dick’s Pick’s”

  1. Tuscaroran said

    Boy….that Mr. Illingworth was a fine chap, and I’ll admit that he was right about the dysfunction on this council.

    Coming from a heritage where the women held significant leadership responsibilities, I approached the last election thinking that I would select all female candidates (I’ll admit that I really had no clue who these people were nor what they were all about) and see what would happen. I thought that a female-heavy council might do something that prior mixed or male-dominated councils hadn’t thought of before.

    I found out that I was right. This isn’t a stinging indictment of females, but I didn’t expect that council would swan off into bitter vindictiveness…so much so that the local newspaper became more than bathroom reading as there would be endless tirades and ultimately reports of lawsuits and countersuits!

    Man, I really expected more from a female-dominated council.

    This time around, I am taking some time to see who has what it takes to make this town right, and lower the level of bitterness that has become so toxic that it is commented on nationally. I realize that every person seeking election has their heart in the right place and cares for Aurora, but it is clear from the manner that current council has acted that personalities were shoved to the forefront and there seems to be an appearance that our current council’s claims that “I’m working for the people” can really translate into “i’m working for the people that think along the same lines as I do”, as it became clearer over the past few years that our councillors developed a certain amount of intolerance for their neighbours…not that some of the neighbours were of little help or decorum themselves.

    either way, Aurora has treated me and mine well since we moved here in the 90’s, so I want to do the same by putting the right people in the right place, and I hope others can do the same without getting involved in the various cabals that we hear of so often.

    good luck, neighbours.

  2. Mr. Spock said

    AC wrote…
    “Christopher Watts has a brilliant post…”

    When you have been in the dark for so long, even a halfwit with a half watt light bulb seems brilliant.

    • Anonymous said

      Is it just me or has Watts’ posts of late become too mean-spirtited and nasty. He used to be somewhat humourous (not often) but after you weed through the spelling mistakes, poor grammer and inaccurate things, he just sounds like someone who has to disagree with anyone who does not have the same thoughts of values as his own. Sorry Chris, but I think that you have lost some integrity with me.

    • Matt Maddocks said

      “Mr. Spock” – when you decide to come out from behind your lame pseudonym, and then present a post as well written, thoughtful, researched, and eloquent as the work Chris has delivered, then you can take your shot brother.

      Bring it.

    • *chortles* said

      “but after you weed through the spelling mistakes, poor grammer(sic)…”

      Pot. Kettle. Black.

    • Richard Johnson said

      I think that “Temporary Sanity” is an excellent expression of someone’s world view. Ya, I admit that it may come close to the edge at times but that is what is so refreshing. It makes me laugh every time, even if I don’t always agree (but I usually do).

      Isn’t speaking your mind what democracy is all about ?

    • Mr. Spock said

      Richard Johnston said:
      “…Isn’t speaking your mind what democracy is all about?”

      I dunno, you’ll have to ask the moderator about that.
      Ain’t that right Mr. Moderator/censor-in-chief?

    • I don’t feel compelled to rebut negative comments regarding my personal blog here, and “Mr. Spock” seems to have buried himself with his “porn” comment which is in very poor taste regarding Mr. Illingsworth’s devout contributions to his community and country at large.

      but I can’t help to point out how hilarious it is for someone to question my integrity while posting behind an “Anonymous” tag.

      I guess the irony is lost here.

      The fact that someone doesn’t care for my opinions is of little consequence to me, I’m not writing for an audience although it definitely appears I have a steadily growing one.

      I find it equally interesting that some commenter here (maybe the same person) continues to read my opinion if they don’t agree with it’s construction, message or tome.

      I compare this to someone who steps onto a campfire and blames the person for starting it for it being too hot instead of stepping out.

      My blog is not a job, I spend as much or as little of my spare time as I want. Recently I am spending more. Everything I find and uncover disturbs me and to regain some sanity, albeit it temporary, I use my blog to comment on it. If nothing else it is cathartic.

      I do not feel any guilt for not crossing all my t’s or dotting all my i’s when it comes to spelling or grammar. Apparently neither does Anonymous 2:08PM as he failed to spell grammar correctly.

      Ahh, the irony lost again.

      I play to my strong suits and believe my creativity and message are paramount to what I can produce.

      By all means if you are not happy with my blog mr Anonymous, feel free to discontinue reading it, it’s not like your crustiness is going to change who I am or what I write one bit.

  3. Let me Get this Straight said

    “Can anyone here tell me one concrete thing — just one — that Buck has done in her work as councillor this term that has made Aurora a better? One motion that got support, one initiative — anything other than her co
    nstant negativity”?

    You are absolutely correct, not one motion supported , I looks like you are finally starting to get it, Her negativity was focused on .Let’s see….oh ya, here’s just a few.. Not spending upwards of half million of your tax dollars on a falling down shack , Not supporting the expenditure of over half a million and counting, fighting a developer who has approvals to build tax generating infrastructure , Supporting our youth in the community by voting in favour of a ball diamond and soccer field at the rec centre when her counter parts stammered and stalled with the goal of killing it, we could go on and on but the most useless accomplishment in the betterment of this Town was her role as a “watch dog” I shudder to think what things would have been like with her on a leash and muzzled over the past 4 years,

    • Let's get in focus said

      Let’s not loose track of something. There are people here that are down on Evelyn – with good reason – and people that are down on the GOS – also with good reason. This does not mean that people that are down on EB are not down on the GOS – or vice versa.

      I for one will not vote for Evelyn. Her history over the last terms are ample reason. Did her voting against the Petch House save any money? Has she saved any money over the developer stuff, or the baseball diamond or anything else? She has not the respect of council (now or former) and given the candidates running now, I doubt she would have their respect in the future. You can only sit back on your laurels of the past for so long, soon they become out of date and not appropriate. To have someone that disagrees for what appears to be, the sake of disagreement is not someone that is a team builder or team member. This gets back to the original question.

      What has she DONE to make Aurora better in the last 4 years? None of her dessenting votes have born fruit. All she has done is sued the GOS and the Town will likely have to foot the bill for the legal defence.

      I will also not be voting for any of the GOS. Their records speak for themselves as well. Like it or not, I will not be voting for any incumbant nor any “previously enjoyed” candiadate – sorry Nige.

    • Richard Johnson said

      Do you know what “Let me Get this Straight” ?

      You make a good point. I would not have always agreed with it, but I can’t disagree based on my recent experience.

      Evelyn isn’t perfect but as I was taught when I studied just a bit of theology in University… imperfection is required for perfection and in that lies the mystery.

      That’s a hard concept to get your head around (I admit), but when you do, it changes everything. It’s kind of the root of forgiveness, which is something that apparently Aurora Council clearly has no concept of.

      We need a change, BIG TIME.

  4. evelyn.buck said

    What facts don’t I get straight?
    Who says I’m not perfect?
    What does perfect look like?
    Richard Illingworth and I were competitors. We were rivals until the end. He always minded not being at the table,free to provide input and have an impact.It was in his bones.
    We would have fought the good fight for and against.
    I would have likely been more gentle, being mindful of his more venerable age. But I would have stood my ground just as he would expect.
    Neither would he have been above using his pen to best me. I would do that too.
    He was a worthy foe and I miss him dearly.

  5. Mr. Spock said

    “Dick’s Pick’s”??

    What is this, some kind of porn site?

  6. Anonymous said

    This question is not related to the topic but I wanted to place it where it would be read.
    I don’t know if anyone has the answer to this question but I would like to know whether the town (and therefore taxpayers) will still be covering the legal fees, (related to Councillor Buck’s lawsuit against them), of our current council members if they are no longer elected representatives after October 25th?

    • jargong said


    • jargong said

      Good question. I was wondering the same thing too.

    • Richard Johnson said

      I suspect that the town will continue to cover the legal fees given the time that the charges were commenced.

      The resulting costs could be very significant in the long run but then again I guess it depends on who’s side of the fir ball that has become Aurora politics you are on. Some people may love the sceptical that we have become.

  7. Broderick Epps said

    A great post Chris.

    There is so much fodder in your post I don’t know where to begin.
    Dick’s brickbat about the gentleman who was allowed to come to council and disparage staff re the ACI Wind Turbine is most interesting. This same gentleman and former McEachern running mate Walter Mestrinao pulled the same stunt last year when he lost a tender. At both General Committee and Council he was allowed free range to question the integrity and honesty of staff as the sole reason he lost a contract tender. Thus twice a friend of Evilina was allowed to show up and publically question the honesty and integrity of staff. Where was Morris the protector of staff from this type of behaviour. Just ask Ms Buck who said much less if anything about the character of staff and was the subject of an Integrity Commissioner complaint. I’d love to hear from the Morris Koolaid drinkers as to how Mr. Mestrinaro was allowed to get away with this but Ms. Buck has to go thru hell at our cost! Mr. Mestrinaro’s deputations were odious and despicable. Still not sure what Evelyn said. I guess in the delusional world of Mormac certain people get a pass!

  8. Thanks for the shout-out. I’m glad that my post has been so well received.

    It would be correct to assume that it took some time plowing through almost 3 years of columns to prepare this post, and even though I may not have been anywhere as thorough as Dick in my research, I still believe this was time well spent.

    Any incumbent candidate that is running their campaign hoping that they won’t be held accountable on Oct 25th for their actions will be sadly mistaken.

    There is a vast amount of material in the Auroran, The Mayora Banner, countless hours of footage of council and committee meetings and in reviewing just the cursory material, one is compelled to delve further and get to the bottom of what has gone so wrong with this council.

    I am committed to continuing my regular weekly posts, and will be adding comprehensive profiles for all candidates soon after the next all candidates meetings. On top of that key issues that are being broached in the debates and in letters to the editor will be explored.

    The response from the AuroraCitizen, as well as the majority of people I spoke with at the recent All Candidates Meeting is a vast improvement from being accosted at Shoppers Drug Mart and the Farmers Market.

    So much so that I am in the planning phase of organizing a meet and greet (what will more likely be a meet and bitch) which will serve as the right time and place to have frank and open conversations, and failing that call in some of those drinks people keep promising me.

    When the logistics have been settled I’ll make an announcement here and on my blog.

    Until then happy reading, there’s more than enough between now and Oct 25th.

  9. Anonymous for a Reason said

    Getting close to 200,000 visits! Well done, AC!
    I’m good for at least 50,000 of those…

  10. One who Knows said

    Good for Chris , I was wondering when someone was going to let the history speak for the future , After living in this town for more years than I can remember the one thing you could always count on was the direct and correct word of the “Late Great Richard Illingworth” this gentleman had it all figured out and not many would argue his wisdom and wonderful ability of sizing up the situation and the individual for exactly what was buried just beneath their skin. A truly rare and remarkable trait for these times but no so during his times.
    Dick watched many Councils come and go and presided over many which were productive and congenial, with Evelyn on his Team, I might add. His level of frustration seemed to peak with the past several terms where he watched with disbelief from the side lines. What a Sad political legacy when one considers all of the class that the former Councils displayed term after term after term.
    Lets hope october 25th sees the return to decorum in the Town Hall

  11. Anonymously said

    I’m having a heck of a time figuring out who I want on council. Seems slim pickings. I know I don’t have to choose eight, but I at least want to mark my ballot for someone?
    Chris Ballard is a HUGE supporter of Morris, so nope.
    Darryl Moore seems a bit yappy and aggressive, and therefore he is already annoying.
    Sandra Humfryes – what is with the heart on her signage? Silly.
    Keith Munro – still hoping to be elected for something. Anything.
    Geez, I might end up just voting for Ev. That’ll be a first!

  12. Anonymous said

    What Chris has done is brilliant and amazing. I am most grateful for his hard work in putting it together. I hope it is widely read and taken note of before October 25th.

  13. for a few dollars more said

    If a copy of this article were read by every eligible Aurora voter, the incumbents for elected office, other than Evelyn Buck, would be run out of town. They couldn’t run far enough!

    They might also be the subject of legal action for accepting pay in return for doing nothing. I think this is called theft. In their case, GRAND THEFT!!

    • Anonymous said

      He wasn`t exactly singing Buck`s praises either.

    • Thanks Will Be Given Come October said

      Evelyn doesn’t claim to be perfect, just truthful>

    • Anonymous said

      Just because she claims to be truthful, doesn’t make it so.

      I’m still trying to figure out what her platform is, besides constantly voting no and referring to events that took place 30 years ago.

    • Buck Shot rocks said

      Well, sometimes even Ev doesn’t get all her facts straight, or she couches them for effect. She is better at truthiness.
      It will be a hoot if she becomes Deputy Mayor.

    • Anonymous said

      I hope that common sense prevails and she is not elected. No matter how much she says that she is there for the residents, the bulk of the problems of this council have been due to her. She is still living in the ’70s version of this town and cannot see that it has and is changing.

      This is not to say that the GOS have not been a problem, but a councillor who is relunctant to accept changes is not a team member.

    • annoyomous said

      To anonymous 8:43 You should take off your rose coloured glasses, anyone who can stay in a towns Politics as long has Buck has gets my votes. She has forgotten more than that GOS ever had! Who was the one who started a blog? Oh ya the lady who lived in the seventies. Who is the one who has the knowledge that the GOS has never learned? Oh ya the lady who has lived in the seventies. Who is the one who has called this town home for fifty years? Oh ya the lady who lived in the seventies!Who is the one who said she has been elected more times than defeated and always for the same reason? Oh ya the lady from the seventies. She has moved forward with the times, she just has more knowledge and experience to reflect back on. When did that become a problem!

    • We Need An Informed Electorate said

      “…the bulk of the problems of this council have been due to her”

      You’re having a laugh, right?! You’ve got to be – either that or you’re channelling Wendy Gaertner.

    • One who Knows said

      hope that common sense prevails and she is not elected”

      OMG if this isn’t one of the best Oxymoron’s your reader have ever seen , Good lord give your head a shake , if it wasn’t for Buck there would be no common sense on this council, Perhaps anonymous could enlighten us with some accurate facts as to exactly how the problems of this Council are due to her, I guess if you consider ,trying to get business conducted at meetings by the rules, Trying to hold council accountable to all of their approved policies and procedures , Trying to conduct business in a completely Transparent manor , doing her best to curb the wasteful and reckless spending on needless studies , Lawyers and fluff, then I suppose you are quite correct , This was politics in aurora in the 70s ,High Time we bring back the 70s style of politics in Aurora

    • thanks for We Need An Informed Electorate’s comment.

      It has helped me arrive at my Halloween costume for this year: someone channeling Wendy Gaertner

      I couldn’t think of anything more horrifying.

    • Anonymous said

      Let me get this straight — she’s an ideal candidate because she has a blog, has lived here for 50 years and served forever on council?

      As someone who strongly believes in term limits, I think longevity on council is not necessarily a good thing. Case in point — Howard Moscoe.

      Can anyone here tell me one concrete thing — just one — that Buck has done in her work as councillor this term that has made Aurora a better? One motion that got support, one initiative — anything other than her constant negativity?

      To say this is just a GOS/Buck thing — she was like this under Illingworth, she was like this under Jones, she’s like this under Morris and I have no doubt whatsoever she’ll continue being like this under Dawe should he win.

      I think it was rather telling that in her own blog she writes about how she dialed the wrong number and got an earful from someone older than herself.

      She wrote: “He said I contributed nothing to this Council or the one before it. He had nothing good to say about the current Mayor either but he charged me with creating the same problem for the previous Mayor.”

      He’s obviously lived through it all and doesn’t need a history lesson on her brand of politics. You may think the politics of the ’70s as ideal — I’ll take citizen-focused, committee-advised, consensus-based decision making. I get enough of her style of politics by watching the Parliamentary Channel.

    • Anonymous said

      “I’ll take citizen-focused, committee-advised, consensus-based decision making.”

      Yeah, me too! It would make a HUGE change from what we’ve experienced the last four years, that’s for damn sure!

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