Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

The Importance of Words

Posted by auroracitizen on March 4, 2011

Councillor Ballard has again demonstrated what his game is — as announced in his welcome to Council intro speech.

In his blog he has taken umbrage with Councillor Buck’s use of the word “niggardly” and insinuated that it was an inappropriate word to use because some people might feel it is too close to another word.

It sounds too much like a racial slur.

To be clear, Councillor Ballard acknowledges that the word was used absolutely appropriately, both in context and in use. Nor does he imply that Councillor Buck used it with ulterior motive.

We offer no opinion on whether it is appropriate to use or not use this word. That is for each of you to decide.

Our question is what value has Councillor Ballard offered to the community as a whole by his blog posting? Does his behaviour move the business of the corporation forward?

If his intention was noble — which would be for Councillor Buck not to use the word in the future in Council meetings — because he found it insensitive, then would not the best course have been to simply mention it in conversation? A simple request from one colleague to another.

But no — instead he has chosen to try to create another Council drama around its use by posting a comment online. One can only assume this was to try to drive a further wedge into Council and create more of the dysfunction that voters tried to rid the Council of by electing virtually a new slate.

Maybe he felt that Councillor Buck would not respond favourably to his “suggestion”, but given this and previous behaviour — one might understand why.

Our view is that since the beginning of the term, Councillors Ballard and Gaertner have made it their mission to try to derail the business of the town for their own agenda. Which to many observers appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to create dysfunction on this Council — possibly to create the impression that it was not tied to the previous Mayor (whom they have loyally supported through thick and thin).

Instead, what they are doing is proving that those associated with the previous regime continue to conduct business in a manner that the community resoundingly rejected.

Councillors Ballard and Gaertner — it’s time to accept that your team lost the election in convincing fashion. Move on — the community has rejected your style of politics and wants a Council that is willing and able to work together — similar to Councils previous to last term. They want a return to politics where our representatives put their personal agendas aside and work for the benefit of those that elected them.

Goodness knows, we have enough issues to address without these constant attempts to simply try to embarrass your colleagues.

It’s time to put aside the bad blood and get down to working together. It’s time to demonstrate some leadership.

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46 Responses to “The Importance of Words”

  1. Christopher Watts said

    H. Grimset’s letter on page 4 of the Auroran this week sums up the response to Clr. Ballard’s childish behavior.

    Perhaps someone should consider printing one of these off for the Clr.
    http://shop.ilovetypography.com/product/google-before-you-tweet

  2. Guy L. Poppe said

    to: “Give your antlers a shake”

    Do you not see that a blog that posts a repetitive assault on certain members of council, and seeks agreement with that point of view is “biased”?

    I have no problem with this blog identifying an issue and soliciting a response. I welcome such endeavours.

    What I have a problem with is posting an insult or the usually one-sided critique, and asking the audience to respond.

    In the meantime censoring some (like moi) who disagrees.

    To Anonymous, who fears contact, let me assure you, that my purpose of contacting Mr.Johnson was not motivated by any ill-will. Quite to the contrary.

    I’m sure it will eventually all come out, but not by your urgings.

    • Give Your Antlers a Shake said

      I wasn’t denying any AC bias, Guy. I was pointing out that you and the others that Anonymoose mentioned would also be biased. It is just a different bias to the majority of AC contributors.

      As for repetitive assaults on certain members of council, as you say, you needn’t go any further than your own circle of friends to find a volume of incidents meted out by them.

  3. Anonymous said

    I am blown away by the most recent comments, particularly those that purport that this blog is biased, uncivil etc. ect.
    If you don’t like it, don’t participate. If you think there should be blogs with different view points, start them yourselves or go somewhere else to express your opinions. Quit trying to dictate what this blog should or shouldn’t be.
    I am also scared by Poppe’s comment that he emails Bill Hogg. It reminds me of his invasive phone call to Richard Johnson’s home last year. He has no concept of appropriate boundaries.

  4. what a dope said

    Perhaps Clr. Ballard should take the advise laid out here:
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1725/is-niggardly-a-racist-word

    At least he hasn’t actually demanded that Clr. Buck apologize for his ignorance.

    But he does make a perfect case for why political correctness should always take a back seat to actual correctness.

  5. Guy L. Poppe said

    After the moderator’s recent plea for civility, I note that nearly half of the replies in this post alone are replete with insults. For example:”a buffoon”,”suck,pluck and foulard”, “pathetic”, “pulsillanimous little man”, “ignorant”, “deplorable”, “childish”, “grow up”,”get a life”,”maroon”,”real runt”, “absolute fool”, “grubby”.

    And guess from which side of the discussion they came from?

    Hmmm… speculation re agenda???

  6. Guy L. Poppe said

    To the Aurora Citizen

    Your comment:

    “As for the comment about Mr Poppe, unless you are Mr Poppe, your comments would be pure speculation about how many of his posts we do or do not publish — as would any comments you make about what other comments we do publish.”

    The writer’s comments are not speculation when you are in a position to confirm or deny your alleged censorship.

    You know very well the many refusals, and the various personal e-Mails to Mr. Hogg about the practice. In fact, in one open post, you even confirmed your intentions to censor me.

    Frankly, I am becoming more inclined to abstain from responding, as I think some others should consider. Call it a “boycott” or whatever.

    I am not at all impressed with your secret agenda, and wish someone else would start a more balanced blog.

    • auroracitizen said

      We await your boycott with “bated breath” 🙂

    • Anonymous said

      How about addressing his criticisms with something more than a snide comment.

    • Anonymous said

      A boycott…really? not only would that be welcome, one wonders exactly where Mr. Poppe plans to go and spread his particular brand of integrity. I hear that Robert the Bruce has a blog, perhaps he could comment there.

    • Anonymous said

      If Guy wants a blog that is balanced to his liking what is stopping him from starting his own?

      Or does Mr. Poppe just sit back and wait for everyone to construct a reality as to his desires?

    • Anonymous said

      Mr. Poppe,

      You insinuate that this blog has a secret agenda, but have nothing to substantiate your conspiracy theory.

      Perhaps you should stop watching Jesse Ventura’s Conspiracy Theory with Ms. Stoeklin and find something more constructive to do with your time.

    • Anne said

      I guess we will all have to wait for Phyllis to launch the balanced blog.

    • sharon said

      I would hate to lose Mr. Poppes comments. They make the discussions lively and debatable. This format needs more posters to share ALL points of view, without being personally insulted everytime they post.
      Let”s keep our comments directed at policy and polotics and NOT people. Thanks.

    • Matt Maddocks said

      LOL Anne!! Thanks for that 🙂

    • Elizabeth Bishenden said

      I like Sharon’s comment! More voices, not fewer… more viewpoints, not fewer.

  7. Anonymous said

    Ballard is simply showing his ignorance. He may like to think of himself as a great intellect but he is rapidly becoming the Granger of this council – a buffoon.

    • fed up said

      From Google dictionary:

      In the United States, there have been several controversies concerning the word “niggardly,” an adjective meaning “stingy” or “miserly,” due to its phonetic similarity to the racial slur “nigger.” However, the two words are etymologically unrelated.

      Buffoon is putting it mildly

  8. Citizen of Titipu said

    There was a councillor named Ballard
    Whose pet said, “Call me ‘Mallard.’
    Don’t call me ‘duck.’
    It rhymes with cluck,
    Suck, muck, pluck and… foulard.”

  9. Anonymous said

    I am not interested in the least in having councillors who think they have the right to police the language use of others. What the hell has that got to do with taking care of council business. Gaertner used to try that last time when she tried to appoint herself as the language police.
    As for adeptness in knowledge and use of the English language, Councillor Buck takes the prize hands down. Her use of English grammar and vocabulary is far superior to Ballard’s and I suggest that he ceases and desists from criticizing a far more articulate writer and speaker.
    What a pathetic, pusillanimous little man he is!

    • fed up said

      This is exactly the kind of crap that he tried to pull off when he sat on the Regency Acres Parent Council. He was a bully back then and he is a bully NOW. But the voters did vote him in and we have well over three more yearas of this garbage to put up with from him, no doubt about it.

    • Anonymous said

      Clr. Ballard isn’t a buffoon as much as he is a troll.

      He needs to be properly ignored until he he has something of value to add, and if that is unlikely than he can join Wendy and sulk off in the corner. Council can continue to be functional without their participation.

  10. Brickbat Returns said

    I hope Mr.Ballard realizes how foolish this is.

    Bringing this to light is ignorant and deplorable.

    It almost borders on childish behavior.

    “She said a bad word Mommy”

    Grow up Mr.Ballard.

    • KA-NON said

      Mr. Ballard seems to want to challenge Ms. Buck to a “word-smithing” duel.

      When I was a kid, if a fight was brewing in the schoolyard between two combatants that were unevenly matched, the other kids would step in to stop it from happening. Sort of like the Ally Bank television commercials – even kids know when someone is going to get badly hurt, and generally have the good sense to stop the proceedings before they get out of hand.

      I suggest that this is one of those unfair fights – only how to stop it?

    • Anonymous said

      “She said a bad word Mommy”

      But she didn’t. That’s the whole point.

  11. Anonymoose said

    I find it interesting that no where in this post is there a link to councillor Ballard’s blog so that we can see the complete context of the statement. And the “Blog roll” does not have a link either. Though there are links to Buck and Watts, both of whom have been very critical of Ballard.

    This along with the frequent refusal to post comments from Poppe and others demonstrates the incompleteness of this blogs Mission Statement.

    It should actually read “The AURORA CITIZEN has been created to give all citizens of Aurora the opportunity to share their news & views,that are similar to our own, about life in our town.

    Perhaps now would be a good time to add links to other town blogs such as Ballards, or to make the appropriate change to the Mission Statement.

    • auroracitizen said

      Given the litigious nature of the current political climate, we have chosen not to link to Councillor Ballard’s site. However, it is not hard to find — it’s #1 under his name via Google. If he sends a letter/email granting permission, we would be pleased to add him to the blog roll.

      As for the comment about Mr Poppe, unless you are Mr Poppe, your comments would be pure speculation about how many of his posts we do or do not publish — as would any comments you make about what other comments we do publish.

      We fully stand behind our mission statement and will continue to exercise discretion about which posts — both pro or con our position — we will publish based on whether they are speaking to the issues or simply denigrating a person versus their opinion. There are some ugly comments made — we simply try to keep things civil.

    • Anonymoose said

      “Given the litigious nature of the current political climate, we have chosen not to link to Councillor Ballard’s site.”

      —–

      OMG, you wont post a link to a town councillor’s blog because of a perceived risk of litigation, yet you continue to allow questionable anonymous posts on this site and you do link to Buck and Watts who’s postings many people have found quite offensive in the past.

      I cannot possibly contemplate what you could get sued for for posting a link to Ballard, which you will not do. You have already been sued for some of the anonymous posts on this site which you continue to allow.

      This logic is giving me a headache.

      [ bangs antlers against the wall to reduce the pain.]

    • Sprite said

      Moose:

      Get a life.

    • Anonymous said

      “Given the litigious nature of the current political climate, we have chosen not to link to Councillor Ballard’s site.”

      Give me a break. You’re afraid of LINKING to his site but not of taking his quotes out of context and commenting on them?

      “As for the comment about Mr Poppe, unless you are Mr Poppe, your comments would be pure speculation about how many of his posts we do or do not publish — as would any comments you make about what other comments we do publish.”

      Again, give me a break. I know first hand how many posts I’ve sent that you’ve declined to publish. What did they have in common? Criticism of Dawe and/or Buck.

      As I’ve said before — be honest. This blog was first a tool to get Phyllis turfed out and, once a contender was found, a tool to get Dawe elected.

      You ask Wendy and Chris to “get over” the fact their team lost the election. Last time I checked, there were no teams and they won as individuals. You used to rail against the voting ‘block’. Now that the shoe’s on the other foot, you’re all in favour of blocking Wnedy and Chris.

      I don’t care if you and this site are partisan in favour of Dawe and against Gaertner. But for the love of god please stop pretending you’re not.

    • Anonymoose said

      Thanks Sprite. If that is the only retort you can manage, then I’ve made my point pretty clearly.

      I agree with Anonymous 12:57, I have no issue with this site being partisan. It is the fact that they promote this fiction that they are not which I do not like. How else to explain their willingness to risk a real lawsuit by posting questionable anonymous comments, (as already demonstrated) yet refuse to post a link to other councillor’s website which offer no serious legal risk what-so-ever.

      Regarding Poppe (above), I think I’d like to see him, Gordon Barns, Councillor Ballard and others get together and start another less bias website (as Anonymous 1:10 pm suggested). Aurorans would benefit greatly from a little more balance that would provide.

    • Give Your Antlers a Shake said

      Anonymoose said: “Regarding Poppe (above), I think I’d like to see him, Gordon Barns, Councillor Ballard and others get together and start another less bias website”

      Huh? It would be no less biased. It would just be a different bias than the prevailing one on this blog.

    • Anonymoose said

      “It would be no less biased. It would just be a different bias than the prevailing one on this blog.”

      Agreed. And isn’t that exactly what we need to bring some balance to the current skewed field? Bringing an already balanced blog to an already unlevel playing field would hardly provide any balance overall now would it?

    • Give Your Antlers a Shake said

      If by ‘agreed’ you’re acknowledging that your contention of less bias was ridiculous, then sure, we’re agreed. Talk of balance is ridiculous as well if you’re looking for a 50/50 split on opinion and perspective. There is a pronounced majority and a definite minority in evidence. That split was overwhelmingly reflected in last October’s election results.

  12. Anonymous said

    “at the end of the day will go down in history as the worst of the worst of Aurora Councillors.”

    And you can name how many councillors from the last 100 years?

    Please check the hyperbole at the door. It doesn’t help.

    • Kelli said

      I.m not concerend about the Aurora Council of 100 years ago, it’s the year 2011 and forward I am interested in – but clearly you subscribe to the Ballard/Gallo/Gaertner ways of communication so your response is quite fitting!

    • Anonymous said

      You just proved my point.

      You said Gaertner and Ballard would go down in history as the worst councillors in the history of Aurora but then you follow that up by saying you’re not concerned about Aurora’s council 100 years ago.

      So, again, I’d ask you to drop the hyperbole. (Google can help you if you’re struggling for the definition of the word)

  13. He's No Cunning Linguist said

    The word is so offensive to Ballard, but he cites it on his blog and on Twitter?! C’mon, taking offence because part of a totally unrelated word RESEMBLES a bad word!? What a maroon! He seems a right custard and a real runt.

  14. Anonymous said

    I just read that Wikipedia link and echo Julian Bond’s frustration when he said:

    “You hate to think you have to censor your language to meet other people’s lack of understanding”

    But I guess that’s just “typical” when communicating with Clr. Ballard, or Clr. Gaertner for that matter.

  15. Kelli said

    I completley agree with this orginal post. I would also suggest that Gallo be put in to the mix as well, he is just as disruptive but in a more quiet, air head type of demeanor ….. not only do these three excel in making themselves look like absolute fools, but their agenda is so transparent that it is laughable! If it was’nt for the fact that they are wasting time, and creating issues where there are none therefore holding up council from dealing with important and valid issues I would be just sitting back and enjoying the “$#@!” show these three actually are – if we have to put up with them for the next few years then I say ignore them…. they are contributing to their own tainted reputations, embarassing themselves and their families, and at the end of the day will go down in history as the worst of the worst of Aurora Councillors.

    They must be so proud ………

    • Abigail said

      By Special Motions of Council requiring 2/3 majority vote offending councillors should be incarcerated in Petch House for one night per offence and docked $250 from their regal pay packets.

      This might clean up the acts of those who would be clowns.

    • Anonymous said

      I am still flabbergasted by Gallo’s support of handing over our dollars for the jazz festival because he “is a lover of the arts.” What an assinine comment and justification. We are all lovers of something that we feel is worthwhile. Does that mean we should all show up at council with our hands outstretched looking for fiancial support for something we love?
      I wish councillors would start taking a long, hard look at making some long, hard decisions. I wish they would prioritize necessary spending rather than frivolous spending and get their grubby little hands out of our ever-having-to-deepen pockets to support things of which they are “a lover.”

  16. Anonymous said

    “It’s time to put aside the bad blood and get down to working together. It’s time to demonstrate some leadership.”

    I assume you’re also asking councillor Buck to observe this?

    All she’s done since the election is continue to pick at old wounds and criticize staff and council on her blog.

    • Anonymous said

      Clr. Buck includes much greater depth in reaching her opinions and sharing her observations.

      All Clr. Ballard has done on his blog, and any other media he can get his grubby hands on, is criticize Clr. Buck.

      I agree with Kelli.

  17. Anonymous said

    Clr Ballard’s recent “nugget” appears to indeed be a pattern of making issues where there are none.

    Julian Bond, past chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, is quoted as saying “as a nation we have a “hair-trigger sensibility” on race that can be tripped by both real and false grievances.”

    Clr Ballard’s grievance, like the one Mr. Bond was speaking to regarding the same word, appears to be false.

    If he took the time to read the Wikipedia link that he himself referenced he would have come to understand “the two words are etymologically unrelated.”

    I suspect that smart-phone of Ballard’s he never tears himself away from at council meetings has a dictionary application. I suggest he spring the money for it. That is if he’s not too …..cheap.

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