Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Archive for the ‘Community Corner’ Category

Silly Is As Silly Does

Posted by auroracitizen on April 5, 2012

Tonight Councillor Gaertner again demonstrated just how silly she has become.

First, she voiced her opinion that Council was discussing an illegal motion because she felt that the motion of March 28 was contrary to the approved motion from Feb 27. Then, when the Clerk stated that his opinion was that Council was discussing a legal motion — she indicated that she couldn’t vote. She even made a point of stating twice that she hoped the press had heard her.

Yet she continued to stay in the chambers and participated fully in the debate. Then when the vote was called — she leapt from her chair and took 2 steps away — then returned to her chair to vote on the confirming by-law and adjournment. What’s was that supposed to mean?

For someone who seems to be so concerned about following the letter of the rules — surely she also knows that you can’t declare a conflict on a matter unless it is a pecuniary conflict. And furthermore, when you declare a conflict you are required to leave the room.

So what happened to her interpretation of the rules here. The was no conflict and she participated fully in the discussion and was in the chambers during the vote

Since a non vote is considered a “nay”, the Council minutes must show that Councillor Gaertner voted “nay” on the motion.

It will be interesting to see what the record shows.

Hopefully the press saw that as well.

Advertisements

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Special Meetings, Town Council | 10 Comments »

Common Sense Returns

Posted by auroracitizen on April 5, 2012

Tonight Council revisited the decisions made in the Aurora Cultural Centre debate and brought some long overdue common sense to the table.

Tonight Council amended their earlier motion to remove politicians from the discussion and now staff will work with the Cultural Centre towards a new agreement — which will then be brought forward to Council for discussion and a decision.

This removes much of the politics from the debate and staff can now look to the Mar report for direction.

Kudos to Councillor Pirri for bringing this motion forward and to most of Council for supporting this motion. Only Councillor Gallo was not in attendance. Of interest was the silliness perpetuated by Councillor Gaertner. See next post for details.

Now let’s look forward to some productive staff-led discussion and a new agreement in place for the start of 2013.

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Special Meetings, Town Council | 2 Comments »

Update: Have You Heard the News?

Posted by auroracitizen on April 5, 2012

There is a special meeting tonight (April 5) at 6PM. Because it is a special meeting, it doesn’t require  notice. We have checked the Town website and currently there is nothing indicating a meeting is taking place. Of note, the announcements were updated this morning with a notice of service disruption. But nothing yet about a special meeting.

We found out through Councillor Buck’s blog post “Further Thoughts“. Pity we didn’t find out through the Town.

Councillor Buck indicated that the problems many readers/watchers anticipated are coming true. It will be interesting to see how Council works their way through the mess that has been created.

If you have time, drop by and see the proceedings.

———————————–

Updated @ 11:41 am

The agenda is up, but still nothing on the home page. So if you don’t know there is a meeting — so we guess you will never know until it’s over and published.

According to the  agenda, the focus is to seek Council direction on “Council membership of the ad hoc negotiating working group and the provisions of the Terms of Reference relating thereto” which smells like a reconsideration.

Hopefully when they reconsider they will come up with a plan that makes sense and is not subject to the criticism we have heard thus far about inappropriate closed door and confidential meetings.

There is still time to get this situation back on track. Let’s hope it gets done tonight.

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Special Meetings, Town Council | 5 Comments »

Have You Heard The News?

Posted by auroracitizen on April 5, 2012

There is a special meeting tonight (April 5) at 6PM. Because it is a special meeting, it doesn’t require  notice. We have checked the Town website and currently there is nothing indicating a meeting is taking place. Of note, the announcements were updated this morning with a notice of service disruption. But nothing yet about a special meeting.

We found out through Councillor Buck’s blog post “Further Thoughts“. Pity we didn’t find out through the Town.

Councillor Buck indicated that the problems many readers/watchers anticipated are coming true. It will be interesting to see how Council works their way through the mess that has been created.

If you have time, drop by and see the proceedings.

———————————–

Updated @ 11:41 am

The agenda is up, but still nothing on the home page. So if you don’t know there is a meeting — so we guess you will never know until it’s over and published.

According to the  agenda, the focus is to seek Council direction on “Council membership of the ad hoc negotiating working group and the provisions of the Terms of Reference relating thereto” which smells like a reconsideration.

Hopefully when they reconsider they will come up with a plan that makes sense and is not subject to the criticism we have heard thus far about inappropriate closed door and confidential meetings.

There is still time to get this situation back on track. Let’s hope it gets done tonight.

Posted in Community Corner, Geoff Dawe, Integrity, Leadership, Legal, Politics, Town Council | 1 Comment »

Who Should Be on the Negotiating Committee?

Posted by auroracitizen on April 2, 2012

Here is an interesting scenario posed by one of our readers. What are your thoughts?

————————————————

It is my understanding that by April 10, next Council meeting, two Councillors will have been selected to represent the Town on the Ad Hoc Negotiating Committee. They, together with two nominees from the Centre, plus a facilitator selected by agreement of the two parties, will form the Committee.

Councillors Ballard, Gaertner and Gallo seem to have eliminated themselves from consideration as a consequence of their position regarding the relationship between the Town and the Centre. Councillors Abel and Pirri might likewise have eliminated themselves as a result of the motion they placed before Council February 28 to terminate the existing agreement. Councillor Buck, who would make an admirable representative of the Town on this committee, might have also eliminated herself because of her open and vocal opposition to the entire concept of an agreement to manage and operate the Centre. Assuming that Mayor Dawe is ineligible because of his office, this leaves, by default, Councillors Humfryes and Thompson to represent the Town on the committee.

We are not necessarily getting the best or most knowledgeable people; we have simply gone through and eliminated those whose stated positions tend to render them in a kind of conflict of interest situation. And we don’t need any more conflicts of interest in Aurora. Heaven forbid!

So my question is, how is this all going to play out and will the Town be getting the best possible representation on this vitally important committee?

——————————————————

A further question that arises is since when does a facilitator actually vote? We have never heard of a facilitator voting in a discussion — their role is to remain impartial and “facilitate” a discussion. If they are expected to vote — then how can they remain impartial? Also, how will they be chosen?

This situation gets more convoluted and poorly thought through as the days unfold.

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Conflict of Interest, Integrity, Leadership, Town Committees, Town Council | 45 Comments »

Are You a Writer Looking For a Forum?

Posted by auroracitizen on March 30, 2012

It has been some time since we published at the AURORA CITIZEN — but maybe it’s time to get back online.

We were surprised to discover that the site is still averaging 40 – 50 visits each day in spite of the fact that there hasn’t been a new post since Nov 8, 2011. We’d like to think that’s because people in Aurora are looking for an outlet to discuss issues of importance in their community and feel that this blog is a good platform for that discussion.

We will be inviting all Councillors to participate, but we also wanted to extend a general invitation to any stakeholder who might like to contribute.

Do you have a favourite topic that you feel passionate about? Would you like to contribute to the discussion? Please send us an email info@auroracitizen.ca if you would be interested in becoming a contributor to this blog.

We are open to all points of view that contribute to a respectful discussion about the happenings here in Aurora.

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input | 6 Comments »

Aurora Spirit Walk Returns

Posted by auroracitizen on October 24, 2011

The Aurora Spirit Walk 2011 is underway. New stories and a new route are highlighted.

Did you know Jack the Ripper may have walked Aurora in the 19th century.The Ripper was never found and a suspect had connections here.

No kidding….The tour times are

  • Friday October 28 at 7 and 9pm.
  • Saturday October 29 at 7 and 9 pm.
  • Sunday October 30 at 7 and 9pm.

Tickets are available by calling 905-717-6647

Posted in Community Corner, For Fun, Recreation | 6 Comments »

Blogger Tracks Our Story

Posted by auroracitizen on October 24, 2011

Christopher di Armani likes to share his opinions online.

He recently offered his thoughts on the lawsuit here in Aurora. You might find his comments interesting.

One that seemed to  particularly summarized his position was;

She was a public official about whom the public has every right to comment.  Discussing how competently or incompetently she does her job is precisely the sort of thing that Freedom of Speech is for.  Public officials have no right NOT to be talked about.

We agree. As long as the comments are focused on performance of the duties that they were elected to execute, citizens have every right to comment. The good, the bad — and for some — the ugly.

You can read his entire post here.

http://christopherdiarmani.com/3938/freedom-of-speech/aurora-mayor-phyllis-morris-finally-drops-6-milliion-lawsuit-bloggers/

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Leadership, Legal, Media, Politics | 1 Comment »

Morris Launches New Website

Posted by auroracitizen on October 19, 2011

For those wondering what the statement to be released by Phyllis Morris will have to say — check out here.

Is a re-entry into politics in the wind?

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Politics | 10 Comments »

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

Posted by auroracitizen on July 23, 2011

Many folks have asked whether the AuroraCitizen has stopped publishing because of the lawsuit. In short — the answer is NO. Sort of.

The AuroraCitizen has not stopped because we are prevented from publishing because of the lawsuit — but because the time taken to deal with issues of the lawsuit needed to come from somewhere — and the options were time with family and the need to work and generate income. Family and work came ahead of writing a blog.

However, we did want to provide you with an update on the recent decision by Madame Justice Brown — which obviously we are all very pleased with.

Let us start from the end and work back.

First, the Judge ruled that “The Plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie test and accordingly, I dismiss the motion.” This means that Phyllis Morris failed to convince the Judge that there was a basis for the complaint. The Judge’s decision is clear and unequivocal.

Secondly, Judge Brown ruled, “the public interest favouring disclosure clearly does not outweigh the legitimate interest in freedom of expression and the rights of privacy of the persons sought to be identified.” Canada still remains a democracy — even if Phyllis Morris has a different opinion.

Third, “The plaintiff in this defamation action has failed to set forth the specific words complained of as being defamatory. The jurisprudence clearly establishes that in actions of libel and slander, the precise words complained of are material and should be put forth in as much particularity as possible in the pleading itself, ideally verbatim or at a minimum, with sufficient particularity to allow the Defendant to respond“. She further adds, “it is not the role of the court to parse the impugned articles and blogs be it to attempt to determine by divination  or divine inspiration, which statements it should asses in determining whether a prima facie case has been established.” For regular watchers of this case, you will recall that this same issue was raised in the motion by the Defendants in the Spence decision. In that motion, Morris argued that she didn’t have to be specific. Justice Spence left her some leeway on the particulars but did require her to crystallize the claim. Judge Brown, in the matter of Freedom of Expression, rightly held Morris to the full standard as established by law.

Judge Brown also noted that, “the Plaintiff did not provide evidence in support of this submission, nor did she provide any affidavit evidence in support of this motion.” Rather she left Town Solicitor Christopher Cooper to hold the dirty diaper on this motion — the same Christopher Cooper who is no longer employed by the Town.

Lastly, Judge Brown wrote, “I am cognizant, in the present case, that the alleged defamatory statements were made in the context of a hard-fought political campaign. They are clearly related to the mayoral position and governance of the Mayor, councillors and the municipal governance generally. With these very precise words the Judge clearly notes that at no time were any comments directed at staff — you may recall that this was the claimed basis that Morris used to ask the town (i.e residents and businesses of Aurora) to fund her lawsuit. The Judge obviously saw through this charade.

So what’s next? Is it over?

Well, as you may already know, the Banner reports that Phyllis Morris plans to appeal to a higher court for “leave to appeal”. Which should come as no surprise. Phyllis has a habit of appealing any decision that does not give her what she wants. One need only look to the Westhill debacle to understand her resistance to other opinions. We understand the date for that appeal will be in October.

Which means that the higher court will decide first if she has grounds for appeal, and then if they believe she does, they will set at a further date hear arguments on the motion again.

But nothing changes until the appeal is heard. Except the Defendants costs continue to rise. And Morris avoids having to pay the defendants their costs for the judgment.

Finally, whether the motion is dismissed again or not, the lawsuit is not over — just the Norwich Motion.

If, as expected, the appeal fails and the Norwich Motion is dismissed again, the leaking boat that is the Morris lawsuit will continued to plow forward. With yet another hole in her bow.

So regardless of the outcome of this motion there will still be more wasted time and wasted money — which aptly represents the legacy of the political career and contribution to politics in Aurora by Phyllis Morris.

Posted in Community Corner, Integrity, Leadership, Legal | 13 Comments »