Aurora Citizen

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Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

Guest Post: Who Owns the Intellectual Property of Work Paid For?

Posted by auroracitizen on January 11, 2011

Here’s a philosophical question open for comment and discussion. It is something that has been “bugging” me since the Town stopped payment on December 22nd.

First a fictitious analogy to help with my thinking:

A business — corporation B — engages architectural firm A to start the design of a new custom-home for their current president. The president of course is very happy with this scenario as she/he will be getting the benefit of living in a new specially built home at the expense of corporation B.

However, midway through the design process corporation B lets the president go and then tells architectural firm A to stop designing for them as they are no longer in need of the house. The design is not complete and corporation B will pay architectural firm A for all services rendered to date and no more.

The now ex-president liked architectural firm A’s design, approaches architectural firm A and asks them to complete the custom design for which the ex-president will now pay them directly.

The ethical query: Should architectural firm A do this work for the ex-president as corporation B was the original client and paid architectural firm A for the initial work and is the rightful owner of the intellectual property of the design for the custom-home?

The ex-president would be benefiting from corporation B’s initial expenditures and reduce their own cost in the design. Should architectural firm A be starting from scratch on a new design for the ex-president as he/she is not entitled to be using corporation B’s intellectual property? Or should architectural firm A tell the ex-president that is it a conflict of interest to work for them and the ex-president should seek help from another architectural firm?

Now let’s turn this to our local situation without getting into the political dealings of who, why, how etc..

The Town of Aurora engages an external law office to sue townspeople for apparent defamation of the current mayor. If successful the mayor will benefit with direct financial compensation. The legal proceedings start, the mayor by way of an election becomes the ex-mayor and the new council decides to stop direct engagement of the town’s external lawyers for this particular lawsuit.

The legal proceedings have not been completed and the Town will only pay the lawyers for all services rendered to date and no more.

Can the ex-mayor then approach the lawyers and tell them that he/she will now pay their bills going forward and thus benefit from the work to date paid by the Town or does the Town as a corporation own that “intellectual property” and/or services provided by the original lawyers and the ex-mayor is not entitled to its use? If so, should the ex-mayor be “starting from scratch” perhaps with a new lawyer and new proceedings as it would be a conflict of interest for the original lawyer to continue?

What do you think? (Any lawyers in the crowd who can shine some light on the legalities of the situation?)


Posted in Guest Post, Legal | 27 Comments »

Guest Post: Snowploughing

Posted by auroracitizen on January 10, 2011

Here’s a topic that I thought of while driving in the Town today (Sunday) in the mid-afternoon.

As we all know, there was a bit of a snow fall yesterday morning. I had to drive to Scarborough around 7:30am and it was quite bad on the 404. In fact the more south you went, the more snow there seemed to be. By the time I returned around 5:00pm, the highways were bare and wet and the side streets had been plowed. Most sidewalks were as well.

Driving around Aurora today, my street has not seen a plow yet. The sidewalks have not either. Henderson is bare where the traffic has been, but there is clear evidence that the plows have not been out.

What’s going on? Is this the new Aura? It is not normal.

Posted in Community Input, Discussion Topic, Guest Post, Traffic/Parking | 34 Comments »

Reader Suggests Councillor Gaertner Resign Based on Behaviour

Posted by auroracitizen on December 21, 2010

An Open Letter to Councillor Wendy Gaertner.

Councillor Gaertner,

After witnessing first hand your display at the Aurora Council meeting on Tuesday Dec 14 2010, I had to write. You have demonstrated to me a lack of respect to Aurorans, to Aurora Council, and to the oath you swore. You’re alone in this behaviour, and you present yourself in a less than professional manner.

At this meeting I saw that you handed a letter, prepared in advance, to a representative of The Auroran.  I can only conclude from this action that it was your pre-meditated intent to be disruptive and drive a wedge. This type of behaviour serves no good to the town, nor to the people you swore to professionally and respectfully represent. In my opinion, you weren’t being truthful to Aurorans when you campaigned on the promise of serving the people of the community.

Our new council is going to make some process and procedural mistakes as they find their way. Growing pains are understandable and are bound to occur with a new council, however these will quickly fade as council develops their political acumen and we all move forward. I’m certain every reasonable person in town can accept this. What I believe is important to most Aurorans, is that our new council is making every effort to restore good, civil, accountable government to Aurora. Why you remain stuck in the past and focused on the negative, frankly escapes me.

You are opposed to, and showed no interest in taking part in the off-site meeting. What could possibly be your objection to taking part in learning sessions and a key team-building exercise? Teamwork was something sorrowfully lacking on Aurora Council for the last 4 years. Surely you cannot believe that;

  1. You already know all there is to know about municipal politics?
  2. Teamwork adds no value to a functioning council?
  3. You have nothing to learn about your new teammates?

An off-site meeting gives all those who attend the chance to get to know each other better, share ideas, share best practices, grow a deeper understanding and appreciation of your co-councillors, and to learn what issues are important to them. Like a sports team on a road trip, getting away as a group creates a bond that just doesn’t occur when everyone stays in town, and heads for the door as soon as the structured meeting ends. It was encouraging to see that most of the other councillors saw the obvious benefit in attending.

The recent election results showed that the majority of Aurorans want true change. We’re tired of the infighting. We don’t want a fractured council anymore. Why aren’t you listening? Have you no interest in being part of something better?

In my opinion, I believe you may be getting bad advice.

Who stands to benefit by having you act this way? I can tell you that it’s not the taxpayers of Aurora, so who then, are you truly representing? I can’t imagine that anyone could maintain this level of bitterness and vindictiveness without having it create a lasting negative affect on their outlook, their judgment, or their health, for that matter.

Councillor Gaertner, I believe you have no intention of honouring your oath or commitment to the taxpayers of Aurora. And as such, I respectfully ask you to resign your post as councillor. It appears to me that you no longer have the attitude, energy, direction, and focus required to carry out your sworn duties in a positive, fair, and respectful manner.

Matt Maddocks


Posted in Code of Ethics, Community Input, Guest Post, Integrity, Leadership, Town Council | 34 Comments »

Council Inauguration

Posted by auroracitizen on December 10, 2010

I had the opportunity to attend both the Aurora Council and Regional Council Inauguration meetings.

Some observations;

I particularly enjoyed the length of the Aurora meeting — 1 hour. The Region could learn from this. We were over 2 hours — although in fairness they did have more members who had to speak. To his credit — Mayor Dawe was one of the shortest speeches 🙂

The Aurora Inauguration was the first meeting where we had a range of faiths offer prayer for guidance and encourage to Council. I thought this was a great step. I believe that religion has no place in politics — but religion has an important place in community. By honouring and recognizing a diversity of religious beliefs in Aurora, it showed no favouritism, but took a more inclusive approach — regardless of your religious beliefs. I enjoyed the diversity.

Phyllis Morris didn’t attend either event. I feel this showed a lack of respect for the office. As outgoing Mayor, what did you expect? For comparison, defeated incumbent Vaughan Mayor Linda Jackson attended the Regional Inauguration — and as we know from last term, Vaughan is known for bitter election campaigns. Did Vaughan set a higher standard than Aurora?

A few Councillors were quite emotional.

  • Our youngest Councillor, Paul Pirri, was so positive and gracious. I am looking for very good things from this young man. He represents the future of Aurora politics and I am hopeful other young people see him as a role model and get involved.
  • Our eldest Councillor, Evelyn Buck, after almost 50 years (did I get that right Ev?) still gets emotional by the trust the residents place in her with their votes. It was nice to see her warmly received.
  • Councillor John Gallo acknowledged the conditions he was appointed under last term and was very gracious in communicating his gratitude for his “election”. He was clearly appreciative and it was a touching moment when he paid tribute to his wife.

Was anyone else puzzled why Wendy Gaertner walked out with only 10 minutes remaining at end of the Aurora meeting? Although she indicated that someone was sick in her family — out of respect to Councillors Ballard and Pirri who followed her comments and to the Queens York Rangers — I wondered if another few minutes delay would have changed anything?

Generally Councillors were positive about the future and were looking forward to working as a team and getting started on the work ahead.

However, why would Councillor Ballard, in the very first meeting end his speech with “let the games begin”? As someone who claims to be a communications expert, what was his intention in making this statement. Games have no place at the Council table. Was he putting Council and residents on notice that he is not prepared to work together as a team, but is clarifying the battle lines already. He states that he should be judged on his actions — not his past affiliation with Phyllis Morris. What are we to judge based on this action? In my opinion, his comment had no place at an Inauguration and showed lack of respect to fellow Councillors and residents.

Overall I have positive feelings about this term and I am hopeful that some of the ghosts of the past term will quickly be replaced by positive collaborative energy. Let’s hope Councillors that may harbour resentment are prepared to put aside their personal feelings and get the focus back to what is best for the community and away from the “if you aren’t for us, you are against us” philosophy we too often saw last term.

Respect was too often missing last term. A couple of current Councillors need to learn from the mistakes of the past.

Agree? Disagree? Any other observations?

Bill Hogg

Posted in Guest Post, Leadership, Town Council | 58 Comments »

Aurora Pet Cemetary to be Developed

Posted by auroracitizen on November 21, 2010

Hi there –

I was wondering if anyone was familiar with the Aurora Pet Cemetery? I have recently visited the “secret” cemetery (I had to trespass of course but it was well worth it)!

I captured 100 plus pictures of pet head stones dating back to the early 1900’s right up until the early 80’s. You can find all kinds of different pets ranging from dogs, cats, birds and bunnies!

For any pet lover it pulls at your heart strings and doesn’t let go …… the shame is that a developer has purchased the land and will be destroying what I think is quite a significant piece of Auroras history and quite interesting as well.

I have been investigating this land mark all summer long and would love to share my findings with someone who might like to help me bring some “visibility” to this very unique and touching part of our town….. at the very least it would be nice to profile it, if not save some of the head stones that exist there (although I counted easily 200 plus) of the ones that I could find…..

Thank you for your time


Moderators Note:Kelli provided her phone number for anyone who wanted to contact her. Please send an email to and we will connect you.

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Guest Post | 10 Comments »

Guest Post: Blog Reflects the Voice of the People

Posted by auroracitizen on October 27, 2010

More than once, someone has visited this blog and referred to its posters as a group — either using terms like “groupthink” or saying that this is a “pro-somebody” blog or an “anti-somebody-else” blog.

I can see why it might look that way. I can see how a new visitor here might wade through some of the postings — particularly the more political postings — and feel like the poor new kid stepping into a ritzy private school where everyone knows the “in” jokes and the cool kids run the lunch-room.

It probably feels like we’re all of a single mind, wearing the same tee shirts, drinking the same Kool-Aid. The truth is, I’m an occasional poster on this blog, and I’ve never met any of the others here. Not a one. I wouldn’t know them if I tripped over them on Yonge Street. I wear my own tee shirts and drink my own drinks.

I post here through the kindness and generosity of the blog owners and moderators. The mere fact that I have actually read those postings about “groupthink” or the blog being “pro-somebody” shows that the blog-owners are not, in fact, promoting a single-minded outlet reserved for only one tailored view.

In past months — maybe in past years — there has been a veritable river of strong opinion on this blog with respect to members of our town council. That, I believe, reflects the sheer frustration of many residents toward the actions and words of our previous council.The blog did not manufacture the frustration — au contraire — the blog has provided a never-before-available place for the frustrated to talk about their frustration.

It is not “groupthink”. It is not an orchestrated attack on anyone. The blog has provided a slate for the honesty of outraged voices. At the same time, it has also provided an outlet for some who were content with the prior political line-up. If it appeared that the outraged populace heavily outweighed the contented ones, well, that only reflects the audience — those local residents who were outraged, who happened to surf the Internet looking for information and who decided to post their opinions clearly outweighed those who were content with the status quo.

How do I know this? Certainly not because I know the blog-owners or bought into anybody else’s agenda. I know this because — like I said — I’ve seen far too many postings that I disagree with. I know this because nobody here knows who I am. Nobody has told me what to think or what to post. I just showed up one day, uninvited, and started typing.

I don’t see this blog as being much different than letters to the editor of a newspaper. The difference is, here in the blog, people can quickly and easily comment on the opinions of others. Anyone can write the editorial of the week — like this one. And nobody’s buying full-colour weekly ads — there is no worry that the opinions of the audience might offend those who financially support the venue.

It’s human nature to lump people into groups: soccer moms, liberals, rednecks, hippies and puffed-up-business suits. People don’t like to admit that they make generalizations, but it’s not necessarily a hateful trait. It’s simply our brains providing shortcuts by which we can process information about people.

I don’t think the posters on this blog can be so easily shaped into a shortcut. Each of us is too different from the others. Some people here know other posters. Some people here are active in town politics; others are only interested when there’s an election.

Some, like me, simply enjoy reading what those who live in the same town think, as well as blathering on about my own opinions.

Like this one.  🙂


Posted in Community Corner, Guest Post | 19 Comments »

A Sense of Community

Posted by auroracitizen on September 24, 2010

Let us take the Canada Day Parade and the Santa Claus Parade and turn these over to the Chamber of Commerce and out of the hands of politicians and their friends.

Let our town government create Aurora Youth Scholarships that would provide our young people with incentives to work in their community and in return receive some financial benefit, and beyond this, receive credits toward their education, all the while performing positive acts that would benefit many less fortunate.

Let us impress upon the parents of our young people that their children can play a meaningful role in the community. Let us convince these parents that they should act as mentors to their sons and daughters to assist in the creation of a generation that cares.

Let the parents and their children initiate and create suitable roles and tasks for themselves, ones that would benefit the entire community, and especially those who are the weakest and most vulnerable.

This is too important to be left exclusively in the hands of elected politicians. There should be an umbrella organization formed consisting of service clubs, business and the town. It should start at the grass-roots level and its objective should be the general improvement of our entire community, from assisting the elderly whenever and however possible, shoveling snow and raking leaves, cleaning up the town, planting trees, providing transport to those unable to move about freely.

There are virtually no limits as to what can be done; to bring a smile to people’s faces, a sense of relief to a worried brow, a feeling of being useful, a sense of self-worth and accomplishment.

Posted in Community Corner, Guest Post, Leadership | 4 Comments »

Follow Up: Lack of Business Support Already Documented by Town of Aurora

Posted by auroracitizen on September 18, 2010

 In regards to the lack of support for small business this is not something new, the Mayor has known about this directly from the below:

(I reference from the Town of Aurora’s website from the page)

2009: The Year of Business Initiative (page title)

2009 Achievements (subheading)

A Business Retention and Expansion Strategy
In the ‘Year of Business’, the Town of Aurora engaged the consulting firm of Millier Dickenson Blais to prepare a Business Retention and Expansion Strategy. The purpose of the Strategy is to expand and strengthen the Town’s relationship with the business community. The Town of Aurora Business Retention Strategy was presented to the Town’s Economic Development Advisory Committee on December 17, 2009 and is available for download in PDF format.
 Download the Business Retention and Expansion Strategy   (see document EDAC09-10_BRES.pdf)

Town of Aurora – Business Retention & Expansion Strategy, November 20, 2009
(It is filled with pages and pages of demographics, filler material etc. but I note the following: )

Pg 44 – under the heading

Finally the Town of Aurora’s role in supporting businesses was viewed as being a weakness in retaining and growing businesses in the town. There was quite low recognition of economic development within the business community and it was felt that there was little direct support of small businesses and entrepreneurs, through the provision of advice and guidance. The Town was also seen as bureaucratic with too much red tape and too many layers of approvals, though there was an understand of the need for this it was believed that the Town could provide some assistance through the process.

Pg. 45 – under the heading

Aurora is not currently seen to be very supportive of their businesses or new business start-ups. Businesses or entrepreneurs looking for support will often migrate to those places they will be supported. Indeed one of the attendees at the focus group, though he lived in Aurora, has established his business in Markham so that he could be close to the town’s Innovation Synergy Centre.

So though it is great to have a study, what is truly happening in order to encourage business? What has happened in 2010 in order to go forward with implementing the Study and turning the Weaknesses around and reducing the Threats? It is far easier to commission a study than to actually do the work to move forward and get results. Perhaps the 1st step is to have a positive attitude towards those businesses.

What do you think?

Is the Mayor sucking and blowing at the same time — or does she really have no clue what is going on in her own town.

Posted in Community Input, Guest Post, Local Business | 20 Comments »

Mayor (Phyllis Morris) dismisses small biz study

Posted by auroracitizen on September 16, 2010

The Banner: Thursday September 16, 2010
Article written by Sean Pearce

However, Mayor Phyllis Morris dismisses the results of the survey, saying it only represents a small fraction of the total number of businesses in the town as only federation members were polled, she said.

“As the mayor, I serve more than just small business; I serve the entire community, large employers and taxpayers, as well as the residents of Aurora,” Mrs. Morris said.

The town has been doing a great deal to improve things for businesses, she said, from declaring 2009 as the Year of Business Initiative to developing a business retention and expansion strategy and launching a new economic development website and newsletter.

It sounds like she doesn’t care about the Aurora businesses that responded to the poll. Perhaps they are the now vacant businesses lining both sides of Yonge near Wellington.
And yes we already know that you represent others in Aurora, what’s your point? Does this mean you are to ignore this study?

And so, how is this “business retention and expansion strategy and launching a new economic development website and newsletter” working for you? Any results? It may appear to be good to “push” this out but what has it produced? Where are the numbers of new companies, new jobs, new businesses, new results.,,,

In contrast, in the same article Newmarket’s Mayor states:

“There is always an opportunity for improvement,” Newmarket Mayor Tony Van Bynen said. “I am proud of the fact that we ranked the highest in the awareness category in the GTA.

As for the dissatisfaction expressed about the control over government wages, he is not turning a blind eye, as he believes the town should improve communication surrounding the calculation of wages.

Also from the article: 

Based on the results of the surveys the federation (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) said towns must do better with their business communication.

“Small businesses are the backbone of their local communities,” federation Ontario vice-president Satinder Chera said. “These results are a wake-up call for local leaders who need to become more engaged in addressing the local issues that matter to small business”.

Appears to be different results and approaches between Aurora and Newmarket.

What’s your opinion?

P.S. I recognize for all the AC does, we are in fact feeding into the Mayor’s hands as to how she needs to improve, but I guess it’s OK since she never reads this does she?

Posted in Guest Post, Leadership, Local Business, Media | 15 Comments »

The Aurora Citizen Turns 300

Posted by auroracitizen on September 9, 2010

This is officially our 300th post. We have also surpassed 4,700 comments.

We’ve had in excess of 150,000 visits since moving to the new WordPress platform in October 2009, which together with the almost 100,000 visits on the original site, means we have had almost 250,000 visitors since we started in August 2008.

We’ve been threatened twice by the town lawyers, yet here we are, still offering citizens of this great town the opportunity to provide commentary on what is happening in their community.

Councillor MacEachern asked for more balanced commentary, so we offered both her and Mayor Morris the opportunity to contribute. So far nothing — at least nothing that they have added their name to 🙂

We’ve been blitzed by supporters from both sides of issues and have used our best judgement to encourage dialogue versus diatribe.

We have numerous people regularly writing articles for the blog — some like Richard Johnson publish under their own names, others, desiring anonymity, offer their opinions for debate under the Aurora Citizen banner.

We also have a number of volunteers share the role of moderator duties to ensure that the comments — while somewhat direct and pointed — do not degenerate into diatribe, allegations and foul language.

This forum has become a platform for communicating with fellow Aurora Citizens. It has far surpassed expectations. We are glad to be part of the discussion and look forward to contributing long into the future.

Posted in Community Corner, Community Input, Guest Post | 7 Comments »