"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Missing Post

I was pre-occupied by the upcoming Council meeting yesterday. Decisions from the Integrity Commissioner on two complaints filed against me for more-or-less telling you things about Council you had a right to know.

But that wasn't all. Other stuff happened.

A taxi representative spoke at the public forum. I had difficulty understanding what he was saying but he appeared to have a complaint. When I heard "Especially you, Madam Evelyn Buck" I sat up and listened ..

The gist of it was ,I think, that he felt he was being harassed by town staff.

I didn't get the connection to myself. So I asked. Didn't get an answer. But in response to a question by the presiding member, it transpired the Mayor has been paying a lot of attention to his troubles. Even stops by his place of business at two in the morning, to make sure everything is alright.

My guess is the Mayor connected me to the cab driver's troubles.

A second item was a report on a new lease for the Aurora Soccer Club.

I concerned myself at different times about the club. For twenty years they have occupied a property worth between one and two million dollars. It"s a highly visible, prime industrial site of five acres close to Yonge Street.

No rent or taxes are paid to the town. They came by it years ago in a Mayoralty race. Two candidates for the office fought for the credit of providing the club with a property for their exclusive use One described it as a "useless piece of property"

They have a neat little club house. The town lent them money to build it. They repaid the debt and improved the land. They acquired a license to serve booze.They have an excellent facility which provides thousands of people with many hours of physical recreation .

But they also provided parking for a school bus operation. That was against the rules.

I drew staff attention to the fact, as I have a responsibility to do. . But it took a couple of years for those buses to be shifted. .

During the World Soccer Tournament in South Africa, a great ugly board sign appeared on the town right- of -way outside to the property, inviting the public to enjoy the club's amenities.

Town businesses have to apply for a permit for such a sign. Display time is limited.

The Town's hospitality industry, pays taxes to the town and provides employment to its residents. They are governed by sign bylaws.

I referred the matter to town staff. I was advised the solicitor would review the "current" lease. . Next thing, last night, was presentation of a new lease along with a statement by the Soccer Club referring to the school buses and signs.

They claimed the buses were allowed to park as a community service. Signs always had town permission.

A dozen soccer club members attended last night's meeting. They arranged themselves in a solid phalanx in a back row of seats opposite myself. All that was missing were striped jerseys, bare knees, boots with cleats and arms folded in a determined fashion.

Aha... I thought so the boyos are here to show me what's what. My question about the sign had clearly been spread about. My persistent inquiries question about buses had obviously been passed on as well.

The Mayor's election victory party had been held at the club house.

It wasn't hard to connect the dots. I guessed the Mayor had been informed by staff , the club had been informed by the Mayor and the members presented themselves in force at the Council meeting.

But not quite. I finished the play. I stated the property value the club has enjoyed. I referred to businesses paying taxes . providing employment and struggling to make a living. They should not have to compete against a restaurant, a large screen television a liquor licence against a club that pays no taxes, rent or mortgage.

That's not fair. The club should govern themselves accordingly.

Some of them may hate me for saying it. Some may not. But one thing for sure, they heard it from me at a public meeting.

I missed the last meeting in June.

Apparently the Leslie Street residents who were horrified by the view of a the bottom of a baseball field light pole, who claimed friendship with the Mayor were there.

They too were encouraged to voice some unfriendly stuff about myself

It has as been a continuing pattern. Last term it started with Sue Walmer always with a following, to defend the Mayor against imaginary evil. .

This term Ms Walmer still appears and Sher St. Kitts and sundry others rally at the mayor's bidding.

Last night it was the cab driver and potentially the soccer club.

No doubt as the election gets closer, new enemies will appear that I don't even know I had.