How generous will exiting Simcoe County politicians & staff (in county, agencies and townships) be to themselves with our tax dollars?

November 12, 2014

And will the 32 county councilors (53% who are newly-elected in “stunning reversals“) follow through with their promises of better transparency by publicizing ANY payouts to exiting individuals?

Simcoe County logo

An interesting article today in the Toronto Star about the defeated Brampton mayor and councillors, Defeated Brampton mayor to receive $375,000 payout:

Susan Fennell, the highest paid mayor in Canada in 2012, will leave her Brampton office with about $375,000 in retirement and pension benefits.

The mayor, trounced in October’s municipal election by former Brampton MPP Linda Jeffrey after an expense scandal, will receive $297,232.26 in a retirement allowance from the city after serving for 26 years, according to Brampton city staff.

Fennell will receive another $23,922.36 in pension benefits, which are paid out by the city to councillors in lieu of a pension, and at least $50,000 more in retirement benefits for her work on the Regional Municipality of Peel Council.

This is called by the mayor-elect Jeffrey a “self-made golden parachute”. In addition to being the hightest paid mayor in Canada in 2012, a Deloitte audit found that staff violated city spending rules 266 times. Lawsuits against exercising freedom of expression continue to highlight the need for oversight over municipal activities.

Last week, Fennell issued a notice of libel to councillors John Sanderson and Sprovieri for remarks they made to the Star about the expense scandal that Fennell claims were defamatory.

The Star was also served with the notice of libel, the second of two threatened lawsuits against the newspaper.

The Star stands by its reporting.

Springwater Township’s council-elect has, especially, increased their business experience and skill level while setting what I think is an appropriate circa-2014 transparency and accountability standard.

The individual ability has been called forward by the electorate across this great county.

  • Will the openness electoral promises be realized within the 16 county municipalities by voluntary disclosure of payouts?

Time to vote in the Springwater Township leader you want.

October 27, 2014

I will be voting for change.

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CTV Barrie reports yesterday in Springwater Township election crucial:

The Midhurst Secondary Plan will be on voter’s minds in Springwater Township as they head to the polls Monday.

“There are a lot of issues at stake here,” said Springwater resident Peter Kaukola.

The Midhurst Secondary Plan will see more than four thousand new homes built on farmland in the Midhurst area.

Incumbent Mayor Linda Collins says the environmental safety of the project is one of her main concerns.

“It will bring first and foremost environmental protection to over 1,200 acres that are deemed to be environmentally protected,” says Collins. “The stringent conditions around the build will set the bar for the province.”

Alternatively, mayoral candidate Bill French says “it offends all the policies of the province and it was only allowed to proceed because the last two mayors lobbied for it and so a special rule was put in place by a minister.”

Tony Guegis, the third mayoral candidate in Springwater, says he want more information before making a decision.

“The first thing I’m going to do is send out a message to the province that we want to sit back down and go through the chronology of how this is to happen and see what we need to do,” he says.

Municipal and school board election polls are open Monday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.

 


Why does Simcoe County want to become the monopoly service provider for water supply and wastewater via a regional network of underground pipes?

October 22, 2014

Is it “For the Greater Good”: to maximize the value of natural monopoly services to the the current 446,063 current residents as is the case for solid waste, ambulance, forests, long term care?

Simcoe County logo

Or is it to set into place effective corporate control over the water and sewer revenue of one of the fastest growing areas in Canada?

Each mayor and deputy mayor in Simcoe County’s 16 municipalities automatically sits on county council when they’re elected.

Question: Is there an undisclosed, personal, pecuniary interest in everyone running for mayor or deputy mayor in the October 27th election because economic theory indicates profit-maximizing control of monopolies leads to avoidable, inefficient economic rents? These over-and-above market-justified cash flows can create a series of perceived and real conflicts of interest (ie. opportunistically increase the net present value of the lifetime earnings of new and former county politicians and county senior staff).

Pecuniary Interest Disclosure: Since January 2, 2014, I have been a registered candidate for Deputy Mayor of Springwater Township. My only pecuniary interest is part ownership of a residential property in Midhurst which has used well water and septic system for the last 54 years. The perceived forced, future hookup to water and sewers that would come with the Midhurst Secondary Plan, MSP has decreased the market value of this family asset. I restrict my business consulting to individual and groups of franchisees in the North American business format franchise industry.

As a candidate for deputy mayor, I would oppose the privatization of water management in Springwater Township and the county if elected.

There are three of us vying for this position: the incumbent is an uber-staunch MSP supporter and the other one became a Midhurst resident in 2014, appears to be using robo calls, and filed his papers two or three days before the September 12th election deadline. David Donnelly estimates the market value of an approved Midhurst Secondary Plan at $40-billion.


Is inevitably forcing residents onto water supply and wastewater municipal services a material fact of this Springwater Township election?

October 15, 2014

The Midhurst Secondary Plan vision is for the township to have a pre-eminent, centralized wastewater treatment plant.

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To pay for it, many residents of Springwater Township will be forced to give up their perfectly good septic systems to be hooked up to it.

Same for their perfectly serviceable dug and sandpoint potable water wells.

Why aren’t any of the election candidates talking about this $15,000 to $50,000 loss in value to the 6,000 households?

That would be a transfer of wealth of $90- to $300-million FROM citizens to government AND THEN (under secret contracts) to private corporations that will be providing those assets and services.

Material Fact: a fact that would be to a reasonable person germane to the decision to be made as distinguished from an insignificant, trivial or unimportant detail.[1] In other words, it is a fact which expression (concealment) would reasonably result in a different decision.

 


Dale Goldhawk to moderate all-candidates’ meeting in Midhurst

October 14, 2014

Dale Goldhawk – consumer advocate, award-winning journalist, and the host of Goldhawk Fights Back on 740 AM Zoomer Radio – will moderate the Springwater all-candidates’ meeting to be held in Midhurst this week.

Dale Goldhawk Toronto

Dale Goldhawk moderating the Toronto mayoral debate, October 10, 2014

This was Goldhawk’s reply after being approached by AWARE Simcoe to be the moderator:

“Just two days ago, I moderated a debate with Olivia Chow, Doug Ford and John Tory. I thought that was tough until I got your request to moderate the Ward 5 all-candidates meeting in Springwater, to be held in Midhurst on Wednesday, October 15.

“As most people know, I have had some involvement with issues in Simcoe County but I have never played any public role, never spoken out in a partisan manner, during an election campaign — not in Simcoe, not in Toronto, not anywhere in Canada. That’s where I draw the line as an advocacy journalist. Election campaigns are reserved for the people and the candidates. They do the talking and deciding.

“With some reluctance, I will agree to host the all-candidates meeting and to do what I can to make sure everybody gets a fair hearing.”

The all-candidates meeting will be held at Midhurst United Church, 91 Doran Road, from 7-9:30 pm.


Help Wanted: Moderator for the Springwater Township all-candidates’ event on this Wednesday, 7 pm at the Midhurst United Church.

October 11, 2014

Neil Craig and Rudy Chernicki have done a great job in Elmvale and at Snow Valley Ski Resort in the first 2 of 3 events.

Where can I pick up an application form to do all 3 for the 2018 stoning and scapegoating?

Details:

October 15th from 7:00 – 9:30 pm

Midhurst United Church 91 Doran Road, Midhurst, ON L0L 1X0

Sponsored by: AWARE Simcoe

scapegoat

Posted on SpringwaterParkcc.org, and LesStewart.wikidot.com.


Springwater township’s “No-show candidates”: Let them cry their hot tears of oppression elsewhere.

October 9, 2014

Mayor Linda Collins and Deputy Mayor Dan McLean and former Simcoe County Warden and township Mayor Tony Guergis decide to boycott an all-candidates’ meeting this week.

No showers linda collins tony guergis dan mcleanNoelle takes them to the rhetorical woodshed:

There is more than a drop of irony in the failure of pro-MSP Candidates to appear for the All Candidates Meeting last night

Once again the pro-MSP brigade showed a remarkable capacity to simultaneously display duplicity, self-pity, and more than a little irony at last night’s All Candidates Meeting in Snow Valley. Speaking via a common spokesperson, Brenda Stanley, the candidates, including Linda Collins, Tony Guergis and Dan MacLean, cited concerns about the transparency and neutrality of the organizers, AWARE Simcoe, as reason for withdrawing from the public meeting.

This allegation, and the act of public theatre through which it was delivered, raises an eyebrow for several reasons.

First off, the peculiar timing of Kathleen Wynne’s letter to incumbent Mayor Linda Collins, arriving, as it did on the day of a much-anticipated open public forum, begs the question: if Collins has had access to this back channel, why did she apparently fail to seize this opportunity to ask the Premier the question residents have been loudly demanding – Will you review the MSP? Instead, Wynne’s response that the province “has no plan to review the Midhurst Secondary Plan or Special Rule in the Transition Regulation,” suggests the Premier had not been invited to take, or defend a position on this issue. The only way to find out, of course, is if Collins would release the unedited email correspondence with Wynne. Without doing so, there seems no compelling reason to believe she has shifted her long-standing pattern of seemingly representing developer interests over the concerns of residents.

The irony is stark, coming from the clutch of candidates who now allege preferential treatment of their opponents by the organizers of last night’s meeting. Clearly, this faction not only had prior knowledge of Wynne’s letter, but took it upon itself to plan and coordinate its exemption from the meeting, surprising other candidates as much as it did those residents who came expecting a long-awaited, honest and unfiltered discussion.

Pity the candidates who narrowly escaped being ganged up upon, and torn limb-from-bloody-limb last night, by committed, truth-seeking residents. They have clearly insulated themselves from the democratic process for so long that they no longer recognize it when it comes up to shake them by the hand. More than that, they have come to fear it, and to fear any encounter where they are not able control and limit public participation.

Let’s also address the allegation that the organizers shared questions in advance with its preferred candidates. AWARE Simcoe has unequivocally denied this allegation, and pointed to measures it took to guarantee the neutral facilitation of the meeting. But let’s assume for a moment, they did plant questions. Surely none of the questions would have been unpredictable to incumbents who are presumably, by now, well versed in all the issues? Or were they out of their depth? Perhaps they feared pointed, negative questions by their opponents, in which case, the most suspicious response is silence.

Overall, the sense of entitlement displayed by sitting out this singular opportunity to recharge the local democratic process, is dwarfed only by the repugnant stench of self-pity. The pro-MSP faction would have you believe, after its long unbroken history as apparent mouthpiece to the developer, that it has become the victim of an unfair attack. Let’s get one thing straight – oppression happens when power and authority is exercised unjustly – for instance, in the case where a corporation uses its undue power and influence to affect land use policy, it is the local and adjacent residents and environments that are oppressed. It’s not oppression if the pro-MSP faction suddenly feels the tide of public opinion turning against it – that’s just democracy at work, thanks to power of citizen mobilization.

Let’s not joke. The Midhurst Secondary Plan has become the pivotal and polarizing issue of this election, because it defines two very different visions for this Township; and that is only right, because its vast implications are dead serious for Springwater as well as for neighbouring Townships that benefit from Springwater’s environment, that are tied into its rural economy and food production system, that share its road networks, and that would experience exponential demand on services, were the MSP to go ahead.

And finally, let’s not fuel the ridiculous pretence, that excluding oneself from hard public questioning is anything other than an act of political manipulation. This considered (in)action on the part of the pro-MSP brigade displays an utter lack of regard for the democratic process. Let them cry their hot tears of oppression elsewhere.

These opinions belong to Noelle Rancourt, indignant nearby (and former) Springwater resident, and do not reflect the views of any group or organization.

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