What’s this nonsense about mushrooms?

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In the middle of a video parody on YouTube that skewers council on our new rec facilities, there’s a comment about “the mushroom farm debacle.” It then goes on, rather erratically, to rail about “two yanks” and mushrooms growing in manure and “enobe” mushrooms. What debacle? Clearly the video’s creator never actually watched the public presentation made to council a year ago about a possible use for the terminals as an indoor mushroom farm. Or read the stories in both newspapers. Or heard the news … click below for more ↓

Centennial Pool gets covered!

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Not sure how much will get done today – it’s a cold, windy winter day. But yesterday, in more clement weather, six frame struts  for the Sprung building were erected at Centennial Pool, and I got these photographs: Here’s the frame going up, on January 16.Six frames have gone up – there are another eight to go. You can get an idea of how big and spacious the building will be inside by comparing the height to that of the workers and equipment. One panel … click below for more ↓

The Hidden Costs of Gambling

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Let’s start 2013 with a sober consideration of the social and economic costs of gambling. Back n 2006, the Canadian Medical Association noted that, “Provincial governments may be glossing over the societal and health costs of problem gambling, including depression and suicide, because of the significant income they gain from gambling, claim several public advocacy and mental health organizations.” Glossing over is a polite way of saying “deceiving.” They’re hiding the facts from the public. The CMA called for a thorough and scientific study of the … click below for more ↓

Happy New Year!

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Happy New Year. 2012 is almost over. 2013 looms a few hours away. I wish you all the best of times in the upcoming year. What a year it’s been. For council, we flailed around in the tar-baby issues of the new rec facilities and then the gambling facility (aka “casino” or “slot barn”). The rec facilities are going to built soon and will be stunning – that issue is, I hope, behind us and I expect everyone in town will enjoy them. The gambling, well, … click below for more ↓

A Council Christmas Carol – Part 2

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STAVE TWO (continued from Part 1). THE FIRST OF THE THREE SPIRITS. I awoke in the dark, late Friday night. Winter days are so short that sometimes it seems a mere moment passes between sunrise and sunset. The day had whizzed by, a flurry of phone calls, reading, emails, walking the dog and shovelling the driveway as the snow continued to fall. By the time Susan came home and we had dinner, I was tired and aching from tossing snow. Sleep came quickly that evening, but didn’t … click below for more ↓

The Municipal Machiavelli is online

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I’ve spent much of the past few days putting online my book in which I assess and rewrite Niccolo Machiavelli’s famous (or infamous) work, The Prince, in a WordPress format. I wrote this book earlier this year, but was unable to find a publisher (I got distracted from my search). Maybe having it online will help. The new site is here: The Municipal Machiavelli The book slightly tops 69,000 words, has more than 400 quotations from The Prince and other works by Machiavelli, as well as from many other authors … click below for more ↓

Explaining Council Expenses

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Tip of the hat to Ian Adams for clearing up any misrepresentation of council’s expenses and clarifying some information, in his most recent blog post. The total council expense allotment is well under budget this year. It usually is; we are very cautious in how we use our rather limited allotment. However, Scoop doesn’t explain a couple of things about how the allotment affects us individually. We don’t generally have enough in our council expense accounts to attend more than one event a year – the … click below for more ↓

A Council Christmas Carol – part 1

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STAVE ONE. It was one of those long winter days. I was back in town late, that Thursday, well after dark, driving down the main street watching the heavy snow cover the road and sidewalks. I’d been out of town almost the whole day, entombed in various meetings. Too much time spent driving to and fro, too much coffee, junk food, and not enough exercise. I was tired, hungry, cranky and not at all in the holiday season spirit. All I wanted to do was get home and get … click below for more ↓

Gambling and the local economy part 2

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Seventy three dollars. It’s not a large amount if you’re middle class, certainly not if you’re Conrad Black. But for others it can be significant. If you’re on minimum wage, it’s a full day’s wage, before taxes. If you’re a senior on a fixed income, it’s a week’s groceries. It’s also the average amount a typical gambler spends at one time in a gaming facility in Ontario, according to the answers I got from my questions sent months ago to the OLG. The clerk gave me their answers last night, … click below for more ↓

Conspiracies, Secret Meetings and Backroom Deals

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As the year comes to a close, I think it’s about time I ‘fessed up about the conspiracies, secret meetings, backroom deals, hidden commissions and other underhanded dealings council has had this term. There haven’t been any. Sorry about that. I know how many people have built little, angry sand castles out of the notion we have been secretly plotting in backrooms and handing out commission cheques like drunken pirates on a shore leave, but the simple truth is that we haven’t. I know, I know, … click below for more ↓

The Known Unknowns

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“There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know,” said United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld in a now-famous statement. “There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don’t know.” Monday night, Council was treated to a “known unknown” when we were asked to approve a motion* that condemned a report that at least seven of us had never seen, … click below for more ↓

Mayors Under Siege: Why Laws Must Change

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is planning to appeal the recent judicial decision that ousted him from office for failing to obey one of the basic rules of municipal governance. In fact, during the hearing, he admitted never having read the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, one of the key pieces of legislation that govern municipal politicians, even once during his decade on council. Superior Court Justice Charles Hackland wrote a 24-page decision that called Ford’s  “wilful blindness” inexcusable, and said: “It is difficult to accept an error-in-judgment … click below for more ↓

Do We Need a CAO to Run Town Hall?

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One of the comments in a rather lengthy letter presented to council recently was about hiring a CAO. The author demanded a “panel of qualified citizens appointed by an independent body* to oversee the recruitment, participate in interviews and the transparent selection process to fill the vacant position of Chief Administrative Officer for the Town of Collingwood.” Aside from being wildly out of context in a letter ostensibly about local recreation facilities, that non-sequitur underscores a common misunderstanding about the nature of municipal governance and bureaucracy. Many municipalities have CAOs … click below for more ↓

Public meeting re possible casino, Monday

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Council will hear your comments about a possible gaming facility, Monday, October 29. This is a venue change: the meeting has been moved from Council Chambers to accommodate an expected large audience. Rogers Cable TV will be recording the meeting from 5 p.m. Monday’s meeting will be held at the Leisure Time Club, 100 Minnesota St. An open house to meet the OLG representatives and see some information boards will start at 4 p.m. and run until council starts at 5: OLG Reps present to … click below for more ↓

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