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Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Getting solid numbers makes sense

I recently was directed to read a statement that I had “…put forward a notice of motion calling on the municipality to spend the money to put a concrete floor in the building, without any kind of business case …” That is incorrect. The notice simply asked the town to put out a ‘request for […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: CPLUG songs and more

CPLUG – the Collingwood Public Library Ukulele Group – has so far proven a very popular group. We started with 17 people at our first monthly meeting and more have attended each time: 34 people came out last month! I’m hoping to continue this trend and see as many this week at our next meeting […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Litter, litter, everywhere

Pop cans. Coffee cups. Candy bar wrappers. Fast food wrappers. Cigarette packages. Cigarette butts. Dog feces. Bags of dog feces. Flyers. Cellophane package wrap. Water bottles. Juice bottles. Chip bags. Beer cans and bottles. Disposable lighters and pens. Cardboard beer boxes. Discarded newspapers and junk mail. Plastic grocery bags. I just don’t get littering. I’ve […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Conspiracy Theories: 2014 Update

It’s time to update a piece I wrote in December, 2012, outlining the secret deals, backroom negotiations and “barbecue politics” that our council has been involved in since that date, more than a year ago. So here comes the update, the emperor without his clothes: Secret meetings: none Backroom negotiations: none Barbecue deals: none Sorry, […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Collingwood’s municipal debt and 2014 budget

Tuesday, Council got a combined debt-and-budget presentation that set the stage for the upcoming, fuller 2014 budget deliberations starting next week. CAO John Brown gave us a recap of a report (produced by BMA Management Consulting) about the town’s debt situation and financial wellbeing. It was a mix of good news/bad news. The good is […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Should councillors abstain from voting?

In an earlier post, I wrote that Collingwood’s Integrity Commissioner, Robert Swayze, proposed two changes to the town’s Procedural Bylaw: amending section 13.7 and deleting section 13.8. Last post I dealt with the former; here I will explain my concerns about the latter. Section 13.8 currently reads: 13.8 No vote – deemed negative – exception […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Legal Versus “Personal” Conflicts of Interest

In May, 2013, I wrote my thoughts about Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and the effect it had on the governance and procedural behaviour of municipal councillors. Back then, I wrote, The Act allows no grey areas: there are no “perceived” conflicts in law, only clearly defined legal ones. This is obviously intended by […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Debunking the Adam Bridge

    A story popped up on the internet in late 2013, recycled in early 2014, claiming “NASA Images Find 1.7 Million Year Old Man-Made Bridge.” Claptrap. It’s not a bridge. It’s simply a natural tombolo: “a deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Running for re-election in 2014

Earlier this month, I filed my nomination papers for municipal council. I am running for a fourth term as Collingwood councillor. I will post a new election website with updated information and campaign content later this winter. I would appreciate your support, your trust and your vote. I believe I have earned them during my […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Water, water, everywhere

Hydration matters. Not just to athletes and long distance runners. It matters to bakers. How much water is in your dough is crucial to how the crumb develops. It’s amazing how a few grams more or less of water can make a real difference in the resulting loaf of bread. This week I did a […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Brands, Buzz & Going Viral

My third book for Municipal World, Brands, Buzz & Going Viral, has just been published as part of the Municipal Information Series. I received my author’s copies yesterday. I am very proud of this book; it took a lot of work to research and write. I enjoyed writing it. I hope readers find it both informative […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Looking back on three years

If you attended the Mayor’s Levee, Jan. 5, you received a small brochure that listed some of this council’s accomplishments to date, as well as our collective plans and priorities for the remaining year of our term. It’s worth reiterating some of those notes. Keeping the public informed was identified by this council as a […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Collingwood: 2114

I had one of those odd dreams recently; a crazy mix of future and past, where rotary dial phones and smart phones co-existed, where past and future intersected. A retro-future dream. I was in Collingwood, an odd Collingwood, but it was still my home town: recognizable,familiar, but also changed. Modernized in striking ways, old-fashioned in […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Looking back on 2103

It’s been quite a year, both personally and politically. The best of times, the worst of times, to paraphrase Dickens. Looking back on 2103, it was a busy, eventful, successful, and yet often challenging year. I accomplished many things on different levels – personal and professional – and, I believe, overcame some of the challenges I […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Council’s second strategic planning session

Although there were no media reporters present to cover it, Collingwood Council held its second strategic planning session this term, on December 4. This was an important, all-day session for council because it set priorities for 2014, the last year this term. We also collectively agreed upon a list of our many accomplishments this term. […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Random Acts of Kindness

It goes by almost unrecognized, but for some, it is a special day that reflects the way we should all behave, to everyone, every day. It’s called Random Acts of Kindness Day, and it will be celebrated in Collingwood, on Friday, November 1. Council has contributed by making downtown parking free all day, as we […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Anti-Intellectualism: The New Elitism

There’s a growing – and disturbing – trend in modern culture: anti-intellectual elitism. The dismissal of art, science, culture, philosophy, of rhetoric and debate, of literature and poetry, and their replacement by entertainment, spectacle, self-righteous self ignorance, and deliberate gullibility. These are usually followed by vituperative ridicule and angry caterwauling when anyone challenges the populist […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: How to Break Your Election Promises

Taxman: I was thinking of this Beatles’ song, recently, after council received the pre-budget report from the treasurer at last Monday’s council meeting. It’s dated, the song that is, but still eerily appropriate (I will have to learn to play it on my ukulele). Last election, all of us who got elected ran on a […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: From 7 to 29. Should I be worried? Or just keep monitoring?

Seven cents per kilowatt hour. That’s what the energy monitor was showing me a moment before I plugged in the kettle. Then it jumped to 29 cents. Wow! And this is mid-peak time, too, my new energy monitor warns. Should I be worried? Better cut back on the tea if I want to conserve energy. […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Swimming with Vivaldi

Today, for an hour, I swam with Vivaldi. Not the actual composer, of course. He died in 1741 at the age of 63. Would have made a mess of the pool to dig him up and toss him in. The “red priest,” as he was called (for his red hair), probably couldn’t even swim. Not […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: $35 Million Costs Confirmed in Report

I was told recently that the $35 million projected capital costs for the Central Park redevelopment had been called a “red herring.” That’s verifiably untrue. The actual total amount shown in the final report is $35,251,965.11. This isn’t a made up number, an inflated number or an imaginary number. It isn’t a council number, either. […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: In Wildness is the Preservation of the World

The title of this post is a quote from Henry David Thoreau’s essay, Walking, published posthumously in 1862, but which he wrote and rewrote during the 1850s. I was thinking of that line this week when Council officially opened the new Black Ash Creek Park, in the northeast of the Georgian Meadows subdivision.* I was […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: An Indoor Year-Round Rec Facility for Seniors and More

Monday night, I asked for a staff report on covering our lawn bowling rinks, and making it into a year-round facility for Collingwood. This facility would provide recreational opportunities for seniors and older adults. It could include other sports like horseshoes, shuffleboard and croquet. Perhaps badminton and a walking area (since we will lose our […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Reflecting on our successes this term

With just over a year left to go in this term, I’d like to take a few minutes to consider all the accomplishments of this council over the past three years. They are not inconsiderable, and worth celebrating, I think you’ll agree. Most recent are the two new state-of-the-art recreational facilities; jewels in our community. […]

Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: What is a councillor’s role?

A question was asked of me recently about the appropriateness of the Deputy Mayor being at a meeting last summer to discuss the possible purchase of the new recreational facility structures. From the question I inferred that the asker did not approve of a politician being there. I disagree, and made my point that it […]