Does this make sense to you?

Flipping through some on-line news this morning and I came upon a story from CBC News that made my jaw drop. After reading it, tell me if you don’t feel the same way.

The way it looks is like the City of Toronto WANTS their councillors to spend money and then punishes those who take it upon themselves to SAVE money.

This is beyond ridiculous! I’m sure Councillor Ford submits a detailed outline of all that he spends so whats the difference if he uses his own money to do it. And the City of Toronto wonders why they’re in the cash crunch situation they face.

Instead of being applauded for doing something to help out, hes singled out and persecuted for being fiscally sound.

Imagine if the Town of Milton did this? One example locally can be pointed out with former councillor John Challinor who took a reduced amount of pay for years in Ward 4. He didn’t accept any of the pay increases over the years of being on council and was one of the most frugal spenders. Imagine if the town staff said to him, “You’re taking the pay increase and that’s that!” It would be a joke.

Mayor David Miller and the City of Toronto executive are a joke if they condone this type of attack on one of their own. It just goes to show people that politicians only think of themselves and not the people they represent. Isn’t there something ELSE they could be doing, say finding the money they need to fix roads, pay for city services, improve the transit system and making the city safer to live in? They chose this route to show their taxpayers what their priorities really are.

Message to Mayor Miller…Instead of whining and complaining that the “feds” are to blame for the increasing gun violence in the city and the “feds” not giving them their fair share… DO SOMETHING about it instead of pointing fingers.

Here’s the CBC story.

Councillor reprimanded for not spending enough

Toronto city Coun. Rob Ford was formally reprimanded by the city’s executive committee on Monday for not spending enough taxpayers’ money.

Ford is the ultimate penny-pincher on council, spending nothing of his allotted $53,000 office budget this year.

Ford pays his office expenses out of his own pocket. He buys the stamps, the envelopes and pays the cellphone bills himself.

But that goes against the city’s ethics rules that call for transparency in public spending, the underlying principle being that the public should know who is paying so there is no chance individuals or companies could use the money as a lever to ask for favours.

“You don’t spend private money, or developers’ money, or anybody else’s money on things like your newsletters. You spend the public money because there’s an audit trail, it’s accountable,” said Mayor David Miller.

There is no suggestion Ford is doing anything improper, but strictly speaking, he is breaking the rules.

Ford said he’s done nothing wrong. He said he has been blessed with good fortune and he doesn’t want to charge Toronto taxpayers for something he’s happy to pay for.

“I can do what I want with my own money. I choose not to submit receipts because I don’t want to be reimbursed. The only reason these councillors submit receipts is because they want to be reimbursed,” Ford said.

He’s also fighting back by posting all of the office expenses of his fellow councillors on his website, item by item.

He has long argued that office budgets are just slush funds and that some councillors have spent thousands of dollars this year on lunches and dinners, sometimes involving alcohol.

Possible pay suspension

“There’s councillors at 2:30 in the morning taking cab rides. What are they doing at 2:30 in the morning taking cabs from downtown going to Woodbridge? Hundreds of dollars being spent,” said Ford.

Ford’s refusal to submit receipts and get reimbursed could land him a suspension of his pay for three months.

That doesn’t worry Ford, who said, “I’m not going to die without three months’ pay. What are they going to do next, throw me in jail?”

Council will decide on the punishment at its next meeting on Dec. 12.

Yates Drive and March Crossing

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Just the mere mention of that intersection causes many residents in the area to roll their eyes.

Why? We have seen many near misses of vehicles driving down Yates from Thompson Road with cars coming out of March Crossing. This weekend was no different.

Lets go back in time to this past summer around the dinner hour. Local residents were brought out of their homes with the sounds of screeching tires, loud thumps and a big bang. What had happened was a car traveling north on Yates Drive towards Bennett Blvd. at what witnesses describe as “over the speed limit”, narrowly missing a vehicle coming out on March Crossing into the intersection. This car swerved to miss that car, lost control and jumped the curb on the opposite side of the road and smash into a house. Luckily there was no one hurt, the car sustained some damage and the bay window of the home was damaged.

For those of us who live in the area know, kids are walking up and down the sidewalk heading to their friends homes or to the local parks and thank God no one was there was this happened.

Now, we go back to this past Saturday and the almost exact situation happened again. A car traveling up Yates Drive from Thompson Road heading towards Bennett Blvd. driving up the street, narrowly misses a car coming out from March Crossing, loses control and jumps the curb on the opposite side and hits the same house in almost the identical spot.

Enough is enough. Im not one person who favours putting stop signs at every intersection or reducing speed when there is no justification. Something has to change before any other home or God forbid, someone is injured or killed.

The speed limit on Yates Drive is 50km/hr. During last falls election campaign, I spoke with many people about community safety and what we as citizens can do to make our streets safer. Many of you favoured reducing the speed limit on streets. Is that enough?

Would a 40km/hr speed limit saved this home owner from yet another insurance claim and time away from their lives to repair the damage to their home that someone else caused? Maybe.

If the speed limit was reduced it might be cause for the driver to make sure they slow down. Who really knows.

Would a stop sign have done the trick? Again, who knows. If drivers know there is a stop sign approaching at that intersection, would they reduce their speed before they come to March Crossing?

Possibly. Only if people open their eyes and realize our residential and town roads are not speedways.

It’s frustrating to live in an area such as this with such amazing neighbours and people living in the subdivision to have to deal with this. The only thing we have left is to turn to the town of Milton and see what can be done.

For years now, residents have complained about speeding on our streets. To the town’s credit they have done some studies about excess speed on Yates Drive and have concluded it doesnt warrant a stop sign at this particular intersection.

My message, that I plan on delivering with the help of the local residents, is simply this.

Reduce the speed to 40km/h and / or put a 4 way stop at this intersection. By doing nothing, is simply condoning this behaviour and endorsing what has already happened.

The safety of the people in the area, their homes and our children are more important than worrying about if people will be inconvenienced by an additional stop sign.

Whats more important to you?

Is the Green Cart program enough

 

The Region of Halton recently announced that it was going forward with a Green Cart Program to help reduce the amount of waste that heads to our landfill site. In case people are unaware of where that landfill site is, take a trip down 25 (Bronte Road) south of Derry and you will soon see it.

There was quite the discussion during the last municipal election on what should be done with the landfill, which is quickly approaching capacity. With the hundreds and hundreds of new homes being built in the area there will be a further demand on that landfill and its up to us as residents to do our part.

The Region of Halton currently has the Blue Box program in place. You are to put glass, plastics etc in one box and in the other we place the acceptable paper products, boxes, etc. As of April 2008 it was announced that residents will be able to put all products into one box instead of separating it, given the improvement in the separation technology available.

During that campaign a debate raged on about the EFW (Energy From Waste) proposal that was put before Regional Council and the pros and cons involved. In essence, an incinerator would be built at the landfill and the waste would then be burned using clean technology to produce energy that would be used in the region of Halton and beyond. Coupled with this proposal there was the much maligned Pristine Power Plant issue that seemed to dominate the last half of the campaign.

Recently Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr along with council announced that it was putting the EFW option aside permanently and focusing only on the existing programs and the Green Cart.

Does it go far enough?

With our landfill approaching capacity quickly (some analysts have said that within 25 years Halton will be required to have another landfill or another option in place for our garbage) will simply placing household food scraps and other materials in our Green Box do the job? With the landfill approaching capacity by 2023 according to Halton Region analysis, we need to take sufficient action now. The addition of the Green Cart program will add 7 years to the life of the landfill where the EFW facility would solve our problems for close to 50 years from now.

The EFW program, according to the proposal and the experts would have added at least another 100 years to the life of the Halton landfill. Does the Green Cart program go far enough?

At first glance it would seem that unless I’m mistaken and someone can hopefully provide me with more information, that it would have little affect on the amount of garbage at the landfill. The Region of Halton, and residents in general, need to come up with a longer range plan to solve the landfill issue.

Of course costs will be a major factor in making this decision. Who pays for it, how will we pay for it, etc. But the main question remains, what will it cost if nothing gets done? What if we wait until the landfill is near capacity and decisions have to be made then? The cost to taxpayers will pale in comparison and who knows the effect on our environment.

The amount of available land is decreasing with every new resident that we welcome to the area. What other options are there available to increase the life of our landfill?

It seems that the easier political issue would be to scrap the EFW and go with the easier to sell Green Cart Program. Tough decision are going to have to be made NOW and not 25 years from now when our landfill is overflowing and the residents will be screaming for answers.

Lets look at all the options … now, before its too late. Food scraps and other items just wont cut it.

Lights at Thompson and Yates Drive

There are a few sources of information available for Milton residents on the internet.  If you need a good source of local information and news in a one stop shop, you can go to www.miltonsearch.com where they update almost daily on the happenings around town.

One other site that I go to, which I highly recommend, is www.hawthornevillager.com

On this site theres some great background information for one of Hawthorne Village’s first residents and the process it took to build a brand new home.  Great read.

Also included on his site is a forum for not just HV residents, but all residents of Milton.  Its a great source of information on your local community, whats happening around the area, and where residents can vent, complain, and ask for help on a number of items.

One of the many concerns in Hawthorne Village (Ward 1 mainly) is traffic.  While campaigning last year, that issue ranked number one as most residents were concerned about stop signs, traffic flow, and lights.

If anyone drives down Thompson Road south of Derry, you will find there to be a high level of traffic at Yates Drive.  Those who live on the west side of Thompson on Yates have found it increasingly difficult to turn north or south without taking their lives in their hands.  Many residents have asked for and demanded a stop light be installed.

After several months planning through the Town of Milton, it was decided and approved recently that there will be lights installed at this location.  Regional Councillor Colin Best confirmed in a post on the HV forum that construction should be starting soon with a targeted finishing date of October 27th.

I know I can speak on behalf of many residents in that area both east and west on Yates that this is a welcome development.

You can find the post here on the HV website.  While youre at it, register to post and introduce yourself.