Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 41


24 September 2011

RE:  September 27,  2011 Council Agenda

 

The pdf version of the full agenda package is available on the town website at: 

 https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=44797

 An Html version is at:

 https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=44795

 Comments on a few interesting select agenda items

 Agenda Item 6. CONSENT AGENDA 5.3 EDO 01-11 BLUEWATER PARK AD HOC

COMMITTEE

The recommendation before council, as developed at September 20 COW, is:

 THAT Council approve the formation of a sub-committee for further

development ofBluewaterPark;

AND THAT the sub-committee be made up of current members of the Economic

Development Committee who have an interest inBluewaterPark.

 Council should make clear that the sub-committee is not a committee of council and as such does not have any town resources allocated to it.  So the sub-committee should not have the services of theEDOfor secretarial work, or for report writing, or anything else.  And to be consistent with policy and with treatment of other groups, the sub-committee should not get to use the town meeting room at no cost.

 Agenda Item 7. CONSENT AGENDA ITEM 5.4 EDC 02-11 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE BUSINESS CARDS

 The recommendation before council, as developed at September 20 COW, is:

 THAT Council approve the Economic Development Committee Chair to have business cards paid for out of the economic development budget for the purpose of economic relations;

AND THAT the Chair also provides the Economic Development Officer‟s business card at the same time as handing out his own.

 Business cards for the chair of the Economic Development Committee is a very bad idea.

 I understand that the chair of the EDC is already presenting positions publicly as if they were the views of the town (we need to develop the airport, we need sewers at Sauble), even though these positions have not been taken by council and are thus not the positions of the town.

 This violates the intent of policy A.3.2  (Council correspondence) which has as its purpose:

 “to ensure that any official correspondence from Council is prepared and approved in a manner acceptable to Council prior to distribution.”,

 Giving the chair of the EDC business cards with the TSBP logo on them or with the TSBP name on them would make the EDC chair’s public statements look even more like council or town positions, and would further subvert the purpose of A.3.2

 For the EDC chair to give out logoed business cards and making statements like those above would come close to violation of the actual A.3.2 policy, which reads:

 “That any correspondence which suggests Council involvement or support distributed on Town letterhead, be prepared by staff and must be approved by Council prior to sending.”

 With the policy as written, the combination of orally spoken unapproved statements and logoed business cards might not be considered a breach of policy because the statements are not “distributed on Town letterhead”.

 The policy has what I believe is an unintended loophole, in that taken literally it only applies to correspondence on town letterhead.  So according to the policy, taken literally, staff, councillors, the mayor, committee chairs, committee members can say anything they want to, and can present it as town position, as long as it’s not written on town letterhead.

 The policy should be clarified to indicate that any communication, including but not necessarily limited to correspondence, presentations, and submissions, oral or written, which suggests Council involvement or support or position, must be formally approved by Council prior to delivery.

 And the business cards request should be denied.  There is absolutely no merit in the EDC chair having business cards.  And there is every indication that the cards would be used in abuse of the “revised correspondence policy”.

 The EDO should be the one making contact with the public anyway, not the chair of the Economic development committee.

 Agenda Item 18. CONSENT AGENDA ITEM 5.12 FS 46-2011 ADDITIONAL DATA FOR PW81- 2011 WATER RATE BY-LAW

 A staff report FS-46-2011 recommends a three tier structure for water fees including a base monthly rate to be paid regardless of usage, a fee of about $1.00 per cubic meter on the first 18 cubic meters of consumption in a month and a rate of almost $4.00 per cubic meter on consumption in the month over 18 cubic meters.

 The recommendations from the September 20th committee of the whole meeting to council are:

 THAT Council notes the contents of this report;

AND THAT Council would like to see the billing start in May 2012 with the three tier structure being used.

AND FURTHER THAT that the first level be started at 18 cubic metres;

AND FURTHER THAT the by-law be placed on an upcoming meeting for consideration.

 Water is not a town business, it’s a service provided by the town to members of the town. Metering was supposed to make the cost distribution more fair by charging users based on the full costs to produce and deliver the water that they use instead of a flat fee.  So with metering the town should not be charging individual residents more than what it costs to produce and deliver the water.  Yet the proposed three tier system does exactly that to some customers.  For those who use more than 18 cubic meters in a month, the town will charge far more than the cost of production and delivery.  (And those using less than 18 cubic meters in a month will pay less than cost).  This is unfair and unjustifiable.  The implications will be that a large family that uses a lot of water in the household but uses no more than the average per person and may use less than average per person will be heavily penalized and will be forced to subsidize smaller families who use less per household but the same amount per person or even more per person.  But it’s unfair for anyone who uses more water, regardless of family size or amount used per person.

 The proposal should be rejected in favour of a fair two-tier system.

Craig

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 40


24 September 2011

Former TSBP Mayor’s Allegations Against Councillor Jackson Are False

Editor:

In an August 22, 2011 letter to Minister Rick Bartolucci TSBP mayor John Close saidSaubleBeachhas a “history of positive E. Coli testing”, and implied that E. Coli. contamination of wells was caused by septic systems.

 In a September 10, 2001 interview with Rob Gowan of the Owen Sound Sun Times, Mayor Close stated explicitely that E. Coli contamination of wells and sand points was from septic systems.

 The claims made by Mr. Close are false.

 Mayor Close made the false statements, in writing, without council’s knowledge or approval, thereby breaching the TSPB council correspondence policy, and impugning the integrity of council.

 In the September 6th council meeting, Councillor Jackson exposed the Mayor’s mistruths and breach of protocol, and rightly accused him of “betraying the people of Sauble Beach” (September 10 OSST article Councillor accuses mayor of betrayal).

 Carl Noble’s (September 24 letter to editor) challenge of Councillor Jackson’s accusations is so ridiculously absurd that it actually bolsters the case against Mayor Close, and reaffirms Councillor Jackson’s integrity (just the opposite of what Mr. Noble intended).

 Contrary to Mr. Noble’s claim:

 Councillor Jackson did not agree with anyone who supports sewers forSaubleBeach,

  1. Councillor Jackson did not support (or even see) the infamous August 22nd letter to Minister Rick Bardolucci, and,
  2. The letter that Mayor Close sent to Mr. Bardolucci and presented to MPP Lou Rinaldi was not “requests of council”.

  expect that the four year’s of water quality information that Carl Noble collected is the same information that John Close said was in “two drawers, two boxes” (OSST September 10).  It’s odd that in the ten years that Carl Noble and John Close have been claiming that Sauble septic systems are contaminating wells with E. Coli., all they have ever done is suggest scavenger hunts (rather than producing a shred of supporting evidence).

 Mr. Noble’s implication that Councillor Jackson has not done “her due diligence and research”, like John Close’s “two drawers…”,  is an unfounded false accusation, a  diversionary tactic, an attempt to hide the fact that his mistruths are unsupportable and unsupported.

 Those “shackles which attached her to some cottagers”, that Carl Noble says he hoped Councillor Jackson “had finally broken” are actually the strong ties between the people of Sauble Beach and a councillor passionately dedicated to protecting the people from the nefarious schemes of the likes of Mr. Noble.

 (Mr. Noble should not look to Councillor Bowman for sympathy, because she is just as dedicated.)

Mr. Noble advises Councillor Jackson to ask the Grey Bruce Health Unit for “some very good suggestions.”  This is almost as ridiculous as Mayor Close presenting Janice Jackson with the completely discredited October 25th 2010 GBHU letter (see commentary 37 on www.bruceonthebruce.wordpress.com or on www.craiggammie.com) and expecting Ms. Jackson to apologize.

It’s odd that Mr. Close can write to a provincial minister saying the problem is that Sauble septic systems are contaminating wells with E. Coli, and has told reporter Gowan that the evidence is in “two drawers, two boxes”, and yet has not brought one shred of evidence to the Sauble Sewers committee (the one formed by council in May 2011 to find out if there is a problem related to sewage management at Sauble).

 I believe that Mayor Close and former Mayor Carl Noble are using the same pile of misrepresentations to try to push their agenda, which is in my view to try to create the impression that septic systems are causing problems and that the residents are in grave peril, so that Mayor Close can foist an unnecessary, unwanted, unjustifiable $70 million dollar sewers fiasco on the people of Sauble Beach.

It’s a bit ironic that Carl Noble, as Mayor in 2004, with full support of then-councillor John Close, presented much the same mistruths about Sauble Septic systems to the same MPP Lou Rinaldi, (who was then Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Infrastructure).  Because the Noble/ Close position was demonstrably untruthful, Mr. Rinaldi did not buy it in 2004.  And because it’s still the same mistruths, Mr. Rinaldi won’t buy it now.

The good people of Sauble Beach won’t buy it either.

My question is this – what did John Close and Carl Noble expect to accomplish with their untruthful letters of August 22nd and September 24th?  Have they made promises with failure-to-deliver consequences so severe that in desperation they would resort to such mistruths?

Craig Gammie

SaubleBeach

What Happened????


 

After being married for 40 years, I took a careful look at my wife, Marj one day and said ……. “Forty years ago we had a cheap house, a junk car, slept on a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV, but I got to sleep every night with a hot 23-year-old girl.

 

Now … I have a bigger home, a $35,000.00 car, a nice big bed and a large screen TV, but I’m sleeping with a 60-year-old woman. It seems to me that you’re not holding up your side of things.”

 

My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 23-year-old girl and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap house, driving a junk car, sleeping on a sofa bed and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.

 

 Aren’t older women great? They really know how to solve an old guy’s problems.

BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

Bruce

(The guy with the black eye)

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 38


19 September 2011

Money-Sucking TSBP Economic Development Committee Should Be Disbanded

 For several years, the TSBP Economic Development Committee (EDC) has been sucking up scarce taxpayer money and providing little or nothing of value to the town in return.  Now the EDC wants to expand its activities and increase its drain on the treasury.  This may benefit the non-elected members of the Economic Development Committee.  But it would be detrimental to the town.

 The Economic Development Committee:

 is illegitimate,

  1. is acting way outside the boundaries set by the Economic Development Services section of the Municipal act,
  2.  is taking public positions not endorsed by council,
  3. is disrespectful of council and of the inhabitants of TSBP,
  4. has done much damage to the town (the inhabitants),
  5. is gearing up to do things that will do much more damage,
  6. has tainted the strategic plan.

 To prevent further damage, The Economic Development Committee should be disbanded immediately, and the value of and need for the position of Economic Development Officer should be reviewed.

 The EDC is illegitimate

 Section 238 of the Municipal Act indicates that committees of council must have at least 50% council members.  This is so committees of council (of representatives) remain as committees controlled by the representatives and not by some special interest group or individual or any unelected person or group.  The EDC has 12 members, only 3 of which (25%) are council members.  The committee falls short of the 50% requirement and so is not a legitimate committee of council.  Rather than a legitimate committee of council, the EDC is  a special interest group with a few councillors on it.  The special interest group is 25% elected and should not have the influence of a legitimate (50% or more elected) committee.  And the illegitimate special interest EDC group should not have access to tax revenues or any other town resources. The EDC should not be free to help themselves to town resources (e.g. as chair McMillan has helped himself to theEDO’s time and services.)  The EDC, as an illegitimate “committee of council” should not have special influence on policy that is unavailable to other residents.

 The EDC is Operating way outside the boundaries of the Municipal Act

 The Municipal Act (the “Act”) is the primary governor of what municipalities can and cannot do.  The Planning Act also governs. 

 The part of the Municipal Act that governs what kinds of Economic Development Services are permitted and what kinds of “Economic activities” are not permitted is named “Economic Development Services” in the Act, which includes paragraphs106 through 114 of the Act.

 The act also defines Economic Development Services very narrowly:

 “economic development services” means, in respect of a municipality, the promotion of the municipality by the municipality for any purpose by the collection and dissemination of information and the by the municipality for industrial, commercial and institutional uses

 There is no mention of Economic Development activities in the Economic Development Services section of the Act.  The title of the section is Economic Development Services.

 Economic development services, for example small business advisory services, are permitted and encouraged by the Act.  Economic development activities are generally not allowed.  For example “bonusing” (supporting commercial enterprises) is not allowed per paragraph 106.

 Since the Economic Development Committee is supposed to be a committee of council, one might expect the Economic Development Services section of the Act to be the basis for the EDC terms of reference.

 Yet the Terms of Reference do not even mention the Municipal Act or any of the provisions of the Economic Services section of the Act.  It is clear to me that the Economic Development Services section of the Act has been purposefully left out of the terms of reference because the Economic Development Services section of the Act is inconsistent with what the EDC does and what the EDC aspires to do, and in fact prohibits much of what the EDC aspires to do.

 The current EDC terms of reference, unbounded by the sections of the Municipal Act, take the committee outside the bounds of the Municipal Act.  The actual plans of the committee and the proposed terms of reference would take it even further out.  Discussion of development of the airport, discussion of getting sewers at Sauble, plans to get a casino at Sauble – all of these are way outside the bounds of what is allowed as economic development services.

 The EDC is taking public positions not endorsed by council

 The EDC is taking the position that we need to grow, and is taking the position as if it is the official town position.  And while it was the position of council past, it has not been formally adopted by the current council.   We hear a lot of sillyness like “if we don’t grow we will perish, if we don’t grow we won’t be able to maintain infrastucture, if we don’t grow we will die”.

 Conventional wisdom may be that without growth we will suffer, but there is no foundation to the notion, at least in the context of the town.  What is most in the public interest is not growth, but rather security, community, adequate services, and freedom from having our money stolen and given to special interest groups like the EDC.  And you get these things best from good government, not from growth.

 Sauble beach is a good example. Sauble could function quite well without any commercial activity at all, and without any commercial “growth”, or even without any growth of any kind.  Because Sauble is largely populated by people bringing money from jobs and pensions elsewhere, and it’s that money that pays for services.  There is nothing wrong with no growth, and there is especially nothing wrong with no growth at Sauble.  The inhabitants are far better off with no EDC-style growth.   And the pursuit of “growth” should never be used as an excuse to impoverish some residents to the benefit of others.

 The economy and growth should be largely left in the hands of the private sector, and to a small degree provincial and federal government policy.  Municipal governments, especially small municipalities, do not have capability to constructively intervene in the economy.  That’s why “bonusing” is prohibited by paragraph 106.  Because even if Municipalities are well intentioned, if they stray outside the bounds of the Municipal Act Economic Development Services section, they will generally or always just make things worse.   Municipalities have no business trying to run the economy.

 The EDC is also taking the position implying that the town wants to commercially develop the airport, and the town wants sewers at Sauble.  These in fact are not town positions.  

 The EDC is doing damage

 The EDC wants to take on projects that will “positively impact the economic sustainability of the town”.  

 The financial health of the town is the budget and the impact of the budget on the inhabitants.  The more the EDC takes from the treasury, the less sustainable the budget will be.

 Pursuing growth EDC-style will actually make everyone poorer (except the EDC special interest members of course).  It will make everyone poorer by consuming the town’s money (that is the inhabitants’ money) and other resources and by providing little or nothing to the town (the inhabitants) in return.

 The 2010 Economic Development budget was over $300,000 with little, if anything, to show of benefit to the town (the corporation, the inhabitants).

 The 2011 Economic development budget is more than $240,000, with little, if anything, to show of benefit to the town (the corporation, the inhabitants). If the grants and other giveways to the chambers are included, it’s upwards of $500,000. That’s 6.5 per cent of our property tax bills.

 A 6.5% increase in property taxes can have a devastating effect on the well-being and prosperity of the inhabitants.   The inhabitants would be far better off with the money left in their pockets.

 So the EDC would be better named the “Economic Destruction Committee”.

 The EDC want to revise the terms of reference to make them consistent with what they see themselves as and consistent with what they intend to do.  They want to revise the terms to remove any constraints and boundaries.

 This should not be permitted.  The EDC should be disbanded instead so that they cannot do any more harm.  And until they are disbanded, the EDC should focus on legitimate Economic Development services.

 The EDC is disrespectful of council and of the inhabitants of TSBP

 The chair of the EDC is running around telling people he is the chair of the EDC and telling people how important the EDC is.  He also openly denigrates any member of the town who he feels does not support him or share his views.  He has also denigrated councillors.  A few other EDC members also take shots at those members of the corporate body who disagree with them. This is disrespectful.  And it’s unacceptable. And it’s embarrassing.

 EDC wants to do things that will do much more damage to the town

 The EDC has discussed getting water and sewers at Sauble, getting a casino at Sauble, development of the airport, and much more.  These things would cost the residents dearly in many ways, and would provide private benefits to some, but would provide no benefit to the “town”.

 The EDC is preparing its own budget proposal on September 28.  They should not have a budget.   The EDC should be disbanded instead.

 The EDC has tainted the strategic plan

 The strategic plan is not yet drafted, but it’s already tainted.   While the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the strategic plan appeared on the surface to be calling for a strategic plan for the town (the inhabitants), and should have called for a strategic plan for the town, in fact the RFP called for a strategic plan for the business and development sectors, (but financed by the inhabitants).  So the strategic plan was off track right from the start.   But to make it worse the special interest group EDC has worked themselves a conduit to the strategic plan consultant, and has prepared a list of things that the EDC “wants in the strategic plan”.   These are things that the special interest group wants, but the list is being presented by a committee of council, making it look like it is what the people’s representatives want.  But in fact the list has never been discussed or approved by council as a position of the people.  This EDC maneuver has corrupted the strategic planning process and the plan even more than it already was.  It has corrupted the plan so much that it is unlikely to have any value.

 The EDC was not asked by council to input or direct or influence or anything to do with the strategic plan.  The EDC did that on their own because they see the strategic plan as an economic development plan and therefore part of their mandate.  The decision to go directly to the consultant was EDC’s choice.   The EDC is way off-side.

 The EDC should be disbanded and the EDC connection with the strategic plan consultant severed.

 Recommendations:

 Council should dissolve the EDC.   It’s doing no good for the town and by consuming and squandering resources is actually doing considerable harm.

 Council should also review the role of Economic Development Officer.  If the role were constrained by the Economic Development services section of the Municipal Act, as it should be, a full time person is not needed.

 EDC items in the September 20 COW agenda

 There are three EDC requests in the September 20, 2011 COW agenda, one for the creation of a bluewater park sub-committee, one for business cards for the EDC, and one for all available documentation, including closed meeting documentation, regarding the airport.

 5.3. EDC 01-11 Bluewater Park Ad Hoc Committee

 Council sets up council committees to serve a purpose and to serve the town.   Many groups want to form committees, ostensibly to help out, but in fact for many the purpose is to influence policy to their benefit.  The sole purpose of the proposed subcommittee is to influence public policy in favour of the members of committee. Council did not ask for this committee and staff did not ask for a committee.  We already have too many illegitimate “committees of council”.  The proposed subcommittee would just suck up more town resources and keep theEDOfrom doing legitimate economic development services work for the town.  The request for a sub-committee should be denied.

 5.4. EDC 02-11 Economic Development Committee Business Cards

 The economic development committee has no mandate to contact anyone on behalf of the town, or as a representative of a town committee.  Contacts for economic development services should only be made by the economic development officer, or by council. Business cards should not be issued to EDC members, or for that matter to any council committee.  The request for business cards should be denied.  The rules governing contacts should be made clear to the EDC.

 5.5. EDC 03-11 Economic Development Committee Resolution Re: Airport

 Council is already looking into the airport, mostly in closed session.  The Municipal Act definition of economic development services would not include looking into the airport.    Council did not ask the EDC or anyone else to look into the airport.  The EDC cannot be helping theEDOby looking into the airport.  The EDC has no mandate to look into the airport.  No one wants the EDC to look into the airport.  So they should not be looking into the airport.  They should butt out.  Mayor Close has already told the EDC that they can get information regarding the airport the same way and at the same time the rest of the public gets it.  That’s where the discussion should have ended.  The EDC request should be denied.

 Craig

 

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 39


 

19 September 2011

 

RE:  September 20,  2011 Committee of the Whole Agenda

The pdf version of the full agenda package is available on the town website at: 

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=44674

An Html version is at:

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=44672

Comments on a few interesting select agenda items in the Committee of the Whole Agenda Package September 20, 2011

5.7. PSB03-2011 Community Youth Officer

This item looked interesting until I got to the part where the Police Services Board report  implied that riots inLondonand at G20 inTorontowere a result of not having a Community Youth Officer, or that we will have similar riots if council does not approve the proposal.  This ridiculous scare tactic completely discredited an otherwise reasonable report and argument.  The notion that youth turn into hooligans if they don’t have a community Youth Officer is absurd.   The key problem as I see it steering a few people towards hooliganism is the contempt that some TSBP staff have for the law.  And some councillors too, when they say “go easy on the tourists”, “don’t ticket the tourists”, “it doesn’t promote the town when you are ticketing tourists”.

The proposal would suck more taxes from TSBP families, making everyone a little poorer.  The damage that would cause should be carefully weighed against the benefits of the proposed program.

5.12. FS 46-2011 Additional Data for PW81-2011 Water Rate By-Law

PW81-2011 was presented last COW meeting.  Council asked for some answers and some clarity. For example what is the current unmetered bill, what will be the new bill, what is the percent increase, for a range of water volumes?   Providing clarity should be easy.  In FS-46-2011 rather than clarity, council got obfuscation.  The report should be sent back to be clarified.  And to have the questions answered.

5.16. CAO 74-2011 Procedural By-Law

There are many problems with the proposed procedural bylaw

Recordings

I set my $79.99 recorder to record at 44 kHz, about 192 kbps, Low Cut Filter on.  I place my recorder several feet away from my computer and other noisy devices.  Recording quality is good.  As far as I can determine staff set the town recorder at much lower quality settings and set the recorder close to a computer.  Staff have indicated that with their current equipment and set-up, recording quality is poor.  I would be happy to trade with the town for one session so staff can see how well my settings and strategy work.

Sending By-laws to debate after first and second reading

This issue was discussed at great length in July and August and consensus was reached.  The consensus was that after first and second reading of a by-law, any one councillor could send the by-law to COW for debate.  There was also consensus that a single councillor could only send a by-law back once.  There was consensus that if none of the councillors who wanted the by-law debated stipulated that the by-law go back to COW for debate, then with the approval of a majority the by-law could be debated in the current meeting, and if that majority was not garnered, then the by-law would go to COW for debate.

At the time there was also a discussion of whether to implement this consensus language into the procedural manual.  Consensus was reached to defer the implementation on the grounds that waiting and making the change along with a suite of procedural manual changes would obviate the need for an additional public meeting.

The proposal before council is:

After the first and second reading of a by-law and prior to the third reading of the by-law, any member of Council may ask to debate the by-law, and that by-law shall be discussed separately at the current meeting without the requirement of a resolution to debate. Alternatively, with the consent of the majority of the members present, a resolution may be considered to refer the by-law to Committee of the Whole under “Items Referred from Council or Committee of the Whole” for further debate.

The proposal before council is not even close to what was agreed to in August. 

The proposal needs to go back and be adjusted to what was agreed to.

Correspondence:

This addition is proposed:

“B4.3 Where a member of Council wishes to discuss a particular piece of

correspondence received, a report on the Town reporting template must be

submitted by the member of Council to the Clerk for inclusion on the agenda.

The receipt of the report must be in accordance with Section A12.4 below.”

This is absurd.  A waste of councillors’ time.  The schedule “B” system worked well.  We should go back to it.

5.19. CAO 77-2011 Invitation for Piping Plover Tour-Wasaga Beach

There should be provision to address matters like this while the CAO is on vacation.  Council should be asking when the invitation came in and why it was not put before council.   This is the problem with the CAO filtering mail.

Craig

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 37


15 September 2011

Mayor Close’s Last Desperate Push for Sauble Sewers – Part II

 Editor:

 In “Councillor accuses mayor of betrayal” ( OSST September 9, 2011) Rob Gowan reported that “Mayor John Close said he was just doing his due diligence in making senior levels of government and the public aware of the history of a problem of septic systems contaminating well water throughout the town as the town explores implementing a septic re-inspection program”.  Mr. Close also indicated that the septic inspections were cancelled because of ministry delays in publishing a new building code with septic inspection standards, and that council authorized his August 22nd letter to Municipal Affairs Minister Rick Bartollucci and an August 23rd “presentation” to MPP Lou Rinaldi.

 In fact, contrary to Mr. Close’s statements,

 There is no history of Sauble septic systems contaminating well water,

  1. The TSBP septic inspection program was cancelled because it did not fit with the $70 million Sauble sewers proposal, and,
  2. The August 22nd letter and August 23rd presentation were never authorized by council.

 Is there a “history” of septic systems contaminating Sauble well water?

John Close’s August 22nd letter to Minister Rick Bartolucci implied that septic systems are contaminating wells.  In a September 9th comment to reporter Rob Gowan, John Close was more explicit, stating very clearly that septic systems are contaminating wells.

 There is some evidence of well contamination.  In a 1995/ 1996 sampling, 1.8 % of the surveyed Sauble wells tested positive for E. Coli.  But the source of that E. Coli was not determined.  There was no indication that any of the “positive E. Coli” was from sewage, and there was no indication that any of the “positive E. Coli” was from septic systems.  Contrary to Mr. Close’s claim, there is no “history” of Sauble septic systems contaminating well water.

According to reporter Rob Gowan, Mr. Close said that the information he cited about positive E. Coli tests in wells came from an October 25th, 2010 letter from the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU).

In fact the October 25th letter does not even mention E. Coli test results from wells.  In the October 25th letter, author Bob Hart of GBHU completely discredited himself and the GBHU by fraudulently trying to pass off test results from the downtown core of Sauble as results for all of Sauble.  The author made a veiled admission to this fraud in his November 9, 2010 “follow-up” letter to council.

According to OSST reporter Rob Gowan, Mr. Close said that on Friday (September 9th) morning when he (Close) read the  (November 9th) “follow-up” letter, it was the first time he had heard of it.

The paper trail says something quite different.  The agenda package of the 2010 December 15 council meeting, which John Close chaired, includes the October 25th  letter from Bob Hart (on page 159), the clarifying November 9th “follow-up” letter from Bob Hart (on page 160), and my December 2nd critique of both Bob Hart letters (on pages 155 through 158).  These letters are not hidden.  A proper search would have found all three.

My December 2nd, 2010 letter to council, which was sent to council by the clerk in addition to appearing in the agenda package, exposed exactly the same lies (as in the GBHU October 25 letter) that were made by John Close in the August 22nd   letter.

Here is an excerpt from my December 2nd letter:

The October 25th [Bob Hart] letter indicates that: “A sanitary survey conducted in 2007 revealed significant concerns with both the condition of private on-site sewage systems and the safety of private drinking water supplies. Over 31% of sewage systems were identified at high risk for failure and 15% of raw drinking water samples were adverse as defined by the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards.”

 The October 25 letter does not indicate what constituted “high risk for failure”. So it is not possible to know from the letter whether “31% at high risk” is even a problem for the survey area. (A system that has no record of an approved septic system or has a system greater than 20 years old might be characterized as “at high risk of failure”. But the age of a system is a poor indicator of imminent problems, and certainly does not make a system“at high risk of failure”.)

 Similarly, “15% adverse drinking water results”, without a clear definition of what constitutes “adverse”, and without the raw survey data, really doesn’t establish contamination by private sewage systems, and is no grounds for assuming that “adverse”  results are from failed septic systems. (Contamination by surface water can also give adverse drinking water results.)

My letter to council of February 2nd, 2011 also pointed out the fraud in the October 25th  Bob Hart/ GBHU letter, as follows:

“At the same time two other initiatives were changing focus from the downtown core to all of Sauble.   The first was [Genivar sewers study]. ……The second is the 2010 Grey Bruce Health Unit assessment of a 2007 survey of septic systems and water supplies in the downtown core area, which was clearly conducted in only the downtown core, but was incorrectly presented by Grey Bruce Health Unit in October 2010 as a survey of all of Sauble.

In switching, Cuesta has breached their contract with the town, Genivar has breached a Minister’s directive, and the Grey Bruce Health Unit has misled council and the public.  All three have diminished their credibility.

It is bit speculative on my part, but I believe that it is no coincidence that these three initiatives inappropriately and surreptitiously switched from core-area-only study, conclusions, and recommendations to Sauble-wide study, conclusions, and recommendations. 

It is clear to me that there is an agenda out there that includes Sauble-wide sewers and city-style development, and that the three organizations, Cuesta, Genivar, and the Grey Bruce Health Unit, are all coordinated and lined up in support of this big sewers/development agenda, and in suppressing the facts, and in misinforming council and the public.”

I am quite sure that Mr. Close read the passage above, because he declared my February 2nd letter, including the passage above, “defamatory”.

So I simply cannot believe that Friday (September 9th) morning was really the “first time he had heard of [the November 9th letter]”.  The evidence is that Mr. Close had at least three clear indications that the October 25, 2011 letter from Bob Hart was misleading and not credible.

How could John Close miss this?  And how could he get it so wrong?  And how could the staff member that did the “research” miss all of this?

Easy.  It’s called selective research. Just don’t look for or use anything that doesn’t support your case.  The first GBHU letter (of October 25th) gave John Close the lies he needed.  The November 9th GBHU letter, my December 2nd letter, and my February 2nd letter were contrary to the lies John needed.  So he and the CAO ignored the November 9th and December 2nd and February 2nd letters, hoping no one would notice.

Busted by Councillor Jackson, John Close tried to prevaricate his way out of his  pile of lies by saying there are “probably two drawers full, two boxes, of septic tank issues and well issues that are on file, studies that are in town hall”, implying that the proof that he is telling the truth is in the “two drawers full, two boxes”.  Could Mr. Close really be saying that all Janice has to do is wade through two drawers, two boxes, and presto, she will be enlightened, and John will be cleared, and Ms. Jackson can apologize?  My guess, based on the audio I heard of Councillor Jackson scolding John Close for his lies and his betrayal of the people of Sauble, is that she won’t “take the monkey” (the one on John’s back, pulling his hair).

 Why was the TSBP septic inspection program really cancelled?

 John Close claims that the septic inspection program was dropped because Ministry of Municipal affairs and housing promised regulations on how to do the inspections and did not deliver. 

 I think not.  There is a section in the existing building code from 2006 giving guidance on how to do inspections and what to inspect for.  There was a guideline (not a regulation) published by the ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing March 2011 on how to do septic inspections and what to inspect for.  The ministry never promised a regulation on how to do inspections.  The ministry is not working on a regulation on how to do septic inspections.  There is nothing coming in the building code regarding how to do septic inspections.  There never was.  I believe it was all made up as a pretext for cancelling the septic inspection program that was approved in February of this year. 

 The false notion that the Ministry had deferred regulations on how to do inspections was introduced at a budget meeting March 29, and also in the June 21 COW meeting.  In my commentary number 20 of June 19 I indicated that the June 21 staff report was wrong:

 “There is much misinformation in the various reports from CBO McFadden and others….There is no requirement from any ministry that septic system reinspections be conducted in TSBP.  There is no “proposed requirement from the Ministry”.”

Apparently John Close told reporter Rob Gowan that “this [August 23rd] presentation [to Rinaldi] had absolutely nothing to do with [the sewer project].  This had only to do with the new building code and septic tank re-inspection.”

The lies about septic systems contaminating wells were in my view deliberate.  I do not know if John Close’s lie about septic inspections was a deliberate lie, as he may have just picked up the lie from staff.  But that doesn’t make the lie OK.  The CAO’s name was on the staff report that said the Ministry had not delivered on its inspection regulation.  Knowing well the CAO’s lack of reliability, and lack of credibility, John Close should have asked for evidence that the ministry had cancelled how-to regulations for discretionary septic inspections.  He would have found that there wasn’t any.  And if he had presented his August 22nd letter to council and the public, as required, the lie about the septic inspections  (and the other lies) could have been caught.

 Because there was never a proposal for inspection regulations in the building code, the TSBP septic inspection program was cancelled on a false pretext.  I believe the  septic inspection program was cancelled to serve the 70 million dollar sewer agenda. So while John Close’s August 22nd letter appeared to be about septic inspections, it was in fact was about the “sewers project”.  The “waiting for the new Building code” charade was just a tactic for delaying the inspection program.  I believe the septic inspection program was cancelled because a successful septic inspection program would weaken the already pitifully feeble case for Sauble-wide sewers.  To say that the septic inspection program was cancelled because the ministry did not deliver a province-wide septic inspection standard is a lie.

 Did Council authorize John Close’s August 22nd letter to Minister Rick Bardolucci and August 23rd presentation to MPP Lou Rinaldi?

On Friday John Close told reporter Rob Gowan that in his August 22nd letter and his August 23rd presentation he was following directions of council that he take the matter of septic re-inspections to the province.

A direction of council was as follows:

Recommendation to Council: THAT Council notes the contents of the CBO 19-2011; AND THAT staff investigate and bring back a further report regarding the institution of a septic re-inspection program for 2012; AND FURTHER THAT Councillor Klages and Mayor Close speak to the ministry at AMO regarding the proposed legislative dates (from 12 July 2011 Council agenda page 29)

Council direction was clearly to speak to “the ministry” about legislative dates. 

But there was no council direction for Mr. Close to say anything about water test results, and there was certainly no direction from council to say that Sauble septic systems were contaminating well water.  And in spite of Councillor Jackson’s request to see what John Close intended to present, council did not see or discuss or approve the August 22nd letter prior to its presentation to MPP Rinaldi.  John Close was not following the instructions of council.  He was selling his personal self-serving agenda, damn the torpedoes, to hell with council, and screw the people.

If the August 22nd letter had been shown to council and the public, the lies could have been caught and this mess could have been avoided.

The Betrayal

John Close stands accused of gross misrepresentation and betrayal of the people.  The evidence strongly supports the accusations. It’s not Councillor Jackson’s job to go through the “two drawers and two files” to mount a defense for Mr. Close.  He needs to do it himself. 

But we all know that there really is no defense in the “drawers and boxes”.  So instead of digging himself ever deeper into the hole he has so carefully dug for himself, Mr. Close should come clean about the lies, and about the betrayal.  And then he should resign and go home.  It will be a lot easier for him that way.  And for everyone else.

 Craig

Craig’s Commentary Volume 1 Number 37


Mayor Close’s Last Desperate Push for Sauble Sewers – Part II

 Editor:

 In “Councillor accuses mayor of betrayal” ( OSST September 9, 2011) Rob Gowan reported that “Mayor John Close said he was just doing his due diligence in making senior levels of government and the public aware of the history of a problem of septic systems contaminating well water throughout the town as the town explores implementing a septic re-inspection program”.  Mr. Close also indicated that the septic inspections were cancelled because of ministry delays in publishing a new building code with septic inspection standards, and that council authorized his August 22nd letter to Municipal Affairs Minister Rick Bartollucci and an August 23rd “presentation” to MPP Lou Rinaldi.

 In fact, contrary to Mr. Close’s statements,

 There is no history of Sauble septic systems contaminating well water,

  1. The TSBP septic inspection program was cancelled because it did not fit with the $70 million Sauble sewers proposal, and,
  2. The August 22nd letter and August 23rd presentation were never authorized by council.

 Is there a “history” of septic systems contaminating Sauble well water?

John Close’s August 22nd letter to Minister Rick Bartolucci implied that septic systems are contaminating wells.  In a September 9th comment to reporter Rob Gowan, John Close was more explicit, stating very clearly that septic systems are contaminating wells.

 There is some evidence of well contamination.  In a 1995/ 1996 sampling, 1.8 % of the surveyed Sauble wells tested positive for E. Coli.  But the source of that E. Coli was not determined.  There was no indication that any of the “positive E. Coli” was from sewage, and there was no indication that any of the “positive E. Coli” was from septic systems.  Contrary to Mr. Close’s claim, there is no “history” of Sauble septic systems contaminating well water.

According to reporter Rob Gowan, Mr. Close said that the information he cited about positive E. Coli tests in wells came from an October 25th, 2010 letter from the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU).

In fact the October 25th letter does not even mention E. Coli test results from wells.  In the October 25th letter, author Bob Hart of GBHU completely discredited himself and the GBHU by fraudulently trying to pass off test results from the downtown core of Sauble as results for all of Sauble.  The author made a veiled admission to this fraud in his November 9, 2010 “follow-up” letter to council.

According to OSST reporter Rob Gowan, Mr. Close said that on Friday (September 9th) morning when he (Close) read the  (November 9th) “follow-up” letter, it was the first time he had heard of it.

The paper trail says something quite different.  The agenda package of the 2010 December 15 council meeting, which John Close chaired, includes the October 25th  letter from Bob Hart (on page 159), the clarifying November 9th “follow-up” letter from Bob Hart (on page 160), and my December 2nd critique of both Bob Hart letters (on pages 155 through 158).  These letters are not hidden.  A proper search would have found all three.

My December 2nd, 2010 letter to council, which was sent to council by the clerk in addition to appearing in the agenda package, exposed exactly the same lies (as in the GBHU October 25 letter) that were made by John Close in the August 22nd   letter.

Here is an excerpt from my December 2nd letter:

The October 25th [Bob Hart] letter indicates that: “A sanitary survey conducted in 2007 revealed significant concerns with both the condition of private on-site sewage systems and the safety of private drinking water supplies. Over 31% of sewage systems were identified at high risk for failure and 15% of raw drinking water samples were adverse as defined by the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards.”

 The October 25 letter does not indicate what constituted “high risk for failure”. So it is not possible to know from the letter whether “31% at high risk” is even a problem for the survey area. (A system that has no record of an approved septic system or has a system greater than 20 years old might be characterized as “at high risk of failure”. But the age of a system is a poor indicator of imminent problems, and certainly does not make a system“at high risk of failure”.)

 Similarly, “15% adverse drinking water results”, without a clear definition of what constitutes “adverse”, and without the raw survey data, really doesn’t establish contamination by private sewage systems, and is no grounds for assuming that “adverse”  results are from failed septic systems. (Contamination by surface water can also give adverse drinking water results.)

My letter to council of February 2nd, 2011 also pointed out the fraud in the October 25th  Bob Hart/ GBHU letter, as follows:

“At the same time two other initiatives were changing focus from the downtown core to all of Sauble.   The first was [Genivar sewers study]. ……The second is the 2010 Grey Bruce Health Unit assessment of a 2007 survey of septic systems and water supplies in the downtown core area, which was clearly conducted in only the downtown core, but was incorrectly presented by Grey Bruce Health Unit in October 2010 as a survey of all of Sauble.

In switching, Cuesta has breached their contract with the town, Genivar has breached a Minister’s directive, and the Grey Bruce Health Unit has misled council and the public.  All three have diminished their credibility.

It is bit speculative on my part, but I believe that it is no coincidence that these three initiatives inappropriately and surreptitiously switched from core-area-only study, conclusions, and recommendations to Sauble-wide study, conclusions, and recommendations. 

It is clear to me that there is an agenda out there that includes Sauble-wide sewers and city-style development, and that the three organizations, Cuesta, Genivar, and the Grey Bruce Health Unit, are all coordinated and lined up in support of this big sewers/development agenda, and in suppressing the facts, and in misinforming council and the public.”

I am quite sure that Mr. Close read the passage above, because he declared my February 2nd letter, including the passage above, “defamatory”.

So I simply cannot believe that Friday (September 9th) morning was really the “first time he had heard of [the November 9th letter]”.  The evidence is that Mr. Close had at least three clear indications that the October 25, 2011 letter from Bob Hart was misleading and not credible.

How could John Close miss this?  And how could he get it so wrong?  And how could the staff member that did the “research” miss all of this?

Easy.  It’s called selective research. Just don’t look for or use anything that doesn’t support your case.  The first GBHU letter (of October 25th) gave John Close the lies he needed.  The November 9th GBHU letter, my December 2nd letter, and my February 2nd letter were contrary to the lies John needed.  So he and the CAO ignored the November 9th and December 2nd and February 2nd letters, hoping no one would notice.

Busted by Councillor Jackson, John Close tried to prevaricate his way out of his  pile of lies by saying there are “probably two drawers full, two boxes, of septic tank issues and well issues that are on file, studies that are in town hall”, implying that the proof that he is telling the truth is in the “two drawers full, two boxes”.  Could Mr. Close really be saying that all Janice has to do is wade through two drawers, two boxes, and presto, she will be enlightened, and John will be cleared, and Ms. Jackson can apologize?  My guess, based on the audio I heard of Councillor Jackson scolding John Close for his lies and his betrayal of the people of Sauble, is that she won’t “take the monkey” (the one on John’s back, pulling his hair).

 Why was the TSBP septic inspection program really cancelled?

 John Close claims that the septic inspection program was dropped because Ministry of Municipal affairs and housing promised regulations on how to do the inspections and did not deliver. 

 I think not.  There is a section in the existing building code from 2006 giving guidance on how to do inspections and what to inspect for.  There was a guideline (not a regulation) published by the ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing March 2011 on how to do septic inspections and what to inspect for.  The ministry never promised a regulation on how to do inspections.  The ministry is not working on a regulation on how to do septic inspections.  There is nothing coming in the building code regarding how to do septic inspections.  There never was.  I believe it was all made up as a pretext for cancelling the septic inspection program that was approved in February of this year. 

 The false notion that the Ministry had deferred regulations on how to do inspections was introduced at a budget meeting March 29, and also in the June 21 COW meeting.  In my commentary number 20 of June 19 I indicated that the June 21 staff report was wrong:

 “There is much misinformation in the various reports from CBO McFadden and others….There is no requirement from any ministry that septic system reinspections be conducted in TSBP.  There is no “proposed requirement from the Ministry”.”

Apparently John Close told reporter Rob Gowan that “this [August 23rd] presentation [to Rinaldi] had absolutely nothing to do with [the sewer project].  This had only to do with the new building code and septic tank re-inspection.”

The lies about septic systems contaminating wells were in my view deliberate.  I do not know if John Close’s lie about septic inspections was a deliberate lie, as he may have just picked up the lie from staff.  But that doesn’t make the lie OK.  The CAO’s name was on the staff report that said the Ministry had not delivered on its inspection regulation.  Knowing well the CAO’s lack of reliability, and lack of credibility, John Close should have asked for evidence that the ministry had cancelled how-to regulations for discretionary septic inspections.  He would have found that there wasn’t any.  And if he had presented his August 22nd letter to council and the public, as required, the lie about the septic inspections  (and the other lies) could have been caught.

 Because there was never a proposal for inspection regulations in the building code, the TSBP septic inspection program was cancelled on a false pretext.  I believe the  septic inspection program was cancelled to serve the 70 million dollar sewer agenda. So while John Close’s August 22nd letter appeared to be about septic inspections, it was in fact was about the “sewers project”.  The “waiting for the new Building code” charade was just a tactic for delaying the inspection program.  I believe the septic inspection program was cancelled because a successful septic inspection program would weaken the already pitifully feeble case for Sauble-wide sewers.  To say that the septic inspection program was cancelled because the ministry did not deliver a province-wide septic inspection standard is a lie.

 Did Council authorize John Close’s August 22nd letter to Minister Rick Bardolucci and August 23rd presentation to MPP Lou Rinaldi?

On Friday John Close told reporter Rob Gowan that in his August 22nd letter and his August 23rd presentation he was following directions of council that he take the matter of septic re-inspections to the province.

A direction of council was as follows:

Recommendation to Council: THAT Council notes the contents of the CBO 19-2011; AND THAT staff investigate and bring back a further report regarding the institution of a septic re-inspection program for 2012; AND FURTHER THAT Councillor Klages and Mayor Close speak to the ministry at AMO regarding the proposed legislative dates (from 12 July 2011 Council agenda page 29)

Council direction was clearly to speak to “the ministry” about legislative dates. 

But there was no council direction for Mr. Close to say anything about water test results, and there was certainly no direction from council to say that Sauble septic systems were contaminating well water.  And in spite of Councillor Jackson’s request to see what John Close intended to present, council did not see or discuss or approve the August 22nd letter prior to its presentation to MPP Rinaldi.  John Close was not following the instructions of council.  He was selling his personal self-serving agenda, damn the torpedoes, to hell with council, and screw the people.

If the August 22nd letter had been shown to council and the public, the lies could have been caught and this mess could have been avoided.

The Betrayal

John Close stands accused of gross misrepresentation and betrayal of the people.  The evidence strongly supports the accusations. It’s not Councillor Jackson’s job to go through the “two drawers and two files” to mount a defense for Mr. Close.  He needs to do it himself. 

But we all know that there really is no defense in the “drawers and boxes”.  So instead of digging himself ever deeper into the hole he has so carefully dug for himself, Mr. Close should come clean about the lies, and about the betrayal.  And then he should resign and go home.  It will be a lot easier for him that way.  And for everyone else.

 

Craig