Friday, November 12, 2010

1....2....3....4....5....6....7....8....9.....

Nine votes.

Today at 1:00 p.m. an official recount will be taken out at the Town of Caledon for the Ward 5 Area Councillor position. In all my years of living here in Caledon I can't ever remember there having to be a recount. Nine votes stand between being a winner or a loser. I'm quite certain, for both of those candidates, this will be a long morning. I wish both of these candidates the best of luck but in the end I am confident that the results shall remain the same.

Now here's some food for thought. If the results remain the same then Bolton will have just elected the former primary leaders of the community grassroots organization, Our Caledon Our Choice, as their area and regional representation. That coupled with the increase in voter turnout sends a very clear message to this new council about the intrinsic values of the residents of Bolton.

Let the count begin....1....2....3....4....5....

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Reflection of the Election

The purple haze that had filled my brain has slowly subsided from the landscapes of Caledon. Election signs have been picked up, blue boxes are filled with leftover brochures and those pricy little purple discs I'm quite sure have been turned in to some sort of useful household item such as drink coasters or better yet turned in to pretty little Christmas ornaments to be hung up on our holiday trees. The twinkle lights would catch the silver side of them so beautifully. This is the reflection of the election we've just survived.

The positive in this election was that voter turnout was up. Yup, apathy took a small kick in the ass and the electorate increased the voter turnout by about 12%. That's the good news. The other good news was that the people told its council that they wanted them to stick to the plan. The plan that Mrs. Groves continually insisted didn't really exist or at least, in her mind, needed to be taken back to square one. I for one am grateful that cooler heads prevailed on this. I do believe, though, that protecting the growth plans for Caledon, both residential & commercial, will be an ongoing battle. With highways such as the 410 and the 413 cutting their swaths into Caledon, and with Brampton heavily leaning up against the precious Mayfield Road divider, there will be constant pressure for development.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Do The Right Thing

Win or lose, we go shopping after the election.” -Imelda Marcos

Today we vote, we cast our x's and tomorrow morning, we'll all get up and go about living our lives. Regardless of what happens with our local election our lives will still go on. We'll do our jobs, raise our families, keep on complaining about one thing or another but at the end of the day, life goes on. After all, there are shoes to be bought. :)

I've been writing away at this little blog for almost three years now and before votes get casted and counted I have a few last things I'd like to say about what has happened over the past six months during this electoral process.

Firstly, I truly believe that Caledon has been forever changed by what we watched unfold in front of us during this campaign. We have always been Caledon the good, the safest and the greenest place to live, work or play. Somehow that all feels a bit tainted and sullied but I'm hopeful that as the weeks pass that somehow we'll be able to regain our composure and get back to being what makes this community among communities such a special place to call home.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Christine, we'll deal with you after the election.......

That was what the voice on the other end of the telephone had to say to me this evening at 11:45 p.m. when I answered my phone.

You call me at my home, where my child lives, and you basically threaten me. You do this anonymously, calling with a private number and make this threat. You are nothing but a coward. A COWARD. How dare you. Oh you big tough guys, you can find me. So now I know you can read the phonebook. Uh huh.

I have forwarded all information to the Caledon OPP, including my cooperation to search my phone records.

Tell me, why a girl with a small town blog and a small town opinion gets a call like this? I damn well have a good idea of where this has come from and if you think, for a minute, that you can intimidate me you are sadly mistaken. Ask yourself who has the most to lose in this election?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Purple Haze

"Purple haze all in my brain
Lately things just don't seem the same
Actin' funny, but I don't know why
'Scuse me while I kiss the sky
." - Jimi Hendrix

For years I have always wondered how cult leader Jim Jones ever managed to get 909 people in Jonestown, Guyana to drink that cyanide laced purple kool-aid leading to one of modern history's largest mass suicides on record. Then I sat down with the purple disc that turned up in some Caledon mailboxes yesterday, packaged up like a Mission Impossible envelope, that told us to be sure to watch before election day. I slid it in to my DVD player and at the pressing of the Play button there is Annette Groves smiling at me like a Stepford Wife, sprawled across our 50" plasma flat screen. Let the show begin.....

At about the 2 minute, 35 second mark in to watching this piece of high priced, pan in, pan out, pan in, pan out production, if you had told me to drink the purple kool-aid I would actually have done so quite willingly. I probably would have asked for an extra large glass with some crushed ice. Vodka always is a good mixer too.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Are YOU a concerned citizen of Caledon?

"What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it, Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?... There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity... You can smell it. It smells like death." - Tennessee Williams, "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"

Are you a concerned citizen of Caledon? I sure as hell am. The difference between me and the "Concerned Citizens of Caledon" who've been making all those 000-000-0000 phone calls all over Caledon in the last couple of days is that I really am from Caledon and not from some "paid for by the call" call centre located in Delhi, India or Akron, Ohio. I'm concerned because this election has hit an all time low, demonstrated by an act that is absolutely rife with the stench of desperation. Can't you smell that smell? Isn't this the smell of mendacity? The real, true, and decent concerned citizens of Caledon have once again been insulted and deluged by a plethora of stupid, ignorant and absolutely insulting pre-recorded phone messages about the elections.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Hey Joe....

Let's talk about gratuitous product placement. We all know what it is about and there is rarely a day that goes by in our lives where we don't have it shoved right in our face. Like last week for example, when on page three of the T.O. Sun, a columnist named Joe Warmington, or as I prefer to call him, Joe Wormington, wrote a column called "Slow Boom or Long Bust in Bolton". This was all about gratuitous product placement for the Caledon Chamber of Commerce. While this article may have appeared as the writer's regular column, it was in my opinion, nothing more than a pimped out, straight up plant of a purchased product placement in the TO Sun. The only thing missing from this article was that tiny little disclaimer that reads "Advertisement". It was a plant that I'd say was akin to the Giant Hogweed, which is noxious and can cause skin eruptions upon coming into contact with. The Hogweed, which has turned up in Peel, most recently seems to have found it's way into the newsroom down at the Sun and more specifically at the desk of Joe Wormington. Time to get the Calamine lotion out.

So how is it that just four weeks before our municipal and regional election does a gratuitous piece of product placement masked as a news article just happen by chance to turn up in a Toronto daily? C'mon peeps, think about this. A girl with a pair of ruby slippers ponders this question. Coincidence? Nope, probably not.

I'd say that Mr. Wormington's column was really the fodder of well placed greed and probably a few favour markers. You know what I mean by a favour marker right? This gets a girl wondering about how many IOU markers are going to be floating around, at Caledon's cost, after this election is over. I shudder to think. It also gets me to wondering about the true costs behind having friends in such high places. Friends who have the ability to get you placed into major dailies and on to Toronto radio talk shows. Friends with benefits. Friends who's clients have included the likes of Mike Harris, John Tory and most currently the obnoxious, racist and frightening Rob Ford. Then I get to wondering about how much a friend like this would cost in terms of a monetary perspective. After all the real estate at Dundas and Yonge is mighty pricey these days and I'm quite certain it takes more than a few pictures of Robert Borden to pay the rent in that part of town.

It got me to thinking about who picked up this tab? Is the Caledon Chamber of Commerce that flush with cash or have that many favours it can kick about? I would think that the board of directors, including their head cheese, KD, might be a bit more concerned about their rapidly diminishing credibility and their disgruntled and disillusioned membership. After all, if their AGM turnout is any indication of their membership, they've got mighty bigger problems that they need to focus on. If this Rent-A-Lobbyist was hired by the Groves campaign then it'll need to be reported in their election expenses. Stay tuned for that one. I'm betting though, the money for this horse and pony show came from a third party who just might have a vested interest in ridding Caledon of a chunk of its current council and more so, its incumbent Mayor. Oh gee, I wonder who that might be. Cannoli's anyone?

In his column, Mr. Wormington wrote "In my assessment, what is needed here is compromise. Developers are not the devil but towns have learned lessons from getting too big too fast. If the mayor and the chamber of commerce can’t see eye to eye, I suggest Premier Dalton McGuinty send in a third party to take a look at Caledon and make sure everything is being done appropriately."

In your assessment? Hey Joe who asked you for your assessment? Who even gives a Caledon cow patty about your assessment. Hey Joe do you live in Caledon? Hey Joe do you own a business here? Hey Joe do your children go to school here? Hey Joe do you shop, work or even play here? I've seen that pic of you in your fedora pal, you just don't strike me as a guy I'd bump in to on the TransCanada Trailway between Palgrave and Caledon East. Oh no wait a second, I know what it is. You wanted to come up to Caledon just for some breakfast at Cora's. Hey Joe how about instead we meet up at Kathy's Restaurant or the Riverside, which are both booming breakfast spots in Bolton and I'll buy you a real cuppa Joe. You can use it to wash down a delicious Caledon meadow muffin freshly squeezed out just for you.

Let me provide you with the coopSpeak translation of Mr. Wormington's statement. What he really meant was "Let's let the Ontario Municipal Board decide Caledon's future development." Right, right....gotcha there big fella. Assessment duly noted and thank you for your input. Now why don't you just kiss my grass and go back to pimping yourself out to the likes of the racist rant master Rob Ford and his hired gun lobbyists. Please pass me the Calamine lotion, I can feel that rash coming on.

Now here's the coopSpeak assessment of Joe Wormington's column about my community. "In my assessment, what is needed here is a good swift boot in the drawers of this writer for being so compromised and wasting the space in the newspaper on an issue that he clearly has no business putting his two cents towards.." Yup, I think that about covers off that sentiment.

While we are assessing things, let me add to that list. "In my assessment I think it is time for the Town of Caledon to look for a group of people who'd like to form a Board of Trade, that would really work cooperatively with the whole community, both urban and rural, industrial, retail and agricultural."

Bubbye Caledon Chamber of Commerce and hello to the Caledon Board of Trade.

Hey Joe, should you decide you'd like to give up pimping yourself down there on your King Street hood, where you buy your double Americano's at the Dark Horse Cafe and move uptown you might want to consider this career option. Perhaps, the now defunct Caledon Perspectives, which was owned by a developer, could be resurrected and you could find yourself a new hood to work in. Better yet, perhaps your writing winger could be former Caledon Perspectives employee, Marky Mark Pavilons and he could bring along his funky bunch from the Caledon Chamber Pot of Commerce. Who knows, maybe by that time Kelly Darnley might be looking for a career change if she hasn't moved out of town up to her Muskoka mansion yet.

Four weeks and counting. Time to click my ruby slipper heels together. I just keep telling myself....there's no place like Caledon for home. Just a word of warning, beware of the flying monkeys.

One last comment, the toilet escapades of Mr. Clean is a completely true story. I've had people say "Oh come on, you must have made that up!" The toilet tale is true. Mr. Clean, anytime you wanna check out my porcelain throne, come on over to the Beaver. I'd be happy to give you a personal tour of my low litre flusher. Perhaps you might want to consider offering up toilet inspections as part of your door knocking campaign.

____________________________________________________________________

This just in....more telephones are ringing. This time it is a pollster saying "Annette Groves is running for city councillor does she have your support?"

Ummmmm....care to guess at what my response might be.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Telephone is Ringing.....

These are the moments that I wished that I could insert sound bites to deliver the opening of the latest installment of coopSpeak. I often use caricatures and pictures, particularly of late a lot of pics of baked confectionery. But for this column, voice overs and some music would have truly have done it justice. So here's my screenwriters version of how this latest installment of my blog would sound like:

(Insert the theme music from The Twilight Zone) (Voice over by the late Rod Serling begins)

Imagine this....you are sitting in your home....enjoying your evening single malt scotch....and the phone rings....slowly you reach for the receiver only to find yourself transported to the Election Zone.....


I like to give my readers some choices so at this point I would direct you to now insert any one of the three following sound bites here because in my opinion they all would work:

1) Theme music from Jaws
2) Theme from The Godfather
3) The sound editing from the shower scene from Alfred Hitchcock's film, Psycho.

When it comes to telephone solicitation of any ilk I generally find that I have the attention and patience of a two year old. As soon as I hear "Good evening ma'am can I please speak to Mr. or Mrs. Cooper" or "You've just won a week in Florida..." or "Please hold for this important message..." my knee jerk reaction is ...bubbye....click. Well last week Caledon entered a whole new kind of surreal election zone when we received our very first pre-recorded "Vote for me" message. Or in this case it was more of a "Don't for vote for that person" message. Care to take a guess at what confectionery coated Developer's mayoral wannabe lined this 3 cents per call of silliness up? At first I thought it was a man's voice speaking until I listened more closely only to realize who was calling. It was a photoshopped voice, much like her Madame Tussad airbrushed pictures, but no question in my mind, it was definitely the wannabe mayor or as I often refer to her.....the "cupcake",.

This pre-recorded message had 30 seconds to grab my attention and win me over with a positive message about why I should support Candidate Groves for Mayor. The monotone, auto pilot message missed the bullseye by a Caledon mile. So let's look at why this telephone call campaign was such an epic failure and how it serves as just another reminder of why this little mayoral wannabe cupcake is all fake glitter and no true grit. If the Groves campaign had been smart they could have used this telephone ploy in a whole different manner than what they did. Instead they chose to make this whole message nothing but a bashing, bad mouthing, vulgar, ill natured tirade of nastiness and vitriol. Personally I thought the comment about the Mayor being cozy with the developers when it was convenient for her was flirting with slander. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

Is this how Annette Groves demonstrates the qualities of a leader by doing nothing but finding the fault in others? Benjamin Disraeli once said "How much easier it is to be critical than to be correct." If this council is as screwed up she has inferred, then what does this also say about her? After all, our little Red Velvet cupcake, has just spent the last ten years of her political career sitting on her tushie up on Old Church Road. There's a decade we'll never get back for Bolton. What a waste of the taxpayers hard earned dollars.

Ms. Groves likes to portray herself as a rather ecumenical sort of councillor person. A decent, honest, respectful person. Uh huh. What ever happened to the "Judge not lest ye be judged yourself" thinking? Or the "Let those without sin cast the first stone" biblical reference. I know that reading isn't the forte of the Groves team so let me try this out with the Hooked on Phonics approach, say it slowly and phonetically....HIP-OOOOOOO-KRIT..... Maybe it'll sink in that way.

If you want to point out some real dysfunction then I say let's get the mirror out and start by having a really damn good look in it and see what reflects back at you. Mirror, mirror on the cupcake's wall....

Apparently, the mayoral wannabe put it like this in her message: "She fought hard against the punishing taxes imposed upon us by the Mayor...." The only punishment going on here is John Q. Taxpayer being subjected to these stupid phone solicitations. After I hung my phone up I just wanted to run to the bathroom and wash my hands, it felt all that grimy and slimy. This is the shape of the politics in her world. Now I know what it must feel like to be a fire hydrant when a dog lifts their leg on it.

Councillor Groves, my dictionary defines the word council as "a body of persons specially designated or selected to act in an advisory, administrative, or legislative capacity: the governor's council on housing." Taxes are not imposed upon the residents by one member of this council, in this case the Mayor as you keep alluding too. Don't think you are getting yourself off the hook with your slight of hand rhetoric about how you never voted in favour of the budgets. You don't get absolution for your sins with that ploy. This particular distasteful tact speaks volumes about Ms. Grove's lack of ethics for her oath of office,to her constituency, her lack of respect to this community, but most obviously to her inability to be a team player.

If you can't be a team player then most certainly you can't be a team leader.

This whole "I didn't vote in support of that" ploy that she loves to engage is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. While we are on the topic of smoke and mirrors let's talk about "getting cozy" with developers. Hmmmmm....lemme think here a minute, hypothetically speaking....would getting cozy with a developer also perhaps include showing up at lets say a very glitzy gala, all decked out in an evening gown, coiffed and covered in bling, on the arm of a man who isn't your husband but perhaps let's say.....a developer? Could this also be considered getting cozy? Or is that a different kind of cozy than you referred to in your telephone message of ignorance to the masses.

There was one thing that Ms. Groves did say in her message that made sense. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Now that is a sentiment I could really get behind. Enough is enough....of her, of this Vaughan like style of electioneering. Election day can't come quick enough for me.

I'm just going to close this blog with a small but symbolic tidbit of information that I just learned earlier today. Last Friday, Mr. Groves or as I affectionately refer to him,Mr. Clean, actually went out to the town of Caledon buildings and requested to see the Mayor's toilet. I'm not kidding you. He wanted to see her bathroom. Maybe he wanted to scrub out her toilet, after all, he is Mr. Clean. Or maybe he just wanted to sit on the throne. Who knows. But doesn't that just seem a little over the top and maybe even a little teeny tiny bit strange to anyone? Excuse me Madam Mayor but I'd like to see your crapper. I think, in a nut shell, that request is symbolic of this whole election.

Oh wait...one itsy bitsy last bit of street prattle...speaking of potties....the word on the street is that the Groves team along with some assistance at the Caledon Chamber Pot of Commerce has brought in some hired guns/lobbyists/strategic planning experts in election & political stuff to try and fix the leak on the toilet that has become the Groves campaign.

Don't you just love the sound of flushing toilets.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

There's a Rooster in 'da Coop!

I wanna talk about Gord McClure who I affectionately refer to as Gord McCluck. He's a chicken farmer from the west side of Caledon who somehow managed to get himself elected to Caledon council four years ago. During that four years he sat next to our mayoral wannabe cupcake and he lapped up all her attentions. She fed him candy, she giggled at him, batted her eyes and in her ever so adroit and subliminal way she often manipulated him for vote support. Now you can't take that away from her because sometimes a girl just has to do what a girl has to do to get her votes. A sentiment, I'm quite sure that our Ward 5 Regional Candidate Amanda Squire also subscribes to.

I'm pretty sure I'm not on Gord's Christmas card list as I'm not exactly one of his favorite people. It's funny to be able to visibly see the beads of sweat form along his brow when I get starting to chatter at him. I make him nervous and I just love every single minute of it. I've had my issues with some of Gord's decision making and I've let him know it. Not to mention one of his biggest gaffes of publicly disclosing in camera information for which he had his wrists thoroughly slapped. There were many who called for his head on a platter at that time. He's one of the councillor's that I've been so hopeful that when this election rolled around that we'll have seen the backside of. The south western side of Caledon has its own plethora of issues and they, much like Bolton, need strong, resolute, well informed leadership. He is just not that leader.

Ok, so here's the thing. I was out last week at an event in support of Marolyn Morrison and up struts Gord, all puffed out like a big 'ol rooster, all a smiling and just full of himself. He says to me "well...my opponent withdrew his candidacy this morning...." followed with a grin like the Cheshire cat who just swallowed the canary. I shook my head at him and said "Yeah, Dave Lyons withdrew because his Father, John, is dying so it makes me wonder why you are all so smiley and giddy." Nice sentiment on your part Gord, real heart warmer you are. You are gloating about this withdrawal while the Lyons family are holding vigil on their Father's life. Do you think you could have at least shown a small modicum of class and respect to the Lyons family. Oh no, out comes the gloat. This Rooster needs to have his cox comb straightened out but real quick.I poke him and say "ya know Gord, I told Dave Lyons that even if he just left his name on the ballot, never even sent out a flyer, never posted a sign, never knocked a door, he'd still beat you." Gord's smile dropped quicker than if I had just heaved a twenty pound bag of potatoes off the CN Tower. "No he wouldn't have!" Gord replied in a pouty way. I resolutely responded"Oh yeah, he would have." I can see the glistening on his forehead...more beads of sweat as his face reddens. Which brings me to my next and most important question for Councillor Gordo McCluck.

If this is a gathering for support of Marolyn Morrison's re-election then what the heck was he doing there? It's blatantly obvious that during this past term he's been the mayoral wannabe's go to man for support. Anything to break those usual 7-2 vote scenarios. Amazing what a bit of eyelash batting and a desk drawer full of Werther's candy can get you these days. I'm hoping that at least he held out for the chocolate covered Werther's.

So I just came right out and asked him...."Gord...what are you doing here? One would assume that you'd be batting for the other side....so...what's the deal Councillor McCluck?" Oh here come those beads of sweat and a lot of stuttering. Ok peeps, are you ready for this response because I sure wasn't. Here's what the smug 'ol Rooster had to say.

Well actually Annette has disappointed me on a few things, I counted on her for some support and she wasn't there for me so I've decided I'm not supporting her for Mayor." I turned to the the couple standing next to me and said "ok, you heard that too....Councillor McClure is not supporting Ms. Grove's in her bid for a mayoral seat." Holy chicken wings Batman! The Rooster tells da 'Coop that his little candy Pez dispenser ain't his mayoral pick. I just love days like this.

The sour soother of all of this is that this silly old Rooster is going to waltz back in to office uncontested unless someone puts their name in within the next week and a half. I'm quite sure that Gord McCluck is just checking the days off his calendar. This is a sad, sad day for the residents of Ward 2. Is there anyone over there on the west side paying attention any of this? All the election drama continues.

On a more sombre note, I'd like to extend my personal condolences to the Lyons family and especially the lovely Jewel, John's wife. Dave, I know you are smarting big time right now and I know your heart is broken. Please know that you and Judy, along with the whole Lyons clan have a community behind you that love and respect you very much. We are sending you all of our strength and faith over this next little while.

I know I've titled this column "There's A Rooster in 'da Coop" and I for the most part don't take requests but I've decided that this column should really be referred to as "Play Misty for me". So to the the Lyons family, this one's for you.

John Hamilton Lyons - December 29, 1925 - August 25, 2010 Rest in Peace

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I am Canadian

Gonna make this post a really quick note. Through the whispering pines of Bolton I have heard that there apparently is a movement afoot to shut down coopSpeak. Oh geez, I wonder who might be behind that little insurgency? Hmmmmmm....doesn't take much grey matter to figure that one out, does it.

One teensy tiny but rather important item. Before they get themselves all riled and fired up about shutting me down, thinking that they actually have that right and ability, they might want to take out a few minutes out of their day and read this; It is Section 2 which is referred to as Fundamental Freedoms from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It says:

Fundamental freedoms (section 2), namely freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of thought, freedom of belief, freedom of expression, freedom of the press and of other media of communication, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.

To those people I say this. If you don't like the blog, don't read it. To those who think they have the ability to prevent me from writing it I say go back to the previous paragraph and read it again.

I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank all those people who are working behind the scenes to try and shut me down or discredit me. Please, by all means, keep it up. This week I had the most visits here on my blog than I've ever had before so this local blogging diva is really chuffed and one happy camper at all of this open action here at coopSpeak. If anyone has any suggestions about who I can send a thank you card for all that help, drop me a note. Love to hear your suggestions.

Happy Saturday. A girl goes west today to husk corn and meet some of my western Caledonites. Stay tuned because I'll have a few more comments to add to this later.

_______________________

See my foodblog coopspeakeats with my review of the Valleywood Residents Association Corn Roast!

Respectfully,
the girl behind the innocuous little blog that apparently no one is reading.

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Boy Named Sue

I love Midnight Madness. For as far back as I can remember it has always been a part of the summer time ritual synonymous with life in Bolton. As I recall the late Ralph Ransom was one of the original driving forces behind this annual summer time street party. How I miss his booming voice on the street as he would be organizing the set up. It was always a Friday night of burgers at the Rotary booth, Sno-cones with the kids, local entertainment on the stage and a chance to say hello to so many people you haven't seen in ages. Did I mention how much I love Midnight Madness?

Well this year it was a Midnight Madness of a very different kind. What started out as a beautiful, warm summer night and dinner with friends in the newly re-opened Baffo's, quickly turned into the Nightmare on Main Street. I got separated from my husband as we were both stopping to talk to different people. I was doing one of those 360 degree visual searches through the throngs of people, looking for him, when I realized that he had been hijacked by Terry Groves. I could see that Terry had his left hand firmly clamped on to my husband's shoulder and I could also see that Terry was right up in his face, his mouth was moving a mile a minute and he was waving his hand around. My husband's face was stoic and he wasn't speaking much. I snapped a picture from behind as I heard Terry loudly proclaim right close in to my husband's face "win or lose this election, after it's over I'm coming out swinging." Huh? Coming out swinging? Swinging at who?

I stepped around the side of my husband and chimed in "so what's all this chatter going on here and who are you planning on swinging at?....." Immediately Terry says "I'm talking about you...." Dennis looked at me and blithely says "he's telling me to get you under control....." Mr Groves then informs me that he is going to come after me and that he going to sue me. Great, another lawsuit on the already long list of his lawsuits. At least I'm in good company......Anne Livingston, Marolyn Morrison and now me. Hasn't the Groves family had enough of being involved with lawsuits? I wonder if he gets a bulk discount with his lawyer because he must have some monster legal fees for all these lawsuits he's incurring. Which leads me to wondering where the money comes from for all of that legal beagle activity. Lawyers can cost a pretty penny. Of course, as I recall, I believe at one point, Mr. Groves began representing himself during the legal action involving the Mayor. I really think Terry should change his name to a boy named Sue, a far more fitting moniker I would say.

"Are you threatening me?" I ask. "You are going to sue me for what? Being sarcastic?" Mr. Groves stepped right up into my personal space, pointing his finger in my face and began a rant about how I've been writing things about his wife and that he didn't like it and that I had better stop it or else. Or else. Whenever we tried to respond to any of his comments he just spoke over us, raising his voice as he continued to make menacing gestures towards me. I asked him three times to take his finger out of my face and to step back out of my space. He is doing all of this while wearing a tshirt that says "Annette Groves for Mayor". This ladies and gentlemen is the man behind the wannabe Mayor. The height of this ridiculousness hits its peak when he challenges me to a public debate. Yo dude, hasn't anyone told you. You aren't running for public office, your wife is. Do you have any idea of how silly you sound? Oh wait, is calling someone silly considered slanderous? Geez, maybe I need to call my Attorney. All of this carry on over a small, inconsequential, local blog that apparently no one is reading.

Now some might say I deserved Terry's vitriol, after all, I do often refer to his wife as the "cupcake"or as the Developer's Candidate and I don't paint a very kind picture of her. I have absolutely no problem with taking the heat that comes with being an opinionated kinda girl. I'm also quite well versed in the understanding about the parameters of slander and libel as many people who opine are. Last time I checked though I live in a country where I'm entitled to my opinion and I'm also entitled and free to write about it.

People don't have to read the blog. Some people don't like the blog, some people love the blog. Either way I have the right to write my opinion. This is the true test of tolerance for the right to freedom of speech. Writers & opinionists such as Ezra Levant, Mark Steyne, Michael Coren and even that wretched Anne Coulter, espouse opinions and material that totally and completely offend people and while I may not agree with some of their perspectives, I respect their right to the freedoms that allow them to do this.

How funny it was though to hear Mr. Groves tell me that he prints out every single copy of my blog but he hasn't actually read any of them. He told us that he doesn't read anything at all, none of the local papers, not my blog, not anybody else's scribings, not a word of anything...he just doesn't read. So wait, let me see if I understand this. Terry Groves is going to sue me over something I wrote that he hasn't even read? This just gets sillier by the minute.

If I had been taking off on the incumbent Mayor, Marolyn Morrison, you could bet your bottom dollar that the Groves camp would have been laughing their arses off, cheering me on and encouraging me to keep it up. They would love every single minute of it. I wrote Councillor Groves about the Friday night incident. She denied that her husband threatened me and that she insisted she was running a clean campaign. So now I'm going to call this couple the Cupcake and Mr. Clean.

Let's get the Windex out on this so we can have a clear view through the glass at this "clean" campaign that Annette Groves says she is running. On Friday night I saw a group of young men, all wearing Annette Groves for Mayor tshirts, bopping about Midnight Madness. I watched one of them walk right up to the Mayor and say "Hi, we are supporting Annette Groves for mayor. Would you like to support her for mayor?" Mayor Morrison, politely smiled and responded with "well actually I am the Mayor and no, I don't think I'll be supporting Mrs. Groves." The kid laughed in her face, turned around, scooted back to his crew and guess who is standing with them. Yup, Mr. Clean himself. They all stood there pointing, laughing and looking at the Mayor.

That was a really disgusting and blatant act of disrespect, not only to the office of the Mayor and the residents of this community, but also to a woman who has devoted two and half decades of her life in public service to her community. Those actions, which were obviously manoeuvred by the mayoral wannabe's husband, were completely unnecessary. It was pure ignorance personified. That is the tone of what Mr. Clean brings to this election. So, tell me Annette Groves, is this your idea of a clean campaign?

So here's my parting message to you Mr. Clean....oh look, I've just written another blog piece, not for you to read because you made it quite clear to us that you don't read. I wrote it just so you had another piece of paper to print out. Alas, another tree bites the dust.

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Postscript: Here is the official response from the office of Annette Groves. This is what is posted online.

Annette Groves for Mayor of Caledon Official Statement from the Annette Groves Campaign: "The Annette Groves Campaign will not engage in the type of politics that Christine is trying to create. We will remain focused on the issues facing the municipality of Caledon and find ways to resolve them that benefits the Taxpayers."

We would like to extend our thanks and appreciation to so many who have contacted us since this incident occured. People who witnessed what happened on the street have offered to come forward to the police with us. People have emailed us photographs in case we needed them. I've received more notes, calls and emails than ever before. Your support is appreciated. Again, thanks.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

cupcakeSpeak

The cupcake speaks. A diva listens.

"As your elected representative, I have a long standing record of being pro active in planning our future and ensuring Caledon grows in a responsible manner while gaining the benefits associated with growth and leaving no community behind. Smart Growth in general is a necessity because it represents progress." - Regional Councillor & Mayoral Candidate Annette Groves

A diva ponders. Hmmmmm. What does this cupcakeSpeak really mean? More diva pondering. Ok, so let me give this to you in coopSpeak language. This is straight up pure political rhetorical cow patties. I'm fairly certain you can understand that language.

Councillor Groves claims that she has a long standing record of being proactive in planning our future. Annette Groves has never once ever voted in support of our Official Plan.. The official plan that is a well thought out, forward thinking plan. It was built with consensus from citizens, politicians, consultants and regional/provincial guidelines. It was an official plan that was developed through a very effective public process that had tons of clarity and community participation to it.

Councillor Groves tried to completely usurp the official plan, even though it was the will of the people of Caledon, the will of the Caledon Council and the will of the Regional Council, by attempting to bring a motion to the floor of the region only a week after ROPA 24 was voted on and adopted by all three municipalities of the region. Thank goodness Regional Chair Emil Kolb was on his game that day because he shut her down quicker than a Scotsman closes up his wallet when asked for money.

It was Councillor Groves who tried to knee cap the Town of Caledon and its citizens by stripping away the town's right to do its own planning and move it completely under the planning umbrella of the Region of Peel government. Excuse me? Why on earth would our own town want to hand over the reins of its planning development and direction to Mississauga & Brampton? Councillor Groves was prepared to completely circumvent the town's ability to have management of its own growth. How is this a demonstration of the integrity and the trust needed for responsible leadership especially as the highest ranking elected official of our community. It was subterfuge of the most negative kind and an act of mutiny against Caledon.

What benefits is Councillor Groves referring to in her statement? Urban sprawl and residential urban development doesn't pay its own way. It never has, it never will. If Councillor Groves got all that sprawl she has been so valiantly scrapping for there would be massive tax increases to all Caledon residents. I'll be bringing the math forward on those formulas shortly. I'm just waiting to verify fiscal numbers from the town treasury.

How is acting like an out of control rogue representing us in a responsible manner? Simply, it is not.

Caledon cannot afford this kind of leadership.

"Smart Growth in general is a necessity because it represents progress." Smart growth is such a hot button punch phrase and our wannabe mayoral cupcake is going to use it alot. It sounds smart. It sounds like she's got her finger on the pulse of the understanding of growth. Don't be fooled people. So what exactly is "Smart Growth"?

There is an actual official body at the Province of Ontario called the "Ontario Smart Growth Network". They speak to things such as a movement back to urban villages, non automobile networks, fostering healthy communities and controlling urban sprawl. All sounds great, right? All sounds like it speaks to what Caledon is so desperately trying to utilize to protect uncontrolled and improperly planned growth, right? Think again.

Scratch beneath the surface and the facade of Smart Growth and you'll discover it also speaks to a population target of 50 citizens per hectare of ground. That ground includes both commercial/industrial and residential. Now in a place like Mississauga & Brampton they can easily meet their targets of 50 citizens per hectare because of things such as office towers and condominiums. In Caledon, and in particular in Bolton, we are meeting about 38 citizens per hectare of the requirement.

So think about this. If Councillor Groves supports Smart Growth then what she is really saying is that she is supporting increasing Bolton/Albion's population by at least another third of the current population. That is just for Bolton, imagine if she could get her hands on the rest of Caledon and apply the same fundamentals of her Not So Smart Growth strategies. Is this Councillor Grove's version of responsible planning in our communities? Wow, that is some kinda cupcakeSpeak.

I sure hope the western side of Caledon is tuning in on her planning strategies. I'm quite sure there are several developers just salivating at the thought of spreading far and away outside of Bolton. I think that is what she meant when she said "no community will be left behind" which is really cupcakeSpeak for "As your Mayor I will support Smart Growth for all of Caledon." Egads. That is one whole lotta cupcakes in the Bolton Albion & Caledon community. It is my personal opinion that when you wipe away all of Councillor Groves rhetoric, and there is a lot of it, what you really have is that she is essentially the DEVELOPER'S CANDIDATE. I just can't say it any plainer and more straight forward than that. Councillor Annette Groves is the developer's candidate. If she gets elected then we might as well just hand over the keys to the town to the developers and change the name of our community from Caledon to Vaughan. The only silver lining of Councillor Grove's support of Smart Growth is the silver that will be lining the pockets of the developers. Cha-ching!

This is very savvy campaigning in the Groves camp by using the Smart Growth tactic because for the most part most people don't understand the fundamentals of it. It sure sounds good. Ultimately though it will become the very tool that Councillor Groves, if elected Mayor, will use to open the door to massive urban sprawl. I will say this again. Simply put. Simply said. Councillor & Mayoral wannabe Annette Groves is absolutely the Developer's Candidate.

How's that for some basic coopSpeak?

Stay tuned for more cupcakeSpeak to coopSpeak to come. I've got a sweet tooth craving tonight. Time to eat some cake...cupcakes.

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A post script from the Author: Wowza. My email box has been flooded with notes. By far and away this is the most personal reaction I've had to a blog posting yet. Thank you for your notes, your comments and your input. I'm really happy to hear that my explanation of what "Smart Growth" is really about has finally begun to take hold. This is a good thing. Keep on reading. This blog author is very appreciative.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

And a Word from the Author

"Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.” - Hardy D. Jackson

At moments I can practically hear the collective gasps of the readers when I hit the publish button here on coopSpeak. I just feel the need to say a couple of things so I can be sure that people who read this blog or at least blurt out "have you read that thing lately?" can have a better insight to not only the blog but also the girl behind the blog.

Is this blog candid? Yup. Does it sometimes push the edge of the proverbial envelope? Yup. Has it offended? A big yup on that one. Has it made people guffaw, giggle or chortle? Oh yeah. Will it make some people think? I hope so. Will it make some people hit the delete button? No question. The point to all of that though is simply this, it will evoke some sort of reaction out of you. Hell if I were writing homogenized, vanilla edged, safe and sound babble no one would read it. If that is what you want then stick to your local papers.

Keep this blog in its context. It isn't meant to be hateful. It is meant to be sartorial. Read in between the lines. Think people. Is taking time to think such a chore? Ask questions. Challenge me. Challenge yourselves. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't get an email or I get stopped in the local shops where someone shares with me about something I've written. I am appreciative for all the input, good or bad. Input tells me that someone is paying attention and right now we need to pay plenty of attention to this circus that is becoming our local election.

Those who know me, who really know me, who've seen the last decade of my ups and downs will tell you that when you need the go to girl, I'm always one of the first to step up and help. I've spent over a quarter century of my life in service to my community. I have served through voluntarism and I have served through council. Now I serve through my professional work. I am Christine Cooper, daughter of John Margetson Cooper. He told me a long, long time ago before he passed that a life without service is no life at all. So Johnny, this one's for you.

Finally, just to show you all that I actually have a lighter side, if my political blather is just too much for then you might appreciate my love of all things food. http://coopspeakeats.blogspot.com/ Bon appetit!

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Postscript Note: Ok, got my first threat yesterday. No need for bullet proof
windows.....yet.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Strawberry Fields for ever....then again, maybe not.

Let's start with my chuckle of the day. Apparently our cupcake of a regional councillor wannabe mayor is actually telling people that she sees herself a young Mayor Hazel McCallion. Gimme a sec peeps, I just knocked over my Lemon Drop martini in fits of laughter. No, seriously, I kid you not. Annette Groves actually touts herself as a young Hazel. Gimme another second, I gotta pour myself another cocktail and make this one a double. Is Annette Groves on crack or is she listening to those kiss my ass, yes men baboons she's surrounded herself with. In a gazillion years she wouldn't have an iota of understanding or fortitude that Mayor Hazel McCallion has had during her tenure in office. The short of it is simply that this comparison is absolutely a smack in the face to Hazel. Where is Don Cherry when you need him? This little Caledon cupcake needs a Don Cherry verbal dress down and then some. This cupcake's ego is getting the better of her. Someone please, Don...anyone...feed this girl a big 'ol slice of humbleberry pie. Comparing herself to Hazel? I'd love to hear Hazel's take on this. Think I'll drop Mayor McCallion a note and ask her personally what she thinks of the homage and the comparison. Oh this should be good. I'll be sure to keep you updated on that.

Ok, next thing....

I love Broadway Farms. I drive all the way over there because they have some of the best meat under any butcher counter in Caledon. I am, after all, a carnivore. I'm the girl who thinks the acronym for PETA means People Eating Tasty Animals. (Oh I know that comment is gonna get me into some trouble :) I love Janine who runs the joint. Oh for those of you who don't know, Broadway Farms is located on the Livingston Farm out on Heartlake Road. Think about that for a minute. Does the name Livingston ring a bell to you at all?

Let me refresh your memory. The regional cupcake wannabe mayor is married to the dude who actually slandered Anne Livingston during the last election at a public event. Not only did he slam Anne he basically inferred that the Livingston clan was going to make gazillions of bucks on a land designation decision that was covertly directed by Anne Livingston while she was Chair on a committee in Caledon. The result of this insult was that Anne Livingston filed a lawsuit against the cupcake's hubby, the insufferable Mr. T. Groves. And in his quid pro quo way of thinking he made an attempt to counter sue. Politics just absolutely brings out the worst in people. So you may wonder where I'm going with all of this.....

During my bi-weekly trip to Broadway Market, I bumped in to the lovely Janine, Anne's daughter and manager of the agro-tourism market. If you haven't been out to Broadway Farms, you so gotta go! It's a real working farm (breath deep, nothing like the smell of cow poop to remind you where you are!). Janine shared something really interesting with me. Last week the subdivision located behind the farms, called Strawberry Fields, asked the farm if they could do a community strawberry fest/bbq/event gathering on the farm. The Livingston's said yes, they are after all, good neighbours and good community partners, no matter what Mr. T-Groves asserts. Now wait until you hear this.....

During the event, it turns out that a certain regional cupcake mayoral wannabe has the audacity and the gall to actually turn up at this event to help out with the bbq'ing. I kid you not. Talk about nerve. Talk about lack of a moral compass. This is the same candidate who's loud mouth, belligerent husband had the nerve to slam the Livingston family for their alleged backdoor manipulation of a land designation in Caledon that would line their pockets with millions of dollars. Unbelievable. Janine's husband was absolutely so pissed that he finally walked up to Ms. Groves and basically told her she wasn't welcome on their property and she was to leave. Janine's husband waited and followed her off the property to make sure she promptly left. Personally I thought he showed a ton of restraint because I would have just marched her through a field of fresh cow patties on the way to escorting to her vehicle. Did mayoral candidate Ms. Groves actually think it was appropriate for her to campaign on the Livingston property? Either she is the stupidest person on the planet or she has absolutely no sense of shame, or maybe both.

This wannabe mayor, aka the younger version of Hurricane Hazel, shows up to campaign, during a community event, hosted at the private property of a family that her over the top, out of control hubby has been involved in a lawsuit in. Do these people have no shame? Man, if this ain't a sign of things to come, I don't know what is. I never ceased to be amazed at how low people will sink to get a vote. Talk about having your cupcake and eating it too.

Here's a small message to the cupcake, farmer's ain't stooooopid. You aren't fooling anyone of those guys over on the west side with your bullshit rhetoric about being another Hazel. You tried to put the thumbscrews to one of their own so don't think showing up to their agricultural meetings is going to win you any votes, it won't work. Keep your fertilizer for other places, you are going to need it.

Oh by the way, Valerie Arnold-Judge, the wardrobe coordinator from the Trailer Park Boys called. They want their wardrobe back. Time to retire that Bedazzler from your closet babe.

Stay tuned, summer is winding down which means election stuff is winding up.

Stay cool peeps.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Sign of Things to Come

Call me wacky, call me zany but doesn't this qualify as some sort of election signage? This is a flagrant slap in the face and a total disregard for the rules of engagement during an election campaign in Caledon. The town bylaw clearly states there is to be no electoral signage prior to September 13th. Well can someone please tell me what the hell is this? I saw this truck (care to guess who owns it) in Edelweiss Park during the opening weekend of the Bolton Wanderers Soccer Club. So not only is the Groves campaign breaking the rules they are doing it right in the playgrounds we bring our children to! Who does this sort of thing?

Welcome to the Trailer Park Boys version of an election. That is what this campaign is going to get turned in to. If Annette Groves is willing to break the basic rules during an election so early in the game it makes me wonder about what sort of ethics she'll bring to office of the Mayor. All we need now is Ricky, Julian and Bubbles as her door knocking team and they'll be good to go.

We are only getting warmed up. This is scary business and sad times for Caledon.

What on earth is the Bolton Wanderers Soccer Club thinking? Have they been hit in the head with a soccer ball one too many times? How could they allow this silliness and illegal activity to happen at both Edelweiss & Valleywood fields. Is it possible they didn't even realize they were breaking municipal bylaws? The playing fields are public property and electoral campaigning is restricted on public lands. Councillor Groves is well aware of those rules yet she chose to compromise the soccer club for her own gain.

The club's mandate is about promoting sports & recreation in a community, not pandering or providing a platform for politicians. It begs me to ask the question why they allowed this activity to take place during their opening weekend, not only in Bolton but also over in Valleywood. Yes, we all know what a long time supporter Annette has been of the organization but it doesn't justify breaking the rules in this manner. Would it be because of the promise by a mayoral wannabe that if you help get her elected then she'll make sure that she'll get your indoor soccer facility built?

Just a small FYI. The town has already purchased 120 acres of land on the corner of King & Centreville Creek Road with the intent of expanding soccer facilities in Caledon. I would suspect that down the road there is already a plan in the view finder for an indoor facility. In the end though I'd be really interested in hearing the Mayor's response to Aldo's comment with respect to her not being supportive to the club. I'll keep you posted.

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Post Note Comment: I encourage readers to have a look at the comments. Aldo Simone, past president of the BWSC has posted a note and I followed with a response. I'd like to thank Aldo for his comments, they are helpful and insightful.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Reading between the lines of those interviews....

I just love political campaign rhetoric. I've been voraciously reading the wannabes as they reel off all the reasons about why John Q. Public should slap down their big 'ol X right behind their name on the ballot and send them off up to Old Church Road. Over my morning Columbian Supremo I went back and re-read the Enterprise interviews with the Ward 5 candidates. What a way to start off a sunny Sunday morning.

There are some classic lines in these interviews. Trudy Valier, area councillor hopeful, referred to herself as a triple threat. First off describing ones self as a threat, especially in light of the fact that our Mayor is still under DecCon 5 security levels, is something Ms. Valier might want to rethink. Hey Trudy in the entertainment industry a triple threat is someone who can sing, dance & act. So does this mean that you want to be the Ward 5 council thespian who can tap dance and organize Karaoke Kouncil for those really tense moments and you need an ice breaker? Can't you just see it now, Trudy teaching them how to sing "My Way". I'd buy a ticket for a front row seat for that show.

I howled over the comments from Amanda Squires who thinks she needs to date her voters, buy a house with them and live together before we all say "I do". Ok. Well hey Ms. Squires, "I don't". She doesn't actually think we are buying that tripe, does she?

The two dudes in the race, Kevin Junor for area and Mark Pavilons for regional council seem to think that council is a sandbox and council needs to learn to play nicely in it together. C'mon people, share your pails and shovels and no kicking sand at the weakling councillors. It almost prompted me to send Mark and email and ask him if that sandbox sand would be the same sand used in mixing up cement for the concrete to be poured into the ground for development by his former employer. Let's read between the lines on Mr. Pee's comment about why he's decided to run. "Well the timing is right in my career." Which really means I'm looking for a job. That one was right up there with a Facebook posting by Ms. Squires that said something to the effect of "love helping people with problems....now let's get me elected so I can get paid for this....". Lovely sentiment don't you think. Speaks volumes about her character, or rather, lack of it.

"When I did well I heard it never. When I did ill I heard it ever." That truthful little adage is on the side of a cookie tin that used to belong to my Grandmother. Very wise insight for a cookie tin, don't you think? Apparently nothing, absolutely nothing works right out at the town. With the exception of only one of the interviews with area candidate, Patti Foley, every other candidate had nary a good word to say about the council. There was lots of finger pointing about the divisions, lack of leadership, lack of vision, and of course the biggie....the inability to bring the council to work together blah...blah....blah. Here's a myriad of their quotes: "I think Bolton needs a stronger voice. It’s been lacking." "We need clear and better representation at the council table.” "I want to bring hope back to Bolton, positives back to Bolton." Maybe this group of messiahs should just bypass council and go right to the middle east, Afghanistan or the U.N. where their skills could really do some good. What I find really interesting is that most of the wannabes talked about having a stronger voice for Ward 5. So are they really saying that our Ward 5 councillors actually didn't do a good job? That's sure what it sounds like to me. So let's take stock here, we've had weak representation by our Ward 5 councillor for the past four years and now that very same councillor wants the mayoral job. Hmmmmm. Now I'm confused.

When asked about the infighting, mayoral candidate, Annette Groves responded with "I will end it by realizing that there are different needs in both rural and urban Caledon and I think we need to recognize those needs." She will end it, just like that. Maybe we ought to ask her why she didn't end it long before now? There were plenty of chances when Ms. Groves could have shown some good judgement and could have been a major galvanizing force for the council but instead she chose to throw fuel on the bonfire. I'm not buying what she's selling. Leopards just don't change their spots that quickly. Annie Groves has been the eye of the council storm for the past four years and she damn well knows it. Countless times I've asked her what the hell was going on and her response to me would be "I'm telling you Christine...if you knew the truth...." I'd ask her what that truth was, please tell me, I want to know, help me to understand. No answer ever came.

To that end, what about the optics of voting for her for mayor while her husband is still involved in a lawsuit with the incumbent mayor. What's wrong with this picture? Ms. Groves made a reference in her interview about getting spending under control So, here's my question to the town. How many taxpayers dollars have gone to legal costs for the Mayor to defend her in the lawsuit against Ms. Groves husband? Doesn't this all seem rather Monty Python'ish to anyone else?

In the end, I'd like to see if I could actually find one municipal council anywhere that actually gets along. Damn if I could find one. Not in Mississauga, where Queen Hazel is under siege with the likes of rogue councillor Carolyn Parrish. Not in Toronto where buffoons like Rob Ford & George Mammolitti abound and most certainly not over in Vaughan where local politics is like a blood bath. There will always be discension in councils, there is supposed to be discension in councils. I'd worry if a council were always like minded and agreed on every single thing. How our councillors conduct themselves during that process is really what the issue is here.

Finally, I would just like to give some props to area candidate Patti Foley, whose interview in the Enterprise focused on the positives. She was the first candidate who left me feeling like Bolton wasn't going to hell in a hand basket. What a refreshing change to hear someone focus on something other than the armageddon that is Caledon council. I get the feeling that Patti believes that you don't make yourself look better by pointing out the short comings of others. It speaks loudly to her credibility and her character. Finally a local candidate with some substance. Let's hope John Q. Public has enough common sense to elect this gal to office. A girl can be hopeful.

The campaign continues. Things are just getting warmed up. Time to put some ice in the martini shaker, it's just about the cocktail hour. The bar is open.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Is today that day?


A few weeks back I predicted that our favorite bobbleheaded cupcake of a regional councillor would declare her intentions for a mayoral run on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and it never materialized. I ain't a gambling kinda chiquita but my instincts tell me that today could be that day. I figured that perhaps that our little prima donna passed on a Cinco de Mayo announcement because I called her out but I don't know that I'm going to take any credit here for the blackjack bluffing that is going on. Here's why.....

There has been a spate of regional newsletters that have popped up over the past week from a couple of other regional councillors, neither of whom have yet to declare their electoral intentions. The spring/summer newsletters have been produced and put together by the Region of Peel which means these politicians got some really good quality, well laid out and strong visual materials put together for them courtesy of the region and the taxpayers. So here's the thing, if you are an incumbent who had declared your candidacy the region would not be permitted to produce said newsletter. Once a candidate declares it changes the parameters. So it goes without saying that the bulk of the regional councillors will wait for the release of the spring/summer newsletter that will hail all their wonderful work and achievements before making their intentions for re-election official. It's basically a very prudent and smart move because it is pre-emptive strike to a campaign without the costs having to be paid for through the campaign. Makes sense, right?

What do you think is gonna turn up in my mailbox today? Oh gee, me wonders. Could it be a paid non political announcement on the virtues of my regional councillor? Any takers on this bet?

So here's what I think the strategy for a mayoral kick at the can by a regional cupcake might look like. She'll count on every single vote out of Bolton. Automatically assuming that because she's Bolton based everyone here will support her and be anti-Morrison. Well that thinking is a mistake. Let's look at the numbers from the 2006 election. Garry Moore, also a Bolton based mayoral candidate basically took about 2,200 votes and Mayor Morrison took around 1,750 votes. That really isn't all that much of a difference. Ms. Groves, in total, had 3,233 votes casted in her reelection bid. Across the town Mayor Morrison had a total of 7,150 votes so even if Councillor Groves still grabbed up all her 3,200 votes she's basically got to find another 4,000 votes elsewhere in Caledon. This is going to be interesting.

This will be a vicious campaign,not only here in Bolton, but especially on the western side of Caledon where I suspect Ms. Groves is not particularly welcome or liked. Nor is she associated to a major party as Garry Moore was (can you say Liberal red). Western Caledon will be tough sledding and everyone knows that a campaign is won at the doors and on the street. They will be hard at work to try and discredit Marolyn Morrison. I am of a mind that the Groves machinery will focus in on the Valleywood settlement. Valleywood is by six degrees of separation associated to the Bolton Wanderers Soccer club, in which Ms. Groves is well ensconced. Hard to say how well this will serve her. Not all members of the soccer community are Italian and I suspect that the Groves campaign will be hoping to cash in on their popularity in the Italian community although I've never quite understood that logic. I just don't buy in to that fuggedaboutit way of thinking. I also believe trying to play that Italian cultural card is a lame assed move on any candidate's part. I actually laughed aloud upon hearing someone tell me that Terry Groves is claiming italian heritage. Budda boom budda bing. Too funny.


Anyone who is familiar with the dogsled team that drives the Groves campaign knows that the lead pack dog for this group is her husband, Terry. He's a pedal to the metal kind of guy and last time I saw him I couldn't help but to notice he's slim, trim and in fighting shape. He's a walking UFC machine looking to bring the big smackdown against his nemesis and arch enemy, Mayor Morrison, against whom he is still embroiled in some over the top, absolutely ridiculous lawsuit. Not good for the street cred, none the less T-Groves will turn this race into an Iditarod run. He is a force to be reckoned with, no question, but to that end I say never under estimate the voting smarts of the western Caledonites. He'll find himself in farm country and after that stupidness with lawsuits, in particular his bad behaviour against one of their own, westerner & respected farmer, Anne Livingston, he won't be warmly embraced. His rep for having a loud mouth and big attitude won't wash well with the other side of town which is why I'm convinced they'll anchor a western strategy out of Valleywood.

Have you noticed how glued to the hip of Tony "Always a bridesmaid, never an elected bride" Viola that Ms. Groves is? This has always been a great concern for me. Ms. Groves eats way too much Italian food down in the four corners of Bolton and that over priced eatery with its mediocre food has become her regular haunt to hold her wine and dine location for potential supporters. I suspect if Mister Vee gets behind this mayoral candidate she'll be hoping to reign in the votes he managed to garner in his non election election from 2006. I have wondered aloud about TV's election intentions especially knowing his distaste for Miz Nancy Jean. If he campaigns in Wards 3&4, creating a tandem campaign for himself & the cupcake, it could add another 1,500 votes to her bottom line.

All this speculation and we haven't even talked about the senior citizens and the youth vote. I also think we'll see the emergence of the viral campaign which could become an interesting part of this election too. Oh by the way, I called it right on the Marky Mark "beam me up Scotty" Pavillons declaration. It's a regional run for the former Caledon Citizen editor. Betcha that's got Ms. Amanda Squires squirming on her wobbly little pedestal. By the way, neither Mark or Amanda is Italian although Mark was employed by a certain, high profile developer, with Bolton in his view finder, who is Italian. Does that immediately give him "la familia" cred? One wonders. I'll definitely be having a look at Mr. Pee's post electoral donation list.

I think the May Vic weekend is the cornerstone date for this year's election potentials. Stay tuned for the next installment of "As the Town of Caledon Turns"

That's it for me. Happy Hump Day peeps and may your long weekend be filled with sunshine, good food, lotsa fireworks and of course....a drop 'o the grape! Peace out.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is Caledon having a seat sale?

Cinco de Mayo has come and gone. For you gringos that would be the 5th of May which coincidentally is the day I predicted that my local councillor would announce her candidancy for the holy grail of the Caledon council, the mayoral seat. As I understand it that announcement didn't materialize...yet. Can't say I'm totally surprised about this nugget of news. Me thinks that there is some bet hedging going on as I write this and small side game of cat and mouse. I do know that my regional rep has been making the rounds of the local bizzie's looking for some doh-ray-me to bank her mayoral run. She's been glad handing since the middle of last year. It's gonna take a fair amount of g&c-notes to hold up the end of a town wide mayoral campaign. This should be really interesting. It's too bad that we don't get full disclosure of campaign deniros until after the election.

On a small side note, I'm thinking that Ms. Groves isn't the only one hedging her bets. I'm thinking that perhaps another wannabe, a certain former newspaper dude is also in the market for some gainful employment but is waiting to see what cards Annie Groves lays down on the table. I'm thinking if she plays it safe and decided to stick to the regional chair, of which would be difficult to unseat her from, then he'd be tossing his hat into the area councillor ring. Mr. Editor has no room for error and is probably looking to what would be his safest choice. It's all a waiting game.

So, today I'm wondering are the seats on the Caledon council for sale?
Think about this peeps. If a developer wanted control of growth in Caledon he's gonna need 5 seats, right? Winning an election often comes down to who has the most greenbacks to afford the most high profile campaign, the slickest campaign material, the most mail outs, the most signage, the most newspaper ads and perhaps a viral campaign to ice the cake. So if a developer has millions of dollars tied up in lands that are being held up for development wouldn't the cost of bank rolling candidates be considered a small investment for millions upon millions of dollars in development? Hey, it's peanuts compared to the pot of gold at the end of the development rainbow.

Get out your abacus out and let's start counting. $50K for a Mayoral campaign and then maybe another $30K split up between potential regional/area candidates. $80K is chump change for the kind of development payback we are talking about here not to mention having control of the direction of council for the next four years. It's la dolce vita when you get to be the Kingmaker! Talk about leaving the gun and taking the cannoli. On top of it, masking campaigns donations is a cake walk. I suspect there are plenty of cousins named Guido or Luigi who will donate plenty.

So if a person(s) with vested interests in Caledon, who is ready & willing, with their built-in ATM machines all loaded and ready to pump out those pics of Sir Robert Borden, sidles up to candidates who are so ripe for the picking, who wouldn't flinch at getting into bed with the devil himself because they want to win no matter the cost, this could be a dangerous election for the community of Caledon. Think long and hard about your candidates folks. We've already got some dicey names on the ballots. (I'll come back to that comment in a future blog)

In the last election my regional councillor raised approximately $10,000. I should know, if you check her donation list you'll even see my name on it. Yeah, yeah, this was well before she turned in to Darth Vader in drag. Regardless, tell me how does a candidate go from raising $8K to raising at minimum $40-50K? Raising money for a campaign is an out and out drudgery, even for the most seasoned veteran politicians. Hell just ask the Federal Liberal team who are still trying to raise money to pay off left over debts from Steffi Dion's debauchery. It is most likely there will be little to no funds for her to suck out of the west side of Caledon so Councillor G. will basically have to raise all her moola here. Hence all her "hands in your pockets" visitations around town.

Days are quickly passing and time lines to make any sort of serious run for this council grow shorter. The election is in October this year which shortens up the time lines even more. Place in the dates of the advanced polls and the reality of a campaign is that candidates will have about five short weeks for the really big push. It is, as they say, all about the timing. This is the ultimate game of Battleship.

Finally I'll leave you with my morning thought/question. Will Tony "always a bridesmaid, never an elected bride" Viola toss his hat once again in the ring for a seat in Wards 3/4 against the incumbent, Richard Whitehead and former regional councillor and wannabe comeback councillor, the lovely Miz Nancy Jean Stewart? I get the feeling that Tony would put his name on the ballot just for the hell of it. His antics during the last election were akin to being in a sideshow with his rants and his no shows at debates. A move like that though would surely be a torpedo in the side of Miz Stewart's campaign and almost surely guarantee long time veteran councillor Richard Whitehead a return to council. Small tidbit of trivia, Richard Whitehead ran in his first election when I was in Grade 5 (1967).

TGIF peeps! Cocktails will be shakin on 'da Beava this evening. If you are looking for a libation the bar is open after 7 p.m.! We can imbibe and gab politics.

Next up.....meeting the candidates. :)

p.s. Be sure to check in on this weeks Loser of the Year Award....

Friday, April 30, 2010

The worst kind of illness....ignorance.

One in five Canadians are impacted by mental health. It is the number one health issue in this country. More hospitals are occupied by people affected by mental illness than cancer and heart conditions combined. In 2008 the provincial government spent more the $2.5 BILLION dollars on treatments for mental health & addictions. Through six degrees of separation almost every single person in the country has had their life touched or impacted by the issue of mental health. It is for me, a very serious business.

I work in mental health. For the past five years I've been the Executive Director of an agency that provides support to families where any mental illness is an issue by providing education, resources and coping strategies. Families are a cornerstone in the wrap around process of recovery of those impacted by mental health issues. They become primary caregivers, case managers, medication management, crisis intervention, housing & financial support and a lifeline for those who struggle with the every day challenges of living a life with mental illness. A life, I would like to say, deserves to be lived with decency, respect and dignity.

I have been privileged to address the Honorable Michael Kirby, Chair of the National Commission on Mental Health, to be a voice for families. I have advocated for families to be included under the Federal Compassionate Care Act and I've lobbied for ongoing changes to the Ontario Disability Tax Credit. I have been fervent in my position on the use of tasers by law enforcement. I have been most critical of the Ontario Disability Support Programs that force the most ill to live well below the poverty line. More recently I've been invited to be a part of the Toronto Police Services Board newly struck committee on Mental Health. I consider myself a fortunate person to be able to do work that not only I believe in but work that impacts the lives of so many families in our communities.

I suspect a few people are wondering why I've taken off on this tangent in my blog that has been so slanted to the political offing's of my community. Well there is a reason for this direction. The first reason is this; I was pondering on Joe No Show's cheap shot at me with his reference to me working in mental illness and the stupid comment on being strapped in to a straight jacket. I was thinking to myself this morning that one of the only illnesses that I can think of that would be far worse than an illness such as schizophrenia is the illness of ignorance. Ridicule me Joe but ridiculing mental illness is just plain wrong. For that you get the Knob of the Month Award.

In Bolton, mental health services have become a focal point of interest, both from a community and a political perspective. My agency delivers family support services in Caledon and more specifically in Bolton. I have been involved with the Central West LHIN's (local health integrated network) in their ongoing efforts to address the gaping hole of health services delivered at the community level. I am so proud and so pleased to be a voice at this committee, not only from my agency but also as a citizen of Bolton. I feel I bring a much more real perspective and can speak to real grassroots concerns. So now this brings me to final chapter of this blog and this conundrum that I find myself in on this Friday afternoon....

Just before Easter my office got a call from George Smitherman's campaign team asking if my agency was having an family events for Easter that George could come out and "volunteer" at. Uh huh. (insert head shaking action here). I don't think so. Families are dealing with serious issues and you want a photo op? This is just another kind of ignorance....different from Joe No Show's but none the less looking at using struggling families as a backdrop for political gain shows a real lack of respect for families. If you think this political pandering happens only in the great big cold hearted city of Toronto, think again.

This morning during a team conference one of my Family Workers told me that on this past Monday evening at the Bolton Family Support group that a political wannabe made an appearance at this group. This person actually told my staff that they were running for office and even mentioned that they knew me. Holy hannah. My jaw dropped. The family group is sacrosanct. These groups are life lines for families in need they are not playgrounds for the political wannabes. A very big and unacceptable line in the sand got crossed on Monday night. Thankfully my staff managed to get this person out the door before other family members arrived.

There is a proverbial ass kicking that needs to be doled out. My message to that candidate (and you damn well know who you are), you better keep your head down because I've got you in my sights. You mess with my families....you are messing with me. Geez, don't I kinda sound like Sandra Bullock in the film "The Blind Side" with that retort. Please note, you've been served notice.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Let's spin the wheel!

I love election time. I really enjoy watching it all unfold in front of me. Don't you find it interesting how people come out of the woodwork at all sorts of events and gatherings, smiling at you like the village idiot, ready to be your best friend, joining up and volunteering for every single thing they can just for the opportunity to network. These are the candidates I refer to as "Opportunists R Us" and you damn well know who you are. They literally turn an election campaign into a speed dating scenario with a timer. Ding, ding, ding! Hi,I'm ------ (insert phony smile and laugh). Oh by the way, did I mention that I'm running for office? How lovely to meet you. Here's my card. Let's do lunch. I'd love to hear your concerns about the community. Love the shoes. (insert more phony laughter) Ding, ding, ding. Rotate on to the next person. Do these people think that we are dumb as tree stumps?

So, let's see. We know who has signed on the dotted line and who's ready and willing to hang their asses out on the flag pole for a shot at a seat up on Old Church Rd. I'll get around to that crew later. For now I'd like to talk about what we don't know.

I'm wondering when our regional councillor is going to declare her intentions. The word on the wire says our little cupcake is gonna go for a mayoral run and she'll declare her intentions on May 5th. Yup, she's gonna go for the whole enchildas. It appears she is aspiring to be the Head Cheese, the Big Kahuna, her High Holiness. Does this mean if she wins I'm going to have to curtesy to her when I bump in to her at the grocery store? This begs to ask another question. Where does the money come from for a mayoral run? This is a really valid and important question. We are looking at a 6 month campaign and to have any sort of campaign with substance across Caledon, at the very, very least, you'd have to have $25K. Cha-ching. And that would be a low end campaign. I'm predicting fodder for some of my future writing endeavors on this topic.

So then what about Councillor Payne(Pain)? Inquiring minds have been punting this one about. He's been awfully quiet of late, maybe he's busy consulting God. Have you ever noticed that his lips don't even move when he speaks. (I'm betting that comment goes over most peoples heads!:) If the regional seat is up for grabs does it seem like the natural progression for J-Pain to go for it. I shudder at that thought. Hey, any guy who needs an explanation about bridge financing not actually being for bridges isn't any guy I want representing me at the region.

I couldn't help but to notice a letter in the paper this week chiding Enterprise columnist, Taylor (Hap) Parnaby about his take on campaign donations. Well lookey, lookey here, we've got Mark Pavillon's on the radar. Isn't this interesting. Could it be the former Caledon Citizen Editor might be making an end run for a spot on council as well? Oh the plot thickens. I love this stuff! Mark Pavillons could have a real shot at a legitimate run for council. He's well written and certainly knows what's going on in the community. Council could very well have it's first Star Trek fanatic on board. Beam him up Scotty!

Then I stumbled across a dude name Piotr Derus who had a Facebook page up with the title Bolton Councillor on it. WTF? I immediately messaged him. Well that was an interesting dialogue. The Facebook page has been altered with no sign of political titles so perhaps Piotr has had a change of heart.

And what of the Chamber Contessa, the Cruella DeVille of Caledon herself, the not so nice, Kelly Darnley? So much speculation. Will KD try her hand once again at trying to claim a seat at the council table or was one go around on the dizzying carousel of the last election enough of a bitter pill for her to swallow? Her growth agenda is pure vitriol and her latest behaviour is appalling. I ain't laying any bets on this call.

The next few weeks will prove to be very interesting. If anyone has serious intentions on taking their shot at making a run for office they have to come out of their proverbial closets or in some cases, crypts, soon. Oh by the way, I do welcome comments & clicks. However to the gentleman (and I use that term loosely in this instance) who referred to me a certain part of the female anatomy, that wasn't particularly clever. You did make me laugh though and it's always easy to hide behind anonymity which ultimately makes you a coward. Surely you can come up with a better four letter word that starts with C. I know that might present a challenge especially for a person whose knuckles, I'm fairly certain, are dragging on the ground.

Well I'm outta here for now. There are gardens to rake which makes for a pleasant change from raking over candidates. By the way anyone interested in joining me for a Cosmo or some other libation, drop me a note, the bar is open. Love to do cocktails with you!

Ta ta! Talk soon.
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Postscript to this Blog: Thanks for the note Victoria Kaye. I love it when people threaten to report me as spam. Always nice to be compared to pressed meat in a can. As for being garbage, let me check my bluebox and my composter and I'll get back to you on that. :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

There's no place like the Home show....

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Last weekend I headed off to the local Caledon Chamber of Commerce annual Home Show held here in Bolton up at the Sheardown Centre. First pitstop after parking was at the Kinsmen booth, natch, to pick up my back bacon on a bun. Hey a girl has her priorities ya know! Gotta have the back bacon on a bun. Kudos to the Kinsmen, it was deeelish and a bargain at three bucks.

So off I went. With a few reno's in the offing for our homestead on 'da Beaver I was scoping for a few potential purchases. As I'm walking up to the front doors I just happened upon our Mayor and her husband. Haven't seen Marolyn and John in ages so it was few minutes of catching up on kids, grandchildren and the general how ya doing sort of few moments. So off we went in to the Sheardown centre, smiling and chatting with each other.

Please, would someone explain to me what sort of person, in their capacity as the CEO of the Caledon Chamber of Commerce would not even show the common courtesy to officially welcome, greet or at least just say hello to the highest ranking official from the Town of Caledon to this event. I just don't get it. Regardless of differences of opinions and being a big enough person to set aside ill feelings, one would think that it would be proper etiquette to at least say "on behalf of the Chamber....welcome..."

Do I need to send the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce a copy of Miss Manner's latest edition on how to smile, be polite and be a proper host? I was absolutely taken aback when I witnessed the Chamber's lead person actually turn her back on the Mayor and her husband, walk towards a corner and basically stand behind a display banner. No hello. No welcome to this event. Not even a nod of acknowledgement. Okay. Be a silly girl.

Enough already. That demonstration of petty ignorance and small mindedness is completely unacceptable and should have no place at all in settings such as the one we were in. Does the membership of the Chamber and its board of directors condone and endorse this sort of behaviour? It only reinforces what I've believed all along which is that the leadership in that position is in fact not leadership at all. Where is the professionalism? Where is the ability to set aside differences and just do your job? Time to either give this person the heave ho or teach them some manners. Either way it was disgraceful behaviour to witness.

There, got that off my chest. Time to get on with the rest of my day.

Activity in Ward 5 is beginning to heat up. We've got three candidates registered for Area Councillor and one for Regional Councillor. Still no sign of the incumbents. Gets one to thinking about the chess game on the board. Are the rumours true? Is a certain cupcake of a councillor gonna take the quantum leap off the end of the plank for a run as Mayor? Is a certain Payneful area councillor considering stepping up for the potential possibility of that vacated regional seat by an incumbent cupcake? Oh so many questions. Oh so many possibilities. Stay tuned. The diva is about to start meeting with and asking questions of the candidates. This should be fun.