Caledon Perspectives, again

Caledon Perspectives

“To permit ignorance is to empower it.”  ― Dan Brown, Origin

It is so interesting how two people, or two groups of people, can see the same person or situation from two totally different perspectives. The old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” has an equal and opposite force that reads “Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.”

Recently in Caledon Town Council, the quality of my writings was questioned because I had called out some local politicians and citizens for blogging misleading, smearing, and defamatory statements. I was accused of writing hate speech, bullying, misogyny, and not being a real journalist.

Now, I will admit that my political satires cut to the bone in exposing stupidity and corruption, but they are as far from the definition of hate speech as you can get. Not remotely close to being a bully. All of the good women in my life find me a respectful and supportive person. And my journalistic credentials are intact.

Only two days before, I had been given the “Golden Carabiner” by a local Bolton Scout Troop for demonstrating the qualities of “Integrity, Loyalty, Courage, Honesty, Fortitude, and Self-Control.” So confusing. Of course, children with no political agenda have much clearer perceptions of character. Regional Councillors trying to upgrade to the position of Mayor can get blinded by ambition.

At this same council meeting, one of the online communications for which I write was also called out for even associating with me. Keep in mind none of my truly satiric eviscerations are ever published in this Caledon online community newspaper – I reserve those for my private blog. My writings for the online newspaper are monitored by a very ethical editor who is extremely conscious of journalistic integrity and the readership’s sensibilities.

However, the usual suspects wanted the Town of Caledon to pull its advertising from this newspaper simply for associating with me as an occasional author. That sounds a lot like political correctness censorship in the extreme. Of course, this had nothing to do with the fact that the communication in question tends to publish good news articles and not ones that create a crisis.

Previously, this same very positive online community newspaper had its status questioned by these usual suspects because it has a catchy title that was deemed not worthy of a quality news publication. OK, let’s give it a classy title like “Caledon Perspectives.” That sure sounds like a real newspaper, right.

Oops. No. It turned out that particular title (previously Vaughan Perspectives, then GTA Perspectives) was created by Benedetto Marotta’s Solmar Development Corporation and the “editor” was on the marketing staff of that same corporation. The intent of that “community newspaper” was to create a crisis in the Town of Caledon over a local development issue to sway public opinion in favour of the development corporation. I guess you really can’t judge the quality of a publication by its name.

By the way, Caledon Perspectives Corp, ON -2153785, inactive for years, has recently amalgamated and changed its name to … wait for it … Solmar (Niagara) Inc. and Benny’s Two Sister Vineyard is located in … wait for it … Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Vineyard, incidentally, gets a 4 Star rating and their Restaurant 76, although rated noisy and on the pricey side, is known for great Italian dishes.

Now a real newspaper, the Globe and Mail, recently published an investigative report that actually documented this development corporation’s influence from Caledon to Queen’s Park. The alleged corruption and lobbying in the Globe’s investigation was so clear that on Friday the leader of the NDP formally asked for the Ontario Integrity Commissioner to probe the allegations.

Those allegations implicate Spiros Papathanasakis (an unregistered lobbyist), Maurizio Rogato of Solmar Corporation (and formerly on the board of the Caledon Chamber of Commerce), ex-Liberal Minister and MPP Glen Murray, and Liberal Premiers McGuinty and Wynne, who were informed of the situation, but apparently did nothing to rectify it.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath was quoted as saying, “When you have a minister of the Crown being alleged to have engaged in this sort of activity and alleged to be intimidating a mayor of a municipality for the purpose of greasing the wheels for a property development, and then you have a premier who is accused of not acting on those allegations, those are some pretty serious problems.

Gee, you think? But when this issue of intimidating local politicians was raised recently at Town of Caledon Council, the same perspectives accusing me of hate speech tried to sweep it under the carpet and dismiss it as a non-issue. Well, it’s a big issue now, extending all the way to the credibility of Glen Murray’s new “dream job” as head of the Pembina Institute.

These allegations have the potential to extend into the influence applied to national and local media outlets and reporters, and to support for local politicians, organizations and citizens in favour of this same property development. Once the tangled web we weave begins to unravel, the house of cards falls down.

In my Caledon perspectives, those embarrassed by having their bad behaviour called out, might want to reflect on some old sayings that apply when this kind of “poor me” hypocrisy takes place. It’s a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black, or “If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.”

Until then, I’m going to continue to dish it right back, only with more literary flair. No hard feelings, Matthew.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, journalist, Caledon

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Caledon Can Take Vision Zero to Hero

Two years into the GTA’s goal of eliminating pedestrian and cyclist deaths, project Vision Zero has failed to accomplish its goals. 2018 is on its way to becoming another banner year for fatal collisions in our proposed “safe cities” for our car-free citizens.

I live in the beautiful rurban community of Caledon. We have similar lofty goals for those who travel by foot and bike. Having given up my car two years ago and gone footloose , I have discovered the thrill of victory by catching the GO bus on time, and the agony of the feet walking around Bolton,

I have also discovered that Caledon is anything but a pedestrian or cyclist friendly Town. The lords of the road are the large bully boy pick-up trucks and the souped up little Honda Civics. Both frequently have muffler systems that make the start of a Formula One race sound like a lullaby. It seems that very few drivers these days (whether in the family van or muscle car) have any regard for the flesh and bone creatures in their headlights.

That driver need to speed everywhere combined with distracted pedestrians staring at their cell phone screens and cyclists who think they are going for the yellow jersey in the Tour de France creates a recipe for disaster. Add into the mix children, seniors, an archaic sidewalk system and no green bike lanes marked at busy intersections, and it’s only a matter of time before we are watching another tragedy unfold.

In the  last two weeks alone, crossing with the lights at major Bolton intersections, I have witnessed dozens of drivers racing through yellow lights and straight out running red lights, and that is with pedestrians clearly visible at the crossing.  So, if we truly want to create a safe community for our citizens, here’s how to take Vision Zero to Hero.

  1. Lower the speed limits through the Town. Toronto is now recommending 40 kph MAX.
  2. Install red light cameras at all busy intersections, raise the fines to $500 for running a red light, and take away the car for a week.
  3. Educate drivers that a light turning yellow does not signal the start of the Indy 500 – like the yellow flag in that same car race, it means slow down, caution! There could be a child about to enter that intersection
  4. Educate pedestrians and cyclists to wear highly visible clothing, wear LED flashers at night, and use extreme caution when encountering traffic.
  5. Complete the painting of bike lanes in bright green at all busy intersections, and in community safety zones.
  6. Ensure that the police enforce the traffic laws to the maximum – the ticket revenues can go towards fixing our sidewalk system with rolling curbs and proper ramps. The revenues from Stop Sign and red light violations alone would be like winning the lottery. (And stop the dirty X-Coppers from getting these dangerous drivers out of their ticket fines!)
  7. Complete the downtown core traffic calming by FIRST getting the commuter traffic to use the Emil Kolb Parkway. Proper signage on #50 indicating local  traffic only. If you’re not a resident or shopping, we don’t need you speeding through Caledon on the way to Toronto or Brampton in the morning or to Dufferin or New Tecumseh at night.
  8. Install BIG Flashing signs at Major Mac in the south and Castlederg in the north indicating that Travel Time is 59 minutes on Queen St. through Bolton, but only 10 minutes using the Emil Kolb by-pass. If a driver’s IQ is at leeast approaching the price per litre of gasoline they should be able to figure that one out.

There, eight simple steps to making Vision Zero a reality, reducing pedestrian and cyclist fatalities, and creating a safer, cleaner, quieter community.

The way I see it.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

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Feed The Hens

Feed the Hens (to the tune of Feed the Birds)
new lyrics by Skid Crease
(with full apologies to Mary Poppins, who would approve anyway)

Early each day
To the fields of the Farm
The little old chicken man walks.

In his own special way
To the people he calls,
“Come and care for our hen flocks.
Come feed our hens, show them you care
And you’ll be glad if you do
They want to lay eggs
But their feeder’s so bare
All it takes is a toonie from you.

“Feed the hens, Toonie a bag
Toonie, Toonie, Toonie a bag.”

Feed the hens.” That’s what he cries
While overhead wild birds fill the skies.

All around the old farmstead the hawks and the councillors
Look down as he sells his wares
Although we don’t see it, we know they are smiling
Each time Townsfolk show that they care.

Though his words are simple and few
Listen, listen – he’s calling to you:
“Feed the hens, Toonie a day.
Toonie, Toonie, Toonie a day.”

I’ll be doing a dress up video at the Farm to promote this one – our hens do not eat like birds!  All proceeds go to the Albion Hills Community Farm and the Caledon Backyard Hens Pilot Project.

🐣 little old chicken man Skid Crease, Caledon

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A Full and Complete Apology

Well, when it turns out you have done something wrong, apologize at once. In a recent blog entitled “Tiny Timmie,” I mistakenly attributed a quote to a person who dramatically made an emotional delegation to Council on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.

A totally different person had sent me a very degrading note recently, and I completely mixed up the exchanges. My deepest and most sincere apologies to the person who presented at Council. As you wrote to me today, you would never say or write anything like that. In the same vein, apparently someone using your name on social media created the posts that began our first exchanges. That error will be tracked.

For a person who prides himself on triple-checking his science facts, lesson learned to apply the same diligence to social media. The humble pie is all mine.

***

Skid Crease, Caledon

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The Day After

We’ll be fighting in the streets With our children at our feet And the morals that they worship will be gone And the men who spurred us on Sit in judgment of all wrong They decide and the shotgun sings the song.

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution Take a bow for the new revolution Smile and grin at the change all around me Pick up my guitar and play Just like yesterday And I’ll get on my knees and pray We don’t get fooled again Don’t get fooled again.

Change it had to come We knew it all along We were liberated from the fold that’s all But the world looks just the same And history ain’t changed Cause the banners, they all flown in the last war I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution Take a vow for the new revolution Smile and grin at the change all around Pick up my guitar and play Just like yesterday And I’ll get on my knees and pray We don’t get fooled again No, no!

I’ll move myself and my family aside If we happen to be left half alive I’ll get all my papers and smile at the sky For I know that the hypnotized never lie Do ya? There’s nothing in the street Looks any different to me And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye And the parting on the left Is now the parting on the right And the beards have all grown longer overnight.

I’ll tip my hat to the new constitution Take a bow for the new revolution Smile and grin at the change all around me Pick up my guitar and play Just like yesterday Then I’ll get on my knees and pray We don’t get fooled again Don’t get fooled again No, no!

***

Lyrics by Peter Townshend,  The Who

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