Category: Cobourg Notes

I’ve had enough!

The recent plethora of protests, about the death of George Floyd, the latest black man to die as a result of police brutality, raises the key question – how do we stop this pestilence on civil society?

Police brutality appears to be the result of institutionalised police training and control methods. Despite the lethal result of “restraints” choke holds and neck suppression still abound in takedown operations.

However the underlying premise behind these protests is not only that black people are dying at the hands of police operations but the way that police departments run their operations. Increasingly militarisation of police services is the norm, especially in the USA where military equipment is recycled into police departments. Do not think for a moment that Cobourg is immune from this movement. I remember being shocked by the appearance of our local police department turning out for a Remembrance Parade escort and traffic duties armed with fully automatic carbines slung across their heavily padded chests.

There is a better way – some have called for it in the simplistic slogan – “Defund the Police” but few have fleshed it out. In Cobourg we have a police service with four platoons of front line officers – all armed to the teeth – tasers, pistols (glocks) and with access to automatic carbines and shotguns.

The question to be asked is; do we need fully armed officers to respond to every single response? How do we start the debate about the future of policing in our community?

The previous police chief instituted an major increase in part time police, he expanded the number of part-time officers and auxiliary police people. He replicated the full time force and used the part timers to reinforce the front line officers. But he only expanded the existing police ways of doing business!

With incidents requiring a police response being of a non-violent dispute do we really need a fully armed officer to conduct the investigation. In some cases the presence of armed officers may intimidate, especially in family dispute situations. The time has come to send in social workers not armed officers.

It is time for police services to examine the records, just how many incidents require the services of properly trained interventionists as opposed to fully armed officers who may have a smattering of social service training?

If we are able to define the actual operations of police services we can assign the correct response to situations. I understand that some incidents can turn violent and require the reactions of officers trained to respond to violent situations. But a lot don’t.

“Defund the Police” is only a slogan – let’s take it one step closer and actually examine the way we police ourselves. If we do that and establish a police service that ALL members of society recognise as working for ALL then BLM protests should become redundant!

Weekend Jottings

The last week of the campaign – five days to go:

Will the NDP surge translate to seats? The consensus is NO. The Libs have conceded to the others but with a caveat – elect some of us and we will help to stop a majority government, they don’t answer the question of what will happen if they have to prop up Dug Ford. Watching this campaign has been like watching a re-run of the Trump campaign except this is an expected victory slipping away as opposed to a Trumpian surprise. Dug Ford winning will be no surprise but will still be greeted by the majority of voters as the dreaded apocolypse. Unfortunately we will discover that an effective opposition is powerless and we should look forward to four years of austerity, when we don’t need it and the extension of income equality.

A crowded afternoon:

Monday 4th June will see a crowded Council agenda. Originally it was planned to have a public meeting to receive/discuss the Waterfront Study /Master Plan. But the scheduled start of 1pm has been pushed back to the regular Council time of 4pm. The mind boggles as to the reasoning for this – thinking about it in the edit we have a theory on this – read  on. The BS answer given was to allow the public time to get off work and get to the meeting. Now the consultant’s presentation and public meeting will take up much of Council’s time. Look for a marathon session on Monday afternoon. Just means that any business on the agenda will get short shrift, after all the Council will want to get home on time. But back to that Waterfront meeting. The consultants will not be brief, after all they have a plethora of power-point slides to read back to the audience, and then the delegations will start. It now becomes apparent as to why the special meeting was wrapped into the Council meeting. A special meeting would have had an open invitation to the people who wanted to speak, a Council meeting means that people who want to say something have to register to speak – what a sneaky way to cut down the participation. Sorta makes a farce out of the Strat Plan #1 objective – transparency and open dialogue with the Citizenry!

King Donald the First:

Watching the events in the USA for the past couple of years have made our heads spin. With the powers of the Presidency being unassailable, especially by the clones and puppets in Congress, it is obvious to anybody watching that we don’t have a President in the White House but a Monarch with very little restraint from the Legislatures. With the latest move by the President’s lawyers issuing a leaked letter, which was from the Lawyers to the Mueller Investigation (and obviously leaked by the lawyers), in which claims that executive privilege exempts him from being questioned or answering to a subpoena, this effectively makes him untouchable and therefore the First Monarch of the United States of America. George Washington and the Rebels will be turning over in their graves. The New York Times analysis of the letter can be read here, read it – this letter will not be going away soon.

Persistence pays off

click to enlarge

Dave Tredree is a Cobourger from way back. A well respected hockey coach, in his time, and an all round good guy – and obviously a person in for the long haul.

Dave is probably the last known Radio Shack franchisee in the business. Years ago when RS decided to eliminate its franchises Dave took them on, as his was taken away. In the courts for years he finally prevailed thus showing obstinence, a clear sense of principle and obviously tenacity.

On the side he has dabbled in real estate development and picked up a piece of land, many years ago, just over the border, on Hwy 45, when nobody else wanted it; a piece of junk land covered in brush. But obviously an adherent of the Bob Hope school of millionaires, who famously quoted, “Anybody can make money in real estate – just buy the land on the outskirts of Town and wait!”

Well Dave’s ship has come in and his tenacity has paid off. On Monday evening at the CoW meeting there is an agreement between the Twp of Hamilton and Cobourg coming up for approval. This was discussed in the last post “Now for a bit of history” but we didn’t say that the report is looking to extend services to three areas (the new Hospice on Ontario St is the third one). But back to “The Tredree Lands” (as they are described in the report), this development is going to be a “an area of 9.32 acres, on a 22.30 acre lot, and the proposed development includes a food court. fuel/convenience facility, service repair facility and hotel”. The parking lot will have parking for 51 trucks and the hotel will be 14,500 sf. Quite the complex!

So the question is – what price will Hamilton Twp and the developer have to pay for the privilege of benefiting from Cobourg’s services. How much has the value of the vacant 9.32 acres increased by the addition of these services. If the value has increased how much will the developer pay to Cobourg for this value? Don’t forget the value would have never increased without these services!

What we do know is that the report from the CAO reveals that the cost of the services to cross the border will be at the developer’s expense – they will build the pipes. The cost of the services is based on the usual LUSI formula. But the costs are the same as being in Town, with the exception of an increased monthly charge for the water/sewage. LUSI will measure the consumption for water and the sewage charge will be based on the quantity of water delivered. The tricky question of selling Cobourg’s future sewage capacity is addressed as “Development Charge capacity loss compensation” which really means that if a developer was building this structure inside the border he would have had to pay a development charge, which has been established by consultants last year. If a developer is building outside the borders this compensation amount will be charged and based on the annual consumption. The question is HOW much should this compensation be? Just how much money will Cobourg make out of this development considering that all of the taxes generated will flow to Hamilton Twp. Surely a developer inside the border will pay a development charge but the structure built will generate taxes and benefits for the Town, can we say the same for a facility in Hamilton Twp? The Tredree facility has not had the amount determined yet but the Pentecostal Camp will pay a onetime fee of $70,884.60. We will wait for that breakdown and justification – it seems to minimal at first glance!

The final thing the BR will say in this report, they have an interview scheduled with the Town later in the week to check our facts and listen to the Town’s justifications, is that the size of the sewage pipe is the wrinkle in this debate. The proposed developments are not on the border but some distance away from it. That means there is developable land between the border and the new facilities. That means that unless the size of the pipe is geared to the facilities in question only, there will be excess capacity available to others that have frontage. These properties will be able to command to be hooked up. So the ‘giveaway’ really is bigger than at first glance.

Just wonder how many of these questions have been asked in the secret meetings that have taken place already in the back rooms?

“We have some more things to talk about”

In a previous post we pointed out that the agenda for Monday’s CoW meeting was a bit thin, well it’s not now. Additions to the Agenda are coming: 

  • A presentation, from the CAO Town of Cobourg presenting the 2015-2018 Annual Strategic Plan Update,
  • A memo from the Treasurer/Director of Corporate Services, regarding the Victoria Hall Clock Tower Clock Mechanism replacement,
  • A memo from the Treasurer/Director of Corporate Services, regarding the 2018 Roof Replacement Projects at the Henley Arcade and Building 7 – Public Works/Parks Facility,
  • A memo from the Emergency Planner, regarding a Memorandum of Understanding with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit for Use of the Cobourg Community Centre as an Emergency Mass Health Protection Clinic,
  • And a memo from the Secretary, Cobourg Heritage Advisory Committee regarding a Heritage Permit Application, 202 Church Street, Cobourg (submitted by Keith Colterman on behalf of Anne Marie Cummings) (HP-2018-010) regarding restoration and reconstruction of a front porch.

The first presentation (the presentation about the Strategic Plan) will be the kickoff to the reelection campaign for all of the undeclared incumbents. After all who of them cannot help but boast that they have completed most of the plan they wrote three years ago. Accomplishments – that’s what is needed by these folks.

 

Another Candidate declares: Randy Curtis, a longtime Cobourg local has declared. Randy also tried to get on last year when the Town advertised for people to fill the vacancy. Suzanne Seguin was the successful appointee that time. Good luck to Randy this time. More details will appear on the candidates’ page when they become available.

All that work just to maintain the status quo!

Was it good for you? The first report from the Ad-Hoc committee on Council remuneration is out – read it here. Three recommendations have been made; increase the pay of the Mayor by approx $3K, raise the Councillors’ pay by $600 and do not compensate for the loss of the one-third tax-free allowance.

However after three meetings the esteemed elders, after all apart from the Clerk and CAO all of the people in the were pensioners, they resoundingly voted to keep the status quo and effectively only award a cost of living increase. No word about the workload which should have determined whether the job is full or part time. As a delegation I did appear and present the committee with my point of view about this very subject. The remarks found here did try to focus but obviously fell on deaf ears.

But as we go into the next Cobourg election we will again be faced with the prospect of electing candidates who are of the elder persuasion, after all they have the time to do the job. The opportunity to elect a diverse Council is gone, simply because the pay is a disincentive to being on Council. After all who in their right minds would work to get on Council and then lose money by being on Council? And don’t tell me it’s not the money, it is all about the money. One doesn’t go into Council to make money but on the other hand one shouldn’t lose money by being on Council!