Council approves a small home energy efficiency retrofit program - if it proves to be viable look for a 50,000 + homes to be involved

By Pepper Parr

March 23rd, 2020



Council decided to support the implementation of a small-scale home energy efficiency retrofit program that would include a virtual delivery centre/support for homeowners and loans through a Local Improvement Charge (LIC) mechanism.

The city has some 58,000 homes that do make efficient use of the energy needed to heat their homes.

Expect this one to become a major issue during the October municipal election.  It’s big and it is important

The report setting out the details and the specifics will get back to Council in 2023 well after the 2022 municipal election.

Much of the ground work on this project came out of The Centre for Climate Change Management at Mohawk College (CCCM) where a feasibility study was completed for a home energy efficiency retrofit program.

Staff recommend a small scale home energy efficiency retrofit program with specific measures to reduce the carbon footprint in the residential sector.

There will be an interest-bearing loan program for up to $10,000 per household to cover the cost of an air source heat pump and leak sealing to improve energy efficiency.

Starting with a small scale program (about 20 households) will give staff the experience and knowledge required to work on scaling up a program to engage more homeowners.

As part of the 2023 budget process, staff will present a business case to include funding for an FTE (full time employee) to coordinate the program and allocate funding to support retrofit loans to homeowners.

A website (Better Homes Burlington) will also be launched as a one stop shop for homeowners.

The eventual goal is to scale up the program to support Burlington homeowners in completing energy efficiency retrofits of their homes; there are many variables which can impact the next steps:

• Competing priorities to be assessed during the 2023 budget process and final outcome;
• The level of demand by residents for a city loan (subject to interest) to finance their energy retrofit;
• The extent of interest and commitment of other municipalities to partner with Burlington on a regional program;

This came out of the decision by Council to declare a climate emergency in 2019 and a target for Burlington to become a net carbon neutral community by 2050.

Implementation of a home energy efficiency retrofit (HERO) program is one of the key program areas identified in the Climate Action Plan. The plan includes a target of over 50,000 existing homes (singles, semis and towns) requiring energy retrofits, including the installation of heat pumps. The challenge becomes how to educate, encourage and incent homeowners to undertake a retrofit to reduce their carbon footprint.

Council approved the $182,000 budget but also encouraged staff to apply to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Community Efficiency Financing (CEF) initiative for funding to support the HERO project.

Staff worked with the CCCM on a funding application and were successful in securing a $100,000 grant to support the project. FCM’s CEF initiative supports feasibility studies, program design, and project implementation for municipal HERO projects.

The city’s funding application was focused on assessing the feasibility of a home energy efficiency program with elements of program design included. It is important to note that the FCM funding primarily supports full program development (via homeowner loans offered through Local Improvement Charge (LIC) loans), scaling and implementation, but not pilots unless they are innovative and unique.

Home energy efficiency retrofit program:
Refers to a project or upgrade to a home that reduces energy use and/or greenhouse gas emissions (ie. adding insulation; upgrading heating and air conditioning equipment; and/or adding renewable energy options, etc.). Over the past few months, the CCCM with support from the Bay Area Climate Change Council, has developed a program based on these values:

• Support for upgrades with high emission reduction potential
• Manage (minimize) costs to reduce emissions
• Program equity to address energy poverty
• Promote transparency and consumer choice
• Create market confidence for home upgrades

The overall goal of the program is to implement a home upgrade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Burlington homes. Co-benefits of a program include local employment opportunities; reducing energy poverty; and improved home comfort and enjoyment.

The idea certainly has merit – but it has a long way to go before it is ready for a full scale roll out.

The CCCM forecasts growth over a number of years in home energy efficiency, specifically related to the Burlington program air source heat pump conversions and leak sealing initiatives:

Program Year Homes Upgraded per Year

Some residents may pursue other programs offered through Enbridge Gas and Natural Resources Canada.

In the event that the budget business case (for 2023) is not approved to support the initial proposed program, staff will provide limited support to homeowners by continuing to promote options available and host informational webinars with community partners. However, individual support to homeowners would not be possible without a full time position to support the program. Staff will continue to discuss regional partnership opportunities with nearby municipalities with the potential to present a subsequent business case for consideration during the 2024 budget.

The CCCM led the process to assess the feasibility of a HERO program for Burlington. It started with background research of best practices across many jurisdictions where home energy efficiency programs are offered. There was a coordinated effort with the Bay Area Climate Change Council to interview local stakeholder groups, city staff, municipal staff (from other communities), and 3rd party delivery agents. A homeowner survey was completed with both online and telephone respondents. Demographic and housing data was assessed along with home energy audit data (audits previously completed in Burlington) to help narrow down home energy efficiency measures for Burlington.

Regular updates were provided to a small staff team with the Executive Director of Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services; the Manager of Environmental Sustainability; and representation from the Finance department. Updates were also provided to the Community Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the city’s Climate Action Plan and the Bay Area Climate Change Council’s Implementation Team (focused on home energy efficiency retrofits) who provided guidance and acted as sounding boards.

Total Financial Impact
It is recommended that the city develop necessary measures to support a small scale program with LIC loans and communications and marketing. This is a preliminary budget and a business case will be submitted for the 2023 budget cycle to support the operational elements for a small scale program, including one full-time staff member to administer the program.

Feasibility and Program Design Budget:
Council approved $182,000 in September 2020 to support this project. In addition, staff were successful in securing an additional $100,000 in a grant from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for a total of $280,000. Staff received council direction to transfer $60,000 to the development of the Climate Adaptation Plan (Climate Resilient Burlington), leaving $220,000 available for the HERO feasibility and program design project.

The agreement with CCCM for their work has a budget of $174,000, leaving $46,000 in available funding for climate related initiatives. The final remaining amount is subject to change based on the final review and reconciliation of expenses with FCM.

The Better Homes Burlington proposal is a key measure identified in the city’s Climate Action Plan. Support for homeowners to improve energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint will assist Burlington in becoming a net carbon neutral community and showing leadership on climate action.

Related news story:

It works – story of an example

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JBH Gradually Easing Public Health Measures: Surgical Activity has Reached 90 %

By Eric Vandewall

March 23rd, 2022



As key public health and health system indicators continue to improve, Ontario and local governments are gradually easing public health and safety measures. While many of us welcome the opportunity to take part in indoor social activities such as sporting events, it is important to recognize that COVID-19 remains transmissible to vulnerable individuals receiving care in healthcare settings. We cannot lose sight of our role in protecting the health and safety of patients and healthcare workers at Joseph Brant Hospital.

Eric Vandewall: President and CEO Joseph Brant Hospital

Individual organizations and municipalities are responding and managing these new measures differently – some may choose to adopt current practices, while others may take a more careful and measured approach depending on local conditions and the populations that they serve. The lifting of public health measures by provincial and local governments is, at the end of the day, a judgement call.

Hospitals have the discretion to establish their own guidelines and review them on an ongoing basis. At this point, JBH will continue to require that all patients, essential care providers, and visitors wear a hospital-issued, medical grade mask while in the hospital. This decision is rooted in data, evolving science and evidence-based best practices – it is what is best for our patients, our staff, physicians, learners and volunteers.

We have not changed our COVID-19 vaccination requirement for Essential Care Providers (ECPs), with very limited exceptions. ECPs are still required to complete a COVID-19 screening before coming to the hospital. It is important for patients and their loved ones to review the visitor guidelines; we will continue to re-evaluate our policies in the weeks and months ahead, with input from our patients, their ECPs and our staff.

We have made changes to the limits on ECPs, recognizing the important role ECPs play in a patient’s care, well-being, and recovery. Patients staying in hospital can have two ECPs at their bedside, and individuals coming for appointments or coming to the Emergency Department can have one person accompany them.

I am pleased to report that our surgical activity has reached 90 per cent of pre-COVID levels, consistent with the changes in provincial direction. Our diagnostics are running at full capacity. We continue to explore additional strategies to address the surgical procedures backlog and are we are working closely with our surgeons to monitor deferred procedures very closely to ensure timely access for patients requiring  urgent and time-sensitive procedures.

Throughout the pandemic, we have shared what we are seeing in our community when it comes to care needs – this includes the growing need for mental health and addictions (MHA) services. I invite you to a virtual panel about Burlington’s current and future needs for these services on Wednesday, April 6 at 7 p.m. The panel aims to shine a light on this important topic; help people to discover the available services in the community; and to provide a forum for questions and answers at a time when many are looking for more support.

Join our MHA experts, Dr. Steven Selchen and Dr. Monidipa Ravi; our moderator, Jane McKenna, MPP for Burlington and Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues; and Michelle Barr, Director of Services of Reach Out Centre for Kids (ROCK). Please go to for details on how to join the virtual discussion, and please take a moment to fill out a short survey about the mental health and addictions resources in our community.

These last two years have been incredibly difficult for everyone. The road behind us has been a long one, and we are moving in the right direction, with high vaccination rates and a decreasing trend in COVID-19 hospitalizations. As public health measures continue to lift, we encourage you to continue to follow the guidance of medical experts and public health officials.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our teams have continued to care for people in our community. I am so proud of our teams here at JBH and I would like to thank all of our dedicated staff, physicians, learners, and volunteers for their incredible efforts to provide safe and quality care.

Thank you for your continued support.

Please take care, stay safe and be well.

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City Updates Vaccination Policies for Volunteers and Staff

By Staff

March 23rd, 2022


Masks aren’t a must but hugs are in – according to the Mayor.

Vaccinations are heavily encouraged.  For those who do not get vaccinated – there have been consequences.

The creation of the vaccine in such a short period of time will be seen as a true marvel.

The City’s COVID-19 Volunteer Vaccination Policy has been repealed.

This means  volunteers, when accessing City facilities and taking part in City activities, will not be required to show proof of vaccination.

On March 14, 2022, the City of Burlington COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy was amended; staff that are not vaccinated will continue to have the option to test (Fire Department staff excluded). The decision to amend the COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy was done in light of the evolving pandemic situation and messages from the Chief Medical Officer of Health regarding workplace vaccination policies. In addition, the Province of Ontario lifting its vaccine passport requirements and remaining capacity limits factored into this COVID-19 Staff Vaccination Policy amendment.

Being tested isn’t quite this dramatic.

Passive screening for the public visiting City facilities will continue to be in place. (Passive screening is a list of questions that are asked.) Members of the public who wish to continue to wear their mask in City facilities are welcome to do so and we ask the public be patient and kind with one another and staff as we move through these changes together. Daily active screening of City employees and source control masking will remain in place for City staff.

Passive screening means:

  • you must post signs with clear instructions at all entrances that tell people how to screen themselves
  • the signs should include the screening questions and instruct people with symptoms or high-risk exposures not to enter the premises
  • people are assumed to have screened themselves and followed the instructions
  • you do not need to ask anyone to report the result of their screening
  • a person should be told not to enter if they volunteer the information that they did not pass the screening assessment

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: vaccinated or tested.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward explains: “Vaccination policies for our City staff and volunteers have been flexible throughout the pandemic — changing as needed to respond to health indicators and advice from health officials. Based on the current situation, and in keeping with advice from the Medical Officer of Health and the Province, in lifting requirements to show proof of vaccination in certain settings, we are modifying our policy once again. City volunteers won’t be required to show proof of vaccinations, and City staff (with the exception of the fire department, due to the nature of the job) have the choice of vaccination or testing.”


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Director of Education panel: Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms.

By Staff

March 23rd, 2022



The next Halton District School Board (HDSB)  Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion & Human Rights will take place on March 29th at 6:00 pm

The working title for the event is Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms.

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board

HDSB families, staff and community members are invited to the Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion & Human Rights to raise awareness on historical and contemporary issues of identity, inclusion and human rights. The next session in the panel series will be:

Two Spirit & Transgender Awareness: Beyond Bathrooms
Tuesday, March 29 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.
This will be a virtual event, with the livestream linked on the HDSB website (
Registration is not required.

Panel speakers include:

• Dani Araya, Coordinator, Trans Youth Mentor Program, The 519
• Andie Davis, HDSB Grade 11 student
• Lyndon George, Indigenous Justice Coordinator, Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
• Eliot Newton, Education Program Coordinator, Comprehensive Sexuality Education, at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity
• Stella, HDSB Grade 8 student
• Phi Trân Trinh, Program Coordinator, Positive Space Network
• Dinaly Tran, Nonbinary BIPOC Program Coordinator, Planned Parenthood Toronto

Those interested in attending the event can submit a question to the panel before or during the panel discussion through this Google Form:

Curtis Ennis, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board explains:    “Each session in the series will explore how issues of identity and inclusion intersect with education,”

“This provides an opportunity to create awareness of multiple perspectives of insight and analysis on how individual identities can be reflected and engaged in the broader HDSB community. This panel series aligns with the Board’s commitment to raise awareness of diverse community perspectives and the need to broaden resources to support inclusion and student achievement, as reflected in the HDSB’s Multi-Year Plan 2020-2024 and the Human Rights Equity Action & Accountability Plan – The Way Forward.”

Future sessions in the series include:
• Indigenous Perspectives on Decolonizing Education and Land (Tuesday, April 26 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.)
• Perspectives on Islam and Islamophobia (Tuesday, May 31 at 6 – 7:30 p.m.)

Previous panel sessions include Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (Feb. 7) and Black Excellence: Today and Every Day (Feb. 28). Full recordings of these panel discussions are available to view on the Director’s Panel Series on Identity, Inclusion and Human Rights webpage.

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Burlington City Council moving to hybrid council meetings

By Staff

March 23rd, 2022



Don’t accuse this council of ever rushing into anything.

Plans for the resumption of normal city council business were set out today.  They will move to a hybrid model.  Members of Council, senior City staff and members of the public have the option to participate in Council meetings in-person at Council Chambers in City Hall at 426 Brant St. or remotely.

At least two members of Council have been infected by Covid19, one very mildly, the other quite seriously.

Another member of Council appears to suffer from Mysophobia  a phobia that centers on an extreme and irrational fear of germs, dirt, or contamination.

The move to hybrid Council meetings will be phased in.

The first hybrid meeting will be the Environment, Infrastructure and Community Services Committee (EICS) meeting taking place on April 7, 2022.

This will be for members of Council and senior City staff only.

Following this, the Council meeting on April 19 will have the option for Council, senior staff and delegations, only, to be present in Council Chambers.

Expect to see Ann and David Marsden at the first meeting during which in person delegations will be possible.

Starting in May, the standing committees and Council meetings will be open to Council, senior staff, delegations and the public to attend in person.

All this rests on the Covid19 infection numbers being low – in the three to five hundred level seems to be what they are aiming for.

City Council and committee meetings have been held virtually for the past two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health and safety
To ensure the health of safety of participants attending hybrid council meetings in person:

  • members of Council will be physically distanced in Council Chambers around the Council desk
  • plexiglass barriers have been installed between participants sitting around the Council desk and in front of the delegate’s podium
  • masking will be encouraged for individuals in Council Chambers when they are not speaking
  • after each meeting, all Council Chambers equipment and surfaces will be disinfected.

Delegations from members of the public
Under the hybrid model, members of the public have the option to delegate in-person in Council Chambers or remotely.

Council Chambers will be configured to ensure all participants have an equitable and seamless meeting experience. Delegates are not required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to delegate in person. Those wishing to speak at an upcoming meeting must register by noon the business day before the meeting at

Will Burlington every see this level of public participation again?

Members of the public can continue to access a live stream of Council and committee meetings from wherever they are by visiting and selecting the “Live Stream” icon.

A strategy for resuming in-person advisory committee meetings will be reviewed at a later date and will be based on findings and lessons learned from the hybrid City Council meetings.

The City will continue to monitor the situation with COVID-19 and follow the guidance provided by public health and the Province of Ontario. In the event of any changes made by the Province of Ontario to current COVID-19 public health measures, changes to the hybrid council meeting model may be introduced.

Residents delegating in person are reminded the main floor of City Hall is currently undergoing construction as part of the City Hall Modernization project. Please use the Brant Street entrance to access City Hall and take the elevator in the lobby to reach the second floor where Council Chambers is located.



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Why do former Chiefs of Police want to be politicians?

By Pepper Parr

March 23rd, 2022



Former Toronto Chief of Police Mark Saunders plans to run as a PC candidate.

When did the police services become a training ground for people who want to go into politics?

Bill Blair left the Toronto Police Service and is now a Cabinet Minister in the federal Liberal government.

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives announced today that Mark Saunders, a former Chief of Police for Toronto as well, will run for that party in the June election.

Halton Regional Police Chief Stephen Tanner

A ray of sunshine for the Tory’s – to date 18 people who were with Doug Ford when he formed a government will not be with him in June.

Saunders will be running in Don Valley West, which has been held by former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne since 2003.  She will not be running again.

Does Halton Regional Police Services have any plans for a career shift?

Spokesperson for the Chief  advises us that: “The Chief gets asked this question frequently. He indicates that he finds policing to be the greatest calling, and he still has a few more things he’d like to contribute and accomplish in our sector.”


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It is over - we can all hug each other now. State of Emergency and mask bylaw repealed effective immediately

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022



It is over!

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward had the power to declare a State of Emergency – she chose to share that decision with the other members of Council

The Mayor along with her council members passed a motion to declare the State of Emergency that was declared two years ago was revoked today – at 4:36 in the afternoon.

Hugs are back said the Mayor.

The masking bylaw was revoked as well.

Ward 3 Councillor Rory Nisan who voted against the decision to lift the mask bylaw

It was passed on a 5-1 vote with Rory Nisan dissenting. Councillor Kearns was absent.

With the State of Emergency over the Emergency Control Group (ECG) gets dissolved.

We didn’t learn all that much today on just they did on a day to day basis but we did learn that their very first meeting on a Saturday lasted 8 hours – the second meeting on the Sunday lasted just as long.

City manager Tim Commisso explained that they just didn’t know what they were doing or had to do.

Keeping everyone safe was the prime objective – but in the early days it was never completely clear how to go about keeping people safe.

Executive Director Alan Magi served as co-chair of the ECG said it was learning what worked by the hour. All the essential service people had to be moved from their desks at whatever their location was and learn to do their jobs from the kitchen table at home.

Some staff members were able to make the transition while others had serious difficulty.

Commisso added that “we knew so little” but we had to be there to answer the questions.

Executive Director Sheila Jones

Executive Director Sheila Jones remarked that on her third month in her new position she had to learn how to manage staff to do something no one had been trained to do and there was no playbook to follow.

When we were putting up fencing in the Beachway area people were asking if that was necessary – “we didn’t really know” he explained.

Director of Finance Joan Ford

There was a real crunch on the revenue side – the city is blessed with a treasurer who has an incredible understand of where the dollar are and where they have to be spent. At one point Joan Ford was running under a Covid19 budget where much of the money came from the province and at the same time running a traditional municipal budget where revenues from just about everything were plummeting.

Chris Glenn, Director Parks, Recreation and Culture

Transit was bleeding, Parks and Recreation learned to pivot and then pivot again as the rules on what people could do and couldn’t do in the playground areas kept changing.

Friday afternoons began to be the time when the province would ship as new bunch of rules and guidance to the municipal sector
Everyone was thanking everyone – what we have yet to learn is who were the really strong people who could keep things calm. Commisso isn’t the kind of guy whose feathers are easily ruffled.

Fire Chief has shown herself to be good at keeping control and issues in context.

What Burlington didn’t have, and both could have had and should have had, was a steady stream of news from the ECG people.

City manager Tim Commisso – dancing in the streets of Itabashi – Japan

What the public got was reports the ECG people made to council once during the Standing Committee cycles. At basically the same time we had a Prime Minister at a lectern outside his home explaining what was being done; where we were on the matter of vaccines

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward outside the hospital telling workers how important they were.

The Mayor resorted to banging pots and pans or standing in front of the hospital with a megaphone in hand telling the essential workers that they were loved.
But as of today – all that is part of the past.

Plans are being made to hold some of the social events that were missed – sounds like an opportunity for one heck of a party.
I want to see Commisso dancing in the street the way he did in Japan.

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Solid Gold opens - no masks at this location

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022



Now open – with a masking protocol

A sign that the new normal has taken on life and that there are places where masks will not be worn

Solid Gold, the Adult Entertainment location in Aldershot is now open.

The site, die for re-development at some point. will have a public park. no word on the size of the park, at the rear of the building.

A location with a lot of traffic will evolve and become a two structure development that will tise to 10 to 12 storeys.

The property owner has said he will ensure that the site has a coffee shop and there is a report that there will be a park at the rear of the development.

Time line – nothing in place yet – the item did go to the Ontario Land Tribunal.

The developers application – yet to be approved


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What does a Happy Camper look like? Here he is.

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022



Pictures are indeed often worth a thousand words.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau -a very happy camper.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced yesterday that his government had come to an agreement with the New Democrats on the kind of legislation that would be brought forward in the next three years; including pharmacare, dental care, affordable housing and climate change.

The agreement is said to ensure that the Liberals will not have to go to the polls until sometime in 2025 – pretty good job security.

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Some very tough decisions to be made by the people of Ontario

By Pepper Parr

March 22, 2022



Ontario’s fixed-date election law sets voting day as June 2, 2022, and the formal start of the campaign period as next May 4.

Burlington now has nominated candidates for the three mainline political parties.

NDP candidate Andrew Drummond get a visit from Liberal candidate Mariam Manaa while she was doing her door to door thing.

The New Democrats nominated Andrew Drummond, the Liberals actually made a contest of their nomination and chose Mariam Manaa as their candidate.

The Progressive Conservatives appointed Natalie Pierre as their candidate.

The Greens nominated Kyle Hutton.

There may be others.

While there is all kinds of political maneuvering taking place at the party leadership level, the fight at the ground level will become fierce starting May 4th.

Drummond is well known, he has run before and has acquitted himself quite well.  Were he to be elected he would be a creditable legislator once he has learned the basics of being an MPP.

Andrea Horwath on the campaign trail

The problem with the Ontario New Democrats is their leader – Andrea Horwath isn’t seen as a leader; there isn’t all that much bench strength in the party – she would have difficulty forming a government and the even more difficulty governing.

Bob Rae who brought tonnes of credibility to the job of party leader had difficulty find the talent he needed to appoint solid members to his Cabinet.

Burlington does have a small but solid community of followers – enough to win?  There was a real chance last time out – not sure that chance exists this time around,

Manaa has no experience in government but some knowledge of the way politicians serve their communities having worked as an intern with two federal MP’s.

No one is sure just where her support came from.  If the Muslim community is large enough she could take the seat.; what is not clear is just how many Muslim’s in the riding there are.   The most recent Stats Canada data is not yet available.  The Muslim community will vote for their candidate.

The team teaching Mariam how to campaign is solid.  If she has the capacity to develop into a credible candidate she could surprise a lot of people.

Aldershot resident Greg Woodruff, right,  talking to Stephen Del Duca, provincial Liberal party leader, while he was in Burlington as the then Minister of Transport for the province.

The Liberals have not been blessed with a gifted party leader.  Steve Del Duca comes across as flailing about looking for an issue that he can use to get the foothold he desperately needs.  Not having a seat in the Legislature doesn’t help. .

The Progressive Conservatives in Burlington have struggled to develop really solid candidates. Cam Jackson served as the MPP for years.  One would be challenged to point to anything significant he achieved while in office.

Jane McKenna was nominated at a meeting where she was the only candidate; zip in the way of political experience and a one of the thinnest public profiles ever seen for a person running for public office.  She was fortunate in having some very savvy political players guiding and directing her.  It was one of Keith Strong’s better initiatives.

There has always been something suspect with PC nomination meetings.

McKenna decided there was an even greener pasture for her at the Regional level and she announced she would not run again as the MPP fr Burlington.

There was no immediate identifiable replacement candidate; we would get notes from people asking if we knew who the PC candidate was going to be.

Natalie Pierre, PC appointed candidate for Burlington

It is not known yet how, when or where the appointed candidate Natalie Pierre was found.

No experience other than having lived in Burlington for 30 years.

The PC party made the appointment on March 4th and informed the public on We were copied on an email in which McKenna appeared to be taking all the credit for finding Pierre.

Since that announcement – not a word.

Burlington has solid deep Conservative roots. As a society it tends to be conservative.

The federal candidate the Conservatives put forward was wrapped in a bubble, said next to nothing and was the poster girl for the gun club lobby.

The challenge for every political party and its candidate is to create profile – get the candidate out in front of people.

To date we have seen nothing on Natalie Pierre.

Are the PC’s going to rely on the strength thay have always has in Burlington. A sort of “she is one of us – vote for her” campaign?

Doug Ford casting a ballot

The problem the PC’s have is with their leader.  He has not exactly proven to be a rock star for the way he handled the pandemic; Ontario has yet to formalize an agreement with the federal government on the new child care program.

It is hard to fathom the PC position on climate change but very easy to grasp what they want to do in terms of building new roads rather that focus on and look for different ways to move people from place to place.

The Bradford Bypass and the Hwy 413 extension are really not needed.

Doug Ford has a small business mentality – he genuinely feels the pain of the small business person who had to close their doors during the lock-downs,

Ford understand the small business community – he genuinely cares about the problems they have had to face.

He is prepared to put at risk the health and welfare on students who would be well served with a masking policy for another two weeks until we learn what WORD are going to be as a result of the Spring Break.

What is proving to be very interesting is the number of parents who have decided they will stay with a masking protocol for the immediate future and wait for new virus infection results.

Doug Ford wants to hope that the reports are minimal and that we may have cleared the mist recent wave.  Let us hope as well that the numbers that do exists don’t get fudged.

Kyle Hutton Green Part candidate

What the province needs at this point in its growth is a well thought out vision – something a bit more than Doug Ford’s Open for Business position.

Burlington now has three candidates; two who are credible – the third too unknown at this point to be able to make a comment.

The Greens have a candidate – thin on real experience but quite a bite of on the ground electing candidates which he learned while working to get Karina Gould elected.

There are tough choices to be made.  A minority Progressive Conservative government would serve the province best,

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.



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Tow trucks get taken out of service - didn't meet the safety requirements. Awe shucks.

By Staff

March 21, 2022



Can you imagine – those tow trucks that were there to help you during your hour of distress; 56 were taken off the road for load security, lighting issues and weight issues

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) has completed its annual “Towbruary” Tow Enforcement Campaign, and the results were staggering.

Throughout the month of February, the HRPS Traffic Services Unit and our District Response Units conducted a number of tow truck inspection blitzes across Halton. A joint inspection blitz was also carried out with Hamilton Police Service on the border of the two jurisdictions. These enforcement activities resulted in the following:

• 103 inspections were conducted,

• 56 tow trucks were placed Out of Service (54 percent Out of Service rate), and

• 155 charges were laid under the Highway Traffic Act.

Who towed the tow trucks that were taken out of service ?

The top three reasons for failed inspections were load security, lighting issues and weight issues. To ensure the safety of all road users, drivers and operators of commercial vehicles are required to ensure their vehicles and loads are inspected and safe before they are operated on any road.

The HRPS would like to remind motorists that if they are in a collision, they should not give their vehicle to just anyone. Know your rights. Know your tow. As the registered owner and/or driver of a vehicle involved in a motor vehicle collision, you:

• have the right to have your vehicle towed by the towing company of your choice; and
• have the right to have your vehicle towed to the location of your choice.

HRPS officers respond to collisions when the involved vehicle(s) require a tow truck. Motorists have the option to use a tow of their choice or have an officer request a tow from an authorized rotational list.

There is a sense of justice after all.


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How do your city Councillors actually engage with you? Each one has a different style and approach - are they effective?

By Pepper Parr

March 20th, 2022



Each week the city Communications group publishes a list of events taking place. Members of Council are able to notify their constituents that they are holding a meeting.

Of the seven members of Council three set out their plans for the week ahead.

We found it interesting that in the notices posted – there was nothing on where the meeting was taking place for Councillor Stolte or Councillor Bentivegnia.  We chased down the information

Councillor Stolte looking for a response to a  motion she had put forward.

March 26 2022, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM Ward 4 Coffee Chat with Councillor Shawna Stolte
Ward 4 resident – You are invited!

I would like to invite Ward 4 residents to join me for a coffee chat. Come ask questions, give feedback, pick up safety items or just stop by to chat about all things Ward 4.

The City of Burlington will follow the direction from the Provincial government and will no longer require visitors to City recreational facilities to show proof of vaccination as of March 1.

Masks, physical distancing and passive screening are still required until further notice.

The meet up takes place in the coffee shop section of Denningers on Guelph Line in the Burlington Centre


Bentivegna – the complexity is beyond him at times.

March 28 2022, 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM Ward 6 Drop-in Session
Ward 6 Drop-In Sessions….What’s on your mind?
I invite Ward 6 residents to drop by for a chat and let me know what is on your mind. I welcome your input and feedback on what is important to you in your community.These are one on one sessions. No appointment is necessary.

March 30 2022, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM Ward 2 Community Update with Councillor Lisa Kearns
Let’s connect on what’s important to you!

The owner of the best brain on this council – now if she can build up the confidence she would be untouchable.

It’s important to both hear from residents directly and have conversation together. That’s why I am so pleased to be able to return to hosting hybrid meetings. Using Zoom webinar technology, you can join from home and ask your questions, while hearing from those in person that are attending live.

There are two options to participate:
1. Virtual using Zoom technology to live stream the Community Update as a webinar. REGISTER here

2. In-Person at the Art Gallery of Burlington (AGB) where we are required to strictly adhere to public health protocols, including face coverings and social distancing.

As per Provincial Government Orders, Proof of Vaccination and Photo I.D. must be shown upon entry to the AGB. Register for in-person attendance at
• Planning + Development
• Ward 2 Updates
• City Hall News
• Our Community
• COVID-19 Update
• Q&A Session
Questions/concerns? Email

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward: She loves the public platform – can be very effective on occasion.

The Mayor meets with people, sometimes as a group, often one on one but she has yet to hold an event where she is on stage, front and centre answering questions.  As a city councillor she was THE active voice for transparency and accountable; the job description changed and the manner in which she communicates has clearly changed as well.

For Mayor Meed Ward communication is a one way street – from her to you.  She once said that she had 17 different channels to reach people – difficult to keep up with all of them.

Councillor Galbraith isn’t that much of a public meeting kind of guy.  He does meet with people at a coffee shop and seems to get back to people that have problems that need to be resolved.  He did not hold any kind of meeting during the pandemic – he did send out regular news letters.

Councillor Sharman holds community meetings, he’s accessible and he has gotten much better at paying attention to the constituents.  He is the most informed member of this Council.  Besides being a Councillor he gets involved in issues that have a wide application – he has staff that handle much of hos ward issues – his is usually a bigger picture.  He shudders when you ask him just what the vision for the city is with this Council.

Rory Nisan: Has yet to find his groove – chose to be the strongest supporter the Mayor has on Council

Councillor Nisan has yet to find a community meeting method that works for him and that he is comfortable with.  There was a dual ward meeting for the rural people in wards 3and 6 that Nisan and Bentivegna shared.  Angelo knew how to work a room – he has this natural ability to approach people – he likes people and an opportunity to help out brings out the best in him.

He is challenged by the scope and scale of many of the issues – the complexity is beyond him at times. But in a one on one format – he is perhaps the best of the bunch.  He loves his job – can he hold his seat?  Only time will tell



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Regional mask By-law will be rescinded effective 12:01 a.m. on March 21' city of Burlington bylaw also expected to be rescinded.

By Staff

March 19th, 2022



On Saturday, March 19, 2022, Halton Regional Council approved an amendment to Halton Region’s Consolidated Mask By-law 47-20 to rescind the by-law effective 12:01 a.m. on March 21, 2022. The amendment was approved at a Special Meeting of Halton Regional Council in order to update Halton’s by-law in alignment with the removal of the Provincial requirements related to the wearing of a mask or face covering in most settings.

Halton’s mask by-law was originally adopted by Regional Council on July 15, 2020, as an important measure to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus and keep the Halton community safe. While the mask by-law is being rescinded in Halton, some Provincial and Federal masking requirements will remain in place.

Are these days behind us?

As of March 21, masking will continue to be required in select settings such as public transit, long-term care homes, retirement homes, and other health care settings, shelters, jails and congregate care and living settings, including homes for individuals with developmental disabilities.

In addition to the settings above, masks will also be required in the following circumstances:

  • Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 are required to wear a mask until day 10 following a positive test result or the onset of symptoms (whichever occurred first).
  • Close contacts and household contacts of individuals with COVID-19 are required to wear a mask for 10 days after exposure.
  • Individuals who have recently traveled outside of Canada, have to wear a mask for 14 days upon return.

Halton Region Public Health is also reminding residents that wearing a mask continues to be an effective public health measure for reducing the spread of COVID-19 and to be kind to those who choose to continue wearing a mask to protect themselves and others.

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health.

“There is still risk of transmission in Halton and we need to be mindful that the risk of infection and severe disease is greater for some individuals than others, including those who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions, and older adults,” said Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Halton Region’s Medical Officer of Health.

“Some individuals may choose to keep wearing masks in places where they are not required, and others, such as those who are close contacts of COVID-19 cases, will be required to wear masks for a period of time. Businesses and organizations may also continue to require or encourage mask use based on the risk in their workplaces and to their patrons. I encourage all Halton residents to continue to be kind and respectful to everyone, regardless of their decision to wear a mask or not.”

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Burlington now has an engineering company working on nuclear solutions to climate change

By Pepper Parr

March 19th, 2022



There was a time when they made refrigerators – not anymore

Westinghouse Electric in Canada now wants to make a device that will fit into three shipping containers and heat up to 4000 homes.

The device is a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) that Westinghouse believes is going to play a large part of helping the world meet the Climate Change challenge.  The device has been branded as an “eDavinci”

They expect to have it commercialized by 2027 – they are weeks away from announcing the first sale to a Saskatchewan corporation.

So – what is a SMR and why is it in the news?

Earlier this week the federal government announced a $27.2 million funding contribution that has Westinghouse contributing $57.2 million.

Member of Parliament and |Cabinet Minister Karina Gould

Hon. Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry

The event brought two Cabinet Ministers plus two Members of Parliament to Westinghouse operation where some details on the on the objective of the program were set out.

Hon. Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry who made the announcement was joined by Karina Gould Minister of Families, Children and Social Development .

The “eDavinci” is basically a very small nuclear reactor that provides clean, low cost energy to almost any community.  It fits into three shipping contains and can stay in place for eight years providing a constant flow of energy.  One SMR can provide the power needs of 4000 homes.

Pam Damoff, MP for |Oakville North Burlington

MP Pam Damoff told of a community she visited when she was on Oakville Town Council that ran everything off diesel generators.  When there was a rupture in the diesel fuel lines the oil spill meant the local school had to be closed.

Her point was that with an “eVince” in place there would be no diesel fuel spill and no C02 being pumped into the environment.

While the funding announcement was important the underlying message from everyone was that the climate change target cannot be met relying on just the sustainables – solar and wind – nuclear has to be part of the solution.

Eddie Saab, President of Westinghouse Electric Canasda

That statement is a significant shift on the part of the federal government; nuclear and radiation concerns appear to have been set aside – saving the planet is the priority.

How the “eVinci” works and the difference it is going to make is an interesting story which we will tell you when we have the graphics needed to make it all understandable.

The Westinghouse operation in Burlington has 230 employees which they expect to grow to over 300.



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Regional Council to debate an amendment to the mask bylaw in a rare Saturday meeting

By Staff

March 18th, 2022



Halton Regional Council will meet in a rare Saturday meeting to discuss an amendment to the bylaw relating to the Non-Medical Masks/Face Coverings in Certain Enclosed Public Places.

Notice of Amendment from Mayor Rick Bonnette and Councillor Clark Somerville re:  LPS26-22 – Update 5: Mandatory Non-Medical Masks/Face Coverings in Certain Enclosed Public Places in Halton Region


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Muir: Too early to change the masking rules - what's the rush?


By Tom Muir

March 17th, 2022



It isn’t popular to talk about masks and social distancing these days.

Everyone wants to see the pandemic declared over and get us to the point where we are dealing with an endemic and those are a piece of cake.

Tom Muir who contributes to the Gazette frequently focuses on just what it is we are dealing with and where the leadership is falling short.

I’m afraid I see too many cooks in the kitchen regarding Covid mandates, and too many splits of who has authority to decide.

Is this the time for the Medical Officer of Health to weight in with some comment?

I am particularly concerned about schools and the educational system, and have repeatedly expressed that concern. Now I find out from your message here that the City bylaw does not apply to schools. And also that the Regional Office of Health has authority, and could issue a Section 22 order, which could mandate masking in schools. Then, as well, you tell me the Medical Officers of Health at the Region is recommending lifting the mask bylaw.

So who has the responsibility to protect the children and the school system in this messy division of power? Regional Health has a conflict of interest between following orders that are “legal”, and the fact that something that is “legal” is not necessarily permissible, or morally justified in an ethical society, especially when the possible consequences for the most vulnerable in our society are known and are grave.

This conflict is very concerning as it raises questions of responsibility and accountability for a decision about children and schools – Who will be called to account for the decision and the consequences? Is the Board of Education responsible for this fiduciary duty of trust? If not, then why not?

I say again, it is just too soon to stop masking and other Covid controls in the school system right after all the interactions and mingling, and therefore increased virus transmission opportunities that will occur during school break. Several weeks are needed to see what happens. In addition, the City and Regional masking and other Covid bylaws, as you say, and I repeat –

“requires the wearing of masks or other face coverings within enclosed spaces open to the public, including:

  • City Hall and City facilities open to the public;
  • Burlington Transit;
  • Public areas of offices, retail outlets and malls; and
  • Inside common areas of apartment and condominium buildings.”

Is masking necessary for these children?

My point here is that enclosed public spaces are the areas of maximum transmission, and the masking is the first line of defence, then distancing, and this is an historical practice of public health infection protection.

Further, I say we need more time in general to consider lifting the masking bylaw because there is a lag in time to show what the health indicators are doing after the break, and in general.

I read this below in the Washington Post today, and it would do us well to heed the warning about the failure to be cautious in decisions with very serious consequences that we already know about very well. The whole article is worth a read in terms of what is going on with the virus.

“A surge in coronavirus infections in Western Europe has experts and health authorities on alert for another wave of the pandemic in the United States even as most of the country has done away with restrictions after a sharp decline in cases.”

“Infectious-disease experts are closely watching the subvariant of omicron known as BA.2, which appears to be more transmissible than the original strain, BA.1, and is fueling the outbreak overseas.”

My bottom line is that someone has to be called to be responsible to fulfill the Board of Education duty as Trustees – with root of Trust – to protect the children and the schools from the risk of this inherent policy harm, as stated by many independent experts, and by the known ways of how the virus acts. This is not safe policy for children, teachers, schools, or parents. It is not stated by Ford to be a safe policy, but a personal choice about risk tolerance.

The children themselves do not have the wherewithal to make such an independent choice for themselves, and are at the mercy of the politics, and what you decide to do. The rest of us will be collateral damage.

In my view, whoever gets to decide, whether it is the Board or not, will be guilty of negligence of fiduciary duty if they just obey Premier Ford’s orders.

Tom Muir is a retired federal civil servant who writes frequently on public issues




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Electric Mobility Surveys Now Available 

By Staff

March 15th, 2022



Surveys are available for residents to complete to identify opportunities and barriers for supporting and encouraging electric mobility in Burlington. Participants have the opportunity to complete one or more surveys on:

The survey starts with a few general questions and then you will be given the option to select which survey you would like to answer. At the end of each survey you can choose to complete another or answer some optional questions before you submit. Thank you for your feedback.

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Milton, Oakville and the Region end their State of Emergency - Burlington still hanging in there

By Staff

March 15th, 2022



The Town of Milton has ended its state of emergency for Covid-19. The state of emergency was first declared at the onset of the pandemic, on March 24, 2020.

The ending of the state of emergency follows the same announcements from Milton’s municipal partners – Halton Region and the Town of Oakville.

With the end of the state of emergency,  all residents are thanked for their resilience and commitment to keep our community safe. Residents are asked to remain kind, considerate ,and respectful toward those who continue to practice public health measures for their own well-being.

Residents are also encouraged to remain vigilant and practice what we have learned over the last two years. This includes staying home when sick and most importantly, getting vaccinated and boosted.

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Natalie Pierre, chosen by current MPP Jane McKenna to be the Progressive Conservative candidate for Burlington in 2022 election

By Pepper Parr

March 14th, 2022



Natalie Pierre

For over 30 years, Natalie Pierre and her husband Paul have made Burlington their home. Natalie is a human resources and finance professional with experience in the public and private sector. For the past 13 years, she has led hiring and recruitment at Sheridan College.

As a mentor and coach, Natalie has worked with high school, college and university students, to overcome the challenges they face in entering the workforce.

A determined problem solver, Natalie has worked tirelessly with all levels of government to advocate for improved mental health supports. Natalie and her husband have two children, Katie (25) and Mike who would have been 22 this year. Natalie has, and will continue to be, a strong voice at Queen’s Park.

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The Mayor amends Election procedures while council sits quietly

By Pepper Parr

March 14th, 2022



During the debate on March 2nd about the use of city facilities when elections are taking place, I sent the following to the City Clerk:

“There were two documents on the screen that did not appear to be in the agenda.
I have attached two screen shots to help you identify what I am talking about.
Would you have both documents sent to me – and would you explain why the documents were not in the agenda pkg.

I did not get a response from the City Clerk but I did get a response from the city communications department – the City Clerk doesn’t appear to answer email sent to him – a matter we will cover in some detail on another occasion.

We wanted a copy of a document that Mayor Meed Ward introduced to Council as a “walk on” agenda item. Walk on means the item was not on the agenda. The Procedural bylaw requires that the Chair of the meeting seek the approval of a majority of Council to permit the “walk on” item.  It was the Clerk’s job to catch the error and bring it to the attention of the Chair.

That didn’t happen either.

City Clerk Kevin Arjoon had nothing to say

When a report is being introduced to a Standing Committee meeting there is usually an introduction or comments from Staff on why the report is before Council.  City Clerk Kevin Arjoon had nothing to say – so the Mayor moved the report which allowed her to then talk about the nine amendment she had plus a Staff Direction.

Some Gazette readers took exception with our concern over the documents not being available to the public  – they are usually available five or six days before a meeting – giving those interested an opportunity to delegate.  That is another matter that will also be covered at another time.

Two of the nine amendment were not staff supported; the others were supported by Staff.

Each amendment was introduced to the Standing Committee. There was stiff debate on some of the amendments.

The agenda item was: Use of Corporate Resources During an Election Policy.

In previous municipal elections then Councillors Meed Ward and Bentivegnia had significant issues with the Clerk’s department as to what was permitted and what was not permitted.  There were some pretty silly decisions made by the Clerk at the time.

Marianne Meed Ward had some direct experience with city staff, the Clerk’s Office to be specific, on how election rules should be administered. She was making sure that the same things didn’t happen in 2022

Mayor Meed Ward started her presentation setting out “Principles” and adding a :However to those Principles.



The Mayor then took council through each of the amendments – one by one.


What Meed Ward wanted to ensure was that members of Council would still be able to do their jobs while the election campaign is taking place. There were portions of the policy document that could be interpreted to suggest that a Councillor seeking re-election had an advantage.  All members of those currentlt on council were consistent in wanting a level playing field.

During the meeting the Committee Clerk was able to make changes in the document that was before Council.  In the illustration below you can see where items have been revised.


Most of the rules related to city space and  would not apply to independent bodies like the Performing Arts Centre, the Art Gallery and the Libraries. The independent bodies were expected to create policies of their own.  Councillor Bentivegnia argued that it was still city property – and it is – but it is city property that is governed by an independent Board. It took Bentivegnia a couple of conversations to fully understand that one.



Council members and many Staff people use their own phone for city business.  The city pays a person who uses their own phone about $35 a month


The use of city business cards during an election was prohibited – but what does a candidate do if while talking to a voter at the door step the voter asks about a specific problem. Can the candidate give them a copy of the Council members business card and ask the voter to call the office and get the help they need?

The point being made was that while you are electioneering you are a candidate and not a Councillor.  Councillor Nisan suggested that they all take part in a bonfire at which they would all burn their city provided business cards.

Incumbents are seen to have advantages new candidates don’t have in terms of media.  This council was going to great lengths to ensure that their names and pictures did not appear in documents coming out of city hall.

Social media was a challenge.  Some things on social media cannot be changed.  An entry on LinkedIn cannot be changed was an example Meed Ward gave.

A lot of time was spent figuring out how Council members could talk about city business and not cross the line into working as a candidate.  Several Councillors wanted the city communications department to monitor what the Councillors sent out – the Communications department took a pass on that one.



Meed Ward argued that during the period between May 2, when candidates can file their nominations through to the last Council meeting in September, there was still a lot of serious council business to take care of.  There had to be a way for Council members to communicate with their constituents and at the same time campaign.  Removing any name identification and photographs (the Councillor would be identified as Councillor for Ward X) from communications material the city issues was determined to be the best approach


Meeting with constituents at a ward meeting called by the Councillor had all kinds of possible red flags.  Councillors saw it as unreasonable for a Councillor to say nothing about running for office at a meeting to discuss an issue.

Burlington is now very much into branding.  There is a project that focuses on creating and promoting One Burlington, to ensure that the city as a corporation gets the visibility and attention it feels it deserves and needs.

During the last election Mayor Meed Ward arm wrestled with the City Clerk at the time over the placing of small magnetic fridge cards on the bumpers of cards.  Councillor delegated to Council on his right to put signage on his vehicle.  The Clerk at the time argued that part of the vehicle was paid for by the city.  It was a different Clerk and a different time.

All these amendments had merit.  Councillor Kearns added an amendment of her own asking that Spencer Smith Park be kept campaign free.  That lost – however Civic Square was defined as campaign free.

The issue for the Gazette was the absence of any public input.  While this Council would love to believe they are all going to be acclaimed – that is as certain as that Irish rainbow that is going to direct us all to that mythical pot of gold.

It was at the end of the meeting that those monitoring the web cast heard the City Clerk apologize for the walk on report – he said it was better to do it now rather than wait until April.

That raised a serious – why wasn’t this done months ago?

We all knew what the date of the election was going to be.  A city that can’t stop itself from touting how engaged it is – manages to find a way to issue a report that is the very foundation of the way we choose our leaders.  The Clerk’s incompetence should have been noticed by the City Manager.   How did he manage to be asleep at the switch while the Clerk fumbled with the file?



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