Minister explained how much he is doing for the municipalities.

By Staff

August 28th, 2023



Clark was booed at one point during his remarks.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark started off on a high note when he addressed municipal council members and staff at the annual AMO conference held in London Ontario.

“This is an exciting time for Ontario, Ontario, Ontario, Our province is leading the nation in job growth with more than 700,000 full time jobs created in the province since 2018.

“Over the last two and a half years Ontario has attracted more than $25 billion in investments in the auto and the electrical vehicle battery sector alone.

“These investments lay the foundation for a resilient Ontario with opportunities for every community to thrive. And let’s be clear, Ontario is thriving; last year alone our province welcomed nearly half a million permanent residents. This is exciting, but we know that our communities must have the proper tools in place to support growth.

“That’s why we recently introduced the community infrastructure and housing accelerator (CIHA) it’s a tool that allows municipalities in partnership with the province to speed up approvals for important projects like housing and hospitals, while increasing transparency and accountability.

“I encourage all municipalities to look into ways to use CIHA to support projects worthwhile projects in their communities.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing first announcing strong Mayor concept.

“Our government has also taken decisive action to extend strong mayor powers to 28 municipalities that have committed to a housing target, helping these communities speed up delivery of key projects such as housing and infrastructure. And you all heard the premier yesterday as he announced the extension of strong mayor powers to an additional 21 municipalities provided that they commit on delivering on our provincially assigned housing targets.

“The premier also made a tremendous announcement in announcing our government’s new building faster fund that’s going to provide up to $1.2 billion over three years to help municipalities that are either on track to meet or hopefully to exceed their housing targets.

“This one will help municipalities pay for housing enabling infrastructure and related costs that support community growth. I want to assure you that our government will continue to look for solutions that help municipalities get more people into homes that meet their needs and their budgets.

“With that in mind, I’m announcing today that the government will be unveiling a slate of regional facilitators in Durham, Halton, Niagara, Simcoe County, Waterloo and York by September 11 of this year. These facilitators will be tasked with reviewing the structures that are in place in these fast growing areas to ensure that they’re up for the job in delivering efficient effective and accountable government that residents both expect and deserve. I know that those of you who represent these communities; you’ve been waiting too long already. I really appreciate your patience. I want to assure everyone that our focus has always been to get this right. We’re nearly there.

“As Housing Minister, I’m also too aware of the challenges Ontarians face when it comes to finding a home that’s why our government committed to building at least 1.5 million homes by 2031.

“We’re already making steady progress to that goal. We released four housing supply action plans since 2019. We’ve been advancing and committed to advancing a plan each and every year under the leadership of Premier Ford.

“I’ve also made several decisions on official plans which govern growth in municipalities that are home to more than six million Ontarians. These official plans are critical to our provinces future and I want to acknowledge and thank municipalities that were involved. I want to also thank them for their ongoing cooperation.
We’re also moving forward with the proposed provincial planning statement. We’re really encouraged by the amount of feedback that we received through our consultation on the statement. The consultation as all of you know, closed on August 4th.

“November is going to be a further opportunity to provide input by you to our government’s plan to get more homes built. The province is going to be hosting a housing forum in November with key municipal associations and key stakeholders to discuss the next housing supply action plan and how we can work together to deliver on those housing targets.

Is this going to be the definition of affordable housing?

“I know as we deliver on these targets, it’s critical that we’re building a range of housing, including affordable housing. Over the past year my ministry has been working very closely with municipalities and stakeholders to arrive at the definition of affordable housing that’s genuinely affordable, but which doesn’t stand in the way of getting shovels in the ground. I heard very clearly about the need to provide both clarity and stability so affordable homes can be built without delay. So that’s why I intend to introduce legislation in the fall that if passed would update the definition of affordable housing for the purpose of accessing development charge discounts and exemptions.

The definition would be largely based on the definition included in the 2020 provincial policy statement and would take local income levels into account. So that means the definition used to determine eligibility for these discounts and exemptions would reflect the ability of local households to pay for housing, and would reflect the reality of different housing markets across Ontario.

“We need to do this together. But we also need the federal government to do its part that’s why we’re again calling on Ottawa to work with us to defer the HST on all new large scale purpose built rentals If Ottawa refuses to take the step, Ontario is prepared to lead by example, and take action ourselves so that we can build housing that our residents need and they deserve.

“We’re also calling on the federal government to guarantee that at least 10% of the housing accelerator fund is reserved for small northern and rural communities.

“We need to ensure that these part of the these parts of the province are not left behind and we want to ensure that our fair share of federal funding comes forward so municipalities and service managers can properly fund affordable and supportive housing.

“We’re also going to continue to work with the federal government to secure our fair share of funding under the national housing strategy.

“Ontario has secured about $2.9 billion for housing programs through 2027 2028. I can assure you that we’re not done advocating for Ontario yet, the federal government still underfunding our province by $480 million dollars over the term of the strategy based on our core housing; these are dollars that should be going to your communities. I know that they’re needed. I encourage you to join us in making the case directly to the federal government to ensure that communities are receiving the funding that they need.

“We’re also continuing to work closely with municipalities when it comes to supporting newcomers to our province and you know, Ontario, we’re proud to welcome more immigrants than any other province, but we need our federal partners to step up with long term solutions to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers can access both shelter and supports because helping those experiencing or at risk of homelessness must be a shared priority for all levels of government.

Reasons for

“That’s why Ontario invested an additional $202 million in our Homelessness Prevention Program, bringing that annual investment to close to $700 million. We have put in place tangible long term solutions, such as the comprehensive By Name List of people experiencing homelessness, along with information about their needs. We’re also working with our partners to implement a new regulatory framework that protects critical community housing supply, encouraging housing providers to continue offering affordable rents for tens of thousands of households and continue to prioritize survivors of abuse and trafficking for rent geared to income assistance through the special priority policy.

“My ministry is also developing a guide that will help service managers who administer this policy and support survivors so they can access the homes that they need.

“Let me be clear, we are ready and willing to do that work. We will continue working with AMO and all of our partners to create a stronger future for our remarkable province.”

Now we are able to understand why the Minister was not able to keep in touch with his Chief of Staff who was selecting the properties that were to be taken out of the protected land within the Greenbelt – he was a very busy cabinet Minister.

During the twenty minute oration the Minister never once uttered the word “Greenbelt”.

There were reports that Minister Clark was booed at one point during his remarks.

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So, why not a “Shadow Council”?

By Joe Gaetan

August 28th, 2023



Much lamenting has taken place over the fact Burlington no longer has ECOB. ECOB had its time and place and was effective at the time. However different times require different methods.

A “Shadow Cabinet” is a feature of our Westminster system of government composed of opposition spokespeople who form an alternative cabinet to that of the sitting government.

The members shadow or mirror each position of the Cabinet. Members of a shadow cabinet have no executive power but can serve to hold a government to account. More importantly they demonstrate to the current government that someone is watching.

So, why not a “Shadow Council”?

Shadow Cabinets are a common feature at the federal level. Why not at the municipal level.

The benefit to the electorate of a shadow council is, the public would then have someone other than elected officials looking out for their best interest. The concept would require interested parties to come together under a formal arrangement whereby one or two people would shadow each member of council.

This would entail shadowing council meetings, ward communication sessions and other events that incumbents frequent. A shadow council would need to come together under a prescribed format that includes reporting back to the electorate. This of course would have to be done using the same communication methodologies and tools that our current council use to get their message out.

The Shadow Council approach has two benefits.

One being voters would get an “opposing” view of what is going on in our City.

Two, our system of democracy would be enhanced as those involved would benefit from the needed exposure. As it stands the “incumbent effect,” makes it almost impossible to unseat an incumbent. The time and effort required to do this would be something to consider.

Joe Gaetan

On the other hand, if you are not satisfied with the status quo or aspire to unseat the Mayor or Councillor, what are the alternatives?

None that I can see that are viable.

Joe Gaetan is a frequent commenter on civic issues.

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Become one of the decision makers.

By Pepper Parr

August 27th, 2023



How do I get involved?

Who makes the decisions?

And how can I be a part of that group that makes the decisions?

It’s not quite that simple – but it isn’t really all that difficult.

At this very moment the province of Ontario is going through a very difficult time.

Premier Doug Ford with his Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark

The Premier of the province has let a situation get out of hand.  Did he collude with a group of developers to permit some of the land they owned within the Greenbelt boundary to take the land out of the boundary so that it could be used to build much needed housing or did he genuinely not know what was going on in one of his Ministries?  There are widely different opinions on that issue with many, maybe a majority at this point, calling for the Premier and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to resign.

The Premier certainly isn’t going to resign and given that the next provincial election is three years off – his job isn’t at risk.  The Minister of Municipal Affairs might manage to hang on for a month or so, but my opinion is that his days are numbered.

Bonnie Crombie, a leadership candidate, speaking to Burlington Liberals.

To maintain that he wasn’t aware of what his Chief of Staff was doing is reason enough for him to resign.

While all this is going on with the government of the day, the provincial Liberal Party is in the process of deciding who the next leader is going to be.  There are currently five people, four men and one woman in the race to be leader.

The voting for a new leader will get made late in November.

But today, Sunday August the 27th you, anybody for that matter, can become a member of the Burlington Provincial Liberal Association.

Live in the riding and be at least 14 years of age.

The closing date for new members is September 11th.  If you want to join – fill in the form using this link.  There is no fee

You will get a regular stream of information and you will be asked to donate.  You don’t have to.

You will get to hear from all the candidates.

That is how you get involved; that is how you become one of the decision makers.

Each of the political parties has a membership program.  At the moment the Provincial Liberals are the only ones with a very active program.



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Disturbing Covid19 reports are coming in from at least one LTC location

By Pepper Parr

August 27th, 2023



We recently published a report on the return of the Covid19 virus.

We are getting information now that the return is dangerously high at some of the Long Term Care Centre’s (LTC)

The COVID protocols have been relaxed in the past several months in LTC province-wide when virus reports decreased.

COVID19 has returned to the LTC and retirement homes in disturbingly high numbers. We now have community with almost no masking, and free test kits are not easy to come by, there is the sense in the minds of many that COVID is over despite the science showing it isn’t.  It is not surprising that this will hit LTC and retirement homes first and hard again.

On Wednesday August 23 we got notice that there is a COVID outbreak declared by Public Health:

2nd floor of the West building Tansley Towers – 3 cases and a suspected outbreak on first floor of East building (they did not say numbers for that one). Considering the data we got later, I suspect it was one case.
So a total of 4.

The two towers at Tansley Woods

Thursday August 24: the number was 15 cases total, with multiple declared outbreaks:

East building:
1st floor – 1 case
3rd floor – 1 case
4th floor – 1 case
6th floor – 1 case
10th floor – 1 case

West building:
1st floor – 1 case
2nd floor – 5 cases
6th floor – 1 case
8th floor – 2 cases
9th floor – 1 case

Friday August 25: 18 cases total. They are now cancelling some outings and activities and having staff on affected floors wear masks.

For some reason, they seem to be highlighting hand washing as being the main way to stop infection spread, with no mention of air filtration or mandatory masking for all. They do suggest getting vaccines if able, to protect our most vulnerable.

East building:
1st floor – 1 case
3rd floor – 1 case
4th floor – 1 case
6th floor – 1 case
10th floor – 1 case

West building:
1st floor – 1 case
2nd floor – 6 cases
6th floor – 1 case
8th floor – 4 cases
9th floor – 1 case

Saturday August 26: 25 cases total. All staff masking now. Mandatory masking for visitors on outbreak floors.

East building:
1st floor – 3 cases
3rd floor – 2 cases
4th floor – 1 case
5th floor – 1 case
6th floor – 1 case
10th floor – 1 case

West building:
1st floor – 1 case
2nd floor – 8 cases
6th floor – 1 case
8th floor – 5 cases
9th floor – 1 case

The numbers at the Brant Centre are quite a bit lower but it is clear that the virus has returned and is impacting those who are most at risk.

Some Personal Care Workers are still working at two institutions at the same time – they need the income.

Much stronger defensive members are called for – but that does not appear to be happening.

The most recent results (August 24th) from the Office of the Medical Health Office are:


Prompt decisive action is needed when this kind of data is available.  The last thing any community needs at this time is another outbreak.

Start wearing masks and be careful when you are in large group settings.

Regional Medical Office of Health do not maintain staff on the weekends.  We will try them on Monday for a comment.

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Tough week for the Premier: RCMP Investigating Handling Of Greenbelt

By Staff

August 26th, 2023



The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is investigating the Ford government’s handling of the Greenbelt after receiving a referral from the Ontario Provincial Police.

The RCMP has confirmed that it will be looking into “irregularities in the disposition of the Greenbelt surrounding Toronto.”

“We will review and assess the information received and will take appropriate action as deemed necessary,” the RCMP said in a statement. “As the investigation is in its infancy and is ongoing, we decline to offer any further comments.”

The news comes two weeks after a scathing report from Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk found that the manner in which the provincial government chose to remove land from the Greenbelt was “not transparent, objective, or fully informed,” and showed “preferential treatment” to certain developers.

The 95-page report found that Ryan Amato, Housing Minister Steve Clark’s Chief of Staff, was heavily influenced by suggestions from developers as to which lands should be removed — of the 15 sites that were selected for removal, 14 were put forth by Amato.

Amato resigned on Tuesday. Ford has insisted that “no one had preferential treatment” in the land swap that will see 7,400 acres of the Greenbelt removed for housing development, and 9,400 acres of protected land added elsewhere.

Lysyk’s report made 15 recommendations, 14 of which the province has said it will move forward with. The one it will not implement is the recommendation to re-evaluate its decision to change the Greenbelt boundaries and open the land up to housing development.

Leader of the Opposition Marit Stiles standing in a field of soybean plants in the Greenbelt Photo courtesy NDP

Marit Stiles, Leader of the New Democrast Opposition has to be given credit for writing the provincial Auditor General asking that there be a “value for money” review of the decisions the province made on Greenbelt properties.

When the report was made public Stiles did more digging and found that there were other people involved in providing information to the developers.

Premier Doug Ford with Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: Keeping a brave face.

The Premier said “no one had preferential treatment” and the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs said he wasn’t aware of what his Chief of Staff was doing.

Someone is either really incompetent or has a very very long nose.

The public is hoping the Mounties prove to be very competent – which might be a stretch for some people.

Big question going into next week is – how much longer will Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clarke be in Cabinet?

Related news stories:

Premier gives his side of the story.

Tip sheet

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Economists Expect Canadian Home Prices To Continue Moderating, But Affordability Won't Improve

By Staff

August 26th, 2023



Following a frenzied spring, back to back interest rate hikes have taken the momentum out of Canada’s housing market rebound. But, despite a forecast of falling prices, affordability is not expected to improve.

Home sales dipped 0.7% month-over-month in July, putting an end to six months of heightened activity. The decline occurred despite a 5.6% monthly increase in new listings, which helped bring balance back to the market.

Although the MLS Home Price Index (HPI) climbed 1.1% from June to July, the pace of appreciation has slowed from the 1.9% average seen over the last three months, a trend economists expect to persist for the foreseeable future.

In a new housing market update from RBC, Robert Hogue, Assistant Chief Economist, and Rachel Battaglia, Economist, predict that price gains will “continue moderating in the months ahead,” as balanced demand-supply conditions reduce upward pressure, and high interest rates trim buyers’ budgets.

“The path ahead for Canada’s market is likely to be bumpy,” Hogue and Battaglia said.

“We expect higher interest rates to keep curbing buyers’ enthusiasm for months to come, while possibly forcing the hand of some current owners to sell.”

The expectation of stagnating prices, and continuously high interest rates, was shared by Robert Kavcic, Senior Economist and Director of Economics at BMO, in a recent economic publication. With interest rates remaining high, so too will mortgage rates.

The July Consumer Price Index keeps the decision for future rate hikes “very much alive,” Kavcic said, and at the very least, it makes the case for interest rates to stay elevated into 2024. As such, any meaningful near-term mortgage rate relief “looks unlikely.”

As Farah Omran, Senior Economist at Scotiabank noted in a housing market update, the number of sales seen in July was aligned with the 2000-2019 average for the month, which indicates a “more sustainable level of housing activity.” However, this “does not mean all is well with Canada’s housing market.”

“Affordability remains out of reach for many first-time home buyers and supply continues to lag,” Omran said, adding that July’s price increase reflects “fundamental imbalances in market conditions.”

The cities that saw the greatest price correction over the latter half of 2022 have also seen the largest price increases thus far in 2023, leading to a reversal in any improvements in affordability.

After the Bank of Canada started raising interest rates in early 2022, prices declined approximately 22% in Oakville-Milton, but have since recovered more than 11%. The Fraser Valley experienced a roughly 20% drop following the start of rate hikes; since hitting bottom, they’ve risen about 9%. Meanwhile, in Montreal, home priced declined 7% during the correction, and have recovered less than 4%.

While affordable housing is on the lips of every politician, parent and young person wanting to get into the housing market Ontario does not yet have an affordability definition that everyone can agree upon.

After a three day retreat in PEI the federal government realized that the housing solution is something they are going to have to be part of.

TVO has produced a short video on what Affordable Housing is – time will tell if the province buys into their definition.

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Transportation issues an update on the Highway 413 project.

By Staff

August 26th, 2023



It is a whopper of a highway that bureaucrats have been working on since 2007; Called the 413 and the GTA West highway the Transportation people are following Ontario’s process for an Individual Environmental Assessment under the Environmental Assessment Act, which is carried out for large-scale, complex undertakings with the potential for significant environmental effects and major public interest.

There is loads of information on the Ministry of Transportation website at CLICK here if you are interested.

Some interesting differences with this project; there will be a lane for trucks and there are plans for a lane that would handle passenger buses.


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If this agreement is ratified, a student who entered grade nine in an English public high school last September will have their entire high school experience free from the threat of teacher strikes. That’s something all of us can celebrate.

By Staff

August 25th, 2023



Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce

“My ongoing commitment to Ontario families is to use every available tool and pursue every path that keeps students in school. Doing so will mean students are in classrooms learning what matters most: reading, writing and math skills.

“I am very pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative four-year agreement with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) on a process that, if ratified by the union’s members, will keep students in class where they belong.

“If this agreement is ratified, a student who entered grade nine in an English public high school last September will have their entire high school experience free from the threat of teacher strikes. That’s something all of us can celebrate.

“The tentative agreement provides for bargaining to continue without the threat of strikes. If a collective agreement cannot be reached by October 27, 2023, the parties will enter binding interest arbitration to resolve any outstanding issues.

“Through this process, a neutral third-party, will make binding decisions on all outstanding matters.

“To ensure stability across the entire education system, we are inviting all outstanding teacher unions to meet with the government as early as Monday to also enter into a tentative deal ahead of the start of school. Let’s get these deals done and let kids get back to learning in peace and with confidence.”


• Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF) represents more than 60,000 members in Ontario’s English public secondary schools.
• OSSTF is the first teacher federation that has agreed to not strike while labour negotiations continue. The proposed process will also include education workers that are members of OSSTF.
• The voluntary interest arbitration process will apply to both central and locally negotiated matters.
• Central collective agreements with the teachers and education workers unions expired August 31, 2022.
• Since then, Ontario has successfully concluded new central agreements with the Canadian Union of Public Employees education workers and the Ontario Council of Educational Workers.
• Nearly 2,000 additional front-line educators are expected to be hired in 2023-24 through new investments, helping to bring overall education funding to the highest levels in Ontario history.
• Education funding for 2023-24 includes an increase of $693 million in base Grants for Student Needs funding compared to the prior year, or a 2.7 per cent increase.


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Public engagement used to be a vigorous process that involved hundreds of people - what changed?

By Pepper Parr

August 25th, 2023



The small group that met at the Appleby Line Ice Rink earlier this week to take part in a visioning exercise on what they wanted to see take place at the former Bateman High School site.  A second visioning meeting the following day, during the daytime, drew ten or so people with just two tables set out.

Community Engagement has come to this: fewer people and empty tables.

Things are different these days when it comes to public involvement.

There was a time when large crowds came out to take part in public participation events.

It was Standing Room Only- people packed the hall to listen and to be listened to.

The meeting was held to get input on what people thought could be done in the east end community where a development was being considered brought out a crowd, 350 people – they filled the large space.

Staff hovered over the tables where people were looking at large graphics and asking questions.

Why the difference? In those days we didn’t have the City Communications department that is currently in place. And we didn’t have the city manager we now have either.

KwKwab Ako-Adjei: Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement.  He reports to Jacqueline Johnson: Executive Director of Community Relations & Engagement.

City Manager Tim Commisso

Jacqueline Johnson: Executive Director of Community Relations & Engagement.

Kwab Ako-Adjei: Director, Corporate Communications & Engagement

She reports to City Manager Tim Commisso – collectively those three determine the tone and quality of citizen engagement.

The changes that took place were not accidental. Tim Commisso as City Manager runs the City administration. He is the only person hired by City Council.

They delegate everything to him.

Commisso hired the Executive Directors and they in turn hire and direct the people they manage.

In the photographs that follow there is clear evidence on the way things were before Commisso was hired by Mayor Marianne Meed Ward as the Interim City Manager once she fired James Ridge.

The full story on how Commisso came to Meed Ward’s attention has never been told. He was not part of municipal politics when she was the Councillor for ward 2. Meed Ward has yet to hold an open media event where questions can be put to her directly. She has chosen to use events where she basically has control of what gets discussed. Cogeco Cable, Bill Kelly on CHML have all fallen into line and let the Mayor babble away.

Meed Ward didn’t do this all by herself – but at the time she had a six member Council – five of whom were new to politics. They took their cue from the Mayor and during the early days the five relied heavily on the advice and direction Commisso was more than prepared to give them.

Members of Council are a little wiser now and they do their best to argue their point of view. Marianne understands media, when the TV camera lights go on she is like a moth to a flame.
In 2018 when she was first elected Mayor she told the citizens of the city what they wanted to hear – no high rise towers downtown. Things didn’t work out that way.

A photo of a model created by a developer of the area around Lakeshore Road and Old Lakeshore Road clustered with high rise developments most of which are approved, built or in the process of being built. All within the last ten years.

Meed Ward did work hard to move the Urban Growth Boundary further north and focus on having the high rise buildings clustered around the GO station. A new Official Plan was passed – it is currently under appeal at the Ontario Land Tribunal.

What the citizens of Burlington have not seen from the members of Council is an attempt, heck not even an effort, to open things up and create events similar to what has been shown in this article.

Staff interacting with citizens at a public meeting: this gentleman looks a little apprehensive.

City Staff listening while a citizen explains what he likes and doesn’t like about a proposed design.

It has happened in the past and it can happen in the future; before that can happen members of Council have to instruct the City Manager to do things differently.

Don’t hold your breath for that one.

Council recently passed a bylaw that actually threatens the public with Trespass Notices, puts limits on who they can call at City Hall and in some instances diverts email a citizen sends to a Staff member.

A picture is indeed worth 1000 words.

The Mayor declares they Council and Staff are not punching bags but she can do her level best to pound away at a member of Council .

The city now has a Council member who has told a resident that the Council member will not send him material or answer his questions.

The other members of Council say nothing.

This Council has lost its way.

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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One image, one face, one American moment: The Donald Trump mug shot


August 25th, 2023



A camera clicks. In a fraction of a second, the shutter opens and then closes, freezing forever the image in front of it.

Associated Press

When the camera shutter blinked inside a jail in downtown Atlanta on Thursday, it both created and documented a tiny inflection point in American life. Captured for posterity, there was a former president of the United States, for the first time in history, under arrest and captured in the sort of frame more commonly associated with drug dealers or drunken drivers. The trappings of power gone, for that split second.

Left behind: an enduring image that will appear in history books long after Donald Trump is gone.

“It will be forever part of the iconography of being alive in this time,” said Marty Kaplan, a professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communications.

Mug shot of Donald Trump shows scowling former president during speedy booking at Atlanta jail

This booking photo provided by Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, shows former President Donald Trump on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, after he surrendered and was booked at the Fulton County Jail in Atlanta. Trump is accused by District Attorney Fani Willis of scheming to subvert the will of Georgia voters in a desperate bid to keep Joe Biden out of the White House. (Fulton County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

Trump has surrendered for a fourth time this year. Here’s where all the cases against him stand

Former President Donald Trump’s supporters gather outside of the Fulton County Jail, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Dozens of Trump supporters cheer him on as former president turns himself in at Georgia jail

In the photo, Trump confronts the camera in front of a bland gray backdrop, his eyes meeting the lens in an intense glare. He’s wearing a blue suit, white shirt and red tie, his shoulders squared, his head tilted slightly toward the camera. The sheriff’s logo has been digitally added above his right shoulder.

Some of the 18 others charged with him in Georgia smiled in their booking photos like they were posing for a yearbook. Not Trump. His defiance is palpable, as if he’s staring down a nemesis through the lens.

“It is not a comfortable feeling — especially when you’ve done nothing wrong,” he later told Fox News Digital about the moment.


Trump facing charges is by now a familiar sight of 2023 to Americans who watched him stand before a judge in a New York courtroom or saw watercolor sketches from the inside of federal courthouses in Miami and Washington, where cameras aren’t allowed.

This is different.

As Anderson Cooper put it on CNN: “The former president of the United States has an inmate number.” P01135809, to be exact. But until he surrendered to face charges of trying to steal the 2020 election in Georgia, his fourth indictment this year, he avoided having to pose for the iconic booking photo like millions accused of crimes before him.

Never mind that Trump, like all Americans, is innocent until proven guilty in court; the mug shot, and all it connotes, packs an extra emotional and cultural punch.

A mug shot is a visceral representation of the criminal justice system, a symbol of lost freedom. It permanently memorializes one of the worst days of a person’s life, a moment not meant for a scrapbook. It must be particularly foreign to a man born into privilege, who famously loves to be in control, who is highly attentive to his image and who rose to be the most powerful figure in the world.

“`Indictment’ is a sort of bloodless word. And words are pale compared to images,” said Kaplan, a former speechwriter for Vice President Walter Mondale and Hollywood screenwriter. “A mug shot is a genre. Its frame is, `This is a deer caught in the headlights. This is the crook being nailed.’ It’s the walk of shame moment.”


Trump is unlikely to treat the mug shot as a moment of shame as he seeks a second term in the White House while fighting criminal charges in four jurisdictions. His campaign has reported a spike in contributions each time he’s been indicted.

And the imagery itself? Trump hasn’t shied away from it. In fact, his campaign concocted one long before it became real.

Months before he was photographed in Georgia on Thursday evening, his campaign used the prospect of a mug shot as a fundraising opportunity. For $36, anyone can buy a T-shirt with a fake booking photo of Trump and the words “not guilty.” Dozens of similar designs are available to purchase online, including many that appeal to Trump’s critics.

Now they have a real one to work with. Within minutes of the mug shot’s release, Trump’s campaign used it in a fundraising appeal on its website. “BREAKING NEWS: THE MUGSHOT IS HERE,” reads the subject line of the campaign’s latest fundraising email, which advertises a new T-shirt with the image. And this quote: “This mugshot will forever go down in history as a symbol of America’s defiance of tyranny.”

In a show of solidarity, U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene posted to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, a photo of herself smiling broadly in front of a gray background, the sheriff’s logo in the top left corner to mimic the jail’s style — essentially her DIY mug. “I stand with President Trump against the commie DA Fani Willis,” she said, a swipe at the Fulton County, Georgia, district attorney who persuaded a grand jury to indict Trump.

Recent history is full of politicians seeking political dividends from their booking photos. They’ve offered large smiles or defiant smirks and tried to make the best of their predicament.

Yet this is one of just 45 presidents in all of U.S. history — not only someone who held the keys to the most powerful government in the world, but who held a position that for many these days, both at home and overseas, personifies the United States. To see that face looking at a camera whose lens he is not seeking out — that’s a potent moment.

“There’s a power to the still image, which is inarguable,” said Mitchell Stevens, a professor emeritus at New York University who has written a book about the place imagery holds in modern society and how it is supplanting the word.

“It kind of freezes a moment, and in this case it’s freezing an unhappy moment for Donald Trump,” Stevens said. “And it’s not something he can click away. It’s not something he can simply brush off. That moment is going to live on. And it’s entirely possible that it will end up as the image that history preserves of this man.”

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Small attendance at the Bateman visioning exercise - not the way things have worked in the past.

By Pepper Parr

August 24th, 2023



It was an occasion for residents to talk about what they wanted to see taking place at the former Bateman High School site.

A little over 25 people took part in what was described is as a Visioning exercise that asked people to work as a group and come up with what they wanted to see happening in a site that is going to be part Brock University classrooms; part District School Board use with spaces for Tech Place, the library and the triple sized gymnasium is as well is as the swimming pools.

It wasn’t a huge crowd – but it was a group of people putting their ideas on the table.

Before this first opportunity for the public to have input many thought this exercise should have taken place before the city committed to buying the property.

Some of the ideas that were put forward. There was no clear consensus.

Interesting ideas

Denise Beard, Manager of Community Development for the City explained to the people attending that the focus was on what would take place INSIDE the building. Anything done to the track at the back of the site would be covered later in the year. Same with the amount of parking space that would be available.

The objective was for each of the eight tables with 4 to 10 people at each table was to come up with their best idea for what the space should/could be used for.

There were people taking part that had their own vested interests – Beard acknowledged that this was expected and explained as well that once the visioning exercises were completed and all the data analyzed a Staff Report would be sent to Council where the final decision would be made.

Parks Recreation and Culture were given an assignment that got caught up in the politics of the City acquiring the former Bateman High School. They are managing as best they can with the skills they have.

In Burlington Staff reports are sent to a Standing Committee where there is ample time for discussion and delegations to be heard.

So how did the people who were asked to vision do?

Advocating for an idea.

They were given yellow Post It notes and asked to put one idea on a post it Note. Just one idea.  There was no limit on how many ideas a person could put forward.

They were then asked to go to the sheets put up on the wall and instructed to put the Post-It notes on the lower part.

Then they were asked to make sure the ideas were Aligned, Desirable and Relevant to what the city was setting out to do.

Then they were asked to group the individual ideas – creating small clusters of ideas that would become a group idea.

The next to final step was to rank what they had done and come up with the top idea for the group.

After that, each table reported to everyone else the vision that table had arrived at.

One participant remarked that it had been 30 years since he had done one of these visioning exercises adding – “we did this when I was at Sears”

The end result was not all that focused – what was clear was that those participating wanted, whatever the place is going to be named, to be a place where people went to do things that were community based and applicable to every demographic.

Considering some of the options; each Post It note was an idea someone wanted to see take place.

The idea for a repair spot is something being done from time to time by a group in Burlington.

Some of the artists wanted space where groups of people could do their art; opportunities like that are available at the Art Gallery.

Some were surprised to learn that the high school stage was being removed.

The participants learned that some of the space on the second level would be available for five years but that Brock University had an option to take over that space after five years which cuts down the space from 21,000 sq ft down to 14,000 square feet.  I think this was the first time those numbers were made public

The Parks, Recreation and Culture people don’t yet have a layout document that could be printed on big big pieces of paper with measurements clearly shown that people could work from.

Some thought the library was too small.

The three gymnasiums that can be opened up into one very large space with each of the three gyms having its own change rooms.

Joanne had to begin ranking the ideas that were put forward.

The word Café came up a number of times: Would the place have a coffee shop where people could gather? No one seemed to know if that had been considered and if a decision had been made.

Ward 4 Councillor Shawna Stole was on hand for most of the evening. The Mayor and Councillors Sharman, Bentivegna and Kelvin Galbraith were in London, Ontario taking part in the AMO conference. Councillor Nisan seems to be out of the city taking care of FCM matters.

Parks, Recreation and Culture will be reaching out to the YMCA, the Art Gallery – all the stakeholders they can think of to bounce off ideas and do their best to avoid any conflicts.

An artist was brought in capture what was happening at the different tables.

Was the visioning exercise a necessary experience done far too late? Tough to make that call. Knowing what the people who are going to pay for whatever this is going to cost much sooner would have helped the people at Parks, Recreation and Culture who have to deliver – that opportunity was lost.

Instead of having the converting of a former high school into a community hub be seen as something the Mayor wanted (Council went along with her) it could have and should have been something that was led by what citizens wanted.

This project stumbled its way forward – recall that the Pier went through the same process.

That seems to be the way municipal government works.

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What happened on this day in 2014?

By Staff

August 24th, 2023



What was the Gazette writing about on this day in 2014?

Disaster relief committee about to be announced; public can expect to hear and learn a lot more about a damage claims process.

The Flood – remember the event Click on the linkblast from the past when the city was recovering from a summer storm that flooded large parts of the city.

The flooding was extensive.


Remember – these were tough days for a lot of people.


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Gould talks about serving as House leader with her colleagues during the PEI retreat

By Staff

August 24th, 2023



Burlington MP Karina Gould will serve as the Government House leader when the federal government returns to the House of Commons September 18th

Burlington MP Karina Gould has to steer the Liberal government’s ship in the House of Commons now that she serves as the newly minted Government House leader.

Gould says conversations with colleagues at the federal cabinet retreat in Charlottetown have been “really informative” in determining the government’s legislative priorities for the fall.

Getting ready for the House’s return on Sept. 18 has been Gould’s focus at the three-day retreat that started on Aug. 21 and will wrap up this afternoon.

“We’re having lots of conversations about issues that are challenging Canadians right now, and the idea really is for us to kind of absorb that information, reflect on it, and come back in September ready to go in the House.”

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Doug Ford’s Greenbelt Fiasco - Liberals at the Gate

By Ray Rivers

August 24th, 2023



Ontario’s Premier must think we are all stupid. Everyone knew he had promised developers that he would open up the Greenbelt in his early days campaigning in 2018. And having come off from an impressive majority victory last year he obviously thought it was now or never to deliver on that original promise to his most keen supporters. Nothing else in this entire fiasco makes any sense.

Premier Ford and his Minister of Municipal Affairs: Will Steve Clark still have that job at the end of the year?

Political staffers don’t undertake this kind of mission without authorization at least from their minister, and in the case of something as politically sensitive as the Greenbelt, from the Premier himself. And this chief of staff for the housing minister’s office was apparently hired by Mr. Ford. So the Premier has to be lying or hopelessly incompetent when he says he was unaware of what he was approving until the last minute. What kind of senior executive gives his approval to something like this without taking the time to review it?

Like in any decent crime story, the staffer, Ryan Amato, has now left the scene, resigned his post. That would allow the mob bosses to escape culpability by laying all the blame on him. Ford isn’t going to back down on his approval, or even reconsider it. Instead he and his housing minister claim it was ‘the process’ at fault.

But there was no ‘process’. Breaking up the Greenbelt was a covert operation, an ad hoc project led by a political staffer and a small cadre of trusted civil servants. The provincial government does have an exhaustive process for policy development, but this wasn’t it. The Auditor General provided an excellent summary of this matter.

It could take up to 20 years to get approvals and the required urban services into these lands, given their location. The developments, in the boonies, are likely to be neither higher density nor affordable. It is wishful thinking that 50,000 homes will actually be built or that this could happen in time to deal with Ontario’s current housing crisis.

Details on some of the properties shown on the map were handed to the former Ministry of Municipal Affairs Chief of Staff in plain brown envelopes at an industry dinner.

This is all just one big lie. It is a mess and it stinks to high heaven. And it’s Ford’s mess – a crisis of his own making. And it will be his undoing. The Green Party and some environmental groups had requested that the OPP conduct an investigation of this affair. But the OPP, wisely, have bumped it up to the RCMP Anti Rackets Branch, to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

The next provincial election is scheduled for June of 2026. Clearly Mr. Ford is hoping that the public has a short memory and that this indiscretion will be forgotten by the electorate. Or like Mr. Amato he too may find it more comfortable to leave the scene. And from a partisan perspective this affair is fodder for the opposition parties.

The Liberals are in the throws of selecting a new leader for their party after disappointing performances in the last two elections. So the Burlington Liberals are hosting meetings for each one and I sat in for the two candidates thought to be leading the pack.

Nate Erskine-Smith: He was happy to be in the room.

Nate Erskine-Smith is a federal MP and former Toronto litigation lawyer. Perhaps his exclusion from Cabinet and the prospects of re-election by an eight year old government now struggling in the polls factored into his decision making. It’s my guess that given what he’s been saying, he fits pretty clearly on the centre right of the party. That is if we need yardsticks to help us understand our politicians.

He spoke in opposition to universal basic income; doesn’t like the idea of buck-a-ride subsidized public transit; will not promote ending Catholic school funding; and would only implement proportional representation after another referendum, like the failed McGuinty effort. In all fairness he supports meeting federal emission targets, protecting the Greenbelt and restarting the renewable energy program.

Watch where you put your feet.

Bonnie Crombie, was widely expected to be the front runner until she put her foot in her mouth, being quoted as labelling herself right-of-centre and apparently musing the it was OK to move some land out of the Greenbelt under the right conditions. She claims she was misquoted and has since come down hard on keeping the Greenbelt intact.

Crombie is a natural politician, personable, engaging, warm and very relatable, somewhat in contrast to the more matter of factly Erskine-Smith. So it is surprising that this three time mayor of one of Canada’s largest cities and former federal MP could have erred so easily this early in the game. Perhaps she was just testing the waters and found herself in the midst of sharks.

It appears these two candidates haven’t yet learned the oldest lesson for getting elected and succeeding as a Liberal. Govern from the centre but campaign from the left.

The election for leader will be later this year and there will be a series of public debates among candidates before that. Only party members can vote but membership is free and on-line, though the deadline to join is only a couple weeks away. The ballot will allow ranking by preference for candidate and the leader announced early December.

Ray Rivers, a Gazette Contributing Editor, writes regularly applying his more than 25 years as a federal bureaucrat to his thinking.  Rivers was once a candidate for provincial office in Burlington.  He was the founder of the Burlington citizen committee on sustainability at a time when climate warming was a hotly debated subject.   Ray has a post graduate degree in economics that he earned at the University of Ottawa.  Tweet @rayzrivers


Background links:

Ford’s Record    Greenbelt-Gate     Greens Call for Police Investigation

Bonnie’s Error      Leadership Debates      Nate’s Policies      RCMP

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Local talent wanted to take part in a Culture day at the Seniors' Centre

By Staff

August 24th, 2023



The Arts and Culture Council of Burlington in collaboration with the City of Burlington are looking for local talent for a Culture Days Event on Friday Sept. 29 at the Burlington Seniors Centre.

We are looking for any type of Arts and Culture professionals from Burlington to perform/present one 15 min set between 6:30-9:30 pm.

This could include music, dance, spoken word, theatre, a cultural presentation or anything related to Arts and Culture in our City.

We are also looking for 3-4 Artists, photographers, potters or the like to have a table in the Seniors Centre to showcase and sell your creations throughout the evening.

All of these will include an honorarium for being involved.

ACCOB – family portrait.

Please email us a quick outline of what you can present and some technical details with the size of the group that will be performing/presenting to and please share with any local performers/artists you think should know about this!

Deadline for this call is Aug 31. We look forward to hearing from you!


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Crombie on what she would like to see happen at Colleges and Universities

By Staff

August 23rd, 2023


The run for the role of the Ontario Liberal Party leader is daunting.

Fund raising and getting out to as many communities as possible is easier said than done.

Bonnie Crombie was scheduled to be in Burlington for an event scheduled for between 6:00 and 8:00 pm at the Tansley Woods Community Centre on Monday.  She was a couple of minutes late and dove right into greeting people which she followed up with a short speech on what she saw as the major problems. Her top priorities were Health – Long Term Care, Education, Housing and the Greenbelt.

What the people organizing the event were not fully aware of was that Crombie was scheduled to be in Oakville for a 7:00 PM event to be followed by another event at 7:30.

That resulted in a hasty, unannounced and awkward retreat by Crombie and the people travelling with her.

In a policy paper released by Crombie she outlined her plan to Support Ontario Students

Bonnie Crombie speaking to Liberals in Burlington.

“Ontario has the lowest fraction of post-secondary support at 30%. Doug Ford’s government cut operational funding for post secondary education in Ontario leaving colleges and universities scrambling for revenue. International students have been unfairly compensating for this shortfall without adequate care or housing. Doug Ford’s policy decision to shortchange our post secondary institutions is driving up the cost of housing and putting strains on provincial and municipal services – especially in university and college hubs. Bonnie supports increasing the provincial contribution of operating revenue to better balance our cost-sharing model so we can continue to support domestic and international students who fuel our economy.

“With the high cost of living – from groceries to rent – students and prospective students have enough to worry about. Students deserve a government that will support them.

“A post-secondary education should be accessible to anyone who wants it.

“I have heard some excellent ideas on how to make post-secondary education a reality for more students – here are the ideas that I believe Ontario Liberals should debate and consider:

“Eliminating the provincial portion of interest on OSAP loans, including for former students who are still paying off student loans.

“Increasing the annual income threshold for OSAP repayment to $40,000 and extending the grace period for the provincial portion of OSAP to two years, providing new graduates with time to find jobs and be in a better financial position to cover the cost of repayments.Increasing OSAP funding for all eligible students, with a particular focus on supporting low-income and underrepresented groups.

Delivering academic programs that are aligned with the needs of the labour market, hands-on training and expanded experiential learning opportunities such as co-op and paid internships.

Increasing the provincial contribution of operating revenue to better balance our cost-sharing model.

Supporting increased tenure-stream faculty hiring and positions, while keeping tuition fees low and ensuring the sustainability and quality of Ontario’s post-secondary institutions.

Supporting proactive measures towards addressing sexual and gender-based violence on postsecondary campuses.

Crombie is travelling across the province to hear from Ontario Liberals, students and stakeholder groups on opportunities to improve the post-secondary education system.

Do you have an idea? Email us.

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Minister never used the word Greenbelt when speaking to municipal leaders

By Pepper Parr

August 23rd, 2023



Minister of Minister of  Municipal Affairs Steve Clark spoke to municipal leaders starting with “our province is leading the nation in job growth with more than 700,000 full time jobs created in the province since 2018. Over the last two and a half years Ontario has attracted more than $25 billion in investments in the auto and the electrical vehicle battery sector alone, including investments in Windsor just down the road from here with the exciting news that Volkswagen is making the historic investment in St. Thomas.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark telling AMO members about how well the province was doing.

He introduced new programs to help municipalities cope with the demands that the huge increase in housing are having in planning departments across the province.

He announced that the government will be unveiling a slate of regional facilitators in Durham, Halton, Niagara, Simcoe County, Waterloo and York by September 11 of this year.

These facilitators will be tasked with reviewing the structures that are in place in these fast growing areas to ensure that they’re up for the job in delivering efficient effective and accountable government that residents both expect and deserve.

Never used the word Greenbelt in his speech – might use it when he uses the word ‘resigning’.

There is much more to report on and that will follow.

What we didn’t hear once during the twenty minutes address was the word Greenbelt.

Maybe it will be uttered when he uses the word ‘resigning’.

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Downtown Heritage Study group will have a booth at the Food for Feedback event Saturday September 16 - 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm

By Staff

August 23rd, 2023



Saturday, September 16 there will be a “Downtown Heritage Study” booth at the City’s annual Food for Feedback event, which takes place in Central Park from 12PM-4PM. City staff will be at this event to answer questions and accept feedback about the project.

Food for Feedback is a community engagement BBQ where City staff can get feedback from residents regarding projects, initiatives and programs at the City. Residents are welcome to attend this free drop-in and provide feedback in exchange for a free meal from one of the participating food trucks.

On Monday, October 2nd, staff and the consultant team will hold a final consultation event at the Art Gallery of Burlington in the Shoreline Room from 7PM-8:30PM. This event will be open to all residents and final recommendations for each study area will be shared at this meeting.

City wants to retain some of the heritage and culture left in the downtown core – there is a lot of resistance from property owners.

Work on the Downtown Heritage Study has been progressing over the summer with the consultant team carefully considering the feedback received from June Stakeholder meetings and refining research and analysis. A final report presenting study recommendations will be released publicly at the end of September prior to the October 2nd public meeting. An email blast will be sent once the report is posted on the City’s website.

The consultant team is expecting to present the final report to the Heritage Burlington Advisory Committee in October, then Community Planning Regulation and Mobility Committee and City Council in November/December.

Related news stories:

Second meeting with property owners opposed to Heritage designations

Does city need Cultural heritage districts

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RCMP take over the land swap case - will criminal charges be laid?

By Pepper Parr

August 23, 2023



The heat just got turned up a notch.

Police in Ontario tend not to touch much in the way of misbehaviour on the part of politicians at the provincial level.

The potential for conflicts is just too high.

The Ontario Provincial Police has been keeping an eye on the way the Greenbelt land swap is playing out.  When it became evident to them – they passed the file along to the RCMP.


The OPP said it: “has received a number of inquiries regarding an investigation into the Greenbelt.”

“To avoid any potential perceived conflict of interest, the OPP referred this matter to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,”

“In order to protect the integrity of the process, it would not be appropriate to provide any further comment. Questions should be directed to the RCMP.”

The OPP got in touch with the Mounties and said there was a thick file coming their way.

The “buck stopped” at the Premier’s desk. Is that statement enough to bring an end to the problems?

The decision on the part of Doug Ford to accept the resignation of Ryan Amato who was blamed by the Auditor General for the way lands were removed from the Greenbelt to allow housing developments.

Amato was Chief of Staff to the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs Steve Clark who said he was not aware of the decisions Amato made about lands being removed from the Greenbelt

The move came the morning after Ford’s government parted ways with Ryan Amato, who was blamed in the $8.28-billion Greenbelt land swap controversy.

Ivana Yelich, Ford’s deputy chief of staff, said Tuesday afternoon that: “The premier’s office has accepted Ryan Amato’s resignation as chief of staff to the minister of municipal affairs and housing, effective immediately,”

Auditor General Bonnie Lysak issued a scathing report – is it to bring about the resignation of the Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs Steve Clark

Auditor General Bonnie Lysak issued a scathing report that set out just what happened: prominent developers” getting 7,400 acres of environmentally sensitive land in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area opened up to build 50,000 homes adding that  the usual guardrails provided by bureaucrats and planners, and personally selected 14 of the 15 parcels of protected land to be removed from the Greenbelt.

Lysak said that could mean an $8.28-billion bonanza for the landowners.

Integrity commissioner J. David Wake, who is also doing a probe of the Greenbelt land swap, is investigating whether Amato breached the Public Service Act.

Burlington MPP Natalie Pierre has yet to make a statement on the Auditor General’s Report.

Amato, who has retained counsel, has not been available for comment.

It is not unusual for the OPP, which is funded by Queen’s Park, to refer potentially politically sensitive cases to other forces.

This isn’t the end of this story.

People in Burlington are still waiting for a statement from their MPP Natalie Pierre – promised “soon” more than a week ago.

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August 23rd, 2023



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