Now Eight Weeks Awaiting Answers On Amherst Namesake From Councillor Simone

Follow up emails have been sent to Councillor Simone, who has still not answered questions from March 16 as she said she would.

Following several media interviews about Amherstburg Councillor Simone’s Notice of Motion To Redefine Town Name, I sent questions on March 16, 2022, a phone message was left and another email was sent asking if there was a good time to call.

As of March 28, she “will review the questions and respond as soon as possible.”

Questions:

what prompted you to bring forward the notice of motion?

why is changing the town’s name “not feasible?” Specifically?

how is it possible that “Amherstburg is an inclusive community that recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all persons to live in a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the worth of each person, allowing them to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community” if the town creates barriers to persons with disabilities? excludes persons with disabilities from decision-making?

did you consult any Indigenous people about your intention to denounce the town’s namesake?

did you consult any legislation about your intention to denounce the town’s namesake?

did you consider your terminology might be perceived to be downplayed?

why did you choose ‘controversial nature of this individual’ and ‘Amherst’s legacy is controversial’ when what actually occurred was atrocities and crime against humanity?

Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee Could Use Tips

I watched today’s rescheduled Amherstburg Accessibility Advisory Committee meeting.

Committee members still stray off topic, but did finally have a discussion regarding keeping track of money allocated to projects and decisions regarding the same. For quite some time I have wondered why resolutions were not passed and recorded in the minutes for reference. In the future, an unfinished list of sorts will be used. Why it took so long I have no idea, especially when a few members sit on other town committees.

I didn’t hear the committee members deal with an AODA Alliance tips for committee members that I forwarded through town clerk Valerie Critchley. I also sent it to members of council so they would be better informed; see below.

“This Update gives members of AACs and SEACs practical tips on how to give as strong a voice as possible to disability issues. We identify seven areas of concern and then provide a fuller explanation for each point below. In summary, here is what all members of AACs and SEACs should know:

1. AACs and SEACs should set their own meeting agendas! Don’t let city staff or school board staff set their advisory committee’s agenda or tell them what topics are “in order.”

2. Members of AACs and SEACs must remain free to also be disability advocates in private and public.

 3. Inaccessible virtual meeting platforms and application forms are not allowed.

 4. Public deputations to an advisory committee should not be artificially limited to five minutes.

 5. Municipal and school board bylaws cannot hog-tie the work of an AAC or SEAC.

 6. Members of the public are free to talk to or exchange emails with advisory committee members about accessibility issues, including those on the advisory committee’s agenda. (emphasized for council’s attention).

 7. AACs and SEACs have an absolute right to have their recommendations and advice shared directly with all the city council or school board trustees whom they are appointed to advise, and not just to a sub-committee.

Please share this Update with members of the AAC and SEAC in your community. Urge your member of city council and school board trustee to read this and to send it to all members of their AAC or SEAC.”

Lobbying in Amherstburg Part 2 THRIVE

There are no rules about lobbying in Amherstburg; the town did not enact a lobbyist registry.

THRIVE! Amherstburg was advertising for new members.

Is it a lobby group?

May 11, 2021, the Windsor Star reported, New lobby group aims at bettering Amherstburg; “We’ve told council we will be before them many times,” Peddie said. “We’re going to push them.”

RTT January 12, 2022 They reject the label “lobbyists,” instead preferring the view that THRIVE is “championing” initiatives for Amherstburg. 

What is “Lobbying”?

The municipality of Vaughn defines lobbying:

Any communication with a public office holder by an individual who represents a business or financial interest with the goal of trying to influence any legislative action, including, but not exclusively, development, introduction, passage, defeat, amendment or repeal of a bylaw, motion, resolution or the outcome of a decision on any matter before Council or a Committee of Council, or staff member acting under delegated authority.

Am I a lobbyist? Vaughn provides a quiz to find out; a flowchart can also be downloaded.

Does THRIVE charge a membership fee? 

Initially, membership fees were $50.00 for an individual.

According to the January 12, 2022 RTT article, membership is now free.

What is it? 

An October 13, 2021 Law Times News article featuring a $12000.00 donation by the Peddies to the Windsor Law Centre for Cities states, The centre has collaborated with Richard Peddie numerous times in the past, including by supporting the launch of Thrive Amherstburg, a placemaking council that he co-founded with Lauri Brouyette, a business developer.

Is it transparent?

People are encouraged to use the feedback form on the website. In October 2021, I submitted questions:

Does your organization not have an Accessibility Policy? A Conflict of Interest for Board Directors Policy? By-laws? Are you aware your website has some accessibility issues?

No responses were received.

A list of Board of Directors is posted, however, so people have the option of supporting/not supporting those involved if they wish.

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Time Commitment

From a reader in 2014:

Question For Mayoral Candidates: For our Mayoral candidates who have full time employment: How will you be able to put in the 40 or more hours required each week as Mayor of Amherstburg? Will you be at Town Hall every day? Will you get a leave-of-absence from your current employer?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

I have checked into this to see if I could find a reference for the question. I could not find any job description for the mayor of Amherstburg or any reference to a 40 hour work week. The job for mayor of Amherstburg is still listed as a part time job, as it is in all the other municipalities in Essex County, except for Windsor. I do not believe that this election is about a debate for a full time or part time mayor’s position. This election is about deciding who the most qualified individual is for mayor, not the one with the most availability. I investigated further, by speaking with several past CAO’s, council members and staff from the Town, and they all agreed that if the job of mayor is done by a competent individual with skills in delegating, personnel and finance, there should be no need to have a full time mayor. This is a good thing since we can’t really afford one right now, nor can I afford to leave my full time employment and support my family. It would be unfortunate for Amherstburg if we started to limit the candidates for mayor to retirees or people of wealth. I do not believe that the mayor should be doing everything. The work should be distributed amongst the councillors, the deputy mayor, and administration. This develops cooperation, transparency, accountability and a positive work environment, regardless of how much time the mayor has to dedicate to the job. That said, I have a full time job with flexibility and I intend to put in whatever amount of hours is necessary to get Amherstburg back into a positive position. Whether that time is in Town Hall, in my home or in someone else’s home, I can’t say right now. I will say that I can do it more efficiently and more productively than it was done, at least by those on council in the past 4 years.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Bankruptcy Declaration?

From a reader in 2014:

Question 40. Have you ever been personally declared bankrupt or been in a position of authority of a business that has been declared bankrupt? Do you feel a bankruptcy declaration precludes candidates from running for municipal office?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

I have never been personally declared bankrupt, nor have I been in a position of authority of a business that has declared bankruptcy.

Personally, I do not feel a bankruptcy declaration should preclude candidates from running for municipal office, on its own. A candidate’s attribute’s should be looked at as a whole. Although a candidate may have financial management issues, they may excel in other attributes that would help, especially as only one member of a council. The most effective council is one that has a balance of different talents. Not every person has to have every qualification, as long as on a whole, the council can deal with everything.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Continue To Pay CAO Phipps

From a reader in 2014:

Question 39. What I’m looking for here is a straight forward yes or no answer with your reasons why? Do not want a politically correct answer from someone pursuing a seat and trying not to offend anyone but also at the same time, not answering the question. There have been many of the candidates who have mentioned the 41 items or areas of concern brought forward from the Deloitte review. Are these not 41 issues of concern that have happened under our present CAO/consultant? This is a person hired because of his experience and knowledge of municipal procedures. Is this the same person we want teaching our new CAO? How long do we continue to pay Mr. Phipps once the new CAO comes on board? Either yes you want him to stay on or no, you do not see the need? Your reasons are?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

I believe my answer to question 34 should satisfy the reader. If not, please feel free to contact me.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Influential Citizens’ Requests

From a reader in 2014:

Question 38. There seems to be special considerations given to certain influential citizens that over ride the concerns of the average citizen. Bylaws were not always supported if special interest individuals sought to get exemptions to pursue projects that were not supported by those affected. What would your approach be to favours requested by wealthy, influential citizens over the average citizen?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

My approach would be the same, regardless of who I am dealing with. Policies and procedures. Transparency and accountability. Applied equally to all tax payers, without discrimination. Develop new policies and procedures with the new council, the administration and with public input. Make sure everyone understands them. Make sure everyone follows them. Make sure everyone reports on them. It is very easy when everyone does what they are supposed to, starting at the top.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Mr. Marion Hired To Run Election

From a reader in 2014:

Question 37. Has anyone received their voting sheet from the town in the mail yet? It is only weeks away and no one has? The Town after hiring another bureaucrat under contract, one Mr. Marion to run our election as far as administration responsibilities is now blaming Canada Post for this screw up. The Town simply forgot to mail them out! This is just another example of our administration doing what they want with no council awareness or approval and costing us more money. How will you end such blatant incompetence and get the new council back to running this town?

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

This question begs many answers. I have not received my voter registration card yet. Perhaps Town Hall doesn’t want me to vote for change? I have been told that Mr. Marion has a lot of past experience and is quite competent as a Clerk. The question I have is, “Why did we have to hire another Clerk to do the Clerk’s job?” Perhaps I should ask why the full time Town Clerk wasn’t capable of running the election? The answer is clear job descriptions, policies, procedures and hiring practices. I’m sure there’s more that can be done, but I stand by what I’m campaigning on. It’s time to create some policies and procedures that will actually provide transparency and accountability, not pretend they already exist. If they do exist, why is no one following them? If they are following them, why do the citizens continue to receive no answers or progress?

Amherstburg Vote 2022

Six Weeks And Still Awaiting Answers On Amherst Namesake From Councillor Simone

Follow up emails have been sent to Councillor Simone, who has still not answered questions from March 16 as she said she would.

Following several media interviews about Amherstburg Councillor Simone’s Notice of Motion To Redefine Town Name, I sent questions on March 16, 2022, a phone message was left and another email was sent asking if there was a good time to call.

As of March 28, she “will review the questions and respond as soon as possible.”

Questions:

what prompted you to bring forward the notice of motion?

why is changing the town’s name “not feasible?” Specifically?

how is it possible that “Amherstburg is an inclusive community that recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all persons to live in a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the worth of each person, allowing them to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community” if the town creates barriers to persons with disabilities? excludes persons with disabilities from decision-making?

did you consult any Indigenous people about your intention to denounce the town’s namesake?

did you consult any legislation about your intention to denounce the town’s namesake?

did you consider your terminology might be perceived to be downplayed?

why did you choose ‘controversial nature of this individual’ and ‘Amherst’s legacy is controversial’ when what actually occurred was atrocities and crime against humanity?

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Developer Special Deals

From a reader in 2014:

Question 36. Yes we need to move this town forward! We need also to find out who has benefited financially with secret or special deals while the Town continued to pile on debt. Did anyone or developer get a special deal, or have fee’s waved? How did Season’s (developer) attain a different classification to avoid over 3/4 million dollars? Did the developers of the geared to income apartments on Simcoe get some special deal or avoid development fee’s? Developers have also passed on to the residents, the expense of final layers of pavement on their projects. These are only few of the stories being heard around our town. If these and others are true? Someone should pay? Not the taxpayers anymore!

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

This question seems more like statements of frustration than a question. I can relate. Without being elected or currently on council, I can’t properly address any of the statements. I do, like others, wonder why no one else on council can address these issues. If the Mayor, Deputy Mayor and councillors can’t confirm or deny these issues, why can’t they tell us why they can’t? This information should all be readily available to the public. If I am elected Mayor, it will be.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

Lobbying In Amherstburg Part 1

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines special interest: a person or group seeking to influence legislative or government policy to further often narrowly defined interests especially : LOBBY

Councillor Patricia Simone was asked, it has been reported that you have hosted several roundtable discussions for non-profit agencies; do you consider this a special interest?

Councillor Simone’s response: The roundtable discussions are meetings hosted to bring non-profit organizations together, and together they discuss different topics. The meeting participants lead the meeting, contribute to agenda items and work together to complete any task/item they feel necessary. For example, the groups recorded videos about their organizations that was shared on social media and posted to youtube.

The Windsor Police Service Board  AGENDA May 2021 lists a delegation; on behalf of A.C.T (Amherstburg Community Team) they provided Background Information information on the group, crediting Councillor Patricia Simone for inviting groups to the first Round Table Discussion Group in December 2019.

The group attached the following letters requesting Windsor Police to waive the fees associated with vulnerable sector criminal record checks; seven mentioned a community roundtable hosted by Amherstburg Councillor Patricia Simone.

2nd Amherstburg Scout Group
Dawn Martinello

Amherstburg Soccer Club
Terry Sawchuk

Amherstburg-Harrow Catholic Family of Parishes
Julie Gauthier

Skate Amherstburg
Lynn Fox

Bryerswood Youth Camp
Kathi Poupard

The Amherstburg Chamber of Commerce
Nika Laurin

Amherstburg Community Services
Kathy DiBartolomeo

the house youth centre
Natalyn Brouillard

St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
Tim Reddish

Amherstburg Minor Hockey
Marc Renaud

Lighthouse Church
Dr. Adrian Ninaber

Safe Families Windsor-Essex
Joanne Fear

Rotary Club of Amherstburg
John Sutton

The Gathering
Mariette Prinsloo

Amherstburg Community Church
Brandon Cousineau

A Look Back – Candidate Aldo DiCarlo on Developer Fees

From a reader in 2014:

Question 35. On the issue of local developers and development in itself, how can you assure the residents that these developers will pay the current development fee’s and live up to their obligations through out the entire project until it is completely finished? An example of this is the future of Boblo Island. Mr. Amicone is proposing an additional 200 or more homes. How can you assure us that all future capital costs associated with this project are his responsibility? Who will pay for a projected fire hall and staff (current fire chief is already making his Christmas list) and equipment? Police station (same Christmas List) and staff? Sewage line? Additional ferries? These are all costs which should be born by the developer and passed on to his projected buyers? Examples of this abuse are the fee’s waived already costing this town over a million dollars.

2014 then-candidate Aldo DiCarlo

Not to offend, but this question seems trivial. The answer is bona fide contracts. The issue seems not to be whether or not there are different development fees but that some builders aren’t obligated to pay them. If these accusations are indeed correct, there will be a very different policy if I am elected mayor. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. POLICIES AND PROCEDURES. If the Town has any, they sure don’t seem to be followed. Frankly, some other candidates insist they exist, while the CAO insists they don’t, at least in his response to certain citizens. I WILL help council, administration and the public develop NEW policies and procedures that apply to all developers consistently. It is hard to address every circumstance that may occur, but for the ones suggested in the question, I don’t see why the developer was exempted from fees that the Town desperately needs.

Amherstburg Vote 2022

$166,000. Amherstburg Dog Park

Sent to members of council prior to yesterday’s council meeting.
I am shocked, and disheartened, to see the $160,000. Dog park recommendation on tonight’s council meeting agenda.
How could anyone justify such an expenditure that hardly improves the well-being and interests of the municipality or maintains the financial integrity of the municipality?
Council could ill afford a rainbow crosswalk; wasn’t it only approved because of sponsorship?
For how long has accessibility to the Gordon House and town hall been delayed? How many narrow sidewalks need to be replaced with new ones that meet code requirements? Both the building code and the AODA?
For how long will residents have to wait for new, accessible playground equipment to be installed?
It’s now been over two years since former CAO Miceli advised me that the town was working on a Routine Disclosure Policy, which is within council’s mandate. The item, although discussed at council meetings, is not even included in the unfinished business list.
Given all the accessible items money has not been allocated for, I have to object to spending taxpayer dollars on something that, in my opinion, is frivolous. People can walk their dogs anywhere but people with disabilities being denied access remain marginalized. When will you prioritize full inclusion?
Lastly, by what authority will you address the Miracle League at a council meeting? You should know that segregated activities are not viewed as inclusion by everyone.