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VOCO Updates

August 26, 2006:
ODN Conference #4, Ridgetown ON

  1. Welcome & thanks – Keith Hipkins
  2. Digging up the Dirt – Kevin Skipper (introduced by Rob Watson)
    • Vigilance in all land transactions (sale, purchase or transfer) by the municipality, its principals, its administration, its elected representatives;
    • Vigilance in particular to transactions by numbered companies in order to determine the principals;
    • Search back records, watching for sudden changes in value prior to or after transaction with any of the above;
    • Search for principals of companies involved to determine if there is coincidence between the company principals and “the municipals”;
    • Search for severances to change the property itself or its designated usage.
  3. Lunch – catered by Ladies’ Auxiliary – deee-licious
  4. Surviving in the Trenches of Municipal Politics – Jim Brown & Faye McGee
    • It’s lonely “in the middle” (between the voters and the administration), especially when one is outnumbered by those who support the initiatives of the ‘amalgamated community’;
    • Administration or “on-side” hirees and electees may twist the words of a “off-side” councillor to diminish credibility;
    • Sometimes even the hands of the BEST councillors are tied;
    • Many Admin reports contain more “What they DON’T tell the councillor” than what they do;
    • When you write your own local councillor, be certain to copy the message to EVERY councillor;
    • Spread the word about good councillors;
    • Highlight the lack of action by poor councillors by focusing on the actions of good councillors;
    • Support, support, support your candidates – AFTER you are certain whom you trust; ask pertinent questions; ask what incumbents have accomplished or what they have tried to accomplish;
    • One issue does not a platform or a performance make. The pothole in your road may still be there – especially if the problem arose at the same time as trying to ‘trim the budget’, for example. Even the best of councillors have to ‘pick their battles’ prudently – a sort of triage on where damage control is most needed;
  5. Presentation without Title (because Keith made up the wrong title) – Lynne Boldt & John Panter
    • We Shall Overcome – it’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. (Beware the attrition techniques of the provincial government. They believe that they can defeat us by outwaiting us. Don’t let it be so.)
    • Strategy: “team” slate of candidates; filing at the same time, preferably too late for the opposition to react;
    • Develop symbols: “The Old Grey Mayor”, backward coats (turncoat), Red Casket; they have media appeal and are memorable – just ask Dolt McGuilty;
    • “Who Said What” flyers, highlighting the statements of councillors in response to hot issues;
    • Strategic voting, and let it be known.
  6. The Fiscally Viable Budget Plan -- Neither Kay Wise nor Nick Bjelan from Hensall was able to attend the conference because of funeral obligations and work obligations on the homefront.
    ---- Open Mike ---
  7. Ken Johnston (Ailsa Craig) – suggestion that we create an administrative or executive body for ODN;
  8. Roman Sarachman (CFF)
    • A need for administrative structure within ODN;
    • Block voting across the province;
    • Extend your network through mail, e-mail, telephone.
  9. Stan Haworth (CFF)
    • resolution to form a small Executive Committee of three or four people plus a Secretary; this Committee is for the purpose of co-ordinating the activities of ODN and implementing its policies and resolutions. It is responsible directly to the membership at large.
    • Request for a statement of aims and purposes of ODN. (This was retrieved from the VOCOnews website, and read aloud)
    • Propose that O.D.N. request a meeting with Messrs. McGuinty or Gerretsen, or both, in Toronto during the week of September 24 or October 1; The focus of the meeting is to demand that the Provincial Government place a referendum question on the November/06 municipal ballot of each of the former communities.
  10. Al McIntyre (Guest)
    • Pointed out the imbalance of rural-urban in Chatham-Kent amalgamation;
    • Suggested that Ward 6 (Chatham) be redivided into 3 wards, each with 2 representatives
  11. Joe Cooper (East York)
    • Discussed the replacement of a historically significant mural with a historically insignificant Van Gogh reproduction, pointing out the “symbolic” loss of community identity which highlights the loss of identity in other domains;
    • Discussed that many community-significant monuments and buildings have been sold/converted into much less significant entities, particularly businesses, some with artificial “supporting purposes” to justify the change;
    • Pointed out that “community consultation” under which many of these changes have been effected is truly lacking;
    • Pointed out that ‘artificial’ municipalities (i.e., forced and shotgun amalgamations) lack substance
  12. Rob Watson (R.O.C.K.)
    • Discussed the need to ‘hammer’ at the province through legal channels; Reaffirmed the resolve of our communities to return to their previous status or a similar voter-decided status.
  13. Announced (VOCO) that the next conference will be hosted by VOCO “in beautiful Victoria County”.
  14. Announced (Fay Heatherington) that VHS or DVD copies of the day’s proceedings will be available for $10.00, by contacting Keith Hipkins. (Fay also volunteered to cover the cost of delivering orders by mail.)
  15. Appendix Minutes

    Motion (Stan Haworth, Lynn Noonan) that ODN establish aims and purposes. Not brought to a vote, since the aims and purposes established at the first ODN Conference in Rockton were retrieved from the web site and read aloud. Copy follows: The following declaration was approved by representatives of each municipality and community group:

    Motion (John Panter, Lynn Noonan) that ODN establish a board of directors consisting of 5 members, including a secretary, who will determine a chairperson from within the group. CARRIED (It was suggested in discussion prior to this motion that Keith Hipkins take up the post of secretary of ODN. After the carriage of the motion, Faye McGee pointed out that further discussion on this matter was irrelevant since it was included in the motion. A motion followed [for which the newly appointed secretary did NOT record mover/seconder] that Keith Hipkins assume the position of ODN Secretary. CARRIED

    ODN Board of Directors:
    • Rob Watson (Stan Haworth/Rob Watson)
    • Roman Sarachman (Lynn Noonan/Angie Brain)
    • Nancy Lichacz (Faye McGee/Lynne Boldt)
    • Lynne Boldt (Marilyn Barbe/Stan Haworth)

    The directors met briefly in camera and returned having appointed Lynne Boldt as Chair

    Motion (Faye McGee/Dennis Noonan) that Stan Haworth’s second resolution regarding meeting with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and/or the Premier be tabled and turned over to the new board for decision and report. CARRIED

    Announced (VOCO) that the next conference will be hosted by VOCO “in beautiful Victoria County”.

    Motion (Marilyn Barbe/Rob Watson) to adjourn CARRIED

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