“In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.”

Cake

If the 32nd US President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was witness to what is going on in Aurora council this month I think he would be quick to rethink those words.

On June 6th Clr. Buck provided the first heads up as to a rush to plan for Aurora’s 150th year anniversary next year.  You can read her post on the matter here:  http://evelynmbuck.blogspot.ca/2012/06/surprise-party.html

It seems that some brainiac on staff thought it be wise to spend $100,000 of funds that have not been budgeted and use 2/3ds of that to hire someone to spend the other 1/3rd.  Our mayor seemed to go along with the idea and bring it before council.

This demands a monumental WTF?

The town has a capable Special Events coordinator.  

The town has a wealth of volunteers, even a network to coordinate their efforts.

Where did this come from?

On June 11th, the Error Banner ran a piece regarding the General Comittee debate:

At that meetings petty Clr’s decided to make this a “you don’t like parties” us vs. them debate, not unlike the political smokescreen put forth by Clr. Ballard and the Cultural Centre suggesting “you don’t like arts and culture”.

Clr. Buck was astute in her summary:

“The decision is not yet made. It is not between a celebration and no celebration.  
It’s between a year long celebration and extravagance with multiple events”

Instead of planning a meaningful event, the intent was to run events year round.  To spread out 
and dilute the effect, diminishing exactly what the town should be celebrating.

Daniel H. Burnham, a prominent American architect and urban planner (read someone who made plans for a living) has this advise on making plans:

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will themselves not be realized.”

This week at council it seems that common sense has prevailed, reversing the train-wreck that was arrived at the week previous with only Clr. Pirri and Mayor Dawe wanting to stay the course.

Clr. Buck’s perspective on the matter can be found in a follow up blog post here.

The Error Banner’s coverage is here:

All the way through this debacle the single question that many I have spoken to have, and I continue to ask is how is it that planning for such a significant anniversary could be handled this way?

The panic mode that is driving this planning doesn’t provide any confidence in the town’s ability to be forward thinking, let alone “innovative” or “sustainable”.

They say arks are way easier to build before it floods than during, but that doesn’t seem to be the town’s approach.

If this event is worthy of spending $100,000, and requires professional management as the Mayor suggest then why are considerations only commencing 6 months prior?

The Mayor, as he often does, dragged out yet another 80’s cliche and expressed concern that nothing could get done without anyone “driving the bus”.

Editor of The Auroran, Brock Wier was quick to explore the metaphor in his exceptional column this week titled “they never saw it coming”.

Things do happen by accident in Aurora, and this is one of those things.

It leaves Auroran’s bewildered, and wondering did the Mayor, council and staff never consult a calendar with an outlook more than 6 months in advance?  

Don’t we have a Hertiage Planning Manager?  

Don’t we have a “Executive Leadership Team”?

If anyone denies this and suggests that they did see it coming, than why has the town not been implementing the planning in phases, striking a committee, and formulating a budget over the previous two years?

Aurora has many so-called “professionals” that profess their love and admiration for our town’s heritage, yet her we are without any plans, without even a museum.

We got here because we were kicked into auto-pilot.

As for the over-arching concern of “who is driving the bus” this is at the core of Pixar’s animated adventure Wall-E.

Set in a post-apocalyptic future humans have escaped the Earth and for 700 years they have been adrift on a space ship following orders not to return.  During their time humans evolve into fat lazy purposeless blobs.  They travel their ship on hover scooters and drink all their meals in a cup.  

The passing of time is meaningless and is summed up particularly well in one scene where the Captain addresses the crew in his daily morning announcement.  One of his only responsibilities since the rest of the ship and operations have been taken over by autopilot.

“Well, good morning, everybody, and welcome to day 255,642 aboard the Axiom. As always, the weather is a balmy 72 degrees and sunny, and, uh… Oh, I see the ship’s log is showing that today is the 700th anniversary of our five year cruise. Well, I’m sure our forefathers would be proud to know that 700 years later we’d be… doing the exact same thing they were doing. So, be sure next mealtime to ask for your free sep-tua-centennial cupcake in a cup.”

Hiring an Anniversary Planner, to the tune of $70,000, 6 months in advance of the event and then dispensing lest than half that amount to draw for funding is the result of a town run on auto-pilot.

Should that have transpired Aurorans would have been on a crash course to being treated to nothing more than a cupcake in a cup.

If our Mayor is wondering who is going to drive the bus perhaps he missed the memo, along with the majority of council as to their jobs.

Take the wheel!

Steer!

We don’t have to make the same mistakes.

We don’t need to be victims of these self inflicted accidents.

Apathy and Mediocrity have left a bad taste in this town’s mouth for the past 10 years, increasingly so over the past 6.  So if at the end of the day all Aurorans are to expect next year to celebrate their 150 year history is a cupcake in a cup, than please, we beg of you, at least change the flavour so we can enjoy the ride for the next 150.
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