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Fair enough Steve, he likely signed an NDA when he was hired, not when he decided to leave early. Either way, he likely did sign one, and I think that was oracle's point ... where the $800,000 figure comes from, I dont know. Once again, stephen ... I am not referring to testifying in court. I am referring to discussing the matter with the press. Please try to read more carefully.
Toggle Commented Apr 14, 2014 on No comment from Urbacon at 59 Carden St.
Of course oracle is prone to hyperbole, that's part of his charm. stephen likes to call people morons, and oracle likes to paint in very broad strokes. That's just the way they write. Yes, in his own way, I do think oracle is indeed simply talking about a standard NDA. That became clear in his follow-up post. So, I'll rephrase my question then, Steve. Do you think it is unreasonable to expect that Loewig signed a NDA with the City when he retired early and is prevented from commenting on matters, especially the Urbacon case? And moreover, wouldn't you also like to know what is in his payoff agreement, as well as Kotseff's and Neubauer's? Especially the dollar amounts? I sure would.
Toggle Commented Apr 14, 2014 on No comment from Urbacon at 59 Carden St.
You think suggesting a standard confidentiality / non-disclosure clause is a conspiracy theory, Steve?
Toggle Commented Apr 14, 2014 on No comment from Urbacon at 59 Carden St.
no, it's not about the law ... it's about oracle's comment concerning loewig not speaking to the newspaper and his common-sense suggestion that loewig likely signed an agreement which stipulated that he not speak about things, especially the urbacon case. if he is called to testify in a court of law, he will presumably do so. but it should come as no surprise that he has not spoken to the press. that was oracle's point and i was in agreement. im not sure why you find that so difficult to comprehend.
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2014 on No comment from Urbacon at 59 Carden St.
stephen ... perhaps when you stop playing lawyer, you should re-read oracle's comment and look up the colloquial meaning of gag order. (ps, he obviously wasn't referring to a court order, he was referring to a private contract between the city and loewig.)
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2014 on No comment from Urbacon at 59 Carden St.
I seldom agree with Oracle here but I would find it difficult to imagine that there was not some sort of clause in Loewig's agreement that he not publicly discuss any of these matters. That would be standard practice and hardly criminal in any way. Yes, a de facto 'gag-order', stephen. Were he to be called to testify, then yes of course he would be expected to do so, but it's common-sense to expect that he will not make any sort of public statement ... the same as we would expect from any of the other sundry characters involved in this matter.
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2014 on No comment from Urbacon at 59 Carden St.
I am surprised that so many folks here have allowed themselves to become distracted. That CAO Pappert has dangerously injected herself into this political mess is not the issue here. The real issue here is that the Mayor irresponsibly allowed the former CAO to fire Urbacon. There was no doubt at that time that this was a decision based more on arrogance and hubris than any real concern for the City. In addition to this new legal decision against the City (which every reasonable, industry person expected at the time Urbacon filed suit given the unprecedented and outrageous nature of the situation), there was also tremendous waste having to additionally pay another general contractor to come in and finish the job (est $5M to $10M, anyone?) as well as launch all of this losing legal action (at least another $1M for the lawyerst). Most importantly, ALL of this is the City's fault, having allowed the project to spin out of control. It's telling that Farbridge seems obsessed with hiring so many outside consultants and legal advisers and yet they continue to provide poor and costly advise. Mayor Farbridge has proven that she lacks good judgment and leadership when it comes to tough situations. When all is said and done, this originally budgeted $32M City Hall will likely come in at more than $75M in total. Enjoy it folks, we paid for it.
Surely you are not suggesting the City intentionally extended its relationship with Loewig a month after he fired Urbacon because it was afraid of him, are you Ray? Or are you? I guess my point was too subtle. I think this 2008 endorsement is clear indication that the Mayor was more than pleased with the decision to fire Urbacon at that time.
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2014 on Hans here to end of 2012 at 59 Carden St.
Bumping this up into the fray ... seems the Mayor was more than happy ... "thrilled", in fact ... with Loewig's "exemplary leadership, integrity, and commitment to public service" a month after he is now said to have unilaterally fired Urbacon without any influence, direction or authorization from her worship. Now I don't know about you, but if I was Mayor and my CAO went and fired the general contractor on a $50M construction project without my absolute and full consent, Im not sure the first thing I would do is reward him with a new 4-year contract and tell everyone how thrilled I am with his work. Seems the same can be said for those on council who approved his new deal. I wonder who else voted to keep him.
Toggle Commented Apr 7, 2014 on Hans here to end of 2012 at 59 Carden St.
Do we know how much Proctor was paid for his work?
If we are to believe Farbridge's and Pappert's statements now, it reflects even worse on the Mayor that she supposedly had a renegade CAO incapable of managing the City's largest capital project and being allowed to make such dangerous and unprecedented decisions without her knowledge or support. I am not sure Farbridge appreciates how much more irresponsible it makes her look by now claiming she was being kept in the dark back then.
Ruling just released ... slam dunk win for Urbacon. Epic Fail for City of Guelph. Special thanks to former CAO Hans Loewing and Mayor Farbridge whose arrogance has cost us over $20,000,000.
Toggle Commented Apr 1, 2014 on Urbacon ruling delayed at 59 Carden St.
Why do some folks here always want to turn everything into a left-right debate?
Toggle Commented Apr 1, 2014 on Guelph as a 'Fair Trade Town' at 59 Carden St.
I recall a few years ago when some stonework was being done downtown. A neighbour who works in that business lamented the fact that the City hired a non-local firm because it came in with the lowest bid. "Why can the City not hire local folks?", he wondered, but recognized it could not because it's own policy prevented it from going with anyone other than the lowest bidder, even on such a relatively small expenditure. Fair trade is almost always not the lowest priced option. It has built in premiums that benefit the producers, distributors, etc., in the spirit of the fair trade approach. Fair enough. Some people choose to pay more to buy that product for various ethical reasons. What I wonder is if the City was prevented from hiring local workers because of its own purchasing policies, then how can it pay the premium on any fair trade goods? Frankly, I would it rather hire local folks than buy coffee from a fair trade farmer. Seems like a fundamental contradiction.
Toggle Commented Mar 30, 2014 on Guelph as a 'Fair Trade Town' at 59 Carden St.
What an accurate and respectful interpretation of what I wrote, Fred. Thank you for your generous and kind words.
Toggle Commented Mar 26, 2014 on It's deadline day at 59 Carden St.
Dennis, I would humbly suggest that you are in the wrong place if you think this particular public forum facilitates useful political dialog and debate. Personally, that sounds terribly stifling. For what it is worth, I would never publicly disclose anything about my personal finances and how it affects my opinion of tax rates were my identify required. But now Im curious Dennis ... how much is your house worth and how much do you earn? What are your taxes? Care to share that with all of us? Hmmmm, maybe you might feel a bit restricted about what you are willing to disclose here now that we all know who you are?
Toggle Commented Mar 26, 2014 on It's deadline day at 59 Carden St.
In the spirit of tossing some actual numbers on the table ... re: municipal (property) taxes I pay about 1% of the market value of our home or about 2% of our total household income. I would guess most of my neighbours are in that same boat except perhaps those who have purchased homes more expensive than their income can afford. My house price / income ratio is a very reasonable 2 (i.e., my house is worth twice as much as we earn), the Canadian average is now about 4.75, up from 3.5 a few years ago. Affordability becomes problematic above 4.5 ... i.e., many Canadians still paying a mortgage are dangerously house-poor. I do not know the numbers specifically for Guelph. I don't think we have it that bad here in Guelph. It's not so much what I pay, it's what they spend (or don't spend) it on that bugs me sometimes. Frankly, if saving me a few hundred dollars a year means cutting simple services like yard waste collection, park/tree maintenance, road maintenance and support for a few cultural events, then no thanks. I'll gladly pay a little more for them to make Guelph a nicer place to live. Those with home/income ratios above 4 however, would likely see things quite differently. In other words, what is reasonable is relative.
Toggle Commented Mar 26, 2014 on What does it mean to be a taxpayer? at 59 Carden St.
It's not a matter of me controlling my dog, grumpy. He's actually quite well behaved. You'd like him if you met him, I'm sure. No, it's more a matter of those cyclists who silently fly up behind us on the sidewalk and narrowly miss us (or actually make contact a few times). You seem reasonable in that you say you ride wide. That's all I ask. My beef is with those cyclists who seem to think they have the right of way on the sidewalk and that the onus is on me or any pedestrian to get out of their way. Indeed, legally it is just the opposite.
Thank you for enlightening me, stephen s. I was unaware that having concern for pedestrians made me incredibly self-centered and foolish and also made my little heart devious. I look forward to being further enlightened by a seasoned, muscled cyclist like yourself. I would however like to clarify one thing though, stephen s. Riding on the sidewalk is not within the law. Indeed it is prohibited, hence my post. Steve, yes a massive car can easily knock over a vulnerable cyclist on the road. My comparison was that what a car is to a cyclist on the road, a cyclist also poses very real dangers to pedestrians on the sidewalk. This point seems be be lost on far too many folks who ride bikes. Besides, bottom line, bikes have no legal right to be on the sidewalks.
don't be silly, stephen s. bikes on sidewalks is as much a part of this discussion as anything. frankly, why should anyone spend one red cent on bike lanes on roads if delinquent cyclists continue to endanger pedestrians on sidewalks? four out of every five bikes that pass me on the sidewalk, do so dangerously. most make no attempt to ride wide of me, and many don't even bother to slow down. and they often scare the shit out of my dog. i cringe whenever i see a cyclist flying toward me on the sidewalk and frankly, im tempted to knock them off their bikes if they ride too close. one of the central reasons for constructing these bike lanes is to GET THE CYCLISTS OFF THE SIDEWALKS!! until cyclists recognize that they have a responsibility to ensure the safety of others around them just as much as drivers have that same responsibility, this is a pointless discussion.
What about cyclists who ride on the sidewalks, al de jong? That has always seemed to be a bone of contention. Bike lanes have been in place on Gordon and Stone for quite some time now and yet so many cyclists continue to ride fast and dangerously close to pedestrians on the sidewalks. These are not kids, they are adults, and many without helmets. I would agree with you ... where are the controls?
No doubt Steve, Hans Loewig was dangerously arrogant in my opinion and he did more damage to this city than anyone other single person in years. We are all much better off that he is no longer in the employ of the city. But I don't get to vote for him or for Ann Pappert or for Janet Laird. I get to vote for the Mayor and a couple of councilors from my ward. And given Mayor Farbridge's stated support for Janet Laird (in addition to Farbridge's leadership on the wasteful overspending on the plant itself) my only option with respect to that issue is to not vote for Farbridge. Claiming that the Mayor's hands are tied with respect to who is employed in Laird's position is as silly as agreeing with her that her hands are tied with respect to the pro-life signs on buses. Where there is a will, there is a way. Unfortunately, our Mayor quite often chooses the lazy way out of the difficult decisions she is paid to take. Besides, it is abundantly clear that she agrees with the way Laird is wrongly running that show.
Fred, you said you had never seen a good reason why some folks dislike the Mayor. I gave you mine. But rather than simply acknowledging my reasons, you raised other examples of wasteful spending and seem compelled to spin it into a silly left-right debate: something I have no use for. It does not matter whether I agree with your position or not, nor you mine. Or whether I agree with the Mayor or not on this or that issue. My point is simple. She has overspent on all sorts of things and I dislike that.
Come on Fred, if you haven't seen an honest reason why some people dislike the Mayor, you just haven't been paying attention. Yes, it's about money and judgment. 1) the wasteful expenditure on the wet/dry compost facility. Farbridge not only refused to undertake a full Environmental Assessment of the project despite calls to do so, she continues to rely on Janet Laird to run the place. Laird has shown herself to be unresponsive, defensive, myopic and just plain idiotic about things. She slandered a local company blaming problematic facility odours on it, then tried to insanely argue the smell was from rotting leaves. It wasn't until the MOE indicated that the plant was producing the odours that Laird admitted it. Farbridge should have fired her immediately for the disingenuous way she handled that issue alone. More importantly, the plant is simply too big for our needs and by intentionally building it to over-capacity and renting out 2/3 of that capacity to our neighbours, we are essentially subsidizing their waste costs. Sure, the plant itself may be a good idea, but why should the folks in Guelph pay for Waterloo's waste? Farbridge's ideology has cost us millions of dollars. That cannot be argued. 2) the new City Hall ran tens of millions of dollars over-budget and was allowed to spiral out of control to the point that the general contractor was fired ... an unprecedented move in municipal contracting. Cambridge City Hall came in on time and under budget. Farbridge mismanaged the construction of ours and it has easily cost us tens of millions more than necessary. And who know what sorts of legals costs will additionally result from the ongoing case with Urbacon. 3) Where is our South End Community Center? It's now been shelved for years, and despite the population explosion in the area, continues to be delayed because there is no money for it (see points 1) and 2) above). See also the dangerous design on hastily built bike lanes on Stone Road that cost thousands to fix, and; the $13 million dollars in new Civic Museum renovations in a building the City does not even own. Ultimately, the buck stops at her desk. Need I go on? She spends like a drunken sailor on her own vanity projects and allows other projects that people actually want and need ... and have more than already paid for ... to never get built. Farbridge might be a nice person and maybe you even count her among your friends, Fred, but her principles and ideals have cost you and me a lot of money.