And Here’s A Warning To You , Dear Citizens – When Hearing Or Watching A Niagara Regional Council Meeting, ‘DO NOT BELIEVE YOUR LYING EARS OR EYES!
A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted February 20th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Wow, is that Bob Gale, one of the City of Niagara Falls’ gifts to regional council and chair of the Niagara Police Services Board, up there on the screen behind Twilight Zone host Rod Serling?
Or am I just ‘travelling through another dimension,’ as Rod would say, ‘not only of sight and sound, but of mind and imagination.’
No, that’s Bob Gale, all right!
He’s right up there on the video screen during a recent February 8th meeting of Niagara regional council – just minutes after a bunch of regional councillors got through three more hours of smearing Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn with their feces over his town council’s finances.
He’s there saying (or at least some of us think we heard him saying) that the Mayor of St. Catharines, Walter Sendzik, the president of the Niagara police union, Cliff Priest, and former Niagara Regional Police deputy chief, Joe Matthews, should apologize for various things they said publicly, and by way of criticism, about the way the board has been going about doing business with millions of dollars of our tax money.
One focus of their criticism was the outrageous news we recently learned that the police board which, along with Gale as its chair, also includes Port Colborne regional councillor David Barrick and Niagara regional chair Al Caslin among its members, paid a total of $870,000 of our money to former Niagara Regional Police Chief Jeff McGuire to retire more than two years before his contract to serve as the police force’s chief was through.
So there was Gale on his feet this past February 8th – clearly p.o.’d about this criticism over something he claimed he only received a few emails over when other regional councillors told me they received numerous complaints from area citizens – saying one after another, “he (Sendzik, who had left the regional council chambers by that time) should apologize,” then Matthews “should apologize as well,” then “he (Priest) too should apologize, but I doubt that he will.”
I am sure that is what I was heard. I was at that regional council meeting, standing at the back of the room, when Gale rose to his feet and said it.
Apparently, the former Niagara Regional Police Chief Jeff McGuire heard it too because later on, he sent out a tweet on February 9th that read;
“My colleague @DeputyMatthews is a long time police leader who is highly respected across Niagara, Ontario & Canada & he continues to serve the community as a tireless volunteer. Thanks Joe. #NoApologyRequired”
There were also stories about Gale asking for the apologies in the mainstream media, including a February 15th piece by St. Catharines Standard columnist Doug Herod that I will share a link to before I sign off here.
But could all of this be my imagination. Maybe I actually did travel through another dimension to the Twilight Zone!
Because just a week after that regional council meeting, on February 16th, Gale circulated a message to his fellow regional councillors on police board letterhead, stating the following – “At no time did I ever demand that anyone apologize.”
Come on Bob, give us a break. I know what I heard at that meeting and so does everyone else.
We were not in the Twilight Zone either because in all due respect to Rod Serling, the stories he wrote for that series were far more interesting and insightful than anything that happens at these regional council meetings.
This February 8th meeting is but the latest example of the kind of nonsense we have had going on for the past three-plus years since this term of regional council, under the chairmanship of Al Caslin, began.
In this case, we had this Gale episode following some three hours taken up with the same gang on the council going after Augustyn and his Pelham council over that town’s finances again. This when the councils for four local municipalities and counting – Port Colborne, St. Catharines, Thorold and Welland – have so far passed motions that more or less tell Caslin and company to but out of Pelham’s financial issues and get on to other business.
Gee, that sounds like a good idea!
How about spending a little more time working on getting the unemployment rate for young people in this region, or on affordable housing, or on planning growth in our communities in ways that don’t threaten what is left of our woodlands or provincially significant wetlands. How about building the kind of regional transit system that a region like Waterloo (which also has two tiers of municipal government is not all that different from ours) has had now for going on two decades!
Caslin and his political pals like to talk about attracting more businesses to Niagara. But could you image executives for Ford or Toyota or Amazon or some other company randomly choosing to view archived videos of a half a dozen or so meetings featuring this same bunch from over the past couple of years, just to see what kind of government they would be dealing with if they proposed moving one of their plants here.
After watching some of those, I wouldn’t blame them if they ran to their cars and went racing off to Waterloo or Kingston or London, and never gave this region a second look.
We have just over seven months left before this coming October’s municipal elections and those of us who are eligible to vote in Niagara better start paying attention and getting more involved because there is nothing less than the health and prosperity of this region at stake.
In the meantime, if you dare to watch the section of the February 8th, 2018 Niagara regional council meeting where Niagara Falls regional council and Niagara Police Board Services chair Bob Gale gets up to speak, click on the screen below and take your cursor to the bottom left hand corner of the screen and place it on the little red ball that pops up.
Now drag the d ball along the red4:08:30 time mark where Gale gets up to read a “prepared address” about the former police chief’s retirement package and about a long list of police board accomplishments.
If you wish to skip over Gale’s reading of the board’s accomplishments, put your cursor on the red ball again and continue dragging it until you reach the 4:24 mark where he begins to name the three people he believes should apologies. Then listen carefully to what he says and see if you can believe your lying ears.
First click on the following link to get to the screen for the meeting – https://www.youtube.com/embed/3bioVvAJ-ew?rel=0&autoplay=1 .
.What follows now are a few past dispatches you can click on, posted on Niagara At Large, from the Caslin cabal’s Niagara regional council Twilight Zone. Just watch out for the flying monkeys when you read them.
Here is one – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/01/27/in-the-npca-twilight-zone-apparently-a-report-clearing-it-of-any-criminal-wrongdoing-is-cause-for-celebration-and-for-dumping-yet-again-on-ed-smith/ .
Finally, here’s one for all you Three Stooges fans out there, with apologies to the real Three Stooges – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/02/02/three-stooges-a-police-chief-870000-of-our-tax-dollars/ .
You can read Standard columnist Doug Herod’s piece about the Gale business, titled; ‘Come to think of it, apologies are in order’, by clicking on – http://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/2018/02/14/herod-come-to-think-of-it-apologies-are-in-order .
Last but not least, there is a new, non-partisan citizens organization in the region called ‘A Better Niagara’ that is working for positive change in the next municipal elections, and you can find out more about how you can get involved in that by clicking on – http://www.abetterniagara.com/ .
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders