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Niagara Regional Council Hangs Tough On Lawsuits Against CAO Hiring Scandal Quartet

Regional Councillor Peter Nicholson’s Bewildering Bid to have Region Reconsider Suing Caslin and Company is Swiftly Shot Down

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted February 21st, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Region has slapped former regional chair Al Caslin with a $500,000 lawsuit

Despite a last-minute bid by a Niagara Falls Regional Councillor Peter Nicholson to throw a wrench into the works, Niagara Region’s council voted 24 to 1 to pursue lawsuits against former Niagara Regional chair Al Caslin, the Region’s former CAO Carmen D’Angelo and two other key players in what has come to be known as the ‘CAO hiring scandal.

The almost unanimous vote – recorded during the end of this past Thursday, February 20th’ regional council meeting – brought a quick end to Nicholson’s out-of-the-blue motion to reconsider filing lawsuits against the four, which also include former regional policy director Robert D’Amboise and former communications director Jason Tamming.

This is good news for countless residents across Niagara who have been following the unfolding details of this sordid affair, going back to the events leading up to  Caslin and he regional council of the day hiring Carmen D’Angelo to the $250,000-plus job of chief administrative officer (CAO) of what is a more than a billion-dollars-a-year public corporation.

What is also good news is that this past Wednesday, February 19th, possibly unbeknownst to most, if not all on the Region’s council, lawyers for the Region had already filed a statement of claim in the Ontario courts against Caslin, D’Amboise and Tamming, suing the trio for a total of $850,000.

The claim breaks down to $500,000 against Caslin, $250,000 against D’Amboise and $100,000 against Tamming.

Continue reading

Niagara Citizens Group Urges Niagara Falls Mayor and Council to Drop Harsh Sanctions Against Councillor Carolynn Ioannoni

“Mayor Diodati is Trumpian in his vendetta against a Councillor who he appears to dislike and who consistently votes and speaks her mind.”

A Call of Support for the Councillor from A Better Niagara, a Niagara-wide citizen watchdog group

Posted February 20th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

A Brief Foreword Note from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper –

The outspoken Niagara Falls City Councillor Carolynn Ioannoni, loved by many citizen activiists across Niagara, but often at outs with Niagara Falls’ Mayor Jim Diodati and others on the council.

When I first read the news earlier this February that Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodiati and a majority on his council had moved hyper harshly to punish one of their own, City Councillor Carolynn Ioannoni, by suspending her council pay for 90 days and removing her from all committees and boards for the rest of the council term, my head was left spinning.

My thoughts immediately went back to a few weeks earlier to a January 30th public meeting in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where more than 200 residents came out, many of them to voice their opposition to a controversial proposal – supported by Diodati and a majority on his council – to urbanize property within metres of provincially significant wetlands inside a place known as Thundering Water Forest.

Among the very first to speak, Ioannoni received applause from the gathering when she leaned into a microphone and told  representatives of the corporation responsible for the proposal; “I don’t think you would have a room full of people here because they believe that the wetlands are going to be preserved.” Continue reading

Tell Our Niagara Regional Councillors to Hang Tough on Suing Key Figures in CAO Hiring Scandal

We, the People, deserve to see justice done in this matter

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted February 19th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

What gives with first-term Niagara Falls Regional Councillor Peter Nicholson? Why is he reportedly having second throughts about the Region filing a lawsuit against former CAO Carmen D’Angleo, former regional chair Al Caslin and two others?

What gives with the freshman regional councillor from Niagara Falls, Peter Nicholson?

If a story on the front page of February 19th edition of the St. Catharines Standard is correct, this  regional councillor wants fellow members of Niagara Region’s council to reconsider a motion they reportedly passed in closed session this past January to file lawsuits against four of the main players in what has become commonly known as the ‘tainted CAO hiring scandal’ – what Ontario’s Ombudsman dubbed an “inside job” in a report he released he released last November – that rocked and ravaged our Niagara regional government as a credible, functioning public body over the past four or five years.

The four individuals our Regional Council reportedly voted this January to file lawsuits against are the former CAO at the heart of the hiring, Carmen D’Angelo, former Niagara regional chair Al Caslin, a former regional policy director Robert D’Amboise and former communications director Jason Tamming. Continue reading

Niagara’s Wetlands Deserve at least 30 Metres of Protection from Bad Planning and Greed

The Provincially Significant Wetlands in Thundering Waters Forest – in the long-troubled waters of our Bi-National Niagara River Watershed – Should Not Be Paved Around At All!

A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted February 14th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Let me segue into yet another call for saving Thundering Waters Forest and the rich abundance of wetlands inside this jewel of a place in our bi-national Niagara River watershed this way.

A look inside the wetlands-rich Thundering Waters Forest in the Niagara River watershed.

At a meeting this past February 12th of Niagara Region’s planning and economic development committee, Wayne Redekop, a member of the committee and Mayor of the Town of Fort Erie, said  the following before the committee was about to defer any decision on a request by Ontario’s wine industry to relax rules over what then can do on Niagara Escarpment lands – some of which are designated, through the United Nations, as a globally significant “biosphere reserve.”

Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop believes that in this age of climate change, our region has to do everything possible to save what is left of our natural heritage

“Our interest is obviously in ensuring that we have a vibrant economy,” Redekop told fellow members of the committee. “But we also have an interest in ensuring that we protect natural heritage features.”

“And for as long as I have been here,” he added, “we have heard people talk about what a great area Niagara is to live, to do business and to raise a family. And I am trying to get my head around how do we do that if we don’t have some regard for what people really do think is significant about Niagara. And that is our natural heritage.”

“With all of the stuff that is happening with respect to climate change, the Fort Erie mayor concluded, “with the significance of biodiversity, I am really not supportive of …eroding the natural heritage area that we’ve got in Niagara, whether it is NEC, whether it is the greenbelt, whether it is the wetlands in Fort Erie.  I think we’ve got to keep our eye on the ball.” Continue reading

Niagara Health Officially Welcomes New President, Lynn Guerriero

“Niagara Health has a bright future ahead of it and it’s because of our people…. I’m very impressed by the professionalism, care, and compassion of everyone here.” – Lynn Guerriero

News from Niagara Health, Niagara, Ontario’s amalgamated system of hospitals

Posted February 18th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Niagara Health’s new president, Lynn Guerriero

Niagara, Ontario – Niagara Health is welcoming our new president, Lynn Guerriero, to her role today. Ms. Guerriero will play a critical role in helping us achieve our purpose of extraordinary caring to every person, every time.

“I’m excited to join Niagara Health, which has such dedicated staff, physicians, learners, volunteers, and board members,” said Ms. Guerriero. “Niagara Health has a bright future ahead of it and it’s because of our people. As I learn more about the organization, I’m very impressed by the professionalism, care, and compassion of everyone here.”

“Lynn is strongly committed to providing patients and families with extraordinary caring in every aspect of their experience. With her passion and deep understanding of healthcare, she was the unanimous choice of the selection committee and is an outstanding executive leader who will be a positive presence at Niagara Health,” said Mr. John Bragagnolo, Chair of the Board of Directors at Niagara Health. Continue reading

Give Niagara’s District School Board an ‘F’ for Fascism

This School Board Owes Trustee Kate Baggott and All of Her Constituents an Apology

“To think is sacred; let every person think freely!

“To express what you think is sacred; let every person express his thought freely! If you do this, you prove that you are a conscientious and a moral human being!

“If you don’t do this, you just declare yourself being fascist!”

―Mehmet Murat ildan, Turkish playwright and writer, world-renown for his work, including his play on the legendary activist and advocate for non-violent protest against oppressors, Mahatma Gandhi

A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper

Posted February 16th, 2020 on Niagara At Large

This Niagara school board trustee, Kate Baggott, gets publicly pilloried by the board for having the nerve to communicate with a parent who has concerns

Let’s revisit for a second or so more the point that Mehmet Murat ildan makes about living and operating in a world where we can express our thoughts freely.

Is there anyone out there, aside from the kind of person who would support a politician like Donald Trump, who doesn’t believe there something sacred about that?

If you truly believe that the right to express ourselves freely should be a guiding principle for living in a healthy, functioning democracy, then the answer to any question about how sacred or sacrosanct that is should be a no-brainer.

It should be, but apparently it isn’t such an easy question to answer these days  at the District School Board of Niagara (DSBN). Continue reading

A Happy ‘Presidents Day’ to our American Neighbours

“He’s now president for life. Maybe we’ll have to give that a shot           someday.” – U.S. President Trump, seemingly “joking” to an adoring audience of supporters  at a May 2018 Florida fundraiser about a power grab that had just been made by China’s president, Xi Jinping, to rule his country for life

A Brief Commentary by Doug Draper, reporter and publisher, Niagara At Large

Posted on this Presidents Day in Trumpland, February 17th, 2020

“Donald Trump is functionally a monarch at this point. … If the king does it, it’s okay.”                                                              – American historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Jon Meacham, shortly after Moscow Mitch delivered Trump an acquittal shortly after the sham of an “impeachment trial” held in what is left of the U.S. Senate this January

“Every public official that I know believes that his election (in 2020) is in the public interest,” said Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard University law professor, acquaintance of convicted sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein  and member of Trump’s legal team from hell, during what so many mainstream American media lemmings dutifully called an “impeachment trial.” Continue reading