Revision history (UTC/major.minor.patch, in reverse chronological order): 20140514T153717Z/version 4.0.0 (made changes pursuant to the 2014-05-05 out-of-court legal settlement between Karen Cilevitz and Toomas Karmo; and corrected "something on the order of 165 trees" (with reference to the Metrus-Corsica tree felling of 2009, in the savanna occupying the southwest corner of the DDO&P Trapezoid) to "something on the order of 350 trees"; and added a reference to Councillor Perrelli's prima-facie contrary-to-regulations use of Town funds for distribution of a 2013 Town-wide opinion survey; and added a reference to the supported accorded in Council Chamber by Councillor Beros to Councillor Perrelli; and added mention of the 2014 May improvements in audio and video dissemination of Council meetings and related meetings; and did better justice to Ms Daphne Williamson on the one hand by amending my euphemistic words "neurological obstacles" to the accurate, and adequately precise, "diagnosed learning disability" and on the other hand by correcting (in the light of e-mail from her to me) my conjecture of few-or-no-clients-after Cilevitz to the conjecture of few-or-no-big-clients-after-Cilevitz; and improved my writing of the Jason Lloydovitch OMB hearing-room pettiness of 2012-08-10 (the previous writing inadvertently left the impression that Jason Lloydovitch had installed a table between, or virtually between, my knees, when in reality, and a little less ominously, he had installed it in a generous gap between existing rows of seating); and suppressed a stray footnote referring to a not-displayed photo, still in my possession, from the Black Thursday that was 2012-04-12 (showing Karen, me, and a couple of others waiting outside the Council chamber, as Council prepared to divulge the Mediation settlement terms); and corrected tiny, in essence DDO-irrelevant, facts (for instance, political career of recently ill of Mr Mart Laar in Estonia) at various points in the overall page; and added bottom-of-page footer displays in the homepage style; and made a few tiny stylistic improvements at various points in the overall page (for instance, correcting the embarrassing typo "creeply", in my discussion of USSR immigration formalities, to my always-intended "creepy"); and did spell-checking with the Linux aspell tool; and validated my HTML hand-coding with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Markup Validation Service tool available at http://validator.w3.org/check), 20140319T032936Z/version 3.0.0 (made major revisions in my discussion of Karen Cilevitz lawyer Daphne Williamson, suppressing material which Ms Williamson and I found to contain errors, and adding a discussion of the suppression - most notably, a discussion of Ms Williamson's threat of legal action), 20140221T040000Z/version 2.0.0 (did reasonably polished version, for upload to public server), 20140218T035440Z/version 1.0.0 (wrote incomplete base version, without upload to server)

1. Initial remarks
on this assessment of
Karen's DDO work

This blog posting seeks to provide a full account of Karen's 2008-through-2013 DDO work, with an appropriate level of digression into the general DDO background. It does not seek to cover all aspects of the 2008-through-2013 DDO conservation file. That latter, more ambitious, writing project I have begun elsewhere, for possible eventual publication on some different server.

With the ground duly prepared through this present blog publication of Karen's DDO history, we may hope over the coming months for contributions from the public, from all segments of our local political spectrum. Karen must herself participate in a correctly sporting fashion in the debate whose preparations are herewith being made, or else be labelled on her hustings, by a skeptical electorate, as debate-shy.

(Admittedly, she must do so in conformance with the 2014-05-05 out-of-court legal settlement between us: she cannot communicate with me directly - the necessary e-mails, containing her contributions to my blog and my records-of-receipt, must be transmitted indirectly, for instance through the channel of communication already established between our respective lawyers - and she must compose her various contributions to my blog in such a way as not to comment on our mutual settlement.)

A minor housekeeping point requires attention before the real discussion can commence. It is useful in the present blog material not only to write, as everyone does, "DDO" for "David Dunlap Observatory", but additionally to write the acronym "DDO&P" for "David Dunlap Observatory and Park". The longer acronym serves as a reminder of the legal background, so relevant to Karen's former conservationist and more recent anti-conservationist actions - namely, that the formal donation of DDO land from the Dunlap family to the University of Toronto was effected through a 1932-07-30 deed of indenture containing, among other clauses, the following two:

/ . . ./

3.- The remainder of the said lands shall be converted into and utilized as an Arboretum and/or Botanical Gardens and/or such other like or allied purposes in connection with the educational work of the University of Toronto as may from time to time be prescribed or designated by the governing body of said University. The land containing the Observatory grounds and any Gardens or Arboretum which may be established shall be called and known as "THE DAVID DUNLAP PARK."

4.- The Grantees shall maintain and use the said lands for the purposes of the said Observatory and Botanical Gardens and/or Arboretum or other prescribed use as aforesaid, and shall admit the general public to same at such times and upon such conditions as may be prescribed by said governing body.

/ . . ./

2. The origins
of the DDO Defenders

I was aware from pretty much the moment I met Marianne Yake, of the Richmond Hill Naturalists, at the ill-starred University of Toronto Governing Council meeting of 2007-10-30 (this was the meeting that approved the 'Varsity's irresponsible decision to put DDO&P up for sale) that the Naturalists were an effective force. I was, in other words, aware from this point onward that I would have an effective community ally in the conservationist efforts I was myself starting as a University of Toronto staffer.

Nevertheless, I pressed forward on my own, aiming to draw together in an informal way all those in the community who might be interested in defending DDO&P. The name "DDO Defenders" I chose for its pleasing alliteration. I convened some meetings of interested public in the then "Timothy's" cafe at Major MacKenzie and Bayview, and late in 2007 or early 2008 I sent out two or three or four e-mail newsletters, under a "DDO Defenders" heading, to the perhaps two or three dozen individuals who had given me e-mail addresses.

Karen (then a resident of Thornhill, in the municipality of Markham, just south of Richmond Hlll) took an early interest in the case, being an enthusiastic amateur astronomer from the ranks of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Karen's lack of education in maths or physics was not here a grave impediment.

Karen's first venture into DDO affairs was unhappy. It was clear from 2007-10-30 onward that political rallies would be needed. We began in a small way, with my leading a rally of about 50 individuals outside the Town offices, on 2007-11-08. Karen began by expressing an interest in our work, and then in the second half of 2007 November withdrawing from a rally-planning meeting in a fit of pique.

This unhappiness, which in the clarity of hindsight assumes significance, weighed little on me at the time. I forgot it quickly enough, as we in the "Defenders" prepared for the big rallies of 2008, with Karen thoroughly on board as early as 2007 December or 2008 January.

Karen performed an invaluable service at the Legislature and University of Toronto administration on 2008 January 16, securing a bagpiper to accompany us in our march from the one venue to the other. (The University of Toronto public-relations specialist Ruta Pocius, who wrote the inaccurate press release of 2007 September 10 which I analyze at my http://www.metascientia.com, went, I am told, quite white on seeing our piper take up his stand as we politely gathered to meet Vice-President Catherine Riggall on the Simcoe Hall steps, in the glare of television.)

Even more helpful to the conservationist cause was Karen's work with a large rally on the DDO lawns, in which she secured for us the presence both of David "Grey Eagle" Sanford (as a Mohawk of the Six Nations) and the then leader of the federal New Democratic Party, Mr Jack Layton. She for quite some time maintained happy relations with "Grey Eagle" - he conferred on her the supposedly honorific designation "Endless Water", and she said in my hearing, "Yes, I like it; I like it very much" - before breaking with him in a subsequent bitter quarrel.

There was also much rally speaking on our own part, and as an orator Karen proved (the inadequacies of her written expression notwithstanding) to be sincere, clear, and forceful.

We have additionally to thank Karen for the idea of a musical signature for our conservation movement. It was her idea to fit to "Amazing Grace" a set of words beginning "Amazing Place". Her own execution of this idea was, admittedly, defective. To my pained astonishment, she did not know that in songwriting one has to fit syllables to notes - i.e., that stretching one syllable over two notes (or ramming two syllables onto one note) can be overdone. But she must be credited with a fine idea.

I later took her idea and executed it properly, as follows. I would ask this writing, like everything on this server, to be taken under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, with reproduction welcome provided attribution is made under License terms:

    Amazing place, where deer abound
    And hawks rise on the breeze; 
    God's generous mile of hallowed ground, 
    Of greens and trails and trees. 

    ((KEY_CHANGE = "upward by interval of one fourth
         (as it might be, from C major to F major)"))

    When we survey the skies above, 
    Our minds and spirits soar: 
    May we defend this place we love
    As long as the stars endure. 

Amid all our frenetic open-air theatre, it was necessary to keep sending out e-mails. I reiterate that late in 2007 or early 2008 I sent out two or three or four e-mail newsletters, under a "DDO Defenders" heading, to the perhaps two or three dozen individuals who had given me e-mail addresses.

There was, however, a general dissatisfaction with my e-mail style, most particularly because I started my mails with a technical preamble, giving some such things as the current Universal Coordinated Time and the serial number of the current "DDO Defenders" e-mail. I believe it was not Karen alone, but also others, who found my style geeky and repellent. I accordingly agreed to have Karen disseminate e-mails.

With this single fatal decision, DDO was on a slippery slope. Very quickly (perhaps by March of 2008, or so) it was Karen, not I, who was universally seen as, and in substantive fact was, the "leader" of the DDO Defenders. There was not, admittedly, any formal meeting in which the question who was "leader" got discussed and voted on.

Eventually, Karen took to styling herself, in e-mails, in a parody of the North Korean political leadership, as "Your Fearless Leader".

I continued as a sort of lieutenant of Karen's, working also with Marianne Yake in her capacity as President of the Richmond Hill Naturalists, and with Ms Yake's team. I was from this point onward close to, but not quite within, the actual decision-making circle on DDO&P conservation, and happy enough to be in such a position of diminished responsibility.

When in 2011 relations between the Cilevitz-led DDO Defenders and the Naturalists broke down, and when Karen created David Dunlap Observatory Defenders Inc. so as to be able to be a Party in OMB Mediation (these bad developments I recount in a later section of this page), it was natural enough that Karen should serve as the David Dunlap Observatory Defenders Inc. head, rallying many to her banner with her skills in promotion.

In the halcyon years of 2008 and 2009 and 2010, Karen also served DDO well by analyzing, and reporting on, the "tree trial". Here I will be brief, recalling only that Metrus-Corsica took down something on the order of 350 trees, I presume not all of them over the legal size limit, in the savanna at the southwest corner of DDO&P (the Richmond Hill Naturalists secured before-and-after aerial photography); that Metrus-Corsica pleaded guilty in municipal court to destroying just a small number of outsized trees (17, if I recall, but I would have to check this against court records); that the court reached a settlement under which Metrus-Corsica was to plant replacement trees at its own expense; and that, astonishingly, the court settlement required the Town to reimburse Metrus-Corsica for the expense incurred. Karen's outrage at the miscarriage of justice was as genuine as anyone's.

I wish to dwell a little longer on another aspect of Karen's activity in our halcyon years, illustrating her powers as a public speaker. (Recollection of these powers may lead everyone to hope that she and I will engage in effective oral, front-of-the-room, public debate during Campaign Cilevitz 2014, as I eloquently deplore her Ward Five candidacy from my podium and she, with comparable eloquence, embarks on the Quixotic task of defending it. Admittedly, such debate will have under the terms of our 2014-05-05 out-of-court legal settlement to be conducted at something other than a Campaign Cilevitz 2014 meeting - for instance, at an all-candidates meeting, or again at a public meeting which I myself convene, and to which I invite all interested persons, choosing forms of invitation that do not constitute a direct personal communication from me to Karen.)

The 2009-11-07 Town of Richmond Hill "DDO planning charrette" proved to be the silliest thing on this side of the Urals. As I now explain, dwelling on the events at some length, it was Karen who most significantly secured for it the necessary public ridicule.

In arranging the public-relations exercise which was its "charrette", the Town realized that there had to be a pretence of public consultation regarding the fate of DDO&P. It was, I am pretty sure, hoped within Town offices that at least some members of the public would prove willing to see at least some streets placed onto the terrain. So the public were divided in the chosen community centre (near the Langstaff station) into five or seven or so groups, each comprising five or seven or so individuals, each with a table and a "facilitator" from the Town. As in Grade Three, so too here each table had much big-format paper, and many a marker, for making drawings and scribblings. Would we draw in at least a few streets? This, I speculate was the ultimate objective, which each "facilitator" (I speculate) had been instructed to achieve at his or her particular table.

At my table, I quickly worked out at least part of what was afoot. I accordingly took the precaution of remaining standing, just as the "facilitator" did, preventing him from assuming in his body language a position of uncontested dominance. This already went ill, eliciting quite a definite protest from him, as when the Grade Three teacher demands that every pupil sit.

Soon, however, matters became worse. When the "facilitator" asked for our ideas, I said, quite politely, that we should note DDO&P as a potential UNESCO World Heritage List case. At this point our table "facilitator" quite exploded, saying, in raised voice, "Well, why not just call it the biggest heritage conservation case IN THE WHOLE WORLD?"

Matters were helped by the quiet and firm presence at our table of another former DDO Telescope Operator. Fortunately, not only she and I, but the others at the table, were quite firmly conservationst, and the "facilitator" in essence gave up on us. When the time came for each of the tables to present to the whole room what ideas it had generated, our table did nothing to shame DDO&P.

Matters went equally well at virtually all the other tables.

Karen's table put in a thoroughly creditable performance, despite (if I remember accurately) being encumbered with the presence, as a table participant, of Metrus-Corsica project manager Mr Michael Pozzebon. Karen's table indeed not only presented a roundly conservationist position, but went to far as to entertain us all: Karen (her daughter Laura is a publicly performing comedienne) stood up, made her way to the front of the big room, and gave her feisty impressions of how her particular "facilitator" had been trying to steer their discussion.

Here is a thing few would have dared undertake, under the bleak gaze of local Party apparatchiki. It ranks among my happiest memories of Karen from all our halcyon years.FOOTNOTE

3. My impressions from
Campaign Cilevitz 2010

As the 2010 municipal elections approached, hopes ran high in the DDO&P conservationist camp. Marianne Yake strove (ultimately in vain, with what I note in pain was a crushing defeat) to represent my own ward, Two. In Ward One conservationist Carrie Hoffelner barely missed defeating the incumbent, Mr Greg Beros. In Ward Five, Karen campaigned against the incumbent Mr Nick Papa, suffering a defeat which, although definite (and on which I shall have much to say shortly) was nevertheless not crushing.

Cilevitz, Yake, and Hoffelner were at this point sufficiently close as political colleagues to proclaim themselves a kind of conservationist alliance. By the mutual consent of Yake and Cilevitz, I did relatively little for the Ward Two campaign (largely contenting myself with a modest financial contribution, perhaps 50 CAD or so), concentrating my efforts on helping Campaign Cilevitz in Ward Five.

In Ward Two, a problematic Councillor, Mr Arnie Warner,FOOTNOTE had just left municipal life, throwing the race wide open, and we did not at that time have any very profound and systematic misgivings regarding the candidate who ultimately was elected for that ward, real estate agent Mr Carmine Perrelli. (Mr Perrelli's outbursts in the Chamber; his lawsuit against the Town; the scandal involving his purchase of golf clubs with municipal funds - to the astonishment of newspaper readers across the entire Greater Toronto Area - and his defence, alongside Councillor Greg Beros, of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in the 2013-03-08 Sarah Thomson sexual-allegation case; and perhaps above all his use of municipal funds for Town-wide dissemination of a 2013 document that purported to be an opinion survey, and yet was in reality a piece of 2014 electioneering, its questions skewed and slanted in the manner of a high-school propagandist: all these unhappy things lay in the unforeseeable future.)

The Ward One incumbent, Councillor Greg Beros, was in our estimation hostile to full DDO&P conservation. My poor opinion of him at the time of the municipal campaign has been hardened since then, by what I now see to be a heavy cost overrun in the Lake Wilcox community centre project in his ward, and by his support in our Chamber for the notorious Councillor Perrelli. It was clear to us already then that putting Ms Carrie Hoffelner into his place would improve municipal government, and indeed she lost by only 148 votes.

I think there was always a sort of unspoken agreement in Richmond Hill conservationist circles that it was Ward Five that really mattered in the fight to render DDO&P safe from Metrus-Corsica bulldozers. The incumbent, Councillor Nick Papa, had given scant evidence of caring for full DDO&P conservation. For a set of reasons, of which this was just one, he deserved defeat, and we devoted most of our time to an ultimately unsuccessful effort in securing that good-governance goal.

Karen formally opened her campaign with a garden party. Present at this upscale event was a respectable number of people, I think as high as many dozens. I of course had to help with drinks and food and the like wherever possible, but I did have a chance to chat up the then federal Minister for Environment, the Hon. Peter Kent (who that afternoon handed Karen a most complimentary testimonial certificate). I think I refrained, dishonestly, from openly criticizing the Minister's work on the vexed climate-change file. I instead steered the conversation in the direction of the Old School Tie. It was somehow established, quickly enough, not only that I had been at St John's in Oxford, but also that Minister Kent had himself a close, young, family member either presently at Oxford or rather recently come down from Oxford. We were in consequence able to exchange no small number of contentless but mutually gratifying conversational tidbits.

Minister Kent additionally complimented me on the environmentally appropriate hue of my (heavily worn, forest-green) cast-off soldier's jacket.

Here I must apologize quite publicly and forthrightly to Minister Kent, for - as I at any rate now believe to have been the case - not giving him my honest opinions on the climate-change file. The lives of Ministers cannot be easy. Matters are not helped when the ordinary citizen proves insufficiently forthcoming in social exchanges.

I write this apology without the slightest regard to party or to details of public policy. The case would be no different if, say, Mr Tom Mulcair, for whom I have some definite political affinity, were to form a government, and I were to be meeting one of his Cabinet in some other garden on some other sunny July. The operative principle here is "Do as you would be done by." If we were ourselves in Cabinet, would we appreciate being insincerely soothed?

This garden party, then, was already interesting, and in a modest way instructive, as opening a window into among other things the federal stratum in Canadian public life.

I made two donations, of 120 CAD and 40 CAD, to Campaign Cilevitz 2010, therewith putting in more than any other individual. In return, I had a very nice card from Karen, stating that she would "always treasure" my friendship. To this card and these words I can in future hold her.

My main work for Campaign Cilevitz consisted in door-to-door canvassing. Without now going through my archive of canvassing fieldnotes, I can safely say that I was out part-day upon wearisome part-day, again and again, visiting at a minimum some hundreds of doors.

Because of my general Asperger-syndrome, and general science-geek, oddness, it was soon considered by Campaign Cilevitz unwise to have me canvassing quite alone, and still less wise to make me responsible for an entire campaign precinct. Placed in subordination, however, to some companion or other, I was happy enough to be on the hustings.

Our normal method of operation was to have Karen visit some corner of Ward Five, and for me, accompanied by an appropriate animal tamer, tramp through some different corner. On some occasions I think I really did end up being allowed out alone, and on some occasions Karen, my tamer, and I myself would tramp along as a threesome.

Here, then , was a window into the very humblest stratum (the purely municipal) in Canadian public life. I observed through this aperture with rather lively diligence. I will set down the three most significant of my various observations here, since they will help many blog readers in their deliberations concerning the 2014 municipal elections (even though my trio of observations constitutes a small digression from my presently guiding theme, Karen qua DDO&P advocate):

(a) The Richmond Hill electorate was poorly informed on issues. It proved in general appropriate to explain, and not to take as a given, the importance of making every Council vote a recorded vote, so as to generate an easily researched cumulative record of each Councillor's voting history. It proved similarly in general appropriate to explain, and not to take as a mere given, the importance of live-streaming Chamber debates. (Karen rightly insisted on this as a requisite for municipal democracy. With live streaming, Richmond Hill residents could sit safely at home, far from tazer-ready police and similar nastiness, and record Chamber debates on any convenient equipment. Without live streaming, Chamber recording was problematic, involving some degree of legal hurdle-clearing. Around 2013, admittedly, the hurdles were dismantled by the Town, with a technology other than the live video streaming Karen had envisaged, but perhaps not inferior to it: after each Council meeting, an audio recording was henceforth made available on the Town Web site. From the Council meeting of 2014-05-12 onward, proceedings were put onto a live video stream, with a video recording additionally made available, within the ensuing 24 hours, on the Town's server. At that same time, the Town instituted a policy of making available from its server audio recordings of the Council Meetings, and also Council Public meetings, Budget Committee of the Whole meetings, Audit Committee meetings, and Council Committee of the Whole meetings. I confess to being a little depressed here by the contrast between Richmond Hill and the vastly smaller, poorer municipality of Truro, Nova Scotia, where I was born. In Truro, Council meetings got put onto a community cable-television channel, for all to see, and that sensible measure was introduced an aeon ago, at some point in the 1970s.)

(b) The level of cynicism within that portion of the electorate that I was able to canvass was no higher than one would a priori assume. Only perhaps one in twenty, or one in fifty, or even one in a hundred residents would actually come out with a cliché-ridden, unhelpful, tirade to the effect that "Mayor and Council are all crooks, and I am for that reason not bothering to vote." I would, in other words, suggest that outright cynical alienation was not a large public problem in Ward Five in 2010.

(c) There was essentially no detectable animosity toward Karen herself. The one person who really attacked her in my hearing, at a café meet-and-greet rather than in door-to-door canvassing, may in my judgement have been an opposition agent, and was in my most certain estimation inwardly troubled.

Oddly, on the other hand (I was not expecting this before we ventured out on canvassing), the incumbent, Councillor Papa, was the subject of significant adverse comments. The story was in general, as I remember it, of one consistent pattern: our Intersection FooBar needs better signage, or the traffic is way too fast on our RooHar Street, or whatever, and Councillor Papa is not getting back to us, or even has given us a discourteous brush-off.

So much, then, for general impressions of the Richmond Hill hustings.

On those occasions on which we canvassed as a threesome, I could keep Karen herself under the microscope. My impressions here were rather negative, and yet not so negative as to induce me to withdraw from her 2010 campaign:

(i) Whereas it is the plain duty of a candidate and her canvassers to educate the electorate on issues, Karen was happy enough to get the assurance of a vote. Her objective secured (as it many instances was after just a quarter of a minute), she would go on to the next house.

(ii) Karen on one unhappy occasion came within a whisker of committing an offence. We had namely come, as we so often did, to a house where nobody was at home, or at any rate where nobody was answering the bell, and Karen was putting some such thing as her campaign card ("Your Right Choice, Your Best Voice") into a mailbox. When she found, to her fury, literature from incumbent Mr Nick Papa already in the box, she removed it, and made clear to me and the third member of our threesome her intention to take it away. I remonstrated that this was an interference with correct papermail process, not far short of interference with Canada Post itself. She turned on me in fury, whereupon I remarked that I had faced up to dictatorship in Singapore and that I was not the least bit afraid of her. With it now clear to her that she could choose between having me in her campaign or confiscating Mr Nick Papa's to-us-unwelcome literature (and with it clear to her that a third person was present, taking in this most frank exchange of views), she relented, putting the Papa literature back where she had taken it. We then continued our canvassing, making nothing further of the frightening incident.

It may be of interest to some readers to see how Karen's 2010 materials looked. I accordingly make available here my iPhone photograph, from within twenty minutes of UTC=20130213T005323Z, of Campaign Cilevitz memorabilia: campaign buttons, and a small rectangular thing that looks like a business card but is in reality a refrigerator magnet, and her big card (with both obverse and reverse). The obverse of the big card supplies an example of how not to write: "Join me as we journey toward a new and invigorated vision for Your Ward and Our Town."FOOTNOTE

Readers viewing the iPhone photograph should use their browser "Back" button to return to this present page.

As election day approached, I voted at Newkirk north of Major MacKenzie in an advance poll, I think on a Saturday morning. A little to my disquiet, I found a thoroughly electronic system waiting for me.

Students of voting machines will do well to recall the American furore over the Diebold apparatus, and therefore to enter into http://www.google.ca the search term

    diebold voting machine

This Google query will bring up discussions on hacking, for example a 2012 Popular Science article "How I Hacked an Electronic Voting Machine" ("What do you need to rig an election? A basic knowledge of electronics and [30 USD] worth of RadioShack gear"). I have not had time in 2013 and 2014 to explore the material properly, but I did have quite a look at some of what was available a few years ago, when Americans had fresh memories of "hanging chads" and the like. It was therefore, I reiterate, disquieting to see an electronic system lying in wait.

From my studies of American arrangements a few years ago, I had the impression that the real danger in the USA was not at the level of the individual polling station, but at the stage at which results from individual polling stations were tabulated. The tabulating software was asserted in what I could find on the Web to be the most basic kind of business software - the same kind of cheap spreadsheet, or accounting package, or whatever, that would be used to run a convenience store, with poor provisions, or with no provisions, for access control lists and journals-of-logins. The activists I read considered it a trivial task to hack the tabulations.

The way voting worked in Richmond Hill was this, that you took a big sheet of paper into a privacy-protecting booth, and marked your big sheet (living in Ward Two, I of course voted for Marianne Yake), and then put your big sheet into a big stiff folder to conceal how you had voted. You next had to hand the big stiff concealment folder to an official, who would somehow feed its contents into a fancy box. That is where the electronics came in. You had to take it on faith that the opaque box would somehow register your vote, into some kind of steadily incremented counter.

If I understood what I was seeing in my normal election-time nervousness, the soon-to-be Councillor Carmine Perrelli was standing just two or three or so metres away from the folder-taking official. In my case, the official opened my folder quite wide, so that she and others could have a good look at its contents. I protested that my parents had fled Soviet rule to escape from exactly this type of operation. The official then flat-out lied, denying that she had opened my folder.

In a couple of minutes I was on my cell phone, safely under the open sky, connected with the Town offices. Donna, said I ("Donna" was of course Ms Donna McLarty, Town Clerk for Richmond Hill; it is customary in Canada to be highly first-name-friendly with Mayor, Council, and senior Staff), things have gone thus and so, and my Mum and Dad fled Soviet rule in order that this and that and that and this. Donna was genuinely sympathetic. She made the quite good points that she and her team had had to train some hundreds of officials for the election, and that accidents were liable to occur, and that of course it was wrong that my ballot-concealing folder got opened by someone recently trained.

I might as well add here, in case anyone is curious, how things were arranged in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic and cognate jurisdictions.

The Soviet system is terribly maligned these days. The reality was that you could vote in real elections, and they would even bring ballot boxes home to you if you were housebound, or to your hospital bed if you were seriously sick. It was rather proper, at least in Soviet Estonia, to dress up a bit for the day, so that a man, for instance, might put on jacket and tie. Youngsters in the local equivalent of Boy Scouts, the "Pioneerid" (in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic this was "Komsomol", and in 1933-1945 Germany, under mildly different arrangements, the something-or-other "Jugend") would be tasked with "getting out the vote". I believe this meant going round from house to house, or block of flats to block of flats, reminding the grown-ups of their socialist duty, and I believe that a youngster performing this type of public service was called, by way of a tribute to the heady days of V.I. Lenin, an "agitaator" ("agitator", as in "agitatsioon ja propaganda", or "agitation and propaganda"; the term could be shortened to "agitprop", in the same way that "poliitiline instruktor", or "political instructor", could be shortened to "politruk").

We sometimes think of the Soviet system as constraining you to vote just one way. But to the contrary, you were free to vote against the Party. A special booth was made available to you, should you wish to take that particular course of civic action.

The participation rate in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic was high, with the Party typically doing well. A rough statistic is that of every fifty ballots cast, about one would typically oppose the Party.

I do not know if the Richmond Hill voting machinery was from Diebold or from some different corporation. I do believe, however, that I am right on the following pair of assertions: (a) Citizens were able to put in scrutineers, or overseers, or something, at polling stations, to keep an eye on what was happening when ballots were marked, inserted into concealment folders, and fed into the machines. (b) Citizens were not afforded opportunities of inspection when the tallies in the machines were transferred, in some way or other, into central locations, for downstream processing. The Attorney General, or someone, will correct me if I am in error.

The use of electronic voting machines raises a profound philosophical question, which I have not seen discussed, but may well be hashed out in the academic journals somewhere. (I no longer read the professional philosophical journals, and I have never read seriously in political science.) The question is this: At what point do voters in a jurisdiction no longer have knowledge of their system's veracity, being instead reduced to a condition of what is at best true belief in their system's veracity?

To unpack this question, we must begin by recalling a thing notorious enough from first- or second-year philosophy courses, the general difference (we can for the moment forget about the specialized topic of politics and voting) between knowledge and true belief. Sally Sagacious and Quentin Quirky desire to know the current temperature. Sally Sagacious looks onto a correctly functioning dial thermometer. The dial is at this moment showing 12oC. Sally believes that the temperature is 12oC, and she believes truly that the temperature is 12oC, and because the thermometer is in good working order she indeed knows that the temperature is 12oC. Quentin Quirky for his part looks onto a broken dial thermometer, permanently stuck at 12oC, not knowing it to be broken, at a moment when the temperature really does (by a happy quirk of fate) happen to be 12oC. Quentin believes that the temperature is 12oC, and he believes truly that the temperature is 12oC, but he does not know that the temperature is 12oC. The epistemic difference between Sally and Quentin is vast, even though their subjective state of mind (their subjective level of confidence, their inward feeling of assurance) is identical.

It is now possible to return to the specialized topic of politics and voting.

Two similarly sized jurisdictions, Sagacia City and Quirk County, elect their respective officials.

In Sagacia City, the voting mechanisms are of a radically old-fashioned kind, hard to hack: ballots get put into boxes, and the boxes get fastened with seals under citizen supervision, and under citizen supervision at central tabulating stations the boxes have their seals broken and their contents counted.

In Quirk County, things are more modern. You indeed mark your ballot with an old-fashioned pencil, but your ballot then gets fed into a machine. The workings of the machine are opaque except to specialists. (How, for instance, does the optical character reader get to increment a counter? Is there an integrated-circuit operational amplifier somewhere? Is the counter implemented as a set of what the cyberneticists call "flip-flops"? Can the counter be adjusted externally only by being reset all the way back to zero? Or is it, on the contrary, possible to trim just a few tens or a few hundreds off the counter, changing, as it might be, 2 439 to 2 045? Only the specialists know this. Some of the relevant specialists may or may not be in Quirk County.)

Everyone is scrupulously honest, both in Sagacia City and in Quirk County. In Sagacia City, it would (to reiterate) be hard to hack the vote, since that would require a resort to outright manipulation of papers, in their tens and hundreds and thousands. In Quirk County, it would be easy to hack the vote, by diddling with the electronics, were there to be a properly briefed specialist somewhere in the County.

By a happy quirk of fate, nobody in Quirk County does diddle with the vote.

The reader will see where all this is heading. In Sagacia City, the voters not only believe that their voting is reported accurately, and believe the truth in so believing, but actually know their voting to be reported accurately. In Quirk County, they have the same belief, and their belief is just as true as the corresponding belief in the various citizen crania of Sagacia City, but it does not constitute knowledge. Since it is a mere quirk, a mere accident - a mere criminological contingency - that nobody has hacked that ever-so-vulnerable system, the truth of the public Quirk County belief is a matter of luck.

I do not herewith assert the state of mind of the Richmond Hill electorate, in believing their election results, to be one of false belief, and I do not assert it to be one of true belief, and I do not assert it to be one of true-belief-short-of-knowledge, and I do not assert it to be one of true-belief-constituting-knowledge. I say only that the question "What is the epistemic status of the Richmond Hill electorate?", i.e, "Does the Richmond Hill electorate have knowledge regarding the numbers of ballots cast for the various candidates?" is a profound question, needing investigation. Perhaps the Attorney General, or some other authority, can investigate it after having read the remainder of the 2010 Election Day narrative that I am about to set out.

On Election Day, 2010 October 25, Karen received a hefty pile of votes. In 2006, Mr Nick Papa had been elected Ward Five Councillor with an unofficial total of 2 509 ballots, comprising 37.72 per cent of the total number, 6 652, of ballots cast. In 2010, Karen for her part achieved not much less than what Mr Nick Papa had achieved in 2006, getting 2 146 votes. In 2010, Mr Nick Papa, on the other hand, improved vastly over his 2006 result, with 3 572 votes (comprising 57.18 per cent of the total number, now 6 247) of ballots cast.FOOTNOTE

On Election Day itself, i.e., on the Monday which was 2010 October 25, Team Cilevitz was in rather high spirits, oblivious to the impending defeat. The Team had rather injudiciously disseminated an amusing graphic, purporting to be a telegram from the "Dominion Telegraph & Message Company Limited" ("A division of Long & Overdue Political Telegraph Inc."), headed "Village of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Dominion of Canada", with the following text (formatted, of course, in defiance of actual telegram procedure, as some may recall it from the days of CN-CP Telecommunications):

MONDAY, OCTOBER 25th. Stop. Political tsunami expected to hit Richmond Hill. Stop. Citizens supporting KAREN CILEVITZ FOR WARD 5 COUNCILLOR to party at Archibald's Pub 8950 Yonge Street. Stop. Food, drinks and life preservers. Stop. Begins at 7 PM. Stop. Live music by The Derek Christie Band. Stop. Live-streaming of Town election results on large screen. Stop. You're cordially invited. Stop. It's gonna be one helluva party. Stop.

I went along with dozens of others, pretty much expecting victory. I was, however, armed with a digital watch whose accuracy-in-setting I proved able to check, and armed also with such note-taking equipment as routinely accompanies me on municipal business.

When the nature of the defeat became clear (Karen gave a most gracious and dignified speech to her supporters), I went back to my place of residence, starting analysis of my copious clipboard notes at 00:19 EDT (i.e., at UTC=20101026T0419Z). Six hours later, at or within a few minutes of UTC=20101026T102300Z, I had finished my writeup. I attach the whole thing here. (Persons wishing to view the whole thing, under the hyperlink I have just supplied, should use their browser "Back" button to return to this present page.)

In this attached material, I use "((CONCEALED COMMENT="zzzz"))" tags (i.e., a tag which means that something has been concealed, and adds a comment "zzzz" to indicate the general nature of what it is that has been concealed) to cloak the identities of two individuals deserving privacy. The "Dimopoulos" and "Kurta" there referred to are minor Ward Five candidates, obtaining 192 and 337 votes, respectively, in what was in essence a two-horse race between Papa and Cilevitz. (One of them was a very strange minor candidate indeed, being absent from any all-candidates debating or other conventional forms of campaigning.)

It is easy to miss the key point from my long attachment, so I will say it explicitly here, to save everyone trouble: whereas at 22:38 EDT, and 22:40 EDT, I plainly saw the pub television screen giving Karen an accumulated total of 2 439 votes, a little later, at 22:46 EDT and 22:47 EDT, Karen's aggregate of votes had dropped to 2 045, recovering at 22:49 EDT, 22:50 EDT, 22:51 EDT, 22:52 EDT, 22:53 EDT, 22:54 EDT, 22:55 EDT, 22:56 EDT, 22:57 EDT, 22:58 EDT, 22:59 EDT, 23:01 EDT, and 23:02 EDT to the final figure (indeed reported as the final result at the Town of Richmond Hill Web site), 2 146.FOOTNOTE

Although I rapidly conveyed my analysis to the Campaign Cilevitz inner circle, no action was as far as I know taken. I hypothesize that this was due to Karen's emotional fatigue, in the wake of her campaign, rather than to any malign intent. (She was, after all, a prima facie injured candidate, with no evident motive for condoning electoral irregularities.)

I will now repeat my main point, for clarity. I am not asserting or insinuating that the election reporting was inaccurate (as it would have been if an electronic counter of aggregate Cilevitz votes had, by malign interference or innocent accident, been rolled back). Neither am I asserting or insinuating that the election reporting was accurate. What I am asserting is a point about knowledge: given the nature of the machinery in the polling stations and the nature of the 2010 October 25 evening television displays, the electorate does not, I assert, know the 2010 Ward Five election reporting to be accurate.

And yet the whole point of the administrative arrangement with "scrutineers" and "option to recount" and the like, installed by our Victorian forefathers in Ontario and cognate jurisdictions, was to ensure that the public had knowledge. A mere subjective confidence on the part of the public, a mere feeling of general contentment with the process, is irrelevant. Does the public know the results of its Richmond Hill municipal elections? If the public does not, and is in a mere state of belief (even a state of true belief, even a state of subjectively confident true belief), the municipal election process is broken in Richmond Hill.

4. Why I lost trust
in Karen shortly after

With the election over, a major hope for justice at DDO&P was struck down. Having hoped for three strongly conservationist new faces on Town Council, we had obtained none. We had now to recover our balance and work with the Council we were given.

In the ensuing months, it became clear that we would be facing a Council divided into two factions.

(A) In one faction were Mayor Dave Barrow, Councillor Godwin Chan, Councillor Lynn Foster, Local and Regional Councillor Brenda Hogg, Councillor Castro Liu, and Local and Regional Councillor Vito Spatafora.

Of these, Mr Chan had been new to his office in 2006, and Mr Liu was new to his office in 2010. The others were veterans of long standing.

Mayor Barrow, active in our municipal life since the 1970s, had to get my vote in the 2010 elections, since his sole opponent (a person who had never even served on Council) was beyond all belief absurd.

On the plus side, albeit weakly, of the Council balance sheet was the recent record of re-elected Councillors Chan and Foster. While they could not exhibit a concrete conservationist result on the full 77-hectare DDO&P terrain (and it is deeds, not words, that speak), they at any rate had early in 2010 secured the passage of a strongly worded conservationist motion.

I transcribe their motion directly, word for word, with its linguistic errors intact, from the http://www.richmondhill.ca DDO-pertinent document collection assembled by the Town under a homepage "David Dunlap Observatory" hyperlink. In that collection, the Town presents the motion as it was first tabled, namely as Agenda Item 16 for Committee of the Whole on 2010 January 18:

Moved by: Councillor Chan
Seconded by: Councillor Foster

To support the protection, acquisition and preservation of the

The David Dunlap Observatory

A National Landmark in Richmond Hill, Ontario

WHEREAS the Council of the Town of Richmond Hill has passed Bylaw No. 100-09 on September 29, 2009 to designate the David Dunlap Observatory property, 123 Hillsview Drive, including land and buildings, as a cultural heritage property under the Ontario Heritage Act to preserve the heritage attributes, associative and historical values, and contextual values of the designated property;

WHEREAS the Council of the Town of Richmond Hill recognizes the David Dunlap Observatory as an important heritage and cultural resource not only for Richmond Hill, but also of Provincial, National and International significance, and as such, unanimously approved the Resolution on September 14, 2009 to request the Premier of Ontario and the Ontario Minister of Culture to consider designating the property as a cultural heritage property of Provincial significance as noted in the Conservation Review Board's report of May 19, 2009 that the property could also be designated by the Province of Ontario;

WHEREAS the unanimously approved Resolution of September 14, 2009 further requested the Prime Minister of Canada and the Federal Minister of Environment to take measures to preserve and protect the David Dunlap Observatory in recognition of its landmark status in Canada;

WHEREAS the year 2010 is the 75th anniversary of the 1935 opening of the David Dunlap Observatory, a gift to the University of Toronto by Jessie Dunlap as a memorial to her husband, David Dunlap, to create a world-class astronomy facility;

WHEREAS the David Dunlap Observatory has been a centre for astronomical research with the largest telescope in Canada where accomplished astronomers, such as Dr. Clarence Chant and Dr. Helen Hogg, conducted research, and a centre of scientific significance where Dr. Thomas Bolton discovered the first Black Hole in 1972;

WHEREAS the Council of the Town of Richmond Hill wishes to request the Federal Minister of Environment to identify and approve the David Dunlap Observatory as the site of National Historic Site so that the Parks Canada could consider the David Dunlap Observatory under the established selection criteria to be a candidate for the National Tentative List for further consideration for recommendation to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for designation to honour and recognize the site for its historical role in the field of international astronomy and to protect in perpetuity the green space for all the people of Canada;

WHEREAS the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has adopted a motion to add the David Dunlap Observatory site to the TRCA's list of priority acquisition sites for the Regional Municipality of York, and directed its staff to work with the Town of Richmond Hill to develop an acquisition strategy for the property or portions thereof on November 27, 2009; and

WHEREAS the Council of the Town of Richmond Hill wishes to support the TRCA's acquisition of the David Dunlap Observatory to protect the Don River watershed and manage water balance in German Mills Creek;


The Council of the Town of Richmond Hill requests the Federal Minister of Environment to identify and declare the David Dunlap Observatory to be of national historic significance and approve the site as a National Historic Site;

The Council of the Town of Richmond Hill reiterates its request for the Provincial Minister of Culture to designate the David Dunlap Observatory to be a cultural heritage property of Provincial significance;

The Council of the Town of Richmond Hill affirms its commitment to support the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority's acquisition of the site known as the David Dunlap Observatory, and seeks funding partnership among the levels of government serving the people of the Town of Richmond Hill, the Regional Municipality of York, the Province of Ontario in Canada,

The Council of the Town of Richmond Hill circulates this Resolution to all municipalities in Ontario and requests their municipal Council to support this Resolution and further forward their support to the Federal Minister of Environment and the Ontario Minister of Culture; and

The Council of Richmond Hill gives the Mayor the power to do all things necessary to implement this Resolution.

Few of us in the DDO&P grassroots conservationist grouping had, of course, any illusions about the Chan-Foster motion. However, it reflects credit on Karen, as a point of liaison between grassroots conservationists and Council, that the motion got formulated and passed.

Further to Councillor Chan's credit is his appearance as an observer at the University of Toronto Governing Council meeting of 2007 October 30 (the ill-starred meeting which approved putting DDO&P up for sale).

I can personally testify, as an occasional observer in public seating, to Councillor Foster's willingness to defend heritage standpoints in our Town advisory committee "Heritage Richmond Hill". Had Councillor Foster been in my own ward, I would for this reason have seriously considered giving her my vote. I consider her 2013 departure from Richmond Hill, for a new home in the United States, a significant loss to our local civic life.

And I gratefully recall the then Councillor Foster telling me, quietly and privately, very early in the DDO conservation crisis, that the looming fight would get ugly, and that I therefore must be tough.

To Local and Regional Councillor Hogg's credit is her service in on the board of Directors of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (Councillor Chan joined her there in 2013, giving Richmond Hill a still more imposing national profile) and her formal education in social work.

To Local and Regional Councillor Spatafora's credit is a strong formal education in municipal policy.

In the rather limited time I have available for making observations (I am in the Chamber many times a year, but can by no means spare the time to observe every meeting), I have seldom, if ever, seen Councillor Liu do substantive work in our Council, by sticking his neck out in a courageous way, whether for good or for ill. He does, however, from time to time speak in Council meetings.

(B) The other faction comprised the veterans Mr Nick Papa and Mr Greg Beros, plus newcomer Mr Carmine Perrelli. It rather soon became clear that these three councillors tended to vote as a bloc, along just the lines philosophically least acceptable to persons (like my close friends, and like me myself) of a socially Lester-Pearson-centrist, or indeed New-Democrat-centrist, and simultaneously environmentally David-Suzuki-radical, outlook. At first the observing public called them the "Three Amigos" behind their backs. As time wore on, and their bloc voting record accumulated, the derisory term seemed to gain wider currency. I have heard at least one of the three quite openly and abrasively using it, in other words flaunting it, in Council proceedings.

It is enough to give one illustration, outside the specialized field of DDO&P conservation, of "Three Amigos" Council work.

Late in 2012 or early in 2013, Council considered the possible need to regulate tow-truck operators. During the meeting, Council heard from upset residents about bizarre roadside incidents. (Tow-truck operators were even capable of fighting among themselves as they sought business at an accident or breakdown.) Council knew that Richmond Hill was the only municipality in York Region in which the towing industry had been left unregulated. Although it seemed to very many of us reasonably clear that there was no point in studying the issue further or in trying to refer it to the upper-tier municipality of York Region (things pointed, rather, to legislating along the lines of all the other lower-tier municipalities - namely, Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King Township, Markham, Newmarket, Vaughan, and Whitchurch–Stouffville), the Amigos unsuccessfully voted to defer action pending further study.

It was in this climate, with her 2010 election lost, with the new Council still less DDO&P-sympathetic than the old, and with the sword-of-Damocles feeling that sooner or later the conservationists would be at the Ontario Municipal Board, that Karen had to consider her political position.

I am not sure how soon problems with the informal "DDO Defenders" became apparent to the innermost Richmond Hill Naturalists circle. I for my part, as a person standing a little outside that circle, was inclined to discount what minor rumblings were related to me. Even when I heard in 2011 April that Karen was to be proceeding to a meeting with Metrus-Corsica against the vigorous advice of the Naturalists, I was at first perhaps inclined to suspend judgement.

A little to my surprise, Karen became the manager of the 2011 federal Richmond Hill Green Party candidate, Mr Cameron Hastings. This development raises two questions: (a) How solid were the conservationist credentials of Mr Hastings? (b) How appropriate was it for Karen to become his campaign manager?

(a) In examining the first of these two questions. I write as a die-hard Green Canadian provincial and federal voter.FOOTNOTE

How good, then, was Mr Hastings? A strong point against him was his now-completed career with motorcar parts manufacturer Magna International Inc. This successful career had seen him ultimately rising to a high executive position in his greenhouse-gas-complicit corporation.FOOTNOTE

In 2013 February I noted, upon studying Mr Hastings's background more closely, that he did to his credit after leaving Magna serve as a Founding Director of a nonprofit, Georgina Technical Trades Inc. This organization evidently sought to match individuals with learning opportunities. To what extent the "Trades" were in the noxious fields of motoring and suburban-sprawl construction, and to what extent they were in more environmentally benign fields, I do not at this point in my investigations know.

I also noted in 2013 February that upon completing his Magna career Mr Hastings was involved through Humber College in "sustainable construction". We must in these days of corporate greenwash be wary of anything proclaiming itself "sustainable".FOOTNOTE All the same, I would subjectively hazard the guess that the Humber College initiative did some good: if suburban sprawl is part of "sustainable construction", at least the carbon footprint is likely to be lower than with the traditional forms of suburban sprawl.

Finally, I note what I learned in 2012 February from a source I consider reliable, namely that Mr Hastings was now involved in energy-efficient heating systems. This form of commercial involvement is clearly laudable even if the heating in question is through fossil-fuel furnaces, as opposed to what Canadian homes actually will need in the emerging energy crisis, namely heavy quasi-Finnish thermal-inertial ceramic (or, alternatively, similarly heavy thermal-inertial cob-clay) stoves burning biomass.

When, in 2011, I took one or two minor opportunities to chat Mr Hastings up, I did not find any of the immediately obvious telltale signs of political greenwash.

Our local Greens were admittedly having trouble getting anyone to run. I had not helped matters by myself declining when exceedingly informally approached well before 2011. However, I see now, and pretty much saw then, that in my case running for any political office, at any level, in Canada or Estonia or anywhere else, would be contrary to my actual public-service vocation.

In Mr Hastings, then, I would suggest that the Party of my Canadian allegiance had an adequate, a more-or-less-reasonable, candidate.

(b) It immediately struck me as odd that Karen, who had proved willing to consort at her garden party with the Honourable Peter Kent from the federal Tories, and who certainly never professed herself to me, in my capacity as a local Green Party supporter, to have Green-Party commitments, should now be so formally serving in the distressed Richmond Hill Green camp.

Now, in 2014, the case seems odder still. Having in 2010 in her then garden consorted with, indeed taken a congratulatory calligraphic certificate from, the very face of Tory anti-environmentalism, Karen is in 2014 allied with a would-be Liberal politician, Jason Cherniak. (Jason is a son of Lloyd Cherniak, and therefore strictly should be addressed, with the patronymic courtesies normal to the east of Poland and to the east of the three small Baltic republics, as "Jason Lloydovitch". The elder Cherniak is, alarmingly, a vice-president of Oak Ridges Moraine developer Lebovic).

Why, then, Karen's 2011 federal Green activity? Had, or indeed has, Karen any actual convictions in Canadian federal life? If so, might she be prevailed on to outline her convictions by way of a submission to this present blog? (Such a sketch must be given while respecting the Ontario principle that municipal elections are non-partisan: language modelled on my own in this blog, i.e., language which proclaims federal party philosophical convictions without actively campaigning, is what is here needed. And of course such a contribution must (as I have also remarked elsewhere on this server) respect our 2014-05-05 out-of-court Minutes of Settlement, which prohibit Karen and me from communicating directly: Karen would have to convey her blog sketch to my desk through some appropriate intermediary or intermediaries, perhaps using for this purpose her lawyer and my lawyer. )

On the Saturday which was 2011-04-23, Mr Hastings, as a more-or-less-reasonable Green federal candidate, and Karen, as his not-quite-expected campaign manager, conducted a grip-and-grin barbecue. I, as a Canadian Green, felt obliged to attend.

I herewith digress a little, succumbing to the temptation to describe the barbecue in more detail than a strict attention to Karen's DDO&P casework requires. The extra detail might serve the worthy purpose of inducing a few of my readers to get involved in party-political life.

I mainly used the barbecue as an (unexpected) occasion for debating one of our less humour-minded local politicians, the former Ward Three councillor David Cohen, defeated municipally in 2010.

Although one must not turn the serious business of politics into sport, a sporting match was called for here, since Mr Cohen was one of the last public figures in Richmond Hill to be likely to have any sympathies at all for the Green Party. His barbecue attendance was a (welcome) surprise to us all. Rising to the bait Mr Cohen dangled before me, I engaged him in a courteous debating duel. Our match was fought in the manner of the fencing duels in the Soviet Estonian cinematic mediaeval-romance potboiler "Viimne Reliikvia" ("The Last Relic"): here a thrust, there a parry, and much clanking of steel on steel.FOOTNOTE

Mr Cohen could not claim a victory. Nevertheless, our fencing, broaching among other topics the then-recent Stephen Harper federal prorogation, ended more in a draw than in my sought-for vindication of Green principles. I had made the tactical error of being insufficiently witty.

The business with Mr Cohen concluded, there followed the usual vanilla exchanges of contentless remarks with one person and another - the whole proceeding conducted, as I recall, over the same kind of grilled animal-carcass lumps that would be served at an NDP, Grit, or Tory barbecue.

Amid all this dreary Saturday party-political duty, I did manage to sneak in one or two private minutes with Karen herself. What, I asked her in a friendly but worried tone, was actually happening with her envisaged meeting at Metrus? Her reply was that I should not worry, since the meeting was not imminent. She told me that the meeting would occur only after the election (the election was at that point a little over a week away, being scheduled for the Monday which was 2011-05-02). Her answer reassured me, and so I did not question her further.

But to my surprise, I later learned from what I believe to be a reliable source or set of sources that the meeting was held before the election, very likely on the morning of the Tuesday that was 2011-04-26, right in the boardroom of Metrus (this was tactical madness on Karen's part), with nobody from the disapproving Richmond Hill Naturalists present, and with Karen accompanied into the halls of Metrus only by Mr Hastings himself.

At this point all was adequately clear, as from a single, damning Scotland Yard fingerprint. The rift between Karen and the Richmond Hill Naturalists was clearly severe; some mild damage had in all reasonable probability been done to DDO&P, right within the walls of Metrus; a would-be federal player, new to the DDO casework, had somehow been brought in; and since I had been told a falsehood in my confidential lunchtime consultation of 2011-04-23, I could no longer trust Karen.

5. Karen's DDO work
at 2011/2012
OMB mediation

Readers of an accusatory cast of mind will be tempted to judge that some deal was struck between Karen and Metrus on 2011-04-26. But knowing my friend Karen pretty much as well as I have ever known any colleague in any form of public service, I do not think such a judgement accurate. What had happened was, rather, a simple thing, amounting only to an initial crack in the foundation, which Metrus-Corsica was able to exploit over the ensuing twelve months.

It was unsurprising that poor Karen had quarrelled in some way with the Richmond Hill Naturalists. She had already, by 2011-04-26, quarrelled widely, having had angry and widely noted disagreements with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and aboriginal (of Mohawk roots) advocate David Grey Eagle Sanford. Soon enough, on 2011-10-08, Karen would be sending me the heated "you-are-not-my-friend" e-mail. This is a mail which the public interest obliges me to cite below, and to discuss quite fully elsewhere on this Web server, in my writeup of personal relations with Karen. Taking vengeance on colleagues in the Richmond Hill Naturalists, she had evidently in 2011 April pushed ahead with a line of action she knew would upset them.

At the same time, I subjectively conjecture, she was for some reason trying to impress Mr Cameron with a demonstration that she had "access" to one of the key citadels of power in Richmond Hill, this "access" indeed going so far as to enable her take a party-political guest inside with her.

I now kept a respectful distance from Karen, watching to see what further things would happen.

The ensuing 2011 happenings, although inimical to DDO&P conservation, to my subjective assessment reflect not so much malice on Karen's part as helplessness.

It was clear to the Richmond Hill Naturalists that OMB Mediation would be a trap. The trap was not, on the other hand, clear to Karen, who was throughout 2011 drawing on no particularly evident legal expertise beyond what could be sold her by Ms Daphne Williamson. Ms Williamson I privately judge, on the basis of research that has led me to generate some hundreds of words of private casenotes, to be woefully inexperienced for an OMB matter having the special heritage-conservation characteristics of DDO&P.

I first investigated Ms Williamson, using only that poorman's sleuthing tool, Google, in October of 2011. At or around UTC=20140221T040000Z, I uploaded to http://www.karencilevitz.ca a discussion of Ms Williamson, based on these poorman investigations.

The upload triggered a strong private complaint to me from Ms Williamson: in March of 2014, she said that I must delete all references to her, and she threatened me with legal action.

I had imprudently made my upload of UTC=20140221T040000Z by relying only on my memory of the 2011 casenotes. On re-reading my October 2011 casenotes in March of 2014, I was able to advise Ms Williamson by e-mail that I had made several errors of fact - for instance, misstating the name of the law firm at which Ms Williamson had met the Bar of Nova Scotia articling-year requirement.

Ms Williamson and I thereupon exchanged several further e-mails. In this set of communications, she drew my attention to further errors in my writing. For instance, she stated that I had, in part relying on what she regarded as unsatisfactory Web journalism by an organization in Nova Scotia, erred by exaggerating her academic difficulties at Dalhousie Law School.

At or around UTC=20140318T020000Z, I fine-tuned for myself a decision I had already taken in its essentials 48 hours earlier, namely to delete most of http://www.karencilevitz.ca discussion of Ms Williamson, and to make the kernel (the core, the guts) of my Williamson writeup just the following: I am continuing my research into Ms Williamson, being determined to state everything accurately, and will do a fresh upload when-or-if I bring my research into an adequate state. Adequacy here entails both (a) my weighing up my various sources in a forensic spirit, at the points at which my sources give conflicting information, and (b) my embarking on some consultations within the legal world. In these consultations, I need to work on the one hand with the Law Society of Upper Canada and on the other hand with some lawyer to be retained by me. The consultations will help ensure that I am correctly interpreting my sources.

In the course of our e-mail exchanges, I made to Ms Williamson the following specially significant remarks regarding legal proceedings:

. . . I appeal to Grant vs Torstar Corp [2009] S.C.R., 2009 SCC 61 (my source for which is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grant_v._Torstar_Corp). As always, I insist that if I can show my writings to be true, there is no libel. The legal adage on which I here continue to rely is "In defamation suits, the truth defence is absolute."

. . . it is now appropriate for you to publish something yourself, by way of a rebuttal. In a debate, not one side, but both sides, ought to get a hearing. A good [place] to publish would be right on my blog, so that readers can see both sides without having to search very hard.

After you publish something from your side in the debate, you might then indeed contemplate court action. Court action is a costly, but nevertheless welcome, choice, since the thrust and parry of the courtroom helps probe and elucidate legal principles fundamental in an open society - in this case, probing the tension between the right of free speech and the right of protection from defamation. I think we agree that Grant v. Torstar Corp., [2009] S.C.R., 2009 SCC 61 performed a service for Canada, and that further courtroom tests along these same lines will help both of us strengthen the rule of Canadian law.

In the course our e-mail exchanges, Ms Williamson for her part made the following specially significant remarks:

While I appreciate your willingness to retract what you had previously written and correct your facts, again I re-iterate that I do not want you to write anything about me at all. [You, Toomas, must in particular take care not to] make it appear as though I have conspired with you in the comments you make about others or opinions that you express. Do not involve me in this mess.

It is necessary, even while suppressing (as I have just done) a detailed assessment of Ms Williamson, to pinpoint what was wrong with her and what was not.

It was to her credit that she surmounted a diagnosed learning disability (regarding the existence of this diagnosed disability, she and I agree) in completing Dalhousie Law School. It was again to her credit that she succeeded in finding a Halifax law firm, however minor, with which to article. (The minor character of her articling firm is again a point on which she and I agree.) It was likewise to her credit that she eventually set up a Web site, however humble, at http://www.williamsonlegalsolutions.ca/ and embarked on some kind of legal practice, however limited - even if, as I suspect since 2014-02-19 from reviewing her Web site, glancing over her general Google results, and inspecting her LinkedIn, her practice was of a limited character, with no prominent clientele, after Karen's OMB Mediation.

What was wrong was simply that Karen retained her. It is like having an executive uneducated in music fill a symphony-conductor vacancy with a classical-music DJ; it is like having an executive uneducated in medicine fill a surgical vacancy with a nursing aide. To say this is not to denigrate the socially valuable services of classical-music DJs and nursing aides.

I do not as yet have adequate sources illuminating the full circumstances behind Karen's change of lawyers. All I can report on this score is the bald, eminently public, fact, that Karen, having praised Ms Williamson highly in e-mail newsletters to the DDO Defenders, subsequently used a different lawyer, namely the aspiring Liberal politician, and property-developer's son, Mr Jason (more formally Jason Lloydovitch) Cherniak.

I wrote above that Karen's actions in OMB Mediation to my subjective assessment reflect not so much malice on her part as helplessness. A sign of helplessness was her engaging, in the person of Ms Williamson, inappropriate legal counsel. But there were other signs, too. To proceed at all with OMB, Karen had to either do everything in her own name or somehow use the DDO Defenders. But the Defenders were a mere informal grouping, without legal standing. What to do? Seeking, very late in the day, to get her own way in defiance of senior conservationist opinion, Karen declared to OMB that it was the Defenders who sought to be a party at Mediation. I clearly sensed from my seat in the OMB conference room that OMB was taken aback with this declaration, since the Defenders were not at the instant of declaration an incorporated entity. But Karen affirmed incorporation to be in hand, and soon she was able to present the incorporation as a thing-taken-care-of, and OMB (I think acting appropriately, I think exercising the correct degree of indulgent discretion) overlooked her irregularity.

The OMB Mediation was conducted under strict confidentiality. I did not for my part try to reach any "Deep Throat" from these proceedings. I did, however, act in a juridically licit manner a few days before the mediation began.

Knowing that headed into Mediation alongside Karen was my former DDO colleague - and now Karen's staunch, and in my rather well informed subjective judgement misguided, ally - the astronomical public-outreach specialist Dr Ian Shelton, I privately checked with Dr Shelton. This proved easy, since we worked together on most cloudless Friday nights in a programme of public outreach under the "AstroNats" auspices of the Richmond Hill Naturalists. At a moment when pressures from the public looking through our amateur-grade equipment at the DDO Panhandle park were not too severe, I took Dr Shelton aside, and queried him as follows: would he and Karen be conceding to Metrus subsidiary Corsica permission to build at least a few units of housing on the DDO&P terrain?

Dr Shelton answered this with a stout and unequivocal denial. No, he said, there would be no concession at all regarding construction of housing.

Dr Shelton was in fact dismayed that I had asked him the unwelcome question, and he responded a little edgily with a question of his own: was my grim scenario my own invention? Or had I, rather, been put up to constructing my grim scenario, and popping my unwelcome question, by someone else, for example by the Richmond Hill Naturalists?

I had in fact constructed the scenario on my own. Moreover, I had ventured to ask my question entirely on my own, without consulting the Richmond Hill Naturalists. Having given Dr Shelton the necessary reassurances on these two points, our conversation ended amicably enough, and we returned to telescope duties with the public.

Conveniently, Dr Shelton later established a kind of cyber audit trail, by disseminating an e-mail in which he complained of my having asked him the unwelcome question and questioned the veracity of my two-point assurance. Having learned of this turn of events from a reliable source (I did not see Dr Shelton's e-mail myself), I took no action.

It is at this point useful to analyze Karen's relationship with Dr Shelton, and additionally with Dr Shelton's wife, the astronomical outreach specialist Dr Tuba Koktay.

How loyal to DDO were the various members of the DDO family? The family at the farewell 2007 Christmas lunch filled a big restaurant room, once one counted in professors emeriti, part-time appointees, and various spouses with more than a casual DDO link. Of this contingent, how many were destined, in the years following 2007, to defect?

The answer is "four" if our Head of Department, Prof. Peter G. Martin is, a little inappropriately, deemed to be DDO family, and otherwise "three".

Of the three, one is a senior DDO technical person, engaged by Metrus-Corsica's DDO tenant, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, to ensure that RASC members can operate the telescope on RASC public-outreach nights at DDO. The nights do public good insofar as they introducing people to the stars. They do public harm insofar as they bolster Metrus-Corsica's - and the Town's, and Karen's - false generalniye linie, or "general Party line", that DDO&P has been duly conserved.

This third defector is irrelevant to the present analysis.

What, now, of the two who at present matter, Ian Shelton and his spouse Tuba, both friends of mine? To cut a rather short story very short indeed, I remark only that we have here human weakness. Ian has a family to feed, and his circumstances have been far from easy. (Poorly though I live, I lost two hundred dollars helping to pay his rent, in one of his times of particular financial stress.) I offer, as my own subjective and personal opinion, the following: it is natural that a person such as Ian Shelton, poor in the financial and political stock-in-trade of cruelly competitive North America, should in a time of stress gravitate to someone, such as Karen Cilevitz, whom he perceives to be blessed with bright prospects.

Through the autumn of 2011 and the ensuing winter, OMB mediation proceeded behind closed doors, with the David Dunlap Observatory Defenders Inc. burden carried by Karen, Dr Shelton, and Ms Williamson.

Also on the Defenders' Mediation team was a retired political scientist, Prof. Wilhelm Bleek, resident in Richmond Hill. Prof. Bleek had taken an interest in the DDO&P case from its rather early stages onward, occasionally speaking on DDO&P in Town Council meetings.

It must now be considered at what stage Karen's (woefully weak) negotiating team decided to concede the construction of units of housing to Metrus subsidiary Corsica, contrary to the conservationist principles Karen had repeatedly avowed in her public statements of 2008, 2009, and 2010.

The concession may well have come at some point subsequent to UTC=20111008T1951Z (i.e., at some point subsequent to the afternoon of 2011-10-08). I say this because at that time, I had an e-mail from Karen, making a string of very angry points, but in the course of doing so affirming a conservationist commitment (the shouting all-caps styling is in the original):

My dedication and commitment to SAVING AND PROTECTING the ENTIRE DDO and working tirelessly, diligently and exhaustingly for the past 4 years to do just that, should NEVER be questioned in any form whatsoever.

Since the mail of 2011-10-08 raises questions regarding Karen's fitness for public life, a prudent regard for the public interest requires me to show both it and its wider context. I choose, however, to make these disclosures in elsewhere on this server, in my analysis of my personal relations with Karen.

Also relevant to the question when DDO David Dunlap Observatory Defenders Inc. conceded the imposition of streets onto DDO&P is Karen's own account of her concession, which she offered in podium remarks at her public meeting of 2012-04-28.

Leaping ahead a little, then, in the strict historical sequence, I now ponder 2012-04-28. The meeting held on this date was a rather sparsely attended one, in which Karen attempted to explain the merits of her Black Thursday (2012-04-12) OMB mediated settlement, and which ended in a bit of (I select my terminology here with all due care and trembling) "strong talking" from Karen. I relegate details on the end-of-meeting "strong talking", as I relegate details on the abrasive 2011-10-08 letter affirming a commitment to full conservation of DDO&P, to my analysis of my personal relations with Karen.

In podium remarks early in the 2012-04-28 meeting, Karen said that although her team had entered negotiations with the intention of conceding no development, it had quickly been made clear to her that this would not do, and that she had then had to change her position. She additionally told the 2012-04-28 meeting that although she had been particularly reluctant to concede development near the main telescope dome, the developer had been particularly adamant there.

This is to my mind believable. The Settlement Plan puts onto the two proposed streets near the main dome only lots of the highest quality (the "15.2 m single (A)", as opposed to the "11.0 m single (B)", or the UK-style "8.25 semis" or poorer-UK-style "6.0 m lane Town"). I would privately speculate that the two streets near the main dome would have the particularly luxurious houses, where you get multiple bathrooms and "cathedral" foyers and the like, in a style sometimes colloquially called "McMansion", with rowhouses in the manner of industrial Lancashire relegated to the more easterly streets. My reasoning is here much as it was when I made early remarks on the probable intended course of DDO real estate development, in my http://www.metascientia.com essay "The Future of the David Dunlap Observatory: Corrections in Language from the University of Toronto Press Release of 2007 September 10": a DDO developer will want one particular area with special cachet, as a kind of Rosedale-in-Richmond-Hill, and it is an area close to the telescope dome that can best be promoted as possessing cachet.

I would also urge other investigators to be alert to the eventual possibility of big houses being used as a vehicle for transfers of funds. As in municipal forensics we have to be alert to the theoretical possibility of irregularities in voting machines, so in real-estate forensics we have to be alert to the theoretical possibility of what I will here call the "McMansion as Means of Payment".

The theoretical scenario is the following.

Zonkle Development Inc. is under some obligations to Alice and Bertie Slyme. Perhaps Alice and Bertie have done something only borderline-legal, as in successfully putting pressures on Town staff. (Such pressures could, for example, take the form of saying, or obliquely insinuating, "Well, Zonkle, who is retaining us as consultants, is the owner of land in Greenchester, at one end of your town, and in Brownchester, at the other end; now if you, the Town staff, go rather easy on our client Zonkle with its Greenchester planning applications, you will find that our client can become very forgiving of mistakes you made in Zonkle-and-Town paperwork last year at Brownchester.")

Perhaps, on the other hand, Alice and Bertie stand outside the normal web of commercial relations, and yet are in the delicate position of being nephews, or in-laws, or something, of the Zonkle Development executives, with family dynamics urgently requiring a family favour to be extended.

Zonkle thereupon sell a McMansion to Alice and Bertie, at a quite favourable price, say 1.4 million CAD. Alice and Bertie have no real intention of living in that house. They do move in, however, for a while, and after a prudent interval sell the house for what it is really worth, namely 1.9 million CAD.

Without having (so far) examined the law, I do nevertheless have the feeling that if this is done cleverly enough, the Slymes can avoid paying much tax on their real-estate transaction, and also can avoid declaring their 0.5 million CAD profit - the difference, namely, between the 1.4 million CAD they paid out and the 1.9 million CAD they took in - as income.

If (I do stress, if) I am right in these armchair-police speculations about the opportunities for sharp practice, then real-estate developers will have a certain inducement to build McMansions, and the actual police a corresponding inducement to keep a vigilant eye on McMansion transactions, watching to see if anybody crosses the line that separates the unpleasant-but-legal from the unpleasant-and-also-illegal.

The key point, at any rate, is Karen's reference to having it "quickly made clear" to her that she must concede some development, even close to the Great Dome. In writing "quickly made clear", I paraphrase her actual words on 2012-04-28 (I do not have word-for-word notes in front of me), and yet I adhere accurately to her meaning. So if the concession was made at some point after the strident e-mail of UTC=20111008T1951Z, i.e., was made after the afternoon of 2011-10-08, it is at any rate unlikely to have been long after.

Karen and her team were not under any legal obligation to continue in Mediation once the [[word deleted]] scope of the concessions demanded, which I consider shocking, became clear to them. Why, then, did they continue? This is a question I (burdened as I am by Asperger Syndrome in my efforts to probe the mysteries of human motivation) do not pursue here. Others, lacking my particular disadvantages as a writer, may over the coming five or ten years be able to take the question further.

Parties to Mediation are strictly barred during the Mediation from discussing what is going on. This point was repeatedly made by Karen herself. It was made, for instance, under the "Why DDOD" link at http://www.ddod.ca (as viewed by me within a few seconds of UTC=20130212T012005Z), in the following terms: "All mediation parties had been sworn to absolute secrecy under a strict gag order until Council signed off on the agreement". (I do suspect "sworn" to be a rhetorical exaggeration, with no actual affirmations-on-oath conducted in the Mediation room. This, however, is a quibble.)

Nevertheless, I have come to know in an indirect way two scraps of intelligence either regarding what was under "absolute secrecy" or regarding the still-admissible, pre-Mediation, context of what was during Mediation under "absolute secrecy".

Reflecting on the chain of transmission, and on the limited amount of checking that I was able to make, I find myself 90 per cent, albeit not 100 per cent, confident in the veracity of the following two scraps of intelligence:

(1) When told in the course of Mediation that concessions on development would be necessary, Karen was desolate, and yet eventually found solace and support from one or more members of Town staff who were likewise present at Mediation.

(2) The Mediation Chair, Mr James R. McKenzie, being anxious to have Mediation proceed and eventually reach a settlement, went so far as to say, either in these confidential proceedings or in the pre-Mediation "Assessment" (or similar) proceedings that led up to Mediation, "I am in a fish bowl" and (contrary to the dignity required in legal work) "I have my balls in a vise".

Of these two scraps, only the second reached me before Black Thursday. Who knew how much of the first scrap when (whether before Black Thursday or after), I do not know. It will of course be appreciated that news can spread in an exponential fashion, with two people in the know on (as it were) a Wednesday, four on Thursday, and eight on Friday. By Monday, as many as sixty-four know something, and something can by at least Monday get to me in my capacity as Village Idiot, and I can do at least a little checking.

I wish I could take my analysis of possible carrots and possible sticks further. With my two slender scraps of intelligence as a starting point, some duly public-spirited investigator may be able to make more progress than I.

All through the anxious months of Mediation, I had only a finite, a limited, apprehension of trouble. I had, after all, Dr Shelton's 2011 September public-outreach-night assurance that no development would be conceded on the land; and, shocked though I was by the tone of Karen's 2012-10-08 e-mail outburst, I at least had from it an assurance that she stood for conservation of the entire terrain. And I had a corresponding reassurance of conservation-of-the-whole from the DDO Defenders Web site, as I must now explain.

6. Karen's 2011/2012
fundraising for
DDO Defenders, Inc.

I will go through the forensics as carefully as I am able, fighting my way through a little bit of timestamping confusion on my computer, and trying even to illuminate the question (potentially important to the directors of the Defenders) who wrote what words.

If the Defenders Web site is a guide, then as late as 2012-04-12 this organization was professing a commitment to defending all 77 hectares of the DDO&P, and was on that basis soliciting financial contributions from its Web readership.

My records indicate that at a time within plus-or-minus ten minutes of UTC=20120412T125400Z, I downloaded the homepage of the Defenders, namely http://www.ddod.ca/, to my then computer (an ASUS eee Xandros Linux netbook). Since UTC=20120412T125400Z corresponds to the ordinary southern-Ontario civil time of 08:54 EDT, I must have considered that the day required precautions (I had, I reiterate, just a finite, a limited, apprehension of trouble), and I must have determined to get my download done around breakfast time.

My download shows that even as late as this April date, above the "Donate" button with its credit-card logos were the words "The DDO Defenders are deeply committed to preserving the David Dunlap Observatory Lands in its entirety and ensuring that the campus continues to operate as a world-class astronomical and astrophysical research facility and a centre of excellence in public Outreach, Education and Experiential Learning regarding all aspects of the Scientific, Physical and Natural World."

The inappropriate capitalization, the dubious singular (with "its" in place of the more strictly correct "their"), and the probable redundancy (of "physical [world]" in juxtaposition with "natural world") are all somewhat characteristic of Karen's writing, as a person with only minor post-secondary education. Although it is Karen's style that I know best, from exposure to some dozens of samples since early 2008, I would be disinclined to predict these particular defects in the writing of Dr Shelton or Prof. Bleek.

Such defects are absent from a slab of text presented at this same time on this same Web page, and reading, in part, "The David Dunlap Observatory lies nestled in the heart of Richmond Hill, Ontario, a city of 200,000 just north of Canada's largest city, Toronto. The 190-acre oasis of mature forests, pastures and springs is home to two distinct deer herds and an abundance of other wildlife, including a coyote pack, foxes, voles, rabbits, honey bees, many species of butterflies, and birds including hawks, owls, doves, crows and songbirds." Here we have, by contrast, university English, the sole arguable blemishes being two omissions of the serial comma.FOOTNOTE I therefore suggest that one writer created the slab of text calling for preservation of DDO&P in its entirety and that some different author created the slab praising the 190-acre oasis.

But it must be admitted that the good, university-grade slab of text has strong resemblances to a loosely written, once again characteristically-Karen, piece at http://www.karencilevitz.ca/?page_id=647 (as viewed by me at UTC=20130322T140020Z). The strong resemblance is evident in, for instance, the words "rare urban wildlife including a coyote pack, foxes, small wildlife such as voles and rabbits, a myriad of insects including honey bees, butterfly species such as the remarkable Monarch, and birds including different species of hawks and owls, crows and songbirds". The presence of an untrained writer with the weaknesses characteristic of Karen is betrayed by a few points later in that 2013 http://www.karencilevitz.ca/?page_id=647, two of which I cite here: (1) DDO fauna "thrive in an urban environment otherwise inhabited by humans and their built structures whose very existence has seen their natural habitat slowly and deliberately diminish and decay out of existence." (Is the natural habitat deliberately taking itself out of existence, committing suicide in the manner of a dishonoured Samurai warrior at the instant of his ritual deliberate self-disembowelling, i.e., of his harikiri?) (2) The 1.88 m telescope is "capable of seeing across our visible celestial expanse". (What does this mean? That it is capable of seeing objects at cosmological distances? If so, which ones? The high-redshift quasars?)

In 2013 January, I transferred the downloaded material to my newly built Debian GNU/Linux desktop machine while keeping the 2012 Linux timestamps intact.

Readers needing to examine my 2012-04-12 download will find an attached Debian GNU/Linux screenshot, from UTC=20130210T025405Z, here. In the screenshot can be seen the Debian GNU/Linux Iceweasel browser, and above the browser a virtual terminal, such as is standardly used by the more severely old-school members of the Unix (including Linux) community.

It can be seen that in the virtual terminal, I have in my old-school style issued three commands at the command-line prompt (which in my system I make a plain dollar sign).

First, I have issued the command pwd, for "print working directory".

Second, I have issued the command ls -l, for "list the contents of the working directory, in long form". This listing shows that I have saved in the working directory the homepage HTML file, but under my own preferred name David_Dunlap_Observatory_Defenders_20120412T125400Z.html rather than under the original, uninformative, server name index.html. (Since homepages are almost invariably filenamed index.html, using this filename would have made my notes unilluminating.) The listing additionally shows that I have put auxiliary files (these include some homepage graphics) into a directory that I have chosen to call David_Dunlap_Observatory_Defenders_20120412T125400Z_files. The HTML tags within the original index.html, here saved as David_Dunlap_Observatory_Defenders_20120412T125400Z.html, are somehow adjusted to reflect my preferred naming of the auxiliary image-housing directory. I think that the changing of the links was done not by me manually but by my then browser, Firefox under Xandros Linux, when I instructed the browser to save the homepage. I would in issuing my "Save As" command have asked the content to be "Saved As" something-including-the-timestamp-20120412T125400Z, and the browser would have taken care of link adjustments within the HTML code.

Third, I have issued the command stat *html, for "list the file statistics, including its three Unix timestamps, for any HTML file in the working directory". Since there is only one such file, namely the one that I have chosen to call David_Dunlap_Observatory_Defenders_20120412T125400Z.html, file statistics for just that one file are given. Unix specialists will see that Modify is the (EDT) timestamp for time of file creation. ("Modify" is here, and in Unix generally, misleading.) The Change timestamp reflects (in EST) the time in 2013 of my copying the file, in fact without changing its content (again, "Change" is misleading Unix language) from an external hard drive to my current, internal, hard drive. The Access timestamp reflects (in EST) the time in 2013 of my most recent read of the file.

It is awkward that the timestamp that really matters shows not, as I would have expected, 2012-04-12, but the still later date of 2012-05-10. I suspect that 2012-04-12 really was the date of my download; that I did the download in haste to a temporary directory on the solid-state internal hard drive of my ASUS eee Xandros Linux netbook; that on 2012-05-10 I finally got round to housekeeping, copying the file to a different (external, rotating-platter) hard drive; and that in some chain of events that I do not understand, in this housekeeping process I caused the Modify timestamp to be for housekeeping day, 2012-05-10, rather than for download day, 2012-04-12.

But from a legal point of view the difference between 2012-04-12 and 2012-05-10 is not momentous. If the download date really was, contrary to what I believe, 2012-05-10 as opposed to 2012-04-12, then my case against DDO David Dunlap Observatory Defenders Inc. would be strengthened, not weakened. It would be strengthened because in that case this organization's inaccurate claim to be defending DDO&P in its "entirety" would have been disseminated to the public even a whole month beyond the Black Thursday that was 2012-04-12.

For completeness, I show also a clock which keeps southern-Ontario civil time, and additionally a window with the w3m text-interface Web browser pointed to the BBC headlines current at or very near the moment, namely UTC=20130210T025405Z, at which I took the screenshot.

Readers inspecting the screenshot image should use their Web browser "Back" button to return to this present page.

I had noticed the same material on the http://www.ddod.ca homepage a month earlier, doing a similar download within plus-or-minus ten minutes of UTC=20120305T131500Z, and I attach a similar forensic screenshot here. In this case (as can be seen from the virtual terminal with its stat-command output) there is no discrepancy in year, month, and day, with everything pointing unambiguously to 2012-03-05 as the download date (although here I did not code a timestamp into my preferred filename, and additionally may have got myself confused on the one-hour difference between EST and EDT).

At what point did the language at http://www.ddod.ca shift, so that financial donations were no longer being sought for "preserving the David Dunlap Observatory Lands in its entirety"? I do not have a very exact answer to this. All I can say is that when I did my next inspection, on 2012-06-11, within plus-or-minus ten minutes of 20120611T222400Z, the strongly conservationist language above the solicitation of financial contributions was gone. In its place was, instead, the less committal wording "The DDO Defenders are deeply committed to preserving the David Dunlap Observatory, surrounding Lands and the Dunlap Legacy. Our mandate is to ensure that the campus continues to operate as a world-class astronomical and astrophysical research facility and a centre of excellence in public Outreach, Education and Experiential Learning regarding all aspects of the Scientific, Physical and Natural World."

The slab of text praising the "190-acre oasis of mature forests, pastures and springs" was still present on 2012-06-11, but had now been moved to a subordinate page hyperlinked to the homepage. This subordinate page indeed suffered from an interesting internal logical tension. On the one hand, it praised the 190-acre, or in reality 189-acre, "oasis". On the other hand, it praised the Settlement terms released for public scrutiny on 2012-04-12. Since the Settlement terms envisaged the creation of a lane and runoff sump and fourteen streets on the "190-acre oasis", these two bits of praise were only dubiously consistent.

Readers needing to examine my 2012-06-11 homepage download will find a Debian GNU/Linux screenshot, taken at UTC=20130210T024800Z, attached here. In this case there are again blemishes in my work, with a culpable failure on my part to write timestamp into my preferred filename for the HTML, and indeed this time with a culpable failure on my part to replace whitespaces in the filename with underscores. (The filename must have been generated by my Firefox browser, and I must have been in too much of a hurry to clean it up: in good Unix-style computing, one avoids whitespaces in filenames.) There is additionally a puzzling reference to 2012-08-01, and there is even a Unix tar file (archive-bundle file) present as something created on that August date, no doubt in connection with some too-hasty housekeeping. But the basic picture is clear: the HTML homepage was downloaded on 2012-06-11, and it establishes that by this date the incorporated DDO Defenders had made its fund-raising language accurate.

We may now return to the central troubling point, that the DDO Defenders were until at least as late as the morning of 2012-04-12 (Black Thursday) soliciting funds from the public with inaccurate language. It is true that the Defenders were until the announcements made on the afternoon of 2012-04-12 barred from divulging that their negotiating position in Mediation had changed from conservation of the whole to conservation of a part. But would altering the inaccurate full-conservation language "The DDO Defenders are deeply committed to preserving the David Dunlap Observatory Lands in its entirety" to the accurate, partial-conservation language "The DDO Defenders are deeply committed to preserving the David Dunlap Observatory, surrounding Lands and the Dunlap Legacy", if made as soon as the negotiating position changed, in 2011 October or whenever, have been a breach of OMB rules? And if it would have been, then would breaching OMB rules have been a greater evil than using inaccurate language for soliciting funds? Would not the best course of action in any case have been to take the Web site, or at any rate all legally delicate parts of the Web site, off line until the announcement on the afternoon of 2012-04-12?

7. Impressions from
"Black Thursday"

My most interesting forensic observation from Black Thursday concerns a hug, of me, by the principal subject of this narrative.

On Black Thursday, a few us us, including Daphne Williamson, Karen, and I, were for a time held in suspense outside the Council Chamber. Then we got called in, to hear the details of what the confidential Mediation had cooked up. The result was bad beyond expectation: the eastern half of the Trapezoid destroyed with 14 streets, a lane, and a stormwater sump, and McMansion lots brought to within 150 metres of the dome. Here, then, was to be an end to DDO research, and eventually (once funds fail for the maintenance of the stormwater sump, upon Canada's eventual slide into a 1930s-scale depression) the destruction through sump-wall failure, and the ensuing gullying, even of the DDO&P wetland.

Liable though I am to break down when people speak to me in a spirit of angry, petty, injustice, experience has taught me that I can stay calm in a larger crisis, such as the forest fire in which I found myself in the early summer of 1974. I accordingly listened without outward display of emotion, and even without feeling very much inside. My reaction, such as it was, was at the level of the understanding, not of the feelings.

Mindful of the civic duty to observe, I took up Karen's invitation to all and sundry, to attend a sort of "victory dinner" in a nearby restaurant. Here a tearful Karen let her waterworks flow, going indeed so far as to embrace even me in her tears.

What were these tears tears of? In general, the simpler, more banal, explanations are likely to be the closest to the truth. So I form the working hypothesis that Karen was in the early evening of Black Thursday, at her imposingly long restaurant table, in full view of perhaps 20 or 30 people, doing just what she purported to be doing, namely, crying from joy. My working hypothesis is that just as it had not occurred to her in 2011 September that the organization under her leadership was making a mistake in retaining Ms Daphne Williamson, so it had not occurred to her on the Black Thursday of 2012-04-12 what the Minutes of Settlement signed by her organization were doing to national heritage. That the Minutes were compromising the photometry and spectroscopy capabilities of the telescopes through increased light pollution; that in so doing the Minutes were reducing an asset needed by the next generation of Canadians, once the inexorably rising price of fossil fuels made it difficult for the public purse to fund aeroplane journeys by graduate students to the telescopes of Chile, South Africa, Australia, and Hawaii; even that the Minutes were undermining the potential DDO&P UNESCO World Heritage-List Parks Canada conservation case: not a single one of these thoughts was present in her mind, as she let her happy, self-indulgent tears flow.

It is impossible to recall the spectacle without pity.

8. Karen's DDO work
at the DDO
2012 OMB hearing

With the Richmond Hill Naturalists, who had correctly held back from OMB Mediation, opposed to the OMB Mediation Settlement, the stage was set for a full OMB hearing, in 2012 August and September.

Regarding this unhappy thing (in which justice was in my judgement denied to the Naturalists), much will have to be written elsewhere, and comparatively little has to be written here.

Karen's role in the unhappy proceedings was relatively limited.

Only scant mention need be made of her [[one word deleted]] approach in the hearing room, at break time, to our light-pollution witness (this triggered angry words), and of what I consider her unhappy conversation in the hearing room, at some different break time, with an officer of the Mississaugas. (Although this latter unpleasantness seemed to involve tense speech, voices did not get raised to the point where I could follow every single syllable from the other side of the room.)

I do wish to put into the present record my account of Karen's and Mr Jason (correctly Jason Lloydovitch) Cherniak's actions against me at the very start of the proceedings. I insert this by way of a friendly warning that if Karen and Jason Lloydovitch try further such (petty) stunts, I will cheerfully bat their tennis ball back over the net, with further (petty) writeups, thereby keeping our little Wimbledon alive.

I arrived perhaps an hour or more early on the first day of proceedings, 2012-08-10. Mindful that I should not be too conspicuous, visually or aurally, I installed myself as far back in the hearing room as I could, with my iPhone and its Bluetooth keyboard ready for typing. Here I felt safe enough, since in front of me was a big gap, free of chairs and tables. It was now a physical impossibility (thought I) for anyone to sit immediately in front of me.

The error in my thinking became evident perhaps a quarter-hour or a half-hour later, when Karen and Jason Lloydovitch walked in, picked up one of the big, heavy tables, and installed it in the generous gap between my own knees and the next-forward row of seating. When proceedings were starting, Jason Lloydovitch complained to the Hearing chair of the noise from my keyboard. (There were in this particular hearing perhaps eight people using keyboards. But it does have to be conceded that my keyboard was distinctively noisy. I did, admittedly, do what I could to mitigate the noise, for much or all of the hearing going so far as to insert a folded-up towel between keyboard and table surface.) To this Madam Chair made the reasonable reply that he, Jason Lloydovitch (but she did not use the correct patronymic) was very welcome to sit at the front of the room, where the other lawyers were sitting.

I have been told that our minuscule matter generated quite a bit of correspondence over the ensuing days, with various communications flowing in this direction and that, as Jason Lloydovitch continued trying, in vain, to have OMB stop my keyboarding.

It is also necessary in this present chronicle to cite a not-petty aspect of the 2012 hearing, which indeed to some extent reflects credit on Karen - namely, to the writeups of each day's proceedings which she posted at the DDO Defenders' Web site, http://www.ddod.ca. We on the conservationist side had taken care to engage a certified trial reporter for all days but the last, and I am happy to give e-mail anyone who needs it one or more files from the reporter's bulky collection of PDFs. Nevertheless, it was a public service for Karen to have kept her own records and to have made them available to everyone on a Web server.

In 2013 January or 2013 February (and possibly in other months or years: here I keep silent), I took the precaution of archiving the entire contents of http://www.ddod.ca/. (I indeed have the exact time, or times, of archiving in my casenotes, but for reasons of operational security I choose not to publish it, or them, here.) My work revealed that commentary had been uploaded to the ddod.ca server on the following dates:

My publication of these thirteen upload dates will help individuals who may later have to do some kind of legal analysis, for instance determining whether the commentary has been edited through fresh uploads to the ddod.ca server. (It will be difficult to conceal an upload of, say, Day13 made in, say, 2014, as an overwrite of the upload of Day13 originally made on 2012-09-27.) Additionally, my publication of these thirteen upload dates will be useful for anyone having to investigate whether the commentary was in all cases juridically licit, i.e., whether David Dunlap Observatory Defenders Inc., as a Party at a tribunal, could licitly comment on their own case in the language they used at the various times they did. (This is a large, potentially grave, legal question on which I have not even begun to act.)

At the moment, in advance of detailed analysis at my desk, I have just one pressing worry. How does it come about that Karen's writeup for the final day, namely 2012-09-10 (uploaded 2012-09-27), is so detailed? This was the sole day for which the Richmond Hill Naturalists did not engage their certified trial reporter. Acting as best I myself could, I took notes with the noisy Bluetooth keyboard already referred to. Although I am a most nimble typist, my notes were much inferior to Karen's. I believe she pulled off her imposing stenographical achievement by compiling notes from several hands - her own, and probably in addition notes from most or all of Dr Ian Shelton, the DDOD counsel Jason Cherniak, and a student of Mr Cherniak's.

9. Karen's DDO work
after the 2012
OMB hearing

Here there is little to be said, since there was little dramatic action by Karen in the second half of 2012, and the whole of 2013, outside Facebook. (Her Facebook work involved some level of personal attack on me, which I have analyzed to the extent appropriate elsewhere on this server.)

I may as well, however, take this as an opportunity to apologize for staring at Karen, at Divisional Court on 2013-12-09, in the creepy way the guy in uniform stared at me in the afternoon or early evening of 1990-08-29 at the Tallinn docks (when I entered the Union from Helsinki; Comrade Uniform gave me the Silent Eye for an eternity as I stood in front of his passport-control desk, I think hoping that I would break down in some way helpful to the organs of state security). I should have done nothing in the Divisional Court room to make Karen feel uncomfortable, even while discharging my duty of observing her.

The 2013-12-09 Divisional Court denial-of-leave-to-appeal is a topic I will have to write up later, on some other server. For the moment, it suffices to make just two remarks under this heading: firstly, that the conservationists lost (the laws favoured OMB over the relevant collateral tribunal, the Conservation Review Board, and our conscientious, courteous, meticulous judge had to take the law as she found it); and secondly, that Jason Lloydovitch behaved with perfect propriety throughout our somewhat lengthy court proceeding.

10. Concluding remarks
on Karen's 2008/2013
DDO work

It is clear from all the foregoing that in going rogue on what is perhaps Canada's largest current heritage-conservation case, Karen has since 2011 been out of her depth.

How to recover?

In a perfect world, recovery would amount to Karen's either renouncing the OMB Minutes of Settlement or (this might be juridically easier) formally winding up the corporate entity, the "DDO Defenders Inc.", which she in 2011 unwisely created.

We do not, however, live on the stage set of The Sound of Music.

A more realistic road to recovery is less steep, less theatrical. Let Karen simply not do very much with the organization she now controls - even as she did not, in the end, do very much with this Web site, http://www.karencilevitz.ca, which she created, and which for a while she had under her control. Let her "Defenders" drift through her benign neglect into a deepening irrelevance, as the more committed conservationists continue their DDO&P battles over the longer term. When things in the wide world outside DDO deteriorate enough (as they are bound to, sooner or later - with the end of cheap fossil fuels, for instance, curtailing Canada's food security, and with Canada's recessions morphing into depressions), reconciliation and cooperation will prove progressively easier. Quarrels such as the ones we are having now are a luxury from a time of ease and wealth that our society is now leaving behind. Such quarrels - they are like cheap charter-flight holidays, and Pink Floyd purchased on CDs, and the Swanson "TV dinner", and Pontiac motorcars - will come to feel irrelevant, antiquated, embarrassingly over. With the passage of time, reconciliation will be for us all a thing that comes naturally, like the greening of pastures once the summer heat has passed.


among my happiest memories of Karen from all our halcyon years: When I write that matters went well at virtually all the other tables (and very notably so, as I have explained, at Karen's), I mean that there was just one table which was forthrightly pro-development. From this quarter there rose a lady who told the room that yes, some development really could and should occur at DDO&P, and that yes, we must be very careful with development. She was courageous and forthright in her defence of environmentalist principles: houses, she courageously affirmed, must be built thus and so, with this thing and that thing, full regard (she forthrightly avowed) being accorded to the environment.

I have seen, in a book, a photo of students courageously and forthrightly demonstrating, with placards, outside Tartu University in the 1960s or early-1970s Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. One student is courageously brandishing a placard calling for an end to American aggression in Vietnam. Another, equally forthright, has a placard denouncing South African apartheid.

Who was Mrs Courageous? From buzz around the room, I heard that the "wife of the landowner" was somehow present in the proceedings, and it was under the impulse of this grave rumour that I sought a private corridor conversation with Mr Pozzebon.

So was, I asked in confidence, the "wife of the landowner" present? Mr Pozzebon denied it.

He was in a sense accurate. I understand from other analysts that there is no reason to believe the wife of Metrus founder Alfredo DeGasperis to have been present. The view of other analysts, in whom I had great confidence (I rather suspect Karen to have been among them) was that Metrus was represented, rather, by Mrs Courageous, and that far from being the wife of Mr DeGasperis, "Mrs Courageous" was in reality the wife of a then Metrus vice-president. These analysts have further put it to me that "Mrs Courageous" was identifiable from the charrette sign-in sheet, as having signed herself in under her maiden name.

Another turn in the confidential conversation with Mr Pozzebon really must be recounted in this footnote, since it calls for me to openly confess dishonesty, and to ask herewith for Mr Pozzebon's pardon. We somehow - the conversation was not particularly brief, and we covered more than one topic, venturing even into such territory as Mr Pozzebon's biology studies at university - found ourselves touching on living arrangements. Mr Pozzebon used some language implying that I was, or at any rate that I might well be, a homeowner. I responded with a faked, entirely dishonest, expression of distress, breaking down and crying, and in fake sobs explaining that I was merely renting an apartment of no great distinction. (I may well have added that the apartment was small, and in a basement.) The squalid purpose of my fakery was to play on the guilt complex which I presumed lay somewhere in Mr Pozzebon's soul. I have herewith to apologize to him. He will of course be reading this, no less than Karen's lawyer, and the eminent husband of "Mrs Courageous", and Town officers.

In Ward Two, a problematic Councillor, Mr Arnie Warner: I state here my principal reason for calling Councillor Warner problematic. On one of the many Town Council meetings pertinent to DDO&P conservation, conservationists occupied a small block of public seats. In this block there were three or four of us, possibly more, but I think not as many as eight. I was at the foremost seat in the block. Pretty much immediately behind me sat Prof. Tom Bolton from DDO, and also Karen. Something one or more of us had said, probably either in the preliminary question period or as a formal Delegation, had touched Councillor Warner on a sore spot, and he took the opportunity to lecture us, at a moment when Chamber rules afforded us no opportunity of reply. Wagging his finger in deep disrespect at our block, he said, or rather almost-shouted, "Here we have RESPECT. In this place, we have RESPECT, around here we show RESPECT." He then made his line of thought plain: "In this place, we have RESPECT, for - PROPERTY." Real life on occasion outdoes Charles Dickens.

a new and invigorated vision for Your Ward and Our Town: What is more hackneyed than "vision"? I would urge on all ham operators using Morse, i.e. "CW", to supplement the usual set of Q-signs, such as "QRP" for "Please reduce your power" and "QRN" for "I am experiencing static", with Q-signs appropriate for municipal affairs. "QVC" would mean "We live in a vibrant community", "QMC" would mean "Council and Staff are working hard to meet this challenge", and "QNV" would mean "We have a new vision for our town." Then, when disaster strikes, terse and helpful radiograms can be transmitted over the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), even with traditional World War Two straight key. As the emergency we all dread is upon us - nuclear explosions are known to have occurred at Natanz, Qom, and Tel Aviv at breakfast time; the Internet is down as of lunch time; and normal Canadian economic activity, notably banking, has come to a sudden halt now, just after lunch - hypothetical ham operator VA3FOOBAR could transmit a "QST", or "calling all stations", within the framework of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service. With my proposed Q-signs, VA3FOOBAR would relay in the following efficient terms what it is that Town officials have to say: "QST QST DE VA3FOOBAR QST QST DE VA3FOOBAR ((da-di-di-di-dah separator prosign)) TOWN SEZ QVC QMC QNV REPEAT QVC QMC QNV ((da-di-di-di-dah separator prosign)) TKS, GUD LUCK DE VA3FOOBAR" ((di-di-di-da-di-dah now-going-silent prosign))

Mr Nick Papa improved vastly over his 2006 result: Results for 2006 ("The Town of Richmond Hill is pleased to announce the unofficial results for the 2006 Municipal Election in record time thanks to the use of electronic voting tabulators") are shown at http://www.richmondhill.ca/subpage.asp?pageid=news_releases_11_13_2006. Results for 2010 are shown at http://www.richmondhill.ca/subpage.asp?pageid=news_releases_10_25_2010.

reported as the final result at the Town of Richmond Hill Web site: Apart from the really major worry about the Richmond Hill election, regarding odd numbers in polling results and a reliance on electronics, there is a minor worry regarding voter turnout. Although some stress was placed on this minor worry within Campaign Cilevitz circles, I privately think that it would be wrong to exaggerate it. It was remarked within Campaign Cilevitz that the polling stations had been lively on Election Day, with many elderly persons voting, and much stress was laid on the following scene (I think reported to me accurately enough): Into a polling station comes some dutiful son or grandson or nephew or great-nephew, helping a tottering, and somewhat confused, mother or grandma or great-aunt or whatever. The elderly lady looks a bit bewildered, since she will in a moment have to go, all alone, to the fateful table, marking a ballot, and her companion shouts into her ear what she is supposed to be doing: "Papa. PAPA." On this I have two comments. (1) On looking back at figures long after the election, I find that the claimed numbers of ballots cast suggest no exaggerated-turnout anomaly in 2010 Ward Five. The five Ward Five candidates in the election of 2006 obtained a total of 6 652 votes. If there had been a strange mobilization of voters in 2010, we would expect the corresponding total for 2010 to be higher than in 2006, whereas, in fact the respective totals are quite similar. Indeed for 2010 the total is a little lower: for the four Ward Five candidates in the election of 2010, there is a total of 6 247 votes. (Of course a low total for 2010, at a time of strong electoral excitement in Ward Five, is consistent with a different type of worry: the worry, namely, that some kind of electronic counter somehow got rolled back when it was supposed to be ticking forward.) (2) If Mr Papa's campaign workers managed to mobilize the Italian community, especially its oldest and frailest members, and got people to vote who did not understand very clearly what they were doing, the workers were still operating within the rules of a democracy. Although I clucked as indignantly as anyone within Campaign Cilevitz in the days immediately following 2010-10-25, I do now see clearly that it would be unethical to impose literacy tests or awareness-of-current-affairs tests on the electorate. Further, I do now see clearly that it would be unethical to make some people, for instance the Italian elderly, feel less welcome at polling stations than others.

as a die-hard Green Canadian provincial and federal voter: My record in Estonian affairs is less consistent. I do have much sympathy for the Estonian Greens, without knowing much about them. I do note that they have been marginally more successful in the unicameral, proportional-representation Estonian Parliament, or Riigikogu, than the Canadian Greens in Commons: in the Estonian elections of 2007, Erakond Eestimaa Rohelised obtained 7.1 per cent of the vote, and correspondingly obtained six Riigikogu members. In the elections of 2011, they obtained a not-wholly-dismal 3.8 per cent of the vote, admittedly being at this point allocated zero Riigikogu members, under the Estonian proportional-representation rules. My allegiance in Estonian elections has hitherto been to the mildly right-of-centre Isamaa ja Res Publica Liit, for a good part of its history under Mr Mart Laar (for part or all of 2013 in government in coalition with the Reformierakond, but more recently departed from the governing coalition; the Reformierakond is analogous to the United Kingdom Liberal Party, and consequently fits into the classic European party-political Centre; the European Centre is a slice of the public-policy spectrum traditionally occupied in Ottawa by Liberals and New Democrats).

with Magna, ultimate rising to a high executive position: http://www.itsanewgame.ca/cameron-hastings.html, as downloadable at UTC=20130208T214722Z, but perhaps more recently deleted.

wary of anything proclaiming itself "sustainable": Metrus's own sometime Web site, http://observatoryhill.ca, was as recently as 2013 used to promote the idea of construction at DDO&P. (Metrus seems now to have relinquished the URL, since it now displays USA-themed content lacking a Metrus connection.) The site, when still under Metrus management, supplied a good example of what could be done under the potentially misleading banner of "sustainability". At http://observatoryhill.ca/metrus.php, as visible at UTC=20130212T022248Z, was a hyperlink to a Metrus brochure, in PDF format. This PDF file, in colours worthy of the National Geographic, consumed 2.9 megabytes. The brochure ran to just 9 pages, two of these being mere covers. Many will have printed the gorgeous little thing out, or else (I speculate) will have obtained hard copies from Metrus itself.

Among the good points made in the brochure were the following: Metrus uses geothermal heating in its head office (this heating must to my mind be carbon-neutral, or at any rate must be closer to carbon-neutrality than any form of fossil-fuel heating could hope to be); the Metrus corporate family recycles building materials; the Metrus corporate family uses a waste-pellet technology; the Metrus corporate family is active in a large urban intensification, a condominium tower at Jarvis and Adelaide in downtown Toronto (downtown intensification is necessary, and if we had more of it, there would be less pressure to destroy suburban greenfields such as DDO&P); the Metrus corporate family is laying permeable pavings; the Metrus corporate family is erecting passive solar collectors and solar photovoltaic panels.

On the other hand were some bad points. Metrus inappropriately prided itself on supporting biodiesels. Biodiesel fuel is far from carbon-neutral in today's implementations, and for all anyone knows may forever remain far from carbon-neutrality. It unfortunately takes about as many joules of energy to plant, harvest, and process a biodiesel crop as the joules the biodiesel actually yields once burned. To the extent that the input joules are supplied by fossil fuels, carbon-neutrality is lost. Metrus praised its "Energy Star" construction, but with reference to a project in the remote suburb of East Gwillimbury. Anyone living in East Gwillimbury will have a transport problem, being, I would suggest, pretty much forced to run a vehicle. Even resorting to the GO trains and the GO buses will cause much fuel to be burned, with East Gwillimbury lying still further than Richmond Hill from the Golden Horseshoe hubs. Here we have Ontario urban sprawl in its most extreme form.

Particularly unfortunate was Metrus's assertion, in a paragraph that did mention credible brownfields rejuvenations, that its Langstaff Jail Farm project was the rejuvenation of a brownfield. In the 1940s, the Jail Farm was a jail farm. In the 1970s, municipal authorities were still hoping to convert it into a (green) campus for a post-secondary college. The development which is now there, and the Yonge Street end of which I know well - an inexpressibly garish cinema, a Home Depot, a bookstore in the Chapters-Indigo chain, a faux-USA restaurant, and more, the toxic whole surrounded by a sea of asphalt as parking space - is so in-your-face ugly as to demand filming by whatever investigative cinematographers will eventually document the DDO&P conservation story.

here a thrust, there a parry, and much clanking of steel on steel: "Viimne Reliikvia" is the ultimate Estonian cult film, being on the one hand the crowning monument to 1960s Soviet-Estonian bad taste, and on the other being perhaps the most anti-Catholic film ever made, anywhere, whether inside the Union or out. By taking on the cinematic conventions of Hollywood (glibly transposing the Western, with its saloons and cowboy hats, into a setting of scary nuns, scarier monks, overbearing Baltic-German nobility, rebellious Estonian peasants, and swordfights) "Viimne Reliikvia" broke all the so-sensible rules of Estonian cinema - that the heroes are to be flawed anti-heroes; that the best outdoor shots feature a stormy sky over the upper two-thirds of the frame, as when the anti-heroes shake futile fists against thunderheads; that the indoor shots are to be lit to a maximum of 120 watts; and so on. A trailer of this ghastly Hollywood-comes-to-Soviet-occupied-Tallinn thingie may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qN8XntCtBO4. Don't view it. I myself, through effort of will, can steer clear of it for positively months, or at any rate weeks, at a time, despite my even possessing the DVD.)

two omissions of the serial comma: Time-honoured tradition omits the serial comma in newspaper work, where the line measure is tight, while prescribing the serial comma in the more generous measure of the journal-article page or book page. The need for scrupulous attention to the serial comma is normally driven home, or at any rate ought normally to be driven home, by drawing the attention of students to the difference in meaning between the reasonably diffident "I owe everything I am today to my parents, Ayn Rand, and God" and the insanely self-promotional "I owe everything I am today to my parents, Ayn Rand and God."

Toomas (Tom) Karmo
42 Gentry Crescent
Richmond Hill ON L4C 2G9



This page, hand-coded with a Linux text editor by Tom Karmo, is designed to display fully in CSS-aware browsers, including smartphone browsers. CSS-blind browsers (most of these are obsolescent, from 2000 or before) will drop some or all decorative elements but will not suppress textual content. The portions of this site typeset in red, maximally bold, oblique ("slanted") fonts are published pursuant to the out-of-court legal settlement of 2014-05-05 between Karen Cilevitz and Toomas Karmo. The relevant legal documents (Statement of Claim, peace-bond summons, and so on, and also the settlement dismissing the court actions) may be inspected at http://www.karen-vs-toomas-legaldocs.ca.

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