CORNWALL Ontario – In Shakespearean tales things usually start with a storm and end with sunshine. Weather can be a predictor of a good story.
Today’s story is one of hate and willful ignorance. While South Stormont Deputy Mayor seems to be targeting it at CFN and myself the true victims are the people that are simply mobbing up and following a very clear smear and lie.
There are very few ways to deal with lies when it comes to an angry mob. Protest of innocence usually seems like guilt. Silence also can seem like guilt.
I personally like to go with facts. My five years here at CFN have involved over 8,000 stories without a single lawsuit against us. For Ms Hart and her mob to be factual I would have had to have made up stories, gone out of my way to hurt local business and people, lied about facts, and have huge hate ons. The facts clearly point that I don’t and never have. Even the picture above was from an event when Tammy phoned me up asking to come cover her and do a story on language issues via the Parks commission. I actually counseled her not to do that as it seemed a bit anti-French, but Ms Hart is a like a dog with a bone in her mouth when she gets going so we did the story.
I can point out a multitude of times that we have come to the community’s defense and won even beating the likes of Wal-Mart and OPG in the process of defending our community.
Tammy was actually a huge fan of CFN for many years and a supporter. What changed was when we covered her mess when her council and staff felt that they had to call in Robert Swayze, South Stormont’s Integrity Investigator after allegations of the Deputy Mayor being nasty including Ms Hart leaking information to the media. LINK
Ms Hart was upset that the township would spend tax dollars on the process and I pointed out that as Mr. Swayze found her guilty as charged and censured her that maybe she should write the cheque out of her own pocket instead of on the public dime?
I thought that was reasonable and certainly not some heinous or hideous crime or insult.
When you write opinion, and one of the reasons that CFN has been so strong is that we write a lot of opinion and the public gets to have their say too, is that no matter what you write some will be happy and some will not.
On Facebook or Twitter for example when we have people who are trolling or simply being hyper confrontational they get blocked. Nothing angers a troll apparently more than when you turn them off or close the door on them.
Ms Hart has teamed up with a small group of what we’ll term “trolls” and has waged another war against small business growth for South Stormont.
For nearly a year myself and a small team have worked on creating The South Stormont News which is to be a community newspaper in print and online.
It’s been a scary project; but it’s been in jeopardy as Ms Hart has been trying to get it shut down since we brought it to South Stormont Council. She has publicly stated that we’ve asked for and are to receive public monies. A total fabrication as we have not asked for a dime of “start up” funding, loans, grants, or gifts of any type.
What we did do was make a presentation to council. We shared that we wanted South Stormont to have its own newspaper that was devoted to local issues and local merchants. We shared our success in building an audience to the township, and we also shared that SSN was an entirely new corporation based in Ingleside Ontario which of course is in South Stormont, and not owned by the same corporation that owns CFN.
We shared that we were using local and regional companies for printing, graphic design, writers, photographers. SSN would not only be a local community paper, but also help the local economy. It would also be a boon for local business too as we would be able to offer a newspaper with the same dimensions as the Seaway News in full colour with ads at about half their rate.
And then we did what any newspaper would do, is ask that the township consider advertising in this new newspaper! We asked that the township bulletin be published in the South Stormont News at a savings of 20% of what they are paying the Seaway News now. This was at the presentation and in writing. Again, not a single penny of support, grant, or loan was requested.
Now those aren’t bad things to a reasonable person. No harm or foul. We even added that as CFN is considered a Gonzo journal type newspaper SSN would be written in a traditional form.
All of this information was shared with council, township management, and Ms Hart who after tearing into me personally during our presentation to council later claimed that she never received the package from the Clerk, so I emailed her what council had received. After all you have to give people the benefit of the doubt or as I say, rope to hang themselves.
Below was printed on a hate group Friday March 14, 2014. It was first formed on Facebook to be a boycott of CFN, but was taken down by Facebook and noted to contain hate symbols and contain harassment.
Date: March 13, 2014
To: Mayor McGillis and Council members Cindy Woods, Richard Waldroff and Barry Brownlee
From: Deputy Mayor Tammy A. Hart
Re: Presented at the March 13, 2014 Council Meeting to raise awareness and objections to the funding of start-up company, The Cornwall Free News.
I wish to note my concerns and objections regarding the decision made during a budget meeting on March 5th by Mayor McGillis and Council members to provide tax payer money to help fund the start-up of a small business, The Cornwall Free News.
During the March 5th 2014 South Stormont budget meeting; Mayor Bryan McGillis, Councillor’s Cindy Woods, Richard Waldroff and Barry Brownlee voted to award The Cornwall Free News $10,600.00 of financial assistance towards the cost to establish a private newsletter called the South Stormont News; within the Township of South Stormont.
During the meeting, the Deputy Mayor raised concerns of the possible misuse of tax-payer money regarding the funding of a sole enterprise; and voted to reject this motion. The Deputy Mayor also questioned; if it was now the mandate of Council; to help fund small enterprise.
In light of this recent action taken by the Mayor and Council, and prior to the funds being allocated to The Cornwall Free News; as Deputy Mayor I feel, there are questions and issues that need to be addressed. On behalf of the tax-payers I would appreciate the following questions answered prior to any funds being released:
I would like to know where in the by-laws (or in the history of South Stormont) that a “Precedence” had been set, to provide funding for a start-up company;
How was it determined by Mayor and Council that this company, The Cornwall Free News, met the criteria to warrant funds and if so, what was the criteria;
What, if any, are the terms of this “Loan” of $10,600.00 to repay the taxpayers; or are the funds considered an “Agreement” in terms that “The Cornwall Free News” will agree to establish a small business within the parameters of the Township of South Stormont and to provide employment for “X” number of people;
Was a Business Plan provided to the Mayor and Council and if so, can it be made known in order to have complete disclosure;
Was there a Request for Proposal (RFP) discussed or awarded prior to agreeing to fund a small business start-up;
And lastly, if we set this “Precedence”, how will Council be able to refuse the next proposal to establish a business within the Township of South Stormont.
On behalf of the tax payers of the Township of South Stormont, I respectfully request these questions and concerns be answered in writing prior to any funds being released to The Cornwall Free News.
Tammy A. Hart
Deputy Mayor of South Stormont
Again, a truly boggling scene. After all why would Ms Hart present this to council when she herself already knew the answers to those questions having received the official package before her meetings? Also, the budget process did not grant monies, but only set out space in the budget?
But how did the leader of this hate group get this document? He has written that people present at the meeting shared word with him, but how would they share this document unless it was Ms Hart herself that shared it?
So this document was published on Facebook and a mob was stirred up based on Ms Hart’s clearly false document. The mob actually formed a petition online demanding the Township stop funding which we haven’t asked for or are receiving; but actually the petition reads.
“Petition to Stop Stormont News”
Again, I could not make this stuff up. As I write this there are 72 signature of which nearly a third are anonymous. Ms Hart’s name is on it as well.
Imagine a friend or family member tells you that a person was a thief or a pedophile and that they want you to help sign a petition or boycott them? How many people would even think twice to check the facts? How many times do we give people we like a pass over issues. For example Ms Hart being critical of Justin Trudeau’s admission of pot use vs her support for Rob Ford or her silence on her own family member being charged with possession?
As for Ms Hart herself, she recently herself attacked the project to build a new health clinic in Ingleside, and was alleged to have said that Hawkesbury was in Quebec in reference to one of the firms involvement in the project.
She also considers the current formation of the hate group to be a local source for news in South Stormont.
So to be clear Ms Hart considers a hate group that was shut down on Facebook, and reopened by the same person the next day, using a Trade Marked infringing image, to have all the local news in South Stormont and the surrounding area her fave website?
Or this image, a tribute to Woodhouse Museum Curator Ian Bowering striking my camera at a rally. (We blanked out the first profanity in the image)
Again, I really couldn’t make all this up.
Clearly there are some issues that will eventually be met by the courts and most likely law enforcement. It’s sad, but it’s also terribly hurtful to a lot of people.
I didn’t even want to write this story as frankly it’s embarrassing to our community. There will be more to this story that comes out in the next few weeks as it’s believed that Integrity Commissioner Swayze will again be busy reviewing Ms Hart’s actions. It’s also been damaging to Ms Hart’s council who I gather will be making their own statement next week.
All this hate, and energy. Imagine, just imagine if it were spent on productive things for the community and people working together….
In the meanwhile we will ride out this storm, and I have a hunch the first issue of The South Stormont News will be in hot demand!
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