Monday, 15 August 2016

Toomas Karmo: RASC-TC Leadership Change, and Further RASC-TC Statement on DDO&P

Quality assessment:

On the 5-point scale current in Estonia, and surely in nearby nations, and familiar to observers of the academic arrangements of the late, unlamented, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (applying the easy and lax standards Kmo deploys in his grubby imaginary "Aleksandr Stepanovitsh Popovi nimeline sangarliku raadio instituut" (the "Alexandr Stepanovitch Popov Institute of Heroic Radio") and his grubby imaginary "Nikolai Ivanovitsh Lobatshevski nimeline sotsalitsliku matemaatika instituut" (the "Nicolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky Institute of Socialist Mathematics") - where, on the lax and easy grading philosophy of the twin Institutes, 1/5 is "epic fail", 2/5 is "failure not so disastrous as to be epic", 3'5 is "mediocre pass", 4.5 is "good", and 5/5 is "excellent"): 5/5. Justification: There was enough time to develop appropriate points to reasonable length.

Revision history:

  • UTC=20160816T1420Z/version 2.0.0: Kmo made major revision, reporting an additional mail this week from RASC-TC to its members, and in light of this adjusting the title of this blog posting. Kmo retained the right to make further nonsubstantive tweaks over the coming 48 hours, as here-undocumented versions 2.0.1, 2.0.2, 2.0.3, ... . 
  • UTC=20160816T0001Z/version 1.0.0: Kmo uploaded base version. He retained the tight to make nonsubstantive tweaks, as here-undocumented versions 1.0.1, 1.0.2, 1.0.3, ... . . 

[CAUTION: A bug in the blogger software has in some past weeks shown a propensity to insert inappropriate whitespace at some late points in some of my posted essays. If a screen seems to end in empty space, keep scrolling down. The end of the posting is not reached until the usual blogger "Posted by Toomas (Tom) Karmo at" appears.]

In the early evening of 2016-08-13 (SAT), I received an unexpected e-mail, as a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Toronto Centre (RASC-TC). I should blog briefly on this, to help ensure that all government parties involved in the David Dunlap Observatory and Park (DDO&P) heritage-conservation case stay duly informed. 

I quote, with regard to the copyright-law doctrine of "Fair Use", just the key sentence from the (brief) mail: 

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada - Toronto Centre (RASC-TC) member Paul Mortfield has resigned from his roles of RASC-TC President and David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) Chair for personal reasons.

The rest of the mail thanks Mr Mortfield for his contributions and indicates that in the interim period, when a new President has yet to be found, the RASC-TC Council will provide the necessary "strategic direction and support". 


I have no idea what actually happened here, or what effect this radical-seeming development may have on the future of DDO. 

But I do reiterate a point from my blogging regarding RASC-TC last week. The public interest is best served by our Town's (a) securing some ongoing role for RASC-TC at DDO, even while (b) securing for DDO not just RASC-TC's valuable longstanding capabilities in public outreach, but additionally some (correctly scaled) programme of "Citizen Science".


After meeting my normal self-imposed weekly blog-upload deadline (the deadline was UTC=20160816T0001Z),   I noticed a further e-mail to me, as a  RASC-TC member, transmitted almost 6 hours earlier.

Is is appropriate to quote the key sentences from this e-mail, too, again with regard to the copyright-law doctrine of "Fair Use":

In 2012 we signed a confidential "lease and offer to purchase" agreement with Corsica Development. In 2015, the donation of the DDO from Corsica to RASC-TC was announced. The February 2016 announcement by the Town of Richmond Hill Council of a separate arrangement with the developer to have the DDO buildings transferred to their ownership surprised the RASC-TC Council and its members. Concerns arose that we would not be able to carry out our regular operations or outreach mandate at the DDO. Negotiations were pursued, followed by an announcement to RASC-TC members in July 2016 that DDO lease negotiation discussions with the Town of Richmond Hill had concluded.


At the RASC-TC Council meeting of August 10, 2016, Council chose to follow the path it originally intended on July 20. That is, we chose to cease lease negotiations and also to continue to work with the prospective owners of the DDO to reach an agreement that would provide RASC-TC with outreach opportunities and member services at DDO. On August 11, initial contact was made with the Town of Richmond Hill. Our recent changes in management were discussed, as well as our fiduciary duty requirements that necessitated the end of commercial lease discussions, and our hopes to maintain a relationship with the DDO including exploring opportunities for continued public outreach. The Town of Richmond Hill promptly responded with an offer of a meeting with RASC-TC Council members. We have a meeting scheduled in the very near term.

RASC-TC goes on, in the just-quoted e-mail, to promise an update-with-position-statement, to be conveyed by RASC-TC to the Town for the use of Town Council in mid-September.

It seems from this e-mail that RASC-TC and the Town are proceeding along appropriate lines. 

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