Mouhteros responds to tree planting for ex-SWLSB chairman Bletas

Mr. Galati, you’re entitled to your opinion but not to your own facts

I’m upset about statements made to The Laval News by Paolo Galati, Chairman, Council of Commissioners, Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB).

Imagine if the elections were happening and this man who suffers from Mythomania exploited this opportunity to score points.  It annoys me that he posted the same article on LinkedIn. Here’s the other side of the story. Martin Barry was factual with what he was told, but if you read Steve Bletas’s profile in TLN’s Mature Life, he told it all as it was. two weeks before his death.  And that’s the truth. Galati contradicted truth, a lot of it including his relationship with Steve Bletas. 

Galati stated that Steve was part of QESBA. Steve left that lobby group because he realized it served no purpose for children and young people. It’s a lobby group for commissioners.  And he said quite the contrary to what Paolo Galati claimed, regarding his relationship with Steve Bletas. Here we’re confronted with profound distortion contributing to public misunderstanding, through deceit and lies with willfully inaccurate and misleading information. Whatever happened to integrity?  Trying to score points with the public for political reasons?

I can’t tolerate opportunists, especially on a dead person’s back.

Steve Bletas served as chairman of the SWLSB from 1998 to 2012.

Steve Bletas was my very close friend whom I often visited, shared meals, conversed about everything  including school board politics. He held children very close to his heart. I have his vault of secrets which will remain as such; however, I also knew his friends and Paolo Galati wasn’t one of them. Galati sought telephone counsel from him on occasion when he first became Chairperson. Steve confided to me that Galati didn’t heed his suggestions for the most part; sad but true. He hadn’t heard from him in a very long time and Galati did not visit him. Friend?  Really? Not! So, what’s up?

There have always been two notions of politics:  “politics of truth”  encouraging sincere discourse and respect for citizens, and “politics of lies” which regards politics as games of ruse and deceit and uses deception as a necessary prerequisite for winning and wielding political power.  Good job Mr. Galati.  I guess there’s nothing as outright as political lies.  How about distortion, exaggeration, misrepresentation, half-truth, and overstatement?  Let me set the record straight.  So, you both had the same dream and ambition?  Steve’s dream was for the children’s education.  And ambition? Steve did everything to ensure that schools were well-equipped and education was a priority.  What’s yours?  What are you headed for?

Let’s discuss the nature of the disgusting way Steve Bletas was treated after leaving SWLSB and the Foundation. There’s enough here to cast a net of ‘something is rotten in Laurier’ over the conduct of the two institutions and the handful of people directly or indirectly implicated in the 2012-2020 period.  In his 14 years of governance, he was instrumental in negotiations for land grants and other agreements with municipal and provincial officials. He was principal founding member of the SWLSB Foundation in 2003, a mega successful fundraiser bringing in over $100,000 annually, which dwindled dramatically after his departure.  NEVER was he contacted by the Board for his aid or counsel on how to continue the flourishing success of the Foundation which reigned during his Chairmanship.  NEVER an invitation to attend events in subsequent years. It was related to me that a commissioner and Foundation director stated that if Steve wanted to attend fund-raisers, he should buy tickets. Respect? Good manners? Protocol? Absolutely not!  In an educated arena, someone should have had the good sense of inviting the individual responsible for the conception of the Foundation, including Mr. Galati who calls himself his good friend. After all, he sat as commissioner for several years. And, there was no mention or credit given Steve for his inexhaustible efforts during his mandate as Chairperson for having appealed to successive governments to correct inequitable school taxes. This is not a new phenomenon.

Bravo Paolo Galati and SWLSB.  Steve Bletas is honoured with a tiny tree after 8 years of not hearing a word from you.  Others who were at the Board for minimal time, such as Jennifer Maccarone, were honoured immediately, with the same gesture of a little tree, I believe Steve has been insulted once again. The least the Board could have done was to rename a school in his honor, after all his accomplishments were superior to any others’. How about changing Twin Oaks Elementary or any other school to Steve Bletas Elementary, an honourable and just thing to do.  That tree is another slap in the face. Embarrassing.  Mr. Paolo Galati dug a hole for a tree, but the hole is deeper than he thinks. 

Tom Mouhteros

Former Commissioner