Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, October 07, 2005

It Took Time To State The Obvious

Finally people are starting to say what was known years ago. The excuse of the need to do assessments even on marginal sites is a lame one. That is NOT the Ontario law as the Courts have ruled. The Bi-national ought to know that.

Here is an excerpt from today's Detroit News. In reading it, we are almost there if the politicians will finally follow the Michigan Governor's lead and take the final step. dismantle the Bi-National Partnership.

Southwest Detroit is likely site for new bridge
Locations adjacent to the Ambassador Bridge and Zug Island are among options for span to Canada.

By Joel Kurth, Detroit News

Authorities studying another bridge between Michigan and Ontario have a good idea where it would go, but will still spend more than two years and $15 million making sure.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm's announcement this week eliminating Downriver and Belle Isle as sites for a third crossing narrows the possibilities to a four-mile ribbon of land centered in southwest Detroit along the Detroit River.

Of that land, some is privately owned. Other sites cross rock beds or salt mines that wouldn't support bridges. Officially, a group of Canadian and United States transportation officials is considering seven sites, but insiders say the race may boil down to two: Zug Island near River Rouge or next to the Ambassador Bridge in southwest Detroit.

"Where's the narrowest spot in the river? That's where a bridge makes the most sense," said Jim Kirschensteiner, a member of the border group and Michigan's assistant chief of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.

Even so, the bi-national group -- the Partnership Border Study -- is proceeding with a three-year review of sites that won't end until 2007 and will cost $25 million total. Michigan and federal taxpayers are picking up about $16.5 million of that tab.

The urgency to build another span has faded with the easing of miles-long traffic backups following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Benjamin Kohrman, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said laws on both sides of the border require exacting assessments of all sites -- no matter how seemingly marginal.

Another prominent plan, the so-called Jobs Tunnel, also could be in jeopardy.

"The Jobs Tunnel doesn't cut it for the long-term," Kirschensteiner said. "It's great for the short-term. It's still on the table. Whether it survives the cut in November, you can draw your own conclusions."

Other neighbors in Delray, near Zug Island, aren't as upset.

"This is the most logical place for a bridge," said resident Peter Berna. "We've got truck yards here. We've got scrap yards. It's industrial. Most of the people have already left."

Can The Bi-national Numbers Be Trusted?

It was only a few years ago when the Bi-National Engineers predicted a huge traffic volume increase for this area necessitating the construction of a new crossing. But the numbers have changed

Acording to today's Windsor Star "While the number of trucks crossing the Ambassador Bridge has remained stagnant the past four years, truck traffic is up 22 per cent at Sarnia's Blue Water Bridge and the volume of freight passing through the Detroit River rail tunnel has more than doubled, according to a government report."

Are these numbers any good? Who knows?

I believe that the Engineers have made their assessment as accurate as they could. But if the numbers changed so drastically in only a few years how do we know that the numbers will be accurate 3 years from now? Can anyone predict with certainty what will happen next year, never mind 5, 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road?

How can a new crossing costing hundreds of millions be justified today with these numbers? Is there a desire to bankrupt the Bridge and Detroit/Windsor Tunnel since volumes are down and are shifting?

I think this idea makes more sense
  • to adopt the Bridge's Co.'s plan that would build 200 booths that could clear around 50 milion vehicles per year,
  • to figure out where the new crossing should be,
  • to set the land aside and protect the land from being used for a purpose other than a crossing,
  • to design the plans for the construction,
  • then build the crossing when it is actually needed

Thinking Small

Perhaps we do not always have to "Think Big" to be successful.

I am so happy that the City and County Councils heard from an expert in globalization. I am sure that they learned a lot from him. I thought that I could give them a small lesson too by providing excerpts from this interesting news story I found.

DCX plant brings big work changes
Automaker, UAW cooperate on teams

October 4, 2005


DUNDEE -- DaimlerChrysler AG officially opened a plant Monday that provides a much-needed boost for the state's manufacturing base and promises to reverse, at least in part, the loss of jobs to cheaper markets overseas.

The first of two plants in Dundee is to begin production of four-cylinder engines this month, providing 200 jobs so far and more than 500 when the second plant opens in a little more than a year.

The jobs are significant for a state that has lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs in the last five years.

The Dundee operation provides a highly skilled, highly paid workforce.

The wages for hourly employees range from about $800 to $1,200 a week, well above the state's average wage for all jobs. Those jobs require a two-year degree, trade certification or five years experience in advanced machining.

The Dundee operations also are good for UAW members, said UAW Vice President Nate Gooden.

Dundee is a UAW plant, but the union agreed to certain terms such as the single class of employee. Traditional plants have several classifications in which employees have more narrowly defined jobs.

"GEMA is just the beginning of what the UAW is going to do," Gooden said. "We have a footprint here and this footprint will be carried on."

The surrounding community is thankful the three companies and union were able to come to a meeting of the minds.

The talk of the town recently, though, is the new GEMA operation across the highway.
GEMA employees, wearing white-and-black uniforms that look a bit like bowling shirts, frequent nearby shops and eateries in downtown Dundee.

On a given day, these workers make up six to 12 people at Tiffany's Pizza, said James Atkinson, a manager of the Dundee pizza parlor.

"That could be a third of our lunch buffet some days, so it's a significant number for us," Atkinson said.

Century 21 Allstar Real Estate Team, which has offices in Dundee and Monroe, has seen the number of home shoppers jump about 20% in the last year, said Savina DeLuca, an Allstar broker.

Allstar also is getting daily calls for investors interested in commercial property, DeLuca said.
The engine operations are the key driver, she said.

It's not just bringing people to Dundee. It's bringing people who make a high enough wage to buy homes, DeLuca said.

"They're definitely looking to purchase in the area," she said. "We are very pleased with the way the market has turned out."

Do The Grown-ups Get a Town Hall Meeting too?

Lucky kids. They get to talk to and question the Mayor. Do you think they will grade him on his answers? He better be careful. Kids can see through people who try to patronize them and can be very tough.

CKLW reported that "Windsor's Mayor wants to hear from the city's youth. Mayor Eddie Francis will hold a town hall meeting to hear what the youth want from the city and what they are worried about. The town hall meeting takes place Friday, October 14th at 7 o'clock at Devonshire Mall in front of the Bay."

I guess that will draw a bunch of teen-agers to the mall on a Friday night to scare away shoppers!

I guess he'd rather talk to them rather than their parents....They cannot vote.

$150,000 For A Report Card Check Mark

It is almost time for the Mayor's annual report to start being prepared. I wonder if panic set in.

One of the few items left undone in the Mayor's last report was streetscaping, especially at the entrance-ways to the City. Well the project is really five years off and will cost lots of money.

Mere facts and lack of money never deterred a creative bureaucracy. Someone must have come up with the brilliant idea of calling the interim measure of planting 64 trees on Dougall and Howard PHASE 1 of the program.

Perfect! Check mark added

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Windsor's Politicos React to Granholm

The "political" reaction to the Granholm announcement by Windsor leaders would be laughable if it were not so sad. It is making me pull out the few hairs I have left on the top of my head in frustration!

First CKLW said that "The latest border announcement has Windsor West M-P Brian Masse fuming... Masse wants to know why there was no Canadian representation during the announcement."

Masse should know. He is on a group that visited the US on this matter. He is co-chairman of a recently formed parliamentary border committee that went to Washington "to promote border issues." He is a member of the party that supposedly holds the balance of power in the Government. What has he or his Party accomplished realistically on the border?

Then the Windsor Star editorial quoted a letter that the Mayor sent to the flipflopping Premier with only a copy to the dithering PM. "If the Governor has used her rightful authority to remove alternatives ahead of the final analysis on the basis of community needs and their entitlement to healthy and quality living, then you should do the same by removing all of the alternatives that this community has opposed on similar grounds for the same reasons."

What a nerve! The guy who rallied Windsor for 9 months on a short-term solution that made no sense instead of doing what he was elected to do is now complaining. The guy who made the decision to "snub" the Senior Levels is now asking for their help. The guy who knew that the Feds "respected" the Bi-national process, that the Premier supported a process in which a new bridge would not be built until 2013 and did little to object. The guy who forgot that citizens cause solutions, as happened in Windsor in the past, hopefully can learn from what citizens accomplished Downriver and will now end the Council border secrecy.

And better late than never, I wonder if Sandra Pupatello’s list of border crossings today will be similar to the Governor’s. If not, what happens then?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Is The Fat Lady Singing?

Finally, a politician with some brains and some courage. And the guts to do what she was elected to do---LEAD! An American Governor from Michigan who is taking action. And we are stuck with Mr. Dithers and the flip-flopping Premier.

I am sure you remember my BLOG, "Out of Touch, Out of Office" written on September 29. I told you at the time that the Americans were catching up quickly. They just passed us!

Rumour had it about 2 months ago that the Downriver Mayors were ganging up to end the whole Bi-national Partnership fiasco. They were to ask the State of Michigan to pull out of financing the group.

It may be that the rumour was true. Governor Granholm obviously recognized what was happening and how foolish the process had become. There was no way that a crossing was going to be built Downriver or at Belle Isle so why pretend and prolong the agony for her voters. Why waste time and money?

She made the announcement herself to calm her citizens down. She did not kill the partnership, yet, but did try to salvage the process to keep friendly relations with our side of the border. If only our politicans had the nerve to do what she did for their voters.

The press release was strange though. Some forces must have been working on her to make her act as she did and when she did. She made the announcement almost unilaterally it seems. And scooped the process since the Partnership was to make its decision by year-end. So much for their agenda.

The Governor did the Press Release yet the Bi-national Partnership supposedly made the decision. The Bi-national did not make the announcement, Gloria Jeff from MDOT did not say anything, no one from the other Governments, including Windsor, Ontario or Canada, were involved. It seemed that she just flexed her muscles and everyone else is caving. After all, it is only her state.

I bet that the Bi-national was just as surprised by the announcement as anyone else. Why just last week they chartered a boat for a 4-hour cruise along the river for members of various US and Canadian committees to look at the crossings. It only needs about a 30 minute cruise now after the Governor's bombshell!

The dynamics of the border changed dramatically yesterday afternoon. Who is calling the shots became obvious after this comment of the Governor "The study team will continue their work to ensure that the right decision is made for the residents of southeast Michigan." I guess we are just chopped liver on this side of the border.

What will be the spin out of City Hall? Who cares. It will be Eddie and the Councillors trying to pretend that they have actually accomplished something with Schwartz. They haven't. They have become irrelevant. They squandered their opportunity by rallying for a billion dollar failed dream. Their secrecy and their failure to gain public approval for their border strategy destroyed all that our Citizens accomplished for them.

Public bridge, forget it. Bill C-44, never. Public authority, not a chance. Expropriate the Bridge Co. assets, you have got to be kidding!

The US of A has just told us that the Bridge Company has won, whether the crossing is Ojibway where they own land on both sides of the river or the Twinned Bridge or the 200 booths.

As for DRTP or the the Detroit River Tradeway Tunnel or the Detroit River Rail Tunnel or whatever they call it today, it has no chance. No one is going to build a 6-lane truck expressway through Windsor to link up with a new 6 lane tunnel or 6-lane bridge into Detroit when they are trying to beautify their riverfront. The end of the Belle Isle bridge takes out salvaging DRTP by building 2 crossings, another Bi-national extravagance. (Why build one crossing when you can pay for two!)

I warned the Mayor and Council months ago to negotiate a solution with the Bridge Co. for Windsor's benefit before it was too late. Now it almost is. The Bridge Co. no longer needs Windsor. Reread their 3rd ad on their new border proposal to see what I mean.

Here are some facts to consider when picking winners and losers:
  • The Michigan Governor has a good relationship with the Bridge Co. with their plans re the expansion of Cobo Hall. Quoted in Crains, she said she wants to convene county treasurers and leaders from throughout the region to "determine a solution that is affordable and wise." "I want to be at the table in playing a creative and positive role in financing."
  • The Mayor of Detroit called it "a major, major deal in the city of Detroit"--- the first phase of a new east-side industrial park in Detroit Friday owned by businessman Manuel (Matty) Moroun who owns the Bridge Co.
  • Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick thanked Moroun for several recent projects, including the Port of Detroit deal and the creation of an industrial park near I-94 and Mt. Elliott. The combined projects will create several hundred jobs in the city. "I want to thank Matty for what he's been able to do in the city," Kilpatrick said. "That is an absolutely incredible undertaking, and he deserves applause."
  • The US Federal and State Governments have sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into the Ambassador Gateway project. Do you think they have the money to duplicate that elsewhere and to staff a totally new crossing?
  • The Bridge Co. presented their new proposal to the US side first, before they saw Canadian politicans
What's that song I am hearing?

Is Gridlock Sam's Windsor office closing?

Well at least the Mayor had the sense not to cry "Schwartz, Schwartz, Schwartz" again after the Michigan governor destroyed his short-term billion dollar dream.

He was quoted in the Star with his familiar line "No matter what remains on the table we're going to oppose vigorously anything that goes through the city and anything that puts and keeps trucks on city streets or puts them through neighbourhoods."

In other words, instead of having an active role at the table, the City of Windsor, due to the Mayor's and Council's focus on the short-term, is back as observers and reactors. So much for having a seat at the table. So much for "building relationships" over the last 2 years.

As for Sandra Pupatello, your Government and the Canadian govenment blew it. "It likely would be co-operative if we had done it together." Thank you for stating the obvious.

I see that Ontario will be releasing its own list of favoured crossings. It better be the same list as the Governor's, Sandra. I don't want you to be embarrassed a second time.

According to the Mayor, Ganholm's "ready to act and that she's ready to move." Perhaps he might make a phone call soon to someone who has influence over her since her focus is on southeast Michigan.

But the big question in my mind is what happens to Gridlock Sam's office in Windsor. Does the City still need him now? Does he need an office here now? [I do note that Sam's newsletter said that "We are already working on another project for the City and will continue to stay active in the region.]

Has Windsor lost a specialized technology as well just as the Economic Development Statement came out the other day? Remember that Sam had a conversation with Ross Paul at the University about setting up a new program there.

No matter. He may be trying to land a big job in Toronto. Didn't he say recently that the Gardiner Expressway is falling down?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

From The Mouth Of The Governor

Governor Granholm Announces Downriver, Belle Isle Eliminated as Options for New Border Crossing

October 4, 2005

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced the elimination of two alternatives under consideration for a new border crossing between southeast Michigan and Ontario – Downriver, located far south of the U.S. Steel property in Ecorse, and the area upriver near Belle Isle. The decision was made by the Border Transportation Partnership which consists of the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, Transport Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, and the Michigan Department of Transportation.

“Today’s announcement that the Downriver and Belle Isle alternatives have been eliminated is another step in this critically important process,” said Granholm. “The study team will continue their work to ensure that the right decision is made for the residents of southeast Michigan and every traveler who relies on safe, efficient crossings with Canada.”

The Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study is a joint project to build another U.S.-Canada border crossing between southeast Michigan and Ontario.

“This is the right decision at the right time for the right reasons,” said Senator Ray Basham (D-Taylor). “The state should be commended for following the proper procedures, and today's announcement confirms what we have stressed all along – that there are better options than the Downriver region for an additional international crossing.”

The Governor emphasized that decisions regarding which alternatives should be eliminated or studied further have been, and will continue to be, made by balancing the need for the project and the potential social, economic, and environmental impacts. More than a dozen alternatives remain under consideration.

“This is welcome news to Downriver communities who can continue to enjoy a good quality of life without worrying about the ill-effects of an international bridge,” Representative Kathleen Law (D-Gibraltar) said. “For months, Downriver residents have stood together and opposed any plan to put an international U.S.-Canada bridge through their neighborhoods, and today their hard work has paid off.”

The DRIC is bound by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) which calls for rigorous data analyses on environmental impacts, technical feasibility, and costs. Additional sites are expected to be eliminated by the end of November.

“I want to thank Governor Granholm for her foresight and sensitivity in listening to the needs of the Downriver citizens on this issue,” said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. “I appreciate her leadership and congratulate her on making the right decision for the good of the communities.”

The DRIC is on schedule to complete an environmental impact statement by 2007, with a final decision expected sometime next year.

“Throughout the study process, we have asked for public input and have been very pleased with the high level of public engagement on this issue” said Granholm. “Through a complicated process, we have asked local communities for patience, and now it is only right that we, in turn, share details and decisions as we learn them.”


I love it! That's the word that Gord Henderson used in his Windsor Star Column today. I guess that must mean that someone reads my Blog after all

I wanted to put that word on the Internet ASAP so that the Google "spiders" can track it. Accordingly, when Lexicon writers explain the origin and history of the word, Gord will get the credit.

I'll comment another day soon on the "rumours" that Gord talked about in his column and will explain their significance. And it's not all hot winds-or blogaloney either (another "hit" for the spiders).

No need to thank me Gord, my pleasure to help!

The Valentinis Shocker!

I hope that this Blog is not the kiss of death for "Face-To-Face" with John Fairley on Cogeco, Cable 11.

If someone wanted to really prevent citizens from knowing anything about what is going on at City Hall, then Face-to-Face should have been cancelled along with Council Close-up. John knows too much about what is going on in the City and has the knack for getting right to the heart of an issue and making people squirm, yet doing so in the nicest possible way! Just ask me, I spent 30 minutes on the hot-seat recently.

John started his 6th season with Councillor Fulvio Valentinis who always is his first guest. And what a revelation it was.

I admire Fulvio. I had hoped he would have run for Mayor in the last election. If he had, then I think we would have had a strong Council (including both Bill M and Eddie as effective Councillors) and the experience and practicality required so that this City would be in much better shape than it is now. More importantly, no one would have commanded more respect from everyone than Fulvio.

Fulvio tried his best to put a good face on everything but as far as I was concerned his interview was a listing of few accomplishments by this Council. [Heck, one of the few things that this Council has done is 3-1-1 and they had to run a commercial during the program to show it!]

From the failure of the Erie Street sewers to prevent flooding, to the University not going downtown, to hoping that there will be someone who can come up with $30+ million for a Racetrack arena and to ongoing talks about the 2 floors on Canderel, we heard a list of non-achievements.

But the greatest shock of all was the border. For 9 months now, Eddie and the Councillors have cried "Schwartz, Schwartz, Schwartz" as the ultimate solution for the border. Why Eddie wanted a billion dollars right away for his PLAN. No matter that it made no sense. This was the City position.

Oh we had heard awhile back (on John's show too), when Sam Schwartz was being interviewed, that his Report was meant to be a thought provoker and not the be all and end all. That was a big surprise to me especially when no one seemed to pick up on it and he seemed to undercut his bosses' position.

It is clearly the City excuse for its failure now. According to Fulvio, the Schwartz Report was merely a "starting point." The City had been asked to make a proposal and it did. No matter that the City has run up huge bills to be paid for by taxpayers promoting this "starting point" and has been trying to convince everyone to support it. Can you believe this re-writing of history?

Why Fulvio has said that if someone has an idea to remove trucks from built-up areas, then the City would like to discuss it. Someone it seems other than the Bridge Co. which put forward a proposal that was dismissed out of hand by the Mayor as "not serious."

The whole basis of the Schwartz routing was undermined when Fulvio said that it did not have to go through Ojibway. He said that it would be possible to work around that area.

Fulvio wants to "discuss and vet" Schwartz but since he endorsed it in secret and has not supported a public session for it, then I assume those discussions are to be with anyone other than citizens of Windsor!

If Fulvio had stopped there, then what would citizens say about the Mayor and Council on the border? Total failure to perform is one way of describing it.

So the geniuses at City Hall, came up with the ultimate answer, the ultimate way to get citizens off their backs, the best way to pass-the-buck, the only way to get this postponed until after the election so they can get re-elected and to let someone else take the blame:


That is almost like the Senior Levels taking the easy way out by "respecting the Bi-national process" so that the border can be put off for a number of years.

Start the studies so we can get a resolution sooner will be the cry out of City Hall. Start the studies so that we do not have to admit our failure. Start the studies so that if we ever have a Town Hall meeting again, we have an excuse and so that we do not have to explain away Schwartz. Start the studies soon because we need to pretend that we have been an action-oriented Mayor and Council on the border. Start the studies, PLEASE!

This is about as good an excuse as the Mayor telling everyone to talk to the City lawyer, Mr. Sutts, when asked about the back taxes on the Mady parking garage fiasco that he was involved in when he was on the Tunnel Commission. Discussion is over due to solicitor-client privilege!

It will be interesting to see if any Councillor will stop supporting the party line and will try and get a real solution accomplished. The obvious choices for leadership are Ward 1's Zuk and Brister and Ward 2's Postma and Jones. The latter Councillors did have the nerve to attack secrecy on the arena but then look what happened to them on the Beztak vote!

Say what you will about the last Council, they did have guts and were not afraid to stand up for Windsor, even if it meant confronting and out-voting the Mayor!

He's Everywhere!

Is it just me or is Mayor Eddie Francis appearing all over the city these days?

From a Mayor who seemed never to leave the confines of his office at City Hall to go on the rubber chicken circuit (Councillors were asked to be his stand-in most of the time), all I do now is see Eddie in different photo-ops. I even saw him working the room at a dinner the other night honouring a major benefactor in the City and his wife. (Unfortunately, he could not stay to offer them the "Key to the City" after the dinner. Frankly, I believe that this was an insult to these people, although the MC said that Eddie had to leave early. I wonder if it was due to Fox 2 perhaps coming to town to view some artwork!)

What can explain this change?

I hear that there is some public opinion polling done in town. Sponsored by two different groups at least. We were contacted by Pollara as an example and asked our opinion. The polling must be fairly detailed based on some of what I was told. It even went down to the ward level.

I was told the poll results in one poll were not positive ones on what has been accomplished so far by the Mayor and Council and about the Mayor, personally.

That may help explain why he is out there, trying to offer an apology about why he has been out of view for so long. I assume that his strategists have told him to go out there and start mingling with the people he has ignored. I wonder if he is using the excuse that he was so busy working for Windsor "building relationships" with the movers and shakers across North America that he could not attend many functions over the past 2 years.

As someone told me, it does take a lot of $750 cheques to elect a mayor. And the next election is only 13 months away.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Lease-t We Forget

I was an in-house lawyer for two of Canada's largest companies. My corporate employers had a defined system with built-in reviews and required signing authorities when Agreements were to be entered into and to be monitored.

I was just wondering. What is the process when the City negotiates a major real estate or business transaction? Who determines the terms and conditions? Who ensures that the agreements protect the City's position? Does the City have the expertise in-house or are outside experts retained? What happens if something starts going wrong and a deal has to be done to salvage the situation?

We had MFP, Canderel and the parking garage receivership and they cost us dearly. These kinds of situations cannot happen again or can they?


With the Canderel parking garage losses, the Income Security Building underground parking and the City's role in the Mady garage fiasco hidden behind "solicitor-client" privilege, one should be very questioning about any deals done with respect to parking that the City gets involved in.

Caution is needed because I heard that there were some strong disagreements in Council over the deal that was being proposed for the Keg parking in the Canderel building parking garage built by the City at a cost of $11 million.

According to the Star in 2002,
  • "employees from DaimlerChrysler Canada's head office have the rights to 475 of 543 spaces in the new parking structure, leaving just 68 spaces for any other tenants in the 14-storey building." [scaled back to 400, leaving 143 spots]
  • An agreement between Chrysler and the city sets a monthly rate of $32.50 for the majority of its spaces. [325] Other tenants will pay $75 per month, plus taxes. A 10 per cent discount will apply for more than 25 parking.

It would be interesting to know what the deal between the Keg and the City is so that we can learn what it took to get the Keg to come to Canderel. If we know the gory details about the major tenant, then why not about the Keg too.

Are City taxpayers "subsidizing" the Keg's customers' parking costs? Are other merchants in the area being treated in a similar fashion? Was the City able to scoop the Keg business from other real estate sites by offering cheap parking? Was the parking a "loss leader" to get someone to take over the premises.


The last article I found relating to the Bus terminal was back in June. It said:

  • "Delays in negotiating a lease agreement with Greyhound Canada have pushed back construction of the city's long-awaited new downtown transit terminal...
  • Greyhound's financial contribution to the project is expected to be limited to annual lease payments which will offset some of the capital and operating costs. The city will contribute $4.125 million, including the cost of buying the land, and the province will kick in $2 million.

The terminal is to be built which suggests that there must be a deal with Greyhound. I would be curious to know what the terms of the lease are.

Rumour has it that the Windsor Transit Board turned down a deal that was first proposed with Greyhound since it was not an acceptable. I heard that the final deal was very similar and would have to have been approved by Council.


Did certain Councillors ever beat up Staff recently over more messes at this project. I can just picture them flexing their muscles as they play the role of Financial VPs chewing out their underlings. What an emotional high for the Councillors, what an insult to the Staff!

Cutting staff levels may seem to be saving money but can also result in big losses if problems arise since there is not enough time to do all jobs properly. Those on Council who work or have worked in private industry should have taught their colleagues that lesson.

In the Fall newsletter, the City wrote, "400 City Hall Square is the exciting new facility beside City Hall that for the first time in Windsor will soon bring many federal, provincial and municipal government services together under one roof...This City building will pay for itself through lease fees from the senior levels of government and consolidation of existing operations."

I sure hope this is still the case but I wonder since $2 million more was required for interview rooms, enhanced security and a backup power system. (And no I am not going to talk about the Mady proposal which might have saved the City $20 million!).

But now we are learning about more cost issues.

The Windsor Star reported that St. Clair College's Youth Employment Services office will not be leasing about space there leaving the city holding a $100,000 "fit-out" tab. There was no signed agreement, only verbal assurances. Councillor Gignac said "Are there lessons to be learned? Absolutely. Are there things we can do better. Yeah, I think so ... in terms of getting commitments on paper from people."

Apparently there is another problem with another tenant. Another problem because of a lack of a written agreement. Another problem that will cost City taxpayers money. Doesn't anyone learn?

Who in Administration had responsibility for this matter? Who on Council knew about this and when? I heard that this problem has been known for several months but the full Council was just made aware of it recently. If so, why?

Councillor Gignac used to be on the Board of Education. Perhaps she could contact her former colleagues to see if remedial learning lessons could be set up for those Councillors and Staff responsible for another finacial fiasco.


There must have been a big panic at City Hall late last week. Councillors called in immediately for an urgent session by the Mayor. Was it the border, another lawsuit, a huge financial loss or something that might actually be good news to be disclosed at Monday's Joint Councils meeting?

We'll learn one day, maybe. But at least Eddie has listened to Henderson that Council by Blackberry gets him a negative from the Windsor Star. And as for the Councillors, they should expect their car gas bills to go up as they receive a Francis summons, especially if something might impact him personally.

MFP: Crying All The Way To The Bank

Aren't we lucky in Windsor? We "saved" over $150 million in the MFP matter by settling. Unfortunately City Hall keeps forgetting to tell us that it cost us an extra $68 million!

Frankly, the settlement probably makes sense. If you read the KPMG Report, it makes the City look very foolish with lack of controls or failure to follow them.

In Toronto, the Bellamy report resulted in a settlement with MFP. A rep from MFP stated:
  • "It certainly is a better settlement than we had three years ago." "We get more money up front, we get 15 per cent interest on the original settlement, we get more than $1.25 million for a purchase option, it's a good deal for us."

I wonder what MFP would say about Windsor where instead of the low rate supposedly negotiated, they received "conventional" rates, whatever those are. It's probably a pretty good deal for them here too.

The Toronto case settled because "The city's legal opinion said Bellamy's report severely damaged its case. The opinion said the city has an 80 per cent chance of losing in court, and losing would likely cost the city more than $20 million." The result made it virtually impossible for the city to win. I expect that Windsor's legal opinion probably said something similar and that is why Windsor settled. ["The report was released in error and it would be unfair for anyone to benefit from that error," said lawyer Cliff Sutts, who represented the city in the fight to keep the report secret..."it would be extremely prejudicial to our case if it was widely circulated."]

However, there was a big difference between Toronto and Windsor: The Bellamy Inquiry was held in public for the world to see while the KPMG Report was prepared in private and was supposedly confidential for the use of City lawyers for litigation.

Because of certain actions being taken, and we still do NOT know exactly how it happened, the KPMG Report lost its status as a "privileged" document and became public. Effectively the KPMG Report gave MFP its settlement by revealing all of the City's dirty linen. It cost Windsor an extra $68 million.

I asked before and I ask again why the City has not considered legal action against those responsible for allowing the KPMG Report to become public.

I asked before and I ask again why the City has not considered legal action to recover all or part of our $68 million loss.