Whatever Kwame Wants, Kwame Gets
In the end, we all know that politics will determine where the border goes.
With six Governments involved on both sides of the river and with needs that are not necessarily the same, we can already see the strains developing as we are getting closer to decision time. The Americans have determined to the surprise of few, given their massive investment, that the Ambassador Gateway is a good choice. The Canadians have determined that a crossing ought to go further downriver. So now we have the ridiculous discussion about diagonal or S-shaped bridges as a compromise.
No matter what the engineers say, a politician will ultimately decide and for reasons that we may never know or understand.
Who is that ultimate decision-maker? Who is the most powerful person dealing with the border issue?
I wish I could say it was our Mayor Francis but after a year of crying "Schwartz, Schwartz, Schwartz" and getting nowhere, he is merely tolerated by the Senior Levels. We still do not have a deal signed with the Province re the Tunnel Plaza or the Feds re Walker Road after all of this time.
How about Premier McGuinty? Nope, a spent force by appointing a Border Czar to ensure a bridge is built by 2013 after saying there is an urgent situation and his Minister, Dwight Duncan, promising a half a billion dollars but only after 2010.
The Prime Minister....who is he?
I was just kidding. We all know that it is the US that will make the ultimate decision and they will do what is best for them. We can only try and influence whatever they decide so that it does not hurt us too badly.
So you think that we had better run up to Lansing to see Governor Granholm. After all didn't she single-handedly knock off the 8 Downriver sites catching everyone off-guard. If that's what you think, are you ever wrong. If anyone wants to run anywhere, the The Manoogian Mansion is the place to go. In case you don't know what that building is, it's the residence of the Mayor of Detroit.
Here is a fascinating article I just found that was written in early November, 2004 in the National Review but is very relevant today:
- In Michigan political circles, the conventional wisdom is that Granholm will be unbeatable in 2006. This is wrong. Michigan is a very resilient state for Republicans in non-presidential years because African-American turnout in Detroit is always lower. Turnout in Detroit makes or breaks Democratic campaigns in Michigan, and Granholm could have a serious problem there in 2006 — especially because there is no love lost between Granholm and Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Granholm strained their relationship further by promoting the racino-expansion agenda [slots at race-tracks], which Kilpatrick viewed as anti-Detroit because Granholm's new out-state casinos would have cut into the revenue Detroit gets from the existing casinos in the city...
Kilpatrick will receive a strong primary challenge from Freeman Hendrix, the right-hand man of former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer.
A nasty primary in Detroit will create political wounds that will be hard to heal before the 2006 gubernatorial election. Granholm will officially stay neutral in the mayoral primary, but behind the scenes her people, especially her money friends, will get pulled in the direction of supporting Hendrix, who will be viewed in Michigan Democratic circles as the more adult choice. If Kilpatrick beats back the Hendrix challenge, which he very well could, he will be in a position to pay Granholm back big-time in 2006 by doing little to turn out the vote in Detroit. If Hendrix wins, Kilpatrick's machine — which rests in Detroit's powerful black churches — is likely to be angered to the point of inaction. Either way, Granholm loses from the political bloodshed in Detroit.
Well we all know Kilpatrick won. A month after the election, the Governor's campaign chairman stepped down. Oh, that person was Dennis Archer. Granholm had to start being nice to the Mayor since, as Councillor Watson so directly put it in Delray, more people voted for Granholm in Detroit than in all of the Downriver communities combined. Oooops, sorry Kwame, the Governor must have been saying...I thought Hendrix would beat you too.
- "Dennis Archer has stepped down as head of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's re-election campaign to make it easier for her to work with Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.
"Governor Granholm believes it's important for the city to heal from the last election, and to move forward under Mayor Kilpatrick," Granholm campaign spokesman Chris De Witt told The Associated Press late Friday. "He (Archer) certainly realizes it's important for the governor to work with all the leaders in Detroit in her re-election bid."
Can we guess what Detroit's Mayor will favour on the border?
I would doubt that DRTP is Number 1 on his list of choices. After all DRTP's Byington sponsored a fund-raiser for Kwame's opponent a few days before the election and then Hendrix came out in DRTP's favour. Her sense of timing was priceless too. She was also the authoress of the infamous Press Release a day before the election and did the "it's not sour grapes" Today's Trucking magazine interview:
- "We have heard from inside sources that the process has turned completely political," she said. "And because of that we really believe that the process has lost its transparency."
When asked just what are the political entities that are manipulating the selection process against her group, Byington cited government officials in Windsor and Detroit, including the mayors of both cities.
She said that it's no secret that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has repeatedly backed the Ambassador Bridge owners in most of their ventures and shrugged off the DRTP plan as a viable crossing alternative. ...
"I think it's important for us to speak out against the problems we see now rather than later when people might look at us and think this is all sour grapes," she said."
And our Mayor's Tunnel deal with Detroit? I hardly think that the Detroit Mayor will be too pleased with Eddie who came out shortly before his election day when he was struggling for every vote he could saying the deal that he thought made sense for Detroit should not be signed and that Windsor was investigating the potential violation of antitrust laws! As anyone in business in the US knows, that is a very serious comment to make in public, especially by a Mayor of a City.
I would think that he might be inclined to favour the Bridge Co.'s proposal considering he signed a deal with them re saving the Port Authority, providing money for cash-strapped Detroit, and having the potential for a new convention centre and massive redevelopment in SW Detroit. As he said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Port:
- "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."
With the Governor dependant on the Detroit Mayor for re-election, with Canadian politicans irrelevant, it is obvious that whatever Kwame wants, he will get.