I can just imagine how eager you are to be back at work or school after all of that time off. You can't just start right away; you have to eeeeeaaasssseeee back into it slowly.
To help you get going, here are some short Blogs that I just had to tell you about. I did not want you to miss a thing over the holidays.
So grab that cup of coffee, finish that muffin, it's time to Blog.
My Cogeco Interview
It's now scheduled for January 8 and 15 at 12:30 PM. It got bumped from an earlier telecast because of a new sponsor I was told.
And speaking of Cogeco, can someone explain to me why the Mayor's one hour interview on John Fairley's Face-to-Face program started 5 minutes late on December 26 ie at 9:05 PM rather than the advertised 9 PM?
Another glitch or did someone want people to believe that it was not on and switch the channel so that no one would watch the show and hear what the Mayor had to say?
Remember how many citizens turned out for the Mayor's last State of the City speech which was so poorly advertised!
CODA, CODA, CODA
I recall John Belushi's Animal House cry of "Toga, Toga, Toga." I recall seeing the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora." Well Windsorites will have a new battlecry soon: "CODA, CODA, CODA!"
CODA is the new acronym for the Mayor's way to salvage the border mess. Looks like Gridlock Sam will be invited back to Windsor to prepare and make a new presentation to the public (Eddie cannot stand the secrecy heat any more). If you remember, you read here first, not in the Star, that Sam had not been doing any work for the City for months on the border issue.
Supposedly now, the citizens will rally behind Council with whatever it is that Sam will present. The only problem is that Sam has been discredited by the City. The Senior Levels will not listen since it will be viewed as merely another City "starting point" from a lameduck Mayor who cannot control his Council and may not even be around after November's municipal election.
And don't worry, I'll tell you what CODA means soon.
The Star and a Public Bridge
The Star writes editorial after editorial about having the new bridge publicly owned. Doesn't it see how ridiculous its position is when it has the nerve to write in an editorial about a study on diesel fumes:
"A Ministry of Environment study released last year found idling trucks on Huron Church spewed deadly concentrations of diesel fumes...
Mayor Eddie Francis seized on that study to illustrate the need to move trucks away from the community and Mills' study provides him one more weapon in the campaign to ensure this city gets a new border crossing that helps keep trucks off city streets.
Prime Minister Paul Martin and Conservative Leader Stephen Harper barely talked about the border crossing issue, and offered nothing substantive, when they rolled through Windsor on whistlestop tours recently. NDP leader Jack Layton offered something more but all three tend to focus on the economic importance of infrastructure and the Windsor-Detroit trade corridor.
The economics are significant for this region, province and country but of more importance to local residents is the negative effect border congestion and truck traffic has on their health and the quality of their lives. Those pernicious effects won't get any better until a new border crossing is constructed that doesn't result in any more truck traffic on E.C. Row or city streets.
This community has waited too long for a new crossing. Residents have been more than patient with plodding politicians. They shouldn't have to be hospital patients as well."
Doesn't the Star get it yet, the "plodding politicians"--Francis (to whom most of the blame must be put since he is OUR Mayor and is in charge of the border file), Martin (or whoever may replace him) and McGuinty---have done little for us.
Is someone deliberately trying to create a crisis for reasons unknown. How else to explain, even now, people saying there is a crisis and back-up at the border when there has not been one for a very long time!
Can you truly imagine how long the line-ups would be now if the "private enterprise" Bridge Co. had not fought the US Government to get those new Customs booths opened.
The Star should read my BLOG on what happened in Western New York State with the Peace Bridge Authority. Why does the Star insist that we should continue to suffer here with the inaction and with "plodding politicians."
Windsor's Bad News Bear
When the arena deal is finally killed off, the Eddie strategists are praying Windsorites won't blame Eddie too much. [They will not want us to remember what Eddie said during the mayoral campaign "I'm the only person that offers the plan to make this a reality," said Francis.]
We are being prepared for that disappointment already by the bad news revealed first in Gord Henderson's story.
The cynical amongst us won't ask who revealed to Gord those magnificent Raceway Arena plans around the time when Beztak wanted to provide the "free arena"---why take what Beztak was offering at no cost to the City when the Raceway Arena had these grand visions at a cost to us of up to $15 million. Nor will we ask who revealed the end of the arena although the Report has not yet been made public.
Oh well, no more feeding arena proponents to the Councillor lions on Cogeco for Monday night entertainment for the masses
Ken Lewenza, the people's Councillor
I think that Ken Jr. better turn in his populist club membership card. Has he become an elitist? Can you imagine that he wrote the following in a piece in the December, City Times newspaper:
"Looking back on the people based budget, I witnessed minimal value in allowing the exercise aside from allowing citizens to express themselves and for allotting city councillors the privilege to mingle with their constituents."
The prize winning PBB had "minimal value." How generous that Councillors "mingled" and allowed us to "express" ourselves! Little opportunity for the public to have any input into the budget process this time around (as my OMERS Blog pointed out). Council's secrecy attitude on the border and the arena and the downtown has obviously rubbed off on Ken Jr.
You think I am being too tough on him. Reread Councillor Postma's speech. And here is the timetable for this year's budget approval and how the public is allowed to contribute:
Regular Council meeting rescheduled to January 24 because of the Federal election
Council meeting on January 25 to hear stakeholder/general public feedback on both the Operating and Capital Committee recommended budgets. (Presumably a maximum of 5 minutes per delegation in keeping with the City's Procedural By-law that the Mayor enforces)
Council meeting on January 26 for Council deliberations and approval of both budgets
Who wants to know what the public thinks about anything eh!
Why I Love NYC!
Here's how they handle illegal strikes in the Big Apple!
Associated Press Update 30: Screws Tighten on NYC Transit Union
By DAVID B. CARUSO
Threatened with huge fines and possible jail time, the city's transit union suggested Wednesday that it would be willing to end a strike that has shut down bus and subway service for two days - if the city drops its plan for changing workers' pensions.
The contract covering 33,000 New York transit workers expired last week, and the union called the strike Tuesday morning despite a state law banning public employee strikes...
As the strike proceeded through a second day Wednesday, state Supreme Court Justice Theodore Jones ordered Toussaint and two of his deputies to court Thursday morning to face criminal contempt charges for ordering the illegal walkout.
Jones has already imposed $1 million-a-day fines on the union, and he could impose individual fines on union leaders and workers as well.
New York's attorney general has asked Jones to fine union officials, and Jones said it was a "distinct possibility" that he could jail them for defying a court order barring the strike...
Lawyers for the city began a separate legal proceeding to turn the financial screws on rank-and-file union members, a move that could bring them to court to face charges of civil contempt.
Michael A. Cardozo, New York City's corporation counsel, asked the judge to issue a second order directing union members to return to work. If such an order were ignored, Cardozo said the city could ask for heavy fines per worker - a punishment beyond the docked-pay penalty workers already face.
The fines, at the judge's discretion, could range from a few hundred to thousands of dollars and would come out of the workers' own pockets rather than union coffers.
"We're doing everything possible to make the union obey the law," the judge said, adding that union members need to "realize the economic consequences of their actions..."
Myra Sanoguet, who was with him, said they saw a group of pickets during the drive. Just briefly, "we were thinking about running them over," she said.
Have Joe and Brian switched ridings?
The Globe and Mail profiled Joe's Windsor-Tecumseh riding.
In the article, he talked about the border rather than his buddy Brian Masse who is the MP of the riding where trucks really have the main impact. That's why he gave out more misinformation about what is really happening here to our Community's detriment:
"Joe Comartin, the incumbent MP, says that about 12,000 trucks cross the Ambassador Bridge each day and that, until recently, less than half the gates were in use, causing a permanent bottleneck of traffic."
Come on Joe, there have not been any significant back-ups due to Customs since the Ambassador Bridge opened up the four new Customs booths. Stop perpetuating the myth!
Bloomberg Bridge article
I am still trying to figure out why the Star ran this article. Of course the significance of it is that WINDSOR loses out again because of the Mayor's failure to negotiate a deal!
Do you remember the three full-page ads in the summer that the Bridge Co. ran in the Star in which they begged the City to partner with them in a new crossing?
Do you remember the Star editorials in which they advocated for a public bridge?
Well Windsor could have a had a public/private partnership with the Bridge Co. and have had the border issue solved by now! Instead, we are still floundering. Here is what the article said:
"The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority has signed a dockland contract with a Moroun company that could be used to give him exclusive operating rights to an additional bridge across the Detroit River, according to both sides in the deal. The agency may sell bonds to build a bridge that Moroun would run, says Deputy Director Steve Olinek."
I hate to clear up the confusion that others seem to like to spread but this approach was exactly what the Bridge Co. proposed with the Tunnel. The State and City-owned "public" Port would own it and they would operate it!
Will history repeat itself
Is DRTP finished in Detroit now too? Freman Hendrix who supported DRTP has finally given up so that Kwame Kilpatrick is officially Mayor of Detroit. I wonder what deal the Detroit Mayor and the Bridge Co. will now develop. The biggest irony would be a joint deal between the two Cities, Windsor and Detroit, and the Bridge Co. for it to manage the Tunnel completely!
If that happened and the City partnered with the Bridge Co. for the new crossing and how a road to the border should be built, perhaps the economy might get going again in these parts!
However, this will never happen while Eddie Francis is Mayor (his vanity would never allow this) unless Council finally takes charge of the border file as it did under the former Mayor in the final year of the term.
Amalgamation of the City and County
Except for politicians' vanity, does it really make sense to have so many governmental authorities and duplication of services in Essex County.
The VIA Rail and 5,000 acre industrial park stories made it clear that for economic reasons, we have to work together and cannot be hamstrung by "boundaries.". Now the County is talking about "greater sharing of services like police, fire, garbage pickup, road maintenance and snow plowing to improve efficiency and cut costs."
Time to bite the bullet and look to have only ONE government for the entire area. But that won't happen until after the next municipal election provided we start talking about it and demanding it now