Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, August 11, 2006

No Delivery Of My Answers Yet

I wonder how long the letter from the City is or perhaps how slow the typist or how indecipherable the handwriting such that I have not received my MFOIA clarification yet.

Oh well, it is Friday today and isn't that when the City takes action, just before the week-end starts!

In Praise Of Anthony Adams

It’s fun to be a contrarian. While everyone goes one way, a contrarian is ahead of the pack going the other.

I feel that way about Anthony Adams, the Deputy Mayor in Detroit right now. As Deputy, he is “the second in command of city government.”

While everyone is attacking him, I happen to think that he is doing a great job for the City of Detroit, making tough decisions that need to be done on the border file. Of course they make him unpopular but that does not mean that his decisions are wrong. However, it seems that he needs to get along better with co-workers, especially in other branches of Government. He may need some "coaching" as H.R. practitioners would say

As an outsider who really does not understand well how the American system works, I do not understand how the “legislature” can tell the “executive” what the Deputy can and cannot do. The issue re the Veto and over-ride seems to me to be political with the issue being more of style rather than substance.

My suggestion for Deputy Mayor Adams is to take out individual Councillors for lunch or dinner at Xochimilco in Mexicantown (that's where the DRIC takes people so it must be good) and re-establish proper relationships. Or perhaps the Governor's hubby is available in the same way he "helped" Windsor's dysfunctional Mayor and Council.

I won’t comment on the Port Deal since I do not know much about it but I do know more about the Tunnel deal. I would suggest that Anthony Adams (and the Detroit Mayor) may one day soon be viewed as the most farsighted politicians in Detroit/Windsor.

Take a look at what has happened at the border over the last few days. First the US Customs slow-down over the week-end backed up cars at the Tunnel and bridge, then the car accident at the Tunnel and now the alert because of London. What a mess with cars and trucks waiting at times for hours because of the increased alerts all over North America, not just here.

So what did the Deputy Mayor negotiate…a deal with the Bridge Co. that ultimately could have opened up 200 Customs booths with a secured roadway for vehicles. Those booths would, and will, serve the Bridge to give them a huge competitive advantage but could also have helped the Tunnel stay in business. Frankly, once the Bridge enhancement project is finished and the new booths are built, who would ever use the Tunnel as it is constructed now and face long wait-times when the Bridge will be virtually free-flowing.

Eddie knows this and that is why he is desperate to do a Tunnel deal NOW! He can see the horrible financial position the Tunnel will be in. Just ask Eddie what has happened in the month since he has raised tolls to Tunnel volumes. He better get a financier in now and pray.

So Deputy Adams, just relax and take a deep breath. You will be bashed and suffer the slings and arrows today but you will be vindicated tomorrow. Who knows, they may name the road to the 200 booths after you!

Does Detroit Council Need The Governor's Hubby Too

You are reading in this BLOG what you will NOT find elsewhere. Pass it on to your friends and colleagues who may want to understand what is happening in Detroit. It will explain what the vetoing and over-riding of the Mayor's veto really means

Here is a bit of information that might put into context for you the fun and games going on between the Detroit Mayor's Office and Council. Why it is getting so bad over there that the Governor's hubby may have to intervene as he did in Windsor to help make a dysfunctional Council function again. Just wait until you read what is being said below about Councillors in a Press Release! It makes the "in camera" fights amongst our Councillors seem tame by comparison. At least Detroiters and Windsorites have something in common: local Governments that seem to be fighting not governing.

I read an article about the power of a Detroit Mayor that states that
  • "In the strong mayor form, the mayor is separately elected, may be removed only with great difficulty, and shares the executive power with no other elected official, or very few... city councils tend to act as oversight bodies and as checks on the executive, with relatively less emphasis on policy and program development."

Here are some views on the roles of the Mayor and Council.

  1. It is the function of the Mayor to be the "executive" and it is the Mayor who "may propose a budget, plans, ordinances, contracts, appointments, and other policies or actions."
  2. The Council "has the authority to delay, alter, or block such policies or actions."
  3. "The City Council may have the responsibility for adopting the budget, but the Mayor has major responsibilities in preparation, amendment, administration, and financial reporting."
  4. "Requests for the purchase or disposal of city property originate in the executive branch."

It is not all that different on our side in practice except for the concept of separation of powers. That is one reason that at the Joint Councils Meeting, our Mayor attended as a member of Council while the Detroit Mayor did not.

OK. Enough of Politcal Science 101, almost.

Here is what I read about the differences between ordinances and resolutions and this is essential to understanding what is going on and its effect:

  • "An ordinance is passed to enact regulations of a general and permanent nature, enforceable as local law. A resolution is passed to express the opinion of the Council on some matter of a temporary or advisory nature, or to handle administrative business of the Council."

I give you this information so you will not be misled by what you might read about the veto and over-ride. Attached below is the Agenda of the Special Council meeting. You will note that "resolutions" are being passed ie "expressions of opinion" that cannot invalidate legally binding agreements. It is Council expressing their political disgust of what the "strong" Mayor's Office has done which is to act as the "executive." ie propose contracts.

It is a political fight between branches and not anything much more than that legally. Council's "resolution" cannot invalidate an agreement as this has been explained to me.

Naturally, the big focus is on the Bridge Co. because their deals were the ones for which the Deputy Mayor was being attacked. Be careful when you read what the legal effect of the resolutions are on their contracts too.

Take a look also below at the Press Release distributed by Councillor Sheila Cockrel where she does NOT attack the Bridge Co.! As you read it, you will note the internal fight amongst Councilors as well. It's not a pretty story.

Detroit City Council
Special Session

Thursday, August 10, 2006


1. Submittal of Veto Statement of Resolution that the Detroit City Charter was not followed in the execution of the document entitled, “Agreement Relating To Springing Interest And Master Concession Agreement By And Between The City of Detroit And The Ambassador Port Company.” And the City is not bound by the “Master Concession Agreement between the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority and the Ambassador Port Company” dated June 21, 2005; and that the City of Detroit is not bound by the “Agreement Relating To Springing Interest And Master Concession Agreement By And Between The City of Detroit And The Ambassador Port Company” dated July 7, 2005, and that the same has been declared void by this Honorable Body.

2. Submittal of Veto Statement of Resolution that the Deputy Mayor is put on notice that he is not to sign contracts to bind the City of Detroit and that prior to the negotiations of any contracts at which he is present, it must be made clear to all parties involved, that the Deputy Mayor does not have the authority to contractually bind the City of Detroit, unless authorized by the applicable provisions of the Detroit City Charter and that if such action by Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams persists, that City Council will invoke Section 2-107 of the Detroit City Charter, as amended and require the forefeiture of his position as Deputy Mayor.


3. Kenyatta, motion to reconsider the vote by which the resol. Relative to “Agreement Relating To Springing Interest And Master Concession Agreement By And Between The City of Detroit And The Ambassador Port Company” etc. was adopted. ROLL CALL

4. Kenyatta, motion to adopt the aforesaid resol. Notwithstanding the Veto of the Mayor. (SIX (6) VOTES REQUIRED TO OVERRIDE THE MAYOR’S VETO. A “YES” VOTE WOULD OVERRIDE THE MAYOR’S VETO. A “NO” WOULD SUSTAIN THE MAYOR’S VETO. ROLL CALL

5. Kenyatta, motion to reconsider the note by which the reso. Relative to the Deputy Mayor is put on notice that he is not to sign contracts purporting to bind the City of Detroit, etc. was adopted. ROLL CALL

6. Kenyatta, motion to adopt the aforesaid resol. Notwithstanding the Veto of the Mayor. (SIX (6) VOTES REQUIRED TO OVERRIDE THE MAYOR’S VETO. A “YES” VOTE WOULD OVERRIDE THE MAYOR’S VETO. A “NO” WOULD SUSTAIN THE MAYOR’S VETO. ROLL CALL


1. Jones, motion to waive reconsideration on all resolutions and/or ordinances designated for waiver of reconsideration on this agenda.

2. Kenyatta, motion to suspend Rule 23.

3. Reeves, motion to postpone indefinitely the motion to waive reconsideration.

DETROIT CITY COUNCIL Sheila Cockrel, Councilwoman

I have voted YES to over-ride the Mayoral veto of the two resolutions re: the Port Authority “Springing Interest Agreement” and the role of the Deputy Mayor in the signing of official documents.

First, the need to develop the City of Detroit Port cannot be underestimated. For many years, efforts to revitalize the Port have limped along without necessary resources from the City or County. A stronger commitment is necessary to take a dormant major regional economic development asset and make it a vital force in the state’s transportation system.

Second, the Kilpatrick administration has shown real leadership in understanding the significance of Port development in diversifying this City’s economic base.

Third, I voted for the assignment in the May 2005 because I believed that it was vital to the City’s long-term interest to keep public control of the Nicholson terminal and bring into the Port a mix of public and private participants who could speed up the redevelopment of our port.

Fourth, it is unfortunate that subsequent to the Mayor’s ill-advised and unnecessary veto, a barrage of misinformation has been generated in the Community that has confused the issue of Port development with Riverfront development. The Riverfront has not been “turned over to Mr. Matty Moroun. It is preposterous on its face to make such an assertion. It is disingenuous and only helps those whose agenda is to keep our Port non-competitive with the City of Windsor, Port Huron and other down river interests. I am not clear what the Mayors reason are for his veto. They were not articulated in his veto message. I am curious as to why the Mayor would veto a Council action that is consistent with the advice of the City’s Corporation Council.

Fifth, it is equally unfortunate that members of this Council have once again chosen to use misinformation to achieve their political agendas by urging people to call certain members of offices and “threaten” members about their vote on this override or the signing the call for a Special Session. Let me make myself crystal clear. This Council is on recess. I was not available to sign for a Special Session. I do not believe that any Council member should allow a staff member to sign their name for a Special Session or that any Council member should sign for a Special Session BEFORE the date and time have been determined. I did not sign for this Session because I was NOT able to provide my signature and there was NO date and time provided by the document that had the signatures of President Cockrel and Ms. Watson. It is not necessary for Ms. Watson to instruct her supporters to call me and threaten recall if I don’t vote to over-ride. I will follow my conscience and do what I know to be the appropriate legal action that conforms to the City Charter, the City Code and the laws of the state of Michigan. Furthermore, I will vote for what I believe to be the best public policy that serves the interests of the people of this City.

Finally, I wish to see a thorough review of the “Springing Interest Agreement” in September. This analysis should include the harmonizing of the May 6, 2005 Council resolution with the Master Concession Agreement, any actions by the Port of Detroit Corporation and the Springing Interest Agreement. This evaluation should take place prior to any consideration of any version of a “Springing Interest” agreement by this City Council.

It is for the above-mentioned reasons I have voted to override the Mayor’s vetoes. Dated August 10, 2006.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Answer Is In The Mail

In speaking with the City today, I was told that the answers to my MFOIA questions are being typed. I can hardly wait to see what I will be told.

And when I find out, so will you!

Windsor Star Tickles

Just one of those days again with me and the Star. Here are some things that I found interesting in the paper today that tickled my fancy:

Where's Bill Marra

Did you read the story the other day about Al Teshuba running in Ward 1? Compare it with the story about David Cassivi running in Ward 4 today. What do they have in common? Not a peep about Bill Marra at all, not even in the Ward 4 story.

A Master Political Communicator At Work

Mark Butler of Transport Canada, who is their spokesperson on the border issues, wins the prize today for the "quote of the month". It says nothing but makes it appear as if he is saying a great deal. It is a wonderful example that journalist students should be forced to memorize!

Dealing with the situation in Detroit with the fight between the Mayor and Council he states unequivocally:
  • "It would be inappropriate to comment on actions involving Detroit's council and the mayor," Mark Butler, spokesman for Transport Canada, said Wednesday. "But we are watching very closely to what happens in regards to the ownership of the tunnel."
I love it! Can you imagine if he was handling Eddie's PR! Even I would have believed that the Mayor had done something over the past 3 years if Mark was speaking to the press for him!

Councillor Budget, Hero Or Goat

I am sure that my friends Debbie and Kevin will be happy with Gord Henderson's column today about saving Superior Park. Even more delighted will be Councillor Budget. He is being portrayed as the hero in the piece.

I guess Gord did not read my BLOG of the other day [August 08, 2006 Who Is Killing Bambi] where I stated who moved the motion to negotiate the sale of Superior Park:
  • "Here is the Council agenda item where approval was given for Administration to negotiate the deal:

    Moved by Councillor Brister, seconded by Councillor Cassivi,

    M132-2006 That the Report of the special In-camera meeting held May 29, 2006 BE ADOPTED as presented.

If the Ward One Councillor is so concerned about the park now, why did he want it sold then? Why didn't he kill the negotiations from going forward in the first place? It's interesting who was consulted. And who was not----the public!

Oh well, at least it appears so far that Bambi has been saved by Gord's column, and perhaps Councillor Budget too!

Another Pro-Toldo/Rosati Arena Letter

I believe that this may be the fourth letter published in the last few days in favour of this deal. There may be more but I only just started counting the other day.

What interests me is whether this will be one of the few times when the Mayor and the Star will be on different sides on an issue. Eddie and Council seem to favour an East End arena or perhaps some might even want the status quo. I ran a not-so-recent Star editorial supporting a Raceway site. Administration is to do a Report on the 3 options.

It would be hilarious to see a Star/Francis disagreement just before the election wouldn't it! Can you imagine Eddie's Chief of Staff holding a media briefing explaining why the Mayor was right and why the Star's Editorial was wrong. I would demand media accreditation as a Blogmeister, just for that session alone!

The Detroit/Windsor Tunnel deal

Oh please, did you read this silliness:

  • "Windsor's city leaders also voiced opposition to the Kilpatrick-Moroun agreement, requesting a rare joint meeting in February with Detroit's council on the tunnel issue."
I wish the Star also reported why the City did so---The City was not acting as a protector of the interests of the people crossing the border but as a possible competitor to the Bridge Co. at that meeting.

There's that inherent conflict of interest again.

The City is trying to negotiate a deal with Detroit as I blogged a few days ago [August 01, 2006 Tunnel Mystery Revealed]. The Star has not seen fit to cover that item yet.

Billions For A Tunnel Or For Trucks

I see that Al Teshuba has announced that he is running in Ward One for Council. That should make it an interesting race between the incumbent, Councillor Budget/STOPDRTP and the fellow who is becoming increasingly identified with tunnels for Windsor. (Sorry Eddie, you have been too quiet on the "quality of life" diversion designed to make people forget about the Schwartz Report. Al has stolen your thunder and is getting all of the headlines.).

These two will be battling for the votes of those concerned about the border it seems. Of course Drew Dilkens will win one of the seats unless Charlie Hotham decides to run and then it will be a real horserace in that Ward. And if the other candidate I hear may run (and he is to decide by the end of the month I was told)....well there will be a lot of action in the campaign by mid-November! This may become the most personal of all of the elections.

Obviously, I will be talking about the election race more but I wanted to offer Al some advice after watching Councillor Brister perform over these last 3 years as a Councillor.

Be careful that you do not become identified as a one-issue "tunnel" candidate and then Councillor. You also want to be identified as finding the right solution, not just any solution. By right, I mean one that is doable quickly and practically and solves a problem.

It is a no-brainer that Councillor Brister won with the most votes of any Councillor because he was Chair of STOPDRTP. But after the election, he became virtually invisible on the border issue. He seemed to become afraid of it because of a possible "conflict of interest" charge. Take some time and check out how many stories in three years in the media he has been involved in respecting the border. He transformed himself into the Budget Crusader and became one-issue on that instead!

If Councillor Brister loses this time around, one of the reasons will be because it will appear as if he has abandoned his community and his strong base of support.

I say this to Al because of some information I have seen on the Natural Resources Defense Council's website. It claims that it is the "most effective environmental action organization" in the US.
  • "A New National Standard for Diesel Fuel: NRDC was instrumental in the U.S. EPA's adoption, in 2001, of dramatically strengthened national standards for diesel fuel and emissions. The final rules included stringent limits on tailpipe emissions from new large trucks and buses, along with a requirement that the vehicles use diesel fuel that is virtually free of sulfur.

    The effect of the EPA's new rules will be similar to what happened when lead was removed from gasoline, which paved the way for the use of catalytic converters, vastly reducing emissions from cars on American roads. The new rules will reduce asthma attack-inducing soot particles by 90 percent in 2007, and smog-forming nitrogen-oxide emissions by 95 percent from 2007 to 2010. That's the equivalent of removing 13 million trucks from American roads. More important, this "2007 Rule" will save more than 8,300 premature deaths, more than 700,000 asthma attacks and other respiratory symptoms in children, and 1.5 million lost work days, every year --together, more than $66 billion in net benefits to the nation."
If what is being said is true, and harmful particulates are being reduced to virtually zero, then why do we need a tunnel in Windsor? Why would the Governments spend any money to fix a problem that is going away? It is a waste of time and energy to fight a non-issue. By the time the Tunnel is built, there will be a low amount of particulate emissions anyway.

I am sure that you saw the story about the weekend border traffic:
  • "border officers also are spending more time scrutinizing each traveler's identification documents since a federal report last week blasted the ease of slipping into the United States from Canada with fake identification, conceded Ron Smith, spokesman for the Detroit office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection."
There were waits of one to one-and-a-half hours at the Ambassador Bridge, at the Blue Water Bridge it was two to three hours and at the Detroit-Windsor tunnel for three hours with an accident contributing to the delay there.

Do you really believe that a truck driver will want to sit in a tunnel for that length of time! OR will the driver take every step that he can to avoid the crossing.

So what is the solution? If I were Al, I would change my approach somewhat to build on what he is saying but to take into account what is really going in the world of transportation. If I were Al, I would demand that the billions he wants the Government to spend on a tunnel for Windsor be better spent on ensuring that all trucks NOW have the new emission control systems, not just new ones. The money would be better spent helping the truck companies convert systems by a subsidy than wasting it on a tunnel that is not going to be built!

In this way, if Al takes up my suggestion as his campaign platform, he solves a real problem for Windsor, NOW, not 10 years from now and in a way that Government is used to acting. Al can score big political points. Heck, even the OTA and David Bradley will love him!

If you take me up on this and are elected Al, you owe me a drink!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Still No Word

I am surprised that I have still not received an answer to the very simple question I asked respecting my MFOIA application. It was a simple question of breakdown of documents. What is so hard about that?

Living In Delusion, Ontario

We must be living in La-La land here even though one thousand Ford jobs at risk. Take a look at the three statements I found recently.

Our new Economic Development Group has a strange way of thinking what their job is. Mind you, they have just appointed a Board recently but no Executive Director yet after how many months. The Commission is not too worried though. The first year budget is estimated at $1.3 million, rising to $2.1 million by year five. Anyway, our employment problems are really all due to short
-term immigrant adjustment so why worry.

1) Ford talks job cuts
Union blames Asian makers

As many as 1,000 Windsor Ford jobs are in peril as the automaker deals with a sharp drop in truck sales, the CAW and sources close to the situation say.

Last week Ford of Canada Ltd. officials met with the CAW to discuss its need for additional layoffs in Windsor including the potential loss of a shift at one plant and the possible closure of an additional plant.

Chris Vander Doelen, Windsor Star, August 04, 2006

2) "Because of the nature of the region’s strategy, traditional performance measures such as the number of new plants attracted, or the number of jobs retained, albeit significant, should not be the primary indicators of success. These could actually be counterproductive by driving the wrong behaviour."

Windsor–Essex County Regional Economic Development Strategy P. 94

3) "And while other cities are seeking people … we have people seeking us.

Across Canada, only Calgary is welcoming more new immigrants than we are here in Windsor. Our population is expected to double within the next fifty years.

Now, in the short term, being a city that attracts people from around the world can be challenging as we help people get settled in.

Unemployment is at 9.2 percent in this city. That’s way too high.

But it’s important to understand what’s behind that number.

Three thousand more jobs were created in our city last year than the year before.
Opportunities are attracting people to Windsor. Faster than our labour market can absorb them.

And that pushes the unemployment rate upwards

Mayor Eddie Francis, State Of The City Address, May, 1, 2006

Border Thoughts On The Michigan Governor Election

I wonder which candidate, Devos or Granholm will make the first statement on the border crossing matter on their election websites.

I have not found anything yet on their websites whereby they discuss what their position is on a matter that we think is so vital to us. Frankly, given the position of the Republicans in the House and Senate in Michigan and the Legislation they passed, I am surprised that Devos has not attacked Granholm over her handling of the file. But for the Republicans, the State might have had to pay its share of billions for a new crossing while at the same time giving up billions in Federal matching grants.

I would have thought that this was something that a candidate for the Governor's job should be pointing out and on which he should have been attacking the Governor.

I am surprised that the Governor has been so tardy in taking action on the border. Back in November she said:
  • "Granholm announced yesterday that her administration is accelerating over $600 million in needed road and infrastructure building projects. The projects are part of her Jobs Today Initiative and will put 11,000 people to work.

    Nine companies recently announced they will invest almost half a billion dollars in Michigan’s economy, creating and retaining more than 1,500 jobs."
Gee, how many jobs would the Bridge Co. half a billion dollar bridge "enhancement project" bring to Michigan along with the jobs that $2 billion in Federal matching grants would bring. Similarly, how many would it bring to Windsor along with the road building with the $300 million BIF Funds, assuming of course that the money is still available after all of this time.

I am also surprised that the Governor has ignored the Detroit Mayor on the border and Devos has not picked up on that. She acted for the Downriver communities but not for the City on the DRIC decisions. I just hope that the Detroit Mayor's diverticulitis attack does not flare up between now and the Governor's election date as it may have done in Windsor so that he could only spend a few minutes at Eddie's Summit the other week.

Her Michigan First position shouldn't surprise us given her comments in her Press Release when she killed the Downriver crossings proposals but this statement of the Governor is troubling to me as a Windsor resident:
  • "Granholm is urging lawmakers to take up her compromise and send her legislation that will create jobs by allowing border communities to better compete with their neighbors in other states." [eg. Competition for warehousing business is particularly fierce along Michigan borders where communities must compete against Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana tax incentives.]
I wonder if Eddie could call her husband and seek an exemption for this side of the river. I think that they are on good speaking terms after he helped out Eddie with the "dysfunctional" Council. Or perhaps, ignoring Windsor already may mean that the Governor thinks we are uncompetitive and can be ignored given what her hubby saw of our elected officials!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It Was A Holiday

No response yet to my email and fax asking for information by the close of business on Friday. I guess City Hall closed down early for the long weekend.

Criminal Activity At Windsor Library

Surprise, surprise. The so-called, previously "confidential" report by KPMG on the Library was provided to me on Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend and also released on the City's website. Or rather we got the "public" Powerpoint version, not the actual Report.

If it had been released earlier in the week, then someone might actually have had the time to read it. So one of the oldest political tricks in the book was played---release an embarrassing document when hopefully no one will have the time to read it before the Council meeting on Tuesday and when the media will not report it since they take vacations too.

When games are played, it is obvious that there is a need for a detailed review of the Report. Given what was said in the Powerpoint, as I shall describe below, I can understand why the Mayor and Council would be embarrassed to release it. It makes Council look ridiculous.

Yes it was criminal all right.

It was criminal that so much money was wasted on a KPMG report

It was criminal that we had these allegations of possible fraud, theft and impropriety that were not even discussed by KPMG, presumably because they did not exist

It was criminal that there was so much confusion between Council and the Library with no one being able to state what the problems were and not all of it due to the Library

It is criminal that we had the "witch-hunt."

It is criminal that citizens will not want to take a Board positions on City Committees after what Library Board members were put through over the past year or so.


The excuse given to me that the entire report should be kept confidential because "there are personnel matter references contained in that report" is now revealed as a sham since KPMG stated:
  • "The report was presented to a joint in-camera meeting of City Council, the WPL Library Board and the City of Windsor Audit Committee. Recommendations addressing personnel matters were discussed and have been provided in a confidential report."
The non-personnel material could have been disclosed easily as has now been demonstrated without all of this confidentiality BS.

I think I may know why there was a desire to keep the report away from citizens. It is not always the Library that is at fault. The finger can be pointed at Council's shortcomings. Here are some of the KPMG conclusions reached:
  • Detailed business case demonstrating the advantages of integrating the WPL into the City administrative structure has yet to be developed.
  • Formal integration opportunities are limited and still require documented business cases
  • The issue of formal integration be set aside; however continue to work in a collaborative manner on areas of mutual benefit
  • WPL Mission and Vision appears appropriate and is consistent with those of other public libraries we reviewed but it is not clear as to the degree by which the above mission and vision have been discussed or debated by the WPL Board, or presented to, discussed and debated and agreed to by Council.
  • WPL appears to be in compliance with S.24 of the Public Librairies Act which outlines a number of budget requirements
  • It is not clear as to the degree of understanding of and/or agreement on the roles and responsibilities of the Library Board in relation to Council, as defined by the PLA, nor the degree of understanding or agreement on what is trying to be achieved by the organization, nor the ground rules for working together
  • There is a tension between the two competing goals of the City and Library
  • It is not clear to the Library as to the nature of the specific operational or governance process issues that City has
  • WPL Board has only limited input into the budget process, and appears not to be in the position of approving or recommending the budget to the City OperatingBudget Committee
  • Our review suggests that issues from 2003 and 2004 have been appropriately addressed.
  • Respecting 3 outstanding issues from 2005 letter, the WPL Audit Committee is continuing to work through these
  • Improvements have been made but there is still a way to go on reporting of non-routine transactions.
  • Senior management staffing has been constrained by financial resources but is
    is very lean with little time or money available for training or professional development.
  • Staff morale is being adversely impacted by uncertainty on direction and nature of Board/Council relationship
  • IT Work plan appears appropriate for WPL’s situation; would be hard for City to support directly since WPL’s IT demands are very different from those of the City.
  • Opportunities for City to learn from WPL applications to support customer needs
  • A review of WPL’s purchasing policy indicates that the fundamentals of an appropriate purchasing policy/process are in place and appear to be followed.
  • WPL has received a number of awards many relating to WPL’s use of technology
  • Customer satisfaction survey results are very positive
  • A collaborative approach would be useful to pursue opportunities for the two organizations to work closer together and to learn from each other in the delivery of services that meet the needs of customers.
  • Governance model can be improved however it is an effective model
  • Board has been consumed with a number of operational and financial issues since it was appointed and circumstances have prevented review/assessment of strategic objectives and identification of particular needs of the community.

I still do not understand what the issue was repecting the Library other than a power play by some on Council to control it totally. As Councillor Budget had said in the past "I believe the library should become a department of the city because we fund it to the tune of about $8 million, which is 90 per cent of its budget." The KPMG Report demonstrates that Council would have made a mess out of the Library sytem if what Councillor Budget had advocated had happened. There was and is no need for that nor was there a need to retain KPMG and waste taxpayer money.

I have nothing but contempt for a City Government that was elected on an "open and transparent" platform that is trying so hard to keeep information out of the hands of its citizens. That is the real crime that came out of the Windsor Library fiasco.

Who Is Killing Bambi

If the Mayor and Council can support a truck road through the Ojibway Nature Reserve, then selling Superior Park should be no big deal to them.

My friends Kevin and Debbie built their dream home about 4 years ago.

They live behind Superior Park. The park was a major determinant in them moving there and building their house there. I am told that they even paid a $3,000.00 park levy.

Unfortunately for them, on Tuesday night, the City will try to close the park that is behind their backyard, and sell the land for a new French Language High School. And the pressure is on Council too . The deal must be approved on or before August 22 or it is null and void!

The area suffers from pollution from Huron Church Road to the north and E.C. Row to the south. It needs this parkland desperately since there have been hundreds of homes that have been built along the Dominion corridor and there is a need for this green space.

Superior Park runs into a section of land that is supposedly labelled conservation land. My friends and their daughter have seen deer, foxes, rabbits, raccoons, hawks and other bird wildlife. In fact, Debbie has shown me photos of a number of deer right outside her back door.

I guess it is tough luck for them right. They should have known better.

Before they bought their place, they asked Planning about the park and were told it was parkland forever. They should know that only "diamonds are forever." I guess the park is not such a jewel!

I think my friends know in their heart that they have no chance and that it is a "done deal." [Where has Debbie heard THAT term before?] But they are going to complain anyway at Council on Tuesday night. And I expect that they and their neighbours will embarrass a few Councillors along the way.

They thought they had put the sale of the park to bed a year ago when rumours first arose about its sale.

Councillor Halberstadt told them at that time
  • "Superior Park is not on the radar screen as a candidate for possible sale as far as I know, but I suggest you get in touch with your ward Councillors and ask them what they think. It is up to ward Councillors to survey their parks and bring suggestions back to the asset review committee. If there are any candidates for possible sale, the policy requires a public meeting before any decision is made."
Councillor Postma said then
  • "There are no Parks that are being sold, regardless of what you have read. The only Park being considered for severing and selling is Bradley Park in the West End... Superior Park was never even considered this go around - it was on a list for consideration in 2002 not 2005!"
Should my friends have known that this was coming? Here is the Council agenda item where approval was given for Administration to negotiate the deal:

Moved by Councillor Brister, seconded by Councillor Cassivi,
  • M132-2006 That the Report of the special In-camera meeting held May 29, 2006 BE ADOPTED as presented.
Interestingly, it was their Ward Councillor, Councillor Brister, who moved the Motion. So what that it was in camera too making it impossible for the public to know anything about it.

It probably makes sense to hold the Council meeting now. After all, why get residents in the area upset to have a second school nearby to increase local traffic dramatically. It's an election year after all. Many are away on vacation, I am sure so won't learn about it or attend at the Council meeting, until it is too late. Is this the "public meeting" for residents required before the park can be sold? It would not surprise me to see the Ward One Councillors vote against the sale so they can blame it on their colleagues. A very clever political touch don't you think?

Several years ago when Atkinson Park was thought to be for sale, Gord Henderson wrote "the private sector isn't in the park business. This is a core municipal responsibility, like policing. If we don't preserve, maintain and expand these assets, nobody else will. "

My friends can always take their daughter to see trees in the $150,000 project, phase 1 of Mayor Eddie Francis's commitment to streetscape our gateways. You know, it's the planting of 48 trees on Dougall Avenue, right close to the new South Windsor Art Gallery under the E C Row overpass.

Oh well, it is only parkland. Just because an Environmental Master Plan was passed a few weeks ago, I assume now that Windsorites ought not to take that too seriously either.