The Morphing In Windsor
Then I saw the big, taxpayer paid, full-page Greenlink advertisement. I'm sure that it will be the first of many along with radio and TV ads. At least the Sales Department of the local media will be able to show some big revenues over the next couple of months.
Hmmm... I wonder if the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget will ask at the next Council meeting which part of the Operating Budget covers that expense. If he can object about a trip to Japan that was already budgeted for, then he ought to be ballistic over something that was not in the Operating Budget. Or was it, but we taxpayers didn't know since it was something decided in camera?
I will bet that most people are very surprised about the lukewarm Editorial published in the Windsor Star about Greenlink. I must admit that I was.
When talking about the Garden of Eden making Windsor "into "one of the most magnificent places in the world," the Star said it "is a bit much."
Did you see the dig about Eddie's new concept being "crafted at considerable cost behind closed doors."
In fact, the writer of the Editorial might actually have been hurting the Star, knowing that Eddie was starting on a two-month ad blitz with a full-page in yesterday's paper, when it was written "If this plan is as good as Francis and Schwartz and city councillors claim it is...it shouldn't need a salesman."
While the Star is like everyone else, hoping that the plan is doable, it also has not swallowed the Francis/Schwartz Gospel hook, line and sinker. It is asking questions this time such as "Other than vague references to "revenue generators," however, the city hasn't been clear how that new parkland will be maintained and what it will cost. This is not a minor point."
There is no doubt that some on the Editorial Board are extremely upset at the way that they have been used by City Hall on the tunnelling debate and the quick flip flop by the Mayor when it was convenient to do so. That it should be such a surprise to the Star is a surprise. The writer stated:
- "The city's proposal abandons its oft-stated preference for a fully tunnelled solution and appears to violate the spirit if not the letter of a motion passed in favour of a tunnelled solution. This is troubling -- as is the timing of the plan's release, which gives residents scant time to comment and gave local Liberal MPPs cover on the campaign trail."
Surely the Star's editors were not that naïve! They would have known Eddie's game better than anyone.
For the Star, this piece was more along the lines of how an Editorial should be written. Not cheerleading, as has been the usual Star practice, but perhaps a healthy skepticism might be the best way of describing what was written.
That there is a fight on the Editorial Board involving Eddie is obvious. Just look back at some of the Editorials written on the Windsor Utilities Commission fiasco. Fiasco was the Star's choice of a word. The Star had no choice but to slam City Hall but interestingly, the one editorial that really did so did not name the Mayor. The ultimate compromise no doubt.
But it was when I was having breakfast and saw the City's Greenlink ad that I knew that something odd was taking place in Windsor. It took me a long time to put my finger on it but then it hit me like a flash:
RAILS TO TRAILS WAS MORPHING INTO GREENLINK!
Don't you see the similarity? Greenlink isn't selling a solution for the road to the border, it is selling parkland. It is offering us New York City's Central Park. Just like DRTP's Rails for Trails wasn't selling putting an expressway through the heart of Windsor, it was offering us "a “Ganatchio-like” trail [where] residents could ride their bikes, take a walk, or jog to riverfront parks away from traffic."
I started getting a cold chill. I remember when Mike Hurst was Mayor and offered citizens his Made in Windsor Solution park. That was rejected almost immediately and seen for what it was. Now his replacement was doing something similar. What will the result be this time?
I remember the massive advertising campaign that DRTP undertook. It included full-page ads in the Star, glossy brochures being mailed out and nice PowerPoint presentations being offered at Open House sessions. Why I can recall the time when it seemed that almost every billboard in that City was displaying a DRTP advertisement. Now the Mayor is telling us that we are at the beginning of a two-month ad campaign blitz that has already started using full-page ads, and will use media buys, flyers distributed to every household, 5 Ward meetings where we can stroll around and look at boards.
When will we see strategically-placed billboards too for Greenlink?
Why just the other day, I was driving underneath the South Windsor Art Gallery, you know the location of the "Tunnel" mural work of art, and saw a City crew tapping on the wall of the underpass. I thought at first they might be trying to determine whether the underpass might collapse but then I realized they were probably looking for a spot to place the Greenlink mural work of art!
From a park in South Windsor, to Rails to Trails and then finally to Greenlink. It had morphed.
My mind was racing now. More strange thoughts were entering my brain:
- Mike Hurst hired David Estrin as counsel on the border issue. Eddie Francis continues to use David Estrin as counsel on the border issue.
- The Eddie Francis I knew objected when the ex-Mayor hired lobbyists without telling Councillors. This Mayor, we learned, used Parsons Brinckerhoff as a consultant on tunnels before Council approved it.
- Mike Hurst dominated his Council. Eddie is the Voice of Council on the border issue.
- Mike could never get a deal on the border... Will Eddie be able to get one or will he have to carry out his legal threats?
- Hurst was on Council when the ownership of the Tunnel reverted to Windsor. Now Eddie wants to do a deal to, in effect, "own" all of it for the next 75 years.
- When Hurst was Mayor, Council passed a Motion opposing part of the Bridge Co.'s Windsor Gateway proposal. Now the Bridge Company is Windsor's "enemy."
- Hurst's legacy after Canderel will be long forgotten is the Riverfront Park. We may never forget having to pay for the East End arena while we stroll through what Eddie wants as his legacy greenspace.
It could not be. It just was not possible. Yet, in the almost 4 years that Eddie has been Mayor, I do not recall ever seeing Eddie Francis and Mike Hurst, together, at the same time and in the same place.
It was becoming like a very bad science-fiction movie where identities had been switched. Click on the photo to see what the explanation might be!!