I Am A Windsor Star Now
If you are a regular reader of this BLOG, you knew it was coming didn't you. It was totally predictable. It was done in the usual Star fashion too. Over a period of some weeks with several news stories building up to the big climax.
I am sure that you understand now why the front page "lonely" Blogger story was done. A smear. I am sure that you understand now why Councillor Budget said at Council that only two or three people out of 200,000 are concerned about secret meetings followed up with a big page 3 story and photo of Councillor Budget. A smear. I am sure that you understand now the reason for the big months old story about the Bridge Co. wanting money from the City for legal costs run recently. A smear.
And then the "big" story.
I am so foolish. It's not my fault. I did not know that it was part of the secret sections of the City's Procedural By-law not to say anything good about one of the largest taxpayers in Windsor. When I moved here, no one told me what I could and could not do. I was not told that I had to hate everything about the Bridge Co. and Matty Moroun personally to be accepted here.
For quite a long period of time, and as recently as a few weeks ago, I have been told that the Star, and, one person in particular, had opened up a "file" on me and was trying to find out information about me. One of the Star senior reporters used to write to me---I called him/her the Star's designated hitter--pointing out all of my so-called errors and suggesting what I should write about.
I have to admit that I found it all a joke and still do. At least I have not been physically threatened like another BLOGGER in town!
Was I that important in this City to get all of this attention? Was I that much of a concern to the powers-that-be? If you have been with me since the beginning, you know why I stopped allowing people to comment freely on here but that online comments had to be "moderated." Right at the start, some people tried to destroy this BLOG by writing what I considered to be inflammatory statements designed to discredit me and to form the basis of a potential lawsuit by those whom they also were attacking.
I was "cultivated" by those who were "praising" the work I was doing but was also being told by them that I should "lighten" up and not write so much about the City but "broaden" the choice of subjects. Interestingly, I was even offered other "inside info" as stories to enhance supposedly my reputation as I could go after others. I could go provincial if I wanted and was given info to do so. In fact, I was even told recently that if I was not so aggressive in my BLOGs, a border solution might even be possible. There was a common thread in all of this as I guessed early on. To distract and divert my attention for the clearest of reasons. I was appalled.
Clearly, I am a "trouble-maker" to many. I am not afraid to file Municipal Freedom of Information applications to get the truth. I am not afraid to set out the relationship between the Star and City Hall that the Star has not yet seen fit to tell its readers in the pages of their paper (although it was mentioned on Cogeco). I am not afraid to let people know what I think of Councillor Budget or my distinguished NDP MP, Brian Masse. Or the Mayor (Don't you find it interesting who was quoted in the Star story and who was not). I am not afraid to attack politicians who are hurting Windsor in my opinion. I am not afraid to give solutions even if unpopular. I am not afraid to tell people how they are being hurt by inexcusable actions.
So what's next?
You, dear reader, are expected to abandon me and to stop reading my BLOG. I have been discredited. You are supposed to phone or email me and tell me how awful I am. After all, that is the purpose of all of this isn't it?
But it's more---it's a signal to those who are Blogging now or who may choose to do so in the future that they are only allowed to go so far in Windsor and no more. If the powerful Construction Association won't take on City Hall over the non-tender of an arena, then what should an individual think. If a smear job can be done on me, then who will risk their reputation in this City. You can be an alternative voice but only so far.
I must admit that I debated in my mind whether I should lower myself to answer the story.
It brought back a memory though. I really do not remember exactly what influenced me to become a lawyer. Believe it or not I think it was when I was very young and watched the Army-McCarthy hearings on television. I was impressed by the Army's lawyer, Joseph Welch. From that time on, I wanted to be a lawyer
As Battagello wrote “Arditti, a lawyer who operates WindsorCityBlog and describes himself as an "interested observer of local politics," regularly posts blog entries supporting the bridge company's plans to twin the span and attacks its opponents, including Mayor Eddie Francis, MP Brian Masse and councillors Ron Jones and Dave Brister.” Hey what about the BLOGs on the arena or the budget or Canderel or the Cleary or Super Bowl or, well, any of the approximately 1,000 BLOGs I have posted since I started doing this. Or the ones on stories that the Star chose not to cover or covered incompletely. I guess my CBSA story the other day was the straw that broke the Star's back!
Now I know how some of the people felt way back then when they were smeared by association. It's McCarthyism all over again.
"Are you now or have you ever been seen with a member of the Ambassador Bridge Company?"
Isn't this what the smear job is all about? Because I write BLOGS that give my opinion what is practical to do in Windsor and without years of litigation! And about other embarrassing issues.
My reply is in the words of Attorney Welch responding to McCarthy when he attacked one of Welch's young colleagues for an association he had:
- “You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
That is precisely how I feel today.
So let’s take Battagello's smear story apart:
- “A Windsor Internet blogger who promotes himself [“promotes” what a word! And exactly how do I do that? That is Battagello’s characterization of me, not mine.]
- has worked with the Ambassador Bridge on a lawsuit filed against the city [Actually, the issue was the Rail Lands By-law matter which was a City action. The Star conveniently forgets to mention that I was the one who broke the story about the City’s by-law possibly allowing DRTP to be built because the wording of the by-law may have permitted it! The Star forgot to mention as well that I and 2 other citizens had “standing” in front of the OMB. I was working for my Group OJIBWAY NOW in the hearing!]
- according a document obtained by The Star. [Hmmmm I wonder how the Star got a copy of that document? Did they get it from the OMB or was it provided to them. If it was provided to them, who gave it to them? Of course the Star only reported a few days ago about the Bridge Co.’s fight for costs although the story has been around for months!]
- Ed Arditti was involved with e-mail exchanges and conference calls [Geez I was a person with standing with the OMB, lawyer for my group. Lawyers call other lawyers in a file whether they are on the same side or not. I would not be surprised to see other lawyers’ names in the affidavit as well. Are they linked to the Bridge Co. too?]
- Arditti said he was unsure why he was listed in the Paroian affidavit. [I was called out of the blue by Battagello and asked about an affidavit I had not seen about something that took place in July, 2005. Battagello did not tell me about the other dates.]
- Paroian received and perused a letter from Arditti "regarding privilege…"he [Arditti] may have had contact with the bridge in his bid to gain access to information pertaining to the city's dealings with Estrin [The issue was exactly whether Estrin had waived “privilege” on all of his City files so that I and anyone else could get access to see what the City was doing on the border file. We discussed the law on the subject]
- Arditti refused Friday to say whether he has been paid by the bridge directly or indirectly [I have been attacked on that for 4 years ever since I joined STOPDRTP and I will NOT deal with it any more. Are those who support a tunnel as an example, asked if they are paid by City Hall or by those who would have an interest in building a tunnel? Nope---just if you support something that seems pro-Bridge Co. I asked Battagello who asked him to ask this question and he said “the Editors.” When I asked him who “the Editors:” were, he refused to tell me. Can you guess who “they” were?]
- He said he has not received any money to operate his blog [Same point isn’t it? Actually Batagello asked me this question first]
- Arditti has been seen in recent months attending public meetings [Oh my goodness….”public” meetings like being in the audience at City Council meetings or the Joint Councils meeting or at the Lansing hearings. In fact, I go out of my way now to be seen with Dan Stamper at meetings since I know it annoys people! Oh and Nora Moroun…I had a coffee with her and a number of Bridge people after a Lansing hearing. Battagello was in the same restaurant and saw us then. After all of this time, he saved that up and reported on it. Hmmm can it be said that he has been seen having a coffee with Bridge Co. Execs too since he was in the same restaurant? Heck Battagello also told us he had a four hour meeting with Mr. Moroun himself and has attended public Bridge Co. press conferences. Oh my, I think I may have to do a BLOG on that now]
- He has also been spotted in Moroun's private box during a Detroit Lions game at Ford Field [I guess the several dozen other people from Windsor who were invited and shown the Bridge Co.’s border plans were not “spotted.” Oh and the Lions lost]
- The Star has photographed him with Moroun at the bridge owner's private party at Windsor's art gallery a year ago [Guilty. I along with several hundred others attended a party to support the Art Gallery! I wonder how I can get a copy of that for my photo album. Oh and by the way, I knew the Star had that photo and cropped it in one of their stories!]
- Brister, former president of the South/West Ratepayers Association, said he became "suspicious" [Brister knew that I was talking to the Bridge Co. for heaven’s sake. That subject was discussed within the group. He was afraid to talk to them and is still afraid as a Counsellor. We had a mutual foe, DRTP. STOPDRTP’s objective was to stop DRTP. If the Bridge Co. could help, I would not turn that down. I also talked with Gregg Ward of the Ferry company, Ross Clarke of Mich-Can as part of my General Counsel's role as Councillor Budget knew as well. I even talked to a rep of the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel. Oh my, I just admitted I am linked to them too]
- Once he decided to run for council, Brister said: "That's when I left the group and cut off all ties with Ed Arditti because I felt uncomfortable with what his motives might be." [No, Councillor Budget asked me to be involved with his campaign and I declined because I was deeply involved with the campaign of Eddie Francis for Mayor. Councillor Budget ended our relationship when I told him that I did not care which two of him, Charlie Hotham or Joyce Zuk were elected as Councillors in Ward 1 since they were all anti-DRTP. He considered that not being “loyal.” I helped force Councillor Budget out of the group when he announced he was running even though he wanted to remain as Chair and he argued that there was no conflict in him doing so]
- Masse said .. outside of here it can confuse people and damage the city's reputation." [I guess my anti-Masse BLOGs are part of hurting Windsor by telling the truth. I am not the one who has spread errors that I have pointed out and corrected in my BLOG so I think I am helping Windsor, not hurting it.]
What shall I take from all of this attention? Obviously, I am guessing correctly on something that has to do with the border. Obviously, I am disclosing plans that others want hidden. Obviously, I am hurting some people's goals on other matters too.
The Star, and the others, made a big blunder, a tactical error, a strategic mistake.
They should have continued to ignore me as they tried for a long time. I was and am a nobody in Windsor...I made the odd appearance at Council and had a media clip or two. But now they have made me a SOMEBODY. They have drawn attention to my BLOG in a way I could never have done.
I should thank the Star rather than sue them. By smearing me, they have made me credible. They have let you, dear reader, know that I am telling you what is really going on in Windsor. And they do not like that.
If they, and anyone else think I am going away, I am not. I started this BLOG because the Star ignored me and would not publish a Guest Column I had written and submitted several times. By smearing me, they are just encouraging me to move forward, to find out more. And there are lots of secrets to tell!
I am a threat to some because I am consistent and can express my point of view forcefully with a bad habit of using the "facts." I worked for Eddie Francis to help make him Mayor. I thought he of all people would develop a long-term solution on the border that we could all rally behind. What a personal disappointment to me he has become. He failed us, miserably. I have no idea what the City wants to do and neither do you.
But I have a point of view that I have expressed on here...it was a position put forward by STOPDRTP a looooooooong time ago and presented to the media and to Council. Not exactly the same but close enough to show that I am not just jumping on someone's bandwagon.
I have a position and it supports forming a powerful alliance with a smart private entrepreneur with money who can help us out of our economic woes. It is real economic development, not pretend. It is more than just the border, a lot more. Should Windsor negotiate hard with him...absolutely as I wrote in a multi-page document to Council years ago. There is a solution that can and ought to be reached with the Bridge Co., a company that has hundreds of millions of non-taxpayer dollars to invest here before this City collapses.
Do you agree with me? I hope so. If not, that is OK too PROVIDED that you come up with something that works.
In the end, you know what, it does not matter what the Star, and others, say about me, good or bad, as long as they say it. At least, the Star spelled my name right and that will lead people to my BLOGsite!