This is Part Two of today's venting BLOGs! Can you guess how angry I am at how this City is being run!
I read this quote from Peter Drucker who was called "the greatest management thinker of the last century" that I thought was appropriate:
We have a manager in charge at Windsor Council, a legal technocrat he was called. We do not have a leader who inspires confidence, not for me at least.
Let me show you why I feel as I do by dealing with the Council Agenda for Monday now
The agenda is a prime example of how immature and petty our Mayor is in running a Government and how untrusting of the electorate who voted him into power. It is nothing more than manipulating matters politically to ensure that he gets his way without criticism about what he is doing or revealing anything of significance.
Just ask Alan McKinnon about how the Mayor likes to be told he is wrong or that he personally is to blame. Teflon Eddie goes ballistic; he cannot deal with it and has to justify himself. It has to be someone else that messed up, not him.
What is the message that he is communicating to outsiders with his actions, his "branding?" It is almost laughable recalling his words of two weeks ago. His actions speak louder than his whispers:
"We need to put narrow interests aside – and promote the greater good.
We need to think about the long-term, and not get distracted by arguing with one another over small, petty and personal issues in the short term.
We need to end the fragmentation – where narrow interests compete with one another within Windsor.
We need to recognize and sideline the special interests that seek to divide us.
And we need to stop distorting our Windsor in the name of advancing other agendas – political or otherwise."
If only he really acted on what he said in his State of The City speech!
Here are the relevant parts of Monday's agenda:
Council Agenda for the Monday May 28, 2007
Windsor City Council meeting, 6:00 p.m., Council Chambers
3rd floor, Windsor City Hall
PLANNING ADVISORY COMMITTEE
PAC 1 Boardwalk Reit Properties Ltd. (8325 Riverside Drive East and 8312 Clairview) - Deferred
CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER/STRATEGIC SERVICES
Item 8--- Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre
GENERAL MANAGER, CORPORATE SERVICES
Item 7--- Windsor-Detroit Tunnel - Establishment of a Municipal Services Corporation
GENERAL MANAGER, PUBLIC WORKS
Item 1--- 686, 718, 738, 750, 778 and 784 Indian Road - Request Exemption from Demolition Control By-law and Interim Control By-law for the Olde Sandwich Towne Community Planning Study Area
The Mayor controls the Agenda. Let's deal with the easy matter first.
The Bridge Co. matter (Item 1) was supposed to have taken place last week. Why wasn't it? It was instead put on the agenda for this Monday, a known holiday in the US, Memorial Day. Try and ruin the holiday weekend for the Bridge Co. people and their experts. Who cares. Make them work over the weekend and come in early for the Council issue.
Was it an innocent mistake? Oh the Mayor knows all about Memorial Day. Remember what happened to his big mayors meeting last year around this time when US mayors did not show up because of the holiday weekend:
Hasn't the Mayor's Office bought a calendar yet that shows holidays so we don't have these embarrassments? Are they that incompetent? Or is it something more? Is there a double-standard, one for the Bridge Co. and one for others?
In fact, if you look at the Order of Business, there are TWO letters from the Bridge Co. asking for a postponement until June 11. That's the day when they are finally going to be able to tell the Mayor and Council about their Enhancement project. Hmmmm I wonder why the Mayor and Council flip-flopped and now want to be educated. Did they lose my BLOGaddress? Or did their lawyers tell them that they were acting in "bad faith" so they should pretend to listen?
It would seem that the deferral should be granted out of courtesy given the holiday anyway or because it makes more sense to understand the demolition as part of the whole project. Where is the deferral? It has not yet been given. It's not on the Consent Agenda either. Why could the PAC matter be deferred on the Agenda (PAC 1) and not the Bridge matter?
Here's my guess; Eddie IS the Mayor and HE decides! Let Dan Stamper, the Bridge Co. President, or his lawyer come and grovel in front of him and beg. That will teach Stamper to take him on as he did the last time he appeared in front of Council and put Eddie in his place.
How childish of our Mayor! He had the chance to debate Stamper on TV on Channel 4 WDIV's Flashpoint on Sunday morning but could not attend because of another commitment (It was taped earlier in the week).
As for ITEMS 7 & 8, when were they put on the Agenda and posted on the website publicly? It appears that they were not added until some time on Friday after the noon deadline for people to appear as delegates as of right. The items could have been posted earlier with a note to come back when the Administration Report was posted.
It was not done. That would alert the public. We cannot have that can we? Someone might actually want to speak on the items or perhaps those artsy-types might want to hold another demonstration!
Better to hope that no one sees these matters until the last minute so no one can appear and oppose. Eddie cannot have another episode similar to the infamous Agenda Item #5 when all of the delegations lined up to oppose him! Imagine, daring to argue against our Philosopher King!
Manipulate the Agenda to control the situation.
The Capitol Theatre matter---read the Administrative Report. It's nothing more than an 8 page diatribe telling us that it is not Eddie's fault if he loses the Theatre! Pages and pages of past history that are irrelevant now given that the objective still is to save the Capitol. We are to be persuaded that it's all the Trustee's fault and his lawyer that we have to go to court since the City has been acting in the Community's best interest.
It is NOT the past that is the issue but Eddie's failure to perform, again.
It was going to be so easy...we were told the City had a right to the building. If so, then why did the City offer to pay off all unsecured creditors on the condition that the Trustee transfer to the City the land and buildings. Was the City being kind to unsecured creditors? Hardly!
Eddie must have known that the Trustee would find it almost impossible to do that legally. Was he trying to bluff his way through and hoping the Trustee would fold? What was the legal advice he was given? Heck, the Trustee has a whole bunch of assets to sell that will finance his fees and lawyers too from the sale of equipment.
Nope, Eddie overplayed his hand and was called on his bluff. Now we have to spend thousands in legal fees with no assurance of victory in a lawsuit that may last a year or more.
You know what bugs me....The CAO says in the Report that the amount outstanding to creditors is about $200,000 and that "no new claims have been put forward." Yet only a few days ago, the Mayor said:
"Francis said city officials were under the impression that the Capitol, which went bankrupt March 14, owed about $200,000.
“Now we’re hearing rumblings it might be even higher,” he said."
WHHHHAAAATTTTTTTTT? We start lawsuits based on rumblings not facts? Facts that the CAO has now said had not changed! Did we start a lawsuit for the WRONG reason? Let a judge decide it to provide the excuse for failure.
What a way to run a matter. Such inexperience. No resolution. Now it is time to get Council onside to pass a Resolution so Eddie cannot be blamed. The City knew everything [BLOGs March 14, 2007 "Don't Cry For Windsor, Councillor Valentinis" May 18, 2007 "Spending More Capital On The Capitol"]. What a screw-up.
With all modesty, I am pretty good at problem-solving. I did it for 30 years as a lawyer. I think I could have worked it all out to give everyone what they wanted and do it in a legal manner. It might have taken take me 1 or 2 phone calls, maybe a few more depending on a couple of issues. It would have been easier right at the time of bankruptcy to be honest, a bit harder now. However, I'd still be happy to act as I said before as a "consultant" in this matter and on a contingency basis too. Payment only if I succeed.
My fee would be modest too: only $50,000 (out of pocket fess extra) which should be below the legal costs after a one or two year lawsuit and appeals are completed. OR, my preference, instead of money, the City agree to name a significant public area in the Capitol after my parents!
I even have a plan what to do afterwards that I would throw in gratis. But action has to be taken now! Or else I have no interest. Otherwise I expect that the Theatre could be torn down for a parking lot or a new condo!
And now the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel. Let's see...set up a services company to which the Tunnel should be transferred since the City cannot do the deal otherwise, adopt an asset transfer policy and then seek to have the Municipal Act Regulations amended. I am sure that Eddie and Donna had a nice lunch over this matter too.
I believe the matter has to be deferred. Has the City complied with the Regualtions since they require:
Before establishing a corporation under section 3, a municipality shall consult with the public about the proposal to establish the corporation. "
Ummmm where is that public consultation? Is posting something on a Friday afternoon before the vote on Monday enough time and is this all the Act requires? How can we have an informed public consultation without facts? I would tell you to speak to your Councillors about it but I don't think they know anything either. It has all been handled by the Mayor.
Which Councillor has the nerve now to ask for a deferral? Who will insist that the Act be complied with? Oh no, heaven forbid that it messes up the deal with Detroit. Of course the public consultation could have been done months before but why do that. The concept might have been rejected. Instead force silence by threatening a Councillor with destroying the deal!
Gee I have a few silly questions to ask as part of my "consultations:"
is it a core function of a municipal government to be a border operator...Detroit did not think so
whatever happened to the City assets review report
what's the Tunnel deal anyway
how can the US half be worth US$75M when the Bridge Co. only offered $US20M for a 25 year longer deal
Where is the appraisal report and who did it
what due diligence was done as to profitability
what due diligence was done as to its condition and its security risk
how will it be paid for
if the Tunnel is such a liability risk then why did the Mayor keep it in the City and not transfer it before
How can it be said that the Tunnel is profitable with the traffic volumes decreasing drastically, with the dividend decreasing drastically and no one hired after all of this time to "breathe" the Tunnel
how can it be self-sustaining if it had to borrow money from the City
how can the Tunnel survive if a DRIC bridge, another competitor for border traffic, is built
is there a side-deal to buy out Alinda's contract and at what cost otherwise the City has to sit around until their agreement ends in 2020.
what are the terms of the JOA with DWT Inc.
Oh I could go on and on but you get the picture. There are serious matters that have NOT been discussed and there have been absolutely no discussions with the public.
Eddie does not want such a discussion with the public and from what I have heard, has not had such a discussion with Councillors unless I have been lied to or something happened over the last few days. He does not dare tell us the truth does he because he is afraid we may say NO. He cannot take that chance.
RAM IT THROUGH. DO IT IN THE LAST MINUTE. DO IT IN SECRET. DON'T GIVE OUT ANY DETAILS.
Geez I am waiting for the confidentiality argument as with Canderel or the arena lease or solicitor-client privilege as with Estrin and the Schwartz materials.
Actually we don't have to worry since I assume that Cliff Sutts and his partners and law firm are on the hook if the deal messes up. That should allow me to sleep at night. After all, he
"emphasized the deal will not be completed until he is fully assured local taxpayers will not be hurt.
"We will be extraordinarily cautious so costs of the acquisition will be self-supporting of the project itself," he said. "That there will be no need to go to the well of the city to support this transaction."
But you know what, that is not how a City is to be run, certainly not MY City or YOURS I suspect.
There has to be full information disclosed in a timely fashion so informed decisions can be made on important transactions. We need to have deals completed properly, not wind up in litigation. We need a Council to take a position and stick to it, not take a position for political expediency and flip-flop when convenient. We need a Council that people will believe when they say something and not waste time and money on "starting points."
We need civility re-established and consideration for taxpayers, whether we support them or oppose them. We need a Council that is open-minded that deals with facts and is not afraid to hear them directly from a delegation.
We need a Council that is NOT afraid of the Mayor but works with him. We need a Council who understands and carries out their legal obligations to us. We need a Council who will stand up to a Mayor if required in our best interests.
Most of all, we need a Mayor whom we can trust and who can lead us.
Monday night should give us some answers as to what this City is and what it will be for the next 3 1/2 years!