Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Titillating Performance

What a strange choice of words by Councillor Hatfield. But then again, he is a retired journalist and so is good with language to make people take notice.

I must admit I had a Janet Jackson moment for a second when he made the comment but then he explained when he told the Bridge Co. people that they may wonder why Council spent so little time asking questions on their Enhancement project but so much on spending $1,800 for a basketball tournament.

I thought frankly it was just a way to increase the "public" hours for the next report comparing public and in camera meetings!

Those of us who opposed what went on respecting certain matters thought the performance was a bust. Frankly, some of the Councillors looked like boobs with their inconsistent positions. You should have been in the audience hearing the hooters' nasty comments as the debate carried on.

Why I can hardly wait for next Monday's show. Son of a gun, in just a little while, all of the Councillors will be back to entertain you, spending some time with you. We'll be together again all night as Council does it all for you. Truly, it all starts at the magic hour of 6 PM on Cogeco TV. Imagine when we ooooo when something dramatic happens or if we say it is lame. [You have to be a Janet fan to understand this paragraph!]

Here are some of the items that excited us so pleasurably at the last Council session.

  • We learned that Windsor's sponsorship of the Detroit Grand Prix would cost us $80,000 ($US I assume). When a Councillor asked if we could change that, the Mayor's quick response was "NO."

    For heaven's sake, we are talking about Eddie's future here and his relationship with Roger Penske.

    Surely $80K is cheap at the price for our branding. Our involvement is described this way "Francis said Windsor benefits from event partnerships with Detroit by a boost to the local economy and through increased profile."

    Is that "increased profile" something that can be quantified like the many millions we did NOT make on Super Bowl
  • I noted that none of the Councillors had the guts to ask the Mayor how much the ROTCC conference will cost us. They probably did not because they were allowed to go to it.
  • You think I am kidding when I say that the CAO runs the City and that Eddie is a mere figurehead.

    We learned that our almighty CAO was the one who effectively killed the Buskers festival because he chose not to bring the matter forward until after the Budgget passed. By then it was too late for a festival.

    The question I have is then why was there a CAO Approval to retain a firm to help produce the festival?
  • Good thing that the Pay for Performance item went on consent since I might have asked that the CAO's salary be reduced after his Buskers comment
  • I probably should take out my stopwatch and review the tape of the comments by Mr. Sutts and see if he was kept to the 5 minute rule by the Mayor as I was forced to do. Oh I forgot, he was answering a question to help support what Administration recommended.
  • I guess Chris Schurr's hearing is better than mine. See Schurr's devastating BLOG "Council’s ‘public consultation’ sham"

    I do not take offence at the Councillor's comment to me since it is clear that he has no idea what "public consultation" means.
  • I enjoyed asking questions of the Mayor in public and was hardly surprised that I received so little in response from him. I guess he did not know what "public consultation" meant either.
  • Well, well...civility is dead at Council or else I am really disliked that much by the Mayor and Councillors. Imagine, not being allowed to finish my "public consultation" by reading one more paragraph. Wow our Mayor is one tough hombre by shutting me down.

    And the Councillors, not one of them had the guts to introduce a Motion to waive the Rules. I guess they were afraid that an Integrity Commissioner might rule against them at some time in the future.
  • I was in good company at least. No one had the guts to raise his/her hand to give the Bridge Co. any extra time either. Why be educated thoroughly
  • Eddie does not have to worry. His "Perry Mason" title was challenged by the brilliant cross-examination undertaken by Councillor Jones but unsuccessfully I am afraid. To help him out, here is a tip for next time. The Councillor should make sure he knows what his witness will say before he asks a question. Having the delegation being unable to answer so many questins made it awkward and made him look foolish and unprepared.
  • I was so hoping to hear how the Councillors were going to justify asking that the Outlaws' house be torn down but not those of the Bridge Co. However, Council chickened out by passing the matter on consent.
  • Poor George Sofos. When Councillor Postma asked for an Administraion Report on his building "The Junction," she just killed any chance he had to get a quick decision made on his licence. Sorry cannot help you George, Administration is doing a report on this. You'll have to wait until they have completed their study....and you know how busy they are these days.
  • I heard Joe McParland ask Chris Schurr on Cogeco why BLOGs in Windsor are so negative. The answer is not hard. What has the Council done that is positive. In fact I wrote about this subject: BLOG February 27, 2006 "Why Is this BLOG So Negative?"

A Few More Thoughts

Just some thoughts on a sultry morning in Windsor.


What a crock.

The Star story says:
  • "City administrators have been scrambling with downtown business association officials this week in an 11th-hour bid to save the annual family entertainment event.

    The city, citing a lack of sponsors and late planning, announced two weeks ago it was cancelling this year's event. "
Why don't they report what CAO John Skorobohacz said at Council. He claimed he did not allow the Buskers process to move forward until after the Budget was passed since he wanted to know that there was money available. Of course by that time it was too late to have a proper festival.

Interestingly, wasn't it right near the end of the time that the Operating Budget was going to be finalized, that the Mayor said that he was going to let Council know how much the Grand Prix was going to cost---US$80K. Had the Buskers been in process already, no money might have been available for the Mayor's project. Whew, was he ever lucky!

What a great family event in Detroit for Windsorites the race will be. For sure, thousands of Windsorite families with their children will be going over to Detroit to join in the festivities there rather than attending a Buskers Festival in Windsor. Our City will help send them across the river to spend money there because of the spending of money by City Hall to promote Eddie's brand errrrrrrr the event!

Of course the CAO could have advised Councillors of the issue early in the year, say January, when the festival could have been organized properly so they could have decided what to do. He did not. He obviously did not want to tax their brains too much especially since some of them were so new and thought it was their role to make decisions.

I do not like how our CAO has decided that HE runs the City. I think it is time the Mayor has a nice chat with him to let him know what his role is. But that will never happen will it.


Do they have no shame? Are they not embarrassed to make people believe one thing while doing another? How can they do some of the things they do with a straight face.

I attended a session of the ROTCC meeting hosted by Eddie Francis and paid for by taxpayers of Windsor and others. It was about the Green Corridor and their initiative along Huron Church Road. One of the founders, an artist, Noel Harding, made the presentation and it was quite a good one about what could be done. He spoke as well about the co-operation of the City of Windsor in this initiative.

The Mayor was there as were Councillors Postma, Hatfield, Brister and Dilkens. Fortunately for them, Mr. Harding is a gentleman and there was only a brief mention in passing respecting what happened at Council with the Bridge Co. on Monday night as he described what the Bridge Co. and Green Corridor had proposed to do with the demolished homes. He briefly said that the Green Corridor group could not complete what they showed in their presentation without going into the gory details.

It was revealed that, in fact, they were going to do some plantings in the foundations of the homes that were to be demolished--that seemed to be a big issue for some at the Council meeting--so that the archaeological sanctity of the area would not have been destroyed.

Oh I wish that there had been a question period after his talk. I am not as polite as Mr. Harding. You know I would have asked him to explain before the delegates (all 20-25 of them) what our Mayor and Council did to kill his Green Corridor plans for the Bridge Co. homes. May as well make them squirm in front of those that they are trying to impress. I would have asked him to explain how Council could talk out of both sides of their mouth.

Now I know why there was no deferral on Monday...I could have thrown in Council's face their absolute hypocrisy at what was said at the ROTCC meeting and compare it with their actions.

You know I figured it out after attending this session, the difference between a doer and a talker. It was so clearly demonstrated.

Our Mayor may have been "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" but he is no real entrepreneur. If he were, there would not have been such inaction for how many years on the border issue. He would have found a solution long before now.

Do you really think that Matty Moroun could stay in business if this is how he ran his Company? The difference is that Eddie can play with our money, taxpayer money, not his own money so he can afford inaction. I wonder how long Mr. Moroun would tolerate losing so much business at his Bridge compared with what Eddie is losing at the Tunnel month after month after month!

Is Eddie is jealous of the Bridge Co.? They are capable of making decisions and acting quickly. Is the Mayor completely shocked that they are actually prepared to put their money where their mouth is and work with the Green Corridor and actually commit to a project while he is merely capable of talking about it. It is a blow to his ego that they are acting to improve the area while he merely talks about THINKING BIG.

The Mayor to me is a bureaucrat, a mere "legal technocrat" as Gord Henderson called him. He is incapable of execution since something could go wrong and he could be blamed.

Perhaps someone should tell him that in baseball, a .333 average makes one a superstar.


I understand that the Development Commission Board had a "retreat" last Saturday to discuss where they are going. I guess it was to discuss too their 120 days in action or is it inaction.

While I was not that interested in hearing all that went on I understand that there was dismay that the outstanding Commission new hires positions had not yet been filled. That was hardly a good sign. Maybe no one in Windsor wants the jobs. Perhaps no one wants to come to Windsor to work in a deadend job trying to get investors to locate here!

I understand as well that the Chair and CEO got into some hot and heavy arguments. There was talk about lessening the dependence on manufacturing jobs in the region. I was told that went over like a lead balloon.

Sheeeeeeeeesh, didn't anyone see the Airport lands issue on the Agenda last Monday? What are we creating "shovel ready" lands for if not for manufacturing!


Two stories posted on CKLW:
    The first quarter of 2007 has seen a big drop in tourism in Windsor and Essex County. The number of tour busses to visit the area is down by more than 200 compared to the same period a year ago. The number of hotel rooms booked has also seen a major decline.

    The Convention and Visitors Bureau of Windsor, Essex County and Pelee Island is hoping a new survey will help to attract more tourists. It asked visitors to the area what they're looking for in a vacation. Possibilities range from a zoo or aquarium to more sports venues, including a race track in the county. Survey results are expected by September.

You'd think they might have started earlier and finished earlier. Not in September when the big summer tourist season is over.

Oh well, Gord Orr is probably too busy figuring out how our $80K DETROIT Grand Prix sponsorship can be justified. The Super Bowl one could not be and as for Wrestlemania....

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More Bad Numbers For The Mayor

Make up your own BLOG with these poor numbers just months after his re-election.

At that time he received about 78% of the votes cast for Mayor

Even More Readers' Comments

Here is what some of your fellow readers have to say about some of the go-ings on in Windsor.

You must want to get something off of your chest too. Just email me at the following address:

1) Hi Ed,

I must confess, I voted for Eddie Francis..twice! I truly believed the city needed his entrepreneurial approach, business focus, and executive leadership. After all, if a city doesn't work economically, it surely can not work socially. What I failed to predict was Eddie's inability to adapt his corporate-style of decision making. Is a council vote merely a trivial process? I certainly hope not and it is impossible to run a city of our size with such callousness and arrogance.

You often mention it is the mayor's inexperience which has caused him trouble, but I believe it is fear that has proven to be his greatest obstacle. Fear of losing everything. His willingness to compromise the cities position and his desperation for executive approval are the actions of a scared mayor.

I am sure the mayor believes he is showing leadership by doing what is "right" for the long-term profitability of the city regardless of popularity. I really hope his intentions truly are for the greater good of the city, but as time passes, his actions (and council's inaction) are proving more selfish than selfless.

Is Mayor Francis more concerned about his personal brand than Windsor's brand? I'm guessing so. Unfortunately, whatever legacy he leaves will forever be tied to the city and ultimately, me. This city needs leaders. Not just one, but many. Not just on city council, but everywhere. There is nothing more frustrating than a city filled with apathy. Unfortunately, it has not only become acceptable, but expected.

2) Ed, there will never be a tunnel between the end of 401 and the border;

Traffic is down, see report on tourism, down 30% , trucks at this border are down also

One of the reasons is that the turn around traffic between plants in the old manufacturing and assembly processes because subassemblies are now used, and assembly plants are moving closer to their markets.

The tunnel is at half their previous volume with McQuarrie Bank wanting to bail out.

Of course the City likes to buy assets that are losing money, they hide the capitol cost and preach how they are making money because they only consider operating expenses !!!

Inside city hall has not changed much , just different fiefdoms .

Keep up your blog !

3) Hello Ed.

Well Ed you did a fine job on Monday. I hope you keep it up.

Now Ed maybe you can explain to me what is going on there. First of all I remember when the people on Indian Road were begging the Bridge Company to do something to the old houses on Indian Road because they were in a hell of a mess and they
wanted the Bridge Company to tear them down. Now they are saying don't do so.

Mary Ann says that the wall is to close to the houses. I agree it is, however the Bridge is willing to take those houses down and make it a green area. By doing this they are in fact marking the distance from the wall greater than they actually wanted it to be.

Can you explain any of this to me?

4) Unbelievable how much the Enwin/WUC component is. Considering that at least two counsellors are on each board + Eddie and each meeting has a fee of $500 and each morning they can have three board/committee meetings in three hours, the total really adds up.

Enwin spent nearly $2M in outside consultants fees recently to restructure the company again with no obvious internal savings.

I read Eddie's "State of the Union" speech which actually mentions much about his accomplishments at Enwin/WUC. He talked about the missed customer billings but failed to mention that it only occurred in late 2005 while he was chairman and was spending the money on consultants. Enwin had a program that highlighted any potential missed billings and I now question why this would not have caught the problem.

It appears that profits have been moved from WUC to Enwin due to a reallocation of common costs. WUC has asked for a 35% rate increase which has an impact on the sewer surcharge and is separate from City budget deliberations. Enwin's subsequent higher profitability then becomes available for Eddie to obtain higher dividends for the City to spend. Great plan eh?

5)Just a thought;

At the end of the Schwartz report presentation when Eddie is doing a Q&A session - he proposes using money from the federal strategic infrastructure fund for the city to purchase the two existing CP rail tunnels for $300 million to help CP finance a double-stack rail tunnel (and thus abandon the DRTP idea which was believed to be a merely a method of financing the double-stack rail tunnel), and in return the city would then pursue re-estabishing passenger rail traffic through the tunnels it bought by bringing Amtrack through. All tied to the intermodal facility idea, and a new train station out by the airport in concert with rail rationalization blah blah blah...

6) What this city needs is an investigator reporter on a lot of issues. A Royal Commission to come in and check if the Canadian Government still has them. I would think we might find out who runs the city.

Has Eddie just transferred this idea to a new pet project? Does he still want to tap the federal strategic infrastructure fund to pay off the tunnel purchase, but at an inflated price

7) NOTE: You might be interested in the A-Channel news story about the Bridge Co. demolition denial. Go to

The Greening Of Council

Council better be careful.

Windsorites and those pesky "tree-huggers" may decide to go after them especially if Ojibway is a target again with Schwartz II.

Council may become the "enemy" if more of these stories come out and taxpayers get mad. I was surprised to be honest about the support the Bridge Co. received on the AM800 poll.

I thought with the tunnel from Highway 401 to the border and the Environmental Master Plan, they wanted to be known as well as a "green" Council.

Have you ever heard of I hadn't either. According to their website:

  • " is staffed 24/7, that is every hour of every day, seven days a week and every day of the year by a small, hard working and dedicated team, committed to providing you with information and news, fluid and as it happens.

    As such is a leading website that publishes news reports and the latest information relating to the human environment and such interrelated concerns of the international community, such as economic growth, humanitarian issues, the environment, global business, automobiles and cars, education and learning, the latest in electronics, entertainment, personal and business finance plus economics worldwide at national and international levels to new games for all popular gaming platforms. Global news and information from around the world is all offered free and without subscription on health, homes, property and real estate, insurance, internet issues, kitchen, legal topics, shopping, space, sports, technology, travel, and almost anything that affects the World and our planet, Mother Earth."
I saw they published a Press Release from the Bridge Co. If this keeps up, and the AM800 poll results are valid, it may be that the Bridge Co. has a lot more support than even they imagined.

  • Ambassador Bridge to Continue Green Corridor Plans Despite Windsor City Council Ruling

    WINDSOR, Ontario, June 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the decision by City Council Monday evening to delay the demolition of six houses that the Ambassador Bridge owns on the east side of Indian Road, the company has pledged to continue with its plans to work with the Green Corridor to improve the landscape and lifestyle of the Windsor community.

    "The City Council made a bad decision last evening," said Dan Stamper, president of the Ambassador Bridge. "While they stated their concern for the potential archeological significance of the area, they failed to recognize the benefits that the green buffer area would provide for the neighbourhood and surrounding area."

    Throughout the construction, the Bridge has employed a licensed archaeologist under the direction of Dr. Robert J. Pearce of The Ontario Museum of Archaeology as a consultant on the archaeological significance of the area. Dr. Norm Becker, local engineer and heritage specialist, also testified last evening that the six houses had no heritage or architectural importance to the community.

    Despite approving demolition of four similar houses on the east side of Indian Road just two years ago, Council denied the Bridge's request for demolition. However, two councilors did have the wisdom and courage to support improving the local community and the green buffer area by voting in favour.

    The Bridge had hoped to use the space for landscaping adjacent to the new customs booths under construction just west of the current Bridge. The company is working with the University of Windsor and the Green Corridor on a master plan to landscape the Huron Church Road area to improve Windsor's environment.

    "Our goal is to improve the international crossing that is viewed by the 9.4 million cars and trucks each year that use the Ambassador Bridge. Regrettably council's decision will delay the development of the green buffer area adjacent to the newly expanded customs plaza," added Stamper. "We will continue to work with the Green Corridor, the University of Windsor and other community partners that are interested in improving the area."

    About Ambassador Bridge

    Built in 1929, the Ambassador Bridge stands between Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario as a link between the two countries. It is privately owned by the Detroit International Bridge Company and the Canadian Transit Company. The owners believe in the development and wellness of the local community where their business is operated and have supported local organizations including Hospice, the Windsor Symphony, and the University of Windsor.
It may be that it is our Mayor and Council are out of touch on the border issue. It may be that Windsorites are looking for thousands of high-paying infrastructure and spin-off jobs jobs before the $300M BIF program runs out in a few months.

It seems that our Councillors may have no such concerns. They are very "green" conscious after all. You should check out this BLOG on

Note the "green" payments made to Councillors by Enwin. I thought the Enwin problems had been solved according to the Mayor's State of the City Address on May 14, 2007:
  • "For the past four years, we have been working extremely hard, undertaking a similar review at our Enwin Group of Companies, and the Windsor Utilities Commission.

    Enwin had strayed into areas it should never have been involved with in the first place. It simply didn’t have the resources necessary to manage all of those non-core activities.

    The staff at Enwin was distracted away from their core business – delivering hydro and water services to our customers...

    And with our available resources, deliver the best quality service at the best value.
    With employees and management working with the Board, Enwin underwent a massive transformation. "

In the 2006 speech we heard from the Mayor:

  • "ENWIN is getting back to basics.

    Focusing on being a great local electricity provider, and no longer taking unnecessary risks in other business areas.

    Over the past two and a half years, ENWIN’s debt has been reduced by $43 million dollars.

    We’ve focused on helping ENWIN to get back on track, and we will do so with our other municipal agencies.

    As a result, ENWIN’s bond rating was upgraded from BBB+ to A-. That’s very important, and very exciting."
In the 2005 speech, it was said
  • "In the next few months we will be sharing with you the tremendous amount of work that we have been doing at EnWin tackling issues with the same resolve and determination."
In 2006, the Star reported that
  • "Thanks to payments from Enwin and the Windsor Utilities Commission, city councillors received a 22.9 per cent pay hike last year...

    Board payments are pooled and divided equally among the councillors and paid quarterly. The 10 city councillors divvied $151,500 in payments from the utility boards last year, an increase of 89 per cent over the previous year. In 2004, the board payments amounted to $73,522.

    The mayor and four city councillors receive $500 each for every meeting they attend as board members of Enwin Powerlines and Windsor Canada Utilities Ltd. They also get $250 each for every subcommittee meeting they attend. And WUC pays $8,200 annually to individual board members...

    Now that the work is done, some of the councillors will step down and the number of meetings will "go back to normal," according to Victoria Zuber, the utilities' chief financial officer."
Now I am NOT "green" with envy. After reading about how much extra Councillors received above their salary due to Board payments, I am starting to feel "green."

Here is what one reader wrote to me:
  • "Considering that at least two counsellors are on each board + Eddie and each meeting has a fee of $500 and each morning they can have three board/committee meetings in three hours, the total really adds up."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Hazmat Archaeologist

Quite an interesting poll result from AM800 don't you think? Perhaps it might give a few Councillors pause and perhaps even some guts.

Just one other thought
  • "Raeside said he will send in a Windsor building inspector wearing hazmat gear to catalogue the problems at the house at 3465 Wilkinson Lane -- which has endured vandalism and two fires since it was seized."

That's the Outlaw biker house that the City wants the Feds to tear down. That matter was passed on consent on Monday, the same meeting where the Bridge Co. proposal was turned down. Oh and that house is in Sandwich a few blocks from the Bridge Co. homes on Indian Road.

I sure hope that Councillor Jones who is so concerned aobut 2,000 year old spear points insists that an archaeologist is present if the Outlaws' house is torn down and insists that the person wears a Hazmat outfit too.

I am sure also that the Councillor will insist that the Outlaw house be torn down by hand, brick by brick too. We don't want that heavy equipment tearing up the ground now do we. We might damage another artifact.

Airport Lands Speech

Writing a BLOG, I have the luxury of letting you read what I said about matters at Council the other night, especially the parts I was NOT allowed to say in the so-called "public consultation.".

I really do not care if you support or oppose my position. I only care that you spend some time and develop a position since these are vital matters for the future of Windsor....or at least I thought they were.

If you can find a word about these two issues--Tunnel and airport lands--in the Windsor Star before or after the Council meeting then you have better eyes than I do. That's why we need an online newspaper as a competitor!

That the Star does not seem to have covered the story concerns me greatly as does the fact that the new Tunnel companies will have Eddie Francis as one director and two reports to him as the other two ie the CAO and Treasurer.

Imagine two subordinates ganging up on their Boss and telling him he cannot do something by voting aginst him in a Board meeting. Now that's a tough job. No Councillors or even former Tunnel Commissioners will be there to provide any controls on the Board!

Here is some more of what I said last night. I am including the end bits which I was not permitted to say because of the 5 minute rule even though this was a public consultation under the Municipal Act and others have been granted an indulgence to finish off their remarks!

I guess someone must have expected worse and maybe he/she will be right!

Why can’t this Administration give us full disclosure and present a business case that tells us what they really want so we can debate it intelligently.

Instead, we get the piece-meal approach. Step one is to pretend that we are concerned about the airport. We aren’t really. Administration is exploiting a phony crisis that it created.

Administration admitted it has a problem so that we have to hurry to incorporate a section 203 municipal corporation because of it. Its actions have resulted in the possibility of a “less than ideal proposal…as a result of significant timing pressures imposed on it.”

What are those timing pressures:

The contract with Serco was ended prematurely. Why wasn’t a proper hand-over period negotiated so we would not be in this time period mess. Nope, the Serco agreement is to end June 30 but Administration only went out for an RFP on April 30. The RFP closed supposedly on June1 and we may not have an agreement in place at the end of June. In fact, the timetable shows that no company will be chosen until after the council meeting. Therefore, let us take a dramatic step and incorporate a section 203 company today.

Now I am sure it will not surprise you if no company is chosen so Administration’s foresight due to its failure to perform can be applauded.

This self-generated crisis condition really has nothing to do with operating Windsor airport. It is a one airline airport with little chance of deriving new business with lack of traffic and the high Canadian dollar which provides no incentive for Americans to fly out of here.

No, it’s all about the airport lands, the 1,000 acres that will form the basis of the transportation hub and will provide the “shovel ready” land for new investors to use.

The City was pleased to get out of the Serco deal since

  • “another major component of the termination agreement sees the City regain control from Serco of land development of more than 1,000 acres on the airport's grounds.

    "we've cleaned up that aspect where the land will now be in the direct control of the City," Francis said.

    The new CEO of the Windsor Essex County Development Commission last week told City council the City does not have adequate parcels of industrial land that are "shovel ready ... Serviced and zoned and ready to go" in order to lure new companies to the region. "

That is what this deal is all about…..lands and who controls them.

I want to remind you what the Mayor said to Gord Henderson right after the election:

  • "Francis wouldn't tip his hand on plans for Windsor airport, which has been bleeding red ink under a contract with a private operator, but said the airport, and especially the airport lands, will be a top priority. "i don't think we've used it as a primary driver in economic development but we will," he vowed. Don't be surprised if neighbouring London airport, which is booming under the inspired leadership of a non-profit transportation authority, becomes a role model. And the airport transportation hub proposed by New York traffic guru Sam Schwartz? Francis said a Transport Canada study is continuing and it's far from a dead issue.”

That is what this is all about, not running an airport.

We learn in Administration’s report that

  • “although the proposed corporation will have the legal capacity to own, lease, operate, manage and maintain the Windsor airport, depending on circumstances…the proposed corporation may or may not utilize all the powers granted to it.”

    What the heck does that mean? Why grant them these powers then? What is to come?

Then some more interesting language

  • “since the City may not enter into a new third party management agreement as a result of one or more of the foregoing factors, the City may need to implement interim or long-term measures to maintain seamless ownership and operation of the Windsor airport."

If we do not know what happened with the RFP….why are we acting today. The companies will not be short-listed until some time this week! In fact, the RFP does not close until June 28 on the City’s website! What is going on here. If it is just an ‘interim” step why do we need to take such drastic action. You see we have been signalled that it is “long-term.”

More strange language:

  • “the City does not intend to transfer any City-owned assets to the proposed corporation at the time of incorporation.”

Big deal…that provides no comfort….it can happen subsequently since the corporation has the power to “own.” The new company can control the land under a management agreement as Serco did without ownership.. And if the City wants to transfer assets…well look how easy it is using the Tunnel business case study.

This is all part of the transportation hub, the Tunnel as a tool for cross-border traffic, roads to the border. It is all of that and more and we just get a glimpse because we cannot be trusted. It has to be kept secret from us to be run out of City Hall. We can just spend the summer attending festivals

It is clear because here is how the Mayor was quoted:

  • “we want to engage the Province to arrive on a solution the City can be proud of," Francis said.

    The Mayor said simply presenting the Provincial government with one option -- a tunnel -- was not the best course of action because a whole range of solutions are needed, including reducing the number of rail tracks in the City and creating a transportation hub at the airport. "

Setting up section 203 matters is a serious matter.

I want to read to you what the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has to say about section 203 companies and to demonstrate that this is a very serious matter that requires a full consultation:

  • “the Province has no interest in seeing municipalities create taxpayer-subsidized corporations to compete in areas that are well served now by private sector companies, nor to forestall the private-sector playing its traditional role in providing goods and services to ontario’s communities, their residents and their businesses. Municipalities would focus their attention on core service areas.”

Administration needs to be sent back to the drawing board to come back with a proper business case study that tells us what is really going to take place at the airport before any steps are taken!

Deferral Request---Do You See The Pattern

If you have read all 3 speeches, you may see a pattern. That is what scares me a lot and what I will be BLOGGING about over the next little while.

I am very troubled, not because Council did not support my point of view, but because I received clear proof, to me anyway, that our City is in sad shape.


I want to read to you what the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has to say about section 203 companies and to demonstrate that this is a very serious matter that requires a full consultation with all of the Councillors present.
  • “the Province has no interest in seeing municipalities create taxpayer-subsidized corporations to compete in areas that are well served now by private sector companies, nor to forestall the private-sector playing its traditional role in providing goods and services to Ontario’s communities, their residents and their businesses. Municipalities would focus their attention on core service areas.”

1) It is obvious that what is being discussed tonight is merely the first step in a multi-step process. We should know everything that is going on and not just be told about incorporation. Once a company is incorporated, the whole file can be taken out of the control of Council and taxpayers. “confidentiality” and the barrier of a limited liability company with its own board of directors are wonderful tools for secrecy

2) You have disenfranchised the taxpayers of Ward 3 by going forward tonight.

One Councillor wrote to me and said he would not consent to a deferral because the two Councillors did not ask for one. Well I am a Ward 3 homeowner asking for one! Don’t taxpayers count?

It is shameful that this matter is proceeding tonight, something so important for Windsor, in the absence of 2 senior Councillors both of whom are from Ward 3. As a home owner from that Ward, I want my Councillors there to protect my issues and let me know what their position is .

The Mayor knew they were not going to be in attendance since Councillor Jones advised at the previous Council meeting that several Councillors were going to be away and should not have scheduled the session while they were absent. It can wait for another week or more appropriately be scheduled as a “separate” public consultation where there is time to have a true consultation with the public

3) [airport lands] the City bids and tenders website says that the RFP for airport lands closes June 28 so this issue is premature

4) It appears from the reports that the only notice given respecting the public consultation was placement on the City's website. That can hardly meet the objective of the Municipal Act for a proper consultation. Proper notice must be given to the public similar to other notices that the City is required to give out for important matters. At least 30 days notice should have been given including several public advertisements in major media

5) The business case studies should be redone and be done properly. They should include as a minimum as the Pevious regulation 168/03 stated:

  • A). The projected financial consequences for the next five years, including the advantages and disadvantages and risks for the municipality, and a comparison with other options considered for providing the same service or facility.
  • B). The scope of the business to be carried on by the corporation
  • C). The governance structure to be set out including the composition, role and term of office of the directors of the corporation.
  • D). The accountability requirements of the corporation to the municipality and its taxpayers, including,
    I. A policy on access by the public to the records and meetings of the corporation,
    Ii. A summary of any proposed or existing agreements between the municipality and the corporation or between the corporation and its shareholders,
    Iii. A summary of all financial reporting or audit requirements,
    Iv. A statement of the financial risk to the municipality related to the corporation and its activities, and
    V. A statement of any tax implications to the municipality, including the expected tax treatment of the corporation.
  • E). The original value, as estimated by the treasurer of the municipality, of any investment by the municipality in the corporation, including any assets to be transferred to the corporation and services or other benefits to be provided to it, and the fair market value of and explanation for any proposed program for assistance to be provided to the corporation
  • F). The value of any proposed investment in the corporation by a private person.
  • G). The original value, as estimated by the treasurer of the municipality, of any funds contributed by the province of ontario towards the purchase or improvement of any assets intended to be transferred to the corporation and evidence that section 21 has been complied with.
  • H). The winding-up provisions of the corporation, including provisions respecting voluntary dissolution, bankruptcy, involuntary wind-up and the disposition of assets.
  • I). The authority of the municipality to provide any facility or program that is to be provided by the corporation for the municipality.
  • J). The corporation’s proposed or existing policy on setting fees and charges and an explanation of how the municipality will protect the interest of taxpayers and ensure that value for money is being obtained in delivering services.
  • K). How the municipality intends to address any labour and employment issues that arise as a result of the proposed action by the municipality.
  • L). An asset management plan for any corporation that will receive municipal assets.
  • M). How the municipality will ensure that both itself and the corporation adhere to applicable performance standards for the delivery of services and comply with any other duty or obligation required of the municipality or corporation under any act, regulation or policy directive issued by the province or the federal government underBill C-3.
  • N). The public competition process used or to be used to select any investor in the corporation who is a private person.
  • O) the competitive position of the asset
  • P) the unique security risks of the Tunnel and how the City proposes to cure them

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Speech The Mayor Would Not Hear

Well this is the speech of mine that you did not hear at Council last night. I could not deliver all of it since the Mayor invoked the 5 minute Procedural By-law limit rule on me. I believe that he is incorrect in what he did since this was a "public consultation" under the Municipal Act and the Procedural By-law does not apply in my opinion.

He would not even answer my questions ...some consultation!

Oh and my friends on Council were so concerned that they would not grant me an extension of time. Guess they read it all on my BLOG before anyway.

Time for me to consider my legal options.

It has reached the point in this City that something has to be done to re-assert the power of citizens. Frankly, I was shocked at Council last night. Councillors have no guts. It was sprung on citizens on June 11, in the afternoon before the Council meeting, (although the report was prepared June 5) that only the Mayor, CAO and Treasurer would be on the Board of Directors of the new Companies that control the Tunnel assets and will be involved with Detroit. Not one single Councillor is seen as fit to be on the Board

Now the interesting part is that only a few months ago, Tunnel Commissioners were appointed and the Tunnel Plaza Improvements were held up to bring them up to speed supposedly. Now they are no longer needed at all. The Mayor and 2 people who report to him are in control. Quite an effective Board eh!

That to me is absolutely scary. While a few Councilors were disappointed about the fact that the Board was so small, not one did anything about it!

So what can be done...I got it...Perhaps I'll start up a Legal Fund to support actions on behalf of citizens. If that is proper to do in Canada, then you, dear reader, can send me a contribution so that you can protect your identity and your business interest. So many of my readers give me tips but are afraid to come forward since the are concerned about what might happen to them or their business. It's a very small City after all. Just ask the Construction Association during the East end arena debate! Now there could be an outlet.

This takes place in the US and let's see if it works here. As an example, whether you approve of the group or not, the ACLU exists to protect this balance:

  • "that the majority of the people governs, through democratically elected representatives; and that the power even of a democratic majority must be limited, to ensure individual rights."

ACLU is a

  • "nonprofit and nonpartisan and have grown from a roomful of civil liberties activists to an organization of more than 500,000 members and supporters. We handle nearly 6,000 court cases annually from our offices in almost every state.

    The ACLU is supported by annual dues and contributions from its members, plus grants from private foundations and individuals. We do not receive any government funding."

So with looking to start an online newspaper and now a nonprofit group to keep this City on an even keel, it may be a much more active "retirement" that I ever imagined. Perhaps I'll throw in starting a new political "civic" party too just to keep life interesting.

In the end though, dear reader, it depends on you and your family, friends and colleagues as to whether there is any point in doing any of these things. I cannot do it alone.

Here's my speech:

"I am not against doing a deal respecting the Detroit Windsor Tunnel. As far as I am concerned, it is a non-core asset of the City and there is no reason why taxpayers should not capitalize on its value and use the revenue generated for core functions of City government.

Heaven knows, with the problems this City has, we need the money but we need to do what we do properly, in the best interest of taxpayers.

What we are being asked to do today may seem to be very simple—setting up a few section 203 companies. Instead the truth is that we are doing is signing a blank cheque.

That is why I am opposed to Administration’s recommendation. We require a proper consultation respecting the entire transaction, with full, complete and true disclosure not piece-meal bits and pieces.

This report is a continuation of the secrecy at City Hall, to keep us in the dark as if all we are good for is to pay out taxes and remain silent.

We are being asked

  • To set up two section 203 municipal corporation
  • We are to transfer the Tunnel assets to the Canadian one at “fair market value”
  • Have the second one enter into an agreement with Detroit to operate the us side of the Tunnel
I want to read to you what the Ministry of Municipal Affairs has to say about section 203 companies and to demonstrate that this is a very serious matter that requires a full consultation:
  • “The Province has no interest in seeing municipalities create taxpayer-subsidized corporations to compete in areas that are well served now by private sector companies, nor to forestall the private-sector playing its traditional role in providing goods and services to ontario’s communities, their residents and their businesses. Municipalities would focus their attention on core service areas.”

In other words, is the City engaged in a “core service” area if it gets involved in running a border crossing? I don’t think so when we have obvious matters like roads and sewers that are in a mess. Neither Mayor Kilpatrick in Detroit or Mayor Daley in Chicago who leased his toll road for $1.8 billion thought that this is what a municipal government should do. Why is Windsor involved? The business case study does not tell us.

Whatever happened to the asset review committee that the City set up that was to look at matters such as this? Has the City ever decided what it should be involved or not involved in.

What troubles me greatly is that taxpayers are being treated as fools

We all know that this is the first step of a major transaction involving a $75m agreement with Detroit and then a phase 2 where we have to do something with the Tunnel assets to help pay for that deal. On the day the deal with Detroit closes we need US$75m!

Why can’t this Administration be honest with us? Why can’t they tell us the deal? Who is involved as partners? Is it Borealis and DRTP, Alinda, Macqaurie Bank, the Federal or Provincial governments, someone else? Are they ashamed of what comes next?

Transferring the assets of the Tunnel to a company takes the assets out of the control of Councillors and taxpayers. It is now the directors of the company that have control of the assets and there is absolutely no guarantee that the City will not sell out part of that company in a public-private partnership. And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

There is no corporate governance model in the business case study whatsoever. In fact, the Municipal Freedom of Information Act may not apply to it either.

We are told that assets will be transferred at “fair market value.” What does that mean? How much are we going to get? If the assets are sold or leased subsequently at a higher price it is the holding company that makes the profit not the City!

To take a case in point---what if it is determined that half a Tunnel is worth $20m but that a whole Tunnel is worth $75m. It is the company and not taxpayers who make the $55m profit!

The excuse given is that we need to transfer the assets for liability reasons. Then I have to ask why Administration has been so negligent for so many years. Until now, no one raised this issue. Only when there is a deal with Detroit did someone wake up

Here is the most disgusting line in the report.

  • “a separate report will be forthcoming to City Council containing an analysis of the transaction with the City of Detroit to acquire the operating rights of the US Tunnel.”
Why isn’t it presented now!

What an insult….sign here on the dotted line Council without knowing anything. Detroit Council did not put up with that. Why are we? It’s just like the East end arena…sign here and start spending money before we have a contract. What are we signing…who knows. All I know is that costs are higher, there are environmental issues and there are delays!

Administration will tell Council. Where, in camera? There is no commitment to tell the public anything.

Once Council approves what Administration says in this report and transfers the assets, the rights of taxpayers are gone!

Let me deal with the business case study. It is a joke. There is nothing of value in it whatsoever that deals with what this transaction is all about.

No financial details, no governance model, no accountability statement, no operating cost and profit details. I can think of least 15 items need to be discussed but are not

Let me ask some basic questions:
  • 1) How do we know that the valuation of the Detroit half for a 75 year deal that does not start for 13 years is $75m when the Bridge Co, . Only offered $20m for a 100 year deal in a bidding process. Who did the appraisal report and where is it?
  • 2) What is the value of the Tunnel. If we are to go on the basis of what we are paying Detroit…it should be worth around $150m. Yet our Mayor said our half alone was worth $2-300m in 2005? Do we want the same people to run the Tunnel who have cost us hundreds of millions of dollars in lost value and a decrease in dividends from $6.6m per year to virtually nothing.
  • 3) How are we going to pay the $75m—sublease the Tunnel, sell it, securitize the revenues, get federal or provincial loans or grants
  • 4) How does it make sense to be involved with an asset whose volume has decreased dramatically since 1999, which lost 10% of volume last year after a toll increase and which has lost another 15% of its traffic this year
  • 5) How will the Tunnel compete against the enhanced Ambassador Bridge, the new DRTP rail tunnel if built, a DRIC bridge when it is losing market share to the bridge only now
  • 6) If the deal does not start for 13 years and if we have to pay interest on the $75m, then the cost adds about $1 per vehicle for the toll. We saw what happened when there is a 75 cent difference between the bridge and Tunnel….what happens when there will be $1.75 difference?

There are serious issues that need to be fully discussed.

I am glad that Mr. Sutts is here since he will have to sign a letter of opinion that Windsor has the legal power to enter into and complete the deal with Detroit. I am not sure how he can do that at this time.

I have two areas of concern in that regard.

First, municipalities are created by the Province of Ontario to be responsible and accountable governments with respect to matters within their jurisdiction. By-laws and resolutions of a municipality apply only within its boundaries.

How then can Windsor set up a company to carry on business in Detroit which is outside of Windsor and outside of Canada. A regulation cannot change this section of the Act. If I am correct, then the Municipal Act itself has to be changed or a private members bill has to be introduced to allow this but that cannot be done until Queen’s Park comes back in session which may or may not be before the Provincial election in October.

Second and more fundamental, transfer of ownership of assets and change in operation of the Tunnel requires approval under the newly passed Bill C-3. Unfortunately, the Federal government does not have any guidelines respecting what is needed in an application yet as far as i know and the regulations are supposed to take a year or two to draft. So are we in a state of limbo?

I think it shameful that this matter has received virtually no public notice whatsoever other than a listing on the City’s webpage. How many people search that out. If there has been an ad in the media, I do not recall it. I do not even recall a media story on this subject.

30 days notice of the public meeting should be required with an advertisement like any other serious City matter, not the few days that Administration gave us.

I can say a lot more than this but I will stop here. We need a proper business case to be prepared. We need a City government that works with its citizens and does not try to hide important matters from us.

Who knows what we may be able to achieve for the good of Windsor if trust is established! While I support a Tunnel deal, I cannot support what has been presented to us. "

Monday, June 11, 2007


I had to get this BLOG out early since I am going to be speaking at Council tonight and have to prepare my speeches.

Let's help out Councillors tonight for their deliberations.

Let's give them some reasons to demolish the Ambassador Bridge homes on Indian Road and to find alternative sources of revenue for the Buskers. Your additions are welcome

  1. Pretend they are not in Sandwich and treat it like the University Grad House

  2. They will become "rat-infested"

  3. There is no a restraining order on them preventing them from being torn down

  4. Don't want fires and countless vandalism

  5. Have "Coun. Caroline Postma [hope] to turn up the heat on the federal government over the [homes], which [have] sat empty" and say Bill C-3 applies

  6. The Bridge Co. should have waited until "[the] house has remained boarded up, with graffiti and chest-high weeds growing front and back as a marker to passing time."

  7. Do a few clean-ups and then ask "how long do we have to suffer?"

  8. Call it a it a public safety issue and say "You should have the right to tear down a building if it's a danger to public safety."

  9. Don't ask Brian Masse ot be invovled since he is somewhat ineffective at getting things done to help Windsor

  10. Have the buildings "look bombed out, hurting [neighbouring] property values."

  11. Put up a "For Sale" sign "next to an abandoned house"

  12. Appear at Council in Hazmat gear

Darn, you caught me. Those are the reasons given in the Star why the Bikers' house in Sandwich, which is also caught by the Interim By-law re demolitions, should be torn down. Gee I would have thought it should be kept up as a tourist site because of its historical significance and yet Councillors seem to want it torn down.


Here are some ways to generate revenues since US$80,000 is going for the DETROIT Grand Prix:

  1. Why not cancel the Mayor's ROTCC Festival Extravaganza and use that money for Buskers too.

  2. OR have Roger Penske sponsor Buskers

  3. OR let Ken Brandes do what he was supposed to do

  4. OR make the arena less "premier"

  5. OR use part of the $15M to be used to move the Engineering Building downtown

  6. OR see if Kwame will take a few dollars less for the Tunnel

  7. OR don't have Sutts' crew working so hard to do the deal to reduce fees

  8. OR pay for fewer of Schwartz's people

  9. OR increase the Keg parking to 10 cents a day

  10. OR have fewer lamb chops at the Council meal

  11. OR do a deal on the Capitol and save the legal fees

  12. OR have Gord Orr pay for it as he did Wrestlemania with the CAO approval system

Major Illness Sweeping Windsor

Forget about that fellow who may or may not have TB. His illness is nothing compared with what is happening in Windsor.

The Center for Disease Control should have a team of people in Windsor investigating this. I think that Vitamin D tablets should be given out to every man, woman and child in Windsor to contain the adverse effects until we know what is going on and what the cure is.

I think I know the cause of the illness: the "unscrubbed" fumes being spewed out of the "heritage" Tunnel Ventilation building downtown and going over City Hall. After all, the Mayor and Councillors are there so many hours per day.

Yes, dear reader, the Mayor has had a relapse of the dreaded CITYHALLITIS better known as AMNESIA. Others are being infected badly as well as the disease spreads rapidly.

Councillor Gignac has been struck recently by it. She was so pleased that the reconstruction project of the Tunnel Ventilation building came in $2M under budget (actually it was $5M OVER the original budget but who is quibbling). I think the Councillor should be aghast that the $2M savings must have been made at the expense of not putting in air scrubbers to remove the pollutants----of course there is no such technology available. But that would hurt the Mayor and Council's argument that we need a multi-billion dollar Tunnel along the DRIC road. It would be a waste of money but again, why quibble.

You see in Dave Battagello's Star story on Saturday on the request by the Bridge Co. to demolish homes on Indian Road and to make the area environmentally improved in an alliance with the Green Corridor people from the University, the Mayor said:
  • "The whole purpose of the interim control bylaw is to allow for proper development of a plan for community growth," Mayor Eddie Francis said recently. "This (saving houses) is the next step. It allows us time for proper community development."
See how bad the disease is. Even Battagello is suffering from it and he just recently started covering City hall. On the same Agenda as the Bridge Co. request on Monday night, they both forgot to mention that Council will ask the Federal Government to tear down the Outlaws home in Sandwich, a few blocks away because it is a saftey hazard and public nuisanc.

So in one case they want a home demolished and in another they do NOT want homes demolished. Not only is the Bridge Co. the City's "enemy" and competitor, they are treated worse than a motorcycle group! Whew....what a reputation.

But I have to tell you that it is even worse than that. The Mayor totally forgot what he and Councillor Jones siad weeks before when the By-law was imposed about its purpose:
  • "Mayor Eddie Francis and Ward 2 Coun. Ron Jones said the interim control bylaw was passed to maintain historically significant structures -- and there are plenty of them in the area -- while the community improvement plan is developed."
Come on Mayor, which came first--saving homes or proper development of a it a chicken and egg issue for him for which there is no answer?

Oh my goodness, the Mayor forgot something. He forgot that this is not a reason for passing this by-law. He already has another project in place about heritage which is to do that. He forgot that this could be viewed by the court as using the powers to freeze as "bad faith."

Are the homes really that important? I think some people forgot what they said in the recent past. In fact, just before the interim by-law was passed, back in October, 2006 Councillor Jones said in a Star story
  • "While the bridge company can bulldoze its own properties, city infrastructure such as roads, sewers and other utilities are off-limits, Jones said."

    Jones also said ""We have (city inspectors) going in there on a regular basis to ensure our concerns are met. I have talked with one inspector who said they have not touched our infrastructure and (are) staying on their property."

He did not have a concern about "heritage" when he talked about the bulldozing. I guess he forgot that.

He also said in that story:

  • "They are buying up properties and letting them deteriorate. Unfortunately, the way some of the neighbourhood is starting to look, it seems like they are getting somewhere."

It was said in answer to the comment that

  • "The bridge company has been bulldozing its properties, levelling them off."

I guess the Councillor forgot that this demolition did not bother him either at the time. I'd bring up the Grad House just outside of Sandwich and its demolition but I won't.

We are not so dumb as the Mayor and Council thinks. We know what this is really all about. Stop the Bridge Co. the competitor of the City. If anyone really cared about Sandwich, the City Report on Sandwich would not have said:

  • "Since the Neighbourhood Improvement Plan of 1979, community improvement in Sandwich has lost momentum and the area has experienced a period of declining investment."

We read also that

  • "Windsor City Council also reaffirmed its commitment to its strong tradition of wide-ranging public consultation forthe Olde Sandwich Towne Community Planning Study by requesting that a focus group consisting of a diverse group of community stakeholders be selected to serve as resource to the (city) staff.”

Yet Dave's story tells us:

  • "Second, the (bridge company), as a major landowner in the study area, was not consulted in the preparation of the study."

Now I had a point in telling you all of this but I forgot what it was.

George Sofos' Problems

Here is a job for "GAZELLE FEEDER" the Windsor-Essex superhero who is to search out for small businesses and help them grow larger.

Help out George Sofos so he can hire a whole bunch of people in the West End to help that area in Ward 2 prosper! I know it is not Sandwich but George can make sandwiches so that should be enough to get the Ward 2 Councillors onside!

I had heard about George for some time and finally met him a few weeks ago when one of my readers told me that I should see him. So it was interesting to read the story in Saturday's Star about him.

Now I do not like being a conspiracy theorist---all right I do---but there were some interesting facts that came out of Dave Hall's story in the Star and some that were not there that I thought were of interest. Frankly, based on what I know and what Councillor Postma, his Ward Councillor, says, if she does her job, George should be in business soon. She claims that "he has support there [at Council]." It would be very easy for her to take charge on Monday night to accomplish this task.

Imagine, though, having support at Council and not being able to get into business. If he has "seven or eight city councillors...[who] have said they support his plans," then why is he still complaining about not having the proper licence? There must be a reason. Can you figure it out?
Consider this:
  • Don't you find it interesting that the matter is put on the agenda when one of George's biggest supporters, and whose absence was known, Councillor Halberstadt, is NOT going to be at Council.

  • In that story it said that "The liquor board hearing drew City Hall heavyweights, united in opposition to The Junction. Four Councillors attended, including Brian Masse, now an MP, and Eddie Francis, now the mayor."

  • The story stated "Sofos attempted to acquire a liquor licence for the business a number of years ago but a neighbourhood protest supported by then-city councillor Brian Masse prevented him from getting one." And you remember where Brian's house is located in relation to the Junction don't you.

  • Councillor Postma's comments are interesting: "Coun. Caroline Postma, whose ward includes the Junction property, said "if George applies for an amended use as a public hall and gets it in front of council, I'm sure he'd be successful because he has support there." Why doesn't she help him "get it in front of Council." Isn't that her job to help him get it there?

  • The story said "Escape Cafe on Riverside Drive recently opened and offers music and dancing." According to the Councillor also said: "Postma said Escape was allowed to open because it was grandfathered as a result of its prior use."

  • The Councillor should know that George has submitted a letter stating why his property should be "grandfathered" as well and nothing has happened with that at Council.

  • If the Councillor wants to do her job, I would suggest that on Monday night she introduce a Notice of Motion to be heard when Councillors Halberstadt and Valentinis are back "grandfathering" the Junction. That would allow him to get his Entertainment Licence like the Escape Cafe to permit music and dancing! Actually, if she has the votes she should have the Motion passed on Monday night by asking George to supply an affidavit re his past activities at the Junction. If she dared do that, I'd love to watch how the Mayor would invoke the Procedural By-law to deny her the right to do so. (All she has to ask is for the rules to be waived to get around that issue)

That Motion when passed would be simple, clean and effective. It should instruct Adminsitration what to do too so they can't stall it off and give a deadline.

But George may have a bargaining chip after all. Here's an interesting comment I found when searching the Minutes that George made at Council:

  • George Sofos, and Christina Sofos-Giamos, appear before Council to state support for the City Centre West Urban Village Development Incentives, but asks that those who had lands in that area expropriated, be allowed the opportunity to repurchase those lands.

Hmmmm it looks like George had lands in the Urban Village area where Eddie wants the University's Engineering Complex to go. His lands were expropriated for the Western Super anchor and not for a University building. What rights does he have now, if any?

I think George ought to go and talk to his lawyer about that soon! He might have some fun now too because in effect the City has said that the lands are no longer required for its purposes. It's now required for the University's purposes.

Life is made so complicated in Windsor that even the simplest matters cannot be dealt with expeditiously! I guess it's all due to inexperience and fear of failure.

Festivals Galore

We better get those PR flacks working soon. Norma Coleman can't do everything. Windsor's flyer for the upcoming meeting as shown above is a disgrace. It's not on the website yet although the meeting is coming up shortly. We need to see Eddie's smiling face for heaven's sake! Where's the branding after all!

It's not Festival Epicure or the Buskers Festival that tens of thousands of people attend including families. It's "the next great gathering of ROTCC in June in Windsor, Canada and the host is the Honorable Eddie Francis, the Mayor." It is Eddie's Latest Festival Extravaganza!


  • "The River of Trade Corridor Coalition (ROTCC), created in the fall of 2004, spans nine states as it travels along a 3,300 mile-long corridor. The Coalition unites cities, counties, transportation authorities, freight movement entities, and businesses along its route. The Corridor moves from the western gateway of Asian trade at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, traveling east then northeast across California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Michian and into Windsor, Ontario, the Eastern gateway to the United States' largest trading partner, Canada."

What a grand festival it will be. Perfect for families I am sure. Surprisingly, we have not heard to much about it. If only we had those $250K PR flacks to brand Eddie errrrrr Windsor.

I wonder how much if anything that the City is paying for this event. In the session at Los Angeles in March, "All meals and touring costs after arrival will be paid for by your hosts. Meeting attendees will pay for air travel, shuttle to and from the hotel, and hotel accommodations." Was this set out in our Operating Budget?

It has to cost many thousands of taxpayer dollars I am sure and for what benefit. I wonder if Councillors are attending or even know about it.

Oh and speaking about the Buskers Festival...something does not add up. Do you remember the reason given why it was cancelled:

  • "We found ourselves in a position where we did not have everything in place that we needed to, at a critical point," said Jan Wilson, director of recreation...

    According to Wilson, the resources in the department that took care of those things in past years were occupied this year by other major projects -- particularly the new Windsor hockey arena.

    "We found ourselves stretched a little thin," Wilson said."

Yet there is a CAO approval that says that the City was to enter into an Agreement with Windfest Productions (Kenneth Brandes) to produce the Festival. What gives? If he was to do the work then what did the City have to do? How could they be stretched thin?

Ken Brandes is an interesting guy. Remember he puts on Festival Epicure. It brings 30,000 people downtown. Hmmmm Something strange is going on. Back in March, Jan said

  • "Regarding Brandes's comment about lack of support [for Festival Epicure], Wilson said she doesn't think it was directed at the city, citing an e-mail of gratitude Brandes sent Windsor Parks and Recreation for the department's help over the years...

    "We support festivals as much as we can, through helping to facilitate their needs as far as municipal services.

    "We can't provide financial support, but we do provide support in ensuring things are put in place that are needed."

    Wilson said the city-run Windsor International Busker Festival isn't affected by the announcement."

Not a word then about a problem with the Buskers. What happened so quickly afterwards to change things especially since the arena is delayed!

I must admit that the Mayor did not seem too concerned about Festival Epicure dying:

  • "Although Windsor's popular Festival Epicure may be cancelled this summer due to lack of sponsorship, some residents and local businesses have expressed an interest in creating a "new and different" food festival, Mayor Eddie Francis said Sunday.

    Francis said he wasn't overly concerned that the spirit of the successful food and drink festival won't be revived in some other form since Epicure's executive producer, Ken Brandes, announced Friday the withdrawal of the event's title sponsor, the Windsor- Detroit Tunnel.

    "I've received several indications from people who are interested in stepping in to do some type of similar festival," Francis said.

    But Brandes said the mayor should direct those offers of help to him so that he can revive Festival Epicure, which has been drawing thousands of visitors over the past 12 years.

    "If Mayor Francis is getting calls from people interested, with resources to run a festival, I'd hope that he would direct them to me because all I need to run this festival is sponsors," he said.

    "I would think that, as the mayor of the city, he would want to see the cornerstone of the summer festivals keep going."

Why imagine if Ken lost both Festival Epicure and the Buskers Festival. Would Eddie's unknown "residents and local businesses" be asked to run both festivals the following year.

Now here's an interesting co-incidence too. The date of the approval for the Buskers under the CAO notice is April 3. On April 2, the City's "enemies" the Ambassador Bridge and DRTP united in "an improbable partnership to sponsor the [Festival Epicure] event" and presented a cheque in the amount of $35,000 to Ken. This was to replace the funds contributed by the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in the past.

Another interesting co-incidence....Festival Epicure was going to be cancelled in the last minute due to the "late withdrawal of its title sponsor." The Buskers was cancelled in the last minute too, several weeks before its start. Almost too late to save Epicure. Too late to save Buskers.

It's too much for me to figure out. Perhaps you, dear reader, can make sense of all of this.

Meanwhile I am going to see if I can register for that new ROTCC Festival. The price is right!

Agenda for The Eddie ROTCC Festival Extravaganza

We have trouble paying for the simplest things in Windsor because of Operating Budget issues but for bigwigs from around the US for Eddie errrrrrrrrr Windsor branding purposes, money is no object.

Take a look at what Windsor Taxpayers are going to be doing for ROTCC members. How much is all of this costing us:

I hope that Delegates eat well on Day 2 courtesy of us:

Surprise, surprise, guess whose Enhancement Project is being ignored although the delegates are being taken to see their bridge. Now the question is, which members of DRIC are putting on the presentation. I would bet it is Ontario rather than the Feds and if that is the case, don't tell me that Eddie didn't do a deal with Donna Cansfield.

Sorry folks, no tunnel for you from Highway 410 to the Ambassador Bridge. The Province cannot afford it. Anyway, as we learned from Eddie, he was only interested in up to 6 KM in the rich and vocal area of South Windsor. He did not care about Ward 2 except for an interim by-law there to stall off the Bridge Co. You remember the key concession:

"Our starting point is a tunnel."

Forget City money for Festival Epicure or the Buskers Festival. We have an Eddie extravaganza to pay for! Perhaps he could have held an event at the Junction to help George Sofos out!