Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, July 06, 2007

Shopping In The USA

I remember the parking lot at Pace on 14 Mile Road in Detroit. Do you?

I am sure that I can guess why I have not seen a similar story in the Windsor Star.

It could destroy our fragile retail economy what with the slow-down in US tourists coming here as well.

Canadians flex monetary muscle

Jump in value prompts more U.S. shopping

Times Herald

FORT GRATIOT — Thousands of Canadians, riding the tide of a strong Canadian dollar, motor across the Blue Water Bridge each week to spend their money at Blue Water Area shops and stores.

Some, like Jen Healy of Forest, Ontario, can’t believe their good luck. Finally, after decades in the shadow of the American dollar, conditions now favor the Canadian consumer.

The exchange rate is about 94 cents Canadian for every American dollar.

“Now, with the exchange rate so good, you tend to get bargains,” said Healy, 23.

Local businesses, especially those in Fort Gratiot’s retail sector, said they welcome this invasion with open arms. Officials at some stores, including Hobby Lobby in Fort Gratiot, said Canadian consumers make up nearly half their business.

While local business officials do not have statistics illustrating the Canadian impact on Blue Water Area businesses, they said the effect of the Canadian dollar has increased as exchange rates have crept toward equalization.

Michael Lawley, general manager of Tourism Sarnia Lambton, said Canadians spent $10.2 billion in the United States in 2006. Michigan was one of the major recipients, he said, ranking as the fourth most-visited state.

“There is now a propensity for more Canadians to travel into the U.S. and into Michigan than any time in history, he said.

Vickie Ledsworth, president of the Greater Port Huron Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Fort Gratiot retail sector in particular benefits from Canadian traffic. Canadian customers call the chamber, she said, asking for specific items they can’t get in their home country.

While currency rates are ripe for St. Clair County businesses to cash in on Canadian shoppers, local officials fear passport regulations and the Blue Water Bridge expansion project could dampen the growth.

“We need to keep that flow of commerce coming over the bridge going as conveniently as we can,” Ledsworth said.

Better variety
Shannon McHugh and her son, Desmond, of Ingersoll, Ontario, spent Sunday shopping in Fort Gratiot. She said the exchange rate, which once had been as low as 70 cents Canadian to every $1 U.S., has them visiting the Port Huron area monthly.

“When the rates started to change we definitely increased the frequency of our visits,” she said.

Although Ingersoll is roughly the same distance from metropolitan Toronto as it is from Michigan, McHugh’s children, including 11-year-old Desmond, like driving to the United States.

“It’s fun,” McHugh said. “It’s a different country and they look at it as an adventure.”

Desmond likes to check out the electronics aisles of Meijer and Target stores. His other favorite stores include American Eagle.

The family will continue shopping at Fort Gratiot businesses, McHugh said, especially if the exchange rate stays in their favor.
Curtis Sprinkle, store manager at Hobby Lobby in Fort Gratiot, says the 24th Avenue store is the only in its chain that advertises in two countries. He estimates Canadians, always a strong customer base, have been frequenting his business more and probably account for 55% to 60% of his customers.

“I think overall in the entire area you’ll see the weekend shopper coming over here more (because of the exchange rate),” he said. “They’ll frequent more often and they’ll probably come over more during the week so they don’t have to deal with the lines at the bridge.”

A strong Canadian dollar going head-to-head with a weakening American dollar means Canadian businesses have a harder time convincing their countrymen to keep their money inside Canada.

Canadian officials said American visits to Canada have been dropping in recent years. In 2006, Lawley said 1.2 million Americans visited Canada. That was 10% lower than 2005, which had already dropped another 10% from 2004.

“It represents a huge hit for us,” he said. “It’s a big customer base.”

Bridge has impact
Port Huron business officials are excited about the influx of Canadian money, but worry its effects might be tempered by the Blue Water Bridge plaza expansion and more restrictive passport rules.

Lawley, Ledsworth and other area officials have been working together to try to encourage commerce across the Blue Water Bridge. They worry regulations that will require all Canadian and American travelers to have a passport to travel by land or sea between the two countries could have a negative impact on the region’s economy.

U.S. Department of State officials announced this year the new regulations could go into effect as early as January.
“It restricts Canadians and Americans from freely traveling across the border, purely because they don’t have passports,” Lawley said.

Passports aren’t the only things businesses worry about. The Blue Water Bridge plaza expansion worries Sprinkle, who estimates the vast majority of his Canadian customers already have passports.

“What I am worried about is the bridge improvement and expansion that’s going to go on in a few years,” he said. “I think all of Port Huron would be worried about that.”

Bridge traffic is the determining factor for Healy, who will turn around and go home if she sees too much traffic on the Blue Water Bridge. She said the impending plaza expansion project, which could take years to complete, would be another reason to stay home — at least for a while.

“If they’re doing construction I’ll probably go over less,” she said. “But once it’s done I’ll probably go over more if the lines move faster.”

Interesting Thoughts

Just before the weekend, I had these thoughts that you might find interesting:


Who will be the big COGECO mayoral star after the next election? Council on Monday night is drama and theatre after all not substance. It is televised and watched by more people than one would think. One needs to have a TV personality these days too to be successful.

When the Mayor is away whether it is for a few minutes while he has a break or if he is away because his wife had a baby or he has to fly off somewhere to meet some very important person, the Mayor is replaced by an Acting Mayor.

My understanding is that there is a schedule that determines who will be the Acting Mayor at any given Council meeting.

Now since Eddie is not going to run for Mayor again, we have to start looking at Councillors as potential candidates for Mayor. One thing we should consider is how they run Council meetings and how they look on TV. So let me give you a short impression of several of the Councillors so far as they became: YOUR ACTING WORSHIP.

Councillor Halberstadt did not do very well for someone who has been on Council for so long. He seemed very disorganized as he worked his way through the agenda. Needs more practice so if Eddie stays away more, he should improve.

As for the former CBC TV Star, Councillor Hadfield, he seemed very relaxed in the Chair but then again he is used to reading scripts so he would have little trouble with what he was required to say. He ought to stop with his little jokes since after awhile they became tiresome.

The Dean of Council, Councillor Valentinis, came in somewhere between the other two. He almost lost control of his meeting but regained it during some of the hot and heavy questioning during the Junction debate. He also saved Brian Masse from some unflattering comments. Not as firm as he could have been but he is such a nice guy that it would be hard for him to be that tough.

Stay tuned for more Mayoral candidate reviews


Poor Mark Galvin. He got fingered and became the new Executive Director, Windsor Tunnel Commission on an interim basis. What a strange title.

I assume he got the job because he was involved in the Tunnel Plaza Improvement project. Whatever happened to that project by the way after notice of an open house was pulled in the last minute months ago under very strange circumstances.

He has been in the job for about a month. I have no idea what his job description is but for his sake I hope it does NOT include getting traffic back up.

For the upteenth month in a row since I started looking at numbers, Tunnel traffic numbers compared with last year are DOWN again.

Total traffic volumes are down over 400,000 vehicles, most of them cars obviously, or about 15% I have heard.

Commercial buses which I assume include tour buses are down compared with last June so the Casino must be sharing the pain of decreased tourism.

So Eddie wanted $US75M for a declining asset. No wonder the Feds backed off. Thank goodness that Mark is around and can take the blame if the Tunnel turns out not to be worth that amount now. It cannot be Eddie's fault can it!


I wonder who Gord's inside source is. Not only did he/she make Gord's column, he/she made the Star Editorial pages as well:

  • "According to informed sources who spoke to The Star's Gord Henderson,"

Now it is tough enough trying to scrounge information from inside moles but to have to compete with the Star for publicity is unfair tactics. I can only offer recognition in my BLOG...they get all of Windsor when they spill their guts with Gord.


An interesting story but a troubling one from the Financial Post:

  • "But this year, whether intended or not, the discount programs may have another target: Attracting the attention of what appears to be a growing number of Canadians who believe they can get a better deal on a vehicle in the United States. A typical vehicle costs $5,842, or 17%, more in Canada than in the United States, according to an analysis done last year by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants. Ford's Escape Limited, a mainstay in the compact-SUV segment, costs 21% more here, DesRosiers found.

    "It's much cheaper to buy vehicles in the States than it is in Canada," said Alex Rosten, an analyst at auto research firm

    Sales and service agreements between dealers and automakers in North America prevent dealers from knowingly selling a vehicle for export purposes. However, third parties have stepped in as intermediaries to facilitate such transactions. Individuals are free to buy in the United States and drive the vehicle home, paying the appropriate Canadian taxes and duty. Mr. Nay said the procedure is easier than many people realize."

Don't you just hate it when you come up with a great idea and then someone takes it, passes it off as their own and gets the credit for it.

Now you know how the Bridge Co. feels.

Years ago, they engineered the City's WALTS Road proposal at the request of then Transport Minister David Collenette at an amount of under $300M, co-incidentally the BIF amount. That proposal became the basis of both the Schwartz route and the DRIC Road but rarely does the Mayor mention that.

Dan Stamper admitted recently that they never should have gone into the road proposal mode since all it gave them was heart-ache. Whatever they proposed would make someone mad at them as DRIC and the City have found out. The Bridge Co. learned the hard way that it is GOVERNMENTS' job to design and build roads to their bridge and theirs to make the border crossing work. No wonder that Eddie stalls and demands the impossible. In this way he does not make a decision and forces the Senior Levels to impose one.

Accordingly, it is NOT Eddie's fault if someone gets mad and he cannot be criticized by anyone. His tactic is to deliberately force the Senior Levels to walk away from Windsor and take their cash with them or to decide what to do. He can then mouth off with no responsibility. That's called Francis-style leadership, or rather lack thereof.

Of course, we can see how much Governments have accomplished on building the BIF road....5 years of nothing so that the $300M BIF funds program is almost over and the money is gone along with the thousands of jobs.

Now enough time has gone by that either DRIC “thinks” that a Parkway and an enhanced one to boot were their ideas or that everyone will forget who suggested it in the first place.

No credit for the Bridge Co. that they were RIGHT.


Let's see, Windsor has its regular police force. Then we have health enforcement officers who go after purveyors of possibly contaminated egg salad sandwiches and the smoking police who ensure that outdoor patios comply with the no smoking rules.

It looks like we also have now teen dance by-law enforcement officers who now work overtime on Friday nights scaring off teens who might want to go to the Junction:

  • "Sibley said bylaw enforcement officials visited the site last Friday, and she was surprised to learn of tonight's event.

    "It means we'll probably need to go back out there and see what's going on."

    Sibley said potential penalties for The Junction's owners include fines up to $5,000."

Now considering that the majority of Council is sympathetic to George's plight since the Entertainment Lounge by-law is flawed, don't you think that Ms Sibley could send her troops elsewhere while the situation is worked out or is this how the City plans to get more money in its coffers by collecting fines?

Heck, we have homeowners we can charge if they do not clean up other people's trash in their alleys!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Windsor Gets a "P"arkway

Whew, from all of the talk and scare stories, I thought that DRIC was going to propose a monster, at-grade, multi-lane, border vehicle expressway that was going to cut a swath of land of millions of acres through Windsor destroying thousands of homes and businesses, displacing tens of thousands of residents and putting the health of all of our children at risk.

Instead we are getting a parkway. Not just a parkway mind you but a capital "P" Parkway. And not just a "Parkway" but an enhanced Parkway. Check out Page D4 in today's Star and the DRIC advertisement!

That has caused the ground to rumble in Michigan!

Rumour has it that the trade mark and copyright lawyers of the Bridge Co. have been contacted to provide an opinion about starting immediately an infringment action against DRIC. One of the best firms for that in Canada is Gowlings. The Bridge Co. might have used them since Gowlings acted for them but for the Estrin lawsuit that is under appeal in the US.

The Bridge Co. has to be fuming. Not only has DRIC maligned what their proposal is, not only is DRIC being used to try to force the Bridge Co. to sell out cheaply but now DRIC has taken the key words that the Bridge Co. has used.

You know about their Enhancement Project by now (over 12,500 hits and rising) but the parkway is what the road to the bridge was called years ago. (The news stories I saw did not use the capital "P" about the road so that must be a DRIC "enhancement" too!). I think I may know who may have told the DRIC about the "parkway" word but not the background.

Wait a minute. Perhaps this is a signal that the Bridge Co. has won. DRIC taking their language. Obviously the Star must have known that the DRIC ad was coming to reserve space for it . Does that explain the vicious anti-Eddie Editorial the other day? Gord Henderson had his chance to take a cheap shot at the Bridge Co. today over security in his column talking about Comartin and the dirty bomb but chose not to do so. Does the Star want to be on the winning side finally?

Naaaaaaaaaaaaaw..wishful thinking on my part. But the ad does signify that DRIC and all of the Governments are in disarry:
  1. Transport Canada must be fuming. They pay for half of the ad but cannot even get a mention in the "contact" section. It must be a "Provincial ad" for Provincial purposes
  2. It's buried in the Sports pages, and not well set out either, but it's out there so DRIC can claim the public was advised
  3. It's over a month before the meeting and no location has been set which means the ad was hurriedly placed
  4. Why was the ad placed so far in advance too or had the space been reserved for a July meeting that was cancelled to save Sandra from embarrassment
  5. More taxpayer money needs to be wasted for another ad to set out the location
  6. Transport Minister Cannon has just met with the Michigan Governor and a meeting now will only be held in August. The Republicans are anti-DRIC.
  7. Wasn't the US meeting held in early June and weren't the US and Canada to act together
  8. Sandra's nomination meeting has not been held yet
  9. Didn't the Star suggest the other day that the meeting would be held in October
  10. The design of the enhanced Parkway is quite descriptive...why it sounds so Schwartz-like
  11. Nothing final will be determined before the Ontario election so Dwight and Sandra are safe and the Star Editors were told where to go when they said "With the provincial election slated for October, it is incumbent upon the DRIC to release its "solution" before voters go to the polls. The Liberal government has a responsibility to voters in this community to tell us before the election where it stands on the project that will define this community for generations to come. "
  12. DRIC is encouraging "advanced purchase requests" to buy property along the corridor to solidify where the DRIC road is going. That means the route is NOT going to be changed.

What interests me though is what must be going on behind the scenes. Let's speculate.

Clearly the Feds and Province are feuding and they have been for a very long time. My view is that Windsor is their "test-case" for a number of other matters. Neither of them would dare fight in public, as an example, over the extended Toronto subway since it could mean political suicide for them in the upcoming elections. So they have an unstated "gentlemen's" agreement to use Windsor as the boxing ring and what is decided here will be their template for other infrastructure projects in Ontario.

The big fight is how much will Ontario get for these projects and will the Federal percentage be fixed at 50% of the cost as it was in the Federal Budget for the access road or go higher as Ontario is demanding.

We have an in-fight between Federal Government Departments to cope with now too. The Province has also decided that Transport Canada is irrelevant and that is why the Premier picked Michael Kergin as his border consultant. The former Ambassador has been using his friends in Foreign Affairs to support the Province's postion to the dismay of the Transport Canada bureaucrats. That explains why Minister Cannon went to try and regain turf..but why he did NOT speak with the Bridge Co. That is Ambassador Wilson's realm after Mackinac.

The Province thinks that THEY are in control of the timetable. Transport Canada has to be furious that the DRIC meeting was not held in June since it weakens their Minister's talks with Granholm to keep her onside on DRIC. He looks so powerless to even demand when the Canadian DRIC is to be held and it takes place 2 months after the DRIC US meeting. The Republicans must be very pleased too at the DRIC incompetence and will lay it right at the Governor's doorstep. She may have to kill DRIC now, as she did the Downriver crossings, to preserve her position given all of this waste of more taxpayer money in a time of fiscal restraint in Michigan!

Where is Eddie in all of these machinations. Clearly he is NOT just changing diapers while he is away supposedly from Council. I thought I saw his vehicle at his usual City Hall parking space when I was downtown earlier in the week but I may be wrong. It does not matter. He has his cell and Blackberry as he said on CKLW.

Clearly he is not talking any longer to the DRIC bureaucrats over the roadway. The Star stories with his negative comments about them make that very clear.

  • "The two sides have had numerous discussions but remain at loggerheads. It means a long-anticipated decision expected this month on a border truck tunnel is not going to happen any time soon."

He has to be talking to someone, probably the Province rather than to the Feds. See if you can find the word "federal" in the next quotes. Sure it is a roadway conversation but the Feds are financing at least half and have already set aside $400M so you would think Eddie would be involving them too if he cannot get his way with the Province:

  • "As the city and provincial officials on the Detroit River International Crossing team remain at loggerheads, it was announced Friday that a recommendation on the truck route, expected this month, is being delayed. The city several weeks ago rehired the former New York traffic engineer known as Gridlock Sam. He studied the planned border access route corridor between the end of Highway 401 and E.C. Row Expressway and offered possible tunnelling options to the province. But provincial officials on the DRIC team assigned to decide on the truck tunnel option are believed to be pushing for a cheaper at- grade highway solution."

Guess with whom he is speaking and at the political level? If you said our Provincial Cabinet Ministers you would be correct. But if I had to ask you which one of the two was the key Minister...well consider the following:

  • "Local MPPs Dwight Duncan (L -- Windsor-Tecumseh) and Sandra Pupatello (L -- Windsor West) said Friday it was unfair to characterize the province and city as being at odds over a truck tunnel solution for Windsor.

    DRIC will only provide recommendations and final decisions on the access route and tunnelling will be made by the provincial government and its cabinet, they said.

    "We are anxious as anybody (to see DRIC's recommendations)," Duncan said.

    "My expectation is to have the province and city be on the same page on this and we are working towards that."

    Duncan said he has seen the options Schwartz offered to DRIC.

    "I thought they were fascinating," he said. "They show his insight and talent. I look forward to speaking with him and hearing more of what the city has to say."

    DRIC was scheduled to release its suggestions on the access route and border crossing locations this month, then nail down final preferred alternatives in December. Construction has been slated to begin next year and end in 2013 with completion of a new bridge somewhere off Ojibway Parkway in Sandwich.

    Pupatello called the delay announcement a "good sign" since it means serious discussions are taking place.

    "I think we are being respectful of the city because we all want the best solution," she said. "In my discussions with the mayor I feel we are very much of the same mind on what we would like to see.

    "If anything we are trying to hurry this up. I want (the recommendations) out. We can't afford to slow this up."

Did you note that only Dwight had seen Schwartz's Plan! That's because Eddie is holding Sandra hostage to get what he wants on the border and the Engineering complex downtown and whatever else he can think of between now and October. Why else do you think a story was written in the Star about Councillor Ron Jones not running for the NDP against Sandra. It's a warning that Sandra is at risk and Eddie holds the key to her re-election.

Dwight's deep involvement brings back to mind the rumour about an Eddie-Dwight deal before the last Municipal election to ensure that Eddie remained Mayor and that Dwight would have no serious competition for his seat provincially. I suspect that the negotiation are between Eddie, Dwight and McGuinty's office over the border once Eddie could not get DRIC onside.

Eddie wants a deal with McGuinty before Schwartz comes out so there will not be the confusion and disappointment when Schwartz was shot down as there was last time. The Star wants Schwartz out first to pressure McGuinty to give Eddie what he wants to save Sandra. Frankly, we all know now most of what Schwartz has said and that it is practically dead so both of their strategies were wrong.

There was a better way to do it but again, why should I offer that to Eddie at no cost when he is throwing millions at consultants. Heck the CAO can give me a CAO Approval for my Consulting arrangement so Council need not be bothered.

In the end, Sandra does not matter to McGuinty, nor does Windsor. He will use her and us to get as much as he can from the Feds for Toronto, the H2O Highway, the Ontario Gateway (competing with the Asian Gateway in BC) etc.

There is a lot more involved in this file than an enhanced Parkway. Our City's future is at risk but the feuders do not care about us. We are nothing more than a small pawn in their big Chess game. Surprisingly, Windsor only really has one ally that we should have joined with years ago but ego got in the way. You can figure out who I think that is by now I am sure.

Medical School Math: 8 + 10 = 24

You have to take pity on Amanda Gellman, the University of Windsor's Vice-President of Advancement. She is the lady responsible for fundraising for the University.

By the way, the University holds in camera sessions in their Board meetings too. I noticed in their minutes on April 24, 2007 that there was a secret portion:
  • 2. Approval of the Agenda. Mr. Komsa proposed that the Medical Education Building and the Engineering Building be discussed in the In Camera portion of the meeting.
That's the same day that Gord Henderson wrote in the Star:
  • "It's far from a done deal, but the University of Windsor and city hall are in advanced discussions with the province on a proposal that could result in a $110-million state-of-the-art engineering campus with more than 1,500 students being located downtown."
Ms. Gellman was at that April 24 Board meeting and must have been close to a nervous breakdown by the time it was over I would bet.

You see she has major problems. First, she has to do the "normal" fundraising for the Unviersity.

Then she still has to find millions to help pay for the University stadium after the City refused to help out. As Ross Paul said in his 2006 address:
  • "When we launched the new stadium project, we had high expectations for corporate support, especially given its high visibility at the gateway to Canada. This has been much slower to materialize than we had hoped"
Now here's some info re the Medical School. Its costs have risen dramatically from $11M to $24M. According to the Star:
  • "The province is providing construction funding of $8 million and will pay annual operating costs. A local fundraising effort has begun. It is hoped that $10 million will come from private and corporate donors."
Here's my problem and Amanda's too I think. $10M plus $8M only equals $18M. Where does the other $6M come from? And if the story I heard is correct, the Province's money is paid over 20 years! Who pays the upfront cash now?

To add insult to injury, the operating costs for the school are not paid to our University directly but to Western Ontario since it is their school. Ours is just a satellite of theirs.
  • "The government will provide $297,000 to Western starting in 2006-07 to support the first year of the enrolment increase, growing to almost $2.8 million at full implementation."

Amanda must have fainted at the in camera session. She now has to find additional millions---how many no one knows or seems to care about---if the Engineering complex moves downtown!

For the medical school, I can see people giving money. For the stadium---she has to compete with the City's East End arena for naming rights. But for a city with an economy that is devastated and with so many people out of work....who will contribute a cent!

I attach her photo to this Blog. If you see this lady knocking at your door, you have now been warned about what she wants from you.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Bunch Of Short Comments

Here are a few thoughts I had while watching the rain fall this morning.


Who knows if what Marko Paranosic said about the City is right or wrong. However, the silence since last Saturday strongly suggests that what he said is true. Eddie's lack of comment is very telling. The "no comment" is remarkable since he is easily reachable. It tells me that he must be going apoplectic about the criticism but his handlers are keeping him out of public view since he has no answer. They are hoping it will all be forgotten in two weeks or so when he chooses to be visible again. In the meantime, I heard a rumour that Sam is back intown.

The Star Editorial will drive Eddie crazy. He may worry that his key supporter is deserting him. He will undoubtedly call his Chief of Staff to get her input inot this.

Marko should be congratulated for letting Windsorites know that we have a real problem that has to be dealt with immediately. And I do not mean the border file but the secrecy of this Mayor and Council.

The Star too should be congratulated too....Liplock Sam, now that was clever!

However, in case you think that the Star is backing away from supporting Eddie, they are not. The issue between the Star and Eddie has to be when to release Schwartz II. The Star obviously wants it done NOW for tactical reasons before the DRIC open house so DRIC will react to the City. Eddie must want it AFTER DRIC comes out with their prooposal to make them look like fools.

Of course the Star and Henderson feel that they are out there hanging in the wind since Eddie has undercut them on tunnelling so they need something to ooooo and ahhhhh over to make people forget their previous position.

Oh and thanks guys, I and other Windsorites did get the memo about Eddie never supporting a tunnel! I guess it never made its way to your building.

The Battagello story was not a big expose. It was nothing more than a set-up for the Star Editorial writers to get Eddie to reveal Schwartz II now. Marko was a mere tool to be used and then thrown away

I wish they and Eddie would keep their dirty linen secret!


Oh well, the FEDS have NOT yet given up on scare stories about the Ambassador Bridge.

I almost burst out laughing at Joe Comartin's comment. To be honest, I would have expected that out of Brian Masse's mouth not from Joe. I thought he had more sense. Anything to hit the Bridge Co. no matter how absurd:

  • "Comartin said the report will needlessly increase anxiety among some citizens. He also said the analysis indicates that the Ambassador Bridge should not be twinned, since bridges should be far enough away that if one went down, the other would remain standing."

Yet Joe said a few paragraphs before:

  • "It won't make any difference for a sophisticated terrorist group. But as we've seen this past weekend (with car bombs) in London and Glasgow, and as we saw in Toronto last year, there are more copycat, unsophisticated groups coming forward."

DUHH! Joe. The sophisticated terrorists hit multi-sites remember in different areas and the copy-cats did too. Do you really think it makes a difference locating a second bridge a block away or a mile away or hundreds of miles away, say the distance between London and Glasgow.

If there is a desire for security, do what the Bridge Co.'s Skip McMahon says:

  • "vehicles should be inspected before entering the bridge...

    "It's one of the reasons that we are such strong supporters of reverse customs inspection."

Fight for that already, somethign useful, and do your constituents a favour.


You must remember how Eddie kept using the Keg as a symbol of downtown revitalization.

Well Councillor Postma learned from the best. Do you know what she said was a symbol of the new propserity of Ward 2: a new Tim Hortons!

A double-double please and a bagel toasted with butter and jam.


Right after the vote on the Junction, I got a call from a politico who told me that he had decided that he was going to run in Ward 2 the next time around. He said he could not stomach it any more and he had to do so.

If he really does, he would be a formidable candidate to the incumbents if they decided to run again since he is a very good political organizer and has worked for other candidates in the City before.

Councillor Jones saying at Council that he is only "part-time" and not as smart as the University trained bureaucrats has pretty much admitted that he has no place on Council. Since they are so much smarter than he is it seems, he may as well just rubber-stamp everything they do. Council meetings can be so much shorter that way.


It appears that George Sofos received a ticket from by-law enforcement for his Teen dance last Friday! I wonder if the cost of the by-law officers being at his site are covered by the amount of the ticket.

Council supported George and said that the Entertainment Lounge By-law was flawed yet Administration sent out the enforcers to issue a ticket. Who is in charge at City if we did not know!

I am afraid for some in Administration and Council that the Junction matter will turn into something very ugly by the time it is done. Leon Paroian was serious about litigating and very eager for a fight, virtually challenging the City. He must know something that we do not know yet but will if this matter goes to trial! It could do some serious damage to some people if he is right. I can just imagine the fun he will have cross-examining certain people on their files. It gets tough under oath in front of a Judge.

The absurdity watching last night is seeing how Administration was thwarting the will of Council so much, throwing roadblocks in front of them. Then it was watching a helpless Council not knowing what to do in a situation that is clearly unfair and was never intended as was admitted by Councillor Valentinis.

It was frankly one of Councillor Gignac's better nights on Council. Her questioning made it clear that the Chief Building Officer did not have all of the facts re the Junctions' operations as a place where people danced in the past eg the Firemen's function amongst many more.

What she should have done or what the CAO should have encouraged her to do to solve the problem was to get the CBO to admit his decision re non-conforming use may have been incorrect and to get his agreement to reconsider it. However, no one on Admin helped her out on this.

There is no leadership on this Council and no one prepared to stand up and do the right thing. If they won't do it for George, then we know the border file will never be solved until the Feds impose their will or walk away

Oh my goodess, if Council directs Administration to deal with expediting matters with George, that means his file will jump the queue. Oh dear me. The unfairness of it all for Admin to work so much harder. Heck, it is only a taxpayer's business that is at risk. Procedure rules.
What happened at Council---a Motion to do a study to tell Council how to move forward quickly. In other words, no decision and another stall. a typical indecisive Council decision.

Poor George....he just wants to run a business, not turn into Windsor's version of Toronto's Paul Magder!


I happened to see a reference to this on a CAO approval matter and asked the Operating Budget Chair, Councillor Halberstadt, what it was.

His reply:

  • "The 2007 approved budget for the corporate consulting account is $250,000. The amount is a general placeholder for consulting costs not specifically budgeted separately by a department. Typically, the amounts flowing through the account are related to corporate initiatives and are therefore approved by the CAO ( your attached document of a delegation of authority matter is an example). In some cases council will direct expenditures to this account if a report is brought to council on a matter that requires council approval."

Suckered Once Again

You just have to know we are being played for fools again.

The proposed Capitol deal was so ridiculous that no one should ever have proposed it in the first place. Or was it?

There is a very simple solution that would end this mess yet no one in Administration nor our lawyer/Mayor, nor inside counsel or the City's outside counsel has offered it. They are so smart so why aren't they putting forward the proposal?

I am not going to offer it since I have already said what my terms are! Why should the Trustee and his lawyer and the City's lawyer be the only ones to get something out of this deal. My condition was quite modest I thought---name a significant public area in the Capitol after my parents if I helped save it! I won't hold my breath though waiting for the call from City Hall.

I liked the comments in the Star story and how the Councillors were so outraged. I wonder why the Mayor said nothing since he was reachable as he said on CKLW by means of the technology like cell phone or Blackberry. Of course the CAO made no Administrative recommendation although he expressed his opposition to the deal at Council. And yet he signed the Report too, the only one from Administration to do so. That makes me very suspicious.

Our Councillors are tough using language like absurd, a sham, "it gets even more ridiculous," "People who suggested this should be rather embarrassed," "The city would be obliged to run the theatre for that period [five years] and essentially be responsible for any operating losses."

Then the famous Columnist jumped and here is where the whole Plan was given away
  • "Contrary to the city's interest? That's a lawyer's twisted way of saying that citizens who really care about this city and its finances would have gone through the roof once the ugly details of this ultimatum became public knowledge.

    Thankfully, it never came to that. The offer, and that's a polite description, was kicked into the public arena and unanimously spiked by outraged councillors who labelled it a sham.

    The disturbing thing is that those who spawned it surely understood it was a political non-starter and would be rejected out of hand."
Exactly. Since when does a confidential memo from a lawyer get published? And the deal was so bad that it should never have seen the light of day but it did.

Councillors were outraged as they were supposed to be. Someone was counting on their knee-jerk reaction opposition and they got it!
  • "As Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac, who led the charge...put it: "This was nothing more than asking the citizens of Windsor to pay for an asset twice."
Actually that is NOT true since $1.1M of the funds were to flow back to the City through a five year lease. That fact was NOT disclosed by Gord but we read:
  • "Coun. Fulvio Valentinis, an educator and lawyer who dealt with bankruptcy cases while in practice, described the offer as "mind-boggling" [Oh my, if an educator/lawyer said it was bad it must be]
  • "The days of just cutting a blank cheque are done" [except for the East end arena and the Estrin/Schwartz fees]
  • "Meanwhile, a much-loved community facility will be silent, forlorn and increasingly irrelevant" [he forgot to use the word "jewel']
So what is going on? Why doesn't this smell like the Cleary deal all over again?

We have an asset that would cost the City supposedly a fortune to operate. Why if we could get it off our hands and have someone reputable run it, then it would be a plus for the City and we would save the jewel of a theatre for the Community.
Now I have heard that the University is very interested in the Capitol (as is St. Clair) and we know that Eddie wants the Engineering Complex downtown. What about a nice deal involving the Capitol and the Complex. Why wouldn't that be a no-brainer!

Frankly we are being set up again. This deal was presented to be shot down. Various other alternatives will now be suggested to justify what was wanted to be done in the first place:
Alternative I
  1. my idea will be used to end the bankruptcy of the Capitol and to allow the City to take it over
  2. the Capitol will be "saved" and given to the University
  3. we will justify the write-off of the $1.83M because of how much the Capitol would cost to run over 5 years (just like with the Cleary)
  4. we will hear about the Engineering and drama and music students who will come downtown using the funky bus terminal and spending money
  5. Eddie will make this whole idea his as the Councillors have served their purpose
  6. And we will all live happily ever after
Alternative II

Another other possibility is that the deal really was supposed to go through with the City scooping the assets from under other potential purchasers (ie the $1.1M was mentioned in the Administration Report but not the lease-back so who would bid at that price). Then the whole thing would be transferred to the University who would own/run the Theatre at their expense, not the City's.
Alternative III

A variation of the above two deals is to enter into the promissory note/leaseback deal but instead of giving it to the University, it will go to St. Clair. St. Clair will get the note and the City will repay it, $220K per year and NOT charge St. Clair anything for rent. In this way the City puts money into the Capitol and effectively St. Clair gets it for free. It will be justified as saving the arts in Windsor but not putting taxpayers at risk since the amount to be put in will be capped and spread over 5 years. We will hear all about the synergies between the Capitol and the Cleary as well.

If one of these was the deal, it failed because Eddie was not there to enlighten Councillors about the way the transaction was supposed to work. Perhaps that is why Councillor Lewenza tried to put it on the Consent Agenda. Never fear, Eddie will salvage this when he comes back.
No matter what, the Casino loses another possible competitor, again like with the Cleary.

You know the real question to be asked: why can't the City just make transactions simple and not so complicated. They are not that hard to structure for anyone experienced in law and business. Our Mayor and Council should be open with citizens so we could go along with decisions that are made. We ought to be tired of being played as fools.

My Wife Is A Contestaholic

Yes it's wife has a bad habit, an addiction. She likes entering contests. Actually she likes winning contests better!

And win she does. She wins a fair number of them but nothing really big yet like a cruise around the world or a cash jackpot so I don't have to work any longer or a bathroom make-over so I don't have to apply for a "heritage" designation for my house from the City to help pay for it! (Just kidding).

Why one of the last contests she won gave us enough Coldwater Tide liquid detergent so that I can throw mud around for a long time and still keep my clothes sparkling bright and smelling clean!

Anway, she just won an Umbro soccer net (football for purists) that she would like to sell since neither of us can use it. According to the contest site, it retails for $120. It looks like it would be fun for young kids to use. If you would like to get it, just drop me a note at

Oh, and I'll give you a bottle of Tide at no extra charge!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Eddie's Border File Gridlock

It has to be Eddie's worst nightmare! An Insider speaks out.

Whether he is foolish or courageous, I am not sure. I think it is a bit of both. He is certainly frustrated and, like most of us, disappointed in the stalling, delay and inaction regardless what position one takes. It is the most serious attack on the Mayor's failure to perform on the border file that I can imagine since it gives us a glimpse of what really happened behind closed doors for years.

The comments prove what we have all suspected but was hidden from us. City Hall under this Mayor's lack of leadership is in complete disarray on the border file. Action has been replaced by posturing. Can you think of any file where the City has spent so many taxpayer millions on lawyers and consultants and has accomplished so little.

Here is the multi-billion dollar question:
  • Do Gord Henderson's Three Blind Mice--Councillors Drew Dilkens, Al Halberstadt and Bill Marra--have any guts?
If Eddie did the proper thing in the City's best interest, he would take the honourable action and resign as the City's main negotiator on the border file.

After the Marko Paranosic bombshell on Saturday's front page article in the Star, does Eddie have a choice? But of course, he will not do so. His ego would get in the way. Eddie cannot admit that he has failed and is continuing to do so.

Will the Three Blind Mice and at least three others on Council finally fulfill their Municipal Act statutory duty and act as Councillors! Will they do what the Council under Mike Hurst did: have the guts to remove the Mayor effectively as the lead. Will they do more---will they appoint the Three Blind Mice as the City negotiators so the border issue can be resolved using common sense and acting in Windsor's best interest as the criteria?

Of course, Marko will be vilified over the next few days. He will be attacked viciously. We know it is going to happen. That is what takes place in this City when one dares speak out and take a position contrary to that of City Hall.

Welcome to the "enemies" club, Marko. Heck, I have personal experience as it happened to me. Ask Councillor Halberstadt how he felt when he was threatened with an "Integrity Commissioner" for writing a BLOG or a fellow Blogger in town when he was physically threatened. Ask the Three Blind Mice. Talk to Sandra about how she liked Henderson's morning column being used by the NDP at Queen's Park in the afternoon Question Period. Now you can feel like the owner of the Bridge Co.

The only question is how. Will it be some news stories by outraged Councillors who do Eddie's dirty work while he is "invisible" changing diapers, a Henderson column attacking Marko more in sorrow than in anger, an Editorial or a cartoon or all of them? I expect that Sam will have to be "unmuzzled" too in order to refute everything his former employee had to say.

Let there be no doubt about it. He had the guts to say that Eddie and Council are responsible for the border mess we are in. And since Eddie arranged for himself to be the Voice of Council by Council Resolution, there is only one person to whom the finger of blame can be pointed:


Our Mayor is the one responsible for the lack of action, the failure to perform, the inability to achieve results. He has not carried out the most important task for which he was elected.
  • "A former top aide for Sam Schwartz, Windsor's flamboyant hired gun on border traffic, blames municipal officials, city council and Mayor Eddie Francis for a lack of action on resolving the city's truck dilemma.

    "Part of the reason why I left (was) because to me there wasn't going to be any action on this," he said in an interview.

    City leaders repeatedly displayed a lack of urgency on getting the ball rolling on many of the Schwartz recommendations..."

    The Schwartz team sent four or five proposals to the city suggesting things to work on, he said.

    "Everything went into a black hole. The lack of followup was the most frustrating thing."
What an indictment! And it could only be said because Marko's career is not dependent on doing work for the City. I wonder what those 4 or 5 proposals were and why no action was taken. Council should demand the answer and tell us publicly!

Marko's big advantage is that he no longer lives in Windsor. There are many others in Windsor, successful leaders in our City, who know that he is telling the truth but are afraid to stand up for Windsor. You don't cross the Mayor and Council in a small town if you want to do business here. Of course, they are all dying anyway in this City but for the fact that most are doing their work out of town. There are few jobs here and high unemployment but they are keeping their mouths shut! What are they waiting for, the next municipal election for heaven's sake? Their businesses may not survive 3 more years of this!

Isn't it time for this fear of retribution to stop! Isn't it time for our leaders to show that they have the nerve to care about our City! BLOGGERS cannot do it alone.

Remember how it was an eternity ago when Eddie first took office. STOPDRTP had given the City the power. Mike Hurst was chased from office. Eddie became Mayor because of his consistency of his border position. The Prime Minister and Premier were eating out of our hands while the US Ambassador even promised to help pay for the solution. Council had been elected to develop a long-term solution to our border woes. It could not have been any better for Windsorites.

Then Eddie squandered everything. Snubbing Senior Levels became the norm. Schwartz 1 turned into a rallying call for a billion dollar short-term solution which was rejected almost immediately by everyone. Eddie's focus was not on the truck road but how to lever the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel to do whatever it is he wanted to do with the money he thought he could make on the project. As our economy faltered, instead of supporting the $400M Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project and the multi-hundred million dollar access road fixes under the soon-to-be-expired BIF funds, he harrassed the Bridge Co. and threatened, or rather bluffed, lawsuits if he did not get his way. Thousands of high-paying direct and spin-off jobs are waiting for the Mayor to allow them to start as he dithers.

Oh we know the game by now....Schwartz 1 was a stall, the tunnel road to the border was a stall, Schwartz 2 is a stall. They are nothing more than bargaining chips, starting points. The destruction of Windsor goes on around us as this Mayor and a compliant Council spend time titillating us with hours of public Council debate on meaningless matters.

As I have said before, Eddie is a bureaucrat not a businessman. Henderson called him admiringly a "legal technocrat." I agree. He is not an experienced lawyer. His failure is that he is afraid to "close the deal." He would rather Plan and talk than do. If all that happens is that we are fed dreams for his two terms (seven years) as Mayor, then he cannot be blamed for anything going wrong. It was not his fault that nothing happened while he was standing up for Windsor's quality of life, it was theirs. He cannot handle criticism whatsoever---the vicious "cross-examination" attack on Alan McKinnon is proof of that.

Compare Eddie with Matty Moroun. Part of this exercise in my opinion is ego-driven. Eddie (and his Eminence Grise) thinks he can be the first one to beat him! If you want to see a small example of why Eddie cannot, then check out Saturday's Star.

Look at the back of the Canadian Flag insert sponsored by the Bridge Co. They don't talk about their dreams; they carry out their plans. While Eddie is playing border czar for the last four years as Mayor, they have ended the back-ups on Huron Church Road, quadrupled bridge capacity, come up with a workable border plan AND competitively have taken traffic away from his Tunnel where is the Chair. A-channel News stated that "Traffic volumes at the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel have plummeted sixteen percent in the past year alone."

The Bridge Co. did all of this with their private money and at a fraction of what Eddie would have spent. Now the Bridge Co. is ready to start their Enhancement Project to continue to make the region successful. Eddie supports gazelle feeders, consultants and lawyers at taxpayer expense while the Bridge Co. wants to spend hundreds of millions of private dollars and to create economic prosperity.

I have speculated in the past and still believe that the three levels of Government--Federal, Provincial and Municipal--are working together to stop the Bridge Co. While they may fight amongst themselves since they have differing objectives, their target against which they have united is the Ambassador Bridge Co.

Don't let, as an example, snubbing--whether it is by Eddie snubbing the Senior Levels or Transport Minister Cannon not visiting with Eddie when he was recently here--or threats of lawsuits fool you. It is merely the three governments jockeying for positon after the border war ends when supposedly they have defeated the "enemy."

I lost any respect for Eddie that I had left the Sunday after Schwartz made his public presentation at the Cleary in January, 2005. On that day on Detroit television, our Mayor, Windsor's champion, in an interview conceded that the Bi-national was the final decision-maker.

He did not get my vote nor was he elected by me and others nor did I work so hard to make him Mayor for him to make a major concession like that. He was to fight for us for the long-term solution. He gave that away. He backed off. Why he did that, I still do not understand nor can I forgive! Everything he says now rings hollow to me. There is little that he says on the border file that I can believe.

It hit me like a flash that he was not working for us, for Windsorites, but was associating with the Senior Levels. I could not believe it. If his reward was to be the Tunnel and the Plaza improvements, then now he must know what it feels like to be played.

They allowed him to make the Bridge Co. the "enemy." They allowed him to stall and delay the border road. They will let him be front and centre on the EA appeals on both sides of the border. They applaud his interim control by-law and heritage designation irritants. It works for them as Eddie gets the blame and paints Eddie further into the corner. He cannot back out without losing face. And that would be a torture for our Mayor.

In the end, we are getting the Enhancement Project and the new road will lead to the Ambassador Bridge. The DRIC process is a was designed to pressure the Bridge Co. to sell out but it did not work. Ambassador Wilson was brought in before this matter turned into a Canada-US battle. He signalled at Mackinac with his speech that the Canadian Government wanted to talk with the Bridge Co. Don't forget, he was with the Government when the FIRA matter was settled with the Bridge Co. years ago so he has a history of dealing with them.

There is only question that really remains now. All the rest was foreplay: will the 80 year alliance between the Bridge Co. and Canada be allowed to remain in place to continue to make the Detroit/Windsor corridor the #1 crossing in North America or will a very large cheque be written, probably by a P3 partner of the Government, to buy out the Bridge Co.

Eddie has served his purpose and, as Marko disclosed, is irrelevant.

It is up to Ambassador Wilson to make the next move so we can bring this matter to a conclusion! The trouble is, I am not sure yet that he knows what to do.

Sin City No More

The rumours are starting to circulate again... Brian Masse will jump to the Liberals, probably in exchange for a Cabinet position if they win.

Who knows if they are true but it is fun to speculate. And it may not be too far-fetched either if Buzz Hargrove has his way politically.

There could be a fly in the ointment however to Brian's success in Ottawa and the reward of a fatter paycheck and benefits. (I better not say in a bottle or it might lead to the Supreme Court.) And that roadblock is George Sofos owner of the Junction.

On Tuesday, George's matter is coming in front of Council and Brian Masse, who opposed George in the past, is a delegation and will speak. Will Brian's opposition hurt him politically given the number of people who are in favour of George. Will they have a long memory come the next election? Will Brian be at risk from unhappy constituents?

I have no idea what Brian will say so I will let him speak for himself. But expect at Council a very strong argument for a deferral so that this matter can be postponed again for months while more reports are written by Administration. Paper George's business into bankruptcy due to delay and the problem disappears doesn't it!

Depending on what evidence is introduced at Council, it could turn very ugly Tuesday night. It could turn into compelling TV if it was like the last go-around so be sure to watch it on Cogeco.

It's interesting, how George is being treated. Why he is being dealt with as if he was the Ambassador Bridge? And in the same Riding as the Bridge where Brian is the MP. Doesn't Brian want jobs or investment in his Riding? George has already sunk in several hundred thousand dollars there and has to hire people to work there (He tells me that his dishwasher gets paid more than some of the "high tech" jobs being introduced into Windsor.) Is Brian against small business people? Why "Jack Layton and the NDP will help small businesses create jobs and prosperity." Is Brian acting against his Prty?

What's George's complaint according to the Star:
  • "'Delays and delays' rile owner
    Junction's desire to convert to banquet hall subverted by city, says Sofos

    The owner of The Junction restaurant on the city's west end will appeal to city council Tuesday to stop throwing hurdles in his path and allow him to reopen as a banquet hall.

    George Sofos has battled the city off and on for nearly a decade over the fate of his business..."

Doesn't that sound so familiar in the border context? Buschante Development Group got caught as well in the tangled web of Ward 2 politics. You try and make sense over the desire to tear down the Biker's house, the oppostion to tearing down the Bridge Co. homes on Indian and the comments about "The fire at a boarded-up home on 3623 Sandwich St. W... It took nearly 30 firefighters several hours to contain the blaze."

Now here's something strange that took place at the Junction. George held an opening event with the proceeds going to Hospice. Over 400 people came and raised a bundle for the charity. No "official" from the City showed up to watch. Last Friday night, George held a Teen Dance and two By-law enforcement officers in their City vehicle stopped by and stayed for almost 2 hours I was told.

Of course, their presence scared away a number of people (and this fight with the City has scared away bookings too because of the uncertainty). But I wondered if By-law officers worked on Friday evenings? If not, who made the decision to send them out and why? Given that it was a Friday before a holiday week-end, did they get paid a zillion dollars per hour for overtime and holiday pay too?

The fight is over the absurd rule about music and dancing. Why if this got out, our reputation as Sin City could be changed to "Laughing Stock." I wonder if Eddie wants that as our "brand."

  • “It was not intended specifically to include Mr. Sofos, but it does,” Jean said. At the moment, Mr. Sofos can offer music, he can offer dancing but he can’t offer both.”

I am not going to get into the legal niceties of this file. I will let the lawyers fight it out. I note though that the Chief Building Officer claims that only he, according to case law, can decide on legal non-conforming use. Did the CBO make a recommendation in the Report to turn George down. Nope---Administration just says that NO ACTION BE TAKEN.

Since the CBO did NOT make a decision, then Council should and ought to do it for him. Apparently, 8 Councillors have told George that they support him. If so, then it should be easy for George to get his "legal non-conforming use" status based on his affidavit and get on with business.

However, if Council and/or Administration jerk him around any more, I suspect that the next place that George will talk to them will have a person with a robe sitting at the head of the room and some one saying "Order in the Court!"

It's too bad that Alfie Morgan's Small Business Task Froce is not around any more. George's incident would make a good case study about how Windsor is killing the small business person. As for the gazelle feeders, where are they? Shouldn't they be helping out a small business person, their target, who wants to create new jobs and increased investment. Or is it all words and public relations in this City, but no action!

It's time that Councillors made Administration understand that Council is the ultimate decision- maker. George's Junction operation is a good beginning. We need to start encouraging small business people, not killing them with absurdities and red tape.

More Letters

Oh the emails I received are quite strong about issues like the Capitol and the border. Watch out that you don't get burned reading these notes.

1) In simple terms, the City pays the non-profit, which it will control, $220k a year for 5 years. The non-profit will, in turn, pay the City to lease the property, probably an equivalent sum. The bottom line is that the City gains the property without being out of pocket anything other than the initial $310k that is required to pay the creditors. The losers here are the other non-profit arts groups that would have received benefit had the trustee sold the assets to a third party.

This whole mess could have been avoided had the City merely abided by Council Resolutions. The board was agreeable to transitioning the theatre to the City in an orderly manner. The City wanted a bankruptcy in order to relieve themselves of the reponsibility of severing the employees. There were only a handful of employees who weren't under contract (the contracts had expired for those who were) and the cost of severing them would not have been great since all of them were not well paid and most had been employed by the theatre for relatively short periods of time. In the final analysis, severance costs would have been much lower than the fees paid to the trustee. In addition, the City will have the McTague legal bill and costs associated with the reopening. The bottom line is that the tax payors are the losers.

2) As I am sure you've already asked yourself - what was the point in calling for a tunnel? Wasn't it to shield residents from the health risks of diesel fumes? If so, how does having parks overtop of a truck highway route achieve this? So the idea is to bring kids closer even still to the route by building baseball diamonds on top?

The most frustrating element to this is that there was a time and a place for these ideas - last year or earlier even. When DRIC was in the midst of an EA and if Council wanted to influence the recommendations and design they should have submitted their position to the DRIC then. Now at 11:59 on the doomsday clock they trot out Sam again with more conceptual plans (are they costed out by the way? are there any engineering drawings to accompany them? how would they affect the construction times? can traffic be maintained along the corridor any better building these elements? how do these improve air quality? etc.)

The question this begs is "what is the problem?" to the City of Windsor. What do they see as the problem that they are trying to solve and feel the DRIC is solving cheaply or inadequately? Is it health? Is it impacts to residents? Is it mitigating the separation of west from east? Is it all three or none? How do these new solutions solve the City of Windsor's perceived problem?

Eddie's always in a "fighting mood" isn't he?

3) The whole (Capitol Theatre) process boggles my mind since there was a simple, less costly orderly transition proposed and accepted by Council in January.

4) Problem is, $220K won't be enough. The city will need that much to meet the demands of those in the arts community. It will take several months to get it back in shape to open, not the least of which is to program and staff it. Without at least $200K in bingo revenue the taxpayer will be subsidizing the theatre more than what is spelled out in this agreement and they are back in the theatre business again. Something they decided to get rid of when they sold the Cleary to St. Clair. Take a look at the Chrysler Theatre website, St. Clair College is into programming big time. They took over the Capitols very successful Classic Albums Live Series and are programming well known artists, not just community group and school programming. It is also a rumour around that the new management of the Chrysler is not as "accommodating" to their larger tenants, the Sympathy...(ooops I mean the Symphony), Theatre Alive and Windsor Light.

Additionally, when the Casino venue opens it pushes the Capitol back even further into difficulty in programming professional artists and acts because of the seating limitations. Don't forget that the Casino venue is capable of configuring to any size and type of theatre space, from 200 seats to the 5000. That leaves smaller rentals to community and other groups. $220K won't be enough. The building is too old and needs too much upgrading now that the city owns it. They will have to replace the roof that never was done right and is patched up several times each year. Because of the damp that has settled into that building, as well as many others downtown, every year, the interior needs painting.

If the city keeps it, it will be another McKenzie Hall (with less history) and a much larger operating budget. Makes me wish I could move to the county now, but I need a job first.

5) Down here (in the US) where I live any gathering of a majority of the Council falls under the open meetings law. It doesn't require that you designate it as a meeting. It is considered a chance for meaningful discussion of the public's business. You fellows have perfected this by being able to name your get-togethers as a meeting, or not. "A word means exactly what I intend to to mean, nothing more and nothing less." Eh?

6) Ed, my read on this [border file] is that there are very few large projects in Ontario right now, the simple servants see this as a way to continue their employment, in fact they have hired a few people recently to work on this project. The more people a simple servant has working for him, the more important he is. Bears no resemblance to reality !