Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, September 07, 2007

Border Stories

Here are some things for you to consider as you cross the border


Perhaps Brian Masse can explain this at his big Border Authority meeting or have his public sector operators do so.

Which "private"crossing is conspicuous by its absence in the story below? Does that mean that traffic was moving at the private crossing a lot better than at the public ones:
  • Stepped-up checks mean longer lines at U.S. borders

    By SUZANNE GAMBOA, Associated Press Writer, Sep 3, 1:28 PM EDT

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stepped-up inspections at the Canadian and Mexican borders have led to lines nearly as long as they were after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

    The longer lines of people driving into the United States from Mexico or Canada, some returning U.S. citizens, have appeared over the past month or two at several ports of entry.

    The wait to cross became so long this month at Blue Water Bridge, which connects Port Huron, Mich., with Point Edward/Sarnia, Ontario, that the Ministry of Transportation in Ontario set up portable toilets along the road.

    "Many motorists have become stranded in the lineups, not expecting such a long delay. Not since 9/11 have the backups been so common," said Garry McDonald, president of the Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce, which requested the toilets.

    Border residents and businesses blame new rules that require U.S. citizens to show driver's licenses, passports or other photo ID. They say there is not enough staff to inspect the documents, collect information and do additional vehicle checks.

    At the Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo, N.Y., and Fort Erie, Ontario, time to inspect a vehicle rose from 54 seconds last year to about 75 seconds this year, said Ron Rienas, Peace Bridge general manager. People wanting to travel to Buffalo to shop or dine are deterred by the long lines, he said.

    "Obviously something happened, some sort of policy directive that has resulted in longer processing times," Rienas said. "We've inquired, but the response we've gotten is, 'We've always done these kinds of checks.'"

    Previously, U.S. citizens could declare their citizenship, declare any goods they were bringing back with them and be waved through unless the inspector felt the need to do further checks.

    At the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, average total crossing times have also increased. In January, it took 15 minutes to cross into the United States at the tunnel. So far in August, the average monthly time has been 23 minutes, said Neal Blitsky, president and general manager of Detroit Windsor Tunnel LLC, the tunnel's private operator.

There was another of those "Skip McMahon, spokesman for the Ambassador Bridge, could not be reached" lines. Whew, thank goodness he was not around before the story was published or else the Star might have had to say something nice about how they moved traffic. Hmmmm I wonder why no one tried to contact Dan Stamper.


I still do not believe that the Regualtion is legal. It does not matter since nothing seems to be happening on the Detroit Tunnel deal. I am surprised that Kwame has not demanded his US$75M yet or else gone out with an RFP for someone else to take it over.

Oh my goodness, what would happen if Kwame did that and the winner was... nawwww, I am NOT going to get into that. Eddie and Transport Canada would have a bird!

Here is the Regulation that has been passed:

    made under the MUNICIPAL ACT, 2001

    Made: June 20, 2007, Filed: July 23, 2007

    Printed in The Ontario Gazette: August 11, 2007

    Amending O. Reg. 599/06

    (Municipal Services Corporations)

    1. Ontario Regulation 599/06 is amended by adding the following section:

    Special corporation, Windsor-Detroit Tunnel

    10.1 (1) The City of Windsor may, by itself or together with one or more other public sector entities, use the powers referred to in paragraphs 1 to 5 of subsection 203 (1) of the Act in relation to a corporation that satisfies the following conditions:

    1. It carries on business,

    i. in the City of Detroit and elsewhere in the State of Michigan, or

    ii. in the City of Detroit, elsewhere in the State of Michigan and in the City of Windsor.

    2. Its purposes are restricted to,

    i. managing, operating and maintaining all or part of the Tunnel,

    ii. holding shares in one or more corporations established for the purpose of managing, operating and maintaining all or part of the Tunnel, or

    iii. a combination of the purposes listed in subparagraphs i and ii.

    (2) Sections 10 and 16 do not apply to a corporation established under subsection (1).

    (3) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), the power to establish a corporation under that subsection includes power to incorporate a corporation under the laws of the State of Michigan.

    (4) Nothing in subsection (1) prevents the City of Windsor from using the powers referred to in subsection 203 (1) of the Act in relation to a corporation that carries on business in relation to the Tunnel only in the City of Windsor.

    (5) In this section,

    “City of Detroit” means the City of Detroit in the State of Michigan;

    “State of Michigan” means the State of Michigan in the United States of America;

    “Tunnel” means the motor vehicle tunnel that connects the City of Windsor with the City of Detroit, and includes any ancillary facilities for the transfer of passengers between municipal transportation systems of the City of Windsor and the
    City of Detroit.

    2. (1) Subsection 18 (3) of the Regulation is amended by striking out “Despite section 10 and subsection (2)” at the beginning and substituting “Despite subsection (2)”.

    (2) Section 18 of the Regulation is amended by adding the following subsection:

    (4.1) Subsections (3) and (4) do not apply to a corporation established under section 10 or 10.1.

    3. This Regulation comes into force on the day it is filed.


The Bridge Co. owes a big debt of gratitude to Councillor Jones for asking the quesion at Council that has clarified the facts behind the Star story "Bridge to Nowhere."

You may remember that the Star the day after that story came out published a "Correction" about some of the facts in the story but of course, the headline about the correction and its placement was not as prominent as the first story.

You may also recall the Detroit Free Press story the other day that I posted where "Dan Stamper, president of the company, denied that construction had begun on a second bridge."

Thanks to the Councillor, Dev Tyagi, general manager of public works was able to say at Council

  • "I'm not aware of any infractions that lead us to believe anything they are building is not part of the site plan they have given to the city," Tyagi said.

    City inspectors have been regularly on the site and remain convinced the construction remains within the legal parameters of the plaza expansion, he said."

Gee, how could there be so much confusion. I noticed in the Star story the quote:

  • "The city's chief building inspector Mario Sonego could not be reached Thursday."

  • "McMahon said if there has been a violation of zoning bylaws on the recent construction work, the city would have had something to say about it."

It is becoming such a bad habit of the Star. If the Star could only have waited for the return call or have called Mr. Tyagi, then this confusion would not have happened. Oh yes, there might not have been a story either.

Interesting placement of the clarification story too. Not with a big headline on the front page but buried in "Windsor Briefs" just before "Bird researcher receives grant to hunt woodpecker."


I am not going to take readers away from the magazine by posting the whole article. If you want to read what he says, and you ought to, then go and find yourself a copy of the September edition or go to their website and go to Page 7

A few key points:

  • Robert Perez, Port Director of the US Customs and Border Protection Agency, confirms that the Detroit/Windsor border crossing is both secure and efficient. He calls the
    Ambassador Bridge the “epitome of layered enforcement practices”

  • The Enhancement Project shifts "the traffic that currently crosses the Ambassador Bridge
    approximately 100 feet to the west onto a new six lane, cable stayed structure. It utilizes the current plazas in both Windsor and Detroit.

  • almost all of the property required on both sides of the river has been secured , effectively resulting in a minimal impact on houses and relocation when building begins.

  • the construction phase is slated to last for 30 to 36 months. A recent report from the Anderson Group anticipated 3,700 jobs would be added to the region as a result of the Enhancement Project.

  • the Green Corridor is a groundbreaking initiative for generating a green redevelopment of the international bridge corridor linking Canada to the US.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Windsor Legal Fund

I had talked about this once before [BLOG June 12, 2007 "The Speech The Mayor Would Not Hear"] but I did not do much about the subject since I frankly had other things to occupy my time. Now lots of people are talking and writing about using the court system as a rememdy against a seemingly remote and out-of-touch Mayor and Council.

After attending Council last week and reading the transcript that Chris Schnurr published, I want to think more seriously about setting up a Legal Fund that will act in a sense as an "Ombudsman" to protect citizens from their own Government.

There have been a fair number of comments about conflict of interest and lawsuits in the various Windsor BLOGsites and a very good Letter to the Editor by Merv dePendleton who was supposed to appear as a delegation on the WUC matter. Read the transcript posted by Chris Schnurr on his BLOGsite to see the facts that give rise to this discussion.

What got me more interested was this note from a reader:
  • "Perhaps the time has come for the citizens of Windsor to form a Citizen's Council which will openly discuss all matters affecting the residents of the municipality.

    Something a little more than a "Shadow Cabinet" - one that holds public meetings and develops consensual solutions to common problems; holds public debates about issues; polls the residents. There should be absolutely no renumeration for anyone. A core group of informed citizens can form a team that will present issues to the public and invite debate.

    Hold weekly meetings - publish the agenda in the Windsor Star - create a web page - invite media coverage - attract those who actually care about the municipality to come and speak. It can become a very legitimate and powerful body through the force of public support and through the establishment and maintenance of unimpeachable integrity.

    Windsor City Council has become irrelevant and corrupted by powergrabbing and personal political grubbing. There is no integrity. It is totally unprincipled. (That is not just my opinion, but that of many of my colleagues)

What a sad commentary about Open and Transparent Government in Windsor or really, the lack thereof. Remember what Eddie said in his Platform when he first ran for Mayor:

  • "It has often been said that local government is the closest to the people. We must consistently ensure that this remains true. There is a need to restore the public’s trust in our institutions and in our ability to govern. People must no longer feel cut off from City Hall. Their sense of apathy and cynicism must be replaced with a feeling of accessibility and welcome. "

To be honest, I have no trust that our municipal government is doing the right thing. I believe little of what is said. I know that the McGuinty Liberals did us a disservice by extending the length of the Council term by a year without any remedy for a Mayor and Council who are out of control eg a right of recall.

After what we have experienced with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs so far on the WUC audit, do you feel comfortable that they will do a thorough job or will it be a whitewash?

My reader wants a forum where the issues can be debated and in the open. That is what our LOCAL government Council was supposed to be all about except when in camera meetings started to become the vogue. Unless something changes drastically due to Councillors reacting to what they have done to make fools of themselves, I do not think that this Mayor and Council would listen anyway.

I am afraid that our only forum may well be a Court of Law. More of this another time when I get some thoughts together

For What Did Francis Apologize

Whoop-dee-doo. Mark the date on your calendar.

The Mayor who never admits he ever did anything wrong admitted that he did. Sort of. He actually took the blame. Sort of.

His actions that he disclosed at Council and for which he apologized: he did not uphold the Procedural By-law properly and he did not stay "focused" on the issues.

My suspicion is, although he did not specifically say so, that the only Section of the Procedural By-law that concerns him is the one dealing with Council behaviour:
    14.1 Members of Council shall:

    b) not use indecent, offensive words or insulting expressions at any time toward other Members of Council, Civic Administration, delegations or members of the public

    d) speak only to the subject under debate."

In other words, he apologized only for being a lousy Chair, not anything more.

He did NOT apologize for

  1. not having a "discussion" at Council with citizens re WUC as he had said he would
  2. not allowing people registered to speak as delegations at Council an opportunity to do so
  3. causing mass confusion with the ever-changing WUC story relating to "politics," levy diversion and the 1,000 customers including the Council whiteboard presentation
  4. not allowing Councillor Halberstadt's Motion to take precedence as the Procedural By-law sets out
  5. not leaving the Chair when he introduced his Motion as the Rules require
  6. not withdrawing his Motion given the uncertainty around its validity
  7. calling up the Auditor General and having a private conversation with him
  8. not giving citizens an opportunity to discuss the Terms of Reference of any Ministry inquiry
  9. allowing the Clerk to "rule" on Councillor Halberstadt's Motion and whether it was a "reconsideration" prior to hearing any arguments
  10. for allowing the CAO to intervene in the Council debate and to be heard and not seen. Frankly, who cares what he has to say on the subject
  11. for not leaving the Chambers at both Council sessions since, according to the City Solicitor,
    "Your Worship and members of council, if the issue is, as to a position of conflict that individual councillors who serve on either the Enwin or under the WUC boards, may or may not have, then my opinion, they should not be debating, they should not be moving, seconding or participating whatsoever in the discussion of the issue."
  12. for trying to put the blame on Council when he was the WUC Chair by muddying the waters saying that Councillors were shareholders of WUC when he knows that is not the case.

Frankly, based on the above list, why should I accept the Mayor's apology since he did not apologize for anything significant.

Clearly he did not intend to do so. All he wanted was the word "apology" out there as we saw in the Star headline, "Mayor issues apology." I wonder if this was another Eminence Greasie idea designed to protect the Mayor.

Oh where is a City Councillor like the former Councillor Zuk. We need someone to say out loud, as she said to Mike Hurst

  • "If you can't chair the meeting according to the rules then step aside for a councillor who will!"

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Did The Michigan Senate Kill DRIC

Read what they passed for yourself.

It looks like the Senate was very angry when this was being considered. Look at the words of Senator Cropsey
  • "we have spent $33 million to do a study ...

    "Michigan is in dire economic times and saying $1.5 billion to build a bridge might be necessary boggles the mind."
Seems to make sense over here for our Legislators at the Senior Levels to reconsider DRIC too don't you think.

Now the Michigan House and ultimately the Governor have to make a decision. All that the Senate Resolution provides is that nothing more shall be spent on the study until hearings are held and MDOT justifies what has been spent to date and is allowed to move forward.

Gee, that's called Government oversight over the bureaucracy isn't it! It means that the civil servants and consultants cannot run amuck spending money.

Of course, MDOT and the DRIC supporters have a real concern.

Take a look at what seems to be a huge waste of taxpayer money if another plaza and crossing were built a mile away from the Gateway project for which Michigan spent millions. That project was designed to accommodate another bridge and was a partnership between MDOT, FHWA and the Bridge Co.

How does one justify in Michigan spending millions for bore holes when a suitable site is already available? How does one justify disrupting hundreds in SW Detroit and how can they possibly be relocated! Does MDOT want to try and justify what they did with revitalization plans for Delray which will take forever to happen if anyone is actually interested in doing anything? How does MDOT justify not going with the crossing that they said was the best one when questions are now being raised about how the Canadian DRIC removed the Ambassador Bridge from the DRIC study?

Our politicians could learn from Michigan. (Gosh if they had learned about 5 years ago, we would have had the equivalent of the Ambassador Gateway project almost ready to open with the $300M BIF funds!) Why our politicians "respect the process" so that they do not have to be involved, or rather not until a month before an election and then they can beat on their chests to prove how tough they are.

Why don't they do the same as the Michigan Legislators and require MTO or Transport Canada to justify what they have done with millions of Canadian taxpayer dollars.

But our bureaucrats do not have to worry. Our Legislators won't dare hold any hearings. You see, the truth might come out then. Now THAT would be embarrassing to everyone!

Halberstadt's Biz-X Article

If you think that Eddie and Alan are having a feud now, just wait until people have read the Biz X article that Alan wrote after he interviewed John Tofflemire.

If you have not seen it yet, run out and get a copy of the September edition of Biz X magazine or take a look at it on its website. You may also click the image to see it better. (Thanks to Deborah Jones, Publisher of BizX to allow me post a copy of the article here),

To make matters even worse for City Hall, Dan Stamper of the Ambassador Bridge has a big article in the same edition as well "AMBASSADOR BRIDGE PREPA R E S FOR SECOND SPAN."

Here are a few of the choice quotes that come via the magazine that may cause the steam to rise at City Hall:
  • People actually communicate, without using gold-plated lawyers and political broadsides, in the Tomato Capital.
  • ...things tend to get done in a timely fashion....He recollected, somewhat longingly, that things used to be that way in Windsor.
  • Until Windsor extends Lauzon Parkway to the 401, “you are just talking through your hat,” when you rhapsodize about a transportation hub, he scoffs. And unless several other “huge” issues start rectifying themselves, the entire concept will remain “stuck in the mud.”
  • [RE trucks on E C Row] “What everyone seems not to understand is that 50 percent of the (cross-border) trucks have a Windsor origin,” he says. “Why don’t we service ourselves first?”
  • the multi-million dollar servicing of the lands, which Windsor annexed from the county in 2003, became severely constrained by budget shortfalls, and non-action on Lauzon Parkway.

Nice to see that John is alive and well and living in Leamington. He has a very nice arena there too that he showed me some time ago that Windsor should have looked at but then again, it did not cost mega-millions to build. And I bet that John was very pleased to do the interview with Alan.

Let's see now, Alan and I both write BLOGs. He writes a column on politics for BizX which hits the business crowd while I write one for Upfront magazine which targets the 25-40 year olds.

Yup, the Mayor and Councillors better worry since between the two of us, we cover just about everyone!

And it looks like Bloggers in Windsor like to speak their own mind. I guess that means I won't get invited to any Vu parties.


Here is some interesting information I have received from Google Analytics about my BLOGsite from mid-November, 2005 until now. The numbers are not 100% accurate since I started before November but they give you an idea:
  • Almost 31,000 "unique" visitors have hit my BLOGsite
  • The average time on my BLOGsite is slightly over 7 minutes
  • Most visitors come via Bell Sympatico, Cogeco and MNSI but believe it or not, visitors have come from over 3,000 different ISPs world-wide
  • Readers have come from 117 countries speaking 45 different languages as their main one
  • By far, people using search engines to find my site come via Google: 5 times more than all of the others combined
  • Most people use Internet Explorer as their browser and Windows XP is the dominant operating system
  • Other than people who know now to come directly, the biggest source of visitors has been Google
  • Locally, is the biggest driver of traffic to me followed by
  • Over 7,000 different keywords have been used allowing people to get to my BLOGsite.
  • Ironically, my most popular page written almost exactly 2 years ago was September 03, 2005 "The Mayor's "Annus Horribilis." Not much has changed!

Of course my readership is considerably large than this since I am aware that copies of my daily BLOG are circulated amongst organizations and my BLOGs are also fowarded so I do not credit for "hits.". If you recall, David Wonham got 2,000 extra hits in one day after a brief mention on my BLOGsite when he was running for mayor and the Ambassador Bridge YOUTUBE site has also received almost 13,500 hits after mention here and in the Windsor Star.

What does this all mean...Blogging is an alternative medium that cannot be ignored by politicians. If they do, it is at their own peril. People are hungry for information and want to read different points of view. They seek as well interpretation of daily events, not just straight news.

If you want to see the increased power of Blogging, just go to the Star Website to see how many reporters write BLOGs now. What is interesting is that one sees a side of the reporter that one does NOT get in their Star articles and learns their prejudices as well since the BLOGs are much more personal. In certain cases, it has changed how I view what they write in their "day" job!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Watermain-gate: Are We In Limbo

I hope that Councillor Halberstadt reads this BLOG and raises a Point of Personal Privilege at the next Council meeting. Or perhaps it is a Point of Information or maybe even a Point of Order. Oh it does not really matter, City Council does not abide by its Procedural By-law anyway when it is inconvenient.

My first issue is what happened to the letter that was sent TO the Minister of Municipal Affairs. We have the letter back from him but not the one that initiated the response. What is in there--or not in there--that we should know about?

We have a problem getting letters in this City in a timely fashion eg letters to Transport Minister Cannon and to Premier Dalton McGuinty and other provincial government leaders re the Ambassador Bridge, the lack of insertion of a key page of a Project Ice Track letter when documents were released to the public, the "unsolicited" PCR letter.

Here is what really bothers me, my second issue. What is happening with the process! A reader sent me this note:
  • "Ed I spoke to June Wild this morning and she informed me as to the fact that her department has not received a request for an audit as of yet."

That was slightly different than the note I received from her but was equally as troubling given the hilarious "urgency" comments of the CAO at the last Council meeting (I found his scare tactic amusing)

  • "The scope and terms of reference with regard to the financial audit requested by the City of Windsor's council will be decided by the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Since no decision has yet been made regarding the scope and the terms of reference, it is premature for me to discuss it at this time."

Does that mean AFTER the Terms of Reference are decided and finalized, then they will speak to us mere taxpayers and voters with a fait accompli?

If one looks closely at what the Minister wrote, he said:

  • "I concur with your request and am prepared to direct that an audit of the Windsor Utilities Commission activities take place. In agreeing to direct this audit, I want to advise you of certain requirements....Staff from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing will be contacting the City shortly to advance this process as quickly as possible."

"Prepared to direct?" Does that mean there has been NO formal request for an audit and that the Mayor's letter was merely one of information, not action?

What has happened? Have the staffs talked? Has the City agreed on the procedure? Has the City agreed to pay the costs? Has the process been advanced? Or are we in limbo with citizens thinking something is happening but in reality nothing has so that this matter will lose its importance?

Perhaps Councillor Halberstadt can get an update for citizens at the next Council meeting.

Just for your information, dear reader, here is a note that I sent to the Ministry spokesperson after she asked to be deleted from my BLOGlist. You see I thought she might want to know what was going on in her area of responsibility since she is in London. But alas not:

  • "From: WindsorCityBlog
    Sent: August 30, 2007 9:22 AM
    To: Kasperski-Wild, June (MAH)

    Oh dear, you do not want to know what is going on re WUC in Windsor! That is strange for a member of the Ministry that deals with municipalities, especially those that have invited the Ministry to investigate them! Your note is very troubling to me and of the greatest concern respecting impartiality of the Ministry. Of course I shall honour your request and remove you. Why would you want to be troubled with facts!

    I would like to invite you or a member of the Ministry to come to Windsor to speak with citizens here about the WUC fiasco. Your note makes it absolutely essntial that this happen immediately. I would change my request from "invite" to "demand" after your note but I do not want to appear rude given how furious I am at your note. You would meet the same citizens who were deprived of an opportunity to speak as delegations to Council twice as a result of the Mayor's Procedural actions.

    Frankly, as a lawyer, I believe some of the rulings are legally incorrect!

    You might like to read some of the BLOGs I have written to give you some background and so you will understand why Windsorites are so angry

    This is not the first time I have written to the Government recently about this City . In fact, I have invited the Ministry to undertake an inquiry into our arena fiasco which may well result in financial hardaship for Windsorites before it is done.

    To be blunt, if your Minister can speak to a reporter of the Windsor Star, if Windsor's CAO can speak to the Ministry, then the Ministry owes it to Windsorites to come here to speak to us in a matter that you yourself have said is extremely "rare." To be direct again, I would like to know, as I am sure other citizens would too, what Sandra Pupatello and Dwight Duncan said to the Minister without telling the public!

    This kind of action as well as the Mayor calling and emailing privately the Auditor General when his actions may be part of the investigation causes me a great deal of concern as to the fairness of the inquiry by the Ministry!

    Your note is the icing to the cake!

    I refer you as well to what one of our Councillors blogged:

    "What was most shocking last night was the apparent breach of confidence exhibited by Mayor Francis and CAO John Skorobohacz in attaching correspondence to the public agenda from Auditor General Jim McCarter and Minister of Municipal Affairs John Gerretsen...

    The correspondence that is perhaps most revealing and disheartening for WUC consumers is from Mr. Skorobohacz to the Auditor General. It includes the following sentence:

    "As we discussed it is in our interest that an independent audit is conducted on the recent water rate increases and that the public is provided assurances that the rate increases are warranted."

    Windsorites can only be left to wonder what similar correspondence or telephone conversations have gone on between Mayor Francis, Mr. Skorobohacz and Mr. Gerretsen.

    Council was told by the mayor and CAO last night, in desperate arguments to defeat my motions for local input, that the scope and terms of reference of the provincial municipal audit need to be left totally to the province so as not to taint the process.

    I will repeat Mr. Skorobohacz's words to Mr. McCarter: "It is in our interest . . . that the public is provided assurances that the rate increases are warranted."

    With respect, what the CAO said is NOT the reason for the investigation! If that is all that the Ministry is to do, then you may as well not hire anyone given the limited nature of what is being requested. What is needed is the broadest of investigations on the flipflops on information that have come out of City Hall and WUC over the past few weeks. The Ministry has already received a proposed "Motion" from a Windsorite that outlines many areas for which Windsorites are demanding an answer. You can find that in my BLOG as well

    The object is to put the public at ease that a full and complete financial, business and operational investigation will be undetaken not a KPMG-type year-end audit or one that is viewed as a whitewash that does not deal with the questions outstanding.

    I am sure that our 2 MPP/Cabinet Ministers can tell you how quickly Windsorites can turn on any politician that is viewed as not dealing openly and honestly with us. We do not need WUC as an election issue to further complicate a most unfortunate situation.

    Please let me know when the meeting will be set up in Windsor. I can provide a location for it."

Just A Few Ideas

I had some time to think about all kinds of things over the holiday week-end


We owe Chris Schurr a debt of gratitude.

He gave up a good part of his holidayweekend to transcribe the farcical Council meeting that took place last week. If you did not watch it on Cogeco, then you have no choice but to read the transcript and then send it on to every person you know in this City and ask them to do the same so everyone will know what our Council is like.

Go immediately to his website and download the transcript PDF.file

Instead of fiddling while Rome burns, is Eddie having "lamb chops and osyter shooters" at "the hip Vu Bar at Casino Windsor" while Windsor is going under? Perhaps the bar could now be called "Deja Vu."

I am told that a gaggle of media types were there as guests too. Hmmm no Blogggers as far as I know. I wonder who from the Star was invited if anyone. There were about 80 or so people there who ate and drank well during the three hour party. Drinks and food were on the host I was told and people just did not want to leave.

I sure hope that Eddie arrived in time to meet up with Roger Penske. His photo was in the Star. I guess the Casino allowed a photo to be taken inside their walls if it was taken in the Vu.

With all of the problems that Eddie described that could happen to the Fire Department if we did not spend money to fix up our infrastrucutre, I hope the firefighters have enough water going through the mains now to put out the flames of outrage of Windsor citizens while Eddie is cultivating the racing crowd at the Soirée.


Did anyone from the City or those involved in the race other than the Mayor attend any of the festivities over the weekend?

Wouldn't you like to know who they were and whether they paid for their tickets? I sure would.

I wonder if there were passes included for the US$80,000 and if so, who received them?

I wonder if the Councillors were invited to any of the events and if so, did they have to pay. Assuming they were invited, I bet they had to RSVP so the organizers would know how many were coming.

[Pssst, keep this one to yourself but for one function, I heard that Councillors did not even receive their invitations until the night of the event, 4 days after the RSVP date. Not Eddie's fault if they do not get their mail in a timely fashion. Darn, if only the invitations had been sent via the Blackberrys. Perhaps next year]


What a strong Editorial on the WUC fiasco on Saturday and one that summarizes the events and citizen demands very succinctly.

But did you notice one thing. The word "mayor" or "Eddie Francis" was never used. Don't you find it fascinating that the politician who is responsible for this mess and fiasco was never mentioned by name. The closest the Star came was talking about the "Confusing and conflicting messages emanating from City Hall." How does one explain that?

We all know that if Mike Hurst had been the Mayor, the Star would have screamed out the "R" word. RESIGN!

And to Gord Henderson, perhaps this fiasco will help him "explain this corrosive contempt for the city" by so many Windsorites.


Congratulations to David Cassivi who was appointed to the Board of the Independent Electricity System Operator. " The IESO is responsible for managing Ontario's bulk electricity system and operating the wholesale electricity market."

Did you see this announcement anywhere? I wonder why not.

Just so you know, "Members of the Board are appointed by the Minister of Energy for a two-year term" Thank you Dwight.


Hands up all of my readers who read the Star story "Bridge to nowhere"

Continue to keep your hands up if you saw the Star correction the next day.

Keep your hands up if you saw the Detroit Free Press story which gives a different point of view than the Star story

Just as I thought, very few of you. Ok here it is so you can get a different perspective that you did not see in Windsor:

  • Work on new span not yet started, owner says
    Plaza construction spurs speculation
    September 1, 2007


    Owners of the Ambassador Bridge linking Detroit and Canada hope to begin construction on a second span soon, but deny that they have already begun the work.

    A recent report in Windsor sparked a furor over whether the Detroit International Bridge Co., the private owner of the Ambassador Bridge, had started construction work on its planned twin bridge before receiving needed permits from Canadian authorities.

    Dan Stamper, president of the company, denied that construction had begun on a second bridge. The company has been building an expanded inspection plaza on the Windsor side and, as part of that, has built a ramp that could connect to a new bridge, if and when it is built. A similar ramp is under way on the Detroit side as part of the Gateway project, a plan to join the bridge to nearby expressways.

    But no work has started on a second span, Stamper said this week. All needed permits were obtained in advance for the plaza and Gateway work, he added.

    That doesn't mean the bridge company, owned by Warren businessman Manuel (Matty) Moroun, won't start work on a bridge as soon as it can, Stamper said. He said he hopes that permits will be in hand before the end of the year so that the 36-month construction project can begin in early 2008.

    The bridge is expected to cost $500 million, on top of about $500 million already spent by Moroun's organization on land and other planning costs.

    Whether the bridge company is really just a few months away from starting construction has been hotly contested in Windsor. Many Windsor residents oppose Moroun's plans, some because of the truck traffic that occasionally clogs streets near the bridge, and others over fears of what a new bridge could mean to historic neighborhoods.

    To build a new bridge, the company needs environmental approval from the U.S. Coast Guard and Transport Canada. Both government agencies are conducting reviews.

    Meanwhile, another process might result in a new publicly owned bridge between Detroit and Windsor. That process, known as the Detroit River International Crossing, is a joint effort by U.S. and Canadian authorities.

    Mohammed Alghurabi, a senior project manager for the Michigan Department of Transportation, said the DRIC expects to complete its environmental studies by the end of this year and pick a preferred route for a new bridge by mid-2008. He declined to comment on the bridge company's plans.

    The bridge company wants to build a new six-lane span next to the Ambassador Bridge, and then close the Ambassador for extended maintenance. Eventually, the Ambassador Bridge would be used just for overflow traffic, in case of accidents on the new bridge, and for special events such as charity walks or runs.

    "We're just going ahead with our project," Stamper said. "We know it's right."

Explaining The Illogical

Mr. Spock once said:

"It is curious how often you humans manage to obtain that which you do not want."

Nothing makes sense to me any more with DRIC. Where is the logic in what they are doing? Just ask a few simple questions:

1) Would you take a chance of building a bridge where there might be salt mines and brine wells if there is an alternative, safe location? ie "If a sinkhole were to develop under, or near the foundations of a major bridge, like one that would be needed to span the Detroit River, it could be disastrous."

2) Why would anyone spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to drill holes hoping to find a good spot. ie "This work will help understand how close a bridge footing could be placed to the known brine wells."

3) If there is no risk, why is there a peer review panel of 6 Candian experts and 6 American experts set up to review the data

4) Why spend millions extra and take a chance to build the bridge in the risky area ie "investigations will lead us to develop mitigation measures that will allow for the construction of a crossing in this area."

The only logical explanation of all of this is the desire to wipe out the Bridge Co. no matter what the cost, no matter what the risk even though that the Bridge Co. location was ranked as "as the first or second best alternative based on its thorough analysis."

I was reading the US Minutes of the DRIC LAC community group and had a thought about "fairness" as well for people on both sides of the river. Perhaps the Governor can explain the logic to her consitutents in SW Detroit since she killed the Downriver crossings for the benefit of those communitites. I think what is being said is illogical since she seems to have left Delray out to dry it seems

Forgetting about the Bridge Co. alleging misrepresentation by DRIC for the time being, the Ambassador Bridge proposal was kicked out on the following basis to help the people of Sandwich supposedly:

  • "Upon questioning, Mr. Corradino explained the reasons for eliminating the construction of a second span of the Ambassador Bridge from further study. The U.S. team of the Partnership actually ranked the construction as the first or second best alternative based on its thorough analysis. However, the Canada team of the Partnership concluded that the impact of a second span, the plaza and connections were just not acceptable. The Partnership understood that no one side of the River would bear the undue burden of an alternative.

    Because the burden was unacceptable on the Canadian side, the Partnership eliminated the proposal. Mr. Corradino recommended visiting the DRIC website to access all analysis materials on the alternatives."

Now, where DRIC is proposing to build their bridge, Canada seems OK with it but is the US? In Delray, hundreds of people and businesses will be forced to move.

  • "When asked how many acres the entire River Crossing system takes up in the U.S, Joe Corradino presented a graphic of the project footprint and estimated the total area is 200 to 220 acres."

So all of this negative impacting on the US is NOT a US concern it seems and it must mean that the US is happy with this disruption since "no one side of the River would bear the undue burden of an alternative."

Imagine instead building a bridge in the existing footprint where no one is impacted. What is so illogical about that!

Now what can the explanation be for the silence on the other side? Why do people praise DRIC for listening to the Community? Yes, they do listen but it seems to go in one ear and out the other.

Here is what John Nagy said as quoted in an LAC Minute back on June 27, 2007:

  • "When the DRIC project first came to Delray, only a few people showed up at a meeting. He took it upon himself to inform the community of all the latest developments and the upcoming meetings. He made sure MDOT had a mailing list for Delray, and he himself went house-to-house, wrote addresses down, and submitted them to MDOT...He stressed that it is unfair to characterize the MDOT/DRIC team as a “villain.” The DRIC process always let an individual say what needs to be said.

    He noted that the MDOT/DRIC team has been more than open with the community."

I can well understand why he was so pleased given the revitalization concepts that DRIC presented as people expressed their vision for what they dreamed Delray could become.

Here though is the reality:

  • "C. Another community member asked about the surrounding neighborhoods and revitalization of those neighborhoods.

    R. Joe Corradino spoke about the conceptual plans to revitalize the area. He noted such plans need a partnership among government agencies and the private sector to succeed.

    C. Bob Benson noted revitalization of the community is not MDOT’s responsibility. MDOT will make recommendations; it will be someone else’s responsibility to implement those plans. Some people may have the impression that MDOT is going to lead the revitalization of the area.

    R. Mohammed Alghurabi noted MDOT is responsible for the DRIC study. And MDOT will be responsible to build the new bridge, plaza and interchange, if the project is approved. He noted MDOT will need partners to revitalize Delray.

  • Q. What will it take to implement the conceptual land use plan for Delray that the DRIC Study Team proposed?

    A. It will take a partnership among many units of government, including the City of Detroit, and the private sector. MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration can serve as a catalyst and make some but not all the investments. And, the DRIC Study Team believes it will take 20 to 25 years to fully revitalize Delray as portrayed in the conceptual land use plans.

    Q. Are there funds allocated/budgeted to make the plan a reality?

    A. No. Action on the plan, even by MDOT and FHWA, requires that it be approved. That is not scheduled to happen, if it happens, until the latter part of 2008."

As Mr. Spock pointed out

  • "Nowhere am I so desperately needed as among a shipload of illogical humans."