Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Windsor Council Quiz Show

Oh goodie

I can just feel another job for the Governor's Hubby, Dan Mulhern, coming up. Several thousand more Windsor taxpayer dollars to be spent because Councillors are immature and dysfunctional and lack a leader as Mayor. {Sigh} As the Star wrote:

  • "A rift on city council was laid bare last Monday when a bid to seek an Ontario auditor general probe of local utilities was shot down. Allegations of conflict of interest were raised and one councillor called another a liar."

That rift has been around for ages and is nothing more than the split that never healed with the last Council. Oh Eddie tried to maintain unity---rally behind Schwartz, use a tunnel for re-election, the arena to show they were doing something. Since he is lame-duck and Councillors are lining themselves for their future, what else can one expect but friction. The shock is that not even one year of this Council has gone by and it is falling apart.

If Eddie's numbers were still strong, then Councillors could still hide behind him. After all, almost 78% of voters voted for him for Mayor just last November. In a poll on the Angus Reid site that people are invited to go to, Eddie's numbers have crashed by over 40%. Of course this poll is not "scientific" and we do not know a lot about it but the numbers are bad considering who has gone there and hardly something to inspire Councillors to stay loyal.

Just watch over the next few weeks as Council blocks are formed; this happened in the last year of the Hurst mayoral term. In numbers there is security. What happened to Mike is happening to Eddie right now.

To help you pass a bit of time while you are enjoying your break, I put forward for your pleasure a short quiz. Guess which member of Council fits the description as we play:


  1. Which MEMBER will become the Council leader

  2. Which MEMBER is the biggest disappointment

  3. Which MEMBER has the most potential

  4. Which MEMBER is the most disruptive

  5. Which MEMBER is the biggest bore

  6. Which MEMBER has lost big time

  7. Which MEMBER just takes up space

  8. Which MEMBER may not finish this term in office

  9. Which MEMBER is positioning to be the next Mayor

  10. Which MEMBER plays all sides

  11. Which MEMBER lip-syncs questions

  12. Which MEMBER works the hardest

  13. Which MEMBER is the biggest joke

  14. Which MEMBER is waiting for the next shoe to drop

  15. Which 2 Ward Councillors get along the best

  16. Which 2 Ward Councillors get along the worst

The answers----well the questions are based on comments I have heard from people in the Community with whom I speak. As you can tell, they are not too complimentary. There is no right answer. You fill in the blanks for yourself.

All I can hope is that the last Council meeting was a wake-up call to those whom we elected. We have serious issues that need resolution. Not even the Governor's Hubby can help with that!

W.ACT Legal Fund

I like the name that Chris Schnurr chose for his group: Windsor Association of Concerned Taxpayers.

I decided to play with the name a little bit and suggest that Chris use the acronym: W.ACT, pronounced WE ACT!

It is pretty clear that, to date, with relatively few people involved, terrific success has been achieved. Imagine forcing a Mayor who got almost 78% of the vote at the election less than a year ago and the Council to request a Provincial inquiry. Such action, the Ministry has said is "rare."

Doesn't this remind you of another citizens group in town, a grassroots group that became very powerful to the point that even the Windsor Star said that no politician could be elected in this area if the group opposed them. Of course, the group I'm talking about is STOPDRTP.

I had the honour of being General Counsel of that group and had the privilege of working with a very dedicated group of people whose objective was to achieve a result that made sense for the citizens of Windsor in the border crossing file.

I bring this up because I like the concept of starting a group similar to STOPDRTP that could act on behalf of the citizens when the need arises. The obvious example is the Windsor Utilities Commission fiasco. If ever there was a need for a strong and powerful group to be around to fight for taxpayers, it is now.

Can you imagine what a group like this would have done if it had existed around the time when the Mayor and Council pushed through an arena transaction that is making less and less sense every day.

One of the beauties of STOPDRTP was that it was able to achieve a lot without having very much money, contrary to the belief of many people. I would expect that the total amount of money that we raised was probably less than the amount that DRTP spent for a full page in the Windsor Star for one of its advertisements.

The group had the backing not only of citizens in South Windsor who resided along the rail corridor but also from citizens across the City. We also received some support from businesses who were negatively impacted by the proposed truck route. However, many businesses who were supportive nevertheless refused to do so publicly for fear of losing business to those who supported a DRTP solution.

If Chris can create the equivalent of a STOPDRTP, it will become the worst nightmare of some of those who are members of Council today.

Clearly, one of the first actions that W.ACT will have to decide to take is whether to bring an application under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act respecting a possible conflict of interest of the Mayor and several of the Councillors who sit as members of WUC and Enwin. In fact, the entire Council may be conflicted since all of them indirectly receive money from Boards that Councillors sit on it. The money received is divided equally amongst all Councillors.

That brings me to the question of who is going to pay the costs for carrying on such a lawsuit, costs that can easily run into the six-figure mark if the matter is hotly contested. While I'm sure that Chris is a very fine fellow, and would like to help out his fellow citizens, I'm also certain that it would be unfair to put a financial burden on someone who is acting on behalf of the vast majority of the citizens of Windsor.

Accordingly, I will discuss the idea with Chris of setting up a nonprofit corporation, such as STOPDRTP was, to be the organization that provides the structure for citizens. I will also discuss with him the idea of creating a Legal Fund into which citizens of Windsor can make contributions to support required lawsuits to protect the interests of citizens. My belief is that only in such a manner can an effective group be set up without jeopardizing the financial future of the individuals involved.

Of course, if we had an open and transparent Council, obviously none of this would be required. If the Chair of WUC did not attack personally a person who dared question what has gone on, none of this would be needed. If we had a Ministry who actually talked and listened to the people and MPPs who were sensitive to our wishes, then none of this would be necessary!

There is no doubt that there are many angry Windsorites who are now just receiving their water bills and finding out about the huge increases and asking what can be done about it. There is no doubt as well that there are many angry people in Windsor who are unhappy about the way this City is being run, especially in relation to such extravaganza as the Windsor Arena and the US $75 million proposed Tunnel deal. There are small matters that stick in one's craw at a time of restraint such as the payments for Super Bowl and for the Detroit Grand Prix. Finally, there is no doubt that a number of businesses are very upset about the way that the City is run and how much is being lost economically.

It is fine to mouth off about all the negatives that are taking place in the City and to demand that something be done. It is another thing however to put your money where your mouth is. Are Windsorites prepared to contribute money to a group that will fight on their behalf against a municipal government with unlimited taxpayer funds that already seems to be out of touch with its citizens?

I do not know the answer to that but it is something that W.ACT members need to discuss over the next few days.

One of the things that I am going to suggest if a Legal Fund is started is that donations can be made anonymously. I have found since starting to write this BLOG that many people are prepared to provide information and assistance but are afraid to do so publicly since it could hurt their interest. As an example, a contractor in town could make a contribution to the Legal Fund without anyone in the municipal government knowing about it and being able to cause the company severe financial distress when it applies to the City for a permit or a rezoning.

Let me know what you think, and quickly. The deadline for bringing a conflict of interest action is very soon, within weeks. Heck, forget telling me what you think and send a cheque. If W.ACT goes along with my suggestion, I'll let you know where you can send money!

How much should you contribute---how about contributing the equivalent of the amount of a water bill for one month. The symbolism should be obvious!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Why I Won't Vote For Sandra Pupatello

Lets get real. It won't really matter whether I vote for Sandra or not. Unless the sky falls (and it might over the WUC matter which I am told is the #1 Provincial election issue in Windsor believe it or not), Sandra is a shoo-in to be re-elected. By saying that, I mean no disrespect to those who are working so hard by running against her. It's a reality that they too have to live with.

She has probably done a decent job as an MPP for our area. She has failed totally on the border issue, but then again so has every other politician. But she has brought us some call-centre jobs (the Star and the CAW have ruined that now haven't they). We'll get our medical school and a new engineering complex that will help the future of the City. Heck, she helped get a few million dollars for the Henderson seal of approval East End arena project.

Of course, if the Liberals win she'll probably remain as a cabinet minister. If the Liberals lose, she may even have a chance to become Leader of the party assuming that Dwight does not beat her. If one therefore is practical, one should be voting for Sandra. Fortunately, I'm not practical when casting my vote.

I won't vote for Sandra because, to be direct, she is not deserving of my support. And she is not deserving of yours either.

I want a politician in power that has resolve and is not afraid. I want a politician who will fight for us and not back off or knuckle under for her own selfish interests. I want a politician who will do the right thing for us and not the politically expedient thing. I want a politician with guts and nerve who is not afraid to spit in the eye of someone who will dare try to harm her constituents.

Sandra fails miserably in not bringing high-paying jobs here because she, along with Dwight and Eddie, have wasted the $300 million BIF money which would have created over 10,000 direct and indirect jobs. They also have prevented the Bridge Company from creating thousands of additional jobs with their Enhancement Project. Please tell me that she can do anything significant for us now when an out of town investor or industrialist looks at what is happening in Windsor and she is our MPP! Who would chance putting money into this City?

To be blunt, which business person is not looking to leave Windsor now. For heaven's sake, we cannot even get a garage built in Sandwich.

Even though it is obvious, and has always been so, that no one could beat Sandra, she was afraid. She was brutalized by the attacks by Henderson over her stand on the arena issue. After a Henderson column, there was the NDP asking questions at Queen's Park based on the Henderson column of the day. Remember what I wrote:
  • "Have you ever seen our famous Star columnist stay on a topic for so long and go after a politician so hard the way that Gord is after Sandra Pupatello these days? Not even Mike Hurst received the wrath of Gord this long and hard continuously that I can remember. I am surprised that the feminist movement has not yet condemned Gord since hardly a word has been mentioned about her male cabinet colleague, Dwight Duncan. After all, Sandra is also Minister responsible for women's issues."

She was identified, and rightly so, as the weak link in Windsor for the Liberals and the one at risk. She got scared and the Liberals got scared as well that she might lose her seat. Sandra was the target. She knew it and Dalton knew it and they both caved in. After all, a seat is a seat is a seat when the alternative is losing power or a minority Government.

The deal was sealed when Eddie supported Sandra by letter at her nomination meeting. He did not have the guts to be there in person so the deal could be sealed publicly. Instead, a stealth way to do so. Eddie probably hoped that no one would pick up on the fact that he sent a letter of support but he misjudged on that. The only question remaining was what the terms of the deal were.

We're starting to learn what some of the terms are now. Take today's Star:

  • "Provincial study urged of twin span
    Dave Battagello, Windsor Star

    Mayor Eddie Francis says he is concerned the provincial government has not responded to a city request to conduct an environmental assessment of the proposed twinning of the Ambassador Bridge...

    "Despite the city's repeated requests there will be no requirement under the federal process for an examination of the impact on access roads to the new bridge," Francis said in a Sept. 4 letter to MPP and cabinet minister Sandra Pupatello (L -- Windsor West)...

    "Minister, your government can do something extremely important about this project to protect the citizens of Windsor -- ensure the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project is subject to a full and proper environmental assessment," said Francis in the letter...

    Pupatello said Wednesday she agrees the province should conduct an environmental assessment.

    "It strikes me we do have a provincial responsibility here. Clearly, it would be one of the first priorities when we hopefully get back after Oct. 10," the provincial election.

    "It would be hard to argue not doing it because a bridge does end up on our roads. We already see the impact of that. It stands to reason it's something serious enough we need to be looking at."

    Pupatello said she spoke to the environment minister about the need for a provincial assessment at a cabinet meeting about three weeks ago."

Did you notice, a letter was NOT sent to Dwight. Why embarrass him or put him on the spot!Eddie made the same request to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Environment Minister Laurel Broten. What is Eddie's deal with Dwight? We ought to be told.

It is not as if Sandra really cares about the border. Go to her election website and I defy you to find an "issue" dealing with it. Use her "search" too and insert the word "border."

What a stupid move on Pupatello's part. Vote for me and maybe we'll do something after I am re-elected. How can anyone even take her comment seriously? It was just like Dwight's $500m gong show comment which he was forced to retract after he was made to look like a fool and which has not been brought back for this election campaign. If the DRIC road is built to the Ambassador Bridge, as it will be, then there is no need for a study of trucks on Huron Church Road. Sandra knows that.

A fundamental flaw in all of this, as again repeated by the Mayor, is that traffic will increase because the enhanced bridge will be built. It will "double the capacity of their bridge." Not even DRIC beleives that traffic will double any more with traffic tanking everywhere. Eddie need only look to his Tunnel for proof. But he prefers to ignore reality.

The Mayor conveniently overlooks the fact that the purpose of the project is to replace an old bridge. Even the world's expert traffic guru, his expert Gridlock Sam, says an old bridge could be a problem!

It is the new DRIC bridge that is supposed to be built for increased capacity, which everyone by now recognizes is not here, and not the enhanced bridge. If the Feds won't do an environmental assessment, then what gives the right to the Province to do so? After all, the matter constitutionally is a federal one since it deals with a bridge.

But we all know that Eddie's purpose is threefold: stall, stall, stall! And Sandra is right there with the Star story to help as his accomplice.

Sandra buckling under is depriving the community of thousands of jobs just so that she can be reelected. What a disgrace for a politician who should never have been worried about her reelection in the first place. And she expects me and others to vote for her. Not a chance!

I'm also very concerned about the WUC matter. We know that Sandra and Dwight talked to the Minister of Municipal Affairs but we don't know what they talked about. Should we be suspicious about what was said. I am now and especially after Dwight's smear job on Chris Schnurr.

Didn't Dwight say:

  • "Unlike Mr. Schnurr and his Conservative friends, we don’t believe the provincial government should just go in for the purposes of beating up municipalities. They’re elected officials at the municipal level, ah, by unanimous resolution, they have as I understand it, they’ve asked us and we’ve complied with their request."

In other words, Dwight prefers to protect the municipality and its elected officials rather than the taxpayers. He would prefer to ignore the complaints that the City Motion may not be proper. He would prefer to ignore that the Ministry investigation may also be improper. He would prefer, it seems, to have a limited audit rather than a full financial, business and operational audit as the people want.

Is this Sandra's position as well? She has been conspicuous by her silence although her Conservative opponent has just issued a press release attacking her position on this matter.

It turns my stomach, but maybe this is how politics is played in Windsor. I can hardly wait to see what the remaining terms of the Eddie/Sandra deal are. And the Dwight/Eddie one too! It should be quite enlightening. And I do not mean with the energy-efficient bulbs being handed out with Eddie's involvement. What an election goodie that is. Where's the Opposition?

So Sandra will win and she will win big time again. She'll be happy, Dalton will be happy and Eddie will be happy. As for her vote totals, they will be one less than they might have been. If you think that makes me happy, it doesn't.

Because I cry for Windsor!

Could Dwight And Sandra Lose

Has the energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulb gone on yet in the mind of Dwight Duncan's campaign manager? Have Sandra's people figured out yet that Dwight has put her at risk?

Can his campaign team be that stupid or that arrogant? Does Dwight think he is invincible and that he can never lose an election? Has he just made the Windsor Utilities Commission matter an election issue in the provincial campaign in his riding and perhaps also in the riding of his colleague, Sandra. Has he potentially cost both of them the election?

His absurd comment on CKLW smearing Chris Schnurr is ridiculous and has just made him Public Enemy #2 in the minds of many, right behind Junior!

  • "News reader: Duncan meantime is backing an audit of the Windsor Utilities Commission by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. That despite a call by a local group for a full-scale inquiry by the Auditor General. Chris Schnurr and his Association of Concerned Taxpayers made the request on Monday, but Duncan questions his motives..

    Duncan: “Unlike Mr. Schnurr and his Conservative friends, we don’t believe the provincial government should just go in for the purposes of beating up municipalities."

It is a very telling comment to me that Dwight is standing up for the municipal government and not the municipal taxpayers. Don't worry we'll find out the reason for it right after the election.

If the Opposition parties and the media pick up on this issue, it could be a brutal few weeks for Sandra and Dwight. We know that Sandra and Dwight have spoken to the Minister of Municipal Affairs but we do NOT know what they talked about do we? What are they hiding? Are they protecting someone?

I guess that Dwight believes that using Ontario government money during the weeks leading up to the election by distributing lightbulbs will do him a lot of good as people struggle to pay their water and sewer charges. Didn't you know that switching to one energy efficient bulb could save a user $50 over 5 years? We'll need all of those savings as we stay up late at night trying to figure out the Enwin and WUC bills. And just wait until smart metering comes in. Will be saving money all the way to the poor house!

Beating up on municipalities! Has Dwight lost it? Can he be serious?

One would have thought that Dwight, at an election time, would embrace any pro-democratic movement in the City of Windsor given the harsh indictment by the Windsor taxpayers of the Mayor and Council. Instead he follows the lead of Junior and attacks the leader of W.ACT, Chris Schurr, who wants nothing else other than a full financial, business and operational audit of the Commission.

This reminds me of what the City/WUC tried to do: meeting with the public, white board presentation, exculpatory statements. Until it all blew up in their faces. The smear tactic could blow up in Duncan's face very quickly just as it did with Bill Marra during the first election campaign against Eddie Francis when his negative radio ad annoyed people.

Dwight and Sandra's campaign managers better understand that this is a small town. Things happen very quickly here such as the public reaction when city Council flip-flopped on DRTP North, when the public thought that Project Ice Track was moving to Tecumseh and the WUC matter.

They better remember that Eddie had almost 78% of the votes when he was elected Mayor in November. In less than a year, the public has expressed their negative view of his Administration by their demand for an outside Auditor General value for money investigation. In the Angus Reid poll, although it is unscientific, Eddie's approval rating is under 40%!

Will Sandra and Dwight lose? Not likely. However, if there is a swing away from the Liberals and if the issue is credibility and ethics, unless Dwight and Sandra put this issue to bed immediately by supporting the people of Windsor, the election could well be anyone's race. Perhaps the no-names have a chance after all notwithstanding Gord Henderson's column.

If the light bulb works, Dwight had better run not walk and apologize to Schnurr!

One final thought Windsorites had better pray that the Liberals win the election. With Eddie's close connections to the Liberal Party, after all he supported Sandra didn't he at her nomination meeting, if John Tory wins we are in serious trouble in Windsor.

I am sure that you are certain that Eddie is very smart politically and that he has made a calculated assessment and is positive that Dalton will win. Yup, he was also positive that Kwame would lose too.

PS. As I predicted, the Opposition is starting to pick up on this story. Check out the website of Lisa Lumley the Progressive Conservative candidate in Sandra Pupatello's riding of Windsor West. Check out the press release that was issued by her campaign team.

I liked this line in the press release that I thought was clever:

  • "I want answers for Windsorites from the Auditor General and Sandra Pupatello is comfortable with an 86% tax hike."

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Health Alert: SMEARITIS Pandemic

The Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta has issued an alert to US Customs at the Windsor/Detroit border crossings to turn back any person living in Ward 4 in Windsor and in the Provincial riding of Windsor-Tecumseh.

If the person lives in both areas, then a Hazmat team must be called out immediately because they may be carrying a contagious disease called SMEARITIS.

Apparently, health investigators have tracked the disease to drinking water produced by the Windsor Utilitites Commission, some of whose business operations are conducted by Enwin. Its symptoms are quite serious. It allows politicians to mouth off and to speak gibberish without using their brains.

They believe that SMEARITIS may be a variation of the well-known FOOT-IN-MOUTH disease

It has impacted negatively already two prominent politicians in Windsor, WUC Chair and City Councillor Ken Lewenza Jr. and MPP and Minister of Energy Dwight Duncan. The Ontario Energy Board that regulates Enwin reports on administrative matters to the Ontario legislature through the Minister of Energy.

The CDC gave as an example their comments on the WUC matter and W.ACT's founder:
  • Lewenza: "The reality is he [Chris Schnurr] ran for city council last term and was unsuccessful and certainly he would like to carry this issue as long as he possibly can." According to Melanie Deveau, he said that Chris Schnurr is "irrelevant" and Bloggers have "no credibility."

  • Duncan on CKLW: "Duncan meantime is backing an audit of the Windsor Utilities Commission by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. That despite a call by a local group for a full-scale inquiry by the Auditor General. Chris Schnurr and his Association of Concerned Taxpayers made the request on Monday, but Duncan questions his motives.

    Duncan: “Unlike Mr. Schnurr and his Conservative friends, we don’t believe the provincial government should just go in for the purposes of beating up municipalities. They’re elected officials at the municipal level, ah, by unanimous resolution, they have as I understand it, they’ve asked us and we’ve complied with their request.”

    Duncan says the Auditor General has endorsed an audit by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs."

It will be interesting to hear what Windsor's other MPP and Cabinet Minister has to say about this subject and whether she too will try and smear Schnurr.

The WUC matter is growing and growing in scope. I wonder how W.ACT will react. If I know the people involved, W.ACT already has a master plan to cover every eventuality, smears being an obvious contingency!

The Provincial election may become interesting after all in Windsor if the Opposition parties can figure out how to use what is being said.

Just Some Silliness

Just a few ideas that made me chuckle


How else to explain the fact that 2 full Henderson columns were devoted to Larry Horwitz within 2 weeks.

The second appearance was the column devoted to the downtown, another one in the series where Larry talks about how Windsor can be so much better but nothing happens

The first was about Larry's trip to Vegas where he met with Pam at a magic show. She was working with illusionist Hans Klok.

Now I suspect that Pam taught Larry a thing or two about magic and he passed it on to Gord. How else can one explain the disappearance of the WUC matter from Gord's columns. Why he just made the issue vanish into the air.


Is the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget, the one who does not read BLOGs, so jealous of his Ward mate that he has to embarrass him at Council publicly?

I wondered why Councillor Brister was just raising this issue about the trip to Japan now. He was a member of the budget operating committee of Council that approved the expenditure for the trip back in the spring. What has changed so dramatically in our economic distress that the Councillor has to raise the issue at this time, a few weeks before the trip was to take place?

The Japanese apparently believe that the relationship with the City of Windsor has some value. Apparently, almost 2 dozen people came from Japan as part of their delegation earlier in the summer. Just so that the Councillor does not get apoplexy, the City of Windsor only had to pay the costs for a few of these delegates.

As I understand it, the Host City pays for meals and hotels etc. while the City that pays a visit is responsible for the air travel.

Obviously, the Councillor has no interest in developing a relationship with Japanese companies that might be interested in doing economic development in Windsor. Doesn't he understand that relationship building is fundamental to getting new business in the City from organizations in Japan.

Is the Councillor really that jealous that he doesn't have a ticket to Japan or is there really something more behind all this? As you know, at City Council, nothing as it seems to be.


Was Councillor Big Cheese so angry at her Ward Mate that she stormed out of the meeting at Council.

As you may know, Councillor Jones forced a tie on the vote to tear down an old garage in Sandwich and to build a new one. Under the City's rules, if there is a tie than the motion is lost.

Apparently Councillor Postma was a big supporter of the resident and must have been so angry that she couldn't face her Councillor colleagues anymore that evening.

What I found very interesting about all this matter is that the Ambassador Bridge dominated the conversation at Council even though no one from the Bridge Company was in attendance.

Make the Bridge Company the enemy again and use them to justify Council not acting
  • "It would be pretty hard to distinguish why one can proceed in the face of others being turned down," Wilkki said."

In other words, the Bridge Company would be able to sue the city of Windsor for bad faith.

I wonder what would've happened if Eddie Francis was in attendance, but he wasn't. Would he have broken the tie or not voted at all so he could not be blamed for anything.

I must admit that I was surprised the way that Council Jones voted. Wasn't he the fellow that said that there was this out-of-town developer who wanted to come into Sandwich because he was so excited about the location? Well kill that dream! Which developer, out-of-town or otherwise, would want to do anything in Sandwich when it is now clear that the interim control bylaws will be extended for another year and Council is afraid to do anything.

If this is not stifling development in the City of Windsor and in Sandwich, in particular then I don't know what is.


Can you believe it. The mayor did not attend the council meeting on Monday night.

I wonder where he actually traveled. Did he go to Toronto, New York, or some other exotic location to meet with his outside experts on the tunnel matter. Don't consultants normally come to the client and not the other way around? Isn't that what happened in the past? I am sure that he will justify the fact that he went to them to save travel expenses. But you know what, I would really like to know where he went and went with him.

Those consultants must be really busy. The only day of the week that he could meet with them was on a Monday so we had to miss the council meeting.

Poor Eddie, he did not have to break the tie vote on the garage issue. He did not have to give any explanation about the Tunnel Plaza improvements and how much extra it was going to cost. No one had the opportunity to discuss with him the issues raised at the earlier press conference by Chris Schnurr. And finally, he did not have to discuss the issue with respect to conflict of interest. That seemed to have been a concern to him previously but now after his new legal opinion, it apparently is not a concern.

Whew, some people sure are lucky!

PS. We now learn he went to NYC. I wonder if the Chair of the Windsor Airport flew from Windsor or from Detroit. I wonder who went with him and when the Windsor delegation left.

Baker's Dozen of Comments

I still have NOT received your letter yet. Here is what some of your fellow readers have sent to me recently.

1) Good morning.
Seems like Eddie's call center is in jeopardy.
Is another apology forth coming?

2) From a recent editorial;

"The city has engaged traffic guru Sam Schwartz and the world-renowned tunnelling experts Parsons Brinckerhoff to draft a Made-in-Windsor solution for the border route and..."

Sam and PB are from New York. I didn't know NYC had a new borough to go alongside some of its more storied neighbourhoods.

Highjinx and hilarity all round.

I can't wait for Halberstadt's other pieces to come. He may broach the EC Row taboo.

3) Great job w/ your blog. Very insightful

4) Hey Ed,

Reading a few of the postings on blogs the last couple of days and complaints about Eddie not hearing the delegations/public I am struck with the lesson probably learned by Eddie at the Ciociaro club council meeting in March 2006.

Delegation after delegation got up to blast him and council. He failed to line up his supporters as speakers and thus it came off that the public was 95-5 against him and council - a big disaster for a guy who reads and collects his press clippings. He had to call MacKinnon and others up to grill them to save face.

He doesn't make the same mistake twice. He won't let the public speak again on any controversial issue (the border, the Bridge, the WUC etc) unless he's seeded the delegations with friends (if there are any). That's why he couldn't let those 6 people speak at council the other week - they were all going to blast him. He'd rather suffer the temporary flack for being anti-democratic than suffer a string of attacks in public.

When is Schwartz II coming? Ever?

5) Don't you just love Eddie's reasoning!? He says he's sorry for his "falure to control" unruly conduct at the August 27th meeting of Council.

He just doesn't seem to realize that what happened was a result of his efforts TO CONTROL the whole process for the past 6 weeks. He has been moving motions, giving "press conferences" and lectures, all from the Chair. and doing a whiteboard song & dance routine that further confused things. He has treated Alan Halberstadt shamefully contributing to other councillors thinking it was "get Alan Night!" He effectively engineered the handling of the entire WUC debate and audit and reaction to it, so that delegations would NOT be heard on the matter.

He failed to bring Alan's motion to a vote, delaying it until no one could remember what was at issue; he and the WUC have been the source of the misinformation at the heart of people's disdain and suspicion...

We do have a big problem in Windsor and it's Eddie Francis! His political shenanigans are becoming a gross abuse of the citizens and I'm tired of it!

6) I think you are right about the ruffled feathers between them. (Alan and Eddie)
Maybe it's time for the chicken again.....

7) Just received my Enwin/WUC bill. The portion for July is 8 days and the August portion is 25 days, roughly a 3 to 1 ratio. The actual cost of water hasn't changed but the other "fees" certainly seem to be a lot more than the thirty-some percent story that we are being fed ... I didn't do all the math but 8 days in July ($2.22) compared to 25 days in August ($13.16) is in the range of $4.21 for every 8 days. And that is only on the Meter Fixed Charge. The others are all variable according to usage.

Seems fair to them - use $6.16 worth of water (including the summer "levy") and pay an additional $69.92 for all the other taxes based on that usage and increased Fixed Charges. I can't wait until my entire next bill is calculated using the new rates.

8) There are several blogs addressing issues in Windsor in recent times. I believe it is time that the public interest start to have a face. Surely there are people in this City that could set up a Legal Action Fund to deal with any outrageous matters such as Conflict of Interest of Public Officials. Should such a fund be established I would make the suggestion that the relevant blogs provide linkages to such a Legal Action Fund to make it possible to secure the resources necessary to take on taxpayer abuse in the courts. This is the 21st Century and the days of petitions and protest are over, the executive and legislative arms of government need to meet the judicial!

9) There is one absolutely safe, extremely convenient and very well served location for another bridge. Is that so hard to understand?

10) How absurd and typical of the City of Windsor, to announce a new service delivery .This is at a minimum the third such venture in the last 10 years that have all gone nowhere , as there is no political or adminstrative will for real change.

Recall the Randolph Report ? then the 2002 hiring of change agent Dennis Perlin and the mass training of staff in Business Procees Review .This should provide endless material for the public to learn about the ineptitude of its elected staff and administration.

11) Should they not all resign from the WUC board and then they can govern the city concerns

12) Note to Dave Brister: For your information RATEPAYERS OF WINDSOR=CHARITY. No thanks to you. Weren't you a member of WUC too

But there's no green grass for them to graze on without water mains...........

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Whatever Happened To The Tunnel Plaza Improvements

Another City deal in limbo somewhere in the Twilight Zone perhaps. Or did someone in this new Service Delivery Review project of the City wonder already whether the City ought to be running a border crossing and should instead start focusing on running the City!

As I speculated before, we now have confirmation that it is money that is holding up the project.

According to Public Works General Manager Dev Tyagi, and as we know, the City, Province and Federal government have a three-way deal on the Tunnel Plaza in which each government is supposed to contribute $10 million for the improvement project.

It appears now that the cost of the project is higher, although that number was not revealed. I would suspect that the number must be significantly higher than the $30 million, or else it would not have been discussed at Council. It was also not disclosed, why the costs had increased so dramatically but it is easy to speculate why.

I'll bet that it will cost a lot of money to relocate businesses away from the existing streets around the Tunnel Plaza. Won't the City have to expropriate Burger King as an example? I'm sure that they will know how to negotiate a good deal.

Moreover, it seems that this project has taken so many years to commence that the costs must have risen dramatically. Isn't the funky bus terminal, the classic example. Oooops, I forgot, according to a revisionist history that project came in under budget and on time.

We were told that there were complex negotiations being undertaken amongst the three governments and that we should not expect a resolution for quite some time. I wonder when the last time the parties got together to talk.

Perhaps as well, no one wants to admit that the Tunnel Ventialtion building is NOT scrubbed until after Schwartz does his Report. How odd that the City wants a tunnel on the DRIC road to be environmentally pure and wholesome yet pumps out dirty exhaust from its Tunnel now that covers part of the City!

The question that I have is, what does this do to the Mayor's US$75 million deal with respect to taking over the Detroit side of the Tunnel? If the Plaza cannot be improved until such time as the negotiations are concluded, then who would want to help finance Eddie's Tunnel deal? Some private equity investor would have to be foolish to do so when the costs of improvement seemed to be rising and no deal can be made yet with the Senior Levels of government.

A rather surprising comment was made by Mr. Tyagi that the City hoped that its contribution would remain the same or might even be lowered. Given the terrific relationship between Eddie and the Federal Government, do you really think that will happen? Perhaps the Province has made a deal with the Mayor with respect to contributions and the two governments believe that they can pressure the Feds to cough up more money.

Could it be that this was part of the deal among Eddie, Sandra and Dwight? Who knows, we are mere citizens, and we don't count!

I wonder, for example, if the earlier reason given about why the project was not moving forward was true. My sources told me at the time that it was the Mayor's office that put the order out to cancel the open house on the Tunnel supposedly so that the "new" Tunnel Commission members could be on board and that has never been rescheduled.

All I know is that there are more questions to ask with no one around to answer them. But it's OK, we will have a new Tunnel Corp. that Eddie heads.

Hmmm I wonder how much of this Kwame and Detroit Council know!

Watermain-gate Conflicts: Is City Hall Scared

Gee all that has to be done is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs to issue a simple statement saying that they will undertake a full financial, business and operational audit on WUC/Enwin after talking to citizens.

The Office of Dwight Duncan apparently said that he will make a statement shortly. Will he be speaking on behalf of the Ontario Government or merely for himself and what will he say? Where is Sandra setting out her position?

Then the Mayor and Council need apologize for their actions and bring a Section 7 application under the Municipal Conflicts of Interest Act to ask a Judge for directions re conflicts and this matter would be over.

Why won't anyone do what is so obvious? Makes me wonder anyway. Does the concept of a "forensic" investigation terrify politicians so much?

To answer the question, is City Hall afraid of what may happen since there was so much spinning after Chris Schnurr's Press Conference?


Why should they be afraid just because it was brought up in the Star, on Melanie's CKLW afternoon show yesterday and it was discussed at Council. Interestingly, a CBC Reporter had information about the City's legal position before the Schnurr press conference so that he could ask a question trying to put Schnurr on the spot. Someone at City Hall had to get up early in the morning to give out that information!

Heck, things are so easy-going with the WUC Chair, Councillor Lewenza, that he feels the need to attack people by saying that they have a personal agenda. I am sure they do....perhaps it is to uncover the truth!

Junior needs to be taught that ad hominem attacks by an elected official make him look childish. He should be asked to apologize at the next Council meeting for his unfortunate remarks or be forced to resign as WUC Chair. WUC has enough problems now. It does not need the Water Chair spouting off!

City Solicitor George Wilkki has nothing better to do with his time it seems than to go on a radio talk show, Melanie Deveau's CKLW show, and reply to some "irrelevant" Blogger, Chris Schnurr [I'll explain irrelevant later].

Councillor Ron Jones was not scared. He was asked to appear on the radio but he did not. (Ron is on WUC too). Councillor Lewenza, who is the Chair of WUC was not scared either. He also refused to appear on the show at first but by the time he changed his mind, the slot was filled. You see Junior thinks Chris Schnurr is "irrelevant" and Bloggers have "no credibility" according to Melanie. I guess he feels that there is no need for him to lower himself to deal with mere taxpayers and voters.

It seems that we lonely Bloggers are not worthy enough for the Councillor, just like him dealing with the people on the People-based budget. It too was of little value to Junior. It only allowed "city councillors the privilege to mingle with their constituents."

Great quotes to be used for Junior's next political campaign when Joe Comartin retires.

Bill Marra appeared and his strange contribution was to give the Ministry a chance to do their audit and then decide if more has to be done once their report is in! As if there is going to be a second one. {Sigh} Does he think we are that dumb!

Don't you find it odd that no one asked the Mayor to appear on the radio. Oh I forgot, he will get the softball lobs from the morning crew on CKLW on his Tuesday interview show. It appears that he must have a little bit of concern since he had to go out and get his own legal opinion to give him comfort. I assume that it is NOT privileged and confidential any longer since George Wilkki has referred to it and told us what it said.

So will the Mayor release that opinion. Yeah, right.

It is all so strange. Why just a few weeks ago, Solicitor Wilkki said at Council:

  • "Your Worship, Members of Council; if the issue is as to a position of conflict - -that the individual councillors who serve on either Enwin or the W U C Boards may or may not have, then my opinion they should not be debating, moving, seconding, participating whatsoever in the discussion of the issue."

The Mayor said:

  • "The Mayor: "Members of Council, There's a motion on the floor moved and supported. Legal Counsel has provided advice. I am going to remove myself from the Chair. The rest of you can govern yourselves accordingly"

Then another comment

  • "Councillor Marra asks into his microphone: "So the legal advice is. Then if you are a member of WUC it's inappropriate to debate this motion?"

    "The Mayor points toward Wilkki (to answer this question.)

    Wilkki replies: "That's correct. The way, as I see it, if you feel you have a conflict with regard to this issue of the audit- - you shouldn't discuss anything, --with respect to the terms of reference of the audit or whether in fact the audit should proceed in whatever manner."
Has everything changed after the Star story that discussed conflicts? Wilkki now said in an answer to Melanie that in his personal opinion, there is no conflict. And he said it again at Council. He also tried to explain what he said previously by saying that his comments were only in relation to the specific Motion and how it was worded.

He does know how to play with words too. His line in the Star today was a classic:

  • "The conflict issue is dead in the water," Wilkki said. "

Unfortunately for him and some on Council, I think the issue is just starting. After all, the CAO said at the time:

  • "Your worship, if I may for a second I just consulted with the City Solicitor on this issue. The way the motion is worded at the present time. Just for the sake of clarity for council members who currently are members of the Windsor Utilities Commission. You may wish to declare a conflict because we’re talking about conducting an audit and if at the end of the day the motion gets defeated an argument will be made that somehow you swayed the vote and in fact you killed the decision to exclude you from that process. You want to declare a conflict and refrain from the discussion."
Isn't that the issue. The City solicitor has tried to frame the issue in a very narrow fashion. He quoted section 4 (h) of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act to prove there is no issue. In my opinion, it has NO application:
  • Sec. 4 Section 5 does not apply to a pecuniary interest in any matter that a member may have,
  • (h) by reason only of the member being a director or senior officer of a corporation incorporated for the purpose of carrying on business for and on behalf of the municipality or local board or by reason only of the member being a member of a board, commission, or other body as an appointee of a council or local board.

The word "only" is the important one. No one has ever said that the conflict is only by someone being a member of the Commission. There is so much more involved as both the CAO and City solicitor said. Why else would they give the advice they did.

That proves the point of what this is all about. If a question is framed very narrowly, one gets one answer. If it is framed broadly, then one might get a different one. It is all in the Terms of Reference!

You know, I am getting soooooooooo confused! It is getting worse with legal interpretations now part of the mix. I think we need an inquiry on the legal issue alone. Is there a Judge in the house?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Watermain-gate: Are Sandra And Dwight At Risk Now

Oh, the strategy is a brilliant one and completely unexpected! It should give a number of politicians heartburn today.

Never underestimate the brainpower of ordinary citizens when they believe that governments are not listening to them and are wasting their money.

The stakes have just been raised in the provincial election. Chris Schnurr has just put Windsor’s two MPPs/Cabinet Ministers, Sandra Pupatello and Dwight Duncan, on the hook for the Watermain-gate affair!

If the two opposition parties in each of the ridings want to have any chance for defeating the two incumbents, then they better hop on the bandwagon and quickly.

In effect, Schnurr marginalized the Mayor and City Council by pointing out the obvious. The City of Windsor is a creation of Queens Park. It is up to Sandra and Dwight as our representatives to ensure that the Windsor Utilities matter is handled properly.

If I were the campaign managers of the challengers, I would be out there front and center demanding that our MPPs act immediately. In fact, I would be asking what Sandra and Dwight talked about with the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

If I were Sandra and Dwight, I would immediately let everybody and their uncle know that Windsor citizens will be getting a full financial, business and operational investigation into WUC and its relationship with Enwin and put the issue to bed before it blows up in their face!

As for the Mayor and Council, it might be worthwhile for them to consider their positions. The Windsor Star story made it clear what the risks are too for a number of Members of Council if this moves forward.

The OMB strategy is an interesting one as well. I’m not quite sure exactly what the plan is but the big advantage from the citizens’ perspective is that it can be done very quickly and very easily.

In passing, what a shame that Schnurr was not elected as a Councillor in the last election! He and Halberstadt would have made a good team on matters such as this. Neither would have let anyone push them around on this type of an issue!

Here is a copy of the speech for you to read and to enjoy:

  • Notes of Address
    Press Conference regarding the Windsor Utilities Commission

    September 17, 2007

    Good afternoon, Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press.

    Today, the residents of Windsor are at a crossroad – and it’s a place we’d rather not be. However, the circumstances as they have unfolded have left the hard-working residents of Windsor no other alternative.

    In this time of increasing unemployment the impact of all the decisions leading to the combined 86% rate increase is devastating to many. In these hard economic times facing seniors, families and small businesses, the impact of this increase will be felt for years to come.

    This increased burden could mean the difference between keeping their home, or food on the table or paying their water bill. It could mean the difference, for a small business owner keeping their business open, or joining the growing ranks of closing businesses. Windsorites need to know if all options have been considered. Windsorites need to know who is responsible.

    With the events surrounding the Windsor Utilities Commission, which can only be described as a “fiasco”, I’m reminded of a quotation I read sometime ago, which stated, “Perhaps nothing in our society is more needed for those in positions of authority than accountability. Too often those with authority are able (and willing) to surround themselves with people who support their decisions without question.”

    Accountability goes beyond a municipal election every four years. Accountability involves the ability to be receptive to the concerns and questions of taxpayers in Windsor, as well as responsive to those questions and concerns. Unfortunately, over the last few weeks, we have seen neither from the members of WUC, our Mayor and a majority of members of City Council.

    We have called you here today to outline the unanswered questions regarding the WUC affair, as well as to layout how we intend to pursue the blatant disregard, of not only these questions and concerns of ratepayers, but the outright contempt for meaningful, fact-based dialogue regarding the proposed audit of the Windsor Utilities Commission.

    When residents appeared as a delegation to address the audit at city council, they were silenced. When residents communicated with the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs, their questions were dismissed. When residents applied to make a presentation to City Council to have their concerns heard, they were denied.

    Residents are here today to say, “We’ve had enough.”

    There are serious questions that need answering – answers that Windsorites deserve to hear. We’ve heard the conflicting reasons; we’ve heard the blame being passed back and forth – but we have not heard the answers.

    There is the question of whether or not there was a diversion of funds to support operations at the WUC, as internal documents at the WUC suggest. There is the outstanding question of the number of customers who did not pay for water service and how much is owing. Have alternative water main replacement techniques been investigated? Are there better ways to pay for the much needed improvements? What exactly was the role of “politics” in deciding not to phase in rate increases since 2004? What were the details of the Mayor’s private telephone conversation with the Auditor General? Was the Auditor General’s decision influenced by this conversation?

    And most importantly, who is accountable for this “fiasco”?

    There has been no promised discussion with the community at City Council. No delegation to date has been allowed to speak at Council regarding this affair. There is the outstanding issue of questionable interpretations of the Procedural By-law, which in my opinion, was used to shut down proper debate. And finally, the Ministry of Housing and Municipal affairs will not accept input from residents until after the Terms of Reference have already been decided.

    We are here today to state unanimously, that we have had enough.

    It is the duty of all our elected officials to take into account what the taxpayers of Windsor have to say. We are here today to hold our elected officials accountable.

    We are not satisfied with a year-end type of audit, or a narrow financial one that, as the City’s Chief Administrative Officer suggested will “provide assurances to the public that the rate increases are warranted.”

    Today, we are not asking, but demanding a full and complete financial, business and operational investigation of the WUC and any third party relationships with Enwin by an independent third party.

    We will not tolerate any attempts for a white-wash. We need more than simple assurances – we demand the facts and a full accounting of the “misrepresentations” to date by all those involved.

    John F. Kennedy once said, “We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.”

    Residents in Windsor have lost this trust and confidence that the Mayor and Council will do the right thing. We have been unable to judge the truth in an open forum. Especially after the performance of our councilors at the August 27th council meeting when dealing with this matter. If the media can call their actions a “mess” and a “fiasco”, then you know things are bad.

    Accordingly, since the Municipality is a statutory creation of the Provincial Government, we call upon our MPPs and Cabinet Ministers Sandra Pupatello and Dwight Duncan to take action on behalf of residents in Windsor. We know that they have already spoken to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and that troubles us given we do not know what they discussed.

    During this provincial election, we look to our provincial members of the legislature, our Cabinet representatives, to speak up for Windsorites and join us in demanding that a complete audit and inquiry into the all the events surrounding the WUC issue are conducted. If not, voters can make their choices on Election Day.

    Accordingly, we demand that the following action be taken forthwith:

    1. That MPP’s Sandra Pupatello and Dwight Duncan immediately ask the Auditor General, under section 17 of the Auditor General Act, to undertake a “special assignment” - a value for money audit of WUC and Enwin ;

    2. In the alternative, that they immediately ask the Minister of Municipal Affairs under Section 10 of the Municipal Affairs Act to “make an inquiry into any of the affairs of a municipality” and in particular with respect to the WUC/Enwin matter as was requested in the Mayor’s motion; and finally

    3. The terms of reference of either alternative must be discussed with the citizens of Windsor at a special meeting called for that purpose so citizens can finally express their opinion as to what should be done.

    In addition, since we believe that the City of Windsor motion calling in the Ministry is illegal and void, the Mayor and Council shall forthwith:

    1. Withdraw that Motion;

    2. Apologize properly to the citizens of Windsor for their shameful behaviour and actions respecting the WUC/Enwin matter; and

    3. To clarify the issue of potential conflicts of interest, they must immediately bring an application under Section 7 of the Municipal Conflicts of Interest Act to ask a Judge for direction on notice to citizens so that any who wish, may intervene to assist the Court.

    4. Properly introduce a new motion, with full public participation calling upon the Auditor General to conduct a broad-based inquiry and audit.

    We will not sit idly by.

    We will not tolerate our concerns being pushed to the sidelines or dismissed.

    We expect that since our request is a reasonable one, it will be complied with immediately.

    If not, then we shall first file an Application under the Ontario Municipal Board Act to seek our remedy. Furthermore, we expressly reserve the right to take any other legal action as appropriate to deal with this unfortunate situation that was created by our elected representatives.

    It is truly unfortunate that it has had to come to this. However, if our elected officials truly believe in transparent and accountable government, our request should be relatively easy to fulfill.

    We do not understand the reluctance to date to engage the citizens of Windsor in meaningful fact based dialogue in an open forum.

    However, we do understand our rights and the obligation of our elected officials to respect those rights.

    We will accept nothing less.

Watermain-gate Press Conference Today

I'll be there for you to watch and listen if you cannot make it.

NOTICE OF Press Conference


Chris Schnurr will be holding a press conference to outline the reasons why he is demanding that a full financial, business and operational investigation into the affairs of the Windsor Utilities Commission take place.

WHERE: The Junction
1200 University Ave. W.
Windsor, ON

WHEN: Monday, September 17, 2007
12:15 PM

WHO: Chris Schnurr and fellow Windsorites

New Ideas

Here are some thoughts I had that you might find of interest


My inside moles have done it again! They found an advanced copy of the new and improved Gridlock Sam Report.

In the Report, Gridlock Sam is to suggest strongly that on top of each of his Schwunnels, or short tunnels, along the DRIC road the City build a small ski hill similar to the one at the toboggan hill in Optimist/Memorial Park!

If we can have Huron Church becoming the Champs Elysee of Canada, then the 9 or 10 new ski hills can make Windsor the Switzerland Alps of Canada, especially during the winter, Schwartz will say.

Windsor can now ask Kwame to sponsor our "What's the Matterhorn" Winterfest, a remarkable switch in roles after Super Bowl, Wrestlemania and the Grand Prix

The plan was actually the brainwave of Mayor Eddie Francis. As Gord Henderson reported
  • "Ward 3 councillors Fulvio Valentinis and Al Halberstadt (and by the way, they're on speaking terms again) were taken totally by surprise, as was the mayor, when furious calls started coming in after work crews descended on the park like locusts on the Friday of Labour Day weekend and carted away a hill that had been a place of fun and fond memories for more than four decades...

    Valentinis told me that in 12 years on council he's dealt with a lot of contentious issues and taken many furious calls, but he's never come across one that generated such an outpouring of passion as this

    "I was amazed by the level of emotional involvement. This was near and dear," said Valentinis. He was inundated by "really heartfelt" calls and e-mails from residents devastated by the loss of the hill and determined to see it restored.

    This hit all generations, said Valentinis. Kids were angry. Parents were seething. And grandparents were disconsolate that a setting of fond family memories could be destroyed in hours, without explanation."

Eddie's political genius, the Eminence Greasie immediately jumped on the bandwagon and told Eddie and Schwartz that the idea was a winner and should be added to whatever it was that Schwartz had rewritten so many times already. As Henderson wrote

  • "The children's hilltop crusade, in a remarkable demonstration of collective kiddie power, has brought the City of Windsor's parks and recreation department to its knees.

    You can't beat city hall? Tell that to the articulate, placard-carrying youngsters who stoked the South Walkerville community's outrage over the cavalier destruction of a beloved toboggan hill in Optimist/Memorial Park and in a mere two weeks forced the parks department into a humiliating retreat and a commitment to build a new and better hill."

Eddie now knows how he can pressure the Senior Levels, and in particular Sandra and Dwight before the election, into accepting his border solution.


Those Gazelle Feeders must have an expensive thirst and a deep pocketbook.

I hear they took over part of the VU at the Casino the other night to entertain an overseas group, potential investors I hope. May as well try and impress the visitors eh.

I sure hope that we get the investment to cover the costs. I wonder if the Commission only uses that room or whether they share their expense account funds amongst other local establishments.

Hmmm I wonder what it costs for such an event!


It must be a new type of apology sweeping the country. The New York Times reported on it recently:

  • "Belichick Apologizes, but Does Not Explain
    Patriots Coach Bill Belichick would not say Wednesday what exactly he was apologizing for

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass., Sept. 12 — New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick, embroiled in a controversy over whether he had a staff member break N.F.L. rules by videotaping opposing coaches’ signals, took a page from the Jason Giambi handbook of damage control Wednesday.

    Belichick's Statement

    "Earlier this week, I spoke with Commissioner Goodell about a videotaping procedure during last Sunday's game and my interpretation of the rules. At this point, we have not been notified of the league's ruling. Although it remains a league matter, I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players. Following the league's decision, I will have further comment."


Her's another story out of Gridlock Sam's hometown. Sounds almost like the WUC story doesn't it:

  • Manhattan Bridge fix almost in

    Thursday, September 13th 2007

    The lower deck of the Manhattan Bridge will reopen Oct. 1 after $829 million rehab on span that cost $31 million to build.

    It took eight years to build and then 25 years to repair. But the seemingly endless roadwork is nearly over.

    Come Oct. 1, the Manhattan Bridge's lower deck will reopen, increasing the number of traffic lanes by 50%...

    The current repairs on the bridge date to 1982...

    The Manhattan Bridge opened in 1909, but less than 50 years later city officials were considering demolishing it. The design was significantly flawed, experts said.

    The decision to run the subway tracks along the outer edges of the span resulted in incredible strain on the steel and cable structure. The trains caused the bridge to shift and turn, creating cracks and other faults. Decades of neglect resulted in extensive corrosion.

    "Frankly, we were frightened," said Sam Schwartz, the DOT's chief engineer and first deputy commissioner from 1986 to 1990.

    The city launched a major overhaul in 1982. It grew dramatically in scope and price to the current $829 million tab. The bridge's original cost 98 years ago was $31 million. "

Here is another interesting fact in NYC:

  • "in 1997, there were 40 bridges under DOT's responsibility rated in "poor" condition. Today that number is down to three, and those will be brought into better condition over the next few years."

Yes, investing toll money in infrastructure as a private owner does seems to make some sense.


Geeez, Brain should start listening to others so he can build a bigger border bureaucracy in the Windsor/Detroit area. If a Border Authority on each side of the river for the new crossing was not enough, Brian wants a Super-authority over all of the crossings in the area. But of course, when there are major problems, we will need a new official as the Mayor of Sarnia wants. With the new person in charge, we can call the structure, since so many politicans and bureaucrats will be involved, the "Politbureau."

  • Bradley says 'border czar' needed to combat delays
    Sun, September 2, 2007, By HANK DANISZEWSKI, SUN MEDIA

    The Blue Water Bridge needs a "border czar" with broad powers to break the growing logjam at the Canada-U.S. border crossing, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley says.

    Border tieups have grown much worse in the last month, with most of the trouble concentrated on the Michigan side of the bridge, Bradley said.

    The problem is so bad, he said, that local officials approached Ontario's Transportation Ministry to put portable washrooms on approaches to the bridge to help out waiting motorists...

    Bradley said Canadians suffer from "bureaucratic gridlock" on their border, with overlapping civic, provincial and federal jurisdictions.

    "What we need is a border czar in every border city with the authority to make decisions and make things happen," said Bradley.

    He said the "border czar" would be under federal jurisdiction and control border crossings and nearby areas."


Two Star stories are very interesting:

  • Truck fumes part of bridge EA

    "If the Ambassador Bridge is to receive federal approval for its twin span proposal, it must first successfully tackle environmental assessment guidelines that emphasize air quality impacts on Windsor's residents...

    The most stringent review under the guidelines calls on the bridge company to provide data revolving around air quality - past, present and projected - impacted daily by thousands of diesel-burning trucks at North America's busiest border crossing...

    It is difficult to estimate how long it may take the bridge company to complete the environmental assessment process, but "projects of similar scope" take about two years, Butler said.

    "It could be quicker," he said. "The ball is in their court. They know what needs to be addressed."

It appears that time has passed quickly and the results are out. Since the Enhancement Project merely replaces one bridge for another, logically there should be no difference and in fact an improvement if trucks are moving faster. However, the new DRIC air quality results should help the Bridge Co. considerably since presumably it has to be based on overly optimistic DRIC traffic volumes:

  • Tunnel won't stop smog: Study
    Gov't consultant finds little difference in emissions from any border option

    Whether a tunnel is constructed in Windsor or not, there will be no change in the border truck diesel pollution impact once you get beyond 100 metres from the Huron Church corridor, says a government air quality consultant.

    "The reality is beyond a distance of 50 to 100 metres our predictions indicate there is not really any difference between any of the proposed alternatives...

    A tunnel option does show improved air quality in the zone within close proximity, but beyond 100 metres "it's no different," Chambers said.

    There is also no indication there will be "any measurable change" in air quality as result of air pollution control devices or scrubbers being utilized on a tunnel, he said."

    Is this another phony issue and nothing more than a stall tactic since

    "It is difficult to estimate how long it may take the bridge company to complete the environmental assessment process, but "projects of similar scope" take about two years, Butler [of Transport Canada] said."


a) Dave Battagello's BLOG

Go on, try and find it on the Star BLOGGER website

His first one was a good one "A dysfunctional city council" with terms used like

  • "Dysfunction... Today, it applies to Windsor's city council"
  • debacle
  • "The political theatrics among councillors and administration ranged from hilarious to pitiful"
  • ridiculous
  • mess
  • "seemingly unending stream of half-truths and innuendos"
Then he wrote on Sutherland, the attacks on Halberstadt, Starbucks on Huron Church and finally his last one on September 6 about Council again. In case you want to read them, the secret spot is

Hmmmm I wonder why he is not writing BLOGs any more.

b) Monica Wolfson's investigative journalism

Nice hard-hitting story she wrote in the Saturday Star online about the Sandwich Towne parade. I wonder what she was investigating there instead of digging for more information about WUC and Enwin. Perhaps it was the secret ingredients of the famous brownies from the Sandwich bakery!

Looks like she is on the health and University beats now. Maybe she can find some good stuff in the University like did Eddie threaten them if they do not move downtown for instance or where will the new complex go and after whom will it be named.
It's good to see that she wrote something on WUC today previewing the big press conference this afternoon by Chris Schurr.

c) Roseann Danese's BLOG

She used to write a good one too. But then she got promoted to Managing Editor of the Online Star or some such title like that and her BLOGs stopped.

They used to be tough on the Mayor and Council as well. If you want to read them again them, go to

There seems to be a common denominator in all of these disappearances. See if you can figure it out. Any bets whether Don McArthur is the next to go after his "WUC's Up" BLOG! Better read it here fast