Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, October 12, 2007

Your Tax Dollars Hard At Work

The second full-colour, full-page ad in the Star. I wonder if there will be a whole advertising section tomorrow that we can read at our leisure over the weekend.

Along with the hourly radio ads I heard this morning on CKLW. Have there been any TV commercials yet? Or billboards. I am surprised the flyers have not yet been delivered to promote the Ward meetings.

Eddie "Lee Iacocca" Francis is becoming a real pitchman isn't he? After all, he is front and centre as the Voice of Council.

Hmmm he still needs a good catch line to grab people's attention.....Hey, I got it

"If you can design a better road to the bridge,
build it!"

The Morphing In Windsor

Reading the Star was quite a revelation yesterday morning. After reading the Editorial, I thought that the Star might actually become a newspaper to be taken seriously again. It was morphing into something better.

Then I saw the big, taxpayer paid, full-page Greenlink advertisement. I'm sure that it will be the first of many along with radio and TV ads. At least the Sales Department of the local media will be able to show some big revenues over the next couple of months.

Hmmm... I wonder if the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget will ask at the next Council meeting which part of the Operating Budget covers that expense. If he can object about a trip to Japan that was already budgeted for, then he ought to be ballistic over something that was not in the Operating Budget. Or was it, but we taxpayers didn't know since it was something decided in camera?

I will bet that most people are very surprised about the lukewarm Editorial published in the Windsor Star about Greenlink. I must admit that I was.

When talking about the Garden of Eden making Windsor "into "one of the most magnificent places in the world," the Star said it "is a bit much."

Did you see the dig about Eddie's new concept being "crafted at considerable cost behind closed doors."

In fact, the writer of the Editorial might actually have been hurting the Star, knowing that Eddie was starting on a two-month ad blitz with a full-page in yesterday's paper, when it was written "If this plan is as good as Francis and Schwartz and city councillors claim it shouldn't need a salesman."

While the Star is like everyone else, hoping that the plan is doable, it also has not swallowed the Francis/Schwartz Gospel hook, line and sinker. It is asking questions this time such as "Other than vague references to "revenue generators," however, the city hasn't been clear how that new parkland will be maintained and what it will cost. This is not a minor point."

There is no doubt that some on the Editorial Board are extremely upset at the way that they have been used by City Hall on the tunnelling debate and the quick flip flop by the Mayor when it was convenient to do so. That it should be such a surprise to the Star is a surprise. The writer stated:
  • "The city's proposal abandons its oft-stated preference for a fully tunnelled solution and appears to violate the spirit if not the letter of a motion passed in favour of a tunnelled solution. This is troubling -- as is the timing of the plan's release, which gives residents scant time to comment and gave local Liberal MPPs cover on the campaign trail."

Surely the Star's editors were not that naïve! They would have known Eddie's game better than anyone.

For the Star, this piece was more along the lines of how an Editorial should be written. Not cheerleading, as has been the usual Star practice, but perhaps a healthy skepticism might be the best way of describing what was written.

That there is a fight on the Editorial Board involving Eddie is obvious. Just look back at some of the Editorials written on the Windsor Utilities Commission fiasco. Fiasco was the Star's choice of a word. The Star had no choice but to slam City Hall but interestingly, the one editorial that really did so did not name the Mayor. The ultimate compromise no doubt.

But it was when I was having breakfast and saw the City's Greenlink ad that I knew that something odd was taking place in Windsor. It took me a long time to put my finger on it but then it hit me like a flash:


Don't you see the similarity? Greenlink isn't selling a solution for the road to the border, it is selling parkland. It is offering us New York City's Central Park. Just like DRTP's Rails for Trails wasn't selling putting an expressway through the heart of Windsor, it was offering us "a “Ganatchio-like” trail [where] residents could ride their bikes, take a walk, or jog to riverfront parks away from traffic."

I started getting a cold chill. I remember when Mike Hurst was Mayor and offered citizens his Made in Windsor Solution park. That was rejected almost immediately and seen for what it was. Now his replacement was doing something similar. What will the result be this time?

I remember the massive advertising campaign that DRTP undertook. It included full-page ads in the Star, glossy brochures being mailed out and nice PowerPoint presentations being offered at Open House sessions. Why I can recall the time when it seemed that almost every billboard in that City was displaying a DRTP advertisement. Now the Mayor is telling us that we are at the beginning of a two-month ad campaign blitz that has already started using full-page ads, and will use media buys, flyers distributed to every household, 5 Ward meetings where we can stroll around and look at boards.

When will we see strategically-placed billboards too for Greenlink?

Why just the other day, I was driving underneath the South Windsor Art Gallery, you know the location of the "Tunnel" mural work of art, and saw a City crew tapping on the wall of the underpass. I thought at first they might be trying to determine whether the underpass might collapse but then I realized they were probably looking for a spot to place the Greenlink mural work of art!

From a park in South Windsor, to Rails to Trails and then finally to Greenlink. It had morphed.

My mind was racing now. More strange thoughts were entering my brain:

  • Mike Hurst hired David Estrin as counsel on the border issue. Eddie Francis continues to use David Estrin as counsel on the border issue.
  • The Eddie Francis I knew objected when the ex-Mayor hired lobbyists without telling Councillors. This Mayor, we learned, used Parsons Brinckerhoff as a consultant on tunnels before Council approved it.

  • Mike Hurst dominated his Council. Eddie is the Voice of Council on the border issue.

  • Mike could never get a deal on the border... Will Eddie be able to get one or will he have to carry out his legal threats?

  • Hurst was on Council when the ownership of the Tunnel reverted to Windsor. Now Eddie wants to do a deal to, in effect, "own" all of it for the next 75 years.

  • When Hurst was Mayor, Council passed a Motion opposing part of the Bridge Co.'s Windsor Gateway proposal. Now the Bridge Company is Windsor's "enemy."

  • Hurst's legacy after Canderel will be long forgotten is the Riverfront Park. We may never forget having to pay for the East End arena while we stroll through what Eddie wants as his legacy greenspace.
I figured it out and could not believe what conclusion I drew.

It could not be. It just was not possible. Yet, in the almost 4 years that Eddie has been Mayor, I do not recall ever seeing Eddie Francis and Mike Hurst, together, at the same time and in the same place.

It was becoming like a very bad science-fiction movie where identities had been switched. Click on the photo to see what the explanation might be!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Arena Negotiations Windsor Style

I am sure that, by the time that it opens, the WFCU arena will have a nickname that will stick regardless of what Marty Komsa wants. Unfortunately for the Credit Union, some people will focus on a couple of letters in the name. They have already if you read some of the other BLOGs in town!

This same naming ritual took place in Philadelphia. Their arena was known as the First Union Center. Apparently, consideration was given, for obvious reasons, to change the name of the arena to "First Union National Center" but it never happened.

These thoughts about the arena went into my mind as I read the story about the tours that were taking place showing citizens what they were getting for ......... million taxpayer dollars (you fill in the amount since I don't know what it is). I then saw a story about naming rights in New Jersey.

Obviously more money would be received in that area for naming the arena than would ever be received in Windsor. What struck me however, and if you read my BLOG previously on this subject [September 24, 2007 "Komsa Shoots, He Scores"], is how poor our negotiators were compared with what went on in New Jersey. They did not seek it seems "Expressions of Interest" in New Jersey but actual bids.

Here's a short story that describes what happened down there. Haven't we had enough of 5 cent parking, equity participation in bus terminals and Canderel leasing deals. And you wonder now why I am so concerned about other deals the City will get into.
  • "New Jersey sought bids from companies interested in the naming rights in August after Continental Airlines Inc. backed out of its $1.3 million annual contract because the facility lost the New Jersey Devils hockey team. The new name will be launched Oct. 31 when the New Jersey Nets basketball team opens its season at home against the Chicago Bulls, said George Zoffinger, the authority's chief executive officer.

    ``This is a rebirth for this arena,'' Zoffinger said in an interview after the authority's board meeting. ``It gives us an opportunity to show that this arena is very viable.''

    New Jersey chose Izod's offer over a $1.4 million bid from Rocawear and a $2.1 million bid from Southpole, Zoffinger said. Izod's bid was selected because the company promised cash as well as a marketing package, said Carl Goldberg, authority chairman.

    Izod agreed to buy and create advertising for television and other media outlets as well as take the lead buying airtime and print space, which saves the authority money and makes its contract value closer to $2 million, Zoffinger said. Izod got a five-year deal, he said."

I wonder if the New Jersey deal went on Consent too as ours did when it went in front of Council!

Perhaps Marty as Chair of the University Board could call Roots, since they had a deal with the City for clothing, and negotiate a naming rights deal with them for the University Stadium. I hear that is available.

Are They Leaving The SS Windsor

If you are an investor, you know that one way of determining whether one should buy or sell a stock is to find out what the "insiders" are doing. After all, they should know more about their company than anybody. If they are buying, one would think that the company would do well. If they are selling, depending on what the circumstances are, one might be concerned.

Should it be any different on the Good Ship City of Windsor. We know already that several of the management people have left to go to greener pastures. What happens if one of the senior managers leaves?

There is a very strong rumour at City Hall that a senior manager is leaving for a nice job in a community in the Golden Horseshoe area. I'm sure that the spin will be that there was a terrific job opportunity that this person just could not afford to turn down. It was a great career advancement opportunity and this person is so grateful for the experience that he/she had working in Windsor blah, blah, blah.

Is that really the case? Does this person have such a great opportunity or does this person know when it is time to get out while the getting is good? As I told you before, there were rumors about several senior people leaving. If that happens is that a signal that the City is taking on water and may sink!

Presumably, someone will have to be hired in his/her place. I hope that is handled better than the situation with Michael Duben. Remember at the time the controversy:
  • "City officials deny new senior bureaucrat got job because of links to the mayor

    Although Windsor's newest senior bureaucrat worked in the same law firm as Mayor Eddie Francis and was hired without an advertised national search, several councillors and the city's top civil servant say Michael Duben got the job on his merits alone."

Oh well, I expect there won't be too many people knocking on the door to take up this job in Windsor given the horrible reputation of the City. Accordingly the City will be able to say as it did last time:

  • "As for not advertising the position, Skorobohacz said the human resources post had been advertised for two years and six people interviewed without success.

    "I could have advertised the position, but some people will not risk putting their reputations on the line relative to going through the recruitment process," he said of Duben's job."
Guess who is getting the job! Nothing like a built-in "shovel-ready" excuse that can be used successfully again.

Is the rumour true? In this City, who knows. Time will tell!

PS. And here is some news from the other side of the river. A major player in the City of Detroit Administration is also going to be leaving his post soon, so the rumours say. It will be fascinating to see where he moves to and what his job will be given the work he has done over the last year or so.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Riding The Schwartz Rollercoaster

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Try to fool me for a third time, it does not charm.

Will it be like the first time time around? Our hopes brought to the summit and then come crashing down as reality sinks in and the flaws are exposed within days of the presentation.

Isn't this Sam's third attempt to get it right? One should ask why he did not do this years ago if he supports tunnels so much and had the Central Park and Hudson River Park Trust experience.

Let me give you a few more thoughts about Sam and his Presentation and how it impacts Eddie after having a cup of coffee this morning. It does not look so pretty now once you start looking at the details more closely.

  1. One of my readers called the Schwartz proposal: Windsor's Improved Municipal Plan or WIMP for short.

  2. Imagine the chutzpah. The audacity of it all.

    For how long now was tunneling the only solution for Windsor? No compromise allowed and if you dared suggest it....(ooops there is that "C" word). The Mayor and Council were elected on that basis. We wasted how much time and how much effort, never mind money, hiring consultants to prove that this was the best solution for Windsor. Council passed a solemn Resolution supporting tunnels.

    And pooooof, it was dismissed out of hand. No apologies given. How can one believe anything that this Mayor and Council say.

    Here is what the Star asked:

    "Q. Why is a full six-kilometre tunnel from Howard Avenue to E.C. Row Expressway no longer being demanded by the city?

    A. The Schwartz team and Francis agreed a legacy project focused on beautification and community connectivity would be a better use of resources, time and money than a very expensive (nearly $4 billion) full tunnel that leaves the landscape above looking much the same as it does today."

    Aren't you glad THEY agreed!

  3. Is this merely another "starting point?" Sure sounds like it to me since Eddie never gives out his final position at the start of negotiations. Heck, it is only 11:59 PM. We have a whole extra minute left.

  4. $500,000 consultants' bill for this!!! Why they have not even started the roadshow yet to sell Sam's newest proposal. Who is being paid how much for Eddie's 2 month ad blitz campaign? If you wanted to win, shouldn't the campiagn have come before the Provincial election and not after? That was my experience with STOPDRTP.

  5. I wonder why there were no endorsers for Sam's proposal as there was the first time around

  6. Oh I like how people play with numbers.

    Gee we're told that the cost of Sam's proposal is virtually identical with that of DRIC. A tunnelled solution is the same for a below grade one???? Mind-blowing

    There is a small, little problem about that.

    DRIC's number was for the entire roadway, right to the border. I'm not quite sure how far the Schwartz Road goes but it seems to be much shorter ie not to the border but only to somewhere on EC Row and Huron Church.

    What is included and what is not? It is also not clear at all how their amount was calculated. Does it include as an example the twin deck road that goes west of Huron Church over top of the E C Row expressway?

    Oh well, we will have to wait until Cansult is hired again.

  7. You see Eddie really wants to be like Toronto. We are now going to have our own Gardiner Expressway along with a financial mess like them too. After the watermain and sewer costs, our biggest municipal expense will be for grass-cutting the 300 acres and for keep the ice skating rinks, bicycle paths and rollerblade areas in tip-top condition.

  8. Sam was obviously trying to make amends with the pesky environmentalists by showing how much of the nature reserve his newest proposal was saving. Now Eddie wants them on his side, not against him. He at least learned from the first go around.

  9. Did you notice the friction between the Mayor and Councillor Halberstadt? As usual, Alan was asking a number of questions and Eddie made the snide remark about him entering the Council Chamber late. I thought I saw Councillor Lewenza pass Alan a note after a number of questions were asked. I wonder what that note said

  10. It was amazing. Schwartz's plan was so magnificent and so all-encompassing that Councillors hardly asked any questions. You see I was right. Eddie did all the thinking for them. Nawwww they didn't do anything in camera. The secrecy of this Council means that we will never learn if there were any real issues with respect to this proposal that a Councillor or someone from Administration brought up. You hardly have been well served by our municipal politicians. What a disgraceful bunch.

  11. Think of what we have lost in Windsor over the last five years by the City's actions. Effectively, let's admit it, the Bridge Company was right on how the road to the border should be built. How long will it take before we have to admit something else. The Bridge Co. is right on building their Enhancement Project. Actually we don't have to admit anything because the Bridge Company is just going to build their project once they get their approvals.

  12. So much for the need for the Bridge Company to do air quality reports. Now both DRIC and Sam have acknowledged that there are no significant air quality issues.

  13. Why won't Councillor Brister ever speak to John Fairley on TV? I guess the Councillor prefers to see his photograph in the Windsor Star. Now who said he was not going to run for mayor?

  14. Big packages of material were handed out to the media just after Sam started speaking. I wonder when the Windsor Star got theirs so that by around 9:30 p.m., about an hour or so after the Council meeting finished, they were able to post a story and images on their website.

  15. Eddie is one rough, tough politician. He made the road to the border an election issue after all. Yes sir, he made it an issue the night before the election.

  16. David Battagello is never going to write a BLOG again on the Windsor Star website. Check out some of the embarrassing questions he asks in the story "Highlights of Sam's design."

  17. How will all of this play out if there is a federal election in the next few months? The big winner in all of us will probably be Susan Whelan. Remember how she was pilloried by everyone with respect to the road to the border. I think you can say that she was right now even though it only took five years for people to understand that. What will Jeff Watson do if the Conservatives do not put in a ton of money into Windsor? Will Eddie Francis use this as an excuse to run against Brian Masse so that he can stand up for Windsor as our new Liberal cabinet minister in Ottawa?

  18. I am sure that the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget will have an even more important role to play when discussing the 300 acres of land since he will be considered the Council expert on this. After all, doesn't he run a small landscaping business?

  19. I happened to ride down in the elevator after the Council meeting with the Parks Department's, Don Sadler. I congratulated him on having so much new parkland that he might have to look after. We can't look after the existing parkland today and we won't be able to look after the 300 acres in addition tomorrow.

  20. Who is going to maintain all of us... don't worry, we'll have some developments there that will pay the cost. Here is what Sam did not tell us as I have written before

    "The Hudson River Park Trust is responsible for creating a unique waterfront esplanade that will stretch five miles from Chambers Street to West 59th Street, with winding car-free paths where New Yorkers can run, bike or Rollerblade and public piers or lush lawns where they can enjoy sunsets over the water.

    But nine years after its inception, the trust is facing a crisis. The city and state, which finance the trust and jointly appoint its board of directors, have awarded it just $10 million this year--the smallest amount in its history. Short on cash, the trust lacks the financing to complete construction of the TriBeCa segment of the park. In addition, one of its most critical projects, the creation of an income-producing development at Pier 40, is in limbo."

    If there is this much trouble in New York City how can we possibly be serious in Windsor where we chase away people who want to build a garage in Sandwich.

  21. Do you really believe that the Federal Government will pay for all this nonsense or that the Provincial Government will when they have a Toronto subway to build? The simple out is to call the green space "an enhancement" and not "a mitigation."

    Isn't that the real reason that Sam broke up the tunnel into pieces. First he would need huge ventilation buildings and/or exhaust stacks that look ugly, cost a fortune and are useless because there is no scrubbing technology around. There was no way that the Feds would pay for that. So break them into chunks and call the parkland mitigation techniques. Sam is clever, I'll give him that.

  22. Even some of the few people in the crowd at the Council Chamber were getting tired of listening to Sam waxing eloquent about all of the fun and games that would take place in the new parkland.

  23. If Sam was so smart in 2005 as he claimed during his presentation about tunnels, why didn't he emphasize tunnelling then?

    I saw his reference to "Cantilevered roadways and/or tunnels in residential areas" and "parkettes" but why did he emphasize the cantilevered roads then?

    I remember him saying that property values increased along those roads so don't worry. Now it is the property values of homes around the tunnel that will increase.

  24. Don't feel so sorry for him. Mark Galvin got to travel after all. It was not Japan however. I wish he had showed us a few pictures of his Seattle trip so we could know what we paid for.

  25. If the road is to be be re-aligned under Sam's plan, I wonder who will be the big winners and the big losers with the expropriations. Sam did not seem to know what the impact would be on which landowners.

The Snake In The Garden Of Eden

It is not only the Champs Elysee that we are getting. It is not only Central Park that were getting.

According to the Star, Sam is giving us the Garden of Eden this time around. Oh heavens, is that ever wonderful. You cannot go any higher than that!

That Star headline in itself should put the warning lights on already. Why the need for such hyperbole? Is it Sam's first presentation all over again? It looks good at first but under study, it all falls apart. However, it allows Eddie his 6 month stall time as he tries to sell this. And it allows Eddie and the Province to put the screws to the Feds.

I attended the Council meeting last night. I notice that Eddie left the Chair just after Sam's presentation began and he returned only a few moments before the presentation ended. He looked very tense and nervous last night especially when he was speaking.

I can well understand why it was so. He's committing his political career on getting the people of Windsor to support whatever it is that he is doing on the border crossing. If so, I think he's in serious trouble. I'm not sure anybody will turn up at the Ward meetings if last night's crowd, or lack thereof, is an indication.

You read the praise in the Star from a couple of people who showed up at the sessions but here is what you did NOT read.

If you watched the presentation on Cogeco last night, you will have noticed the number of empty seats in the audience. We might have been able to hold the meeting in a Tunnel tollbooth after all. If you deduct the number of City Hall officials, consultants and other hangers on sitting in the peanut gallery, I would reckon that not more than a dozen people were in attendance.

After Sam's presentation, there was only a smattering of applause. It was nothing like the crowd or standing ovation that Sam received when he did his first report. Even Sam seemed pretty flat, as if he was reading the presentation for the first time. To be quite direct about it, it seemed to be a caricature of his previous presentations.

If it is, as Eddie claims, that DRIC is counting numbers, then he has a major problem with so few people attending. No wonder he was upset. What it says to me is that he is totally misjudged the population. People are bored with the subject already and don't believe what he has to say any longer.

Oh I forgot...the spin....People watched it on Cogeco instead. They were afraid of being trampled by the hordes of people they thought would attend.

Battagello made it appear that Dan Stamper supported Schwartz in his story. I have my doubts about that. The Ambassador Bridge people must be both furious and quite pleased at the same time. All that Sam was doing last night was confirming that, what the Ambassador Bridge Company proposed to do five years ago, made sense. The City, as you will recall, opposed everything that they were suggesting about their concept of the road to the border and now the Mayor and Council are embracing their idea. Strange world isn't it. And the Bridge people do not even get credit for that either.

I wonder if this now means they can tear down their Indian Road homes for "greening."

Moreover, if Eddie's concept of what the road should be actually moves forward, then wouldn't the environmental process have to be redone, because this is a whole new approach? That would mean at least a year or more of additional study. That means the Ambassador Bridge can move forward more quickly on their Enhancement Project. What irony!

Sam's advocacy of a 4-lane road must also mean that the Bridge Co. people are right about traffic numbers not justifying the building of a new crossing at all! Not even as far out as 2035! As far as he is concerned, it seems that a 6-lane road is over-design!

I noticed that Councillor Marra was not at the meeting. And Eddie really did not explain why he was not in attendance. However if he were, wouldn't he have to stand up and say that Sam's presentation was in violation of the City's position on the border road? I thought the City wanted a 6 km tunnel not a bunch of Schwunnels. Isn't this a "Reconsideration" under the City's Procedural Bylaw? Why wasn't this matter raised by the City Clerk? Or the City Solicitor? If this was a violation of the previous Motion, then Sam's presentation should not have been heard at all.

There is no point in me giving you a detailed explanation about what Sam proposed. You'll see it ad nauseum in the Windsor Star. The one point that I will raise with the 300 acres of the new parkland that we are supposed to get is who is going to maintain it. If you remember my photograph of the area in front of my house that I posted earlier this spring, the City didn't have enough people to cut the grass at that time. Wasn't the Parks Department's budget cut too? That would be a healthy sum of money that will have to be paid each and every year, assuming that we can convince the Senior Levels to pay for the parkland in the first place as mitigation rather than as an enhancement. If it is the latter, then the City and/or the Province are stuck paying for it since I doubt if the Feds will put any money in it.

I must admit that I have problems with the numbers being quoted by the Big Dig experts. I just don't see how they can match the DRIC numbers. This reminds me of the Megaproject BLOGs I had written previously where in the end the final financial figure bore no relationship to the number quoted in the beginning of the project. Didn't the Boston tunnel project triple in cost by the time it was done to around $12 billion.

Now I don't want to make fun of Sam. But he does say the strangest things. Such as
  • "People will come here to study what should be done in their own cities. (Windsor) will become a tourist destination because of its beauty and all it has to offer."
Let's not get carried away about it. Why would anyone want to come here to look at Windsor when they can go to New York and see Central Park or Sam's Hudson River project (I wonder if it ever got over its financial difficulties that I blogged about previously. See July 09, 2007 BLOG "Liplock Sam Go Home") or Copenhagen or Seattle or Japan? I guess we are the local yokels and Sam thinks that we are still gullible just because he said before that we should THINK BIG!

I'm surprised that Council did not pass a Motion approving what Sam proposed. They did that after his presentation at the Special Meeting in Tecumseh. But that really would be pushing everybody's face into it after the shenanigans of the Windsor Utilities Commission procedure.

It'll be interesting to see what our local MPPs have to say about this. It won't surprise me if they're very gushing about it all. After all, they have to live up to their deal don't they.

After reading this BLOG, do you think that makes me a "doubter?" Please say yes, since then I might even get a chance to talk to Eddie Francis again because he said that he would meet with people like me.

Better a to be called a doubter than a snake in the grass!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Trequel: Sam And The Border

I'm sorry I just could not help it. When I get up as early as I do to make sure that you get a BLOG on your desk first thing in the morning, my mind sometimes plays tricks on me.

The image of Eddie Francis making a "Herculean effort" that we have "never seen before" to fight the "seemingly implacable foe" was just too funny for words. Eddie is now morphing into our Steve Reeves!

Do you really think that anyone really cares what Sam has to say tonight? Windsorites certainly don't. How do I know, it's simple. The location rooms for Sam's presentations have become smaller and smaller as time goes on.

The first one was at the Cleary. Then there was one at the Ciociaro Club, a smaller room. This one is in the Council Chambers, the smallest room. The next one, and there will be another one, will be in a toll booth at the Tunnel. If Eddie was so confident of the support of Windsorites, don't you think he would have booked the biggest hall possible to accommodate the huge crowds.

Tunnel, Shunnel. Schwunnel.... Now that people know whether DRIC will expropriate them or not, their questions have been answered. Except for "how much" if their home or business is to be taken. Windsorite's real protectors now are the several law firms who want to fight for more expropriation money. Co-incidentally, that is Brian Masse's big issue too. That should speak volumes.

Honestly, somebody at City Hall has to be reading my BLOG even though they say they don't. There is no other explanation. I state that Eddie has not used the word "PLAN" very much in the last few weeks and then almost every other word on the Tuesday CKLW morning propaganda show with the Mayor is the word "PLAN."

I mention how Dalton will be able to change his mind even though he said he really liked the DRIC solution and in the Star it is written

  • "Despite expressing support for the DRIC proposal during his Windsor election campaign stop, Premier Dalton McGuinty "said he wants to work with the community," said Francis, and both Windsor MPPs who sit in cabinet "are prepared to work with the city."

Why Eddie just won't come out and say that he already has a deal with the Liberals makes no sense to me because obviously if he did not have one he would have made it a Provincial election issue in this area. Games, games, games.

At least the Ambassador Bridge people should be pleased for the time being. They are not the main "enemy" at this time. They can wait for a bit. The "seemingly implacable foe" is now DRIC. I guess that Eddie has learned from history not to fight a war on two fronts.

I couldn't believe what I heard on the radio this morning. We are going to be hit by an advertising extravaganza that will cost us who knows how much money that will last over two months by the time it is done. Eddie really must be afraid of WeACT and what may be uncovered in the Windsor Utilities Commission fiasco to keep the border road issue going for so long. I am sure that two months of Sam will also make sure that any bad news about the arena gets put on the back pages of the Star.

The Eminence Greasie must be revelling in all this. It allows him to do what he hasn't been able to do for years. Come on, you don't think that Eddie has got the skills to do all this alone do you. No, His Greasieness has been working on this feverishly for a long time making sure first that the Liberals are onside and then designing a campaign to ensure that Eddie is our hero. I'll bet that certain sycophants are using their thesauruses today to find all kinds of words of praise for our Mayor.

I wonder who in the media has already been let in on the secret so we can see, read and hear about all kinds of interesting drawings, stories and maps tomorrow. You don't honestly believe that they would have time to do all of this given their deadlines.

What's funny about all of this is listening to Eddie on the radio when he talks about a 5 1/2 year time period on the border issue as if this is something that we should be proud of. If it is now the 11th hour and 59th minute according to him, then who has made the crisis? For heavens sake, he has been the Mayor for most of this time and has failed, and failed miserably, to find a solution.

Now he wants us, the citizens of Windsor, to forget all of that and to bail him out. After all, it is being positioned as OUR fault if this fails, not HIS, since it is up to EACH of us to support HIS PLAN.

  • "local citizens to pick up the torch and help fight for the best new traffic route to the border."

And if it totally fails, then what can a small town Mayor with no authority and no clout do against such seemingly implacable foes. We just might have to send him to Ottawa to continue this battle in the coming Federal election. Sorry Brian, you may be a victim in this war since Eddie's house move means he has to run against you. But don't worry, in his new Ministerial role, he will fight to get you a high-paying, Border Authority job or a Senate seat.

And this will go on for months and months and months as we were told on the radio. No wonder the Star sent a reporter overseas to see how the war was fought in Afghanistan. Interestingly, the fellow who wrote the story about DRIC today, Doug Schmidt, was that reporter. He needed battle experience because we have a war to fight! I wonder if he will be our new war correspondent, and not David Battagello who usually writes these types of stories.

I don't get it. In all of this time, if we'd had a Mayor who knew what he was doing, we would have had negotiations with the Senior Levels that would have arrived at a solution by now. Instead of a report by Sam that will counter what the Senior Levels are doing, we would have had a report that would be co-operating with the people with all the money and the power to put the road wherever they want it to go.

The one thing that everyone must remember in all of this brouhaha is the fact that Windsor is in serious economic difficulty. We could use thousands of jobs now, high-paying jobs, that will be created by building a road to the border. Heck, we already lost the $300M BIF funds since that program ended.

I have to tell you that I just do not understand what is going on. I know that it is a public relations exercise but what I do know is what it is designed to accomplish. My only thought is that someone made a calculation that we might have a Federal election shortly. There was talk that the Conservatives would call an election in mid-October after the Thrown Speech.

Since an election would take several months, Eddie and the Province might have been able to use the advertising campaign as pressure on the Conservatives. As we know, the Province is desperate for Federal money and wants the Federal share of infrastructure money to be increased above the 50-50 split that they have in place now. The Province also wants more money spent in Ontario for cross-border trade and not as much spent on the Asian Gateway in British Columbia.

Remember what I said before, Windsor is the testbed for the Federal/Provincial fight not Toronto. Neither party wants this kind of a fight when they want to win seats in Toronto and in the 905 area code geographic area.

As for Eddie, the ad campaign would work well for him if he chose to run federally and could also be used as a tool to try to help Jeff Watson's opponents. He could try the same game with the Conservatives that he played with the Liberals and with Sandra Pupatello's seat. He was successful against her and the thinking must be that he can be successful with Watson's seat being vulnerable.

Or, is this part of the Eddie stall while he works on whatever it is he really works on that we don't know about. We went through this after Sam's presentation in Tecumseh and it went nowhere but took up a lot of time.

So Sam, here we go again. Don't expect a standing ovation this time around. Make sure that no one asks Parsons Brinckerhoff about the Big Dig in Boston and the huge cost overruns. Make sure that no one asks about the falling concrete that caused a tragedy there. Make sure that no one speaks about scrubbing tunnel exhaust or people being stuck in the tunnels if there's a backup at the border.

I hope that the artists renditions are as good as the first time and that you have some of those cute animations too.

Oh what the heck, a job's a job and the pay is good. And don't worry, since this was done for David Estrin, all of your work is solicitor-client privilege protected so we mortals will never get to see any of your background work even though we paid for it all.

Reading Other Media

Here are some quick thoughts on some interesting ideas I saw in the media:


Did you read this about what the Mayor is going to do to sell Sam's concept:

"The public meeting will be followed by an advertising campaign, a series of community open houses and flyers distributed to every household. Francis said he wants residents to join the lobby, and he hopes to personally meet with some of the doubters and DRIC supporters, including the leaders of LaSalle and Tecumseh, to try to convince them that Windsor's plan is superior and can be done."

A lot of money is going to be spent. I guess he wants to meet the "doubters" as much as his colleague, Junior, wanted to meet with WeACT and answer their four easy questions. Those answers are still outstanding after a considerable period of time.

I guess that Kennie's action was a test case for how the Mayor will NOT meet anyone who may disagree with him unless it is under his terms and conditions.

I wonder if you will forget about the cost of the arena and WUC as this PR campaign goes on. How will Eddie tie in the Mexican immigration as justification for everything is what I am waiting for tonight.


Some interesting stories coming out of MDOT in Port Huron these days that are applicable in Windsor as quoted in the Port Huron Times Herald. You will see now more proof about why my theory about the DRIC exercise being nothing more than an attempt to force the Ambassador Bridge Company to sell out makes an awful lot of sense.

Here are some quotes of interest:
  1. Re Mitigation : "Mitigation is a very specific thing," said Paul McAllister, the project coordinator. "Mitigation is legally required. Anything above what is required by law is enhancement."

    Replacing wetlands or protecting a neighborhood from noise and light pollution is mitigation, for example, because they are legally required. Building walls in a visually appealing way or providing bicycle paths would be examples of enhancement."

    [And how much of what Sam is going to wow us with is "enhancement" that Windsorites will have to pay for. Oh, you mean the Mayor has neglected to tell us that! I wonder why.]

  2. "Transportation officials say the collapse of efforts to share border-inspection facilities in Buffalo, N.Y., also doomed any hope of inspecting vehicles in Canada before they cross the Blue Water Bridge...

    Audience members questioned why vehicles are allowed to cross the bridge, which rises more than 150 feet above the St. Clair River, before they are inspected for explosives, biochemicals, dirty bombs or other hazards..."

    [So much for redundancy and security being a concern and justifying a new bridge]

  3. "Projections showing a 50% increase in bridge traffic within 20 years are based on an analysis of trends dating to 1979."

    [I cannot believe it. The same type of optimistic traffic projections that were used here to justify the building of a new bridge are being used again in Port Huron. Didn't the traffic experts check out the actual as compared with the projected traffic volumes of the past in the area! Mega projects running wild.]

  4. "Plaza expansion, including increasing the number of inspection booths from 13 to at least 20, is necessary even if traffic levels stay flat. McAllister noted traffic backups on Highway 402 in Sarnia frequently extend two to three miles. "

    [Gee, isn't that what the Ambassador Bridge Company has been doing and is doing at our border crossing?]

  5. "Property owners displaced by the plaza project will receive 125% of fair-market value. ...There are so many homes on the market, it's no problem,"

    [Terrific comfort for the people on Talbot Road. The number of unsold homes does not say very much about the Windsor economy however.]

  6. "Although the plaza would triple in size, air quality is expected to improve. Traffic should move through the plaza more quickly, meaning fewer backups on the bridge."

    [The Ambassador Bridge Company experts said the same thing with respect to their Enhancement Project.]

  7. "The new plaza won't divide Port Huron any more than it already is, Webb said, noting the plaza's east-to-west dimensions do not change. The number of north-south corridors also will remain the same. "

    [The Bridge Company will not increase the size of their plaza either so that Sandwich is not impacted.]

There was an interesting article in the National Post the other day "Minister too slow to spend." In the article, it said that the Government
  • "is sitting on a $33-billion fund to be spent under its Buildings Canada Infrastructure Plan over the next seven years, and it hopes to leverage a further $50-billion from provincial and private-sector partners."

Now that's a lot of money to be used to win a majority government, errrrrrr to help make up the infrastructure deficit in this country.

How much of it do you think will be used in the Windsor area for the new crossing? Do the Conservatives really believe that they have a chance of winning a new seat down here? Do the Conservatives want to help out our Mayor, the fellow who has threatened to sue them on how many occasions, and who is ganging up on them with the Province? Do the Conservatives want to ensure that Jeff Watson is returned to Ottawa?

Do you know what the ultimate irony might be? The Conservative Government spends a ton of money down here to create high-paying, infrastructure jobs to help Jeff Watson get re-elected but spend it instead on the road to the Ambassador Bridge as an "intermediate solution" as they table the DRIC process.


You might want to check out this story "Mayor Returns $48 Million to Taxpayers, Then Retires"

The story states:

  • "This practically unheard-of largesse is courtesy of Crestwood Mayor Chester Stranczek and his trustees, who have engineered such an efficient village government for the nearly 12,000 residents that they literally can pass out money to ease the property tax burden...

    When he first became mayor 39 years ago, Stranczek promised property owners that some day the village would pay their taxes.

    "They told me I was crazy," Stranczek said, but undeterred he began running the village like a business--a very lean business.

    Stranczek, who retires this fall, explains it is done through a combination of privatization of village services, a friendly business climate, and fiscal restraint, all while providing a high degree of personal service.

    Long before privatization became a familiar word, Crestwood was actively seeking more efficient and less costly contract providers for just about every municipal service."

I wonder if the City's International Relations Committee might want to twin with the Village of Crestwood. I know that the trip would not be as exotic as going overseas, nevertheless the Committee might actually bring back some useful information that could be used to help out taxpayers by decreasing taxes. Or in Windsor's case, to spend on new extravaganzas.

Wouldn't it be ironic, if this Crestwood concept was carried out during the term of our Mayor, Mayor Lewenza? After all, he will have experience in laying off union members, as Chair of the Windsor Utilities Commission, if water and sewer services are made part of a P3 solution.


You see, if he only had more sense, the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget could have been interviewed as part of the Canadian Business Magazine article on "Watermaingate." (Yes, the coined word finally made the big time news media).

Windsor and the Windsor Utilities Commission fiasco was one of the examples quoted in the Magazine's article "Things Fall Apart." That article talked about how infrastructure could be paid for in the future using private funds.

Oh I am not the Blogger that I referred to. That honour goes to the Mayor of Monmouth, Peter Angermann, who was extensively quoted in the story. Peter could have praised the Councillor in the story and helped boost his career. It would have made also another fine addition to the Councillor's increasingly bulging media scrapbook.

I am certain that Peter would have wanted to say something nice about the Councillor but he had to go off and do some charity work instead.


I certainly would not want to depend upon the Gazelle Feeders for our future. Thank goodness for Tony Toldo and his friends who have finally figured out that Windsor needs them and cannot rely upon its Municipal Government for economic development.

Windsor's success was built on the automobile industry. Hopefully, the new Engineering Complex will be the beginning of Windsor becoming the "Automobile Intellectual Capital of Canada." That is provided that certain people don't mess it up for their own agenda.

Tourism was supposed to be our new salvation with thousands of people being hired in that industry. You remember all the stories about the Casino and how it was going to boost our downtown. Well you saw what happened to our downtown. But don't worry, the Casino expansion will make everything all right. The only problems in that optimistic view of the world are the opening of new Casinos in Detroit and stories like this that I saw on MSN/Sympatico:

  • "Paul Hicks, who operates the Chalet in the Woods in Haliburton, Ont., said the number of Canadians visiting his bed and breakfast began dropping last year, but fell significantly this year.

    "Very few Americans are now staying at our place and we see very few American license plates around town," he said. "Tourism is down anyway, but particularly from the United States."

    Hicks said Americans have told him a trip to Canada isn't a bargain anymore, and the difference in gas prices acts as a double-whammy.

    "That's a big whack to them when they drive up here in their SUVs and their Hummers," Hicks said.

    The number of U.S. visitors to Ontario is at a 30-year low and is expected to plummet further once passports are required at land border crossings.

    Tourism experts predict once passports are required at land border crossings, U.S. trips north will nosedive by 14.1 million a year, leading to a revenue loss of $3.2 billion."

And our Mayor is still trying to flog the new and improved, many times rewritten Schwartz report to prove that he was right after all for ego gratification rather than working with the Ambassador Bridge Company and the Senior Levels of Government to work on a solution that will bring thousands of high-paying jobs to Windsor and fill up our hotel rooms until such time as our new economy is ready to roll.

It really is so sad.

Make Your WeACT Legal Fund Contribution Now

The WeACT website is coming soon.

Why should you make a contribution:
  • WUC
  • Arena
  • WUC
  • Schwartz Report
  • WUC
  • Tunnel and airport deals
  • WUC
  • In Camera
  • WUC
  • Sewer surcharge
  • WUC
  • Debt
  • WUC

Your donation may be paid into the Legal Fund by visiting any branch of the Royal Bank and making a deposit to Account #08152-1008275. Donations can be made anonymously too.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Mayor Eddie Francis Is A ....

WARNING: This BLOG is restricted to those 18 years of age and older. This BLOG is not intended for and may not be suitable for children under the age of 18. This BLOG contains extreme language and strong profanity.

Clearly, I have a point of view about what is going on in Windsor. I do try to give you a reasoned argument about why I take the positions I do. But every so often, I lose it. This is one of those times. I am so disgusted that I will let you fill in the blank in the Subject line with any word that you so choose after reading this BLOG. I am that angry.

You need to listen to the clip from a news broadcast on CKLW. For those of you who do not have speakers attached to your PC the transcript is below the clip.

From CKLW, Oct 5, 2007:
  • "Announcer: Our top story this hour: Windsor’s response to the DRIC Parkway proposal.

    It’s been unveiled to City Councillors behind closed doors and should be made public shortly. Tunnelling experts have developed a road design that meets City objectives. Mayor Eddie Francis says what’s needed now is public support to convince DRIC officials that the city plan is the best plan.

    Francis: Every single resident will have to speak up. Every single resident will have to be part of this decision, and every single resident has a role to play. If you want to stand up for the city of Windsor, if you want a better solution, if you want to be able to influence DRIC to a point where we get a better solution, then this is the way that we are going to have to do it.

    Announcer: The DRIC plan calls for a series of underpasses along a truck route from the 401 to a new border crossing. The City’s plan is a tunnelled approach."
The Mayor's Call To Arms is so noble that it could almost bring tears to one's eyes. Except it made me violently sick to my stomach. It made me "expletive deleted." It is complete and utter “expletive deleted”. It is absolute “expletive deleted”.

That message seems to be very reasonable you might be thinking. Why is the Blogmeister so upset?

Naturally, the Schwartz proposal was first disclosed behind closed doors. Wow, disclosed a few days before a holiday weekend. That really gives Councillors a long time to think too. What if there was something they did not like in the proposal? It does not matter. They have something to be thankful for: the Mayor does all of the thinking for all of them. He is their Voice and Brain too it seems.

The Mayor wants people to speak out to protect our City after all. What’s wrong with that? Every single one of us has a role to play to convince the Senior Levels that our cause is the right one according to the Mayor.

Or so it is claimed except for one small, teeny-weeny, itsy-bitsy detail.

If our Mayor really meant what he said, then he would want to hear what we said and right away. He would want everyone to hear what his/her neighbours had to say, right away. He would want the citizens rising aginst the DRIC outrage, right away. Why then was this notice put on the City’s webpage respecting the meeting dealing with Sam's border road plan? Why would Eddie say what he did in the CKLW clip when he knew how citizens were going to be muzzled:
  • “As the border presentation will be heard at a "Special Meeting of Council", pursuant to Section 3.3 of the Procedure By-law, no delegations will be heard, as there will be open houses scheduled for the week of October 15, 2007 to allow for public input.”
What an "expletive deleted" joke. Oh we will be allowed to provide "input," whatever that means, in a nicely controlled environment a week later. With whiteboards too I'll bet and facilitators and lots of pretty artists' renditions. We will have been brainwashed before then anyway by the cheerleaders so we'll know what to say at the meeting. I'll have more to say about that too below.

Contrast this with the Special Meeting that took place in March, 2006 before Eddie became terrified of open public discussion. The purpose of that meeting was:
  • “Council meets in formal session this day at 6:00 o'clock p.m., at the Ciociaro Club, 3745 North Talbot Road, to discuss the City of Windsor’s response to the Detroit River International Crossing Partnership (DRICP) Environmental Process…”

It sure sounds like a similar topic to me.

Believe it or not there were over three dozen people who registered and spoke as delegations in that March meeting. It was a "Special" meeting too I believe and should have set a precedent for Tuesday's Special meeting. But it did not.

If that meeting was not true democracy in action at the Municipal level than I don’t know what it is. That was also the meeting where Alan McKinnon received the biggest round of applause when he attacked the Mayor and Council with his theme:

  • “there is a need for increased openness and transparency by City Council, by creating a border solution with public input”
You can read his speech on my BLOG "CPOW To You" by going to the March 24, 2006 archive.

Clearly Eddie does not have the “expletive deleted” to hear mere citizens. What happens if McKinnon signs up again or someone else takes a shot at him? As we know, our poor Mayor cannot handle that!

How little have things changed about secrecy in the City of Windsor even with a new Council.

I don’t want you to think that this action by the City was done ad hoc. Nope, it was carefully orchestrated to keep people from registering as delegations and speaking. Oh there was legal consideration given to preventing citizens from talking out both for and against what Schwartz is going to propose. Here is a note that I received from the City Clerk that demonstrates this:
  • “As you may be aware Notice of the Regular Meeting of Council scheduled for October 9, 2007 was given last Friday and the Agenda for that Regular Meeting was published. Only after the publication of the Agenda was the Presentation respecting the Border confirmed and the Chair called a Special Meeting of Council to hear this Presentation, also scheduled for October 9, 2007.

    Accordingly, the items scheduled for the Regular Meeting of Council on October 9, 2007 now need to be deferred, or otherwise dealt with as Council determines. Therefore, the Regular Meeting of Council will be held on October 9, 2007 and immediately following adjournment of that Regular Meeting, the Special Meeting will be called to Order and the Presentation will be heard.

    Pursuant to the City's Procedural By-law 420-2001, section 10.1, the Clerk may only list a Delegation if there is a specific item listed on the Order of Business to which the delegate has a bona fide interest. Further, pursuant to section 4.1 of the Procedural By-law, the Clerk is mandated to prepare an Order of Business only for "Regular Meetings" of Council. As Council will not be dealing with the regular business items during the Special Meeting of Council on October 9, 2007, an Order of Business is not required for that meeting. As there will be no Order of Business, there are no matters for which delegations can be listed.”
Very clever process maneuvering once again don’t you think except for one section of the Procedural Bylaw that was ignored. If WeACT's Legal Fund had cash in it now, I would be begging them to apply for a Court Injunction to prevent the Special Meeting from taking place as outlined.

All of this talk by the Mayor on the radio was nothing more than “expletive deleted.”

As far as I’m concerned, the Mayor is a disgrace to his Office and a disgrace to our City. It is no wonder that he is viewed by some as irrelevant on the border issue. What a tragedy for our City.

Who will take him seriously when he is so afraid of his own citizens, when he doesn’t trust us. Why does he hide everything from us? Is it any wonder that citizens demanded an independent investigation of the Windsor Utilities Commission? What a fall for a Mayor who received almost 80% of the votes at last year’s election to a Mayor who has to bring in a third-party to investigate what was done.

Compare that with the Bridge Company. Here is another CKLW clip

  • MELANIE DEVEAU: Was there a lot of interest and did a lot of people show up to the open houses?

    DAN STAMPER: Yes, we probably had close to 100 people between the two days that showed up and we are real interested in how the community is going to look and how it's going to be affected.

    MELANIE DEVEAU: What kinds of questions were they asking?

    DAN STAMPER: Just wanted to know how the studies were turning out and what the findings were and if we're going to be able to... most of the questions were are we going to be able to tear down those homes along the Indian and Greenhead area, believe it or not, that would leave more people involved and interested in that than in the environmental results that we had coming. But I think it was very interesting for everybody and our team was there to answer questions. So it was very open, very good to see the community come out and ask good questions, and get good answers.”
Can you imagine that! The dreaded and feared Ambassador Bridge Company actually held an open house for Windsorites so that they could come and discuss their project while our City Government won’t let its citizens speak. It is absolute “expletive deleted” ridiculous.

The Open Houses just confirmed my own view that once Windsorites understood properly what the Bridge Company wanted to do, it did not shock them. In fact, it would not surprise me if a considerable number of people now want the Bridge Co. to build their Enhancement Project so that the our economy, with the highest unemployment in Canada, can share in the thousands of high-paying jobs that would be created. It would also give time for Tony Toldo and his business and industrialists colleagues to create the new economy for Windsor.

What Eddie is saying is nothing more than “expletive deleted”and absolute “expletive deleted.” He does not give an “expletive deleted” as to what people in Windsor think or say. He treats us as if we are complete “expletive deleted.”

Here is another point. Remember, according to the Star, the deadline for DRIC comments is October 15. Our Mayor does not start listening to citizens until that date so how can we contribute anything that will help our City. It is too late!

Presumably, by that time, the City will already have presented its comments to DRIC. This exercise that we are going through with the Ward Meetings is nothing more than “expletive deleted!” The exercise is nothing more than pure, controlled manipulation. It's all the theatre of the aburd. Nothing we say will count at all. Who knows if the results will even be forwarded on.

I wonder if the results of the Ward meetings will be the same as that which the Mayor and Council want. Why then the Mayor will say that he has a mandate to move forward from Windsorites on his "expletive deleted" PLAN! [Have you noticed that he has not used the word "plan" very much lately. I guess he finally admitted to himself that he has none!]

Why is taxpayer money going to be spent for an ad campaign when the Premier has already said that the DRIC proposal is "a pretty solid recommendation" and Sandra has confirmed that there is no scrubbing technology around! Haven't they rejected Schwartz already? Or have they?

Obviously, the ads are all to glorify our leader and keep the border road front and centre and not allow us to think about things like an 86% increase in water rates or a City falling apart with job losses and a declining retail market as people flock to the US to buy.

The ad campaign nothing more other than "expletive deleted" to show how "expleted deleted" tough Eddie is as Dalton crumbles. I guess that is to scare the Feds and the Bridge Co. too

Distract and divert citizen attention from real problems! I can hardly wait to hear the praise at the start from the usual cast of sycophants.

[Psssst....I have already speculated that there must be a "secret" deal. Why else would Dalton give himself an out if needed when in Windsor:

  • "The people of the city of Windsor are the ones who have to live with this, so let's see what they have to say."
If there really is one, then this whole exercise is almost "expletive deleted" and ought to be investigated thoroughly to find out who has done this to taxpayers and why!]

It is exactly the way Eddie played it with City Council. Eddie must have made all of the decisions. Schwartz must have been following his instructions in June of 2007 when DRIC turned down his first proposal. Schwartz’s tunnel consultant, Parsons Brinckerhoff, was helping Schwartz out even though the firm had not been retained yet by City Council. Council did not retain them until months later.

What a giant “expletive deleted!” How can Councillors look at themselves in the mirror knowing that they are "expletive deleted" for the way they are being used. Have they no self-respect left whatsoever!

So please excuse me if I am angry. Please excuse me if my language is considered inappropriate. Please excuse me if I tell you that our Mayor is nothing more than a ........ (You can fill in the blank now too) . It's just how I feel.