Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, January 04, 2008

The Infamous Agenda Item #5, Again

Obviously someone has a very weird sense of humour at City Hall or else that person has too much time on his/her hands and not enough work to do.

Let's see this time whether Melanie Deveau rises to the occasion as she did last time around and encourages people to attend at the Council meeting on Monday as delegations since clearly something is going to be done by Council but they have not seen fit to tell is what it is. Yet.

You remember the first Infamous Agenda Item #5 don't you. The Mayor and Council under the guise of approving a regional traffic plan tried to get Schwartz #1 approved and to get a blank checque to do whatever they wanted to do on the road system.

Remember the Infamous Agenda Item #5 just over a year ago. I wrote about it in these terms:
  • "Who would have thought that a subject entitled ‘Essex-Windsor Regional Transportation Master Plan’ is really a motion that includes endorsing the already failed Schwartz short-term strategy on the border and giving out a blank cheque to spend taxpayer money!" Sixteen delegations overnight lined up to speak about it and oppose it. The Mayor and Council cut and ran when they saw the opposition and it has never been brought back!"

Not until now that is. It is brought back again, coincidentally, as Agenda Item #5 entitled "Essex-Windsor Regional Transportation Master Plan" just like before. You see what I mean about a strange sense of humor. It is almost childish isn't it, getting back at people this way. Nothing like a rubbing it into our face since we dared to defy.

This time they learned better. There is no recommendation from Administration. There is nothing now for citizens to get all worked up about. If you don't know what is going to be decided then why would you even bother, right! What can you object about or support if you don't know anything? What can you speak for or against if there is nothing on the table. Brilliant scheming.

Sorry, that is not quite right. There is no "recommendation" but there is a "suggestion" only it is placed right at the end of the Report under CONCLUSION. You'd have to read through the entire Report to find the suggestion. In fact you might not even look since the first paragraph of the report under Recommendation says "To Council for direction."

This makes it so easy for the Mayor and Council to do whatever they want to do without any opposition and without any delegations. I wonder which Councillor will jump up with a Motion to do whatever it is that our Leaders want to do but are afraid to tell us. That is Windsor democracy in action. It's almost like the manoeuvering on the WUC Motion isn't it.

My moles have been working hard again and here's what they found. The various Reports in draft form on the roads around Windsor (and I will talk about those other roads later) were circulated to Councillors back in October or so for comment. Nothing happened obviously until now so there has to be a reason why they were brought forward at this time. Nothing is ever done at Council without a reason. I'll try and explain what that reason is subsequently as well.

I was also told that in fact Administration had put in Recommendations but that they were removed. I'm sure you can guess why as well as I can.

Let's see if Melanie gets all excited again. Now I know she said on her new BLOG "I want to avoid being one of those bloggers who does nothing but gripe." I certainly don't want her to hurt herself by pulling off the W strapped over her heart as a good CKLW employee. However, she might make an exception in this case since there is no doubt that something is going to be sprung on us and we don't know what. I don't think that is right nor do I think it is proper and neither should Melanie and she should say so. And so should Patty.

I wonder if it has to do with Greenlink. Gord Henderson in his recent column increased the cost of that project by $1 billion to $2.6 billion. I wonder what he knows that we don't.

I thought that the first Council meeting in 2008 was to discuss the border. True, roads do play a role in the border file but I didn't see anything specifically dealing with the border. It is all very confused too with various Reports all over the place:
  • There is an Agenda Item #5.
  • Then there is Agenda Item #4 which deals with "Essex County Road 19 (Manning Road) & Essex County Road 22 Improvements, Class Environmental Assessment & Preliminary Design, Dec 2007 update" and its impact on the City of Windsor.

Again, no recommendation is given by Administration so there is nothing for anyone to get upset about.

Then it becomes even more bizarre with two reports as part of the Communications Package which most people will not look at. These items are:

  • Dougall truck traffic issues, and
  • Wyandotte truck route time restrictions
Now really, why would matters as important as these not be put on the main Agenda list so that people can speak to them as delegations. Since they are part of the Communications Package, taxpayers are not allowed to speak to them under the Procedural Bylaw that Eddie would wave in the face of any Windsorite who dared appear. Don't you find that strange? I certainly do.

I'm not sure what will happen now since Councillor Dilkens has raised the issue over trucks on Dougall and it has been reported in the Star. Surely the matter should now be taken off of the Communications Package and put on the main Agenda with notice to the public so that people can appear to express their opinions. Of course, that will never happen. And Drew has been slapped down by the Star in their Friday editorial.

I guess that means Drew is getting too much citizen support and is messing up something that City Hall has been planning for a long time.

By the way, I wonder where Councillor Dilkens' Ward-mate is in all of this brouhaha. At one time, Councillor Brister would have been the guy that you would look to and depend on supposedly on issues impacting the border. I guess he's just too busy nickling and diming at the East end arena to be worried about trucks on Dougall Avenue. That's not really a smart thing for Councillor Brister to do especially to people in his Ward when you want to run for mayor.

In any event, I have difficulty in trying to figure out why certain items are on the Agenda and why certain items are on the Communications Package and why they aren't all being discussed as part of an overall road strategy with Recommendations from Administration so that Windsorites could appear as delegations and comment.

There is clearly a tremendous amount of friction between Administration and Council on this matter. To be quite blunt about it, I have never seen such strong language used by Administration against the actions of Council. I would suspect that this is the real reason that the issues with respect to Dougall and Wyandotte were not placed on the public agenda. Take a look at this to see what I mean:

  • "There is no easy way of completely eliminating trucks from Dougall Avenue. Continued efforts to ban trucks on various corridors on an ad hoc basis may do more harm than good and may shift trucks to other areas of the City at the expense of those residents. Administration is gravely concerned with a number of recent questions related to banning trucks on various streets. We advise that would be best to deal with all of these potential changes in the context of the entire network and not just on a street by street basis. This can only be done once key decisions are made on the border file."

WOW!!!!! In other words, Administration is slamming Council for not doing its job in making decisions on the border file but just leaving everything hanging and expecting Administration to work miracles. Quite an assessment from the employees of the incompetence of their superiors isn't it! Now Administration understands how frustrated taxpayers are with this Mayor and Council.

So what is this really all about? It really comes down to which area in this region will prosper, the City or the County. The fundamental issue is which road will be built the first, Manning Road or the Lauzon extension to Highway 4o1. My moles again tell me that the Province would prefer to build on Lauzon since it would be less expensive to do so. Obviously however, if the Manning Road project is the only one on the table, then the Province is stuck.

The County, and Tecumseh in particular, cannot upgrade Manning Road the way they wish at their own expense. They need Senior Level financial involvement which they would get under the Border Infrastructure Fund to help pay for that project. In addition, I am told that there is a big chunk of property just off Manning Road near some CP lands which could be used for an intermodal facility.

Do you see what I mean... the focus of Eddie's attention is an intermodal hub near our airport. He could not possibly allow the County to build-up Manning Road or his vision would be killed instantaneously. He therefore needs to prevent the Manning Road project moving forward. For his hub, he needs Lauzon.

That brings me right back to the suggestion of Administration on the Son of Infamous Agenda Item #5 buried at the end of the Report so few people will read it. It states:

  • "That Administration be directed to prepare the terms of reference to carry out an Environmental Assessment for the Lauzon Parkway extension."

Wait a minute you will say. That would never be allowed by this Mayor and Council. A connection to Highway 401 using Lauzon would bring international trucks onto the E C Row Expressway wouldn't it. That is something that the Mayor and Council are absolutely opposed to. Why, it would also provide the opportunity again for DRTP to argue that its project should be reconsidered. Heck, they might even be able to build a totally new truck tunnel where their doublestack rail tunnel would have gone and then utilize the rail tracks for its truck expressway and the golf course sized area in the heart of Windsor for Canadian and US Customs. Do you see how it all fits together so beautifully for the Borealis boys.

So it is a non-starter you might think. If that is what you think, you are wrong. Eddie must have that connection to Highway 401 and he needs a way to do it. In its Son of the Infamous Agenda Item#5 Report, Administration states:

  • "In the long term, there are a number of possible solutions to reduce truck traffic on Dougall and all other North South Arterial Roads. Namely, an additional corridor is needed. While the DRIC planned extension of the 401 will provide the border traffic with a more viable alternative, this road will not reduce or eliminate truck traffic on city streets intended for deliveries and pickups within Windsor. Therefore, the best solution to truck traffic on North South Arterials such as Dougall is to provide an additional means of access to and from the 401 to spread out the truck volume between more routes."

Of course, one of the additional means of access as a solution is to construct the Lauzon Parkway extension.

See how easy it is. It is not that Eddie wants to do so. It is because of all of the people of Windsor who want to take trucks off of Dougall and Wyandotte who are demanding it. Eddie wants to be a politician now who listens to the people so he must bow to the will of the people and look at doing an EA for the Parkway extension. The people have forced him into it and he will only agree to do so reluctantly I am sure.

My moles are also concerned that there really are problems on EC Row that are so bad that they required asphalt being placed over certain overpasses to prevent possible damage over the winter. If that is the case, it means the Expressway needs rebuilding. If you are going to rebuild, then you may as well upgrade the Expressway to six or even to eight lanes.

By George, if you look to the Dougall report hidden in the Communications Package, there is the suggestion to help solve the Dougall problem by expanding the Expressway! Why even the Essex-Windsor Regional Transportation Master Plan recommends the expansion. Again, not Eddie's fault.

So when you put it all together here's what you get. Agenda Item#4 provides the excuse for stalling the Manning Road project so that it is Windsor not the County that has the realistic future development. The Son of The Infamous Agenda Item #5 allows Eddie to start on the EA for the Parkway extension and the upgrading of the Expressway to up to eight lanes. And the two Communications Package items provide the citizen justification for doing so that gets the Mayor and Council off the hook.

Isn't all of that brilliant? It is such wonderful strategic thinking that someone must have spent hours creating it. It is designed to accomplish certain objectives without any opposition as well since no one knows what the heck is going on. Can you imagine what the person who thought up all this could accomplish for Windsor if all that brainpower was used to solve our real problems.

It is a shame that City Hall is so distrusting of its own electorate that it must go to this extreme instead of coming clean and telling us what the issues are and what the real solutions are. But then again, when your own words place you in an impossible position, then you have no alternative but to wheel and deal if you are insecure about your relationship with taxpayers.

You know what the real irony is. Tecumseh's Mayor McNamara helped solve our roads issue. If he was not pushing on the Manning Road project, we would be in a mess as far as our road system was concerned.

Gee, isn't that how we got our East And arena built too, thanks to Mayor McNamara. Perhaps the City should hire him as a consultant on how to get stuff done here.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Learning From Regina

Wow, Regina is a long way from the Pacific but are they ever lucky that their City can work with the Senior levels!

Imagine, they get a CP intermodal facility and upgraded road and rail grade crossings which will also result in the environmental benefits of reduced congestion and fewer vehicle emissions.

Do you think Eddie will talk about this at his border meeting in January? Do you think he is capable of learning from it? Are Councillors?


REGINA —The Government of Canada and the Province of Saskatchewan today announced that, as part of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative (APGCI), the Government of Canada will contribute up to $27 million to a proposed strategic infrastructure project estimated at $93 million. This project will benefit the local community through improved traffic flow and enhanced transportation safety and security.

The announcement was made by the Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, in the presence of the Honourable Wayne Elhard, Minister of Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure, Mr. Pat Fiacco, mayor of the City of Regina and Mr. Jim Buggs, general manager, port and gateway strategy, for Canadian Pacific.

This infrastructure project consists of building a new Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) inter-modal facility west of Regina; the upgrading of Pinkie Road connecting to Highways #1 and #11, both National Highway System routes and connects to the City of Regina road network, which will provide direct access for international trade traffic to this facility. The upgraded road and rail grade crossings will also result in the environmental benefits of reduced congestion and fewer vehicle emissions.

"The Government of Canada is working hard to build the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Initiative," said Minister Ritz. "Today's announcement will create huge economic opportunities in Saskatchewan and across Canada as this multi-modal facility will ensure we can get our products to markets around the world more efficiently."

"Investing in strategic infrastructure benefits our communities and is key to Canada's competitiveness in the rapidly changing world of global commerce," said Minister Cannon. "We are committed to establishing the Gateway and Corridor system as the best link between North America and Asia, and will continue to work with the provinces and stakeholders to make it happen."

"The Regina Region Inter-Modal project will enhance rail transportation efficiency in the Regina region, particularly with regard to the movement of in-and-out bound containers. It will also provide the transportation infrastructure to support future development and growth for the region," said Minister Wayne Elhard.

"The City of Regina is pleased to join in partnership with the provincial and federal governments and Canadian Pacific in support of this exciting project," said Mayor Fiacco. "This is a major priority for the City of Regina that supports our future sustainability and economic development activities within the Regina Capital Region by establishing Regina as a major transportation hub."

"Canadian Pacific is encouraged by this announcement. We will work diligently with the province, the federal government and other stakeholders to make this project a reality," said Mr. Fred Green, president and chief executive officer of Canadian Pacific. "This partnership will foster economic development and enhance transportation efficiency in the Moose Jaw-Regina transportation corridor and the region in general."

The funding announced today is conditional on the project meeting eligibility requirements under the Building Canada Plan, a full federal due diligence review of the project, the successful completion of environmental assessments required by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the successful negotiation of a contribution agreement with project sponsors.

Through its unprecedented $33-billion Building Canada infrastructure plan, the Government of Canada will provide long-term, stable and predictable funding to help meet infrastructure needs across Canada. Building Canada will support a stronger, safer and better country. Over the past year, the Government of Canada met with provinces, territories and the municipal sector to discuss the Building Canada Plan with a view to signing agreements and beginning to fund initiatives under the plan.

Capitol Follies

No, that is not the name of the first theatrical performance to take place at the reopened Capitol Theatre. Rather, it seems to be the name of what is taking place at the Theatre.

After so much time, all of a sudden the Trustee is prepared to reopen it. At the same time, instead of there being negotiations to settle the dispute between the Trustee and the City now that the Capitol has a new Board, we read about the litigation between the parties with the thousands in legal fees being spent.

I guess the important question for the creditors will be if the City wins, will the City still pay off their indebtedeness as it was going to do before or will the City wipe them out?

Here is what is really bugging me about all of this. I don't understand it. The City knew everything there was to know about the Capitol a year ago, seemed to have a process in place with the Board at the time to take it over and then the whole thing fell apart. Then months pass and out of the blue the Theatre is reopened. Why the big delay... the Mayor said this:
  • "But the trustee's claim angered Francis, who countered the theatre has remained closed because it was deemed to have been a fire hazard after inspectors learned sprinklers were not operating during the Les Miserables performances.

    "They were told they could not have more shows until the deficiency was corrected," the mayor said. "That's why there hasn't been any other shows. You can't have shows in a theatre if it's a fire trap.

    "(Funtig) is in control of the theatre. He was told once that was corrected he could have as many shows as he wanted."

I have some questions: is this deficiency now corrected, and if so, why did it take so long to do so? Why couldn't it have been done when the Trustee took over? Why did it happen just before the Court date in January? Why would the Trustee correct it now if he might lose the theatre in a few short days? If the City changed its position on the deficiency, why did it take so long for it to do so?

However, as we have learned, nothing is simple in Windsor-land. Here is what one of my readers wrote to me about the so-called fire hazard:

  • "Ed the Capitol was never a fire hazard. The main shut off valve was replaced over a year ago to safeguard the system. The entire system was inspected by Grinnel prior to the Les Miserables performance and received an OK. The Fire Dept. inspected it before Les Mis and said it was OK for the show but would not approve it for permanent use. Who knows why the Fire Dept. took a firm stand even though the sprinkler "deficiencies" were included in the annual inspection for about 10 years. The two deficiencies were in fact common sense items which past Fire Inspectors realized were code requirements but did not provide any practical protection and perhaps could be a hazzard if impemented... Who knows what the underlying intentions of the City are."

Do you remember this comment that Gord Henderson made in one of his columns in September 2006:

  • "Could the $400-million Casino Windsor addition be the elephant in the living room that everyone involved in the arena debate is choosing to ignore?

    Call me a raving conspiracy theorist but I have a sneaky suspicion that assurances given to OLG, formerly the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, prior to its Valentine's Day, 2005 casino expansion announcement, could be a key factor in this struggle over who gets to build a replacement for Windsor Arena.

    I was told months ago that the city persuaded the province to go bigger than it originally intended -- a 100,000-square-foot convention centre and a 5,000-seat entertainment facility -- by agreeing to get out of the convention business and not compete with the new facility.

    A big part of that was fulfilled with the decision to take the Cleary out of the convention business and transfer the building to St. Clair College."

Could the Capitol Theatre be part of this as well? What a foolish thought you might think. Let me give you some evidence that suggests it may not be so silly and that the end result may well be that the Theatre is going be given to St. Clair College in exactly the way the Cleary was given to them. I heard that rumour a long time ago.

Here are some facts for you to consider:

  • the Casino expansion was to have been completed in 2007 but now will not be done until 2008. During most of 2007, the Capitol was dark and no entertainment events took place there to compete against the Casino and take business from them.
  • just so you don't forget, a new part of the Casino is the "New 5,000-seat auditorium/theatre"
  • at one time, the Capitol could compete against the Casino for acts. In 2004, the Star wrote: "We crave celebrities even if they're nobodies. Through knock-off acts, which are on the rise judging not only by their success at festivals across the continent but at the Capitol Theatre and Casino Windsor in particular, we get much of the same fun ... for a fraction of the cost." (Note, back in 2001, the Star also wrote: "Casino Windsor rates an A for its productions, to the point that the various impersonator shows have cut into the Capitol Theatre's revenue from similar programs.")
  • in 2005, Capitol general manager Patricia Warren said "the theatre's economic woes stem from an increasing reliance on unpredictable bingo revenues and growing competition from casino expansion on both sides of the border."
  • Councillor Halberstadt said "I don't see it continuing to do what it's doing now. It can't really compete against the Chrysler Theatre. Or with Casino Windsor coming on board in 2008 with a 5,000-seat theatre, the Capitol gets relegated to the undercard. "
  • Henderson stated "Now the city must find a way to reinvent the Capitol and get it off the backs of taxpayers. That won't be easy. There's already stiff competition for entertainment dollars, especially from Detroit, and it will get tougher still when Caesars Windsor opens its big-name entertainment palace next year. "
  • The Capitol's three theatres held 703, 235 and 130 seats. The Casino's Showtime Lounge held 232 seats and booked big-name acts , the Promenade Ballroom can hold up to 930 people while Melodies held the fewest number (Cosmos now holds 100 people)
  • Even Sam Schwartz got into the act: "As part of the New Casino Windsor project, Sam Schwartz of Canada, Ltd. (SSC) developed a simulation technique to demonstrate the flow of pedestrians exiting the planned 5,000-seat entertainment centre."
This will all play itself out in a few weeks. What a drama. If it were not so tragic, it would be a comedy.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Last Letters Of The Year Past

Thanks to all of my readers for sending in notes last year. I look forward to your comments in 2008.

1) I will not pretend to know the exact or even ball park values of the things I will mention. The point is that we are looking at hundreds of millions of dollars tied up with little public benefit and meanwhile we have a huge level of debt in the city that is debentured and therefore not callable for early repayment. We could however go to some old fashioned means of finance and have sinking funds set up to take care of these debentures when they mature. Those stupid old people generations ago that did not have internet, ipods and DVD's in their mini-vans did know how to build a city and to pay the bills. It might serve us well to be equally stupid.

The airport in the paper again. It makes very marginal money when it works and causes real losses when it is in a funk. The sale of this property has to be huge in dollar value and divided into packets could fund sinking funds for many of our specific debts.

The Windsor-Detroit Tunnel interest the city has is looking to be less valuable and less profitable as time goes on. More assets that would make us less in debt if we converted the cash to reserve funds and sinking funds.

The city is involved in businesses such as golf courses and fitness clubs (Glengary Pool). Make a detailed list of all of these and prepare a statement as to why each business is important and why it requires the city to run it. Let the taxpayers decide the validity of this and liquidate all that is without full justification.

When property taxes are in arrears there are cases where property reverts to the ownership of the city. It then becomes a care and cost to the city as grass needs to be mowed and there is no collection of tax. List and determine which if any have strategic value and liquidate the remainder to unburden the city financial burden.

ENWIN and WUC are hugely expensive utilities that are proving not to be serving the public needs in a financially conscious way. These are hugely expensive properties. They need best management which seems to call for privatization. If not privatization then we need to fire the management and find a professional management group that will turn these operations around and eliminate the politics, nepotism and feather bedding that is rampant.

Fire and Police. These are places where the money goes in huge amounts. The city can't even get a private operator to take care of our parking lots and meters as these jobs are 'owned' by the union. When did workers start owning the jobs? If I hire someone to paint my house does he then have the right to use my backyard forever? When the last payment is made and the job is done it is good bye. We have a retiring Police Chief and the time is right to begin anew on this file. Identify what our force does best and make sure crime solutions and investigations are getting done. A lot of police patrols involve using 2 highly paid fully trained officers to drive around looking for suspicious looking activity and making sure there is no theft at the donut shops. Could some of this routine not be filled with use of some private security firms that would have radio links to dispatch if full fledged officers are required? The precincts could have a smaller group of officers ready to roll where there is a need much like the ambulance service. The traffic enforcement seems to be OK in the city as I see they often are ticketing but all aspects should be reviewed as we should not assume anything to be either excellent or failed. I might add that if there was a mix of private in the policing it would make criminals wary of all cars that were from private security firms as they would have to fear they might be out looking for them.

If the city is so certain the mortgage on the Capitol Theatre is so secure then it should be sold at a discount to net more cash to deal with the cities debts.

The city needs to stop getting involved in entities like the Candarel where we provide capital funding for private enterprise, multi-national businesses.

2) interesting piece Ed.

Here is some background. I used to do business with Wickes. The ground around that facility is so overloaded with nickle sulphamate (spelling??) ...

The settling ponds are a completely other issue. Here's how the city will make that go away: This kind of contamination is extremely expensive to eliminate. They have to scrape and dig quite deep and all of the contamination has to go to Corruna to be dumped into a massive underground cavern. This costs millions. If you remember, there was a plating facility on "hot Row" (McDougall Ave.) called Industrial Platers. They closed doors and the U.S. ownership (from Ohio) left the city with the same problem. For years the City was after this company to clean the site but nothing ever came of it (the city eventually assumed ownership).

As you know the city let the building stay vacant for a few years until some kids tried to torch the place. Shortly after that the city built the new Traffic Engineering building on top of the site. Did it ever get cleaned up? We never heard anything of it ever since. The interesting part is this. The new building has no basement or crawl space. It is built "slab on grade". So in the end the Wickes site will probably make a good parking lot. Interesting.

3) here is a bit of info.
Taxes per year while I was in Tecumseh $12,000 per year. Taxes per year in Tilbury $1,200 per year. That is no typo......

I had no sewers, had to pay to have my garbage picked up and declining services with budget cuts. In Tilbury, I have sewers, twice weekly garbage pick up for commercial and a community that is excited about new business, without political jousting.

I received several calls about my move and quite a few were customers who were giving me a better opportunity because I was no longer in the Windsor area. They are afraid of the bridge crossing, militant talk coming from labour, and the lack of leadership to grow business investment.

Windsor is NOT the rosy picture being portrayed by the Mayor and his cohorts. Business will continue to leave and close down. The opportunity is perfect for big business to move operations and close facilities that have no value left. I mean value as in regional development assistance and deals to grow business, not grass for gazelles.

Call your local machinery movers and ask how many NEW installations they have done. Then ask how many closures and moves out of town. It is an eye opener. Of course WIndsor does have the Casino, which of course does help ALL of Essex County(I'd like to see that report).

There are many excuse for declining interest in the Windsor area but the biggest one is that they are not trying to work for new business. The two biggest Liberal Cabinet Ministers in Ontario have the highest rate of un-employment and lowest development. Still no words of encouragement. Mexico continues to blossom.

I like Windsor, I really do. It is way too tough a market to justify investment in hopes of "things turning around" like they did before. This is a new business climate, and it takes investment. If profits are taken by the governments with taxes and levies, there is not much left.

They say invest in new equipment. Small business has a difficult time convincing lenders the Windsor area is a decent market. My bank wants to me to go to Toronto and answer some delicate questions about Windsor. Do I give them the Dennis speech or the Mayor's????

This is going to be interesting.

4) Too bad the Mayor and council didn't work that closely on the WUC.
.95% tax increase.....

How many levies are there? What increases on the existing levies? User fees?

How much will it cost to groom Mr. Lowenza for the Mayor chair?

The next year is going to be interesting to say the least.

5) (Re CRTC complaint) YOU GO, oh great watcher of the gazelle feeders and other critters at the ZOO!

6) Mr Arditti:

That sound that you hear in the distance may very well be the sound of CKLW's and Jason Moore's underwear getting a bit tighter as they consider today's blog.

Way to go!

7) Economic climates are the result of outside forces that we have no control over.

It's how we react to the circumstances that makes us who we are.

Point and shoot from the hip (the lip in this case) or grab on and get the job done.

8) Good article today in the New York Times on Detroit. Note the comments about revitalizing Downtown Detroit. A 30 year strategy with tons of investments but no improvements. Windsor could learn from this example. "Detroit Revival Vies With Industry’s Decline"

9) You are correct Ed, if he [Jason Moore] or any one else for that matter attacks personally, then they should be responsible for and accept the fact of equal time, especially when it becomes personal. Even then if they want to make statements, then they should answer to the criticism back and accept it gracefully with maturity.

Is "MAYOR" Now A Four Letter Word In Windsor

And a happy new year to you too!

You know what a four letter word is don't you. It is one of those vulgar words in the English language that is not used in mixed company by polite individuals.

Has the word MAYOR now become a word that polite Windsorites don't use in mixed company when discussing local government in our City.

Let me give you the reason why I ask this question. Take a look at the Windsor Star online and the comments in the Windsor Star Forum dealing with Gord Henderson's Saturday column, "Henderson's not buying the grim predictions for Windsor. Are you?"

To be fair about it, some of the comments there are harsher than anything that I have ever written. Check out some of the other forums as well and you will see the animosity that has arisen so quickly between Windsorites and its Mayor and Council. Remember, the last election was only a year ago.

Let me tell you what I find so fascinating about the Henderson column. First of all, when you look at projects that are being identified, none of them involve the private sector. Each and every project is financed by the taxpayer whether directly or in directly through the University. Private enterprise seems to be walking away from the City. In other words, if there is no government spending that will create jobs, this City is in the toilet.

And what is our Mayor and Council doing... stalling DRIC, opposing the Ambassador Bridge Company and fighting the University. How many thousands of jobs are we not creating in Windsor because of our local government's actions? In fact, an argument can be made that the focus on the Casino project may have hurt Windsor since the WFCU project was chased out to the boonies.

Another common denominator in all of the projects other than the Casino expansion is how long they have taken to start. It seems as if our local government is incapable of action. The arena only got started to be blunt about it because of desperate moves taken by our Mayor and Council because Project Ice Track was going to go to Tecumseh.

In this regard, you will note how small a role our Mayor and Council have played and will play in all of the projects other than the East And arena. In this project, some might wish that they had no involvement as well. Remember that the Mayor, when he was running the first time for the Mayor's office, wanted a P3 deal for the arena involving the private sector which would have limited taxpayers exposure to $15 million. Now it is all a taxpayer risk at a cost of at least $65 million and counting.

And here is the fascinating part which the commentators on the Windsor Star forum have missed. Tell me how many times the words MAYOR or EDDIE FRANCIS were used in the Henderson column. The answer is not once, neither of the terms.

Henderson could not bring himself to use those words in his column. I don't blame him either. I would have expected all kinds of praise and glory to be showered on our Leader and his band of merry Councillors at year-end but instead nada, nothing, zilch. In particular, no specific credit for Greenlink which I found to be shocking.

The best that he could say for the talks about the location of the Engineering School is to use the words "city hall."

If you don't think that Henderson is the Sheriff of the Renegade Posse of reporters at the Star, then you just don't understand this column. It is just like the Editorials that slam the Mayor without mentioning his name. He pretends that Windsor has a future, and it does if the private enterprise sector starts playing a role, but he is smart enough to know that if Windsor has a success it is not due to our local Leaders.

Oh I know that there are going to be some columns in which Henderson gushes over the Mayor again and says that he is the best thing that ever happened to Windsor. But in this City, one must learn to read between the lines.

One last thing... poor Council Brister. Every time that Henderson mentions that he has responsibility for the East end arena, it is another nail in the coffin of his Mayoral aspirations.