Fulvio: Eddie Is Failing Us
Take a look at the new Blog in town. http://www.melaniedeveau.com/
It is the BLOG that was started by Melanie. It appears though that she may have committed a big sin. Contrary to the wishes of the station's News Director, it appears that she strapped a W on to her brain to make comments about what is good for this City.
Her BLOG "To run or not to run" I thought was quite insightful and gave a different perspective to some of the issues with respect to the Mayor running for a third term. I particularly liked this line:
- "As for the councillors who say noone can fill Eddie's shoes - speak for yourselves. You may not be leadership material, but that does not mean there aren't others in our community who could skillfully run this city."
I want to dedicate this BLOG to Councillor Fulvio Valentinis. Notwithstanding the comments that I make about him, I do respect him as an individual and as a Councillor. As far as I'm concerned, and most people don't know this, Fulvio has been responsible on several occasions for saving this City.
With all due respect to the Councillor, if the Windsor Star can rethink its position on Eddie, then I believe it is time that he start doing so as well. For the good of Windsor!
Again the front page of the Windsor Star, this time the Saturday edition, gives us a very good indication of what is wrong in this City and why Councillor Valentinis needs to reconsider his position. As I have said many times, the Councillor wonders why no one listens to Windsor and why Senior Level grants seem to miss us.
The story, "Engine plant could re-open with $30M from feds," is the perfect reason. Our Mayor cannot continue snubbing and then hammering the Senior Levels either directly or indirectly through his friends and expect that they will throw money at him just because he is Eddie Francis. The Councillor knows very well what the attitude about our Mayor is at the Senior Levels. Heck, we have to consider passing a Motion at Council to talk to the County because our relationship with our neighbouring municipalities is so bad.
Thank goodness, that Minister Sandra Pupatello has a very thick skin and is concerned about her City so that she does not take to heart Eddie's words and actions. Fortunately, I am sure she can brushoff a lot of the criticisms. The Mayor certainly didn't help his position with her, or that of Windsor at the Cabinet table, with his brutal attack on her during the arena fiasco. Oh sure he helped nominate her but we know what that was all really about don't we.
It does this City no good when Eddie's lawyer, David Estrin states:
- "An order for a provincial environmental assessment must come from Ontario's environment minister or cabinet -- which includes Windsor MPPs Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello.
"They are not doing anything about it. That's the most puzzling abdication of responsibility I've seen in 35 years of practice," Estrin said.
"Are there special favours for the bridge? I don't know, but that's a conclusion someone can come to."
That remark is scandalous and deserves an apology both to the two Ministers and to the Bridge Company. No one makes a remark like that without the client approving it. Has Eddie forgotten who is responsible for the Sutherland jobs, who contributed $4 million to his arena extravaganza and who will help revitalize the City with the Engineering Complex. It is Provincial dollars, Eddie, wake up!
The news story about Ford is very interesting. It states already:
- "The provincial government, with local MPP and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Sandra Pupatello (L - Windsor West) leading the push, has already agreed to pay its $30 million share to help bring proposed assembly of a new V8 engine to the plant."
Thank goodness that Sandra went to bat for Windsor notwithstanding Eddie or else there would be no hope and more people out on the street as the plant closed. I bet that Eddie becomes the hero, in his mind at least, if the plant is saved. Remember the Henderson stories on Sutherland and who turned out to be the real heroine!
Don't you think it would have been smart of our Mayor to have a relationship with MP Jeff Watson even if they can't stand each other. The City needs the Feds desperately and so does Eddie so he can say that his letter worked miracles. After all,
- "Only $30 million from the federal government stands in the way of Ford Motor Company reopening the shuttered Essex Engine Plant, said Mayor Eddie Francis.
The mayor issued a letter Friday to federal Minister of Industry Jim Prentice saying the city is prepared to do what it takes to bring a new Ford engine product to Windsor and urged Ottawa to help finalize the deal."
ONLY $30M ....oh I forgot, Eddie likes playing with taxpayer money since it does not come out of his pocket. It is a bottomless pit! When you are the Young Entrepreneur of the Year wheeling and dealing with all of these big deals with taxpayer cash, what's a mere $30M.
The only reason any Federal money will come to Windsor for this plant is to help Watson keep his seat in the next Federal election. It has nothing to do with Eddie Francis who is not exactly the Conservative's best friend.
Do you understand what I mean so far Councillor Valentinis and why I'm begging you to reconsider your point of view. We need desperately Senior Level support. Even the Gazelle Feeders have figured out that they need the Province to be involved if any kind of a big project is to come to Windsor. The Economic Development Commission does not have the resources or the grant ability to get a big industrial win without Provincial support.
But it is the Ambassador Bridge story that to me shows what kind of lack of vision this Mayor demonstrates. His opposition to the Bridge he knows is useless. At Council last Monday he made it clear that the DRIC road will go both to the new DRIC bridge if it is ever built and to the Ambassador Bridge. Why he is playing these foolish games to stall everything off is beyond my comprehension when this City is desperate for investment. Does he really believe that the Bridge Company will kowtow to his whims? If he is, he is playing a very dangerous game.
We do need to signal to investors around the world, since we are such a wonderful place to invest according to the English magazine, that Windsor is open for business and that we have stopped chasing them away.
BUT NOT OUR MAYOR
There is the huge photograph, an artist rendition, of the proposed bridge that the Bridge Company wants to build for their Enhancement Project. Why it is almost as big a picture as that shown on the Globe and Mail when they ran the 2 1/2 page story on the Bridge Company that shocked Ottawa and Toronto.
And then there is the most damaging headline of all that totally destroys any hope of getting new business to come here:
- "Full steam ahead; city says no way"
Councillor Valentinis, can you believe that for businesses around the world to see. And someone dares attack Bloggers for negativity!
Here you have a private enterprise operator who runs the best border operation at the existing crossing prepared to spend $1 billion of its own money which will be matched by a couple of billion dollars from the Senior Levels who will be building roads to that bridge and the City of Windsor says no.
Here you have a private enterprise company who will create thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs in a region that is desperate for work which will be matched by thousands and thousands and thousands of jobs created by road building and the City of Windsor says no.
Is this what the Voice of Council and Leader of the border file has to say! Do Councillors really support something like this? Do you Councillor Valentinis?
Here is the absurdity. The story above on the front page dealing with trying to reopen the Ford plant shows us as its headline the need to get $30 million from the Federal Government i.e. taxpayers. The Mayor is begging for the cash. In the caption below in the Ambassador Bridge story, there is the number ONE BILLION that is non-taxpayer money that is coming from the Bridge Company.
How many jobs will the Ford reopening create:
- "Pupatello said the number of jobs at a reopened Essex Engine Plant “won’t be as large as in the heyday,”
The number of direct infrastructure jobs and spinoff jobs including filling up hotels and restaurants with out-of-town workers would number between 10 to 15,000 if both the Ambassador Bridge and the DRIC road project went forward right now. Many of these are not minimum-wage jobs but high-paying jobs. They are jobs that this region desperately needs as we transition to the new economy.
But here is a classic, Councillor Valentinis, which ought to make you sick to your stomach because it sure makes me ill:
- "The mayor has sent a letter to federal Minister of Industry Jim Prentice saying the city is prepared to do what it takes to bring a new Ford engine product to Windsor and urged Ottawa to help finalize the deal."
With the Ambassador Bridge project, with a value many times larger than the For the project and hiring many more people:
- "But Mayor Eddie Francis said the bridge has a long way to go before a twin span can be built.
“The Ambassador Bridge keeps talking about starting construction, but the fact is they require a significant number of approvals and must complete a lot of steps before they can start building.
“They can talk all they want, but they still need approvals from the city for their project before beginning.”
Do you get it Councillor... you have a private company willing to put money into the Windsor economy and the Mayor dismisses them just like he dismisses anything that he doesn't like. Is their project perfect, probably not. Can it be improved, probably. Should the City and Bridge Company be talking together to see what adjustments should be needed, absolutely.
Oh I know that the Bridge Company was given a whole 10 minutes in front of Council and was even refused a five minute extension when it wanted to explain its billion-dollar project (How much time did Sam get in front of Council to explain his Greenlink solution?). That is not what I mean by consultations, Councillor, and you know it.
But you know what Councillor, the City does one thing on the Bridge Company project and does another on its project. With the Ambassador Bridge,
- "We shared information for two hours with our consultants and their consultants,” Stamper said. “They had a good grasp of our EA; each one of my consultants made a presentation. For the city to say we are withholding information is a falsification of the facts.”
The bridge did not provide written environmental assessment documents because the city refused to keep it confidential, Stamper said."
However with Greenlink the Mayor said:
- "The latest on Greenlink is that we have provided the Province of Ontario and their team with the technical information that they were requesting. One item that we have not provided them with, but we have deliberately held back on is the issue of costing.
We’ve asked to see their costing; they have not completed their costing yet, so once they submit their costing, we’ll provide our own costing. But we’ve shared it with them in our meetings, but we just haven’t given them a hard copy."
Come on Councillor, you can see the immaturity in the way that the Mayor deals. What kind of a way is this to act when the future of the City is at stake. This isn't playing poker on The Sports Network. It's real world and big money negotiations, something in which our Mayor is way out of his league. It is time to recognize and admit to his lack of experience in big matters before it destroys us. Councillor, you have seen it time and time again with this Mayor. All he does is stall and oppose, not act.
Gord Henderson called you "an educator and lawyer who dealt with bankruptcy cases while in practice." Do you think Councillor that you could educate our Mayor on what the role of a lawyer is, especially what the role of a lawyer/Mayor is before this City and its businesses become bankrupt! We see how he is acting on the Capitol Theatre file too. After all of these months, we now know what Court we should be in!
Almost 5 years ago Councillor Valentinis, I met with you after the Mayor at the time supposedly reversed in camera a Resolution passed in public only a month or two before on the border about DRTP. The outcry of City residents, at the time was immediate and very negative against the Mayor and Council. To me, it suggested serious consequences to City Government unless Council acted immediately to negate the view that Council changed its position to the detriment of Windsorites.
Read what the people say now on the Star forums about the Bridge Company proposal and Eddie's blocking of it: http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/features/soundoff/story.html?id=a8ebc58a-38a6-4c67-9034-d33648e2a472&k=98507 Read other forums as well and you can see their opinion of this Mayor and Council. It is only one year after the last election for heaven's sake and all of this negativity!
I came to you for help then as the distinguished member of Council whom everyone there respected and you acted promptly to save the day. I am begging you today to act for the same reason.
It is time for you to act again Councillor and in an immediate fashion. The Thursday and Saturday Henderson pieces are shocking. They have painted a picture of a Council that is out of control, torn apart by bitterness and incapable of united action. The personal animosities have bubbled to the surface for all to see. Talk about negative messages. No Blogger could dream up this fiasco. And we pay Councillors $45K and the Mayor $150K for this!
The Council is leaderless with a Mayor who has failed in his challenges and who is trying to control Council by the use of a threat, staying for a third term:
- "Even if somebody genuinely doesn't want to run, it's wise not to say that. Not only does that limit jockeying for the future, you maintain your own strength."
I hope that you can get through to the Mayor to explain to him what is going on. Bring him copies of BLOGs. Bring him copies of what citizens are saying in the Star Forums. Bring him copies of e-mails that you and your colleagues are receiving from worried taxpayers. Make him listen. Make him change.
If he will not, you must do your duty even though Eddie is a very good friend of yours. It may well be, and I know that you will hate doing it, that you will need to join the "'take down the mayor' clique" and that you will need to convince several other of your colleagues to do so in order to form a majority. You have done it before and you may have to do it again.
It is a shame that this Mayor has forgotten the history that he too helped create. I know there is the amnesia disease at City Hall. Hopefully you can remind him of the past or he will have no future.
It is up to you Councillor. Again!