Why Brister Cannot Be Mayor
I could have replaced "not" with "never" but chose not to do so for reasons you will discover. But first...
Trust me, politics is a very cruel and nasty business. It has to be when no matter what kind of a job you do a fickle electorate can vote you in or out of office at its whim.
At the municipal level though, one should not expect such kind of behaviour given the much more personal interaction amongst a relatively few number of people who sit on Council together. Of course, there are going to be strong feelings, differences of opinion and there will be clashes since municipal politics is viewed as a first step in starting a political career to become a "Senior" politician. Many people who are politicians have egos as well as big as the great outdoors so when two egos clash you're going to see fireworks.
All of this is an introduction to what I see as the meanness and pettiness of certain insiders in Windsor municipal politics. I will NOT explain what I mean because it is very personal to a particular person in City politics so you're going to have to trust me on this, dear reader. They know exactly what I mean. There was no need for them to act as they have at this time. May Nemesis apply to them!
Eddie's trial balloon about running for a third term ended as a lead balloon. The reaction of the electorate and the bitterness expressed have ended any hopes of the Mayor running for a third term. Such an idea was dismissed out of hand by Henderson after the brouhaha that has hurt Eddie's future:
- "Now that the dust is settling from the kerfuffle over Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis's musings about staying on for a third term."
A mere kerfuffle....hardly! Gord's column on Saturday re the Mayoral race will merely solidify Eddie as a lame duck Mayor for the next three years and tells us that Council will be a shambles for that time unless a new leader emerges from amongst the pack. It demonstrates more clearly than anything else that Eddie has been unable to act as a leader to his Councillors. It demonstrates why the City has been on hold since he has become Mayor. Another notch for the Sheriff!
The Sheriff also ended the chance of the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget to become Mayor before he even started by putting out in public what a number of insiders have told me privately: Brister wants to be the next Mayor of Windsor.
The corpse of Eddie as a third term Mayor was barely in the ground when there was Councillor Brister...running to Gord for an interview, desperate to get him on-side for his Mayoral run. What a pathetic display but typical for the Councillor who loves to hear the sound of his own voice and who craves publicity desperately! Just watch him on Cogeco at Council meetings when the spot-light is turned on him. I know those characteristics well from my days working with the Councillor when he was the STOPDRTP Chair and made public appearances on behalf of the group.
Can Eddie be trusted now after vowing that he will be a two-term Mayor and then holding the door open for a third term? That question was circulating after the Thursday Henderson front-page story. Gord was generous to Brister in saying
- "Brister told me in his rookie term that he had no interest in the top job. And he's still circumspect about his intentions. But what I'm hearing, from people close to him, is that if Francis does pack it in to go make some serious money, Brister will not stand idly by and let Marra claim this (dubious) prize without a fight."
Here is what Brister really said:
- "BALONEY -- Ward 1 Coun. Dave Brister, who topped the polls in the last election, wants it known that there's no truth to the "blogaloney" rumours that have him challenging Francis for mayor in 2006.
In fact, said Brister, he has zero interest in becoming mayor. "Write that rumour off forever. It's not something I ever want to do and it's just never going to happen."
Shouldn't one now ask the same question about Brister? Can he be trusted to keep his word...."never" and "forever" appear to be short time period words in Brister's world or is that called political expediency! Sure people are entitled to change their minds. Howver, it was not necessary for Brister to say what he did. He did not have to say something so definitive and then expect people to forgive him. Or to forget.
Why is Dave disrupting Council by starting his campaign for mayor now and doing it publicly. Isn't he doing what Eddie objected to:
- "There's plenty of time for them to crank it up," said Francis, but right now council needs to stay focused on job-related issues. "I'm begging you as a council to be leaders for this community," he pleaded. "Park the campaigns to the sidelines right now. We should look at everything we do from the perspective of attracting more jobs to this community."
Didn't I tell you that Councillor Brister would be in mourning since his name wasn't mentioned in the Henderson column about who was running for Mayor:
- "political grandstanding by a few councillors (think Bill Marra and Al Halberstadt, for starters) who are itching to become mayor."
He had to rectify that immediately. I guess that Councillor Brister wants to be a grandstander too.
It is so kind of Councillor Brister to save us from Bill Marra. And why is it that Dave so opposed to Marra....what are the reasons? We should demand that Brister tell us immediately. After all, if it is this bad, should Bill even be on Council in the first place? It must be horrific and Brister is now obliged to tell us why. Brister has to put up or shut up and apologize to Councillor Marra and in public immediately.
Mind you, this is all very strange to me given Brister's view of Marra in the past. If Dave wants to know what this means, he should ask Eddie what Eddie found out about Dave during the first mayoral campaign!
Things change quickly in Windsor and especially in Ward 1 politics it seems. Just the other day, Dilkens was a hero on the Dougall Ave matter who
- "scored huge points with his South Windsor constituents."
An envious Brister who was invisible on the matter now paints Councillor Dilkens as an enemy. Imagine, asking as Drew did for openness and transparency or fighting for your constituents makes one a foe, an "outsider." That is certainly a warped view of the political world as far as I'm concerned. Here is what the consensus building Councillor Brister said about Drew and his colleagues one quarter of the way through their term 4-year term:
- "it's insiders and outsiders, with Marra...the apparent leader of an undeclared opposition that includes Al Halberstadt in Ward 3, Drew Dilkens in Ward 1 and Ward 5's Percy Hatfield.
I would call it the 'take down the mayor' clique versus those who want to move the city forward," said Brister.
"But they can do whatever they like so long as we have a majority to move the city forward."
I would think that if the Governor's Hubby or Dr. Phil get a contract from Eddie to solve the dysfunction problem at Council, they can think Councillor Brister for it, given this outburst.
Imagine the fun for the next three years and the dysfunction to be caused by stupid remarks such as this. It's just another add-on to the list of Bristerisms. I am sure that Councillor Hatfield will be thrilled with that characterization. As for Dave's Ward-mate, Councillor Dilkens, he probably read about Dave's remarks when he was in Paris last week...Paris, France, not Paris, Ontario.
You can see the green eyes of jealousy coming out from Council Brister. You see Drew is spending his own money to obtain his doctorate in business administration. The seminar in Paris has to do with advanced corporate finance. The skills that he is learing and the contacts he will make internationally will certainly benefit the City . As for Dave, what are his financial credentials in money matters? What was his job in the private sector before he was elected to Council? How far up on the mangement totem pole was the Councillor with his former employer?
Dave knows in any side-by-side comparison with his Wardmate, he would lose. Even on the border file, Brister is losing badly. He lost out on the trucks on Dougall issue as Drew captured his constituents' imagination. Brister is afraid to talk to the private enterprise proponents on the border crossing while Drew
- "said he'll talk to anyone, including high-profile bridge company and DRTP representatives, "but that doesn't mean they're running me in any way, shape or form. I'm an independent thinker but I try to get as many inputs as I can."
How many times do I have to keep telling Councillor Brister that he is being set up by the Sheriff on the arena file and that when it goes over budget his career is over. I can just picture Gord in my mind laughing hysterically as he typed this for his Saturday column:
- "He [Brister] said the WFCU Arena complex is a classic example. He sees it as a wonderful story for Windsor, ending decades of dithering, and yet the critics keep bellyaching that it doesn't belong in the ugly, godforsaken east end and, worse, will go tens of millions of dollars over budget.
Brister, who has put his credibility on the line as council's arena watchdog, insists it's on time and on budget, no matter what the critics say, and if it weren't, he would be the one screaming loudest.
I also wonder if the Councillor noticed this line from Henderson's column which could cause him great distress:
- "Yeah. This could be fun. A classic showdown to kick off the next decade. I almost wish I could be around to enjoy it."
Is this a retirement line and sooner than most thought. There would go Brister's champion in his mind anyway. To whom could he run now for publicity?
I just read the Budget for the arena on the Council Communications Package. I have a challenge for the Councillor to answer some question about the arena. Let's see if he has the guts to answer them. Oh, and here is another news tip for the media:
We know that the arena will have 31 private boxes. Did the Port Huron arena have provision for so many private boxes? If it did not, who is paying to have those boxes constructed in our arena and how much is it costing? Private boxes have to be fitted up... who is paying for those costs and how much are they? Where are all of these costs set out in the budget for the arena? Alternatively, are these costs in fact being charged to the City and if so to which Department? Where are those costs in the budget of that Department? Are those costs going to be considered to be part of the $64.9 million cost of the arena? Or has the arena cost just sky-rocketed?
That's something for the traditional media to ask. It might make a nice news story for them since the Councillor I am sure will never answer me directly. I will be interested in hearing what the Councillor has to say as will taxpayers.
I expect that Councillor Brister might pass the buck to Don Sadler to answer. No matter as long as the questions are answered promptly.
Oh and if the Councillor believes that he is getting brownie marks for his great stewardship of the project from taxpayers check out this Star story "City arena may cost less than expected." Brister ought to read this Windsor Star Forum and be sadly disappointed at what taxpayers are saying: http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/story.html?id=9fda1ea7-3bc3-4bb8-bccb-9ed483e2cbf4
I spoke with a reader of mine the other day and he compared me and some of the other Bloggers in town with Dave Letterman and Jay Leno. He said that we are like them since we go through the media and prepare our monologues everyday to post on our Blogsites. He said that we don't need to have writers because talking about what our Mayor and Council are not doing is enough of a joke.
Here's the problem that Premier McGuinty created for us. Unlike Ottawa or Queens Park where Government can be tossed out by a vote of non-confidence and where there is an effective opposition and a media who is prepared to question what goes on, in a municipal government the term for the politicians is fixed now at four years. An extra year was added on by the Premier. How can we get rid of a Mayor or Councillor who is clearly not doing his/her job and being disruptive? There is no way now.
This fact is extremely dangerous since municipal government is not just putting up stop signs and filling potholes. Big money is at stake that can bankrupt a city if it is not handled properly. Look at Windsor:
- [gulp] the arena at $65M and counting
- over $800 million for watermain replacement
- millions needed for road improvements and in particular for E C Row
- an electric utility that might be worth up to a quarter of $1 billion if the London model is appropriate
- a Tunnel deal where the City is to spend US $75 million
- Tunnel Plaza Improvements that will cost more than $30 million
- a border solution that will wind up costing the City something even if it is just cutting the grass on Greenlink
- money for the airport and the cost of creating "shovel ready" land for developers on thousands of acres on the land around the airport.
Brister for Mayor....hardly. As for the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget, if he keeps going the way he's going, he's going to make it so easy for Charlie and Joyce to come back in three years time!