Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hidden Agenda In Play

Let's see now, what expression shall we use to describe this.

We could call it sucking and blowing at the same time or perhaps blowing hot and cold with the same breath or how about speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

I'm still that furious about the story in the Ottawa newspaper with respect to the Big Cities Mayors Meeting in Ottawa. Here we have the Mayor of Windsor who has stalled off the border process for years with his THINK BIG dreams and who now will not accept the word of the Ontario Minister of Transportation having the nerve to say:
  • "By doing good infrastructure projects, you put money back into the economy. Those workers then spend while at the same time we are modernizing our infrastructure."

Tell that to the people whose mortgages are being foreclosed or who have lost their jobs or who have to move out of town or whose businesses are going bankrupt.

The Star wrote one of its most ridiculous Editorials ever:

  • "Even Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis, who has tried to remain optimistic in the face of plant closures and devastating layoffs at former powerhouses like Casino Windsor, and who has never stopped touting to investors the benefits of Windsor's location and its skilled and dedicated workforce, sounded grim and exasperated shortly after news of the Nemak closure broke...
    "Every time you think you've hit rock bottom, something else comes along..."

    "We need help," pleaded Francis. "It's not that we want assistance. It's that we need it..."

    Windsor is in the midst of a crisis it didn't create and it can't solve. It is bound to get worse before it gets better. This community needs help from the senior levels of government. Desperately."

Tell you what... it appears that our Mayor is incapable of doing anything to solve our problems. In fact it would appear that he did not even understand that we had problems. Given that, perhaps he and all of the Councillors ought to resign and let someone else do the job, say the Senior Levels, and we could save all of their salaries to use for other purposes.

Sure Windsor is in a crisis. While other places get government grants, new plants and are begging people to move to their locations because they need employees, Windsor is toughing it out. As I tried to demonstrate in my Three Part Series, if Windsor had a Mayor that knew what he was doing and was prepared to work with the Senior Levels a lot of our problems would disappear. No such luck, especially with a Council that is afraid to stand up to the Mayor for fear of being scolded like kindergarten children.

It's nice of Eddie to jump on the bandwagon finally. After all, he did say a few weeks ago that getting new jobs is the most important priority in this City. I can't remember if that was before or after Dwight Duncan talked about the 7,500 jobs that could be created by the road to the bridge construction.

I expect that the Eminence Greasie has told Eddie that he better put "jobs" in his vocabulary since he can't let Dwight "out job" him. Put that there along with the PLAN, DRIC's "cheap solution" and "guns, gangs and drugs." He may as well sound good while he continues to do nothing and tries to divert the blame from himself.

None of this makes sense anymore. There is something going on behind the scenes as I have suggested before. There is the hidden agenda that is being played out and we Windsorites are being made to look like fools.

While I would like to do so, I must admit I don't buy completely into this war between various Councillors and Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello while at the same time that Sandra tells us that she talks to the Mayor every day. There is a disconnecrt somewhere.

Our fears and emotions are being used to accomplish what I do not know. It is just like the charade that was played out with Sam's area of mass destruction to try to convince people that a fully tunnelled solution was necessary. It's also very much like the negotiating where auto unions snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat at the last possible second before a strike. But then we find out that the auto Company won everything and the so-called win is nothing more than theatrics to get a majority vote of the workers.

Here's what the Mayor wanted to achieve in his behind closed door in camera meeting:

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis said discussion first dealt with the city's GreenLink plan and efforts to have it adopted by the binational Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study...

    "We want to have all our responses and community reaction in place."

That's ridiculous. Eddie has all that now and has had it in place for months now after the previous ad blitz. Obviously he did not get the results he wanted the first time around so he is trying it again until he gets the numbers he wants. Hasn't everyone heard about the "cheap solution" already but I guess that people do not think $1.6B is so cheap after all.

What happened with the big advertising blitz before? We never got anything to tell us what the results were after spending all that taxpayer money on full-page Star ads, radio spots, Ward meetings and so on. All that wasting of money only got the Mayor a few thousand people who supported Greenlink. It does not appear that Eddie has ever given to the DRIC people a formal report setting up the city's position. In fact the news story states:

  • "Some data was not made available until recently," said Erwin."
Eddie acknowledged at Council that he has not given DRIC everything since they are playing negotiating games. In fact his bureaucrat admitted that the techical teams and DRIC had not met for two months! The Mayor has admitted that he is not given the Greenlink costing information to DRIC either so how are they to know if his plan makes any sense or not. Moreover, more attacks on Dwight and Sandra and possible legal challenges to Council meetings for secrecy are not going to advance the file are they?

So much for Eddie's urgency on the border.

I thought that there were all these conversations between Sam Schwartz and the DRIC people and didn't Sam think that they were going to accept almost everything that he said. After all Sam claimed:
  • "I would be surprised if they did not incorporate the vast majority of the elements that we've put forward."
Sam's remarks makes it seem that the two sides are close to a deal doesn't it. So why the sound and fury that signifies nothing out of the mouth of the Mayor? Is Sam's statement false? What is the truth? Heck, Eddie even got a letter from the Minister of Transportation re Manning Road that should give him comfort.

But nothing is good enough for Eddie. He still has to ask for more. But more of what?

So what is it, what is Eddie's hidden agenda? Do the Councillors know and if so will they share that information with us or have they been kept in the dark too and are afraid to ask any questions of the Mayor for fear of getting that Eddie stare?

There is no doubt that the agenda has something to do with roads but I think it more has to do with money and how much of it can Eddie squeeze out of the Senior Levels to do with as he chooses. It all has to do with compensation for roads in Windsor, for Windsor being the "host" for an international border crossing, and those discussions must not be going well for Eddie to put this much pressure on.

How about the Tunnel deal as a suggestion too.......If the Feds won't finance it, perhaps the Province might as Kwame suggested yesterday.

  • "The one-time tunnel deal with Windsor, which the mayor has been counting on to eliminate the city's deficit, was stymied because Windsor was having a hard time getting the cash from conventional sources. Windsor hopes to get the money from its provincial government. It's unclear how large the deficit is, but when Kilpatrick announced the plan in 2007, he hoped it would raise about $75 million."
The only question I have is whether Eddie has factored in that the Senior Levels may decide to pull out of Windsor instead. Then what happens?

I wonder which will come first... Eddie's success or Windsor's devastation.