Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, February 25, 2008

More News Stories You Missed

It a good thing that you, dear reader, look at this BLOG so often.

Seriously, look at the number of stories you might have missed had you not come here. I believe that you owe it to your friends, family, and colleagues at work to let them know about this BLOG and refer what I write on here to them so they too can be up to date about what is going on in this region.


Did you miss the big story that the traditional media could not cover? There cannot be a huge rally of people from Windsor and the County including businesspeople upset due to Enwin work on the Expressway "the main access route to the downtown and west end, [and to the east end and to the County]" that was going to be restricted.

You see, "EnWin Utilities workers [were to do] maintenance on road lighting" but they only told people about it on Friday. It was too late for anyone to do anything about it. It would appear that unlike the Ambassador Bridge Company who told the City their plans back in October, the brief mention in the Star does not tell us when Enwin told the City about their plans.

Sure I know that the City owns Enwin but it is a private company after all and wasn't Councillor Dilkens' Motion about openness in City Companies defeated.

I see a lot of similarity in this between the way that the City treats its Tunnel and closing Goyeau when required and its viewpoint with respect to the Bridge who wants to close its access road to Huron Church for maintenance on a temporary and intermittent basis. Why I would have expected that if it was any utility but a City owned one which had tried to restrict lanes on the Expressway the Mayor would have said
  • "Once again, they are doing this the Enwin way," said an exasperated Mayor Eddie Francis. "They have been aggressively seeking to restrict lanes of that stretch of the Expressway. They know I have expressed (that) any closure of the road will hurt downtown. "We need that Experessway to secure access to the casino, to downtown businesses and restaurants."

I am sure that if he/she had known about it, some business person would have said about the protest as was said with respect to the rally against the Ambassador Bridge Company that

  • "we’re standing up as Canadian citizens to say: Hold on a second."

After all, isn't the Expressway

  • "the usual route for people...who are seeking the casino, downtown restaurants, the university and Old Sandwich Towne" from various points in the City and County."

Why I am sure they would have said as well

  • "It’s abuse of power here...[it]is going to discourage them and get them lost.

    “What they’ll leave Windsor with is: Never again. That very negative impression is what they are left with.”

I can almost hear someone say as well that the group of protesters are upset with the “feudal lord” approach by Enwin of restricting lanes on the Expressway.

  • “Yes, we are very supportive of public authorities, but there is a point where public authorities have to give way to the private good and this has gone far beyond that.”

If only the story had been reported...


Remember Eddie's State of the City speech in 2006 and the great deal made about Roots clothing:

  • "There is one other exciting new way we can celebrate Windsor.
    For years, Roots clothing has symbolized what’s great about being Canadian.
    The spirit of outdoor adventure. The beauty of our land. And the effort and perseverance that it takes … to be an Olympic champion.
    And now … Windsor has its own line of clothing designed by Roots.
    It is cool … modern … and proud – and so is Windsor.
    We will be the first city associated with the Roots brand.
    Those of us at the Cleary tonight will be able to see the new Roots wear in the Canadian Club room during the reception after this speech.
    Let us know what you think before it goes to Council for final approval. "

I must admit that I thought it was a pretty big deal when I heard about it. Imagine, Windsor clothing all over the City being sold to Windsorites and tourists. Roots promoting the brand in their stores all around the area and in Detroit. The City piggybacking on the marketing skills of the Roots sales force. Now that made sense to me from a publicity point of view.

Unfortunately, the reality is something else. When I went to the Roots website to try to see what items were available, here is what I found when I entered "Windsor" into the search box

  • "No items found for: windsor."

In the Communications Package I noticed what the deal really was. It was nothing more than what Roots shows on its website as co-branding for "corporations, teens and organizations":

Did the City make any money on this transaction? Don't be silly, there are no businesspeople involved. You've seen the poor job done with the Tunnel and with WUC haven't you:

In fact, the City lost money on this transaction although you'll never see it given the way that this is shown on the City's books. I wonder who dreamed up this innovative accounting measure to turn a loss into a profit. I wonder if this novel accounting approach has been used elsewhere in City Financials. Perhaps the Treasurer could inform us at the Budget meetings.

It seems that the Mayor's statement was nothing more than pretending to be doing something big when it really was nothing there. All talk, No action...Typical.


Wait a minute here, I don't understand this comment with respect to the Germans coming here as reported in Saturday's Star:

  • "They will meet with local operators involved in shipping products out of Windsor and have "face-to-face discussions" on how to reduce their costs through shipping."

OUT OF WINDSOR..... what's going on here? I thought the whole idea of this when it was first announced was the exact opposite:

  • "goods would be received here, repacked and shipped together to other areas."

    Windsor's geographic location offers a huge advantage for such a warehouse operation because Windsor is so close to the U.S. border. Food-related products destined for the U.S. from Europe or the Middle East have increasingly been subject to an intense security screening at U.S. airports, Francis said.

    "It becomes more cost-effective for them to ship to Windsor, take the goods off the airplane, put them on a truck and take it across the border."

In fact, it looks like Eddie did nothing more than introduce the Germans to a new producer market, Windsor and the County. Sure, we may produce more raw food products for export but we will certainly not produce the kind of jobs that Eddie described when he first went over to Germany nor to produce that kind of investment opportunity either.

It makes no sense to me.


I am so tired of the whinging from the Column on page 3 of the Star. Why won't Gord Henderson tell his readers the truth about what Eddie did not do with respect to bringing the Engineering Complex to the downtown.

Why is he so intent on protecting someone who failed miserably in his job?

Gord should tell us how many months the Mayor had to prepare a well-thought out business case to show to Council with respect to the Complex? What did he produce? NOTHING! What did he have to show to the University Board in the last possible moment? NOTHING! What was the obvious result therefore for the downtown? NOTHING!

Gord should put up or shut up already when he has has the nerve to say the following:

  • "They understood what the majority of their peers apparently didn't, that a financially challenged organization should think long and hard before turning up its nose at free land, a wad of cash and a unique opportunity to expand its horizons."

What land, and what land would have to be expropriated, how much cash. There is no reason why, since the University has made its choice, that the City cannot at least contribute the wad of cash to this great opportunity for the City. Wouldn't that help increase the size of the building?

In fact one of the reasons why the University has to downsize I am sure is because of the year delay in moving forward on their opportunity. How much did that cost the University while Eddie fiddled and stalled?


Did you see that apparently one million Canadians were victims of mass-marketing fraudsters including those taking place over the Internet, from telemarketing, and mass mailings. Surely people cannot be this gullible but they are. Let me give you an example.

I have been told that apparently a very senior person in one of the City's divisions is circulating the following rumour about the new career that I am about to enter into. It seems that

  • "I have been tapped as Gord [Henderson]'s replacement when he retires."

Oh, really. I can well understand why some might take that rumour seriously given the fantastic insight that you have received, dear reader, from this BLOG.

However, if you believe that rumour, given my wonderful relationship with the Windsor Star, then you are the kind of person the Government will love. The Governments want to make you believe that you as a taxpayer should support their terrific investment in a new DRIC bridge when, in fact, there is no need for such a Bridge to be financed by taxpayers when a private investor is prepared to it using his money.


Wow, here I was thinking that all of these businesses closing down in Windsor was bad for us. Am I ever dumb. In fact people being out of a job and having their homes foreclosed as house prices drop here is probably the best thing that ever happened for us. I am sure that you saw this Star story:

  • "The real upside of a downturn
    Depressed housing market means bargains for buyers

    In a recent international study of affordable housing, Windsor placed 12th in North America, a ranking that is being touted by the Windsor Essex Development Commission as it tries to attract new industry and investment to the region."

This is fantastic news for us. I did not understand the hidden agenda behind the Mayor's plan to ensure that the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project and the DRIC road not be built. If those projects were to get the go-ahead immediately, then 15,000 high-paying infrastructure jobs and spin off jobs and opportunities would be created. (The story on the Ambassador Gateway Project as reported in the Detroit media said that only 2800 jobs were located for that miniscule project!).

Can you imagine the economic mess that would make for us here. All of these employed people with money to spend would never bring us the kind of prosperity we think we should have.

My goodness we need to thank the Gazelle Feeders for not going out and finding jobs for people here:

  • "Windsor's more modest prices make the area more attractive to retirees and "an easier sell when it comes to people transferring into the region for employment reasons," said Matt Fischer, CEO of the development commission.

    "With our additional attractions, including a relatively low cost of living, retirees could easily sell a home in the Toronto area and sink a considerable amount into their retirement fund even after buying a nice home here," he said."

I have no idea who these people coming into the region for employment purposes are since we are chasing business away from here with this Council's attitude but I'm sure that many in this community would be pleased to accept jobs supporting all those rich folk coming here to retire. After all, we can be a third world community working at minimum-wage jobs can't wait.

Come on Mayor, come on Council... Keep up the good work. I apologize for doubting you. Keep on destroying this Community with your inaction and stalling. After all, so what if

  • "It's a great market for buyers but not so good for sellers right now," said Phil Dorner, the president of the Windsor Essex County Real Estate Board and an agent with Louis Parent Realty.

    "But the word is getting out that this is a great place to retire to because you can pick up a great house on the water for around $300,000 and there's nowhere else in Canada where you can do that," he said."


I think I should get into the China Wall business as a consultant. The results could be great. [In case you missed it, I just made a little joke... Great Wall Of China, get it]

In case you do not understand the term, a "Chinese Wall" is "The ethical (not physical) barrier between different divisions of a financial (or other) institution to avoid conflict of interest."

Guess which firm was retained to do some of the work on the DRIC file in Canada . It is a firm that very few have probably heard of in the border file: IBI Group. That firm was also involved with the "Planning Need and Feasibility Study" in 2004 and the "Travel Demand Forecasts Discussion Paper."

Here is how one of their projects was described:
  • "As part of the impact assessment of the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) study, a review of transportation systems in Southwestern Ontario and Southeastern Michigan was undertaken. This review identified the improvements to mobility for international traffic (both truck and auto traffic) through increased capacity, improvements to border processing facilities, providing continuous access to the border crossing, and providing options in the border transportation network (redundancy) as compared to the “do nothing” alternative."

I just bring this to your attention because I happened to notice the following on the CAO approvals list:

  • IBI Group was retained at a fee of $15,000 to provide consulting services to the City of Windsor's Planning Department for the Sandwich South Secondary Plan Symposium.

I wonder if that has something to do with the airport lands that were brought into the City from Tecumseh. If so, there may be a connection here with the Border matter.

If that is the case, I expect that the proper procedures will be kept to respect confidentiality or else DRIC might have to take action. It is a very difficult issue to deal with because clearly there are so few firms involved in this area of expertise.