Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, February 29, 2008

Readers Write

It seems that people are getting more and more opinionated. Here are the latest missives:

1) If you're right about a mainstream alternative developing in this city, it's about damn time.....they've been in business for years and years and it's long past due for them to start doing their jobs finally....

2) Who said this and in what context: [Answer below] "That's the difference between me and my opponent. My opponent makes speeches. I offer solutions. It is one thing to get people excited. I want to empower you."

3) Stamper's argument on CKLW ring true. While there are lots of detours for other construction projects (including the long-term one for the casino), his minimal one is being debated. The city itself publishes a map of detours etc and there seems to be quite a few (Halberstadt also publishes a link to the detours in his blog). So what is an intermitent, short term one for minimal traffic. As for downtown - the area itself was blocked off for months and months for the supposed beautification project (which does little i would add)

4) So now council is going to do the audit that the audit department performed and took years to do?

If the audit department is that inept it should be replaced with a new department of auditor general.

5) [RE City to review audit of fleet] Will we ever see an end to such goings on within City Hall?

6) You know Ed, I think the reason Windsor wants the bridge to do more studies, more reviews, more information is because that is the way Windsor does business. The city expects everyone else to do what they do. Too bad the real world doesn't work that way...only in Windsor.

7) I wonder if Eddie is going to make Michigan get an EA study for the impact on Windsor?

The Mayor might as well remain consistent and get in writing, legally, that the access on the US side will not be done until the new road is done over here.
It sounds just as stupid as to what he has already stated.

8) It does impact Windsor if the traffic moves to the BWB. Does anyone understand how important the success of the AB is to Windsor? Without it there would be no Windsor.

9) Sooo... let me get this straight: objectors can't use the onerous environmental assessment process to delay indefinitely transit projects... but apparantly, the same courtesy is not extended to border improvements (at least until the DRIC is ready for review). It demonstrates that they CAN complete a review timely, but that they also CAN delay an EA indefinitely...

10) I was just reading the star and the comments people are making about the rate hikes at WUC...

I stated everyone has to fax or send in their bills to city hall until they say quit.
I mean if it takes 100 times per house, that is what they need to see.
People are hurting in Windsor and city council headed by a blind Mayor just doesn't get it. Money is at a premium and they are taking it away.

Never mind the economy, it is just plain wrong.

11) [Re: Mexicana flight] Do you think that Home Land Security would let this happen without making a comment, one to the city, two, to the Canadian Feds, which seems like an end around to the U.S. and Mexican border. They're probably all ready eye balling this situation, that's all we need is one Mexican worker being caught trying to enter the U.S. from Windsor/Essex county that came here by plane originally.

12) We sure need it but the Star article today about better times ahead even if the auto industry tanks is worth reading.

Major point is that this part of Ontario can be a retirement destination with good weather and cheap housing.

I cannot picture a demographic group more sensitive to property taxes, utilities and other direct expenses than retirees. A major initiative to attract these retirees to the area is for what the city provides in terms of electricity, water and city services is to do so with the greatest of efficiency and at the lowest possible cost. These same efforts are what will also help bring more business interest to the city as well.

13) Since The Mayor and council are consistently inconsistent, does that make them consistent?

14) Wow-it has to make labour types proud of Eddie’s Airport Strategy… the articles says “Mexico-to-Windsor charter to facilitate the quick transfer of migrant workers coming from Mexico to Essex County.” One would think with one of the highest unemployment rates in Canada that our great leader would concentrate on JOBS, not more workers from afar to compete for too few employment options in Windsor now…

Someone needs to tell Eddie “Hope” is not a “strategy” – it is a safety net of aspiration. We all HOPE that Windsor’s economy turns around, most of us can only do our small part. Hope is not enhanced by blaming someone else when the failed leadership opportunity is squarely at his hand. Hope is the aspiration of mere citizens, optimistic that their choice that Windsor is a great place to work & raise a family bears fruit. Perhaps it is time for Eddie to join the ranks of mere citizens and let someone LEAD with a viable STRATEGY.

15) "It is exciting to be part of this mutually beneficial partnership between Canada and our Mexican neighbours" - except when of course it has to do with disenfranchised Mexican refugees coming into Windsor.

16) When I was working downtown, the Burger King manager told me that they had to move from their Goyeau and Wyandotte location because the entire area was owned (or being taken over) by the City and they had huge plans for tunnel plaza expansion. Now the City is blocking their attempt to locate a few blocks away???

Although I support the WSO's dream of turning the armory into a concert hall, I found their appeal to the "safety of children" to be disingenuous. I was disappointed.

17) great series ! Keep up the good work

18) A letter received from Dennis DesRosiers and the Globe story referred to:

Following are four stories that highlight the challenges and potential solutions for woes in Windsor.

First is a story from the Globe that discusses how much upside there is in promoting Canada as an intellectual centre for automotive research, design, development and testing. The auto sector alone is spending about $US 35 billion per year in North America addressing social policy agenda items like climate change, fuel efficiency, safety, vehicle design etc. so the opportunity to get more of that investment in Windsor is huge.

Then we have an article about 'bailing out' a facility in Windsor that has nothing to with the need to get Windsor more involved in the intellectual side of the sector. Sure it would be nice to get this engine facility but why does Windsor always get diverted into "bail out" situations? Situations that will do little to transform Windsor into a leading centre for intellectual jobs. Why is Windsor afraid of embracing the development of intellectual side of its economy.

And then there is an article about how the University may have to downsize its engineering initiative due to costs ... a facility that will go a long way to converting Windsor into more of an intellectual region ... Just imagine what Windsor could have if the $30 million or so promised to the school only if it went downtown was put into this new on-campus development and the University had $150 or more dollars to put into developing the region's intellectual capability ... now that would be something....

And then we finish with another fine example of a little company that is putting money into Windsor creating intellectual jobs. Yves Landry got it right a decade ago when he said "the future of Windsor's automotive sector is the six inches between our ears"
  • Knowledge is key to our manufacturing future
    'A lot of the things we do is between pure university research and industrial practical research'
    MICHAEL VAUGHAN February 21, 2008

    As foreign-owned auto makers continue to warn about Canada being such a high-cost environment, automotive manufacturing jobs will come under ever greater threat.

    The answer, if there is one, is for Canada to put greater emphasis on developing opportunities in RDT&E (Research, Development, Test & Engineering).

    The clean diesel engine laboratory at the University of Windsor is one example of how this is being done.

    When you walk into it you get the feeling that Speedy Muffler and Future Shop must be sharing space. There's that slightly oily automotive smell, there's a room full of what might be engines (they are) covered in wires, behind a glass wall. Everywhere else, it's computers and monitors.

    What's happening here includes diesel engine R&D for Ford Motor Co., International Truck and Engine Co., Imperial Oil and other worldwide collaborators.

    It got started in 2003, pushed along by Auto21 - a national research initiative that supports researchers working at academic institutions, government research facilities and private sector research labs - and government money. Since then, industry has been beating a path to its door.

    In the next two weeks, two more Auto21 research programs will be profiled.

    Dr. Ming Zheng, Ph.D., P.Eng., is Canada research chair in clean diesel engine technology and an associate professor at the University of Windsor. He's also a co-founder of the lab.

    Vaughan: We're standing in a room that's just jammed with computers.

    Zheng: This is the control room.

    There are 16 computers analyzing the three diesel engines that you see through the glass.

    We can measure 136 temperatures simultaneously. We also have motion detectors at critical locations so we can tell if there are any leaks. We can control the fuel pressure in real time.

    This computer measures all the emissions and we can analyze it while we are running the engine. This one measures the load. This one is for exhaust gas recirculation. This one is for cylinder pressure and combustion analysis.

    We can record 200 measurements on one engine cycle to see what's happening inside the cylinder.

    This one has the air flow and the fuel flow measurements. This one is critical - it's for diesel fuel injection control. We control the fuel injection directly with digital combustion control.

    We are the only ones in Canada with this overall capability and in the whole world there are not many universities that can do this.

    The computers look familiar, but nothing else does.

    For $1,000, you can buy a computer, but they work in combination with the actuators and the sensors as part of a very expensive, sophisticated system.

    All our equipment is worth about $3-million, not including the engines. Research engines cost about $1-million to build and we have two from Ford and one from International Truck.

    If we can't get the best research tools, our industrial partners will get it for us.

    So are you engineering consultants for them?

    This laboratory is not only for research, it's for teaching.

    A lot of the things we do is between pure university research and industrial practical research.

    Through Auto21, we have built up a number of industrial projects.

    We're working with Ford, we're working with International Trucks. We have daily communications with their engineers.

    Who does the work in here?

    With 16 computers, we still need two full-time PhD students to control the equipment and run the experiments. They are paid, but it is very cost-effective.

    The field programmable diesel array has PhD students programming their algorithms differently and all making marginal improvements upon marginal improvements.

    After several generations, you can have innovation and we do this with great speed.

    So we are leaders in this area. Even the research laboratories in industry can't afford to do this highly intelligent work.

    Does industry pay for everything it gets out of here?

    We're open, we show our research methodology to the industry. Some of our basic research results we publish, but with research contracts we only report to the sponsoring company. In that case, it's only the research methodology we publish.

    Give me some examples of sponsored research.

    With Ford, we're doing bio-diesel engine research and some electronic control work.

    This is a super-fast engine analyzer with a response time of 1.5 milliseconds.

    This is for diesel common rail fuel injection control and it's very difficult to do. We control pressure in a high-pressure pump up to 2000 bar.

    To control this pressure at a stable level is a very challenging job. Our injectors make eight shots in one cycle while advanced diesels on the road make two or three. And with our equipment we can do twelve or more.

    Do you get lots of visitors?

    Our setup is unique and when they see it many of our visitors want to set up something similar themselves. So the students benefit very much and they all get hired by industry.

    Renault came to visit us from France and scheduled 30 minutes but stayed 2½ hours. At that point, they changed their mind and now they want to benchmark our lab.

ANSWER TO QUESTION---No it was NOT Dan Stamper speaking about the Mayor. It was Hillary Clinton who accused rival Barack Obama of lacking substance and experience. She "Clinton portrayed herself as a fighter and Obama as someone who makes a lot of speeches that sound good but do not offer solutions." (Windsor Star, Feb 14)