Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, February 29, 2008

Smelling Mayoral Blood

Do the sharks smell the blood in the water? Are they circling around our Mayor? Is his mayoral career about to become the victim of a feeding frenzy? Where before, Eddie could do no wrong, has it become now that Eddie can do no right!

The airport jobs and development farce is just the latest reason for panning the Mayor and questioning his competence and ability to lead!

Just read the BLOGs in this City and the comments on them and check out the Windsor Star forums to see what I mean. Why there is even some negativity in Star Editorials believe it or not.

Is the saying "If You Don’t Define Yourself Someone Else Will" being proven true?

It is fascinating to watch. Eddie and his Eminence Greasie have been trying for years to build up the image of Eddie into him becoming our infallible, super-human lawyer/businessman/non-politician who will bring us into prosperity if we will only trust him and let him lead us.

Now is this just an edifice of straw falling down around him. If it is, he has only himself to blame. He tried to define himself as a winner. His actions, the stalls, the threats and lack of success are defining him as a loser as Windsorites finally wake up to the fact that our Philosopher King is wearing no clothes.

I will say it again. The fact that the Mayor was forced to cave in to public pressure and called for a Ministry inquiry into WUC is a shocking indictment of how far he has fallen and how quickly! He was elected with almost 78% of the vote just over a year ago and now he was forced to go to an outsider because of credibility issues. Such action is so rare that it stands out province-wide and gives Windsor another black-eye. I feel so sorry for the Gazelle Feeders trying to sell Windsor as a place to invest in and to do business.

Let's look at the most recent example, the University Engineering complex. Here is what I wrote before about what Eddie said at his State-of-the-City speech:
  • "And then the gutless part of the evening "Together, we are working to build the new, state-of-the-art Centre for Engineering Innovation. And, it needs to be downtown." Of course he “ad-libbed” so it would NOT be in writing when Eddie threatened saying if it was not going to be downtown, do not expect a City contribution.

    The City would play a role "if and only if the campus was brought downtown."
Notwithstanding the pretend business case at the 11th hour, 59th minute, and 59th second where no money was really offered to the University, and even with the Gord Henderson harangues, the Board rightly turned him down cold.

Who did he think he was huffing and puffing with no aces in his hand. He needs the University to save his neck not the other way around. He is in no position to demand anything. After all, it is only a project worth over $100 million that can make Windsor a leader in research for the automotive industry.

As if the University should care. Imagine if the Engineering Complex was opened at the University campus, would he refuse to attend, would the City refuse to play, would he “snub” them too? Obviously not.

Let's take a look at the DRIC road. As I have written before, Sandra and Dwight came out swinging in favour of it. Then the Chamber of Commerce gave Eddie a poke in the eye too:
  • "Mayor Eddie Francis has expressed disappointment in Windsor's chamber of commerce for supporting a plan to create a six-lane below-grade border highway through South Windsor."
Will Eddie be forced to back off from Greenlink. Of course he will. It all has to do with jobs desperately needed here. Here is what the Chamber said:
  • "But with jobs and investment at stake, the local business community does not want any more delays getting construction started on a border traffic route solution, said the chamber's chairman Peter Hrastovec.

    "We want to see something done," he said. "The concern of business is to get this moving forward. That's in the best interests of the community."

How about the Capitol and the threats against the Trustee to have him removed. Did the Trustee back off and do what Eddie and his lawyer wanted. As Councillor Halberstadt wrote some time ago:

  • "In answer to a reader's request for an update on the court proceedings involving ownership of the Capitol Theatre, we can expect a delay of up to four months before a Superior Court hearing takes place...

The Trustee did not give in to the Mayor. We are still going to have litigation although with a new Capitol Board a settlement is easily achievable that should give everyone exactly what they want.

Interestingly, the Theatre seems to have re-opened anyway and is taking bookings until the end of the year. Don't you find it strange that the "fire hazard" issue that the Mayor talked about before seems to have disappeared from sight? Was the problem fixed and if so, why could it have not been fixed before? I guess the theatre is no longer a "fire trap."

The arena....wait until we find out what the price tag is going to be. I wonder if there is a pool amongst contractors as to what is the final number. And the Global Spectrum deal...has it been signed yet?

Our new IT industry, why there are allegations of poor working conditions, workplace violence, payroll shortfalls, cancelled lunch breaks and lower than promised commissions [NOTE: These have not yet been proven] But I notice that the Star has now linked Eddie back into it:

  • "Politicians, including MPP Sandra Pupatello and Mayor Eddie Francis, who played a role in using subsidies and incentives to bring Sutherland to Windsor, have acknowledged problems, but labelled them as "growing pains."
I could go on but you get the picture. Some key event has happened that has made people ready to take on the Mayor when they would not do so before. Does that explain the need for someone to do a poll in the City, as disclosed on several BLOGs already, to test attitudes of Windsorites? Latest rumour is that it was commissioned by the Mayor himself. A Councillor might want to ask the question if this is true or not.

I do not know what that event could be. Did Eddie overplay his hand for the Detroit Tunnel deal and the Tunnel Plaza Improvements? Did he throw Schwartz in the face of the Senior Levels too many times. Did the daily questions before the election at Queen's Park over the arena matter annoy the Government and now is it payback time? Was it the trip to Germany with no real report yet but conflicting media crumbs only, the fleet vehicle mess or the whitewash WUC audit? Was it the bread and butter issue of infrastructure jobs that are being stalled as people lose their jobs and homes in the City with the worst unemployment rate in the country? Did someone just say enough already.

Eddie is vulnerable but does he truly understand the depth of the feelings against him. I cannot help but feel that his position is even worse than that of Mike Hurst in his final year. The negativity against him is that high right now.

Is it too late for Eddie? That is up to him entirely in my opinion.

Can Eddie learn? Will he finally take Council and Windsorites into his confidence? Will he ask us to help and provide support and mean it? Will we have open and transparent Government? Will he learn to accept blame when it is deserved and take the praise only if he earns it? Can easy matters stop being made overly-complicated for reasons unknown? Will he stop managing his future and start worrying about our NOW?

Who can afford any longer a 3 year long lame duck Mayor. It is time that we took back our City if he does not change immediately. Any Councillor who does not start acting for the people today should seriously reconsider running for election three years from now.

Just like the little boy in the Hans Christian Andersen story who had the nerve to tell us the truth about the Emperor, we owe Dwight Duncan a debt of thanks for one thing. He at least had the nerve to say THE MAYOR IS WRONG. THE MAYOR IS WRONG.