Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, March 14, 2008

Right Of Recall--Part 1

You are at the Chrysler Theatre on Monday night listening to Eddie's State of the City speech and you just can't stomach listening to another THINK BIG dream or hearing a vision of Windsor's future after all those that you've heard in the past.

You just can't take the failures anymore when solutions are obvious and all you see is this City withering away. What can you do other than boo or stand up and walk out.

What if you are at home listening to it on the radio or on television, what can you do? Do you throw your slipper at the set and then just have a big repair bill?

To be direct about it, there's not much else you can do. We are stuck with Eddie Francis as Mayor and the 10 people on Council whether we like it or not for almost 3 more years.

Here is another example for you. What do you do if you are a constituent of David Emerson and you had just voted for him and then a few weeks later saw this:

  • Ex-Liberal minister from B.C. joins Harper

    Last Updated: Monday, February 6, 2006 10:18 PM ET
    CBC News

    Former Liberal industry minister David Emerson has jumped ship to become a Conservative cabinet minister.

    The Vancouver-Kingsway MP is the new Conservative minister of international trade, with responsibilities for the Vancouver Olympics and Pacific Gateway.

    The 60-year-old former banker, businessman and economist was elected as a "star" Liberal candidate in the riding of Vancouver-Kingsway in 2004, was appointed to Paul Martin's cabinet and was re-elected as a Liberal last month.

    The fact that he had switched parties first became apparent when he showed up at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Monday morning to be sworn into the Stephen Harper cabinet."

In Canada, you can moan and groan but you cannot do anything about it until the next election.

There is an alternative and one that I think thoughtful Windsorites should be discussing and perhaps demanding that action be taken by our Provincial Government.

Contrast the situation with with California and how Arnold Schwarzenegger became Governor. Here is what the Secretary of State wrote there when people were unhappy with the Governor's "lack of leadership:"

  • A Message from Secretary of State Kevin Shelley
    Dear Voter:

    On October 7th, California will make history. For the first time, our state will conduct a gubernatorial recall election.

    The world is watching how we face the challenge of this election. As we make this important decision, we must make sure it reflects the will of the largest number of voters possible...


    At the October 7, 2003, Statewide Special Election there will be three questions on the ballot. The first is a two-part question regarding the recall of the governor...

    The recall question contains two parts. You may vote on both parts or on just one. Either way, your vote will be counted. The first part will ask, “Shall Gray Davis be recalled (removed) from the office of Governor?”

    The second part will list the names of candidates running to replace the governor if he is recalled. If you choose to vote for a replacement candidate, you may vote for only one of the many candidates.

    If more voters mark “yes” than “no” on the first part of the recall question, the governor will be removed from office. If more voters mark “no” than “yes,” the governor will remain in office.

    If the governor is recalled, the candidate who receives the most votes will be elected as the new governor. That person can be sworn in as the governor once the results of the election are certified."

That is correct. The Governor before his term of office ended became subject to a recall by his electorate. Ultimately he was thrown out of office and a new governor was appointed in his place.

It should be no surprise to anyone who has read this BLOG about what I think about the actions of the Mayor and the Council. I believe that they have failed us badly and I see nothing that they are doing that will get us out of this terrible economic slump that we are in. On the contrary, I see what they are doing that actually makes things worse for this City by their failure to perform.

Right now, all I can do is write a BLOG about it until the next election. I don't think it should be like this. The Premier for whatever political reason chose to extend the term of municipal government by a year to four years. Four long years!

To those of you who say that there is no need for such a remedy because there is no such remedy in Parliament or at Queen's Park, I would ask you to consider the following for a moment. In both places, there is an active Opposition that every day is entitled to ask and to have answered questions from the Government. Especially in a situation where there is a minority Government, the Question Period can result in Ministers resigning or even a Government being brought down.

Compare this in Windsor where some questions asked of Administration have not been answered for years. Councillor Halberstadt on his BLOG mentioned that he asked a question about the Tunnel last June and it has still not been answered. It is a very relevant question to ask to have answered in public if there is to be some kind of a deal on the Tunnel soon:

  • “With regards to the negotiations taking place regarding the municipal ownership and operation of the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, I request an actuarial study, a detailed financial prospective, a risk assessment, a traffic volume/revenue/expenditure analysis since September 11, 2001 and a projection of the lifespan of the facility.”

In the municipal system of government, it appears that Councillors just have to be tolerated and can be ignored if they ask embarrassing questions. In other words, there is no Opposition to the full-time Mayor and his Administration. And where you have a Council that is afraid to oppose the Mayor, well... you see what I mean.

Again with respect to Provincial and Federal politics there is a press gallery where media from all sides of the political spectrum report on the news. If you live in a city like Toronto as an example you have a variety of newspapers, radio stations and TV stations are from which you can get information. Even if you live in a city like Windsor, with the Internet, you can search out media points of view from different perspectives. You have an active press gallery that keeps the Government honest.

In Windsor, well, you know what I think of how well the media is doing with respect to its coverage. Obviously, that is why you are reading the BLOGs in town and why some are so afraid of us.

As you can see, there really is no remedy for a Mayor and Council that is out of touch with its populace until the election years from now.

It might not be so bad if Council were dealing with stop signs, lane closings, and filling potholes. But where you have a Mayor and Council that like to be entrepreneurs with taxpayer monies, and huge sums of money as well, then there ought to be a major concern.

If a Councillor cannot get information about a US $75 million tunnel deal, then what hope does a mere citizen have. Imagine, if this deal is developed within the private Tunnel Corporation that was to be set up, especially if the only directors of that corporation are the Mayor and his subordinates. $65 million and counting arena deals, sales of Maxess covered by a confidentiality agreement, subleases of real estate and rights given over at our East And arena with confidentiality clauses, possible P3 deals... those give me nightmares.

I will talk more about the right of recall on Monday.