Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tying Up Loose Ends

Believe it or not there are still some things to talk about with Eddie's State of the City speech. I thought I would give you some information that you may not have heard about yet.


I found it very interesting that the lights in the auditorium where Eddie spoke were turned off for his speech. A friend of mine who was there commented on that fact as well.

One would have thought that there would have been TV shots taken of people applauding the Mayor as they interrupted him while he spoke. At the least, there should have been shots of the standing ovation (if he got one) at the conclusion of his speech or of people leaving.

However we never did see on Cogeco an audience shot in order to judge how many people showed up. From the sound of the applause both on radio and on TV, it did not sound like there was a big audience. If that is correct, then having the camera focus on the audience would probably have shown more empty seats than full ones if the crowd was small.

I can remember in previous years seeing the size of the crowd and being surprised how small it was for one of the Mayor's most important speeches. Was that the concern this time around as well? Did it mean that people were not supportive of the Mayor?
If there was a concern over numbers, why hold it at the Cleary in the first place? Obviously, the intent was to make people believe that there was a big crowd. You cannot do that if you hold the event in a small space now can you! I wonder who stage-managed the performance.

In any event my friend claimed that he thought that the audience size was between 150 to 200 people. Of course in that number one has to include all the various City managers, police and fire officials and family members who attended. It means few ordinary citizens were there.

If someone from City Hall has a more accurate number, then perhaps they could provide me with that information and I will be pleased to post it.


I understand that e-mails were going back and forth fast and furious. Some Councillors were in an uproar. Decisions were not made until the very last day.

The question that the Mayor and Councillors had to deal with was whether the Councillors would sit onstage or in the audience as in previous years.

In the end, an Executive decision was made that the Councillors would sit onstage behind the Mayor, always behind the Mayor, to pretend that they are supporting what he had to say.


I was so pleased to see the Councillors clapping so heartily at the Mayor's speech. Clearly I thought they had bought into the five-point program, Jobs Today, and they were very proud to see their leader saving their necks by helping citizens get jobs, even if it meant that people had to commute thousands of miles every week.

Guess who was the first Councillor to stand up to give the Mayor a standing ovation when the speech was over. I'm not going to tell you so you will be forced to look at the speech on Cogeco yourself but it is not the Councillor that you thought it would be. Whew, THAT Councillor had a very loud clap however.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that a number of Councillors at least had no clue what the Mayor was going to say until he said it on stage. I must admit I found it shocking that he would think that he has the power to commit Council to some of his schemes without getting a buy-in from the Councillors in the first place.

I asked as well where the $30 million was coming from and to my chagrin I did not get an answer. No one that I dealt with had the faintest idea where there was $30 million in cash lying around just waiting for a project like this.

The best answer that I got was that it could come from the same pot he was going to give to the University to re-locate the engineering building downtown. That amount was in the $30-million range, as you might recall. I had already Blogged about that so I was pleased that my own thoughts were matched by those of others.

As you will recall, that University money was not to be provided until after 2010, around the same time period that Gord Henderson mentioned that the $30 million for Jobs Today would be available.

In other words, there is no money today for Jobs Today if that is correct.


It is pretty obvious now why we don't have any money to do anything. The Treasurer did warn us about that. He made it clear that until the arena was paid off we had no funds to do anything extra in this City, especially if there is going to be a crisis as there is now with respect to jobs.

Let me take you back to the past again when Eddie first ran for mayor. He was in favour of a public-private partnership with a maximum financial exposure to the City of $15 million. Remember as well that we were able to finance the East End extravaganza because we were in such a strong financial position.

How strong are we today? It looks as if we cannot finance anything until the arena is paid off, hopefully by the end of Eddie's term as Mayor. If another major crisis hits, then what happens.

Doing simple math, if Eddie had stuck to his promise, then it would be up to the private investor to find the difference between $15 and $65 million, assuming that is the real cost, and the City would have $50 million to invest in jobs for its citizens.


Here are a few of the remarks that people out West had made about the Mayor's Commuter program:

1) I wonder how many more tonnes of greenhouse gases this ill thought out plan to start helping people 'commute' to work over 3000 miles will result in? Coming from a mayor who claims to care about the environment when it comes to the city's border solution, this plan seems a bit hypocritical to me.

2) One of the stupidest ideas I have heard of. HMM lets hire people who will work 5 days a week then fly out of here and take the Saskatchewan money back to Ontario and spend it there.

3) The logistics of 5 days on 2 off with at least 2000 miles in between would never work. Where is the money going to come from to train these people and transport them?

It's like this guy was sitting at this desk with nothing to do and the light came on upstairs "Hmm we have a shortage of work and the west has a shortage of workers. I've got it!"

4)...unlike the Mayor of Windsor I didn't just fall off a turnip truck.

5) It is very obvious this mayor wants to have his cake and eat it too. Think about it, these Windsorites would still be residents (i.e. Mayor would still have his tax base) and they would all be adding to the Windsor economy.

6) The plan is 3 weeks on and 2 weeks off or 5 and 2.Which hundreds of NBer's have been doing and loving it. 100'000$ a year is handy...But you got to be qualified. And an auto worker might not make it.


I know this has nothing to do with the Mayor's Speech but I just cannot let it go by. Did you see Graston's Editorial Cartoon in Saturday's Star? Its significance is that I cannot think of another Cartoon in which the Councillor formerly known as Councillor Budget has been in. This one shows him in a butcher's uniform and the Mayor ready to carve up Councillor Halberstadt on the Library audit.

My view... when the Editorial Cartoonists go after you, then you really are in trouble. It was not meant to be and certainly was not flattering to the Councillor or to the Mayor.