Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Fisking The Mayor's CKLW Interview

I have often wondered whether the Mayor's CKLW interview is scripted in advance. Are the questions provided to the hosts so that the Mayor knows what he's going to be asked? On occasion, when he speaks, I could almost swear that he is reading from a script. It just seems like he's giving us a speech rather than answering questions.

I can't remember when he was actually asked something difficult and not thrown lobs that he can hit for a home run! Mind you what do you expect from a strap-on "W" radio station interview.

In any event, when I was listening to the Mayor's comments on Tuesday, it brought me back to my days at STOPDRTP. No matter whether you, dear reader, were personally for or against us, you do have to admit that our group was a very successful in achieving our objectives. I remember the Star writing in effect that no local politician could be elected if in fact they opposed what our group was trying to achieve. And none were.

The interesting part to me was that we did it without having very much money. Basically, all the money that we received was spent on signs that we plastered all over the DRTP corridor, videos that were sent to key individuals in the binational process and in Government and literature that we distributed. Our success was based on being able to get hundreds of letters and e-mails sent out almost overnight as required.

I would doubt frankly that the total amount of money that we raised over the time that we were in existence equalled the cost of one full-page ad in the Star. And then I compare it with the gross waste of money that that City has spent on the past Greenlink campaign and now on this one. That sum must total in the range of $1 million.

And what has the City been able to achieve? Well the last go around was a response rate in favor of Greenlink barely just over 1% of the total population. That is hardly overwhelming support in my opinion. Now the Mayor is going at it again to try to get that number up. Imagine having Councillors giving out postcards from a booth in Devonshire Mall. Eddie just copied what STOPDRTP did. Just an aside, I'm surprised that the Mall did that since the booths there are not supposed to be political. That was one of the issues that we had when we set up our stand in the Mall years ago. It had to be for information only.

Why was STOPDRTP so successful with so little money while the City is spending a fortune and achieving little? The answer should be obvious: our group was a grassroots citizens' group who reflected the views of the majority of the people of Windsor. Everyone knows that the Greenlink campaign is nothing more than a politicians' advertising blitz to achieve some agenda that no one really knows about.

While STOPDRTP was taken seriously by decision makers, the Mayor is treated as irrelevant.

Of course, the Greenlink campaign is not what one thinks it is. In my opinion, it really has nothing to do with Greenlink but has more to do with starting a lawsuit against the Senior Levels similar to that that was started in Hamilton using Mr. Estrin as a lawyer in that area as well. Your Greenlink postcards will be used as evidence that the Senior Levels are not listening to Windsor and lo and behold the people will demand that millions will be spent on a lawsuit to preserve the quality of life in Windsor. You read it here first!

Here's what the Star reported in 2005 and I believe that the Hamilton lawsuit is still ongoing:

  • "Windsor's legal representative in hot water over mushrooming bills for Steel City

    Toronto lawyer David Estrin, who is representing Windsor in its fight to ease border traffic, is facing criticism in Hamilton over hefty legal bills in that city's battle to build an expressway through protected parkland.

    Estrin was hired in 1999 for about $300,000 to stop an environmental assessment on the $415-million Red Hill Creek Expressway.

    But legal fees for Estrin and a team of experts he hired on the city's behalf has since mushroomed to more than $6.8 million as of mid-July, according to council records...

    Estrin on the city's behalf has initiated a $75-million lawsuit against Copps, the federal government and three other former cabinet ministers, David Anderson, Herb Dhaliwal and Christine Stewart.

    Hamilton has accused the former ministers and 65 federal staff of "deliberately and unlawfully" using their authority to harm the city by calling for the full federal environmental assessment of the controversial expressway.

    The lawsuit -- narrowly endorsed in an 8-7 vote by council last November -- charges "the defendants abused their public office by engaging in targeted malice towards the city's completion of the expressway" and utilized environmental assessment "in an unprecedented, illegal and unconstitutional manner in order to achieve that objective."

    [Note that the legal fess quoted included consultants fees and were for a number of related files and not just the lawsuit against the Feds]"

Will something similar take place here? Eddie has threatened lawsuits against the Senior Levels on several occasions. As well, we are seeing the beginning of a transformation of Eddie from the weak, ineffectual leader to the action oriented, do something now, without study leader.

Of course, if the lawsuit is started, it is not Eddie that wanted it done but rather you, dear reader, and all of the other residents of the area who demanded it. So don't complain if it costs us millions of dollars more. He is only doing what the people want.

Here is part of the CKLW interview with my comments:

CKLW ---April 15, 2008

Host: Let's talk about Phase 2 of the GreenLink campaign which will get underway this week. [Interesting, if this is correct, it means that it was always planned that there would be a Phase 2. This does not suggest to me that what is being done now is something new. Does it mean that Eddie knew at the time of the first campaign that what he was doing would not be successful?]

Eddie: We started with these GreenLink postcards. What we wanted to do is to sign up as many people as possible to express their support for GreenLink and to take those cards and deliver them to the appropriate authorities at Queen's Park in Toronto. [Don't you find it very interesting that the Mayor and Councillors did not have Ward meetings this time? Were they afraid that they would not get any support at all? The last time around, at least at some of the Ward meetings, they got a very big resident turnout I wonder if that is what they got from their polling]

Female Host: And have people done that?

Eddie: We have. We have about 3000 cards that have been signed - that's through the Devonshire Mall kiosk that was set up by members of City Council and some support that we received from other groups. [I wonder who these other groups are. Don't you find it remarkable that the postcards received almost equal the number of people who wrote in before in support of Greenlink]

But we have also heard from residents that they wanted to sign a card but many of them can't get to the mall or many of them can't get to these groups so they want to have a card in their hands so they can fill it out. [You see, it is not Eddie's fault that he's got to spend all that money on postage. Some of your fellow residents, dear reader, demanded it. The poor shopowners at Devonshire with all these people who cannot get to the mall]

So starting this Wednesday and you will probably see them in your mailbox Thursday and going forward, we are going to be delivering through Canada Post, a GreenLink postcard. It's very simple. All you have to do is detach it, fill out your name, your address and put it in the mailbox. The postage has already been paid. What we are hoping to do is put a postcard in everybody's hand, in everybody's household, and once we get their cards back, we will take those cards and submit them to DRIC as well as to the Provincial Government. [I wonder if the first batch of postcards and signed support documents for Greenlink were ever submitted]

Time is of the essence. We are hearing that within the first week of May or perhaps the second week of May, DRIC will be coming out with their announcement. Again, this is third party information, we haven't been able to confirm it. So we want to do what we can do to ensure the voices of the residents as well are understood in Toronto. [Oh Eddie, Dwight already gave publicly the times for when he thought that the DRIC announcement would be made. One of your operatives must have given you that information]

Female Host: You know I am sure there are some people saying, "Don't you think their minds have already been made up. Isn't this too late to be really trying to change anybody's mind if it needed to be done."

Eddie: Well, again, you know the skeptic in me says that their mind is already made up however just because their mind is made up doesn't mean that they can do what they want to do. This is a process that is legislated under Ontario law and the law dictates that this process must consider public input. So if you have 15,000, 20,000cards and people saying that they support GreenLink, the process must show how they responded to the Community needs, because once DRIC wraps this study up, the study needs to go to the Ministry of the Environment. And the Ministry of the Environment then looks at what the community's position is and looks at how the community's position has been addressed through the DRIC process. So what we are trying to do is ensure that there is no doubt left in the minds of the decision makers at Queens Park as well as the individuals within the DRIC team where Windsor stands.

[There you have it... the beginning of the lawsuit against the Senior Levels alleging that they are not undertaking the environmental process properly because they do not listen to the people of Windsor. It has nothing to do with Greenlink but rather to stall the process, again, at a time when Eddie should be working with the Bridge Company and the Senior Levels to produce 10 to 15,000 jobs for the area. Eddie must know already the number of cards that he will get back or else he would not have set out the numbers. If he does not get those numbers, then he is dead in the water as far as DRIC goes.]

And I can't tell you how many times I have sat in meetings with DRIC officials and they have indicated "well the residents don't believe that Mr.. Mayor." So we have been able to demonstrate over the past several months what the residents believe. We know the residents want a better border solution - a solution that connects, a solution that protects, a solution that uses tunneling and we know that most residents prefer GreenLink over the DRIC proposal. We have heard that through the different opportunities that have been provided. So it is our hope that this final effort to put the cards in people's hands and will get it to the Province so there is no doubt in their minds. [A 1% response rate is hardly overwhelming support after spending hundreds of thousand dollars on an ad campaign!]

Host: All right. So sign that card and get it in the mail [Eddie needs you. His future depends on it!]