The Tunnel Fingerpointing
- "Kilpatrick: Council Is Opening Up To Tunnel Sale
DETROIT -- The Detroit City Council rejected Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's proposal to sell the city's half of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel last week, but the mayor said Monday the council may be rethinking their decision.
While at a youth event, Kilpatrick said, "The council members are much more receptive now."
Kilpatrick said that once the council members knew more about the details, the amount of work that went into the proposal, and just how serious the City of Windsor is, they become more receptive to the idea."
In fact the Detroit Mayor claimed that Windsor City Council sent over a letter saying they were serious re doing the transaction. That must mean that our Mayor has let our Councillors into the details. When will Windsor citizens know? Or is this another deal with a confidentiality term or will it be hidden behind a "private company" curtain?
There is no doubt in my mind that having a newly appointed Minister in the Infrastructure portfolio means that nothing is going to happen between now and the end of June to a have a decision reached by the Province to loan Detroit, errrrrr, Windsor $75 million or more. Do you think that the new Minister, George Smitherman, is that dumb to make his first deal to help out the Mayor of Detroit, errrrrr, Mayor of Windsor when Ontario cities are desperate for money.
The focus of his Department is on building "the schools, public transit, hospitals and energy generation that will help power Ontario's economy." I did not see mention for money for an international border crossing that has declined in value during the watch of Eddie Francis.
I'd really like to know the amount of the loan that Eddie has asked for. More importantly, I would like to see the business case from a financial perspective that has been laid out to justify the loan and to know if the taxpayers or our assets are on the hook if there is a default.
I cannot see the Province paying out one single penny unless this is the way for them to shut the Mayor up on Greenlink. In that case, this is a political matter, not a business one!
So let us assume that the deal is dead. Whose fault is it? Who takes the blame for the failure?
Frankly, if there never was a possibility of this deal moving forward or if it became clear at some time in the past that the deal was likely to have difficulties, then why did the Mayor spend, and why did Council allow him to spend, over $1 million trying to get the transaction to be completed. How many Library books would that sum have purchased?
Look at the language used in Detroit by Councillor Sheila Cockrel about this deal:
- "It was, in my opinion, malfeasance to put this deal in a budget when you didn't even have it done," Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel told the mayor's staff."
She also "called the deal "reprehensible."
Too bad none of our Councillors can open their mouths without fear. We learned that
- "Counc. Bill Marra has asked for a similar analysis as a member of the Tunnel Commission, and is also cooling his heels waiting for answers, in his case for nine months."
When he dared say something:
- "Coun. Bill Marra, a member of the city tunnel commission, said councillors have been asked to refrain from commenting until the [Tunnel] negotiations are complete."
It appears that even the Mayor's allies voted against setting up a Corporation in Detroit to which the Tunnel assets would be transferred:
- "Chairwoman Sheila Cockrel, Council President Pro Tem Monica Conyers and Councilwoman Alberta Tinsley-Talabi – two council members that tend to side with the Kilpatrick administration – called for the rejection of the deal."
Therefore, it looks like it is the Detroit Mayor's fault if the deal dies.
Wait a minute, not so fast. What does Kwame say:
- "But Kerwin Wimberley, Kilpatrick's liaison to the council, told members Ontario is waiting to see some progress from the Detroit council before moving ahead with the loan.
"They need to see some movement," Wimberley said."
So if the only movement is rejection on the part of the Detroit Council, then it is their fault if the deal fell apart.
But Windsor's lawyer Cliff Sutts is smarter than that when he has to protect our Mayor...he blames both of them
- "until council and Mayor Kilpatrick's office can reconcile on proceeding and the process, Windsor is unable to proceed further.
"I don't know where we are going. We are reluctant to get involved in any problems Detroit may have internally. We are very interested spectators at the moment."
Eddie almost got away with it. Unfortunately for him, Councillor Cockrel did figure out:
- "Where is the financing for the tunnel deal?" she asked. "If this is such a great deal, why hasn't the province of Ontario just said, 'Windsor, here is the money."
Other than that remark, it seems that few remember that Eddie has been unable so far to get the $75M financing for the deal and has not got Federal Government approval for the transfer of ownership to the new Windsor Company. If people remember, then perhaps he might be blamed for the waste of time, effort and money.
Never fear though. The cheerleaders and sycophants have been hanging around City Hall too long too. They have the amnesia disease now. He won't be blamed.
We will just have to wait until Detroit Council decides if this deal goes forward or not. Hopefully, they will protect Windsor citizens from this farce since our Councillors seem irrelevant!