A Dozen Readers' Letters
The first one is very important to the well-being of the region and should be acted upon immediately. Of course, it will NOT be done because it was suggested by someone outside of the so-called braintrust in town who have failed us miserably so far.
1) "Now Is the Time To Market Windsor"
There is no denying that we are facing tough economic times throughout Windsor/Essex. Plants are cutting staff, the housing market is depressed and the holiday sales forecast for retailers in the area is gloomy to say the least.
The foregoing having been said, there is one aspect of this economic crisis where we can "shine." The exchange rate on the dollar is the the lowest it has been in many years. This means that for Americans coming to this area, they can save close to 25% on their purchases by buying in the Windsor/Essex area.
With no disrespect intended, Americans are notoriously "insular" when it comes to knowing what is going on in Canada. Many Americans believe (1) that they require a passport to visit Canada, (2) they have no idea the savings that can be gained by shopping in Canada and furthermore (3) have no idea the amount of goods they can take back to the US duty free on either a daytrip or over a 48 hour visit.
There is an excellent opportunity for retailers, restauraneurs and hoteliers to mount a marketing campaign to bring this information to our friends across the river. The timing couldn't be better since the largest shopping day of the year for Americans falls on the day after their Thanksgiving... that shopping day is November 28th. There is no question Americans are feeling the stresses of the economic situation in their own country and if they were aware that a 25% saving could be had by shopping in Windsor/Essex it would be a win for them as well as a win for us on this side of the river too.
So how do we do it? A radio and television "blitz" of the Detroit to Toledo area mentioning (a) the exchange rate advantage (b) no passport requirement to visit Canada (c) how much you can take back to the US duty free.(d) promotion of Windsor/Essex. This could be done in either 30 or 60 second spots run during prime local news time on television and during peak drive times on radio. This should run the days of the US Thanksgiving week.
The Tunnel (half of it) is owned by the City. What a great promotion it would be to provide "free passage" back to the US courtesy of the City of Windsor. Trip coupons could be distributed to retailers and others. They would validate the coupon with a stamp when the purchase is made and this coupon would be presented to the toll taker at the Tunnel. I would hope that the Ambassador Bridge would be willing to consider such a promotion as well in the interest of being a "good corporate citizen."
How do we pay for this campaign? I throw the following names out for funding consideration: (a) Windsor/Essex Development Commission (b) Tourism Ontario (c) Canadian Consulate General - Detroit (d) Downtown Business Association (e) Ottawa Street Business Association (f) other business associations and well as (g) various corporate/retail/restraunteurs
Timing is critical and with the holiday season on our doorstep the time is NOW to take advantage of an opportunity staring us in the face. We as Canadian business people have been criticized too long for being too complacent and conservative when pursuing new markets. Let's be a little more aggressive and put the plan together and act upon it.
I have a favourite saying...." nothing ventured..... nothing gained."
2) [Note this is a parody of the Henderson column "What a waste" about the money spent on the federal election. Some parts of the letter have been deleted. Hey, I am no Don McArthur!]
Several years of lost days and 5 million squandered loonies later, there's one simple question that has yet to be given a satisfactory answer.
What the hell was that all about? To put it more delicately, why were Windsorites, who had more important things to do, from finding a new job to watching their life savings vanish, subjected to this pointless political circus?
I don't know about you, but I deeply resent being taken for $5 million in taxpayer money by self-centred politicians who would rather roll the GreenLink dice than face the daily grind of trying to put Windsor's future ahead of partisan point scoring and grudge settling.
What could Windsorites have done with the $5 million poured down the drain - all for an "enhanced" minority that still lacks real clout - because Eddie Boy wasn't prepared to accept an access route which by many is believed to be as good as, or better than the city's obsessed greenlink plan?
We could have paid off more of the Arena debt. We could have rehabilitated kilometers of city roads. We could have infused money into local recreation programs. We could have employed of thousands of Windsorites in construction jobs on the Windsor-Essex parkway and prevented them for finding employment elsewhere. We might even have saved a Big Three plant or two and kept industrial centres like Windsor from imploding by keeping our main access route to our largest trading partner working efficiently.
We could have done many useful things. But Francis and his minions chose instead to engineer a crisis where none existed, one that required visits to New York and Toronto and the unleashing of the legal dogs.
And it turns out he's no different than all the others, prepared to avoid the bleak art of compromise and negotiation.
What made him do it? It must be nice to have that kind of money, our money, to throw away on an unprincipled, self-agrandizing ideas.
3) [Re the two-part Deep Throat stor] Great story and unfolding as I suspected from my observations of this project from 1997. The bridge is a very big fly in the political ointment. I like Dan's spunk and Matty's Family fortitude. The Schwartz parkway would get a huge lawsuit and the Bridge would get royalty $$$ for stealing their business. I would love to be that judge.
At the end of the day I would venture to say that the province will take EC Row, as well as Huron Church to EC Row and the A Bridge will build their enhancement project because it makes financial sense. At the end of the day It will also make more sense to tunnel from South of Prince Rd to the current bridge plaza and create a secure road potential from EC Row and even from the Bridge company secondary inspection. The secure highway plan is still in play.
The reality is that the City of Windsor, Ring Master Francis, and his clown troop cannot be trusted with National and International assets because he throws tantrums and they let him.
Thanks again for the story you are very creative or there are scary people that how the reigns.
4) [To Be Pitied - "For Sure"] Gosh Ed, you hit it so hard on the head you broke the hammer. Again, Bravo!
5) Good Morning Ed:
How are you – hope you are well. [Name of person] told me that he is so frustrated with the current mayor and city council that he is considering running for Mayor in the next election. He wanted to know why the city and mayor keep blocking everything the Ambassador Bridge tries to do, he wants the bridge to move ahead, tear down the houses, plant tress and build the new crossing to create jobs and stimulate the economy.
I told him he should start reading your blog.
6) Just read the "City's vision of rail means scrapping old lines" story.
This study was initiated in mid-2004.
Whew! Don't move too fast on it, it's only the end of 2008 after all. At this rate Eddie will get the intermodal transfer facility study started late next year and that should be done in 2016 or so ...
7) In the movie Leaving Las Vegas, Nicolas Cage plays a drunk who has gone to Las Vegas to drink himself to death. When asked why he wants to do this he replies that he can't remember but he knows that he does. Is this Eddie's response when asked why he is opposed to the Ambassador Bridge?
8)I wonder what tale our Mayor's calendar would tell (if it were ever to become public of course). To meet Mr. Moroun 11 times over a substantial period given his various holdings in Detroit, does not seem strange to me. Perhaps we could find out how many times Francis met with [you can fill in a name you think could be in this space].
9) [Re Of mountains and Mayors] YOU ARE SO RIGHT THIS TIME.
10) my dad told me to send you this article about poverty rising in windsor. I wish this mayor would wake up and do something about bringing good paying jobs here because I am probably relocating like everybody has been next month to Saskatoon I can't find work out here. I love your blog I read it everyday!
11) E-mailing you from work on your recent blog about the election. I think we should ignore Rae and Ignatieff and the Chretien holdovers like Manley, and look outside the box for a new and charismatic leader who can bring back the Liberal “fire in the belly” and rebuild our party. I think we should convince Jean Charest to run for the leadership. I have watched him closely since he was a back bencher in Brian Mulroney’s government, then in cabinet, then the leadership after the disaster that was Kim Campbell, then moving over to the Quebec Liberal party at the request of Chretien to “save” Canada and stop Quebec separation. He is articulate, speaks both languages better than Mulroney even did, no broken English or ungramatic French. He knows Quebec and can deliver liberal votes at the expense of the Bloc, and despite the fact that he is from Quebec, can bring in support in the West and Ontario. I think he would be a “dream” candidate, but it would likely take a lot of persuasion to convince him. I think he is just what the party needs now, someone not too far outside, but not too close, to come in and put the fire back in all our bellies. We sure could use some here in Windsor. That’s my dream, but can it become a reality? Don’t know, but would sure like to try. Anyway, as always love the blog, take care.
12) I find it quite distasteful that the city of Windsor will fight the bridge, a competitor as noted by Eddie, but yet has had discussions for the new crossing, another competitor for revenue.
Isn't there an unfair competition act in Canada?
He's using government funds to fight off a private competition expansion, yet helping
a government competition expansion, and benefiting by it.