Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, October 06, 2008

More Letters To The BLOGMEISTER

Here are more comments from readers like you! When are you sending in yours?

1) Ed,

Perhaps the mayor is realizing Greenlink proposal developed over a multitude of closed door meetings lacks the substance and credibility to withstand the scrutiny of a true cost benefit analysis.

A great deception is that " tunneling" eliminates or reduces air pollutants; in fact, it only re-directs and concentrates them for our prevailing NW winds to disperse. The mayor should know the existing air exchange building downtown ( next to the old bus station) for the existing auto tunnel is nothing but an exhaust pipe releasing its concentrated emissions into the atmosphere for wind driven redistribution.

There are other principles to which his own behaviour does not conform to add to the list that undermine the credibility of the mayor's position on Greenlink.

For instance, Greenlink is based on the principle that truck routes should not be located near residential neighbourhoods; yet the city has approved numerous plans of subdivision that are located along the 401, Talbot Road and Huron Church Line. Furthermore, Greenlink proposes an integrated system of parks, walking and biking trails to draw people towards the new cross border transportation corridor deemed so harmful to them. The mayor's principles are arbitrary shifting to suit his position du jour.

The mayor advocates fiscal responsibility but has failed to demonstrate any value added for Greenlink beyond BRIC. Without a sturdy foundation, Greenlink resembles another tax guzzling political boondoggle worsened by diminishing resources and shrinking tax revenues.

And the entire question of any potential municipal tax impact of Greenlink has been completely avoided. What are the development and maintenance costs for the parks and trails, who is responsible and if it is taxpayers in Windsor Essex, what are the added tax impacts on the region's municipalities?

That would be a true reality test for Greenlink support!

If decision making by smoke and mirrors is allowed to prevail, Windsor Essex County will continue to deteriorate.

Your investigative reporting is a great service to the taxpayers in the region.

A concerned taxpayer.

2) It looks like the city is going to install a brand new wood privacy fence all along the Southern limit of Little River Acres along the new McHugh Street.

Is the city going to build the same fencing in Little River Acres along Little Acres Drive and Darefield or will those folks be stuck with the same old graffiti covered fences?

Who's budget is the new fencing coming out of?

Who is going to maintain the new city built fence and clean/cover all the graffiti that will quickly begin to appear?

3) There is another "naysayers" group forming as well. The Downtown Resident's Association.

One of the biggest reasons this group is forming is because they are not being heard by Eddie Francis and his cohorts with respect to downtown and what the RESIDENTS want! Not what the city wants. The silly canal plan is just but another reason as to why this association was forming.

So you are going to hear a lot more "neighing" as well.

4) The Mayor is quoted as saying "I would thank him [Heil] for his services." With his educational background he is certainly aware that "would" is a conditional statement. Under what conditions "would" he thank him for his services. Not unconditionally it seems.

5) I read this recent blog closely and you hit it on the head. No need to volunteer here in Windsor- you only get gob- smacked when you do. No matter how much dedication or time is spent, there is always a negative response to someone who kindly gives of their time and energy. And, shame, shame on our elected officials who criticize so quickly with malice. Mr. Jones should button up. No one really wants his opinion these days. He is so Sandwich that he has forgotten he has an entire ward to represent.

Bad behaviour gets rewarded in this region. Ask any do-gooder why they no longer volunteer and their story will be similar. The thorns stay on committees. The voices of reason and the doers leave.

And, you are so right. Mr. Middleton will no doubt have to spend a small fortune to clear his name from his incident.

By the way, glad you picked up on the “manufacturing” word. Our illustrious mayor has a vocab entirely his own which is arrogant and pretentious. Why can’t he say what he means in real English? Didn’t they teach him any oratory skills in his university days?

Thanks for your dedication Ed. Your observations on your blog are looked forward to because someone has to be the keeper of the sane! After they failed to beat up the naysayers, you gained a great deal of respect from the population at large. You deserve a medal for going into the swamp. where no man has gone before! You are a curious, interesting man. Don’t ever give it up!

6) When is I'mA going to keep his mouth shut? When is I'mA going become a real enough "smart" lawyer, instead of a smart ass one and understand that he hasn't a snowball's chance in whatever of stopping the Bridge Company and wherever and that "intelligent" lawyers, like a smart soldiers know when to fight and when to with draw from the field of battle. Not retreating but withdrawing from the field of battle, knowing that you for one can't win the day and two; why throw good men (citizens) and arms (citizen's tax dollars) in harms way.

I'm not a lawyer but I was a soldier and we practiced withdrawing from battle in the dark of night and the light of day (two different ways of doing it) and it was a tactic well worth knowing and using when faced by a stronger opposition or army.

Isn't I'mA a dog food? If it is, then our mayor should keep his mouth shut before he becomes dog meat for the Bridge companies lawyers!

7) How can 11 boxes suddenly appear from nowhere? If they are just finding boxes now our city is in worse shape than we expected. Who is steering the ship and who is running the engines?

8) The first question I would have is just how new is this information? Are these the records that have been missing for months and years finally dusted off? Why could they not be found long ago when it was show time for producing an audit to the city council and administrators? If they are truly new then by what authority were they created, who authorized them, whose signature certifies their authenticity? I wonder what small business person would be able to put this kind of charade when going through a tax audit?

9) City hall mystery files...... Where were they?Who had them?Who filed them?Who kept them until now?

This is not a file folder but at least 200 lbs of documents. Were they kept out until now, umm, on purpose? Maybe they were used as a door stop so the councillors would have access to the mayor's office. If the city hall audit has that many boxes, David Suzuki will go ballistic on the arena files. Staples must have a milk run on paper for city hall if this is any indication

[NOTE: Perhaps each Councillor and the Mayor had a box. That makes 11 doesn't it? They were probably NOT told what was in them]

10) Do I understand that there is now going to be an audit of the audit?This is beyond all reason.

It can only be explained if there is something serious to cover up and, as we know, the cover up is always worse than the "crime."

The administration is concerned about litigation and then they challenge Matty Moroun and his plans. They have bigger litigation problems than this audit.

11) My question is this. Is this new audit a forensic audit or just another whitewash as was the case when we citizens were "Cut off at the pass"

12) [Re: Is the Bridge Company Windsor's friend not foe now] Ed you have never been so right!

13) such a joke - on the news this morning Eddie blasted the province and feds for spending BIF money in the region and not where it is needed.

Amazing how you can bite the hand that feeds you. $20 million from the province recently and they are still persona non grata for the mayor; budgeted funds for the ECRow were allowed to be used for rehabilitation outside of the original scope of the project, and the provice still gets grief.

And now the city says that money is tight and that discretionary spending (ie travel) has to be curtailed. Wonder if that includes outside legal fees and consulatnts' bills. Seems to me the amount spent on Schwartz, Estrin, PB, Sutts would cover the city's shortfall.

14) The small business task force is a joke. A very close friend of mine opened up a new business, is restoring the building and going ahead with a heritage designation. Not once has city hall contacted him nor has any councillor stopped by his shop to say hello and thanks for investing in Windsor.

In fact when he went to city hall (he didn't go online) he was treated with utter contempt (his words not mine) because he didn't know how to get the tax rolls going. He told me that city hall staff did nothing at all to help him get his business started.

If this is but one man, imagine the others that get treated the same way!

I find it absolutely shocking that Windsor does not have a small business task force front and center in today's economic climate. With all of the Big 3 pay-outs, one would think that the city would try and capitalize on this large injection of money and help people become their own boss.

According to many stats, 36% of people would like to be their own boss. Imagine that! Here we have a lot of people with $75,000-$100,000 buy-outs who don't want to retire, who would rather open up their own business, whatever it may be, and we have a city hall that ignores them.

Any wonder why Windsor has the reputation it does? Now you know!

15) This must be the day to "slam" naysayers. First Fast Eddie and then at council or as Ron Jones pronounces it "consul" by Mr. Ward 1 himself.

You know what Ed... since the Detroit River is an international waterway under the jurisdiction of the IJC it would be a monumental task to get approvals to dig canals in Windsor. The project would be wrapped up in red tape for years. Sure hope the committee understand the ramifications before they get too far down the line with the study.

What do they say..." those that are smart enough to run in politics are smart enough not to."

16) perhaps a category of "Nay-doers" also needs to be defined

17) Your observations are not fuzzy. Lack of transparency and disrespect for the voting public is the hallmark of this Mayor and his mealy council. Crystal clear to all Windsorites.

What really galls is that, at it's very best, the Windsor Star is a news publication. It is not an advertising agency or a marketing house. Outside of "pasting up" retail ads and selling ad space the Windsor Star Sales and Editorial departments have no expertise in advertising or marketing...

None of this is funny. For that money to be effective in it's intent (to sell Windsor), This publication, or any promotional endeavor, has to be well planned and well penned. It has to be more than a collage of "feel good" Windsor images and endorsements. For sure it cannot be the whimsy of one man no matter how narcissistic he is. We cannot afford another truck load of green paint, flags and flyers thoughtlessly tossed into the fan because...Consider this...Windsor has to live with what sticks.

18) Perhaps you should start a discussion on your blog about how to tackle these frustrations….in the meantime, I was given this book, all about Windsor, expressing the authors’ frustration as landlords in Windsor….it is interesting…If you are interested, I’m sure you can come by a copy from the authors or publisher………….You see, not all the naysayers actually live in Windsor…we have managed to spread our poor reputation far and wide by treating visitors (and now students) or those who have tried to carry on businesses in this city as shoddily as we treat our own taxpayers……………………the authors of this book do not live here…and given the tone of the book, thank God for the day that they managed to quit Windsor…….

[The book is: "Cloak of Secrecy" by Charles Arthur, Ph.D. and Eileen Gwyneth Roy ]

19) It appears that Mayor Francis missed the city-sponsored motivational speaker at the Chysler Theatre on Thursday night. If he had attended, he would have heard Maurice O'Callaghan telling city workers to "think positively" and focus on the positive rather than "hopelessly moping about the bad".

On Friday, in response to the announcement by the province that the new jail may be located near Walker Road and Highway 401, our mayor said said he would rather see it built in the Brighton Beach industrial area, since it would cost Windsor police less in transportation costs. Hmmm - shouldn't cost too much given that, according to the Windsor Police Service, crime is substantially down in Windsor. No, the real reason our mayor has to find the cloud with a tranished silver lining is that yet once again he has been snubbed by the provincial government. And who can blame them. While other Ontario municipalities welcome with open arms any senior-level largeese, our Mayor can only be content if he gets his own way. Locating the jail in the suburbs (and dangerously close to the county) takes away yet another west-end investment opportunity. It also precludes the city from charging over-inflated costs for city-owned lands in Brighton Beach.

With the way this mayor treats the senior levels, it is any wonder we get any project in this town. Time for Eddie to strap a W to his chest and as O'Callaghan says "think of something good ...find the diamonds among the stones".

20) My Company has decided to forgo the Ontario market that my father developed BECAUSE WE ARE A UNION SHOP AND CAN NO LONGER COMPETE AND OBTAIN WORK....EVEN IN WINDSOR. My focus is now 100% in the United States, the Caribbean & overseas. Nobody in Windsor is willing to accept globalization. The town will truly parish.

21) The environmental assessment is just a political tool meant to appease individuals/groups that have legitimate concerns about development through their neighborhoods/cities and it has turned out to be a highly political one.

I don’t for a moment think that my letter to the [Ministry] was the thing that actually put [Name of project] on hold for the moment…it was the fact that [MPP] realized how ill-advised it would be to let the thing progress to its inevitable conclusion given that [location] is the place he looks to for a great deal of his support.

This applies equally to the DRIC process…there is no need…and the thing will not move unless the need arises. In the end, environmental assessments are merely a tool to assist transportation initiatives…the terms of reference always discuss the transportation goals that it means to accomplish and the proponent (and its assigns) just try to dress the thing up until it meets the community’s approval.

It is like putting lipstick on a pig….and given the analytical skills and attention span of the average Windsorite, it usually works. I encourage you to use your aptitude to help expose this practice

22) just received my MPAC assessment and boy have Eddie and council done a job on my (our) housing investments.

My MPAC assessment has come back and get property has been assessed at $38,000 lower than when I purchased it in 2005! $38,000 lower!

I just want to thank Eddie and friends for destroying any value that my property once had.

If you guys don't think that a BIG tax hike isn't coming just wait until the rest of Windsor gets their assessments. Boy, it is going to be a whopper!

23) The time line puts everything in proper and startling perspective. All things considered, now that the City has found 11 boxes of "new" audit information, KPMG and the lawyer will probably be put out another 6 months (7000 hours). Your posting has to be dynamic. Obviously. Wasn't Mike Dunbar the same guy who's diligence caught the MFP fiasco which, after litigation saved this city tons of dollars? Did he suddenly become incompetent and criminal? Trust me...We are all watching this.

24) This city desparately needs a trustee.