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COUNCILLOR BOOM BOOM
A friend of mine received what he considers SPAM E-MAIL from one of the bars in the City publicizing a giveaway of $1000 in cash and prizes.
There was a link in the e-mail and he clicked on it and guess whose website he landed on.
Yes, believe it or not, he landed on the election website created by Councillor Ken Lewenza Jr. Seriously, I am not fooling you. Here is the page:
I am so thrilled that the Councillor has taken upon himself to advertise for a downtown business, the BOOM BOOM ROOM to help them during Halloween. I looked closely but I don’t think that the image was a portrait of the Councillor.
However, the Councillor must be very careful now. He cannot be perceived as favouring one establishment over another. Accordingly, I am certain that the Councillor will make his website available to any business in the downtown in case they wish to advertise.
Of course, I am certain that he has taken the appropriate steps to ensure that he is not in a conflict of interest in the event that there is discussion about the downtown in the future.
Can you imagine if all of the Councillors decide if they will make available their websites as well for advertising. I’m sure with the Councillors’ popularity, they may well take a lot of business away from the media in town. Oh well, if they can compete against the Ambassador Bridge, they can compete against the newspaper, radio and TV stations too.
Yes, our Mayor uses an expletive deleted to describe our economic situation and the website of a City Councillor is used to promote a bar. And who says Windsor is not Sin City!
IT'S SO EASY BEING GREEN
Unfortunately, it is not as easy being smart so that you can save green. Here is a story out of Toronto about the hybrid buses. Granted, the buses are from a different manufacturer but will Windsor's experience be similar especially since the price of fuel is dropping:
- "TTC finds hybrid buses unreliable, wants to buy diesel
By BRYN WEESE
The TTC is going back to diesel buses because the current hybrids in its fleet are unreliable.
Transit commission management will be asking their political bosses tomorrow to let them buy 120 "clean diesel" buses in 2010, instead of Daimler-based Orion hybrid vehicles that have been less fuel efficient than expected, have battery glitches, and are far more expensive.
The diesel-burning buses are $200,000 cheaper than the $700,000 hybrid vehicles, which are partially manufactured in Mississauga. The 2010 diesel order would save the TTC $24 million.
The hybrids on order for 2009 will still be delivered, and will be fitted with lithium-ion batteries instead of the lead-acid ones that have been lasting only 18 months instead of the four years expected.
"We do need a bus that is reliable, that is not in the garage awaiting repairs," TTC spokesman Brad Ross said. "As we increase service ... we really just need a bus that we know and can depend on 100%."
Also, the more than 500 hybrid buses in the TTC's fleet have only been 10% more fuel efficient than the diesel buses, instead of an anticipated 20%-30%.
TTC chairman Adam Giambrone said being green is an important focus for the TTC, but the technology has "underperformed."
Even with the new lithium-ion batteries, he said, the TTC is going to take a break from hybrid technology.
"We're not prepared to be a guinea pig again," Giambrone said. "Until they get the battery issue resolved, we're going to take a break. Why should we be buying buses that don't work?
"There's no point buying vehicles that sit in the garage."
MAYOR COCKREL'S HONEYMOON IS OVER
- New Mayor Entangled In Campaign Contribution Probe
DETROIT -- Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. said he has asked the Wayne County Clerk to waive a $42,000 fine for failing to submit late contribution reports.
If the fees are not waived or the fine is not paid Cockrel will not be able to run for mayor in a special mayoral election in February...
"My campaign has worked with the County Clerk’s office to resolve the errors and omissions and filed amended reports prior to filing my petition," Cockrel said in a statement.
In October, when Cockrel filed his petitions to run for mayor, Cockrel signed an affidavit under oath saying he was in compliance with Michigan's campaign finance laws, which require the payment of all outstanding fines.
A false statement on an affidavit is perjury and punishable by up to five years in prison, a $1,000 fine or both...
Rescue 4 has learned that in the next few days, a formal request to Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy will be filed asking her to charge Cockrel with perjury."
- "Patrons paid for Cockrel parties
The donations were not disclosed, staffers say, because the gatherings weren't fundraisers.
Charlie LeDuff and Mike Wilkinson / The Detroit News
DETROIT -- As City Council president, Kenneth Cockrel Jr. held a number of high profile parties paid for by businesses people whose generosity he has not disclosed, The Detroit News has learned.
In one case, Cockrel's staff asked the owner of a Detroit business to pay about half the cost of a $6,000 reception in May at a Mackinac Island hotel where the former council president wined and dined about 100 political and business leaders attending the annual Mackinac Policy Conference hosted by the Detroit Regional Chamber.
The tab was picked up in part by George Hill, president of a Detroit firm, who had sought Cockrel's help in solving a tax problem in January. Hill confirmed that he sent a personal check to a Mackinac Island hotel where Cockrel holds an annual reception. That check was requested and written five months after Cockrel helped the business avoid late fees on $211,000 in back taxes owed to the city."
Who would ever want to run for office!
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
After this Editorial, will the Star be able to support talking water from the Detroit River for Eddie's canal vision:
- "Fresh, clean water has always been so plentiful in this part of the world that it's been taken for granted; considered an ever-renewable resource just there for the taking.
Now we know that isn't so. Environmental and lifestyle changes are threatening the sustainability of our water supply, and we must now look at what it really is: a precious, unpredictable natural resource...
[Ontario's environmental commissioner Gord Miller]was critical of the fact Ontario has no way to assess the availability of water, and no way to determine how much should be reserved for our ecosystem or kept for public consumption...
[Former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed] meant our fresh water was destined to become even more important than bubbling crude and must protected at all costs. Lougheed was right. Ontario's policy must be tightened"
WHO WILL BE THE DRIC P3 INVESTOR NOW
I wonder what the DRIC traffic projections will look like now as the Big Three are imploding. Moreover, with the economic meltdown and the bank woes, who will be interested in financing a project that would have to compete with the Ambassador Bridge. Take a look at this financial story to see what I mean:
- "Pension plans take biggest hit in decade
Canadian pension plans suffered their worst quarterly loss in a decade in the third quarter, according to benefits consulting firm Mercer.
Oct 10, 2008, James Daw
Another merciless plunge in the stock market yesterday only adds to Canadians' worries about the health of their pension plans.
Canadian pension plans suffered their worst quarterly loss in a decade in the third quarter, according to benefits consulting firm Mercer, and the continuing stock-market plunge in October has only made things worse.
The firm estimates a pension fund that was fully funded in 1998 would now only have 72 per cent of the assets required to pay all pension promises.
The calculation is a hypothetical read on public and private pension plans and ignores the possibility of superior returns and the extra contributions employers have made.
Still, it shows many employers will have to either put more funds into their plans to make them whole or seek ways to lower their pension commitments to employees.
A typical plan will have lost money on stocks and bonds between June and the end of September and left assets down 7.9 per cent, Mercer estimates...
Mercer's pension health index "is down another 2 per cent" since September, Forestell estimated shortly before North American markets closed yesterday with the S&P/TSX composite index off 4.54 per cent on the day.
"Nobody's sure where it stops," says Forestell. "It's making plan sponsors and managers nervous about their pension promises, and how much it will cost them to pay for them going forward."
Oh do not worry, Pension Plans can invest in illiquid private equity and infrastructure deals and buy assets like DRTP to protect their pensioners. I wonder if teachers in Ontario are still pleased that their Plan and its partners are required to paying $52B for Bell Canada:
- "BCE shares traded at an 8-per-cent discount to the deal price.
On Friday, the shares closed at an 18-per-cent discount, expressing the market's fear that the largest leveraged buyout in history could fall victim to the financial crisis. The four banks financing most of the deal now face the harsh reality of not being able to syndicate the loans to other banks at a reasonable price."