However, do we have a bunch of people on Council who have multiple personalities as well? Are they able to talk out of both sides of their mouths at the same time? If so, how are they able to accomplish this?
It does not seem from some recent incidents that they are able to do so very well. We need an answer as to how they can handle this situation and we need one now before everything gets out of control. Fortunately, Councillor Halberstadt may have given us the solution in one of his BLOGs.
The most recent episode started when Councillor Halberstadt wrote some BLOGs about the coach of the University of Windsor Lancers.
The Star picked up the story and then this comment was made:
- “Embattled Lancers' football coach Mike Morencie blasted Alan Halberstadt as "unprofessional" and accused him of muddling his facts Tuesday after the outspoken city councillor wrote a series of critical blogs calling for Morencie's ouster…
The coach said Halberstadt should mind his own city hall business. "He should be concerned with the lack of progress he's making at his own job."
Poor Alan. A BLOG is a personal comment written by an individual. Somehow, it got muddied into the fact that he was a City Councillor as well.
As you can see from the quote above, the Star itself was confused because it was the one that talked about Alan as Councillor. Moreover, their headline stated:
- "Halberstadt calls for coach's ouster
'He should be concerned with lack of progress he's making at his own job,' Mike Morencie says of Windsor councillor."
That brought in very directly Alan's dual role as BLOGGER and as a Member of Council.
I do not know why they could not have described Alan as a BLOGGER only but then again that might have caused even more confusion. People might have thought that there might be two Alan Halberstadts living in Windsor. Now that could be a a scary thought for some on Council.
In passing, I have to admit I'm pretty angry about all of this on a personal level. Here I am working my guts out to break important stories about what is going on in Windsor and do I get credit and coverage in the Windsor Star when I have an exclusive? Not on your life. But a City Councillor talking about college football, he makes the front page. Life is just not fair.
Now you will understand why I BLOGGED previously about the inherent conflict of interest that Windsor Mayors have as both the Chair of the Tunnel Commission and as Mayor of the City. I have great difficulty understanding when our Mayor speaks about something in relation to the Ambassador Bridge if he is speaking as Mayor or as competitor to the Bridge Company. Which hat is he wearing at the time? Was the US $75 million deal for the Detroit half of the Tunnel good for the Tunnel or good for the City or both?
The issue has come up again with respect to the jail. As Chris Schnurr pointed out in his BLOG today, when the Star first reported this matter, Eddie said:
- “Francis said the city had suggested the Brighton Beach industrial area near the Detroit River since it’s closer to the courts and in a less commercial area — which might make for easier transportation of detainees back and forth.
“From a logistics perspective there are better locations than to pop it into a heavy commercial area like that,” said Francis, chairman of the Windsor Police Services Board.
“It’s going to cause problems for us and it’s going to come at a cost. From a police perspective, we prefer a more direct route.”
Talk about confusion. I think I know which hat Eddie was wearing in the second and third paragraphs but which hat was he wearing in the first one. Tell me which hat is which given this part of the story by the Star:
- "Mayor Eddie Francis, however, was quick to question the long-awaited announcement.
"There is no question that a new facility is required," Francis said. "So we welcome that there's going to be a new facility. But from a policing perspective, we had recommended another site."
Whew, I pity being a reporter in trying to cover such a story.
I must admit that when I read this I wondered why Francis made a point of saying that he was the Chair of the Police Services Board. Again, thanks to Chris, I now know why:
- “Some will say, Mr. Mayor, well you’ve come out with certain comments with regards to the facility. I just draw your attention to the comments that have been made by myself - those comments are strictly in respect to the issue of policing in my capacity as chair of the Windsor Police Services Board and the challenges that would provide to policing. I have not, nor will not, nor cannot make any planning considerations or judgement calls until that report is in front of us.”
Oh Lord, now not only do I have to consider media stories from the point of view of fact gathering and interpretation but now I have to parse what is said to try and understand the nuances and the context. Parsing in case you do not remember from your English Grammar classes in school is:
- “To break (a sentence) down into its component parts of speech with an explanation of the form, function, and syntactical relationship of each part.”
I do not think that this is right nor do I think it is fair. I don’t care how the hairs are split but when the Mayor speaks he is the Mayor of Windsor no matter how hard he tries to make a distinction about his other position. Moreover, no citizen should have to be on alert at all times to understand out of which side of the Mayor’s mouth or that of a Councillor a comment is being made.
Councillor Halberstadt has recognized the issue and has made a change to his BLOG along the lines of something done by the Mayor of Guelph in her BLOG. She writes the following disclaimer:
- “It’s important to note that the opinions I express in this blog are mine and mine alone, and do not represent the official positions of the City of Guelph or Guelph City Council.”
Perhaps John Middleton, since he is in the sign business, if he settles his complaint with the City over his removal as Chair of a City Committee, could offer as part of the settlement to create a sign that the Mayor could hold up saying that:
- “the opinions I am expressing are mine as [position and name of group] and do not represent my official position as Mayor.”
There, that would make it easier for everyone.