Did You See This
There is our action oriented Mayor again leaping into the fray after the horse has left the barn. He is there for the photo-op showing him closing the door.
He will grab the headlines alright but as usual will accomplish nothing. It is like his strategy sessions on the Downtown that went nowhere after hours of talk.
- “Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis is calling for a meeting of his counterparts from Ontario's automotive towns as merger talks between GM and Chrysler appear to be gaining momentum.
Francis expressed concern that any U.S. government bailout underpinning a merger would come with conditions requiring automakers to boost U.S. investment at the expense of Canadian production.”
How long have rumours about mergers in the automotive industry being been going on? How long have there been media reports about the GM/Chrysler merger? In fact there is a rumour that
- "There is a chance that there could be an agreement between General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC by Tuesday that would result in half of Chrysler’s assembly plants closing and 24,000 lost jobs, Kimberly Rodriguez, principal of Grant Thornton’s automotive practice, said today."
And now our Mayor wakes up! The Senior Levels will listen to him as much on this issue as they listened to him on the issue of Greenlink.
I guess Eddie can put a checkmark on his Report Card now that he got a headline saying that he took action over merger talks.
Guess who will take credit if the minivan plant continues on in Windsor if there is a merger!
Note to Councillor Gignac:
Unlike the way that our Mayor calls and cancels Special Council meetings without, it seems, telling Councillors or giving reasons, he acts differently with outsiders. He treats them with respect:
- "Francis will convene a conference call today or early Monday with Gray and Harding to pick a date for a general meeting. The Ontario Mayors for Automotive Investment includes mayors from more than 30 Ontario municipalities."
I hope that Eddie does have his calendar open at the time when this meeting is set so that it is not messed up the way another meeting that this City set up had to be rescheduled.
I also hope that the meeting does not take place many weeks from now considering that so many mayors are involved when it may be all too late to meet in that case.
HIDE EDDIE HIDE
Where will he be this time around? Surely he can dream up something new about Red Bull that will require his full attention.
It was announced that Ontario Minister of Finance, Dwight Duncan, will hold his pre-Budget meeting in Windsor on November 10.
I can only hope that Eddie is not in Germany on this date as he was when Dwight held a previous pre-budget meeting or that Eddie has not scheduled his meeting with the Ontario Automotive Mayors at the same time or that Eddie has not scheduled a reading for some public school children to take place on the same day.
Can you imagine the number of media and members of the public that would be in attendance to watch the great debate between the Minister and the Mayor. I can just picture it in my mind. Eddie would get two words out of his mouth before Dwight would interrupt and say
“THE MAYOR IS WRONG. THE MAYOR IS WRONG.”
I can just imagine Eddie trying to criticize the Minister about anything and Dwight asking why Eddie will not permit the Senior Levels to create 25,000 jobs in Windsor and invest the equivalent of $12 billion in our economy.
There would be blood on the floor by the time that Dwight was finished if the Premier allowed him to take on Eddie. In this case, Dwight is the Chair of the meeting and controls the “kill button.”
Oh my goodness… November 10 is a Monday. Why would Dwight call for a meeting on a Monday? Doesn’t he know that this is a Council day.
Eddie will be in seclusion all day working on the Agenda items and unable to meet with the Minister again. The Agenda for that meeting is to be posted today. I am certain that there will be very many important matters to be discussed so that Eddie will have to do a full preparation for it.
Wait, I have it thanks to Councillor Gignac. Remember she said about the recent Special Council meeting that was cancelled:
- “The Mayor is the official "head of Council" and as such has the authority to call meetings, which he did. He has a tough time co-ordinating all councillors time tables then he must ensure the people presenting issues at these meetings can be in attendance. In the instance of this meeting we are told that was not possible. I have no reason to disbelieve that and appreciate not being called out for a meeting that isn't productive. The meeting is to be RE-SCHEDULED."
Eddie can cancel the November 10 Council meeting because after all he can and then he can reschedule the cancelled Special Council Meeting but call it a Council meeting with a Special Council Meeting as he is doing on November 3.
Oh I am so confused. But it is okay. The City Clerk I am sure can figure it all out because she is so familiar with the ins and outs of the Procedural By-law.
HARPER CAN BREATHE EASY NOW
You saw the headline, in black and white:
- “Francis OK with cabinet shuffle”
Can you imagine what would have happened if Eddie had a problem with the Cabinet appointments. The mere mention of that could in itself have triggered a Vote of Confidence in the Conservative Government immediately upon Parliament being reconvened. If the Government lost that vote, the Governor General would have been contacted and it would have resulted in another Federal Election!
Fortunately, the country has been saved from that expenditure of another $300 million because Eddie approves.
Stephen better be warned however. Eddie is watching!
IS THE WINDSOR STAR FINISHED
I know that some of you, dear readers, really did not take seriously my desire to start an online newspaper.
I should let you know that I have actually been working on it and in fact when I first raised the matter some months ago a few of my readers were interested in investing in the project. I must admit that this took me by surprise especially when one of the readers suggested that he would be prepared to put in a fairly substantial sum of money.
The real problem for me is not providing the capital but getting the staff on board who understand how to operate in newspaper even though it is online.
Over the past few months I’ve spoken with a number of people who would be very interested in being involved in the project as “reporters.” However, I think my need right now is finding people more on the management side i.e. people who have the experience in turning out a newspaper every day and assigning people to stories.
The reason I bring this subject up again is the amazing announcement by the Christian Science Monitor, one of the most respected newspapers in the United States.
- “Monitor shifts from print to Web-based strategy
In 2009, the Monitor will become the first nationally circulated newspaper to replace its daily print edition with its website
The Christian Science Monitor plans major changes in April 2009 that are expected to make it the first newspaper with a national audience to shift from a daily print format to an online publication that is updated continuously each day...
This new, multiplatform strategy for the Monitor will "secure and enlarge the Monitor's role in its second century…" The method of delivery and format are secondary" and need to be adjusted, given Mrs. Eddy's call to keep the Monitor "abreast of the times."
"We plan to take advantage of the Internet in order to deliver the Monitor's journalism more quickly, to improve the Monitor's timeliness and relevance, and to increase revenue and reduce costs. We can do this by changing the way the Monitor reaches its readers."
Obviously newspapers are concerned about the Internet from a number of points of view. When the Internet becomes a serious risk to their advertising revenues IE advertisers will prefer to go online rather than to pay for pages of newsprint that are thrown out, then we will see a real shakeup in the traditional media world.
Here is one example… why bother spending money to advertise in the Star when there is http://windsor.kijiji.ca/ instead. It is all free and one has the ability to provide a lot more copy and photographs of the items to be sold.
DID SAM EVER TELL EDDIE THIS
I really am of two minds about Gridlock Sam Schwartz.
I do like some of the things that he says but on other topics I just shake my head and wonder.
I wonder if he is still on retainer to the City of Windsor, or rather to David Estrin so that there can be solicitor-client privilege to everything that he does. If he is, he ought to send a note to our Mayor to give him some insight. If he has already told Eddie this, then it would appear that the Mayor needs to be told it again by Sam.
- "The reflex reaction, especially now amidst a gargantuan economic downturn, is to freeze spending — including infrastructure — but that would be a mistake. Public works spending has been shown to have as much as a 4:1 economic benefit. Since civic works are largely done locally (no outsourcing to Asia for repaving a road) the money tends to stay local. Construction workers eat at nearby delis and restaurants, they buy their kids shoes and clothes at neighborhood shops, and rent or own within the community."
If the Governments and the Bridge Company are going to be spending around $3 billion for their projects, that means that this region would see something like $12 billion worth of “economic benefit.” While the job numbers are not exact, didn’t Jeff Watson talk about 25,000 jobs being created?
Sam also said that the Governments must “Ensure safety in our infrastructure.”
Given what he has said about the Ambassador Bridge, I do not understand why Eddie is blocking the replacement of that Bridge with a new one and permitting its rehabilitation so that it provides security and redundancy to the area. Eddie is putting himself at risk by blocking and stalling their project.
That’s the part about Sam that I do like. Unfortunately, Sam is also an advocate of P3’s as if they are the panacea. If by a public/private partnership he means an arrangement whereby a financial party comes in to do what Governments could do on their own so that they can make a huge profit at the expense of taxpayers then I have no interest. And neither should Sam.
My preference is a public/private partnership such as the one that the Bridge Company has had with Governments for the last 80 years. In that partnership each of the parties does what it does best for the advantage of each other and for the economies of our region.
In case you did not know this, dear reader, and I am certain that most legislators on both sides of the border do not, MDOT has said that the Ambassador Gateway project with the Bridge Company is
- “Effectively the first Public-Private-Partnership (P3) in Michigan (MDOT/DIBC).”
And that project was designed to accommodate a second bridge in case they have forgotten that as well!