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Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues
It is no wonder that Councillor Brister is afraid to go on John Fairley's Face-to-Face interview show. When John lifts his eyebrow, watch out. John would make minced meat out of him.
John has a different style for different people. Take a look at his interview with Councillor Postma and compare it with that of Mayor Francis and you will see what I mean. In both cases though, John gets the information out there through the mouths of the interviewees and in their own words. He just has the knack of asking the right question to put these people on the spot. Since they feel obliged to answer, we can watch them squirm and tell us what they wished they did not have to reveal.
If that happened with Councillor Brister, he would fold. At the least, the Councillor should be congratulated for knowing his own weaknesses and not going on television for the entire Community to see them being made apparent. I can just picture John raising his eyebrow as he asked the Councillor the first question about the Arena and its budget.
In John's year-end interview show with the Mayor, the Mayor’s bravado out of his own mouth destroyed his own credibility as a Mayor and as a Leader in relation to the border file as you shall see later.
If you can last until the end of the show, because there is such an information overload, you will find that the Mayor all of a sudden is not so definite that he is only a two-term mayor. Is that a signal that he’s going to run again? Of course, that could be nothing more than a technique to try to keep the Councillors in line. On the other hand, where could a person go and make over $200,000 a year when he has not been able to achieve very much in five years so far as Leader of a City!
You can watch how he attacks the Ambassador Bridge Company on the Indian Road homes, forgetting of course that he only gave them 10 minutes in front of Council on their billion dollar transaction. You can also see how he tries to fool them into coming back in front of Council again. He forgot that they learned their lesson after the turn-down by Council of the demolition of their fire damaged home.
You can again hear him talk about the Tunnel transaction with Detroit and how we have to save the 5,000 commuters from disaster. He makes it clear that the Tunnel competes with the Bridge for traffic. However, he refused to tell John how much Infrastructure Ontario was prepared to loan the City on the transaction and also refused to tell John how it was such a good deal for us. We learned how much money the Tunnel made for us in the past but there was no recognition that the Tunnel is not making any money for us now and may not in the future if the DRIC bridge takes way 25% of its traffic.
Of course, the Mayor has to attack the naysayers. However, he did not recognize that he wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on the booklets that the Windsor Star sent out to encourage people to invest here with his headline grabbing comments about the death of this City. He still has not realized that he is his own worst enemy.
The most interesting part was right at the beginning when he talked again about Greenlink and the DRIC Road. It is so tedious already… Greenlink good, DRIC bad. Why oh why didn’t they study Greenlink he moans. The answer is easy. His Schwunnels are too long. Since they do not meet the criteria that the DRIC set up, whether the criteria is right or wrong remains to be seen, there is no need to examine the project. It fails. What could be easier to understand than that?
He broke the news to John about Greenlink’s award but you and I, dear reader, know the truth about that now thanks to the effort of Blogger Chris Schnurr. More PR nonsense that the Mayor tries to use as justification for a project that will never get off the ground, or under it.
The most shocking comment was when the Mayor accused the Premier of, in effect, biasing the DRIC process because of comments made when the Premier was in Windsor a week before the December 12 closing of the submission period to DRIC.
He accused the Premier of compromising the integrity of the DRIC process. He said that his remarks were very prejudicial. He in effect stated that the Premier said “don’t even bother” making comments to DRIC.
To be direct about it, I would have expected our Mayor/lawyer to denounce the Province for this improper meddling. I would have expected him to tell us that no Minister of the Environment who wants to keep his job would dare turn down something that the Premier, Minister of Finance and MITI Minister all approved. I would have expected him to tell us that he was taking immediate legal action to right this horrific wrong that has been committed against the people of Windsor by the most senior Politician in the Province.
There was no longer a need to wait. The entire process was flawed. Black letter law, lawsuit, judicial review would be our battlecry. Who cares how much more in legal fees we would spend when the future of Windsor is at stake. Or at least, his vision of it.
After all, for the second time, David Estrin had been brought into town to harangue us for hours at Council about everything wrong with the DRIC process. We now know that Council approved legal action. The Mayor has told us that legal action was always a possibility.
Instead, the Mayor gave us his timetable about the process and that we should expect nothing for a year or two from DRIC rather than action being taken right away. The best that he said we might get would be some movement of utility lines perhaps in 2009.
All this lead up to the dramatic climax of the Mayor telling us that Council has a “year of options available to us.”
A year of options----Oh brother. Another year of this. Another year of manipulation. How many more Greenlinks are we to see? How many more Greenlinks will be turned down by the Province. Rumour has it that there was another submission by the City to the Province: Greenlink, the next generation. I wonder when the Mayor will share that with the community if in fact there was something submitted. If there was a third one, which one did Sam present to the awards body to get his prize? Nothing like the Mayor negotiating against himself and compromising.
Greenlink is a joke as we know now because of what Eddie said in a media scrum:
It is nothing more than a negotiating tool.
A year of options----All of the Estrin pictures in the newspaper was bluff. The Estrin presentation at Council was bluff. The Henderson column about judicial review was bluff. The Gignac remark was bluff. Even Councillor Marra was used when he did not want the City to start a lawsuit. All bluff. The Councillor did not have to worry because the Mayor told us that he has “a year of options.”
A year of options----Everything that our Mayor does is bluff. Another year of options when the Premier has prejudiced the process and compromised its integrity. Unbelievable!
The problem for Eddie is does anyone believe him anymore. Does he have any credibility left? Has he squandered that too?
Do the Senior Levels? Does the Bridge Company? Do Windsorites? Honestly, how could anyone? He has threatened lawsuits so many times that it almost becomes predictable and then he backs off. That has become predictable too.
In fact, as I said before, Henderson called his bluff and is laughing at him too because he knows that Eddie will not act (except few understand how he did in his column):
A year of options----If Eddie does not act now and using the tools of his profesion, then Henderson can denounce him for acting in an unconscionable manner when matters of health and safety are involved.
A year of options---- what a sign of weakness. What a sign of lack of guts. What a sign of lack of leadership. What a sign of bluffery.
Oh, and we learned why the Mayor was not at the Premier's lunch even though Eddie got word a month ahead about the date. It was his wife's birthday weekend. Perhaps CKLW's Lisa Williams could ask Eddie some of her "tough" lob questions on her interview show with the Mayor about what he did for her celebration. She may have some insight that she could share with her listeners about the event.
And all thanks to John Fairley's eyebrow!
Now the Minister of Finances is doing it. Here is part of a speech that he gave to the Canadian Council of Public-Private Partnerships:
Here is another story:
DRIC MOVING FORWARD
I wonder how hard it will be for our Mayor to try and derail the DRIC process if they keep on expropriating properties. $17.9 million for slightly over 13 acres. I assume that this is a pretty good price but I have no idea.
The tactics are very interesting right now. Would the Mayor dare stop the process after the Province is spending this kind of money? On the other hand, is this a big club for the Mayor to use to force the Province to do what he wants them to do? If they will not listen, then he can disrupt what they are doing and cost them a considerable amount of money. Presumably if that happened, the Province would upload the road amd end the mess down here.
In such a case, when Queen’s Park cut off all funds to Windsor then Councillor Valentinis would know why.
One interesting element is that the lawyer who obtained the $17.9 million for the Church, Stephen Waque, also acted for the City. As an example:
Fantastic, Greenlink is a prizewinner in some anonymous contest that cannot be revealed until April. It’s just like all of these people that the Mayor is talking to who want to invest in Windsor but he is not at liberty to tell us who they are.
Thank goodness though that Gord Henderson was able to give us a hint about another weapon Eddie can use if needed.
I say “if needed” because it seems now that our Mayor may have decided to litigate. Right at the bottom of one of Gord's column is the following:
Those DRIC people may get a piece of coal in their stocking if Eddie does so.
However, this is not how the Sheriff has been operating. If you read the sentence properly, there is no doubt that someone has talked to him about “judicial review.” It may well have been Councillor Jones considering the legal education that he has been given over the past little while.
However, don’t you see what Gord has just done to Eddie…he is forcing him to start a lawsuit. Oh he can fight all he wants, but when the Premier says get on with it, that is pretty much the end. What other alternative does our Mayor have but to litigate? It would be “unconscionable” otherwise.
Gord has put Eddie on the horns of a dilemma. Sue and be condemned by almost every Windsorite for costing us thousands of jobs that are desperately needed. Don’t sue, and then Eddie is not fighting for us and is acting in an unconscionable manner. That will not do him much good. That is not something to have as a reputation in one's next career.
Oh the Sheriff is chuckling tonight.
Is Councillor Marra the only Member of City Council with any brains? Is he the only one with common sense? Given his position with New Beginnings, he probably understands the legal system a lot better than his colleagues, even the one who is now so familiar with Black Letter Law. With his political connections, he probably understands what the consequences are of the City acting stupidly. It seems though that he is a voice in the wilderness.
What happened to some of the other Councillors who supposedly prevented our Mayor from suing in the past? Are they loopy in a way that Councillor Marra is not. Have they been told some inside information so that they can be assured that they will not be harmed when they run for re-election? Instead, we get the macho Councillor Gignac saying:
Then our Mayor has to say so that he is not outshone by a mere Ward 5 Councillor:
It is no wonder now that the Mayor has been out there talking over the last week or so about jobs and how nothing will get done for at least another year with the Environmental Assessment. He did not want to get blamed if the Senior Levels pull out if in fact he does sue as Minister Pupatello’s Office warned.
There is Windsor’s weapon of mass destruction confirming what the Mayor is claiming:
Hmmmmm. Delays are possible. How about instead delays are likely, very likely.
Let me see now, how many years has the Hamilton lawsuit started by Estrin against the Federal Government been going on? The Bridge Company/Estrin lawsuit which is a relatively simple matter has taken a year so far after an appeal and not much has been litigated. Accordingly, to suggest a complicated matter like the DRIC process with all of the experts that would have to be involved can be dealt with in such a short period of time is ridiculous to me.
Poor Councillor Marra will be attacked as weak, accused of selling out and we will be told that he will be a poor choice for Mayor. I can hardly wait to see the Henderson columns and Star Editorials denouncing him.
Of course, Bill is right in what he said and that should have been our position years ago. Had we had a Mayor who knew what he was doing, we would never have been in this mess in the first place
In the end, remember that most people in this City are no longer adverse to what the Bridge Company wants to do as the various media polls, forums and call-in shows demonstrate. It is not because they are loved but because they are actually doing something with the Gateway project. They are actually doing something on the border while the Canadian Governments do nothing. People understand that the Bridge Company will build their Enhancement Project. People believe that the City is stalling everybody and that Eddie is costing us jobs in a time of economic distress.
The only people who have any interest in this story now are a few environmentalists who want everybody to bicycle, a few anti-Americans and the few people who live on the DRIC corridor. The latter group is only interested so that they can get ensure that they are treated fairly and that they receive the amounts that they should get since their property is to be taken over.
Does anyone really believe that our Mayor will sue? He has been crying “wolf” for so long that it is tedious already. How many times has he threatened a lawsuit and backed off? Why doesn't he just have the guts to do something? Why doesn't he just act instead of talk? He is losing his credibility not only as a Mayor but as a lawyer as well.
Will he do something this time? Who knows. He might surprise us all. No one believed the little shepherd boy when the wolf ate his flock of sheep after he called "Wolf" so many times. None of the townspeople came out to help him because they no longer trusted his word.
The Star stories with the Estrin photographs were designed to get a reaction and that everyone was supposed to be terrified that Eddie was actually going to sue. Nothing happened. No one took him seriously as usual. The matter had to be escalated. The big story on page 3 of the Star was designed to do that. Moreover it was designed to show that there was no longer any unity on Council so that made it even more likely that there was going to be a lawsuit. Such drama.
My guess. Everyone will ignore that story too. My inside moles were not able to get anybody to tell them anything about what happened at the in camera meeting where supposedly the Council made some decisions. All of a sudden now we have Councillors telling us what happened in the media. Why would they do that? We have the Reporter telling us
Gee, I thought that was to be kept secret. We were not supposed to tell anybody our legal strategy. That would hurt our legal position if the other side knew what we were going to do. Instead, we are telling the world what action we are going to take. Not only that, Estrin, in his several hour extravaganza at Council, told the Senior Levels what his arguments were going to be. How accommodating of him.
Don’t you get it. This is Eddie’s last desperate attempt to get the Senior Levels to back down or to get the Bridge Company to do something. Problem is no one will because no one believes his threats. He has lost his credibility.
In any event, I think that this is a gigantic charade. It is all being orchestrated. What else was being done in that infamous ride with Eddie in Dwight's car to Toronto Airport? I just cannot take it seriously and I do not intend to. As I told you before, I am tired of being manipulated as you should be too. Let us see how it plays out rather than speculating about what the game is.
There is no doubt that Dwight and Eddie probably cannot stand each other. How else to explain the story in the Star today telling us about how hard that Dwight worked for five weeks to help get the auto companies deal. He needed to do something to show that Eddie’s little letter was meaningless. He needed some credit as well for all of his efforts. After all, he is merely the Minister of Finance who writes the cheques to the auto industry. He is, after all, the one to whom Chrysler came. They ignored the Mayor. But who is trying to get all the credit?
We saw that game being played out before with respect to the call centre jobs where Eddie was made to appear to be the one who is responsible for the success when in fact it was the MITI Minister who should have received the real glory. Dwight is not prepared to take a backseat to Eddie to keep up the car analogy!
Nevertheless, he and the DRIC people are under the Premier’s thumb and are not allowed to slam the Mayor. Instead, they are required to hold their noses and to work with Eddie.
Whatever the plans of the Senior Levels and the City were, the economic meltdown has killed them for the near term. Attempts will still be made to harass the Bridge Company so that they will sue. If that does not work, and Eddie has now been positioned that he will be our Saviour, then he will start the lawsuit. Or rather, Council will demand that, except for that weakling Bill Marra, and they will instruct him to take action. Councillor Gignac already fell into the trap and said that in her quote above. Has she no sense not to take the hit! As usual, Eddie will take the credit if it works out but not the blame if it does not.
Because of the lawsuit, or rather because of the economic meltdown but you will never hear it from anyone, we will not get the DRIC road today nor will we get Greenlink but we will get our cheap at grade or, perhaps, below grade road to the Ambassador Bridge. It has to go to that Bridge because there is no P3 money for the DRIC bridge either now.
It would not surprise me to see the Senior Levels back off on their opposition to the Enhancement Project either. After all of the things that they have been saying about the importance of this border crossing for so many years, there is a need for a new bridge to be constructed so that traffic can flow smoothly across the border.
The Bureaucrats have created their fallback position, ready for the telling if they are criticized. They always do because they plan for everything. It will all work out in the end or so the Bureaucrats are saying now.
They always wanted the crossing to be beside the existing Ambassador Bridge. The Ambassador Gateway project was designed to accommodate a second bridge. All that is happening is that their grand ambitions are being delayed until traffic improves and the economy comes back to normal. Then they can go after the Bridge Company again as they are doing now even after the FIRA settlements supposedly settled the relationship between the Bridge Company and the Federal Government.
At that time, when there will be a road to the two bridges and the new bridge will be built, the Governments will start harassing the Bridge Company again to force them to sell out cheaply as they have been doing now.
It won’t be so bad either for the Governments. At that time in the future, they can show P3 investors a fully completed and functioning project rather than one that is just being proposed. Just imagine how much extra money the Senior Levels will get then. They expect that the family that owns the Bridge will be much more amenable to selling out at that time too.
You see, bureaucrats can find a silver lining in any cloud.
Don't think this applies in Michigan....think again:
[Sounds like our East End arena deal too with the $70M or so we have to pay off before there are freely available funds]
[Such insight. No wonder Stephen Harper called him personally!]
SPANKY'S WASTED EFFORTS
[I don't know why Chrysler did not approach our Mayor instead of the Minister of Finance if they had problems. Eddie would have solved everything on his own.
Why was Dwight so worried and why did he work so hard? There was no need for him to do anything. After all, Eddie sent out a letter to the PM and Premier warning about the death of Windsor. Eddie knew his letter was so powerful that he could afford to leave town on a long-standing family matter instead of meeting the Premier when he came here and could fail to attend Dwight's pre-Budget meeting.
Everything was under control. Eddie had been reassured! Poor Dwight, so envious of Eddie's efforts and success. NOT!]
STATING THE OBVIOUS
[Huh? Do you understand it? What is he saying that is so profound?]
WILL EDDIE'S CANAL VISION FAIL LIKE HIS CLEARY ONE
[That was said in June, 2006 as we gave away a multi-million dollar asset to the College that could have been sold. How vibrant is our downtown now? Can we afford in these times of economic restraint to waste more taxpayer money on another failed political dream of the Mayor.]
[Didn't Eddie meet Mr. Farhi, the owner of the Lear site, at a wedding in London? Do you remember how Eddie refused to tell John Fairley on Face-to-Face whose wedding it was!]
POLITICIANS WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES
[I just had to post it again!]
[Part of a column from the US Secretary of Commerce. I liked the title. It also makes it clear that the Bush Administration has NO desire to spend money on a DRIC Bridge.]
WEEP FOR DETROIT
[You need to read this article "The City Where the Sirens Never Sleep" http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/945aynyk.asp?pg=1 ]
CANALS FOR PITTSBURGH
[What did Dave Cooke say about the canal vision that just misses the boat, or rather the gondola:
A $5B DRIC PROJECT
[Now I know why it is so costly. Mind you, after the losses taken by some of the Plans in the stock market collapse and the values of infrastructure and private equity holdings being re-evaluated, we shall see if Plans have to ask their contributors for more money as OMERS had to do several years ago with their $600M write-down.]
[Too bad that inspector could not visualize the traffic problems at the East End Arena by looking into his crystal ball or was there a reason why gridlock was necessary so the City can justify spending more millions on the Arena deal for parking but NOT make it part of the original budget!]