Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Was Just Thinking...

Just some random thoughts that came to mind on this cold, snowy and blustery day:

 I hear that Gord Henderson is retiring from the Windsor Star and that there is an internal job posting for his position. Darn, it probably means that the rumour that was going around before about the Star approaching me for the position probably will not happen now. If true, my bet for the replacement would be Dave Hall or Don McArthur. Hmmmm, I wonder if that has just jinxed them.

 I wonder how the Federal Government justifies infrastructure monies of “$14.5 million for two bridges at two of the busiest U.S–Canada border crossings: the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia and the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie” but nothing for the Ambassador Bridge. Oh I forgot… the Bridge Company Owner can spend his money to do the required work, not taxpayers’ money. No wonder public bridges can keep their tolls down.

 I wonder if this is a continuation of the discrimination against the Bridge Company since the $300 million Border Infrastructure Fund monies were never used to improve the road to the bridge as was done in other locations.

 Oh my goodness, Canadian Ambassador to the United States, Michael Wilson, must be livid this morning at what Ottawa did. Imagine trying to explain to the US Government why they have discriminated against the Bridge Company. I do not think that President Obama will be very happy with Stephen over this insult.

 From the Globe and Mail:
  • “Two border bridges, the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia and Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, Ont., will get up to $15-million. And other federal bridges will get a pot of $42-million…

    "These are, quite literally, nation-building projects," Mr. Flaherty boasted in his budget speech.

I guess the Windsor border crossing is unimportant and is not one of these nation-building projects no matter the platitudes of Senior Level Politicians over the years.

 A friend heard on the radio some weeks ago that our Mayor’s priority on spending the $20 million that the City was to receive in the last handout was on Airport lands and on the Tunnel Plaza Improvements

 Thank goodness that Dave Cooke’s Canal report wasn’t coming out until the end of February. With all of this infrastructure money being thrown at the City, perhaps some of it can be thrown to his project.

 Aren’t you glad that Ms. Nazzani, the Airport General Manager, delivered that speech at the Rotary Club the other day! She said:

  • it would take "a considerable amount of capital investment to enable us to take advantage of the opportunities that exist.”

Wow, it looks like her gravy train may have just come in with the Federal Budget. Such remarkable timing for the speech, just before the Budget. It was delivered to the Rotary Club. Anyone on Council a member of Rotary?

 What was Project #1 on Eddie’s wish list as set out in the FCM document of shovel ready projects: Tunnel Plaza at $10 million.

Wow, it looks like the Tunnel’s gravy train may have just come in with the Federal Budget. Such remarkable timing, just before the Budget.

 I am quite surprised… actually I am not… that no one has compared how the Bridge Company has looked after their bridge compared with how the City has looked after the College Street Bridge since both bridges were built around the same time. At least, Gridlock Sam was right about one thing… public authorities do not look after their bridges as well as a private enterprise operators whose personal money is at risk. Can you imagine what the DRIC bridge would look like and how much it would cost to rehabilitate if owned by the Government.

 I do not understand this re the College St. Bridge:

  • "The city may consider interim measures -- such as a replacement deck for the bridge which "could buy us five years until these issues are resolved," Palanacki said."

How can one do this if there are major problems with the strucutre itself.

 I see an article in the Detroit Media is talking about Windsor taking over the Red Bull Race. I wonder which Budget funds will be used to pay for the millions to sponsor that boondoggle.

 I find it remarkable that the Mayor is able to say

  • “For five years we’ve gone to great pains to keep our finances in order,” said Francis. “That way we can get the maximum benefit from the dollars provided to create jobs.”

I thought that the Treasurer had said that the Arena was going to suck up all of our capital funds until it was paid off. Isn’t $31 million supposed to be paid over on the arena debt this year?

 Funniest line of all with respect to the Budget and Windsor was spoken by our Mayor on national television

  • “The mayor told a national audience in an interview with Global National News that Windsor is in “desperate need right now.… We need to create an environment for investment.”

Yes, fight the Bridge Company that wants to spend $1 billion and fight the Federal and Provincial Governments that want to spend billions. That certainly creates an environment for investment.

 Given all of the health warnings that the Mayor has harangued us about, what kind of an environment for investment does that create

 Do you want to know what really scares me about the Budget:

  • “Francis said the spending would be done on a per capita rather than job-by-job basis, allowing the city to get to work right away.

    “I’m glad we don’t have to apply,” he said. “As soon as we get the money in our account we can get shovels in the ground. We can move sooner rather than later.… This is huge.”

That means that there are no controls over what the Mayor and Council can do with that money. Heaven help us.

 Can you believe how nice that Eddie is to the Federal Conservative Party. Praising them over the Border and now praising them over the Budget. That must mean that some of the rumours about Joe Comartin retiring could be true. Guess where our Mayor might want to run if that happened and for which party. He is well aware of the dispute between the Federal Government and the Province over the spending with respect to the DRIC project and has clearly allied himself with the Feds, at least for now.

 Problems Down Under with respect to traffic projections as well:

  • “Ms Rhiannon pointed to failed motorway projects started by "greedy corporate interests" which had not attracted projected traffic numbers.

    "These projects are in financial trouble because traffic numbers fell well short of what was predicted."

 I wonder if Brian Masse wrote the comments for Jack Layton with respect to the budget and the Coalition just as he wrote the comments for him with respect to the border

 Did you read about the Bridge Company's donation to the Hispanic Business Alliance and several other community organizations in response Detroit's harsh economic crisis and recent weeks of severe winter weather. Not if you read the Windsor Star.

 Why Eddie is all bluff and no stuff with respect to threatening lawsuits against the DRIC project:

  • “The federal government is considering the elimination of environmental assessments on millions of dollars worth of infrastructure projects across the country, says a document leaked to the New Democratic Party.

    NDP environment critic Linda Duncan, an Edmonton MP, cited the document at a news conference Thursday, accusing the federal government of “gutting” environmental protection and falsely claiming the environmental assessments slow down infrastructure projects too much.

    One measure would exempt projects under $10 million from environmental assessment. Another would eliminate one level of assessment, either federal or provincial, on bigger projects.”

 I Blogged about the Carleton University Report about the border and its comments about "major bottlenecks at key border crossings, such as the Ambassador and Peace Bridges crossing the Detroit and Niagara Rivers" that seemed to come out of the blue.

The Bridge Company is trying to build the bridges in both locations. Do you know who the Chancellor of that University is… Herb Gray.

 I understand why this comment was made

  • “West-end community activist Mary Ann Cuderman said she feared that the profit motives of landlords would interfere with the best interests of the community and suggested landlords could simply meet with the committee.”

Unlike a private landlord, as a bakery owner, she does not care about making money. Presumably she has a lot of dough and does not knead any more.