Politics of Despair
Craig Pearson in his new column yesterday tells us to
- "Accentuate the Positive..
But one thing I know. In this column and in life, I don’t want the negative.
I want the positive."
You saw the story at the top of Page 3 in Big Bold Print:
- "‘REBIRTH, HOPE’ CELEBRATED
Easter message transcends challenges
That was one of the inspiring Easter messages area religious leaders delivered to their flocks Sunday...
“we can have hope and confidence as we look forward, said Pastor Mark Hazzard of Parkwood Gospel Temple...”
Rev. Kim Van Allen of All Saints Anglican Church downtown delivered a similar message of hope and rebirth to a congregation drawn from a community battered by job losses."
Hope, being positive, how can anyone knock those messages. No one can. Except when they are being politicized to save a failed Mayor and Council who need something, anything, if they have a hope of being re-elected.
Eddie’s politics of hope now and the Star’s “Bright Side,” they are all part of a huge Monty Python joke aren’t they.
Remember these lyrics in the Monty Python song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life:”
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you.”
- “Mayor Eddie Francis said Thursday that during an economic crisis such as the one Windsor is facing with an unemployment rate at a 16-year high, “many of our residents are looking for hope.”
No Mr. Mayor, our residents are not looking for hope but rather for jobs or preventing their homes from being foreclosed or to remain here and not split up their family by going out of town to work.
Such a comment could only be made by a person who will wrap himself as an FDR character in his next State of the City speech and will tell us that
- “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”
Don't you get it. Eddie is our carrier of hope. He will be our symbol of being positive. This is the beginning of the E-Machine re-election campaign. The Eminence Greasie is back!
Eddie will present us with the “needed efforts” so that we will be suckered into supporting him and those Councillors who for the next 18 months agree with everything he has to say in order to be re-elected.
We saw how Eddie used the Schwartz Report to end dysfunction. It did not matter that what was proposed did not work as a border plan. It worked to get them re-elected and it kept them in their jobs. In the end, that is all that counts for a politician. Keeping power.
I guess that not enough people bought into the Star's “W.E. Believe” campaign so now we get the “Bright Side” to make us positive. As Craig Pearson wrote in his column:
- “Oh, hope, do not forsake us!”
What will Eddie’s projects be that will stir our imagination and give us hope:
- The canal
- The transportation hub
- Zalev cleanup etc
Oh, all of those entrepreneurial schemes that you can rhyme off as well as I that taxpayers of our town of 200,000 will have to find a billion dollars or more to fund.
Oooops sorry, Gord told us on Saturday in order to be controversial and provoke readers that
- "Critics may howl, but city’s canal idea has merit
But people who believe that praying for better days won’t cut it — that Windsor must take its fate in its own hands — will surely feel the blood quickening when they see details of the $48-million canal/marina project proposed for downtown.
Too damn expensive, the critics holler. Too damn expensive for a city that’s being stripped of its industrial muscle.
That’s just the point, isn’t it? A city undergoing rapid and permanent de-industrialization must be creative in finding new ways to sustain itself...
Can Windsor overcome its instinctive resistance to new ideas, even one like a canal whose construction costs could be covered without raising city taxes by so much as a dime, and which could be eligible for senior government infrastructure funds?"
Oh my Lord, Gord told us not to pray. Take that religious leaders! He claims that we should be looking for Senior Level money from Eddie's friend, the Premier perhaps, to give us salvation. Our prayeres will be answered then. We'll all come on board because it costs us nothing.
If we don't get it by the way, why how can it be Eddie's fault. Blame Sandra and Dwight. Heck they owe it to us. We are entitled to it.
It won’t be that hard either to convince Council. Eddie will tell the Councillors about all of the money that he has stashed away to be brought out for a rainy day. That is why he is not concerned with people not working and why S&P is not worried about our credit rating.
We have hundreds of millions of dollars tied up in our utility companies as an example that can be P3ed to the highest bidder. Like Chicago where this was first done and where they succeeded, we will be told that we will be rolling in dough as we sell off our assets at distress prices to fund our future.
It won’t be put that way of course. He is learning from how Mayor Cockrel is proposing what he is doing now. And that is how Eddie will justify spending $2M in fees on the failed Tunnel deal. It was a learning experience for what is to come. He is our young entrepreneurial wheeler-dealer after all.
Don’t forget the contribution from the Senior Levels either. After all, they have to give him the equivalent of $230M, the amount set out in the Estrin EA Report which is the amount that Windsor is “giving up” by being the host community for the border.
Whether true or not, I have heard that this amount and more has already been offered: upgraded E C Row and Lauzon built at Senior Level expense and unneeded rail lands after rail rationalization being given to the City at no cost.
You can hear it being sold now already---jobs for building our infrastructure for the canal, revitalizing downtown, bringing back tourists, making this town world-class, THINKING BIG! By the way, why have we heard little about Sam Schwartz’s Diamond award for Greenlink?
- "Cooke has one question for the critics: “If not this, then what?” In other words, if you have a better idea for salvaging a downtown that defines Windsor, where is it?
“The option is to leave that part of downtown vacant for a long, long time,” warned Cooke, referring to the dead zone south of the art gallery and east of Bruce Avenue.
He said Windsor has never answered that fundamental question, how to get people out of the casino/convention/entertainment centre “vacuum” to explore the core."
Just in passing Dave, we did answer how to get people out of the vacuum. It was called the downtown arena. Unfortunately, out of the blue, Eddie forgot his campaign promise and out came something else. I still cannot figure that one. Perhaps you ought to challenge Gord since he has all of the inside information even before our Councillors.
Oh and we had an urban village too until you, Marty and Eddie figured out that we needed an Egineering Building downtown. That idea died too but cost us a year of time.
Can you imagine the crowds that would have been thronging into downtown restaurants and bars after the Spitfire games. Can you imagine the crowds who would have attended concerts there too. Can you imagine a Celine Dion concert or Jay Leno at the Casino and a big name at a downtown arena. 11-12,000 people jamming the downtown! [Sigh]
However, that was before our Arena was moved to our new Downtown in “Yahoopitsville without parking” land in the East End thanks to our downtown leaders not fighting for it since they were silenced with the hope of an urban village offered as the golden ring instead.
Dave Cooke misses the point completely. He wants to create artificially a downtown that cannot be sustained. Build a canal and they will explore.
- The City cannot afford to do much more than dig a ditch if we can even afford that
- Home builders whose customers will be the ex-auto company workers in a City with a 13% unemployment rate or company owners who may lose their Big Three customers with a US Government imposed bankruptcy
- Developers won’t come to a City with one of the highest vacancy rates in Canada and falling house prices
- Rich Toronto seniors who have been scared off by talk of health concerns and lack of medical facilities
- Tourists with the lack of retail, empty shops, lack of attractions, an Art Gallery that has to close down to save money, a symphony that will have to cut more concerts.
So let me offer 2 ways to make people want to come downtown now:
First, take a look at what Maestro Russell talked about respecting the Armouries and a WSO Concert Hall. Real plans that are doable and “shovel ready” that can bring people downtown. Let’s call his bluff and see what he can do so he does not go to St. Catherines:
- “music director John Morris Russell suggested the city's sole con-tribution might consist of simply donating the armouries building and lands to the orchestra.
"That way, they save on the annual upkeep of the building, save the taxpayers some money, and get a real bargain in return," Russell said.
As for the rest, the bulk of construction costs would come from provincial and federal programs, just as it does for similar cultural projects, Russell said.”
In fact, if that happened, I know a developer that has plans all ready to tie into an Armouries development that could lead to a real downtown rejuvenation! I have been shown the plans already.
The fact is we need people with jobs and salaries, high paying ones too to replace some of the auto worker ones. There is only one way that will happen. This is the second point:
We need CIBPA to be successful NOW to force politicians and the Bridge Company to do a deal.
The Governments have lost. They misjudged the intent of the Moroun family completely. Moreover, the economic collapse of the manufacturing economy, especially the Big Three auto companies, has destroyed the basis for a new bridge and its P3 financing. They need an excuse to back off and not lose face. After all, they have spent $60M to try to force the Bridge Company Owner to sell out and failed.
Here is the tragedy. We have wasted time and thereby lost jobs and economic diversification opportunities. There is a real development by a real entrepreneur staring us in the face that we ought to be starting now, not that of a vision seller. We ought to be partnering with someone that really knows how to build a transportation hub but instead we do not invite him to speak at our WEDC conference.
Here is what I mean if you have not guessed by now. If you have not yet had a chance to cross the Ambassador Bridge from the US into Canada do so now. The new entrance to the Bridge is almost breathtaking as one drives over the new ramp. Michigan’s part is not yet finished but it will be even more dramatic. And just as you are entering onto the old bridge, if you look to your right, there is the beginning of the new bridge, just waiting to start to make the connection to Canada!
That is how one creates excitement downtown and draws people there---people with money to spend by doing a real deal on Infrastructure----$3 or 4 billion of it by the time it is done. If we have that and some certainty as well, then we can see a change in our downtown. People will be working in Windsor again. We will still need workers from out of town who will require places to sleep and places to eat. It gives us time to transition our economy whether it will be based on renewable energy or a transportation hub or some other alternative that makes sense.
Take a look at the first 1:40 or so of the Michael Jackson/Paul McCartney video. Aren’t you tired of snake oil too! I just cannot stomach any more good news.