Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Grass Ain't Going To Cut It

No it has nothing to do with the CUPE strike!

So said Councillor Mom at the citizens meeting the other night about the Indian Road and other homes owned by the Bridge Company even though she claims she wants the homes demolished.

Even Councillor Jones was in favour unequivocally of demolition provided his FIVE-POINT PLAN was followed.

In other words, the residents learned how bridge politics is played to their disadvantage. Out of one side of the Council's mouths come words of support and encouragement. Out of the other, the impossible conditions that can never be met by the Bridge Company.

They learned to be suspicious of Councillors bearing gifts. And they should be after all given the canal fiasco:
  • Councillor Jones---"Council has yet to begin debate on the canal district proposal, but Coun. Ron Jones said he's already heard enough to know he won't be supporting it.

    "It's not going to fly ... it's a pipe dream," said Jones. His Ward 2 would host the marina-canal development, a multimillion-dollar plan a study group and consultants have identified as the Windsor downtown's way out of economic decline.

    He's angry at how Mayor Eddie Francis has handled the file since the concept was first unveiled last summer, and he dismisses the privately funded "nice, glossy report" handed councillors Monday night.

    "It's my ward -- I haven't been consulted. I'm just tired of it," said Jones.

  • Councillor Postma---"Let me be very clear on my position with the Canal. I cannot vote in favour of a project that was not only submitted to the Federal government but also shown to a columnist from the Windsor Star before it was submitted to me. I represent the area, am in tune with my residents, live close by the area and deserve to see the report before the Feds or a reporter! The residents deserve to see it at the same time and so do the citizens of Windsor at large"

In the list provided by the Windsor Star:

  • "Council motion to reconsider and then add $48 million for the downtown marina/canal proposal to Windsor’s list of federal stimulus funding eligible projects:

    • Yes: Caroline Postma; Percy Hatfield; Fulvio Valentinis; Ron Jones; Alan Halberstadt; Ken Lewenza Jr.; Jo-Anne Gignac;

I am not being nasty. Just setting out the facts. I do not make this stuff up.

The residents understand now that it is OK for other homes that have been allowed by Council to be demolished but not good if it is the Bridge Company's homes that are to be demolished. I think it is called a double standard.

What the Councillor Mom meant by her remark is that the Bridge Company offered to landscape their lands with grass as other land owners were allowed to do when they sought Council approval for demolition ---and Dan Stamper said he would do it right away---but that this offer was not acceptable to the majority of Councillors, 6 of them to be exact plus the Mayor. In other words, they had to do MORE than what other landowners were required to do. And naturally, the Council would be the one to set the terms that the Bridge Company had to comply with.

It is the downtown Burger King approval all over again.

Now Councillor Jones was even more definitive. If the Bridge Company complied with his FIVE-POINT Plan, he would not object to the demolishing of the homes. The only problem, he did not tell anyone what those 5 points were at the meeting! It has to be a huge secret that somehow the Bridge Company must guess or they are out of luck!

It must be so bad that he was embarrassed to tell what the points were to the residents at the meeting. Perhaps he was concerned that he night get booed the way the Mayor was at the East End Arena! It was the first time I ever saw Ward 2 people angry at the Councillor. They were incensed when he mentioned his condition at the meeting. They had no interest in Council process or his PLAN. They just wanted the homes demolished.

Councillor Jones was not as subtle as Councillor Mom in trying to get the Bridge Company to come to Council to get shot down. She played the g--rass card and lost ie. She must have been hoping that the Bridge Company would be suckered into a process that would come up with an arrangement they would never agree to. If that happened, then who would take the blame and who would get off the hook? And whose homes would never be torn down.

Councillor Jones dared Stamper to go to the Clerk's Office and apply for the demolition permits. Stamper told him that he was not prepared to play any more games and challenged him to come back to the meeting room the next day and deal with him with all of the residents present. Stamper said he would meet with the residents and Council to work out an arrangement but was not going to appear in front of Council to serve their political agenda. For some reason, Jones did not accept.

Councillor Mom said she was tired of fighting and that if another job came along, it sounded like she would resign as a Councillor. She pointed to her head and talked about bricks but I was not sure what she meant. Perhaps she meant that her head hurt as if someone had hit it with a brick.

Oh yes, the residents, the ham in the Old Sandwich. If they were at all naive about the politics of the border, they would not be after listening to the conversation. While some tried to suggest that politics should not be involved, Stamper came right out and said it was always going to be political. The issue was the building of the replacement span. To suggest otherwise was silly he stated.

The Councillors seemed to be interested in the residents' but in the end offered them no hope. I was waiting for someone to use again the classic line: "My heart goes out to you" and then to hear the reaction to that platitude.

Councillor Mom said she was going to introduce a Notice of Motion about this issue at Council on Monday. I doubt she will. The last thing the Mayor wants people to hear on TV is residents of the area pointing out the concerns:
  • fire hazards
  • homes being broken in
  • drugs
  • unsafe for kids
  • scary to walk in the area after dark
  • property value declines
  • drunkenness on weekends

I was more interested to get the feel of the meeting rather than "reporting it." I noticed that the Star was not there. How convenient since the Bridge Company by far got the most support of residents. But then again, that is NOT something the Star wants people to know.

Just like at the CIBPA meeting, Stamper received the biggest applause of the evening. The Ward 2 Councillors are fortunate that he cannot run for Council.

Frankly, the residents did not care about the City-Bridge Company dispute. They wanted the homes demolished now and grass put it. Period. That is also what their petition said. They accused the Mayor and Council of not listening to them.

Most attendees I am certain did not appreciate who was behind all of this manoeuvering. He had his spy at the meeting to make notes too.

What gave it away was Councillor Jones saying that he had seen a video of the June, 2007 Council meeting when the Bridge Company made their presentation involving their Enhancement Project and talked about the Green Corridor. You remember the meeting---where the Council including Councillors Jones and Postma refused to grant to the Bridge Company a 5 minute extension to talk about their billion-dollar project. They were limited to only 10 minutes.

Now unless the Councillor has his own extensive library of Council meetings archived, which I doubt, the only other place I have heard who keeps these tapes is: City Hall.

I am sure that you understand exactly who I mean now. And why I believe that a solution will be a long time coming. It's only a few hundred West End residents after all and it does not appear that their opinion counts to City Hall when there is an "enemy" to fight.