Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Double Dare You To Donate To Citizens For Jobs Now

I may as well get the issue out there since it is an unspoken one already. You are thinking about it. You are torn. You want to give money but you cannot afford to jeopardize your Company's future either. I have seen this issue with other citizen grassroots movements that became too successful and a possible threat: STOPDRTP and WeACT are two prime examples.

Now there is a third

How will Citizens For Jobs Now get any financial support now?

If you give a donation today, will you find yourself smeared in the Windsor Star tomorrow! And cut off from any City work for the next few years. Is that the message being conveyed?

I am certain everyone saw the first nice front page story in the Star about CFJN and applauded their efforts.
  • Citizens for jobs -- now
    Group wants Windsor back to work

    John Paul Corrent is tired of hearing bad news about Windsor.

    "We've been inundated with daily bad news -- planned layoffs, planned closures, shift reductions, people losing their jobs, people leaving the city," says the Windsor lawyer. "I was just totally disgusted with what's going on and seeing nothing being done about it."

    So, Corrent decided to do something to help his hometown. Along with a team of organizers, he has formed a group called Citizens for Jobs Now. The group opened its doors to the public Monday.

    Citizens for Jobs Now aims to "create jobs and secure the economic growth of the Windsor Essex region by holding all levels of government to account for immediate action on infrastructure projects, corridor and border issues," according to the group's mission statement.

    Simply put, the group wants to get Windsorites back to work.”

What a noble purpose. Who could possibly object to that? Who could consider the group as a threat?


Only two days later the smear starts:

  • “Jobs group seeks industry cash

    A new community group lobbying to get major infrastructure projects underway in the city says its funding has come from citizens, small businesses and unions…

    But Citizens for Jobs Now does have its eyes on larger sums from other sources, Corrent says…

    Dan Stamper, a spokesman for the Ambassador Bridge, and Sol Furer of the Essex-Kent Building Trades Council say they have not donated to the campaign, and Jim Lyons of the Heavy Construction Association of Windsor says the association's board was meeting with Citizens for Jobs Now Wednesday night.”

Interesting who the people were who were asked the question about whether they contributed isn’t it? Was it mere curiosity on the Star’s part or more?

Oh, oh…is the Bridge Company behind this group? Why they are Windsor’s enemy and now they are playing the race card according to the Star. Never mind that it is called “Environmental Justice” in the US, smear them! And also go after anyone who may think that their project might make some sense.

How about another person mentioned in the Star story. Remember what Jim Lyons said about the DRIC Road, the road that our Mayor and Council do not want:

  • "Lyons says criticism of Windsor-Essex Parkway misses the point
    Windsor Construction Association head claims construction timing “could not be better

    Criticism of the recently unveiled Windsor-Essex Parkway plan misses the point — that this new transportation link addresses a critical need, says the Windsor Construction Association (WCA).

    “Quite honestly, the timing for this area and the local manufacturing industry could not be any better — they want a solution tomorrow because of the pressures they are facing,” explains Jim Lyons, executive director, WCA…

    “We have been waiting for so long in this area to have a link from a 400-series highway to the border,” says Lyons. “We have felt abandoned here and this is a major investment at $1.6 billion for Windsor-Essex…”

    Lyons says when rumours began to swirl about the parkway announcement his phone started to ring because of job seekers.

    “Local guys who have been laid off were calling me to ask how they can get into our industry and on this (parkway) job,” says Lyons."

How about Sol Furer, how does he fit in. I do not think he is a Greeenlink supporter is he:

  • DRIC's '12,000' jobs sway builders

    WINDSOR -- Citing the promise of 12,000 person years of employment, representatives of the region's "hungry" construction industry urged city politicians Thursday to give up the fight for GreenLink and support the proposed $1.6-billion Windsor-Essex Parkway project.

    "Today's a monumental day," said Jim Lyons, executive director of the Heavy Construction Association of Windsor, which represents 70 companies and thousands of workers…

    Sol Furer, president of the Essex and Kent Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, agreed. "It sounds like the city didn't get everything it wanted. But, it's a good proposal and it's time to get a shovel in the ground. Certainly, the economy of Windsor needs it."

    Furer, whose organization represents 5,000 skilled tradesmen and general labourers, said the four groups that would most benefit from the project include general labourers, carpenters, operator engineers and truck drivers.

    "With a fixed border, it can only help to spur investment in our region."

Jim and Sol, some people have loooooong memories or good databases.

Oh pshaw, you say. There is the BLOGMEISTER and another one of his conspiracy theories. That could not possibly happen in our City. Why if work is to be done, it has to be tendered out under the City’s Purchasing By-law and everyone has an equal shot at it whether they contributed or not.

Sure, dear reader, and you still believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy!

Just read the inocuous sounding Agenda Item 2 at Council on Tuesday. It's as harmless as Eddie's infamous Agenda Item #5:

  • “Steps Required to Complete Projects Under the Provincial/Federal Infrastructure Stimulus and Proposed Accelerated Capital Budget Program.”

If passed, we have just eliminated the Purchasing By-law for certain services and all of the safe-guards built in to prevent abuse!

Oh the excuses are good ones. They always are. Yet that is precisely why you have rules and follow them. Just watch how easy it is to make up the reasons why the safe-guards need to be circumvented:

  • “The timelines for the of stimulus funded projects are very aggressive and will require substantial resources including consultants, professional services and contract/temporary municipal employees to allow for the best chance for successful completion of the many projects. This is one of the main goals of the stimulus programs.

    The issues the City of Windsor faces in getting projects moving forward and completed as quickly as possible are:
    1) Timelines/Deadlines/Risks
    2) Retaining consultants, professional services and contract staff
    3) Land Acquisition
    4) Bylaw Amendments (i.e. Noise)
    5) Coordination to minimize disruption
    6) Communication/Discussions and buy-in from stakeholders

Can you believe it, they even threw in the border work to support what our Mayor had to say and the strike too. Of course, who would dare ask City employees to work harder:

  • “In addition, the City's Accelerated Capital Budget funding is proposing to allocate $512 million of funding by year-end 2011. With the proposed work on the border crossing initiatives, the deadline relates to completing many of these works prior to the border project being fully involved in order to allow contractor availability and allow residents and the City to operate with less construction detours and improved infrastructure…

    The continuing work stoppage will also impact construction depending on its duration…

    Staffing levels will also be an issue as current staff levels, along with the fairly healthy proportion of junior staff we currently have, are barely adequate to keep up with existing workloads.”

So far, the proposal is only for consultants, professional services and contract staff. Note as well, that Sole Sourcing of contracts will be removed as well from Council oversight:

  • “Sole Sourcing may also be approved, if justified under current Purchasing by-law Sole Source criteria, again, removing pre-approval by Council, as it relates to the $150,000.00 threshold until Dec 31, 2011.”

Do you understand the facts of life now Mr. Lyons and Mr. Furer or do I have to spell it out further t o you?

Just like with the East end arena where you were afraid to stand up and be counted and with the City's ability to schedule or not work in a given fiscal year, get into line. You have been warned. The gutting of the Purchasing by-law and awarding sole source contracts can easily be done for your members’ services next. The excuses are already there and Council will have set this “temporary” precedent after approving what Administration wants.

Your groups do not want to become the enemy like the Ambassador Bridge Company. Oh you strayed once over Greenlink but you can now be forgiven if you fall into line and stay there. Or else.

Psst, all is not lost. Here’s the way around the concern and how you can still donate to Citizens for Jobs NOW. From

  • Bank Deposit:

    You can make a direct deposit to “Citizens for Jobs NOW” at any TD Canada Trust Branch; donations may be anonymous.

Just do not let anyone know that I mentioned it to you.

There that was an easy way to send in your money...if you dare!