Windsor Star Border Journalism
I understand what the Star’s mission is and who has given them their marching orders but at the least in their news stories they might pretend to be a little bit more objective. Opinions are to be found in columns and Editorials.
I was so disgusted with the second Star story that I posted a comment on their website that was critical of the newspaper and the story. The only people asked to comment in the Star’s second story were their opponents. Shall we call that one-sided journalism. Actually, I wonder if there is another and better term for this kind of journalism. I will have to check it out.
“Race” what a pejorative term to use. But of course it was deliberate. They could have used instead “environmental justice” which is the American legal theory and phrase used in the lawsuit materials but that would not accomplish the Star’s objectives. Of course, the concept itself is much broader than "race."
Do you know how many times the Bridge Company Complaint used the word “race:” ZERO.
Do you know how many times the Bridge Company Complaint used the words “environmental justice:” THIRTY-ONE
Just so you know what the term means, here is how it is described in the US Environmental Protection Agency website:
- “Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. EPA has this goal for all communities and persons across this Nation. It will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.”
It is a serious matter in the US. We are just not used to it being identified so directly. It makes Canadians nervous sicne we are so open-minded in this country:
- “Early in 1990, the Congressional Black Caucus, a bipartisan coalition of academic, social scientists and political activists met with EPA officials to discuss their findings that environmental risk was higher for minority and low-income populations. They alleged that EPA's inspections were not addressing their communities' needs. In response, the EPA Administrator created the Environmental Equity Workgroup in July 1990 to address the allegation that "racial minority and low-income populations bear a higher environmental risk burden than the general population."
The Workgroup produced a report, "Reducing Risk in All Communities", in June 1992 that supported the allegation and made ten recommendations for addressing the problem.”
Some more information:
- “On Feb 11, 1994, President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 12898, "Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations", to focus federal attention on the environmental and human health conditions of minority and low-income populations with the goal of achieving environmental protection for all communities. The Order directed federal agencies to develop environmental justice strategies to help federal agencies address disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of their programs on minority and low-income populations. The order is also intended to promote nondiscrimination in federal programs that affect human health and the environment."
Perhaps for the Star it is not an issue but it may be for the people in Delray, hundreds of whom will have to move their homes and businesses if the DRIC Bridge is built there.
Heck we are OK now so why worry about the Americans. Yet, I can remember so vividly how our West End activists and politicos were going to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their “family” in Delray:
- “Activists and politicians from the west-end community of Sandwich are vowing to work hand-in-hand with their southwest Detroit counterparts in Delray following a bus tour of the historic industrial community across the river.
The two communities are hoping if they have a common voice on a preferred location for the next Windsor-Detroit border crossing, they will influence a binational government team assigned to select the best option.
"We've said time and again to people over here, we consider this family," said Mary Ann Cuderman, leader of residents' truck watchdog group in Sandwich."
You have not heard very much of that for quite some time since Sandwich has supposedly been saved!
I remember the tough position that STOPDRTP was put in. We in STOPDRTP had to make a choice between stopping the fight and accepting parkland in South Windsor when ex-Mayor Hurst gave us his Made-In-Windsor solution or continuing to fight for people along the entire corridor, both north and south of E C Row. We made the right decision and chose to stand with everyone in Windsor and not be influenced by goodies!
Some of you have actually taken the trouble to read the copy of the Complaint that I posted http://www.scribd.com/doc/15448413/NEPAsuit I posted it on purpose for you to read so that you could form your own opinion expecting how the Star would cover the story. They did not disappoint me!
Battagello did tell us that the Complaint was 64 pages. Yet he could only identify one issue and missed out on the real point of what that allegation was about. It had nothing to do with Sandwich either:
- “The Governor of Michigan, Jennifer Granholm, announced that the State of Michigan through MDOT would not allow the DRIC bridge to be located in any of the so-called Downriver areas of metropolitan Detroit which have a redominately middle class, white population.
The only locations that were acceptable to the Governor’s office and MDOT were locations in the low income, minority populated Delray residential area of Southwest Detroit.”
Sandwich came up in a different context:
- “Once the Brighton Beach location was unilaterally decreed by the Canadian DRIC Proponents, engineering would only allow construction that would land in the Delray neighborhood.
In fact, the selection of the Delray neighborhood of Southwest Detroit was the inevitable result of the arbitrary and capricious decision of the US DRIC Proponents to yield to Canada’s preferred location for a new crossing at the Brighton Beach area of Ontario to protect the middle class, white community in Windsor, Ontario. Because a bridge can only be built so far across the Detroit River, the only feasible U.S. landing for a bridge with a predetermined landing at Brighton Beach, Ontario is the predominately low income, predominately minority community of Delray in Southwest Detroit.”
If you think this is fanciful, here is what the MoE review of DRIC says. It makes the case for the Bridge Company so nicely!What really bothers me about the Star’s brand of journalism is that there were so many claims in that 64-page document and the Star did not deal with them. It certainly did not deal with the very serious allegations made against the Canadian government, which, if true, may cause a serious rift between the two countries to Canada’s detriment.
Let me give you a listing of some of the other claims that the Star forgot to tell its readers about:
- a. FHWA acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in violation of NEPA and the APA when it issued a ROD based on the Final EIS for the DRIC project;
- b. FHWA acted arbitrarily, capriciously and in violation of Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act when it selected a preferred alternative for the DRIC project based on the Final EIS;
- c. FHWA acted arbitrarily, capriciously and in violation of NHPA when it selected a palternative for the DRIC project based on the Final EIS;
- d. FHWA acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in violation of NEPA, Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act, NHPA, the APA, and applicable legal authorities on environmental justice when it failed to consider the combined or cumulative environmental consequences of the DRIC and DIFT projects and when it improperly delayed the DIFT EIS;
- e. FHWA acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in violation of NEPA, Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act, NEPA, the APA, and applicable legal authorities on environmental justice;
- f. FHWA acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in violation of NEPA, Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act, NEPA, the APA, and applicable legal authorities on environmental justice when it failed to consider the combined or cumulative environmental consequences of the DRIC project, the DIFT project, the twin Blue Water Bridges plaza expansion project, the Detroit and Windsor Tunnel plaza expansion project, and the two proposed new rail tunnels;
- g. FHWA acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in violation of NEPA, Section 4(f) of the Transportation Act, NEPA, the APA, and applicable legal authorities on environmental justice when it improperly delayed the DIFT EIS in order to approve the DRIC FEIS and not take into account the combined or cumulative effects of including the DIFT EIS in their analysis of the DRIC FEIS;
- h. FHWA acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in violation of NEPA when it approved the DRIC FEIS in light of the segmentation of environmental approvals orchestrated by FHWA itself;
- i. FHWA acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and in violation of NEPA, the APA, and applicable legal authorities on environmental justice when it actively misled the low-income, minority residents of the Delray and Southwest Detroit community who will be directly, adversely and disproportionately affected by the DRIC project;
- j. FHWA should have disqualified itself as lead agency for the DRIC EIS after it knew or should have known that Defendant Steele was acting as an advocate for the DRIC project rather than fulfilling his obligation of impartiality; and
- k. FHWA should have disqualified itself as lead agency for the DRIC EIS after it discovered or should have discovered that members of the agency began acting as advocates for the DRIC project rather than fulfilling their obligations of
Issues are also raised amongst others about traffic studies and reduced volumes, stalling, Governor Granholm’s actions, Canada’s role in unduly influencing the results and pressuring the US proponents, the serious harm to the Bridge Company and the diversion of traffic away from the quarter-billion dollar Ambassador Gateway Project which was designed to accommodate a second bridge.
Too bad that the vast majority of Windsorites will never know this based on Star Journalism. But then again, we know what the Star thinks its function really is:
- "We did things that newspapers can do to bring about change, positive change. I think we got a lot of results this year and this now validates the results we got."