Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Odds and Ends

Here are some thoughts I have had that may interest you.



Weird. Things work fast in the back-channel.

  • "CUPE negotiators are being invited back to the bargaining table next week, Mayor Eddie Francis announced Wednesday."
Yet the day before:
  • "Francis was quick to point out, however, that the public should not get its hopes up too high that there is any easy end in sight for what has become a bitter and protracted labour dispute. And he said there will be no new round of negotiations unless there’s a real chance of a deal.

    “A lot of things have to be considered. If we go back to the table, there has to be a deal … so we’re not in a room and just staring at each other,” he said."

If Eddie has taken up my idea about going to Athens to get that Children's event for 2012, then he has to have a deal done right away or else force it into a total collapse.

Heck, the Councillors might do something silly while he was away and settle the strike.


Mediation of Greenlink

"The focus of the mediator, according to the city, would be to mitigate access road deficiencies through strategic tunnelling with an understanding the cost of doing so be no greater than $200 million more than the parkway's current estimated $1.6-billion construction cost."

In other words, agree to a Greenlink variation ie "strategic tunnelling" as distinct from "non-strategic" tunnelling whatever those terms mean.

Indian Road Homes

"Therefore be it resolved, that Mayor and City Council meet with the Ambassador Bridge Company to discuss acceptable plans for their 75 properties throughout Sandwich Town and clearly define greening plans for the properties to ensure the residents are no longer living near boarded up, abandoned homes and restore the safety, security and aethetic looks of their neighbourhood."

In other words, agree to "discuss" to "green" according to "acceptable plans" but without a City commitment to demolish or to take any action at all.


"THAT City Council does NOT SUPPORT the concept of binding arbitration as a means toresolve the current work stoppage by CUPE Locals 82 and 543 and that City Council supports the concept of a resolution made in the City of Windsor for the City ofWindsor."

In other words....let's talk concepts rather than dealing with the issue and arrive at a solution that is good for the City.

In each case, vague is the order of the day so that no resolution is ever possible if someone chooses not to agree: strategic tunnelling, acceptable plans, resolution made in Windsor.

In each case, it is a pretend desire to deal with an issue for PR purposes.

In each case the City is in control of the terms and conditions and they are imposed on the other side.

In each case, it allows the City to walk away and blame the other side for the failure.

In each case the proposition is one-sided in the City's favour---only look at Greenlink, no commitment re demolition, what is good for the City not the workers.

In each case....well, you get my drift!


I really like how the public seems to have been kept in the dark and only insiders seemed to know what was going on in this case. Sounds familiar:

  • "Alligator Alley ... state must avoid potholes on next drive to privatize

    Plans to privatize Alligator Alley — Interstate 75 between Naples and Fort Lauderdale — are dead, at least for now.

    There were no bidders to take over the highway when the latest round of bids was due the other day.

    Reasons given by officials included the economy, availability of money for an up-front lump-sum payment, a newfound appreciation for the potential for interruption of revenue streams by nature or all three.

    It certainly wasn’t due to any opposition from the Florida Legislature. There was so much public- and private-sector interest in this deal at one time that we suspect we will see the concept come back. When it does, here is the shape it ought to take, based on the mistakes we have all witnessed with round one:

    --Everybody has to know what’s coming. It cannot be announced in tiny legal ads for which only insiders know to look.

    --Key meetings and public briefings have to be held locally, rather than in Orlando, and the public ought to be allowed to speak at all of them.

    --We have to know what it will do to the size of tolls. They are not optional; neither is using Alligator Alley for people serious about getting to the east coast and back.

    --We have to know what’s in it for us. How much money goes to Collier and Broward counties or anyone else?

    --Will those proceeds be in addition to or count against state money those counties already get?

    --Last but not least, what do the people think? Public opinion in the past year has been regarded by bureaucrats as an annoyance rather than a key component. At one moment they would say a decision had yet to be made; at the next moment they would act as if policy were set in stone..."


  • “I reinforced city council’s position that we’re not going to be prepared to go to arbitration and put the decision in somebody’s hands that’s 300, 400, 500 kilometres away.”

I found one in Amherstburg!

Is that close enough for Eddie?


I am so disappointed. There seemed to be so little conversation about the need for a new border crossing in any of the Joint Press Statements or the press reports.

I did see this one in the Free Press [YAWN]:

  • "On the broader issue of border crossings, Napolitano and Van Loan said their governments understand the importance for commerce of the Detroit-Windsor crossings and other entry points on the northern border.

    Both pledged to work toward a balance of enforcing security while not damaging commerce."

Notice for the Americans, security comes first! As their Joint Statement points out:

  • "We are working in partnership to ensure we manage the border in a way that contributes to the well-being of our two countries and recognize that we can enhance our security without compromising trade.

    Together, the United States and Canada create and trade over a billion dollars worth of goods and services each day. We are committed to a collaborative approach to our border—one that enhances our security and public safety while facilitating the trade and travel that connects our two countries."

Clearly "security" is no longer an issue for Canada. Remember some months ago that Minister Van Loan suggested having a "reverse customs" pilot project at the Ambassador Bridge:

  • "He also got a commitment from Napolitano that Washington will look again at the idea of what is called land pre-clearance, he said.

    Under a proposal favoured by Ottawa, American officials would check U.S.-bound trucks on the Canadian side of the border and vice versa, easing trade bottlenecks.

    Van Loan said he suggested a pilot project at the Windsor-Detroit border but nothing was settled."

I guess it was not raised when they met so it cannot be that much of an issue any more. Another reason for a DRIC bridge gone!


  • "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis made no effort to mask his pride over the Spits' first-ever Memorial Cup title.

    "I used to work with the lawyer who represents the new owners of the team," said Francis. "I received a phone call the night they took over the team and was told that they wanted to meet with me."

    "It was the first time that I had ever met Bob (Boughner) Peter (Dobrich) and Warren (Rychel). They told me that they were going to build a championship team in three years."


First the downtown arena, then the Urban Village, then the Engineering Complex and now the ditch errrr canal. Nothing ever happens. Whatever happened to that RFP that was supposed to be issued how many years ago.

The funniest thing I ever read in the Canal materials was the following from the CITY CENTRE WEST URBAN VILLAGE – REVIEW OF PLANNING RATIONALE:

  • "The Urban Village concept is essentially a framework within which any proposal could be considered. It provides design guidelines to be achieved and goals to be met in the design of the space. It encourages creation of pedestrian zones and great architecture to bring vitality to the area. It is meant to stimulate development by the private sector for the City Centre West lands.

    It is important to realize that the Canal/Marina proposal is not at all in conflict with these guidelines – in fact, it springs forward from them. The Canal/Marina is the Urban Village. It brings to the table a three dimensional form that fully meets the intent and requirements of the Urban Village Guidelines. It provides the infrastructure framework within which the Urban Village can grow."

Remember this:

  • "Farhi...confirmed in a phone interview that he's finalizing plans to tear down the sprawling 43-year-old factory, with demolition beginning as early as October, and is working on longterm development plans for the 60-acre site that could, over the long haul, exceed 500,000 square feet and would benefit from close proximity to the city's WFCU Arena complex.

    "It would complement the great work the city has done. I see mixed use. Commercial. Anything and everything we can build there. We can do whatever. I have to see what we can place next to it (the arena)...

    I can see eventually 60 acres being developed ... the equivalent of an entire downtown...

    Mayor Francis said it's "bittersweet news" that the plant is being demolished. "My first priority would be to have a plant open and people working." But it's better, he agreed, to have redevelopment in the Lauzon/Tecumseh area than a padlocked plant.

    "You want activity. You want action," said Francis. "The entire Lauzon Road corridor is going to come to life again. This just adds to and complements the activity at the WFCU Centre. Shrewd investors are already picking up properties."

The Globe and Mail gave it all away you see and if the Globe says it, then it must be correct:

  • "Many Windsor fans have nothing but praise for the team's new ownership group, which includes former NHLers with Windsor roots, and the team's new $71-million downtown arena, where the Spitfires won the OHL championship earlier this month."

The downtown is dead. Long live the downtown! The shrewd investors must be overjoyed at their good fortune.