Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Truth Shall Set You Free

Our Mayor is so clever. He knew exactly what we were going to get from the Senior Levels with respect to Infrastructure money. Why he tells us that:
  • "They have done so with exactly what we anticipated."

Surprise, surprise. Administration did their job. They read the Senior Level program rules, applied for the approporiate projects and we received our fair share. No big deal, right. People doing their job competently.

But not in Windsor. We have to have drama and theatre performed by the Mayor and Council with supporting roles by MP Jeff Watson and Transport Canada Minister John Baird as well as Windsor Star stories and Henderson columns. Throw in a Halberstadt temper tantrum and we have just about had it all.

But why? Why did we need all of that fuss? What's the answer? What's the truth?

  • -Colonel Jessep, did you order the Code Red?

    -You don't have to answer that.

    -You want answers?

    -I want the truth!

    -You can't handle the truth...

    --You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me there. We use words like honor, code, loyalty...we use these words as the backbone to a life spent defending something.

    You use 'em as a punchline. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very freedom I provide, then questions the manner in which I provide it. I'd prefer you just said thank you and went on your way.

    Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a weapon and stand a post. Either way, I don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to.

It reminded me of a column that Gord Henderson wrote back in August, 2004 just after a bunch of us from STOPDRTP met with him because we were so concerned about how Eddie was handling the border file. We now know we were right to be worried:

  • "08-10-2004

    Supporters of Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis say people who are growing impatient for action should kick back and enjoy the final three weeks of summer because the municipal universe is unfolding right on schedule...

    What the heck's going on over there at Sleepy Hollow?" demanded one of several readers who were itching to know why there hasn't been an announcement concerning a new arena/multi-use facility. Meanwhile, DRTP foes are working themselves into a lather while awaiting the grand unveiling of "Gridlock Sam" Schwartz's border plan."

In other words, don't seek answers or the truth. You can't handle the truth. Trust Eddie. He needs not explain himself to us mere mortals. Just thank him and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Eddie could hurt himself by patting himself so much on his back:

  • "City council took a risk on my recommendation when it approved an unprecedented level of infrastructure spending in our capital budget," said Mayor Eddie Francis. "But I felt confident the senior levels of government would recognize the needs in this region and come to the table.

    "They have done so with exactly what we anticipated and this will allow our entire capital works budget to proceed as planned," said Francis."

Heck, we poor taxpayers are too dumb. We cannot handle the truth. That is why politicians at all levels have to play and manipulate us. That is why the profession of “Spin Doctors” pays so well.

All we are required to do is to genuflect at their brilliance and keep on voting them in office since they are so much smarter than we could ever be.

Of course we should be happy that money is coming in and that jobs will be created and problems solved. But look at the misery that we have had to go through.

For what?

Why couldn’t we just simply be told the truth?

It's simple. There is an agenda at play that we are not supposed to know about. What it is, well your guess is as good as mine. Take a look at these headings and what took place over the last few months. It is all so confusing, all so contradictory, all so unnecessary:


 Windsor has $360-million worth of "shovel-ready" projects on its wish list and is hoping to hear soon how much federal stimulus money will be headed to the nation's unemployment capital.

"We're waiting with bated breath here," said Mike Palanacki, the city's director of operations.

 “Francis said Monday the $186-million list Windsor submitted…”

 Windsor, which has the highest unemployment rate in Canada, applied for $260 million in federal funds for 22 projects


On May 5,
 “Francis said Monday the $186-million list Windsor submitted probably contains only about $90 million in eligible projects.”

On June 6, we learned

 “More than $133 million in infrastructure projects will go ahead in the city this year, as the provincial and federal governments dropped $90 million in cash on Windsor’s lap.”


What rot!

Remember how we had to add the canal to the list of items or the sky would fall

Not a penny was left. Remember the BS:

 "We don't want to see you leave any dollars behind," Watson said

 “Councillor Jones answers a question about leaving money on the table and says that sometimes that is a good thing.

 Eddie talks about walking away from $96M of federal funding.

 "I've never been so completely, completely perplexed. In the last minute, council left $30 million on the table," said Coun. Ken Lewenza Jr

 Eddie says his approach is to give them all the projects and let the Senior Levels make the decisions. If that is Eddie's approach, then how can there be any funding left unused. Many projects were put forward.


That came out of the mouth of Conservative, way in the back-bencher Jeff Watson:

  • “He said his reason for wanting to meet with the local politicians Friday was to point out that more than half of a preliminary list of Windsor projects submitted Wednesday -- $96 million of a $182 million total -- were "questionable" in terms of meeting Ottawa's funding approval criteria.”

Funny, here are the kinds of projects that the Senior Levels wanted:

  • “About the Program

    The ISF complements existing federal infrastructure funding by focusing on short-term objectives for economic stimulus. To further this goal of rapid economic stimulus, the ISF will focus on construction–readiness as important project selection criteria. The full $4 billion will be distributed in fiscal years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. Projects will focus largely on the rehabilitation of existing assets such as water, wastewater, public transit, highways, roads, culture, parks, trails and municipal buildings.”


It seems to me that our projects fell within the Governmental Program parameters.

Here is what we wanted:

 The biggest-ticket item is $60 million for a giant underground sewer reservoir basin off Riverside Drive that would end most instances of heavy rainfall mixing with household sewage and then being pumped directly into the Detroit River.
 $30 million to service "employment lands" annexed from Tecumseh, $7 million to complete the Wyandotte Street East extension, $8 million to upgrade Tecumseh Road East between Jefferson and Lauzon and $22 million for Windsor Airport upgrades. While ignoring the canal project, council approved adding a $60-million item for a waterfront underground retention treatment basin to end sewage overflows into the Detroit River,

Here is what we got:
 servicing of lands, upgrades to an operations building and construction of parallel taxiways at Windsor Airport as well as improvements to Jackson Park, the Ganatchio Trail, the city's riverfront plaza, bikeways, wastewater retention ponds, Tecumseh Road East between Jefferson Boulevard and Lauzon Road, Walker Road near Highway 401 and the Wyandotte Street East and Walker Road intersection.


 “He [Francis] said Windsorites should ask their councillors why the canal project was not included on the wish list.”

 Windsor, which has the highest unemployment rate in Canada, applied for $260 million in federal funds for 22 projects ranging from road and sewer projects to land servicing and improvements to the airport.

“We desperately need these projects,” said Francis, noting his city has been devastated by job losses. “They are critical for us to at least have some sort of hope coming out of this, that there will be a local economy to talk about.”

Do you see what I mean? We could have been told the answers early on. We could have been given the truth. It was not this huge mystery.

But of course there is something else going on that we are not supposed to know about. Just wait for the drama this summer. Don't forget that Eddie only has about 1 1/2 years left in his Term.

Just say after me... Thank you Eddie! Because that is all we are entitled to do.