Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Monday, July 06, 2009

Cold Summer Weather Thoughts

Just a few things I was thinking about given some of this horrible summer weather through which we suffered. What else was there to do?


I guess that the change in stars from 1 (needs improvement) to 5 (excellent) at Chanoso’s Restaurant as publicized in the Star can give rise to what was feared before in the mind of the public in an earlier Star story unless the facts are clearly set out explaining the upgrade:

  • "Another restaurant owner wanted to know if he can correct an infraction that pushed him out of the five-star rating and get reinspected immediately.

    Bennett said inspectors will stick to an inspection schedule unless there is a health complaint about the restaurant.

    "If (the public) saw stars flipping, it would hurt the credibility of the program," she said.

    A facility can improve its star rating only on its next inspection."

That must be what happened in the case of Chanoso.

  • "Donso said he had understood the previous inspection information was from a preliminary or trial-run inspection with star ratings that weren’t to be posted publicly.

    He said he had expected any star ratings would be posted only for inspections scheduled after June 1. Donoso said all of the concerns from the earlier inspection had been taken care of, and the restaurant had remained in full compliance with regulations...

    Later, the information online was not only removed, the health unit showed up for a regular inspection that afternoon that resulted in a five-star rating now shown at the restaurant's front entrance.

    "That would be coincidental," Bennett said later, adding she doesn't monitor when inspections are performed. "I didn't even know about it. I had no idea."

    Eric Donoso and Mark Boscariol, who co-own the downtown eatery, both said they did not ask for the inspection.

    They added that it usually occurs unannounced about this time of year. Donoso said staff telephoned him to say inspectors had arrived.

    "It was a very welcome surprise," Boscariol said."

Just so that readers can have some comfort about Windsor restaurants, it was reported that:

  • "During a pilot project held Feb. 2 to March 17, investigators gave 80 per cent of the 565 restaurants inspected a four- or five-star rating."


Aren't you tired just about hearing about Sandwich as if Sandwich was the entire West End.

Yes, there is a need to "personalize" different parts of that area to give it some character just like the names of Walkerville or Via Italia or Ford City or Riverside in other areas. No more Sandwich!

I have it. Why can't Windsor have an exotic locale such as Mexicantown

Thanks to Councillor Postma's BLOG, I would suggest that the area around her house be called "Margaritaville."

  • "After I left the [in-camera meeting to discuss labour negotiations where she walked out] I went home, sat in my hot tub and drank two margaritas. It was relaxing."


We know the Leakor is never going to be found but is the finger being pointed at Councillor Mom unfairly to take a shot at her for some of the things she has written and said.

Consider the following:

  • Francis denied he was responsible for the leak, as did city negotiators and the nine councillors who attended a closed-door meeting of council Thursday afternoon. Councillor Caroline Postma was the lone absentee. Calls made to her were not returned Thursday night.

  • "Coun. Caroline Postma wasn't present at the meeting -- she had an important family function -- but told The Star Friday she wasn't the source."

  • "Three city councillors refused to cross an emotionally charged picket line outside city hall before Monday's meeting, two councillors braved insults and crossed the line...

    Postma, who has supported CUPE in this three-month labour impasse, said she would honour the picket line and urged her colleagues to achieve a "fair" deal with about 1,800 striking inside and outside workers. She said a deal without a tax increase was possible...Postma honoured the line and skipped the meeting."

  • From the Councillor's BLOG...why not just phone-----"Last Friday Don McArthur from The Star showed up at my house to ask me since I was not at the in-camera meeting, am I the leak"

The City's OLRB response pointed at the President of the Transit Union as being a possible Leakor:

  • "Dragan Markovic, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 616, which represents hourly Transit Windsor employees, was identified as a possible source for the infamous leak in the city’s response to a bad faith bargaining complaint filed by CUPE with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

    The city’s response claims — without offering proof — that Markovic “was in possession of the particulars of both offers” before even city councillors were apprised of them and that he had shared the details with others."

Why is this significant:
1) The City in its response said that it was not aware of the source of any leaks of information to the media. Why then did they make the specific statement?

2) Councillor Postma is Chair of Transit Windsor!


I hope that it was a misunderstanding in the Toronto Star but here is what was said:

  • "What if a city strike actually put more money in your pocket?

    That's the scenario in Windsor, where officials say their 11-week municipal strike is saving taxpayers $300,000 a day in wages.

    Strike-related costs will lower that figure eventually, but a net savings is expected and officials say some of the money saved will be passed back to residents."

That is clearly wrong because our Mayor said previously:

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis said Monday Windsorites will get back any dollars saved by the city during the strike by municipal workers.

    “The city does not need the money and we do not need a strike to save money,” Francis said. “Our proposal would be to return those dollars to each household...”

    Whenever the strike ends, city administrators will determine the payroll savings, subtract the city’s management overtime and other strike-related costs and give back the rest to homeowners, the mayor said.

    “We are not going to use this money to fill a hole in the budget,” Francis said. “There will be an independent and side account. Any net dollars will not go to the 2009 budget or our reserves, but back to ratepayers as a rebate.”


It looks like nothing has happened on the strike scene since he has been away and nothign is scheduled:

  • "The city has repeatedly rejected union calls for outside arbitration to end the protracted strike, and both sides said Thursday that no new talks are planned."


Remember I mentioned that there was a survey being undertaken last week about a number of matters including the CUPE strike.

This week local MPP and Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan said:

  • "The Ontario legislature will not force striking municipal employees in Windsor or Toronto back to work any time soon, says MPP Dwight Duncan.

    "You know, we haven't even discussed that. The legislature is not scheduled to be back for awhile," he said Tuesday.

    Duncan, Ontario's minister of finance and revenue, said it's clear that the city doesn't support binding arbitration, which local CUPE leaders Jean Fox and Jim Wood have been urging."

DUH, Dwight, who cares what either side thinks if there is a public health or safety risk! If both sides wanted arbitration, we would have had it already.

Why is he shirking his responsibilities as a member of the Senior Level of Government or did the polling tell him something that he can use politically?

Here is an odd comment from our Mayor:

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis said he supports Duncan's statement.

    "I think ... it's probably the right decision given the fact that to do anything otherwise would really short-circuit the collective bargaining process," he said."

12 weeks is short-circuiting! To do "anything otherwise" means Eddie loses and we know how much Eddie likes to lose.


From the Windsor Star, June 25, 2009:

  • "It's now a done deal: Windsor has agreed to sell more than 100 acres of city-owned lands for the creation of the new span over the Detroit River.

    The site will include a new Customs plaza, as well as the Canadian tower of the crossing, if it's a suspension bridge. Counting the new highway to it, the overall project will cost a staggering $5 billion.

    The announcement of the plaza land deal had been slated for this week, after council approved it in-camera. But conflicting political schedules have pushed out the media grip-and-grin session for another few weeks."

Detroit Free Press, July 2, 2009:

  • "Transport Canada, the Canadian federal transportation agency, said today it was finalizing the purchase of about 100 acres of riverfront land in Windsor to allow the construction of a new bridge across the Detroit River.

    Windsor’s city council approved a preliminary measure last week that allowed the federal agency to inspect and test the property. Mark Butler, a spokesman for Transport Canada, said the sale could be completed soon."

Now the Windsor Star says on July 5:

  • "The federal government and city of Windsor are nearing a deal on the purchase of about 100 acres of land at Brighton Beach to be used for the new border crossing.

    “We’ve pretty much agreed on a price,” said Mark Butler, Transport Canada spokesman. “We are also talking to some private owners and those negotiations haven’t been completed.”

What is going on here? Is there a deal or isn't there one? What has to be tested---whether the land can support a bridge? I thought that had been done before.

I heard that the sale price is several times more than the low number the Star quoted. I guess that makes Eddie look like a hero.

Could it be that Canada Customs Officers are protesting the location. After all, if the Jail should not be located there according to the Ontario Government, why should CBSA officers have to work in a dangerous location! Why should the public be forced to use such an area either!

  • "Brighton Beach is comprised of heavy industry. The issues with heavy industry is that it would be considered "sensitive land use" because there would be people living, sleeping and working in the building 24/7. In accordance with the Ministry of Environment guildelines, the introduciton fo sensitive land uses in heavy industrial areas is not encouraged."


Be still my beating heart. What happens if there is no deal with creditors? Look at what just happened with Eh-Channel where its suitor just walked away:

  • "Canwest deadline extension increased

    Canwest Global Communications Corp. has won an extension from its senior lenders on a deadline to come up with a definitive re-capitalization plan, the media company said Tuesday.

    Winnipeg-based Canwest, which owns The Windsor Star and the National Post, said discussions with a committee representing its lenders are continuing, with a new deadline to have an agreement in principle in place by July 17. A definitive agreement must be met two weeks later, on July 31."