Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Finally, An Eddie Is Our Hero Column

Geez, mini-Gord did not understand that the $34M Brighton Beach deal had to be praised to the high heavens not portrayed as a mere fair deal that anyone could have done. If you are going to praise a "lawyer" for the negotiations, you don't heap accolades on the hired gun but on the Big Guy himself.

And his slam on Greenlink and the pro-DRIC road diatribe, preposterous!

It is NOT enough to say this:

  • "By threatening to run for a third term, Mayor Eddie Francis is trying to cool the premature election fever gripping some Windsor councillors.

    It won't work: the next municipal race in this town is going to be a doozy, no matter what Francis does. We're talking clowns, freaks, animals, the works."

For heaven's sake, doesn't he understand yet that he has the power to make it happen! That's why he writes on Gord's old days.

If you are going to take over the reins, then learn your lesson as Anne Jarvis clearly did as her story on Matty Moroun demonstrates.

It took Gord to show him how it's done with his Saturday column:

  • "City leaders move border plan forward"

You see, it is designed to infuriate people and it did. I do not really care what Gord writes. That is what he gets paid for. But when he re-writes history to convince people to support the plans of a failed Mayor and Council, that bothers me.

Interestingly, it will be amusing to watch Gord turn himself inside out when Eddie concedes after "tweaking" the unconscionable DRIC road that we all know will not be built anyway since the costs will be astronomical. How will he support any non-Greenlink solution? He has painted himself and the Mayor into a corner. However, the theory is that all will be forgiven anyway and forgotten supposedly when the ribbon is cut for the project to start.

I am just dumbfounded by the audacity. It was bad enough for Eddie to claim that he turned the $300M BIF money into a $1.6B road when the monies came from totally separate and distinct funds set up for completely different purposes. However, for Gord to have the nerve to say that $5.7M in consulting and legal fees made us the billion plus is outrageous! Just admit it was a waste and Eddie's neck was saved by the Brighton Beach overpayment. It is not that hard to do.

Those millions effectively to re-imburse the City Treasury for fees paid are to me the clearest indication that what Gord praises Eddie for---the magnificent fight over the years--was nothing more than a stall tactic. The tactic failed because Matty Moroun was not going to be terrorized by Government action at all levels into selling out cheaply: the Feds with the Bridge, the Province with the road and the City with their social concerns in which Planning techniques were used to Sandwich's and the West End's detriment.

The Schwartz Report gave it all away. It was the Governmental blueprint in public. Eddie would have been the hero if it had happened since supposedly he was predicting in advance what would happen. But it did not.

Just consider the co-ordination involved. Each Government, within their constitutional authority, had their role to play. So do not tell me that it was not planned out well in advance.

Want more proof about the leisurely Bi-national and DRIC process and the time wasted to Windsor's detriment, years that Gord ignores. Here is what I wrote in November, 2004:

  • "Can one believe what the Partnership has said about their work to date:

    During the Planning/Need and Feasibility Study (P/NF) some preliminary corridors were identified, in order to confirm that feasible alternatives exist. These corridors were developed based on technical and environmental objectives to avoid the most sensitive/significant features (environmental, natural, social, economic, cultural) to the greatest extent possible, and to be of sufficient width to accommodate various route alignments.

    The corridors presented at the Public Information Open Houses in June 2003, and in the P/NF Study have no official status at this time."

    The P/NF Study was not conducted within the formal environmental study processes of Canada and the U.S., and therefore the corridors presented in the P/NF Study have no official status at this time."

    In other words, all this time and money to confirm the five corridors that private industry has already identified with conclusions that cannot be used in the environmental process."

Go ahead, ask the consultants as well why they did not use the speedy process Oked by the Ontario Court of Appeal for the EA process.

Why else would one side fund the lawyers and consultants of the other side who supposedly were attacking them. Perhaps Gord can explain that seeming logical inconsistency.

Gord's real nerve is giving credit where it is NOT due. Mayor Francis and other Councillors, especially the virtually invisible on the border Councillor Brister, were elected because of the efforts of STOPDRTP and the great support provided by Windsorites. It was our grassroots citizens movement that gave Eddie the boost that he needed to beat out Bill Marra by a few percentage points, hardly a smashing victory.

It was STOPDRTP not City politicans who forced the Senior Level MPs and MPPs to listen to the people. They got religion because we forced it on them. Even the mighty Windsor Star was forced to drop its support of DRTP recognizing

  • "South Windsor residents have been so vociferous in their opposition to a plan that would plop trucks and a massive Canada-U.S. customs plaza in their back yards that no Windsor politician-at any level-can hope to be elected if he or she backs DRTP."

It is so long ago that I am sure that you have forgotten certain events. Here is what we the citizens gave our politicians years ago that they squandered. The border matter could have been resolved a long time ago:

  • "Where was the demand that the Prime Minister, the Premier, the US Ambassador keep their guarantees that Windsorites would determine the final answer and not have something imposed on us."
  • "U.S. Ambassador Paul Cellucci says Washington wants quick approval of a new border crossing between Windsor and Detroit and suggested the U.S. is prepared to split the cost."
  • "[There] is no doubt that the crossing here is the single most important crossing in Canada. And it is the priority… we are not going to do this unless it really conforms to what the people of the city want. So, now we've done this, now it's a question of determining what exactly, how, the city wants to see us do it. This is not going to be imposed. That is an absolute guarantee. This is not going to be imposed." PRIME MINISTER PAUL MARTIN
  • "The onus should be on Windsor to find solutions to resolve the border truck traffic crisis prior to provincial and federal governments stepping in…, I don't think anybody wants to force something on this community," said Cellucci of Windsor's truck problems. "It's important the community be involved in the solution and to reach a consensus first." U.S. Ambassador to Canada. Paul Cellucci."

And this power earned and granted by citizens was squandered very quickly too, right after the first Schwartz Report. From a January, 2005 Newsletter, our Group's President pointed out:

  • "It finally hit us---Sam and Mayor Francis, in his talk later on stage, effectively conceded that the Bi-National was going to be around for many more years. That’s why Sam had to spend half of his talk telling us about his plans for the "short-term." In fact, Mayor Francis said in an interview on Detroit television subsequently that the Bi-national Partnership makes the final decision on the border crossing. It doesn’t!

    Why did they disappoint us? Simple. The Deputy PM and Federal Transport Minister have said that they "respect" the Bi-national process, are "committed" to it but will help "expedite" it. That is a euphemism for inaction for many years more on the most important border crossing in North America!"

Eddie had given in. He had given up. To me it was unbelievable. I guess Gord forgot this too.

Remember the Phase I agreement amongst the Governments which was to show good faith did NOT deal with the Bridge and road issue just the Tunnel...Phase II was never signed since no agreement could ever be reached.

Squandered opportunitites are what we received for so many years from this Mayor and Council and Gord wants us to praise them.

Almost a year passed before the Schwartz Report came out. When Sam gave his talk, the emphasis for another year was on the Horseshoe Road, a short-term solution not the long-term, that the Feds finally killed with another consultant's report.

  • "I don’t remember electing a Mayor and Council to develop a short-term solution. The Bridge Company did that for us already with the opening of new Customs booths. I thought we were spending all of our hard-earned taxes to hire a consultant to come up with the final answer that Windsor would demand the Senior Levels carry out...

    If only Sam had stopped his Presentation after the first intermission...

    I do NOT want to waste any more time talking about the short-term. NOR SHOULD WINDSOR. We must stop focusing on the shortterm. We cannot wait. We must solve our problems now...

    Rallying support for a short-term solution is not Thinking Big but supporting mediocrity. It means that Windsor has given up. That is unacceptable to me. I have not fought this battle to wait for the future."

Then we had the saga of full tunneling for a year with NO compromise allowed, the areas of mass destruction, then a compromised Greenlink solution in all of its various generations. And we are still fighting over it with the judicial review threats still hanging out there since we are told that nothing significant will be done until 2011 now. That fits perfectly into the two-year delayed so far DRIC bridge.

Stall, delay, inaction as Windsor suffers. Praiseworthy indeed Gord?

Sure Eddie deserves some credit for negotiating. Undoubtedly he got some more for us but that could have been gained years ago too and perhaps even more. Frankly, even if there are a few face-saving DRIC road "tweaks" to save Eddie's career, was it worthwhile stalling the process while Windsor is burning?

We do not know the true story yet. You know my belief---the Governments are working together to beat the Bridge Company and any arguments amongst them are nothing more than who takes over how much of East Europe! I almost hope that there are massive lawsuits so that the truth will be uncovered in cross-examinations before a judge even if it takes a decade.

There would have been gratitude by Windsorites, and I would not have needed to start a BLOG, if the Mayor and Council had negotiated a deal years ago for our benefit. The City is so divided now over the border file that the Mayor can hardly say with a straight face that there is any common point of view other than get the damn thing done already.

Gord needs to stop calling people names. I know it diverts attention away from the real culprits. He needs instead to start pointing the finger of blame where it belongs. All of us gave Eddie and Council the power they needed when they were first elected. They have never taken us into their confidence other than as pawns in the big game to be used for their agenda.

Think of how this City could be prospering even in this poor economic climate if the work on the new DRIC road and the Enhancement Project bridge had already started. We would be at full employment now NOT the City with the highest unemployment rate in Canada. We would be moving already into our new economy NOT waiting still for a new Undevelopment Commission CEO to be hired.

Excuse my language but this is just so much crap designed to enhance Eddie's image as he prepares to run again:

  • "Francis, who'll sit down with provincial ministers Sandra Pupatello and Dwight Duncan in a couple of weeks, knows the fight is nearing a climax. But he's also been told by Duncan that there's some room to manoeuvre. There's still money on the table and a last-ditch opportunity to enhance the Parkway.

    "The crack of the door is open. But some are saying don't walk through that crack. That just blows me away," said Francis. He said the province "knows what we are capable of and what our options are. But why would I threaten them when they're prepared to sit down and talk? I'd rather negotiate than litigate. I want to hear what they have to say."

Why bother? The fight was over long ago. They have already met in secret before without Council. They know what each side wants and how far they can go. Eddie is crying wolf again. Who can take him seriously!

It would not surprise me to see Eddie litigate if the Senior Levels needed more time. As our hero, he can stand up to them as the sycophants claim he did with CUPE. Applause, applause.

Ms Jarvis gave us the rationale to be used too:

  • "And there is time. Negotiating adjustments doesn't have to delay construction and much-needed jobs...

    But construction of the actual parkway won't start until 2011. The request for proposals to design and build the route hasn't been issued yet. The federal government hasn't approved the plan. Nothing can happen until the U.S. and Michigan governments also approve it. It's not as if this will start tomorrow if only Francis and city council would shove off."

The story is not over yet. So keep your seatbelt buckled for the ups and downs. And expect Gord to keep on writing this kind of stuff. After all loyal columnists, we have a career to salvage!