Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, August 28, 2009

Statement Reconciliation

Every month I have to check my bank statement to reconcile it with my records.

I thought the same process could be used to try and see if people are being consistent in what they say. You can do that reconciliation now

Strike Savings

Focus Ontario interview
  1. But I have to put this in perspective because when this strike started, no one wants a strike, but the accusations that were leveled against the city of Windsor by CUPE National, CUPE Ontario, that we would in fact go on strike to save money was so ludicrous, and was so out in left field, that we wanted to be able to demonstrate that there are no winners in this strike, and that we do not need a strike to achieve savings. That’s not the way you balance a budget. And what we wanted to demonstrate to our residents is that any dollars that remained, those are dollars that should go back to them because, quite frankly, we ah, we are able to manage our books the right way and not have to rely on a strike to find the savings to balance our books.

  2. Well as I’ve indicated obviously the strike whether in Windsor or Toronto or anywhere else in this country, is something you do not want to experience. It’s something that a community certainly does not want to go through, because there are no positives We are facing economic challenges and as a result we needed to make certain decisions as it relates to our financial books, and we’ve been implementing those policies and we’ve been saving millions of dollars and trying to get our financial house in order. This strike has resulted in more savings to the corporation that will help us reposition the city.

Methadone clinic

  • "MP Brian Masse (NDP -- Windsor West) has sent a letter to Ontario Health Minister David Caplan, local MPPs and Mayor Eddie Francis expressing concern about OATC's clinic in Windsor and the company's track record...

    In his letter, Masse also cites OATC's "controversial procedures" and a "seemingly clandestine approach" to establishing the Windsor methadone clinic. He is requesting that a study be done "immediately" to determine whether more methadone treatment services are needed in Windsor.

    In an interview, he said he had a problem with a private company making a profit off people struggling with drug addictions and questioned why the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network and the Ministry of Health weren't involved in the Windsor clinic planning process."

I wonder if the letter gave his Ottawa address or his Windsor one just around the corner from the Clinic. Good thing they did not ask to lease the Junction.

Garbage pickups

Remember Eddie's 75-80% solution that he bragged about. Perhaps here is more evidence his figures may be wrong:

  • "Hatfield said the loss [of over $500k at the Essex-Windsor Solid Waste Authority regional landfill] may come down because garbage and recyclables are still coming out of garages and sheds of city residents. "The figures are far from final here," he said."

  • The mayor said twice the regular amounts of recyclables have been picked up. He also said 2,460 tonnes of garbage had been collected since the strike, up from what would normally be 1,580 tonnes for such a period.

If it is caught up, why the delay

Can anyone figure out what this says:

  • "The city is suspending yard waste collection for two weeks to catch up on garbage and recycling collection.

    The city says in a press release that all garbage and recycling is caught up to what was to have been collected by the end of last week.

    This week's Civic Holiday has put crews further behind.

    Residents are asked to observe their regular collection days but are advised the garbage may be collected a day or more later.

    The city assures residents their garbage will be picked up."

Outsourcing garbage

  • "Doug Holyday, the last mayor of the former City of Etobicoke, where collection was privatized in 1995 and continued without hiccups during the last two city strikes, said he wants the city's financial watchdog to investigate the issue.

    "I'm going to ask the audit committee to endorse a request to Jeff Griffiths (the city's auditor general), because we can't order him to do it," Holyday said yesterday. "We would like a review done on the collection of garbage. We want cost comparisons, and the pros and cons of the public and private systems."

    Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis said that following their 101-day strike his council has also asked for a similar study of public and private trash collection.


    "There will be a time and place that we'll have that debate, and I'm sure it will be sooner rather than later," he said, noting his city has already been reviewing its service delivery for the past year."

HUH...I thought that was already done:

  • "In a closed meeting about a month before municipal workers began a 101-day strike, city council unanimously rejected outsourcing garbage collection after a report concluded it would lead to minimal savings...

    Dilkens said council voted unanimously in March during budget deliberations to retain the service after being presented with a report that showed minimal cost savings.

    "We have the number and report," Dilkens said. "It was unanimous on council it didn't make sense financially."

    Hatfield, who covered council as a television reporter dating back to the 1980s, recalled the garbage collection issue being revisited on numerous occasions.

    "Every time council looked at a study, it showed it was not the best thing to do. It's been out there and every time council has looked at it, it made no sense.

    "I understand taxpayers are sensitive right now, but the bottom line says it's not a good thing to do."

Bridge building is no longer a Star issue

Their Editorial "The border, An 8-year assessment" is fascinating. Not a word about the need for a DRIC bridge.

  • "Now, eight years later, we haven't reached the point that the Canada-U.S. border has become a wall, but it is not the same border it was before 9-11, and it isn't operating in the best interest of either country.

    The days when you could count on hassle-free travel across the border are mostly over. The last-minute decisions to cross the border for dinner or a night-on-the-town aren't being made as often...

    Where is the focus on shoring up the perimeter border -- like to the Europeans have done -- to reduce the need for the overwrought security that often dominates at the Canada-U.S. border? Where is the drive to reduce the myriad rules and regulations that unnecessarily impede the flow of trade?"

President Obama certainly does not believe that a new bridge is a high priority item either:


    Office of the Press Secretary

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 7, 2009

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the visit of Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada to the White House

    President Obama will meet with Prime Minister Harper at the White House on Wednesday, September 16. Canada is a close ally and partner of the United States, and the President looks forward to discussing a broad range of bilateral, hemispheric, and global issues, including cooperation on economic recovery and trade, the upcoming G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh; climate change and energy, December’s UN Conference on Climate Change in Copenhagen; and security cooperation, including in Afghanistan."

Perhaps there will finally be an Editorial apologizing to Matty Moroun for doubting what he has been saying for years now.

Infrastructue spending

Do you really believe that Governments actually wanted to spend money to increase the deficit or were promises more than enough to get re-elected. If the economy is recovering now as we are now being led to believe then why spend:

  • Jim Lyons of the Windsor Construction Association applauded the stimulus funding and said his members were keen to bid on the work.

    "This is wonderful news. Bring it on," said Lyons. "While we still have many workers waiting to be called back to work, we are hopeful that this work will bring full employment to the region and, more optimistically, that new hires are required."

    Lyons expressed concerns with the March 2011 deadline to have the projects completed, pointing out the cutoff came at the beginning rather than the end of the construction season. He conceded a glut of work was a "great problem" to have but urged officials to consider an extension.

    "Bring on the contracts and we will die trying to complete the work on time," he said."

And then we saw this

  • "Turns out those shovel-ready projects on which the city plans to spend $133 million in emergency stimulus money aren’t so shovel ready after all.

    More than two months after a gaggle of giddy politicians staged a photo-op in Windsor announcing millions of dollars for a raft of job-creating infrastructure projects, none of the approved projects has gone to tender and no related construction jobs have been created.

    The only people who appear to be working so far are the many consultants the city recently tapped to help accelerate the engineering, design, planning and tendering process.

    “We are certainly hungry and anxious to get at those projects and while the consultants have them, we don’t, ” said Jim Lyons of the Windsor Construction Association. “The timing couldn’t be any better to get them out. We just can’t get at them yet.”

In this case, mini-Gord may have been right:

  • "At noon the region's four most senior politicians were at a podium to announce concrete action to combat the rising joblessness.

    They called it "an historic day," something politicians always claim with a straight face. But it was truly something of a minor miracle to hear Conservative MP Jeff Watson, Liberal MPPs Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello and Mayor Eddie Francis all singing from the same press release without trying to elbow each other off the microphones.

    Three levels of Canadian government which all pretty much hate each other at this point managed to co-ordinate a lightning-fast (for their bureaucrats) deployment of $191 million worth of infrastructure work for the region. Hallelujah, brothers and sisters.

    Windsor's regional unemployment rate will almost certainly get much worse before it gets better. But we now know with even greater certainty that relief is coming. The cheques have been cut, the projects chosen from the short list, the jobs on the way.

    The projects themselves are far from ready to go. There's a lot of surveying to do and construction drawings to prepare. That will take at least six months for many of the jobs announced Friday.

    Construction engineers will be the first to enjoy the effects of the spending. Public works officials in Windsor and Essex County will be scrambling over the summer to hire P.Engs to start preparing tenders for the dozens of multimillion-dollar contracts that will be let.

    It will probably be September before the first labourers are hired and the first shovel bites the dirt."


Jim Lyons of the Windsor Construction Association June 16, 2009

  • "Bring on the contracts and we will die trying to complete the work on time,” he said.

Eddie Francis August 26, 2009

  • “We’re OK … we’ll be fine,” said Francis, adding Windsor’s approach is simple: “We’re gonna do these projects or we’re gonna die tryin.’”