Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Interesting Thoughts

I am trying to catch up with all that has happened over the past few days. Here are some thoughts for you


Oh no, an Edgar, Son of Cleary transaction over the Salvation Army Building.

Remember how bad the Cleary deal was with St. Clair as I outlined in my BLOG: June 16, 2006 "The Marketing Of The Cleary Deal."

I also listed in that BLOG my view about the wonderful deals that the Mayor negotiated, or failed to negotiate for us. Add another to the list by the time this is done:
  • "Former Salvation Army building to house St. Clair journalism school

    City council fast-tracked plans Monday to convert a dilapidated, vacant city-owned building into a $5-million state-of-the-art St. Clair College media and public relations school.

    The college will transfer 220 students into the 16,000-square- foot “media plex” on the corner of Victoria Avenue and University Avenue West with hopes that eventually up to 1,000 students may one day attend the downtown satellite campus inside the former Salvation Army building...

    The city purchased the building in the late 1990s with the idea to use it as a storage facility and teaching centre in tandem with the Capitol Theatre, but those plans never materialized and the building has sat vacant for over a decade.

    Mayor Eddie Francis said St. Clair will purchase the building from the city in a deal similar to what was worked out in 2006 with the college to take over the former Cleary International Centre and convert it into the St. Clair Centre for the Arts — home to 800 students.

    Final details have still not been worked out, the mayor said."


In case you wondered, the City is selling it to St. Clair for a dollar!

Of course, it is going to revitalize the Downtown just like the Cleary deal was going to do:

  • "Bringing more college students downtown will add diversity and foot traffic to the core area, Francis said.

    “The students downtown are a welcome addition,” he said. “This will bring a transformation of that corner.”

Oooops, now it is only a corner that will be revitalized. Is that THINKING SMALL?


Looks like the Dunbar audit release is being stalled off again so that we will NOT have an East End Arena audit before the next election.

This time we are going to ask the Provincial Auditor General to give

  • "a second opinion on the legal views of Toronto lawyer Andrew Roman who told the city's audit committee releasing the report of former auditor Mike Dunbar would violate the Municipal Act."

The answer that will be given back after several months of more delay is that

  • "the Provincial Auditor General does not give legal opinions to municipalities. Hire your own lawyer!"

It's interesting that the Star's story neglected to mention that Edgar received a copy of the Dunbar report and he was NOT a member of the Audit Committee.. Accordingly, in my opinion, the report is in the public domain and there is no reason not to release it.

Curiously, this topic was not mentioned in Mr. Roman's legal opinion.


Take a look at his Tuesday column "Deficit could sink Ontario Liberals."

Doesn't this apply to Edgar as well:

  • If Ontario's economic prospects are as dire as they appear, Premier Dalton McGuinty should probably go dressed as a dead man walking

    But McGuinty's days as premier are numbered by the economic performance of his government. The process to choose his successor probably breaks into the open in Windsor this weekend, having already been simmering for months in the backrooms. [We know already a number of people are ready to run against Edgar, if he has the nerve to run again, with their theme being the miserable state the City is in under Edgar's lack of leadership]
  • "the Liberal government could be eviserated at the polls for the budgetary mess it has created.

    And they have created this black hole. Don't go feeling sorry for them being caught by a "bad economy." It's their job to anticipate downturns and to plan accordingly.

    Instead the Liberals spent -- and continue to spend -- as though the sun would shine forever. They had no rainy day plan, and now we are going to pay." [The canary in the coal mine died many years ago in Windsor and Edgar has done nothing but create mind's eye visions like a canal, Greenlink, and an airport hub. Heck, the Undevelopment Commission is a joke and has been dead for years! Seriously, how could anything be good here when our Mayor thought at first that our problems were merely "cyclical."]
  • Ontario's red ink is structural. That means we're stuck with it forever -- or until Dwight, Dalton and the rest of cabinet start making tough decisions.

    So far, they seem to be merely praying that federal stimulus spending reinvigorates consumers and the economy and lifts Ontario out of deficit...

    These are their choices: if Ontario is still running a large deficit at the end of 2011, voters are likely to punish the Liberals as failed economic stewards. But if they raise taxes to balance the budget they will almost certainly lose. [No tough decisions will be made in Windsor in an election year other than hammering CUPE workers! Instead the cry will be for a 0% tax increase as we are hearing now.]


  • "City won't bend on charging interest on tax arrears

    Coun. Fulvio Valentinis warned of “disastrous ramifications” if the city agreed to a motion by Coun. Ken Lewenza Jr. to significantly lower the current penalty rate of 15per cent....

    a majority of councillors who voted on the issue agreed with the concern expressed by administration that giving such a break could lead to more delinquent accounts from among the 95 per cent of ratepayers who do make timely payments."

Yeah right. Didn't I just read that it is one of the prime money generators for the City! How else to balance the budget but on the backs of people who are in economic trouble too!

How close is the City now to credit card or department store rates of interest?


If only Edgar had not made the dumb Back-to-Work Protocol near-riot move. CUPE would have been crushed here and in Toronto and the Province would have had precedents to use against their union.

And to those who still do not believe me that governments are using the economic slowdown to destroy their unions, read this:

  • "Ontario out to make workers scapegoats for deficit

    OPSEU president prepares members to fight unpaid days off and massive privatization in wake of $24.7 billion deficit announcement.

    Toronto (27 Oct. 2009) - The Ontario government is planning to make public employees scapegoats for the province's massive $24.7 billion deficit, warns the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE).

    "The wounded global economy (has come) home to roost at Queen’s Park," says OPSEU president Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "It’s a big number. It has big consequences for every OPSEU member.... The Liberals plan to make us pay."

    As well, privatization is now "a spectre" than hangs over every public service worker," Thomas adds.

    Finance Minister Dwight Duncan served notice of a 'sweeping review' of government spending when he announced the deficit number and Premier Dalton McGuinty has said there may be a return to unpaid days off for public workers - not seen since the early 1990s.

    Thomas says the deficit is clearly big - about $1,900 for every person living in Ontario - but the question that must be faced is, "Who is going to pay?"

    "Dwight Duncan won’t have much luck looking for waste in public services (except, of course, for the hundreds of millions he’s throwing away on private consultants)," Thomas said.

    "We already had a 'sweeping review' from 1995 to 2003. It was called the Common Sense Revolution and public services still haven’t recovered from the brutal trauma of those years," he noted.

    "As far as unpaid days off, a lot of us remember Bob Rae’s 'Social Contract' all too well. But much has changed since the Rae days."

    Thomas says the Ontario government of today cannot simply legislate workers to take unpaid days off because of a Supreme Court rulings in recent years affecting legal collective agreements and collective bargaining rights.

    This leaves the province with two options, he added, privatization and mass layoffs.

    "Privatization is a stupid idea. It cuts services, it destroys jobs and it usually comes with major cost overruns," he argued.

    "And from a budget standpoint, selling off assets like the LCBO – which right-wingers are already barking for – would kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    "As for more layoffs, they can only weaken local economies, destroy the services people need and generate headlines the Liberals really don’t want to see.

    "So what’s their plan?" Thomas asks.

    "My guess is, they think that just the threat of layoffs and privatization will force public employees to agree to the wage cuts or 'Dalton Days' he wants. In other words, it’s a New Social Contract," he adds."


Nice reprint of the photo the Star ran with their online story "Windsor ratepayers to get their rebate — $72 — just in time for Christmas."

It was the file photo of

  • "a striking CUPE member stands in front of a man who was cutting grass June 11, 2009 at a Forest Glade Park baseball field. Words were exchanged between the two men and Windsor Police eventually arrived to defuse the situation."

Another reason I am glad my subscription was cancelled.


  • "Francis said council owed the money to ratepayers now, in part to counter the striking union's arguments the city was benefiting from a long strike in order to balance its budget.

    "It's ridiculous to think any municipality would enter a strike to balance its budget," said Francis.

Here's my problem. According to the numbers, the City saved about $20M during the strike resulting in each of us getting about $72. But back on April 28 when the strike first started, we saw:

  • "City to rebate strike savings; Each household to get cash back, says mayor

    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."

    It's been estimated the city is saving about $300,000 per day on payroll costs during the strike by 1,800 inside and outside workers that started just under two weeks ago."

On July 4, we read the same number

  • "Windsor's labour cost savings for not having to pay 1,800 striking municipal workers since mid-April have reached approximately $24 million...

    gross wage savings, which the city has calculated at $300,000 per day..."

On July 30, we read this:

  • "Coun. Percy Hatfield said he expects that once final costs for overtime, security and contracting services are tallied and revenues lost during the work stoppage are deducted, there won't be much left even though the city saved about $30 million in employee salaries.

    "The rebate cheque is a commitment," Hatfield said. "But I wouldn't expect more than $50. People should not be counting on hundreds of dollars."

    Treasurer Onorio Colucci said city administrators have not yet finalized figures related to the strike and it will take time to do so.

    Rough numbers show the city saved $300,000 per day -- or about $30 million -- on payroll during the strike, he said."

Then on October 3, we read

  • "City's net strike savings $5.5M

    Windsor saved close to $20 million during the 101-day strike, but only about a quarter of that will be returned to ratepayers after calculating for lost revenues and extra costs such as overtime and security, according to a staff report to be discussed by council Monday night."

Wait a minute....there is $10M missing here. Is the City's Finance Department that incompetent to make a $10M mistake?

Back again on April 28, 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."

Where is that independent and side account? Hiding with the Integrity Commissioner's "leak Report?"

Where did that $10m go? Surely the $30M number was not inflated to make people even more furious at CUPE. We need an explanation and quickly.

If Finance can make that big of an error, we had better get an audit done of the City books and records immediately!

After all, no municipality would enter a strike to balance its budget!


Here we go again:

The Real Estate Investment Network’s (REIN™) release of Top Ontario Investment Towns analyzes the current and future prospects for real estate investment opportunities in Ontario. The 108 page report states that recent market correction provides buying opportunities for home owners and investors; however, only in select regions of the province

The Top Ontario Investment Towns report list:
1) Technology Triangle:Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge
2) Hamilton
3) Simcoe Shores:Barrie- Orillia
4) Brampton
5) Durham Region – Whitby, Pickering, and Ajax
6) Ottawa
7) Brantford
8) Toronto
9) Vaughan
10) Whitchurch-Stouffville

Take a look at the comment about Hamilton. While Edgar discusses mind's eye visions, they create!
  • "Breaking through its past, Hamilton jumps up with a bright future

    Hamilton is poised to outperform most the province as it breaks through its past reputation and grabs a hold of the future.The continuing diversification of the City’s economy coupled with the increase in accessibility provided by the transportation improvements provides a strong economic base from which to work. Hamilton’s economy, in just a few short years will be unrecognizable when compared to the past decades. This renewal will help drive demand for real estate (rentals as well as ownership) in the City, especially in older neighbourhoods going through transition.

If this is not the best reason for someone else to be in charge of this City, then nothing is! We have the best transportation location in the Province and Edgar is still fighting over nothing.

It just makes me sick at what we have lost while Edgar has been Mayor and with two weak, do nothing Councils!