Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Things I Never Learned In School

I am trying to catch up again. So many stories to talk about.

The Internet is a wonderful tool.

I have learned so many new things by being able to access newspapers so easily from around the world including even news stories from home through the Windsor Star Online since I cancelled my subscription to the published version.


Don't you find it odd when the second Ambassador Bridge Inspection Report is released that says nothing siginificant about the Bridge that there is little media coverage. Just two stories that I found. Unlike the first time. And Congreeman Dingell does not say anything that I can recall.

Don't you find it odd that none of the local Windsor and Detroit traditional media outlets told us the first time around about certain information that I had to learn from the wire services. There might be some merit in reading information from people who live 4-500 KM or more away from here after all.

Honest, if it was there locally, I missed it.

Silly, naive me. I thought the whole issue over the 80+ year old Congressman wanting the release of information about the 80 year old Ambassador Bridge was for safety reasons.
  • "U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., gave the inspection document to reporters over Moroun's strenuous protests because, he said, of the public's "need to know if the bridge is safe..."

    Noting the finding that the Ambassador Bridge was in fair condition, Dingell added, “I’m not comfortable that fair condition — with 11 million people going across and thousands of heavy-duty trucks traveling across it every day — that I can tell you that it is in the shape I would like it to be.”

Of course, he was offered the report to read to satisfy himself as to concerns but that was not good enough for him.

Imagine then my shock when I read this line from an Associated Press story in the New York Times:

  • "Bridge owner Manuel ''Matty'' Moroun wants to build a second span across the Detroit River alongside the Ambassador Bridge. Federal transit officials, Michigan and some Canadian officials support a new publicly financed bridge, and Dingell said he wants inspection reports to help people decide which plan to support."

HUH? How did building the DRIC bridge and deciding which bridge should be built get into this? That has nothing to do with what he said to justify the public release.

Then I saw this line from a Reuters story:

  • "The report was released by Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, who has questioned plans by the bridge's billionaire owner to build a parallel span over the Detroit River."

DOUBLE HUH. What has demanding a copy of the Bridge safety report and then releasing it got to do with building a DRIC Bridge. Any concerns can be resolved by allowing the Enhancement Bridge to go forward as the Congressman now must support.

Oh, and on November 11

  • "In 1929, the Ambassador Bridge spanning the Detroit River between Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, was dedicated."


I cannot believe what this man says. Here is his latest from Reuters again:

  • "Michigan officials say the bridge remains safe but has become unable to handle the traffic flow across the border.

    "If anything happens to the Ambassador Bridge, then Detroit's economy shuts down," said Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Shreck. "When the crossing closed for a half day on September 11, auto plants as far away as Missouri had to close."

    The U.S. transportation system was severely affected that day in 2001 when hijacked jetliners struck targets in New York and Washington."

Bill, Bill, Bill. What is the problem with MDOT? The Governor wants the Ambassador Bridge Ehancement Bridge built as her #1 priority. The Michigan House leader says the State has no money to build a DRIC bridge. The Senate does not want a DRIC Bridge.

Bill has not figured out yet that traffic has dropped at the border and that it is substantially less than in 1999. He must be looking at Sean O'Dell's traffic reports! He must not have been told either that the Bridge is working at 50-60% capacity.

No wonder I did not see this in the local media. They saved him from embarrassment!

No one doubts that if there is a problem at the Bridge, we would have economic difficulties. That is why the Bridge Company spokesman talked about terrorists being the main beneficiary of the release of their document that MDOT gave to FHWA.

But MDOT, if there was a concern, should have been demanding from both Federal Governments reverse customs to minimize dangers. But then again, the Bridge Company has been advocating for that for years and that would take away, if implemented, the security argument from DRIC.

I think Bill's memory may have failed him on this too since he forgot about the Bridge Company's "floating bridge" concept.

While Bill mentioned 9/11, the interesting thing is that while airports were down for days, the Ambassador Bridge was only down for half a day! It was the Bridge Company not Governments who opened new booths to end back-ups (and in Canada, new truck booths have been built but are not operational due to our Government!)

I have still not heard the need for redundancy for every major piece of infrastructure in North America, just the Ambassador Bridge! Again, while security for planes has improved drastically, the obvious security action at the Bridge and other border crossings has never taken place. Perhaps Bill can explain why not!

Oh and by the way, Reuters told us that

  • "State officials have been given copies of the annual safety reports from Moroun's company since 2004."

Yet, Bill could say in the Detroit News

  • "Has the bridge company always had annual inspections? "That's what they say," says Shreck, who says the state doesn't know."

Poor Shreck. I guess there is little information in the swamp he lives in at MDOT.



I guess the Councillor does not have a mind that can think on his own. If he is told to do something, he follows along, even if it is a dumb idea. I guess that he is afraid to be scolded by the Star since it could ruin his political ambitions or by the Council Principal:

  • "Dave Brister, council's money guy, has heard from a number of Ward 1 residents who would like to see the money [tax refund] committed to special projects. "Yeah. It's a missed opportunity. I can't argue that the dollars wouldn't be better spent on a project. But that would wreak havoc," Brister warned.

    The problem, he said, is that it's now built into people's mindsets that they're going to see the money and all hell would break loose if the city fails to deliver on that commitment. "It's late in the game. A promise was made. And now it's a credibility issue and we've got to do it," he explained. "That train has left the station."



The Buffalo News reported:

  • "BORDER SECURITY: We were contemplating the news that couples from other countries would be joining the domestic pairings at the Grand Island Holiday Inn for this weekend’s “swingers’ convention,” and the thought occurred to us that honesty could make for some interesting conversations at the Peace Bridge.

    “Welcome to America,” they might start. “Purpose of visit?”

Not only does Buffalo want our truck traffic but ow they want to take away our party image as well!


How sad for the media, like the Free Press, that must have been hoping for so much more so they could write about a border scandal:

  • "The inspection report that Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun tried to keep private showed little that was surprising"

Then they make an allegation again that is groundless given what has already taken place in Michigan and which ignores what the Bridge Company said before the Canadian Senate in the C-3 debate:

  • "Even if it were true, however, it would only serve to underscore competing public and private interests that trouble the critics of a privately owned international crossing. Moroun still does not fully appreciate that the bridge, even as private property, has compelling and unique public interests that override normal business operations."

Then a quasi-Dingell leap in logic:

  • "his attempts to keep inspection information private will hardly strengthen his bid to build a parallel span and prevent the construction of a public bridge downriver"

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Here is more confirmation about what this story was all about: smearing Moroun, giving DRIC more money, allowing a public bridge to be built.

Too bad that the story has rebounded badly the other way. The Free press. like Dingell, has no choice but must demand too that Moroun's bridge be built now.