Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, November 20, 2009

Be Nice Matty And See What You Get

Kicked in the you know where. Is it any wonder now that the Bridge Company is litigious!

I am angry at what the Michigan Governor has written since it conflicts completely with what she said in her interview on the Detroit radio station. It is clear the border war is not going to end soon. That is to the detriment of both sides of the river.

Mind you, I have never understood how the Governor can speak out on the border file and has not recused herself. I am certain that you recall that the Governor's Hubby, Daniel Mulhern, received a nice fee from one of the competitors of the Bridge Company and an organization that is actively opposing their efforts to build their Enhancement Bridge: the City of Windsor.

Oh well, I guess the rules on the other side of the river differ from ours.

I suspect that I understand now this ranking of the Michigan Governor. She ranked 47 out of 50 a few months ago.

Jack Lessenberry from Michigan who writes in the Star had this to say about the Governor:

  • "Even though the election is nearly a year away, the race for Michigan's next governor is well underway.

    Yet when moderate voters begin paying attention, they may find themselves frustrated. Outside of her immediate circle, Jennifer Granholm's two terms are largely viewed as a disappointment.

    "This is the worst and the weakest governor that our state has ever had," U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-Macomb County) said recently at a GOP gubernatorial candidates' forum. That was, granted, a partisan attack. Yet there are many independents -- and even a few Democrats -- who agree."

Let me give you some background on the latest brouhaha with the Governor and the Bridge Company.

As an example, in 2007, I BLOGGED:

  • "there was a Senate Resolution "to support the plan of the Detroit International Bridge Company to establish an enhancement span to the Ambassador Bridge and to urge the Michigan Strategic Fund and U.S. and Canadian authorities to take certain actions regarding this project"

    That Senator "Cropsey also asserted that as part of the deal Gov. Jennifer Granholm expressed her support for the twinning of the Ambassador Bridge."

On WJR, a few weeks ago, the unscripted Governor said in answer to a question posed:

  • "Gov Jennifer Granholm speaks about the Ambassador Bridge and a new Detroit River crossing to Canada – WWJ Newsradio 950 10/8/09

    JOE DONOVAN: Governor we would have more money in the state treasury if we refocused the Michigan D-DOT priorities away from spending on whether or not we need a new Ambassador Bridge. Why not just allow Matty Moroun build it with his own money? We have plenty of laws for oversight to make sure that he does right by the citizens of Michigan. And we need to put that money into the school aid and fund or use it to patch up some potholes. Why are we doing this, a duplicate bridge project here?

    GOV. GRANHOLM: We need another crossing. If Canada, and if Canada would allow Matty Moroun to do it, I think everybody would be in favor of that as the first priority. They are opposed to his bridge. So the question is, is there a joint process that can occur between Michigan and Canada, the U.S. and Canada, that allows for that crossing. So until Canada gives permission, he can’t build a bridge that’s halfway across the river."

If you were Matty and heard this, it was a remarkable change of position out of Michigan and something to get excited about. So Matty invited the Governor out for a coffee to discuss:

To be fair, Matty was being a nice guy and trying to be very co-operative to re-establish a relationship with Michigan after all of the lawsuits flying between them. He was also trying to tone down the nasty rhetoric especially after MDOT dumped tons of dirt on the access to the Bridge so traffic could not use it.

He did this even before the Free Press wrote in an Editorial:

  • "Moroun still does not fully appreciate that the bridge, even as private property, has compelling and unique public interests that override normal business operations.

    It is an understanding Moroun must acquire. In the matter of public relations, 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...

    Moroun continues to show a troubling disregard for the very public nature of his private international border crossing."

The Free Press can now admit that it was wrong. It is Moroun who understands his role a lot better than the Governor and MDOT understand theirs and what his Bridge can contribute to Michigan's well-being. How about $2B in federal matching grants as an extra added attraction!

Again the Free Press wrote subsequently:
  • "But it only works if the owner recognizes the intense public interests tied up in the bridge (not least of which are commercial and security concerns) and respects the public scrutiny that necessarily attends those interests. The owner has to be a partner with government, not an adversary. And therein lies the problem with the bridge's current owner, Manuel (Matty) Moroun.

    Moroun is one of the richest and most powerful men in Southeast Michigan -- and he sometimes acts as if that somehow exempts him from the public obligations that come with ownership of the bridge...

    By all accounts, the bridge company continues to do an excellent job of maintaining and operating the Ambassador. Company officials say they perform annual inspections, instead of one every two years, as required by law.

    That's the basis for a strong private-public partnership."

Pretty powerful language except it is completely misguided if one reads his letter. He wants to move forward together with Michigan and help create jobs. He is angry as you should remember at Michigan for breaking their partnership arrangement with him as set out in the Ambassador Gateway Project deal which was designed to accommodate his second bridge.

Who is the partner at fault is easy to answer.

Moreover, I could take the paper more seriously if they ran a story on the release of the Bridge Company's 2008 Report, the second one, or what the Bridge Company said to the Canadian Senate re health and safety issues but why do that and have to say nice things about Matty.

To be fair, I think the Free Press needs to address the Governor now because here is what she wrote. It only took her about a month to reply. I guess she was busy sending out her CV since she is term- limited:

The Governor needs to stop letting MDOT do drafts of letters that make her look like a fool for reversing her position. What would a new employer think? This won't help her rise above 47 when it is clear she has no idea what she said before.

If that is not a kiss-off letter, then I do not know what is. She would not even go with him to Starbucks for heaven's sake. There was no request to talk. She tells him to go and talk instead to the party that she said previously is trying to beat him up!

NOTE: Why didn't she mention the City of Windsor in her last paragraph on Page 1 and in the penultimate paragraph on Page 2, her husband's client!

Seriously, after she owed Canada one after they let her get away with killing the possible Downriver crossings, could we expect anything more from her!

Perhaps if the Free Press wants to make it up to Matty, they will have one of their investigative journalists ask her why she will not fulfill her legal obligation to help out the Bridge Company get their approvals from Canada. There is a document signed after all that says she must do so.

No one wants to report this, ever. I wonder why not.

Perhaps MDOT has not told her about it. It would be sooooo embarrassing after all of this time that there is something more that she does not understand. She might have to fight the Governor of New York for last place then.

In the end though, do you really believe that Matty will finish last, even if he is a nice guy.