Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Saturday, November 28, 2009

BLOGExclusive: "Your Arrogance Knows No Bounds: The Zalev Lands Sequel"

All of this just out of a mere Council Question that has not been answered yet!

Poor Councillor Halberstadt. It's déjà vu all over again as Yogi said. Instead of the canal, it's the Zalev property. You just have to keep reading to see the emails I set out. It will blow your mind!

Here we go again between Mayor Edgar Francis (aka) Eddie and Councillor Halberstadt.

How can anyone forget this story. Edgar should not because there is an Integrity Commissioner investigation into it that might be reported out by Mr. Basse before we are all old and gray
  • "'This is no way to run a city'

    Mayor Eddie Francis’s dream of a landmark downtown canal and marina development appears in danger of being scuttled after fireworks erupted Friday at a special council meeting to finalize Windsor’s multimillion-dollar wish list of capital projects for senior government stimulus funding.

    Coun. Alan Halberstadt flew into a rage after discovering the project, twice rejected for inclusion on the list by council majorities at earlier meetings this week, was back on the agenda, this time with a team of outside consultants invited by the mayor to present the business and feasibility plans. The Ward 3 councillor was incensed to learn Essex MP Jeff Watson, also at the meeting, and federal bureaucrats in Ottawa, received copies six weeks ago of a feasibility report that city council is still waiting to see.

    Your arrogance knows no bounds,” Halberstadt shouted at Francis, his fist repeatedly slamming the table. “This is no way to run a city — I’m tired of this crap,” he added. He accused the mayor of waiting until the last possible hour to introduce the marina-canal proposition before the deadline to apply for two-thirds funding by Ottawa and the province."

Remember how Gord tried to steamroller Council on the canal. Won't cost us hardly anything. Money galore available:

  • "It sickens him that two decades later it remains a parking lot for cops and Windsor Star reporters. "Dare to dream," urges Hatfield. He sees this as a no-brainer, given the likelihood of massive senior government "stimulus" funding and the significant potential for economic spinoffs. "This is money that could otherwise go to Kenora or Corner Brook," he warned.

    Hatfield sees this as the next logical step in riverfront development, bringing it inland where it can connect with commercial enterprise in a people place that will "create a buzz" and give people a valid reason to come downtown again.

    The armchair critics say a "canal to nowhere" is a pie-in-the- sky idea. Funny thing. There were similar howls of derision in San Antonio during the Depression and in Oklahoma City in the 1990s when those communities began debating canal projects. Now they're priceless assets.

    Previous Windsor generations had the brains and imagination to build Jackson Park and develop our riverfront park system during difficult economic times.

    I don't know about you. But I want to see something equally worthy passed forward to our descendants. I want to believe I'm living in a city that can see beyond sidewalks and potholes."

Steamrollin' Gord is déjà vuing all over again and there is Councillor Mature formerly known as Councillor Loopy right in the thick of things again too. Torrents of money around this time too:

  • "If Windsor is serious about extracting the toxic stew at the former WCA Canada Inc. property in the east end and ridding itself once and for all of the Zalev scrapyard eyesore in the heart of the city, it can probably count on millions of dollars in assistance from a $625-million environmental war chest administered by the influential Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

    Paul Gregory, the genial Nova Scotian who heads the FCM's Green Municipal Fund, told me his Ottawa-based organization is sitting on a mountain of cash it's just itching to put to work on brownfield reclamation projects and that both Windsor sites sound like they could be tailor-made for funding.

    The FCM has an unusual and somewhat embarrassing problem: A surfeit of riches. Bequeathed $550 million by the feds early this decade to subsidize worthy environmental projects through grants and low-cost loans, it sees the fund (which includes $150 million specifically earmarked for cleaning up contaminated former industrial sites) earning interest faster than it can write cheques, given the glacial pace and legalistic, regulation-bound nature of environmental proceedings in this country.

    Gregory, who has been in contact with Ward 5 Coun. Percy Hatfield, an FCM national board member, about the two sites, made it clear Windsor could have a well-heeled ally if it proceeds with cleaning up the former bumper plant site and gaining possession of the 50-acre Zalev property...

    Hatfield said the FCM assisted Windsor in its purchase of hybrid transit buses and he's confident it would be an effective partner in cleaning up the WCA site and the Zalev property if it's purchased or expropriated by the city. "Windsor is on their radar. I'm very optimistic that if we take these steps, there'll be substantial money available." For starters, said Hatfield, the FCM's Green Fund could provide grants of up to $350,000 for environmental assessments, as well as bargain-basement loans."

Mr. Gregory is being positioned in the same way that Jeff Watson was too. Another déjà vu moment:

  • "In the end, despite what several councillors later said was Watson practically guaranteeing Ottawa's approval should Windsor submit a marina-canal application, nobody stepped forward to have the matter reconsidered...

    Watson, who is handling Windsor's file for Ottawa as the closest sitting Conservative MP, told the meeting that anything given the green light for stimulus funding can still be debated on its merits by city council and approved or rejected.

    He said his reason for wanting to meet with the local politicians Friday was to point out that more than half of a preliminary list of Windsor projects submitted Wednesday -- $96 million of a $182 million total -- were "questionable" in terms of meeting Ottawa's funding approval criteria. Those criteria, in addition to having to be completed by March 2011, include having to have a focus on job creation, helping reposition the local economy coming out of the recession and being projects not normally contemplated. Almost $80 million of Windsor's original submission covered numerous road, sewer and water projects culled from the city's five-year capital spending plan that council was told were unlikely to find favour with the Ottawa stimulus plan bureaucrats.

    "We don't want to see you leave any dollars behind," Watson said, adding Windsor could expect to receive approval for at least $150 million in stimulus project approval, with only one- third of that borne by the city."

See what I mean....the idea just came up and already according to Gord it is a no-brainer, done deal. Just perfect for the re-election campaign of the Mayor that he is leading us to believe is not going to run.

It seems the City is still being run the same way and the crap is still there if you are to believe this exchange of emails between the Mayor and Councillor Halberstadt and take Alan's position. Doesn't Edgar ever learn? Or maybe it is because he just does not care. After all, it is only taxpayer money:

  • From: Halberstadt, Alan
    Wed Nov 25 12:42:45 2009
    Subject: Zalevlawyer


    It is reported on the front page of The Star today that the city has hired Waque to study the expropriation/purchase of Zalev Bros. Please indicate when Council authorized this hiring, the estimated cost of Wague's time and what budget will cover it.

    Thanks Alan

  • -----Original Message-----
    Sent: November 25, 2009 12:56 PM
    To: Halberstadt, Alan
    Subject: Re: Zalevlawyer


    At the last council meeting council members asked a series of questions as it relates to Zalev's and Council agreed we should consolidate the issue, collect information and deal with all the matters at one council meeting. Further to the issue councillor Brister asked about options as it relates to expropriation. Just as is the normal course in responding to council questions with factual and learned opinions and in order to answer council's question I inquired of Mr. Waque to provide us a Memo as to our options.

    The cost of reporting to council on an issue would be no different then costs inquired in responding to your questions or other council question as per consultation of the appropriate resource. I trust mr waque's time would be minimal given the fact that he has written the book and little research would be required ll report back.


  • -----Original Message-----
    From: Halberstadt, Alan
    Sent: November 25, 2009 3:55 PM
    Subject: RE: Zalevlawyer


    Please advise when you have personally called a lawyer or another high-priced professional to assist admin in answering one of my Council questions. Some Council questions, not just mine, have been languishing on the order page for two or three years. In my view, you have once again skipped a step.

    Thanks Alan

I guess Alan wonders why a City lawyers could not give this information since they have been involved in expropriatons before so no taxpayer money need be spent in the early stages at least. Why do we have to hire an expensive lawyer who lives 4-500kms away from here?

Darn, why didn't Alan just write to Edgar again saying:

  • "Your Arrogance Knows No Bounds"

Imagine the headlines if he had said that. Even the Star would have had to do a story on it.