Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Don't Blame Edgar

No criticism ever. No fingers pointed. Look elsewhere. It's NEVER his fault.

Consider the Bridge Company leak. He did not do it. It was an underling.

Always look for an Insubordinate Claus, one might say, to blame.


Remember Edgar (aka Eddie) scolding Councillors like the kindergarten children he thinks they are for politicing when there are important matters to be undertaken over the next year, like getting him re-elected.

Fortunately, there is someone outside of the political field over whom he has absolutely no control whatsoever who can politic for him: Gord Henderson.

Gord just announced the start of the 2010 election campaing by telling us that Edgar will break his 2-term election promise, not because he wants to but because Windsor needs him. We will be begging him to return because of his "inspirational leadership" during the CUPE strike. So much for "moving on."

  • "So much to do. So little time to do it. It's downright mean to say it. But we need four more years from this guy."

Of course Gord knows that if the Star had covered the Lewenza Ward meeting and reported how Windsorites were screwed by the hardliners, then Francis would be following David Miller in Toronto:

  • "Consider what happened in Toronto where nice-guy Mayor David Miller demonstrated the leadership qualities of an overcooked noodle, alienated both camps and soon confirmed the obvious, that he was chopped liver."

Here's the real hoot though. The big issues that Edgar is supposed to tackle--"Ontario's most costly road project, Zalev file, the canal file, the airport cargo file, the railway relocation file, the struggle to rehabilitate downtown and the daunting task of reinventing Windsor's place in a post-industrial Ontario--he has had those issues for 2 terms and has achieved little on each of them.

How many times can one recycle failure.

Gord's column was funny. Scaring competitors off, especially Bill Marra, by effectively warning them that they will be smeared. Why even Councillor Brister may be upset since his good buddy encouraged him to think that Edgar was NOT going to run in a couple of columns but the clear message today was that Edgar will.

But hold on for a minute. did you read the Star editorial?

  • "Municipal terms

    Three years was long enough

    In March 2006, when Premier Dalton McGuinty began floating the idea of extending the term of municipal politicians to four years from three, we said it was a flawed idea.

    Today, with the idea now law -- and municipal councils and school boards heading into the fourth year of their expanded mandates -- we still think it was the wrong thing to do."

Heck, don't tell me that the Star cannot face another year of Francis too!

A good part of the Arts community cannot I am sure, especially after the Salvation Army Building fiasco. As Ron Stang wrote:

  • "Local artists launch sticker campaign against Mayor Eddie Francis

    A group of artists has launched a campaign against Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis..

    The stickers are takeoffs of the famous Barack Obama “Hope” poster from last year...

    The Windsor version of the sticker has Eddie Francis in the place of Obama and instead of the word Hope it has various slogans, all negative. One says Still No Change. Another says instead of Obama’s Yes We Can, No We Can’t and a third F--- You Eddie."


  • "The pending St. Clair College journalism building is creating its own news even before the school takes it over -- theatre activists complained Wednesday that props stored in the facility were thrown into dumpsters without notice...

    "This is just shameful and wasteful," said Michelle Mainwaring, artistic director of MJM Entertainment Productions which stages dinner theatre. "It makes me sick. It's totally disrespectful..."

    Mayor Eddie Francis, however, said bankruptcy trustee Stephen Funtig, who represents the creditors controlling the Capitol Theatre -- a legal battle over the playhouse has ensued since it went bankrupt in March 2007 -- was told in advance about clearing the former Salvation Army building.

    "People should address their concerns to the trustee, who is responsible for all that stuff," Francis said. "The city reached out to the trustee. On Dec. 3, we let them know that we needed to clear out the building and said they should make arrangements to clear out the stuff they would want to have. They replied that the cost of removing the stuff was greater than the value of the stuff and that the city should dispose of it."

It's the City's building, not Funtig's. How can Edgar (aka Eddie) pass the responsibility to him?

I wonder if the City understands what "bailment" means.


Surely no one on Mangement's side ever expected their managers and non-union employees to accept this:

  • "The City of Windsor's managers and non-union employees voted Wednesday night to reject a proposal from the city that would have squelched the employees' union drive.

    John Miceli, the city's manager of facilities operations and president of the group that's attempting to unionize the 420 employees, said the main sticking point was an issue of reciprocity with CUPE Local 543.

    "In the past, we've had the pleasure of experiencing any of the wage increases that 543 got. We received (them) as well," he said. "This agreement only provides us reciprocity on the health benefits, but nothing other than that. It prescribes a wage increase up to 2012, and nothing beyond that."

Why there is such a non-trusting relationship between the City and its workers that if the PETU members had accepted it, one would have had to question their wisdom! All they would have been buying is a few years of peace and then when the City screwed them again, they would have had to start all over again.

May as well fight the fight now.

Add another labour relations fiasco to Edgar's list.


In this case, "never" may be smarter than "better late." Why waste one's efforts on a loser project except if one has little else to crow about.

Back in September, the headline read:

  • "'We have to act' mayor says of air cargo plan"

If we have not after several months, then there is only one person who is to blame? And I do NOT mean Ms Nazzani.

Does anyone really believe that Government will take seriously Edgar's report prepared by a "self-interested" consultant like Luftahnsa who wants Government to build a terminal for industry? No wonder Councillor Halberstadt stated:

  • "It is my view that an independent third party needs to critique the work of Lufthansa. To this end, I spoke to Dr. William Anderson, Ontario Research Chair of the Cross-Border Transportation Institute established in 2008 at the University of Windsor.

    Anderson spent 10 years at the Centre for Transportation Studies at Boston University, and 15 years at Hamilton’s McMaster University, where he witnessed the growing pains of John C. Munro’s air cargo industry.

    Dr. Anderson met the Lufthansa consultant when they were in Windsor. He was impressed, but upon reading the 117-page phase one report, he has identified several troubling unanswered questions.

    He would be willing to officially review Lufthansa’s studies and do it for nothing. University researchers like Dr. Williams are valuable to their communities “partly for their expertise,” and more importantly, “partly for their objectivity.”

While Edgar ran off to Germany alone (why didn't he take Messrs Dilkens and Lewenza with him this time since he did before) and ran off to Washington with Ms Nazzani, one wonders if he has raised the money, $310,000 yet for Phase II of the Lufthansa study.

While he is jet-setting:

  • "London International Airport has been given the go-ahead to launch a "cargo village gateway."

    London will receive up to $8 million in federal funding for the initiative, Gary Goodyear, minister of state for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, announced. The city is putting $3 million of its own funding into the enterprise, which is expected to create up to 150 jobs."

If as the Star says "Airport cargo 'race' on." then thanks to Edgar, we are clearly in last place.

And I won't even think about the other race we are losing to Hamilton that is barely mentioned here.


This town ain't big enough for him

Don't be surprised to see Edgar leave town after his term of Mayor ends. We are too small-townish for him. You cannot blame him for that.

As Gord pointed out so clearly as an alternative for him:
  • "Go make a pile of money in your chosen profession, even if it means moving to the bright lights of Toronto or Chicago."

    Leave all this small-town, small-minded grief and b.s. behind."

After all, our Mayor is not like us. As Gord tells us, Edgar

  • "thinks it's perfectly normal to make an overnight flight to Germany in order to hold meetings in a single day with Lufthansa executives, Red Bull Race officials and world youth games planners."
He is after all he is our world-class union fighter, land developer, sports jock, border operator, road and tunnel builder, hub advocate, P3 financier, entertainment impresario, onion marketer and canal builder. He is the guy who is our champion entrepreneur with our money and at our risk.

It's a no-brainer to sell a building for a dollar when you have given away a building worth millions to the same party. Gosh, I might have paid 5 bucks for both if I had been given a chance to bid.

Perhaps, I can partner with Mr. Fahri and get the Capitol cheaply and do the kind of thing he did with the Capitol Theatre in London. We can turn it into an office complex and enter into "a 20-year lease... for civic offices." We'll call it a public-private partnership and ask for more of them as Mr. Fahri did to make it really trendy too and move the Planning Dept there as they did in London so they can continue to make our main street even greyer than it is now.

He and I can even build our new City Hall after we tear down the Barn and those Glengarry units after the report comes out in January about how deficient the existing building is. That would be a very nice P3 even if at taxpayer expense compared with doing it oneself. Just like with the DRIC road fiscal extravaganza.

I don't blame him. Jet-setting and rubbing shoulders with world leaders, who can be interested in such petty items as silencer buttons at Council.

Jet-setting a couple of times to Germany for day trips. Heck, Harrow is a big trip for me.

Do you really believe that Edgar went to Washington, DC "on Friday to promote the city's plans to build an international cargo hub at its airport" merely days before President Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. There's more to it than meets the eye.

Speaking of eyes, "the eyes of the world will turn to this city and to this community as the Olympic flame arrives," Edgar stated. I just saw my eye-doctor for a stye in my left eye.

Whirlwind trips to meet children's games officials, Red Bull organizers, the President of Lebanon.

Hmmm, didn't Mr. Farhi claim

  • "If you and I are cousins, my friend, there can indeed be peace in the Middle East."

Does that give you a hint about what noble prize Edgar is looking for now? Think I am joking? Why would Gord mention Chicago? Remember this:

  • "I am glad that Eddie took a day off to go to Chicago to speak at the Annual Richard J. Daley Urban Forum on the subject of "The New Urban Dwellers: Addressing the Challenge and Opportunity of Urbanization."

While there he also attended

  • "Developed and hosted by Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, the first-ever U.S.-Arab Mayors Forum was held April 28-30 in Chicago. The historic conference brought together about 50 mayors from 18 nations to share best practices, exchange information, and build new relationships...

    Ten mayors from North America participated in the Forum, nine from the US and one from Canada...The Canadian mayor was Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis."

If there is a lot of blustery wind coming out of City Hall, you will now why.