Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Windsor News And Blogmeister Views

My comments on news of the day


What is it with Councillor Halberstadt and the colour white these days:

  • "And make no mistake. Marra is a nice man. Polite. Well-spoken. Amiable. Those are fine qualities, even if Coun. Alan Halberstadt described him as "a bit vanilla."

  • "Mayor Francis, a young man who delights in mounting white chargers, promised to meet with Counc. Hatfield to craft a sustainable plan [for Roseland golf club]. It is my fear that the plan will include halving or completely eliminating the $150,000 annual payback."

Perhaps it was because the Councillor is reputed to be our white knight fighting the guys in the black hats.

Or perhaps it is because he is on the Audit Committee. Isn't the 400 Building Audit supposed to be coming out soon? I wonder if it will have been vetted by the outside lawyer and accounting firm.

  • "Committee member Max Zalev said the members had not seen the report as of the beginning of the meeting at 8 a.m. and would need "several hours" to review and discuss it."

Perhaps the Councillor is worried that it will be a WHITE-WASH!


I wonder if these workers will get an increase for 2010

  • "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."


  • "City councillors in Windsor, Ont., have decided not to continue negotiations with a group of employees and managers who are trying to finalize their union status. The decision came after a closed-door meeting on Monday night, following the rejection of the city's offer to the 420 members of the Professional Employees Trade Union (PETU) a week earlier."

Hooray, Edgar and Council can be our champions against these workers too now! Re-election here we come! There is only one problem. If the results are as poor as those achieved by the "inspired leadership" of the hardliners with CUPE, then this City is really screwed.

I don't get any of this.

Here is the first Star story.

  • "The City of Windsor’s managers and non-union professionals could surrender their three-year-old fight to form a union when members gather in two weeks to vote on a proposal by the employer.

    “The city is presenting us with an offer in the hopes we’ll suspend our bid to certify,” said John Miceli, president of the Professional Employees Trade Union...

    Accepting the employer’s offer would mean an end to PETU and continuation of CANUE, the Civic Association for Non-Union Employees, the pre-existing association representing non-union employees that does not have the right to strike.

    “We feel that’s positive,” Mayor Eddie Francis said of the decision to take the employer’s proposal to a vote. “Obviously … when you agree on something, it’s in everybody’s interest,” he added."

Listen to what the Mayor says now. How do you compare the first story with this:

PETA, PETU, It's just one vowel difference. So I made a mistake. Maybe the workers would have gotten further with Pamela as their spokesperson.

Why would Edgar make an offer knowing it would be rejected since they are so far apart, the issues are too significant. It is not a question of "refining." The gap is too wide still.

Son of CUPE, here we come!


Some of you may remember him. He was before my time here I believe. He was involved in the Today Group of Companies, Re/Max Today Realty Ltd., several malls throughout the city including Devon Plaza and Studebaker's Lounge, construction of a Royal Trust building , expansion of the Royal Bank branch on Huron Church Road, and Uptown Plaza.

Take a look at this story out of Dallas. It almost sounds like a variation of something I worked on for 5 years out of my life commuting between Windsor and London, England for 2 of them!

  • "Embattled real estate investor left Dallas for Brazil, texts say

    As legal and financial pressures mount against Dallas real estate investor Eric Brauss, more evidence is emerging that he left the country and won't return, at least not to Dallas.

    "I am not planing [sic] the rest of my life in court," Brauss wrote in a text message Nov. 23 to one of his largest investors.

    Doug Barnes, who owns a nationwide chain of eyewear stores, received that reply after asking Brauss if he was serious about "probably never" returning to Dallas.

    "Yes Doug, to [sic] many lawsuits etc." wrote Brauss, who said he was in Brazil.

    Copies of the multimessage exchange, conducted about a week after Brauss shuttered his Dallas office and disappeared, were included in a court filing late Friday. In the exchange, Brauss, 66, said that he sold all his personal assets. The stress of his financial predicament was killing him, Brauss said, and his main concerns now are where to eat and which cigars to smoke.

    Barnes, who lives in Dallas and says he has about $35 million invested in Brauss partnerships, is joining other investors who say Brauss diverted funds and fled the country.

    Altogether, hundreds of investors have between $130 million and $175 million at stake in Brauss partnerships, attorneys involved estimate....

    Larry Friedman, Brauss' attorney, said he hadn't seen copies of the text messages. When they were read to him, Friedman said the messages sounded like his client. He said Brauss is mainly a victim of the worldwide economic downturn and is still concerned about doing the best he can for all his investors. Brauss, born and raised in Germany, moved to Canada in 1970, according to his company biography. In 1990, he moved to Dallas, where he started building an empire that includes investments in hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of retail, office and multifamily projects. His lead company was Today Realty Advisors, which had offices in Dallas, Florida and Canada.

    Over the years, Brauss and his wife also have been prominent patrons of the Dallas arts, including the opera and performing arts center. They owned expensive cars, lavish homes, fine wines and expensive jewelry...

    Barnes' text message exchange with Brauss came on the same day another group of investors filed suit against Eric and Christine Brauss and their companies.

    "We need to talk...When can we meet????" Barnes wrote.

    "Hi Doug ..." Brauss responded. "I am on a [sic] extended vacation in Brazil...I agree we should talk Doug, better then [sic] any lawfirms [sic] or crazy lawyers."

    After Brauss confirmed that he would "probably never" return to Dallas, he offered some details about his financial situation:

    "Right now I have 200 Mio. [million] In peronal [sic] guaranties suing me, a ridiculius [sic] number. I sold all my personal properties and assets and checked out 2 weeks ago..."

    "Just can't get anyone satisfied," Brauss continued. "Between you and me I had so much stress daily, I was going to get a stroke or heart attack. Now this is gone, decissions [sic] are where to eat and what cigars to smoke. If I did not make this move, I was definitly [sic] dying Doug," Brauss wrote."


Whew, Dwight, Sandra, Edgar, Nelson, Jeff, Joe and Brian can keep their jobs as our elected representatives now. They single-handedly solved our unemployment problem here, provided we can hold out until 2025!

  • "Establishing a Prosperity 2025 task force to develop a long-term job creation strategy for the Windsor region is the next step in matching the area's unemployed with the skills needed in a growing new knowledge-based and diversified economy.

    Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan, who recommended setting up the task force"

It's absolutely brilliant. No need to talk about jobs during an election campaign, just point to the task force.

Perfect example of IBG... YBG problem-solving. [ie in 15 years...I'll be gone. You'll be gone]

No wonder Edgar can say:

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis said he wasn't surprised by the convivial tone of the meeting "because we've been working collaboratively for months on many different files and the level of co-operation has always been very high."

It is the perfect do not rock the boat solution for all of them.

Do you know why these politicians think they can get away with it:

  • "According to the group's research, the Windsor area has a lower number of residents with Grade 12 education and with post-secondary degrees than the provincial average which "places us at a competitive disadvantage and points up the need to improve the basic education of our residents."

We were dead last of 27 areas in Canada in literacy. We are too stupid to know I guess when we are being bamboozled.

Mini-Gord's column was another laugh a minute one. Read the negativitiy in the first half.

  • "After three hours of blather about the unemployment crisis Monday, it was starting to sound like none of the region's top politicians had a clue about the real economy.

    At least 34,619 people are unemployed in Windsor and Essex County that we know of, not counting the thousands who have given up or are suffering in silence in their parents' basements.

    Well over 100,000 people are in economic agony locally, counting spouses and children. That's better than one in four of our rapidly dwindling population.

    And the best our political elite could do Monday was waste time on self-indulgent twaddle about "identifying innovative ways" that "stakeholders" can "facilitate strategic investments" in education?

    An unemployed person in that room would probably have been forgiven for screaming: "what about JOBS!?" before hurling a chair in frustration."

Then it seemed just like someone tapped him on the shoulder and all of a sudden everything was golden

  • "But Monday's dreary yakfest about unemployment was actually productive. A job-creation plan is afoot, folks.

    The outcome could have been much, much worse. But nobody argued or pointed fingers of blame. As I found out later, they're already working together behind the scenes.

    The good news is, the 30 elected representatives who represent the city and county at the federal, provincial and municipal levels are all on speaking terms. No fangs were bared Monday."

Why praise be

  • "What's to be done? Duncan, Watson, and Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis all hinted heavily that something is in the works.

    Several important economic development schemes that have been cooking for years are nearly ready to come out of the oven and there are a significant number of jobs involved.

    Permanent jobs. No one is saying yet what they are, or in what industry.

    But the region has to get its ducks in a row before it can take the steps necessary to retrain our unemployed to take those jobs. Everybody had to lay their cards on the table Monday as a prerequisite."

I know, I know....the onion guys are coming back!


Hooray. The program was announced and by golly, quicker than you can say "Vote for me," money comes pouring out. More job training money especially for us older types:

  • "$58.5M investment to benefit older, unemployed workers

    The province and federal government are coming together to help fund a program to help older unemployed workers to learn new skills to get a new job.

    The Targeted Initiative for Older Workers will see both the governments of Ontario and Canada invest $58.5 million over three years to provide training to 5,000 older workers."

I have always wanted to learn Spanish or Chinese. I assume that is what this program is all about: language skills

Since there are no jobs here, job training programs are useless. To get a job, we will have to work in Mexico or overseas.