Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, August 21, 2009

Someone Actually Wrote This


Even more emails from readers for you to savour

1) Here is a thought. Take a picture of the yard waste at the curb, that has been cancelled till Sept. Mine will not be picked up till Sept 24 if they are on time LOL

The phrase to be "Councillors can make this go away"
Why do they want the strike to drag on?

Why do they think giving overtime is a reward to the strikers who have lost approx $15,000. $500 is not a reward at this time.

Keep it up

2) Four years in the making and available in November!





3) You’ve probably already been given this figure but I thought I would pass it on just in case.

I was recently talking with a reliable source in [Name of Dept.] who told me the amount the city paid the contractor for the Mic Mac cleanup was in the ballpark of [several hundreds of thousands of dollars]. Keep in mind this was for one event.

Now would anyone believe the city actually made the Red Bull people or anyone else for that matter incur the costs of cleaning up city property during the strike. I think not.

Just another one of Eddie’s my way no matter what the cost decisions.

I can tell you on a personal note that I work in the [Name of Department]of the city and since I have been back and with all the people I have encountered I have only heard one negative comment. In fact most people I run into have a fair understanding of who was to blame for our unfortunate summer and are appreciative of the job we do. I, like the others here have found signs welcoming us back, I even had a person run out to greet me with a thank you card.

Thanks again for all you have done to keep our spirits up over the course of the last several months.

4) [RE CAW] Interesting article Ed. I can remember blogs by CAW members actually pitting themselves AGAINST CUPE, for their poor tactics, for struggling to keep PRB's in these harsh times, and not taking concessions. They were even openly declaring that they would cross the lines for Spits games, events, etc. I'm sure I'd find lots of examples if I searched back aways in the Windsor Star's strike articles.

Would we have come out ahead? Most definitely! We would have maintained public support and settled the strike much sooner. That's a win-win situation no matter what, reducing the losses. The CUPE leaders simply were not equipped to deal with the slick Mr Mayor. I think CAW would have had a better chance.

5) I can hardly wait until you tackle Eddie’s “fishbowl”. I had a good chuckle when I read that this morning.

6) How would the city manage if the non union walked out? Just fine if not better!

CUPE front line do a great job and most non union dump their duties onto us anyway.

7) Keep up the good work on your blogs. You are a great alternative to the Windsor Star.

8) [Re Bridge Company letter] I find your column today very interesting and I hope you can dig out that letter some how so that we can see how we are being buffaloed this time.

Living in the west end provides me constant access to Indian Road and the bull that keeps these eyesores from being torn down. I think everyone in the city should drive down this street once just to see what this street looks like and just to see for themselves that these homes don't meet any heritage designation. The sign should ready "Welcome to Indian Road where B.B.B."(Bullshit Baffles Brains) This was a deliberate child like manoeuvre to shop Moroun.

And, HELLO the Ambassador bridge already goes right through the west end. The city wouldn't give a damn about Old Sandwich Town if Moroun hadn't started his construction.

Until the CUPE strike I didn't realize that the Star only printed when they wanted you to ready. Last Tuesday morning my friend called me to say she couldn't find anything about Kenny Lewenza in the paper, surprise, surprise.

Last Monday two young lifeguards (CUPE members) pulled a lifeless child from the pool at Adie Knox arena, performed all the right moves and saved the childs life. Guess the CUPE designation keeps it from becoming news. Sad isn't it, they deserve a huge pat on the back. Wonder what else they choose not to print. Is that called manipulation of the press?

9) Lewenza spending $1 million for up to 400 workers to unionize which means
Eddie must have really pissed him off.
The CUPE unions are going to have to switch over now.

So much for the union crying poverty. That's a $2500 signing
bonus for each new member.

Recession, what recession?

10) ---I'm local 82 and we didn't get our check stub yet due to a
"malfunction with the printer". I'm wondering if they are going to
include the lost wages line as they did with the local 543.

----I finally got my cheque and the lost wages line was not included.
Surprise, surprise!

11) Just finished reading your latest on the Moroun-DRIC-Duncan discussions about the new bridge, if it's ever built.

I say let everyone have their cake and eat it too. As for the DRIC bridge, whether the US has agreed to build their half or not seems to depend on whom you talk to. Likewise Mr Moroun has started construction on the US section of his Ambassador Bridge and been opposed, I guess, by Canadian authorities for the section crossing into Canada. What to do?

A solution exists and please don't laugh. What I propose is possible in light of today's advanced engineering techniques. From the Canadian side, The DRIC bridge would be constructed to the halfway point on the Detroit River by the Canadian government. Mr Moroun's half bridge bridge does the same thing on the American side up to the imaginary boundary that runs down the middle of the river. A mile or so separates them. Both half bridges stop at the border and imaginative engineering takes over.

Connect them! Sink large supports deep in the river bed for the two kilometres or so between the two spans. Install towers and a roadbed four or six lanes wide. (I can never figure out how many lanes a bridge is supposed to have.) The Moroun-Canada International Bridge lives!

Truckers will love it. They'll drive up the Canadian side, make a sharp right turn along the connector span and then a sharp left turn, down the new Ambassador Bridge to US Customs. Reverse route for Canada bound vehicles. Admit it, Ed. This proposal is pure genius. Can any bridge in the world boast that it runs along an international border?

Even the ships going up and down the river will have an excellent new landmark to guide them. People from all over the world will flock to Windsor to see this modern marvel. The mayor can put aside his dream of peddling air lifted fresh fruits and veggies from Germany and really have something to show off. Tourism will become Windsor's greatest asset.

Remember, all it takes is money, talent and the will to succeed. Our governments have all three in spades!

12) Governmentium (Gv)

Recent research has led to the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic Mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact.

A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second to take from four days to four years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 5 years; it does not decay, but instead, undergoes a reorganisation in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium’s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganisation will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalysed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

13) SPANKED! And in public! He, Spanky, must be or could be smokin' from
this spanking!

14) [Re jobs plan of inaction] To cancel this scheduled meeting is absurd. This is why so many people are pissed off in this region and LEAVING.. There is nothing accomplished for the unemployed, no hope for progress by our so called leaders. There better be a damned good excuse for this but I suppose tomorrow the Star will have an incredible headline about some amazing feat of progress by the Mayor.

15) I know you've decided to cancel the Star, and who can blame you. But remember that you are the biggest pain in the sac-o-riliac that they face almost daily. I'll bet they're dancing in the streets, thinking that you will no longer call them up on their one sided reporting and mistruths.

If you don't want to pay for the paper, go to the library and read it for free. In any case, keep up your good work.

16) Eddie is directly responsible for some of the unemployment increase for July over June. He has quite a few CUPE employees on layoff with unknown dates for call back. Force a strike during harsh economic times and this is the "gift" you give to your municipality. Worse economic times.

Thanks Eddie! Next time just send regrets.

17) The first scenario would be that the Can gov’t will purchase land in Delray themselves so that both ends are in Canadian hands, much like Eddie wanted to do with the tunnel. Very costly considering they are bidding against themselves by paying so much for Brighton Beach.

The second scenario sees the Brighton Beach lands being used as a Canada Customs inspection site to replace the Ambassador and Goyeau facilities. As well as a US Customs pre-crossing inspection/clearance for continued travel to the US over the Ambassador Bridge twin. I don’t know if they need 200 acres for that, I’m not an engineer, but $34 million is still way too much to pay to bring that about if the 3rd crossing goes Moroun’s way.

As Toe Blake once said, “Predictions are for gypsies”.

18) Shoot! There goes the 26 dollar rebate from the strike. With the 800,000 shortfall at the Windsor Solid Waste Authority, the city may be on the hook for some of that money. Darn, I was looking forward to the check that costs about 18 dollars to send out. So I guess I won't even get the 8 dollars.

I wonder if the conservatives will bring out the big guns and get the bridge done when Santos goes up against Watson?

19) Ed good blog. Can't build a bridge to no where? Windsor Wyandotte east. It's beautiful. They should have fixed College Ave same money.

Windsor doesn't run the Tunnel well how can they think they know anything about the bridge. You are on the money Ed. The USA will back out and not double their plazas etc. Take care.

20) http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/679668

Where are the shovels, the jobs, the stimulus?

21) Thank you Mr. Arditti for the Whitehouse briefing.

It is true that our Provinces never signed on as they were always waivers. The states only have 37 states that have also signed on. With such an intergrated economy it should be resolved. The states are now hurting as many water projects are on hold because GE cannot bring in the water filters as they are made in Oakville and Toronto.

It is my understanding that Congress has even widened the net from water and waste water to hospitals and schools. Hopefully and new deal will come through to benefit both sides.

My comments about the President is the first time I have read that he acknowledged there is an issue at least publically in Canadian papers. The Chamber of Commerce of America, NY Times editorial have asked the President to come intervene.

Thanks again for the transcript.

22) http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/08/10/ottawa-insurance-sewer-flooding.html

if the twist and turns of sewer infrastructure isn't enough these days, now insurance companies are seeking larger sewers, full story above.

Politics, Politics, Politics



Who the heck advises these people? Mistake after mistake. They need strategists to help them avoid putting their feet in their mouths. Don't they want to be elected?

The Eminence Greasie cannot do it all by advising everyone. Eddie himself takes up so much time!

DWIGHT DUNCAN

What the dickens is wrong with him? Is he thinking of running for the Conservatives federally now instead of the Liberals? Has Dalton decided to be nice to Stephen Harper because he thinks IGGY cannot do it?

Why would Dwight Duncan mouth off about the DRIC bridge, something of which the Provincial Government has NO jurisdictional authority and something about which the Feds told the Province earlier to buzz off?

If Dwight wanted to say something, he should have acted as a good Liberal. He supported IGGY didn't he. He should have attacked Harper for failing on the border as evidenced by the fact that he was snubbed by President Obama. He should have condemned Harper for failing as well in not being able to get the President to end protectionism against Provincial companies who are desperate for business.

If he really had big kahoonas, he should have demanded as our local MPP that the Feds and Province build the DRIC road to the Ambassador Bridge to prevent 20 years of litigation and tell the Feds to work on a resolution with the Bridge Company already! We need the jobs now.

As I Blogged before, he is an HONOURABLE man!

Poor Dwight, he looks like nothing more now than a tool for the Conservatives. What a glorious political opportunity lost. Nelson needs to remember this huge faux pas when Dwight comes a-knocking.

NELSON SANTOS

Speaking of Nelson, can I believe anything he says now?

I met him for coffee a few months ago and we had a very delightful conversation. I thought he would make a very credible candidate for a senior position. I thought at the time that he might be thinking of running for the Liberals provincially.

Now I am not so sure. It's sometimes the small things that count with me.

You remember what he promised me a week before his coronation (as someone in the County called it) errrr nomination:

  • "I will have an i[n]vitation sent to you shortly re: nomination meeting--putting final touches on it this morning!"

A promise not kept.

Nothing came so I cannot BLOG about what happened, who was there and who was not there, who said what etc. I had to learn instead from the Echo who was scheduled to be there. I was not going to crash the party so to speak.

A small and unimportant matter really. Oh well, so much for ever expecting him to get answers to some big and important questions posed about the WEDC.

JEFF WATSON

I would never vote for him for a variety of reasons. Nelson should have been able to beat him hands down. Instead, in the first days of the next campaign, Nelson gives him election issues such as a broken promise and lack of answers to the WEDC concerns and the big issue:
  • "Watson wants Santos to run as private citizen

    Called to step down as mayor, warden

    Essex MP Jeff Watson called for Liberal candidate Nelson Santos to immediately step down as Kingsville mayor, warden of Essex County and as editor of the Kingsville Reporter newspaper.

    Watson said Santos' new boss is Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and it is not in the town's best interest to have an election called and bring grant applications to a halt."

Not a word of response in the article by Nelson either. Does he think it is going to go away? The stupidity of it all: Nelson made it an issue in the first place in an earlier article hoping it would diffuse the situation I guess:

  • "If an election is called, Santos said he will continue to serve as warden and Kingsville’s mayor as he campaigns, something former Kingsville mayor and county warden Pat O’Neil did when he ran provincially in 1999 and 2003. Santos said he could reduce his work as a real estate agent and as editor of the Kingsville Reporter. The next municipal election is in 2010."
It did not and instead, Nelson is on the defensive already.

MORE ON JEFF

I am sure that he is enjoying the heady days of getting Windsor Star support. Heck, Eddie did not even send Nelson a nice letter of support as he did for Sandra's nomination.

Jeff can sit back now and enjoy the summer. Who needs to campaign when a Star columnist can say such nice things about you:
  • "Watson's credibility growing"

But Jeff should understand that this support can turn instantaneously if Eddie decides not to run for the Conservatives federally or the Feds stop sending Eddie goodies. After all, Jeff has his support as Anne Jarvis mentioned because:

  • "Once dismissed as a hapless pipsqueak, lately he has delivered the goods...

    It all changed a few days before the election was called last year, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper flew to Windsor and, with Watson at his side, finally announced $80 million for the plant.

    The tap has been flowing ever since, with Watson announcing millions of dollars for this area, including Windsor, which isn't even his riding.

    With every announcement, his stock has risen:

    - $34 million to buy 94 acres in Brighton Beach for the new bridge

    - $45 million for infrastructure projects in Windsor..."

    Watson even met with Windsor's city council to make sure its applications for government grants met the criteria. The Conservatives, it appears, have become unlikely champions for a region that was a Conservative wasteland for decades."

See how taxpayer money can be used to ensure re-election.

Who said near-Depressions are bad!

FULVIO VALENTINIS

He has been hit with the don't look back pandemic as well.

  • "Late ward tweak draws fire
    Valentinis accused of cherry picking


    Ward 3 Coun. Fulvio Valentinis "played politics" and resorted to "cherry picking" when he introduced last-minute boundary changes to a consultant's latest proposal for a new 10-ward electoral system for Windsor, says Ward 1 Coun. Drew Dilkens...

    Dilkens, who vows to appeal the new ward map to the Ontario Municipal Board once council approves the required bylaw later this month, accuses Valentinis of orchestrating the changes to improve his chances running in a new ward in next year's civic election...

    Valentinis denies he was playing politics, arguing his proposed changes followed boundary lines in one of the earlier suggestions by consultant Robert Williams. He said the latest plan introduced Monday by the consultant "makes no sense" because the proposed Ward 2 offered "no room for growth."

I think the "political" word that should have been used is not "cherry-picking" but rather "gerrymandering" which is defined as

  • "a form of boundary delimitation (redistricting) in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are deliberately modified for electoral advantage."

Did Councillor Valentinis take offence? Not at all.

  • "The community wants to move forward," said Valentinis."

EDDIE FRANCIS

How to be a lame-duck Mayor and not be a lame-duck Mayor. Don't let anyone know what you are going to do. Keep them guessing. After all, who would want to run against the E-Machine in a last second campaign.

Except by raising the issue when there was no need to do so, Eddie just told everyone he is running provided the Conservative nomination does not work out.

Listen to this as Eddie tells us that he has too many things to do---his election issues mind you---and wishes that opponents would not set up their campaign teams to try to oust him:


video


Stop with the rumours already. It's a disservice and selfish for Councillors to think about running against our Mayor when there is soooo much to be done to meet his re-election platform needs.

Why should they do what he did when he ran for Mayor! Heck, even if he runs for higher office, his former bestest buddy, Nelson, gave him the excuse why he should NOT resign as Mayor either.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ferries Cross The River


Gerry & the Pacemakers would be in heaven if they lived in Windsor.

For those of you who are too young to remember who they are, one of their big hits was "Ferry Cross The Mersey." Imagine what they could do with songs about the Detroit/Windsor ferry and the proposed ferry service to Detroit.

Aren't you tired of Gregg Ward Ferry stories? I sure am. At the least, it was not about him moaning about his lawsuit with the Feds again. I had read enough about that a long time ago.

One good point: he again answers the question about security and redundancy issues at the Ambassador Bridge:
  • "This is an important safety and security project for the border,” said Ward, noting the alternative his truck ferry provides in the event of a shutdown of the Ambassador Bridge."

How long has this issue been going on re that piece of land for the ferry? The project has dragged on for ages. Just like the DRIC project itself. And some want the Governments involved in border crossings! Ridiculous!

It's strange, no one seems to talk much about the privately owned cross-border service provided by the Ferry. Oh I know it is NOT a huge operation like the Ambassador Bridge but it is interesting to note how much the Governments are prepared to help out this private border operator and then throw roadblocks in front of another.

Can you say double standard?

Why the Ferry project is even needed if a new DRIC Bridge is built surprises me because it would take most of Ward's business away. Another sign that the DRIC bridge is delayed indefinitely perhaps?

However, this is NOT why the story is of interest. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes.

Why are Dwight and Sandra talking about a super-duper bridge in Windsor when it is not within their area of authority? Why did the Star just do an Editorial? Simple...sucker the Feds. Get them to commit huge sums to Windsor so that when the DRIC road finally has to be built, and everyone knows that have-not Ontario cannot afford to finance it, then the Feds will have to kick in more cash. My sources tell me that Ontario has been trying to get them to pay 70% of the cost for years rather than the 50%.

That is why the Feds are stalling over the payment of a few extra bucks at the Truck ferry. Heck, they overpaid at Brighton Beach by 7 times so why not for the Truck ferry.

Precedent.

  • "The Canadian government has committed $2.9 million toward improvements to the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry based on the original estimates determined by the provincial government, said Mark Butler, spokesman for Transport Canada.

    “The issue was there was significant difference,” Butler said. “The government of Canada’s contribution is capped at the approved value — which in this case was $2.9 million based on the original estimate.”

The ferry estimate was just as poor an estimate it seems now as will be the cost of the DRIC road prepared by the Province for which the Feds have to contribute 50% of the agreed costs. The Feds have to decide if they will pay more because the actual cost down the road is significantly higher than the billion dollar plus estimate

Paying more for the ferry may stick them with a precedent when the DRIC road actual cost comes in.

And now our equivalent of the Staten Island ferry. Hardly a good time to be thinking about this when

  • "Cross-border travel slows in June, report shows."

Fogetting the practical issues like Customs clearance costs and once one gets to the other side, how does one then get to one's final destination if you are one of the 5,000 commuters or a day tripper especially when Detroit transit service may be cut?

Do you really think that the City of Windsor can allow this to go forward? It cannot. The reason is simple----it could bankrupt the City-owned Tunnel.

If other empoyers did the following for commuters, then why drive one's car through the Tunnel:

  • "some Michigan hospitals have already offered to shuttle Windsor commuters to and from a river ferry."

Can you imagine what would have happened to Windsor if Eddie's $75M Tunnel deal had gone forward since one of the reasons for doing it according to the Mayor was to protect the 5,000 commuters. Another reason why the Tunnel vision of the Mayor was a complete bust.

What then is the purpose for the Ferry story? This story has been around for a long time. Back in November I saw this:

  • "In time, the $15.25 million riverfront investment ["Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority (DWCPA) Public Dock & Terminal building will soon be a fixture on Detroit's East Riverfront. Once completed, the 21,000-square-foot facility will become the new headquarters of the DWCPA, as well as the premier Detroit River site where visiting ships of all types dock"] will also become the Detroit nexus of cross-river ferry service, if Detroit and Windsor port officials have their way. Early stages of talks are underway with an established East Coast ferry operator who is anxious to add Detroit-Windsor to its portfolio of cities served.

Just over a year ago, we read in the Star:

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis will today unveil an ambitious water and boardwalk concept for the Western Super Anchor properties he believes can finally help transform the downtown dead zone...

    "Now that the casino (expansion) is open people have been saying 'What can we do to spur people and attract them to the city?'" Francis said.

    "This provides a sense of community, identity and mixed use we have desired for the Western Super Anchor. It all translates into economic benefits. The time for this is right.

    "This project is not going to be up and running tomorrow, but it's a plan for the future. We get asked to make a decision and that's what we are doing..."

    There are also early ongoing port authority talks about launching a new Windsor-Detroit ferry taxi service which also could be tied to the proposal, the mayor said."

A Star story also at the time said

  • "Thousands of Windsor workers who commute daily to Detroit may soon be able to leave their gas guzzlers at home and take the ferry instead.

    The Windsor Port Authority is holding preliminary discussions with the largest commuter ferry operator in the United States, which is seeking to begin a commuter service across the Detroit River.

    WPA chairman Charlie Pingle said the proposed inland marina for Windsor's downtown west side would make a perfect terminus for such a service."

Of course you remember that the Windsor Port Authority was one of the contributors to the cost of the Canal feasibility study.

By the way the Port Authority announced this new appointment:

  • "The Windsor Port Authority has two new members on its board of directors.

    On Thursday, federal Transport Minister John Baird announced the appointments of...George Sandala...

    Sandala is described as a member of the City of Windsor's audit committee and vice-chair of the Windsor Utility Commission."

Have you noticed all of a sudden all of these canal stories in the Star. Just the other day we had one about an Aquarium and now about a ferry service. If one did not know any better, one might think that someone is trying to justify a canal.

Oh my gosh....do you think that the Mayor is NOT following his own advice. Could this be the start of his next mayoral campaign with the canal his main platform (or pier) plank. That would force us to move forward and to ignore all of his past failures. After all, as the Star quoted him today:

  • "Asked for a Windsor example, he pointed to the proposed canal project in the city's core and the programming that would accompany it. "Something as simple as a children's amusement park, like they have in London -- Storybook Gardens."

    A research aquarium, which is still only in preliminary discussion stages, would also figure into Francis's vision.

    Francis said such attractions would generate as much business from people in the region as they would from U.S. visitors.

    "It will never make up completely what we're losing in tourism traffic, but it would at least mitigate that loss," he predicted.

    Development of such things remains years away, but Francis said years away is the way people should be thinking...

    But five years ago, that decision was made, and that helps us mitigate against the challenges we're facing now.

    "We have to have the same vision, the same foresight for the next five years, and five years after that.

    "We've got to stop looking at reasons why people aren't coming, and start focusing on reasons why we want people to come."

DUH...forget how I have failed as Mayor to get tourists coming here and buy into my next future failure after I am elected!

PS. Oooops, I should have mentioned the other Port Authority appointment: Rocco Lucente, president of R. Lucente Engineering, Inc

He has a canal connection:

  • "The Project Team was lead by Landmark Engineers Inc., who drew assistance from four multi-disciplinary local engineering and consulting firms including:
    • R. Lucente Engineering Inc.

He must know Mr. Sandala well since he is also a WUC Commissioner

Is The March 13 Letter Bad Luck For Councillor Jones


I feel sorry for the Bridge Company. They are abused more than one suspects.

That letter above, read it carefully. I Blogged about it several months ago on May 25, 2009 "Postma's Demolition Notice of Motion" to be exact.

I wrote at the time:
  • "Here is a copy of the letter to the Bridge Company. If you received it, would you have the faintest idea what you were to do with it other than file it in the garbage can!"

Councillor Jones raised an issue at Council recently in the following terms and that letter was brought up again. Wow, the Clerk has a great memory to remember this specific letter, its date and its contents just like that:







Listen closely to what his questions were and how the Clerk answered them and then read the transcript. You decide if it says what the Clerk says it does:
  • "COUNCILLOR JONES: Thank you Your Worship. And I guess through you to the Clerk. Madam Clerk, have we or have we not sent out invitations to the Bridge Company to reveal their plans in terms of what they term greening, over the last little while?

    CITY CLERK: Your Worship, Members of Council, yes on March 13th, a letter was sent to the Canadian Transit Company with that express invitation.

    COUNCILLOR JONES: And in that…did you indicate to them that Council cared to meet with them so that they would in fact have opportunity to show Members of Council, the Mayor and the citizens their plan?

    CITY CLERK: Yes it did.

    COUNCILLOR JONES: Alright then, Your Worship, I’m wondering whether through your office or through the CIO, that we would send a letter to the Bridge Company asking them to make a presentation to Council, to the Mayor, on any site that they choose to make their presentation, for as long as they care to make their presentation and that the Council and public-at-large be invited.

Perhaps there was a different March 13 letter that was sent out, a separate Letter of Invitation, that somehow got lost in the mail since all that I can see is a letter enclosing a copy of a Resolution.

I wonder if the newest letter suggested by the Councillor will ever be sent out since no one on Council agreed to do so.

Of course, this is nothing but a bridge game. Other parties merely have to tear down a house and agree to put in grass and their applications for demolition are accepted on consent at Council ie NO debate needed. The Bridge Company is being treated in a much different manner to prevent them from doing what the neighbours in the area asked for in a petition.

As Councillor Mom expressed it so inelegantly but so honestly, for the Bridge Company

  • "The Grass Ain't Going To Cut It."

In fact, nothing ever will.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Reader Said This


Here is what some of my readers have sent me over the past few days. Did your email get lost in cyberspace or did you forget to send it?

1) Of course Windsor is in position to take advantage of cargo. So is every other friggin airport on the planet.

Mind you IF they would have said no it's not (truth hurts) they would lose
out on future considerations or studies.

The new taxiway the airport is getting (paid by the feds) will have over 10% of the
money eaten up by studies alone, then design, build, press release, and so on.
See the pattern?

If the airport gets the go ahead for more development of course more studies and fees
will follow.

So what is the incentive to tell Windsor Airport the reality? none.
Give them hope, priceless.

The money that would have to go into Windsor Airport for support equipment alone is more than the Ontario budget. no kidding.

Runway development and environmental studies. millions just to talk about it.
We're talking 2020 to be shovel ready.

Greenlink is a the perfect example of wasted money and effort.

2) $220,000 for a consultant's study to tell the city they need to promote the airport to businesses so they can learn about YQG. What a joke !!! Maybe we should give the next part of the study to the business class at the Odette School of Business as a class project.

There is no possible way you are going to get US Customs located at the airport!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Canada doesn't need to spend any more money regarding space exploration... just interview the Mayor. He has to be from another galaxy proposing his idea.

3) Did anyone else see the FRONT PAGE Windsor Star article today written by Craig Pearson?
POINTS:
The State of Michigan has NOT
a) done the required studies and environmental assessments;
b) nor acquired (or attempted to buy) even one property for roads to such a bridge;
c) passed any legislation supporting it;
as regards a new International Bridge...

The Republican leader of the opposition in the State Senate states that
> no one wants a new bridge;
>they didn't want to spend the $2million they did studying the proposal 18 months ago;
>International traffic over the present bridge is down 34% in the past 2 years (55% since 2001) so the present Ambassador Bridge is more than adequate;
>the private owner of the present bridge (Matty Maroun) is willing to spend his own money to build a new, second span, and (the suggestion is) "let him do it! - forget a new bridge." as well, he says: the State of Michigan has just contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to improved acess to the old bridge.
Does anyone REALLY think a new International Bridge is ever going to be built?
(all those 20,000 jobs, guys building a bridge-really??)

4) Well I know you take your reputation seriously and won't be manufacturing anything not as true at the time you release it. But if you could find some place someone to quote that would give you cover I think the most fantastic story would be, No Problem, Canada will go it alone, buy the land on the other side and put her up.

5) Don't underestimate the self-reliance of Windsor" by Gord Henderson, was the last straw for me. I wrote a blog, then said it was my last one, as this would be the last time I read the Star. He sensationalized that ugly, painful strike and gave the public the credit for crushing the union stronghold on the city.

"Now that the dust has settled and the wailing and gnashing of teeth has subsided, please stand and take a bow for doing your part to help Windsor win a historic, ground-shifting victory over forces determined to keep city taxpayers forever in chains."

Unbelievable! I was livid.... I have not, nor will I ever, read the Star again.

6) very well written article Ed. The more you dig, the more that strike seemed to be part of a conspiracy. For the workers, everyone I've spoken to has said the strike was the most horrible experience of their lives. The CUPE leaders were uneducated and unprepared to deal with Eddie. Members could not look to union nor our employer for support. We were lost, forced to collect our $200 per week, with no hope in sight. There was no glamour in this strike. And let's not forget the damaging effects of public versus CUPE. I'll move away before I ever do that again. At least you do not sensationalize the situation. You look for all the hidden factors that contributed to the strike's dynamics. I think that helps us strikers reconcile the negative effects it had on us. Thanks again Ed.

7) Stupid paper! Great video

Glad i got 2 see it as i cant watch council

8)Glad you came out and said it about the star! I tell everyone I know to cancel the star.

9)[Re moderated comments] Thanks--I am a new reader, just since the strike so I'm not up on all of the previous problems with the blog. But I can understand why you do it this way. Thanks--it's nice to have a different slant on things.

10) Re: You Held the Line

One sentence jumped off the page in the open letter to CUPE. It was "Strikes are momentous life changing experiences" How very true this is. I don't know if I am naive or gullible but the strike made me realize that I no longer feel the same about my councillors or mayor, realized that the Windsor Star only publishes one side of any story, their side and that many of us have lost the sense of community we once had. Thank you to whom ever wrote the open letter. Those of us who walked the picket lines for 14 weeks know how much support we had out there, it was incredible and surprising.

11) As charismatic as Obama may be, he is sadly out of touch with reality regarding his own buy US policy under the "stimulus project."

All you have to do is ask the 2300 workers at Stelco in Hamilton how the buy US policy affected their jobs when Canadian steel was virtually disallowed from use in all US government stimulus projects. Stelco is now mothballed and the 2300 employees are now out of work. The steel came from US Steel (the current owners of Stelco) plants in Indiana and Pennsylvania.

Why is it politicians (of whatever party) find it difficult to tell the truth anymore. Do they really think that we the public are stupid?

12) I was always dubious of the fantastic job numbers. The only way to use 15000 people on a project is to dig by hand and wheelbarrow.

I think you and I both know that Greensink was dead long ago. Only the Monty Python denial that it really isn’t dead, just resting.

13) Penny for your thoughts on the article in todays star on jobs and the new bridge - headline 15000 jobs in the story less than 2000 actual jobs.

Windsor Star mistake? Strategic move to sour the public? Tactical decision to hurt someone’s credibility? Or to lessen the blow of actual jobs lost when the project is scuttled?

14) The Windsor Star has a Blog today on CUPE Garbage Collectors' being behind and no overtime to catch up. I know a CUPE worker who has been working overtime. Without going into details, there would be huge consequences if they did not put in this overtime and Management is extremely thank full of cooperation in this. No overtime ordered by Council should have added "if in the eyes of the public."

My point is that there is lots of CUPE overtime going on behind the public exposure. In submitting this info to the Star's Blog, it was not posted.

15) I just read your blog it is great. I find it funny that certain councilors love to say the strike is over time to move on. I'm sure they are afraid that they owe the workers a lot of money. [Name of Councillor] loves to say time to move on. In other words we hope you all just forget about it.

16) Thank you for a great blog today, so much information, some facts I am sure none of us thought of. Your writing gives pause for thought.

Taking it all in.

You are like a Robin Hood, Superman, Lone Ranger etc, all rolled into one.

Thanks again, I hope these union officials have the guts to do the right thing.

17) If you get your hands on that CUPE list of CFIB members, that you
state in this morning's blog, could you or would you publish it?

18) I'd like to accidentally come across this list, I was searching the net but came up with nothing.

19) do you read halberstadts blog?

one of the comments "Be a gent and hold the door for mr. Arditti when he ousts you
Cheers"

HA!!

your blogs are printed out and placed in the lunch room at City hall!!!! Famous! Reconsider running for MAYOR!!!!!!!!!!!

20) well, I agree with your opening comment today - everyday there is a new shocker on the border file! Could Matty ever have imagined the entire Ca. gov. would conspire to get rid of him just because he owned a bridge? It is unbelievable. I book I think in the making...hmmmm, who could write this book??

Think about it!

21) I started reading your Blog at the start of the CUPE strike and am hooked.

It’s refreshing to read an alternate and more realist point of view.

I can’t for the life of me figure out who “Greasie” is? I can’t seem to recall you identifying him since I’ve been reading.

On a separate note, I know many CUPE members have asked about hiring a lawyer and am prepared with some of my fellow colleagues to take action to hold the Mayor and his flock of sheep accountable for creating a strike that didn’t need to happen or drag on far too long.

22) You have a great blog I love reading your articles.

23) I thought you might like to read this. It's pretty cool

-----Original Message-----
Subject: RE: Act of Kindness

I know of several managers who donated to us on the picket line and I heard there was a food drive by the managers that was brought to the union hall for our food bank. I just am overwhelmed by the generosity and kind words of the citizens in our city.

-----Original Message-----
Subject: RE: Act of Kindness

I agree without the support of my picketing group I don't know what I've done to cope with the stress of the strike. I now understand why we are union brothers and sisters.

-----Original Message-----
Subject: RE: Act of Kindness

I too would like to say thanks to the people who had me in their thoughts with Zehrs/President's Choice gift cards, Mastercards, groceries and monies, it is all overwhelming to know there are so many who care. I would also like to say a special thank you to my picketing group for everything! You guys were wonderful, couldn't have gotten through it without you, you made a difference.

-----Original Message-----
Subject: RE: Act of Kindness

I also received a Gift Card from anonymous. It was much appreciated.
It was heartwarming to know that someone was thinking of me and cared about my welfare. Thanks a million.

-----Original Message-----
Subject: RE: Act of Kindness

Dito, I received a gift card also. Our community really does come together when needed. Thank-you.

-----Original Message-----
Subject: RE: Act of Kindness

I would also like to jump on this band wagon as well. I received a gift card for Zehrs/President's Choice as well, words cannot express how gratefull my family & I were in receiving this special gift.

A sincere thanks for the ones who wanted to remain anonymous!!

Take care,

-----Original Message-----
Subject: RE: Act of Kindness

Wow, that is awesome! Kudos to the one who cares. I too have been the recipient of financial help from colleagues when I really, really needed it. One day, when you need it the most, I will be there for you. (You know who you are)

Many thanks,

-----Original Message-----
Subject: Act of Kindness

Greetings,

During the strike I received a gift card for Zehrs/President's Choice from a person who wished to remain anonomous.

Now that the strike is over, I wish to thank that person for this gift. Your act of kindness shone light on a dark moment.

You did good.

24) Ed, do we know who owns the other 100 acres at Brighton Beach?

Come on - are you withholding information?

25) [RE Jr vs the Brister] LOL This is hilarious! I would so enjoy watching that debate. But this issue needs to be kept within council walls. Let 'em go at it with the Rock 'em Sock 'em Robots! Work off the testosterone level, leave the pride in another room. All better..

And these are the people running the city?? No wonder the strike went on for so long.

Honestly Ed, I must thank you for introducing me to politics. I hated politics before you came along; now it's my entertainment....my Joke of the Day :)

26) It is not right that misbehaviour has no repercussions other than elections 4 years down the road.

Here is the website to ask why not and also to request "Right of Recall" be put into the Municipal Elections Act.
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page6302.aspx

Or you can contact the Minister directly to ask about it.
http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page350.aspx

Let's not go 4 more years with people like we wound up with as mayor & council this time. The time to act is now.

27) Thanks for still being the positive voice for us. As a CUPE member (and the girl who emailed you about becoming mayor, and yelled it at the meeting) LOL! I value your continued information!! Your blog has become a part of my daily routine. I would, as many others did, print out your blogs and we would read them at the meeting at the start of our picket shift. It always gave us a laugh, or some hope or even helped us to remain strong during those weeks out on the line.

You rock sunshine!!

28) Ed good blog. Can't build a bridge to no where? Windsor Wyandotte east. It's beautiful. They should have fixed College Ave same money.

Windsor doesn't run the Tunnel well how can they think they know anything about the bridge. You are on the money Ed. The USA will back out and not double their plazas etc. Take care.

Media Condemn Mayor's Handling of Strike


  • "The stark facts are the city endured a strike that ate up half a summer in service of stated bargaining goals. The city failed to achieve those goals.

    The mayor wears that failure with just over a year to go before the serious part of the 2010 mayoralty campaign starts."

Oh you thought I meant the WINDSOR media.

Oh how can you be so silly. I was talking about Toronto's! Our media would never have the nerve to be critical!


Why take Gord as an example, Please. He was just gushing about how Windsorites beat CUPE:

  • "Now that the dust has settled and the wailing and gnashing of teeth has subsided, please stand and take a bow for doing your part to help Windsor win a historic, ground-shifting victory over forces determined to keep city taxpayers forever in chains...

    But perhaps our finest hour came last week when CUPE members, acknowledging the inevitable, that they couldn't make Windsorites blink, let alone submit, agreed to suck it up and return to work with a consolation-prize contract after 101 paycheque-squandering days on the picket line...

    But CUPE offered only confrontation and intimidation. Alienated by the union's bullying tactic, city residents eagerly embraced the clear, common-sense contractual message delivered by Francis and a majority of councillors. They understood what this fight was about and they took it on."

Fascinating that Eddie's name was only mentioned at the end. No mention in the quoted part about the Protocol fiasco that resulted in what I believe to be a premature settlement once the City negotiating team was unshackled. It is almost as if Eddie now wants no part of the strike since he failed in that too. Just add another one to his list of losses. No wonder we should "move forward."

I decided to take up Marty Beneteau up on his thought:

  • "One online commentator accused The Star of polarizing the community, saying, "Why do I bother, this will never be submitted! I need to move to Toronto where the media is non-biased." Think CUPE got a smoother ride in T.O.? Posters to the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and CBC websites on the weekend were visceral in their attacks on the union."

The Toronto media were visceral in their attacks on the Toronto Mayor at strike end. They actually reported on the strike results and the real effect on the Toronto Mayor. What is fascinating as you read these articles is how similar the strike situations in Toronto and Windsor are. The big difference is that Torontonians do not have a fawning newspaper who acts, as the Star's Editor confirms, as messengers:

GLOBE AND MAIL

  • "Is Miller really finished?
    Adam Radwanski

    The overwhelming consensus is that David Miller comes out of Toronto's strike settlement looking terrible. Marcus Gee sums it up nicely in this paper: "If this is what he calls winning, it is frightening to think what losing would look like." Even the Star's editorialists - generally sympathetic to the Mayor - are inclined to agree.

    No argument here, either. I didn't think some of the criticism of Miller during the strike was fair; it seemed hypocritical for people who'd spent years calling for him to stand up to the unions to complain about the inevitable work stoppage when he did. But at that point, it looked like he was prepared to hold firm until he'd achieved meaningful concessions. By folding instead, he validated all those complaints that he put the city through a pointless stand-off that his heart was never in to begin with.

    What I'm still less certain of is whether, as pretty well every opinion writer is suggesting, this embarrassment will prove the beginning of the end of his mayoralty.

    If there were a referendum on whether to keep him as mayor, he'd undoubtedly lose it.
    ***

    Update: Miller's performance at this afternoon's press conference has verged on the ridiculous. In fairness, he's had a long summer, and is probably underslept. But his attacks on other councillors for having the temerity to criticize the settlement are way over the top.

    To suggest it's unconscionable to consider forcing Torontonians to go without daycare and garbage collection and the joys of Centre Island doesn't really hold up when you've been the one asking Torontonians to spend half their summer doing just that. Nor is "appalling" to oppose a contract that doesn't meet the goals that you publicly set out earlier in the dispute.

    It's an ugly side of their mayor Torontonians are seeing today. Strong opposition or not, he's not helping his cause."

TORONTO STAR EDITORIAL

  • Miller's tactics raise questions

    Times of crisis can build political reputations – or shatter them – depending on how well a leader rises to the challenge. As mayor, David Miller has confronted no crisis greater than the strike by 30,000 Toronto municipal workers, now in its 39th day. If not shattered, his reputation as an effective leader is certainly cracked.

    At the outset of this labour dispute Miller served notice that he was determined to end a costly and outdated "sick bank" system giving workers cash for up to 130 unused sick days on retirement. Yesterday he declared victory and repeatedly claimed that the tentative agreements reached Monday had "eliminated" the sick bank provision...

    Pressed on this matter yesterday, Miller finally conceded it is more accurate to say the sick bank is being phased out rather than eliminated now. In truth, it is being phased out in slow motion. While that is a step forward, some Torontonians may see it as scant reward for enduring a strike that lasted almost six weeks, especially after Miller made progress on this issue a defining measure of his success.

    Even before the walkout, Miller didn't adequately prepare Torontonians for the struggle to come. There was never a real sense of looming crisis until the crisis actually hit. Miller's warnings about hard times facing the city, and pleas that "the world has changed," were contradicted by his defence of a 2.4 per cent, business-as-usual, pay raise pocketed by city councillors. Having made that mistake earlier in the year, Miller compounded it during the strike by refusing to support a determined effort by some councillors to roll back the salary hike.

    These missteps, and others, are grounds for Torontonians to wonder if Miller is the best person to lead this city when unionized workers are in a position to strike again three years from now.

GLOBE AND MAIL

  • Did Miller give up too much to get a deal?
    Marcus Gee, Columnist
    Toronto's mayor puts a brave face on what may be only a partial victory

    Mayor David Miller is trying gamely to present his strike-ending deal with the unions as a big win for the city. If this is what he calls winning, it is frightening to think what losing would look like.

    The big issue in the strike was sick leave, specifically the city's attempt to take away workers' right to bank their unused sick leave and cash it in when they retire. The mayor boasts that the sick bank has been “eliminated,” a verb he used several times Wednesday.

    Eliminated, that is, for notional people who don't yet work for the city...

    In short, they get to keep this juicy treat – almost unheard of in the private sector and rarer and rarer in the public – exactly as is. As union leaders put it in a memo to members, “there will be no changes or reductions in your entitlements” under the sick plan...

    The city's new wage offer is better, too. Instead of a 7.2 per cent raise over four years, workers will get about 6 per cent over three – not bad at a time when many workers are seeing their wages frozen.

    In spite of it all, Mr. Miller says Torontonians should feel “very pleased” about the settlement. It is hard to fathom why.

    He says that the sick-leave deal is far better than the city would have achieved if an arbitrator had come in to end the dispute. True, but there was no sign of any arbitrator. The provincial government said all along it had no plans to order city employees back to work...

    Mr. Miller gives a final reason for settling with the unions on such unfavourable terms: to get the workers back on the job. “These people were on strike for five weeks, and we needed to find a way to reach an agreement,” he said.

    This was the weirdest one of all. The strike was a pain, but the city was functioning reasonably well, the unions' cause was unpopular and there was no pressure on the mayor from either citizens or city council to make a deal at any cost. To the contrary, councillors said they were being peppered with calls from residents telling the city to hang tough.

    Now those people feel betrayed, and with good reason. People were prepared to stand behind him as long as they thought he was standing up for them by holding the line on city costs and making sure an unrealistic perk for city workers was eliminated. It hasn't been. The mayor will pay a price.

INSIDE TORONTO

  • Mayor's deal with city workers wasn't so sweet

    If anyone were thinking they might like to be the next mayor of Toronto, there's scarcely been a better time to start planning an attack.

    The current mayor, David Miller, is in trouble.

    Indeed, as the summer city workers' strike of '09 winds to a probable close, Miller has never been weaker.

    He's steered Toronto through a strike that lasted nearly six weeks, effectively shutting down the city for everyone from homeowners seeking building permits to children looking to enjoy a summer recreation program. And his promised outcome at the end of the ordeal - that the city would rid itself of a cumbersome and antiquated sick leave bank, and hold the line on union salary increases to help the city get through a punishing recession - never materialized.

    As much as Miller tried to pitch the five new tentative agreements as a win for the city this week, the details that emerged have shown it to be anything but.

    Miller tried to claim the sick bank, which lets employees accumulate 18 sick days a year and then take a payout based on any they haven't used, was eliminated.

    It was not. Employees with more than a decade at the city will be able to keep the sick bank and if they stay healthy, retire out with six months extra salary.

    Thirty years from now, it will be gone. But not until then.

    The salary package, meanwhile, sees a total compensation increase of 5.6 per cent over three years, with 1.75 per cent this year and two per cent next year. In most years, you'd call those modest pay increases. But, this year Miller and council set the bar at a very austere zero in 2009 and one per cent in 2010, when they set non-union compensation at that level.

    And Miller made, repeatedly, a powerful argument for that restraint: Toronto is going to be hit hard with growing social assistance costs as the recession takes its toll. The next two years at least will require austerity.

    The public bought that argument. The public understood it was important to deal with the sick bank. When on July 10 Miller unveiled the city's then-bargaining position, public reaction was supportive.

    Armed with widespread support, and facing two unions who had not managed to muster anything like that, it seemed as though the city couldn't lose.

    Yet all it took, in the end, was a threat by the smaller of the two unions, CUPE Local 416, to walk away from the bargaining table if a deal wasn't reached on the weekend.

    And the result?

    Capitulation.

    When Mark Ferguson, CUPE 416's president, said the city had removed all its concession demands from the table, he wasn't exaggerating. If there are any gains the city made in the short term, they are hidden in the shadow of those losses.

    Now, there may be good reason for capitulation. Miller maintained if the workers had been legislated back - a slim possibility now, but one he worried might expand along with H1N1 nervousness - the city would have done worse in arbitration. Better to come up with some kind of a negotiated phase-out now, rather than be saddled with a complete loss from a provincial arbitrator.

    That's all speculative, though. The stark facts are the city endured a strike that ate up half a summer in service of stated bargaining goals. The city failed to achieve those goals.

    The mayor wears that failure with just over a year to go before the serious part of the 2010 mayoralty campaign starts.

    Not an enviable position.

No wonder that Eddie on CKLW does not want Councillors or others starting to mount a campaign against him now. He knows he would lose badly to anyone with credibility. Heck, the Chicken Suit would give him a good fight.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

CAW And CUPE



The CUPE strike fun has just begun.

There is no doubt that something is going on. After all, Sid Ryan was demonized and Senior was deified by the Star.

Frankly, that in itself should be the kiss of death about any possible takeover of CUPE Windsor by CAW! That and a very long strike by Windsor cab drivers should make CUPE members think twice if someone suggests joining up with them. And I am NOT going to even talk about the Senior FO theatrics or the Junior mayoral rift and Brister dramas.


Remember this as well. Would CUPE Windsor have lost out early on if CAW was in charge:
  • "How critical is the CUPE cost issue to Windsor's municipal survival? A few days ago, I'm told, people from the upper reaches of the city's CAW leadership intervened in an attempt to convince their counterparts at CUPE's national headquarters that things really are different in 2009.

    The world has changed so much, even the much-maligned CAW gets it: it's about protecting jobs now, long-term. Sustainability."
If I was a CUPE member, I would wonder about how strong CAW would be to proterct my interests if mini-Gord praised them!

What a strange story:

  • "CAW backs new City Hall union for managers"

I can hardly blame the Governments now for forcing CAW to make concessions in the auto talks. CAW is loaded with money! Imagine how much cash they must have in their bank account to be able to afford this:

  • "We told them cost isn’t going to be an impediment,” said CAW national president Ken Lewenza. “The city’s paying a helluva lot of money to keep these people from becoming organized.”

    The CAW has offered PETU, the Professional Employees Trade Union, up to $1 million to help it in its efforts to organize.

    City hall has already lost the fight to have PETU certified, but is struggling to whittle down the new union’s membership to as few as 20."

WOW, money is no object to Kennie when it comes to adding 400 new dues paying members to CAW. 400! How much would their dues be and how long would it take for CAW to recoup a million dollars?

Of course, the prize is not those 400 people but the 1,800 people in CUPE Locals 543 and 82 along with other CUPE locals in town. First Windsor, then the world. CUPE is Canada's largest union with about 590,000 members.

A million dollars is a cheap investment to get that kind of return.

Of course, CAW is not that generous and the members of PETU may have unknowingly sold themselves out and will be forced to join CAW, like it or not. There are no free lunches:

  • "While it’s “ultimately their choice,” Lewenza said he hopes PETU members will want to become part of his union.

    Miceli’s mind seems open to the idea when it comes to tiny PETU.

    “When you look at unions out there, how does the CAW look? Personally, I feel the CAW has done a lot of things … somebody who has the wherewithal,” he said.

    There’s a big financial incentive for such a move. Lewenza said there would have to be “some form of repayment” for the money going to PETU now, but not so if it decided to become part of the CAW. “Obviously, that would be an investment,” he said."

Who would be the ones to take the Windsor locals out of CUPE? How hard a fight would that be to decertify CUPE? What reward would those people expect to receive from CAW?

Will we see another labour war here as occurred a number of years ago:

  • "The Canadian Labour Congress has imposed far-reaching sanctions on the Canadian Auto Workers, following accusations that the CAW had attempted to raid eight Ontario locals of the Service Employees International Union. The CLC stripped CAW delegates of the right to vote in district labor councils, provincial labor federations, and other CLC bodies."

From a taxpayers' perspective, we can thank one person for this potential mess if PETU and CUPE all form into one union together whether it is CAW or otherwise:

  • "Miceli said the “main factor” that sparked the organization drive was city council’s decision in May 2006 to get rid of post-retirement benefits for new hires in the non-union category of employees. It became the main point of contention in the recent CUPE strike, and Miceli said the fear has been that the employer would eventually take the next step and get rid of those benefits for current employees...

    Lewenza, who describes as “ridiculous” the amounts of tax dollars the city spends fighting unions, argues those monies could have been saved simply by having the employees’ concerns addressed internally.

    “All they want is a voice at the workplace,” he said of PETU."

Senior is abolutely correct as my BLOG about the Pulic Library's dealings with CUPE clearly indicated.

Why should we be concerned:

  • "Even without the potential clout of the CAW behind it, PETU would be a much more challenging adversary in any future labour dispute with the employer. It was largely that group of employees that kept Windsor running during the long, divisive contract battle with the city’s 1,800 CUPE workers.

    “If we have three to four hundred members, and we walk out, how are you going to manage? If that key group of managers and supervisors is not there, I don’t think this corporation could run,” said Miceli."

Managers and CUPE workers...All in one Union, united against the City, holding taxpayers hostage...thanks Eddie!

More Border Tales


Catching up time with more border stories. I suspect that you have missed several stories due to the City/CUPE labour dispute.

Here are a few that should tickle your fancy:

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN

There were screams of joy and shouts of happiness from across the river in Delray when the Brighton beach deal in Canada was announced.

Remeber the past Star story
  • "A Windsor Star report six weeks ago cited estimates of $50,000 per acre and up."

Actually, it was $50,000 and down since I was told that the biggest piece of property before sold by the City for less than that amount.

For $34M, the Feds bought 94 acres or about $362,000 per acre or over 7 times as much.

Well anything that Canada can do, the Americans can and now must do better. Delray residents can now ask for 7 times the amounts offered to date. And there will be a lot of them too:

  • "On the American side, none of the 235 acres needed for the bridge structure, the plaza or the interchanges have been purchased, says MDOT spokesman Bill Schreck."

Not only did Canada sucker the Americans re the DRIC project and got them in the middle of several nasty lawsuits, now the costs for the project have gone sky-high. Michigan Republicans just have received an early election issue!

And for those Windsorites whining about their price, if they have not sold out yet, they have just hit the lottery jackpot and did not have to buy a ticket! The ones who sold out better get a lawyer to see if they can get more money somehow!

I know, they can call Brian Masse. He will argue anything since as a member of the NDP he will never be held accountable since they will never form a Government.

BIG PAYDAY

Wow, Eddie is a great negotiator after all. 7 times the value of any other land sold in the area by the City.

Now we know what Minister Baird meant when he said this:

  • "The deadline has passed, but Windsor still has an opportunity to receive federal funding for a $48-million downtown canal project, Canada’s transportation and infrastructure minister said Wednesday...

    But John Baird suggested Wednesday the project could be included when Ottawa reveals its infrastructure allocation to the city.

    “The deadline was Friday, but we hope to come forward in short order on further economic stimulus for Windsor which badly needs it,” said the minister, in Windsor for a border transportation conference."

Nice neat way to use Federal cash

WHAT WILL BRIAN AND JOE DO

A good member of the Oppostion should be jumping all over this obvious overpayment. Brian should be doing the most screaming exactly because, if Eddie runs federally, it will be against him.

Brian is damned if he does and damned if he does not. Is it any wonder that he and Joe have done zero so far. But that is par for the course for the NDP even when they had the balance of power in Parliament.

Oh heck, why don't our NDP members write a nice letter to the Auditor General demanding a complete investigation in this.

I would have suggested writing as well to Louis Ranger, the former Deputy Minister at Transport, but he suddenly left Government service so he cannot be reached. I wonder if he approved the deal.

THERE WAS NO WAR

Senatore Kenny should be ashamed of himself. He was no different than Orson Welles telling us that the Martians were coming.

Remember what the Senator's Report said:

  • "The type of cautious, step-by-step, approach currently underway is clearly the most intelligent approach for non-urgent projects. This is not one of them. Windsor-Detroit is of such strategic importance to both Canada and the United States that fixing it requires war-time urgency.

    What the process fails to take into account is the possibility that the Partnership’s timelines are unrealistic and likely to slip and that a crossing could be permanently disrupted between now and the completion of a new crossing."

Well several years later and the DRIC project has just slipped to 2015, at he least. He should be shocked and be demanding armed guards at the border shouldn't he. Instead, all he can say is:

  • "I'm very concerned that it's been delayed past 2013 but if it's coming it's very good news for people in southern Ontario and Windsor in particular."

SENATOR KENNY PREJUDICES ENVIRONMENTAL HEARINGS

DUH Senator, what the heck does this mean since there are only 2 locations where a new bridge can go:

  • "We think another bridge, not necessarily an Ambassador Bridge, we think another bridge is very important," said Kenny...

    Kenny would not identify his preferred location for the new crossing, citing the ongoing DRIC process."

Gee Senator, I think you did put your foot in the wrong place!

KENNY SHOULD SPEAK TO VAN LOAN

The Senator is a broken record. He completely fails to remember how the bad guys operate: they take down several targets miles apart:

  • "I don't think it should be at this location," said Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, who toured the bridge plaza along with committee deputy chairwoman Conservative Senator Pamela Wallin.

    "The idea of twinning this facility makes no sense because if this facility went down, you'd lose both of them," he said.

    "So, let's have it at another location."

However, the easy answer is reverse customs. The Senator should be talking to the Conservative Minister about what he said before about the Ambassador Bridge but what now seems to have been dropped. As I Blogged before:

  • "Clearly "security" is no longer an issue for Canada. Remember some months ago that Minister Van Loan suggested having a "reverse customs" pilot project at the Ambassador Bridge:

    "He also got a commitment from Napolitano that Washington will look again at the idea of what is called land pre-clearance, he said.

    Under a proposal favoured by Ottawa, American officials would check U.S.-bound trucks on the Canadian side of the border and vice versa, easing trade bottlenecks.

    Van Loan said he suggested a pilot project at the Windsor-Detroit border but nothing was settled."

I guess it was not raised when they met so it cannot be that much of an issue any more. Another reason for a DRIC bridge gone!

THE CUPBOARD WAS BAIRD

Jeff Watson instead of the Minister to hand out a big cheque. Why the Minister did not want to appear in Windsor so much that he went to China instead!

So much for this statement:

  • "Unlike the city’s ongoing spat with the province over their divergent respective plans for the highway approach to the new border crossing, the city’s dealings with the federal government over the actual new bridge and customs plaza have been smooth."

ANOTHER STAR CORRECTION NEEDED

The Star had run two stories and an Editorial on the Brookings Institution Report and did not say a thing about their conclusion of the Ambassador Bridge being built first meaning there was no need for a DRIC Bridge because traffic volumes were so low.

My theory was they chose NOT to report that in the hopes that people would not even look at the Report. Only my readers would know the truth.

And then this, buried in this story:

  • "No waivering in support of DRIC bridge

    Earlier this week, a study commissioned by the Brookings Institution questioned the need for a second span at the Ambassador Bridge and voiced its support for the DRIC project."

It is wrong and the Star knows it or ought to know it since presumably the Report was read! The Report said the following as I Blogged before:

  • "There was no need for the DRIC bridge since Brookings said that the DIBC bridge would be built first!!!

    "However, the DRIC is expected to be completed later than the DIBC barring additional delays to either project, and concern over the auto industry and the potential for lower traffic volumes due to reduced automotive industry shipments casts doubt on the need to proceed with both the DIBC and DRIC..

    Declining traffic figures, if sustained into 2009, undermine the case for the investment of billions of dollars in new border infrastructure after years of contentious debate and planning has already taken place"

    It is the DRIC project that costs billions, not the Ambassador Bridge project!... As you know the DRIC project has been delayed for at least 2 more years until 2015 because of traffic declines and lack of P3 money."

TRAFFIC JUSTIFICATION IS DEAD

Brookings effectively killed that argument, the supposed reason for building the DRIC Bridge.

Now a big backer of DRIC did so as well:

  • "We need two crossings, regardless of what the Ambassador Bridge plans to do, because we have to plan for future growth,” said Bradley [president of the Ontario Trucking Association]. “Not doing so is what got us into this mess in the first place.”

    While acknowledging that traffic levels have declined because of a slowdown in the automotive industry, Fedchun [executive director of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association] said he believes that the industry will slowly recover and “we have to be ready with the capacity when it does.

    “Crystal balls are always a little cloudy and, while I believe it will be a long recovery, we need to be ready when it happens,” said Fedchun. “And it’s never been very palatable to our members to use Huron Church Road and freeway-to-freeway access is far more efficient.”

Now we need to look at future growth through cloudy crystal balls. Oh please.

They have no problems in taxpayers spending billions to pay for these projects even though there is no traffic and who knows when it will come back.

It is a shame that no one asked them if their members will pay the sky-high toll prices necessary to support the DRIC bridge since it will be a P3 project or will they whine and cry and demand that the crossing be subsidized by taxpayers too in the public interest.

SANDRA READS MY BLOGS

What a shot at Spanky eh:

  • "Pupatello gives economic pep talk to Rotary Club of Windsor (1918)
    'The darkest days are behind us'


    Designers of a new Windsor-Detroit border crossing have an opportunity to put this region on the global map and it's an opportunity which shouldn't be wasted, said MPP Sandra Pupatello.

    While acknowledging the province of Ontario will have no input into the final design of the region's third border crossing, Pupatello said she favours "an iconic design, something that will be recognizable around the world in an instant."

    I guess that Spanky forgot his constitutional law. Sandra did not!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chicago Is NOT My Kind Of Town


Not the bloody canal. Again.

I was told just a few days ago that Eddie's mayoral campaign, assuming he did not run for some other office, would be based on the canal. I did not believe it. Boy, was I wrong!

It is almost as tedious as Gord supporting Greenlink. I wonder how Gord will support a "political" tweaking over the DRIC road. How will a so-called "inferior" solution be justified so that ignoring death and destruction and kids' health is no longer considered"unconscionable" any more. I wonder how Eddie (and probably Spanky but NOT Sandra) will be praised over the Compromise. OMG, the "C" word.

Does Gord Henderson ever do the slightest bit of research when he does a Column to mouth off to try to save another absurd idea of the Mayor? He writes a column on Saturday about Chicago and Monday is the day when Chicago is forced to close down!

Aren't there any fact-checkers at the Star. Oh I forgot, their parent company is in big financial trouble these days.

Take a look above at the Press release of Chicago. They are in serious financial difficulty with a budget deficit that makes Windsor's entire budget look puny!

"Live and learn from the folks in Chicago"

Gord, I think not!
  • "Opened four years behind schedule and carrying a US $475 million price tag, triple the original budget, it's the kind of runaway project that gets labeled a debacle, and gets mayors run out of town.

    But not in Chicago where Richard M. Daley, the "greenest" mayor in America, a ruler with the powers of a Persian potentate, is aggressively building on a can-do dynasty established by his legendary late father. Millennium Park might have been an accountant's nightmare but today it's a must-see attraction drawing hordes of camera-toting visitors who fill the city's hotels and restaurants.

    Under Daley, downtown Chicago has become one big hunk of streetscaping eye candy."

Gord finally tells us the kind of Mayor that Eddie wants to be. Fortunately before the next election. After all, Eddie prides himself on being close to Mayor Daley: "Behind schedule," over-budget, a ruler, powers of a Persion potentate. All Eddie wants is "eye candy" like a canal

No wonder that Gord is still the Sheriff!

Eating too much candy causes painful cavities and tooth decay that results in days off for employees and inconvenience to taxpayers to save some money so the City does not have a financial melt-down. And this is after almost $2B was taken in by the City in a P3 deal on one of their toll roads.

Think about that when Gord try to tell us that P3ing Enwin shortly is a brilliant idea that will allow us to finance the canal and other Eddie visions. Just like Gord tried to tell us that Eddie was a financial genius for trying to do a deal on the Tunnel that would probably be in bankruptcy already with the fall in traffic volumes:

  • "A solid investment

    How the heck did little old Windsor snatch a blue-chip infrastructure investment opportunity out from under the money- sniffing noses of Canada's major pension fund managers?

    You can bet your bottom dollar that the boards of these massive institutions, which have been pouring billions into a hot new field, longterm infrastructure investment, are asking themselves that awkward question following the revelation that Windsor has entered into a US $75-million agreement with Detroit to take full possession of the Detroit-Windsor tunnel.

    They'll be kicking themselves where the sun doesn't shine for not recognizing, as the City of Windsor did, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to purchase a safe and reliable revenue stream for the next century and beyond...

    If and when Detroit signs off, and we shouldn't take anything for granted, the City of Windsor will join the club of canny, longterm investors."

Yea right....canny Windsor! We would be in the equivalent of Chapter 11 if not worse after this dumb deal!

When I lived in Toronto, the media there always told us local yokels that we were the equivalent of New York City. Until one actually visited the Big Apple and figured out that we could never compare. We had been deceived about what we could ever hope to be.

Same here.

  • Huron Church is going to be turned into the Champs-Élysées by the Big Apple's traffic guru, Sam Schwartz, as his Report gathers dust somewhere.
  • An award-winning Greenlink that was used merely as a stall tool that will be compromised for political reasons into the "unconscionable" DRIC road.
  • During the CUPE strike, we saw what our world-class Park on the Lid and Central Park equivalents would really look like with all of Eddie's Greenlink parks for which we had no money to maintain.
  • We "host" world class sports events by spending millions of dollars for sponsorships that put us on the world's stage as our tourism figures plummet and even the Casino is in trouble with the Detroit competition.
  • We have to build a canal so that we can compete with San Antonio and Venice as we ignore the miles of riverfront that we already have to create canal-front condo and apartment complexes that no one will be able to afford since there are no jobs.
  • A huge muti-million dollar piece of pie in the skies cargo terminal at an airport that has one scheduled airline serving it and whose major cargo operator went broke. Please.

We do have a world-class border crossing owned by a private company. Do we take pride in it? Hardly, as our Mayor has to help destroy it for a Government-owned one.

Why can't we be happy that Windsor is Windsor and not be something we are not.

  • Chicago's Metro population is 9,157,540. Ours in Essex County is about 400,000
  • Chicago's Metro Area alone is 5,618.9 sq. mi. Windsor-Essex is 685 square miles
  • Chicago's tallest building is 1,451 ft high. We have the scaled-down Canderel embarrassment.
  • Chicago's Harold Washington Library Center, with more than 2 million books available, is the world's largest public library. Here we cut back our Library system.
  • O'hare has 53 scheduled and charter airlines. We have Air Canada Jazz
  • Chicago's estimated 2010 budget is $6.2 billion, with a $3.32 billion corporate fund. Chicago estimate a shortfall of $519.7 million in the 2010 corporate fund. In Windsor
    "1. That the 2009 Net Operating Budget for the City of Windsor and related Boards in the amount of $321,915,174 as recommended by the Operating Budget Committee BE ADOPTED.
    2. THAT the 2009 Capital Budget in the amount of $92,456,000, BE ADOPTED subject to
    a decision on the use of the $20.6 million Investing in Ontario Act provincial funding and any other stimulus funding requirements."

Get over it Gord, not even you can save Eddie from his failures. You still have not figured it out yet. Eddie is incapable of being a Mayor. The CUPE strike is proof of that. He has no interest in running a City whatsoever. It is too boring. He would rather play finance games at no risk to his cash but at my risk and those of other taxpayers.

Why be a Mayor when one can be a world-class union buster, land developer, sports jock, border operator, road and tunnel builder, P3 financier, entertainment impresario and onion marketer. And now a canal builder.

What is sad about this is that while we are looking to be on the world's stage and being compared with the world's great cities, we are dying. Highest unemployment rate in all of Canada and Eddie has still has a non-functioning Undevelopment Commission with no CEO hired yet!

Our Francis mayoral legacy: talk about eye candies, a College bridge that had to be shut down, roads full of potholes, sewers flooding and this:

  • "While the mayor and council appear keen on the idea, the hard part seems convincing a reluctant administration to support a downtown bar's application to build Windsor's first curbside boardwalk...

    "Everybody thinks it's a great idea," Mayor Eddie Francis told Whibbs...

    When Francis told council the wooden boardwalk may be contrary to provincially mandated sidewalk standards, Coun. Percy Hatfield asked staff how much of Windsor's sidewalks are currently not up to those legal standards.

    Executive director of operations Mike Palanacki said about 28 per cent of the city's 900 kilometres of sidewalks are considered "deficient."

Heck, now we can understand Eddie. Athens and Germany are more fun that sidewalks aren't they!



Cease And Desist Already



Why couldn't the Star reporter or Columnist give us the information rather than make us wonder and guess? Or did some editor make the decision to not reveal it?

The Star first published the story on August 6:
  • "Stop spreading rumours, Jones warned by bridge

    Cease and desist letter issued

    The Ambassador Bridge company has fired a warning shot across the bow of Ward 2 Coun. Ron Jones, threatening legal action if Jones persists in spreading what the company alleges is misinformation about its practices and intentions regarding homes in the city's west side...

    Jones said he was unruffled by the bridge's letter."

I wonder when that letter was sent. Dan Stamper was quoted as saying it was sent some time before. If so, why was the issue just publicized now? What is about to come next so that the Bridge Company can be demonized in advance?

Here is what I find to be fascinating about the story. At no time did it ever say what was in the Bridge Company letter. Presumably it was about the Indian Road homes. But what was their complaint?

I am sure that the reporter must have seen it. How could he write a story otherwise?

Wouldn't you like to know why the Bridge Company was so angry? What did Councillor Jones say that so upset them? Was it true or not? It would have to be in the letter I am sure.

What was the Councillor's position on each of the allegations made? I would have liked to have known.

Fast forward to the column of Anne Jarvis of August 14:

  • "Jones won't be silenced

    People in the vulnerable west side neighbourhood of Sandwich elected Coun. Ron Jones to represent them, and the Ambassador Bridge, whose plan to twin its span and cement its monopoly would devastate Sandwich, is warning him to shut up.

    It's a billion-dollar business empire trying to muzzle an elected representative and his community, and it's offensive."

Ahhhhhhhhh the Columnist will tell us what is in the letter. She must have read it in order to write a column about it, right. She will inform us about the Indian Road homes issue.

She writes and quotes the Councillor in the following way:

  • "At a rally at the foot of the bridge in southwest Detroit two months ago, Jones told the crowd that a twin span would cut Sandwich in half "and we're not going to allow it to happen."

    Pretty nefarious stuff, according to the bridge. Thankfully, for the residents of Sandwich and for Windsor, Jones is doing what he was elected to do: fight for the best interests of his ward and the city.

    That's what the bridge doesn't like.

    "I think there's probably an attempt to muzzle anybody who is not going to toe the line," said Jones."

Huh? What has that got to do with what the reporter's story was about: the Bridge company's "practices and intentions regarding homes in the city's west side?" She came up with something totally different.

Was that in the letter, is that what the Bridge was complaining about according to Ms Jarvis? I would be surprised if only that was the basis of a cease and desist letter. I would suspect that there was much more.

Again, I wonder why the Columnist did not set out specifically what the complaint was. Why didn't she inform her readers? Did she actually read the letter and if so, why didn't she quote from it?

What is wrong with the Star...why are they so afraid to give people the facts? Another reason why I am glad I cancelled my subscription.

Why don't the Councillor and the Star tell us what the complaint was about so we can judge for ourselves? Why is there this silence? I am sure that the Bridge Company would give permission for the letter to be released.

I can hardly wait for the Editorial that will be written next that won't tell us about the letter either.

Perhaps in this case, the Star could cease and desist as well if they refuse to set out the details of the complaint.

Oh, by the way, Brian Masse spoke at the Detroit session too. Did he get a letter as well?