Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Breach of Trust: Call In The Police Now

There is now a dark cloud of suspicion hanging over Windsor Council thanks to Chris Vander Doelen of the Windsor Star.

It is unhealthy. It is corruption within the highest governing body in our Municipality. It involves the public trust and those whom we have put in positions of authority in Government to do the right thing for us.

Someone on Windsor Council is corrupt. That person ought to be in jail. It's that simple.

More and more, the Windsor CUPE strike is taking on something much more ominous than a mere labour dispute for someone to act in such a fashion.

Mini-Gord told us as clearly as possible that a crime has been committed:
  • "Does anyone in Windsor believe that only one set of "loose lips" on city council muddied the waters during the CUPE strike last summer...

    But I happen to know for a fact there is more than one potential leak. A councillor who was not Jones offered to be that leak to me over the phone half a year ago. Being wary of quicksand, I never took the councillor up on the offer."

The finger of suspicion is pointed at each Council member now, equally. Other than Councillor Jones it seems who has his own "leak" issue thanks to unproven allegations.

What is Council going to do about it? Forget about it? Or take it seriously!

Are you shocked, dear reader, that mini-Gord turned down having his own Deep Throat in the secret in camera meetings of Council! Scoop after scoop. But he did.

Why?

Clearly, mini-Gord knew that this Councillor was crossing the line. Sure people leak things on occasion but not it seems as this Councillor was prepared to do: to be offering to be a virtual torrent, a provider of a flood of confidential information which action would be breaching the Councillor's legal duties and responsibilities.

If mini-Gord was part of that, he would suffer the consequences too. No wonder he rightfully declined.

What mini-Gord did not tell us was if the Councillor wanted something in return and if so, what it was? Could that be the "quicksand" he was concerned about as well? Why ruin his journalistic career for a criminal!

Oh sure, there can be another Integrity Commission investigation except I hope Mr. Basse remembers what his real "judicial" powers are now. Or we can have a judicial inquiry under the Municipal Act or a bunch of other alternatives. But why would we not treat this act as what it is:

A CRIME

This was not a slip. This was a deliberate act. This Councillor was prepared to breach his/her legal duty knowingly, willingly and with malice for some reward that would be to his/her own benefit---a re-election advantage perhaps or not to be slapped down too often in print!

The Criminal Code of Canada is clear:

  • Section 122
    BREACH OF TRUST BY A PUBLIC OFFICER


    Every official who, in connection with the duties of his office, commits fraud or a breach of trust is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years, whether or not the fraud or breach of trust would be an offence if it were committed in relation to a private person.

The Supreme Court has said

  • "I conclude that the offence of breach of trust by a public officer will be established where the Crown proves beyond a reasonable doubt the following elements:

    1. The accused is an official;

    2. The accused was acting in connection with the duties of his or her office;

    3. The accused breached the standard of responsibility and conduct demanded of him or her by the nature of the office;

    4. The conduct of the accused represented a serious and marked departure from the standards expected of an individual in the accused’s position of public trust; and

    5. The accused acted with the intention to use his or her public office for a purpose other than the public good, for example, for a dishonest, partial, corrupt, or oppressive purpose."

Each one of these conditions has been met.

The Mayor/Head of the Police Services Board has no choice but to have Chief Smith investigate immediately this crime and prosecute if one has been committed. The investigation must also determine if this person has comitted other offences which may have jeopardized the public interest.

As for Mr. Vander Doelen and the Star, I trust that they will be front and centre in assisting the police. As for not revealing sources, that does not work here since no one is protecting a confidential source that is exposing wrong-doing. Not revealing the name would be protecting the wrong-doer him/herself.

What Did Basse And Leak #2 tell us


DUH....Councillor Jones was NOT the Leakor. Don't you think Basse would have named him if he was or there was a good probability of it. It was someone else. Or perhaps more than one person who were working together.

How convenient that there was a second report and how convenient that Ron's name can be splashed over the Star so that the real Leakor gets off. For now. That person's name will come out during the bad faith OLRB claim and lawsuit when there is full discovery and people are questioned under oath unless CUPE chickens out and "moves on."

We also know now from the excerpt above that the accusations against CUPE as the Leakor were smears too. Was it part of the campaign to crush them?

Someone from the City leaked the information and it reached the media. Why? Clearly to sabotage a settlement after the City's June 17 flip-flop that was disclosed in the Lewenza meeting that the Star chose not to cover. If the Star had done so, people's views about the strike would have changed.

How do I know that there is another Leakor....mini-Gord revealed all:

  • "Does anyone in Windsor believe that only one set of "loose lips" on city council muddied the waters during the CUPE strike last summer?

    Any councillor, for example, proven to have passed sensitive information along to leaders of the city's two CUPE locals during the course of last summer's fierce three-month strike could be in serious legal trouble...

    But I happen to know for a fact there is more than one potential leak. A councillor who was not Jones offered to be that leak to me over the phone half a year ago. Being wary of quicksand, I never took the councillor up on the offer."

The Star publisher, Editor and Mini-Gord surely have the responsibility to tell us who that Councillor was. This is a damaging accusation that tarnishes every member of Council. Or was the word "Councillor" used to throw us off the trail? After all, mini-Gord told us:

  • "Any councillor, for example, proven to have passed sensitive information along to leaders of the city's two CUPE locals during the course of last summer's fierce three-month strike could be in serious legal trouble...

    Councillors have a fiduciary duty to taxpayers. They can't just go tattling the corporation's plans to the "other side" during a strike. Hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.

    Conspiring with the competition is a moral and legal no-no. Just as it would be for a CUPE insider to whisper the union's plans to management in the midst of a bitter standoff."

Why would a Councillor do such a thing? What could he/she gain from doing so? The only thing that I can think of is terrific coverage in mini-Gord's column. You scratch my back by giving me good coverage and I scratch yours by giving you scoops.

Anyone who is that corrupt ought to be named and driven from office. Anyone that stupid---mini-Gord has him/her at his mercy now doesn't he---ought to be kicked out.

But here is an interesting point....Newcombe only talked about "hundreds" or multiple calls in his report. What did mini-Gord say:

  • "A reliable source tells me the number of calls in question totalled more than 500. Five hundred calls over three months is unheard of -- even for most spouses over that period."

I wonder who that source was. Only someone in that room when Basse revealed the number could have leaked it. That person just did not learn anything or did not care. Was that person the Leakor trying to protect him/herself again to make things look bad for Jones?

I have an idea what the second report is all about. Not about leaking but:

  • "But let's pretend for a moment that Fox's claim is true, that the 500 calls from the unnamed councillor were "personal." That raises equally disturbing questions about the possibility of an inappropriate relationship between management and hourly staff during negotiations."

I bet that thought came from the reliable source too. If that is the case, then just come out and say it!

What did we get for $15,000, if that is the amount? Remember though that I doubt that Basse was going to publish much with an OLRB bad faith complaint outstanding. If true, that is unfortunate. He should not have been concerned about that if that was the reason. Let the chips fall where they may.

However, since Mr. Basse is an experienced ex-RCMP officer and forensic accountant, we have to assume that he knew what he was doing and he just kept his cards close to his vest when writing his report.

One wonders if he did that also because of what is in Report #2 which we will probably never see because I do not believe that he had the legal authority to commence it.

So what can we tell from the little that was revealed in his report:

  1. Jones was NOT the leakor

  2. CUPE was NOT the leakor

  3. Edgar (aka Eddie) was called at 8 PM before the 11PM news report was broadcast. It would appear that the Mayor was NOT asked to confirm details because Newcombe already had them. So why was the Mayor called and what did Edgar say? Did Edgar ask Newcombe NOT to run the story because it would ruin negotiations? If not, why not?

  4. The bad faith and back wages claims of CUPE have been increased because even Basse recognized that the leak was detrimental and that the strike would not be settled for another 4 weeks

  5. Basse clearly did not do the job he could have done because he thought he had no "judical power" but he had broad powers under the Public Inquiries Act. He could have asked for records not under the City's control

  6. Clearly, he believes that the leak came from the City. Is that why the City tried to blame that non-CUPE union member to divert attention? This should give CUPE workers a very strong bargaining position for their $30M back wages and punitive damages claims!

  7. Basse warned to be careful of attacking people without evidence but that advice was ignored
  8. Whatever the evidence was in the Eh-Channel news broadcast, it was so overwheleming that Basse found the City leaked the information. Accordingly, it is NOT odd that no one from CUPE was interviewed! Obviously Basse had no doubt that the City leaked the information. Moreover, he threw in this remark that can only mean that he confirms my suspicion why the leak was made and how much harm it cost CUPE workers

Do you need any more proof that the CUPE strike was not a labour dispute but political action?

And if CUPE thinks the war is over, just read the report coming up soon "Outsourcing of Provincial Offence Officers." After Henderson's diatribe today, do you think any Councillor will dare vote no

  • "They gambled that the old rules still applied. And lost. Now garbage and recycling collection are on the way out, to be followed by parking enforcement a week from Monday and then, who knows, maybe a slice or two out of the parks and recreation empire.

    The genius of this is that we can all win, including CUPE members who pay Windsor taxes, if this is done right."

Friday, November 20, 2009

BLOGExtra: Basse Report

And Councillor Jones was smeared for this!


basse
Note this email from City Hall:
  • "Mr. Arditti,

    As promised earlier in the week, attached in PDF format is the report you requested.

    This item has also just been posted to our website as a communication item for Monday, November 23, 2009."

Who would ever think of looking there and after Monday, it is gone!

I would like to know what he was asked and what answers he gave since this report tells us nothing. I would also like to know his explanation about doing the second report too.

But we'll never know...it was in camera.

Another Reason I Am Glad My Star Subscription Is Cancelled

I will be honest.

I lost my respect for both Roseann Danese and Don McArthur after the recent "Online chats with The Star." I am sure that they do not care.

Their performance was horrible as far as I am concerned. However, they certainly did demonstrate the necessity for BLOGs in this City that provide an alternative perspective on the news and why they have been started.

After the way the Star reported on the CUPE strike and still is doing so especially by not reporting the Lewenza Ward meeting, it bothers me that Roseann can say:
  • "Roseann Danese: Political affiliations? No one is saying that reporters and editors are robots and don't have political leanings. In fact, most of us are political junkies. But reporters are paid to check their politcal viewpoints at the door. A news story would not make it into the paper if it leaned one way or another."

No? Take one simple but important news story "Council's closed-door strike strategy revealed." We see

  • factual errors re the introduction of a Motion re PRBs and a so-called reversal
  • a false conclusion especially clear after the recent Ward 4 session: Lewenza "who consistently sided with CUPE positions during the 101-day strike"
  • inflammatory language: "pleaded for time," " he railed Monday night," "had I decided to cave and ignore the wishes of the residents of Windsor...you don’t go into a strike saying this is your core issue and then cave after a week"

Chris Schnurr has already written about his experience with the Chat with his question not being posted even though it was asked several times. It was only posted when a supposed "union President" asked it and then that person was allowed to be slammed as you shall see below.

http://chrisschnurr.wordpress.com/2009/11/20/why-the-star-didnt-cover-ward-4-meeting/

I just wanted to touch on a few small matters to demonstrate how the Star is trying to destroy Lewenza because he is too dangerous to the Establishment with their agenda.

The Star admitted that they chose consciously NOT to cover his meeting. There is no issue about that now. That in itself is a political statement:

  • 12:38 [Comment From Gary TaylorGary Taylor: ]
    Why wasn't the Lewenza/Maara Ward 4 meeting covered by the Star. Surely there was enough information to warrant coverage...

    12:42Roseann Danese:
    The night of the forum, there were two major stories our night reporter had to cover: an accident that involved a 50,000 pound roll of steel that fell on top of an SUV, nearly killing the driver and the annual memorial vigil for victims of crime. Both were compelling stories...

    12:53Roseann Danese:
    Gary, like I said earlier, we cover events based on their news value. Considering how much coverage we had already given to this topic and the fact there were two breaking news stories, we didn't go to Lewenza's meeting.

Gee, the Star needs a better scheduler considering they knew about the meeting in advance! The "annual" vigil is hardly "breaking news." The SUV incident took place at 3:45 PM while the Ward 4 meeting started about 3 hours later. Hardly "compelling" excuses from Roseann.

Perhaps the Star's City Hall reporter could have been assigned to cover the meeting since it is part of his beat. Does the Star still have interns who could have been sent out? Oh sorry, telling us that the hardliners cost us a fortune and why has no news value whatsoever.

Where has that been covered in detail with numbers and the reasons in the Star? Or the flipflop on the June 17th in camera meeting with the explanation? Or the City's negotiating Committee's hands being tied as the file was being micromanaged by Council that can mean bad faith bargaining?

Since the Star was not going to cover his meeting, then why the hypocrisy of inviting Lewenza to express his point of view on an online chat when few would know what he said or what he was talking about! What was the point since the story was not going to be covered and clearly had little "news value" to the Star anyway?

  • "12:53Moderator Donald McArthur:
    And to Gary — I asked Ken Lewenza to come on for a live chat. I asked him on the day of his ward meeting to come in the morning after his ward meeting. No strings attached. We gave him a platform. He declined."

Did the Star have an ulterior motive, a hidden agenda?

Donald, do not tell us he had a platform. Rather the Star had a platform which was going to allow him to be smeared! You see, dear reader, the Star has a Moderator who ensures what goes on and what does NOT go on the chat. Chris Schnurr told us his experience of trying to get his question asked and it never saw the light of day.

McArthur showed us the power he has with the chat:

  • "12:13 Moderator Donald McArthur:
    Here's a question from someone with an inappropriate nickname: "Why is it that when reading almost any article in The Star that one could easily draw a particular political affiliation from each and every story?"

    Thursday November 19, 2009 12:13 Moderator Donald McArthur

    "12:14 [Comment From What The?What The?: ]
    Funny a question showed up for almost a minute in regards to the political overtones purveyed by stories that run in The Star. I'm glad that at least it was shown for a moment and then removed. No reply was as good as getting a reply. I guess the answer is based in the question now.

    Thursday November 19, 2009 12:14 What The?

    12:16 Moderator Donald McArthur:
    Hi What The...I posted that question and then took it down when I realized the poster had snuck an inappropriate nickname by me. Kind of a Bart Simpson phoning Moe's Tavern sort of thing. I reposted the question sans the name and Roseann is typing away as we speak."

In other words, he has complete power over the chat and can control the questions asked and what is said. The Star is angry because Lewenza outthought them and declined to be suckered in by them!

Now take a look at these comments:

  • "12:54[Comment From QuestionerQuestioner: ]
    Can I thank the Star for NOT going to that meeting? Thank-You this reader apprediated that!

    Thursday November 19, 2009 12:54 Questioner

    12:54[Comment From GringoGringo: ]
    Gary, give it a rest already!

    Thursday November 19, 2009 12:54 Gringo

    12:54[Comment From CrankCrank: ]
    If Lewenza wants something in the paper that bad, he should buy an ad."

Why was the "flaming" allowed ie "An online argument that becomes nasty or derisive, where insulting a party to the discussion takes precedence over the objective merits of one side or another."

What purpose did it serve other than to discredit "Gary Taylor" even though McArthur had already said

  • "HI CAWmember -- This is important for everyone to understand. The names on here aren't necessarily the real names of real people and we have no way of ensuring that they are. That means that Gary Taylor could be Joe Smith or Rocket Bob or Stephen Harper. That's why our soundoffs aren't supposed to be include last names.

and then to discredit Ken Lewenza.

What was the need to do this? Why weren't the comments deleted just as Don did with the inappropriate name?

Why didn't Roseanne jump in and say

  • "Comments like these would not make it into the online chat if it leaned one way or another."

Rather, in came Marty the Editor out of the blue to put the knife in by repeating what had been said before. I guess that we were supposed to be impressed or does the Star think its readers are too stupid so they have to repeat things over and over again:

  • 12:57 [Comment From Marty Beneteau, editorMarty Beneteau, editor: ]
    Hey Gary, do us a favour and ask Ken Jr. why he declined to take part in a live chat with us. Surely he could have used this forum to get his message out."

What was this Online Chat really about: Marty Beneteau and the Star trying to justify why it did not cover a key story for this City because of its own political agenda and to protect the Mayor and the other hardliners from the criticism and blame they deserve for failing us, with the Star as their willing accomplice.

A late arrival just like this one, remember:

  • "12:33 The Windsor Star: Subsequent to closing, Tim at 11:53 asked, "So does John Coleman have a connection to the mayor's office? Yes or no?" The answer to the question is yes.

Obviously, the paper has been taking the heat for its failure to the Community and rightly so.

It does not have the guts to allow the other side of the story to be told in its pages for fear that people will understand its role in our City and its destructive force and what the facts are! So it smears its opponents and ignores them.

Just watch the Star play like a broken record when anyone complains about their journalistic failure:

  • "Surely he could have used this forum to get his message out."

Hardly.

How many people participated in an online chat at noon or would have read it after compared with the number of people who would have read a Star story about the Ward 4 meeting published and online. Imagine the number of letters and posts that would have generated!

That is the point isn't it. The Star did not want letters or posts because that would mean that people would have read an alternative perspective!

I guess the Chat was supposed to convince me and many others to subscribe again. I actually got a call from one of the Star's telemarketers to do so .

Sorry, I have no interest in giving the Star my subscription money! Now you know another reason why.

UPDATE

Star reporters can be troopers for trivial stories but not for a major event I guess:

  • "Three drinks good for a warning
    Star writer puts roadside limits to test


    My marching orders were to go have three drinks, then submit to a breath test. Star photographer Tyler Brownbridge and reporter Frances Willick, always the troopers, were done work for the night but offered to come along anyway. For research. They're as dedicated to journalism as I am."

Shhh Don't Let CUPE Workers know

Oh my, Anne Jarvis seems to imply that a union has value in her Star column today:
  • "No wonder the CAW has to resort to storming the plant. This isn't just the CAW, either. Non-union members were left with nothing, too. And if the largest private sector union in the country has to storm the plant to get its members' money, heaven help you if you don't have a union and you have to fight this alone."

Off with her head!

Next thing she will say is that Junior was right since the CUPE strike went on too long because the City bargained in bad faith and the hardliners screwed Windsorites.

Be Nice Matty And See What You Get

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

As an example, in 2007, I BLOGGED:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    It is an understanding Moroun must acquire. In the matter of public relations, his attempts to keep inspection information private will hardly strengthen his bid to build a parallel span and prevent the construction of a public bridge downriver...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is the partner at fault is easy to answer.

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

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



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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Basse Must Act Now And A BIAS Lawsuit

If the Integrity Commissioner can act on his own, then he must investigate this immediately. He has no choice.

Or should he only do investigations of "softliners" if the Star is correct:

  • "Windsor's Chris Vander Doelen: Privatized pickup likely
    By Chris Vander Doelen, The Windsor Star November 19, 2009

    Taxpayers who despaired Monday at city council's apparent failure to outsource Windsor's garbage pickup should calm down and wait to see what unfolds, key councillors tell me.

    The public may be pleasantly surprised by what happens after the dust settles.

    What looked like a defeat for citizens who want to see city hall downsized was actually a night of major progress, the mayor and other councillors say...

    But much of the forelock-tugging was merely lip service paid to the gallery of surly CUPE members, I'm told. When it comes time to approve outsourcing contracts the vote will look more like the 8-3 outcome of council's vote to send recycling pickups out to tender.

    Not only is there nearly a 100 per cent likelihood that the city's recycling work will be outsourced, Mayor Eddie Francis says, "I think the regular garbage will go out for sure, too," ending up in private hands."

Now you know why I rarely speak in front of this Council any more. Is it just me or do others have the impression that in many cases their minds seem to be already made up. Being a delegation therefore is a waste of a Monday evening.

Who are these "key councillors?"

We know that the Mayor spoke to mini-Gord. We know that Councillor Brister spoke to him. Who else?

Why is this vital to know? In effect, we are being told that Council has already made up its mind.

Were we lied to at the last Council meeting if what mini-Gord said is correct!

There was no need to go out to Tender since it is a foregone conclusion what will happen. Just look at Edgar's quote above.

Note the timing is perfect. The tender should be out and the results in by early spring. Just in time to dump on CUPE again to get certain members of Council re-elected.

If true, this is a disgrace.

I am sure that the Publisher of the Star will insist now that mini-Gord tell us the sources of these anti-democratic comments.

Those members of Council who talked must resign now in disgrace.

Here is another lawsuit for CUPE to stop this affront to Democracy in its tracks when the matter comes before Council: reasonable apprehension of bias.

Where's The Basse Report

Here is a note I received from City Hall yesterday about the Basse Report:



  • "Good Morning Mr. Arditti,

    It is my understanding that the report will be made public Friday and I will have my office email you a copy at that time.

    If anything changes and it is released sooner than Friday, I will forward it to you at that time."

My question is a simple one: why has it not been released already.

It has been shown to Council in camera. The media know all about it and it is finished.

Why do we have to wait until Friday?

Come, come now....you ought to know. As Councillor Bill Marra said:




  • "Marra believes a politician was the source of the leak."

That had to come from something Mr. Basse wrote in his Report or discussed with Council.

Oh my, that means the City was at fault and all of the blame on CUPE or the fellow from the other Union was not true at all but an attempt to deflect attention from the real culprit!

Who could it be---the Mayor, a hardliner or a softliner or more than one?

No doubt we are going to be made to believe that the person is the one mentioned in the Eh-Channel News report about the second investigation by Basse. That is the Report supposedly not complete yet where a Councillor made hundreds of phone calls to CUPE's Jean Fox.

Why I would expect that it will be completed by Friday and ready for distribution at exactly the same time as the Basse Report.

People will automatically be conditioned to think the worst even if the Councillor has a perfectly reasonable explanation. That person will be blamed for the leak and smeared regardless of what is said. Even though there might be a straight-forward reason why the calls were made, who is going to believe the Councillor.


It means that the blame for the real person at fault will be submerged in all of the brouhaha and calls for resignation and worse. I can hardly wait for the demands to "move on" so the real party will never be known.

Of course, the Councillor has a simple way to handle it but I will let his/her lawyer deal with it.

Naturally, the whole episode means more wars at Council to make it even more dysfunctional than it is now.

That's politics baby.


UPDATE


Now we should be able to guess why we needed the leak about the second Basse Report and why the first Basse Report was not released as it should have been immediately on the City's website on Monday night.


Once there was a leak about report #2, and to Eh-Channel as well as good theatre, Jones was doomed.


Who cares about it now. Councillor Jones has been named by the Star. And in such a nice way too:




  • "The Star has learned from a number of sources that the phone log in question lists calls made on Coun. Ron Jones’s cellphone to CUPE Local 543 president Jean Fox.

    Fox, who represented inside workers during the bitter 101-day strike, wouldn’t identify the caller but admitted she received many calls during the labour dispute from a councillor who is a lifelong family friend. She said the calls were always of a “personal, friendly nature” and never dealt with any of the bargaining issues regularly dealt with by council meeting in camera.

    Jones won’t admit he was the one on the line or that he’s the target of the latest probe by the integrity commissioner.

    “I’m not going to comment on things discussed in camera,” he said Wednesday. Eventually, however, Basse’s findings should become part of the public record.

    “Everything will come out in the wash,” said Jones.

    Recently released minutes of council’s in camera voting record during the strike showed Jones was one of only several councillors who regularly sided with the union bargaining team’s positions. He was also at Fox’s side last month in court when the Local 543 leader sought and obtained a restraining order against an anti-CUPE protester she testified had harassed and stalked her.

    The mayor and councillors contacted Wednesday declined comment on the propriety of a councillor with inside knowledge of the employer’s bargaining strategy allegedly calling one of the leaders of the striking union more than twice a day on average over the course of a long labour dispute."




Should this prompt an investigation too since the Star got this information from "a number of sources" who obviously had to be in attendance at the Monday in camera meeting. Where is the Mayor's call for sworn affidavits now?


Of course, the Mayor and Councillors must know exactly why Jones called Fox during the strike period. It had to have been discussed at their session.


It is very obvious if you know some of the background, entirely innocent and quite praiseworthy. I better not say anything more or else someone will be accused of leaking information to me! I will let one of the traditional media types discover it for themselves.


However, the end result is that Jones will be crucified, smeared and I am waiting for the calls for his resignation.


The real leakor must be laughing all the way to the polls. A perfect distraction has been created. You just watch and see.


I just wonder who could have figured out how to create and then carry out this stratagem.


The real question that needs to be asked is why the Second Report was carried out and who at City Hall knew about it in advance. Did Basse get permission from someone to do it because he would be charging a fee for it? That information alone will give us all of the answers we need to determine who the real Leakor was.


Now Council has no choice but to demand a judicial inquiry to investigate everything that has gone on. This whole episode stinks.


Now you know also why CUPE workers have to sue for their $30M and get the OLRB complaint going. We need people testifying under oath. It's all part of the anti-CUPE war


As I said, that's politics baby.


UPDATE 2

Check the online Star. It has started already.







Wednesday, November 18, 2009

$30M CUPE Back Wages Claim On A Silver Platter

And perhaps punitive damages too!

I warned people about the possibility and now it is becoming more and more certain as facts come out.

Imagine if you are a City Hall hardliner. No one yet has dared come forward to deny what Ken Lewenza and Bill Marra said at their Ward 4 meeting. In effect we learned two important things, three if you include the Star's role:
  • 1) The hardliner deal they agreed to was worse at the end than that which could have been achieved initially and cost the taxpayers too much money
  • 2) The City Negotiating team's hands were tied until June 17 when Helga intervened and the file was micromanaged by Council until then.

In effect, Councillors Lewenza and Marra confirmed what Councillor Postma had already written in her BLOG but with much more detail.

And then it got worse with the comments made by Councillor Marra involving the leak:

  • "Coun. Bill Marra, who filed the complaint with Basse that triggered the investigation, said that at the very least it will serve as a deterrent.

    “This leak contributed to extending the strike to about four weeks. It’s shameful that happened.”

    Marra believes a politician was the source of the leak.

    “This (investigation) should send a strong message this kind of conduct will not be tolerated,” he said.

    CUPE Local 543 president Jean Fox said Tuesday it’s important to identify the source, noting the issue remains part of a formal bad faith bargaining complaint by the union to the Ontario Labour Relations Board."

If it was a politician, and if it can be proven that it was leaked to prevent the possibility of a settlement (Remember, at the end, it took about a week to do the deal), then it can be argued that it was done deliberately to punish workers. That type of behaviour and action is worthy of censure and could give rise to a punitive damages claim in a Court action when everything is looked at in total.

So let us look at the calendar. From the April strike start date to June 17, the City, it can be argued, was not bargaining in good faith. Add in another month because of the leak and a week because of the near riot. We are pretty close to the actual strike end date!

What a horrific mess for taxpayers: inconvenienced for 15 weeks, a very costly deal and now a good case to be made to pay back $30M in back wages and perhaps more in punitive damages to the CUPE workers.

I would strongly suggest that the CUPE leadership both locally and in their Ontario/National HQs get off their asses and pursue the claim with vigour with a major London/Toronto law firm that believes in the case. Otherwise, I would suggest that individual CUPE members who might lose out on money to which they might be entitled might have an additional target to go after to get their money back.

If only I was still doing litigation...

The Integrity Comish: Who Done it


video


HUH!!!!??? Did he really say that? Is this nothing more than a WUC audit report all over again?

Clearly, I am just going from media reports since the City has chosen NOT to release his Report yet. This could all change.

Wow, Daryl Newcombe of Eh-News got off lucky since he was the one who broke the "CUPE leak" story. Good thing I was not the Integrity Commissioner. He would have felt my wrath if he dared remain silent on something so vital to the City's welfare in order to try to end the divisiveness caused by the hardliners and the Star:
  • "He [Basse] said the reporters involved refused to divulge the leak."

  • "Earl Basse, Windsor's integrity commissioner, says the media refused to co-operate with his investigation into who leaked details in June of a tentative deal between the city its striking municipal workers."

Ummm, who cares about the reporters frankly? As you shall see, there is more than enough material for an investigation to be undertaken just from media reports alone never mind talking to people from the City and Unions involved.

Oh this is going to be a loooong mystery story for you to solve. Something to read over lunch or at a coffee break.

I wonder if the City's Integrity Commissioner and I are reading the same statutes.

Who is giving him legal advice? He claims he has no judicial powers and must rely on co-operation.

Yet the Municipal Act under which he is appointed states clearly:

  • Inquiry by Commissioner

    223.4 (1) This section applies if the Commissioner conducts an inquiry under this Part,

    (a) in respect of a request made by council, a member of council or a member of the public about whether a member of council or of a local board has contravened the code of conduct applicable to the member; or

    Powers on inquiry

    (2) The Commissioner may elect to exercise the powers of a commission under Parts I and II of the Public Inquiries Act, in which case those Parts apply to the inquiry as if it were an inquiry under that Act.

The Public Inquiries Act states:

  • Power to summon witnesses, papers, etc.

    7. (1) A commission may require any person by summons,

    (a) to give evidence on oath or affirmation at an inquiry; or

    (b) to produce in evidence at an inquiry such documents and things as the commission may specify,

    relevant to the subject-matter of the inquiry and not inadmissible in evidence at the inquiry under section 11

    Stated case for contempt for failure to attend hearing, etc.

    8.Where any person without lawful excuse,

    (a) on being duly summoned under section 7 as a witness at an inquiry, makes default in attending at the inquiry; or

    (b) being in attendance as a witness at an inquiry, refuses to take an oath or to make an affirmation legally required by the commission to be taken or made, or to produce any document or thing in his or her power or control legally required by the commission to be produced to it, or to answer any question to which the commission may legally require an answer; or

    (c) does any other thing that would, if the commission had been a court of law having power to commit for contempt, have been contempt of that court,

    the commission may state a case to the Divisional Court setting out the facts and that court may, on the application of the commission or of the Attorney General, inquire into the matter and, after hearing any witnesses who may be produced against or on behalf of that person and after hearing any statement that may be offered in defense, punish or take steps for the punishment of that person in like manner as if he or she had been guilty of contempt of the court.

So his Report, months in the making at a cost of supposedly $15,000, is worth little to me.

[UPDATE: Star now reports he said:

  • "Reporters involved refused to divulge the leak and he has no legal authority to force them to reveal their sources other than a costly and time-consuming public inquiry, Basse said."

Frankly, this investigation is that important and steps to set up the inquiry should have been taken to put people under oath! Fear of perjury helps to get people to tell the truth.]

So who is the leakor you ask. It is up to the BLOGMeister, again, to present the facts so you, dear reader, can decide for yourself: Who did it!

Here is the interesting chronology with a bit of fisking on the side:

  • 06-17-2009
    Daryl Newcombe breaks the leak story on Eh-Channel

  • 06-19-2009
    CUPE alleges city reneged on offer


    The hunt is on to find the "free agent" who torpedoed talks in the city strike by violating a media blackout and leaking to reporters what were purported to be the latest offers and counter- offers in the 10-week-old impasse.

    "I think an investigation has to be undertaken," said Ward 4 Coun. Bill Marra, who advised his colleagues Thursday morning that he had faxed a complaint to the city's new integrity commissioner, Earl Basse.

    "I took it upon myself to file a complaint and trigger an investigation independent of city hall, independent of city council."

    Mayor Eddie Francis promised an internal probe and expressed frustration and disappointment that someone would leak sensitive information at a critical juncture.

    Francis denied he was responsible for the leak, as did city negotiators and the nine councillors who attended a closed-door meeting of council Thursday afternoon. Coun. Caroline Postma was the lone absentee. Calls made to her were not returned Thursday night.

    "The actions of a free agent, whomever the free agent may be on whatever side, caused harm to the process," said Francis."

Clearly what happened was significant and the obvious expectation was that that bargaining would be harmed. That served someone's purposes.

Note the narrow but accurate comment from the Mayor, Councillors and Administrators that they did not leak. They did NOT say that no one on the City side leaked.

Have we ever found out the results of the City's internal probe? Why not? Who undertook it? What were the terms of reference? Who was interviewed? It seems like such a long time.

  • 06-19-2009
    Anne Jarvis (with her let's move on philosophy starting)

    That brings us to the last allegation in the complaint, a leak to the media.

    There was a media blackout on negotiations, but the same night that CUPE tabled its last proposal, giving up its fight for post- retirement benefits in exchange for a lump sum payment and wage increases, the details appeared on A Channel.

    The union blamed the city.

    The mayor swore he didn't do it and launched an investigation to find out who did.

    Good luck.

    I see umpteen conspiracy theories. Was it the city, revelling in hard-won victory and capitulating to the temptation to announce the news?

    Was it a union poison pill, started by a dissenter who knew the leak would trigger a complaint?

    When the news was leaked, did the union, without a chance to massage its members, file the complaint to divert attention from the fact it had given up something that people had spent nine weeks fighting for? (Union officials claimed Thursday that the media had been "misinformed.")

    Does it matter?

Oh Annie, already starting with let's move on strategy, inventing theories to muddy up the situation. Of course it matters if there is a bad faith claim and people lose weeks of wages.

  • 06-19-2009

    City, cupe talks collapse; Union files labour board complaint after leak

    CUPE said details of their latest proposal to the city were leaked to members of the media after a Wednesday night in-camera council meeting.

    Francis denied being responsible for the leak and promised an internal probe.

    "I did not provide any details, or leak any details, as was reported last night," said Francis.

    "I would expect that no member of the administration, no member of city council, would leak. We will be having and will be conducting an investigation. Whoever did this, whether on this side or any other side, was acting as a free agent and does not represent the corporation. Whoever this free agent may be has caused harm to this process."

Oh Edgar (aka Eddie) where is the categorical denial rather than "I expect."

I like the tact too of "free agent" so no one can attack the City even if it was a City employee who leaked! I wonder if the internal probe had found something by then.

  • 06-20-2009

    Probes on leak to begin


    The city's integrity czar will be in town Monday probing the media leak that torpedoed talks in the 10-week-old strike by city workers and a lawyer hired by the city will ask councillors and senior administrators to swear affidavits affirming they weren't the source.

    Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis and all ten city councillors have now denied being the source of the leak, as have representatives of CUPE, which represents striking city workers.

    Members of the city's negotiating team and senior staff have also denied they were the source, said Francis...

    Basse has sweeping powers under Ontario's Municipal Act to conduct investigations, including "free access to all books, accounts, financial records, electronic data processing records, reports, files and other papers, things or property belonging" to a municipality.

    He also has the power to summon witnesses to give evidence under oath if he chooses to exercise the powers of a commission as outlined in Ontario's Public Inquiries Act...

    "The unions state that the only manner in which the proposal could have been leaked to the media was through the corporation's representatives," said the union in the complaint...


    "The leak definitely created the environment where both sides were not able to conclude their discussions," said Marra. "The union was so upset by the leak that they walked away. It compromised the process. It undermined the process."

Hmmm, back then Mr. Basse seemed to have all kinds of powers to investigate. Why did he change his mind? Did someone tell him he did NOT have the power and if so, who?

Again, note that the result of the Union walking out.

  • 06-20-2009

    Picket-line escalation expected in cupe strike; Atmosphere 'too poisonous' for more talks with the city

    CUPE leaders said Friday that Windsorites could expect to see an escalation in picket line activity by striking municipal workers and that the atmosphere had become "too poisonous" for talks to resume anytime soon with the employer...

    What had appeared to be the possibility of a negotiated end to the bitter nine-week strike collapsed on Thursday after alleged details of the union's last bargaining position were made public. CUPE has filed a formal complaint with the labour board and Windsor's integrity commissioner is launching an investigation on the source of the leak.

    The mayor and all council members have each insisted they are not the culprits.

    "I can tell you, it wasn't from the union," said Wood.

    According to the leak, CUPE appeared ready to relent on the city's insistence that new hires no longer be entitled to post- retirement benefits.

    "Definitely untrue," Wood said Friday when asked by reporters if those benefits, which the city has described as a threshold issue, were taken off the table.

    And Wood said the 1,200 strikers at the information meeting, held in direct response to the leak, were "loud and clear" in unanimously rejecting any concession to the employer on that issue. "The vote for solidarity was by far the strongest we've seen to date," added Fox.

More time was needed for the Union to get instructions from their members which meant no bargaining.

  • 06-30-2009

    City responds to bad faith charges; Fax to labour board denies role in leak


    The city denies it was the source of the leak that torpedoed talks in the three-month-old strike by city workers and suggests, in its response to a bad faith bargaining complaint, that the leak may have come from CUPE members or an executive member of another union...

    In terms of the infamous leak to A Channel News that was blamed for scuttling talks on the eve of fresh negotiations, the city maintains the leak didn't come from Francis, any of the 10 councillors, any member of city administration or the city's bargaining team.

    Francis has said affidavits would be sworn by the councillors and administrators who were privy to the city and union proposals, but that has not yet been done. The city's integrity commissioner is also probing the leak, which Coun. Alan Halberstadt blamed on CUPE National representatives in a recent blog posting.

    CUPE claimed in a bad faith bargaining complaint the leak could have only come from the city, but the city's response points out the leak could have just as easily come from a member of the union's bargaining committee. The city further alleges the leak could have come from an executive member of another union, going so far as to suggest a certain individual had been known to have loose lips in the past.

    "This raises several additional possibilities with respect to how the information made its way to the media, particularly as this individual did not, on at least one occasion, hesitate to share the details with others," said the city's response...

    "As of this writing the city is not aware of the source of any leaks of information to the media respecting bargaining and does not admit that it or any of its representatives were responsible for any leaks of information to the media," says the response.

    "In any event of the foregoing, the city states that information being leaked to the media by any source, while unfortunate, does not constitute bad faith bargaining under the Act."

Whatever happened to those "sworn affidavits?" Were they ever obtained or was that done to intimidate Councillors?

Nice diversionary tactics as I Blogged before. Let the City claim the leak might have come from some other Union member with no evidence whatsoever that it did. Limit the people who could have leaked. Frame the denial to leaks to the media directly not indirect leaks ie to a person who then leaked it to the media.

I especially liked that the leak was merely "unfortunate." Yes, it is unfortunate services were not delivered to the public or that CUPE members had remain on strike and lose wages. How fortunate though that some members of Council could travel overseas during the strike since their salaries did not cease.

  • 07-02-2009

    Transit union denies leak; Local's leader 'wouldn't do that'


    The Transit Windsor union leader whom the city suggests may have leaked details of contract proposals that derailed talks in the city strike has told a fellow union member he wasn't the source.

    Dragan Markovic, the president of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 616, which represents hourly Transit Windsor employees, was identified as a possible source for the infamous leak in the city's response to a bad faith bargaining complaint filed by CUPE with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

    The city's response claims -- without offering proof -- that Markovic "was in possession of the particulars of both offers" before even city councillors were apprised of them and that he had shared the details with others.

    "Prior to disclosing the particulars to others he indicated he would get the details from 'CUPE,' which he apparently did," said the city's response.

    "This raises several additional possibilities with respect to how information made its way to the media, particularly as this individual did not, on at least one occasion, hesitate to share the details with others."

    It is unclear why the city believes Markovic was in possession of these details, how he came to learn of them and who, specifically, the city believes he shared them with. Markovic was not a member of any bargaining committee and was not present during the in-camera discussions when councillors learned of the proposals."

Confirmation that the City's approach was a mere fairy tale to divert attention. For what reason?

  • 07-07-2009

    Bargaining details shared by city manager; Palanacki denies leak to media


    Leaked bargaining details that scuttled talks in the city strike were shared with at least two people by a city manager on the day the information appeared on the evening news, says a city councillor and the president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 616.

    Dragan Markovic, the union leader whom the city pinpointed as a possible source of the leak in its response to a bad faith bargaining complaint, vehemently denies he had anything to do with the A Channel News report that was blamed for derailing talks on the eve of fresh negotiations.

    As a matter of fact, said Markovic, he introduced himself only on Monday to Daryl Newcombe, the reporter at the centre of the storm that has spawned a probe by the city's integrity czar.

    "Absolutely, I didn't leak this information," said Markovic.

    Markovic said a city manager told him and a councillor details of a new proposal that could end the strike after a Transit Windsor strategic planning session on the morning of July (sic) 17.

    He declined to name the other parties involved, but Ward 2 Coun. Caroline Postma confirmed she was the councillor. Neither Postma nor Markovic would identify the manager.

    Mike Palanacki, the city's director of operations, was present at the meeting, according to a Star reporter who covered it. Palanacki would neither confirm nor deny Monday that he divulged any details to Markovic and Postma, but he stressed that he did not share any details with the media.

    According to Markovic's version of events, which was backed by Postma, he and a councillor and a city manager were in a boardroom when the manager received, via his PDA, details about negotiations and a notice that a special session of council had been called for 2 p.m. later that day.

    Markovic, who is unaffiliated with the striking CUPE locals but friends with their leadership, was asked about the union's position. Markovic told the pair that he wasn't privy to that information. He said he then asked the manager for the latest details and was given the goods.

    "The manager did give us the numbers," confirmed Postma. "The fact of the matter is that the manager had the information before the meeting and that's the problem -- who else had it?"

    It is unclear who sent the manager the information and how many other people on the city side were also privy to it prior to the in-camera meeting. A message left for Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis Monday was not returned."

Remember that the City's answer to the OLRB complaint was very narrow as well:


As I Blogged:

  • "I like how narrowly the Response was drafted. Look at the limited number of people for which the City takes responsibility.

    Moreover, and here is the important part....everything is tied directly to the media eg source of details obtained by the media. There is no denial that they leaked information to a person who then was the source of the details obtained by the media.

    I especially liked "does not admit it....was responsible for leaks to the media." The City could be responsible for leaks to the whole world but not to the media. Accordingly, the City is saying nothing wrong. Accurate but narrow!

    If the City admits that it is not aware of the source of the leak, then why did it cast aspersions at the head of another local union? Was that a cheap shot so the media will run after him and make him squirm in preparation for new bargaining talks after the Baird bus decision?"

And of course, Councillor Halberstadt on his BLOG threw the suspicions on CUPE too:

  • "It has become clear now that the infamous "leak" (to the A Channel) of the bargaining positions of the city and CUPE was perpetrated by CUPE National. Details were perhaps verified by one or more people on the city side."

It seems clear that information was being sent out by the City, why in such detail, by whom and to whom we do not know. Does the Integrity Commissioner? Did he investigate this? He did not have to interview reporters but City Hall staff!


Notice that even Mr. Palanacki knows how to limit his response to "to the media."

Why didn't the Star follow up with the Mayor or ask his Chief of Staff?

  • 09-11-2009

However, thanks to Councillor Lewenza's Ward meeting we have new facts about what happened on June 17 that may change everything.

Remember his challenge:

  • "Why did the so called "hardliners" on Council fold in a one hour span on June 17, 2009 that caused such an enormous shift in the City's position?"

In the first vote, the Mayor voted to break the tie to reject CUPE's offer but after Helga said her piece respecting negotiations, Council voted again but the Mayor did NOT vote in the negative. Council changed its approach completely.

As Councillor Lewenza stated in answer to my question about the 17th (thanks to Chris Schnurr's transcript):

  • "If you want though, the truth is that, I’ll say it, Helga Reidal, its the first time that administration really starts to speak out and say you know what, this is a pretty good agreement. We’ve done what you’ve essentially asked us to do. We don’t believe that you’re going to get any better than this. You have to strongly consider it."

Next we had the leak.

Who would want to ruin discussions between the City and Union negotiating committees that could have given rise to a quick settlement since it seemed that the City's team had finally had its hands untied?

Why would the Union want to ruin that? Why would anyone on Council after their vote want to go back to the old style where, in effect, Council micromanaged everything? Hadn't that approach just been rejected!

Then we learned:

  • "06-23-2009

    Mayor in hunt for teen games; Francis leaves strike behind for Athens


    Mayor Eddie Francis leaves behind his strike-bound city this week for Athens, Greece, Frankfurt, Germany, and an undisclosed third location to attract foreign investment and chase Olympic dreams for Windsor.

    Francis said he's flying to this year's International Children's Games in Athens to lobby to bring the event to Windsor, perhaps as soon as 2013...

    Leaving the city as it enters the 11th week of a protracted and bitter strike by 1,800 municipal workers, with no new talks in sight, was "something I considered significantly," Francis told reporters after announcing his trip at the end of Monday night's council meeting."

A week after the leak, in the last minute, the Mayor tells Council he is leaving town to go overseas. Oh and did we get the Games?


Ok Sherlocks...Can you figure it all out now. Who had the "Means, motive, and opportunity" to mess up negotiations.

Credibility is a key indicator in making that decision. Whom do you believe?

Remember, what I am quoting came from Star stories and you know that they would be working hard to pin this on CUPE but with no such result.

Do not forget also that in deciding credibility, you should consider what Junior revealed about what happened and the misinformation that he talked about that he claimed was being spread.

Have you figured it out yet, dear reader? Sure you have. I am certain that you are clever enough to know who did it! And why!

Things I Never Learned In School

I am trying to catch up again. So many stories to talk about.

The Internet is a wonderful tool.

I have learned so many new things by being able to access newspapers so easily from around the world including even news stories from home through the Windsor Star Online since I cancelled my subscription to the published version.


CONGRESSMAN DINGELL MAY HAVE HAD OTHER MOTIVES TOO

Don't you find it odd when the second Ambassador Bridge Inspection Report is released that says nothing siginificant about the Bridge that there is little media coverage. Just two stories that I found. Unlike the first time. And Congreeman Dingell does not say anything that I can recall.

Don't you find it odd that none of the local Windsor and Detroit traditional media outlets told us the first time around about certain information that I had to learn from the wire services. There might be some merit in reading information from people who live 4-500 KM or more away from here after all.

Honest, if it was there locally, I missed it.

Silly, naive me. I thought the whole issue over the 80+ year old Congressman wanting the release of information about the 80 year old Ambassador Bridge was for safety reasons.
  • "U.S. Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., gave the inspection document to reporters over Moroun's strenuous protests because, he said, of the public's "need to know if the bridge is safe..."

    Noting the finding that the Ambassador Bridge was in fair condition, Dingell added, “I’m not comfortable that fair condition — with 11 million people going across and thousands of heavy-duty trucks traveling across it every day — that I can tell you that it is in the shape I would like it to be.”

Of course, he was offered the report to read to satisfy himself as to concerns but that was not good enough for him.

Imagine then my shock when I read this line from an Associated Press story in the New York Times:

  • "Bridge owner Manuel ''Matty'' Moroun wants to build a second span across the Detroit River alongside the Ambassador Bridge. Federal transit officials, Michigan and some Canadian officials support a new publicly financed bridge, and Dingell said he wants inspection reports to help people decide which plan to support."

HUH? How did building the DRIC bridge and deciding which bridge should be built get into this? That has nothing to do with what he said to justify the public release.

Then I saw this line from a Reuters story:

  • "The report was released by Rep. John Dingell, a Michigan Democrat, who has questioned plans by the bridge's billionaire owner to build a parallel span over the Detroit River."

DOUBLE HUH. What has demanding a copy of the Bridge safety report and then releasing it got to do with building a DRIC Bridge. Any concerns can be resolved by allowing the Enhancement Bridge to go forward as the Congressman now must support.

Oh, and on November 11

  • "In 1929, the Ambassador Bridge spanning the Detroit River between Michigan and Windsor, Ontario, was dedicated."

MDOT'S SHRECK DOES IT AGAIN

I cannot believe what this man says. Here is his latest from Reuters again:

  • "Michigan officials say the bridge remains safe but has become unable to handle the traffic flow across the border.

    "If anything happens to the Ambassador Bridge, then Detroit's economy shuts down," said Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Shreck. "When the crossing closed for a half day on September 11, auto plants as far away as Missouri had to close."

    The U.S. transportation system was severely affected that day in 2001 when hijacked jetliners struck targets in New York and Washington."

Bill, Bill, Bill. What is the problem with MDOT? The Governor wants the Ambassador Bridge Ehancement Bridge built as her #1 priority. The Michigan House leader says the State has no money to build a DRIC bridge. The Senate does not want a DRIC Bridge.

Bill has not figured out yet that traffic has dropped at the border and that it is substantially less than in 1999. He must be looking at Sean O'Dell's traffic reports! He must not have been told either that the Bridge is working at 50-60% capacity.

No wonder I did not see this in the local media. They saved him from embarrassment!

No one doubts that if there is a problem at the Bridge, we would have economic difficulties. That is why the Bridge Company spokesman talked about terrorists being the main beneficiary of the release of their document that MDOT gave to FHWA.

But MDOT, if there was a concern, should have been demanding from both Federal Governments reverse customs to minimize dangers. But then again, the Bridge Company has been advocating for that for years and that would take away, if implemented, the security argument from DRIC.

I think Bill's memory may have failed him on this too since he forgot about the Bridge Company's "floating bridge" concept.

While Bill mentioned 9/11, the interesting thing is that while airports were down for days, the Ambassador Bridge was only down for half a day! It was the Bridge Company not Governments who opened new booths to end back-ups (and in Canada, new truck booths have been built but are not operational due to our Government!)

I have still not heard the need for redundancy for every major piece of infrastructure in North America, just the Ambassador Bridge! Again, while security for planes has improved drastically, the obvious security action at the Bridge and other border crossings has never taken place. Perhaps Bill can explain why not!

Oh and by the way, Reuters told us that

  • "State officials have been given copies of the annual safety reports from Moroun's company since 2004."

Yet, Bill could say in the Detroit News

  • "Has the bridge company always had annual inspections? "That's what they say," says Shreck, who says the state doesn't know."

Poor Shreck. I guess there is little information in the swamp he lives in at MDOT.

THE COUNCILLOR FORMERLY KNOWN AS COUNCILLOR BUDGET IS NOW COUNCILLOR SHEEP

Bah!

I guess the Councillor does not have a mind that can think on his own. If he is told to do something, he follows along, even if it is a dumb idea. I guess that he is afraid to be scolded by the Star since it could ruin his political ambitions or by the Council Principal:

  • "Dave Brister, council's money guy, has heard from a number of Ward 1 residents who would like to see the money [tax refund] committed to special projects. "Yeah. It's a missed opportunity. I can't argue that the dollars wouldn't be better spent on a project. But that would wreak havoc," Brister warned.

    The problem, he said, is that it's now built into people's mindsets that they're going to see the money and all hell would break loose if the city fails to deliver on that commitment. "It's late in the game. A promise was made. And now it's a credibility issue and we've got to do it," he explained. "That train has left the station."

Choo-chooooo.

SIN CITY

The Buffalo News reported:

  • "BORDER SECURITY: We were contemplating the news that couples from other countries would be joining the domestic pairings at the Grand Island Holiday Inn for this weekend’s “swingers’ convention,” and the thought occurred to us that honesty could make for some interesting conversations at the Peace Bridge.

    “Welcome to America,” they might start. “Purpose of visit?”

Not only does Buffalo want our truck traffic but ow they want to take away our party image as well!

A HUGE NON-STORY THAT HID A HUGE STORY

How sad for the media, like the Free Press, that must have been hoping for so much more so they could write about a border scandal:

  • "The inspection report that Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun tried to keep private showed little that was surprising"

Then they make an allegation again that is groundless given what has already taken place in Michigan and which ignores what the Bridge Company said before the Canadian Senate in the C-3 debate:

  • "Even if it were true, however, it would only serve to underscore competing public and private interests that trouble the critics of a privately owned international crossing. Moroun still does not fully appreciate that the bridge, even as private property, has compelling and unique public interests that override normal business operations."

Then a quasi-Dingell leap in logic:

  • "his attempts to keep inspection information private will hardly strengthen his bid to build a parallel span and prevent the construction of a public bridge downriver"

Ahhhhhhhhhhh. Here is more confirmation about what this story was all about: smearing Moroun, giving DRIC more money, allowing a public bridge to be built.

Too bad that the story has rebounded badly the other way. The Free press. like Dingell, has no choice but must demand too that Moroun's bridge be built now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Where Is The Windsor Police Services Board

Is it like the situation with John Skorobohacz and the near riot where the CAO took the hit? This time was it the Police Chief who had to fall on the sword for the Mayor/Police Service Board head?

You see, dear reader, politically, no matter what the Mayor/Police Service Board head did, if he spoke out, he would offend a large part of the Community. As an example, over 91% of the CKLW listeners on their poll preferred what the Windsor Police Association president said about Police rather than what the Chief said.

I have no idea who is right or wrong over what took place when the Windsor police arrested two men pursuant to a Warrant issued under the Extraditions Act. And neither I would suggest does anyone else right now.

The issue seems to be coming down to was what the police did in a potentially dangerous situation involving members of a minority Community whose beliefs are not the same as the majority of Windsorites appropriate or not.

If we are not very careful, this matter can be blown completely out of proportion to further divide this City.

The headlines say it all:
  • CBC---Police chief apologizes to Windsor's Islamic community
  • Star---Chief apologizes to Muslims
  • National Post--Windsor police apologize to Islamic community for FBI arrests
  • Star---'Nothing went wrong here,' cop rep says, after chief's apology to Muslims
  • Star---Police chief not pressured to apologize, says Windsor Islamic Association
  • Free Press--Windsor chief is sorry male cop frisked Muslim woman.

What is troubling about this all now is the public reaction to what has happened. Overwhelming, the public in newspaper forums has viewed the Chief's apology negatively, not just here but in Detroit too.

The Chief has been put in the awkward position of having to chastize his officers in public. In effect, by the apology the Chief, is saying that his officers were wrong in what they did. Yet in another story:

  • "RCMP spokesman Sgt. Marc LaPorte... replied that if the woman was close by during the arrest operation, “then, for officer safety reasons, they have the right to determine whether there is a threat or not.

    “If they deemed it was necessary to pat her down, then the officers do have the authority to do that.”

The Islamic Community is now forced into saying that they are not the ones who demanded the apology because of the backlash.

What is missing from all of this is the Windsor Police Services Board. We did learn that:

  • "Shortly after the incident, Smith met with Mayor Eddie Francis and leaders of the Muslim community in the mayor’s office.

    Francis said the meeting was attended by himself as chair of the Windsor Police Services board, Irfan Qadir (a Muslim member of the Windsor police services board), three representatives from the Windsor Islamic Association, including Peer, Smith and his deputy chiefs.

    Asked who arranged the meeting, the mayor replied: “It was something that the community asked for. From time to time, it happens that different groups ask for police services to come forward. Sometimes they’d like to meet with the entire board, sometimes with just the chief and the chair, or the deputy chair.”

Note the surprising statement that Edgar (aka Eddie) did NOT attend as Mayor either. He limited his role. Is everything he does so calculated and political to protect his future?

Why wasn't the apology offered then? Why did it take so long?

Considering that the incident happened almost 2 weeks ago what has the Board been doing since that time:

  • "Ducharme said he was on a cellphone call with the wife of one of the suspects throughout Saturday's arrest, and he said he's already heard from members of Windsor's Muslim community who are incensed at word that an arresting male officer "patted down" the woman, even though she wasn't the subject of the warrant.

    "Particularly with Muslim women, this is very, very offensive -- my wife said it would be very offensive to her. It's a great personal violation."

Has the Board undertaken an investigation into this matter and if so by whom? If not, why not since it is hardly a surprise that there would be a negative reaction? It appears that there has been a "review" but by whom and was that enough to calm down the situation ?

Did Edgar discuss with the Chief about making an apology or was it the Chief's unilateral decision? Frankly, given the seriousness of the situation, I would have thought that the Head of the Board, the Mayor, should have made any required comments including an apology if needed, not the Chief. On the contrary, the Chief's apology has inflamed passions unfortunately.

Has this become another "low point" in the long career of a senior City official?

What is very troubling to me is not just this incident but a previous one recently during the CUPE strike. I am sure that you remember the first: the "junior kindergarten policing" crack.

This is the second episode recently where it seems, because of the remarks of the Chief, that the force has not been trained properly. That surprises me because of some incidents I have had over the past few months involving more than a few members of the force who have all acted in a very professional, caring and understanding manner that suggests to me a very strong sensitivity education.

If there is such a problem, then there is a bigger issue invovled. The Board better get moving. We cannot afford the typical Edgar do little approach we saw involving violence on Pellisier. Action needs to be taken now before something else goes badly wrong.

Edgar is our leader after all. He cannot just be around for the glory. He needs to be here, front and centre and not invisible, when times are tough. If not, then he is the wrong person for the job!