Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Saturday, November 28, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Eddie:

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

    Thanks Alan

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

    Councillor,

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

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

    E

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

    Eddie:

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

    Thanks Alan

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

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

  • "Your Arrogance Knows No Bounds"

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

Friday, November 27, 2009

Was Basse Off-Base

Darn, I lost my bet. When I heard about his press conference, I thought Mr. Basse was going to resign after all of the leaks saying that in good conscience he could no longer work in Windsor.

CUPE has to be furious!

Where was the Basse press conference exonerating them from the lies about the Union being the Leakor! Someone had an agenda to discredit union workers.

Are there only Basse press conferences for management types and only if they are cleared? Are there none if management is found at fault as they were in Bassse's report?

Isn't Mr. Basse outraged that the Star has never reported this fact? Was that mentioned at the press conference yesterday by the Integrity Commissioner?

Talk about action. Talk about BLOGMeister power.

I write on Wednesday "Why The Edgar Investigation Is So Strange: Call In The Police (Extra Part)" and before you know it, Mr. Basse comes to Windsor, interviews Edgar (aka) Eddie quickly, holds a press conference and all is exemplary in Edgar's world again.

Mr. Basse's conclusion is hardly a surprise. But how Edgar can say it was "frivolous' after a 16 month investigation including an interview of him is beyond me.

And then there was this shocking quote as well from Mr. Basse as reported by CP:
  • "I'm a little upset - I believe my office was used as a means to further an agenda."

DUH...did it really take him 16 months to figure that out if it was true? What was the agenda? Where is his proof? If that was the case, why did he interview the Mayor? Why didn't he dismiss the claim right away as he has the power to do?

The Edgar/Kwame meeting is a very serious matter in my opinion. Yet it was handled so cavalierly in my opinion:

  • "Francis said. "I had a meeting with him this morning. He wanted to hear my side of the story. it was a quick meeting"

Don't take my word on the importance of the event, Check out what the Star Editorial said too over a year ago. They can hardly be said to have an agenda against the Mayor:

  • "Editorial: Tunnel talks — Taxpayers deserve full story

    Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis told only part of the story when he was asked by Coun. Bill Marra during a recent council meeting whether closed-door negotiations with Detroit officials about the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel had ceased. A more complete story only came to light this weekend, when Francis sought to distance himself from a version of events offered in court by embattled Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

    Francis and Kilpatrick, who has been indicted on 10 felony counts including four perjury charges and who faces mounting pressure to resign, spoke on the telephone Friday July 18 and circled Wednesday July 23 as an opportune time to get together to discuss Windsor's $75-million bid for control of the U.S. side of the tunnel. They subsequently met for 90 minutes behind closed doors, as planned, on the Wednesday, in the downtown offices of Windsor lawyer Cliff Sutts, the city's lead negotiator on the tunnel file...

    Francis clearly didn't provide Marra, other councillors and, by extension, Windsor taxpayers, with all the information he might have. Even if the meeting wasn't confirmed until Tuesday, Francis could have divulged the fact he had spoken with Kilpatrick just days earlier and had tentative plans to meet with him in less than 48hours...

    Still, the way Francis handled Marra's relevant query rankles given the fact these negotiations have been shrouded in far too much secrecy already. If there were reasons why Francis felt it best to keep certain facts from councillors and taxpayers, he should have elucidated them clearly rather than providing a vague response that omitted relevant details.

    Once again, we strongly urge Francis to conduct these negotiations in as open and transparent a manner as possible. Taxpayers are footing the bill. It seems only fitting they be kept in the loop."

Did Basse discuss this in his "quick" meeting with Edgar or when he talked with Mr. Sutts?

I had written back in August, 2008:

  • "A Pandora's box has now been opened up. Mayor Francis and Cliff Sutts have no choice but to make their entire files available for examination, and not just the parts they have selected. Contrary to closing this matter down and ending it, as far as I am concerned, it may only be the beginning with more possibly to come. There may well be serious credibility questions that have arisen after what Mr. Sutts has disclosed that may require further investigation...

    The issue for me is not the Kwame story but is Eddie telling the truth!"

Mr. Basse said he looked into all aspects of the matter, why the meeting was held, what it was about.

Accordingly, I expect to be able to read what Mr. Basse had to say in his Reports about some of the issues I raised in my BLOGs. Surely he would have known they existed:

I have my doubts though that too much was asked since the meeting with the Mayor only lasted a short time. Apparently, he talked to Mr. Sutts too but he did not say when eg before or after he met with the Mayor, or for how long.

I wonder if Mr. Basse's investigation over these 16 months included going through all of the relevant files.

In order to reach a conclusion, he had to consider the issues I and the Star raised, issues that would be clear if he read all of the media reports as I did and prepared a timeline as I did.

Given the scope of what he said he had to do, his report has to be a very thick one! No wonder it would take 16 months. How he could write such a report after interviewing the Mayor, calling a press conference and holding it at 1 PM so the news could cover it in a timely fashion, has to be a minor miracle.

I have to ask though whether Mr. Basse knows what his responsibilities are. If one reads his Leakor report, he does not seem to know what authority he has. Moreover, he does not seem to know what he must do with his Report. Why did he follow one process with the Leakor report and another with the Edgar exoneration?

The Municipal Act is clear

  • Report to council

    223.6 Report about conduct

    (2) If the Commissioner reports to the municipality or to a local board his or her opinion about whether a member of council or of the local board has contravened the applicable code of conduct, the Commissioner may disclose in the report such matters as in the Commissioner’s opinion are necessary for the purposes of the report. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.

    Publication of reports

    (3) The municipality and each local board shall ensure that reports received from the Commissioner by the municipality or by the board, as the case may be, are made available to the public. 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 98.

He has to Report to the Municipality and the Municipality makes the Report public. It does not say he may hold a press conference to release his report.

Oh and is there in fact a report? And if so where is it? Did he have time to write one right after meeting with the Mayor? He has not done what the Act requires him to do no matter what the "publicity" is.

Is that really how the process is to work? If the international media picks up the story and it is about the Mayor, then Basse reacts! When would this have been concluded but for the media stories?

It stinks doesn't it if that is the case!

Here is another leak. There is another investigation into the Mayor's conduct. This time it has to do with the canal proposal and the Mayor's action submitting it to the Federal Government and all of the fuss it created.

Oh I am not breaking any confidentiality. You can read about it here http://chrisschnurr.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/finalapplication.pdf

Nothing has been done since May! Wait. I know how to get the report done quickly

Perhaps if I can figure out an angle involving Kwame so the international media pick it up....

PS:

Don't you just love the Star:

  • "'Mayor's conduct is ... exemplary': Basse"

Where was their headline

  • "CUPE's conduct is ... exemplary. City offical leaked: Basse"

I am waiting for this one too:

  • Lewenza's facts were ... exemplary. We should have covered his meeting: Beneteau"

Call In The Police (Part IV): Did Mini-Gord's Columns Hint Who The Leakor Is

I know how busy the police are with their pay equity money troubles so I thought I would help them out by doing some background work for them to save them time.

Remember that mini-Gord told us that a Councillor in mid-May or so offered to be his Leakor:
  • "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."
However, that does not mean that the Councillor was silent and did not leak information to mini-Gord anyway. There just would not be a "formal" arrangement. That is all. That Councillor was obviously anxious for information to get out which presumably would be to that Councillor's advantage come re-election time.

To be a "formal" Leakor would suggest a long strike. Otherwise, why make the offer? That suggests strongly to me that this person knew or had a strong feeling that this was going to be a long strike and the person wanted taxpayer praise as a result of positive Star exposure. Or no negative exposure!

Can you say political action and NOT a labour dispute since we know now that the City's negotiating committee's hands were tied until the Council flipflop on June 17, right before the leak too.

It is becoming more and more clear to me that this City politician ("Marra believes a politician was the source of the leak" and Marra heard what Basse had to say in camera) wanted to sabotage the talks that might have reached a settlement and keep the CUPE workers out longer.

Accordingly, Dr. Watsons, I took some time and went through a number of mini-Gord columns from mid-May on where inside information appeared to be given to see if I could help you discover who was talking out of turn.

See if anything pops out at you as to the Councillor's identity as I try to put the columns in a context for you too.

A hint: Deductive reasoning is required. The way to get the solution is to eliminate Councillors as you read through the stories and figure out as well who would have the information that was leaked. Notice that there was some incorrect information given too--deliberate or not, perhaps to hide an identity! Trust also your impression about each of the members of Council to help you in your decision-making as to whether that Councillor would leak. Remember, in a mystery, the most obvious solution is not necessarily the right one either.
  • 05-23-2009

    "Behind financial eight ball


    Commercial taxes are also "way down," according to one insider, although a final tally hasn't been made yet, and they drop again every time another empty plant is knocked down or a struggling business mysteriously erupts in flames...

    Windsor's city council understands this, which explains why even its labour-dominated membership remains surprising united in fighting this strike, despite serious potential political fallout...

    The city's plan, from what I can make of it under a news blackout during the current labour negotiations, is to cut expenses mainly through attrition and reduced sick time but also through partially freezing wages and capping lifetime benefits to city workers after they retire.

[If there was a news blackout, how did mini-Gord get information? While this was mini-Gord's view as to what the city's plan was, it is not entirely accurate as can be seen below. Was there an element of hoping by this person that the City's position could be strengthened by what was said or that CUPE could be terrorized into knuckling under?

  • Motions May 11, 2009

    1. Moved by Councillor Jones, seconded by Councillor Postma:

    THAT the City’s negotiating team remove from the bargaining table the issue of ending employer paid post retirement benefits past the age of 65 for new employees hired on or after January 1, 2009 in the current negotiations with CUPE Local 82.

    MOTION DOES NOT CARRY.
    Councillors Jones, Lewenza and Postma voting aye.
    Councillors Brister, Halberstadt, Gignac, Hatfield, Marra, Valentinis, Dilkens voting nay.

    3. Moved by Councilor Hatfield, seconded by Councillor Lewenza:

    THAT the issue ending employer paid post retirement benefits for new employees hired on or after January 1, 2009 be removed from the bargaining table and that the following terms be offered to CUPE Local 82:

    a) $1000.00 lump sum payment to all full time employees in year 1 of a three year contract;
    b) 2% wage increase in year 2 of the contract; and
    c) 2% wage increase in year 3 of the contract.

    MOTION DOES NOT CARRY
    Councillors Postma, Lewenza, Hatfield and Jones voting aye.
    Councillors Brister, Halberstadt, Gignac, Marra, Valentinis, Dilkens and Mayor Francis voting nay.

    4.Moved by Councillor Halberstadt, seconded by Councillor Gignac:

    THAT City Council accept the recommendation of the General Manager of Corporate Services regarding a further offer to CUPE Local 82

    1. Three year contract.
    2. No wage increases.
    3. ODA increases on a net zero basis
    4. Job Security for the life of the contract;
    5. Lump Sum payment of $1000 for all full time employees/$500 for all part time employees.

    CARRIED. Councillors Postma, Lewenza, Hatfield and Jones voting nay.

I saw nothing about attrition. In fact, the first time I saw a City reference to that term was well after the strike when Helga Reidel said in mini-Gord's column on October 29:

  • "Helga Reidel, the newly appointed chief administrative officer who has been handed this huge task, said attrition is the main tool she intends to use to cut costs. She used the "A" word a dozen times Wednesday. It means letting normal retirements reduce staffing gradually, painlessly.

    "We also have a significant number of vacancies" throughout the organization, "and right now that's a good thing." Empty jobs are being eliminated, permanently.

    How many millions can council cut from the budget as the reorg continues? Reidel won't go there: "It all has to be carefully reviewed. We don't want to move so fast we make mistakes."

    My guess: Reidel (a very smart, upbeat, decent soul, if you haven't met her) has ordered department heads to look for no-layoff savings, no-layoff consolidations, no-layoff outsourcings. People can be moved to new positions if their jobs are eliminated...

    The mayor says the toughest part of the reorg is already in Windsor's rear-view mirror. "The most difficult step was the first step -- to accept the fact that change was needed."

    With luck, an aging workforce takes care of most of the rest of the process."

That mini-Gord sure has to be a smart cookie to figure out about attrition so early on or was that told to him by someone in the know?]

  • 05-26-2009

    Time to poll councillors on strike

    There are half a dozen good reasons for the union to think that collective bargaining in their case is actually just a waiting game.

    And every one of those reasons is a sitting member of city council.

    Insiders say that at least four and possibly five members of Windsor's 11-member city council are already willing to give the 1,800 strikers what they're demanding. (Or, in the words of one observer, "they'd sell taxpayers down the river.")

    There have been a slew of votes cast by council behind closed doors regarding various aspects of Windsor's labour situation over the past two months.

    Most of the council votes, I'm told, have ended 7-4 or 6-5 in favour of holding out against the strikers for labour savings.

    Mayor Eddie Francis has been leading the holdouts every time, insiders say.

    The six holdouts -- or seven, depending on who you talk to -- are all saying "let them stay out."

    "Zero" one participant tells me. As in, no wage increase, no added labour costs of any kind."

[Some hardliner bravado quoted about the softliners which mini-Gord obviously liked.

In passing, on July 28, Councillor Brister was quoted by mini-Gord as saying:

  • Coun. Dave Brister says he heard dozens of similar messages from voters over the weekend. "They're not wrong," he told me Monday. "I don't think it's a good deal either. But this is the best deal we could get."

    Brister argues that the threat of arbitration hanging over council's head prevented them from following through to extract greater cost savings from CUPE.

    Had that threat not been there, "I would have held out longer, no question."]

    The other four or five, according to that source, are willing to negotiate a "compromise" that involves giving CUPE members a combination of a cash-in-lieu lump sum payment in the first year, followed by several years of permanent raises...

    I called most of the members of council over the past few days to poll them on where they stand on the issue of the CUPE strike. Of those who returned my calls, several said they have been warned by Mayor Francis they face severe punishment if they break the news blackout he has ordered over the talks."

[A fairly factual analysis of who was voting how without much inflammatory language. Do notice that Eddie was being pointed out as the chief hardliner.

Note that NOT ALL were warned off! See May 11 Motion re wages and the vote numbers and see this re a 6-5 vote

  • "April 24, 2009:

    1. Moved by Councillor Lewenza, seconded by Councillor Jones:

    THAT the City’s negotiating Committee be directed to:

    a) remove the issue of ending post retirement benefits past the age of 65 for new employees in the negotiations with CUPE Locals 82 and 543, and;
    b) to offer the Union negotiating committees the commitment to form a future Committee comprised of Union and Management representatives which Committee will investigate the concept of new employees funding their own post retirement benefits past the age of 65, and
    c) to maintain the City’s position on all other issues being negotiated.

    MOTION DOES NOT CARRY.
    Councillors Postma, Lewenza, Hatfield, Marra and Jones voting aye.
    Councillors Brister, Halberstadt, Gignac, Valentinis, Dilkens and Mayor Francis voting nay.]
  • 05-28-2009

    Strike strategies backfire


    This, no one anticipated. City management fully expected "a garbage disaster" if the strike reached this deep into warm weather. No one imagined that 70 per cent of Windsorites would willingly -- happily, even -- pay to dispose of their own garbage...

    Insiders tell me that public demands to outsource garbage pickup after the strike have become so insistent that worried negotiators for CUPE Local 82, which represents garbage collectors, have asked nervously about it at the bargaining table.

    They can relax; the city has no plans to privatize those jobs, I'm told. Due to the higher tipping fees paid by private haulers, what taxpayers would save on CUPE wages they'd end up paying in higher disposal fees. So those jobs are relatively safe."

[Gee, did mini-Gord forget about that huge contingency manual!

Obviously that insider must have been shocked and surprised by the Brister demand right after the vote ended re outsourcing and the vote at Council re garbage outsourcing to call a tender or was this all a phony to lull CUPE into a false sense of security to hold out longer and get citizens more angry at them]

  • 06-02-2009

    CUPE's about-face


    There is a rumour circulating in Windsor -- put around by members of CUPE -- that the union offered to settle with the city before the strike. They say CUPE was willing to take a two-year wage freeze if its members were allowed to keep existing benefits.

    Not true, the mayor told me Monday. "Let me be categorical: there has been no formal offer of that nature," Francis said. "They may have been talking about it among themselves. But it was never in writing."

    A few weeks ago, when the two sides last negotiated, the city offered CUPE cash payments totalling $1,250 in the first two years of a four-year contract, followed by wage increases of 1.25 per cent and 1.5 per cent in the third and fourth years, respectively, and an end to lifetime benefits.

    CUPE countered with a demand for a four-year deal that pays its members $2,000 in cash the first year followed by wage increases of 2.5 per cent, 2.5 per cent and three per cent. The union also wants to continue benefits for life, but is willing to pay for half the cost. It also wants current hiring levels maintained for the life of the contract, to prevent attrition from paying for the increases.

[Now who could have given mini-Gord all of that detailed information. I don't recall that being reported anywhere. I did not see that in the Minutes either

Who would dare talk considering:

"several said they have been warned by Mayor Francis they face severe punishment if they break the news blackout he has ordered over the talks"]

  • 07-09-2009

    Union led astray


    Some of the bad advice is coming from a few members of council.

    At the council table, all 10 have voted unanimously to put a cap on the unfunded liabilities of post-retirement benefits.

    But outside council chambers, a few councillors keep saying they think a settlement can be reached with a compromise -- which isn't what they voted for in-camera. The mixed messages sent by these councillors is what repeatedly raises CUPE's false hopes, Francis says...

    Yet four councillors accepted the CAW's invitation. The other six declined, since council unanimously passed a resolution decreeing that none of them was authorized to discuss the negotiations outside of chambers.

    "I don't even have the right to respond independently," Francis fumed this week. "I have to reflect what the majority says." It's the law.

    Individual councillors can't even talk about the strike with CUPE, much less the CAW: That's the job of the bargaining team.

[But there is the Mayor talking and he is not a member of the bargaining team. The statement cannot be true re unanimity re PRBs considering the May 11 Motion. Interestingly, here is part of the Motion passed only a few days later on July 13 where new hires were given PRBs to 65:

  • 4. Moved by Councillor Marra, seconded by Councillor Brister,

    THAT the City of Windsor make a last offer to the membership of CUPE Locals 82 and 543, via a mechanism to be determined, to include in form and content all material positions advanced by the City’s negotiating team on previously reported relevant matters and with the financial package to be presented to include:

     $1300.00 lump sum payment to all full time employees and $650 lump sum payment to all temporary, part-time and seasonal recreation employees in exchange for the loss of employer paid post retirement benefits beyond the age of 65 for all new employees hired on or after April 17, 2009...

    CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY]
  • 07-14-2009

    Balance of power has shifted

    The balance of power shifted sharply this week, after CUPE issued what Local 543 President Jean Fox called the union's "final offer" to city council -- as though her members dictate when the music stops...

    But on Monday CUPE suffered a stunning and possibly historic defeat when council drop-kicked their supposed "final offer" into the Detroit River by a vote of 8-3.

    CUPE played its last card, and busted.

[Those are not the facts again:

  • July 13, 2009

    3. Moved by Councillor Brister, seconded by Councillor Dilkens.

    THAT the final offer presented to the City’s negotiating team by CUPE Locals 82 and 543 BE NOTED AND FILED.

    CARRIED.
    Councillors Postma and Lewenza voting nay.]
  • 09-17-2009

    Council respecting taxpayers


    That's why council agreed 18 months ago to launch a complete review of what the bureaucrats call "service delivery." Or, what you get for your money.

    The study shows how many people it takes to perform every function undertaken by the city -- from fixing flat tires on garbage trucks to putting new brakes on cop cars to preparing paycheques for social workers -- and how much each function costs...

    Last week council started passing a series of votes behind closed doors giving Mayor Eddie Francis the authority to start taking evasive manoeuvres to head off the oncoming crisis. The first manoeuvre was the executive staffing bombshell announced Tuesday.

    Good for council.

[No Minutes for this in camera meeting but someone is still talking]

Any ideas yet? Is this helping you pin down who the Leakor is? I trust that this should help eliminate some suspects for the police and point them in the right direction to charge that corrupt politician.

After eliminating politicians that would likely never give information to mini-Gord or would never have the details disclosed or who might only have incomplete data, you ought to be left with a short-list of potential people who could be a Leakor.

Seriously, mini-Gord has no reason to deceive us about this does he.

Is it just me? I wonder why we have to go through this exercise when the Star could just tell us who this crooked politician is. The big question is why they refuse.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Edgar Must Apologize To A White-haired Tax Watchdog

It looks like the heat in the kitchen is getting to our Mayor.

Life is full of ironies. Kwame's trip to see Edgar over the Tunnel deal helped bring Kwame down. Will it now hurt Edgar too after all of this time?


The preamble to the Code of Conduct that applies to the Mayor and Councillors states:
  • "Improving the quality of public administration and governance can be achieved by encouraging high standards of conduct on the part of all government officials. In particular, the public is entitled to expect the highest standards of conduct from the members that it elects to local government."

What a despicable comment that Edgar (aka Eddie) made. Is his petty outburst the highest standard of conduct that the public is entitled to expect?

Does this remark below by Edgar, attacking a Windsorite for doing what he is legally entitled to do, meet the test that "All members of Council have a duty to treat members of the public, one another and staff appropriately and without abuse, bullying or intimidation"

Can the remark be considered a "reprisal against a complainant or anyone for providing relevant information to the Integrity Commissioner [and] is therefore prohibited."

Want proof that our Mayor cannot handle the pressure and lashes out when attacked or blamed? You have it again in the Edgar investigation matter being handled by the Integrity Commissioner.

I say again because it immediately brought to mind his attempt of Perry Mason-type cross-examination of the pesky environmentalist at the City Special Council meeting that was actually held outside of Windsor if you can imagine!

Our Edgar got his name in the non-Windsor media again and yet is so testy. The investigation of him has been reported in the media in Detroit, Toronto and Lansing as examples. Oh, I guess he is angry that they do not fawn over him like certain local media outlets.

I did not see this remark of Edgar reported in the Star because they know better I am sure but in other non-local media stories:

  • "Mayor of Windsor, Ont., denounces probe over meeting with Detroit mayor

    The mayor of Windsor, Ont., has denounced a complaint to the city's integrity commissioner over a meeting he had with his Detroit counterpart, calling it frivolous and politically motivated...

    "What you have here is a frivolous complaint by someone trying to politically manufacture an issue," Francis said in an interview.

    "This is a member of the public, who is well known to us at city hall, who has made a complaint, and the basis of the complaint is that the mayor of Windsor should not meet with someone who has been charged."

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Such language!

Here is how a search on Google News showed it so it is spread across the Internet:


Frivolous eh. Edgar used that word in relation to the CUPE bad faith complaint too and we know what has come out thanks to the Junior Ward meeting.

How dare Edgar use the word "frivolous." Moreover, Edgar stated in the Detroit news:

  • "Francis called the allegations "frivolous."

    "The facts speak for themselves," Francis said. "We have a process in place where anybody can make a complaint to the integrity commissioner. He must go through the process."

Edgar is again playing his accurate but narrow game. He is suggesting that the Integrity commissioner MUST investigate the complaint. Not true at all.

I have no idea what is in the complaint. However, the Integrity Commissioner has this power as part of the process:

  • "To guard against misuse of the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, complaints that are deemed to be frivolous by the Commissioner will be dismissed at the outset."

Edgar is a lawyer. He knows that.

The Integrity Commissioner has had the chance to dismiss the claim as being "frivolous"and did not do so. Obviously, he disagrees with the Mayor! In fact, we are told in the Star story:

  • "The integrity commissioner told him his allegation was “extremely serious” and determined it was worthy of an official complaint, McLeod said...

    “(Basse) did call back and say they are still working on it,” McLeod said.

In case you do not know who Bruce McLeod is, the person named in the Star story, he is the fellow who said this at Council recently:

  • "The Windsor Detroit Tunnel Corporation is set to take control of the crossing at the end of the year for approximately $104 million. Council voted unanimously to approve the "rollover" despite opposition expressed by several ratepayers who argued the operations and decisions of the new corporate entity would become less transparent to ordinary citizens.

    "The real reason, we think, is to eliminate public oversight," said Bruce McLeod."

No wonder he is well known at Council.

"Politically manufacture..." what a slur!

Remember this:

  • "Council on tap

    2) The "White-haired Watchdogs" — Al Nelman, Alex Foley, Bruce McLeod and Merv Dependleton — are scheduled to speak on the mysteriously named "Audit Committee Report No. 42."

Or this:

  • "Council votes to redraw Windsor's electoral map

    Admitting it hadn’t been their finest hour, city councillors reversed course Monday night from the controversial do-nothing approach taken last month and voted unanimously to implement a 10-ward electoral system for the 2010 civic election...

    Bruce McLeod, one of several residents who addressed council prior to this week’s debate, described the earlier council performance as “a stupid political sideshow” that became “the talk of the town.”

    Some even felt the need to apologize.

    “I do agree it was one of council’s most embarrassing moments,” said Coun. Ken Lewenza Jr."

How about this Letter to the Editor of the Star:

  • "Zero per cent tax hike too much
    Byline: Bruce R Mcleod

    Don't you ever wonder, those Windsor councillors and the mayor we elected, do they have any grasp of reality? Can they honestly tell themselves that these are ordinary times? Have they had one too many sips of Red Bull or some hallucinogens? They do not seem to understand how bad it really is...

    What can council do? Bring in a new budget (everybody's doing it) and cut about 12 per cent from the present pipe dream. Maybe then the citizens will see some light down the road."

I am sure you recall this story and the want ad:

  • "Auditors hounded for answers; Tax watchdogs demand open government

    Minding your tax dollars isn't so much a passion as it is a full- time vocation for the affable and occasionally ornery curmudgeons who have been hounding members of the city's audit committee for nearly a year.

    These white-haired watchdogs attend more meetings than alcoholics, reading the fine print in city reports and pestering councillors and administrators with pointed -- some might say impertinent -- questions about public money.

    "We have to take away the idea that they can do what they want and nobody cares. That can happen if people show up and ask questions and are critical," said Bruce McLeod, 69, who carries an ever-growing collection of documents in a folder emblazoned with the Bulldog logo of the Windsor Association of Concerned Taxpayers.

    "The Municipal Act says everything should be open and transparent, but standard operating procedure for the City of Windsor is don't tell them unless they ask, so we ask."

    McLeod and four others -- Al Nelman, 84, Alex Foley, 73, Les Chaif, 75, and Merv dePendleton, 62 -- have been attending early- morning audit committee meetings religiously for months and demanding, in increasingly colourful and provocative language, the release of an audit into the 400 building in City Hall Square.

    McLeod was so frustrated with the committee's repeated refusals to release the audit, and a draft report prepared by former city auditor Mike Dunbar, that he paid $27 and took out a three-day advertisement in The Star's classified section in January."


The major matter that the police must investigate forthwith is how McLeod's name got out. The Complaint Procedure states:

  • "Complaints or investigations that are conducted by the City of Windsor Integrity Commissioner are Confidential. The identities of complainants are not revealed nor are the complaints filtered through Council or Staff.

    Members of the public may make complaints in confidence directly to the Integrity Commissioner. Complaints may be from an anonymous source and need not be in the form of a sworn affidavit."

Will Edgar have the class to apologize for his childish and immature outburst?Will one Councillor have the guts to introduce a Motion to force the Mayor to apologize? Will a Councillor demand an investigation of the breach of confidentiality?

Bruce, don't hold your breath. Heck, file another complaint over this. It would be a winner!

Flipping Mayor: Call In The Police (Part III)

Absolutely disgusting to me.

"Let's move on" Annie did it again in her column:
  • "We spent up to $15,000 and 31/2 months for five pages concluding that we don't know who leaked the union's capitulation in the long and acrimonious city strike last summer. That sums up the report last week of Windsor's integrity commissioner.

    The leak last June should not have stalled a possible settlement, and we shouldn't have wasted all that money and time trying to find the source."

She strangely forgot to mention her fellow columnist's revelation, that of mini-Gord, that he was approached by a corrupt City Councillor who offered to be the leakor and disclose confidential information.

She too forgot to mention that the leak came from City Council and not CUPE according to Mr. Basse. I cannot believe that no one at the Star can read and absorb a few pages of Basse's report to share that information with readers.

Protect the hardliners at all costs!

Oh and when is mini-Gord going to go after Junior again. You know he has to slam Junior in a Column since Junior has made him his designated Star target. Mind you, with his corrupted Councillor remark, mini-Gord has painted a bull's eye on himself too.

Or will the Star bring out the big guns--Henderson, an Editorial and a cartoon--to shoot Junior down since he is a risk to Edgar and a big $30M CUPE back wages claim!

Junior vs mini-Gord, an interesting diversion.

Back to Annie. Isn't Annie against corruption or would she prefer to hide it and move on to protect the wrong-doer? Oh, and nice upper-cut to Ron Jones along the way. She did say after all:

  • "Most disturbing is where all this has left us. With some politicians clearly lying and backstabbing and others busy accusing their colleagues, it must be difficult to function. And with a second report coming, this sordid tale has legs. Meanwhile, the city with the highest unemployment rate in Canada limps on."

Why according to her, it is worse than any of us thought.

Then she gives us the typical media BS:

  • "Protecting a source is the reporter's responsibility."

I love how she justifies leaks and smashes Jones again. These Star writers are good:

  • "Daryl Newcombe of A Channel News, the reporter with the Deep Throat, of course refused to divulge his source. Nobody expected he would, as the integrity commissioner acknowledged.

    I'm not going to rail against leaks. I've gotten them, used them and would never reveal the sources.

    Leaks are part of politics. Regardless of the ulterior motives of some sources (the media aren't naive), they can provide valuable information. They're good for the public. They tell people what's really going on.

    For example, now we know how Jones uses the BlackBerry that taxpayers pay for. Maybe we wouldn't need leaks if council shared more information with its electorate.

    Leaks are good for politicians, too. They keep them accountable. Now Jones knows that ratepayers don't want to pay for councillors' personal calls."

My goodness, she may want to deify mini-Gord's leakor soon if she keeps going this way.

Of course, she does not dare mention that in mini-Gord's case, he is not protecting a source but a criminal who is in breach of trust under the Criminal Code. It would spoil the effect and put pressure on the Star.

Remarkable that no one on the Star will admit that they are part of the problem in Windsor by not telling us who is corrupt!

Why did the Mayor "flip" because of the loose lips re Councillor Jones? After all, the Star told us:

  • "council sources, who leaked that information to reporters."
Did he know who that source was at City Hall? At least no one has blamed CUPE for this. So far.

If he did not know the source, where was his Leadership? Instead of being angry and welcoming people to his world, why didn't he demand that everyone in the room swear an affidavit as he did before? Of course, that never happened as we now learn. Where is his call for a further investigation? Why has he remained so silent?

Speaking of being silent, where is Sgt Brett Cory of the Windsor Police now when a Star Columnist in black and white disclosed that a crime has been committed and that there is a corrupt member of City Council or perhaps more than one:

He was quick to tell us during the CUPE strike, incorrectly as even the Mayor said, that:
  • "Windsor police spokesman Sgt. Brett Corey said the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in 2002 that it is unlawful to picket the private residence of the executive of a corporation."
There was no such decision.

Perhaps Sgt Corey is still trying to figure out what the City grass-cutting by-law means since the police did not stop all of the grass-cutting during the CUPE strike. The language is hard to understand I guess:

  • "While in a Park, no person shall:

    (1) Destroy, cut, mark, break, dig, pull up, burn or in any way damage, injure, deface, remove or deface any tree, flower, shrub, plant, sod, grass or other vegetation, soil, sand, gravel or wood."

As for the Chief, is he too busy teaching junior kindergarten police officers what to do and what not to do or making apologies to understand this:

  • "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."

A crime was committed as pointed out on Page 3 of the Windsor Star. Are police officers interviewing the Mayor, Councillors and members of Administration yet to try and solve the crime? Has anyone visited mini-Gord or the Star offices or Daryl at Eh-Channel?

Is it just me or do you, dear reader, find it odd that Daryl has these scoops and not other members of the media? Is it good investigative digging on his part or is someone making it easy for him? If it is the latter, is it the same person who wanted to be mini-Gord's Leakor knowing that the Star would follow along afterwards?

Has anyone spoken with mini-Gord's editors since the Star online chat told us:

  • "[Comment From Star readerStar reader: ]
    Do the columnists talk to you about their columns? Who assigns them? Wouldn't you like to write a column and tell us what you think?...

    Roseann Danese:
    Columnists have a wide latitude. Columnists generate their own ideas, which are bounced off editors in morning news meetings."

We had learned before as I Blogged

  • that John Coleman is Gord Henderson's editor, that they work collaboratively together and that they hash out ideas together."

Have the police found out if it is the same now with mini-Gord and what the editor(s) knew?

I'd sure like the police to find out if that paragrpah in mini-Gord's column was cleared by the Star's lawyers? If so, what were they told?

During the CUPE strike, the Chief said:

  • "Meanwhile Windsor police Chief Gary Smith said police will keep a close eye on what’s happening on picket lines as frustration mounts."

Will he keep a close eye on the corruption that seems to be taking place within City Hall or does he have to wait until "frustration mounts" even higher as we have new leaks reported so many times?

Actually, this may be too big a job for Windsor Police. Or perhaps they are concerned about possible conflicts because of who are members of the Windsor Police Services Board.

Perhaps that darn pay equity ruling has taken away so much of their money that they just do not have the resources to investigate this type of crime. Or they are spending so much time getting that $1.5M over budget under control.

Being my helpful self, here is who they can contact at the Ontario Provincial Police. If they call me, I can give them the name of the managing officer and his contact info too:

Anti-Rackets Branch
Investigation Bureau
Ontario Provincial Police
London, Ontario.

I am sure that the OPP would be happy to help out. If the Mayor ever asks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why The Edgar Investigation Is So Strange: Call In The Police (Extra Part)

So much breaking news. Whew!

Here are excerpts from the Star story today on the investigation into Edgar. I am glad to know the leak came out, and the defence of Edgar (aka Eddie) given out so freely in advance, so that we are pre-conditioned to Edgar's innocence. When the Report does come out, it will be old news and who will care.

Why it is the kind of tactic that only the Eminence Greasie would think of but he/she would not get him/herself in the middle of this kind of a jam that could mean a police investigation. Anyway, too many loose ends for his/her kind of warplan.
Too many amateurs involved.

It is quite a bizarre story as I shall fisk. Perhaps you have an explanation because I am trying to think of one.

"Francis-Kilpatrick meeting probed

Mayor confirms commissioner's investigation

Windsor's integrity commissioner is investigating a meeting 16 months ago between Mayor Eddie Francis and former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Several councillors said Earl Basse revealed the investigation at a closed-door meeting Nov. 16. Francis confirmed the investigation Tuesday.

[My goodness, in camera meetings are a sieve. A flood of information comes out now. Why bother having them!

Now we have "several councillors" leaking.

Did you notice any outrage about another leak? This is the third one involving an Integrity Commissioner complaint. Why isn't the Mayor not only flipping but doing hand stands especially when it involves him personally.

Where is the call for affidiavits or Edgar moaning and groaning and being angry. Wasn't it terrific showmanship now with Edgar and the Jones leak looking back.

Why one might now think that no one cared that Jones was being crucified to take the heat off the City for giving out disinformation about the bad faith leak to make it look as if a softliner was the Leakor! Why, it was just so convenient.

Here is something weird too. The Jones story came out right away, just after Basse said in his report, which the Star refuses to report, that the leak came from City Hall, not CUPE. Basse's report was NOT issued until the next Friday, giving lots of time for the Jones leak to come out and for people to think he was the one!

Why did the Edgar leak take so long to come out? Why did it not come out at the same time

And why did Daryl Newcombe not get the story first?]


Basse agreed to study the controversial meeting following a complaint by South Windsor resident Bruce Mc-Leod, The Star has learned. He filed his complaint in early September 2008 -- the day after Waterloo-based Basse was appointed by city council.

[Nice, file a complaint and get your name plastered all over the Star. Who would want to file one now and get into trouble with "the authorities." That should put a chill on things.

THIS IS SOMETHING THE POLICE MUST INVESTIGATE AND THEY HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO DO SO!

Intgegrity Commission procedure states:
  • "Complaints or investigations that are conducted by the City of Windsor Integrity Commissioner are Confidential. The identities of complainants are not revealed nor are the complaints filtered through Council or Staff.]"

News of the Francis-Kilpatrick investigation is the latest leak to the media involving Basse.

[Is someone trying to get rid of Basse or to get him to resign or to get rid of the post since it could be embarrassing down the road before an election?]

Basse told council last week behind closed doors he was investigating the mayors' meeting. It was at the same meeting that he reported the fruitless results of an attempt to find the source of a media leak in mid-June that Basse said derailed negotiations during the summer strike by municipal workers.

[As above, why did it take so long for the Mayor's investigation to come out? If it came out when the Jones leak took place or instead of the Jones leak, would people think that Edgar was at fault? Oh no!]

It was also at that meeting that he told council he was launching an investigation of numerous cellphone calls during the strike between Coun. Ron Jones and CUPE leader Jean Fox.

[Basse has no power to launch an investigation on his own without a complaint. Moreover, we were told his Jones report was almost done. Which is it? Or was it only like the Dunbar "draft," so incomplete now]

"Clearly, council is playing politics and it should just stop," Francis said. "This is a distraction from the business at hand."

[DUH, like the politics Edgar played at Council on Monday slamming the Bridge Company, Councillor Mom and Junior!

Dammit, it is playing politics to reveal the truth about who leaked that caused an extra 4 week strike or who tied the negotiating committee's hands or who cost taxpayers too much money!]


The mayor said he has not yet been interviewed about his meeting with Kilpatrick.

[After so many months! Is Basse that busy or too busy doing investigations that never should have been started?

By the way, did anyone at City Hall know about the Jones investigation being done in advance or how many he is doing or how much he is costing us?]

Coun. Alan Halberstadt did not want to comment on the investigation of Francis, but questioned during Monday's council meeting how much is being spent on Basse. Administration is to report back at a future meeting.

He called the ongoing leaks and investigations a major distraction.

"It's not a good thing," he said. "We are continuing to conduct business, but this all smacks a bit of buffoonery and that's not good."

[I would strongly suggest Councillor that this is one story where you ought not to want to be quoted.

Alan Halberstadt, the People's Choice thinks that finding a leakor who cost CUPE workers millions is buffoonery and a distraction. I am so disappointed in what you have become.

A criminal Councillor who was prepared to be mini-Gord's leakor is corruption, Councillor, not a distraction and that person should be in jail.

Gosh it sounds like Alan has swallowed the Star's approach and would like to move on like his Ward colleague, Fulvio Valentinis.

Oh, I forgot. Alan, you were a hardliner who spread misinformation about who did the leaking

  • "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."

No wonder you want people to forget!

Careful, Councillor...my bet is that you are the next Councillor to be smeared. I would be worried that someone might maliciously name you as the leak as the excuse to get rid of the office or to start a looooong search for a new Integrity Commissioner.

Or to get rid of you!

You are such an easy target too. After all, didn't you BLOG:

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis and Councillors Ken Lewenza and Fulvio Valentinis suggested last week in the Windsor Star that hiring an Integrity Commissioner might be a good idea in the wake of a controversy surrounding the posting of "alleged" sensitive information on the border file on my website.

    Actually, the mayor and some of my colleagues have previously rattled the sabres about putting an Integrity Commissioner on the city's payroll, usually in close proximity to suggestions that the blogs I post on my website are negative, or depart from Council's team concept...

    I have a hunch that some of my colleagues would love to see an Integrity Commissioner monitor my blogs and administer punishment on me for expressing opinions that do not jive with the Council majority. While I can see the merit in Councillors refraining from challenging Council decisions after the fact in ongoing debate around the Council table, I have grave concerns about any Commissioner being given the power of censorship over a public forum such as this.

    I find it hard to believe that such a vile process would even be contemplated in this country in this day and age. But, If that day ever comes to pass, I have a threat for my colleagues, and it isn't veiled.

    I will be bringing Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms into the fray with every ounce of energy in my body and soul."

You see Councillor, the "vile process" is being used as a political tool. Better start reading the Charter!]

Leak-EE Stories

I am so far behind in giving you information. There are just too many breaking news stories coming out. I will try and bring forward the older stories as I can.

However, I just had to let you know more about the following:


WHY WAS THE MANCINI LAWSUIT STARTED IN CHATHAM

In keeping with the "leak" theme, could this have happened?

Mancini's insurers who are really suing for the first $1.25M in his name under the insurance policy hired a Toronto lawyer. He probably was driving down to Windsor to file the claim when just after London, nature started to call.

I am sure that he knew the service centres between London and Windsor were closed down so when he saw the sign to Chatham he pulled of the highway to take a......... go to the bathroom.

He must have figured why drive the extra time to file in Windsor when there was a courthouse in Chatham so he just started the lawsuit in Chatham.

FRIENDSHIP

Looks like one has to pick friends carefully if one is a Windsor Councillor or dump old ones.

It seems that the real issue involving Councillor Jones is NOT that he was the Leakor but that he phoned his good friend Jean Fox during the strike so many times.

On Eh-Channel the question was raised whether this was a conflict of interest on Jones' part because the strike impacted directly his friend and therefore whether he should have taken part in the debates at Council.

The Mayor commented saying:
  • "The issue in front of us is discussions that were taking place with the head of CUPE in the middle of negotiations. That is an important distinction to be drawn here."

Oh my. A Pandora's box has just been opened by the Mayor not just with this but in other situations. I shall BLOG about this "friendship" concept soon after I gather all of the relevant information. You might be very surprised at the consequences.

What the legal basis for the Basse investigation is since there is no complaint is not known to me nor what the terms of reference are.

All I know, is that this is all going to get very ugly.

Can you imagine what in camera meetings must be like with so many Councillors furious at the Mayor. One more year of this {sigh.}

MINI-GORD AT COUNCIL

It seems that he has attended several Council meetings recently. Last night, Junior specifically mentioned him.

Now here is a question that mini-Gord should answer for us in his column or perhaps anyone else who saw him at Council. Who sat beside him last night in the Council Chambers?

Was he alone all night or did one or more people sit beside him? If the latter, were any Senior City people beside him? If so, do you think those people had a serious lack of judgement all things considered these days?

Perhaps mini-Gord could tell us what they talked about too so tongues won't wag.

That should not give rise to a "revealing sources" NO COMMENT from him. It was all innocent I am certain.

JUST THE FACTS MA'AM

Is it true, no it cannot be, that mini-Gord was offered a copy of Junior's Ward 4 presentation but refused to acccept it? Doesn't he want to know a different perspective on the CUPE strike or does he prefer not to have any facts that might suggest that the hardliners screwed up.

Oh I get it now, if true, it must be because mini-Gord had already seen it since I posted it on my BLOGsite.

HATFIELD IS SO MATURE NOW

No more Councillor Loopy?

Some of you may have thought that Councillor Hatfield was another one of those union softliners in the CUPE strike.

After all, given his background, that would be a normal assumption to make:

  • "While working at the CBC, Councillor Hatfield was a Union Shop Steward and held several National and International positions with his union, The Canadian Media Guild, which is a local of The Newspaper Guild and a Sector within the Communications Workers of America, including CMG Vice-President for Central Canada; three terms as an At-Large Vice-President with TNG/CWA; and two terms as TNG/CWA's Vice-President for Eastern Canada."

Whether that assumption is right or wrong, you can judge as well as I after reading the in camera Minutes and Junior's Presentation. What I do know now is that he has become one of Gord's favourites recently:

  • "Brister, in failing to abide by those play-nice rules, brought a storm of righteous indignation down on his head.

    The blasts came from all directions...

    Ward 5 Coun. Percy Hatfield chimed in, calling the timing "insensitive," given that it came as politicians and senior staff were welcoming the unhappy strikers back to work...

    But that was then and this is now...

    But what sweet redemption then to have both Dilkens and Hatfield (the latter is rapidly maturing in his fourth year in politics) backing his motion this week calling for tenders to gauge the cost of full or partial privatization of garbage collection."

NO DUNBAR AUDIT TO BE RELEASED

Councillor Mature has spoken.

Thank goodness that Councillor Mature read us the Auditor General of Ontario letter that he thought closed down any argument that the Dunbar audit should ever be released.

Of course it does not. The AG specifically would not comment on the City's legal opinion and would not comment on the factual situation in Windsor because he did not know what it was. He just related his situation which is not like Windsor's at all.

In fact, he told the City to get a second legal opinion.

Here is the letter




Sorry, Councillor, the matter is NOT closed!

WEST ENDERS FIGHT BACK

Oh my. Will the ears of Edgar (aka Eddie) and Council Mature burn after hearing this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mI6vWOkl1To

They effectively discounted everything that Edgar said and put the blame right back on Council.

Councillor Mature's invitation to the Bridge Company to attend serves no useful purpose when Edgar accuses them of being blockbusters and not buying homes at fair market value. It is a lost battle for them already so why attend to feed Edgar's ego.

After all, Edgar could NOT allow the Motion to be heard because he needed the Bridge Company there to take the blame for his actions.

Hatfield's invitation and Edgar's taunting to egg on the Bridge Company to get them to come to Council so he can slam them down by rejecting everything they want really will accomplish nothing.

Edgar is acting so childishly. If Stamper does come, watch him intimidate Edgar as he has done in the past! Watch Paula Lombardi just ignore him and stare him down when he tries to interupt as she has done too if she makes a statement.

Can you say another residents' lawsuit for reasonable apprehension of bias at the meeting in 2 weeks.

SCOLDING JUNIOR

The Kindergarten principal at Council again scolded all Councillors especially Councillor Lewenza who attacked the Star's poor coverage of the CUPE strike for somehow abusing the Statements part of the Agenda.

He pulled out the Procedural By-law to rub it in Councillors' faces.

As far as I know, a Councillor can speak:

  • PART 18 – STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

    18.1 Members of Council shall be governed by the following rules:

    a) Each Member shall be limited to 3 minutes 

    b) Statements shall be non-controversial in nature  

    c) Statements shall be intended for the purpose of sharing information about events/ activities/community functions and general work of Council Members on behalf of their Council colleagues, constituents and the community.

Junior spoke specifically about his community function, his Ward meeting, and his work on behalf of constituents and the Community. Sure he commented on the Star's lack of coverage but that is important for the Community to know and where they could get more information.

Why were Edgar's shorts in such a knot? Did he think it was his job to protect the Star?

I am curious to know though what section of the Procedural By-law allowed him to go on a diatribe against the Bridge Company in the statement he made? Or am I missing a section of the By-law?

Perhaps he will have to give himself an after-Council detention!

NOT A LEAK BUT A FLOOD

So many references to Hilary Payne being escorted out--four of them--but it was NOT shown in the Star video or on Cogeco.

It was in fact a different gentleman who had 2 of Chief Smith's finest escort him out of the Council Chamber, not Mr. Payne. Was that gentleman patted down so another apology might have to be given by the Chief?

Let this be a lesson to him and to others who dare try and stand up for their rights. Be completely subservient or else really get slammed.

I wonder if there will be a correction published one day.

Ambassador Bridge Sues To Open Road

Remember this classic line from the Ambassador Bridge Co:
  • "We thought it was dirt or clay or construction debris -- but no, it is only retaliation"
And the photos:



Now you have this as the result:

Court asked to force MDOT to open new ramps to Ambassador Bridge

WARREN, Mich. – The Detroit International Bridge Co. filed a lawsuit today in the Michigan Court of Claims to compel the state highway department to immediately open completed freeway ramps to the Ambassador Bridge.

The ramps carrying traffic directly to the bridge from northbound and southbound I-75 and eastbound I-96, and the East Service Drive, were the main purpose of the $230 million Ambassador Bridge Gateway Project undertaken by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). As a partner in the Gateway Project, DIBC also spent more than $100 million of its own money to accommodate the new traffic flow.

“Citizens and taxpayers of the United States and the state of Michigan are being deprived of the benefits that their tax dollars were expended to deliver,” said DIBC President Dan Stamper. “To accept federal tax dollars to build a project and then refuse to open that project is a serious fraud upon the people.”

The direct freeway ramps to the bridge were completed in May 2009, and MDOT paid the contractor a $3.6 million bonus for completion ahead of schedule. But MDOT blocked the ramps – first with 2,424 tons of dirt and then with construction equipment – to prevent their use.

The bridge company seeks an injunction ordering MDOT to remove all barriers, equipment and debris that it has placed on the ramps. The motion for the injunction is part of a larger lawsuit filed Tuesday in the Michigan Court of Claims alleging that MDOT violated its partnership agreement with DIBC and is deliberately attempting to damage the Ambassador Bridge’s business because MDOT supports a proposed competing bridge project less than 2 miles away.

Besides the injunction to open the ramps, the bridge company also seeks substantial monetary damages as compensation for MDOT’s attempts to divert traffic from the Ambassador Bridge.

“Local news media have encouraged DIBC and MDOT to work together, and we have tried,” said Carl Marlinga, an attorney for the bridge company. “We finally concluded that MDOT will only fulfill our partnership if ordered to do so by the court.”

With the ramps closed, private and commercial travelers wanting to use the Ambassador Bridge are forced to take circuitous detours along narrow neighborhood streets.

Traffic from northbound I-75 headed to Canada is diverted onto city streets for about a mile, while traffic from southbound I-75 and eastbound I-96 is for about 2 miles.

Keeping the ramps closed has a profound negative effect on trucks moving goods in international and interstate commerce, DIBC said in its lawsuit. Trucks entering the United States from Canada are being detoured through city streets up to 4 miles to gain access to freeways.

Private automobiles entering the U.S. from Canada can access northbound I-75 and westbound I-96 on new ramps that are open, but cars headed to southbound I-75 are detoured onto the same surface streets used by detoured traffic that could be using the unopened bridge access ramps.

“These needless MDOT detours expose drivers and passengers to dangerous traffic conditions, while wasting fuel and subjecting neighborhoods to greater noise and air pollution,” Stamper said. “MDOT’s detours through Detroit are causing worse traffic conditions than those the Gateway Project aimed to avoid.”

MDOT forces motorists to use the intersection of West Grand Boulevard and I-75 service ramp as the only access to the Ambassador Bridge. This intersection is cluttered with detour and construction signs, clogged with trucks and auto traffic.

“In trying to hurt our company, MDOT is callously disregarding the safety of the citizens it is charged to serve, standing in the way of economic growth in Southwest Detroit and damaging the city’s image among international travelers,” Stamper said.

About the Detroit International Bridge Co.
The Detroit International Bridge Co., based in Warren, Mich., owns and operates the Ambassador Bridge linking the United States and Canada near downtown Detroit since 1929. Privately owned and built with private funds, the Ambassador Bridge is the busiest international border crossing in North America, with about 5 million cars and 2.5 million trucks using the bridge each year. DIBC employs 300 people in the United States and Canada, and actively supports a wide variety of community organizations, charities and universities. For more information, visit www.ambassadorbridge.com.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Corruption Survey

I cannot believe this. It blows my mind

THE MAYOR DID NOT GET SWORN AFFIDAVITS YET FROM HIMSELF, COUNCILLORS AND ADMINISTRATORS RESPECTING THE LEAK!

  • "Once Basse's investigation is complete, Mayor Eddie Francis said council may revisit getting sworn affidavits from all the participants of the June meeting in question.

    "I'd still like to see legal counsel follow through ... as per the original plan," Francis told The Star. After the initial leak, the mayor told reporters that councillors would be asked to swear affidavits that they were not the source of the confidential information getting out, but he said that effort was "put aside" at the request of the integrity commissioner pending his investigation."

I never knew that. I do not remember it being reported.

Next we might hear that there was NO internal investigation since none has been reported yet.

Did you notice, the Star has still never reported the Basse leak results that the City was at fault.

Oh sure, they put the Report on line and wrote:

  • "An investigation lasting several months and costing up to $15,000 failed to reveal the source of a media leak that many blamed for torpedoing a contract agreement during the strike by municipal workers, according to the city's integrity commissioner."

But where did you see the Star report that the Leakor had to be someone who was in attendance at the in camera Council meeting according to Basse:

Typical Star non-coverage when it hurts City management!

IGNORE AND DO NOT REPORT.

Can you imagine the headline if CUPE was at fault!

But the shock for me as a BLOGGER is the mini-Gord disclosure that a Councillor called him 6 months ago, in mid-May during the strike, and offered to be his source of information, his Leakor. And it was NOT Councillor Jones.

In passing, there was a lot of action in mid-May too that a columnist would loved to have had as a scoop I am sure that showed how hardlined the Council majority was. Certainly good for the re-election image:

  • May 11, 2009

    1. Moved by Councillor Jones, seconded by Councillor Postma:

    THAT the City’s negotiating team remove from the bargaining table the issue of ending employer paid post retirement benefits past the age of 65 for new employees hired on or after January 1, 2009 in the current negotiations with CUPE Local 82.

    MOTION DOES NOT CARRY.
    Councillors Jones, Lewenza and Postma voting aye.
    Councillors Brister, Halberstadt, Gignac, Hatfield, Marra, Valentinis, Dilkens voting nay
    .

    2. Moved by Councillor Lewenza, No Seconder – as a result the motion was never on the floor for consideration and is included here only for sake of completeness:

    THAT CUPE Locals 82 and 543 be provided the option of retaining employer paid post retirement benefits for new employees hired on or after January 1, 2009 if they will agree to no wage increases for the term of a two year contract OR the option of ending employer paid post retirement benefits for new employees hired on or after January 1, 2009 and receiving a 2% wage increase in year 1 of a two year contract and a further 2% wage increase in year 2 of the contract.

    NO SECONDER FOR THE MOTION.

    3. Moved by Councilor Hatfield, seconded by Councillor Lewenza:

    THAT the issue ending employer paid post retirement benefits for new employees hired on or after January 1, 2009 be removed from the bargaining table and that the following terms be offered to CUPE Local 82:

    a) $1000.00 lump sum payment to all full time employees in year 1 of a three year contract;
    b) 2% wage increase in year 2 of the contract; and
    c) 2% wage increase in year 3 of the contract.

    MOTION DOES NOT CARRY
    Councillors Postma, Lewenza, Hatfield and Jones voting aye.
    Councillors Brister, Halberstadt, Gignac, Marra, Valentinis, Dilkens and Mayor Francis voting nay
    .

    4. Moved by Councillor Halberstadt, seconded by Councillor Gignac:

    THAT City Council accept the recommendation of the General Manager of Corporate Services regarding a further offer to CUPE Local 82

    1. Three year contract.
    2. No wage increases.
    3. ODA increases on a net zero basis
    4. Job Security for the life of the contract;
    5. Lump Sum payment of $1000 for all full time employees/$500 for all part time employees.

    CARRIED. Councillors Postma, Lewenza, Hatfield and Jones voting nay.

    5. Moved by Councillor Marra, seconded by Councillor Brister:

    THAT the same terms be offered to CUPE Local 543.

    CARRIED. Councillors Postma, Lewenza, Hatfield and Jones voting nay.

I wonder if this really was a clue from mini-Gord as to who that Councillor was since there was no reason to give a time-frame

So we have a corrupt Councillor on hand, someone no one should trust, who is privy to confidential City information which he/she is prepared to use for his/her own benefit, who in good conscience ought to resign now but won't.

Now who could this person be?

I created a CORRUPTION POLL where you could vote as to your choice of the corrupt Councillor, if you thought there was one

But in the end, I decided not to run it. It would not have been fair to the "innocent" members of Council although to be honest it would be interesting to know what my readers think of them and why.

I will just have to think up other things to do until the Star decides to tell us who is corrupt on Council or the police undertake an investigation!

Do not hold your breath for the Star though. Nothing has happened so far. It is better to ignore this story too.

Action At The Ambassador Bridge Today

We'll find out soon what it is!
  • NEWS ADVISORY

    Ambassador Bridge company schedules news conference

    Date: Tuesday, Nov. 24

    Time: 1 p.m.

    Location: Detroit International Bridge Co. headquarters, 12225 Stephens Road, Warren, MI 48089-2010

    Purpose: Announce major action intended to improve traffic flow and commerce between the United States and Canada.

    Spokespeople: Dan Stamper, DIBC president

    Carl Marlinga, attorney for DIBC

Enwin On Strike

Ooooops, my mistake.
  • "Enwin workers ratify 4-year deal

    Inside services employees at Enwin Utilities ratified a new four-year contract on Monday.

    The contract will give the 93 workers, represented by IBEW Local 636, a 1.875 per cent wage increase for each year of the deal starting Jan. 1, 2009. It was reached after two days of negotiations with the help of a provincial conciliator...

    Monday's vote comes about two weeks after 75 outside workers at Enwin ratified a deal calling for a 6.5 per cent pay raise over three years."

How could such outrageous settlements happen without a 101 day strike since, according to the Enwin website, Edgar (aka Eddie) and Fulvio Valentinis are on the Enwin Board. And on the Parent Company Board are Edgar, Dave Brister and Jo-Anne Gignac.

That softliner Ron Jones is on the Parent Co board too so let us figure out a way to blame him for this! He has been chosen by the media as the designated fall-guy for the Leakor anyway so what is one more issue to put on him.

WUC, Transit Windsor and now Enwin resolved with no strikes. Can you say CUPE political action not labour dispute!

CUPE War Continues

Oh Annie (I hope you do not mind me calling you that. I feel I know you so well now after reading your columns). How could you? You helped sucker CUPE. The members really wanted it over. They were beat up so much. They wanted the war over and you helped fool them into thinking it would end.

Sorry Annie. The CUPE war is still on even though you wrote back in August:
  • It's time for us to move on

    Pardon me, I thought the municipal strike was over.

    Didn't city council vote almost two weeks ago -- unanimously -- to approve an agreement? Didn't 1,800 unionized employees follow the next day?

    The pickets are gone. The garbage collectors are back. The grass is being baled.

    But neither side will let it go...”

Heck Annie, that's what the outsourcing debate was all about. Part of the war to destroy public trade unions in Ontario and elsewhere:

  • "Ontario colleges looking to provoke province-wide strike: OPSEU
    November 12, 2009

    TORONTO - The Council representing community colleges in Ontario is refusing to negotiate in good faith in a move that could adversely affect the school year for 200,000 full-time students, says the union representing 9,000 faculty members.

    “Seldom in my experience as a labour activist have I witnessed such arbitrary, misleading and, frankly, undemocratic behaviour as exhibited by negotiators for community colleges,” said Ontario Public Service Employees Union president Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

    “In light of the Colleges’ refusal to bargain in good faith the union will have no alternative but to go to our membership and seek a strike mandate. We do not wish to disrupt the school year, but this is a ham-fisted attack on educators the likes of which this province has never seen before.”

Actually, it is the hardliners of which your Paper is a part that have to keep control of this issue or else a whole bunch of people won’t be re-elected, starting from Edgar on down! No wonder the Star could not afford to cover the Lewenza Ward meeting and did not mention a word about his Statement at Council!

Windsorites would have learned the truth otherwise.

Mini-Gord’s "reverse psychology" column was about the Grade 4 level. DUH, if he says they won’t do something, they will to prove him wrong by doing it:

  • Private sector trashed

    It became pretty clear Monday that Windsor taxpayers are not going to get the privatized garbage service they desire.

    Not from this city council.

    Some of the pickups might be contracted out,maybe.

    Council is likely to shift a token quantity of recyling or regular garbage or yard waste collections away from CUPE Local 83 -- just to silence the call for privatization.

    But taxpayers will probably never be able to escape from the garbage trap the public service union has the city in whenever its contracts expire…

    But most councillors made it abundantly clear they will never vote in favour of taking major work away from hard-working CUPE members and farming it out to the private sector just to make taxpayers happy.”

Annie, politics being what it is, the hardliners have nothing they can point at to justify being taken back by Windsorites. Everything they have touched is a mind’s eye vision or has failed miserably. All that they have going for them is beating up on CUPE. As mini-Gord wrote:

  • “But most councillors made it abundantly clear they will never vote in favour of taking major work away from hard-working CUPE members and farming it out to the private sector just to make taxpayers happy.

    Never mind that this is the perfect stars-in-alignment time to seize such an opportunity.

    The city needs the money, the public is furious at being held hostage by CUPE during its three-month strike this year.”

And by not disclosing the alternative argument, your employer is complicit as you well know. As are you! Don’t you think it is time for you to come out and to tell mini-Gord to stop his childishness. So he was caught with his hand in the cookie jar by Junior. I know he is mad at Junior but really, more names:

  • “Coun. Ken Lewenza Jr. lapsed, as usual, into union sloganeering. He railed against the private sector, the "race to the bottom," the evil of corporations, putting "profits" before "our children's legacy ... a fair day's work for a fair day's pay" and a few other attempts at Grapes of Wrath tear-jerkery.

    "How much more do we have to whip our employees?" he demanded to know.”

Don’t you find it odd that someone thinks going out for tender will accomplish something if Windsor’s garbage collectors are the second best in Canada as we kept being told ? Who can beat them? Why are we bothering?

If the issue is really not being held hostage, then there are ways to accomplish that by declaring garbage collection “essential” or reaching an Agreement with the Union that they said they are prepared to consider as was done for certain workers during the last strike.

Except the new CAO has to tell Council what are the risks in doing so but in camera. She has learned early how to play that game!

Can you imagine Annie, I was on the same page as the “softliners,” the three who argued against the Motion. Do you think Councillor Jones will invite me out for a soft drink now? We are almost buddies.

I must admit that I was surprised by Councillor Hatfield…he kept reversing himself so many times as he spoke that my neck hurt from being whiplashed. He knows that CUPE will win but wanted to go to tender to prove the point I guess. Heck, may as well waste money on that. We don’t have any better use for it.

It actually was a no-brainer at Council on outsourcing Annie. I am sure that you did not stay up to watch Council. After all, Edgar (aka Eddie) had received his instructions in Saturday’s Star Editorial:

  • “The debate should be about whether to keep garbage collection in the public sector or contract it out, and there's no way councillors can make an informed decision on Monday. They simply don't have the facts.

    A decision to outsource services can't be based on national averages and public works data that is more than 20 years old. Council has to put out a request for proposals to determine who would bid and what they would charge to take over garbage and recycling services in Windsor.

    Armed with true numbers from real bidders, councillors can then sit down to compare costs and service delivery.”

He carried out his mission beautifully.

Come on Annie. You know the truth. You know where decisions are really made in Windsor. You know who sets the agenda, frames the issues and who determines who will win or lose. Edgar is merely tolerated since he is needed. Decisions are clearly:

  • “developed and finalized in the Publisher's Office. They are developed in a group setting by a group usually composed of Publisher Jim Venney, Editor-in-Chief Marty Beneteau, Editorial Page Editor John Coleman and Karen Hall.”

The ignoring of the Lewenza Session was sheer naked power shown by the Star to terrorize the majority on Council.

My goodness, I wonder if Bill Marra has seen the light yet and will choose not to run for Mayor. Who else will dare confront the Star.

How else would you describe this ridiculous statement from "Council on Tap" other than inflammatory since it does not mention that Mr. Basse thinks the leak came from the City:

  • "2) Councillors are expected to officially receive a report by the Integrity Commissioner into an information leak in the summer that was blamed for torpedoing talks in the CUPE strike. The commissioner's probe into that leak revealed that "hundreds" of calls had been made by Coun. Ron Jones to CUPE leader Jean Fox during the strike. That information, presented to councillors in an in-camera session last week, made its way to the media via another unauthorized leak.

Anyway, Annie, all is right with the world. Mini-Gord saw the light, or maybe it was shown to him by "key Councillors" and reversed his position ("Privatized pickup likely") and Gord told Council what they must do in his Saturday column ("8-3 vote was 'historic turning point' for city").

We will have a test run of outsourcing as the next steps for outsourcing parking enforcement are taken at the November 30 Council meeting. That will show CUPE who is boss.

I know I gave it away years ago but not many took me seriously then. Perhaps now they will: BLOG October 11, 2005 “The Media Is The Government” http://windsorcityon.blogspot.com/2005/10/media-is-government.html

As I wrote then:

  • “Eddie knows now who is boss. I trust he now understands his role. Repeat after me: the media is the government, the media is the government, the media is the government. “