Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why Edgar Is No Leader: PETU, DRIC and Daycare

Want to see what happens when politicians are not terrified by our Mayor and listen to obvious community concerns that Administration is afraid to put forward in a so-called objective report since it would not meet the Mayor's political needs. Amazing isn't it that certain politicians refuse to be rushed just because their Head has his own agenda. Read on

First, I just cannot believe it. I sit here in stunned amazement with my mouth open wide.

Our Mayor phones all the way from the UK not to tell us about all of the jobs that he has created in Windsor or the new investments to be made or the new flights coming to our airport but to tell us this:
  • "Put Windsor on Monopoly map, Eddie Francis urges from U.K.

    Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis introduces a new Hasbro Monopoly Canada game during a press conference at city hall on Monday, Jan. 11, 2010.

    Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis has issued an overseas plea for pro-Windsor Internet users to commit to helping the city nab a square of real estate on Hasbro’s upcoming Monopoly Canada Edition board game.

    “The enormous support the community has shown recently for critical campaigns like the United Way, as well as fun items like the Olympic Torch relay and the Monopoly contest is overwhelming,” Francis said in a statement issued Wednesday.

    “It puts our incredible civic pride on display for everybody to see,” he added."

A shill for Hasbro? Why, are they building a factory here?

The man has no sense of value. Or priority. Such utter contempt for the electorate.

Seriously, Edgar (aka Eddie) has been overseas in the UK for a few days. But you would never know it.

A reader sent me this perceptive note.

  • "[Re your BLOG: FIREFIGHTERS-ARBITRATION -SMOKE AND MIRRORS] Looks like the Star is reading this the same way you are. Notice today that they have two articles about his worship (full picture included) while he is away. As if they are trying keep his name and image front and center as the true Mayor of this town. All because the council meeting looked a little bit more like believable business. Damage control and public manipulation at its best."
Another reader asked:
  • "Knowing how proficient you are with the facts, is their a correlation with Eddie's globe trotting and fires at home? I see such as with Bill Marra sitting as mayor when the firefighters' arbitration award was announced, Bill catches the flak while Eddie is away."
Obviously, my reader has an interesting point. This was another huge labour relations loss and disaster and arbitration failure from which Edgar escaped the blame temporarily by running off to the UK for a week. Just as he did when he left town when Dwight Duncan came here for budget talks. And of course he is not here while the daycare controversy is swirling. And guess who has prime input in Council agenda-setting!

Want to know what our Mayor is like as leader and why he cannot be successful. Take a look at 2 major matters, PETU and DRIC:

December 16, 2009
  • "City council has given up on further negotiations with the budding union representing Windsor's municipal managers and professionals and has decided to leave the matter with the Ontario Labour Relations Board...

    Francis said the matter dominated Monday night's in-camera council discussion but that it was felt the employer had taken "significant steps towards closing the gap" and that it had been "our best offer."

And a month later,

  • "The new [PETU] proposal is something "that council has not agreed to and will not agree to," Mayor Eddie Francis told reporters. While there was "always a chance" that talks could resume, Francis said the last offer the city made to the managers -- overwhelmingly rejected in a vote last month -- was "the best proposal that we had."

Yet, there was an increased offer and a deal

January 14, 2010

  • "The vote happened Wednesday after representatives of the workers and top city officials reached a tentative agreement at a closed-door meeting earlier in the day."

    "Mayor Eddie Francis said the deal shouldn’t have much impact on the 2010 budget.

    The dollar cost of the wages is something we’d planned for and budgeted for,” he said."

All that fuss and muss with PETU for years and expenditure of hundreds of thousands of dollars and the City budgeted for it. Ridiculous. Exactly the same modus operandi as with the Friefighters: spend money to stall for a hidden purpose, hope to win but know you will lose in advance, budget for the loss and then lose. Sorry, lose big-time since a negotiated settlement would have been better and cheaper for taxpayers.

So to deal with Edgar (aka Eddie) should one ever take his "final offer" as "final." Is there always more?

Is he credible? My question is how can he have told the truth in December when he tells us in January that the City had budgeted for more

Moreover, is he all bark with no bite and knuckles under when there is pressure on him. He was supposed to leave the matter with the OLRB but if he did it would have been out of his control:

  • The City presented its offer of settlement to PETU just before "A three-day OLRB hearing on the matter set to begin Dec. 7 [so that it] is now postponed.

  • "The workers and the city had until February to reach an agreement. After that, the matter would have resumed before the Ontario Labour Relations Board, a provincial agency and independent tribunal that aims to resolve labour and employment disputes."

Now take the border and the border road. Here is a note that one of my readers sent me:

  • "If you missed the A-channel at 6. Take a peek at 11 and listen to Francis blame the Sierra Club for slowing down the DRIC project due to their court challenge to the EA. He says " I have worked with the Province all along co-operatively and others are now slowing down the project." (or words to that effect) Could not quite hear it all as my wife was yelling at me to turn off the TV because I kept hollering "What an [expletive deleted] Francis is !!"

Edgar probably said something along the lines of this remark quoted in the Star:

  • "Mayor Eddie Francis said after years of being at odds with the province over the parkway plan, the two sides are closer to reaching an amicable resolution.

    “We are in discussions with them to improve what’s on the table,” said Francis, who did not want to reveal specifics."

After threats of lawsuits and judicial review, how can anyone take Edgar seriously? The DRIC project was so bad for the health of Windsorites according to our Mayor. I still remember Sam's area of mass destruction presentation around that road that only Greenlink could fix. Yet Edgar has done nothing to help us out except spend money on lawyers and consultants who have been continuously shot down in flames.

When the RFP for the DRIC road was issued, Francis could only state to protect his failure on the project:

  • "Issuing an RFP and awarding an RFP are two different things,” said Francis."

What an impressive observation. Now however, a few weeks later, we are close to an "amicable resolution" after Infrastructure Ontario has sent out RFPs for the project and has said

  • "The request for proposals is based on project specifications set by Infrastructure Ontario and Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation.

    “In a nutshell, it’s set,” den Elzen said."

And the Province said:

  • "Fausto Natarelli, director of the province’s Windsor Border Initiatives Implementation Group, said in an email Tuesday that “the design of the Parkway cannot stray from the approved Recommended Plan. The Windsor-Essex Parkway is the plan approved by Ontario and Canada.”

    But Natarelli held out some hope of tweaking. Such elements as roadway width and alignment and “the number of tunnels, their length and location” must “strictly adhere to the plan approved,”

But my reader ought not to get so upset because I believe that in this case, the border file, we were told the truth by Edgar.

It was a Freudian slip when Edgar talked about an amicable resolution. Frankly, this merely proves the point I have been making for years that the municipality has been working together with the Senior Levels to beat Moroun and to force him to sell out.

Each party agreed, in my opinion, to deal with their own area of constitutional responsibility in a nicely co-ordinated fashion: the Feds are concerned with the bridge, the Province with the road and the City with the local, social side dealing with the phony need to preserve Sandwich.

How else can one explain the spending by the Feds of an obscene amount for Brighton Beach!

If I am right, then it means that all levels of Government have not told us the truth for years and that Windsorites have been punished for it! We did not have to suffer the economic devastation. The jobs created by the Enhancement Project Bridge and a road to it would have helped minimize the destruction to our economy because of the auto industry woes.

John Corrent's lament is so true but it did not have to be this way. It did because of Edgar, the Voice of Council. With proper City leadership we may have suffered because of the economic slowdown but not as badly as we did:

  • "Windsor lawyer John Corrent, leader of grassroots group Citizens for Jobs Now, said he was disappointed by the court filing.

    “Legal proceedings of this nature can be difficult, cumbersome and time-consuming. Any lengthy delay — which could be years — may result in withdrawal of the funding set aside for Windsor to provide this North American superhighway link we all worked hard to get,” he said."

As I Blogged before:

  • "The unspoken reality when one looks through what is written is that the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project bridge should be built first! The DRIC bridge cannot and should not be built now because there is no justification for it.

    If that is the case, and this is a report by a US Institution, can Canada finally get the message! Moroun has won.

    It is time that the Canadian Government is forced to negotiate a "peace" with the Ambassador Bridge Company before this region is devastated even more than it is now.

    Citizens For Jobs Now needs to mobilize and get different groups in the City working together to put on pressure the politicians to arrive at a solution!

    PS. With the DRIC Bridge delayed for at least 2 years if not more, it borders on gross irresponsibility for the Canadian Government not to be talking with the Bridge Company to do a deal now."

As an aside, Edgar can breathe easy (sorry bad pun). Their lawsuit to stop DRIC takes him off the hook doesn't it. He would never have the nerve to do so since he would be the main witness and would be subject to cross-examination.

Now take a look at this story and see how the Councillors in Windsor have failed us while Edgar has been Mayor, afraid to ask the tough questions for fear of being beaten down by Edgar and the Star. Or even worse, ignored.

Doing polling won't help a politician either. In a small town like this, relying on "polls" is foolhardy since opinions can change virtually overnight eg the Hurst DRTP flipflop and Project Ice Track going to Tecumseh are two obvious examples. Polling is a clear sign of weakness and lack of confidence in one's own abilities.

  • "Hold off on closure of daycares, Essex County tells Windsor

    County councillors unanimously called for a halt Wednesday to any attempt to close Windsor and Essex County daycare centres until there’s been broad consultation with parents, staff and the county itself.

    Councillors cited too many unanswered questions to even consider the recommendations of a city social services department report to close in the coming months all seven daycare centres in the city and county, as well as two satellite operations in schools."

They were not afraid to listen to comments such as or to say:

  • Some of those daycares have been operating for more than three decades
  • Special-needs children are being abandoned
  • options for improving daycare enrolments not even considered in a rush to cut spending
  • We should have been consulted on this (city) report
  • the Star ran stories about daycare centre closures before county staff or municipal staff in Tecumseh and Amherstburg knew about it
  • city staff ignored Windsor’s own mission statement
  • city seems focused narrowly on cost cutting and ignoring the value of the service provided
  • surprised by the speed with which such a major change was being pushed through.

Quite a contrast wouldn't you say to how Government works in Windsor.

FAILED LEADERSHIP is the political legacy of Mayor Edgar Francis. The trouble is that we, the people, suffer for it.


I would bet that the phone lines were burning between England and Windsor after Edgar read how the County told him unanimously to get stuffed over daycare!

Who will get the blame for that failure by not lobbying the County politicians in advance better and at least getting Nelson onside.

Poor Ronna Warsh, the City’s community health and development commissioner. She will get the brunt of the fury! It is no defence for her to say that she thought that County politicians were like Windsor Councillors. They do what Edgar tells them.

An inside mole told me what happened today inside City Hall:

  • "The powers that be had an emergency meeting this a.m. re daycare closures. Because "it's what the Mayor wants"... they are trying to massage the numbers to justify closing them. It makes me sick."

Gee, haven't they closed down the communications system at City Hall yet so no one can leak information!