Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, February 05, 2010

BLOGSpecial: Daycare Mess Spawns Freakingoutitis Attack

I know I am going to shock you. You probably thought I was going to slam the idea of spending millions on another City Hall building project that will be audited one day and found to be a fiasco like the 400 Building and spend it on daycare as an example.

I do not care. A new City Hall has to be built and has to be built now. Our Senior Administrators who work in City Hall and our Mayor and Councillors need protection.

Forget about possible asbestos contamination, this is more serious. Our dedicated City officials need protection from sniffing in those unscrubbed Tunnel fumes that spew out over the downtown through the Tunnel Exhaust building. We need a modern City Hall Building that protects them with a modern air filtration system that filters out the dangerous toxins.

You know the result---the amnesia pandemic attack.

And it is getting worse. I already talked about the long-term effects being suffered by Dwight over Red Bull results since he was a City Councillor---his numbers went from $100M last year to hundreds of millions this year.

Consider Administration and their Daycare report. They forgot completely to mention the 2005 Report that made the case FOR Municipal daycare. Administration also forgot to mention their failings. And Councillor Gignac, she was on Council in 2005, she forgot too since she called the Admin report one of the best she had ever seen.

However, take a look at what Edgar (aka Eddie) said in the Star on Friday.
  • "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis, who chaired Thursday’s waste management meeting, said he attempted to get city council to defer a decision on the fate of Tecumseh and Amherstburg daycares, but wasn’t successful.

    As for the haste of the decision, Francis said when news of a possible closure of daycares was leaked several weeks ago, city council felt a quick decision should be made to reduce the anxiety of parents and give them time to make other arrangements."

Oh no, the amnesia attacks are happening so much quicker now, within a few days of the Council meeting.

I went back to my video tape of the Council meeting and saw Councillor Lewenza's two attempts to get a deferral, one until a week or two after a proposed meeting of all of the necessary parties and then one until the beginning of March. Those were pretty clear to me unless the Mayor forgot and thought that he was Councillor Lewenza!

I did not hear our Mayor say a word in favour of deferral on either of the two Motions. I did not see him vote for a deferral. All I heard him say was that the Motions failed.

So how could he say what he did?

Now we need another Integrity Commissioner investigation that will keep Mr. Basse around way past his June 1 deadline. There was a "leak" we are told by Edgar. Who leaked the news? It had to be an Administration person I would have thought. Who else knew about it since Ms. Warsh told us there was no need for consultation. In fact, Edgar forgot that the process was kept quiet according to Ms Warsh with no consultation to avoid parents worrying.

Naturally, I went to my database to find out if there was a story about daycare. I thought it would give me a clue about who leaked it. I found a story that met the Mayor's time-frame ie "several weeks ago". I think it did and it also told me that CUPE could NOT have done it:

  • "City ponders daycare cuts; Use of municipal centres down; 125 jobs on line

    City council will decide Feb. 1 what the future holds for Windsor's municipally operated daycare centres -- and with them, the future of 125 city workers.

    The announcement Tuesday that 18 local schools will begin offering full-day JK and SK education by September is only the latest factor putting economic pressure on the Windsor-run daycares.

    Mayor Eddie Francis said administration has identified four other "real and significant pressure points" on the system, which includes seven stand-alone daycare centres and two satellite centres operated out of schools.

    The city-run daycares, two of which are in the county but also staffed by city workers, are operating at less than 50 per cent capacity, said Ronna Warsh, the city's community health and development commissioner.

    A report going to council next week is still in the draft stage and neither Francis nor Warsh would comment Tuesday on the choices councillors could face.

    "All the options are being reviewed," Francis said when asked whether the municipality might decide to get out of the daycare business.

    "This will be a difficult decision -- all our decisions are difficult."

    CUPE Local 543 president Jean Fox, who represents 115 of the city's daycare workers -- the rest are managers or supervisory staff -- said the union was informed Tuesday of the upcoming report and that members would be advised of details today by their supervisors.

    "Does the union expect that it will have an impact? Yes," said Fox, adding she was withholding further comment until after today's information sessions."

The leakors seemed to be the Mayor and Ms Warsh! They talked to the paper. The Union had no idea what it was about. How could Edgar forget that!!!

The pressure is on. The County is furious. All of the joint City-County projects could fall apart. The finger of blame is pointing right at the Mayor of Windsor:

  • "City, county rift grows

    The City of Windsor's abrupt handling of the daycare issue could hamper upcoming talks to change other cost-sharing arrangements with Essex County, says Warden Nelson Santos.

    Santos predicted the city would now have a harder time proposing any changes in the joint agreement over landfilling and recycling...

    Santos said a delay of a few weeks would have been acceptable to the county to hold at least one meeting of its own to get answers to questions and make a recommendation.

    Santos said when the county was considering an amalgamation of public and private land ambulance services, the city requested a delay on a decision until other options were reviewed. The county, which operates the joint emergency medical services, agreed to the request, said Santos."

It is disintegrating, no one considered the consequences. OMG, it is just like Edgar's huge CUPE near riot mistake! It did not go according to Edgar's not so well-thought out plan and he had no back-up.

It is all happening just because Edgar could not allow a deferral for consultations because taking out the Daycare money had already been provided for in the Budget documents he just handed out. It proved the Admin Report was a mere justification of a done deal!

Just though when you think it cannot get worse for Edgar, it does. His "pecuniary interest" defence that allowed him to take part in the debate even though his daughter goes to private daycare is suspect now too. Oh dear, oh dear. Consider if he should have particpated in the closure debate so that the children would have to go to "private" daycare:

  • "Daycare operators worried

    Owners of daycares and Montessori schools are concerned that the province's new full-day kindergarten option will cause a significant drop in business at private-sector child care centres.

    "Everyone's scared," said Saskia Iannicello, executive director of Come and Play Day Nursery. "We're hearing that in two years, none of us are going to have jobs and they'll take our business."

    Full-day kindergarten will become available in 14 Catholic school classrooms and 26 public school classrooms in September 2010.

    The following year, the program will add seven Catholic school classrooms and 11 public school classrooms. Schools will also offer before- and after-school care from as early as 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

    That could be bad news for people like Julie Roy, who owns three Montessori schools in the area.

    "People are just seeing free daycare," she said, of parents who may opt to save on fees at her schools by enrolling children in kindergarten.

    "Competing with free is impossible."

    Roy's schools offer educational and care programs for infants and children between the ages of six months and six years.

    She explained that it's the older children who make her business viable, since the student-to-teacher ratio is higher.

    "That's the meat of your program. A lot of times, we're in the red for the infant care."

    Children aged 21/2 to six years have one teacher for every eight students, while toddlers and infants have a ratio of one-to-five and one-to-three respectively.

    Roy fears if there's a mass exodus of older children from her schools to kindergarten, her business simply won't be viable.

    "There will be a definite employment impact if we lose 30 per cent of our kids," she said. Her three Montessori schools employ 200 people in Windsor."

Didn't Edgar cut the ribbon for Ms. Roy's school? Where does his child go to school? Without those 425 kids who are going to be moved over from municipal daycare, private daycares might close and where would the Mayor's child go? Is this considered a "pecuniary interest?"

Consider this doomsday scenario. Municipal daycare ends, the private schools even with 425 new students cannot stay in business, the School Boards find out that they cannot make daycare pay if the City could not and so they drop the idea. What happens then? Bumping goes on within City Hall for 3 or 4 years disrupting everything.

Who has to take full responsibilty, who will have to justify the mess he caused, who will be blamed: Edgar Francis.

I talked to a doctor friend of mine who calmed me down. I explained all of the above to him in great detail. He told me that his diagnosis was that Edgar was not suffering from the amnesia pandemic in this case so there was NO need for a new City Hall.

Instead, with all of the blame that he might have to shoulder for this fiasco, he thought the Mayor was suffering the classic symptoms that politicians sometimes have from a different problem: "freakingoutitis!"

The only known cure I was told is a Motion by him since the Mayor voted to close the daycare to Reconsider at Council on Monday and to have a public consultation. And that better pass.

In fact, my doctor thought that there might be some more serious symptoms that might be disclosed soon if this problem was not cured right away.