Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, March 05, 2010

City Tales

Some stories to amuse you on a cold wintery day


I hear that WUC insiders are furious at our dear Mayor Edgar (aka Eddie). He did not attend a number of meetings at the Commission that dealt with sewer lines and replacements, the costs that would be incurred and what rate increase was needed. Quiet, looking at failed airports in England for a week was important. He did NOT have to vote for the increase and did not have to look like a hypocrite by voting against it.

Does this mean everytime there is a negative vote coming up that can hurt politically, Edgar will take a trip or be otherwise occupied? Ask Dwight or John Tory

As I Blogged before:
  • "Obviously back in September, 2005 it was clear to WUC that consumers were going to be faced with a huge cost increase yet nothing was done! Why not?

    ...the role that "politics" played in this matter. Remember that when the WUC matter first broke the Mayor blamed it all on politics You remember that in 2005 the Mayor in fact wanted a rate reduction."

The Insiders are furious that they will have to take the hit later as now the Mayor has the nerve to say just before an election:

  • "Windsor water rate increase called 'strain' on cash-strapped seniors

    If the Windsor Utilities Commission follows through this spring on approving a proposed water rate hike that will add $20 to the average homeowner's bill, it will be the final straw for many seniors...

    Mayor Eddie Francis, also a WUC board member, missed Thursday's meeting because he was overseas, but agreed Friday the water company may have to look at a more gradual increase.

    The mayor took the lead in pushing the 86 per cent hike in 2007.

    "Right now this community cannot handle a 10 per cent increase," he said. "You need a more realistic approach in what's required. You are not going to resolve the infrastructure deficit in one or two years. Maybe there needs to be a 10- to 15-year plan and be balanced in people's ability to handle this.

    "The public needs to come out and hear about this. How do we do this in a way that's reflective of the realities in the community."

OMG, the Mayor wants to have consultation with the community. What a novel approach. Where was he on the daycare consultation with the community? He also must think he needs the senior votes too. So Huron Lodge and their employees are safe for a year. Too bad that he has refused Councillor Lewenza, the head of WUC, teh right to do a presentation at Council about the needs of WUC.

However, the Star wants none of it. If consultation is not necessary with parents over daycare, why have it now over WUC issues:

  • "Water rates
    No need for consultation at this point

    Before deciding on the proposed water rake hike, WUC plans to hold public consultation sessions in March.

    However, we can tell WUC that public consultation on the proposed increase isn't needed. Hard-pressed taxpayers shouldn't be expected to shoulder a double-digit increase on their water bills...

    Before going any further, WUC needs to look more seriously at the economic realities facing the community and come up with a more creative way to make infrastructure improvements.

    The commission should also be looking at any savings in its day-to-day operations that could be redirected to infrastructure.

    At least one board member, Mayor Eddie Francis, is suggesting a more gradual increase...

    There should be no public consultations until WUC looks more closely at the economy and the impact a double-digit increase would have on its ratepayers. WUC needs to go back to the drawing board."

Surely the creative approach is to raise rates not "at this point." Do it after the election so Edgar cannot be blamed! Spend a year doing another Administrative report. That's the ticket.


They should but not likely. They are just so polite. Why get City Hall mad at you:

  • "New chamber chief walks fine line

    The chairman of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce board has a dilemma.

    One of Jim Drummond's priorities when he stepped into the one-year position was to push for reliable utilities at reasonable rates for the 1,200 businesses the chamber represents.

    But, as a member of the Windsor Utilities Commission, the retired chemical engineer is convinced water rates have to go up to cover maintenance and replacement costs.

    "So how do we do this to have the least affect on businesses?" he asks rhetorically. "I think it's a priority for years to come."

You do it by telling the truth, NOT by being afraid to cross the line and tell everyone what the facts are... Business people can understand the need for replacement planning. They have to do it in their own businesses.

Go out Jim with all the WUC people and explain what is going on. Actually, we can handle the truth.

Put the blame where it belongs: on Edgar and Council who just love rate increases since they get dividends via Enwin and money through the sewer surcharge levy! Force Edgar to put our money where his mouth is and cut the dividend and levy.


I am still shocked at the early negativity of the Schmidt Star BLOGs and his use of the "M" word in relation to our Mayor.

Fortunately, in his BLOG "Last One Out, Turn Off the Lights," it looks as if he has found his way back to the flock:

  • "I reminded Sid on a number of occasions that the only times The Star didn’t report the CUPE side was when the CUPE side refused comment … he’d agree to distinguish in the future between the reporting of news and the expressing of opinions in the paper (including letters and soundoffs), but then at each subsequent public appearance — armed with a bullhorn and a crowd in front of him and the exhilarating sense of the power and the glory that comes with that — he’d always resort back to ranting against the biased reporting of The Windsor Star and throwing out personal Eddie attacks. Pursuing the messenger only worked with the ancient Greeks and is usually associated with a losing side. If last summer was a fight between Eddie and Sid, Sid lost big...

    local citizens were the biggest losers last summer."

Oh Doug. I had such great hopes for you. I thought you might be another Roseann or Dave for a little bit longer.

Did the "only times" include not reporting on the Lewenza Ward meeting that revealed how the City cost taxpayers money forever by their hardline approach?

I am so glad that Doug at least confirmed the Messenger role of the Star and that he keeps on spreading the myth that Edgar won. I am not sure though that he is succeeding. The number of people writing on the Star Forum on the Henderson column who pointed out that Edgar's "victory" cost the City 6% forever was surprisingly large.

Local citizens did lose big time but not for the reasons that Doug and the Star would like us to believe.

And a word of warning Doug, lay off Brister:

  • "And the inaugural Schmidt City prize for “Councillor Most Likely to Not Return a Call” goes to: Ward 1 Coun. Dave Brister.

    This was a unanimous choice of the judges (me and two other newsroomies with most recent city hall experience), and Dave will be tough to beat in this category.

    Answer the phone, Dave, citizens want to know more about you."

So what if has rejected you a few times. He has not yet answered years of phone calls and on camera begging by John Fairley to appear on John's Face-To-Face interview show.

Come on Doug, you need to be more politiclly attuned to what is going on in your job if you want to be a success. Your columnists' praise of Brister has to tell you that Edgar is using him as a third candidate to split the vote if Marra runs and Edgar decides he cannot get a better job.


It seems that the E-machine's strategy has not worked. No one got suckered to announce that they were going to run against Edgar for Mayor so that they could be destroyed early on by the Star. Instead, scare them and crush them by making it obvious that Edgar is running.

Or maybe the explanation is even simpler. No one has yet responded positively to the "requests for employment" that Edgar has to be sending out to get a new job after his second term as Mayor is up.

How else to explain the shift from Gord that Edgar will likely not run --"Francis confessed to confidantes that he'd had his fill and was 99.6 per cent certain he wouldn't be a candidate for mayor in the municipal election this October--to

"the odds in favour of Francis departing at the end of the year have fallen sharply, perhaps to as little as 60-40 for stepping aside and letting some other poor fool take on this thankless task for the next four years."

People vilifying Edgar. Can that be?

  • "For a mayor who has spent most of his time in office being vilified by bloggers, conspiracy theorists, sound-off twits, Windsor haters and small-town axe grinders, it's been a revelation to learn that the real people, the hard-working folks who rolled up their sleeves and won that epic showdown with CUPE last summer, appreciate his efforts and want him to stick with the program."

I am so sorry for Gord. It is not true unless he means his good buddy's BLOG, Councillor Alan Halberstadt who has often been brutal. He is just as wrong about vilification as he is about CUPE losing.


The spin has started as I predicted:

  • "The city's chief administrative officer Helga Reidel said if council outsources all garbage and recycling collection, the corporation could save between $400,000 and $800,000 per year based on the wage differentials between the public and private sectors.

    "But sometimes it takes a while to achieve savings from outsourcing," Reidel said.

    If 100 per cent of the work is outsourced and some current employees are transferred to other jobs in the corporation, those transferred employees could displace student or part-time workers, resulting in higher wage costs for the city."

Yes it will take a while if you write off a million dollars or more on equipment, if you add in City management costs even if the garbage collection is outsourced and then if you factor in the employee costs!

Did the Councillors hear that in their in camera session. We'll never know. More importantly, citizens clearly do not know it unless you are one of my BLOG readers.

I received a note that claimed that the fellow who wrote the memo I disclosed was not allowed in on the in-camera meeting. He went with all intentions of discussing his views on the situation but was told he was not needed. He apparently waited outside the meeting. There may have been a Motion to have him attend but I do not know if it ever got put to a vote. Some felt his presence would "confuse" the issue I was told. Apparently, this is not the first memo that he has sent out to upper management.

The most obvious step for CUPE leadership to take is to seek to enjoin any further steps being taken on the Garbage tender because of what I believe to be a possible violation of the Municipal Act.

Guess who would be the main witness to be cross-examined if the City defended. Yup, you guessed it: Edgar! After all, he is the guy in charge as well as a lawyer and would have to justify the City's action. Or would the City Clerk have to fall on the sword for him!