Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, March 19, 2010

Pita Politics

The stuff that urban legends are made of.

Remember the BLOG I wrote a few days ago: "The Edgar You Never Knew." Some stuff in there really bothered me. Perhaps Edgar (aka Eddie) could clear up my confusion.

Of course, you recall this:
  • "In June of 1999, there was an opening on city council and there was a bi-election that was open. This is a true story. Because of the profile that was gained through the "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" award and our work in the community, I was on my way to do a product pitch, and I got a call from a reporter at The Windsor Star.

    She asked me if there was any truth to the rumor. And I said, "Truth to what rumor?" She said, "You are running for Windsor City Council." I said, "Excuse me, who are you again?" She said, "My name is Granell--my name is Margaret Granell from The Windsor Star." I said, "I don't know what you are talking about. Thanks, good talking to you." That was it.

    Next day in The Windsor Star there was my picture with 15 others "Rumored to Run." Well, I thought about politics, but I never thought about running for politics."

I had never heard of "Margaret Granell." Neither could I find a reference to such a Star reporter and a reporter that I contacted at the Star had never heard of her either.

"Don't know what you are talking about... Never thought about running for politics." I went to my archives and lo and behold here is what I found:

  • "Line forms to replace Limoges:
    City council will likely hold a June byelection to fill vacant Ward 5 seat
    Veronique Mandal Star Staff Reporter. The Windsor Star. Windsor, Ont.: Apr 19, 1999

    A young Arab businessman, a retiree and a failed federal candidate all have their eye on the Ward 5 city council seat soon to be vacated by Rick Limoges.

    As soon as Limoges is sworn in as Windsor's newest MP, possibly Tuesday or Wednesday, city council is expected to call a byelection...

    Former chairwoman of the Catholic school board, Joanne Gignac can't wait to pick up a nomination form.

    "I'm just waiting for the election call," said Gignac. "And I hope they go with a byelection because it is the best approach and the best process to serve the people."

    Gignac, 49, says she understands it's a big jump to go from school trustee to municipal politician. But she wants to serve a ward she's lived in all her life, and where her family has lived for generations.

    "I know it's easy to be overcome by the mega projects, but roads and sewers are what people are interested in and I don't find that a boring proposition," Gignac said.

    The possibility of bringing fresh, young blood to city council is motivating 25-year-old entrepreneur Eddie Francis to run in the ward. The young businessman, of Arab descent, has been active in the Wyandotte Street BIA and often speaks on behalf of the growing Arab community in the city.

    Francis and his brothers continue to build and expand their father's business Royal Pita on Wyandotte Street East. They were voted Young Entrepreneurs of 1999 by the Windsor Chamber of Commerce.

    "I'm giving it very serious consideration," said Francis. "There are people I need to consult with to see if I can mount a team to help me win, and what my chances are."

    If he does run, Francis has the support of his family, says mother Arlette. "We tell him to do what he needs to do and we will support him financially. We're behind him," she said...

    Cooke says he will support Gale Simko-Hatfield if she's a candidate.

    Simko-Hatfield, 47, is taking a week of vacation with husband Percy Hatfield, to make a final decision.

    "This is a wonderful opportunity and I feel it's something I shouldn't reject," said Simko-Hatfield. "I have a track record of representing this ward on the school board and bring experience to the table."

    The public school board trustee ran three times before being elected and says her desire to do whatever she could for her community spurred her to keep fighting."

Quite an interesting group of people who ran.

But here is my problem. Perhaps there was another story by a Ms. Granell or perhaps she was just researching for the Star reporter. I do not know.

I got it. I will attribute it to Edgar's amnesia disease. Darn unscrubbed Tunnel exhaust fumes. However, if he can be wrong on this, can he be wrong on other matters?

It was NOT Margaret Granell who reported the story but rather Veronique Mandal, mini-Gord's "The Wife" and the person heading up the new Journalism program for St. Clair College.

As for "I don't know what you are talking about. Thanks, good talking to you.... I never thought about running for politics," here is what he said in the Star story:

  • "The possibility of bringing fresh, young blood to city council is motivating 25-year-old entrepreneur Eddie Francis to run in the ward..."I'm giving it very serious consideration," said Francis. "There are people I need to consult with to see if I can mount a team to help me win, and what my chances are."

Why even his Mother knew he was considering running!

And whom did he have to consult about a "team" when he said in the speech

  • "My campaign team was a campaign team of three: myself and two other brothers."

Another part of the speech was the very interesting and dramatic business entrepreneurial story involving the Ford Escort:

  • "And what we were able to do from a Windsor location, from a Windsor plant, was produce 7,000 packs an hour, ship them down to Atlanta in less than 24 hours and out-compete the bakeries that were in the Atlanta area...

    We were delivering in our Ford Escort backing up into loading docks with these big competitors, right? You got the Westins and the Dempster's in Canada. Here you have different Wonder Bread companies that distribute. So these guys were backing up and piling up stacks and stacks and stacks of trays of bread, and we are just walking in with four packs of bread, and we knew we were going to out-compete them."

The trip to and from Atlanta takes about 24.5 hours driving time not including loading and unloading time. The trip is just over 725 miles.

Now I don't know about you but I would get very, very tired and would be spending a lot of money on gas driving to and from Atlanta every day to sell 4 packs of pita bread. The price would have to be very high to cover the costs and to make a profit!

So obviously he meant that they were selling 7,000 packs at least to Costco delivered in his Ford Escort. It was not clear if that was 7,000 per day 0r 56,000 packs produced per day in an 8 hour day or over a quarter of a million packs in a 5-day week.

It could not be 250K packs since Edgar said they used 22 tons of flour per week. I did some calculations using Internet recipes and I figured out that only a fraction of that number could be baked using that quantity of flour.

Let's see, that Escort would have to be quite a vehicle. 7,000 packs alone could weigh several tons and take up several hundred cubic feet of space too.

And that Escort would have had to be constantly on the go too:

  • "Royal Pita, the small family company he and his brother expanded into an export business that now operates in 12 states as well as Toronto and London too."

Ford should have run a commercial about that Escort. It could have sold a fleet of them to other businesses.

I am sure that if I was a Star reporter and wanted clarification I would get an answer right away, like with the Council attendance story or with this story:

  • "Even before the [council advisory panel’s criticism of the level of city hall support (or lack thereof) shown small business] story ran in Wednesday’s paper, a sneak preview Tuesday night on The Windsor Star’s website elicited an email response from WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation executive VP Patrick Persichilli. He said “many programs” are being offered by the WEEDC and its Small Business Centre — “great things to promote small business growth and entrepreneurial incubation.”

    The next morning, Mayor Eddie Francis called to echo that."

But we poor lonely Bloggers, we never get a reply.