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.

Does Jenny Need Matty

Remember when Michigan's Governor Granholm said this in a radio interview:

  • "We need another crossing. If Canada, and if Canada would allow Matty Moroun to do it, I think everybody would be in favor of that as the first priority."

Did she finally get her priorities straight? Did she finally understand that Canada, even though it is her birth-country, cannot help her, or more importantly can no longer hurt her politically?

Being born in British Columbia, perhaps someone finally proved to her the futility of P3 bridges given what happened to the BC Port Mann bridge. The BC Government had to take over from their P3 operator because the money to finance it could not be raised with the economic melt-down.

One of the Detroit Free Press commentators on Jenny's recent "SOS" speech (yes, that is really what it is called when you download it) said this:

  • "Overall: "Clearly she had an agenda of defending her legacy, and she was really strong about giving examples for laying the foundation of building a bridge to a new Michigan."

That person may be correct but in a way unexpected!

Has Governor Granholm finally started reading my BLOG and understood that her legacy is getting the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Program bridge started now?

You better believe it. From her State of the State speech the other day:

  • "Second, common-sense dictates that we shouldn’t leave money on the table in Washington for roads and infrastructure that would create jobs in Michigan. The federal government will give us $2 billion over the next four years if we can come up with a 20 percent match in state funds. That’s like an 80-percent-off coupon on our roads. Without the match, we lose the federal funds, and 10,000 jobs each year going forward. You can continue to ignore this problem, or you can follow the bipartisan transportation funding task force recommendations on how to fix it."

Her speech Press Release said:

  • "The governor also called on the legislature to follow the recommendations of the bipartisan Transportation Funding Task Force for investing in roads and infrastructure, and said the state will gain $2 billion in federal road funds over the next four years if it can provide a 20 percent match.

    "Without the match, we lose the federal funds and 10,000 construction jobs each year going forward," Granholm said."

If this is not a peace offering to the Bridge Company, I do not know what else it could be.

Actually I do.....Not a word about building a DRIC bridge whatsoever in the speech, even in the section talking about the economy and jobs.

Think about the amount of $2B she mentioned...Didn't the Bridge Company say that using their $400M would result in federal matching grants of $1.6B!

But there is more. Her term limited job as Governor is over this year. In a sense the pressure is off. What can anyone do to her politically now? Nothing.

She has NOT had good success as a Governor whether due to the economy or her own failures as a leader, who knows or cares. She needs a big legacy blockbuster that the history books will remember her for.

What would be better for her than cutting the ribbon to mark the start of the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project bridge that will help boost trade for Michigan and will help create thousands of jobs.

  • "The New Michigan economy won't be built overnight - but it's starting to take root, with great companies around the state helping to diversify Michigan's economy and create great jobs."

Hmmm, what a perfect fit!

If we see MDOT clearing the access road to the Bridge they blocked ASAP, then the strong signal from the lame-duck Guv is there for Matty to come and talk to her to work out a deal.

Even the Free Press has joined the party:

  • "Ambassador Bridge President Dan Stamper said his company is ready to meet with government officials "anytime, any place" to work out border problems. "We agree that the parties need to sit down, put aside their personal views of the world and work this thing out," he told the Free Press Thursday.

    It's time -- long past time -- for such a meeting. Courtrooms are not the place to work out the transportation policies of two sovereign nations. The battle of the bridges already has delayed completion of the state's $230-million Gateway Project, which will tie I-75 and I-96 directly into the Ambassador Bridge. Nearly two miles of I-75 in southwest Detroit opened in July, but ramps connecting the interstate system directly to the bridge plaza remain closed. In a lawsuit filed last year against MDOT, the bridge company asserted that the state violated its partnership agreement on the Gateway Project, which accommodates the proposed twin span, by seeking to build another crossing downriver.

    All of this bickering is a bridge to nowhere. Transportation leaders, including Moroun, owe the public the best use of this vital international crossing. It's time to turn down the volume and take this conversation out of the courtroom and into the conference room."

SOS speech huh. She needs Matty to throw her a life preserver. Quickly!

Even More On Daycare

Click on the image to see it more clearly.

The fight has not yet ended. And it may get ugly before it ends too with surprising results.


Was it Milton who said: We also serve who only sit and BLOG!

I really want to be loved. I really try not to go out of my way to make enemies. I do try to be factual when I have to say something, especially if it is negative.

Sure telling someone they are wrong in what they are doing can be hurtful. I know my language is strong but I try to be careful in not crossing the line into unacceptable behaviour.

I did not use the "M" word as an example, a Star reporter in his BLOG did. Is that the new standard?

Who likes to be criticized? Not me.

Why this navel-gazing? I received a note from a reader the other day. I took it very seriously. It was a very critical one about some things that I had written on here recently. The concluding line was quite an interesting one that got me thinking again about my role as a BLOGGER who writes about local politics:
  • “Wow, it must be nice to sit behind a computer and blame others.”

That’s a variation of the line that has been used on me before:

  • “Well if you can do better, then why don’t you run for [pick one of office, Mayor, MP, Councillor, MPP, dog catcher etc]

The underlying assumption is that unless one is out there, then one has no right to criticize or to cast blame even if deserved. That it is enough if one works hard for and is dedicated to the cause, whatever the cause is. That makes it all OK.

Unfortunately, I have to disagree with my reader. I am not a politician or a union leader or a CEO of a business. Nor do I want to be nor do I think I have the skill-set required to be in one of those positions. So does that disqualify me for having a brain and using it?

Do I have to run for office and win to understand that my taxes are too high, that levies are killing me financially, that there is no economic diversification plan in this region and that money is wasted on expensive consultants because my leaders do not have the courage to move forward for fear of failure.

Why do I have to be a CEO to understand that a major business must meet the needs of its customers or go broke or a union leader to appreciate that jobs for my members is my most important task and that I need to do everything possible to save them or at least as many as I can?

I know I am a pretty good strategist and back-room boy. That is my niche. I have been successful in political campaigns and grass-roots causes. I do not crave media attention nor seek it. I am happy to be the behind the scenes person who provides the information for which others can take the credit in the limelight.

I know my strengths and weaknesses and after writing so many BLOGs and having a loyal and growing readership, I hope, I know what my role is.

It would seem that my job as a Blogger, according to my reader, is to praise only and overlook lack of success. It is enough if the person puts in the hours and delivers wonderful speeches or makes exciting multi-media presentations.

Results apparently do not count nor pointing out that fact.

To me, on the other hand, success is what is important not efforts or trying. Especially if one is the leader. If there is no success, it MUST be pointed out and then that leader must be replaced. Ruthless perhaps but necessary.

Has Greenlink been a success supposedly to protect our well-being after spending millions? Hardly. Am I unable to point that out? Not a hope.

Can I criticize waste on the airport, the canal and soon a new City Hall when the Mayor and Councillors cry poverty. You better believe it.

Can I mock trips overseas to cities where airports are closing and worrying more about Monopoly games than our real problems? Of course. Why do I have to run for office to be able to see straight?

But success is relative too. Is saving a bunch of jobs by keeping open 3 or 4 daycares when it was expected to lose them all a success. I think so. Is not using ammunition you have and losing everything a failure that ought to be pointed out? I know so.

I have Blogged on here several times about my so-called ”negativity” and asked what I have to be positive about in this City. I still have the same challenge to be blunt.

Should I be pleased that we are such a great draw for investment because of our huge pool of unemployed, skilled tradespeople? Should I wax eloquent about our low priced homes because of mortgage foreclosures or our high vacancy rates or about prime retail locations because 1 in 4 stores in Windsor are empty? What about all of that empty warehouse space…just perfect for tilting at windmills, errr, wind turbines

Sorry, I am not that good a spinner.

Presumably, to take the recent daycare fiasco at Council, I should congratulate everyone—politicians and union leaders who failed both their citizens and their members--- for their efforts resulting in 100+ CUPE workers who will be displaced, children whose lives will be disrupted and the lack of any consultation so that City taxpayers can save a few bucks on their tax bills, unless of course we hire some new consultant for another mind's eye vision.

It is so easy to praise. You just have to read a Star columnist to know that. It is much harder to blame. That takes real work.

If I was a Star columnist, why people would run to my office so I could bang out a column praising their efforts. Heck I could do a column in a couple of minutes with all of the goodies given to me on a silver platter to distribute to the waiting hordes, breathless to receive the Word:

  • Balanced budget a miracle

    This is an enormous achievement. It took an iron political will on the part of Mayor Eddie Francis, who reminded me Wednesday that he campaigned on freezing tax rates. Kudos to the mayor. Deep bows, even, with "We're-not-worthy!" arm waves.”

Instead, I have to spend hours on research, combing through my archives and online databases, reading media outlets world-wide, making calls, sending emails and so on to get the facts necessary upon which I can draw a conclusion. Then I actually have to write a BLOG, usually much too long I know, setting out the factual background so that people will understand why I am saying what I do, that I am not just making this stuff up.

People read me not because they necessarily accept what I write but because I present an alternative point of view for them to consider. It is amazing the nasty abuse I take on the comments section in some other BLOGs, especially from one person, but not to me directly. I should be honoured that another even set up a "private" BLOG to attack my point of view. (That person still must believe that I cannot access it to learn what is being said since the person must think I do not have the magic key that opens the door of the website). Yet those same abusers have to come here to read what I say. Must be like a smoking addiction.

I provide insider information that they cannot find anywhere else. I can explain what is happening and why from my perspective. There are not too many sources of analysis of politics in Windsor.

Some cynical people have an explanation about why there is this lack too and why everything seems to be so one-sided in our obsequious traditional media. I and my fellow Bloggers try to fill the gap and provide a service to members of the community, very successfully if I many be so bold in saying.

So to my reader, thanks again for making me think about my role and why I am doing this. I like what I do and will continue to do so. I wish I could be positive more often, I really do. Unfortunately it is out of my control, in the hands of our leaders and what THEY do or don’t do. Maybe being positive will come soon with a new Mayor and Council. I sure hope so.

Honestly, I write just for me and what I truly believe and think.…if you happen to come by and read a BLOG or two, that is just the icing on my cake.

Let me remind my reader of a Harry Truman phrase that seems appropriate in the circumstances:

  • “If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Thursday, February 04, 2010

What Readers Say

More comments from loyal readers:

1) Once upon a time

there was an emperor....

oops - sorry, wrong story...

well, not really - our emperor runs round buck naked while the sycophants admire his fine garments....

ewwww... that image is burning my brain....

isn't it wonderful that we finally know for certain ONE of the reasons the strike went on for so long.... MUCH easier to close child care centres when you've driven away the clients by being CLOSED for three months ....

they've been studying this for YEARS, according to [Ronna Warsh]

and they didn't HAVE to consult the county ANYWAY!!!

and here is the message from the Chief Axe-wielding Officer to the peasants:


From: CAO Office
Sent: February 2, 2010 11:40 AM
To: Office of the Chief Administrative Officer; Office of the Chief Financial Officer; Office of the City Clerk; Office of the City Engineer; Office of the City Solicitor; Office of the Community Development & Health Commissioner; Office of the Auditor General; Mayor's Office; Local 543; Local 82; Fire Association Office
Subject: Message to all City of Windsor Employees`

To all City of Windsor Employees:

Last night, City Council made a difficult decision and approved the closure of all municipally operated child care centres. The report recommending the closures was very challenging for staff to prepare and this change in service delivery will be extremely difficult for those most affected by the decision . The recommendations followed a thorough review of our enrolment numbers, our current budget and the fact that the phase in of full-day JK/SK is set to start later this year. All centres will close by September 1, 2010.

The closures may impact all of us to some degree as we work to carry out collective agreement provisions as well as the policies in place for our non union employees. I ask that you continue to show compassion to your colleagues impacted directly by this change. We need to work together to ensure that the process to accommodate staff changes as a result of possible new placements or bumping are appropriate and fair.

I appreciate your commitment to the job and to each other during this challenging time.


Helga Reidel,
Chief Administrative Officer


snif ... snif... I bet she knows the words to 'solidarity forever', too...

wonder if the integrity commissioner will take a complaint??


can the ducks be lined up any TIGHTER

I wonder if CANUE realizes it's up caca creek with NO PADDLES... 'tis said that 'middle management' is next on the hit list, about March or so...

and what is all this 'FAIRNESS'?

The only 'fair' thing going on is scattering the pain and fear and devastation that accompanies mass layoffs across as wide an area as possible....

tip: buy stock in drug companies, because sales of anti-depressants, tranquillizers, and anti-anxiety meds are going to SOAR...

and stockpile the gravol, this WILL induce vomiting before it's finished....

October cannot get here fast enough...

2) Just finished reading another blog of yours telling us the story while showing other "journalists" the obvious. I have come to the conclusion the so called "journalists" at the local newspaper have no clue on how to dig for a story. They are opinion orientated and not fact based. So much for talent.

The "water cooler" mentality has not served the readers and communityin an open and reasonable fashion. Instead they continue to provoke and take sides on issues they know little about or if they do, they present bias in order to please certain people. Less drama would be a good start for them.

Nice job Ed. Keep up the good fact based presentations.

3) In regards to last night’s council meeting...shameful. Three councillors declare conflicts of interest and the Mayor claims he can still participate.

My understanding is that a few of the city daycares are in “lower income” areas such as Glengarry. (I think) If this is true is there a private daycare provider planning to open up in this and other areas? Would they have enough business to be able to stay open?

What about just closing the underperforming ones or lowering staff levels there?

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark ah Windsor.

As always looking forward to reading your next blog.

4) It all seems so simple yet ironic.
Use money from the Bull or the sewage.
Either way day care could have been saved for years to come.

Tears do not justify deliberately hurting single moms
and denying the rights of children who cannot speak for themselves.

So much for compassion.

5) union seems to be serving strictly as buffer between employee & employer ... as an employee i can't seek fairness from employer without going through union first ... seems no union would be preferable to any union ... at least i could get help from lawyers & olrb

6) lame question but wondering it anyway, how can workers lose every time when we're supposed to be so united and standing?

7) I do have to say that I really love having an alternative media to get insight into the behind the scenes manoeuvers that go into making straightforward decisions.
Keep up the good work

8) Ed, if you were being circumspect, please, take the gloves off. We both know they all read you daily! There are so many unanswered questions. Dilkens just questioned if parents who choose city day care are making the right decision based on the fact that most parents do not choose city Daycare! And he was serious!

Please Ed, get er done! Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war!

9) So many closures and our mayor busy playing monopoly ...

10) I just read your blog, as I always do and I'm wondering about your question about the administrator (or should I say admini TRAITOR)

11) I read your blog every day and LOVE IT!

12) CUPE felt that Windsor Council was feeling neglected as evidenced by their
poor behaviour over the past year and is giving them some attention now.

maybe local businesses would be glad that a convention or two is coming to town

13) your blog is daily reading for me - a guilty pleasure!

14) There have been a lot of actions inside Social Services leading up to the idea of closing City daycares. Almost like the plan to close was in place from at least 2008. All the while government telling us that Children were important.

Children's Services used to work together with Children's Aid Society as a monitoring program by subsidizing at risk families. This provided social & developmental supports for underprivileged children. Children could enter daycare and parent/s could attend CAS parenting programming and such things as counselling, drug rehab, etc. This ended in 2008.

In early 2009 we were told that single parents could not longer access the 30 day subsidized daycare so that they could conduct full time job search. Parents would enter jobs with their childcare already in place. Gone overnight.

In April 2009 the strike forced parents out of work due to loss of
daycare and for others to seek alternative daycares.

15) Hello Ed, Thanks for the push on the blog. Lots of hits I can see;] I think you and the "boys" do great work in this city keeping the citizens up to date on all the issues and stuff that just doesn't make the local paper. I cannot help but to think where the citizens would be, if it were not for yourself and others to keep us informed. I can read the warmth and love that you and others feel for this city and that alone is what has inspired me! Education for the voter's will bring us the real winner in any election. I know there is more competent and trust worthy people out there who can take this place in the right direction and in OuR life time. with that being said, It is time for change and if we can bring awareness to more people, we can make it count. I think 70 to 75% percent voter turnout may seem impossible to some and in this city that would be a miracle, but a good man once said "at least it is possible" and when you can make it possible the opportunities are endless....or somethig like that } Thanks again Ed. for everything.

16) I stayed and watched the entire Red Bull event last year and spent a companion day roaming the downtown streets. I will tell you with absolute authority that the Harrow Fair draws more people. Year after year. Yup...Looks and smells like pure election fodder for the next two years. What can I say...Oh yeah...SOOOWEEE!

17) If there is no significant impact on the 2010 budget and PETU overall (including retro) got more than CUPE did, why is it that CUPE had such a monumental impact on the city budget and PETU did not??

I am a member of CUPE and I am still reeling from the impact of the strike. The emotional, let alone the financial trauma that this mayor has inflicted on this city is immeasurable!

Breaking the union is the goal of this mayor. He has no respect for people, especially the city workers.

Thank you for being a voice of reason in the midst of total insanity that has captivated Windsor and Essex County

18) [Copy of a letter sent]


I recall you comments during the CUPE strike with regards to the reason against arbitration, something to the effect 'We are not going to bring someone in from Toronto to decide the fate our our community' But now you just hired a lawyer from Waterloo to head up negotiations with the Windsor Police? I am lost here, Eddie could you explain your comments from before and how they fit into your decision to bring in someone from Waterloo?

19) Marion Overholt destroyed Eddie

20) [Windsor's new City Hall] I can bet you right now the Building is already drawn up in some ones files!

21) In today’s star our Mayor is quoted as saying the following in reference to the City Hall square building.

“It’s a very costly building to upkeep and maintain,” said Mayor Eddie Francis. Emergency repairs and other security upgrades have cost ratepayers approximately $425,000 since 2006.

Myself and many of my fellow strikers found it interesting that a locksmith was installing new locks on various doors at city hall just as the strike was beginning. We took it as a bad omen.

So how much of the $425,000 was to replace the locks during the strike and how much was for normal repairs?

As usual looking forward to reading your next blog.

23) I was given your name to voice my disagreement with the Mayor's decision to close the public Day Care Centers in Windsor.

How absurd, he has crossed a boundary! The program should have been an essential service!

I have just returned from living in British Columbia for 30 years, I was born and raised in this town, and am very saddened to see such an incompetent Mayor and council! I only wish that I could write as eloquent as my Grandfather ( R.M. Harrison ), I know that he is rolling in his grave. If you are not familiar with the name, he was a very popular journalist for the Windsor Star in the 40's and 50's, his specialty was politics. I know that he would have arranged a movement to remove such an arrogant mayor, whom I understand has made some very costly mistakes affecting the taxpayers of their money.

I will be forfeiting looking for employment so that my daughter has affordable daycare, she most certainly can not afford the rate as well as the strict hours available in the private sector

24) Interesting Article from the Amherstburg Echo ... don't think that they are so "shut up about it"
... must not have any cut-off buttons on the mike out there ...

Municipal daycare faces September closure
Windsor city council shoots down motion to defer matter for one month

25) Re: Your blog today. The quote you use from the mayor speaks volumes.

"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."

In other words, “I will speak and you will listen.” He has no interest in consulting, he has no interest in negotiation, he has no interest in compromise, he has no interest in listening to other’s ideas. It’s his MO of My Way or the Highway. There is no conciliation in his methods.

Can the city survive 9 more months of this?

26) What's next, maybe the Mayor will recommend getting out of Huron Lodge business too. Who needs to be taking care of sick old people.

27) couldn't help but feel that the summer of 2009 being repasted in front of me and the rest of the Windsor taxpayers

does council enjoy being counter productive in there role as City leaders.I say move the election up to June 2010 so we can impliment people who are genuinely interested in reviving Windsors economy,the statistics do not lie,the jobs are not here yet nor do they look like they are driving down the new d.r.i.c. route to Windsor.I am ashamed to say I live in Windsor lead by a bunch of selfserving polititions and buisinesses interested in filling their pockets in such terrible economic times at taxpayers expense!!!

28) With all the boards Edgar reins over I wonder what his attendance rate is.

29) Amazing.

The "Bull" subsidy is at just under $18 per person with 2009 numbers.

30) Maybe we need to see a blog on how much Edgar's salary has risen as compared to the firefighters.

31) How can local business looking for wind farm work compete against a
corporation that is subsidized by it's own government with tax dollars the local
people pay.

Seems to me the government is not on a level playing field when it comes
to investing in domestic projects.

Ten million for Red Bull
Billions for Korea

Who's next in line?

32) Reading your blog certainly keeps me informed on what is going on in Windsor.

Thought you might find a phone call we received interesting. It was a survey call asking whether I would consider voting for the following candidates. I have no idea which camp initiated the call.

Eddie Francis
Bill Marra
Mike Hurst
John Millson
Jo-Ann Gignac
Dave Brister

It might just be an interesting election after all!

33) Union leadership during the strike was decidedly weak, so we cannot hope for any better now. Edgar has bullied us into submission.

34) [Re City Daycare] Ed,that is the most depressing thing I've ever read coming from you :(

35) [Re Robin Hood airport] I'd like to send a one-way trip ticket to the Celtic lands.......

36) Read about the daycare closures... as soon as one regular 543 member is out the door, the City cannot hire summer students. Another thing we have heard is that they are not getting rid of the 7 supervisors, they will redeploy them. They are all in the Sunshine Club. Seems like the City could have saved double the money if they got rid of them

37) We all know change is needed for this city to move forward.

38) Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the Commish was hired because they thought they could tell him what to do and come out smelling like a rose.

39) One big concern is that the relief of the managers not forming a doesn't make sense....a union is just people negotiating together for better working it CAW, CUPE whatever. Even though the managers are not "officially" a union, they are bargainin as a group for better working conditions for all... they got a group raise in wages and aren't they a union anyway? Sheep, people and the star are so gullable.

40) ...His beloved King saved the city and the rest of the world from the evils of unions. All Edgar had to do is negotiate with the managers. Now that's different

Million Dollar Unanswered Sewer Question For Edgar

Remember the sight at Council of Edgar (aka Eddie) staring down Councillor Halberstadt in particular and demanding that he and his colleagues immediately shout out their "unanswered questions" re the 400 Building audit.

Really dramatic stuff eh.

Well I want to re-ask my question, a News Tip of the Week for my media readers, because I have not yet seen anything in the media where the question I posed the other day was answered.

The question is interesting to me because the savings alone could have bought some time to salvage Municipal daycare for a period to allow for consultation amongst the City, County and most importantly, parents.

What is the deal re the Banwell sewer line whereby the City and Tecumseh could not reach an agreement? That failure to come to a resolution will cost each of Windsor and Tecumseh $500,000 or a milion dollars in total.

I am sure that Edgar can explain in these tough financial times why Windsor can afford to pass up a half a million dollars which could have helped reduce our tax burden.

I'd ask Councillors but they probably are not allowed to talk to me because a resolution must have been passed in camera whereby Edgar has been appointed the Voice of Council for Sewage.

And if you think that daycare will cause problems between the City and County, then wait until the media covers this story, if they ever do!

It's Official: City Management Was The CUPE Strike Leakor

Oh oh...the barriers are starting to fall. Next thing we will read in the Star is their much belated coverage of the Lewenza Ward meeting about how Edgar failed in the CUPE strike and cost the City more than was necessary.

We now know who the Leakor was not. Officially. Because it is written now in stone in City Hall's official Messenger...the Windsor Star.

It took a long time for them to suck up the nerve to do so. It looks like it happened only after Ron Jones was "vindicated."

It was NOT CUPE or the other people smeared by the City in the OLRB complaint response.

Rather, as BLOG readers know, it came from the City. Exactly who though is still not known.

The Star told us so only now even though it was in the Commish's report from Day One. The Star forgot to report that in the past:
  • "Basse's initial probe into the source of a media leak -- which was blamed for torpedoing talks during the bitter strike -- came up empty-handed. Basse did conclude that the leak could have only originated from someone who attended a closed-door meeting of city councillors, the mayor and senior staff at city hall."
Poor Councillor Halberstadt. When he was whining for an apology, he forgot that. No wonder he is so silent now after his CUPE smear. Where is he making an apology to CUPE now?

Here is what the Commish wrote exactly:

If you agree with me that the Star's journalism was shoddy over this matter, then consider this, Where was the great TRUTH finally disclosed: buried in this story:

  • "City offers blacked-out records
    Council phone bills to be censored

See, everyone, the Star reports the facts eventually, when the issue is almost forgotten, if you can ever find them.

A Subtle Pizza Queen

Anne Jarvis is a very interesting columnist to me, especially compared with her Star colleagues. Like her column today justifying the screwing of families on the daycare issue. So calm, so rational, so hiding the fact of lack of consultation with the Community.

She is not as strident as are Gord and mini-Gord. She appears so much "softer" in what she writes. Her column is not just about politics either, often very "societal" oriented. She appears so concerned.

Remember her columns on the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research/Aquarium which helps Edgar's canal or "moving on" after the CUPE strike or about pizzas in London rather than Junior's comments about the CUPE strike and its negative consequences to taxpayers, her "Does it matter" column on the CUPE Strike leak that we now know came from Council via Mr. Basse.

Her column "City needs watchdog with teeth" is another good example of her approach.

Remember there are at least two Integrity Commissioner investigations of Edgar (aka Eddie) outstanding with no results in yet. If the Integrity Commissioner is let go and not replaced, then I guess we never learn what the outcome would be. What a shame for Edgar!

And what does Annie do:
  • "Windsor's integrity commissioner has submitted his final report, and frankly, about the only thing worth noting is his bill -- $42,997."

  • "Coun. Alan Halberstadt called the saga of the integrity commissioner bizarre, and he's right.'

  • "The biggest investigation was who leaked the union's position in the middle of the long and bitter city strike last year, ending a potential settlement and prolonging the dispute. The investigation cost almost $16,000 and took 31/2 months -- all for a five-page report saying we don't know who leaked the news."

  • "The only other complaint investigated and resolved was about the propriety of Mayor Eddie Francis meeting with Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick after Kilpatrick had been charged with a criminal offence. Fourteen months after he began investigating, Basse dismissed the complaint, noting that Kilpatrick was still mayor and hadn't been convicted.

  • It was a "simple" ruling, Basse said. So why did it take more than a year?"

And so on to discredit the office.

But of course, Annie needs to replace that office so the masses will be comforted. Her suggestion:

  • "I'd like to plow that money into something with teeth that addresses what taxpayers really care about: how their money is spent. Plow that $43,000 into the new auditor general's office."

Oh Annie.

You know that the office exists in name only but that the position has never been filled.

You know that the office has been used to prevent the disclosure of the Dunbar audit. Read Schurr's BLOG on January 14: "Freedom of Information Request Saga Continues"

You know that a Star Editorial said: "Andrew Roman, a Toronto lawyer hired by the committee, says the Dunbar report can't be released because the act states "the auditor general of municipalities shall maintain absolute secrecy about all documents in their possession."

You know that the Auditor General does not investigate Code of Conduct violations.

Unfortunately for Annie, those Freudian slips give it away every time. We know now definitely thanks to her that the effort to get rid of the Integrity Commissioner was deliberate:

  • "No one even knows if Basse is still the integrity commissioner. The clerk isn't authorized to continue paying him because his contract has expired. Maybe that's why he wasn't at the meeting.

    You'd think council could make a decision on his contract before it expires, not a month after."

However, Annie is ineffective. No one on Council is scared of her. Basse is still around, until June 1, time enough to complete the outstanding Edgar investigations. Subtle does not work with Windsor Council. You have to hit them over the head the way the Editorials do. Like the Daycare one on Monday right before the Council vote telling them what they have to do if they want to get re-elected.

  • "Child care debate
    The issue for city council

    Quite simply, the economic reality is that city taxpayers can't afford to subsidize child care spaces at a time when the tax base is shrinking, the city's finances have been hard hit by the recession and council has a responsibility to use every dollars as effectively as possible.

    There is more than enough information available to make a decision that ensures the interests of taxpayers and families can be balanced."

Get with the program. That's how you get results Annie! No need to listen to the Community.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Another Daycare Update

I am absolutely disgusted. I wonder what Councillor Gignac will think now of one of the best Administration reports she claims she ever saw on daycare closing.

Since she was on the winning side, she can introduce a Motion to Reconsider because Administration did not report about what was said about Municipal daycare back in 2005 in the "MUNICIPALLY FUNDED CHILDREN’S SERVICES SYSTEM REVIEW."

What changed to justify the harsh action at Council. Here is one comment from the report that we never saw in what Administration wrote:

  • "If the municipality were to discontinue the direct delivery of children‟s services such as licensed child care, what impacts (positive and negative) would it have on the community?”

    Overall the information collected indicates that the community believes there were would be a significant negative impact on the children services system if the City withdrew from the direct operation of licensed child care centres. Respondents indicated that in their view a strong role model for quality child care in the community would disappear, parents would experience increasing uncertainty as to the quality of services and programs and less choice, and there would be a decline in quality of service and care in the system overall. Further, the community believes that the City has the power to open doors to support system improvements due to its political connections that other centres could not open. Discussions acknowledged that the City centres have the resources that compel them to accept all children who apply (space warranted), which means they often accept children with special needs that have been refused by other centres.

    The quality and programs offered by the City Centres set a high standard. Parents recognized this by reflecting they believe the City centres often offer better programs, materials and professional staff. These centres are the preferred training centres and mentoring sites for the St. Clair College early childhood education program and other students. The City centres have access to leading edge research and best practices in the profession given the City‟s role as system manager. Further, the City centres offer flexible care hours not available from the majority of other providers...

    However, overall stakeholders including key informants, agencies, some child care providers, parents and other CMSM‟s reflected that the positive impact of the City remaining as a direct deliverer far exceeds the minorities call for a withdrawal of their services. The negative impacts of withdrawal were simply described as too great."

Oh there is so much more to be discussed including what appears to be a complete failure of Management unless there are factors that Administration can identify that can counter this that should have been disclosed.

If we can have an audit on WUC, perhaps Angela Berry should be asked to do one on the daycare system before any action is taken. I wonder what she would find!

I need to review the report more thoroughly. I suggest that Councillor Gignac do the same.

Why The Daycare Debate Would NOT Be Deferred

Now Marion Overholt will get the answer to her question of Edgar at Council on Monday about why the haste and why the daycare matter could not be deferred to March 1 for consultation in the community.

Some of my readers got quite upset when I wrote this at the start of the Daycare debate
  • "I am sorry but save your efforts. In Windsor at least, there is no point in fighting. Petitions, distributing flyers, attending meetings and going to Council won't help.

    It's a done deal already. Don't bother going to City Hall because the hardliners and penny-pinchers are in control and hammering CUPE is their re-election meal ticket.

    And CUPE leadership has allowed this to happen and the CUPE members have allowed them to get away with it."

I was right after all. This started quite some time ago as Ms Warsh told us, provided you read the Echo:

  • "Warden Nelson Santos thought the issue should be deferred until a joint city and county council meeting is held.

    "There's a whole world of information that we need to get an understanding of," said Santos.

    Warsh suggested this matter had been in the works for approximately five years and that there had been consultation over that time. She said the correspondence had gone to the county CAO Brian Gregg.

    "We did consult five-years-ago. We did talk to people and get ideas," she said. "We are under no legal obligation to consult with the county but we have done that."

County people had a consultation 5 years ago. What's wrong with them? Couldn't they figure out what was going on waaaaaay back then. Couldn't they predict the huge unemployment crisis which would reduce daycare numbers or that the Province would introduce full-day SK/JK? Geez, parents should be furious at them not the City Administration since the County politicians should have been able to read the future 5 years ago according to what Ms. Warsh said. There was no need to talk to them again after all.

Five years ago, that is an interesting time period too. Around this time Edgar (aka Eddie) started complaining about PRBs the reason for the 101 day CUPE strike:

  • "Standard & Poors noted that a "healthy budgetary performance" was partly responsible for the good news. The city's outlook remains stable.

    But the bond raters warned the city will have to deal with a growing burden posed by rising post-retirement benefits that have left it with a future liability of $170 million.

    "Windsor's large post-retirement liabilities ... are among the highest compared with its peers," the report said.

    Mayor Eddie Francis said the city will have to find a way to deal with the burden. One way is to stop providing those retirement benefits for new employees, while grandfathering them for current employees."

But what has that got to deferral you might ask. Why would the City want a political war over daycare with the County and parents over a short 30-day period?

Edgar told us in today's Star. It was a done deal already. He HAD to have it over and done with or else:

  • "City eyes tax freeze

    Mayor Eddie Francis said council's goal this year is to bring in another budget that will see no net tax increase for Windsor ratepayers.

    Going into Monday night's five-hour debate on closing municipally operated daycares, Francis said preliminary budget documents prepared by administration had already taken into consideration anticipated savings from the shutdown of those facilities.

    The closings are targeted for Sept. 1, affect 125 union and non-union positions -- seven of those are currently vacant -- and net $743,572 in annual savings for the city..."

Over 100 people have their jobs at risk and childern's lives have to be disrupted so that Edgar and the hardliners can have a big budget win before the next election. Look at the savings that can fund Phase III of the Lufthansa study or that can be used to pay an outside lawyer to beat up on the Police for their next round of labour negotiations.

Now wonder as Chris Schnurr wrote:

  • "After vigorously defending the massive increase in 2007, Mayor Francis is now suggesting we phase this in over the next 10-15 years.

    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.

    He’s right – the community couldn’t handle an 86% increase the Mayor is responsible for deferring for “political” reasons in 2005; and they can’t handle an extra 10% now each and every year for the next 3 years.

    And now, in an election year, he acknowledges, “maybe” a phased-in approach is best.

    My hero."

Unlike with daycare, in the WUC case, Edgar wants public consultation:

  • "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."

You see, where the entire City can get angry at you, then things have to be done gradually and after consultation. But when it is only 425 children involved and a few CUPE female workers, why who cares.

Haiti And Dubai Ports #2 Update

My speculating is not so bad after all is it. Canada still is trying to control the border with the US.

And Prime Minister Harper is leading the charge for Canada.

Why he is still bothering, I have no idea. The US does not have any interest in discussing the subject as the US Ambassador clearly indicated in the CTV interview.

What else does Stephen have to do? Parliament is prorogued.


It did not take very long for Prime Minister Harper to suck up to President Obama over Haiti as I predicted to see if that would work in helping take over the Ambassador Bridge:
  • "PM, Obama to work together on long-term help for Haiti News Staff

    U.S. President Barack Obama has thanked Canada for its relief efforts in Haiti, and agreed to work with Prime Minister Stephen Harper in providing long-term help for the battered and poverty-stricken country.

    The two leaders spoke on the phone Friday and discussed the importance of short- and long-term efforts to rebuild Haiti, and provide relief to the hundreds of thousands of inhabitants left struggling after the Jan. 12 earthquake."

    Canadian Press made it even clearer that I was right. It is enough to make me sick as it should make you:

    "U.S. President Barack Obama called Harper Friday, the Prime Minister's Office said in an email. The two men discussed the continuing international efforts to help Haiti, the PMO said. They also discussed international developments and the importance of continuing to work together on security issues."

Stephen needs to thank the Governor General for making that call possible! One day she will figure out how she was used as a tool for the PM.


Great quote from MDOT's Mr. Shreck

  • “We have been told by a number of investment firms, lending institutions and major companies that they were very interested in an investment in the border crossing project. They would be investing in the entire construction project; this is not about plaza operations… This is all part of the goal to make the DRIC project efficient as possible and to bring as many jobs as we can to southeastern Michigan.”

So one P3 operator will run both sides of the border. My Dubai scenario is working.

Obviously a guarantee supported by taxpayers will be required because of the Moroun competition and only Canada will offer it since Michigan has no money to do so and the Legislature will not allow it.

When the P3 operator goes broke or wants to sell out, Canada will act and take over the Detroit/Windsor crossing.

Actually, it's a variation of the Port Mann scenario with Macquarie being unable to raise the money and the BC Government taking over the project. It works just as well. And Macquarie is very cosy with MDOT and short-listed to build the DRIC road. Of course, they used to operate the Tunnel for years too.

It would not surprise me to see the same type of game at the Blue Water Bridge since Canada supposedly has the Bridge on its list of assets that can be disposed of or perhaps P3ed. And Windsor wants the Tunnel.

Isn't Canada opposed as well to the Moroun proposal for a bridge in the Buffalo area and wants to expand the Peace Bridge with a possibility of shared border management with all Customs on the Canadian side.

Interesting as well that the Canadian DRTP rail tunnel concept comes back to life just after DIFT is reborn and Moroun being demonized on the Michigan Depot, a key piece of property needed for rail.

Shhhhhh. Don't let any of this out. The Americans will be none the wiser.

Short Stuff

Here are some interesting news items


What a wonderful and positive story in the Star on that Wind turbine manufacturer on which Sandra generously offered close to $3M. It was printed a few days after my BLOG on that company was posted that raised some serious issues that I felt needed clarification.

It is a shame though that none of the questions I asked about their product was answered.

Why can't they use concrete terms in their Star story instead of "is expected to begin," "completed most of the plant renovations and we've hired most of our managers," "we'll be close to launching our first production run," "expects to create" and "should be on the job very soon." I really liked these too: "The company announced its intention to start shipping" and "This technology has the potential to help the rest of the world."

Let's raise the ante. Check out this Wall St. Journal article "Wind Turbines Leave Some in a Huff"

Aside from noise and birder issues, here is one that should cause concern:
  • "It turns out that Mr. Deneui has some complaints of his own. While his Skystream 3.7machine, built by Southwest Windmill of Flagstaff, Ariz., is designed to generate 500kilowatt hours of power, it generates only 65 because the winds are too inconsistent at his home.

    Southwest officials say installing small wind turbines can be tricky in the Bay Area, because there are so many hills and trees that disrupt the ocean breezes.

    "That sounds like a case of improper siting," Miriam Robbins, Southwest's marketing manager, says of Mr. Deneui's home, which is surrounded by homes and trees.

    Mr. Deneui, who paid $26,000 for his windmill with government and utility rebates and incentives covering about half the cost, concedes he's disappointed. "The payback was supposed to be 10 years, but at this rate it will be 500 years," he says."

Moreover, look at the waste of $13,000 in taxpayer money for incentives and rebates that produce nothing of value.


Someone reads my BLOGs at the Star and in the Provincial Government.

There is no doubt now in my mind why the Star Wind turbine manufacturer story was published right after mine:

  • "$7-billion Samsung energy deal to benefit Windsor-Essex County

    Windsor and Essex County will learn Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010 they are major beneficiaries of a $7-billion investment that will see the birth of a new solar and wind energy industry in Ontario.

    Premier Dalton McGuinty was expected to unveil a massive, decades-long investment in green energy today, in partnership with Korean manufacturing giant Samsung. Most of the multibillion-dollar investment is to be made in the high unemployment centres of Windsor, Chatham and Haldimand County, south of Brantford.

    Windsor, with its powerful cabinet connections in ministers Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello, is expected to benefit from more than a third of the investment, which will create thousands of highly skilled manufacturing jobs across the province."

We could not have Sandra and the Government looking like fools just before a big announcement of $7B deal in alternative energy can we!


Amherstburg Echo

  • "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis agreed with Santos that collaboration is key and that he looks for continued co-operation with the county.

    "One of the very exciting things about the new year is the opportunity is the new year brings," said Francis."

Windsor Star

  • "Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis, who was at the warden's luncheon, said Tecumseh's politicians were "dreamers" if they thought they had any hope of unilaterally running a bus within the city.

    Special federal legislation gives Transit Windsor authority over its service area, Francis said."
No wonder the County was ignored on daycare consultation


That was the amount that the Senior Levels were prepared to pay, along with the City's $10M, for Tunnel Plaza improvements in the Phase 1 Border Agreement.

What is the project's status---dead in the water:

If Edgar (aka Eddie) cannot spend a measly $10M to fix up the Plaza, how could he think of paying out $75M for the US side!

Unstated reason for the delay---cost increases.


Wow, all of this good news:

  • "Recovery on track, county warden says

    The billions of dollars being reinvested in infrastructure of all kinds -- roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, sewers, waterlines and recreational facilities -- will put this region "on the road to prosperity again," Essex County Warden Nelson Santos said Friday.

    In his annual "state of the county" address, Santos warned against putting hope in a resurgence of the auto industry, and manufacturing generally, to former levels.

    "Automotive will still be part of our region," said Santos. But "not as big a part," he said in a speech at the Portuguese Club of Harrow attended by local political leaders and the business community."

Spoken like a true Conservative candidate running in the next federal election. Ooops, I forgot, Nelson is running for the Liberals against Watson!

When you read the rest of his speech as reported in the Star, he should have been running provincially as a Liberal.


  • "Inspired by Jewellery is a socially responsible design house in Canada. The line features unique affordable high-quality jewellery and accessories that fit the latest trends and styles from around the world. Above all, Inspired by Jewellery prides itself in being ethical and fair, paying above market price for all work done by artisans and supporting a variety of charities through its unique “Shop For A Cause” program.

    Most recently Inspired by Jewellery has launched the Cornerstone of Caring ‘Heart’ Campaign for Windsor Regional Hospital!

    We has designed a Sterling Silver collection of ‘Hearts’ including a pendant and bracelet. 30% of sale proceeds from this collection will go to benefit the Cornerstone of Caring Campaign. The collection is available through Inspired by Jewellery, Windsor Regional Hospital, and select partners.

    Through your blog, you are able to reach a wide audience of Windsorites and spread messages really rapidly. The Windsor Regional Hospital Foundation and Inspired by Jewellery would really appreciate it if you could mention this local campaign on your blog to draw support from the community and spread the word about this easy way to support a local charity!"


I saw the commercial for this product (which shall go nameless) and frankly think that smoking could well be the lesser of two evils:

  • "What is the most important safety information about [Product]?

    Some people have had changes in behavior, hostility, agitation, depressed mood, suicidal thoughts or actions while using [Product] to help them quit smoking. Some people had these symptoms when they began taking [Product], and others developed them after several weeks of treatment or after stopping [Product]. If you, your family, or caregiver notice agitation, hostility, depression, or changes in behavior, thinking, or mood that are not typical for you, or you develop suicidal thoughts or actions, anxiety, panic, aggression, anger, mania, abnormal sensations, hallucinations, paranoia, or confusion, stop taking [Product] and call your doctor right away. Also tell your doctor about any history of depression or other mental health problems before taking [Product], as these symptoms may worsen while taking [Product].

    Is there other important safety information?

    Some people can have serious skin reactions while taking [Product], some of which can become life-threatening. These can include rash, swelling, redness, and peeling of the skin. Some people can have allergic reactions to [Product], some of which can be life-threatening and include: swelling of the face, mouth, and throat that can cause trouble breathing. If you have these symptoms or have a rash with peeling skin or blisters in your mouth, stop taking [Product] and get medical attention right away."

I got so nervous reading that stuff, that I almost went outside for a smoke and I am a non-smoker!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Daycare Aftermath

Rush, rush, rush...Edgar (aka Eddie) had to fulfill his mission last night. Lead the attacks on Unions. Make up for the near riot that put everything behind schedule for 6 months and cost David Miller his job as Mayor of Toronto.

This time he could not dare screw up.

He almost did. He almost lost out again when he went foolishly went overseas and County Council dared defy him by requesting consultation.

That was NOT going to happen last night.

Darned citizens.

What is their problem? Consultation requests. Pshaw... who cares what they think or have to say just because it is their children that are involved.

How can one explain this:
  • "Parent Dave Taylor was among a number of delegates critical of the “rushed, hurried, almost frenzied” pace the city appeared to have taken in proposing and implementing the cuts. He said parents with children at city-run daycares received letters on Jan. 15 that assured those positions would continue “for the foreseeable future,” but that news of the possible closures came just two days later."

One of the funniest but tragic comments of the evening at Council was when Ms. Warsh said that there was no point in consulting parents in advance because that would just concern them unnecessarily. Now that Council has made a decision, I guess there is no point in consulting with them because there is nothing to consult about. The decision has been reached.

Sure sounds to me like Administration did not want to talk to anybody about anything for fear that the Mayor’s grand plans might be set back, even for a month.

This lack of consultation is very reminiscent of how the canal matter was presented to Council. They were merely asked to rubberstamp exactly what the Mayor wanted to do. He got his way eventually. In the day care matter there was no need for “eventually.”

Second funniest moment:

  • "At one point, Mayor Eddie Francis came to the defence of administration. “This has been one of the most agonizing, difficult decisions for them to be involved in,” he said, adding some staff had been “in tears writing this report.”

He did not say what kind of tears you will note....laughter probably, considering the joke of the report.

It is very clear to me that Administration had not done their work properly. No alternatives were presented or discussed in the Report, pro and con. We had to take their word at Council that they had considered them all, whatever they were.

If this is what Councilor Gignac thinks is one of the best reports that Administration has ever presented to Council, then Lord help us. Again it is reminiscent of Administration not doing their homework to tell us what the Arena lands were initially purchased for by the London developer before we bought part of it.

It is very clear to me at least that very little work had been done on alternatives. Administrators really could not give us firm figures about various alternatives presented, for example keeping open three of the centres or even Jefferson alone. You know the ones I mean, the ones that are operating at capacity. All we were told is that the cost would be higher without any justification whatsoever.

Even when businesses are in poor economic shape, one of the matters that they consider is reorganization, before shut-down. That was not considered by the Administrators in the report, even to pretend that they looked at all sides.

It may well be that there is no need for Municipal daycare given the economics but what I found very interesting is why 425 children were placed back in Municipal daycare even after the strike. If they were placed in such wonderful locations during the strike by a caring Administration, then why did they come back?

We are not being told something significant with the rush to close down and put people out of work

I was very disappointed in CUPE.

I was contacted very late on Saturday night by a senior CUPE Official who wanted to enlighten me about certain matters involving the daycare situation. I was presented with some information that I did not have before but nothing frankly that I thought would change what Council was going to do anyway, no matter what anybody said on Monday night.

However, I was shocked to learn about certain allegations made about an Administrator and a possible conflict of interest. I heard the rumour before but was not going to write about it until I had something firmed up. I don’t spread unsubstantiated, vicious rumours in my BLOG. However, this official confirmed what I had heard.

I was shocked.

I suggested to the Official a course of conduct that I thought should be followed if in fact the Official knew the information that I was being given was true. Interestingly I also received confirmation subsequently from a couple of readers but was not provided with any hard evidence that I thought was satisfactory for me to put on my BLOG.

To be absoutely candid, if what I was said was true, then the Administrator should have been fired and the police called in immediately to investigate. It was that bad.

What I suggested was that the Official contact the Union’s lawyers immediately and have the lawyers write to Council with the allegations and demand that Council investigate before a decision was made. My guess was that the investigation would take no longer than a day or two and at the least this matter could be deferred perhaps for a week so that it could be concluded one way or the other.

I contacted the Official on Monday morning several times and in fact e-mailed, assuming that the lawyers would have already sent out a letter. Frankly, I wanted the scoop for my BLOG.

Imagine my surprise when this e-mail was sent back to me:

  • "In meetings all morning have not contacted our lawyer."

I could not believe what I had read. What meetings could possibly be more important than the livelihoods of over 100 workers and clients, children, of the daycare centres, never mind some of the adults who would be receiving training at the various Municipal daycares.

But it was all going to be OK I thought in the end. CUPE 543 President Jean Fox was supposed to speak according to the Delegation List and she would reveal all I assumed. Yea, right!

This is more confirmation to me that CUPE is a useless union for workers in Windsor. The only thing that they have done since the strike ended is to ask Union members to pay money to build up the strike fund, presumably because a good strike fund is needed when the contract ends.

If this is the kind of union that the CUPE workers want in Windsor, good luck to them. The women and children have lost thanks to them…the women on the picket line and the children in the daycare.

As for me, if I was in the union, the first thing I would consider is replacing the leadership. I would toss them out. Secondly, and this would be a lot more difficult, I would seek to decertify the Union and join another one… even, shudder, CAW.

The result last night was totally predictable. People got to vent but the hard-liners really didn’t care. There is an election to be won and beating up on CUPE is a sure way to be victorious. Will the parents of the children who were forced out of the daycares plus employees who will lose their jobs over a 3 or 4 year period, because it takes that long for the City to reorganize their worker pool after all the bumping, be politically active during the next municipal election to show their disgust? If they do, there will be a rather significant turnover in Council.

The failure of CUPE leadership in Windsor, and their Ontario office, is far-reaching and will make it much more difficult for the Union movement to deal with the attacks on them that are surely to come as seen in the recent Star story.

Councillors recognized that there would be a political price to pay as well in their dealings with the County. But that didn't matter to them either. If they were not prepared to defer the debate for their own citizens, then why would they do so for the County just because the County requested it. Windsor as we were told did not legally have to talk to the County at all and could do what it wanted. Let the County do a deal with the City and run their own daycare if they were so concerned. I wonder if that is how the County will now treat us over ambulance service.

No wonder we cannot save a million dollars on a sewer pipeline costs thanks to Edgar and City politicians who refused to sign a deal with Tecumseh for reasons unknown.

How long would that have kept daycares open?


By the way, the PETU people were fools. I am sure today that they recognize their mistake.

With Edgar and the hardliners in charge, they should have unionized!

Daycare Update: Iggy Makes A Mockery Of Edgar

Poor Edgar (aka Eddie). Out of step. Again.

  • Ignatieff says child care is Liberals’ top social priority
    Monday, February 01, 2010

    OTTAWA -- A federal Liberal government will not let the ballooning deficit get in the way of implementing a national early learning and child care program, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff vowed Monday.

    "I am not going to allow the deficit discussion to shut down discussion in this country about social justice," Mr. Ignatieff told reporters on Parliament Hill. "We will find the money because it seems to me an excellent investment."

    He described a national early learning system as a way to give young people an "equal start" in life and also the "best anti-poverty program" on offer.

    Mr. Ignatieff said he is committed to making it the "No. 1 social priority" of a Liberal government, although he refused to discuss the price tag or where he would find the money to pay for it."

  • Ignatieff said Monday concern about the current $56-billion deficit can’t be an excuse to ignore child care and early learning."

  • “This is the number one social priority of an incoming Liberal government,” Ignatieff said, during a break in today’s all-day discussion on poverty and homeless in Canada. Child care is a key part of that discussion, the Liberal leader said.

    “It’s also the best anti-poverty program. I want every single child in Canada to have the opportunity to get a square meal when they come to day care; to get loving care and tender care. A lot of children in our country, we don’t like to admit it, start in very turbulent difficult environment at home. The great thing about these programs is they give kids an equal start...

    “You can slay a deficit and you can do social justice. That’s how Liberals think about their responsibilities in government and we will not let Canadians down.”

Heck, we'd close down all of Windsor's daycares, even those operating at or near capacity, to save $2-300,000.

There goes Edgar's Federal Liberal career opportunity.

Fisking MDOT

P3 money for a DRIC road and bridge. Are they all mad? Where is the money coming from especially if the Governments cannot guarantee a "monopoly" for the private P3 operator?
  • "Infrastructure funds struggle to attract investors

    AMSTERDAM - Global infrastructure fundraising dropped by more than half in 2009 from the year before as investors moved to more liquid assets, according to data sent to Reuters by placement agent Probitas Partners.

    Just $US10.7 billion ($11.85 billion) was raised by infrastructure funds in 2009, 57 per cent less than the $US24.7 billion raised in 2008, according to figures compiled by Probitas.

    The contrast is even greater when compared to the $US34.3 billion raised in 2007.

    There are currently 119 funds on the road worldwide seeking an aggregate $US115 billion according to market research and consultancy firm Prequin, making this a very competitive environment for fundraising.

    Infrastructure assets such as roads, airports and power grids are notoriously illiquid, making them less appealing to investors during a liquidity crunch.

    This is exacerbated by the scarcity of debt to support projects, Probitas said.

    "Investors began to come back to the market in the fourth quarter, with fundraising topping $US10 billion for the full year after only hitting $US6 billion over the first nine months," partner at Probitas Kelly DePonte said.

    "The likelihood is that fundraising will increase in 2010, though it is unlikely it will surge dramatically as a number of investors still have liquidity concerns."

OMG, this project alone could take almost all of the money raised in 2009 by the time the real numbers for construction are factored in!

This comment made by Transport Canada's Mark Butler proved to be correct as I shall explain:

  • "Butler said the Canadian government would prefer that the new cable-stayed or suspension bridge be undertaken on the basis of a public-private partnership. But he said this approach is not yet set in stone.

    “One of the reasons is that the U.S. side of the bridge would be owned by the state of Michigan. But the state does not have P3 legislation in effect. Until that legislation is passed, Michigan would not be able to enter into a P3 agreement.”

This line seems inaccurate if you accept what I believe that MDOT has done with its co-partner, Canada

  • “Essentially, once a decision has been made and Michigan has the legislative authority to go ahead with a P3, we could then be able to go out to the marketplace and issue requests for qualifications,”

MDOT could not wait never mind what the Legislature said and issued in partnership with Canada a "Request for Proposal of Interest for the development of the Detroit River International Crossing Project under one or more Public-Private Partnerships"

Let's take a look at the relevant part of the Press Release MDOT issued and fisk it so that we can understand what is going on:


    MDOT issues Request for Proposal of Interest in Detroit-Windsor border crossing system
    [Strange, no mention of Transport Canada]

    January 27, 2010 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) is asking individual firms and teams to respond to a Request for Proposal of Interest in partnering on the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) project. [Again, no mention of Transport Canada. Oh I forgot, MDOT has to pretend that it is complying with its Budget provision imposed by the Legislature]

    The Request for Proposal of Interest follows a series of informal interviews that MDOT and Transport Canada, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, conducted with major developers, contractors and lenders who had previously been involved in similar large privately-financed transportation infrastructure projects. [Oh my, who are these selected so-called major organizations. Clearly, Macquarie has to be one. I wonder if the MDOT people met with them on their junket to Australia. Didn't a Macquarie rep testify in Lansing? Did Macquarie tell them why they could not raise money for the Port Mann bridge? How about OMERS since they are involved with DRTP and the rail tunnel. Perhaps Alinda was contacted since they have an interest in the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel.

    Has the process been prejudiced by the appearance of favouritism already?]

    This step involves a solicitation of market interest in the project that would provide the Michigan Legislature and the Canadian government with more information to formulate governmental policy and develop a procurement and transaction schedule. [Oh please, they have been working on structure and governance for years]

    The deadline for individual firms or teams to submit responses to the Request for Proposal of Interest is March 17. [In the end, Matty Moroun will be able to use this document as part of his case to stop MDOT. The 17th---luck of the Irish for him. I think he went to school at Notre Dame]

    Responses will be used by MDOT in a required report to the Michigan Legislature that MDOT will submit by May 1. State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle says the stage is being set to form a public-private partnership that will move the DRIC project forward. [Is MDOT doing indirectly what it cannot do directly? I think the Director is rather presumptuous since there is no P3 legislation and no guarantee of it]

    "At this point, we are considering a model that would incorporate some participation by the private sector in financing, design, construction, engineering and maintenance," Steudle said. "Although we have not yet finalized what that model will eventually look like, we know there are a number of teams out there eagerly anticipating the start of work on this historic project that will create jobs and keep international trade flowing across the border as efficiently as possible." [And who would those parties be? And only "some" private participation when governments on both sides of the border have fiscal problems. It will have to be virtually ALL Government money considering the article above re lack of private interest and dificulty in obtaining money. Just think of the failed Port Mann Bridge project where Macquarie could not raise the required funds.]

    According to MDOT, preliminary feedback indicates there is extensive interest and experience in the market for projects of this type and that, aside from some geotechnical engineering issues, there are no substantial construction complexities involved. [Oh, like the bridge collapsing because of salt mines. And these days who has money for a project that competes with the Bridge Company when there are other projects that have no such problems]

    Given the anticipated tolled nature of the border crossing, MDOT says there are several public-private partnership models ranging from real tolls to availability payments that could be applied to the DRIC under current market conditions. [Oh, oh. Michigan taxpayers may have to subsidize the tolls using availabilty payments or shadow tolls since the project cannot pay for itself with Bridge Company competition. So much for the MDOT budget for existing roads and bridges. All this time MDOT had been telling us that tolls would pay for this project. Was that misinformation?]

One other interesting point which makes all of this ludicrous. From the RFPOI:

Of course those costs are phony since they are mere estimates and nothing will happen on the bridge for years. But let us accept them as accurate.

If we look just at toll revenues, the amount needed is $1.43B. If we add in "other revenue" which is not defined, then the total to be financed jumps to $2.261B.

Figure out the cost of financing this alone at 5% for only 50% of the traffic considering that he Bridge Company will be competing with much lower tolls. (never mind that P3 companies want a 13-20% rate of return on toll road type operations). Forget about adding in maintenance, operations costs and profits.

If the Bridge Company is estimated by Forbes to make $60M per year on their operations, and traffic volumes are down now, how will the DRIC Bridge be paid for if the new revenue is $30M and finance costs are more than double that and possibly up to quadruple that?

Is the hatred of Moroun that much or rather of any private person who owns the Bridge? Will Canada spend anything, even if it hurts Michigan and the US who will have to subsidize the project to gain control of this and the other Central North American crossings?

Are the Americans that dumb not to see what is going on?