Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Friday, June 11, 2010

More Windsor Stories

My take on some news stories that I have been saving up until now:


Glad to see Councillor Halberstadt's consistency on his views of Edgar (aka Eddie). Mike Burton will have a field day
  • "Your arrogance knows no bounds"

  • "Halberstadt acknowledges he and Mayor Eddie Francis haven't always seen eye to eye.

    "There have been some conflicts with the mayor and council ... and myself in particular," he said. "I'll be the first to say Eddie works very hard ... he's brought a lot of money into the city," he said."

  • "Coun. Alan Halberstadt says the city should create a deputy mayor position to loosen the mayor's grip on how council meeting agendas are set...

    Mayor Eddie Francis determines the agenda for each meeting and Halberstadt has alleged there have been times where councillors have had their issues put on hold or sidelined.

    "I would say yes that's happened, plus there are issues on timing when matters do come forward."


RE the Deputy mayor issue

  • "Francis was en route Tuesday from a conference in Chicago and could not be reached for comment"

But it did work in this case:

  • "Coun. Bill Marra is upset that the mayor’s office released attendance records without providing context.

    “The part that most offended me was that when the information was released, there was every opportunity for the mayor and the mayor’s office to say, ‘We should tell you that in November of ‘08, Coun. Marra told us what was going on,’” Marra said Wednesday, a day after attendance was made public, while Mayor Eddie Francis was on vacation.

    “To sit on a beach in Mexico and lob grenades my way, and drag my family into this, is offensive. And it’s very, very bad politics.”

    Francis said by phone Wedesday that his office was merely responding to requests from the media and other councillors"


    -We must establish a new style of government in Windsor by:
    -Developing a clear and understandable Citizen’s Bill of Rights
    -Improving the way we work at City Hall
    -Empowering Council
    -Improving the way we Communicate with our citizens
    -Becoming more Accountable.


    City Councillors must become active participants, with the Mayor, in governing our City. Our Councillors come from diverse backgrounds that are rich in different life experiences. Many will have previously served as Councillors. We must leverage the depth and breadth of their knowledge and expertise to the City’s advantage.

    Each Councillor has a vision of the City that encompasses more than just their immediate ward obligations. Councillors who chose to accept additional responsibilities will be assigned portfolios that suit their experience and skill set. These portfolios will include duties above and beyond their local ward responsibilities, including Social Services, Fire and Police Services, Community Services, Infrastructure Services, Finance etc.


You may have seen this story

  • "Ontario OKs full-day learning legislation

    Ontario passed legislation Tuesday that moved the province closer to having kindergarten-aged children placed in full-day learning programs by next fall.

    The full-day learning program -- comprised of half-kindergarten, half-daycare -- will see four- and five-year-old children in a school setting between 9 a.m. and 3:30p.m., as part of policy aimed at strengthening Ontario's school system and easing the childcare crunch."

What it did NOT say as was set out by the Minister and was crucial to the daycare debate we had here was:

  • "This morning, the Legislature passed the Full-Day Early Learning Statute Law Amendment Act, 2010. This act amends the Education Act to mandate that all school boards offer full-day learning for four- and five-year-olds, including the integrated before- and after-school programs...

    In addition, the government will provide funding to help stabilize child care. To address the movement of four- and five-year-olds into the full-day learning system, our government has committed stabilization funding that will be phased in over the period of implementation, growing to $51 million annually at full implementation to help stabilize child care centres as four- and five-year-olds move into the full-day learning program. We have also committed $12 million over five years in new capital funding to help non-profit child care centres with retrofits and renovations to serve younger children."

    As Dr. Pascal stated in his report, to fully benefit from full-day learning for four-and five-year-olds, we must also have a co-ordinated child and family support system that offers a continuum of services for children from birth to age 12."

But in Windsor, we are in too much of a hurry to destroy the public system without consultation with anyone. Why?

Someone needs to ask Jean Fox why she has not acted using the legal system to stop what has happened here. There was an obvious way to do so.


I trust that the Minister of Education did not talk about this subject when she visited Windsor:

  • "Education Minister Leona Dombrowsky celebrated Earth Day at Dr. David Suzuki Public School in Windsor with the future students of the school. Currently under construction, the new school will be a Canadian leader in using green technologies and environmentally-friendly design, including a wind turbine, solar panels, a green roof and geothermal heating."

After all, sex-ed changes are dead

I wonder why the Star did not report her visit.


Interesting Star story:

  • "Driver hits pole, faces charges

    A 44-year-old woman is facing charges after a single-vehicle crash on Highway 77 Wednesday.

    At around 10:30 a.m. a red Hyundai Elantra that was driving on Highway 77 struck a hydro pole, Essex County OPP said.

    The driver was taken to hospital with minor injuries, but hydro workers attended the scene to replace the pole."

Imagine instead if that was a politician. The fun we could have with it. Was the person drunk, did the spouse have a golf club in his/her hand a la Tiger Woods, were there infidelities, what would the charges be, who pays for the pole? It would enliven a dull election campaign.

With our luck, if it happened on a cold day, the politician might have a perfect defence---skidded on black ice. Darn!

Accentuate the Positive

Remember what Craig Pearson told us his new job was:
  • "Craig Pearson in his new column yesterday tells us to

    "Accentuate the Positive..

    But one thing I know. In this column and in life, I don’t want the negative.

    I want the positive."

Let's be generous and give him the benefit of the doubt and say that his piece "Red Bull gives us all wings" was writtten in advance.

You see here is what one of the Star stories on Monday was:

  • "Widespread flooding in Windsor

    WINDSOR, Ont. -- Hundreds of Windsor homeowners are cleaning up Sunday after widespread flooding in the city's east end.

    City engineer Mario Sonego said hundreds of homes in the eastern downtown, Riverside and Forest Glade neighbourhoods were flooded when the city's storm and sanitary sewage system was overpowered by severe thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday."

And here is what Craig had the nerve to write:

  • "But it's also political: Mayor Eddie Francis heading to Europe to pitch Windsor as host after Detroit backed out. And MPPs Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello helping secure a $13.2-million investment from the McGuinty government over three years to entice Red Bull to commit to Windsor.

    Forget the naysayers who don't like taxpayer money spent on anything but roads and sewers.

    I'm reminded of the movie Invictus, which tells the tale of Nelson Mandela dismissing critics to personally encourage the mostly white South African rugby team to win the world cup. He knew how much a country trying to climb out of hard times needs an explosion of pride that all its citizens can share.

    Red Bull is Windsor's world cup.

    The city's biggest party weekend of the year."

I am a naysayer and I bet so are lots of those families whose homes were damaged Explosion of pride, a party weekend? Not if you spent Sunday clearing out the water and throwing out damaged goods from your basement. I bet those people exploded but in a different way.

Back in 2007, City officials blamed Mother Nature for flooding:

  • "Early guesses by Mario Sonego, the city's chief building official, are pointing to the wrath of Mother Nature.

    "What we had was a massive amount of rain," he said. "There are no rain gauges there, but I would say we saw something like three or four inches of rain in an hour.

    "At this point, we are looking at the system and how it was affected on the west end. We are looking to see what we did or didn't do. But weather patterns are stronger and you get these massive events."

Edgar's (aka Eddie) speechwriter must have found that quote because here is the Mayor's excuse for flooding this time:

  • "You can never avoid Mother Nature," Francis said. "When there's a storm that's of such intensity and of such ferocity, you just deal with it and hope that the damage is as minimal as possible."

Do you really mean this now Craig:

  • "Let's hope the government makes the same investment in the future, so that in more ways than one, Red Bull continues to give us wings."

So Craig, in your world, let's spend more naysayer taxpayer money on Red Bull races, East End arenas, mind's eye canals and a swimming pool for international games visions.

I guess you are right after all. Dwight told us what Red Bull and the rest are all about in reality:

  • "It’s a good distraction for people,” he said."

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Michigan Senate P3 Hearings

Watch the video at the end of this BLOG. It sums everything up very nicely.

Also, think about how good traffic surveys are as you go through this BLOG:

In a 1997 study,

  • "Of the 14 toll road projects evaluated, JP Morgan reports that only one exceeded its original revenue forecast. Three forecasts were wrong (optimistic) by up to 25% and, for four of the projects, revenue was lower than 30% of the forecasts."

In a 2009 report "Error and optimism bias in toll road traffic forecasts" the author concluded

  • "The author had access to commercial-in-confidence documentation released to project financiers and, over a 4-year period, compiled a database of predicted and actual traffic usage for over 100 international, privately financed toll road projects. The findings suggest that toll road traffic forecasts are characterised by large errors and considerable optimism bias...

    on average, the respective forecasts were optimistic by some 23%...

    Trucks often pay 4–10 times the respective car tariff. Although trucks represent less than 10% of vehicles using France’s toll road network, for example, they contribute over 25% of the revenues and on some US toll roads they contribute around a half of revenues. For this reason, toll road revenue projections that are reliant upon forecasts of high truck usage should be treated particularly cautiously by potential investors.

    The implications of the research reported here are that, in terms of error, the predictive accuracy of traffic models—used for toll or toll-free road forecasts—is poor."

The author gives this classic example:

  • "Despite the absence of comparative data, however, there has been a history of considerable scepticism about traffic forecasting accuracy among private financiers. A key reason for this is that often a number of traffic forecasts are made by different parties for the same project road, with very little consistency among the results. Figure 9 shows four base-case forecasts for a well-known toll road, made by internationally recognised traffic consultants within months of each other. As the data was released to the author on a confidential basis, the vertical axis scale is omitted to preserve project anonymity. This omission does not detract from the message, however. These ‘base case’ forecasts are significantly different from each other—as is highlighted in Table 3.

    Even over the short to medium-term, the forecasts depart significantly (by 100% over 15 years). In terms of forecast reliability, this real-world example is all the more alarming when one considers that the different forecasts result from different input variable assumptions, yet these assumptions are themselves drawn from an entirely plausible (and relatively narrow) range."
I must admit that the P3 hearings really have had so far very little to do with the Bill but more to do with building the DRIC bridge.

I should not be surprised because that was the strategy of MDOT and Canada to try to tie together the two concepts to make it easier for the Bill to pass so that Canada can put pressure on Bridge Company to sell out cheaply. In my view, that was a mistake because it allowed opponents of P3s to join up with opponents of a Government bridge where they might not have done so if only the P3 bill was being debated. Only time will tell who was right.

Again, in my opinion, the Bill is so poorly drafted as I have shown before with power being grabbed by the Bureaucracy that it should never get out of Committee to be voted on. However, $550 million, or at least a two-page letter, has resulted in it being examined by the Senate.

There have been two days of hearings so far. Let me give you some reactions to what I have heard in no particular order:

1) Construction is construction.

Finally someone from the building trades was forced to concede that the Ambassador Bridge Project would hire workers. Up until now it seemed that only the DRIC bridge would have to hire anyone and that the Ambassador Bridge's project would somehow just appear overnight without human intervention. Finally, someone has admitted that thousands of jobs would be created by that project as well.

2) Apparently Texas had P3 legislation drafted almost as broadly as that of Michigan. That State pulled back completely and now approvals are given by specific project as some Legislators in Michigan have proposed. In other words a Government Bureaucracy would not have absolute power as in Michigan.

3) Senator Bash-him was at it again if one dared to oppose DRIC. The gist of his question to a gentleman from a Michigan taxpayers group that had legitimate questions about some of the provisions of the P3 Bill... well, you can listen to it for yourself here

His approach is so reminiscent of that of another politician that it gave me chills. Strange though, he did not ask similar questions of DRIC supporters nor did he ask Representative Gonzales who gave him campaign contributions.

4) Here is the Wilbur Smith disclaimer at the beginning of their traffic refresher:
  • "Current accepted professional practices and procedures were used in the development of these traffic and revenue forecasts. However, as with any forecast of the future, it should be understood that there may well be differences between forecasted and actual results that may be caused by events and circumstances beyond the control of the forecasters. The WSA review and analysis has relied upon the accuracy and completeness of all of the information provided (both written and oral) by Michigan Department of Transportation and several local and state agencies. Publicly available and obtained material has neither been independently verified, nor does WSA assume responsibility for verifying, such information and has relied upon the assurances of the independent parties that they are not aware of any facts that would make such information misleading.

    WSA has made qualitative judgments related to several key variables within the analysis used to develop the traffic and revenue forecasts that must be considered as a whole; therefore selecting portions of any individual results without consideration of the intent of the whole may create a misleading or incomplete view of the results and the underling methodologies used to obtain the results. WSA gives no opinion as to the value or merit to partial information extracted from the report.

    All estimates and projections reported herein are based on WSA’ experience and judgment and on a review of independent third party projections and information obtained from multiple state and local agencies including Michigan Department of Transportation. These estimates and projections may not be indicative of actual or future values, and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty. Future developments cannot be predicted with certainty, and may affect the estimates or projections expressed in the report, such that WSA does not specifically guarantee or warrant any estimate or projections contained within this report.

    While WSA believes that some of the projections or other forward-looking statements contained within the report are based on reasonable assumptions as of the date in the report, such forward looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from the results predicted.

    WSA take no responsibility or obligation to advise of changes that may in any matter affect the assumptions contained within the report, following the date of this report as they pertain to: socioeconomic and demographic forecasts, proposed residential or commercial land use development projects and/or potential improvements to the regional transportation network."
Wow now that is something to relieve oneself of liability if one is dead wrong and the Governments spend billions of dollars on the DRIC project based on an estimate that is horrific.

When WSA was asked about their "track record" the answer given was that it was 50-50 i.e. 50% of the time their projections were below actual and 50% of the time they were above.

I wonder what Chuck Gaidica's track record is.

I have to admit that I would expect that this is one of the cases where WSA will probably be above actual. After all, the DRIC engineers who have consistently been overly optimistic with respect to their traffic numbers. In fact, during the 12 month or so period between the FEIS and the WSA report, the traffic numbers were 10% lower as determined by WSA.

One of the Senators asked whom he could trust with respect to traffic projections.

5) Did you know that WSA did the traffic forecasting for the twinning of the Blue Water Bridge? As you know, that bridge has never had as much traffic on the two bridges as it had on the single bridge. And MDOT chose them to be their expert for this border crossing! I believe that someone said that the Blue Water Bridge traffic peak was in 1991.

Effectively what it means is that if there were private investors doing a P3 on the Blue Water Bridge, they might be bankrupt by now.

Now can we guess what may happen in Windsor/Detroit if similar results take place?

6) We know now that MDOT has not complied with the provisions of section 384. The report prepared by WSA was not investment grade traffic survey, although Director Steudle keeps saying that it is, but rather a "refresher." A real study takes 8 months to a year to do.

It is really only PART of a report. It was a refresher of a Canadian Government report that WSA prepared that has not been released yet by Canada publicly. Of course, a Senator asked to see a copy of that report so that he could understand what the underlying assumptions of WSA were. The answer given to him was that the WSA was not sure that the report or even the assumptions could be released to him unless Canada granted permission to do so.

In other words, Michigan legislators are being expected to approve a Bill and a multibillion dollar project dealing with traffic numbers when they have no idea of the basis upon which those numbers were created. I think they will be very surprised when they see what some of the assumptions were because in my opinion, WSA's mandate was severely limited as to what they could do.

7) Again, no financial numbers with respect to financing costs were provided to Legislators. Confidentiality is more important to the Director, and presumably to Canada, than informing Senators. To me, if I was a Legislator, it would be unacceptable to me. Not releasing this information, to me would say that MDOT does not have the evidence to support that this project wil be risk-free to taxpayers.

8) I do not have a copy of the WSA slides but one of the Senators said that the traffic numbers today are at the same level as in 1972.

9) One of the strangest comments made by WSA was that they took a macro view of traffic but not industry-specific. I do not understand that as the vast majority of Bridge traffic is auto related. You know the comment made about how many times a part crosses the border before a car is finished. If the number of vehicles produced declines or if Mother plants are built with parts supporting plants around them, then the number of times a part would cross the border would be decreased substantially and obviously Bridge traffic would be reduced substantially.

10) There was a discussion about assumptions being made in a project (I forgot the name of the road) where the WSA traffic projections were wrong. The excuse given was that a competing facility was expanded.

DUH... if the Ambassador Bridge is allowed to build their Bridge, since MDOT seems to think that it should be done since they want two bridges in the area, then I would assume that the WSA projections will be just as wrong here where a competitor is allowed to expand as they were in the other road project.

11) Clearly, the WSA a representative was embarrassed by the fact that his "local WSA group" was one of the signatories to a DRIC advocacy advertisement. That certainly sounds to me like a reasonable apprehension of bias type argument that should be considered to throw out the work done by WSA. Someone should have asked as well whether WSA is doing or has done any work on projects that compete with that of the Ambassador Bridge.

12) Back to section 384 which says:
  • "Section 384 (1) The department may continue with preliminary legal, financial, traffic and revenue study, permitting, engineering, and other ancillary work for the Detroit River International Crossing (DRIC) so that it can solicit from the private sector, requests for proposals for public-private partnership to construct the bridge, plaza, and related infrastructure. The department shall submit proposals to the legislature by May 1, 2010. Those activities associated with the DRIC project shall not bind the state in any way to construction.

    "(2) The department shall submit an investment grade traffic study to the legislature by May 1, 2010 from a reputable traffic company with appropriate experience intended to provide a detailed traffic projection for the ensuing 10 years, taking into account projected infrastructure modifications, expansions and improvements announced.

The Director says he need NOT provide any revenue information but only traffic information ie subsection (1) says the department may continue "legal, financial, traffic and revenue study" while subsection (2) says that only an investment grade traffic survey need be produced.

In my opinion, the 2 subsections have nothing to do with each other. They are separate matters. It is a nice try but the key word is "investment." That means someone has to look at revenue which is part of the study.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials NEPA handbook "MANAGING THE NEPA PROCESS FOR TOLL LANES AND TOLL ROADS" states:
  • "The NEPA traffic forecasts are intended to provide the basis for an informed federal decision about the project. For projects involving private investment or bonding, it also will be necessary to conduct an “investment grade” traffic and revenue study. This study serves a different purpose: it provides assurances to investors that traffic levels will be sufficient to support the toll revenues anticipated for the project."

How can one be assured unless one knows the finances. It is all part of the package which investors must see.

I read this which is also of interest:

  • "As the Project has moved forward a more comprehensive and rigorous forecasting exercise is required to forecast traffic and revenues. This report summarizes the extensive work undertaken to provide a forecasting toll which allows the testing of different tolling alternatives on the Bypass. We consider that the selection of a preferred option will permit the development of an Investment Grade traffic study on the back of the work and analysis carried out.

    The term “Investment Grade” is an often used but seldom defined term. A formal definition is difficult to find although recent informal discussions with staff at Standard & Poor’s London Office who specialize in “rating” toll roads (and other transport infrastructure projects) suggested this definition:

    “We generally assume Investment Grade traffic forecasts are undertaken and reported in such a way and to such a level of detail that they can be forwarded, without too much 'overlay' by the financial advisors, for investor scrutiny. A standard public sector traffic forecasting report would be the usual 40 pages describing the model build and 3 pages on sensitivity testing. For investment-grade, we would expect, maybe not the exact opposite, but more of a balance in favor of sensitivities and stress tests and with all assumptions explicitly defined.”

Obviously, MDOT does NOT want the financial information out or else people would find out that the project is not riskless and "availability payments" may be required from taxpayers.

The Senators should note also that no "proposals" were submitted just "proposals of interest."

In the end, I thought the gentleman from the taxpayer group who actually provided input on the P3 Bill really put it properly into perspective:

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Fact Checking The DRIC-ite Fact Checkers

The DRIC-ites are really getting desperate now since they have finally woken up to Constitutionnal issues with DRIC and P3s, especially Presidential Permits which the Ambassador Bridge project does not need.

Hooray for constitutional lawyers. That will tie up matters in the Courts for generations once that kind of litigation gets starts. US Supreme Court, here we come

Here is what the DRIC-ites wrote:
  • Is an Agreement to Build the DRIC Constitutional?

    Question: Is the offer from Canada to cover all MDOT costs on the DRIC allowed by the constitutions of the U.S. or Michigan?

    The Michigan State Constitution states that;

    “This state or any political subdivision thereof, [or] any governmental authority. . .may enter into agreements for the performance, financing or execution of their respective functions, with . . . the Dominion of Canada, or any political subdivision thereof unless otherwise provided in this constitution."

Not so fast DRIC-ites. That is NOT the offer. Remember that Canada's so-called generous offer has to be paid by tolls and so a P3 is supposedly required. MDOT under the P3 Bill is given the exclusive power to deal with tolls. The DRIC-ites neglected to mention about tolls. I wonder why.

Nor is what the DRIC-ites set out the law. Here is what the Michigan Constitution actually says:

  • "Sec. 5. Subject to provisions of general law, this state or any political subdivision thereof, [or] any governmental authority ...may enter into agreements for the performance, financing or execution of their respective functions, with ...the Dominion of Canada, or any political subdivision thereof unless otherwise provided in this constitution."

The DRIC-ites also forgot:

  • "§ 2 Separation of powers of government.

    Sec. 2. The powers of government are divided into three branches; legislative, executive and judicial. No person exercising powers of one branch shall exercise powers properly belonging to another branch except as expressly provided in this constitution."

Don't the DRIC-ites remember that the Michigan AG has already resolved the issue of tolls against them:

Here is what Rep Opsommer wrote as well:

And clearly, the P3 Bill is an Executive powergrab of a Legislative function that is not permitted constitutionally in my opinion.

How Canada Controls The Border Message

Obviously a Government wants to speak with one voice. It makes no sense to have different members of the Government saying different things about the same issue.

However, Canada's Government has taken control to the nth degree as these excerpts from a news story suggest. The important points to understand are that not only is the message controlled but everything is scripted in great detail including whether something can be said or not.

Moreover, the Government wants to deliver a certain message and has target audiences. In the DRIC/P3 case, the objective is to have the Bill passed to endrun the Michigan Senate. However, that cannot be publicly disclosed for obvious reasons.

Therefore, the propaganda message being delivered is how generous Canada is with its $550 million offer so the deal is "riskless" to Michigan and all the jobs that will be created. The reality is much different. Canada is offering nothing but a 2-page letter and will have a P3 investor put up the money months from now when one is finally selected. If an operator is ever selected. Moreover, the Bill itself specifically allows for "availability payments" that have to be paid by taxpayers so one can guess what the end result will be when the proponents have already tolled errrr told us.

In the end, Canada's whole approach is a phony one with respect to DRIC because the Prime Minister has issued to his Transport Minister a secret mandate letter to buy the Ambassador Bridge. But that has to be hidden because it would raise embarrassing questions and answers so that people would finally understand that Canada wants to destroy the Bridge Company and to force its owner to sell cheaply.

Now at last, Michigan Senators will understand the propaganda techniques that are being used against them by Canada when reading this story. Note especially how an event is to be played in Canada and the section of the story relating to the border. Now you will understand why the Transport Minister's position about what the $550 million represents seems contradictory considering what he said in Michigan and what he said in the Transport Committee hearing in Canada the day after he returned from Lansing:
  • Tory message control reaches around the globe

    The long arm of Tory message control has reached around the world in an attempt to orchestrate virtually every public utterance by seasoned diplomats, from Britain to Bangladesh, an investigation by The Canadian Press concludes.

    The secret to this unprecedented attempt to stage-manage Canada's most experienced high commissioners, ambassadors and diplomats is the Message Event Proposal — a finely developed information tool aimed at giving the Prime Minister's Office total control over communication.

    MEPs obtained under the Access to Information Act reveal how Stephen Harper's office has employed the device to micromanage Canadian diplomacy in the United States, the United Kingdom, continental Europe, Asia and Africa.

    Even the most able and trusted of Canada's foreign service officers have been subjected to strict controls — not by their bosses at the Foreign Affairs Department — but by the PMO through its public service arm, the Privy Council Office...

    The central direction of foreign service officers is unparalleled, says retired diplomat Gordon Smith, who served Conservative and Liberal prime ministers as Canada's ambassador to NATO and the European Union, was a former deputy minister of Foreign Affairs and a senior official at PCO...

    The MEPs have been used widely in embassies and diplomatic missions across the world. In some cases, the government has weighed so-called diaspora politics — how the handling of an event in a far-off land will play with a particular ethnic group in Canada.

    Closer to home, a three-day December 2007 tour of the Canada-U.S. border organized by the Canadian consulate in Seattle was scripted to circumvent Canadian media and "dispel myths and negative perceptions" among American media outlets.

    "No media invited," said the MEP for a visit by state legislators and staffers from Washington State, Idaho and Alaska for what was billed as "an extensive tour" of the border.

    News releases would be issued after the tour "targeting local state media" in Washington, Idaho and Alaska, stated the MEP, which specified this coveted soundbite: "U.S. Legislators get a first-hand look at how co-operation, partnership and dedication to security is making the Canada-U.S. border work."

A suggestion to Michigan Legislators, next time that the Canadian Consul from Detroit comes knocking on your door about DRIC and P3s, cut the time spent speaking with him by asking for a copy of the Canadian Government's Message Event Proposal. You may as well learn directly how you are being tricked.

Why Is The Star So Afraid

Why give a Blogger a break? Why recognize that Bloggers do more than what the Star's Craig Pearson suggested: "overall, bloggers rant."

The Star again did an Editorial on how to rejuvenate the downtown:

"City core
Revisit the idea of closing streets

In the afterglow of Red Bull, we'd like to see the city and Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association revisit the idea of closing Ouellette Avenue in the core, along with sections of cross streets on Chatham and University for the rest of the summer on weekends...

The end result was a people-friendly environment in the core that attracted all ages as well as families. Adding in temporary stages and live music only added to the atmosphere...

For the rest of the summer, though, let's start showcasing the core as a pedestrian mall. Let's take advantage of the (usually) good weather and create a drawing card to complement the summer's festival season on the waterfront."

DUH, why didn't the Star go on to say: "Just do Windsor Artsfest Weekends" as the BLOGMeister has already proposed. It clearly will work. But they did not [sigh].

I wrote about it here "The Answer To The Star's Question: Windsor Artsfest Weekends"

If you are interested, you can read my Presentation to the DWBIA here

I won't hold my breath waiting for a phone call from the City, the Star or especially the DWBIA.

DRIC's $200 Billion Shortfall And Other Fun With Figures

Some math examples for you to consider when looking at the border file.


Did I make a mathematical error somewhere? I could not believe the results either. Has anyone else has done the math, especially at MDOT, and if they have, why they kept it secret from Legislators?

The last payment after 50 years would NOT be a balloon payment. Rather it would be like the Hindenburg. A huge blimp that will blow up Michigan's finances.

I wanted to see what the amount owing on the DRIC bridge would be after 50 years in the simplest way possible if the "ramp-up" shortfalls were "capitalized." After all, MDOT and Transport Canada told us in their handout:
  • "Q. Are there years when there may be insufficient revenues to cover all costs?

    A. For such projects, there is normally a “ramp up” period of traffic and revenues during the initial years of a project’s operations. Any shortfalls will be capitalized and repaid in subsequent years. Over the concession period, projections show that there will be more than sufficient funds to cover costs, that is, Michigan will not incur any future financial liability.

You will want to see their numbers after I have done my math!

I did not want to go through amortization tables since frankly, little principal would ever be paid off as I demonstrated previously. I also wanted to be conservative.

So taking out a friendly Excel spreadsheet, I started off with a principal amount of $1.5 B, assumed that revenue would be $80M per year on average, assumed only a very low 12% rate of return, calculated the shortfall and added it to the principal and then started over again. I did this for 50 years.

Check out the spreadsheet here:

What does it show:

  • the amount owing after 50 years would be almost $200 billion dollars if toll revenue only was used! That is on only $1.5B
  • in no year would toll revenues ever equal annual payments ie the ramp-up would last for the full 50 years
  • in the final year, toll revenues would have to equal $20B. I wonder what the toll amount per car would be to cover that
  • after only 10 years, the section 384 time-period, the amount outstanding has doubled.

If my math is correct, then no wonder the WSA financing costs projections were never released! No wonder P3 proponents want "availability payments."

With the Governor gone and the MDOT Director in a new job, who would take the hit when the finances became public.



Whatever happened to DRIC traffic will double between now and 2035 that we heard before.

Tripling sounds so much better but here is why. To make it easy to figure out and to get away from big numbers, do the following calculations.

Bridge traffic 1999----100 trucks

Bridge Traffic 2010----50 trucks (50%) decline

Previous DRIC number doubled---200 trucks

New DRIC number tripled---150 trucks (3 times 2010 traffic volume)

At its best, the new DRIC triple numbers are about what the DRIC engineers said could be handled by the Ambassador Gateway Project itself without a new bridge anywhere!


Our truck volume today is 100 trucks per day to take a simple example. That volume we are told is not good for this City.

Truck volume doubles over the next 25-30 years to 200 trucks according to DRIC projections.

The assumption in the past was that the DRIC and Ambassador Bridges would each take 50% of the traffic.

Windsor's 2035 numbers would be 50% of 200 trucks or 100 trucks. Or the same number today.

HUH!!! What did Windsor gain out of all of this?


Assuming that US Customs meets its goal to speed up the handling of trucks to say 30 seconds per truck rather than 2 minutes, how many trucks could the Ambassador Bridge handle today?

There are 13 truck lanes into the US today. Each lane could theoretically handle 2 trucks per minute, 120 trucks per hour, 2,880 trucks per day, for a 30 day month--86,400 and 1,051,200 per year.

Multiply that by 13 lanes and the total volume that can be handled is 13,665,600 trucks. Even the inflated DRIC numbers cannot reach that volume!


Try out this logical thinking.

If DRIC costs $2B and the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project costs $500M and if tolls are to be used to pay down the costs, whose tolls would be higher and by how much?

Hmmm, I would guess that the DRIC tolls would be 4 times higher. If you wanted to spend a day across the border, would you pay $19 each way to do so, the cost for the DRIC bridge, making the cost for a return trip $38? Or would you rather pay $4.75 each way?


Let's see, MDOT had to postpone 243 road and bridge projects because they did not have $84M to pay for them to get federal matching grants.

If MDOT has to pay out $250M per year for availability payments for the DRIC project, how many more projects will have to be postponeed and for how long?

If postponing the 243 projects resulted in a loss of about 10,000 jobs for 4-5 years, how many additional jobs would be lost because of the DRIC "availability payments?"

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Dwight-Lite's Huge Faux-Pas

Jeff Gaudette has to be sitting in his Ward 10 campaign office laughing himself silly. A couple more misses like this and his opponent is toast!

Jeff does not have to do much as he watches Al Maghnieh self-destruct and on camera too. The irony is that he is doing it to himself as he was the one who asked to appear on the Star's Net News at Noon.

I guess every candidate in every Ward will be given the opportunity by the Star to appear on camera or is it favouritism, only given to the fellow who worked for Dwight Duncan for 7 years.

Why even Doug Schmidt knows "power" when he sees it as they drove around together counting red lights
  • "Such was the case the other day when Ward 10 hopeful Al Maghnieh came a-calling. Now, candidates bearing story ideas can be greeted with wariness, borderline pity/hostility — a news story is not the same as your opinion on something and some vote hunters can’t tell the difference. But Al did his homework (apprenticing under Dwight Duncan should at least have some benefits). After knocking on doors, he discovered a good hot-button issue that reverberated with each subsequent encounter with a potential voter."

DUH if this is what he learned under Dwight, then Al is going to have a tough time. You see, dear reader, Maghnieh blew it:


He is in favour of INCREASED taxes. Just like taxes must increase by several million dollars to fix some red lights.

He has no choice but to have earned the Dwight-lite name I bestowed on him as this clip points out graphically

And as far as the problem of taxes going up as property values decrease as Al talked about in the clip as well, do you have a clue what he said? He has NO answer whatsoever so why make it an issue.

Poor Al, people will now be wondering if they are voting for him or for Dwight. Does it mean he has to listen to what Dwight does on everything since he worked on so many issues for Dwight for 7 years. How many times will he have to declare a conflict? Does that mean his constituents will NOT be represented on many issues?

Now candidates need to take Schmidt with a grain of salt. He is setting you up. For a story that supposedly was one of the top-read, it only got a relatively few comments, one of which was a humdinger:

  • "Yep, traffic lights, that's the problem with Windsor.

    Thanks Al, you've directed Windsors plight into non-relative issues."

Someone must have been clicking on that story button to get the numbers up.

Don't listen to Doug is my advice:

  • "find news for the news hounds. Helps us fill empty space and broadcast time, helps you gain recognition that comes in handy for voters on election day...

    know how to use the media, and sometimes even the wonky stuff can grab the attention of a reporter, particularly during those approaching lazy, hazy days of summer when finding good, hard-hitting news is sometimes a challenge."

Sure and let them allow you to make a fool of yourself as Al did.

Some advice Jeff. In this case, do NOT ask for equal time. Just be quiet and watch how Dwight-Lite does it to himself again.

Baird and Michigan: NAFTA-Gate Junior

Let me run the video again.

Why is Transport Canada Minister John Baird seemingly giving up so easily? After all, the various Canadian Governments have been trying for 50 years—a generation or two in Baird’s words—to take over the Ambassador Bridge, especially in this last decade. Get the P3 Bill passed and Moroun is toast and will have to sell out cheaply or face a DRIC Bridge right

Baird has had 16 months of failure so far and he has NOT achieved the Prime Minister’s mandate. So he gives up when he can almost taste victory? Naw, makes no sense.

It is all to lull the Bridge Company into a false sense of security while the DRIC-ites work feverishly behind the scenes. After all he himself was in Lansing talking to people.

There is NO real interest in the DRIC bridge on Canada's part. There never was. After all, there was a secret mandate letter from Harper to BUY the Ambassador Bridge. Ex-Governor and DRIC consultant’s consultant Jim Blanchard has told us about negoatiations. Why BUY it if you are going to build DRIC. Makes no sense at all.

Now get this….If Moroun sells cheaply (It looks like Canada offered around a billion or so and Moroun wanted higher according to Jim), then Canada’s tactics are fantastic. Hey the DRIC project would cost $5.3B we are told now. If Moroun sells for a lot less and even with the cost of building the twinned bridge beside it thrown in and a cheap DRIC road in Windsor, then the Governments have saved billions and achieved their objective.


So say and promise anything and it does not matter. Just get that damned P3 bill passed and it is game over for the Morouns and NO legislative oversight in Michigan. All that has been offered so far is NOT cash but a 2-page letter that even the Minister could not hold back laughing about as the other video showed.

Come on now, after the P3 Bill is passed, terms will be introduced during the due diligence stage that mean that Baird’s offer will never be taken up. Why else was this language inserted in the P3 bill:

It appears as if MDOT anticipates a toll shortfall as the P3 proponents suggested and here come “availability payments” where taxpayers foot the bill!!!

Shhh, do not tell anyone and for heaven's sakes do not dare release the Wilbur Smith Financials or the cat will be let out of the bag. How far will a "confidentiality' argument take MDOT if no one complains.


Complete discretion in MDOT to determine how to minimize liability. No talk of eliminating liability or making it riskless to Michigan now. The Governor appointed Director reporting to the Governor and NO REPORT TO THE LEGISLATURE! Amazing.

“Economically beneficial” is not RISKLESS!!!

It all smells availability payments with Michigan taxpayers on the hook, Hardly a riskless no-brainer! Taxpayers are screwed and no one is around to take the blame since the Governor will be gone and the MDOT Director as well. Just the Legislators!

Then MDOT and Canada can do their own deal with no one looking over their shoulders since both the House and Senate will have passed the P3 Bill and given out a taxpayer blank check.

Oh, about NAFTA-gate. You remember how Canada butted in during the US Presidential primaries and tried to hurt Candidate Obama's chances. Then the Canadian pressure tactics to try to get the DRIC bridge done with President Bush before he left office and that dangerous Obama took over. You would think that Canada would learn. Baird did not.

So he butts in again but just at the State level. NAFTA-gate Junior, get it now!

Baird proclaims it has to be done now, before the Legislature takes off for the summer months and then there are elections and nothing would happen for 2 years.

2 year---why is Canada anticipating a Republican Governor, House and Senate who will oppose P3s and DRIC? 2 years until the next election after that to hope that friendly Democrats will be voted back in as Legislators.

Canada really does not care who wins as long as they are pro-DRIC. The Democrats are their choice now and so offer them the world to pass a P3 bill. $550M was a good opener. Then challenge the Republicans to be the Party to turn down 10,000 jobs.....Oh heck, forget about silly lawsuits trying to stop all of this. Mere details. Moroun's Bridge would create jobs---why mention that troubling detail either.

Now Canada has to make up with the Republicans and still maintain support with the Democrats. Butt in again to make the Republicans look like heroes. How to do it?

Damn Democrats and Matty Moroun. If the Governor and House Leadership would have done their job weeks ago, without the Moroun people telling their story so effectively, the House would have passed the P3 Bill without the need for the $550M. That was going to be the Senate sweetener!

So the only solution, increase the bucks. Up the ante. And make it breathtaking. Make sure it hits the front pages.

Actually, it is no big deal since Canada really wants total control of the borders between Canada and the US anyway. Baird thought he could get it for only $550M. Oh well.

That would make it hard for the Senate to turn down. Perhaps even have the Prime Minister make the appeal this time to really turn the screws. Will Jennifer be breathless again? Let the Republicans become the Party of "Yes" at least with respect to this matter! That will be the pitch.

It does not matter. Just issue another letter. But make it at least 3 pages to pretend additional thought was put into it.

This way the Democrats can take credit for the initial deal. The Republicans take credit for the increase even though Jennifer can arrive breathless with another letter in the Senate hearings. Everyone gets Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Remember though, "Jobs" was the DRTP mantra and no one fell for the "Jobs Tunnel" propaganda since the project made no sense. DRIC is the same.

However, due diligence kills everything so Canada does not put up a penny but the P3 Bill has already passed, Moroun is pressured to sell out, everyone wins but Moroun but then again who cares. You know what he is like.

Will the Senate fall for Baird butting in and now Ohio as well? Is that what it takes to get Legislators to look the other way---money, big money?

Or will they remain true to what they have said up until now:

  1. Is the P3 Bill good legislation? In my opinion, clearly NOT
  2. Legislative oversight is required to prevent bureaucrats doing dumb deals that may kill taxpayers down the road when availability payments have to be made
  3. There is no business case presented at all re the financial viability of the project and in fact MDOT has made it secret
  4. Other border crossings could be at risk considering the traffic projections seem over-optimistic
  5. Why spend money on DRIC when Michigan has 243 projects that have been postponed and the Ambassador Bridge project provides toll credits that Mmichigan can use.
  6. Has MDOT complied with section 384 with their "refresher" and hiding key financial data
  7. Whose traffic numbers have been consistently too high and how can they be trusted for a $5.3b deal when their basis, a Canadian report, has never been released publicly by Canada
  8. A foreign Government, even a friendly one like Canada, should never be made an "Instrumentality of Government" of Michigan and given sovereign powers as if they were the State.
  9. Why hasn't Canada set out a draft of the required "Terms and Conditions" of its $550M loan as part of its 2-page letter
  10. The P3 deal is surrendering the border to Canada especially if Canada convinces the US to have all border facilities in Canada as in Fort Erie with shared border management so that Homeland Security powers are reduced.
  11. Why not force Canada to accept the Ambassador Bridge project the way Caanda is forcing Michigan to accept DRIC since there is NO liability on taxpayers when private money is used and the project can be completed in 30 months not 5 years or more and without destroying communities on both sides of the border
  12. Why have the Governor and MDOT NOT helped out a Michigan Company get its project accepted when the Governor admitted that she would have supported it but for Canada.
  13. Let Canada spend its $550M on fixing its roads to the border rather than destroying Delray and negating the purpose of the Ambassador Gateway project.
  14. With the Baird offer, the only jobs he talked about were jobs for Windsor-Essex workers. After all, he who holds the gold makes the rules
  15. Is the P3 bill constitutional
  16. Is Canada's offer a proper one since it was designed to get the P3 Bill passed. The result would be to circumvent any opposition by Senators and to make their "Up or Down" vote irrelevant
  17. In the end, DRIC is nothing more than a "public" bridge being given over to Canada for its objectives and the private sector for a minimum of 50 years and perhaps longer. Why not let the best border operator in North America who helps out Michigan andontario/Quebec continue what he is doing so well.

A simple thought that I have expressed before. Why spend billions today on a guess about traffic in the future and difficult financing. Let Moroun build his project now since it is a traffic flow solution not a capacity one. It solves all of the short-to-medium term problems.

IF and only if traffic picks up such that more capacity is needed, then take a hard look at a DRIC bridge. In the meantime, protect the DRIC corridor but do not waste money when most of the P3 proponents have already said that the toll revenues won't cut it. Isn't that the final answer"

Enough already.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Red Bull Attendance Update

Looks like Spanky got an airplane ride in a Red Bull plane

  • "Riding in a Red Bull Air Race plane at over 300 kilometers per hour and going through the same high-G twists and turns that the pilots perform is sort of like life in politics, Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan said after taking what he called the most memorable ride in his life ahead of the weekend’s race in Canada..."

    The Finance Minister is from Windsor but had never seen his home town from that perspective: “We flew around the local area and part of it was upside down."

That's not all that was upside down.

Let's see now, Dwight and Edgar (aka Eddie) spent $5M to get us Red Bull again which was to generate lots of money for the area

  • "Duncan said that the direct impact to the economy is about $24 million but perhaps more important the indirect impact is estimated to be as much as about $100 million. “The $24 million is the direct impact. You can use a factor of five for that for the direct and indirect impact.

Remember what Edgar (aka Eddie) said:

  • "Last year the race came at a time when CUPE workers with the city were on strike and we still had 300,000 people attend the races," he continues. "I expect to see a huge increase over those numbers this year."

Here are the numbers from Red Bull:

  • "Arch and Bonhomme were locked in another classic duel on a cool and overcast day in front of a huge crowd of 110,000 watching from Windsor and Detroit with about 160,000spectators in attendance for the two days of high-speed, low-altitude racing."

As for YQG:

  • "Windsor Airport had prepared room for up to 250 visiting aircraft, but the volatile weather scared off the typically fair-weather set, with officials saying only about 20 aircraft actually made it."

Dwight and Edgar were wrong. Very wrong. And at a sponsorship fee that increased by 56% in one year. From 750,000 attendees down to 160,000 about half of last year when the expectation was to have more than 300,000.

Which other event costs the Government almost $50 for each person who attends and fails to accomplish its objective?

If only 110,000 watched in Windsor, then obviously revenues are much less, especially if one discounts the number of people who normally come here to visit over the weekend.

If the numbers keep dropping, next year's race will attract well under 100,000 people.

Why then does Dwight like Red Bull:

  • "It’s a good distraction for people,” he said."

It's time that we let another City take over the air race!


This was reported in the Detroit Free Press. A huge tragedy almost took place in which many could have been killed or injured:

  • "Pilot Matt Hall tells how he avoided crash into Detroit River
    His plane was too badly damaged to compete Sunday

    WINDSOR -- Matt Hall flirted with disaster Saturday when he almost crashed his Red Bull Air Race plane into the Detroit River.

    Hall, the former Australian ace fighter pilot, admitted Sunday just how close he was to a watery grave in qualifying during the Windsor round of the world championship.

    "A foot or so lower and I would have been in the water permanently," said Hall, 39, who saved his MXS-R aircraft from smashing to pieces on the river, or, worse still, spinning out of control and hitting spectators lining the course near Hart Plaza.

    "It all happened and was done with before I had a chance to think about it," said Hall, who lost lift in his plane after a series of high-G turns and dipped both wings and his right-hand wheel into the river before powering up and out of what could have been a bad wreck.

    "I was back in the air before I was aware of it," said Hall, whose wife was watching from the riverbank in Windsor. "I just knew I had to get it away from the crowd line."

    Had Hall's propeller hit the water, his plane surely would have crashed or cartwheeled across the river and perhaps struck spectators on the bank.

Does this make sense either? What if his plane ran into trouble over Windsor? Time for a Transport Canada investigation

  • "Hall was not injured in the incident but, accompanied by a support helicopter, had to land his crippled airplane back at the Windsor Airport, where the Red Bull hangars are located."

Water, Water Everywhere

Our Mayor has such strange priorities. Take a look:

  • "While ignoring the canal project, council approved adding a $60-million item for a waterfront underground retention treatment basin to end sewage overflows into the Detroit River, an item for which the city was already in the process of seeking senior government funding.

    “Other cities are putting forward massive projects with vision. Today, here, instead of such vision, we have a receptor sewer project … how does that diversify our economy,” Francis said after the meeting.”

Here was interesting comment about the plant in relation to the basement flooding this weekend:

  • "Flood victim Frisch questioned whether the city's storm water system is adequate. "As a taxpayer, I just raise that question: are we being looked after?"

    Sonego said the $60-million retention treatment basin under construction at Glengarry Avenue and Riverside Drive may have helped prevent the basement flooding. It is due to open in March."


  • "Water rate hike decision on hold

    There were two options under consideration. One is to increase water rates by 10 per cent in each of the next three years. The other option is to raise the rates by about 5 per cent in each of the next six years.

    Mayor Eddie Francis, who is a member of the commission, doesn't support either option. He suggested a rate increase should be less...

    The utilities commission needs money to upgrade the city's watermains."


  • "Francis to seek kids' games for Windsor

    Is Windsor ready for a $35-million swimming pool?

    The big question mark remains the lack of a competition-sized swim facility.

    Backers are hoping the Windsor games can serve as catalyst for a 50-meter competitive pool facility, something Francis said could serve as a “legacy” project for the games.

    Preliminary costing peg such a facility, including seating for up to 2,500, warm-up pool and diving well, at between $28 million and $35 million, said Don Sadler, executive director of Windsor’s parks and facility operations. Another ballpark figure is the estimated annual operating cost of $1.5 million, he added.

    “The key is, it’s going to cost dollars to operate year after year after year — is this community willing to accept that cost?” said Sadler.

    While an Olympic pool would be great — “everybody knows we need a 50-metre pool” — Francis said his proposal also has a “Plan B” that wouldn’t require such a facility in order to host the 2013 games. He said Friday he couldn’t divulge details before the Bahrain bid."

I wonder if Councillor Gignac will vote to spend that kind of money on a swimming pool

  • "City councillor Joanne Gignac, who lives on St. Rose Avenue, was among the east end residents who woke to find a pool of stagnant water in her basement and a lake in her backyard. "What a day. It's a heartbreaker," she said.


  • "Widespread flooding in Windsor

    Hundreds of Windsor homeowners are cleaning up Sunday after widespread flooding in the city's east end.

    City engineer Mario Sonego said hundreds of homes in the eastern downtown, Riverside and Forest Glade neighbourhoods were flooded when the city's storm and sanitary sewage system was overpowered by severe thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday."

Lansing-izing DRIC Payments

Oh let me have a bit of fun with that horrible pun!

I did want to catch your attention after reading this in the DRIC-ite financial gibberish handout:

  • "Q. Are there years when there may be insufficient revenues to cover all costs?

    A. For such projects, there is normally a “ramp up” period of traffic and revenues during the initial years of a project’s operations. Any shortfalls will be capitalized and repaid in subsequent years. Over the concession period, projections show that there will be more than sufficient funds to cover costs, that is, Michigan will not incur any future financial liability."

Actually, the A. to that Q. is that there will always be a shortfall since revenues will never equal to financing costs based on the numbers in the handout. That is why the financing costs were conspicuously omitted.

Lansing-ized, capitalized...get it? Well I thought it was funny.

However it is not as funny as what the DRIC-ites are trying to pull over the eyes of Michigan Senators. House Representatives who voted for the P3 Bill with incomplete information should hang their heads in shame since they would be screwing taxpayers.

I did some calculations to show you how absurd the P3 DRIC would be. Frankly, it could NEVER be paid off if, in 2040, the most revenue per year would be $117,426,000 when annual payments would be totalling over twice as much. OR MUCH MORE.

However, I did want to do a quick table so those who are not financially inclined would understand how "Lansingizing" or capitalizing payments worked.

A caveat...the numbers may be slightly off because my interest adjustment dates may not be completely correct in the calculations but it is close enough so you will understand how it works:

We start off in year #1 with a total of $1.5B to be financed. At the end of the year, a payment of almost $250M must be paid but only $60M in revenue is available. Accordingly, the shortfall of almost $190M is added to the outstanding principal creating a new principal amount of about $1.69B.

Now we have to go through the exercise again but this time we start at $1.69B and the interest owing jumps to $281M leaving a bigger shortfall of $221M. This now leads to a new prinicpal outstanding of $1.9B.

As you can see, the principal just keeps getting bigger and bigger since the amount owing in interest is growing too and the shortfall keeps on getting bigger. By the start of Year 4, we have added almost $600M in Lansing-ized shortfalls to the initial amount of the P3 cost.

This simple math example should explain why the P3 Bill is a farce for a DRIC bridge. Bankruptcy of the project with all that would be involved would be the only result.

This what the DRIC-ites are trying to convince Michiganders to accept. Get one of them to show you the math. They won't because they dare not.

The Senators have no choice but to reject the P3 Bill! The Senators have no choice but to reject DRIC.

Red Bull Weekend Special Report

I trust you did NOT go to the Red Bull website to see that about 2/3 of the tickets were still available as at 11 AM Sunday

I trust you did not read the Red Bull press release that said this after Saturday's race:

  • "WINDSOR, ON, June 5 /CNW/ - Britain's Nigel Lamb won the first Qualifying point of his career this afternoon by posting the fastest time in Windsor ahead of Sunday's fourth race of the 2010 season. Britain's Paul Bonhomme was second with Hannes Arch of Austria third and Canada's own Pete McLeod taking the sixth place position with his best flight of the season in front of a crowd of 48,000 spectators. Matt Hall's plane touched the surface of the Detroit River, with his wings and right wheel splashing off the top of the water. The Australian quickly recovered and returned safely to the Race Airport in his slightly damaged airplane."

Oh it's nice to get people to come to Windsor and spend. So do what you are supposed to do, believe the hype about why we spent $5M to give to a private company when numbers dropped from on both sides of the river from 750,000 in the first year to 300,000 last year to who knows how many really this year as local festivals were deprived of money for their events.

Read what could be the first draft of what is being prepared for Monday's newspaper. It is another one of those "Special to the Star" articles done by a freelancer I guess to justify what happened.

  • "Security was tight at the Windsor waterfront today for the Red Bull air races. Thousands of police and military personnel from across the nation were brought into the City to protect against what was expected to be a mass demonstration by CUPE day care workers, parking enforcement officers and garbage collectors.

    An anonymous hard-liner stated "In fact, it did not matter whether they were there or not. We are going to say that we had great concerns while a couple of Star writers will say that we had every right to be prepared because after all we beat them during the 101-day strike and they were probably carrying a grudge.

    Blame it on the weather and blame any shortfalls in attendance on CUPE. After all, we need to keep those anti-labour fires going if we are going to use this as our way to be re-elected."

    Apparently, the security of the G20 leaders in Toronto may have been compromised by sending so many of the protective forces to Windsor. Government officials at all levels have refused to comment on the issue.

    Notwithstanding the cloudy skies, over 10 million people jammed into the waterfront. Mayor Edgar (aka Eddie) Francis exclaimed, “This is just like New York City's Times Square on New Year’s Eve. In fact, there are more people here than in Times Square, Trafalgar Square and Saint Peter's Square combined.

    Business has been so good at some of the downtown establishments that many of the owners have paid off their line of credit for the next 30 years.”

    Sources have told us that the Mayor was seen speaking to the race organizers to convince them to come back to Windsor again. The Mayor really did not care if they did or did not but wanted to ensure that he would get the credit if the Province was dumb enough to spend another five million dollars or more per year for the air races in the future.

    The Minister of Finance, Dwight Duncan, was ecstatic. “I expect that a trillion dollars or more will be spent in direct and spinoff purchases by the time this weekend ends.

    Over a gagillion people from across the Universe are tuning in to watch the big show in Windsor. I guarantee that there will be more UFOs sighted over Windsor during the next year than any other place on Earth!

    Trust me, if they say ‘Take me to your Leader,” they do not mean Dalton McGuinty.”

    Nodding yes to everything being said by Spanky, Ward 10 candidate, Dwight-Lite, said ‘If only we had introduced earlier the HST that I worked on along with the Minister, we could have paid off Ontario’s entire Budgetary deficit on the business generated this weekend alone.”

    Apparently, he was upset that the traffic lights were not synchronizing properly or another 5 million people could have made it to the waterfront in time to watch the races. Instead, they were shuffled off to the East End Arena to help boost revenues there.

    The President of Windsor Airport, Ms Nazzani, was very pleased with the business generated at YQG “We had so many planes land at the Airport that we had to turn away over 500 jumbo jets who wanted to come here for the big weekend.”

    The only one who appeared to be upset was the Minister of Economic Development, Sandra Pupatello. "Instead of being able to gallivant around the way I did at the Paris air show, Edgar and Dwight have me stuck in a kitchen making bacon and cheese quiches for all of the high-fliers who have come in for the races."

    All in all, the weekend was a huge success. Even if it was not, we are going to say it was and who is going to say that we are wrong.