Marra Outspending Maghnieh
By Robert Tuomi
(WINDSOR, ON) – It might well be that one of the intrepid reporters at the Windsor Square has discovered the reason that city councilor Biagio (Bill) Marra is positioning the city to accept higher property taxes despite the fact that people are hurting and hurting and 26,000 have lost their jobs, which doesn’t even include the 1,910 jobs that have left the city since February of this year alone.
Apparently Melinda Bane in her “Discussing Windsor” column of May 23, 2012 was digging around in the expense accounts of the inward and selfish council members and came to an alarming discovery. At least it is a discovery on a magnitude that should set alarms off throughout the city.
Apparently Marra is quite the spender when it comes to travel and probably, might, or it seems to be suggesting, need to see the city raise taxes to fund his trips.
Bane found it interesting, by half, that he even spends more than disgraced councilor Al Maghnieh who once used the library CEO’s credit card to pay for the cost of a couple’s massage in Chicago.
Wrote Bane, “Speaking of Mr. Maghnieh… Why did his 4 day trip to B.C. for a FCM Board Meeting cost only $1,280.95 while Bill Marra’s 3 day attendance for the same reason cost nearly double at $2,184.06? Were there different or separate fees for the attendees? Did they share a room to save money and only Mr. Marra needed to claim it?”
Bane laments that there are no answers. But, what is on the public record, at least as published by the Windsor Star on March 6, 2012, in a report on the inwards on council achieving a zero tax increase which really wasn’t zero at all, is rather revealing.
Reported the Star, “Ward 8 Coun. Bill Marra warned that, despite the perception of some, attaining another tax freeze was very difficult and that it ‘can’t be sustained forever and ever.’ He said the budget trimming had been accomplished so far without negatively affecting quality of service.”
This might actually suggest that Marra has basically, for all intents and purposes, abandoned his ambitions to be a mayoral candidate in the next municipal election if only so that he will not have to do a considerable amount of explaining. So far, possibly strategically, he is being very non-transparent, although to be frank, that certainly does suit an inward.
Some of the things he will have to come clean on should he actually decide to run, and some city hall watchers can hardly wait, is why he thinks that the city council has a job to do that requires the integrity-failure on council Al Maghnieh. At the infamous council meeting in which big deal Maghnieh notified his peers, they are his peers, that he will stay on Marra jumped at the opportunity to welcome him back and claimed that the eleven of them had a job to do. He did not elaborate on the nature of that job and has been awfully quiet on the subject.
Next he will have to come clean on why he is a big spender, bigger than even Maghnieh. The numbers are saying something.
It is incumbent that he give taxpayers the other side of the story, the rest of the news as they say, or might.
Then he has to lay out his plan for higher property taxes and come clean on the fact that the city has not maintained a tax freeze. In fact, and Marra knows this, council voted to reduce the taxes of some property classes rather than grant lower taxes to all taxpayers. In effect it has actually increased the taxes of most residential properties to offset the reductions offered to others.
Sure, a bit of a shell game but the inwards are good at that as long as they can hide under the shell.
It is nothing if not inexplicable as to why Marra seems to covet the task of being the poster boy for higher taxes. This could signal a rift in who does what among the selfish residents of council.
Months before Marra’s Windsor Star statement the rebel among the inwards had publicly talked about eventually the city having to pay the piper. With this comment Ron Jones, of Ward 2, took on the role of poster boy for higher taxes.
What is odd about this is that Jones made the comments and took on the role knowing that it could severely dampen his chances of winning re-election. He only won by a few votes last time and lives in a ward that is suffering. Its residents can hardly afford paying more and getting less given the area is targeted for the removal of community amenities such as the pool at its much loved Adie Knox community centre. Or, intriguingly, it could be Jones had no choice and, under duress, had to take on the assignment.
Does Marra see an advantage in running a campaign with him being the high tax poster boy? Or does it signal that Marra has ended all hope of being mayor and as a courtesy to his fellow inward has offered to remove the burden of being the high tax crusader from the shoulders of Jones. Deals like this are often made in political backrooms where politicians hang out, usually windowless bunkers, it is believed.
If the latter is the case, and he will not run, then it looks like Marra will not have to explain himself at all and this could be his plan.
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