By Robert Tuomi
(WINDSOR, ON) – It looks clear that all the fuss at city hall, which to some seems a lot like the preparations in the capital when the tributes are brought in for the Hunger Games, has a very real purpose. The administrators are getting ready for the next phase in the abdication of Edgar Francis, the mayor of Windsor. It will not be an abdication by the useless inward and selfish council, Francis has already neutralized them, they no longer count.
No this is the big abdication that has caused many in the rose city to not only have sleepless nights but to cry themselves to sleep each night given the destruction that is now evident in the wake of Francis.
Francis is about to abdicate his responsibilities to taxpayers to ensure that they no longer have creature comforts in their neighbourhoods. It is the logical next step and even though it is illogical, it is precisely where the city seems to be going.
Here is the plan, in case you might have missed it. A year or so ago two operatives at city hall met with the inwards on council and talked ill of a change in the disabilities act that would require upgrading the playgrounds in city parks.
However, this clever duo, by half, came up with a solution to snub the provincial government and slap the disabled in the face.
Their plan was to close up to 40 parks to keep the disabled out. Oddly the changes in the parks that would make them disabled friendly would also make them safer for all children. Definitely that was pure genius and showed who is in charge in this city.
Now the city has in its hands a report that compares municipalities in Ontario as well as Winnipeg and Calgary.
Apparently, Windsor has way too many parks, so says the report as reported in the Windsor Star on May 15, 2012.
Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with such a situation in a well run city that respects its neighbourhoods and its taxpayers. Sure, parks cost money to maintain, but, what happened to all the hands that the city has to do the maintenance work? Did not the mayor reassign all the former garbage collectors, when pick-up was privatized, to the parks and rec department? Are they not available to do the work?
Possibly not in a city in which the plan seems to be for the mayor to abdicate his responsibilities to taxpayers. There is nothing wrong with a situation in which parks litter a city, at least to those who believe that community amenities are important and who are willing to pay, and think they are paying with their taxes to have good neighbourhoods.
But, and this should be understood, we should all give the mayor a little slack because he is between a rock and a hard place, and if he isn’t he will probably jet set off, on the taxpayer’s dime, to find that place. He has the challenge of finding a source for the millions and millions of dollars he wants to lavish on some elites and some kids who will splash around in the EdgarPlex pool for a few days at the non-event children’s games that is more pedagogical than competitive. In fact qualifying competitions are banned.
For this the mayor has to abdicate. It’s all he can do. Apparently on a May 15, 2012 Facebook exchange, Doug Schmidt, Windsor Star reporter and author of the report on the municipal comparison report, claimed that now might be the “time for creative responses — if neighbours really, really want their neighbourhood pocket parks, maybe they could create a residents association and assume control from the city for maintenance and upkeep purposes?”
Right there, the Star has given Francis the ammunition he needs to abdicate his community responsibilities. Folks, as Don Cherry might say, this is the start of a slippery slope. First turn the parks over to taxpayers and abscond with their taxes to pay for white elephants. Next turn the streets over to taxpayers, maybe give residents a free shovel so they can get together to clean the streets of snow in the winter. Then pull the police and garbage collection, let the taxpayers do all that on their own.
Redirect all the money still collected in taxes to pay the capital and operating losses of a few white elephants.
It is a dangerous situation when the city starts abdicating its responsibilities to the whole community and focusing on a few elite buildings. But if Francis starts closing parks that is what will happen. The plan to turn the city back to taxpayers, while still collecting taxes from them, will become unstoppable.
Possibly Al Maghnieh was right, and he should be praised. It is no longer government by the people for the people but government for me, Al Maghnieh.
For those who love Windsor, the abdication cannot be allowed to proceed.
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