The Media Is The Government (Part 2)


It didn’t take the Windsor Star very long did it to tell our new Mayor, Drew Dilkens, who is the boss in town.

In case that headline looks familiar, and you would have to be a long-standing reader of the BLOGMeister to remember it, it was an article that I wrote “The Media Is The Government” on October 11, 2005. You can read the original here

There was an issue then with our ex-Mayor about openness and hiding things from the Windsor Star. As I wrote at the time:

“Eddie must be a slow learner. He tried again to get around the Media dictum with the Police Board first, thought he could get away with it under “solicitor-client privilege,” pretended that economic development was important. Emboldened, he thought he could have Council action by email and Blackberry rather than public session.

That was his downfall.

This insubordination could no longer be tolerated. The Mayor had to be made to grovel, to face public embarrassment and shame.

Then it happened, and with full force. The recent Star Editorial–A case for openness–and the Henderson column criticizing the Mayor by name on the secrecy were the final blows. He had not learned from his errors in the past and now he had to be taught a lesson. Ergo Agenda Item #16. Complete humiliation.

Eddie knows now who is boss. I trust he now understands his role. Repeat after me: the media is the government, the media is the government, the media is the government.”

How is the Star trying to train our new Mayor to understand who’s in charge of the City? It was not too difficult.

First came this story to set up everything as the Star normally does when they want to do a major attack:

New police recruits get in under the gun for lifetime benefits

Windsor police went on a hiring spree in 2014, signing 18 cadets in the final year that new employees are entitled to benefits for life.

Police in the city represent the final frontier of post-retirement benefits eliminated for other city employees long ago.” (Sarah Sacheli Windsor Star December 3, 2014)

Big deal. It really wasn’t all that important but at first glance seemed to be just another slap at the Windsor Police.

Then, a few days later we saw this that suggested that something was coming up:

Deputy chief’s son hired at Windsor Police Service

The son of Windsor’s deputy police chief was among the last cadets hired before the deadline to qualify for lifetime benefits, The Star has learned, fuelling criticism about nepotism at the force.

David Derus, son of deputy chief Rick Derus, was hired in November, former mayor Eddie Francis, then head of the board that oversees the police service, confirmed Friday.

The names of the cadets hired at the last meeting of the outgoing board have not yet been made public by the board…

Police Chief Al Frederick would not confirm he has hired his deputy’s son, citing confidentiality rules.” (Sarah Sacheli Windsor Star December 12, 2014)

I have to admit that I didn’t understand how this story could come out if everything was “confidential.” How did the Star “learn?” Imagine, leaks at the Windsor Police Services. I’m surprised that a police investigation did not take place to try to find out who the leakor was!

Notwithstanding the confidentiality, ex-Mayor Edgar (aka Eddie) told us a lot about the hiring of the person.

Here is what our new Mayor said:

“New Mayor Drew Dilkens said Friday he can’t speak to hiring practices at the police service since he was sworn in to the board only two days prior.”

Then, the conclusion to what the Star wanted to do which was not only to slam the Police but to go after Dilkens.

Oh my, what the Mayor said was not the right answer for the Windsor Star. That mere 2-liner of his in the  Star resulted in a vicious attack on the Mayor by the Star in an Editorial “The Star’s View: Dilkens can’t use newbie status to avoid answering questions ” dated December 17, 2014. I won’t go through all of it but just  point out a few interesting comments from it:

• That was the wrong answer from Dilkens
• This was an opportunity for Dilkens to let the citizens of Windsor know he intended to be a strong leader and run the show
• Does he plan to return to a system of leadership where police, fire and the unions run roughshod over elected leaders? If that’s the case, let’s be clear: That’s not why voters put you in office.

It was similar to the approach that the Star took with Edgar to teach him a lesson.

What was Dilkens supposed to do… Whatever it was that the Star wanted on this subject or any other subject that interested them, especially so that Administration would have to do all the work and present it to the Star on a silver platter for another one of their big scoops:

“So suggesting Sacheli “call the chief” was not the way for a seasoned councillor and new mayor — one who said during the election campaign that he was his own man, determined to make his mark — to respond…

Dilkens should have said he would provide the names of all members of the police service, their positions within the force and their relationship to other members of the service.

Instead, he left all that up to the chief.”

Of course, the Chief would not do that I’m sure because of confidentiality issues respecting personnel.

However, that really was not what the Star was writing about and Dilkens knows it. He should suspect that he has one year before the Star viciously attacks him. That is the timeframe for Edgar to make a decision whether he is going to run federally or not and then to be elected if he does. After that, Dilkens should expect the Star to slam him mercilessly, unless he knuckles under quickly and is going to be a very obedient servant to them, so that the Francis Legacy can be maintained under [FR]Eddie as our Mayor in 2018.

Don’t you just love the Star’s feeling of entitlement just like Annie was outraged when the Erie St. Clair Community Care Access Centre Board members did not tell her everything she wanted to know:

“We expect full disclosure on all aspects of hiring, and don’t for a moment buy police Chief Al Frederick’s contention that this information is “confidential…” Dilkens needs to learn a lesson from this. When someone asks the mayor a question and he doesn’t know, the answer is not “call the chief” or “I’m new here.”

The answer is “I don’t know, but I’ll find out as fast as I can.”

That’s what strong leaders do.”

Hilarious. I almost split my gut laughing out loud. “We expect full disclosure,” “Dilkens needs to learn a lesson from this,” and “I’ll find out as fast as I can.”

No dear Star editors, that is not what strong leaders do. That’s what wusses do who are terrified of the only newspaper in town. Strong  leaders don’t jump to the demands of the Windsor Star. What they do is tell the Star to buzz off.

However I expect that the ambitious Dilkens will fold just like the ambitious Edgar did. Why do I suspect this? This was buried in the last paragraph of a Star story about 2035:

“Dilkens has also decided to retain two long-time Francis stalwarts — Norma Coleman, who will remain chief of staff in the mayor’s office, and Paul Carter, who has been at city hall 47 years and for whom Dilkens will be his 10th mayor.” (Doug Schmidt Windsor Star November 20, 2014)

After all, dear reader, repeat after me:

“the media is the government, the media is the government, the media is the government.”

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Ed Arditti

Ed Arditti is a retired lawyer and living in Tecumseh, Ontario.

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