(WINDSOR, ON) – When things get personal, like, for example, the city not properly tending to the public tennis court she uses, it seems a columnist at the local paper opens her eyes. And whether she knew it or not, or even if she planned it, her latest rant on September 16 has done nothing but vindicate the city’s so-called haters.
They are political observers who are able to see through the pretence of the Francis council to see the truth. They are always able to put two and two together and end up with four.
During the reign of failed former mayor Eddie Francis, they were pilloried with considerable disgust by his unrepentant apologists. The sycophants stood by him no matter how ridiculous or costly he was. They were the ones enthusiastically, but blindly, cheering whenever he stood up to deliver his characteristic pretence.
It was rare for even one of them to be able to put anything together and, apparently, they all had a particular aversion to simple arithmetic.
For some probable mystical, but certainly unknown, reason they were unable to understand property tax increases and hypnotically chanted he was holding some imaginary line.
Although the days of adulation for a mayor, who was probably the city’s worst, are just about over, it doesn’t mean ineffective councillor, and now interim mayor, Drew Dilkens isn’t trying to follow the same path.
Even though he might, he has yet to be described as a manipulative, control freak; terms often used to describe Francis, who ran the city like his personal duchy.
“More often than not,” remembers Anne Jarvis, “the vision, whether you agreed with it or not, whether it worked or not, came from Francis. There weren’t a lot of big ideas from the 10 councillors we elected. And you didn’t oppose Francis, at least not without donning battle armour.”
Francis may have succeeded at being a tin pot dictator, but he left the city in a financial mess.
Finally, the paper has a published list of his misadventures. They include the, “… operating cost of the new aquatic centre, one of his council’s signature projects, is out of control – even after closing other neighbourhood facilities to pay for it. The budget for the non-descript new city hall, another project approved by his council, keeps rising and construction hasn’t even started.”
While not touching on the mayor’s greatest failure, sitting idle on economic development, Jarvis does remind readers about the, “… star he recruited to lead the economic development corporation, former Windsor West MPP Sandra Pupatello, is gone amid controversy.”
Sadly, never wanting to dig deep, the scribbler takes the usual superficial approach.
While Jarvis lauds Ed Sleiman, Windsor’s hardest working councillor, for fighting to save his ward’s Seminole Library, she overlooks one fact. The library is on a very short leash with administrators monitoring its activities.
No one should take their threats lightly.
Sleiman, it turns out, and thank goodness, may have won the battle, but the war continues.
Today, Jarvis sees a council with some members willing to vote against big money-draining projects or spending more money to build the not needed Taj Ma City Hall.
The bill for the new hall is approaching $60 million simply because the council will have no truck with a renovation project. For a mere $6 million, Windsor’s buddy, Essex, fixed all the problems the Windsor hall has and ended up with a practically new building.
Although Jarvis is willing to admit the mistakes of Francis, there may be a hidden message in this. Usually there is one with her paper.
Possibly, being so reasonably upset by her unkempt tennis court, she is trying to condition taxpayers for a tax increase so it can be cleaned up. Jarvis pretends the city needs a balanced approach, which is usually little more than code for higher taxes, to her self-benefit.
It could be a case of personal recreational needs getting in the way.
Actually, the city should be lowering taxes to end the extravagance of Francis. He made the city an economic development no-fly zone.
The balance that is needed is one in which taxes drop and the council’s profligate spending stops. This could start appropriately enough by cancelling the mayor’s $21 million short swimming competition. Windsor needs jobs and not pretend world events held in an arena.
Much of what Jarvis penned is too little, too late. It’s a bit like asking for a complete housecleaning and getting a nice mint.
Of course, the mint is much easier to swallow than the decade of pretence preceding it.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at 8:30 pm every Monday evening and noon every Wednesday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor is broadcast every Monday and Wednesday to the Windsor and Detroit listening area and streamed online at CJAM.