In a peculiar move, the interim head of the local economic development office appears to be criticizing former Windsor mayor Eddie Francis. In an apparent grab for publicity, the hapless Rakesh Naidu publicly proclaimed the way to turn the region’s economy around is to have its youth get into the music industry.
If it were only that easy.
Undoubtedly, much mystery surrounds Naidu’s comments, including his preoccupation with dragging out a plan first brought to life by his full-time predecessor and failed Liberal leadership candidate Sandra Pupatello. She left the employ of the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation (WEEDC) last summer.
Her departure followed controversy over her leadership attracted considerable public attention. It also came after she held a July 2013 press conference at the Capitol Theatre to re-announce a then Ontario government program designed to help musicians in the province.
Now, some three years later, Naidu has jumped feet first onto the music industry bandwagon in the amateur belief it might be the way to put a dent in the youth unemployment rate, which runs into double digits.
He told the public broadcaster on March 31 about an effort to excite the youth in the region somehow found, “… the music industry is one where we have a developing industry here. It’s in its nascent stage but it needs more help and support and we can grow it here.”
As is common with Naidu, the things he says too often ring like he’s reading from a glossy, self-promotional brochure. But this time it is slightly different or possibly even awkward.
To call the local industry a developing one, or nascent one as he un-kindly did, is nothing less than a curiosity. This is particularly so given Francis actually chaired WEEDC’s music cluster development committee.
The Windsor Star, back on July 25, 2013, not only quoted Pupatello bragging the, “… music industry is good for business,” but also mentioned how Francis promised to, “… take this important cluster and throw you a lifeline to allow you to do what you do best.”
If, as Naidu is now saying, the industry is still nascent, he might be trying to drum up the thought the cluster Francis was developing did not enjoy much development.
This, of course, would not be all that surprising. Not much of the cluster work Francis often bragged about really amounted to anything.
An example is the logistics hub at the airport. After highfalutin talk of a major logistics company, known as Landstar, taking up residence at the airport and bringing untold wealth to the city, Landstar issued an extraordinary press release.
It declared its innocence and begged its investors to understand it was not involved with the scheme.
What Naidu might not know is that by trying to get local youth more musically involved he might be chasing nothing but a dream. The market for music production majors, reported Brighthub in 2011, suffers from supply exceeding demand with stiff competition for the available jobs the norm.
Although Learn.org is a little more optimistic, reporting job growth for music producers could increase, “… about 5% from 2012 to 2022; this slower-than-average growth will most likely be due to a lack of funding for musical groups, orchestras and performing companies.”
Instead of chasing musical dreams, Naidu might want to consider concentrating on industrial sectors offering better job prospects, although less publicity opportunities.
Robert Tuomi can be heard at noon every Thursday co-hosting Talkin’ ‘Bout Windsor on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen on demand to previous episodes or catch the discussion live and join in. It is also streamed online at CJAM.