Freddie Francis, the younger brother of failed former mayor Eddie Francis, has been given quite the media spotlight by the local public broadcaster. There he was in a CBC report on April 19, possibly showing his mettle to take over as mayor. That might happen at any moment given the precarious questionable legitimacy of Drew Dilkens.
Sometimes much can be revealed in what a mayor-in-waiting will say. This, apparently, was very evident in the broadcaster’s report on slicing the allowed engine idling times from five minutes to one. Francis is quoted as saying, he is, “… not really inclined to pass bylaws that are unenforceable. It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Possibly the upstart forgets he doesn’t pass bylaws; the whole council does. A more diplomatic councillor would not fail to make this point.
Possibly, also, he is getting a good taste of power and it is going directly to his ego.
Sure, there he was, beaming in photos taken by the Windsor Star in its coverage of the FINA diving event on the weekend.
Those in the conspiracy theory department plot out these brushes with publicity as a means of gauging the process to get Francis ready to become the city’s mayor.
Much of it depends a great deal on what the political back-roomers call positioning; putting Francis out where he can be seen as the councillor who matters.
But, while some think the young Francis is a shoe-in to take over the reigns of the city from the hapless Dilkens, others are looking a little askance.
It turns out they are reading a lot into a photo in the April 19 web edition of the local paper. It shows the older Francis, the former mayor, turning up almost like his brother, out of nowhere, for a photo opportunity in Scarborough, a unit of the City of Toronto.
Francis was apparently there because of some kind of link to the local hockey team, the Spitfires, in its bid to host the 2017 Memorial Cup. The team made its presentation on the weekend.
This is the interesting part, the theorists are making hay and the hay they are producing seems to be saying the elder Francis might be planting seeds for a comeback.
Some of the pieces, reckon the theorists, are falling into place and it includes the surprise eleventh hour scheme by Dilkens to reduce the tax grab levy for the new hospital to 1% from the 2.19% recommended by administration.
What this means is the city, which is actually swimming in cash, will miss the opportunity to collect some $50 million in new taxes. The sudden positioning of Freddie and brother Eddie might all be related to the plan Dilkens threw down.
Right now, the city has $185 million in reserves. That would be about enough to pay for FINA’s big one. The levy could be a financial wizard’s way of grabbing more money from taxpayers, just in case more money is needed for FINA.
After all, what are reserves but rainy day funds? And the city could use the money to rain on FINA.
The reason both the Francis fellows are in the news is to prepare the city for a significant change in leadership, say the theorists, though they have been wrong in the past. However, despite their record, they allege Dilkens is doing wrong to the Francis family by lowering the levy and it will be his downfall.
He and the lower levy will have to be replaced as no other option exists.
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.