The appearance of a May 20 editorial page confession in the Windsor Star, by disgraced former councillor Al Maghnieh, must have thrown the Francis camp into a tizzy. Maghnieh admitted to wanting to “take back” his vote to remove fluoride from the city’s water supply.
While some pundits thought this might signal the launch of his mayoral campaign, they were shocked at the extensive push back by current presumptive mayor-in-waiting Francis. The highlight is a vanity photo gracing the front page of the paper’s June 9 edition.
It was illogical.
It had no bearing on a story about the Windsor hum, which Maghnieh owned outright in the day. It might even have failed to endear Francis to voters.
Clare Bell, among other commentators, was not going along with it. She wondered what, “… the picture of that guy on the waterfront has to do with this noise problem? Other than being a source of egocentricity.”
Since the Maghnieh admission, coverage of Francis seems to have been bumped up a notch or two. Possibly, his handlers are afraid of Maghnieh and need to quickly and properly position Francis as the centralist who should be chief magistrate.
On May 29, Star columnist Anne Jarvis consulted with him, and only him, on a piece about engine idling. A current bylaw allows five minutes. Council is examining reducing it to one minute.
Francis wants three.
It smacks of a ploy to show him as a man of compromise. He reasons a, “… stricter bylaw could disrupt people’s daily lives.”
In Chris Vander Doelen’s June 3 column, Francis, and only Francis, is the reasonable man with respect to development charges. These are taxes the city imposes on house builders to cover sewer and road costs.
Francis is, “… of the mindset that growth should pay for growth.”
His apparent preferential treatment often spills onto the news.
While a June 6 report on the approved demolition of the historic Abars roadhouse included comments from other councillors, the paper augmented its website story with a photo of Francis. He was the only councillor so featured.
Francis protested about the property owner’s representative having the temerity to seek such a demolition of an historic edifice. He sternly promised never to, “… agree with that tactic.”
It was a masterful stroke of political positioning.
As an issue, it is not likely to amount to much, other than keeping Francis in the news. Not everyone was impressed.
Commenter Gregory Paul Heil found Holt and Francis to be strange, “… bedfellows.”
Holt may actually believe in saving the old hulk but Francis couldn’t give a rat’s #+* about historical preservation … his mission, like his brother’s, was merely to stick it to Moroun’s forces.
The property is owned by Crown Enterprises, one of the units in the business circles of entrepreneur and Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel Moroun.
Oddly enough, the CBC left Francis out.
Instead, it provided highly objective coverage using sound bites from other councillors. Possibly it has decided not to get in on the elect Francis bandwagon. If so, it makes the broadcaster an island of sanity in a land where the fourth estate is obsessed with Francis.
It is now up to potential mayoral hopeful Maghnieh to retaliate. That should be interesting.