The phony dodgeball showdown between interim mayor Drew Dilkens and his successor Freddie Francis, at the new addition to the South Windsor Arena, was prescient to a fault.
It was nothing if not a set-up to broadcast the fix is in on who will be Windsor’s next mayor. Having both in the same room, separate from all the other fault-filled councilors, was reminiscent of the past election.
Back then the pair seemed joined at the hip sharing campaign events.
One of the most plotted out of succession plans wasn’t as clear then as it was on the CTV broadcast February 24. It showed both Francis and Dilkens in dark suits, but Dilkens was tieless. The visual was most likely planned.
Francis with his tie, was meant to look like a real mayor while Dilkens was to look relaxed and on his way to the exit.
It might all have been circumstantial, but rarely, when it comes to a Francis, has there been any spontaneity. The many mistakes Dilkens has made while warming the chair for Francis may have been as equally planned out.
He is, revealed a recent PostMedia survey, one of the most disliked mayors running a major Canadian city. Dilkens’ problems are multiple and include his blind following of the packaged agenda of the Francis Council.
It continues the tradition of glitz-seeking which marked the tenure of the failed former mayor, Eddie Francis.
It is time for the pretend mayor to go. But, was his low popularity simply a ploy to have the electorate clamor for the Francis scion? Words were not needed to show that buttoned-up dodge-baller Francis is a man of action.
There could be, however, a flaw in this finely managed succession. Whenever the Freddie Francis name is mentioned, commentators at The Square invariably note their displeasure. Usually it is anyone but Freddie, but often it is passionately worse.
Despite this, the only sure way to get him into position as mayor is to have him become mayor. The logic is pure; incumbents usually win.
Francis will dust off the mayor’s chain of office a few months before the October 2018 election just as Dilkens mysteriously announces his departure. Some made up excuse will have him turning in his keys to the mayor’s office.
With the election looming, there will be little time to have a by-election. A secret meeting of council will be held and the dutiful media will stand outside city hall, looking for little puffs of white smoke.
When they’re seen, the news will be flashed that Freddie Francis is now right where he should be; the new mayor of Windsor.
No doubt, Eddie Francis will sit on the sidelines, smiling about a plan coming together. There could be one missing detail, though.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
It is entirely possible that life under his younger brother might be just enough to get the city to vote for someone new, someone who is able to get the city back on track.