The Windsor Star is up to its old tricks again.
In what was hoped to be a feel-good story, the Star hid its slick agenda of getting the mayor's message out to the voters. Last Wednesday Edgar boarded a plane at YQG with a final destination of Frankfurt, Germany. Of course no airline at Windsor's tiny airport with ambition flies directly to Germany; plans are only in the works for Lebanon at the moment; for some strange reason.
No, Edgar would have transferred in Toronto for the trans-Atlantic trip. Leaving Wednesday and returning Friday; two nights in Frankfurt. $4,262 + $618.66 + expenses = tax payer's money.
So what did the Star report that Edgar was doing in Germany? His whole schedule was filled with meetings the entire time. Of course they would want you to think he was working away diligently on behalf of Windsorites. Not his usual wasting of resident's money on frivolous ventures. But what was he doing for us, on this junket, exactly?
"He said his meeting with Lufthansa was to "update the scope of the work" required for Phase 2, estimated to cost $310,000, in order to pursue provincial funding. At noon, Francis was meeting with officials from the Red Bull Air Race, who are looking at Windsor to repeat as a host city on the 2010 international race circuit. Despite the civic strike, this year's event was a huge local success, and Francis said Windsor is "in the midst of the process of applying for provincial funding for 2010." Following up on his summer trip to this year's International Children's Games in Athens, Greece, Francis was scheduled to meet Thursday night with the organization's president."
Couldn't Lufthansa have just sent Edgar an email? There must already be a scope of work in place for an update to occur. Wouldn't it have been more efficient to attach the document to an email and send it off to Preston Cedar?
He didn't have to go to Germany to secure the 2009 Red Bull Races. Why this time? Funding from the Province of Ontario for 2010? Has Edgar not read about Dalton and Dwight's money problems? Why else would there be a huge tax grab by harmonizing the Retail Sales Tax with the Goods and Services Tax? And let's not mention the casino power plant boondoggle.
Lastly, the International Children's Games; an IOC-sanctioned event Edgar wants to host in 2013. This is the interesting one.
Edgar's hero, Richard Daley, mayor of the City of Chicago, could give him a few pointers about dealing with the International Olympic Committee. Fresh from being rejected as the host city for the 2016 Summer Games, Daley can testify how quickly residents can turn on you. Not because the USOC failed to win the bid, but because Mayor Daley has run up a $300 million deficit and residents weren't happy that the city would be on the hook for any shortfall from the games. Can you say Montreal?
"While Chicago organizers are trotting out the big guns in a final push for their $4.8 billion plan, excitement over hosting the Games may be waning at home. Earlier this month a Chicago Tribune poll found that nearly as many Chicagoans don't want the Olympics (45%) as do (47%), a sharp decline from the 2-to-1 support in the paper's February survey. What changed? For starters, it was a cold, dark economic summer in the city, which raided a rainy-day fund to close a $300 million budget deficit and has implemented shutdown days for services such as sanitation and libraries. There is also a backlash among windy citizens against Mayor Richard Daley. He promised for months to shield the city from economic exposure in the Olympic bid, but in June the mayor did an about-face and agreed to sign the standard IOC contract that puts full financial responsibility for cost overruns on the host city and organizing committee."
What kind of shenanigans is Edgar getting into in Germany for which Windsor tax payers will have to foot the bill? Has he signed any contracts yet? Is he planning on doing so?
Is this the usual Edgar where he withholds details until the last minute or are we looking at the Edgar who simply tells you what you need to know, where the details have to be leaked out at a later date, when it's too late?
"It's fine to wave the Olympic flag," says Tom Tresser, a teacher who in June went to the IOC's office in Switzerland to lobby against the selection of his hometown. "But the city is broke as a stone." After nearly three years of wooing the IOC, some Chicagoans may celebrate a failed bid more than a successful one."
Do you think my standards are too high to be asking Edgar to come clean? Or should we just trust that he knows best?