Thursday, March 6, 2014

THE WAR ON THE FOUR HEATS UP

"Trust me. A vexatious act perpetrated by certain individuals with the intent to destroy the lives of a number of other people will surely meet up with the type of repercussion that could blow their very souls apart

What a pitiful state of public affairs."

Shirley Grace

Shirley asked me to post her statement as she is very concerned over the efforts by a few to destroy the reputations and lives of the four councillors. Those who brought forth the lawsuit against the four are doing great harm to the community and the lives of decent people who were elected by the voters and are doing their best to represent the people. Many good things have happened in this community since they were elected, but there has been a concerted effort to blame the four for all the ills and misfortunes that have befallen this community.  This is a blatant attempt to change the focus away from the failures of others in the community. This town needs a good old-fashioned clean-up and the four councillors have started that task. The fierce opposition to them is proof that they are on the right track. Their opposition has used the lowest of the low to attack and harass the four. They have done nothing to deserve this treatment - except to do the job for which they were elected.  

I join many others in pledging ourselves to making sure that the truth is put out there. 



Thanks to letter to the town from a developer friend of Doug Martin; a poorly researched newspaper article; and comments made by the mayor and the GM of the EDTC, it has become abundantly clear that the effort to unseat four Fort Erie Councillors has gone to the next level.

Not content to have orchestrated a vexatious lawsuit against the four for conflict-of-interest, the mayor-by-five-votes has enlisted a fellow PC member to drop a stink bomb into the middle of the election cycle.

 Last June, N-O-T-L developer Rainer Hummel beat out another interested party to buy an empty lot abutting the Friendship Trail and newly opened Ridgeway Town Square.  He paid $100,000. for a small plot of land that had once housed a building belonging to the town through a donation by the Bertie Historical Society's bingo funds. It was originally bought in 2000 for a reported $167,000. Repairs and maintenance over the years added to the cost until it was decided that the building was not suitable for a museum adjunct. The town then put the building up for sale and there was interest by a local doctor who wanted to establish a local practice on the square. Enter Mr. Hummel who bought the property. Since then, nothing was done to the property and no plans for the property were made public. So, it came as a surprise to many when Mr. Hummel chose to lay the blame for his decision to "abandon" the property on what he called the poor treatment given to the Molinaros during the ongoing battle over the controversial Bay Beach Project (for lack of a better name, since the project for two, then one twelve story tower on public land at Bay Beach has undergone many incarnations and name changes over the past several years.) 

The Molinaros exercised the option they wrote into the original agreement with the town to drop the project after an extension that they built in to the original plan was denied by council.  Far less than the required 45 units had been pre-sold by the end of 2013, and, considering the amount of local opposition, it was probably a wise move to walk away from the project.  Doug Martin and his followers were not amused as they need to have this development go forward in order to justify their very existence. Martin and friends are totally invested in this project and they view the election of four councillors who see it differently as an affront to their agenda. And, make no mistake about it: there is an agenda involved.


http://www.610cktb.com/news/local/story.aspx?ID=1673353
The "Fort Erie is Closed for Business" campaign actually started in March, 2012 when a banner was erected at the entrance to town hall blaming then premier Dalton McGinty for the problems besetting the town. Since the recent by-election brought now premier Kathleen Wynne to town with promises to fund the race track for another year and other incentives, the blame has now shifted full bore to the four councillors.

Aided this week by a wildly inaccurate and poorly written article by James Culic of Niagara This Week, the mayor and Jim Thibert have solidified their campaign strategy for the municipal elections coming up on October 27.  They are desperate to get rid of the four councillors who were elected as part of a wave of dissension against a mayor and council that did not listen to the people, especially with regard to the now infamous Bay Beach Project. The mayor himself came within five votes of losing his re-election bid. Since the new council was installed, the mayor has waged a bitter duel with the four, once resorting to a Darryl Issa-like pique of bad humour by cutting off mics at a council meeting.

James Culic has often picked up the mayor's meme in his "news reports" about Fort Erie town doings. He used Mr. Hummel's letter as the basis for his hypothesis that the 4-3 vote often tallied at council is what has driven developers like Hummel away. Mr. Culic did not interview Mr. Hummel to ask him why he bought a small lot in Ridgeway and what he had planned to do with it before he changed his mind. He did not ask Mr. Hummel about his close association with the mayor and why he chose such an unprofessional way of closing out his involvement with a non-existent "development."

Culic goes on to say:"Through various legal challenges, the town spent more than $300,000 to defend the condo project in court before it was cancelled, and then spent another $260,000 to fire its own lawyer and settle a wrongful dismissal case filed against it in the process"  

Yes, there were legal challenges, many of them brought forth by average citizens who were opposed to a twelve story condo on public waterfront property. These people were exercising their right to go through proper legal channels to express their opposition to the project. It cost many of them a lot of money to so this. Secondly, there was never a wrongful dismissal lawsuit filed in the case of the firing of the town attorney. That is a total fabrication.  Culic should know better, but he was probably hoping that people would not bother, as they often do, to research the story themselves.

And the biggest fabrication came from town planner Rick Brady himself as quoted by Culic:

Using some rough estimates, and assuming the condo tower was at full occupancy, Brady said the town would have been collecting an extra $400,000 to $700,000 annually in tax revenue from the condo units.
“That’s some very conservative estimating also,” said Brady. “That alone represents about 1.5 per cent of the general tax levy, and as a planner, that’s my problem with this whole thing. It’s how do you replace that lost income, and how do we as a town deal with that.”
Whoa, there Mr. Brady.  Perhaps you might like to check out what is posted on the town's website as to the yearly projected net income from the condo tower: $70,624.  In Report CS 12-11, the 5 year projected annual net revenue for the town was rounded off to $75,500. No where near the $400,000 to $700,000. per year that Brady claimed.
Culic took this information, published it and never fact-checked it. The claim that the tower would provide 1.5% of the town revenue per year was outrageous, yet it passed by Culic without pause.
Since then, both Martin and Thibert have asserted that developers are waiting until after the October election when presumably a new council will be seated, to come back to Fort Erie. Again, that is an outrageous statement. Just last week, a developer brought forth a plan for a new subdivision in Crystal Beach. There are several others on the go in the town.
Sure, the town is in an economic slump right now and unemployment is high, but that is a trend that is everywhere.  The cities and towns that are slowly coming out of the worldwide downturn are those that are actively seeking and embracing new technologies in ways to bring business and jobs to a community.  Instead, Martin and Thibert choose to try to lay the blame on four councillors. 

Perhaps it's merely an example of projection.  Whatever it is, they should be ashamed of themselves.


27 comments:

  1. CorruptionFighterMarch 7, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    With completely no success` to their credit, our 2 so called leaders of politics and economics for the last decade have to be seen to be doing something to earn their excessive pay besides just feathering their nests.

    The jobs jobs jobs mantra was tried and failed miserably as did the more recent ``not my fault`` (with a child like pout) speeches. Politics 101 states when you`re a complete incompetent or scandal is lurking nearby shift the focus elsewhere. Who better to divert too than good men of character that you despise for their very moral stand as they threaten exposing your underhanded methods.

    SUPPORT THE FOUR end martin n thibert`s reign of expensive incompetence

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    1. There are no racing dates set yet for the horse racing industry. Now, the deadline has been pushed to April 1. That's cutting it way too close. Also, 500 jobs at a call centre in St. Catharines is good news for everyone. Meanwhile, all Fort Erie has to offer is a letter from a developer who abandoned an empty lot. Now, what potential investor in his right mind would come to Fort Erie when he or she reads that the mayor and GM of the EDTC are blaming four councillors for the failures of the town.

      You are right, CF. This is a distraction - and an attack on the people's representatives.

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  2. CorruptionFighterMarch 7, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    Further.....THE FOUR have also been blamed for the troubles in the Ukraine, Syria and North Korea besides a small lot in Ridgeway. Quite an accomplishment considering most of them have only been in politics for less than 1 term.

    How people are this gullible to believe such stupendous drivel is beyond me.

    Does anyone think for themselves anymore. I now know how dictators come to power, just tell the unthinking masses what they want to hear. The bigger the lie the more believable.

    Think for yourself James Culic , the old boys and their $$ interests have played you or did you go there willingly.....

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  3. Well it looks like we don't need an EDTC until after the election, since Doug is making sure this Town is closed for business!

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  4. It's a reporter's job to provide the facts and let you make an opinion. That's all that Culic is doing, giving you the information. THe problem is your views are already slanted, so you need to move on to cutting the source of your information - a scoop by our town reporter - and get angry at our council that messed this up in the first place!!! The winds of change are sweeping through our town in October, and we all better get used to it. Instead of being reactive negative nellies, we need to be proactive and stop this bs and move on!!

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    1. You're right Michael and that bs needs to stop from the Top down.

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    2. You're right Michael and that bs needs to stop from the Top down.

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    3. CorruptionFighterMarch 7, 2014 at 4:35 PM

      Just how did our council ``mess this up`` there Michael Switzer.

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    4. CorruptionFighterMarch 8, 2014 at 12:13 PM

      still waiting there Michael Switzer.

      Maybe you`re better off sticking with east end ``herd mentality`` spouting off about what you have no idea, and parrotting all the accepted lies although you don`t understand why.

      If you even scratch the surface a little you will smell it for what it is. Though I really doubt you will. Too much work and you may have to use your grey matter a little.

      That`s ok , let them do your thinking for you.

      Delete
  5. I agree that a reporter's job is to provide facts. In this case, the facts, as presented, are incorrect e.g. the "wrongful dismissal case." Never happened. Also, the "facts" presented by Rick Brady are incorrect, according to the town's own website and report CS 12-11. Culic also made assumptions based on the letter sent by Hummel. Culic also did not follow up on the letter by interviewing Mr. Hummel who, by coming out with such a critical letter, opened up questions about his own motives. There are also questions about what Mr. Hummel had planned for the parcel of land and why he chose to buy it when there was another interested party for the property.

    My blog is my opinion, but my opinion is based on facts, not propaganda from some other party. I have worked as a reporter/editor and I do know the difference between reporting and editorializing. What Culic did was editorialize in his latest article.

    (Just got home from work and have to get a coffee in me but I have found some very interesting facts on the Google which I plan to share with my readers.)

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    1. Didn't know you worked.

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    2. I am retired, but I am called in from time to time to work/advise. I do it on a volunteer basis, but it is work. BTW, I do pay taxes as well. Just like everyone else. (I deliberately said that just to get people like you all wee-wee'd up. You are so predictable.)

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    3. What !!!! Advise on how to make a submarine sandwich. You are so full of B.S.

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    4. And you need to get a life, Carolyn.

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  6. It is an election year, time for the sillies & nastiness. Maybe it is also time for a proper publication of details of all development projects approved & started over the past 4 years & the estimated tax revenues from these successful developments. Not to include those that have been on the books for the last 15 to 20 years that have not even seen the light of day but get renewed year after year, with absolutely no contribution to the Towns tax revenue. Lets get the information to the electorate about how successful this council has been & have this positive news override the crap coming from Negative Martin & EDTC group. People want to hear good news stories NOT be repeatedly bombarded about how awful things are & why I can't do any better because of............ Sometimes politicians stay too long in the job & lose sight of their real purpose. They forget they are elected & think of themselves as permanent employees & crown themselves King for ever. All levels of government have them, right now the Provincial Liberals lead the pack with this virus. Mr Martin needs to be refreshed by finding a new vocation in life, change his negative attitude to positive one and become a cheer leader for the Town of Fort Erie. Mr Thibert may also need a change, the Political comings & goings of the Racetrack are taking its toll & the Town needs to start looking for other opportunities to increase employment by attracting new companies. The were closed for Business mantra from the Town Hall & the EDTC needs to stop now. Interviews to radios & newspapers need to change, the continual negative slam against Council is counter productive. I have not heard too many positive comments from Mr Martin, there may be some but his constant reference to the disfunctional Town Council & how the Provincial government has mistreated Fort Erie is what is remembered most. The good ole boys have been running things for years & in my opinion have done more harm than good. Major projects like the Molinaro development are not long term engines to a local economy. How many homes have been built in Fort Erie over the past 10 years - 200,300 or maybe more than 500 units. Have these developments single handedly turned the economy around? of course not because if they did things would be booming. Residential development is very important & Fort Erie is growing in that respect, although Mr Thibert said it is really not that relevant. So why is an 85 unit condo the holy grail? Because Mr Martin etal are using it as a hammer for the sole purpose to beat up on the 4 councillors. What a stupid mindset.
    The only person making an impressive income as an elected official is Mr Martin, Councillors are paid a pittance in comparison & the amount of Stress, trumped up lawsuits, unnecessary nasty comments in public forums really make things seem a "not worth the Bull Shit & aggravation" situation. Local politics is becoming a very nasty sport with no benefit to the taxpayer maybe it is time to do without Councils & Mayors in all municipalities & come up with a new governing body.

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  7. Mr Culic can look forward to a long career as a second rate "reporter" for a third rate publication for many years to come.
    Enjoy it Jimmy because that's as good as it gets working for the outfit you do.
    Making Editor takes REAL ass kissing !

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    1. And he showed such promise when he wrote a solid piece on the CMS regarding its claim of an association with McMaster. He did his homework. Since then, he seems to have aligned himself with one side of the issue in Fort Erie. Sad that he and some others in our local print media have chosen sides.

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  8. So why do the Great Unwashed of the East End continue to use the number of 37% as the voter turnout number for the last election, when in fact it was 42%. It must be their way of trying to manipulate the numbers to suit themselves. 42% is still low but represents more of the norm for this town. Check it out on the TOFE page under election results. Just more lies and manipulation.

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    1. In the discussion on the Bullet media report on the letter from Hummel, they were still talking about the massive amounts of money coming in from the Bay Beach Project. I directed them to the town's own web page where it printed that the NET amount the town receives will be around $71,000, They attacked that figure and then, they must have finally gone to the page and saw it. Then they called me a liar and that I was manipulating the information from the website. BTW, there is a lot of information on that page, including all the promised "amenities" that, one-by-one were dropped from the proposal. Just as we predicted would happen. Then they attacks a remark made by a man from Toronto who said that the now public beach would probably become private if the condo was built. Maybe he's wrong about the changeover from public to private, but make no mistake, the entrance to the beach from the site will not look like a public entrance if the development goes ahead. Point to take away from all this: the GU are aiding and abetting certain people in their effort to dislodge four councillors because they are standing in the way of a certain agenda, one that has nothing to do with the betterment of Fort Erie. It's all about the money.

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  9. I still can not figure out why we are still talking about a cancelled Condo project.
    Mr Moliaro has decided not to continue, clear title has not been decided by Land Titles and yet the GU keep harping about mythical money lost. How about other approved proposed developments that have been forgotten, how much mythical money has been lost, gee lets do a tally on those & see how far in the financial hole we are. It is like saying I lost millions of dollars because I didn't win the lottery. Ridiculous! The residents of Crystal Beach need to be pro active in getting improvements to the Bay Beach properties to encourage more tourists,funding is available from the Feds etc. & Town staff need to assist with this. We need to move on & prove that a spectacular beach is far more important than a condo. The politicians ,all of the councillors & the Mayor, need to work at cleaning up all the Beaches especially those in the Thunder Bay area which have major issues with Storm water runoff. We are a Lakefront community & need to take care of it, if the politicians can't then the residents need to get it done with out them. The East gang of nitwits really need to find a new reason to exist, how about working toward improving Jarvis street, you want a new pool well get out there & raise the money from private sources. It is all too easy to sit on your royal asses & complain about others, how about getting out there in the community (your community) & make positive changes.

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  10. So if it was only a 37% turnout in the previous election, then one should assume that the council that was elected then, all good friends of the Great Unwashed, we're the ones that approved (?) the tower on the beach without a mandate from the people of the town of Fort Erie. This council had more of a mandate to do what they did.

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  11. CorruptionFighterMarch 9, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    doug and at least a couple of his closest cronies should be behind bars for what they have done and what they have attempted to do to this town. They would be in some countries but not here where white collar crime goes virtually unpunished. Even our closest neighbour is tougher on this than we are on this side of the river. What comes around goes around and some day he and karma will meet.

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  12. Just want to throw in some encouraging news. Went to Waterfront Park yesterday afternoon for a look-see and it was crowded with people. A lot of snowmobilers who were not local were jusing the boat launch for their snow machines and enjoying the ice and the weather. Hmm. Could they have discovered the great snowmobile location while viewing the Ice Caves? You know, those ice caves that Jim Thibert thinks could not bring much money to the town? Perhaps, Crystal Beach has started to be recognized as a good place to visit - even in the winter. Thanks to the efforts by the Friends of Crystal beach and the CBBIA, there is a renewed interest in Crystal Beach. A whole new generation of people who have no ties to the old amusement park are finding Crystal Beach to be a good place to live and visit. BTW, there's a lot of construction and rehab activity going on in The Beach. The word "Renaissance" comes to mind.

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  13. The bay is also unique for it's wind patterns, perfect for regattas and exceptional for wind surfing. Thibert doesn't want to advertise wholesome fun when he and the mayor can spout off about the wonders of a 12 storey condo on our limited beachfront.
    mayor martin never let the truth dissuade him from yelling in Council that it was the fault of those in the community that care about Endangered Species that was responsible for no green space left over after the footprint of the Molinaro condo. He shouted "you got your way, you won", the toads have the rest of the uplands. martin knew perfectly well that the Ministry of Natural Resources had their input from the very first planning stages when an underground garage was to be placed in the Fowler's toad hibernating area. In fact, the Town hid the fact that all that land had to be turned over for an artificial habitat for a time period of a year and a half. That truth only became exposed when a Freedom of Information was granted.

    If a lie can be told to add to his propaganda, it hasn't bothered him so far.

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  14. When Peter K. testified at the OMB Hearing when he answered Eric Gillespie's question if he had any personal financial interest in the condo at Bay Beach. He said he did not. Months after that Peter bragged that he was going to purchase Two penthouse condos AND own the restaurant. So, was the first a lie under oath or did he decide after the fact that he was financially interested in the Molinaro Development?

    In any case, later it was in his personal interest to want the condo to be built.

    Any input that he has relevant to the development therefore is tainted and self-serving, right?

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  15. It's great to see other business doing so well in Ridgeway, I guess it show's they are selling people what they want!
    ex: http://www.niagarafallsreview.ca/2014/03/10/brimstone-sizzles-at-ridgeway-sanctuary

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