Monday, October 13, 2014

14 DAYS - THE PLOT THICKENS

Within days after the 2010 election, the Old Guard gathered and planned the undoing of the new council.  They even gave it a name: Project 4-2-0, ostensibly meaning 'four to zero" to indicate the end of The Four.

Certain members of senior town staff saw the election of the four as problematic.  And the exodus began.


  • Harry Schlange told everyone he was moving to Ottawa to take a new position. (Reminder: Schlange was originally chosen for Fort Erie CAO during Mayor Redekop's last term and left after a couple of months, then came back after just a couple months in the private sector.) 
  • Rino Mostacci, the town planner who envisioned a wall of condo towers all along the Bay Beach Shoreline, left to take a similar job in Markham. He's now back, working for the region.
  • Ron Tripp, head of Infrastructure Services and mastermind of the Bernard Road "state of the art"  storm water system that just about destroyed the nice public beach there, looked for the permanent job as CAO but was denied that by the new council, so he went to St. Catharines as a public works manager. He is now working in a similar position at the region.
  • Heather Salter, the town solicitor, was fired in a vote by the four who felt she was not properly representing the town's interests with regard to the Bay Beach Issue. She now works in St. Catharines.
  • Town Treasurer Helen Chamberlain also left to work for the region.
  • Adam Joon of the Fort Erie EDTC has also left to work for the region.
It seems that Harry Schlange is putting together his own Dream Team with staff from Fort Erie. I agree that a couple of the names on this list may just belong to people who were looking for better jobs, but when the former CAO who favoured the condo tower at Bay Beach is joined by the man who came up with the idea in the first place, the hairs on the back of numerous necks stand on end.

Trojan Horse anyone? What appears to be a good thing for Bay Beach, may be a set-up. The region has pledged $50,000. to match a similar amount from the town to do a Master Plan for the Bay Beach Properties. Having been fooled and lied to many times since the property was bought from George Rebstock in 2001, some are leary that the region, namely Mostacci and Schlange may have influence over the plan. All but one (incumbent Don Lubberts) of the candidates in Ward 5 are in favour of some kind of commercial development for the Bay Beach Properties' waterfront section. After a decade of struggle, the plan to develop the last public parkland on the beach is still in danger of being given over to a private developer.  It's almost bizarre that this issue is still up for discussion.  Time and time again, the people have indicated that they do not want commercial development of the parkland. Period.

An Op-Ed in Bullet Media last week caught my eye. It was all about the CAO (Schlange although he was not mentioned by name) and the purge going on at the region. The writer, former regional councillor Norm Puttick, talks of the loss of at least seven senior staff at the region.  The pay-outs for five of them totals around $3 million, according to Puttick's source. He also suggests that morale is low and some staff replacements might not be qualified for their jobs.

While we are grateful that the region is helping to fund the master plan, and we think/hope that it was given to use for a park plan, we have to be cautious in our optimism because of the track record of Schlange and Mostacci.

We put the idea of selling any of the Bay Beach Properties to rest in 2005; we did everything we could to stop the P3 plan for the beach front areas of the property a couple of years later, and we hope that a new master plan will for once and for all, keep the Bay Beach Properties in the public's hands.

Correction: CKTB did not air an interview with a candidate for Fort Erie mayor on Monday. Will update as information becomes available.





12 comments:

  1. view_from_the_beachOctober 13, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    When current front running mayoral candidate Wayne Redekop was in office as mayor he spoke of a desire to have Fort Erie end participation with the Regional Municipality of Niagara.
    I wonder if he still believes this would be in our best interest? Frankly, I'm inclined it worthy of consideration again.
    Of even more pressing importance though is a statement from him making clear his views regarding the EDTC and what to do with it's insultingly insubordinate and incompetent shithead of a general manager.

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    1. At this point, it seems the Region is a mess. Don't expect the present councillor Teal to do anything about it. He has been coasting through his job for years. Was the same as mayor of Fort Erie. Sandy Annunziata is all show and no substance; Ray Murray has a rather checkered past. Bob Steckley could be very effective if he has support from the newly elected mayor who is also on Regional Council.

      People who are so concerned about the Fort Erie Council should look closely: the fault lies with Mayor-by-five-votes Martin. He does not know how to run a meeting; he has a long history of following the gravy train - just like his chosen successor Stephen Passero.

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  2. Dont really expect much on the 610 AM radio for mayor broadcasts. A good idea but the candidates are not going to say anything expect the old slogans and repeat previous observations about infighting and lack of respect among the elected reps. That being said, we ask for at this late break for one of the for mayor candidates to present a CLEAR agenda, clearly, on what they would do to improve the situation here in the town. On radio no one has to see your haircut or suit or anything else, just listen and try to relate. Dont blow this opportunity, we will be listening, make the most of it. This could be the make or break, not scary letters or lies about the other candidates intentions.

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  3. I hope that the ballot boxes are sufficiently guarded the ENTIRE TIME this election.
    Why does it seem that the mayor and Pessaro don't want that to happen?

    Remember, the election must be perceived to be legitimate. So why not agree with a little bit of extra safeguarding?

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  4. History is an ass biter. Norm Puttick once suggested to Dougie to use the Region Waterfront program for Bay Beach and right in front of other Regional Councillors was told to F..Off and mind his own business ...and here we are 3 years later squre one and countless dollars down the crapper asking for Regional Waterfront support. Stick it Doug because of the trouble you caused us in ensuing years .Hope on the Radio, one of our Candidates tells it like it should be. <<<< The track closes unless we get slots back. Thibert is fired unless he leaves the Racetrack and he goes back to his job and supports SMALL business and gets an attitude adjustment .Next person to even mention a lawsuit gets immediately countersued .Election signs are banned for environmental reasons. Ignore the MOE toad instructions and groom our beaches every day.>>>>>>>>>>>>>> That's what I want to hear from the first ballsy candidate. They get my vote and many others.

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    1. I must admit that I heard the announcement about the candidates' interviews starting this week before I had my first coffee. Sorry. It must be next week when it starts.

      Howie, I agree with you on everything - even the toads. Ministry does not give a toad track about the environment. All their instructions are geared to give the high rise developer approval to destroy the ecosystem in Crystal Beach. The toads would have been long gone, along with the washed away beach from the run-off from the condo tower. Tripp was warned that his method at Bernard Beach would not work and that person is no longer working in town hall. The man was right; that beach is shot. Same thing would happen to Bay Beach.

      As to Thibert, there are a lot of people asking the same question: what are you going to do about Thibert? We need a majority on council and a mayor who works well with others to bring back a positive business climate. It is commonly known that many businesses are loathe to approach Fort Erie because of Thibert's attitude. Commercial real estate brokers too.

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  5. This Thanksgiving reminds me of the first Thanksgiving when most of the new settlement of Plymouth made it through the first year intact, with the help of a native named Squanto, who spoke perfect English , as he lived in Ireland and London until he managed to get back home, his entire tribe had been murdered by a Massachusetts based tribe , the now Boston area, Myles Standish decided to pay back, on behalf of Squanto , he and some friendly natives got that chief cut his head off and stuck it on a pole outside of the encampment, as a dire warning not to mess with the young colony.

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    1. The history of the United States is full of violence. What right did the early settlers in North America have to kill the natives and take their land? Yet the Aboriginals fed and helped the Plymouth Colony. We have much to learn from that great example from those thought to be "savages." I am very grateful that I live in Canada. It is a great country.

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  6. I attended the mayoral and regional candidates night ( can't really call it a debate for there wasn't any). Noyse gave specifics about what she would do, get more senior housing in this town, make the school boards do something with the schools they close rather than let them deteriorate and bring down the entire neighbourhood, get EDTC to be town employees while maintaining their "arms length" incorporations status, ask the province for money to bail out the track or return gaming to the building and Fort Erie residents should no longer be paying the $500,000 to the race track.
    Didn't hear anything specific from any one else, accept we need to get along and keep user fees in line, all the candidates said that, would you of expected anything different.

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  7. I have no idea how this election will play out here with so many candidates in every position. But I can guarantee 100 % if the Chamber of Commerce plants win a majority of council, Bay Beach will be open season for the first dirt bag developer willing to pay the right people off.

    Ward 1 plant George ol boy McDermot

    Ward 2 Rick cant think 4 myself Shular

    Ward 3 Kim dumb ass Zanko

    Ward 4 Marina u can work 4 me 4 nothing Butler

    Ward 5 not sure who Thibert got 2 so just vote Lubberts

    Ward 6 ditto so vote Collard or Jardine to keep em honest

    Mayor no choice there Noyes to keep em honest unless u want a return to the dark days then vote Pissero

    Region again no choice Steckley to keep em honest otherwise a return to the dark side with Annunziata.

    Fort Erie where if ur not dirty (and proud of it!)you aint nothin

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    1. CF: let's hope that the people in Ward 3 are not swayed by a pretty face and vote for the most experienced and responsible candidate - Sue Saltzer. Anyone who thinks that Marina Butler, who helped fund the lawsuit against The Four, is going to represent the average person's best interests, is going to be very disappointed. I would rather see Dean Dimezio win than Stephen Passero. At least Dean is an honest man.

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    2. Butler short of Pissero is the biggest gold digger of the lot..............the only difference is , she has it and wants more and he needs it

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