Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I am leaving Crystal Beach and moving on. This blog is now closed. Carry on.

Friday, November 11, 2016


I'm already having flashbacks to the Nixon years. Haven't had those for decades. Those original anxieties were bad enough but now I'm thinking that the Trump presidency will be way worse.

Back in the Nixon years, those of us on the left were afraid. I was a union organizer at the time, a very dangerous job, especially for a woman. We had to be very careful because the whole labor movement was under scrutiny, except for the trade unions that supported Nixon and the continuation of the War in Viet Nam. The rest of us had to deal with a National Labor Relations Board that was blatantly anti-union. Scary times for the group I was working for - women in the communications field who had no rights and were kept in lower paying jobs because they were women. We were on the front line of protecting the rights of pregnant women who often lost all promotions for simply going on maternity leave. That was just one part of it. we had to fight to allow women to advance to the higher paying jobs that they were barred from pursuing simply because they were women. Women who took these jobs were called "frame dames" and "switch bitches" among other things. Reproductive rights was a major issue; too many women were harmed and traumatized by back alley abortions and unwanted pregnancies - mainly because proper birth control was difficult to get in those days. Veterans were coming back from Viet Nam damaged and jobless; racism was rampant; health care was out of the question for the poor;  and an enemies list was one of Nixon's hallmarks. we heard a lot about "Law and Order" long before the popular TV series. You did not want to get on the wrong side of  the "pigs" as they were called.  Many were Viet Nam vets still working out their aggressions; beatings were common. His resignation was anti-climatic; the damage had been done. Many of us became cynical.

And then, a few years later, Ronald Reagan was elected and it started all over again. Unions were practically wiped off the map. Regulations and the "trickle down theory" practically wiped out the middle class. By then, I had given up. Burned out, I was able to move to Canada and start the long process of becoming a Landed Immigrant. Best decision I ever made in my life.

Still, I could not abandon my American roots and I became involved in organizing ex-pats like myself in Canada to vote in US Federal elections. Of course, we lost more than we won. Dubya was a simple fool who was controlled by the so-called "military-industrial complex" into waging a lie-based war on the people of Iraq. But, then came Obama and the promise of better. Too bad that he was thwarted at every turn. Still though, things were improving. I was proud of America and its embrace of a Black man with a foreign-sounding name.

And now they have Trump. The Big Birther himself. I am very afraid for America's future. I see most of the gains made disappearing under Trump. His supporters fell for his lies, believing he will bring unskilled jobs back to the rust belt;  activists for human rights will be quieted; free press will be punished; minorities and immigrants will be harassed and the hard fought health care reforms will be undone.

These are not just predictions; these are campaign promises that Trump has vowed to keep. Even the wall between the US and Mexico will be touted as the answer to the "illegals" making their way into the US.

It's all based on hate. And it makes me sick. 

Welcome to Trumpland.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


This is a nightmare that has extended past Halloween and will not be fully over after November 8. I'm a nervous wreck over many things, but the American election takes the cake. Although I am a proud permanent resident of Canada, I am still American-born and do have the right to vote in US Federal elections,
which I have already done by absentee ballot. 

I feel safe living here in this great country, but I worry about my native country that is a total mess right now and could go further down the hole if the con man representing the Republican Party is elected president. I come from a family of Roosevelt Democrats, although to be honest, my mother always voted for Dwight Eisenhower and my father always voted for Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s. We Democrats thought that the election of Nixon in 1968 and his re-election in 1972 was a very bad thing, but we all survived, even after Nixon resigned under threat of impeachment. We did not take any pleasure in seeing the presidency in shambles. Since then, we have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in the Oval Office. Still, the US carried on.

Now, I'm not so sure for the future of the US - even if Hillary Clinton is elected. Like the backlash (or should I say blacklash) against Barack Obama since his election in 2008, the opposition to the first woman to be elected president will be strong and violent - much more violent than even the opposition to Obama. If Trump wins, so will fascism, in my opinion. Trump will soon be replaced with homophobic Mike Pence, the vice presidential candidate who knows how to move the right wing agenda through the system. If Hillary wins, the Republicans will investigate her relentlessly as they have already done to no avail. But it will seriously damage her effectiveness as president.

So, we have a no win situation, regardless of who wins. A truly scary thought.

Porgey sent in a comment today that sums up what many Canadians see regarding the US election:

"Canadians may feel helpless with the machinations going on within the United States, as what happens there, impacts us as well, CBC news had an account of Canadians, volunteering to support Hilary Clintons campaign, it appears that there are no laws forbidding Canadian citizens from helping our neighbours from a fate,that we consider on par with national suicide. The report they covered took place in Kissamee close to Orlando Florida. The Republicans at their convention, dodged a constitutional crisis when they chose another candidate over Ted Cruz. Teds, parents were both Canadian citizens, also they had voted in Canadian elections which according to State Department rules at that time, meant that they lost any rights to have American citizenship on their children."

Seems like a century ago that Ted Cruz was a threat to the US. Meanwhile Cruz is probably hoping that Trump loses and is putting his next presidential campaign together. 

Be afraid; be very afraid.

Friday, October 14, 2016


This is beyond the pale for those of us who lived through "The Condo Wars." Now, years later, Kris Dubé who was once the main newspeak proponent for the twelve story condo tower that was to be built on the last piece of public beachfront property in Crystal Beach has decided that it was a bad idea after all. Stop the Presses and destroy all those pro-tower, anti-four councillors articles Dubé wrote when he was editor of The Times. He has now conceded that Crystal Beach is a "growing and thrives community." Like he just discovered this?

Kris is now a free-lancer at his former employer after a career move to an on-line newspaper that closed down after it had achieved its agenda. Much like the fate of the former ninja blog that spent a few years trashing anyone who opposed the tower, especially me and the Four Councillors, it is now gone, having achieved its agenda. Unfortunately, we remember and we will never forget the damage that was done to reputations, emotions and finances by those more interested in granting developers' wishes than what is best for the residents and visitors to our community.

And Kris's light-hearted mea culpa is an insult to anyone who worked and fought to save Crystal Beach from becoming an overdeveloped mess. He blithely dismisses the efforts of many people to keep our public lands from being given away to a developer by explaining that he "lived in the opposite end of town," as the reason for his support of the tower. Thus, he pointed out the biggest problem in Fort Erie: the divide of different parts of town. And that's why former mayor Doug Martin was able to be re-elected by five votes in 2010 despite being a poor leader. He and his followers used that divide to create even more of a division in Fort Erie and Dubé, family friend of Martin, made sure that The Times' editorial opinion mirrored the mayor's. It worked extremely well in the 2014 election where two of the councillors (John Hill and Paul Collard) lost their re-elections; one (Don Lubberts) was re-elected; and Bob Steckley tried and failed to be elected as regional councillor. Any other place that values its honest and righteous elected officials would have re-elected The Four. Instead, they were sued, slandered and hectored by the minions of a group of non-elected people who work behind the scenes and who funded the lawsuit to protect their hold on the town. And Kris Dubé has been their helpful public relations scribe at The Times. 

So, now Dubé now lives in Crystal Beach and has discovered what many of us already knew a long time ago: Crystal Beach is a hidden gem and a treasure. The "gem" has been polished with the help of hard-working residents and groups who took the recommendations of the 1996 C.A.U.S.E. Study very seriously. Like the study asserted, Crystal Beach is a special place that needs to enhance and celebrate its location, lay-out and heritage. Many of the C.A.U.S.E. Study recommendations were adopted e.g. building height only to be overturned in order to satisfy the ambitions of those involved in the Bay Beach development deal.

 The Friends of Crystal Beach has been doing for working for decades, despite the "really bad years" of red-lining, abandonment, dereliction and disgrace. The FOCB did not give up, despite little or no support from "the other end of town."

Kris is now enjoying one of the many events supported by the Friends of Crystal Beach. In addition, there are free Waterfront Park concerts featuring top-rated entertainment; Circle of Art Show in July;  and the End of Summer Parade/Festival Labour Day weekend. The group meets all year, usually the last Thursday of the month at the Crystal-Ridge Library.

Perhaps Kris will go "Full Crystal Beach" and join. The FOCB will welcome him. Really.

Friday, September 9, 2016


I have been very distracted of late. As an American who still votes in US elections, I am concerned over the possibility of a racist, sexist con man being elected to represent the United States. I probably will not be able to relax until after November 8.

In the meantime, there are things going on that should be noted as the local media sources are hamstrung by their need to keep their advertisers happy, so the truth seldom makes its way to the pages of local papers.

Like the death of a local "character" which, if one reads Facebook and other sources, was just a guy with a beard who was often seen bicycling around Ridgeway and Crystal Beach. Truth: he was a very troubled well-known local drug dealer. Just about everyone knew about him: when he was "carrying" he braided his beard; had regular "business hours" in various places around town and was known to the police who allowed him to function unchecked. His presence in our community was troubling to many and an example of the failures of our mental health system. He joins a number of other lost souls who have come and gone in our community like the so-called Psycho Santa who wondered around town yelling incomprehensibly or "Queen Victoria" who once assaulted a local pharmacist.

Gary Fraser's presence is still being felt in the area. Another big development looms in Crystal Beach piloted by one of the Fraser-involved companies. Some of his properties have been sold, or so it appears. Still waiting for the other shoe to drop regarding this convicted fraudster.

There has been some discussion (I will reprint the remarks) regarding a possible charge for the use of the public Bay Beach. At this point, there is no charge except for the parking in the town-owned parking lots. Years ago, when the town first took possession of the beach, there was a small yearly charge for local residents resulting in a card used for free admission; everyone else had to pay a nominal amount to enter the beach. That plan was abandoned after a short time. Since then, the beach is free. It could be a good revenue source for the town but it has many problems, the first being theft by those collecting the fee. Sorry, it happens all too often in this town. Remember the old bingo days and the charge booth at the Waterfront Park boat launch? It may be more trouble than it's worth.

Another great year of events sponsored by the Friends of Crystal Beach, but there is one coming up in October that brings Crystal Beach major international attention - the 5K Run/Walk over the Thanksgiving Weekend (Columbus Day Weekend to Americans.) Every year it gets bigger and it is already shaping up to be a big, fun event. BTW, the next Friends of Crystal Beach meeting is on Thursday, September 29 at the Crystal-Ridge Library at 7:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome.  Always looking for people who want to make a difference in their community.

I'll close for now with this:

Thanks to a brilliant presentation executed by Sally from the FOCB, Old Man Summer was memorialized  in true Trumpian style at the End of Summer Parade. held on Saturday, September 3/(Photo by Rick Doan)

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


Meanwhile, across the river in Buffalo:

Buffalo has transformed its waterfront.  Just a reminder how a once disused and barren was changed into a great tourist attraction. Too bad Fort Erie mostly wastes its greatest asset. 
(Note to our mayoral wannabe: you know that you won't get many votes out of Crystal Beach, mainly because people do remember your duplicity, but your petty little pay-back has been thoroughly noted and proper "credit" has been awarded to you by name. Of course, many of the people who were affected by it were from other parts of Fort Erie and they will remember too.)

There are unconfirmed reports that convicted fraudster Gary Fraser has been arrested again. Fraser, who is the front man for a syndicated mortgage group has left his mark on Crystal Beach and Ridgeway on his way to fame and fortune. The trail of half-built and abandoned buildings has blighted the Beach, especially the empty business structures on Erie Road.  There is a vast area on Ridge Road in Ridgeway that has been torn up in anticipation of another development from one of the companies that Fraser fronts.

One woman who owns a building on Erie Road is probably breathing a sigh of relief that the sale of her building to Fraser fell through months ago, while others who sold to Fraser are grateful that they were paid before the bottom fell out.

And, just like other developers, Fraser was allowed to get away with problems in grading of the under-construction houses on Schooley Road.  While the planning department and other departments at Town Hall seem to be on permanent vacation, developers seem to have no problem getting building permits even though there are serious mistakes in their plans. Take a look at those abominations at the end of Hibbard Street in Ridgeway that have short driveways and little hope of being bought except by fools. What? Was no one at work the day those plans were approved? Or was it a case of what a local developer has bragged that "I can get anything passed as long as I pay for it."

This blog put out the warning about Fraser long ago.  (Look it up in the archives.) Hopefully, some listened. I do know of others who didn't and were roped into defending Fraser even though he served time for previous scams that robbed family, friends and even his own pastor from hundreds of thousands of dollars.

UPDATE: Fraser has NOT been arrested - yet.The investigation is ongoing, but some properties owned by Fraser are now up for auction. Both Gary and his wife have not been seen in the area for a while; she was seen clearing out of one of their properties a few weeks ago. Like his previous situation that ended with his incarceration, he may be difficult to find.

ELECTION UPDATE: Fort Erie Race Track owner, Carl Paladino is the chair of the Trump campaign in New York State. This morning, he embarrassed himself on MSNBC's Joy Reid show, but he really proved himself as a right wing nut job in a recent interview. He asserted that President Obama is definitely a Muslim because of his foreign policy. This is the guy who ran for governor of New York wielding a baseball bat. He lost in a landslide. 

Another developer who thinks only of himself, like Trump. Hopefully Trump will suffer the same fate in his campaign as Paladino did in his.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Well, James Culic's words  have been spun so much that even he is getting suspicious. In his latest article about the much-delayed (will it ever happen?) Canadian Motor NOT NASCAR Speedway, he has added remarks by Regional Councillor Sandy Annunziata regarding his earlier article Failed Land Purchase Adds More Delays to Speedway Project. In that article, Culic recounted the years of delays and the various statements by developers and politicians. He reported that Mayor Redekop, in a radio interview, said that the CMS is now scheduled to open in 2019.

In his most recent article, Culic writes: Politicians from From Erie say they have spoken with the developers of the proposed Canadian Motor Speedway (CMS) project and have been reassured that progress continues.  In Monday night's (July 18) Fort Erie Council Meeting, Mayor Redekop cut off Annunziata as he read his prepared statement about the delays and the earlier article:

According to Annunziata, the original article “doesn’t provide the context CMS is currently engaged in with respect to property acquisitions.” The public relations team behind the speedway project were given multiple opportunities to respond to questions ahead of the publication of the original article, but they chose not to respond, saying it was a private matter.

So, Redekop stopped Annunziata in his mansplaining tracks and asked that he continue (with his butt hurt rant)  after the meeting. Which he did, as he continued his remarks later. Again, Annunziata spoke on behalf of the developers - or seemed to:

“I respect the public’s skepticism, I think it’s warranted after so many years, but I would also ask for a little more patience as we overcome a few more obstacles,” said Annunziata in his written comments.

So, there you have it.  The long and winding road to a NOT NASCAR racing track in Fort Erie is paved with evasions, vagueness and droppings from the horse track.

Another day in Fort Erie. 

Meanwhile, an article in the Toronto Star joins a long line of articles praising the rebirth of Buffalo, New York as a major tourist location. Used to be the other way around, but Buffalo has come back from near death. It can be done. Years of stagnation are giving way to a vibrant old/new city. A visit to the waterfront is a real eye-opener.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


 Instead of  the presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee of the United States, Donald Trump, we have someone who follows  the Trump Paybook and who assumes that the people of Fort Erie are "poorly educated" and do not have good memories or critical thinking skills. Not so at all. It's just that those of us who see the truth don't have the stomach. or the funds to go one-on-one with a psychopath. I submit that the next mayor of Fort Erie will use the Trump Playbook to win in 2018.

I received the following comment from "Corruption Fighter" this morning:

"if you think things are bad now......wait till Pissero makes his take over bid in 2018....he will make Redekop's wanderings over to the dark side a longed for memory....The OL Boy Club....f@cking Fort Erie for decades"

And yet, people voted for Passero and his friends. In truth, it was Passero's friends from the Chamber of Commerce (A.K.A. Chamber Maids) who basically handed the Ward 2 seat to Passero after the death of Rick Shular. Rather than appoint the runner-up, the Council of Commerce decided to spend thousands to have a by-election. Of course, you-know-who was backed by the Old Boys. And he won. Surprise. Stephen was still smarting from his loss to Wayne Redekop in the mayor's race. So, like Brutus, he has been working hard to discredit the mayor and place himself in the spotlight as the heir apparent to the throne of the mayor-ship of Fort Erie.

To those of us who are Americans, the thought of Trump as president of the US is truly frightening. He tells lies easily and does not apologize for mistakes and he makes lots of them. He has conned and cheated his way into striking distance from the White House. I am very afraid for what could happen in the US if he is elected.

On a similar but much smaller scale, the people of Fort Erie may be faced with the choice to vote for a Trump-like liar and con artist for their next mayor. Check this guy out: he supposedly has a business yet it does not really exist legally; his personal life is one of marital cheating and manipulation; he loves seeing his name and picture in the media and he associates with rather sketchy characters.

Just a warning, folks. Do not allow your vote to be stolen from you by a narcissistic wannabe Trump.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Only one councillor and a couple of committee members left to go and the total removal of any possible chance for transparency is complete. The ouster of Ann Marie Noyes from her volunteer post as director of the gaming board was finalized pm Monday, May 23, 2016.  This was a chance for the minions and movers of the Old Boys Club to rid themselves of another pesky person who asks too many questions and tries to bring honesty to the gift-that-keeps-on-giving corporation run by the oft-embattled  Russ Wilson, who is taking his golden handshake and riding off into the sunset, in order words: beating a hasty retreat. But not before he and his buddies at town hall disposed of their chief inquisitor, former Ward 6 Councillor and not-mayor-by-five-votes, Ann Marie Noyes.

I received a first-hand account of the debacle from an attendee at the event. Here are some highlights:

 "All rise.  Kangaroo Court is now in session.  His worship Mayor Wayne Redekop is presiding.  Mayor, the two parties have been sworn in and are obliged to speak in generalities, point fingers, and in general obfuscate the matter whenever possible".  

It was a kangaroo court plain and simple and our illustrious Mayor was in on the action.  It was plainly clear from the outset from the way he ran the meeting during the delegate presentations that he was tired of the whole mess and just wanted to get on with removing her ASAP.  

The questions asked by the other 'interested parties' were merely an attempt to make it appear as if they were open minded and felt kind of obligated to ask a totally irrelevant question.  Hell, one Councillor even used the word 'irregardless' which isn't even a word (check it out). {Editor's Note: I hate it when that happens} Councillor Butler got totally lost during the presentation because she couldn't connect the timelines to when John Hill was a member and not a member.  None of her motions were seconded (her words) and they died on the floor.  John seconded most of her motions which then entailed discussion.  The committee members don't like that.  

Kris Knutt spoke very eloquently about his experience on the board.  Trouble was he forgot to mention that HE QUIT.  Too much work plus he was pissed big time that his buddy Russ was not selected for the CAO position.  I am sure they told him it was a slam dunk and just a matter of time before he gets the job (and it was).  

Knutt further stated that he knows all about profession behaviour because he is in a corporate setting every day.  Ya, right!  Clerk at Staples I guess qualifies.  He also said that the behaviour outside the meetings may have been 'cordial' but inside "EVERYONE BEHAVED UNPROFESSIONALLY".  The very thing they accused AMN of doing apparently was done by all.  Can you say double standard?  I was praying that Don would pick up on that comment and sure enough he did.  Seeing as there was unprofessional conduct by everyone could he be expecting to deal with the rest of the members being removed too? (paraphrasing).  

It was also very clear from the way Chair Graber answered, didn't or couldn't answer questions presented to him asking for examples of disrespect, unprofessional behaviour, and had the board 'officially' approached AMN regarding her behaviour and issued any kind of a warning.  Usually you get three strikes.  

And then Graber complained she had met with the CAO and the Mayor regarding serious matters of concern at the board level (her opinion).  This really pissed Graber and his cronies off so much they wanted to kick her out immediately.  Then, it turns out Graber did the same thing without authorization or direction from the board to do so.  "But, but, we are the executive.  We don't have to have permission" he stammered.  "But, isn't that the same thing you accused AMN of doing?  Isn't that a bit of a double standard?" asked Councillor Lubberts.  

So, the delegations are over and it's a ten minute recess.  "But wait a minute!!!!!"  Graber yells out and starts to walk down the side ramp to get back to the horseshoe.  This is really professional and it also shows a bit of the anger side of Mr. Graber.  "There were things said about the board that just weren't right and I want to make sure we tell people here and at home the facts about our board" he spoke in a raised voice to the mayor as he walked down the side.  Really professional for sure.  Redekop said with a wink and a nod "don't worry Larry.  We'll be setting the record straight when the report comes on the floor" nudge nudge wink wink.  

I was told there were plenty of lies being thrown around.  Why they did that only God knows.  It was a forgone conclusion that the clandestine meetings between Russ, the mayor, the CAO, etc. was enough to seal the fate of AMN.  

The lesson learned, and I hope that even those who are on the winning team now come to realize you don't mess with the old boys.  They are mean, nasty, and will slice your throat if you get out of line.  They have ways to deal with people like AMN.  Look no further than what happened to the Fort Erie Four.  And, John Hill's comment to Graber in the atrium following the end of Captain Kangaroo's Court was I guess I better stop asking questions or I will  be the next one to be kicked off.  Graber was speechless and looked like he was going to cough up his nuts.  My guess is that if he had any nuts he probably would have.  

Need I say More? The is still the question about the $400,000 uptick in revenue that allegedly was not distributed fairly if at all. Still lots of questions about that as evidenced by remarks on this blog in another thread.  I will reprint them here.

Firing a Volunteer said: Interesting council meeting last night, they removed Noyes from the gaming board. I guess she asked too many of the right questions that the old boys club committee didn't want to answer. From watching the council, the boards representative, made many general verbal accusations against Noyes regarding her behavior but when asked for specifics or examples was lost for words. He did comment that she went outside the board for information when she didn't agree with the information provided. Good for her. And God forbid she went to the mayor and the CAO to inform them what was going on behind closed doors. How dare she. Noyes's speech evolved around the process that was put in place to deal with bingo dollar distribution. She wanted the bingo groups informed and be part of the process. This behind closed doors, a who knows who, and what appears as preferential treatment needed a light shone on it. But those who know Noyes know her to be one for fairness and openness. Yes she asks allot of questions, too bad they got to close to the truth, so out she goes. Not to worry Russ Wilson will be "retiring soon" . I hope bingo organizations will start demanding answers when they do not get the increase dollars from gaming they deserve. Remember the OLG is the official rule makes here not the gaming board, the OLG gives the municipality set out the parameters, and the TOFE may be outside of them with this "new process behind closed doors selection " may run contrary to OLG policies. Bingo groups unite and fight for fairness and transparency.

Howie said: Getting thrown under the bus last night was another one of the "Good" ones. AnnMarie in her fight for fairness in distribution of over $40,000 among the sixty plus bingo charities mixed it up with Russ and lost.Of no surprise Council sided with the good old boys....the establishment. I hope the OLGC cottons on and straightens this Council out on rules of engagement.,,,but too late for AnnMarie. No matter how right she was it was a guaranteed outcome. She was pissing in the wind. She was too polite to point out that some of the various bingo clubs that did benefit had members that sit on that Board. Time for charitable groups to stand up and demand accountability.

Does it Ever End? correction Howie...it was $400,000, not $40,000. Can't help but wonder what recourse she might take. Perhaps that was why a recorded vote was taken. End? 

Finally, Corruption Fighter remarked about the two local representatives at the region who voted to quash an audit of the Niagara Parks Commission. Closing ranks to protect more Good Old Boys.

In 2014, voters were fooled into voting out their only chance at some form of accountability thanks to a plan devised and co-ordinated by the "usual suspects" with a lot of help from the so-called "free press" (an oxymoron if ever there was one; ) some pretty dirty tricks; frivolous lawsuits and character assassination. And the easily gulled and threatened voters fell into line like lemmings.

And we all know what happens to lemmings. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016


Premier Wrynn recently revealed that former MPP Kim Craitor was forced to resign in 2013 due to sexual harassment allegations against him. He has since said that the allegations were "unfounded," although a third-party investigation did determine that there was evidence of harassment by Craitor. Since then, one of the complainants has come forward publicly. She, along with other Niagara Falls employees at Craitor's constituent office, had abruptly resigned as well. His long-time aide had already left for greener pastures.

Accompanying the article is a head shot of Craitor, taken several years ago, which shows a marked resemblance between Kim and entertainer Wayne Newton. What struck me is that there may be some justice in the world as Kim thought nothing of throwing The Four Fort Erie Councillors under the bus in his support of Jim Thibert, the head of the EDTC and his frequent lunch/golf companion.

Of course, many of us had already realized that Kim was a liar. He told a whopper just after the provincial tourism minister gave $2 million to Fort Erie for "tourism initiatives." That announcement was made with great gusto at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. Craitor was quoted in the local press as saying that there was no decision yet as to where the windfall was going, but there were a lot of possibilities for its use. Of course, we knew that it would all go to the flailing Fort Erie Race Track and it did. Of course it did.

Frankly, I would never have guessed that Craitor would sexually harass his female office staff. I had other suspicions about him amid some pretty disturbing accounts about money losses in a provincially held program. Many of us thought his abrupt resignation was due to that. We never believed that he was just "exhausted."

Craitor pandered to the wrong people in Fort Erie and gave the rest the impression that he was working in their best interests. He was not; he was a Thibert groupie. While he was palling around with narcissists, he was setting himself up for his own demise. I hope that he resigns from Niagara falls Council. He is done like a duck's dinner.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


What a week of Good News! Russ Wilson will "retire" at the end of June. (Much more on that still to come to light.) Former Fort Erie CAO, now the CAO for the region has quit!

Yes, it's official. Harry Schlange is once again moving to greener pastures. This time it's Brampton, the city that has gone through six CAOs in ten years. Good luck with that, Harry. It seems that Harry and Regional Chair Alan Caslin did not get along very well and that may be why Harry has moved on. According to an article in the Niagara Falls Review, regional councillors held a private meeting in January where there was a vote to give Caslin the authority to dismiss Schlange. That vote failed.

In addition to Schlange, former acting CAO from the Town of Fort Erie, Ron Tripp and former planner from Fort Erie, Rino Mostacci eventually found their way to the region. In fact, Schlange was hired by the town during Mayor Redekop's first administration, but he quit after a short while, went elsewhere and then came back. (CLUE: bad idea to take back someone who quit.)  All three of these former town employees, in my opinion, caused irreparable harm to the town. Schlange had problems working with certain members of council; Ron Tripp's  "state of the art" drainage plan for the Bernard Road Beach has pretty much destroyed it and Rino Mostacci championed the reprehensible Bay Beach Condo Project. 

The Burgoyne Bridge replacement project in St. Catharines seems to be at the centre of a lot of problems at the region. Way over the original budget, it is an example of bad policies and lack of transparency between staff and council. It also would appear that both Schlange and Ron Tripp, now a commissioner of public works, may be part of the problem. In addition, Rino Mostacci went to Markham after leaving Fort Erie and didn't last long there. Got right in the middle of a contentious issue regarding a new hockey arena. So, Rino returned to the region, like a bad penny. 

UPDATE: Interesting article in the BramptonGuardian regarding Harry Schlange's long history. Hello? He was an official with Nortel in Brampton (that went bankrupt in 2009) where he met Mo Lewis, once the Brampton city treasurer who is now the Commissioner of Niagara Region's Corporate Services. 

According to the article, "Lewis departed Brampton in 2013, just as heat turned up on former mayor Susan Fennell and senior staffers. Lewis is one of several former and current staffers at the heart of a $28.5 million lawsuit filed against the City by developer Inzola Group, which alleges it was unfairly disqualified in the bidding process on the $500 million Southwest Quardrant renewal plan."

So, Harry Schlange, former official with a now bankrupt company, came to Fort Erie to take a position as CAO; left shortly after to go to IBM and then came back and stayed on as CAO until 2011 when he left to go to Ottawa and then as the CAO of another community until he came back as CAO at the Niagara Region. He was instrumental in hiring of Mo Lewis. 

The circle keeps getting smaller and smaller, doesn't it? Too many co-incidences.

Except there are no co-incidences.

Monday, March 28, 2016


A fight to save a piece of public beachfront property from a developer is going on in Fort Myers Beach, Florida and it is an eerie reminder of the Great Bay Beach Conflict  that took place over the past decade in Fort Erie. Below is an aerial picture of the shoreline in question. It could easily be mistaken for the public beachfront property on Lake Erie once owned by the Rebstock Family that the town of Fort Erie purchased in 2001.

Note the ironically-named Crescent Beach Family Park.  That is the piece of public waterfront property a developer wants to buy in order to complete his "vision" for Fort Myers Beach. The whole state of Florida is an example of what happens when development is allowed to go on unfettered and Fort Myers Beach has so far escaped the ravages of this trend. Many people find places like Fort Myers Beach to be what is best about visits to the Sunshine State. Nice beach, walk-able amenities and entertainment amid the warmth from the cold, northern winters. There are plenty of places in Florida for people to go who wish the constant activity, lights and traffic. It appears that Fort Myers Beach is the perfect place for a restful vacation or a full-time residence.

HERE is a link to the developer's website and an ARTICLE that appeared after the concept was presented to the public. Brings back memories of the time the Molinaros put on a show to advise the townspeople of what a gift their proposed twelve story condo would be to the people of Crystal Beach.  Actually, there were two condo towers in the first offer. (Spoiler Alert: we knew that was a ploy and that they would eliminate one of the towers as a "concession" to the people.)

So, if you look at the aerial photo, The developer has bought everything to the right of Crescent Beach Park from the Salty Crab to the edge of the Gulfshore Grill.

Similar to how the Bay Beach situation played out, two of the most vocal anti-development voices were elected to the Fort Myers Beach town council in a recent election that brought out a record number of voters. Like Fort Erie, the fight to keep the character and charm of the beachfront community resulted in a rift in the community. The local press acted in similar fashion to the local press in Fort Erie, definitely on the side of the developers and their advertisers. Hopefully, the newly-elected councillors will not have to face a vexatious lawsuit financed by a cabal of business people. 

Sources say that, with the new council, the massive development will not be allowed in its present form. A much scaled-down approach might find approval. At least the developer is not proposing high rise hotels; he's staying with three stories. However, the plans call for a major traffic upheaval, similar to the marina project once proposed for the Niagara Parkway that would have included a view-eliminating roadway around the planned hotel.

As I looked at the park the developer wants to buy, it looked a lot like the Bay Beach Properties, except with palm trees. All it needs is some Fowler's Toads to complete its similarity to the situation in Crystal Beach.

I sure hope that the good people of Fort Myers Beach do not have a ten year fight in their future in order to save their town from wrong-headed over development.

UPDATE ON SPEEDWAY: Ministry head promises to work to open doors for the Canadian Motor Speedway

"Last June, the Town of Fort Erie was turned down by the province when it sought funding to help pay for $42 million in upgrades needed for water and wastewater servicing for the site of the project.
The funding is necessary to cover infrastructure costs related to waterman(sic) and sewer servicing to the sprawling 800-acre site near Sunset Drive where the developers hope to build."
So, the town was turned down. So what does that mean? Figure it out. The taxpayers will be footing the bill for the upgrades in order to service the multi-million dollar project. Notice also that the town "sought funding help" for the project and was rejected. The infrastructure for the project is going to be the responsibility of the town, a town of 30,000 people, many of whom are not property tax payers. If anyone thinks their taxes will not be going up even more in the next couple of years, he or she is dreaming.
I still say that Fort Erie cannot afford a project of this size. we are better off making what we have more attractive and visitor friendly. The old Peace Bridge cannot handle the type of traffic a major event would generate; there are few places for race car fans to stay in town; and the noise and traffic could be a nightmare to a town such as Fort Erie.

Coming Up: The lights in Ridgeway are causing headaches. Thanks, Marina. You are nicely fulfilling your Chamber Maid duties to a tee. Too bad you're screwing over your Ward 4 constituency.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


Well, there it is. The least-productive Fort Erie councillors have joined their regional counterpart in running up large expenses for "governing" their constituents. In Fort Erie Council's case., along with large tax increases . Newcomers Marina Butler, Chris Knutt ("this is too hard"), and George McDermott reported well over a thousand dollars in expenses, while, the man, Passero, who cost the taxpayers over $50,000. for a by-election voted by the new council, rather than appointing the runner-up to fill the Ward 2 seat left vacant by the death of Rick Shular, used up an additional $1201.42 of taxpayer money.

Only Ward 3 Councillor Kimberly Zanko and Ward 5 Councillor Don Lubberts reported zero expenses.

One would assume that the amount of expenses correlates with the amount of work that the councillors did for their constituents, but it seems that the opposite is true this time. Marina Butler is basically a no-show in Ward 4 and Chris Knutt finds it too much work to represent Ward 6. Of course, neither has to worry much about getting re-elected in 2018 if they want. With the Chamber of Commerce basically controlling the election outcome and the council, there is little hope that there will be any change soon.

Too bad, Fort Erie. You had your chance; instead, you let yourselves be bullied and frightened into voting against your best interests while your former mayor and his friends mounted a vicious lawsuit against four councillors. Only one (Lubberts) survived the Old Guard financed lawsuit and the negative publicity. The case was dismissed, but the damage had been done. Insurance paid the councillors back for their massive expenses to defend themselves for a lawsuit that was born out of spite.

Off Topic: The death of Rob Ford brings out all the praise and accolades. I guess people's grief makes them forgetful. 



Appendix “1” to Administrative Report No. CS-06-2016 – 2015 Statement of Remuneration and Expenses

Name:Mayor Redekop
Salary: $56,904.09
Benefits: $7,015.08
Travel Allowance: $0.00
Expenses: $865.00
Total: $64,784.17

Name: Councillor Butler
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $2,727.00
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $1,822.38

Name: Councillor Knutt
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $6,794.40
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $1,897.13

Name: Councillor Lubberts
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $2,727.00
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $0.00

Name: Councillor McDermott
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $6,775.08
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $1,490.59

Name: Councillor Passero
Salary: $9,674.91
Benefits: $5,095.80
Travel Allowance: $653.37
Expenses: $1,201.42

Name: Councillor Shular
Salary: $301.11
Benefits: $183.83
Travel Allowance: $20.22
Expenses: $0.00

Name: Councillor Zanko
Salary: $13,301.37
Benefits: $6,794.40
Travel Allowance: $898.12
Expenses: $0.00

Salary: $133,386.96
Benefits: $38,112.59
Travel Allowance: $5,164.19
Expenses: $7,276.52

Friday, March 18, 2016


But his victims will never receive restitution. An article in the Niagara Falls Review tells of a fraudster named Robert Rawlings, who fleeced a number of people who thought he was investing their money in his extensive network of holdings all over the world. He was small potatoes compared to a local resident, one Gary Fraser, who was convicted of scamming over $2 million from his family and friends. 

HERE is an article to refresh everyone on a man who has been buying property in town and then letting it sit, unused or, in the case of the property on Queen's Circle, demolishing it altogether. Not content to acquire a lot of property in the Crystal Beach/Ridgeway area through "syndicated mortgages," he has apparently branched out into 'cottage country" up north.

Remember this? A once stately historic building at Queen's Circle in Crystal Beach was stripped, then razed after it was purchased by one of the many companies associated with Gary Fraser.

The former Pines Restaurant; Mia's Antiques; numerous cottages and properties have been purchased through syndicated mortgages by various Fraser-connected companies. The seemingly stalled development on Schooley Road in Crystal Beach is also connected to Fraser and his wife.

It took years of effort to rejuvenate The Beach after the CB Amusement Park closed, especially the main business district. Now that Fraser has arrived, the main drag, Erie Road, is starting to look again like it did in the 1990s: boarded up, abandoned buildings and empty cottages.

We have been warning people of this convicted fraudster for a while now.  Whatever his agenda is, it does not seem to be for the benefit of the town.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Well. he has been off the public trough for about four years, so it should be no surprise that Regional Councillor Sandy Annunciata topped the expenses list for councillors, second only to Regional Chair Alan Caslin. He has
had to rely on his renters; occasional sports colour commentary and his sports "business" to support himself before being elected to Regional Council in 2014 beating incumbent John Teal, another member of the Old, Old Guard.

Annunciata claims that he racked up a lot of expenses reaching out to his constituents and doing his duty for the people of Niagara. Check out his expenses HERE.

Some of us wonder if he still makes his daily trip to Buffalo as many have observed over the years. Of course that expense would never be included in his expense report, would it? Nah.

"I'm a boots on the ground kinda of guy and this past year we've had a lot of heavy lifting," said Annunciata to the press. Really? Heavy lifting? From what I have been able to gather, the present regional council is just falling in line as they have always done with the Old Guard. Nothing new happening on this council; no surprises either.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Here is a very recent post from Corruption Fighter:

Anyone want to weigh in on the over 7% tax increase locally but zero at the Region?? In their first 2 years this council of ol boy lackeys(sorry DL you are not included here) are taxing us blind but no one says a word. 15% in their first 2 years with 2 more to go. 

During the previous council THE FOUR kept increases at all time lows memory serves and were shit all over repeatedly. Law suits, slandered, pushed, websites dedicated to intimidating them....You must really love paying for insider greed there Fort Stupid!! You really don't seem to mind paying huge to keep those pigs at the public trough, well fed in their cushy jobs with sunshine list pay, benefits and pensions. 

WOW.!! Times are so good here we can all just give money away to the oh so privileged few.

Still waiting the Times to say something but serving the greater good doesn't seem to be in their mandate. 

So, yesterday, we traveled around Fort Erie, down Niagara Boulevard and up Jarvis Street. Lots of empty storefronts, so much, it looks like a lot of urban streetscapes where business has moved to the highway, leaving the core areas bereft and run-down. There were few bright spots with few improvements under way. Oh, there will be a new bridge on Central. Good news there.

Meanwhile in Crystal Beach, we have more properties bought by the syndicated mortgage front-man Gary Fraser that will probably be left unoccupied as part of a possible money-laundering scheme.  (Oops! I suppose I shouldn't mention that Fraser has done jail time for such a scheme in the past.) 

So, while wandering off-the-Garrison, one wonders what the hell is our esteemed Economic Development and Tourism Corporation doing to earn all that money from the taxpayers. (I do know that GM Thibert used well over $20,000. of that taxpayer money to sue yours truly.)

But the racetrack is open for off-track betting. Good fun that. Helping retirees and the poor part with their meager dollars. Now that's economic development for ya! 

Can anyone tell me of a new company that has moved into Fort Erie in the past few years? 


Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Does not mean that nothing is being done.

It's just that there are many so-called "irons in the fire." For myself, I am busy with the US elections and working to help ex-pats like myself to vote in a Global Primary and to vote in the general election in November. I have become obsessed with the election and am very worried about the hatred and violence that has been evident, especially in the Trump campaign. To me, he is a dangerous egomaniac who must be defeated.

Meanwhile, the effort to save Fort Erie from the forces that are destroying it goes on behind the scenes. The actions of the cabal that brought about the lawsuit against four duly-elected councillors have not been forgotten nor forgiven. We carry on.

Twenty years after the C.A.U.S.E. recommendations were made public, a plan for the Bay Beach Properties has been accepted by council. Not exactly what those of us who remember the history of the property wanted, but many of us are cautiously optimistic. (Just don't try to sell off the parking lots and send us back to 2002 to fight that battle again. We do remember the crappy excuse used then: to fund a portion of The Friendship Trail.) Not going to work when there are parking problems in the Beach on sunny summer weekends.

So, please keep the remarks coming in and we'll report what we can. I think I've said it all by now, but I'm sure there will be lots more to say in the future.

I filed this under Déja Vu Department: Residents worry about possible new build on site of revered former library in North Buffalo. The old building is located on a now very busy and lucrative corner in my old 'hood. Big time developer wants to tear down the building (left to decay) and build a new one. Residents are afraid there will soon be a high rise (developer is a specialist in such developments) on the corner.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Glad 2015 is over. It was a tough one for many people, especially some who I care about a great deal. Many losses.

I'll leave it at that. So, what's in store for the New Year?

Can we hope that the Fort Erie EDTC is hauled on the carpet to explain the millions of dollars of taxpayer money spent and no jobs or real economic development? A bunch of pie-in-the-sky illusions does not bring jobs and prosperity to a town. They only bring ridicule and embarrassment. And speaking of embarrassments, the EDTC GM certainly brings that to the party. His foul-mouthed manner brings all kinds of interest to Fort Erie. His "other job" at the race track certainly gives him ample exposure to horse manure which he shovels to the locals in massive quantities.

But, enough about Jimmy. How about those Chamber Maids and C of C flunkies on council? They're right there for the regular folks, aren't they? We hear that a couple of them are discouraged because the Great Unwashed are keeping them busy with, I-don't-know, "problems." Sure cuts into social time with Chamber Colleagues. Oh Boo-Hoo.

Some good news: The Four were reimbursed for their legal fees, paid for the S.L.A.P.P. Lawsuit started by you-know-who and the former mayor-by-five-votes. Poor losers abusing the system to destroy the reputations of duly-elected representatives. A dark time indeed. And the darkness is still evident.

Got a chance to see the fine movie "Spotlight." It tells the story of a massive cover-up of pedophilia by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts and the investigative reporters who uncovered the policy. Definitely going to win some Academy Awards. It points out what is needed for a society to function properly - an unbiased press that is not afraid to investigate and report the truth. That is in short supply here in Fort Erie.

Which brings me to the second movie that inspired me: "Trumbo." It's the story of a screen writer, who along with others in the movie industry in the late forties, was subjected to Blacklisting for being a member of the Communist Party. The fear-mongering and hatred for those who had a different political opinion was intense. (Reminded me how The Four were treated by a few after they were elected to Fort Erie Town Council in 2010.) In the end, the so-called Hollywood Ten prevailed but they paid a huge price, again, like The Four.

I just hope that 2016 brings awareness to the people of this great little town. Awareness of how self-serving people have been in control of everything and that nothing out of their wheelhouse is tolerated. Just remember the expensive billboards, fliers, ads, lawsuits and whispering campaigns that have been waged to stop anyone who dares to question the Powers that Be.

Take Care, Everyone.