Wednesday, October 9, 2013

More reminders - 200 million dollars lost.

I received an email today with two attachments, reminding me of the waste and smooth talking of many council members and the Mayor. Do note, other than formatting issues with respect to fonts and links, I have not changed any of the words.

It is a bit of a long read, but if you want facts... its up to you the reader. If you ever had a desire to shed that "Ignorance Is Bliss" feeling, or shake off the "Ostrich Syndrome", this may be a good starting point.

Document 1 is as follows:

The failed GORMAN Gamble and Edmonton’s $200,000,000 funding Loss

A project overview of what was Lost for our city  -  via the 'management' of 2009 council members  -  can be found in the following web link

For one City of Edmonton employee’s description of the Works package that would have been funded by the monies Lost by those 2009 Councillors’ failed Bait-&-Switch gamble see

For one former Alberta MLA’s 2010 lamentation of that totally needless Loss of those major fundings please see

Additionally, one would expect any Edmonton area Federal Conservative MP in office back in 2009-2010 to have knowledge of our city's permanent LOSS of that $200mm 1-time jobs stimulus funding. There are a whole handful of items for which the incumbent council candidates can and should be judged.

But prime among them is the $200,000,000 permanently LOST for our city by bungling members of the 2009 city council;  a municipal financing mess and subsequent cover-up.

That story involves the $200,000,000 (permanent) LOSS of 1-time funding that was available to our municipality 4 years ago (but) only for approved, “Shovel-ready” Infrastructure works ... and speaks to the real reason Edmonton's outgoing Mayor started his very public feuding with then Federal Public Works minister Rona Ambrose.

Also, how a monstrous Bait-&-Switch scheme failed ... and contributed significantly to our growing civic DEBT load. 

Plus, the apparent motivation for that ill-fated scheming ... relating to ( siting for ) Edmonton's current, highly contentious Downtown ARENA deal.

N.B.  As we head into the final days of the municipal election campaigns it would seem Edmonton's Voters deserve to know, and should finally be told of this ( almost unbelievable ) tremendous boondoggling ... and which of the current council candidates were complicit in the 2009 secret scheming (and its early 2010 and subsequent Cover-up campaign).
This is a rather outstanding case of MIS-management;  phenomenal bungling by our 2009 city council members (save for Caterina) who were on duty back then.

And while “stuff” does sometimes happen, totally foolish and absolutely needless gambling away of $200,000,000 of Senior Governments' clearly defined, Conditional * fundings all in 1 go can hardly be classified as a mere bit of fiscal imprudence on the part of our city leaders.

* The only "strings" attached to that funding were that
·         it be spent on immediate jobs stimulus projects pre-APPROVED by the Canada Works program,
·         projects that would be substantially completed by the Federal Government’s fiscal year ending March 31, 2011 (not 2014, like the Nait Lrt line).

The criteria couldn't have been any clearer or simpler. And if Tony Caterina so easily got it, just what were the rest of them really up to ... that they took such a gamble as to cost all of us $200,000,000 during an economic downturn ?

One would expect Tony should be proud to confirm that he voted against the other, 2009 councillors' attempt to Switch utilization of those Shovel-ready, Gorman-allocated & approved funds;   
i.e. their failed attempt to switch utilization of those qualified Senior Government monies to a NON-qualifying project still in its DESIGN phase back then.

N.B.  Totally separate Senior Governments programs have since been funding the much later started construction of our NORTH Lrt - currently scheduled for completion in 2014.
e.g.  You may recall the $2B GreenTRIP funding first announced by Stelmach in July of 2008  which did not actually start to flow until years later. 

Whereas the very clear requirements / criteria of the Canada Works jobs creation stimulus dollars in the depths of the economic downturn back in 2009 included substantial COMPLETION / expenditure (i.e. on only approved, Shovel-ready projects) by March of 2011.

Thus, upon the 2009 Council’s attempt to re-assign use of the Gorman fundings to a Non-qualifying project the Federal jobs stimulus monies  -  $100,000,000 ( x 2 with Provincial matching)  -  was PERMANENTLY lost to our city. 

Also important to note is the funds approval for the shovel-ready GORMAN package of jobs stimulus works was a 1-timer ... and, sadly, council members of that day gambled it all away.

When you look at the size of Edmonton's accumulated debt, the Loss of that $200,000,000 is quite significant.

It is indeed quite the “accomplishment” that the culprits in this mammoth $200,000,000 Loss have managed to keep knowledge of it largely swept under the carpet for so long.

Here's hoping that this information shall help to now force accountability, transparency and democratic change in Edmonton.

Edmonton's GORMAN package of Federally-APPROVED, Canada Works Jobs Stimulus INFRASTRUCTURE dollars was a 'go' in 2009 ...
but council members of that day threw away those $200,000,000 !!!!!

Here we are, now 4 years later on when we have new neighbourhoods being constructed in Ward 4 places like ... Gorman, but with NO Lrt service there and NO Park-and-Ride Lot there.

The same 2009 city council that needlessly cost all Edmontonians that $200mm of 1-time funding are also the ones who, in July of 2008 so foolishly and needlessly voted to put N.Lrt tracks directly in front of the Central McDougall AMBULANCE Station on 105 Street ... and, to this day have failed to find a replacement site for that critical-to-downtown emergency response service.

We certainly don't need another 4 years of that level of 'performance.'
No Government ought to be without censors and where the Press is free no one ever will. 
- Thomas Jefferson

This is the 2nd document sent:

Mayoral Decision Matrix

Platform /
Voting Record
POTHOLES  -  repair & adequately maintain our Streets

            Voted for budgets that took away annual road maintenance dollars

ARENA:  stood up for HOMEOWNERS, versus a Billionaire’s entertainment business interests
            Prioritized ‘circuses’ ahead of core services like sewers / improving our drainage system
            Voted for putting a new Traffic magnet in our downtown with
0 grade separation between that increased traffic and imminent North LRT trains at busy
4-lane 107 Ave  -  thereby constructing a 51st Ave x 4.0 … in the new Entertainment District !
            i.e. Voted for a Level Crossing of 107 Ave (instead of a simple underpass at 104 St / an extension of the below-grade tracks emanating from the tunnel now underneath 101 St )


            Voted for a West LRT routing that will bounce even more traffic ( from Stony Plain Rd ) onto that 107 Ave arterial…only to have it regularly blocked by the North LRT’s barricade arms
Wants to spend over $600,000,000 to replace a 17,100-seat facility with a new one that seats only ~18,100 … not even keeping pace with Population growth since the 1970s !
Voted for Mandel’s initiative to construct the North LRT’s tracks directly in front of
the ( 9,000-calls-per-year ) Central McDougall AMBULANCE Station on 105 Street  - 
thereby requiring that Station’s expensive relocation + longer EMS wait times in the Downtown


Deliberately chose to ignore full and fair exploration of the superior 104 St. N.Lrt routing option
FRESH ideas;  on city council since…
Life experience  -  age:

LOST $200,000,000 for Edmonton Taxpayers by voting for a failed gamble; the quite foolish,  attempted bait-&-switch by Council  -  to reallocate Senior Governments’ fundings approvals for the “shovel-ready” “Gorman Package” of Infrastructure works to a NON-qualifying project !


DELAYED by 2 years 5-car-long Platforms for our existing LRT System – causing 2010 “Crush Hours” on the only 3-car trains - and needlessly ADDED to City borrowings to fix this

Has a VISION for much better management of our City and its finances
( and more responsible use of Senior Governments’ grants monies ! )


Gorman, Greed, and the Lost $200,000,000

In 2009 Mandel and certain City Councillors knowingly ‘baited’ the Feds with Qualifying, Shovel-ready LRT System-wide improvements (and requisite, immediate Jobs / economic Stimulus benefits)  
THEN, once they had obtained the Federal & Provincial fundings approvals for same, instead attempted switching use of those funds to a NON-qualifying, NON-shovel ready project !
But they got caught in the act by the feds … and that is how those 2009 City Councillors gambled away our $200,000,000 of (Gorman-committed)  public works economic stimulus funds  -  in pursuit of their I-know-better whim ... and that is why we Edmonton Taxpayers lost out, big time.

For one City of Edmonton employee’s description of the Works package that was LOST by those 2009 Councillors’ failed Bait-&-Switch gamble please see:

For one former Alberta MLA’s lamentation of that totally needless LOSS of those major fundings please see:

So, what was it that suddenly motivated those 2009 Mandel-lead Councillors to even attempt their failed switcheroo ?

Half way through 2009 Katz announced His choice of site on which we should build for Him a new facility;   
Land that was chosen and optioned by Him for His own revenues-enhancing purposes.
Land immediately adjacent to the ( NON-shovel ready, still in the planning stages ) intended North LRT line  -  which new ‘priority’ N.LRT connection and MacEwan Station could instead service His new revenues stream.

Thus, personal interests / a pet project got prioritized by City Councillors of the day ahead of the Gorman LRT works package, and it was their re-jigging that ended up disqualifying Edmontonians from receiving those clearly targeted,
Senior Governments’ (2009-11) Jobs-creation Canada Works stimulus funds.
i.e. Those 2009 Councillors felt they "knew better"  -  than to respect the very clear, Shovel-ready employments strings / criteria / conditions that were attached to the $200,000,000 in approvals committed specifically for the Gorman works.

N.B.  Councillors Iveson and Leibovici both voted for the above, failed bait-&-switch scheme, a needless gamble that
Lost for Edmontonians $200,000,000 of the Senior Governments’ funding that had been committed for much-needed and qualifying Infrastructure works.
So instead of a 3-way cost sharing  -  of the entire approved Gorman Package of works  -  it was the 2009 Council’s failed trickery that ended up having City of Edmonton taxpayers footing the entire bill for the required LRT Platforms extensions + Traction Power upgrades to handle the longer trains and additional cars purchased ... all with a Later-than-needed completion and, ultimately, funded 100% via City taxpayers !

In brief, Canada Works Infrastructure Jobs STIMULUS “wish lists” of immediate, Shovel-ready projects were submitted by Municipalities from across Canada to the Feds in Jan.2009 ... contingent on Matching fundings by the Provinces and by the municipality making such application ( i.e. 1/3rd each ) and the Job Creation project completions BEFORE fiscal year ending March 31, 2011.
From Edmonton's Wish List, the Feds elected to cover 1/3rd of the Shovel-ready $300mm Gorman PACKAGE of works  -  for
a)    the LRT System to be Upgraded to handle 5-car trains from only 3 cars, via
1. Lengthening the Platforms on the existing Clairview-to-South LRT line and
2. Increase Traction Power, to accommodate 5 cars ... all in time for Century Park's opening ... which would have avoided the “Crush Hour” subsequently experienced in September 2010 when UA students et al boarded the South LRT, plus
b) Lengthen the line from Clairview to Gorman, including
c) creating additional Park'N'Ride spaces @ Gorman ( for the freeloaders from Ft. Saskatchewan,
Gibbons et al who are now hogging / clogging spaces at Edmonton's Clairview Station ), plus
d) Transit Station and Park'N'Ride enhancements in the West end at Lewis Estates.
When the Feds got wind the 2009 Edmonton City Councillors were attempting to Switch use of the $100mm funding commitment that had been allocated (as per all Municipalities across Canada) solely for Immediate Shovel-ready works   to a project where not even the Design work had yet been completed,   
that Immediate Jobs-creation stimulus monies’ approval was yanked ... which also lost Edmonton the Province of Alberta's matching $100mm.
Thus, the 2009 Councillors’ attempted Bait-&-Switch permanently cost Edmonton Taxpayers $200,000,000.
         The Lengthened Platforms & Traction Power upgrades remained ongoing needs, but it was solely Edmonton's property taxpayers that had to finance those 'Regional' benefits entirely on our own, with borrowings of 100-cent dollars  -  instead of having built the greater number of (Gorman Package) works that could have been accomplished with only 33-cent dollars ... had our 2009 City Councillors not so foolishly gambled against such clear funding criteria.
0 grade separation, Guaranteed Traffic Snarls and Longer Emergency Response Times

The same Mandel-lead 2009 City Council also failed to simply instruct Transportation to build the 1st 3 blocks of our North LRT optimally and most cost-effectively on the 1st go, UNDER 107.
i.e.  With a simple grade separation at busy, 4-lane 107 Avenue  ( the progressive sort of thing seen in the vicinity of our 1970s Coliseum )  specifically to eliminate conflicts between surface vehicles and the mass transit system that serves such a people magnet.

Instead, situating the North LRT’s Tracks across the SURFACE of the busy 4-lane 107 Avenue arterial will now greatly compromise the capacity of our finite downtown roadways (and delivery of Emergency Services into the downtown) and especially in the immediate vicinity of a mammoth new people magnet, and needlessly CAUSE unnecessary gridlock ... thereby creating a 51st Ave x 4.0
( per known and foreseeable Edmonton traffic counts ).

In a David Staples's edmonton journal column of December 17, 2010 Mandel stated, regarding LRT and intersections:        
It was a mistake to have the LRT not go under ... the road traffic on University Avenue and 51st Avenue on the south side, and it would be a mistake to build the west line without going either under or over 142nd and 149th streets, even though it costs more,
"To say we're not going to worry about it and we're going to stop traffic everywhere isn't really a good solution. ... Why would we continue with a bad decision?"
David Staples continued:
Mandel is correct. The quickest way to kill support for the LRT is to say to hell with car drivers. And it's worth noting that the original decision to build Underground Edmonton's Downtown was costly, but it's proving to be an example of smart long-term thinking, as any Calgarian stuck in downtown traffic, waiting for the C-Train to go by, will tell you. ...

So why did those 2009 Councillors, including Iveson and Leibovici so intransigently proceed with construction of a REPEAT of the University Avenue and 51st Avenue Surface-crossing mistakes, only this time on the brand new North LRT in our city's Downtown, and at much greater Magnitude, in the new ARENA District, across the Surface of busy 4-lane 107 Ave ?_______
Where is their vision ?

Perhaps we are seeing the exact same, short-sighted thinking that so readily acquiesced to Katz’s own switching  -  away from His promise of $100,000,000 Up-FRONT CAPITAL Funding … instead to a paltry $5.5mm per year discounted facility rental fee ?

Here’s hoping a majority of concerned Edmontonians will now vote for a New mayor  -  instead of a
2009 Councillor proven capable of captaining us into a Greek Tragedy.

essential and proper grade separations are present at the current Coliseum / Rexall Place  -  separations between existing trains and vehicular  (including
Emergency vehicles) traffic on 118 Ave,  Fort Road,  the Yellowhead Trail,  and Wayne Gretzky Drive

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