Thursday, September 20, 2007


I can't believe the Windsor Star actually ran an article on the Ward Fund Lottery system in Windsor. The city's best known, worst kept secret that no one actually talks about.

A couple of details that they left out of the article:
1. Councillors don't actually have to agree on the expenditures. If they disagree, the $27,000 per ward is split between the two, to spend as they wish. ($1125.00 dollars per month is a nice amount to give out each and every month leading up to your next election campaign. That's 48 groups you can keep happy over a four year term)

"Moved by Councillor Zuk, seconded by Councillor Lewenza,
M106-2006 That the Ward Fund policy (M73-2005) BE AMENDED to include a provision that in the event that the respective ward councillors cannot agree on the use of their ward fund, that the funds be split 50-50, and to be used at their own discretion, and that the details of how the monies are spent continue to be reported on a public agenda.

2. The only criteria for spending the funds is "Monies must be spent on identifiable projects or undertakings having a specific purpose and objective." These expenditures must then be reported on a public agenda, but don't expect them to be actually discussed. That's it.
Think back to last year when the city's CUPE local was raising funds to help Brentwood and was looking for City Council to match their fundraising efforts. Their request was voted down due to the fact that it might set a bad precedent for future requests. Why didn't Councillors offer up $500.00 per ward towards a good cause? Could it be because that would be $500.00 dollars less pork to spread around their ward, demonstrating that they didn't care about their ward? (Care about their Ward with your tax dollars, mind you)

These funds can be carried over year to year and spent as Councillors desire, with little or no oversight or evalutation. The criteria is so open ended it is little more than ward pork barreling for the lucky. I don't dispute that the recipients are valid, but that the process is deeply flawed and open to abuse. The "Olde Sandwich Towne Festival" benefits from the largesse of Ward Two Councillors Jones and Postma ($5,000.00) while Festival Epicure almost died this year from lack of sponsorship, initiated by the last minute withdrawal of the Windsor controlled Tunnel Corporation.

The Ward Funds, as they are currently structured, are nothing more than political pork barrels to be given away at Councillor's whims. That's your tax dollars being given away each and every year with no input, no criteria and no oversight. Even worse, any unspent funds can be carried over each year, typically to be spent in the last year prior to an election.

Ever wonder why it's so difficult to defeat an incumbent in Windsor?

Welcome to Windsor municipal politics. In an age of concerns over healthy lifestyles and eating, pork fat still rules in Windsor.