An open letter to Margo and Gordo
Formerly, your newspaper at least pretended that the concerns of taxpayers, of the working class, of the poor, of the homeless and hungry, was a consideration in the development and publication of stories, columns, and editorials.
Now, you have exposed beyond question, that the crisis of confidence first enunciated by bloggers in the aftermath of your covering up Porkgate, and the diversionary fundraising effort for not-even-close-to being evicted Chantel Henderson, was 100% accurate.
The two of you have abandoned any pretense of journalism or of caring about the average reader.
Instead you have exposed yourselves as the middle-aged equivalent of not-quite loaded high school kids (in my day, from River Heights) who suck up to the spoiled, connected, influential rich kids (Tuxedo) and 'nya-nya' that the poor kids from the rest of the city are just "jealous" of your friends and should go back to their little shacks in the dirty neighborhoods.
But then again, we know you have no shame. You don't even try anymore to hide the fact that the newspaper has become an extreme party organ for wealthy political cliques.
The two of you would stand at Portage and Main and squeegee Lexuses, if that would somehow protect the man who signs your cheques, Bob Silver, and his millionaire panhandler friends.
And of course, his close friend, Premier Gary Doer, who also supports without question the pet projects of millionaires, as long as he gets a photo in the Free Press out of the deal. After all, it ain't his money.
A "Historic" park, an "Iconic" museum, a "green corridor", one can hardly wait to hear his justification to support the "transparent" municipal infrastructure sales tax proposed by yet another millionaire, that madame editor fawns over today in her missive about "hope".
But more about that later.
Yesterday, Gary Doer handed another $1 million to the cause of the Friends of Upper Fort Garry, without a word of debate or discussion with the taxpayers. He and another of Silvers' millionaire co-horts, Hartley Richardson, met with the head of Petro Canada and not only concluded the oil giant should get a million from our treasury to cede land to the millionaires, Doer also granted Petro-Canada a write-off in exchange for another $1.35 Million in "land value".
That would put the public's investment in the gas station at $2.35 million.
According to the blogger Cherenkov, the last assessed value of the land at Broadway and Main was $814,000 dollars.
Meanwhile, the issue of what kind of cost might be associated with the inevitable environmental assessment and clean-up of the property before it can be used as part of a provincial park, is not even mentioned in your newspaper. Normally those costs would be borne by Petro Canada in perpetuity. But given the closed door negotiations that took place, the people have a right to know.
It ain't free.
But The Manitoba Club gets something for free. A paid-for park, just in time for their newly refurbished club to offer new members the chance to enjoy the magnificent view. Curiously, the Club actually refused to even consider paying a single, solitary dime towards "saving the fort" they will now enjoy on our dime in perpetuity.
But as Gordo says today,
"After all, many of the business and political elite who spearheaded the campaign to save the historic property for the citizens of Manitoba are also members of the Manitoba Club."
Not that the newspaper has ever reported how many of the Friends were also members of the Club.
By our count, it was 21 out of 37. A majority.
Poor Bart Kives. He has been the only writer on Mountain brave enough to ever breathe a word of who belongs to both groups.
Stifled when he has tried to speak the truth about the absurdity of millionaires like Richardson and Leonard Asper submarining the attempt to build an apartment building that would bring living, breathing taxpaying families to downtown.
How his mention of Richardson's joint standing slipped into his story about the Petro-Can deal is hard to believe. Maybe the copy editor was in Aurtarlia.
The readers of the Free Press would surely have found interesting the reasons why the Friends opposed the apartment block being built after it had been approved and the Heritage Winnipeg proposal rejected - hey Gordo, doesn't that make them "poor losers"- but it was only reported by the blogger Rob Galston:
"Speaking against the proposed apartment building Mr. Hilderman speculated that not only would the smell of barbeques emit from the balconies, but so would the sounds of tenants yelling at their kids."
So the end result is that a group (FUFG) controlled by the elite Manitoba Club, ensured the great unwashed would never darken their back door.
Your newspaper pretends that the public does not know this, and cannot recognize the favoritism in your pages, the abdication of the public interest, the conflict of interest posed by your owner being a fellow member of the Friends.
No, according to Gordo, speaking out against fake patriotism, against historical revisionism, against pretending that 1200 donors in a city of 700,000 is proof of "grassroots" support, against forcing the working families of the city to subsidize the view of millionaires off their private balcony and dining rooms, that, says Mr. "I forgot my wallet but I'll fill up with gas anyways and have the police called on me", is "sniping at the rich and/or the successful. Envying, instead of celebrating success, (is) an ugly attitude..."
The manipulation of the public isn't limited to Leonard Asper's pet local project. His sister Gail is Margo's new hero.
So what if they fibbed to Parliament about how much the Human Rights Museum would cost? Board members knew last year the costs were well over budget. In 3 years, she hasn't raised $45 Million, and now she says she'll raise an extra $45 million more ?
The Free Press never reported on any of the red flags about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Never reported that an anti-zionist was appointed to give advice about museum "content"? There's no time for that.
Gail's getting an award from Glen Murray!
Gail wants more money from the taxpayers for her museum!
Gail wants more taxicabs cause she can't catch one downtown!
Gail hates red light cameras cause she got a ticket just like her bmf Gary Doer! (And at the same intersection! Isn't that darling??)
Last week, faced with finally having to admit that the bloggers were correct all along, and that she and her friends and advisors couldn't budget a 5 year olds birthday party, Gail and her pals had a private meeting with the Free Press editorial board to break the sad news. And she spoke of "hope".
We aren't sure what else she said, because city editor Paul Samyn didn't utter a peep about this super-secret meeting on his weekly video blog.
Maybe he can figure out how to upload the meeting so we can see for ourselves, without the filter of Margo, what was said, and compare it with what hard questions the FP asked, and what has been writen so far about this admission of a boondoggle.
Not that the public will hold their breath.
Conveniently, the paper never mentions that Bob Silver and his partner Ron Stern kicked in to the Museum too.
The term "conflict of interest" never crosses the lips of Margo.
Instead, we lack "visionaries". Those who speak out about the obscenity of $300 Million being diverted from existing museums and charities, and from the taxpayer, are not losers like those who oppose the Fort, we're... "people who think small".
Then, she says "my money's on Gail Asper."
Um, she meant Bob Silver's, $500,000 to be exact. Conflict of interest anyone?
Sure Gail knows about the "power of hope". She's hoping that the Free Press will survive the newest round of canceled subscriptions to promote her and her brother's pet projects, funded by Gary Doer's chequebook, and any other politician they can suck in.
(You notice that when Doer hands over public money to his friends, he never asks how many nurses would it pay for, how many teachers would it employ, how many food banks can we fill? Hell, maybe one day he can tear himself away from handing out cheques and turning sod at ceremonies with the well-heeled and finally grace Siloam Mission with his presence.)
Margo, the people have a vision for this city. And it ain't being abandoned by the newspaper of record and being called "losers" by your star columnist when they ask questions about how their money is being spent in the name of the vision of his and your bosses friends, the rich elite of the city of Winnipeg.