Sunday, February 3, 2008

London's best practices belong to Windsor!

Scaledown gives a grand applause for the ingenuity of the joint bid for the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championships. I think Windsorites need to take a closer look at London, the Ambassador London Program and the more recent Downtown Living section in the London Freepress and London’s success in bringing residents downtown.

Again, like our guest speaker Chris Turner, our main premise lies in that if it exists somewhere else in the world, then there can be no argument as to whether it is possible.

The Ambassador London program alone should make you understand our Mayor’s frustration at how Windsorites beat up our own city as opposed to becoming its ambassadors. Now don’t get me wrong, all is not sunshine, rainbows and puppy dogs in London. The Ambassador Program has just had a scandal where a 3 minute commercial cost $51,000, and the commercial is a real yawner compared to the Downtown Windsor commercial by HCA and Suede Productions which cost the DWBIA a teeny-tiny fraction of that amount. The point is that if it wasn’t for my post you would never have heard about their mistakes where Windsor’s problems are virtually shouted by megaphone.

(Downtown Windsor's video can be seen on their webpage by clicking on video at the bottom left. London's comparison video can be seen here) Maybe we can trade some of our best practices for some of theirs.

Another of Londons' major accomplishments is that they have added or will add more than 1,700 apartment units to downtown and here is a quote from Mainstreet London which is the equivalent of the Downtown Windsor BIA.

"Residential is key to all this," says Janette MacDonald, general manager of MainStreet London. People who live downtown shop, dine and entertain themselves there.

You know that I have to repeat the fact that Downtown London completed their community improvement plan and implemented the Development incentives recommended by that plan over a decade ago. And don’t be fooled, Downtown London probably has more safety problems and incidents than Downtown Windsor. London installed 16 security camera’s and started a progressive graffiti removal program that sees offenders diverted from the courts to scrub and clean. Windsorites can still top London once and a while though; London’s security camera program costs them $200,000 annually, picked up 100% by the city. The joint city-DWBIA program gives us approx. 10 camera’s and only costs the city $15,000 annually.

Hopefully our joint bid with London will allow Windsorites to focus on that city’s best practices so we can add them to our own.

Friday, lets compare the arts in London to Windsor


BBS said...

The 2012 World Junior bid is a fantastic opportunity for both Windsor and London.

Regarding the Ambassador London program, I'd have to disagree with you. It was billed as a "grassroots" volunteer initiative to be funded by private donations. It started with an initial $20,000 in seed money from the City and raised $100,000(this is unconfirmed as they have yet to produce any business plan or financials). They have now received an additional $30,000 from the City and are seeking more. ($410,000 in 2008 and $500,000 for 2009.) While there is some dispute as to what the actual funding request will be for Ambassador London, it is very clear that at this point that the majority of the funding is taxpayer based.

Give me $410,000 and I'd be more than happy to sing Windsor's praises, no matter what the reality. We're spending $900,000 over two years on branding a City in transition when we could spend a fraction of that and fix something like - a site that desperately needed fixing two years ago, let alone today.

In terms of vocal opposition on the local level, the blogs are alive and well in London. I've listed just three examples below. The London Fog is probably one of the highest traffic local blogs in Canada.

London Fog - Documenting the continuing mismanagement of London, Ontario by its people and municipal government since 2003.

From My Bottom Step

Alt London

Windsor is by no means unique in it's citizens criticizing online. Name almost any similar size city and I can show you examples.

The average citizen has little or no access to traditional forms of media. The internet now enables people to bypass these media establishments and publish their message directly. It may be uncomfortable to some, but it is the reality today.

Mark Boscariol said...

After a brief perusal of the blogs you listed and a few more, I have to point out what I feel is a main difference between the blogs:

Never saw any London Blog that singularly attacked the mayor or specific councillors while promoting a single cause.

Let me ask you two rhetorical questions.

1. Which blogger has written posts about the Mayor being bad and the ambassador bridge being good?

2. How many of that bloggers posts refer to the Mayor or the Ambassador Bridge in the past year?

a. over 200
b. over 300
c. I can count on one hand the posts that do NOT refer to either the mayor being bad or ambassador Bridge company being good.
d. All of the above.

Mark Boscariol said...

If it keeps the discussion about London's best practices, I'll withdraw all of my references to one anti-blogger I refer to.

Mark Boscariol said...

Like the security Camera's, I believe Windsor could replicate London AMbassador program for a tiny fraction of the cost.

I agree the program has been way too costly, I just like the premise of it.

The DWBIA is producing a downtown piece that will explain our districts, the hundreds of millions of new downtown investment and the facade grant programs.

I'd like to see the DWBIA get our members to become Downtown Windsor Ambassadors on a voluntary basis armed only with this literature and our website at barely any cost.

Urbanrat said...

I have been up to see the new London Public Library in the CORE of the city and did notice a lot more daily and nightly activity..who would of thought that from days as grad student in London in the 80's!

Dower London, staid London, conservative London is now turning into a shining example of what we should be doing in this city. Let's see a new arena..downtown..forget it, a new central library... downtown..nah the city is destroying the one we got, a farmer's market..nah it would cost money, developers building living spaces for actual people who want to live downtown...nah no guts, no vision!

Whereas our 1950's developers are building anywhere but the core of this city..the car and parking are still ruling their closed minds. I think as our sub-urban areas empty for jobs in the west, they should be bulldozed at the developers expense and returned to farm land.

If our mayor and council were more straight forward with us, drop the take it or leave it attitude, more open than they are, then blogs such as this might not have to be. But the regular media, newspapers and television aren't doing their job either of reporting the full extant of stories and their connections to what is or is not happening in this city. If I relied on the Windsor Star alone, I doubt I would have any clear picture of what is happening a city hall.

Good blogs that are sincere such as SDW and Schnurr's Rant are keeping the pressure on this city to do the right thing...Make it Right, to be more transparent and the most thing wanted.. .accountabililty! It is also the speed of the blogs that out do the regular media and the basic fact that Joe and Josephine citizen can respond to them while the other media give one line quotes and ten second soundbites.

It has always seem in my life time and in my parents life time in this city, that Windsor has always followed London's lead, like a poor second cousin. That Windsorites, before the our dollar went par, would rather shop in London than Windsor.

I think that our DWBIA is doing a fantastic job with little or no money and really no thanks to city hall. But before we get "the blockbuster" anchor (if it happens at all) the city must get the developers and the citizens out of their cars and on to the streets and sidewalks of the downtown. To become more urbane rather than sub-urban.

Yes it is great that Windsor will partner with London to host the 2012 Junior's. Thank you London for thinking of us! But here is another instant that Windsor is still the bride's maid and not the bride, we are someone else's afterthought.

BBS said...

Nobody likes the National Enquirer or ever admits to buying it, but somehow they still manage to turn a huge profit - year in and year out. Me, I simply choose to change the channel or in internet terms, surf on by without stopping.

I agree the premise of the Ambassador London program is interesting, but the execution sucks. Steering committees, sub-committees, vision statements... Part of the plan for this year is to hire a Marketing/Communications expert for a minimum of 20 hours a week.

If you're trying to run a "grassroots" campaign to attract interest in your "insert anything here", then you'd better make sure it's actually grassroots. I went and looked at the sponsors section of the site. Out of 11 Platinum and Gold sponsors, 4 would actually be classified as private. The remainder are simply one form or another of taxpayers dollars.

They mention some website stats ((Nov. launched with 3,421 visits; Dec. 1,455 visits). I'm actually running a grassroots campaign right now and in less time have generated roughly 8 times the amount of traffic if we're talking about unique visitors, 20 times if their numbers are page loads. My cost so far, other than time - $26.00. People on the web can smell a contrived fake from a mile away, so can companies researching a city or prospective citizens looking to move. To me, this looks like a marketing campaign by committee. Pull the funding and how long will it last?

I wholeheartedly agree that we should be seeking best practices from anywhere we can find it, I just don't see this one as a great example.

I think the 48HR Flickfest IS a great example of a community driven endeavour that will only grow and flourish. Over the next several years I think that portion of the festival, along with the actual Festival, will do more to showcase Windsor than some of the highest priced marketing campaigns.

Mark Boscariol said...

If you liked 48hour flickfest, you're gonna love what under discussion for this year!

Daffy Duck said...

Yes - the London Fog is highly critical of its city government. I guess Mark missed those posts.

Anonymous said...

And who funds the DWBIA?

Ed Arditti said...

Sticks and stones again.

Gee Mark, are you afraid to use my name? "Anti-blogger," hmmm that's a new one that I can add to my list of insults.

If you have read some of the consultants' reports re the Official Plan, you will understand why I focus on a very important matter to this City: the border.

If you understand who the key person on Council is whether on this Council or the one under the previous regime, you will understand why I focus on the Mayor, who is the head of Council.

If you actually understood what I was writing about, you would understand that it has to do with fixing the border and recognizing that one must deal with the Bridge Company. I have only been saying this since my STOPDRTP days for about 4 years now.

I guess you were too occupied getting the arena and urban village downtown. Oh, they are not downtown. I must have missed that.

I am sorry that I do not write what you want me to write but that is what my BLOG is all about. Issues important to Windsor and what goes on behind the scene.

I am so tired of your broken-record personal attacks. But you know what is keep on reading me [LOL]

Do me one favour please Mark.... mention my Blogsite address too. It's

I can always use the publicity and the extra hits. Thanks for your assistance.

PS. Tomorrow, in a Three-part series on my BLOGsite, I solve all of Windsor's problems too.

Sporto said...

...Now, Back to our regularly scheduled programming.....

There is a glaring omission of reporting in our local media, I notice other cities doing a much better job at covering the public realm issues. As a result, Windsorites are fundamentally Public-Realm-illiterate. --'So long as theres no traffic jams on the way to costco and i can my double at the drive thru, whats to complain about!' Other areas are restricting drive thrus and billboards and portable signs in order to improve upon the visual pollution. But, Windsor is still blind to what can be acheived. I hope armed with more information, people will know that they deserve a better public realm than what we got.

Ed Arditti said...

When I posted my comment, I had not read Mr. Boscariol's comparison of "naysayers" with "Al Qaeda." I was informed of it subsequently.

I consider his remark to be outrageous and that it crosses the line of fair comment.

I have asked both Mr. Boscariol and Mr. Holt to remove it.

As "owner" of the site, I trust that Mr.Holt will have the decency to do so immediately.

Anonymous said...

I've also read this blog in the past where people we attacking Mark. The owner was quick to point out personal attacks against an outspoken Mark. But it seems okay for Mark to use this blog as his ouwn soap box to attack others. Keep in mind Chris is only a "Co-owner of the site".

Chris Schnurr said...

"and the commercial is a real yawner compared to the Downtown Windsor commercial by HCA and Suede Productions which cost the DWBIA a teeny-tiny fraction of that amount."

Actually, the London video, although a little slow, highlights the opportunities and success for all of London - and less intense.

Windsor's video seems to be a promotion of the downtown core.

Two very different purposes, which, frankly cannot be compared.

One markets the success and opportunities available in the London region, whereas the DWBIA's, markets the city centre.

Adriano Ciotoli said...

personally, i love the London commercial. it shows everything the area has to offer as well as its HISTORY. Promoting our history is something Windsor severely drops the ball on repeatedly, quite unbelievable when you consider the rich history we have. No monuments. Barely any building preservations. No grand museums. It's sad, really.

Adriano Ciotoli said...

since i accidentally submitted my comment before i finished, i will continue it here:

- the underground railroad

- our role in prohibition. al capone and the "purple gang" frequented windsor. during prohibition capone was one of hiram walker's most important clients.

- our automotive history. why we dont have a national automotive museum here blows my mind.

- the first skirmishes of the war of 1812.

theres so much more, this is just what comes to me off the top of my head

Well Used said...

Well Chris...You've let a Tojan Horse in. Good luck with that. I'm guessing a good chunk of change was invested in the project as well. Let's see...New graphics, press kits, logo, a bit of hot dogging (your grand opening at the Caboto). Bought, sold and in delivery. In that order. Don't feel too bad...your not the first.

Disgusted said...

If this guy is running the DWBIA then it's time for the City to step in and take control. He has no grasp of what the purpose of London's commercial is and his own commercial is nothing but an ad for the kiddie bars. As for Windsor's commercial, the frenetic and cropped framing is only used because they can't use a full pan for fear of showing how bad the downtown looks. The music speaks for the bar owners, not the people and corporations we need to invest in Windsor. If this phony blowhard can't see this then he has no right speaking on behalf of the DWBIA or for Windsor. He is doing both a grave disservice.

BBS said...

To the anonymous commenter asking about the DWBIA - I believe it is funded by mandatory contributions by businesses within the BIA district.

For everyone else, as rough and rambunctious as some of these discussions get, they are worthwhile and healthy if our City is to grow and prosper.

Mark - glad to hear there are bigger and better things planned for this year. Rather than spend x amount of dollars on things like the Detroit Grand Prix, I'd rather see Windsor become a major sponsor of the Film Fest.

The "Man" said...

Argumentum ad hominem. Who knew?

Urbane Cyclist said...

The trolls aren't very original, "Man". Wouldn't want to try and help elevate the discussion, would they?

Original Troll said...

MB slams another blogger for being a "Naysayer". Isn't slamming that blogger negative? Wasn't Mark a "Naysayer" when he went after the Developement commission and then retracted? And what right does he have editing his own blogmates work? Rude, ignorant and dispicable. If I was James Coulter or Chris Holt for that matter I'd be mighty pissed.

Mark Boscariol said...

The naysayer comment was relevant as the post was contrasting the Ambassador London Program to what I would call Windsors critic brigade.

Its just my opinion. What I don't understand is why those who dish it out can't seem to take it? You start dishing it out, you better be prepared to take it. Have you hard me cry once about outrageousness or decency when on the receiving end of personal attacks?

Blogging isnt for the thin skinned.

Mark Boscariol said...

BTW, I don't read a certain blogger anymore, its not necessary to read it to know what it contains. I can save others the trouble of reading it by simply stating the conclusions of over 95% of the articles contained within it.

Mark Boscariol said...

Since he commented on the our website I had to go visit to see what was new over on his blog.

Wanted to see if there was some new message other than "bridge good or mayor bad".

Why do I waste my time????? More importantly, why would anyone else? If thats your cup of tea than Just tape that line to the bathroom mirror every morning and save yourself a considerable amount of time.

dave said...

Gentlemen, there is room for all bloggers and I truly believe you both are closer together than you are farther apart.
Both blogs and contributors want to give information that is not readily available to the public by our traditional media. Both want to hold our Mayor and Council to a higher level of competance than what has been shown to date. Both want to move the city forward and get rid of the disgusting red tape prevelant at city hall.

The difference being is that one is in attack mode more than the other. I personally don't have an issue with that as the city is in attack mode with everyone who does not go along with their "grand" ideas.

Put the pettyness aside people. We are all doing god work for the city regardless if it is negatives turning into positives or ideas to build up and scaledown. The more divisive we are the more I am sure our elected officials will rub their hands with glee.
United we stand and divided we will fall.

Head Shake said...

"Blogging isn't for the thin skinned" Maybe but it is certainly not for the cement headed. And you DO have thin skin. That's why you always come crying back with the last word. Over and Over again. Today's remarks are pathetic and childish. These other commenters are right on the money.

Anonymous said...

"The naysayer comment was relevant as the post was contrasting the Ambassador London Program to what I would call Windsors critic brigade."

If the comment was relevant, why was it removed?

John said...

A "thin skinned" blogger to me would be one who posts monologues but disables comments from his readers.

Credit goes to for being a true forum for open discussion of civic issues, a forum even opponents and critics of its ideas are free to object to (or heckle anonymously).

dissapointed said...

Well...I just came over here from Ed Arditti's latest blog posting. He rightfully railed on Mark Boscariol for being truley ignorant. He also just stated that he will no longer patronize any of Mark's restaurants and downtown holdings. Make that two of us. I too will no longer support anything which Mark Boscariol owns or touches. I may as well continue by saying that this blog started out well but has become a nuisance. I have no reason to vist this place any more either.

Mark Boscariol said...

The comment was removed due to the litigous nature of the complaintants. How many legal challenges and formal complaints

Personally I would let it stand.

I always wonder with the anonymous comments if several are generated by the same person to appear as though they have numbers? Pretty easy to wade into the frey if your anonymous.

Hey, should I respond consistently with the other bloggers about the personal attacks on me.

How about this: "Oh the humanity, the humanity of it all"

call me what you will, just keep clicking.

Sporto said...

Who's to say Mark was even refering to this guy. This guy must think highly of himself. The statement was general at best. And, I agree with Mark, alot of comments from a likely single source. At least this blog publishes comments, good, bad and ugly. That alone speaks volumes.

Completely new said...

Oh I get it. Marco wants to be a "Shock Jock". Think what you will Marco. People are starting to click "away".

Chris Schnurr said...

"Hey, should I respond consistently with the other bloggers about the personal attacks on me."

Mark and what personal attacks would those be? Who are these bloggers?

I would presume that someone such as yourself, who frowns upon the alleged actions of other bloggers, would rise above the fray and lead by example.

Or is equating the other bloggers with Al Qaeda contributing so much to public discussion?

Just curious.

dave said...

Once again gentlement put your pettyness aside. You are starting to sound like Windsor Council. Better yet, the Mayor and the county. Stop whining about who pissed in who's cereal. All of your ego's are unbecoming. There is room for everyone.

John said...

Please! Please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who.

Mark Boscariol said...

Why do I have to be above the frey? I'm a human being that gets pissed off just like the next guy.

My fault lies in that I take pleasure being a thorn in the side of people who are a thorn in the side of our city.

I can live with myself just fine and I can look myself in the mirror without seeing a shill reflected back

Mark Boscariol said...

Cancel that, I'm a shill for downtown and the city.

1. a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, personal profit, or friendship or loyalty.

It is for my self interest that I want to see our downtown and our city thrive. Not specifically my business, but for the quality of my life and family outside of work.

anonymous said...

Thats one of your problems Mark. You like looking at yourself in the mirror too much. What an air bag you must see.

James Coulter said...

I would like both sides to stop at this point. There is nothing to be gained in continuing.

Thank you