The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

We are citizen journalists in Winnipeg. When not breaking exclusive stories, we analyze news coverage by the mainstream media and highlight bias, ignorance, incompetence, flawed logic, missed angles and, where warranted, good work. We serve as the only overall news monitors in the province of Manitoba. We do the same with politicians (who require even more monitoring.) EMAIL:

Saturday, October 09, 2010

The tenders are in. Is the bill for new stadium $190 million?

Incumbent councillor Justin Swandel (St. Norbert) knows what its like to be spun on a spit and roasted on high heat, for that's how he felt during a fierce confrontation Thursday with opponents of the proposed new stadium for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

At an open house on the stadium, the one-term councillor (winner of a byelection in 2005 to fill the seat for 18 months before winning a full term in '06) got the message, loud, clear and in his face, from his furious constituents:

We don't want it and we're holding you responsible.

Swandel, who thinks he's got the election in the bag, offered them no comfort.

But there's a glimmer of hope for the Fort Richmond homeowners worried about noise, parking loss, traffic disruption, and rowdyism that comes with a stadium down the block.

It comes from a published report from a well-placed source. Sort of.

It's "published" as a post by someone using a cute pseudonym on an internet message board. The writer is unknown to us, but comes recommended by his peers as "heavily connected" and "a trusted source."

What the hell. Those are already better credentials than the "anonymous sources who don't want to be named" that the Winnipeg Free Press cites in their stories.

JHendrix70 posted on on Sept. 30 at 8:19 p.m.:

You guys think the Museum is an issue. Let me give you this little tidbit:
Cost of new Bombers Stadium = 113-120 Million. ( 130 Total, 15 million going to U of M Facility )
Cost of Material alone for new Bomber Stadium = 165-190 Million.
You do the math......
Tenders were awarded today. Job will be priced again & will obviously have significant reductions.

The same day, or evening, rather, the Winnipeg Sun posted its stadium story...

Traffic nightmare feared
Residents slam lack of stadium planning
Last Updated: September 30, 2010 9:26pm

...which concluded "The final cost and plan for the stadium, which was originally pegged at $115 million, have yet to be firmed up. (Creswin president Dan) Edwards said the call for tenders from contractors closed Thursday afternoon."

At least that part of JHendrix70's post was confirmed.

Now the stadium opponents need to know whether his figures are accurate. The numbers indicate that the proposed stadium is 35 to 60 percent over the budget approved by the provincial and city governments. The lower cost will obviously come with major alterations to the design.

Although some work has started on the planned stadium at the University of Manitoba campus, the project is mired in confusion over what exactly it will look like and who will pay for it.

Sold to the public as a $115 million project, with construction overruns to be covered by (alleged) businessman David Asper, he's followed the family tradition and reneged on the promise made to Winnipeg taxpayers, stiffing them with the bill just like his sister did with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

If David Asper knows the sum total of the tenders for the stadium he must reveal it to the public immediately if he intends to keep stuffing his face at the public trough.

If Mayor Sam Katz knows the cost of the stadium, post-tender, he must make it public now and not after the election. Katz has pledged to bring the stadium project back to city council if the cost tops $115 million.

But if he knows now that's the case then the cost of the stadium must be an election issue and the public given a chance to question candidates for city council before casting their ballots.

Unelected Premier Greg Selinger is off on a junket to Israel for a week, but he'll be back in plenty of time to reveal the anticipated cost overrun on the stadium before the Oct. 27 municipal election. Selinger is proposing to take money away from students in St. James and taxpayers in all of Winnipeg to pay for the stadium if Asper defaults. We deserve to know at the earliest what that bill will be.

Swandel, meanwhile, expects to be singed by the anti-stadium backlash, but not enough to cost him the seat.

“I believe that the hard work that I’ve done, the millions of dollars of investments that I have brought into the area and the burning issues that I have dealt with and resolved for the people [ . . . ] that the people will respond positively and in my favor,” Swandel told The Manitoban, the University of Manitoba student newspaper.

In the byelection of 2005, Swandel barely squeaked in, winning by fewer than 200 votes in a race with eight contestants.

In 2006 he trounced his only challenger by almost 4500 votes...except that his victory came over anti-fogging moonbat Glenda Whiteman.

This time he's running against Louise May who comes with impressive credentials. Currently the executive director of the St. Norbert Arts Centre, she has a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Manitoba (the practical) and a Masters’ Degree in Fine Arts from the Norwich University in Vermont (the artistic).
And she's in tune with Fort Richmond on the stadium.
“This is a major capital project and there are a lot of issues that are still very grey about how the financing is going to work. I simply cannot support it with its present plan,” May told The Manitoban.
But her secret weapon is her father, Bill Loewen, the founder of the National Party, and his vast experience in politics both national and local.

And if that isn't enough, May's daughter Zona is an artist in her own right whose work is described on the Internet as "multi-media, bookworks, magic potions and spells, abstract paintings and craftbased objects."

Magic potions and spells?

Think again, Mr. Swandel. Think again.

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