Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Ferry Finale

It's a welcome relief to Mayor Bob Duffy and his administration that the Ferry is sold at last. It's relief at having accomplished a worthwhile mission. And maybe it's mixed with relief of a different type -- relief that the Mayor no longer has to take heat for the length of time it's taken to sell the ferry.

Any such criticism of the Mayor was unfair. Cutting the cord on the Ferry to stop the hemorrhaging of money was his first significant policy decision, made only a few days into his new administration.

You don't put a $40 million ocean-going boat in the front yard with a "For Sale" sign. It's a complex process if only because of financing arrangements and detailed legalities involving ships.
So the first deal fell through. It wasn't Duffy's fault, or his administration's. They were right to stick with the first buyer as long as it looked like the buyer could pull it all together. A classic example of the "bird in the hand."

When it turned out the bird was dead, they acted promptly. In short order they got a real buyer with money in hand.

Well done, Mayor Duffy. Both on your initial decision and on your sale of the ferry.

What worries us still are the events and transactions involving the Ferry during the pre-Duffy era.

Griping the other day about the closest thing to a real newspaper we have in Rochester, we took the old rag to task for failing to follow up on its own story on the Ferry Scandal. Even after Duffy's success, City taxpayers are left holding the bag for $20 million in debt. And that doesn't include long-term obligations to the Port of Toronto or the costs and opportunity costs of the dollar-a-year lease of the Rochester ferry terminal to the ferry's original promoters.

But at least somebody out there gets it. This morning's Democrat and Chronicle included a letter to the editor from a Rev. Bob Snover in Penfield. It's well worth reading. Among its observations:

Should I expect to see some indictments for misappropriation of funds by the powers that ran this scam? . . . I would hope that a complete investigation into the circumstances surrounding this debacle would be warranted and conducted. Something's fishy.

Tell it, Reverend.

Or maybe do better than tell it. File a Freedom of Information Act request to see who did what and when before Duffy came on the scene and cleaned it up. Most of the people responsible still sit on the City Council.

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