WINDSOR STAR: Windsor councillor Borrelli fights back

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Published on: December 2, 2016 | Last Updated: December 2, 2016 6:09 PM EST

Ward 10 Coun. Paul Borrelli went on a Facebook tirade Thursday, attacking his former campaign manager for criticizing his stance in the controversial Pelissier Street parking saga.

Borrelli came out swinging at Paul Synnott, who has skewered him for voting in favour of ridding the Pelissier parking garage of retail tenants in favour of more parking spots.

In the nearly 500-word Facebook post, Borrelli called Synnott “disgruntled” and belittled his job taking passport photos, calling him “passport photo guy.”

“Do what you do best — click your passport photos at the Downtown CIBC bottom floor foyer,” Borrelli wrote.

This round of rancour started with city council’s decision Monday to remove the ground floor retail and commercial spots from the Pelissier Street parking garage and replace them with 42 parking spots. Borrelli was one of seven (six councillors and the mayor) who voted in favour of the decision, which has become a target of harsh criticism. 

The vote to rid the parking garage of retail space was an about-face for Borrelli, who returned from a city-funded trip to Rome for a conference on urbanism in June, touting Pelissier Street as a “walkable” place and “a catalyst for a vibrant downtown.”

On Wednesday, Synnott started an online petition calling for Borrelli to return $7,500 of taxpayer money for the Rome trip.

“My petition was certainly sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek,” said Synnott. “I certainly put it out as being that, but it’s meant to engage and create discussion. To my mind I’ve never attacked Mr. Borrelli personally, his home or where he works or what he does for occupation. It’s about policy and positions in the community. Last time I checked, that’s not a bad thing, having an opinion and putting it out there.”

Borrelli said Thursday the cost of his trip was $4,514.17, not the $7,500 claimed by Synnott. “Is that a nice thing for him to do to me, lying like that?”

Borrelli also wrote on Facebook that Synnott, who co-hosted a CJAM radio show called Rose City Politics, is on “a vindictive mission” with his “small circle CJAM entourage.”

“And this is why I’ve decided to even acknowledge him,” Borrelli wrote. “Usually, I don’t lower myself to such levels.”

When the Star reached out Thursday, Borrelli didn’t back down.

“I just made my comment because since I got elected he’s been completely knocking me on CJAM and places like that,” said Borrelli. “I thought the petition that he initiated was kind of silly and childish. But I’m not worried about it.”

Synnott has not been affiliated with CJAM since December 2015, and on a recent broadcast Rose City Politics hosts reached out to all Windsor councillors and the mayor to give their views, station manager Brady Holek said in an email to the Star on Friday.

“CJAM strives to create discussion and debate, presenting multiple perspectives on topics, and is on no kind of vindictive mission,” he said in reply to Borrelli’s allegation.

Borrelli said he’s tired of Synnott’s political jabs.

“He makes fun of me constantly, mocks me constantly,” said Borrelli. “There’s only so much you can take. Now you’re telling me that oh, he’s a photo guy and I can’t call him a photo guy? Well that’s what he does for a living.”

When asked if the digs against Synnott’s job made things personal, Borrelli said “absolutely, because that’s what he does.”

“I just wanted to let him know that he should do the job that he’s doing, that’s all,” said Borrelli.

Synnott said Borrelli’s Facebook rant “cheapens the discourse” and discourages people from getting involved in politics for fear of being attacked by elected officials.

“It’s just sad that this is the way he seeks to engage with people,” said Synnott. “Shaming me because I have a job? It kind of boggles my mind. I work for Brad McLaren, who has a very successful photo shop here. What does he want, make this a parking lot? It just makes you kind of scratch your head.”

***Editor’s note: This story has been updated since it was published to include statements by CJAM station manager Brady Holek clarifying its affiliation with Synnott and response to Borrelli’s allegation.

Read the original article on the waybackmachine HERE because it is no longer available on The Windsor Star