Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's Not My Job, So It's Not My Job

It's not my job to patrol the back lanes in my area, and it's not my job to contact 311. It's not my job to provide information to the City of Winnipeg when garbage is overflowing in dumpsters, or mattresses have collected down the back lane. It is not my job to report garages falling down, and it's not my job to educate those I see illegally dumping garbage in the North End. It's not my job to phone landlords and inform them of ill behaved tenants, and it's not my job to ensure my neighbours are being respectful. It is not my job to provide information to neighbours on how to take care of their landlord issues. It is not my job to be the eyes and ears of the neighbourhood.
None of these things are part of my job description. I get no pay cheque for these things I have done. The performance of these tasks was not to become wealthy, or to gain fame. It really just started because my husband and I wanted a good night sleep, and we wanted our garbage picked up. And for some reason, I thought I might be able to fix these issues. So I tried.
After a full year of performing these tasks, I have gained a bit of insight into the issues facing the North End of Winnipeg.
I have learned that garbage will keep appearing. No matter how many times I call to have it taken away, or talk to landlords or illegal dumpers driving into the North End, it will just keep coming.
I have learned that landlords will keep populating their rental units with whomever they want. After logging incidents, calling the Police, calling landlords, having tenants removed, new ones appear to repeat the same patterns. Nothing really changes, and it just costs me time and aggravation.
I have learned that City Departments are complaint driven, and there is no rush in taking care of any issues in the North End.
And the worst thing I learned was issues with the Police. I have had two seperate incidents involving the Police which have disturbed me. One, when a landlord attempted to run me down and the Police officer refused to take my statement. The other was with an intoxicated individual damaging property, attempting to break into a residence, drove drunk, and drove into a fence. The Police representative on the phone said there was no incident, and the police who responded to our 911 call said the person was doing nothing wrong.
I have had further information given to me regarding a lack of arrests when people commit crimes. I was told about a retail outlet in the North End, where shoplifters are caught. When the Police arrive, they release the offenders without charges being laid. Some cases involve theft of over $500. I have heard about people being assaulted and victims taken, leaving the accused to remain free. I have heard of people calling the Police to report intoxicated individuals asleep on their front lawns, being told to just drag them out of their yards. Nevermind all the drug deals seen in plain sight, and prostitutes on the streets.
Well, this is not my job. It is not what I signed on for. And this is just a little too big for me to fix.
Maybe Sam Katz should walk down a couple of streets in the North End. Maybe he should take a look at the condition of this part of HIS city. Because, quite frankly, I am tired of looking. And I am tired of trying to fix a City that doesn't want to be fixed.
I will take care of my own dumpster. And I will take care of issues in my yard. But as far as the North End goes, I think you better call in the Army, because the City doesn't seem to care.
The Fort Garry Horse are at their barracks on McGregor, so they're handy. Just submit a request for services. Declare Marshall Law if you must. Trudeau did it when he felt it necessary. But do something.
Somebody has to grow a pair, and take care of business, because it's not MY job.

Lets Get The Heck Out Of The North End

My husband and I went on a little adventure today. It was Saturday, and I wanted to do something outside of the North End. I haven't been to the Farmers Market out in St Norbert for years, ok, decades. I haven't been to the Farmers Market in St Norbert in decades. I thought it might be something fun to do. I have heard it is the best Farmers Market around.
We got up early. I made a nice Saturday breakfast of french toast. We ate. Then off we went on our adventure to the other side of town. As we approached the area I asked my husband if he remembered where the Farmers Market was. He said it wouldn't be hard to miss. Then I saw the line-up of cars on the street trying to turn left into a parking lot. And I saw the rows of cars parked all down the street. The lots next to the Market were charging $2.00 per car for parking. I kept driving. Side streets seemed to be lined with cars, and parking lots all seemed full. We finally found parking and hiked to the Market.
Boy that place was big. There were so many vendors, each selling their wares. And there was a variety in items being sold. There were pickles, canned items, and jam at some vendors. Others had several varieties of squashes, or carrots coming in three different colors. One vendor was doing henna tattoos. Baking was for sale from a variety of tables. Bison meat and free range chickens were also for sale.
But what I noticed the most about the Farmers Market was the price on everything. A loaf of bread was $3.75, a pumpkin pie was $7.00, a cookie was $2.00, corn was $.50 each. I thought Farmers Markets were supposed to be inexpensive places to buy vegetables and other wares. Maybe times have changed and I just haven't kept up with them. It looks like the Farmers Market is now a place where people of means go to have a nice country experience on a Saturday morning.
It was nice to go on an adventure today, but I guess I will just have to pick my vegetables from my own back yard garden. I have a Farmers Market at just the right price in my own back yard in the North End of Winnipeg.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Yard Is Attacking Me

What a day ..... what a week even.
I just got stung by a wasp. While moving a ladder, as I was working on replacing the facia on the back of the house a wasp stung me on the arm.
Well, if that's not enough, I twisted my ankle a few hours earlier. I stepped backward in the yard and landed in a hole. That hole must have been dug by some wild animal that likes hanging out in my yard. I wish people would keep their animals on leashes, or in their houses. Or maybe they should train their animals not to dig holes in my back yard. The hole got filled in pretty quick after that. I wish I saw it earlier.
And just a few days ago, I was stung by yet another wasp while watering my tomatoes in the back yard.
What the heck is going on. My yard is attacking me.
Or, is it the wasps that swarm in my dumpster and feed on the apple tree a few houses down that are spilling over into my yard. We spray the yard with insect killer, and put out wasp traps. But that doesn't seem to be enough to keep them at bay.
I don't sit on my front deck much any more because the wasps are getting so bad.
But I guess that is just a part of living in Winnipeg in the fall. And it is just a part of being on my street in the fall as well.
Time for ice on my elbow, and ice on my ankle, and maybe I'll put some ice in my drink as well.
That's it for now, all iced up on my street in the North End of Winnipeg.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Checking The Well-Being Of An Individual

I went out for coffee this morning. My power went out and I have yet to install a gas powered generator in my kitchen to take care of my coffee fix under these circumstances. So I had to walk to the local coffee shop.
I passed the bus stop on the way there. There were a few people standing around the bus shelter waiting to catch a bus, and two individuals inside the shelter as well. After a second look I noticed one person in the shelter was sitting on the bench, wrapped in a colorful blanket. And there was a second person lying on the cement floor of the shelter. The doorway was blocked by a shopping cart turned on its side.
As I walked past the scene I wondered for a minute who one calls for things such as this. The one person was awake, and the other I guess was still sleeping on the ground.
Then, when I came from the coffee shop I got my answer. The fire truck was just pulling up, and a crew of men, clad in blue gloves, came out to investigate the situation.
Then it hit me. They were there to check the "well-being" of the individual. I remember now. In listening to the police scanner there are several calls of this nature, checking the well-being, whether the individual is in a park, on a sidewalk, or anywhere else really. In this case, it was a bus shelter.
It rained last night, so I guess the two individuals found shelter in a dry place. And they were thoughtful enough to block the entrance to the shelter. They got a shopping cart, and turned it on its side, placing it in the doorway to make it difficult for anyone to enter their shelter from the storm.
But the more I think about it, the more I wonder what was really going on at that bus shelter. Only one of the individuals had a blanket, the one who was awake, the one sitting on the bench. The other person was lying on the ground. Did he fall from the bench? Was he sleeping? Did the two know each other?
I guess that is not for me to know. The fire department was on the scene, and they were checking the well-being of the individual. That's part of their day on the job.
As for me, I was going home to drink my coffee and get on with my day. I guess it is just another day in the hood.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fire Trucks On My Street Again Last Night

In the early morning sirens stopped down the street. The time was 2:30am. Several fire trucks pulled up in front of a house that had been set on fire in early June this year. It looks like it was set on fire again this morning.
A neighbour said the same house was on fire yesterday morning. Yesterday, the fire trucks arrived around 1:30am. I guess I slept through that one.
The house in question sits next to an empty lot, that had a house on it a few months ago. In May, the neighbouring house burned to the ground. Then only one week later this house was on fire, suffering several thousand dollars damage internally. Three other fires took place in that lane this spring.
A few weeks ago we had another fire on the street. A minivan was set on fire in a neighbours back yard. And on July 25 another neighbour had their dumpster set on fire.
We have a fire problem on our street. The one block that was on fire this morning has had seven fires since spring, three of which were to a single home.
I say that is seven fires too many for that block.
If you see a fire bug, report a fire bug, and put an end to this mayhem.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Crime Being Discussed According To Demographics

When does a discussion on crime become a rasist discussion? And when is it just a discussion on crime?
Should crimes be reported as being committed by specific age groups or genders? Should they be identified as being committed by specific body builds, race, or skin color? What about identifying the suspects as being from specific parts of town, or specific provinces or countries? How much should be reported about suspects, and how important is that to the story? What should the public be told about the demographics of those suspected or charged with crimes?
When analyzing crimes, I would think demographics would be very important. If arsons are being committed by 30 yr old Caucasian lawyers from Ottawa 9 times out of 10, that would be something to look further into. What makes a 30 yr old lawyer suddenly start lighting fires, and why only the Caucasian lawyers that come from Ottawa? In understanding the demographics, one can better understand what causes those people to do the crime. Once the causes are determined, prevention measures can be used to reduce those sorts of arsons in the future.
So, demographics can be useful in discussions on crimes when used by analysts. Would the same hold true  for community meetings? What if a community meeting was held to discuss arsons in the area. I will use the same example as given above. What if someone mentioned that most of the arsons were committed by 30 yr olds. Or what if they said most arsons were committed by Caucasian people. What if they got specific and said most of these crimes were happening by 30 yr old Caucasian lawyers from Ottawa? Or what if they just said there is a certain demographic committing these crimes. Would any of these statements be considered racist? If the comment made was known to be true, and was in the context of a discussion of the issue, would it be considered racist? And if it was considered to be racist, how could the meeting be at all useful in discussing the issue of arson?
Next, change just one of the demographic markers. Change the age to 12yrs old, 18yrs old, and 60yrs old. Are you tooking at the crime in a different way, and in turn looking at solutions in different ways? Change another marker, change Caucasian to Asian, South American, African American, Aboriginal. Is there a difference again? Now change the profession, change it to cab driver, homeless person, short order cook and secretary. And last, change the origin of the person. Have them living in the area of the arson, living across town, living in BC, living in Ireland, and living in Iraq.
Each time I changed one marker in the demographics, I changed the way I viewed the crime. When I found out the person was a secretary, all of a sudden I saw that they may be female. Previous to that, I looked at the suspects as males.
Each piece of information included or excluded changes the image we create in our minds, and it changes our abilities to understand the crimes being committed.
How can we discuss issues, if we cannot discuss demographics?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Decline And Fall Of Civilization

This blog post is not based on facts. It will not quote international studies of the great civilizations that have existed over time. It will not tell how specific actions resulted in specific outcomes. This is just a blog post talking about how I am feeling right now, today, on my street in the North End of Winnipeg.
I look out my door, and down my street, and see actions that make me shake my head. I cannot understand how the City of Winnipeg can allow these actions to continue. It confuses me to the point of exhaustion on how these things continue day in and day out.
Then I read in the newspaper how minimum sentences might be unjust to certain members of our society. They might be unjust because their relatives had to go to a residential school. And they might be unjust because so many of these particular people are already in prison. Then in another article I read that two youths were given minimum sentences for crimes committed. They were each given seven years. But they were not given the seven years in the way I would think. They were given three and four years in prison, and four and three years supervised probation, or some such thing. That does not seem like seven year sentences to me.
Well, not unless you consider the North End of Winnipeg to be an extention of the prision system. And the more I think about it, that is just what the North End is. It is a huge half way house. It is filled with criminals, probation recipients, and those with convictions listing longer than the average persons arms.
The North End is filled with people committing crimes too frequently to be arrested for them. And it is filled with criminal activity that does not have the evidence to arrest or convict. So really, if the North End is an extention of the prison system, then these people are already serving time. They are serving time in the North End Walls-Free Probation Housing Project (NEWFPHP).
The North End criminals are protected from justice, thanks to our Canadian Laws of freedom and democracy. Its law abiding citizens are refused safety based on the human rights of those committing crimes.
This, in my humble opinion is the beginning of the end of this country we call Canada. This country that holds such high ideals of Freedom, Human Rights, Protection of the Weak is in rapid decline. This Peace Keeping country is not keeping the peace at home. At least, not at my home.
This is the beginning of the end of civilization on my street, in the North End of Winnipeg, in the country that is currently called Canada. This country that is soon to be taken over by the criminals it is protecting. Or maybe, I will wake up from this nightmare, and find the Country I once knew as a child. But I am not holding my breath.
When will the Peace Keepers start keeping the peace in the North End of Winnipeg? And when will the laws start protecting the victims over the criminals? That's what I want to know. When?