Embattled in River Heights

What is it about the electoral ward of River Heights-Fort Garry that the councillor’s race becomes so acrimonious? This just landed in my email box:

Children of Late Councillor Brenda Leipsic Shift Support to Kowalson

October 15, 2010

Citing disgust at City Councillor John Orlikow’s claims for the work done by their mother Brenda Leipsic, Greg and Tracy Leipsic have shifted their support to candidate Michael Kowalson in the hotly contested ward of River Heights-Fort Garry.

John Orlikow issued a release on October 3rd where he says he “successfully lobbied the City to add 1.1 million dollars to its 2011 Capital Plan for a study of a Waverly train crossing underpass” and that he was “surprised when he came to office that there was no funds dedicated to this project”.

His statement ignores the record. The City’s 2007 Capital Budget shows clearly that in fact these funds were already dedicated for the study, and it was Councillor Brenda Leipsic who had successfully lobbied for it years earlier.

“In taking credit for my mother’s work, John Orlikow dishonours my mother’s memory. It shows that he is not up to the standards set by her in representing the people of this ward. My sister Tracy and I are calling on him to apologize for misleading the residents of this ward about the Waverley study” said Greg Leipsic.

“We have known John for a long time and supported him in the 2009 by-election, but we have been very disappointed in his performance and when he pulled this stunt we felt we could no longer hold our silence” said Leipsic.

With two weeks until voters go to the polls, the move is seen as another a blow to Orlikow who has stumbled badly in the last few weeks amidst furor over his lack of consultation with residents in the ward on traffic calming issues. “The people in this ward would have been treated with more respect by my mother on these traffic issues” said Greg Leipsic.

“Its surprising how he takes credit for others achievements, but denies responsibility for his own decisions” said Leipsic.

In switching their support to Michael Kowalson, Leipsic added   “He has the experience, honesty and leadership to make principled decisions that is lacking in our current Councillor” .

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And then this followed:

WINNIPEG – John Orlikow, City Councillor for River Heights – Fort Garry, says that his opponent Michael Kowalson not only set up a phony citizen’s group to hold a rally attacking him, but brought a Conservative consultant who doesn’t even live in the ward to pad the crowd. A picture of Kowalson in the Free Press shows Braydon Mazurkiewich – a former assistant to Conservative MPs Steven Fletcher and Shelly Glover – standing holding a sign that says “Where’s the Consultation?” On his Twitter account, http://twitter.com.y2bray, Mazurkiewich tweeted “Did anyone see me on #CTV #CBC #Global or the #Winnipeg Free Press website today?” Mazurkiewich is not on the voter’s list in River Heights-Fort Garry. A phone call confirmed he lives in St. Vital. “First we discovered that the “Concerned Citizens for River Heights” was being run entirely out of Michael Kowalson’s office, now we find it has members who are not from River Heights,” said Orlikow. “I would like to know just how many more of that crowd were Conservatives from outside the ward.”  Mazurkiewich’s resume (link below) says he was an assistant to Conservative MPs Shelly Glover and Steven Fletcher and that he worked in “Political Operations” at the Conservative Party Headquarters in Ottawa, His site goes on to say that he “is a political advisor to many candidates and elected officials in Manitoba. Braydon has served the Conservative Party of Canada and the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and many Civic politicians in several capacities and is a lifelong supporter of conservative initiatives.”Kowalson, whose facebook pages lists his political affiliation as “independent” is also a longtime political activist in both the provincial PCs and federal Conservative party. Kowalson is President of the River Heights PC Association, and campaign manager for Federal Conservative candidate Raymond Hall, and his campaign has been endorsed by Steven Fletcher and Rod Bruinooge (http://twitpic.com/25o5kt) The anonymous group “Concerned Citizens for River Heights” dumped flyers calling Orlikow “cowardly” and calling for residents to join a rally on Oct 13. Jan Currier, wife of Orlikow’s opponent in the 2009 election admitted to writing the letter and supporting Kowalson. The head of the group, Peter Smith, sits on the board of the River Heights PC Association with Kowalson. The group’s first meeting was in the Kowalson campaign office, they distributed flyers from there, and on Oct 12 invited participants to a meeting to go over “media lines” prior to the rally. -30- For More Information, Contact: John OrlikowCity Councillor for River Heights-Fort Garry Ph: 453-1818Campaign Office: 1693 Corydon St. Background: Mazurkiewich’s Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/y2brayHis resume from his website “Vote Braydon”http://www.votebraydon.ca/main/?page_id=2“Braydon was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He graduated from Collège Béliveau and studied marketing and politics at the University of Manitoba.While attending university, Braydon worked for the Member of Parliament for Saint Boniface, Shelly Glover, in Winnipeg. He then went to Ottawa to work for the Minister of Democratic Reform, Steven Fletcher and was quickly promoted to work in Political Operations at the Headquarters of the Conservative Party of Canada. Braydon was then offered a position in Regina, Saskatchewan to advise Andrew Scheer, the Member of Parliament for Regina-Qu’Appelle and Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. Braydon then returned to Winnipeg in late 2009 and started his own Marketing and Consulting firm, he acts as the Chief Executive Officer of y2bray Consulting and is a political advisor to many candidates and elected officials in Manitoba.”Braydon has served the Conservative Party of Canada and the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and many Civic politicians in several capacities and is a lifelong supporter of conservative initiatives.” Image from the Winnipeg Free Press: Michael Kowalson is in the foreground,  Mazurkiewich in the back.

2006: Benham and Leipsic

2009: Orlikow and Courier

2010: Orlikow and Kowalson

Apologies

A Ryan Johnson just contacted me to let me know I had not sought permission to use a Winnipeg Free Press image from their website.

He’s absolutely right. I should have asked. I have removed the offending post.

Funny, I tried getting back to Mr. Johnson, who appeared to be a member of the Sun Media chain.

The reply email to the Sun Media address (I believe they use a .com, not. ca) was sent back undeliverable. Now that’s odd.

Anyhow, thanks to Ryan for policing the Internet.

“Not a crime disaster”

Good, workmanlike article about the Mynarski ward and crime from Rob Brown at the weeklies.

At the bottom:

Candidate Ross Eadie said less bureaucracy, not necessarily more cops, is needed to address the crime issue.

The North End is not a crime disaster, and neighbourhood police should be deciding where they are needed the most,” he said, adding that the Winnipeg Police Service should release more statistics on violent crimes to members of the public.

Don’t know about you, but there’s few other areas of the city where a 21-year-old mom can get shot and killed on her way to her car outside a reputed gang hangout and it barely raises a peep out of the “leadership” — or anyone else for that matter— in Winnipeg.

Phil Haiart, the son of a city doctor, was shot and killed crossing the street in the West End on Oct. 10, 2005.

By Oct. 13, there were screaming headlines like this one:

Will Phillipe’s killing be last straw?

and:

Teen’s death ‘call to arms’

By Oct. 14, the police service was weighing in:

Courts too soft, Ewatski warns

Coun. Russ Wyatt attempts to hold a public meeting of council to have a frank public discussion about drugs, crime and gangs in Winnipeg. He’s accused of grandstanding on the back of a tragedy and the meeting request is shot down.

One week after Haiart’s killing, we start to see:

City heeds ‘call to arms’

Winnipeg Free Press
Tue Oct 18 2005
Page: A1
Section: City
Byline: Bill Redekop

WINNIPEGGERS came together on several fronts yesterday to demand changes to conditions that led to last week’s death of an innocent 17-year-old bystander caught in a gang gunfight.

They seemed to have heard the “call to arms” that Philippe Haiart’s friends and family said his death represented.

At 3 p.m., Winnipeg Police Insp. Boyd Campbell received news that eight of 23 police graduates will be assigned to his inner city precinct, where Haiart’s shooting occurred, starting in two weeks.

Then, the next day:

A chance to voice our shared disgust over gang violence

Headlines like this continued for about 2 weeks (see above Re: police officers) and then:

‘In-your-face’ blitz unveiled

Winnipeg Free Press
Wed Oct 26 2005
Page: A1
Section: City
Byline: Bruce Owen

MAYOR Sam Katz and Police Chief Jack Ewatski teamed up yesterday to “take back our streets” with a blitz involving 45 police officers.

They announced Operation Clean Sweep and warned “in-your-face-policing” will target gangs, prostitution and drugs.

“We don’t need an ivory-tower policy discussion,” Katz said at an outdoor news conference at Langside Street and Sargent Avenue, near the site where St. John’s-Ravenscourt School graduate Philippe Haiart, 17, was killed by gang fire on Oct. 10.

And “operation clean sweep” was born, and would live on as a hallmark moment for policing and public safety in Winnipeg.

But three days after Tiffany Johnson was gunned down, there’s no evidence of a start to such a buildup or angry condemnation of what happened to her, except maybe from the police service.

And I mean from everyone: The community, the media, the politicians and the police service.

I suppose I just wonder why.

Is it that North End crime has become so ingrained in our minds that we — all of us — just look the other way?

Usually one can’t take one’s eyes off a disaster. Maybe that means Eadie’s right.

But I don’t think that’s it.

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No Judy No?

Don’t know if you’ve seen this so-called “citizen led” website. I just noticed it this morning after a commenter on the Winnipeg Sun left it in his/her signature.

No Judy No dot Com

Not a name or an address to be found. I call lame.

It’s an election, folks, you’re fully allowed to dissent with Judy W’s candidacy and platform.

But for God’s sake, grow a set and put your name to it.

Telling colour scheme, tho.

There’s also a YouTube channel. Again, no names.

Registrant:

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A crime plan (with no police)

Brodbeck, in his Tuesday column, covers adequately the limits of a municipal mayor to tackle crime, so I won’t repeat it here.

But what’s striking about Judy Wasylycia-Leis’s ‘first piece’ crime announcement on Monday is that the two proposals didn’t substantively involve the WPS at all.

What was proffered didn’t mention any significant new innovation on how the city can interact with the WPS to free up resources, improve existing policing infrastructure or increase the visibility of the crime-prevention plans that do exist today.

What we know: Patrol officers spend a lot of their on-duty time rearresting offenders on breaches of prior bails, orders or releases. That in turn limits their time on duty as they’re filing paperwork for someone they just arrested a week prior.

Is there an initiative that city hall could propose that would help deal with this?

If Katz can take credit for the creation of the Street Crime unit [spun out of the Operation Clean Sweep task force in 2005] then, could Judy W reasonably expect to create ‘a unit of her own’ to deal with one of the most pressing crime problems we have?

Probably, I’d guess.

A ‘court enforcement’ unit, perhaps? Hire more administrative (non police) staff to handle the paperwork?

Crime-prevention programs are fine, but they avoid hitting the heart of the issue.

You can’t fix a larger problem without fixing the smaller parts first, if you plan on using the same materials to fight it.

There was also no talk from Mrs. WL-L on Monday of the three crime problems Winnipeggers have told the service time and time again they want something done about.

They are: break-ins, auto theft and vandalism. Since 1999, police surveys of the general public have identified these three issues as people’s most pressing concerns.

So far this year, residential break ins are up five per cent, according to CrimeStat.

CrimeStat doesn’t account for vandalism.

And auto theft — attempts and actual thefts — continues to drop.

Why is that?

Because the, WPS, the city and province decided to innovate and set up a program in 2005 (the Winnipeg Auto Theft Suppression Strategy) that looked closely at the data (who was stealing cars, where and when) and mobilized dedicated resources from all aspects of ‘the system’ (cops, crowns and probation officers) to address the problem.

It’s been incredibly successful. Winnipeg has gone from a strong #1 nationally in car theft to #3. It’s taken time and effort, but it has worked.

There’s no reason a similar approach can’t work for other types of repeat, chronic offenders.

And no reason a mayoralty candidate can’t come up with one.

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