CFS: If we won’t learn from history, we’ll just repeat it

(Jaylene Sanderson-Redhead)
(Jaylene Sanderson-Redhead)

“The reality has been that regardless of the political party in power, there has never been a concerted effort to look at the full requirements to make a child-welfare system that can at least reduce the problems. This should not be a partisan issue, but any (even partial) solutions take more time than the next election date, and hence are not sexy enough to warrant full commitment.” Dr. Keith Black, op-ed in WFP 05/01/2013

When someone as insightful and experienced as Winnipeg’s Keith Black*** speaks on Manitoba’s beleaguered child-welfare (CFS) system, why is it nobody with the power to change it appears to be listening?

Black’s article today speaks for itself, and I encourage all to read it closely.

Its pessimistic tone is perhaps justified coming from someone of his background: a veteran social worker and community leader who believes there’s a better way to do things — or at least, he says, if there’s a will, there’s a way.

The problem, Black pretty plainly states, is the will only exists to ‘fix’ CFS to the point that it won’t cost political points in a future election. He’s careful to note that this isn’t an NDP issue, but instead one that afflicts the political system as a whole.

Black references how in the ’60s he took flak from all sides for helping pen an article describing Manitoba’s child-welfare was in chaos (the exact words from the Manitoba Association of Social Workers at the time were ‘in a chaotic state,’ as far as my trip through the FP archives at the downtown library show me, and it may have been the early 70s — but I couldn’t find the specific article of which he speaks, only references to it):

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 3.21.06 PMLook closely at what the article says, right up top:

“I would agree to the extent that there are unmet needs, inadequate procedures and systems to meet those needs, insufficient co-ordination between the various sectors in the child welfare field,” Mitchell C. Neiman said on Dec. 1, 1971. (41923151)

The MASW, according to FP reporter Wally Dennison, had echoed virtually the same issues in its brief to a minister of the minority NDP government, headed by Ed Schreyer at the time. It was also calling for standards of child welfare to be set, as it appears there were virtually none in place.

It’s curious because a lack of inter-agency co-operation and failure and inability to adhere to standards are very much live issues in the investigations into the Phoenix Sinclair case (2000-2006) and in the Jaylene Redhead case (2007-2009), decades after the MASW’s warning.

Less than a year later, in 1972, another Dennison article speaks to the government’s plans for CFS: namely, taking over the responsibility for child welfare and doing away with the Children’s Aid Society for good. The reaction to this from workers appeared extremely negative, for a number of reasons.

Notably, the article states:

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 3.33.07 PM“These skeptics note that the department proceeded with its reorganization while ignoring the experiences gained by People’s Opportunity Services at 600 Main Street — A $250,000 federally-financed demonstration project initiated in 1967 and which used 21 former welfare workers as case aides to offer a series of innovative services in Winnipeg’s core area. When the Project ended March 31, it was nothing more than a regional office of government and the case aides were now in “safe” jobs throughout the departmental bureaucracy, the critics contend. A successful experiment in social service delivery had been ignored because the Manitoba government already has made up its mind about how services are to be delivered.” (44827139 PDF)

Which brings me to my first point: It may be impossible to ‘fix’ anything about CFS if politics is allowed to trump solid and intelligent policy to fuel its actions.

Sadly, we see evidence of this happening often in Manitoba.

Political/ideological interference in essential services, be they policing, corrections, education or child-welfare/family services prevents solid, evidence-based policy from being the starting point from which services flow.

While I’m not an advocate of privatization of the CFS system, I do believe there has to be a way to ‘divorce’ such services from the whims of government and insulate them from short-term tinkering [if not complete overhauls].

Critics of devolution – which at root is a well-meaning scheme to create greater fairness and client buy-in in the CFS system — will be first in line to hammer the government based on the above. The real criticism I have of it is how it appears it was rammed into place come hell or high water regardless of the internal chaos and confusion the new policy and its practicalities created.

Anyhow. I want to come back to where we started off: When Keith Black speaks, why don’t we seem to listen?

About 18 months after Phoenix Sinclair was born and not long after the NDP again took power, Black again penned an op-ed for the Winnipeg Free Press.

He had just retired.

Screen Shot 2013-01-05 at 4.11.45 PMOn Dec. 4, 2001 he wrote (I can’t link to it directly, sorry, there’s no way to do it):

“IN the 1960s, the Manitoba Association of Social Workers wrote an article that suggested that the child welfare system in Winnipeg was in “chaos.” All hell broke loose, and there were angry denials and counter-arguments.

After 40 years of working in and around children’s services in Winnipeg, until my recent retirement, I have seen nothing to suggest that MASW was wrong then or would be wrong now. And the chaos is much wider than the specific Child and Family Services system.

… For decades the structural debates have hidden the real problem; namely that child welfare is a political rather than a therapeutic or service issue. The increase in training, understanding, even technology has been implemented, and the poor line workers struggle against immense odds just to understand their role and get through the day without anyone getting hurt. The people with whom other agencies and forces are not co-operating have doomed any of the structures to failure.

…Winnipeg is blessed with competent, hard working and dedicated people serving children and families. The shame is that their efforts have been diminished because of the distrust, suspicion, dislike or fear that lies behind the superficial smiles and handshakes at receptions, workshops and annual meetings. And as long as political agendas determine how services are to be organized, and we steadfastly refuse to learn how to work together – political left and political right and all colours – we will simply repeat the pattern of chaos that is the real world of service to Winnipeg’s most vulnerable and needy citizens.”

It’s curious to me how much of what he had to say 12 years ago mirrors nearly exactly what he told us again today.

I wish, as I’m sure he does, that we had listened or would at least begin to.

Because it appears nearly half a century has passed and a very real problem we have to tackle hasn’t gone away, maybe even isn’t seen as worth dealing with, when really, it’s fundamental.

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*** In addition to his experience as a social worker and social-work official with the MASW and MIRSW, Black is a noted community leader, in 2004, the University conferred on him an honorary degree, saying:

  • Keith Black, BA, BSW, MSW (Class of 1960), will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws. Over a career spanning more than 40 years, Black was a social worker at the Children’s Aid Society, Executive Director of Knowles School for Boys, and Director of the Child Guidance Clinic of Winnipeg. He was a valued member of The University of Winnipeg Board of Regents for 13 years and served as chair from 1996-98.

Policing, (internal) politics and public policy

(Arne Peltz is the arbitrator overseeing a police Sergeant's labour dispute)
News flash: The Winnipeg Police Service — with roughly 2,000 employees and multiple divisions, mandates and priorities — is a large bureaucratic work environment that experiences human-resource headaches, policy-wonkery and management-employee conflicts.

Anyone else find the above statement a bit of a truism?

Because, at the end of the day, that’s really what’s being revealed at a Manitoba Labour Board hearing into a dispute between Sgt. James Jewell and WPS management over the so-called “1+1+1” transfer policy brought in a couple of years ago (see footnote).

Jewell’s stated concern — up until recently a supervising officer in the homicide unit — is that a policy of transferring people out of the “high-stakes” unit after a maximum of three years doesn’t meet the needs the complex cases require.

He feels he’s been unfairly punished by being transferred out of the unit for taking his concerns over the heads of his supervisors to the police brass.

His supervisors deny this is the case.

Anyone who has seen a homicide cop undergo cross-examination in a murder trial will understand: Jewell’s point is sound. You have to know your stuff or risk getting torn to shreds.

Some (but not all) homicide cases are complex and require focus, dedication and — as Jewell asserts — experience in homicide investigation to investigate and prosecute successfully.

His superiors suggest that’s not necessarily the case.

“To get good at homicide, you’ve got to know homicide, correct?,” Jewell’s lawyer, Keith LaBossiere asked Staff Sgt. Mike Stephens on Friday.

“I don’t draw the parallel, I’m sorry,” Stephens replied.

I won’t go into much greater detail about the Labour Board hearing so far, as it’s really Mike McIntyre and the Free Press’ baby (Links here, here, here and here).

I attended yesterday afternoon strictly out of interest as a private citizen (but reserved the right to blog on what I took away from it).

I wrote about the transfer policy for the Free Press in 2009, when the service was drafting it.

Much of what’s been revealed at the current hearing echoes concerns raised by the police union (actually a bargaining association) at the time.

But setting aside the stated concerns about the policy  for just a sec, there is another side to it.

My limited understanding of the need for the term limits (from the executive’s perspective) was that it was to ensure front-line, street level operations and officers have veteran guidance as new officers come on to the force and do their mandatory general patrol time.

From a core public-safety position, that seems and sounds reasonable.

But at issue really here is how, (as stated above), there’s a steep learning curve for murder police, and it’s not much of a leap to believe having them come and go from the unit too quickly can reduce institutional knowledge and case continuity as well as the mentoring of new investigators. That can be said to have a negative influence on the goal: public safety and enforcement of the law. Nobody wants murderers walking the streets.

A thought experiment: Imagine if the Free Press decided to move McIntyre out of the courthouse and put a GA reporter (not an inexperienced one, but one lacking systemic knowledge) there. There’s no doubt that over time, the newbie would ‘get it,’ but you hire a McIntyre, see his skills and keep him there for a reason. Simply put: He’s learned the ropes, produces original stuff and it just seemingly wouldn’t make sense to lose his experience in that genre in a high-stakes media landscape.

[UPDATE, Monday July 11: After thinking about this further, a glaring omission struck me that I should have mentioned — The key difference is that reporters don’t solve serious violent crimes, nor typically risk their lives. There are naturally rare exceptions, but…]

But — a conjunction which segues into the point I wish to make: like it or lump it, there’s a caveat when you don’t sign your own paycheques.

Management reserves the right to…

There’s two competing sides that I can articulate at this time: One faction says the WPS brass is hampering its core public-safety goal through its own internal policy. The other suggests new direction is needed; that other priorities — AKA building for the future — are at play here, that like any corporation or bureaucracy, those who run it have to have the discretion to make changes as they see fit.

In other words, a rock and a hard place. For all involved. No matter how this plays out, it’s hard to say if there’s a way of seeing if there will be a clear “winner” or “loser.”

Naturally, at issue in Jewell’s case is whether he was treated fairly in the circumstances.

A final note:

I’d suspect there’s an uneasy feeling on the fifth floor of the PSB given the details about the internal operations of homicide and HR activities being revealed at the MLB hearing.

For years, the force has taken great lengths to try and ensure the internal operations of the WPS stay on the down-low, that its public messaging stays focused. And yes, that access to such internal information often be denied.

But what we’ve seen over the last week is that there’s been no great calamity because the public got a glimpse of how the quote-unquote elite homicide unit operates, that there’s fraction and friction and internal conflict and politics at play.

In my personal view, it has served as a reminder that the cop you see on the street, the one that may be your neighbour or fishing buddy, faces the same workplace frustrations as virtually all citizens who work for someone else do.

In effect, it’s been terribly humanizing.

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Footnote:

In Division 40 – WPS policy states there are maximum assignment lengths of:

Constable — three years (one year guaranteed and each of the other two years reviewable each year)

Det. Sergeants — four years maximum.

Most if not all, when assigned to the division, stay for the maximum allotment without being transferred out at the direction of the management.


Major Crimes: A week in review IV

One thing jumped out at me this week that seemed to kind of fly under the radar.

The fact that Toronto has five so-called ‘Gladue courts’ and Manitoba has yet to implement even one.

What is Gladue? Essentially, it’s a response by the justice system to the fact that aboriginal people are vastly over-represented in Canada’s prison system within the context of the total population.

From Debra Parkes at the University of Manitoba in a backgrounder:

Then [The 1990s] and now, the “grossly disproportionate numbers”are shocking:

fully one quarter of Canadian prisoners are Aboriginal, while Aboriginal people only make up less than 4% of the overall population.

On the prairies, the numbers are even worse. Over 70% of Manitoba prisoners are Aboriginal people.

One might think that Manitoba would be one of the first provinces in Canada to implement the court, given the numbers quoted by Parkes.

Well, why? One might ask. What is this “special” court for? From another backgrounder, this from Ontario:

How is the Gladue Court Different from a Regular Court?

The Gladue court is of more benefit to an Aboriginal offender simply because a judge must consider two things:

• The unique system or background factors which may have played a role in bringing the offender before the court, and

• The types of sentencing procedures and sanctions that may be appropriate in the circumstances to the offender due to his or her Aboriginal heritage, including the examination of alternative justice processes such as Restorative Justice.

…  It is a fact that Aboriginal offenders respond better to a Restorative Justice model which advocates sharing, reparation and a holistic approach rather than the discriminations, adversarial stance and incarceration that is often synonymous with the Criminal Justice system.

What’s interesting to note, as well, is that despite the existence of such courts, it’s appeared to do little to address the reason they were established: gross over-representation. As one of Manitoba’s top judges suggested to The Freep the other day, maybe it’s putting the cart before the horse.

“Do we need to create a specialized Gladue court in Manitoba? We may need to do that here. But it’s not going to be easy,” Chief Judge Ken Champagne of Manitoba’s Provincial Court said.

Poverty is the biggest issue for aboriginal people in Manitoba. Is a Gladue court going to be able to address that? You also need a lot of resources at the front end: in education, training and social services,” Champagne said.

On another note, it’s refreshing to see a judge saying something in a public forum. In my opinion, too often they’re silent on issues the public cares about.

(Thunder Bay Courthouse)

2] Add to the above this story of a murder trial postponed because of underrepresentation of aboriginal people on the jury. Strikes me that this is a problem here in Manitoba too. Take for example the jury trial of a teen Indian Posse gangster who went on a shooting spree at a Weston-area home, killing three. If I remember correctly, there wasn’t one aboriginal person on his jury either.

3] Couple of major criminal cases went forward with resolutions this week. First, the woman who abducted a baby from a home and slammed it into a sidewalk pleaded guilty. And yes, a Gladue report has been ordered to examine the circumstances of Nikita Eaglestick’s background. Second, a boy who brutally murdered a kid he was babysitting on Little Grand Rapids First Nation was sentenced to the maximum allowable under the YCJA.

From Dean Pritchard’s (Twitter: deanatwpgsun) story in the Winnipeg Sun:

Questioned by police, the accused had little explanation for the attack, except to say “he wanted to try it out” and that he “felt nothing” after Tristian was dead.

The accused hauled water from a nearby lake to clean up the murder scene.

“For all the blood-letting that happened … (there was) very little forensic evidence,” Sharma said.

According to a pre-sentence report, the accused told a probation officer “he thought he was going to be able to cover up his crime” and said he “ran out of time and did not do a good enough cleanup job.”

Equally as interesting is the fact the Crown says it was forced to accept a plea deal (and therefore not be able to sentence this guy as an adult) because the investigating officers violated the accused’s rights under youth justice laws by not following proper procedure for young offenders.

I remember a couple of days after the victim was killed I bumped into a Correctional Officer who said the accused had just been brought into Winnipeg. The guard admitted being appalled at what the allegations were against him and indicated the now-convicted murderer was likely insane. I guess now, more than two years later, we have some indication of how true that is.

(winnipegcat.blogspot.com)

4] As Winnipeg mops up it’s 8th homicide of 2011 (in what’s been a very ‘stabby’ week), one realizes gang and drug-riddled Vancouver is only on number 2 of the year.

5] Scared Straight? Teens conducting a break-in and subsequent car theft enter a home where a man was apparently already dead. Maybe they saw him and bolted, maybe they didn’t. A truly bizarre set of circumstances.

6] The more I read over the U.S. court documents regarding the mysterious disappearance of two Winnipeg university students accused of terrorism-related offences, the more it seems like the plot of a spy novel. The most interesting stuff I’ve come across so far are the stories relating to an already arrested co-accused, who the FBI claims travelled to Pakistan and received military weapons and tactical training for jihad from a man named in documents as Yusef. In an unsealed indictment against Ferid Imam, one of the missing students, U.S. prosecutors say he went by the alias Yousef. Lawyers for the arrested man are working to have a long statement he gave to the FBI in January 2010 tossed out on the belief he was represented by counsel and police had no right to question him. No matter what, it’s going to be an interesting case — but one wonders if Imam or Yar will ever be apprehended.

One excerpt from the FBI’s report on a post-arrest interview with the arrested guy [not Imam]:

[He] and the others walked into the hotel, which was about fifteen minutes from the house, and checked themselves in. Again, [he] was asked not to speak to anyone as his English would get them into trouble.

[he] believes this hotel either belonged to, or was associated with the Taliban. [He and two others] were provided with a room that contained only two beds but an additional one was brought in for them. Their room had its own bathroom for their use. There were other men in the twenties who were also staying at this same hotel, but very little talking amongst the men took place.

There was a computer set up in a common area of this hotel where videos of attacks on U.S. troops, different suicide and martyrdom missions, and bombings were shown, During the night, [he and the two others] engaged in an argument. [He] was angry [at them] because they mostly spoke in Pashtun and they did not keep him informed of what was going on, Additionally, they felt as though [he] was a burden on them as his light skin made him stand out and he did not speak the local language. During the night, the three argued loudly in English and [he] punched a wall in anger …

The next day, the group left … and drove for about two to three hours until they arrived at a group of houses. [He] was brought to a house that was owned by a Pashtun man … [He] and the others were introduced to the man, in English as Yusef [ph] … [He] stayed at Yusef’s house for about two weeks, During these two weeks, Yusef provided [him] with both religious and military weapons training. With the assistance of an English speaking Arab, Yusef also provided religious instructions on the rewards of fighting and dying for jihad.

Yusef spoke Pashtu, Arabic and English with a clean American accent. Yusef was approximately 20 years old and was of African descent. In spite of his American accented English, [he] did not know whether Yusef had lived in the west.

A typical day consisted of waking up early to eat since it was Ramadan, praying and receiving classroom-type weapons training. [He] and the others did not spend too much time outdoors in the daytime as there was the fear of a missile strike coming from the unmanned drones that were overhead. These drones could be heard and sometimes seen flying in the skies overhead. They would take shifts throughout the night were each was responsible for guarding the house against an attack.

[He] was trained on the AK-47, the PK machine gun — which [he] referred to as the “peeka” and the rocket propelled grenade launcher. … this weapons training culminated with one day where [he] was brought up in to the mountainous area to fire the weapons. [He] shot thirty rounds from an AK-47 and one rocket propelled grenade at a target on the mountainside. [He] never shot the weapons at U.S. troops, abandoned vehicles, or anything other than the side of the mountain.

(cbc.ca/manitoba)

7] Finally, it looks as if the USA’s decision to drop escape charges against Ian Jackson MacDonald were tactical in nature. Just a few days after they did so, the once burly MacDonald was wheeled onto a jet in the company of RCMP officers and returned to Manitoba to face drug-conspiracy charges. What’s interesting to me about this is that the Canadian warrant for MacDonald was never wiped off the system as part of “the normal justice process” that takes place that the Sun revealed just a few weeks back [note – at least one of the quashed warrants was from the 70s].

Why not? I dunno. The warrant’s a dusty 30 years old, and it’s a non-violent offence. MacDonald, by many accounts, is now a sick old man. What’s the point of prosecuting him?

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Why details are important, or: get with the times

(National Post)

Yesterday’s post about Graham James’s bail release inferred that there was something hinky going on in terms of how the system worked in this case.

It’s my belief today that there was, but not solely related to James’s case as I (and many others) incorrectly implied yesterday.

Instead, the issue is more of a systemic one relating to how the media and public are often left in the dark in a criminal justice system that’s supposed to be open to a fault, according to countless judges.

But in Manitoba, there’s nagging issues with the system that point to it lagging far behind the times.

To her credit, the Crown on the case, Colleen McDuff, was forthright in her explanation of why things happened the way they did, best explained by CP and a few lines from Mike McIntyre’s story in today’s FP.

CP:

A Manitoba Crown attorney says there was no secrecy involved in releasing convicted sex offender Graham James on bail.
Colleen McDuff says it is “just how the nature of his release
played out.”
McDuff says most of the conditions had been fixed in court last
week and there were only a few details to be worked out.
One was the address where he would be reporting to police in
Montreal.
James was expected to be in a Winnipeg court yesterday to
finalize his bail conditions.
But documents indicate that a justice of the peace signed off on
his release late Friday afternoon after James posted 10-thousand dollars in cash.

But, crucially, there’s more: From Mike Mac:

Crown attorney Colleen McDuff said there was nothing “sneaky” about how James was released.

“There was no conspiracy here. He was treated the same way as everyone else who gets bail,” McDuff told the Free Press.

Pollack originally granted bail to James on Dec. 7, despite objections by the Crown. A court-ordered ban prevents specific details of the hearing from being published. James didn’t get out that day because lawyers still had to draft the various terms of his release, which Pollack asked to be sent to him in chambers for final approval.

James was never required to make a further court appearance on the bail.

Once Pollack received the conditions, he drew up the order and it became official. James then had to wait until Friday to come up with a $10,000 surety he is required to post. Once the money was in, James was free to go.

His case was put on Monday afternoon’s docket but simply as a way to keep track of it. He is not required to make personal appearances unless ordered by a judge.

While I’m still a little unclear about the distinction ‘justice of the peace’ versus Judge Pollack himself signing off on bail conditions in chambers, this explanation makes more sense in terms of process.

It’s weird, and to be honest, I hadn’t ever encountered things being done this way, but whatever — I’m not the most experienced or smart courts reporter in the world.

We already knew James was getting out.

The problem is, the Crown could have expected the public to be confused by the process as it unfolded and taken easy steps to correct it.

When reporters left the courthouse on Dec. 7, they were under the understanding that the hearing would continue yesterday, a bail order would be signed off on in open court and it would be publicly put on the record.

Yes, reporters would be there to witness it. Yes, TV cameras would be camped outside the Law Courts, yes, there would be questions and requests for interviews.

Forgive us. That’s our job, and justice system participants like it enough when they need something to reach the public’s eyes and ears. We’re part of the landscape and ignoring that reality just won’t work. That much is clear.

But in the case of James’s release, the system didn’t work as the public was led to expect it would —Instead, it went the other way, resulting in the suspicion that something was going on in the shadows, that maybe James was getting special treatment.

Given the ever-increasing roadblocks put up in the media’s way in modern times, it’s only natural — and should have been expected — that there’d be some headscratching and a few questions for how his release came together in the end.

It’s not surprising, or a stretch for the Prosecutions Division to have seen that there was/is immense public interest in this case and responded accordingly on Friday by issuing a news release to media outlets that James had met his bail conditions ahead of the perceived schedule and what those conditions were.

It really would have been that simple.

And not without precedent: When the Crown applies for a publication ban in high-profile cases, they’re often quick to send a fax off to newsrooms to notify them of what’s being sought — likely for the reason they could oppose it should they choose.

It happened just the other day in connection to the Mark Stobbe murder case.

When the charges against James were formally laid recently, the Crown faxed the court informations (public charging documents) over to newsrooms explaining clearly what was happening and the restrictions on publishing certain information (the names of two of the complainants).

The media, and therefore the public, knew what was happening, it was a clear signal from the Crown that it wanted to get in front of what was certain to be a highly-publicized case and make sure nothing incorrect or prejudicial to the case or alleged victims got out.

So, from this, it would have been a simple matter of following through to keep everybody in the loop.

I get that Crowns are overworked and don’t have time to be worrying about the media’s needs, which, I admit could be perceived as overwhelming in some cases.

But how much time did McDuff have to spend on Monday giving interviews to clarify a situation that could have been easily cleared up with an emailed or faxed statement regarding what happened?

It’s not rocket science.

And — in the absence of keeping the public in the loop by some other means — is it inconceivable that the Crown, faced with a request to deal with James’s conditions and release on Friday, could have said ‘not today, see you in court as scheduled’?

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Recommended Reading: National Post article on Digitizing the Law.

Come on. Even the Queen (sometimes known as the Crown) is on Facebook now.

Surprise, surprise: A new day dawns.

Vladimir: Well? Shall we go?
Estragon: Yes, let’s go.
[they do not move]

A sincere and hearty congratulations to Mayor Sam Katz on his reelection in Winnipeg.

The people have spoken, and the people are never wrong.

Maybe these meant more then we thought

But judging by the immense social-networking chatter and coverage in both newspapers this morning, all eyes are now on Katz to deliver over the next four years.

I mean, really, check these three articles out if you haven’t yet:

Not 12 hours after his win, and the mayor’s already been put on notice by the WFP and the Sun that his victory is a slight one in their eyes.

@bkives had a really fascinating (to me, anyways) piece on Katz’s transformation from a self-described non-politician to a savvy one fully enamored with political life.

But dark clouds loom for Katz on the horizon, Dan Lett suggests:

Despite assertions that he is the mayor of infrastructure and public safety, both have continued to suffer during his six years in office. The infrastructure deficit — the total amount of work needed on our roads, bridges and sewers for which there is no funding — continues to grow. City facilities like arenas and community centres are falling apart at the seams. And despite having weathered the recession better than almost any other province in the country, social dysfunction and crime in Manitoba continue to rage. It’s a win, but the problems facing this city constitute solid proof that Katz’s main planks — hiring more cops and snuggling up to the Winnipeg Police Association — are not a panacea for reducing crime.

We’ll have to see where he gets to in the next two years, and he’s earned that right at the ballot box.

But I have a feeling that, unlike in years past, there’s going to be more scrutiny on City Hall and the Mayor’s office than usual.

Remember the following, because this is what Katz ran on:

Katz pledges 77 additional Winnipeg Police Service positions to take action on violent crime

The Mayor outlined his proposal which would see:

  • an additional 20 officers dedicated to combating gangs, in a unit modeled after the highly successful auto theft strategy,
  • 20 new officers for foot patrol in high risk areas,
  • an additional 18 officers to add another full shift to cruiser cars to provide for quicker response times
  • and an additional 19 positions to be added to the 911 call centre to ensure help is there when you need it. [Sept 7, 2010]

Katz Dedicates $1 million to Community Centre Renovation Fund

Winnipeg, September 17th , 2010 –Mayor Sam Katz today announced he will create a $1 million Community Centre Renovation Fund dedicated to renovation projects for city-owned board-run community centres. Funding will come from dedicating 15 % of total City land sale proceeds, amounting to approximately $1.2 million/year.

Katz Pledges $1 million to Keep Youth on the Path to Success

Winnipeg, October 5th, 2010 – Mayor Sam Katz today announced that he will commit an additional $1 million to add operating hours, new programming and security to Inner-city and North End community organizations. It will also go to fund the hugely successful JustTV, developed by the Broadway Neighborhood Centre (BNC).

Surface Parking Lots

Winnipeg October 13th, 2010 –To promote the cleanup of downtown and make it safer, Mayor Sam Katz today announced a Downtown Surface Parking Lot incentive aimed at encouraging redevelopment in the downtown.

The program would work the following way:

A surface parking lot assessed at $200,000 and would be paying $2,000 in municipal property tax. If that same parking lot was redeveloped into a commercial property assessed at $2,000,000, the municipal property tax for the new commercial property would be $20,000.

Under this incentive taxes would be frozen at its initial rate for 5 years, with phased in increases over the next 3 years.

Recycling Depots

Winnipeg, October 14th, 2010 – Mayor Sam Katz today announced he will implement Recycling Depots to reduce waste in our land fills and increase recycling. A one year pilot project in collaboration with Versatech Industries Inc. would see five depots located throughout the city in every community committee area, provide employment for individuals living with intellectual disabilities, and promote greener recycling practices while providing community organizations the ability to fund raise while making our city cleaner and greener.

Katz Pledges Support for More Successful Downtown Celebrations

Winnipeg – October 20th, 2010 –Mayor Sam Katz today announced he will more than double the existing city-wide street closure budget as well as commit in-kind services up to $57,000 to expand the hugely successful “Lights on Broadway” from one day to up to four Saturdays, and provide annual support for the popular downtown festival, “Ciclovia.” This announcement continues to build on the Mayor’s efforts to ensure we do everything we can to encourage Winnipeggers’ to come downtown.

Wisely, Katz didn’t commit to a revenue strategy, and the voters didn’t care.

Wisely, he refused to say just how he’s going to get a share of the PST and still keep property taxes frozen, and voters didn’t care.

The promise of 58 more police officers weren’t costed out for the public, and the voters didn’t care. (We’ll now never — ever — really know if this comes true or not, BTW)

He largely deflected criticism over transparency (some of it totally unfair) and voters didn’t care.

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