Monday, 16 March 2015

Protect and Serve the NPD

It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled.
                                                                                     Mark Twain

Clearly - there are mental-health issues in Nelson - just like anywhere else - but the Nelson Police Department (NPD) turning this issue into a mental-health crisis to manipulate the public emotionally - via gullible local news-media - for funding-approval of largely in-house benefit - has been inappropriate at best.

It has made the NPD appear frenzied and out-of-control. Certainly not inspiring trust in its ability to handle a real crisis - should it ever arise.

This includes the Nelson Police Board - guided by then Mayor/Board Chair John Dooley - in giving shape to the NPD's bizarre Provisional Budget 2015, presented to Council in Oct. 2014.

Eventually the NPD had to run out of manufactured reasons for gaining a very substantial increase in its definitive 2015 Budget - not once supported with a clearly documented local need - and went silent on said crisis after Feb. 16 - one month ago. Mental-health crisis? What mental-health crisis!

This sudden silence raises more questions than previous consistently loud, disjointed and self-righteous fear-mongering by the NPD: presenting itself in emergency-mode, with no time left for policing after forever having to drive mentals to the hospital and back. This only fixable with lots of money: to get more cops. To join the complimentary taxi-service?

In the meantime - what with your ever so overworked and misunderstood neighborhood-cop turned overtly entitled and hostile: prominent among questions must be that of confidence in the NPD's cash 'n carry willingness/intention to work for the common good.

I - and many others - totally support Council and Mayor Kozak in following the NPD's mental-health trajectory since Oct. 2014: including obtaining data from the hospital on the number and frequency of people baby-sat there by cops since last October.


While this taxi/baby-sitting service of mentals to/at the hospital has become the institutionalized-for-one-purpose-only cornerstone of the NPD's attempt to squeeze the Nelson tax-payer for more money: we have yet to see the NPD's never volunteered real-time numbers substantiating these hospital-run claims as well. A comparison might be interesting!
Day-by-day - with dates!
Just as we have yet to see these hordes on Baker before/when the cops round 'em up. Provided some toing-and-froing is actually going on: what are the criteria? Who decides? 

So far - since Oct. 2014 - NPD-generated info on the so-called mental-health crisis in all its permutations has been completely anecdotal.
Not once challenged anywhere but on this blog.

Reasons for the need of additional cops - given in the Provisional Budget - curiously do not include this crisis and huffing-and-puffing up the hill to the hospital because of it. Reasons then: a) mostly pulled straight from a book and b) written by an author with research-methods questioned by many policing-experts: are nowhere - literally - and insulting to those the cops ostensibly are here to protect and serve.

 But there you have it - or them: our Police Department and our Police Board.

 Low on crime and high on themselves.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Organic Matter(s)

The move to officially lock-in the term organic - as reported by Bill Metcalfe, Nelson Star, 10 Mar, 2015 - is long-overdue sensible: but the situation is more complex than reported - multi-layered. And the closer we peel towards this organic onion's center - the more teary we may get with Victoria's health-is-wealth-what-not.

Official Layers: 1 and 2
There are several organic certifiers in BC - there also are several certifiers certifying would-be certifiers. And although these certifiers of certifiers have to follow certain rules within the process - there may be variations in approach. This could conceivably lead to certifiers of growers/producers certifying differently from each other.

Store Layers: 3, 4 and 5
The Kootenay Coop Country Store has several ways of identifying dry bulk. All along the same aisle.
Commercially grown/produced dry bulk is kept in orange bins - otherwise left unidentified.
Organic dry bulk is kept in green bins - labelled as that. Only. Usually.
Certified organic dry bulk - also in green bins - is labelled as such. The grower/producer/place of origin may be mentioned. May be. Mostly isn't.

None of the dry bulk labeled Certified Organic identifies which certifier certified this product.


The Onion's Center
The Coop carries dulse-flakes. For those unfamiliar with dulse: it's a sea-weed/vegetable growing attached to rocks mostly in the coastal Pacific, like up along our side. Close to the shore, to about 20 meters deep, much of it exposed at low-tide, then gathered.
Even the lesser informed probably know that - particularly closer to urban centers - the water is not the cleanest and sloshes about a lot. We also know that nuclear fall-out from Fukushima has reached the continental shelf of British Columbia (Health Canada). Pronounced negligible and absolutely no health-risk now of course they would while nuclear pollution will hit BC's beaches eventually. Eventually!

But - big BUT! - at the Coop dulse has been sold for ages labeled Certified Organic. No producer, no place of origin, no certifier. This begs the question: how could anyone possibly officially sanely certify the coastal Pacific - or any part of it or the whole thing - as organic! Fukushima or not. Organic as what we have come to envision/expect it to be! At the Coop $3.89 per gram. In a green bin. While in orange bins immediately to the right there is bull-kelp and arame. Both sea-veg as well.


I talked about this with the guy in charge of it all a long time ago - nothing. And when marketing-manager Jocelyn Carver now says Because organic food is priced higher there is obviously a strong profit motive for business to use the word "organic" misleadingly in order to charge more - I say yeah!

I don't question whether this dulse was actually certified as organic - I question the certification construct from the top down. And I do question why nobody at the Coop ever said I mean really we need to pull that label and kick some serious certified ass us being Nelson's sacred cow and all!

Organic money for everybody!

Even though this issue was brought to the attention of the Coop's Board one week ago: the dulse is still labeled Certified Organic - as is its price.

Sarah  Stanley

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Nelson Library: Keeping up with the Joneses!

Our library has a revamped website. The home-page jumping you: an overpowering, visually disjointed, way too large moving band of 5 never-changing items - much like and of the same purpose as the electronic board at the Front St. mall-entrance. Or to be found on Yahoo's or Youtube's home-page: except there you usually can Close Ad X - while here you can't.

As a whole this is an ambitious project - tied-in with the national library-thing. Eventually the kinks in this revamp - and there are those! - will be dealt with. The initial mind-numbing visuals of the home-page will probably do just that: numb the users' minds enough to let them get past this.

And there you are: ready to join a book-club with books predigested just for you. Ready to make BiblioCommons(!) friends: indicate likes and dislikes, post critiques of the latest Nora Roberts. Trend away: yes, your opinion is important to us - we take you very seriously! Somewhere between Twitter and Facebook. A little Telus like it is.

Yet there are some less sexy - while actually important - basics left unattended to.

Limited Shelf-Life
Shelving in Adult-Fiction - including lit, crime, mystery, spies - can be inconsistent when a decision wasn't made clearly which category an author's oeuvre fits: according to whoever responsible for the catalogue in the dark ages. So an author may be shelved in 2 separate sections. Did you know that! Spies - for instance - don't belong anywhere: even though they often are very literate, definitely mysterious, deal in fiction and approved crime. Decisions, decisions, decisions! 
This elementary problem has been known to those in charge since before the furniture was rearranged some years ago. Then it was: let's get the remodeling over with first - we'll look at this after. Well - this is after. And with all the additional services offered - the time for revisiting basic cataloguing/shelving now is appropriate.

You vill finish it now! Or else!
Although renewing/returning/fining is covered on the new website - time allotted to borrowers and why are not.
You borrow a book and have 2 weeks to finish reading it - no matter how thick it is, how much time you have to read it, regardless of you being a slow reader. Because if someone else put a reserve on this: you can't renew it and will be fined for every day you're over the red line! Finished or not! Because whoever next in line is more important than you are.

Let's say you obey! this rule - which goes totally against any per/conceivable purpose of reading - Hello, Library! - the next person may have similar reading-habits: this being War & Peace - and the scenario repeats. And possibly repeats. Or not - depending on whether you simply have to finish reading it - willing to pay accumulating fines. Which - incidentally - is one way of making money. WhateverCommons not so much.

Both issues are bottom-line in a library. Should be!

By the way - do not click on Email Us in the bottom-right corner of the home-page: your computer may crash!

  Guy Laramee

Thursday, 19 February 2015

NPD - Just Sayin'!

In a modern-era-Western-world first? - currently 17 (all?) police-officers of the Abbotsford Police Department - known to be tough on crime prior - are being seriously investigated, concerning 148 allegations of corruption, deceit and neglect of duty. One of them has adds-on. All allegations involve drugs.
Chief Constable Bob Rich - seemingly not among them - says he maybe could have provided better training for the officers.
I'll say! He and Darryl Plecas!

Plecas as Prof. of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) and Lib. MLA for Abbotsford-South: strongly get-those-dopers! and overall guiding light in law-enforcement at the coast. In his next-door cop-shop too - one would think. 
The irony!

Some of his virulently anti-dope papers written at UFV - financed indirectly by the RCMP as RCMP Chair in Crime Reduction - have caused academic eyebrows to be raised elsewhere: what with that connection and his unorthodox research-methods.

No matter and irregardless!

His most recent How-To-Be-A-Real-Cop - published last fall as The Seven Essential Principles of Police-Based Crime Reduction - is also the guiding light in the NPD's Provisional Budget, 2015. In need of essential principles.
You don't actually have to read the book - these 7 essentials can be found on the Net. Lined-up kind of like the 7 commandments - without the burning shrubbery!
Or in post
Cop-Shop Deluxe
20 Jan, 2015

Just sayin'!


Monday, 16 February 2015

The NPD: Keeping On Keeping On!

An early-morning news-item on the CBC, Mon. 16 Feb, reports Chief Holland as saying: he wants to hire 2 constables to put on the streets. At 200K.

Deja voo all over again: the Provisional Budget, Oct. 2014 - with an increase of 311K for 2 constables and 1 admin coordinator - this time minus the admin coordinator thus minus 100K. Just for you - cheap!
One immediately questions this as a spin to ingratiate - and wonders how long they would actually be on the streets if not busy. Of course - having a visible police-presence is a good idea. Unfortunately not Chief Holland's. If it were - they already would have been out there for ages.
Neither the Provisional Budget nor Car 87 proved doable - so what's left to put in a budget? A blog-post idea presented repeatedly as a no-brainer?
Will this then be the mojo of the unavoidably soon really real budget presentation?

Clearly - the NPD has major in-house issues. Expressed through Sergeant Falcone as

We're so reactive that we're running all over not really focusing on anything!

Indeed - the NPD frequently gives that impression over the last 4 months: verbalizing effusively - while communicating little.

If it isn't one budget - it's another!


Sunday, 1 February 2015

Dawn of the Dead

Previous post
Cop-Shop Deluxe
20 Jan. 2015
introduces the following. 

Focus of the Nelson Police Department's (NPD) Provisional Budget 2015 (PB) presented to Council, Oct. 2014, is on a requested budget-increase of $311.000 - largely to be used for hiring 2 constables and 1 admin coordinator.

There are 2 - clearly different - versions of this budget-proposal: a written and a verbal.

The stated reasons behind additional hiring are NOT increase in mental-illness calls, drugs and street-disorder! Car 87 does NOT enter! Adding personnel oddly aims at in-house attitude-changes and convenience only!
Under WHAT WOULD THAT INCREASE ALLOW US TO DO? - a list of general strategies, almost verbatim lifted from a book (is this legal?) recently published at the coast: these strategies have no bearing on our NPD-declared mental-health crisis - on Nelson's hands-on policing-work right now - period.
311K for that?
The written version is the one currently on record.

Mind you - something positive: #6 and 7 would allow the NPD to become proactive and accountable. Which - ones surmises - they haven't been allowed to be thus far.

In the verbal presentation to Council the above 7 reasons/justifications as such are not mentioned. Here the need for additional personnel is backed by endless statistics and comparisons between Nelson and other places. The way the NPD usually reasons/justifies: making itself seem stretched to its limits and spiraling off into exceptionalism.
The presentation lacks hard facts, figures directly pertaining to a coherent-cohesive game-plan for the coming year!

Neither - Nor
Seemingly - the NPD and Nelson Police Board (NPB) have realized that this neither-here-nor-there budget will never fly. That - in fact - they may end-up with very little approved in the final version - by Police Act having to be locked-in in 1 month. Now Police Chief Holland's narrative - not including the 311K any longer! - is an attempt to gain sympathy for the NPD's fumbled pitches. With: the answer to steeply rising numbers of mentally ill arriving in Nelson can only be 1 (cure-all/save-all) Car 87! Handled!

It will be interesting to learn what the definitive budget is based on. Seeing that this car - already once rejected by Council - is not part of the PB! And surely 311K for non-essential hiring are out!

If the increase in hordes of mentally disturbed - roaming the streets drugged and disorderly - is as dramatic as lately claimed by Holland in the Nelson Star and on the CBC: 1 car with 1 cop and 1 psych nurse - having to cover the whole town and that impossibly 24/7 - surely couldn't stem the looming DAWN OF THE DEAD-at-the-mall onslaught!

Neither could 2 additional cops - although theoretically  useful as a visible police-presence downtownish. Where supposedly much drugged mental illness plays-out. I wouldn't know. Although downtown almost daily - I haven't witnessed any of that. Anyway - a police-presence downtown has not been part of any plan.
Neither has non-physical first-responder conflict-intervention/resolution training. Which should have been a no-brainer since an increase of mentals was first noticed by the NPD. Cross-training for all cops: immediately effective/affective as part of a cop's job anywhere at any time. And relatively cheap - but no!

 Either - Or
 According to Holland, our multitudes of THEM are (practically overnight!) the largest in BC - along with those in the Vancouver Eastside. Depending on who at the NPD is talking: the increase in January has been either by 62% or doubled over the previous January. While recently Holland talked about approximately 1.000 mental illness calls per year - he now says for the 5th year in a row the police are dealing with more mental health calls. The NPD's communication is consistently disjointed, has been all along since before the PB.

There has been no report in the Star of mental incidents for days.

Yes, often the problematics feel drawn to Nelson - advertised as land of good dope and gluten-free tree-hugging hippies. As rumored: even nudged in this direction by relevant agencies elsewhere. This influx brought-up in Holland's CBC interview. Yet when Chris Walker asks him whether he has raised the issue with the local MLA - certainly the way to go - Holland sidesteps an answer with: all politicians know. Proactive?

The narrative of the NPD's attempts at damage-control is getting shriller. Changes in emphasis and volume must make the public wonder why there is little cohesion, continuity in all this. Ultimately raising questions around vision, legitimacy of claims and - yes - accountability.
All this whingeing!

Mayor Kozak inherited this muddle from John Dooley, her predecessor as NPB Chair. She - quite rightly - says: mental health now is a world-wide issue - NOT Kootenay-specific.

So, Chief Holland, how about letting go of the exceptionalism-perspective to dispassionately accept the local situation-as-actually-is and within a proactive and accountable - thus supportable - step forward.