Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Color Me Present!

Mayor Kozak has to be commended - complimented, really - on becoming: colorful!

Bright color - a definitive so-there! statement - energizes, enlivens - while a large part of why the general vibe of City Hall is muted at best is the physical dullness of the premises: surely influencing - while in reverse influenced by - the energy-level of its inhabitants - expressed through hushed color-choices in manner of personal expression and appearance.

Smallishtown politics and the power of beige!

When Councillor Purcell speaks-up emotionally for life-giving color in the possibly suburbia-by-the-lake of Nelson Landing: she has a huge point! Huge enough to as well cover City Hall - a building totally devoid of positive expression of: anything!
Isn't it curious that the White Building - ostensibly the source from which all things affirming flow - is really the Bland Building? With no attempt made ever to color it alive - with individuality of most inhabitants checked at the door upon entering!

Our feast of autumn-colors is over now - we do like color in nature: impersonal and non-threatening there - but the last few weeks have brought up the inevitable heartburn of about 6 drab months. This - no matter how much we profess to love Nelson - a (usually non-declared openly) bummer for many, no amount of Vitamin D, coffee and commenting in the Star will cure.
Getting out for a while is a statement without the commitment of a statement.
For most it's just more splashing in and being splashed by shades of mud-puddle. But then - Nelsonites usually are: minds dressed in Benjamin Moore's heritage-color chic.

The comfort of non-committal in a town where politics are uncomfortably personal; business is uncomfortably personal; the personal is uncomfortably cliquish: and all interconnected by calculated need - often at the same time - can be furtive-making.
Watch it - watch out!

True friends stab you in the front.
                                                  Oscar Wilde

Creativity and color are inexorably bound together. Not only as moonbeams and fairie-dust - but also as focused insight coming from being thoroughly informed, particularly in an environment of often seemingly mind-numbing photo-copied routine: like the Council Chamber.
With the energy of personal coloring - showing your true colors - there having the power to turn halfhearted attempts into determined challenges: this leading to solutions of benefit to the greater whole.

The power of transforming never-diminishing stacks of paper into: people!

Applying creativity - as in effective connecting, planning - is part of Council's purpose. As is fostering it as well as the moonbeam-kind.

There has been undefined talk in Council of using creativity in dealing with the panhandling-bylaw impasse: come spring when light(ness) returns. Often it takes creativity wearing sensible shoes to be able to spring forth from the great beige.

Council's reception of/reaction to the cop-shop's Provisional Budget (PB) 2016 - COW 16 Nov, 2016 - is totally colorless. Seeing that this supposedly is an exact rerun of the bizarre PB 2015 - a long eventful year ago! - a possibly gotcha!-question is: Does the NPD today perceive Nelson-in-total exactly as it did one year ago?
Clearly there is no love lost between Council and the NPD in this presentation - but Council not making a public effort at connecting with the cops is not creative - constructive.
A P.R. opportunity missed. The need to be constantly/consistently mindful of the audience - the public! - comes with the territory.

Interestingly - in the same COW - a cultural presentation by the color/creativity-hub Touchstones - heavy on props never used - is completely lacking in color and creative energy: supercilious and boring.

Councillors must challenge their own, each other's and concerned citizens'/groups' individuality openly, strongly! Stroking can easily appear to be beige. As will attempting to safely blend-in-or-maybe-not with what?

Pale silence can be interpreted as disinterest, a hidden agenda, fear, being uninformed or wanting to just go home please now please!

Society exists only as a mental concept; in the real world there are only individuals.
                                                                          Oscar Wilde

Showtime! Show-and-tell time!

In living color!

Jean-Paul Goude

Saturday, 21 November 2015

A Disposable Public!?!

In the Committe of the Whole (COW), 16 Nov, 2015: Council - rather Kevin Cormack, CAO - decides - has decided already! - that the Cottonwood Market (CM) structures will be torn down next week. While Council raises several strong points: ultimately it stops short, it caves - ignoring a larger picture of Railtown-as-a-whole.

Due Process What!?!
Last time around we have the contrived Request For Decision for a panhandling bylaw - this time the CM is neither on the Agenda nor introduced as a Late Item at the beginning of the COW. Only towards the end brought-up sort-of and just-like-that: then - predictably - with a minimum of public scrutiny and no fuss from a pesky citizenry not there there to begin with or not any longer!
Because info of this item to be presented has been deliberately withheld!?!
Clearly - a lesson was learned from the public's inconvenient reaction to the previous announcement of impending CM demolition.

Seeing that this plan for a plan has been in the works for some time among Cormack, David Reid, EcoSociety, and Cover Architectural: there can be no justifiable explanation for the CM not on the Agenda.

What with this not getting into the Star (and Nelson Daily) until the 19th in
Cottonwood Market stalls to be torn down next week
                                                                                 Bill Metcalfe 
by the time you read about it here the CM as you know it probably is the CM as you knew it - and undesirables will be elsewhere. Done! You blinked - you missed it!

Dangerous What!?!
Unfortunately Councillor Purcell doesn't pursue a definitive clarification with her poignant question exactly how are they dangerous - referring to the market-structures - and is satisfied with: Staff said so. 
Why! Because!
Definitive as in: if they are dangerous now - when did they become dangerous so suddenly? Why wasn't this determined sooner when - following this scenario - some serious damage could have been done on any crowded Saturday - or any day for that matter - in the past! Raising the liability-issue now seems simplistically good enough for us. Even Reid says foundations and walls are in good shape.

Railtown What!?!
A new CM should be envisioned as naturally within the heart of the Railtown development: a multi-purpose meeting-place. 
Traditionally a market always part of a center.
Telling us that a (separate, totally independent!) design for it can be completed that does not impact the large Railtown planning work ignores that, is presumptuous, grabby and potentially limits the scope of overall planning. It is not collaborative! What with Cover Architectural - the CM plan-planners - vaguely all over the place in a big way - literally - on crucial Railtown real-estate: the designer of the whole - already hired, working, he was here first! - may now have to wait until Cormack/Reid egos have decided on a design for their stand-alone me-me-me! with-all-its-bells-and-whistles CM.

So - hello, Council! - we are now looking at two probably competing plans - within no vision at all for the whole!?!

While - superficially - it's commendable that a local business intends to significantly contribute to building the new structures - not naming it makes the intention questionable, as must its motivation be questioned.

The EcoSociety will be happy with all this, but Reid's narrowly defined, self-promoting vision hardly comes from benefit to the greater whole - making fundraising-efforts for it unsupportable.

So What!?!
Our tax-dollar is to pay for THEIR plan - not OURS, because while there supposedly will be room for public input in the grand scheme of things - initially planned for this month!?! - there doesn't seem to be any within this sizable CM extravaganza. May this - may that.

More appropriately - such funds could be used towards fixing roof, wiring and what-not of the structures-as-are. This as temporary solution until an overall Railtown plan turns into a tangible reality - with a CM part of it - surely at least 3 years down the road.

I feel manipulated - and I don't like it!


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Round and round we go ...

According to legislation, the Nelson Police Department (NPD) - through its Board - has to present to Council a Provisional Budget (PB) by the end of November for the following year. This requested - and in the meantime still tweakable - game-plan then approved-or-not within Council's general financial budgeting for that year.

Such PB was submitted, 16 Nov, 2015, by one member of the Nelson Police Board (NPB) and Deputy Police Chief Burkart - although the
Chief Constable Holland will present the budget accompanied by Deputy Chief Burkart, Police Board Directors Roger Higgins (Municipal representative), Robert Goertz and Barb Henry (Provincial representatives).
From 5 down to 2, with the top missing. Probably in a pout. Still. Or else distancing himself from all of it: while originated by him - left to his successor to sort.

PB 2016 is - supposedly - an exact rerun of PB 2015: that at the time rejected by Council and now/still looked at elsewhere by the Director of Police Services.
While he is deliberating: one expects Council will compare PB 2016 word-for-word with PB 2015. Just in case - seeing that the parameters have changed considerably.

Sparse info attached to the agenda of the above Council Meeting simply states
while not mentioning the PB 2015 price-tag of $311.000.

"Supposedly an exact rerun" as one wonders why PB 2016 was not attached to the agenda. Can't be found on the NPD/NPB website.

Following are salient points from PB 2015.
More detail to be found in post
Cop-Shop Deluxe
20 Jan, 2015
and as lead-in to that in
Fund-a-mental Nelson!
31 Dec, 2014

Hands-on: Cash!
Before presentation of PB 2015 the NPD kept vigorously beating its drums - in the endlessly obliging Nelson Star - about being ever so stressed by just about uncontrollable masses of homeless, druggies and mentals. Only to be got under firm control with more cops and/or a Car 87. This drumming continued after presentation of PB 2015, asking for a budget-increase of $311.000 for additional cops yet no Car 87. Homeless, druggies and mentals not mentioned in it either.
Then drums went silent. Neither the NPD nor the Star explained this abrupt switch to not a single homeless, druggie, mental - and limo-service for them - any longer!
Unless the whole thing had been just a PR stunt to get this - to most everybody else unreasonable - budget-increase, and the cop-shop had realized the increase was a no-go!

Heads-on: Intentions!
How this cash-inflow would influence the cop-shop is - almost verbatim - lifted from a book:

The Seven Essential Principles of Police-Based Crime-Reduction
Drs. Irwin Cohen/Darryl Plecas -

both teaching at the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). Where they published this work: very shortly before presentation of PB 2015 and without relevance to the Nelson-beat where we - according to Chief Holland - have a relatively low crime-rate to begin with.

Plecas - then fervent advocate against legalization of pot and frequent advisor to cop-shops and the RCMP - his UFV Chair funded by the latter - has a reputation among some academic peers for unorthodox research-methods. Ironically - around the same time - cop-shop members of his home-base Abbotsford were under official scrutiny over irregular practices.

If PB 2016 is an exact repeat of PB 2015 one must wonder at how much of PB 2015 applies even less today. Clearly - like any other place in BC - we have challenges with homeless, drugs and mental health. But today nobody here - including the NPD - claims their numbers and impact to be out of control. We are prepared to work on this collectively. Which should moot the NPD's budget-increase for more cops: homelessness and mental health not within their expertise anyway!

While reference to the dubious and irrelevant-to-us crime-fighter commandments from out of town - backbone of PB 2015 - should have been replaced with something reality-based - something now/here!

The NPD today actually-really is a man short because Cst Turner - presently(?) under house-arrest - is an unworkable twice-proven liability. They would be well-advised to let him go and hire someone fully functional within the cop-shop and community. This in itself surely would raise the level of cop-morale - thus overall in-house-and-out effectiveness.
Adding bizarre to bizarre: the Nelson tax-payer - not Turner, not the NPD, not the NPB - got stuck with Turner's legal costs. How much - has not been made public!

Public confidence in the NPD/NPB? Not so much, Director Pecknold, Police Services!

Council will be in an unenviable position concerning the current NPD budget-proposal: if identical - this even less acceptable than the last.

Cutler-and-Gross Lookbook

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Why-Fi in the Park

Nelson city council balks at Wi-Fi in parks
                                  Bill Metcalfe - Star, Nov. 10, 2015

There possibly actually definitely is something to the brain-and-whatever-zap-damage scenario: the astonishingly boringly repetitiously pointless more than ever before on any topic comments in the Star substantiate that point. 
What point was that again?

3 Points:

Free? Internet Service Providers give nothing away for free - period! No free food! First the hook - then the catch! 

The person marveling at mothers then able to take kids to the park and get some work done on their thingie: at the same time. While the kids drown. How good is that!

Oh, Nelson!

Federico Solmi 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Poor Judgement Hewson

Justice and judgement lie often a world apart.
                                                               Emmeline Pankhurst
                                                               1858 - 1928

Plus in Canada both coming from an anything-goes judiciary.

Poor Judgement Nesteroff
It's not just the Nelson Star - go-to local news-source - disallowing commenting on Turner-trial-shenanigans: muzzling readers who may have and should be encouraged to raise concerns around this. Even though the Star itself editorializing for Cst. Turner's dismissal from the Force. Go figure!
Journalistic responsibility, democratic voices and all that. Here still the same old Harper shutting-them-down-to-shut-them-up thing! 
In progressive, mindful Nelson!

Poor Judgement Turner
It's also not just an off-duty cop - disregarding on-duty fellow-cops on the scene - beating an out-of-it, half-his-size, handcuffed woman into unconsciousness, punctuating the job well-done with That will shut her up! - and driving off. Later repeating his alpha-chant similarly to a dispatcher. And Court discovering this cop has lied repeatedly about the assault.

(In the judgement, 11 Feb, 2014, of
Mason v. Turner
against defendants
Cst. Drew Turner, Chief Cst. Dan Maluta, City of Nelson 
the Court rejects several of the charges, while finding for the plaintiff - regarding a police search - and fines the City of Nelson $500.00 over the same Turner's involvement. Is this on his record? Charges against Maluta are dropped earlier in the trial.
Commenting in the Star is disallowed on that occasion as well. Neither does it mention that trial while reporting this trial.)

Poor Judgement Hewson
Primarily this is about Richard Hewson - judge for almost 2 years - giving Turner a month of R&R at the strong bosom of his family and friends in his stable community residence: bolstering the conditional sentence with most disingenuous mitigating circumstances.
While That will shut her up! - and its repeat! - seem clear indicators - plural! - of a troubled individual: not so to the judge.


Mitigating Circumstance - Counseling
It was reported in Court that Turner has been attending counseling since December 2014. Meaning: he started whatever kind of counseling about 7 months after his way-unbalanced violent outburst: usually called a rage! but by the judge in the heat of a moment in a chaotic situation. Which - incidentally - seems to have been largely created by Turner.
Roid rage? Mental-health issues?
We don't know why counseling was not sought earlier by Turner and mandated by the cop-shop - what with Turner conceivably a threat: still on desk-duty - working together with those who testified against him and others there who may be critical, may not want to be associated by the public with such behavior.
We also don't know how often he was counseled - is he still: now that the trial is over? - and with what professional (out-of-town expert) assessment/conclusion.

Mitigating Circumstance - Character References
Hewson said he had been presented with a number of character references for Turner from members of the community ... Turner and his Lawyer John Green had enough time to get these references organized - a most basic ploy to influence judgement: it worked! - and they should have been accepted with a grain of salt: in Smallishtown, where everything is personal.

Mitigating Circumstance - Job Loss/Reputation
... faces the loss of his job, and has suffered a loss of reputation in the community. Why should/could/would a more lenient sentence save his job and reputation?

After all - everybody convicted of a crime faces these possible consequences!

And according to Hewson - in the same breath - should: When a police officer breaches the public trust and engages in illegal activity, even if off duty, it undermines the public confidence in the police and the rule of law. Turner - indeed - was convicted of a crime in the line of/off-duty, and if he loses his job because of what led to that, and his reputation has suffered because of what led to that - he had it coming! What makes this exceptionally brutal cop a cuddled exception in Court?

Mitigating Circumstance - Letter of Apology
This apology from Turner to Tawny Campbell - his punching-bag - was sent about 1 month before sentencing and about 15 months after the assault - rightly found to be too little, too late by Prosecutor Debra Drissell. Clearly one more ridiculously transparent attempt to influence his sentence - again working: Hewson, however, said he would accept this letter at face value.

Mitigating Circumstance - Family & Friends
Hewson cited Turner's strong relationship with his family and friends who will support him, his stable residence in the community ... What support exactly does he need he can't get in jail? What does Hewson know about what they will do? What does he know about their strong relationship - aside from the undoubtedly glowing character references family and friends predictably produced?

All this in my Brigadoon!?


Direct quotes are from the Star's lengthy reports on trial/sentencing.

Richard Hewson: Vernon Morning Star

Friday, 30 October 2015

The NPB Alive! Maybe!

Until 6 Nov, 2015 - 4pm - the
Nelson Police Board Seeks Public Input For (its next) 5 Year Strategic Plan.
This short/simplistic survey can be accessed/answered/ submitted on the www.nelson.ca homepage.

The survey asks what Nelson wants in its next police chief, seeing that the current one is off to greener/wider pastures at the end of this year. Then - it also wants assistance with Strategy 2016-2020: this to guide the Department for the next 5 years.
5 years? Seriously?

So what's with the very attitude-change towards us? We get to choose who and how and what we expect the next chief to be? A perfect chief: made-to-order?
And while not knowing what the current strategy ever aimed to and did-or-not accomplish practically - with this superficial survey we'll get to assist the Board in guiding the cop-shop through the coming 5 years based on what?

Is this really for real? Or does it come from a sigh of relief over the current chief soon not to be an all-overpowering presence for the NPB any longer? 

According to this survey the current Chief has done significant work with the department over the past 5 years.  
Nicely put!
We are asked what of it worked/didn't work well: off-hand I can't remember any of the good stuff there surely is maybe.
While I do remember much energetic bluster, posturing: attempts to turn the NPD into his personal big-city prime-time show.

The NPD usually is open outward only according to its needs - not open just to be open, community. Recently often hectic and hapless. Which will need to be the new chief's primary concern: in-house. Once that is handled - all else will follow.
One incident - telling of in-house problems - is one of our finest totally out-of-control - in laid-back low-crime Nelson? - beating the hell out of into a handcuffed very drunk woman half his size to shut her up! Which it did real good!
In addition: he was only sort-of-but-not-really convicted in local court recently - with his incurred legal expenses paid by the taxpayer in full - thanks to the NPB and without our consent and knowing how much.

Consent never a connector in our relationship with this board: how could we appreciate its whatever-work, in total secrecy and disregard for us. While it - according to Strategy 2011-2015 - is/was accountable to the Nelson community. And eager to increase communication its goal in that period.

To get that picture:
After I had addressed this accountability/communication-issue as such in the Committee of the Whole (COW), 22 Apr, 2013 - the NPB then simply deleted the increased-communication portion from its website. Kid you not! Raising that in turn in an NPB Meeting, 30 Jul, 2013, I got no response there: no communication - period! So - it never increased - never a given to begin with. 
Accountability? Gone, too: new website-design/info for a strategy supposedly locked-in for 5 years.

On one level understandable: within a span of 5 years a group may change/lose focus/interest, forget, become bored.

On another level: unacceptable! 


So this surveyed attempt at inclusiveness comes as a surprise.
Keeping in mind that the NPB hires a chief and ostensibly runs the NPD - without becoming too attached to expecting change - the value of participating in the survey lies in letting the Nelson Police Board know what you think of it if you ever. And the new chief possibly getting to see the city naked in the survey's results - sort-of like comments in the Star forsooth!

You needn't identify yourself to enter the survey: no signing-in! So - anything goes: in any direction!


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

How many cops does it take to change a lightbulb?

The judge said that police officers have a high standard to uphold.
"Police officers are the visible representation of the rule of law in the community," he said. "We teach our children to go to them if they need help. We give them a status commensurate with their importance. When a police officer breaches the public trust and engages in illegal activity, even if off duty, it undermines the public confidence in the police and the rule of law." 

         Nelson police officer gets 30 days of house arrest
                        Bill Metcalfe - Nelson Star, Oct 27, 2015

It also undermines the public confidence in a judge - our judicial system as a whole but let's not get into that one now! - when his sentencing is not commensurate with the crime. The sentence given CST. Drew Turner supposedly is similar to what's generally handed-out for a similar offense elsewhere. But precisely in line with Judge Hewson's sanctimonious blather above: Turner deserves something more exemplary than a month in the comfort of his home.
But then: he's a good citizen and family member!

Not mentioned here is whether he will continue receiving his generous pay-package - for sure no overtime, shucks! - while kicking-back in front of the TV with a few cold ones. Napping. Working on the truck. Doing house-stuff for winter. And napping.


Turner's legal fees will be paid by the local police board - in effect, by the City of Nelson. This is not automatic: the Police Act states that a municipal police board may pay the fees if it chooses to, which in this case it did.
Actually it's neither the Board nor the City paying for this charade: it's us taxpayers who - in effect - get to reward an out-of-control cop for brutalizing a handcuffed woman into unconscious submission.
Awriiight!!! Get This Man A Beer!!!

According to Holland, the police board could attempt to recoup the fees from Turner at a later date if it wishes to.
Not very bloody likely the Board will - even though Turner is now a convict with a criminal record and undoubtedly far from destitute.

Neither is it likely that this Board will ultimately fire him - which it could: but what's to follow internally now is pretty much cops-for-cops - and at the end of that line is Chief Holland. Who is a rather energetic presence on the Nelson Police Board!

No matter what all those reviews to follow come up with: it won't be about the victim, she won't benefit - unless she gets herself an ambulance-chasing lawyer to go for bigtime damages. Which - if she wins - will again come out of our pockets. The real winner: good citizen Bad Cop!

While Metcalfe's copdom-workings are revealing: reader-comments on this article - once again and as on all previous Turner-related ones - have been disallowed by the Star's editor. What - rather who - is Greg Nesteroff afraid of? The cops?

None of these images are of the victim here: Tawny Campbell.