October 14th, 2009
Let’s get right into it.
What follows is a transcript of a deputation I gave to City of Mississauga Council this morning. Called “On Matters of INsecurity”, it was an attempt to correct statements made by Councillor Pat Saito at the September 30, 2009 Council meeting.
She and it seems all City of Mississauga elected officials believe that “various steps” are taken by City of Mississauga security guards before youth are banned from City Property, As Councillor Saito put it, “a ban is not an instant step. Usually. There are other steps that have been taken before that happens in many cases.”
My deputation made it clear that for youth and minors there are no “various steps” prior to banning. And that Mississauga City security guards arrest youth (12 and up) immediately should they return to Property during a ban. After all, Director of City Security Ken Owen insists, Zero Tolerance is the hallmark of Zero Tolerance policies.
In short I reminded Mayor and Councillors of some of the youth-toxic consequences in the “Zero Tolerance” Violence, Vandalism and Bullying Policy that Council passed unanimously in December 2006.
So, here’s video of today’s “Zero Tolerance” deputation followed by my speech notes.
Video: ABOUT BIG BROTHER: On Matters of INsecurity, “ZERO TOLERANCE” (7:13 sec)
I will be handing this speech note to the City Clerk’s office for inclusion in the October 14, 2009 Council meeting minutes. Please know that footnote  does not appear in the original presented at Council. But now will.
DEPUTATION: a matter of INsecurity
First of all, thanks Madam Mayor for inviting me to meet with you on August 31st regarding City of Mississauga Corporate Security’s practices of banning and arresting youth and minors while on City property. I apologize that I wasn’t able to attend.
You see, back in July I emailed a list of questions to Commissioner Breault that I needed answering prior to our meeting and there seems to be a bit of a hold up. 
Today I want to address something that Councillor Saito said during the last Council meeting (and that the September 30, 2009 Council minutes failed to record).
Regarding making details of youth banned and arrested from City facilities public information, the Council minutes correctly state:
Councillor Pat Saito asked if staff could look at making the information public on Bans at Arenas and Public Places. She enquired if staff could post the information on the site without violating the Freedom of Information Act, particularly the reason for the ban, the type of incidents and what the City is doing about it. She felt that the information could be posted monthly or bi-monthly. Councillor Pat Saito provided direction that a report be brought back on her request.
All true. But the minutes fail to mention what I believe is the most important thing that Councillor Saito said.
(This is a transcript from video)
… I think it’s important that our residents are made aware of these incidents and they’re made aware of the various steps that are taken, because a ban is not an instant step. Usually.
There are other steps that have been taken before that happens in many cases.
Frankly I’m surprised that any City of Mississauga elected official would somehow think that various steps are taken before youth and minors are banned from City property. Whatever would give you that idea?
I’m here to tell you that $2,100 worth of Freedom of Information suggests that nothing can be further from the truth.
Regarding Councillor Saito’s belief that “the various steps are taken, because a ban is not an instant step usually”, back in December 2006 Council passed the Violence, Vandalism and Bullying Policy.
Well, just a reminder what the Policy says about bans:
“The City of Mississauga will take appropriate disciplinary action when incidents of vandalism, violence or bullying occur in City facilities. Such action may include the immediate banning of the patron from the facility.”
Security Special Occurrence Reports secured through Freedom of Information confirm “immediate banning” not just of kids as young as 9/10 from three facilities at once (Mississauga Civic Centre, Living Arts Centre and Central Library) but also immediate “Zero Tolerance” arrests of kids should they return during their ban.
Freedom of Information has confirmed the arrest right here of a 12/13 year old who returned to the skate plaza two hours after being banned from there.
Fact is, the Violence, Vandalism and Bullying Policy makes it clear that anyone returning during a ban “will be” arrested. Zero Tolerance. Instant step.
The only way to escape arrest under the Violence, Vandalism and Bullying Policy, should you return during a ban, is to be under 12 years of age.
Now Councillor Saito, you stated that you weren’t going to get specific about what youth information you want generated. I believe you should be specific.
You need to be aware of the “non-robust” nature of that database (and “non-robust” is how the City described that database, not us).
The Security database is wonky, about as flexible as a cinder block and has spit out spurious, unreliable reports when accommodating our Freedom of Information requests.
The database does however have enormous value in its raw data –that is, its historical information. It does after all contain stats on almost three years of worth of bans, fines, trespass and arrests issued by your security guards to hundreds of people –many of them youth and minors.
Essentially, embedded in that raw data just waiting for extracting is a unique social history of the City of Mississauga –testimony of what happens when Security guards are granted the power to ban (and this is a direct quote)
“at their own discretion, and/or effect a trespass arrest if required. This is done at the time of an incident and is necessarily independent of any control or oversight from the Violence and Vandalism Committee.“
That database therefore is invaluable for Roots of Youth violence research.
Next. Related topic.
I need to address Councillor Iannicca’s kindness that he extended to me back in June. How he said he believed that I was sincere, had done my homework but just wasn’t sure of The Ask.
Sir, tomorrow I have to go into Toronto to file yet another appeal with the Information and Privacy Commissioner because the City has blocked total access to City Security’s records of bans, trespass and arrests –the very records that Councillor Saito requested be made public just fourteen days ago.
The Ask, Councillor Iannicca?…
I’ve taken the liberty of preparing a list of specific queries for that database that I believe Council should see.
My husband and I are pursuing our request for the database through appeal to the Privacy Commissioner, but we recognize that for the present, the reporting requested by Councillor Saito and approved by motion of Council is currently the only means of extracting meaningful information.
I therefore ask that these queries be included in any reporting requested by Council. Thank you for your consideration.
 In fairness, Commissioner Breault reminded me that I had pulled the original set of (21) questions and then re-submitted them and that I had given her a meeting date of January. True. But what I didn’t make properly clear to her was that I set January on the assumption that I’d get the Mississauga Corporate Security database and my answers by the end of October to get time to prepare..not going to happen.)
And for the record, this is The Ask that I handed to Council.
Record of all Youth bans, trespass and arrests from all City facilities/Property including Transit terminals and routes from January 1, 2006 to current: (fields to include Date, Time, Year of Birth, Gender, Anonymized Identifier (to replace name), First three letters of Postal Code or if missing, City, Banning Period, Primary Ban File Key, Secondary File Key, Facility 1, Facility 2, Facility 3, Facility Group, Security Guard Witness, Security Guard “Writer”, SOR Group and “To” (Shift Supervisor name).
Where there is an arrest, fields to include:
Level of Force Used
Name of Peel Regional Police officer.
Database should be able to present these data (including all fields) at the click of a mouse organized by:
First three letters of Postal code (or if not recorded City)
Facility 1 (aka Facility where Ban originated)
Security Guard “Writer”
Security Guard witness
The Mississauga Muse
FLUSH THE KNOB-GUARDS!
HUMANS DESERVE SPECIAL CONSTABLES EXCLUSIVELY UNDER PEEL REGIONAL POLICE!