Mississauga graffiti wall removed –and graffiti artists/taggers adapt new strategy

June 22nd, 2010  

It’s funny how things work out…

I can’t even count the number of Peel Youth Violence Prevention Working Group and Steering Committee meetings I’ve sat in on since their inaugural March 2007. Then there was observing four (bogus) Mississauga Youth Plan meetings. And sitting in on Peel Regional Council meetings when the Peel Youth Charter or youth issues were on the agenda. And myyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy but the adults talked. And talked. And talked.

But the very youth that the politicians and bureaucraPs were entrusted to help just never showed. Indeed, in the case of the City of Mississauga, steps were taken to ensure that “bad youth” had better think twice if they wanted their say. You know, the two percent youth that Hazel McCallion does not consider “good youth”.  The “two percent” youth that our public institutions loathe.

As readers know I began studying Brampton/Mississauga graffiti back in April 2009. Since then I’ve compiled hundreds of photographs and many hours of videotape. I will never post the majority of the material because I know the images can be used as evidence against a graffer or tagger should he ever get caught.

Researching graffiti absolutely catapulted my understanding of the “bad youth” that our public institutions prefer didn’t exist.

Oh, but what a researcher can learn from graffiti and tags! You get this new way of seeing —and you’re richer for it.

I find myself touring Mississauga examining walls and fences and surfaces, thinking, “Now there’s prime real estate for a tag. I wonder why there isn’t one…” Best of all this study of graffiti has taught me to see the City as no middle class muddler can hope to. With such clarity! Graffiti is Real!

I’ve learned a lot about graffiti through the simple act of documenting it. But the true insights into the world of the graffer/tagger come through direct email via YouTube. What I feel blessed about is that graffers took a chance to contact me. To tip me off to graffiti locations.  To explain the symbols, the language. But mostly to teach me the psychology of their sub-culture  —the adrenalin rush of a successful night out with their  graffiti crew.

Which brings us to…

Last week one of our graffiti study sites was obliterated. Some grafs at this location had “08” for dates suggesting they had been up for almost two years. Why the Big Erase now? I suspect it’s got to do with MUNICIPAL ELECTION TIME.  Either way —gone.

As of today we’re starting a new tradition. Whenever one of our graffiti study sites goes down, MISSISSAUGAWATCH will document its demise for the record. We’ll also “resurrect” BEFORE pics/video of what the graffiti and tags had looked like. That way these youth graffiti-voices aren’t completely lost.

So. Here’s the video. Followed by transcript.

YouTube Video, “MISSISSAUGA GRAFFITI REMOVED: Comparative (Before Erase. May 27, 2009. After Erase. June 19, 2010)” 3:11 min

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (at our study site after graffiti was removed June 19, 2010):

It is June the 19th, 2010  and this is the —what’s left of the graffiti wall here at the past the .

I had documented the graffiti here. It’s been erased. Gone. As has a lot of the material at the front. And what’s interesting is, this week —say Monday/Tuesday, Councillor Nando Iannicca sent out a Councillor’s Report that had a rather prominent little column on graffiti.

And, gosh, it wasn’t two days after that I noticed the graffiti that had been here for a long, long time had been erased.

[TRANSCRIPT ENDS]

Photos and video clips of  what the graffiti looked like back on May 27, 2009.

GRAFFITI MISSISSAUGA (COOKSVILLE) 090527

Click here for a larger (1024 x 395) version.

GRAFFITI MISSISSAUGA (COOKSVILLE) "HIGH TIL I DIE" 090527

Click here for a larger (768 x 1024) version.

GRAFFITI MISSISSAUGA (COOKSVILLE) 090527

Click here for a larger (768 x 1024) version.

And two Before and Afters.

MISSISSAUGA GRAFFITI REMOVED location undisclosed (comparison) "HACR" (Before April 13 2010. After June 19 2010.)

Click here for a larger (1024 x 618) version.

And of course…

"MISSISSAUGA GRAFFITI REMOVED location undisclosed (comparison) Before May 27 2009. Then April 14 2010. And after removal June 19 2010.
Click here for a larger (640 x 960) version.

Funny. The May 2009 footage represents the first record I have of MIOH/MYOH and I only discovered that during the preparation of this video! Note too the few additions between May 2009 and April 2010. That means both HACR and MYOH got nailed at this site!

I can tell you this. Removal in no way discouraged them. On the same day I discovered this graffiti site removed, I noticed HACR and MYOH in several new locations. It’s very very clear that they learned a lesson though —and adapted accordingly!

GRAFFITI MISSISSAUGA "After a graffiti wall was removed in June 2010, Mississauga graffiti artists, HACR and MYOH quickly adapt and implement a new strategy"

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse
MISSISSAUGAWATCH

Video: PEEL POLICE SERVICES BOARD presents 2009 HATE/ BIAS MOTIVATED CRIMES (and GRAFFITI) REPORT

April 2nd, 2010  

Here, as promised, is video of the 2009 Hate/Bias motivated Crime report presented at the Peel Police Services Board meeting on March 26, 2010.

And as usual, the video transcript.

Video: PEEL POLICE SERVICES BOARD presents 2009 HATE/ BIAS MOTIVATED CRIMES (and GRAFFITI) REPORT10:31 min

Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

Video: PEEL POLICE SERVICES BOARD presents 2009 HATE/ BIAS MOTIVATED CRIMES (and GRAFFITI) REPORT 10:31 min

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]

PEEL REGIONAL POLICE CHIEF, MICHAEL METCALF:

Mr. Chairman, [inaudible] in charge of our Diversity Unit, so without any further introduction, Chris, welcome. Thank you.

PEEL REGIONAL CHAIR, EMIL KOLB:

It’s item #27. Now would you like to make some comments on the report, sir?

PEEL REGIONAL POLICE DIVERSITY RELATIONS UNIT:

Yes, Mr. Chairman. Good morning.

PEEL REGIONAL CHAIR, EMIL KOLB:

Good morning.

PEEL REGIONAL POLICE DIVERSITY RELATIONS UNIT:

I’d just like to take the time to present the details contained within the 2009 Hate/Bias Motivated Crime Report.

The Hate/Bias Motivated Crimes are monitored and reviewed by the Diversity Relations Unit. From those occurrences, the Unit has prepared this report for you.

In 2009, there were 95 Hate/Bias Motivated Crimes reported and investigated by Peel Regional Police. This is a significant increase from the 2008 numbers when there were 37 reported crimes.

When the Diversity Relations Unit reviewed the occurrences and analyzed the evidence, it is worth noting that in more than half the occurrences, the victim had no idea why there were the target of the specific Hate-motivated crime.

Their ethnicity, religion, race or sexual persuasion did not coincide with the Hate-motivated crime. During 2009, five investigations resulted in arrests and the occurrence being solved.

The report contains diagrams and graphs to assist in evaluating the information.

The first diagram, located on page 2 of the report identifies the fact that most of the occurrences —66 to be exact, are Mischiefs or damaged property occurrences such as graffiti. This has been consistent over the past four years.

The Hate-motivated crimes are not isolated to specific areas within the region but fairly evenly distributed throughout all of the divisions.

The Diversity Relations Unit have [sic] tracked Hate-motivated crimes since 2006. The occurrences have fluctuated during those four years with 71 occurrences in 2006, 47 in 2007, 37 in 2008 and then for last year we had 95.

Explanations and reasons for the increase have been researched and the occurrences will continue to be closely scrutinized to ensure that they are investigated in great detail.

But we believe that some of the increase can be attributed to the proactive efforts of the Police Service within our diverse community that we serve. The Diversity Relations Unit educates every front line officer on the recognizing and investigating Hate-motivated crime.

They also educate ethnic community agencies —groups on the importance of reporting such crimes.

As we hire officers that reflect the community we believe that it enhances our ability to detect Hate-motivated crime better.

The Diversity Relations Unit is building strong relationships and trust within our communities through events such as The Race Against Racism, the Diversity Basketball Tournament and our participation in the Pride Parade each year.

We have also introduced a Lesbian/Gay hotline to encourage our Gay Community [to] report crime directed at them. Just this year we’ve enhanced that service by adding an email address that the gay community can use to report incidents or seek help from the Diversity Relations Unit or the Police Service.

The Diversity Relations Unit also participates in community programs speaking to newcomers that come to Canada. They distribute material in a variety of different languages and again ensuring that our new residents understand that they can trust policing in Canada.

And that summarizes the contents of the report.

[TRANSCRIPT ENDS WITH THANKS TO PEEL POLICE]

And ah, what the heck. Might as well serve this one up.

You know… Just me documenting “What happens if nothing happens?”

WARNING! HIGHLY OFFENSIVE VIDEO! Dedicated to Safe City Mississauga.

Video: GRAFFITI TRUTH: “BURN THAT F***ER TO THE GROUND IF THEY DON’T LOVE YOU LIKE THEY SHOULD” 5:24 min

Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

Signed,

MISSISSAUGAWATCH

GRAFFITI  "MISSISSAUGA CIVIC CENTRE" "HATE/BIAS GRAFFITI  (photographed March 24, 2010)

MISSISSAUGA/BRAMPTON GRAFFITI RESEARCH (preliminary) REPORT conclusion: Studying graffiti/tags is an important window into youth culture

April 2nd, 2010  

—As promised —the transcript of this video —uploaded to YouTube just prior to the Hate Crime/graffiti data released by the Peel Police Services Board at their Friday, March 26, 2010 meeting.

Advisory: I research graffiti/tags and do not report any locations no matter how offensive (even racist) it is. After all, if I am documenting such observations as how long something stays up, I can’t be the one reporting it! Having begun my research into graffiti on April 19, 2009, I can now confidently say that studying graffiti/tags is an important window into youth culture. Graffiti and especially the tags, give marginalized/alienated youth a voice they simply don’t have anywhere else.

These youth never showed at Mississauga Youth Plan meetings. Never showed for Peel Youth Violence Prevention meetings.

These youth NEVER show. Because they KNOW.

Like I do.

Want to prep you for the graffiti stuff with a quote from Peel Regional Chair Emil Kolb, February 28, 2008.

“I had a young gentleman in to see me yesterday that was here to convince me that we need to get away from the word, ‘multi-culture’ and we need to get to the word of ‘integration’. If we don’t get to the word of integration —how these communities are going to integrate, that, maybe not in our time here soon, but maybe in his children’s time, they’ll be a big issue in this Region.”

To me, that’s the most important thing Chair Kolb ever said in the four years that I’ve been researching municipal governance.

PEEL REGIONAL CHAIR, EMIL KOLB, MULTICULTURALISM vs INTEGRATION, YOUTH GANGS, RACISM

OK, enough background.

WARNING! DO NOT VIEW THIS VIDEO IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY THE F-WORD AND EVEN WORSE WORDS!

Video: MISSISSAUGA BRAMPTON PEEL GRAFFITI RESEARCH (preliminary) REPORT (MISSISSAUGAWATCH) 10:09 min
uploaded March 25, 2010

Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

Video: MISSISSAUGA BRAMPTON PEEL GRAFFITI RESEARCH (preliminary) REPORT PART 2 (MISSISSAUGAWATCH) 10:32 min

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (parked directly in front of the City of Mississauga Big Yellow evil empire, March 25, 2010):

March 25th, 2010 and all I care about is that I get this report up on YouTube today and before tomorrow’s Peel Police Services Board meeting.

I read in the Toronto Sun that Peel Regional Police were going to be tabling their annual Hate Crime statistics.

[DIP TO WHITE]

And there was mention that quite a bit of the material that would be presented was in the form of graffiti.

So I’m absolutely intrigued and I want to record my own findings and study so far on graffiti and I thought what better place to do it than right here in front of Big Yellow evil empire City of Mississauga city hall. Because, see right there? Freedom of Information, direct observation, videotape, observing the Mississauga Youth Plan, Peel Youth Violence Prevention —all manner of emails and documents going back and forth, that, right there is a MAJOR Root of Youth Violence.

So I thought no better place than right here with that in the background.

[DIP TO WHITE]

OK, first of all the Mississsauga Youth Plan. I had been observing it including four meetings, ostensibly called “youth input” meetings.

Let’s put it this way. The youth that really needed a voice, not only weren’t represented, they wouldn’t have even been welcome there!

[DIP TO WHITE]

So I realize that the youth who were most at-risk, the ones who got in trouble with police and that I would see at Brampton Court House  —they’re not going to these meetings.

And I thought, well, how do I even go about finding them? And I managed to do that through YouTube. And it became very clear that if you want to know what youth are thinking (laughs) you don’t invite them to the Mississauga library!

The youth that I’m primarily interested in, the target group, the most at-risk, have already pushed these people aside and recognized them for what they are. Frauds.

[DIP TO WHITE]

But how do you gain access to them? To be able to see what it is that they’re thinking and what it is they’re saying because, for the most part, they’re not interested in talking to people like me. I’m 60 years old for example. They just— and a lot of them don’t even trust you or think that you’re legitimately interested in them. And, by the way, I don’t blame them.

And they certainly have a hatred —an absolute hatred, for institutions. And may I also say that I don’t blame them for that either.

[DIP TO WHITE]

So in March 2009, I watched a lot of true youth voice videos on YouTube. And it became obvious that graffiti was a big thing in those kids’ lives. So by April I was already deciding that I was going to start documenting graffiti here in Peel Region.

[DIP TO WHITE]

The other thing I want to say is even though I’m a resident of Mississauga, I think Peel Region. And in fact, the fact that I’m wearing this hat today is symbolic of that. I’m a Peeler. I think in terms —I love the City of Brampton. I love Brampton kids. Those are the kids I taught for most of my career. So there’s this strong feeling of community within me and pride for Peel.

So it wasn’t just a case of me documenting City of Mississauga graffiti, I also wanted to know what was happening in Brampton. And I began my first photographic foray on April 19, 2009.

[DIP TO WHITE]

And I did not report any of the graffiti. While I put these samples up on my Flickr site, I did my best to try to hide the locations. And I can say that even now, that some of these graffiti and tags are still up.

[DIP TO WHITE]

There are some really-truly graffiti artists. And I mean like ART. It’s zero question, it’s ART.

[DIP TO WHITE]

The other thing is, in July and August I also expanded my graffiti research to the Hawaiian Island of Maui. And also expanded my research to include skateboarding culture and to compare —and I also researched skateboarding, to compare the urban-style skateboarding that we have here in Brampton slash Mississauga versus the west coast style of skateboarding that you’d see in California and definitely on Maui.

Very very interesting and I also speculated that there would be a difference in the graffiti between the urban here Mississauga one and west coast, Hawaiian Island kind of graffiti as well.

[DIP TO WHITE]

The other thing that I did, is in July and August, what with me researching Hawaiian or Maui-based graffiti, it meant that there was a two-month window that I didn’t have graffiti here in July and August. So what I did just recently, is I filed Freedom of Information with Peel Police requesting their graffiti information for the months of July and August.

And I can’t thank Peel Regional Police enough for two reasons. For one thing the amount of material that they gave back both in terms of print-outs, colour print-outs and also one DVD cost —was roughly $44.00. And they waived the fee. I’m grateful.

But the other thing is, by reading their —Peel Regional Police’s occurrence reports and the quality of their observations and the insights there, that did two things. I learned a lot from what Peel Regional Police is looking for in terms of its own graffiti research. And to realize that they are applying Science to the study of graffiti. As am I, by the way.

[DIP TO WHITE]

One thing that I found with the graffiti here, is I agree too that a lot of the graffiti is —of the Hate ones, and there isn’t as much as you might think. Which in some ways is good.

But yeah, you see the swastikas. You see the White Power. You see N***** and niggaz.

However, I’ve also documented graffiti which shows sort of the Chinese —the target Chinese community, with the Chinese hat and the moustache, with “Chinaman” down there. Or drawings of the turban. And then —I mean really offensive stuff!

The other thing I was looking for was the relationship that these youth who do graffiti have with Police. Because I felt the relationship between youth and Police would be reflected in the graffiti.

And I admit that there’s some “F*** the Police” and “FTP” which is short for “F*** the Police”. And Peel Regional Police, in their July and August 2009 data also showed some evidence of that.

But what was neat was, it’s still quite rare.

And when you go, for example, to the City of Hamilton, which is one of my alternate study sites —comparative sites, “F*** the Police” is one of the most common pieces of graffiti. As is “FTP”. And I’m talking about every pole. Along every area— even in the parks.

And I’m talking about Beasley Park where “F*** the Police” is about this high in big black letters and has been there since I started back in April.

[DIP TO WHITE]

So there’s a really huge difference in the relationship, I believe —at least that’s what I think it suggests between the youth in the City of Hamilton and the Police, as opposed to what we see here in Peel and the relationship with Police.

Sure there’s the odd tag but it isn’t nearly as prevalent and as obvious as City of Hamilton.

And so one of the questions you ask is well, what’s the message there?

[DIP TO WHITE]

The other thing that is interesting is, when I looked at the photographs that Peel Regional Police had for July and August, there was very little overlap between what they documented and what I did.

And the other thing really interesting is, Peel Regional Police —their July/August stuff, a lot of it was parks. And a surprising amount was City of Mississauga sites and parks. And City of Mississauga Corporate Security being the ones filing the reports on graffiti.

[DIP TO WHITE]

That’s not a surprise because I avoid City of Mississauga property because (whispers) I know about these security guards.

[DIP TO WHITE]

So I always have a— I have to have a [sic] audio recorder to even feel remotely-safe on City property. So I try to avoid that and my analysis is more along the roadways and just driving along the roads and pulling aside when I see something.

[PART 1 VIDEO TRANSCRIPT ENDS]

Signed,

MISSISSAUGAWATCH

2009 MISSISSAUGA VIDEOS: MISSISSAUGAWATCH Shatters the MYTH behind the City of MYTHississauga

January 1st, 2010  

JANUARY 2009 video INSIGHT INTO THE BRANDING (AND FLUFFING) OF MYTHISSAUGA

Last Blog you saw the pics: The first being, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion hugging and congratulating Michael Nobrega fellow Director of the Enersource Board after their successful Enersource public meeting and Cable 10 broadcast. Nobrega is president and chief executive of Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS) —10% partner with 100% veto power (yes. really!).

Here’s the video uploaded to YouTube on January 25, 2009 of Mississauga Inc and McCallion-Nobrega in action.

Video: GEORGE ORWELL MEETS MISSISSAUGA ENERSOURCE (4:27 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

FEBRUARY 2009 (Uploaded February 10, 2009)

Video of youth/Police interaction on the TTC. Bitter February and the youth was wearing a thin T-shirt —complete with holes.

Video: HOMELESS YOUTH and TORONTO POLICE/SPECIAL CONSTABLES at TTC SUBWAY (Queen St station) 090205 (2:28 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

MARCH 2009 (Uploaded March 12, 2009) FROM THE THIS IS FRIKKIN’ SO-TYPICAL DEPARTMENT

MISSISSAUGAWATCH asks Dr. Alvin Curling if the authors of the Roots of Youth Violence Report had filed any Freedom of Information as part of their research. Nope.

Video: “ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE” co-author, DR. ALVIN CURLING interviewed by MISSISSAUGAWATCH (4:40 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

APRIL 2009 (Uploaded April 17, 2009)

HAZEL MCCALLION SAVES MISSISSAUGA’S SHERIDAN LIBRARY (4:16 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

MAY 2009 (Uploaded May 17, 2009) PUT A *STAR* BESIDE THIS ONE!

Video: HAZEL MCCALLION: on City Staff’s “complete disregard” for Policies (10:06 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

JUNE 2009 (Uploaded June 5, 2009) MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL SETS A NEW RUBBER-STAMP RECORD!

Video: ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE: MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL FAILS YOUTH: IN 12 SECONDS! (1:00 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

JULY 2009 (Uploaded July 4, 2009)

Video: SKATEBOARDING MAUI, PAIA STONEWAVE SKATE PARK (1:48 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

AUGUST 2009 (Uploaded August 5, 2009) NOW HERE’S A PROMISE THAT NEVER DREW ITS FIRST BREATH!

Video: HAZEL MCCALLION MAKES PROMISE ABOUT PUBLIC QUESTION PERIOD (0:54 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

SEPTEMBER 2009 (Uploaded September 10, 2009)

Video: Poor and Invisible in Toronto. Through a (Tim Hortons coffee shop) Window 6:22)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

OCTOBER 2009 (Uploaded October 2, 2009) NOT ONLY WON’T THIS HAPPEN BUT EXPECT RIGOROUS COVER UP

Video: ‘MAKE MISSISSAUGA YOUTH BANS PUBLIC INFORMATION” says COUNCILLOR PAT SAITO (3:07 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

NOVEMBER 2009 (Uploaded November 1, 2009) WHEREIN WE WITNESSED WHO REALLY RUNS MYTHISSAUGA

Video: “Mega-Builder” Harold Shipp $$$threatens$$$ Seven Mississauga Councillors with $$$DEFEAT$$$ (1:04 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

DECEMBER 2009 (Uploaded December 15, 2009)

Video: MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY: Citizen-Blogger MISSISSAUGAWATCH requests limited standing (8:09 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube

Follow MISSISSAUGAWATCH on Twitter.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH at www.mississaugawatch.ca

MISSISSAUGAWATCH at MISSISSAUGAWATCH Facebook

MISSISSAUGAWATCH at MISSISSAUGAWATCH YouTube

MISSISSAUGAWATCH photos (and documents secured through Freedom of Information) at Flickr The Mississauga Muse

RELATED LINKS

The Ontario Ombudsman Twitter

OMBUDSMAN OF ONTARIO website

The Ontario Ombudsman Facebook

The Ontario Ombudsman YouTube

The Ontario Ombudsman Flickr

MISSISSAUGAWATCH CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF ALL PEEL YOUTH CHARTERS FROM CITY OF MISSISSAUGA FACILITIES

August 7th, 2009  

This Blog is dedicated to the 9/10 year old girl who was banned for 30 days from three major City of Mississauga facilities at once (Mississauga Civic Centre, Mississauga Central Library and Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre). The ban, by City of Mississauga Corporate Security guards, was for “Disturbance”. It was issued on November 14, 2008, the same day that Roy McMurtry and Dr. Alvin Curling released their  Review of the Roots of Youth Violence report. Meanwhile, documents reveal that not much earlier that year (May 9, 2008) two 15/16 year old girls were banned for 30 days from just one facility, the Mississauga Civic Centre, for “Drugs”.  Parents/Guardians were not advised in either case —the only consistency found in these bans.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH is currently researching Brampton, Mississauga and Peel municipal governance through Freedom of Information (FOI) on many fronts.  Every query, every FOI filed —indeed every tangent we take, relates to Youth and ultimately what we believe to be a Major Root of Youth Violence, municipalities themselves.

Today we post a transcript of the October 25, 2007 endorsement of the Peel Youth Charter by Peel Regional Council.

The Peel Youth Charter was presented with much ceremony and even former Ontario Premier William G. Davis was there to smile for the Photo Op.

Below is video of Larry Zacher’s presentation of the Peel Youth Charter followed by the transcript: vital, historical, Youth Violence related-material that must be posted now.

Please know that when I was videotaping this, I was not aware that Charter-presenter, Larry Zacher, Executive Director of Safe City Brampton is spouse of City of Brampton Councillor, Gael Miles, who is also Chair of the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Network. Apparently neither of them thought this was worth mentioning.

To  begin, Google Video uploaded January 5, 2008.

PEEL YOUTH CHARTER endorsed by PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL (Oct 25 2007) – 08:09 min

Please click here to go directly to the clip on Google Video

TRANSCRIPT of Google Video, “PEEL YOUTH CHARTER endorsed by PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL (Oct 25 2007)” (Please advise of any errors in the transcript, thanks)

Larry Zacher, Executive Director, Safe City Brampton:

“Good morning, Chairman Kolb and Members of Council.

I have mixed emotions here this morning. I’m very proud to be presenting the Peel Youth Charter but also very intimidated to be following the Honourable William Davis. (laughter)

It’s a hard act to follow before but now that’s he’s bringing children up to his presentations (more laughter) what do you think, Valerie? (more laughter)

I would like to introduce Judge Valerie-Arnold, the Trustee from Brampton in Dufferin-Peel –oh! In the Peel District! -and also a member of the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Committee.

Thank you for having us here today.

First, I would like to congratulate the Honourable William Davis and the Success by Six Committee for the work that they’ve done when creating the Children’s Charter.

The absolute best thing we can do to Youth is provide seamless care for our children, from the day they’re born right though til they become responsible adults.

So it’s very timely that they are here with the Children’s Charter and we’re here with the Peel Youth Charter.

Council supported the development of this document by establishing the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Committee. I guess it was about January 06 and in the following spring we held a Youth Forum because we wanted to get input from the Community.

We had over a hundred and forty agencies represented as well as quite a few young people themselves, came, and we had a full day –it was one of those days where [sic] you’re pretty drained at the end of it, and looking at what are the issues facing Youth, where do we need to go and how can we tackle this as a Community (inaudible).

The outcome of that was the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Strategy, which was published in September of last year –very comprehensive document, a very innovative document, that is probably one of the first that comprehensive an approach anywhere in North America.

I know that for a fact we recently had the World Health Organization in Brampton designating us as an international safe community and one of the programs and one of the issues that they were very very impressed with was the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Strategy and seeing that it was very cutting edge and a very important program for our region.

Out of this Strategy, we’re currently, since it was published in September, we’ve established four working groups that are working comprised of people from all walks of life and all communities and all neighbourhoods in the Region of Peel.

Those working groups are focusing on Youth activities and Youth support and just as importantly, Family support, Community development –these all good ideas take money and resources to put into place, and Educational policies. And they have been working for the last year and a half and will continue to work and develop approaches and programs and strategies as we go forward.

The second very important outcome to come out of the Youth forum and out of the Strategy is the Peel Youth Charter. With that mounted, it’s a big document, I think that some of you have seen it, many of you have seen it and it sets out really how to accomplish two things.

The first is that it’s a statement from all of us that we value Youth and the skills and the energy and everything they bring to our community

And the second part is a –it’s a commitment from all of us to provide a safe and supportive environment for our young people and to do our utmost best to provide Safety initiatives for them and to ensure that they have the opportunities for education, future employment opportunities, that they have a good quality of life in our region and that they have access to the resources and activities they need to develop into happy, healthy, responsible adults.

The Charter has been signed by community leaders throughout the Region and includes the Mayors –Chairman Kolb has already signed it, the Police Chiefs, the Heads of the School Boards, the Community agencies.

We’ve also very strategically left a blank line in there because as we go forward, we want every business, every community agency, every organization that can contribute to Youth to sign on there and become a partner in this.

And by signing it, it’s not just saying, “Hey this is a great thing to hang on the wall”, it is a commitment to do what we can in those key areas –whether it’s Education, Jobs, Safety, any of those areas to support our young people.

So this week our committee has been visiting community leaders, media, going everywhere, presenting the Charter. I’m proud to say also this week the Charters are about to be going up in every school in the Region of Peel.

They’re going up in libraries, recreation centers and wherever other public [sic] –public buildings.

One of the things we’re asking today, Chairman Kolb, is that the Region endorse these Charters going out in Regional buildings, police stations and again where people will see them and wherever we have an organization that can contribute to this Charter.

At this time I would like to ask Chairman Kolb, and he mentioned that there are a number of Regional Councillors who sit on the Peel Violence [sic] Prevention Committee… Councillor Gael Miles, Councillor Katie Mahoney and Councillor Pat Saito and –sorry?

Councillor Gael Miles or Sue McFadden (unsure which) : That’s ok.

Larry Zacher, Executive Director, Safe City Brampton:

So if you can join us at the front, we’ll present —as well, Trustee Tony da Silva, from the Duffeirn-Peel Catholic District Board is here.

(Everyone goes to the front. Mississauga News, Ron Lenyk takes photo. Video ends.)

FACT:  Freedom of Information has confirmed that (at least at the City of Mississauga), the Peel Youth Charter is merely, “Hey this is a great thing to hang on the wall”.

OPINION: As a result, all Peel Youth Charters should be removed from City of Mississauga facilities and properties, ASAP.

To review the Peel Youth Charter, [underlined emphasis mine]


PEEL YOUTH CHARTER (signed March 29, 2007)


We believe that young people are valuable members of the Region of Peel. Young people bring a unique, diverse set of ideas, perspectives and skills, and make a valuable and significant contribution to our community. They deserve the same respect, dignity and human rights as all members of the community.

We believe all Peel youth have the right to:

These rights will apply without discrimination or prejudice to all youth in Peel.

By signing this charter we are committed to use our best efforts to ensure the safety, health, education and future employment of Peel’s youth.

Signed by: (left to right on the original Charter)

Susan Fennell (Mayor-Brampton), Marolyn Morrison (Mayor-Caledon), Hazel McCallion (Mayor-Mississauga) Emil Kolb (Chair Region of Peel), Janet McDougald (Chair Peel District School Board), Bruno Iannicca (Chair, Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board), Andy Karski (Inspector Caledon OPP), Mike Metcalf, (Chief, Peel Regional Police), Jim Bird (Vice-President Brampton Safe City Association), Katie Mahoney (Mississauga Crime Prevention Association), Shelley White, (CEO, United Way)

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

WILLIAM G DAVIS AT THE ENDORSEMENT OF THE PEEL YOUTH CHARTER BY PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL OCTOBER 25, 2007

William G. Davis at the endorsement of the Peel Youth Charter (Peel Regional Council) October 25, 2007

Video: features Mississauga Council’s announcement of the St. Joseph Secondary School lockdown and –After the Storm

June 18th, 2009  

I’m thoroughly spent. Bare bones blog today.

Just going to rely on a Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words (and presumably a YouTube video is worth a Million).

So. Here’s video of yesterday’s Mississauga Council announcement (delivered by Councillor Carolyn Parrish) of the St. Joseph Secondary School stabbing incident and lockdown. The rest of the video shows the calm after the storm. Anyone expecting video of police arriving with sirens blaring and lights flashing followed by ambulances will be disappointed.

I stayed for the entire General Committee meeting and so showed up at the school well after our Peelers had restored calm.

I’ll also re-run video of the October 30, 2008 Peel Regional Council announcement of the lockdown at Lincoln Alexander Secondary as well.

Followed by video of me asking Roots of Youth Violence co-author, Dr. Alvin Curling whether the Roots of Youth Violence authors had researched their report using Freedom of Information (Answer: No).

For the record.

LOCKDOWN LIFTED: St. Joseph Secondary School calm restored (features City Council’s announcement)  3:27 min

UPDATE: June 18, 2009. The original video was replaced for the sake of brevity (seems some people didn’t like the extra 90 seconds worth of police cruisers).

(Please click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

MALTON HIGH SCHOOL LOCKDOWN: MESSAGE TO PEEL POLITICIANS 4:36 min

(Please click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

“ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE” co-author, DR. ALVIN CURLING interviewed by MISSISSAUGAWATCH (4:40 min)

(Please click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

That’s it.

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

UNACCOUNTABLE ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: A major Root of Youth Violence

Hazel McCallion saves Sheridan Library: “…please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing!”

April 17th, 2009  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Apologies for not having a fresh Blog since April 14th but there’s just been so much to document/research that there’s simply been no time to report on what’s happening.

To give you an idea of what MISSISSAUGAWATCH has been up to in the data collection department since Monday’s Blog here’s a list.

Data collection, researching through Freedom of Information and bearing witness to what needs to be witnessed are far more important than regular Blogging.

You’d think that would go without saying. But no.

The Internet is thoroughly polluted with Blogs spouting opinion —the situation made worse by comments to opinion-focussed Blogs spouting opinion from readers spouting their opinions.   Far too many Blogs assault readers with hundreds of words before actual supporting documents/data are presented.

The very worst Blogs are 100% opinion.

I can tell you this —consider it a reader alert. As of this week, one more Blog (already toxic with unsubstantiated opinion) has joined our virtual world.

As for MISSISSAUGAWATCH.CA,  all I can say is Freedom of Information research continues…

Next. Today’s Blog.

SHERIDAN LIBRARY PUBLIC MEETING April 15, 2009

I’ve been observing Mississauga Council since June 2006 and I can’t tell you the number of times Budget deliberations have threatened the Sheridan Library. Cut hours. Cut hours. Cut hours.

Cut hours so much that here’s what Sheridan Library service looks like today (from the mississauga.ca website). Hint: When you scan the hours, think of when kids are in school and parents at work.

NEW! Hours – Winter 2009

Mon 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Tues 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Wed 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thurs 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Fri 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Sat 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sun CLOSED

There’s a worrisome trend at the City of Mississauga that I’ve already mentioned in previous Blogs. Two years worth of Freedom of Information documents reveal that City of Mississauga Staff aren’t strong on social issues.

Cut-and-pasting from a previous Blog that dealt with cuts to hours of library service, Councilor Saito said it best.

PAT SAITO: They are probably the four libraries that are in the area of most need.”

“I guess when I look at the, the hours, or sorry, the libraries that are suggested to be closed for the saving on the Friday evenings and the Sundays.. You know (small chuckle) they’re the four libraries —four of them, Meadowvale, Burnhamthorpe, Malton and South Common. They are probably the four libraries that are in the area of most need.” —Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito (October 15, 2008 Budget Meeting)

Now speaking of areas with most need, we have Sheridan Library. And I have to say I found the presentation by the Mississauga consultant fascinating. For one thing, she used 2004 data. For those who need the Obvious spelled out for them 2004 was five years ago!

The other odd item was the difference of opinion about the needs of the community in the immediate area. The City of Mississauga consultant downplayed the need —that there were other parts of Mississauga more “at-risk”. Then the E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) teacher for the nearby Oakridge Public School, who attended to support his kids, provided data showing that the Peel District School Board identified his school —Oakridge, as Number One in terms of  need.

Two studies. Two very different findings. Something is very wrong here.

I suppose that this is as good a place as any to tell readers that in my former life, I taught at Oakridge Public School back in the mid 70’s. Many youngsters were needy back then!

A lot of people attended this meeting to defend the Sheridan Library. But I have to congratulate that Oakridge E.S.L. teacher because he served up data. Facts.

As a result of the information he provided, he’s made it possible for me to file Freedom of Information on various aspects of the Sheridan Library. (I won’t reveal more because I know the minions of evil empire move their lips to this Blog.)

Enough.

Here’s the bottomline.

Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion  has the following message.

“Please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing. “

And I’m only too happy to.

HEY EVERYBODY! SHERIDAN LIBRARY IS NOT CLOSING!

And not only that but just from examining the Mayor’s face during her speech and afterwards, it’s a pretty good guess that she’s going to see that this needy community’s largely new immigrants (and the Oakridge kids) get a library reflective of those needs.

Ward Councillor Katie Mahoney has defended Sheridan Library every single time it was threatened. Afterwards, I even stood in line to speak with her and thank her for the resolute defence she played on behalf of these people. Mahoney squawked every single time. And her last Council squawk made it clear to Mississauga Staff not to bring up the topic of closing again.

Still, a Councillor has surprising little power.

What has guaranteed a brighter future for Sheridan Library is McCallion herself.  I’m convinced that the Mississauga Mayor did not know the embarrassing conditions at Sheridan Library. Frankly I had my eyes opened too Wednesday evening as well.

The cramped conditions and aging books sure turned the mississauga.ca News Release,  “Service Options Review for the Sheridan Community” into an Orwellian joke.

Down at the very bottom of the City’s News Release. it states:

Mississauga is Canada’s sixth largest city with a population of more than 700,000. With well-established infrastructure and state of the art facilities, the City is considered to be an employer of choice, delivering quality municipal programs and services to its citizens. Mississauga is a dynamic, diverse, and progressive municipality, known for its economic strength and for being Canada’s safest city.

“state of the art facilities”?! STICK IT YOU SPINMEISTERS IN COMMUNICATIONS!

Well, I certainly feel better now…

So here is video of Mayor McCallion’s wonderful address to the Sheridan Library Community Wednesday evening.  And the transcript of the video. All for the record.

HAZEL MCCALLION SAVES MISSISSAUGA’S SHERIDAN LIBRARY 090315  (4:16 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

TRANSCRIPT  Mayor Hazel McCallion Sheridan Library April 15, 2009 public meeting:

Thank you very much and I came to listen. And there are some excellent suggestions put forward.

And I want you to know that your Councillor has protected this library.

And I want you to know that myself and the Councillor and even Councillor Mullin, is concerned about reducing the library hours.

Because I really believe the library, in many years, is the community centre as much as it is, especially for the students.

And you know, today, in order for Canada to be competitive, it is so important that our children get every opportunity to learn more because that’s the only way will remain competitive.

[Apologies, battery change]

The services, by the way, Paul, [Ed: Commissioner of Community Services, Paul Mitcham] that we provide in this library obviously is not adequate. I hate to hear that there’s not enough computers. Today, the children, when they’re doing their research, the computer is such a key to it.

So I heard two things tonight –how the library is stocked. Is it that same as others libraries in the area? I don’t mean all libraries. We DO have the Central Library. And we DO have a district library. And we have a [inaudible] library and therefore they should be all equal, whether the neighbourhood is here or in Streetsville or Erin Mills or wherever it is.

So we heard tonight, there is a need. As I say, your Councillor has protected the library. There was a movement to close it and she stood up and made sure it wasn’t closed.

Now we’re here tonight and Councillor Mullin has joined us.

The library, you know, years ago, when there weren’t community centres and there weren’t arenas and there weren’t all those things, there were libraries. Think about that. There were libraries because that was the key to a community.

And so the library is an extremely important facility in the community.

In regard, I agree with Councillor Mahoney as well, that the library should be located in the right location and that is important as well –to be able to be available to as many people as possible.

Not all –we can’t have a library on every corner –we can’t have a library right next to your house, I wish we could, but we can’t. So we have to choose a good location. And I think your Councillor is well aware of where the library should be.

We will attempt –I will try to negotiate with the owner of this plaza as well. And I would think that the economic downturn and the fact that plazas are not doing as well –and this one, I understand is not doing as well as others and I think that there’s a pretty good negotiating opportunity.

Secondly, we will look at land within this area that Councillor has clearly defined to see if there is. It’s tough to purchase land these days, you know. You can’t force people to sell it to you but we will make every effort.

I know that Paul, our Commissioner here tonight, will bring me up to date on the negotiations that are taking place with the owner of this plaza and I will get involved.

So tonight you gave us some ideas –I think they’re great– I want you to know that we are here to serve you and to serve this community as we try– [McCallion cut off by applause]

So thank you for coming and please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing!

[TRANSCIPT ENDS]

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

HAZEL MCCALLION: READ "TRANSCRIPT Mayor Hazel McCallion Sheridan Library April 15, 2009 public meeting: ...and please, spread the news that this library is NOT closing"

Addtional resources.

I was unaware that the young man sitting in the chair to my right was Peter, the person who left an announcement about the Sheridan Library meeting in “About the Mississaugas Muse”.  I Googled him and found his excellent summary of the Sheridan Library meeting.

Peter Browne describes himself as a “Peter Browne student. nerd. politics activist” and I encourage you to read his “Sheridan Branch Library Meeting” summary. Clearly Peter is a Blogger committed to informing his readers. He’s actually posted an audiotape of the  meeting as an mp3!  Audio and video cut through the He Saids and She Saids of differing opinions of what actually happened.

Also please visit Peter’s Flickr site for his photographs of the information slides presented at that meeting.

Last. Here is the Mississauga News article, “Neighbourhood needs its library, residents say”.

MISSISSAUGA CITY HALL: KEEPING VIDEO RECORDS OF CITIZENS BUT NOT OF THEMSELVES?

April 11th, 2009  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Today’s Blog is going to be a little different because it will consist entirely of a report I filed inside Mississauga Council Chambers last Wednesday as Council went “in-camera”.

It’s essentially my incredulous and frustrated response to  the chronic blight of citizens being limited to MINUTES of Council meetings. Being limited to reading the accounts of all the He-Saids, She-Saids They-Saids of municipal government meetings through manicured MINUTES.

MINUTES —someone writing stuff down, just like it was done back when papyrus was first invented!

So, crabby, I vented into my video camera my own “Why aren’t we recording all meetings on VIDEO? Or at least AUDIO?” report.

Today’s Blog will be the transcript.

Video: MISSISSAUGA CITY HALL:  KEEPING VIDEO RECORDS OF CITIZENS BUT NOT OF THEMSELVES? (8:17 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

TRANSCRIPT BEGINS

I have to say that Council today was really remarkable in the amount of “He-Said She-Said They-Said” that was going on. And they were talking about going back to minutes of meetings.

Well, I mean, I happen to know when you compare the video of the Council and even General Committee meetings –the video that I shoot, and you compare it to what actually makes it in the minutes, we’re talking about Creative Writing here. And that’s a problem that is systemic here at the City of Mississauga.

And what they write down is essentially [a] manicured message of The Corporation and that’s pretty well anybody who’s required to write a report of some kind.

And what was particularly fascinating was reference to what happened at various in-camera meetings. Now in-camera meetings are closed, secret meetings –really, away from the public. In fact the word, “in-camera” means exactly the opposite.

They go off into a special room up there. I guess it’s on the third floor and then away from the public. We don’t know what they’re talking about in there. And there seems to be, no not “seems to be” –certainly, there was considerable debate as to what it is that they actually said in behind closed doors.

And it’s left me to wonder, surely the in-camera meetings aren’t limited to somebody taking notes [whispering into camera] because City of Mississauga is not good at taking notes. You don’t want them to take notes on you.” [whispering ends]

[Pauses to think…]

We’re in the new millennium. 2009 now. And we’re witnessing an entity –indeed, pretty well all municipalities -that they limit the minutes of their meetings to what someone chooses to write down and record.

And just from my own experience and research and two years of Freedom of Information documents –to be able to tell the difference between what they [City of Mississauga] say publicly and what The Reality shows, you know, they do privately…

‘scuse me, telephone.

[cell phone call interrupts. Fade to black. Fade in]

Where was I? Right. We’re in a new millennium where the kind of camera that I’m using right now to record this has seven hours of recording time. [reaches for digital recorder] We have digital audio recorders that can record for days!

And yet we’re limiting things to minutes of meetings –in other words, Pen and Quill Technology, and the public is limited to what someone chooses to record.

And in my own experience, and this is researching and securing documents through Freedom of Information, it’s often what they don’t record that screws you over royally.

And I’m just wondering when the debate between, “well this was said and that was said and this was left out and no, no, no you don’t have all the facts” -what I don’t understand is why they can’t have [points] on that computer screen, because I can do it at home -go to my hard drive, I can go right now and find out what the March 11th meeting said about Enersource or about some corporate policy or what by-law was passed or what wasn’t –and I can’t understand -why we’re limited to someone’s view of what happened!

That’s why I’m recording this! Because I know the inventive Creative Writing that goes on here. Because the selective “memory” [gestures] within these walls is obscene!

[whispers] It’s obscene!

And I uh, just two weeks ago, I secured Freedom of Information on Report Writing for Mississauga Corporate Security and it was a pdf file [Ed: incorrect, I meant "Power Point" files] and there were three documents. And while it didn’t say directly that you should keep stuff out, it did warn the guards that anybody could secure or ask for their records –and by the way, I do.

And they also mention “Freedom of Information” as being one.

So they don’t want to write down something that doesn’t advance the interests of The Corporation.

And you know, you’ve got Parrish and Adams saying one thing. You’ve got Mahoney saying something else and you know [reaches for digital audio recorder] let’s hear it in here! Or better yet, on video.

And I really think, one of the things is, forty or fifty years from now –because I think our democracy is being eroded something horrible, just.

We’re allowing our governments to use technology unfettered and that includes [points to Council Pelco PTZ “Pelco One”] these frikkin’ video surveillance cameras without any oversight!

And they’re using this sophisticated technology and yet citizens forty/fifty years from now, when they’re going to want to know how Mississauga came about. How it responded to the Smart Growth. How it got the transit system it developed. That’s happening right here, right now! This is The History.

And we’re allowing –citizens are allowing the history of this city to be [points to Council] to be written by them!  And, and, it isn’t just that, it’s all Ontarians are allowing that to happen. Whether it’s in Vaughan, in Whitby, in Ajax, in Brampton, in Oakville. All citizens in Ontario –and I’m going to use the word “victimized” -are being victimized by minutes of meetings as opposed to it being recorded and the actual video record of every Council meeting, of every General (Committee) meeting, of every Audit Committee meeting should be part of the record!

And I know why it isn’t. I know why it isn’t. Because a video record cuts through the “He-Said, She-Said”. Cuts through the selective reporting -or even the lies. Because.. [long pause]

I, uh –the thing that happened today with Councillor Parrish and her frustra-I can understand the frustration! I can understand what it’s like to be stonewalled, to have delays, to be treated with disrespect –and by the way, being bullied, intimidated, threatened and [very long pause] I can understand her frustration.

[even longer pause]

They’re coming back (from in-camera). So let me record it this way.

Let’s add “no video records of things” and “selective minutes, selective reporting” as another Root of Youth Violence.

TRANSCRIPT ENDS

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

GRAFFITI update and the Peel Regional Police 2009 Public Opinion Online Survey: express your views on key safety and security issues

April 5th, 2009  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

I’ve been thinking a lot about graffiti and scribbles on walls quickly wrenched me back to the mid-60’s and the immediate impact that Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Sounds of Silence” had on me.

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whispered in the sounds of silence.

Today I want to concentrate on the “And the signs said, the words of the prophets Are written on the subway walls And tenement halls.” part.

You see over the last two years I’ve also been documenting graffiti in the City of Mississauga. Unfortunately many flash the F-word and just as many contain obscene drawings (an expertly drawn fully-erect penis  pencilled onto a ramp at Mississauga City Hall’s Skate Plaza springs immediately to mind. And yes, pun intended.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not being moralistic, just bemoaning that it’s difficult to share these sexually-explicit graffiti offerings when it’s my hope to provide MISSISSAUGAWATCH as a resource for Peel Youth currently (to put it charitably) not resourced.

And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.

Graffiti. Tagging. Vandalism. What’s it all mean?

And why is there so much of it in Ottawa? And so little in Mississauga —but now it’s growing.

Who even does graffiti?  Why do some sprayers just limit themselves to initials?

Used to be a time when I needed to learn something I’d reach for a book or (scientific) literature on the subject. Now, more and more I turn to YouTube and the primary information that can be found there —videos produced by “the prophets” themselves.

This purpose of today’s Blog is to invite people to send up pics of graffiti in and around Mississauga, Brampton (Peel Region). I’m really interested in documenting the material before it’s sprayed over.

When you go to Flickr and word search “GRAFFITI MISSISSAUGA” you get 69 results. No surprise that the “graffiti wall” mural at Mississauga City Hall’s Skate Plaza shows up. But I don’t really consider that graffiti. Here’s why.

graffiti

Main Entry: 2 graffiti
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian, plural of graffito
Date: 1945

: usu. unauthorized writing or drawing on a public surface

See why I don’t consider that City Hall Skate Plaza mural to be graffiti?  Bet your boots some Big Yellow “suit” in Communications approved that mural from beginning to end.

Now this is graffiti (found in Newfoundland).

PEACE SIGN GRAFFITI NEWFOUNDLAND

Sure. “Unauthorized” but the gentle message made us smile.

By contrast… graffiti photographed on October 1, 2008 at the Mississauga  Hurontario/Dundas Transit “hub”…

VIDEO SURVEILLANCE FAIL --GRAFFITI MISSISSAUGA, OCTOBER 1, 2008

And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.

And then there’s temporary graffiti like this one I documented at the Mississauga Transit Creditview Road bus shelter directly opposite St. Joseph Secondary School back on January 16, 2007.

"temporary" graffiti documented at the Mississauga Transit Creditview Road bus shelter directly opposite St. Joseph Secondary School baclk on January 16, 2007.

I see more of this stuff every day. What’s it mean?

And there’s an entire youth culture that I didn’t want to know existed —how to describe…

I can tell you this. No book, no canned TV documentary delivered the message that watching YouTube graffiti videos did.  Holy jumpin’.  (What police have to deal with!)

I had to struggle with whether to share this here.  It’s video of a subway train “graffiti bombing” in the Paris subway videotaped by the perpetrators (in what I figure to be 1998) . It shows the shocking damage that a half dozen Youth can inflict between stations during  an orchestrated rampage.

I examined the video carefully and could see no video surveillance cameras about. Maybe that’s because it was 1998. Don’t know.

I can’t imagine how scary it was for the female passengers or the lone female transit employee  when two perps tagged the glass of her kiosk.

This YouTube video “Graffiti: Dirty Handz” packs a powerful message especially in light of the McMurtry/Curling Roots of Youth Violence Report and its “we are at a crossroads” warning.

PLEASE do not view this video if you are offended by the F-word, let alone the F-word in offensive song and in every possible offensive variation.

(WARNING: HIGHLY OFFENSIVE CONTENT!)

Graffiti: Dirty Handz (4:32 min)

(WARNING: HIGHLY OFFENSIVE CONTENT! Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

Somewhat related topic… communicating.

Posted this yesterday at Mississauga Blogs and hope all readers living in Brampton and Mississauga help out by filling in this online survey .

Peel Regional Police 2009 Public Opinion Survey online: express your views on key safety and security issues

PEEL POLICE PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY

PEEL POLICE PUBLIC OPINION SURVEY pic 2

Citizens are asked to fill out the survey between MARCH 23 AND APRIL 20, 2009.

Peel Police write that “the survey process is being managed by an independent market research company” and for more details about this survey, (including a message from the police chief) check out: http://www.peelregionalpolicesurvey.com/

This survey is presented in several languages so here we go. To start the Peel Police survey, just click on your preferred language.

English

Punjabi

Chinese

Urdu

Polish

Spanish

Arabic

I filled out mine yesterday.

PEEL POLICE TACTICAL UNIT

The Mississauga Muse

MISSISSAUGAWATCH

MISSISSAUGAWATCH to “ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE” co-author DR. ALVIN CURLING… “Municipalities are a MAJOR Root of Youth Violence”

March 12th, 2009  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Dr. Alvin Curling, co-author of "Roots of Youth Violence" March 10 ,2009

MISSISSAUGAWATCH VIDEO INTERVIEW with Dr. Alvin Curling, co-author of The Roots of Youth Violence.

TRANSCRIPT BEGINS…

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: I have some questions regarding “The Roots of Youth Violence”

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Yes.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: —and  one of the questions I have is: When your team worked on “The Roots of Youth Violence” from the initial drafting to the final product, did you do any research using Freedom of Information —and specifically, filing Freedom of Information into Schools, Municipalities and even Police?

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well most of the research that we have done, which we contracted Scott Beaudry (sp?), a renowned criminologist, to do that. We gathered all the documents that were public already.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Yeah.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: About Freedom of Information, I don’t think [inaudible} most of it unnecessary —they were all public documents out there. We just pulled all that together and then presented it.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: OK, the next question. Are you aware that the 2001 Municipal Act doesn’t require Ontario municipalities to have a public complaints process in place?

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Don’t have to have a what?

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: They don’t —The 2001 Municipal Act doesn’t require municipalities to have a public complaints system in place.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well, a—

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: —which means that there’s no framework for accountability within municipalities.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: The municipalities do have accountabality, of course. But I presume that in their own way they do. But I’m not quite familiar with what it hasn’t got and what it has—

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Well, for example, The City of Mississauga, in the 30 years, never had a public complaints system, let alone a formal one.

Video shifts to the MAY 21, 2008 MISSISSAUGA COUNCIL MEETING..

MISSISSAUGA COUNCILLOR PAT MULLIN: But I guess that I’m looking for some direction from possibly Staff if there is something that we could put in place which would be, I guess, a complaint procedure against Staff. And maybe somebody could respond. Or if there’s another way in terms of looking at it.

MISSISSAUGA MAYOR HAZEL MCCALLION: Councillor Mullin, I met with the City Manager this morning. I’ve not seen the report. And I was going to ask  —and I was a little slow in asking, that this report be referred back. To look at the process.

Video returns to March 10, 2009 interview with DR. ALVIN CURLING.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: And I’ve been filing Freedom of Information for two years on Peel, Brampton, and so on and I can’t find a framework for accountability. And just one more thing? I just want to show you..

This is a 1994 document by Peel Regional Police and it made a recommendation regarding Crime Prevention that said, “Delegates recommend that crime prevention initiatives be unique and tailored to local communities.”

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Yes.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: That’s 1994. Then it says, “It is recognized that the two existing Crime Prevention Associations are the best vehicle for program development and implementation.” And we can agree with that too.

Then it says, “A process of accountability and evaluation should be built into programs to ensure achievement of goals and cost-effectiveness.” I haven’t found any.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Is that right?

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: No. So, this is really the question that I have. Do you support, or what are your feelings towards allowing The Ontario Ombudsman full investigative powers into the MUSH sector —Municipalities, Universities, Schools and Hospitals?

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well, actually, I can’t comment on that really because the fact that you say to give The Ombudsman full investigative authority to investigate a municipality…

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Right now he doesn’t have that. You know that, right?

DR. ALVIN CURLING: No because he —actually The Ombudsman is The Province, not The Municipality. [inaudible] to the Parliament itself not to the mayor. So that—

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Oh I know, but I mean… That’s why I’m saying. A municpality that doesn’t want to held accountable?.. you can’t make it accountable. And that’s what I believe to be a major Root of Youth Violence.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well… well that’s a view. That’s your view.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Well, actually, I’ve got Freedom of Information that shows that municpalities here —they don’t know what each other are doing. They don’t even know share the information with police.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Well, we talked about sharing that. And lots of that. We talked about each municipality, each community, could share some of their experiences because one municipality is different than the other. You can’t use the solution of one community to solve the other’s problem. So they have their own unique way.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Well basically, what I see happening is that they are trumpeting their successes, sometimes inventing their successes and the authentic accountability —and I suspect that’s why you don’t see Youth here?… Because they don’t think this is real.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Is that right? Well they have to come out even if they don’t think it’s real and come and say it, you know…

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: Yeah.

DR. ALVIN CURLING: Thanks very much.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH: OK. Thank you, sir.

VIDEO INTERVIEW ENDS and here’s the video…

“ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE” co-author, DR. ALVIN CURLING interviewed by MISSISSAUGAWATCH (4:40 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

Last, Dr. Alvin Curling will be speaking this evening at the Jamaican Canadian Association from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. 995 Arrow Road (Arrow & Finch)

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: MAJOR ROOTS OF YOUTH VIOLENCE

McMurtry/Curling, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS -word-surfing for “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities”

December 29th, 2008  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Just repeating the intro that I wrote in my two previous Blogs…

I’ve been an observer of Mississauga municipal governance of over two years, researching various aspects of its conduct and operations through direct observation (thoroughly documented with audio and videotape) as well as through Freedom of Information.

The Mississauga Muse videotapes Mississauga Council

It’s been well over a month since The Province released the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Report on the Roots of Youth Violence I’ve written five Blog entries on that report.  Click on any one of these links:

In my last Blog I provided a searchable summary —a Readers Digest/Coles Notes version of all instances of the word “accountable” and “accountability” in the 468 page McMurtry/Curling primary document, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS.

In today’s Blog, I took the 468 page document and did a word search for “munici”.

“munici” would help me find all instances of the words “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities”. Why? Because MISSISSAUGAWATCH believes that Ontario municipalities and their lack of ethical infrastructure are themselves a major Root of Youth Violence.

There can be no better example of municipal failure to legitimately address Youth Violence than this comment from Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito as she trumpets the “amazing” success of the Peel Youth Charter and the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Strategy.  Apparentlly, their progress is so “amazing” that it prompted this former City of MIssissauga employee of Public Affairs, to fling out the word “phenomenal” four times:

“Thank you, Mr. Chair.  As Gael said, I think we’re all amazed –those of us on the Committee, at the success and how quickly we’ve been successful over the past two years…”

–Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito  PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL (October 25, 2007)

Watch Councillor Saito in action and it’ll help you understand why the McMurtry/Curling “Roots of Youth Violence” report (and at-risk Youth) are doomed.  It’ll also go a long way in understanding why I’ve taken McMurtry/Curling’s “Roots of Youth Violence” and word-searched for “accountab-” and now, “municipal-“

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube and Google Video)

To reiterate, I have knifed through the McMurtry/Curling Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS word-searching for “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities” and also included the sentence before and after to provide context. (We did not search for “local” as in “local government” and acknowledge this work as incomplete.)

Like the previous Blog, this “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities” entry is also a work in progress, and will over time include links to other Youth-related reports, articles, images and even YouTube videos.

So we begin:

MISSISSAUGAWATCH Highlights: The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

(Word Search “munici“) Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS

 

WORD SEARCH: “municipal” “municipality” and “municipalities” in RED.


Violence involving youth is a challenge for many Ontario municipalities and rural areas.  To help ensure a provincewide lens on available youth programs and services, we asked ministries most impacted by violence involving youth for an inventory of relevant programs and services they deliver or fund.    p. 13

We obtained exceptionally valuable information on areas of particular interest, including addressing social exclusion, crime prevention and poverty reduction through place-based policy and service delivery strategies; the structural governance initiatives necessary for success in these areas; data collection, particularly in the area of race; targeting and monitoring mechanisms; community engagement; and the United Kingdom’s wide-ranging anti-racism strategy. Our work with the City of Toronto and the United Way led to their representatives asking to join us on this visit, and we were very pleased to have the perspectives of a major funder and a municipal government at our meetings.    p. 14

In the case of the first two items, the Province must move quickly to put in place the necessary governance structures. In the case of the other recommendations, and subject to discussions with municipal governments and community groups, we believe that substantial progress could be achieved within six months.

And yet, municipal and provincial planning and design processes are not traditionally inclusive of youth, and especially not of youth who are racialized minorities.    p. 51

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and Its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.    p. 108

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.    p. 110

Prosecution recommended that the Nova Scotia Police Commission, municipal police departments and police commission boards develop innovative outreach programs and liaison roles to provide visible minorities with more positive police interaction (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a).    p. 117

The Race Relations and Policing Task Force and many other reports recommended creating a community and police advisory group on racism training to reflect the community perceptions of policing (e.g., Rolf, 1991). Stephen Lewis (Lewis, S., 1992) and Clare Lewis (Lewis, C., 1992) both recommended establishing a community-based monitoring and audit board to work with police forces and municipalities, in conjunction with the Race Relations and Policing Branch of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, to conduct a systematic audit of police race relations policies.    p. 119

The typical approach of provincial and federal governments remains to identify a provincial or national priority, develop a program and a service delivery model, and then either provide the service or contract out its provision in accordance with standards set by the government. While there is some experience with regional approaches, and some evidence of support for the place-based initiatives of municipal governments, the paradigm remains centrally driven universality.    p. 142

This involves looking in each neighbourhood to determine what is working already, and to find and support local sources of strength. Those sources may be municipalities, individuals, organizations, programs or institutions. What is important is that the operating orientation not be to simply focus on naming problems, but rather on finding, supporting and building on strengths.    p. 145

To advance the strategy overall, the government also created Local Strategic Partnerships with the local authorities (municipalities), community agencies and residents. These partnerships (discussed in more detail in Chapter 9) connected local funding priorities with national polices by identifying urban neighbourhoods in need of assistance, helping them form a plan and arranging necessary service agreements with other organizations.    p. 149

Before we outline Prof. Ellis’s approach in more detail, we should first indicate how we would see it being used to identify priority neighbourhoods. We would regard the rankings determined by the index as the basis to start a conversation with each affected municipality to determine areas requiring priority attention. We believe that the factors and approach used by Prof. Ellis will usefully identify areas for careful consideration, but that the Province must work with the affected municipalities to ensure that local, on-the-ground knowledge is taken into account to verify that the identified areas are indeed the most disadvantaged ones locally.    p. 155

We note, for example, that Toronto has been able to develop a more comprehensive approach to identifying priority neighbourhoods, using more indicators and looking at the local availability of services. These and any similar initiatives elsewhere should be respected by the Province, and the lessons learned from them should also be included in conversations with other municipalities. In particular, every consideration should be given to adopting Toronto’s approach of using a local mapping exercise to assess the practical availability of core public services in determining that an area warrants priority attention.    p. 155

Similarly, municipalities should have the lead in determining the boundaries of any such areas. The units of analysis proposed by Prof. Ellis are small, which permits them to be either used individually or combined into approximations of actual neighbourhoods.    p. 155

The immediate value, though, remains that the index will provide the Province and its municipal partners with an objective way to identify the areas of the province that should be considered as priority areas for a place-based approach.    p. 157

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services oversees policing in Ontario. However, costs concerning youth-related programs, including those of the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police, are not aggregated at the provincial level. We do know, however, that according to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the total cost of policing in Ontario in 2006 was $3.4 billion.    p. 207

The OPP helped develop content for CyberCops in Ontario and, in partnership with the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, delivered training to teachers on its use. The Ontario government provided financial support for development of CyberCops and distribution across the province to schools, OPP detachments and municipal police services.    p. 210

Healthy Babies, Healthy Children

Babies and mothers are screened to detect problems that could limit a child’s abilities later in life, allowing early interventions. The program is delivered through public health units, and the cost is shared with municipalities. Other early years initiatives include programs involving preschool speech and language, infant hearing, blindness/low vision early intervention and infant development.    p. 212

In addition to public investments in public housing, steps must be taken to improve the living conditions in private rental accommodation. We did not receive much information on the best ways to do this, but can say that the provincial interest in addressing the roots of violence involving youth may well require increased public interventions in the form of low-cost loans or other ways to ensure the necessary investments are made. Federal programs for this remain in place, but they fall short of the mark. The Province should seriously consider cooperating with municipal governments to close the gap as part of its strategy to address the roots of violence involving youth. We cannot wait to resolve theoretical turf wars among governments while the quality of the actual turf on which people live is generating violence.    p. 237

Second, the ministry needs to find ways to prevent a period of incarceration becoming a “gang-entry” program. We were advised that many youth, while in custody, develop relationships with gang members that lead to gang affiliation. They then take that association with them when they return home. In some instances where youth are incarcerated with youth from other cities, this transition jumps municipal lines and brings a new and more dangerous gang culture to areas that did not have that problem before. The ministry needs to be sensitive to this issue and should implement a strategy to prevent it from occurring.    p. 288

Our belief that the Province should fund the social infrastructure we propose for disadvantaged communities does not absolve the other orders of government of their responsibilities for services. There is an obvious need for the federal government to recognize the impact of its own cutbacks and to begin to invest seriously in the health of disadvantaged communities. The Province should continue to be vocal in this regard and to press for enhanced federal funding. The Province should also take every opportunity to nurture and build on the workmunicipal governments are doing in these neighbourhoods.    p. 301

Ontario has made some moves in the direction of using schools as delivery points for services. More than 300 Ontario Early Years Centres are located in schools. So too are many of the province’s Best Start hubs, which integrate public health, education, children’s aid, programs for children from 0 to 6, and municipal and other services. Parenting and Family Literacy Centres are also located in schools.    p. 308

The leasing body would have two key characteristics: facilities management expertise, and knowledge of community and other programming. Municipalities might want to use or establish agencies to do this, or organizations like the Y might well be interested. No doubt there are other service organizations with the skills and interest that should have this opportunity.    p. 309

In summary, we see the Province’s role in this area being to support these efforts by making clear in tangible ways that they are valued, by providing structural and financial supports, by being active participants in resident engagement work already underway in municipalities and by demonstrating a continuing commitment to work in partnership as these efforts build community capacity. We emphasize the word “support” because, if communities are to be strong for the long haul and the tough issues, it is the individuals within them who must have the will, and invest the substantial time and commitment required, to function in more cohesive ways.    p. 313

We speak largely about a provincial obligation in this regard because of the need for a provincewide approach to community building and because of the clear provincial interest in the outcomes to be obtained. Nonetheless, it is clear to us that this community development work needs to be done in close collaboration with the municipalities, which have an essential and central role at the local level. This is especially true in places like Thunder Bay and Toronto and others where this kind of foundational work is already.    p. 313

A Role for Colleges and Universities

Outside the governmental sphere and in addition to the valuable related work that many funding bodies and municipalities are undertaking, there is another very important but largely untapped public resource, which can be brought to bear on this issue. We refer in this regard to the resources and talents within our colleges and universities, many of which are located near the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and all of which we know to be interested in building and supporting their local communities.    p. 314

There are many opportunities to help community groups or agencies conduct evaluations, service mapping and needs assessments, reviews of relevant best practices and other small-scale research projects. And, on a larger scale, the community and the post-secondary sector can also work together, often with the local municipality, which knows well the longer-term research needs, to identify and carry out research agendas and projects to support long-term social investments. One leading example of this is the collective role a number of postsecondary institutions in British Columbia played with their communities in developing the evidentiary case for the early childhood learning initiative discussed in Pillars 1 and 2.    p. 315

Second, the provincial government must work with the other orders of government to create both the structures and the relationships that permit the coordination of the relevant activities across governments. We appreciate that this may be a challenge with the federal government, but there are no external impediments to the Province’s building a new governance relationship with the municipalities on these issues. As that is done, we believe that success will encourage the federal government to accept its significant and serious responsibilities in this area.    p. 327

Third, the Province must begin to work with municipalities, and if possible the federal government, to bring communities into the governance framework in meaningful ways.    p. 327

Towards New Relationships With Governments and Communities

In this section, we move to a discussion of the other two governance elements we consider essential to advance progress on the roots agenda. The first is the creation of both the structures and the relationships that permit the coordination of the relevant activities of the three orders of government, with an initial emphasis on work with the municipalities. The second is working with municipal governments to bring communities into the governance framework in meaningful ways as a core part of building new governance relationships.    p. 344

In our view, notwithstanding the many advantages of collaboration, the Province must move vigorously to accomplish everything it can do on its own if collaboration cannot reasonably be obtained. In doing so, the Province should of course always value and seek cooperation with other governments, and even in its absence act in a way that respects the existing leadership and knowledge that reside there, especially at the municipal level. It should also always act in a way that builds community partnerships wherever possible and that leaves space for and encourages other governments to come to the table.    p. 345

A Municipal Focus

We accordingly believe that, while the Province should pursue federal cooperation in the course of its ongoing business, the priority for seeking intergovernmental collaboration within the proposed governance framework should be with the municipalities. For reasons we will go on to discuss, we also believe that the major focus and locus for building that collaboration should be in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods discussed in Chapter 7.    p. 345

We will accordingly focus most of our analysis on building collaborative structures with municipalities in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods.    p. 345

Building Collaboration With Municipalities and Communities in Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods

i) Rationale and Approach

Collaboration with the regional governments and municipalities is paramount. This is due to the highly local nature of what has to be done, the knowledge municipalities have about their communities and what works on the ground, and the leadership many have already demonstrated on issues related to the roots of violence involving youth. The challenge is how to create and sustain that collaboration on matters central to addressing the roots agenda. Getting caught up in, or undercutting, the work to restructure the provincial-municipal relationship more broadly, or embarking on yet another complex and time-consuming process of structural negotiations with the large number of highly diverse municipal governments in Ontario must be avoided.    p. 346

In the result, our advice is to combine the second and third aspects of our governance model by focusing on working with municipalities in and for the identified priority neighbourhoods. In this approach, the neighbourhood becomes the place where the provincial-municipal relationship on roots issues is built, not the place it is rolled out after having been negotiated somewhere else. In this approach, residents and local service providers are inside the governance model at the outset and integral to how it is built and operated. This approach will make sure that results flow early, with any structural agreements to anchor the local work made as needed, being tailored to local reality and forged from practical experience. Agreements, where required, would follow experience rather than preceding it.    p. 346

This approach builds on the discussion in Chapter 7 and earlier in this chapter about the importance and value of focusing program and policy initiatives in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the province. Chapter 7 also outlined a methodology to identify those neighbourhoods in conjunction with the municipalities. Among the many benefits of this approach are that it allows the Province (and other partners as well) to increase the return on investments by putting resources where they are most needed and by drawing on local knowledge and strengths. To these, we would add that it creates a natural forum for collaboration.    p. 346

The City of Toronto, using a more comprehensive approach than is possible provincewide at the moment, has already identified and undertaken important groundbreaking work in 13 such neighbourhoods. These should be the foundation of the Province’s place-based work there, as should any The City of Toronto, using a more comprehensive approach than is possible provincewide at the moment, has already identified and undertaken important groundbreaking work in 13 such neighbourhoods. These should be the foundation of the Province’s place-based work there, as should any other defined, disadvantaged neighbourhoods in which other municipalities are already focusing work to address the roots of violence involving youth.    p. 346-347

Within all of these neighbourhoods, the Province should, as a governance initiative, work closely with the municipality to engage with residents and service providers in ways that build community strengths and a provincial-municipal-community culture of collaboration. This work must, of course, be done with great care to understand what is in place and working already in priority neighbourhoods.    p. 347

ii) Our Proposal

Based on the above premises, the core of our proposal is that the Province and municipal governments should come together with local agencies and community members in a partnership in each identified neighbourhood. They would do this by forming a Neighbourhood Strategic Partnership (NSP), modelled in part on Britain’s Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs), and in part on the City of Toronto’s neighbourhood action teams and partnerships.    p. 347

As that funding can constitute in the range of 50 per cent of local authority budgets, the role and influence of the LSPs cannot be underestimated. By contrast, we do not see our Neighbourhood Strategic Partnerships as being involved across the whole of a municipality, nor as becoming involved in the whole provincial-municipal relationship. Our focus is on the roots of violence involving youth, and our interest in LSPs is focused on the vital governance role they can play on that issue, specifically in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.    p. 348

We believe that partnerships broadly similar to the local strategic partnerships should be established in each priority neighbourhood in Ontario. They should be anchored in representation from the provincial and municipal governments, and should also draw together the service providers in each neighbourhood and a number of community representatives. The federal government should be encouraged to take a seat at these tables and to play a significant role at them.    p. 350

For the Province, the internal alignment measures we propose, along with the public commitment to meeting the outcome targets provincewide, should already be achieving this, but those alignment measures would be strongly supported by the pressure for alignment being driven up from these partnerships. Similarly, the municipality, having endorsed this process and been at the partnership table, would also have a strong incentive to align its efforts and resources to help meet the targets.    p. 351

Similarly, we believe that the municipal focus on the roots issues at the NSP tables will drive alignment on the roots agenda at the municipal level, as the Toronto experience has already demonstrated, and lead to a desire to collaborate with the other orders of government.    p. 352

These inherent alignment pressures should mean that new structural mechanisms are unnecessary to bring governments together on the roots agenda. As well, as we have noted above in related contexts, the complexity of negotiating broad agreements encompassing numerous municipalities on the many issues relevant to the roots agenda would in all likelihood materially impede real progress on the many core issues.    p. 353

We believe that if the Province and the municipalities, and ideally the federal government as well, start their collaboration on the roots agenda at the neighbourhood level they will address the most pressing needs and also begin to develop better working relationships on the ground. It seems to us that on the basis of those relationships, and experience in these communities, they will know better whether a broader structure is necessary, and will be better placed to achieve it if it is. We also think the structure, if needed, will be a better one if brokered through experience in working together as a body involving service providers and community members.    p. 353

It seems to us that the Province and the municipalities could usefully consider making available a fund to facilitate this. That fund could support crisis counselling for youth and families who may have been traumatized by the enforcement exercise. The fund could also permit an immediate boost to key programs and activities in a community where police action has taken place. The boost to community programs and services would serve two purposes. First, the community would see immediate positive consequences following the police action, and might be more inclined to cooperate with the police as a result. And second, the increased activity in the community and on the streets could help the community take back its parks and streets before a new gang starts up to fill the vacuum created by the enforcement action.    p. 357

8.  To identify the neighbourhoods for the place-based approach, the Province should employ the Index of Relative Disadvantage we have proposed to determine on a provincewide basis the areas where disadvantage is most concentrated. Once the index results are available, the Province, through a lead ministry for community building, should immediately open discussions with the affected municipalities to identify local factors, such as the availability of services, for inclusion in the determination of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods and to define the boundaries of such neighbourhoods.    p. 374

19. The Province must recognize the value of sports and arts in supporting learning, development and creativity of youth. The Province should work with municipalities, school boards and community agencies to remove barriers that include income level, transportation and a lack of usable space. The Province should move to immediately embed accessible sports and arts programs in the priority neighbourhoods. (pages 257–260)    p. 378

30. Steps Towards Community Hubs: There is an overwhelming consensus in favour of building community hubs and, accordingly, no reason to delay action on that front. In neighbourhoods where it is clear that the Index of Relative Disadvantage will demonstrate a high level of disadvantage, or where similar methodologies have already done so, the Province should promptly initiate discussions with the municipal governments, to begin to plan for a hub if none exists and in particular to determine the availability of recreational and arts facilities. Where the latter facilities are lacking, the Province should work actively with the Ontario Realty Corporation and the municipality to lease alternative space for youth and youth services until a hub is developed. Another winter and spring should not go by in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods with there being no safe place for youth to gather and play.    p. 381

♦ Hold focused discussions on the Index of Relative Disadvantage with a view to finalizing it in time for an initial data run in early 2009. This will identify areas for conversations with municipalities to select and define the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods for the priority actions we outline.    p. 382

In the case of the first two items, the Province must move quickly to put in place the necessary governance structures. In the case of the other recommendations, and subject to discussions with municipal governments and community groups, we believe that substantial progress could be achieved within six months.    p. 382

Short to Medium-term Initiatives

We believe the Province must also work to make steady progress on the following components of our strategy and appreciate that several will require more in depth consultations among ministries and with municipal governments, agencies and community groups.    p. 382

♦ Launch an assessment of recreational, cultural and other hub needs with municipalities in areas identified as likely to be determined as areas of high disadvantage when the Index of Relative Disadvantage is run.    p. 383

♦ Begin discussions with the community agency sector on ways to streamline and stabilize their funding, involving municipal governments and other funders as appropriate.    p. 383

♦ As disadvantaged neighbourhoods are formally identified, work with municipalities to define areas for joint effort and begin to establish Neighbourhood Strategic Partnerships, or work within existing equivalent structures.    p. 384

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto    p. 386

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto    p. 394

Mandate

♦ Formulate recommendations on:

◊ Immediate and longer-term actions and solutions involving all related parties, including government (provincial, federal, municipal), communities, private sector.    p. 400

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, The Impact of Urban Design and Infrastructure on Youth Violence    p. 408

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Youth Violence, the UK’s Neighbourhood Regeneration Strategy and Housing    p. 408

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing    p. 409

Expanding access to specialized courts for youth was also recommended, as well as improved availability of drug treatment, a central source of information for families and better access to mental health treatment with extension of the mandatory treatment period. Three-year funding was recommended for agencies showing positive results. The task force also encouraged municipalities to develop safe communities strategies.    p. 411

Canadian Criminal Justice Association (1989). Safer Communities: A Social Strategy for Crime Prevention in Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 31 (August), 4–23

In association with major national organizations concerned with policing, social development, children and youth, natives and municipalities, the Canadian Criminal Justice Association set out a strategy for crime prevention calling for all levels of government, police, citizens, voluntary organizations and private enterprise to take responsibility.    p. 412

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

The Council of Metropolitan Toronto asked Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter, Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, to act as a mediator or conciliator between the civic authorities, in particular the police and minority groups in the city.    p. 412

Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group (1992). Towards a New Beginning: The Report and Action Plan of the Four-Level Government/African Canadian Working Group. Toronto: African Canadian Community Working Group

Federal, Ontario, City of Toronto and Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto officials and members of Toronto’s Black community formed a working group to formulate proposals for specific strategies to address the concerns of the Black community with respect to justice, social services, education, youth and policing.    p. 414

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto

In 1977, in the wake of incidents of violence toward the South Asian community in Toronto, Chairman of Metro Council Paul Godfrey appointed Walter Pitman, then-president of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, as a one-man “Task Force on Human Relations” to probe the issue of racism in the city. He found that a disturbing degree of racial tension existed in the city and that the city had not yet addressed the issue of racism directly.    p. 423

The Role of Government

What, in your opinion, is the role of government (federal, provincial or municipal) in reducing violence involving youth in your neighbourhood. Please indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each of the following statements.    p. 449

END


Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

ACCOUNTABILE ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: Major Root of Youth Violence


 



Bear