Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Magnus Avenue fights back; Where's the love for Indian Jack Jacobs?;

We had the exclusive in-depth interview last week about how the families of Magnus Avenue began to fight back, and challenged their elected officials to lead.

A class project idea turned Selina Driskell into a focal point of the safety issues on the beleagured street, as she helped spearhead a street festival using the grounds of William White School. On ten day's notice and with no funding, community groups such as Prosvida Legion, CEDA, and MADD.

Although the mainstream media missed the point, seeing only the usual kids games and aboriginal music to hot fdog line-ups video, we knew this was about a neighborhood that needed a break to fight the rancid 'Homicide Heights' monicker slapped on them by the Free Press. About 300 folks of all ages and plenty of kids wandered through, with the usual distractions and crafts for play.

And notable by their absence- although Selena said that the invites went out very late and I won't argue with her on this - but we couldn't help but notice there was no sign of either Councillor Harry Lazarenko (Mynarski) or Member of the Legislature, George Hickes, who received a retroactive $7500 pay raise as Speaker, rammed through the House the day before summer break, by his colleagues, with no public input ( a move Liberal leader jon gerrard admitted on our show wasa "mistake" by the opposition).

Last Friday Selina stated the case for why the neighborhood had to take a stand and show solidarity, an event organized without any of the resources of groups like the Social Planning Council.

All summer long, none of these type of funded groups did a thing for the people of Magnus, and they finally had to do it for themselves. When I asked her about what she expected from the two politicians, Selena said they had to come forward with a plan to help the neighborhood and to "show some leadership".

We'll get her on again and if you want to read more about Selena and her fellow students work behind the scenes at the event -- and why this little street party has scared the establishment -- check out the story and photos in the Neighborhood Living newsletters at coffee shops, restaurants and stores around town.

Tom Brodbeck of the Winnipeg Sun was on the show Tuesday and if you missed it, it was a real eye opener. he explained how the family of Crystal Taman was forced to remove negative comments about their experience with the justice system and their view of the process from their Victim Impact statements. This criticism was removed without them knowing abotu the Plea Bargain and dropping of the Refuse Breathalyser charge on the accused, then-cop Derek Harvey-Zenk.

Tom also broke the story about how the much-touted Victim's Bill of Rights was being completely ignored by Crown Attorney's despite the NDP's assurances they are about the survivors.

We also had time to discuss is exclusive revealing that employees of the Casinos were being given anti-car theft devices.

Not the NDP mandated, MPI approved immobilizers, silly.
The Club.
1800 of 'em.

May the record show, not one Steering Wheel Lock has ever caused an electrical failure in a vehicle.

Tom again made the point, that MPI cannot provide any real statistics about the failure rate of Clubs.

We also gabbed for a minute aout the renaming of Arena Road after Bomber alltimer Milt Stegall. I felt they were tryign to elimnate any memory of the winnipeg arena, and to boot, of they wanted to honour a football player, how is it that the player responsible for there even BEING a Polo Park stadiumm, is iunrecognized?

Of course I was refering to the former Green Bay Packer, passing yardage-record setting, kicker and all-around athlete, Indian Jack Jacobs. His popularity and leadership forced the team into new digs when they outgrew Osborne Stadium. No one wants to name a street after him.

I wonder why.

And to better explain why the attempted cockpit intrusion on the WestJet flight is going to be a hot issue, we looked back at the case of FLIGHT 327, when wirter Annie Jacobsen spotted and reported about a group of 13 Syrian "musicians" -flying one-way on expired passports and paying cash for the tickets- who engaged in a dry-run highjacking on a Detrroit - LAX flight. We discovered that the incident was never properly investigated or reported to the Homeland Security Office.

So if the USA in a post-911 environment can screw these things up, it is up to citizens themselves to keep an eye open and when we do come forward, we have the right to expect the authorities will take action and not cover things up.

Google "flight 327 annie jacobsen" and read the details, and start hoping that the same shenanigans she saw weren't at play on the WestJet flight.

And of course, a little more on O'Learygate and the parts of the audit that make no sense. Today's installment - a land deal the province's report said lacked proper documentation and may have favored a developer? The Auditor found all the paperwork in order and nothing to see here and move along, please. Unlikely. We'll have more on the show tomorrow - today I guess - along with the whistleblowers' latest comments about what it was like to sit through the meetings where the Seven Oaks School Division concealed their illicit participation as a developer.

And yes, Frank the Italian Barber really is being looked at for a radio ad. If you can do a Ukranian baba or male or female chinese accents, drop us a line.

PS: Please take the time to read my new column in the latest edition of Grassroots News via . Thanks for supporting our show and our sponsors.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Exclusive: Pictures of the $819,000 Swinford Park Eyesore

Last night we received another email from the Seven Oaks School Division whistleblower, Robert Snyder.

He took a series of photos of the scene of the never-authorized school site and illicit land development west of Main Street, covertly undertaken by the SOSD and ignored by NDP-connected officials at the Public Schools Finance Board and by the Education Minister Peter Bjornson.

Although the Provincial Auditor claims the project has a value of over $819,000, you the taxpayer can judge for yourself.

Have the weed-filled ditches, dirt berms, and muddy trucktracks on the site, enhanced the value of the site and the homes beside Swinford Park ?

Or do you think the property now appears LESS valuable because of the harm done to the environment (look for the pictures of the 'frog pond') and because of the unsightly construction mess of a "school" which may never be built ?

Tell us what you think Well have more on O'Learygate tomorrow and Friday on our show at 4.35 PM.

Here is the email with the link to the pictures:


Here is a photo essay I put together showing the "improvements"made to the Swinford holding of the SOSD.

-- Robert Snyder
WebLog at:

I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up. - Tom Lehrer

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Seven Oaks School Division whistleblower: Bjornson should resign after Special Audit into O'Learygate

Today listeners of The Great Canadian Talk Show heard the exclusive comments of Robert Snyder, whose questions to Manitoba Education Minister Peter Bjornson about the concealed role of the Seven Oaks School Division in an illicit money-losing land development scheme led to a 20 month long audit.

Snyder says that now it is confirmed his questions were totally ignored by the Minister, Bjornson "should be asked to resign".

Snyder detailed the abusive treatment he was subjected to on his website, He was given a misleading response drafted by the people behind the unauthorized foray into Swinford Park which was then signed by Bjornson. In 2005 Bjornson told the Legislature he had never gotten a complaint about SOSD and then had to recant when the letter was produced.

And that's not all.

* Snyder questions whether unauthorized officials had access to his email before the Minister and began to organize a speedy cover-up before the complaint was passed on;

* He asks why the auditor, Carol Bellringer, did not examine all the land developments in the area on both sides of north Main Street or the role of the planner Lombard North, which has made a sum almost equal to the loss suffered by taxpayers;

* Snyder details the demands made by the developer when Snyder asked about buying the property adjacent to his home;

* and he also describes unsightly unfinished landscaping and a disturbing incident the day the audit was released, pointing to the School Division harassing Snyder and his Donan Street neighbours whose properties back onto the weed and dirt berm mess of a "future school site", which is still not approved or even scheduled to be built.

Snyder boldly cc'ed all the SOSD trustees with his reply to my request for an interview. Here is the text of his comments with excerpts of what he was responding to from my request italicized in (brackets).

Marty and To all addressed in the headers of this message

At this time I will respectfully decline your generous offer to be interviewed on your Radio show, Marty. I will give you full permission to use anything published on my web-log, Manitoba TaxPayer, to express my opinions.

( Marty wrote: I am confused why Mrs. Bellringer did not include your email to the Minister in the timeline and ignored the 'coincidence' of all the activity to legitimize the land deals after you blew the whistle.)

It was sort of included in the time line but did indeed ignore the coincidence of all the activity. It seems like someone at SOSD or their consultant, Lombard North Group, read the email letter before the Minister and expedited the activity.

( Marty wrote: I want to pay particular attention on how you as the whistleblower was treated, and on how the Division and Finance Board officials have all had convenient memory losses about their meetings and discussions. )

I was in awe by the stupidity of the answer supplied by Bjornson and chalked it up to experience. A minister should be asked to resign for putting his signature to any statement that absurd!

Also, in June 2004 I inquired about purchasing the property to the north side of my Donan Street home which I had been maintaining (cutting grass, killing weeds) since I moved there in May of 1985, and was surprised that I had to deal with the planner, Mr. David Palubeski. Apparently he had considerable influence.

The terms described by Palubeski were subject to 7 Oaks approval and included my assuming responsibility for all costs including:

1. City application charges and fees
2. Survey, planning and legal costs incurred by 7 Oaks associated with the the transfer.
3. All your own costs.
4. A purchase price based upon the square footage cost of

This was before the letter to the Education Minister.

After that the terms changed in that I would also need signatures of the neighbours saying that they approve my ownership of that particular piece of property. At that point, the negotiations stopped.

( Marty wrote: Also nowhere in the audit is the profit or fees for the "Planner" itemized nor are they even identified ... This flip flopping of school location when it wasn't even approved to start with, doesn't pass the sniff test in my opinion. )

As it says on my WebLog, the "Planner" was/is Lombard North Group and the presenter for them was one Mr. Dave Palubeski.

One might ask him, and O'Leary a few questions on how he became involved and if a tendering process was undertaken to procure a "planner" or if a "planner" was even necessary when the Land Management Services, a Special Operating Agency of the Province of Manitoba was available to assist them.

As the original intention was to deliver a new "West Kildonan Collegiate", I would have preferred to see a full audit of whole project up to this date. This would include the "River Ridge" school site and adjoining residential and commercial development not just the"Swinford" development.

I would also like to know why construction machinery appeared on the 819,810 dollar "Swinford" future school site on Thursday, August 16, 2007. Was this a red herring to distract the community from looking at the OAG report? Will the cost of this operation be added to the 819,810 dollar value of the future school site?

The equipment promptly disappeared that same Thursday evening and never appeared again on Friday, leaving the neighbors and I a large ditch and a large burm of the material removed. Will this new project be completed in a timely fashion???

And what happened to the "Swinford Park Seven Oaks School Division Frog Pond Construction Project" that was begun in October 2006 (about 4 months late)? It is currently a ditch with a little water in it, most of which the Grady Bend homeowners pumped outto water their newly laid sod and a stockpile of fill material which is covered with weeds which lies to the north side of the Grady Bend properties.

So now I have another ditch to the rear of my property as well as a new stockpile of material that will soon be sporting a covering of weeds which will certainly increase the value of my property.

Again, I will respectfully decline your invitation to participate in the review.

Thank you for the offer,
-- Robert Snyder
WebLog at:

Our special series into the findings of the Audit, and why some think the scope of the report was crafted to allow for a cover-up of how NDP operatives at the PSFB and SOSD knowingly violated the law prohibiting the use of tax dollars for land schemes, will continue at 4.35 PM all week on our show.

I leave you with the tag line appended to the end of Snyder's email to myself and the school trustees:

Several excuses are always less convincing than one. - Aldous Huxley

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The best topics, insight and guests all summer long on TGCTS

First of all a big thanks to our sponsors Unicity Taxi, Canada Sheli and The Focal Point on the U of M campus. If you know of other potential advertisers or sponsors please email us and we'll follow up. We;'d love to expand to two hours daily but we have to sell out our available ad time first before we can grow the show.

Starting this Thursday we're going to be giving away vouchers for Unicity Taxi service in a special contest involving song lyrics. Tune in to win!!

As we wind our way through summer, we've brought all the news and views about issues like:

* the downtown nightclub shootings at ALIVE and Metro Nitelife and the pressure from downtown hotspots for police to park outside ritzy clubs when they claim they cannot spare manpower to patrol residential neighborhoods like Spence and Magnus;

* the role of doormen and the apparent lack of cooperation between nightclub security and the police force;

* the total lack of responsibility taken by child welfare agencies for the murder of kids in care like Gage Guimond and Phoenix Sinclair;

* even as car theft rates supposedly go down, attempted theft and vandalism goes up by about the same percentage and repeat teen offenders continue to be put back on the street to steal, maim and kill innocent victims like Jimmy Duane riding his bike on McGregor;

* inside analysis of the Spirited Energy PR campaign billings and especially the focus group poll results which rejected the slogan that the Premier's Economic Advisory Council -- led by Free Press owner Bob Silver and MFL and former Crocus insider Robert Ziegler -- still tried to ram down the public's throat at our own expense.

Special guests the past two weeks have included City Councillor Harvey Smith, CTV reporter Stacey Ashley, Greg Oliver co-author of one of the best books about pro wrestlers ever "The Heels", nightclub security director Andrew Shallcross, and Erin Nuttall of Graffitti Gallery bringing us all the details on MuralFest.

Tune in every day at 4 PM, or catch our replays starting 7 PM on Sunday nights, and you can even listen online via the website.

PS: Catch our new sports column for Grassroots News