Sunday, February 28, 2010

So far in 2010: emails from listeners on local affairs


Hi Marty Gold:
Where is the NDP candidate for Concordia ?
I live in the riding, and all 3 candidates from the Liberal, Green, and PC party's have knocked on my door, but no NDP candidate (Matt Wiebe). It was pleasure to meet the candidates from the other 3 party's, and talk about issues. Is this the kind of representation we can expect from our MLA, the same as the last one (Absent Doer)?
Thank you

Dr Postl's replacement as head of WRHA/hallway medicine

Hello Marty,
I do not have any high hopes for this particular candidate, however i am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. It will be interesting to see if/how her previous history as a nurse is of any benefit.

As for "no hallway beds" - what a joke! Our hospital is routinely (nearly daily) hard up for beds, and we are continually having to keep patients in the ER because we are otherwise "full".

Now think for a moment about being a patient with a potentially serious medical illness in a "full" hospital. Although this situation should have no impact on the decision of nursing/medicine, if i think someone likely should be watched over night, and i am being hassled by the charge nurse to open some beds, i may release the patient pre-maturely (although with appropriate instructions etc.). Furthermore, occassionally we have a full waiting room and no new patients to see. The reason for this is that our beds are full.

When i mention to the charge nurse that so-and-so in bed 12 can go into the hallway so i can see another patient, i am loudly informed that "there is no hallway medicine in manitoba". So we sit back and wait for a bed to open and the next irate patient who has been waiting for 6 hours.

The NDP has lied to Manitobans, and forces hospitals to make stupid decisions because of political expediency.
I do not trust or believe a thing that comes out of their mouths, and it will take some serious honesty for me to ever trust them.

Dr. xx

Hey Marty,
I reported a "critical incident" recently, and i have to admit - the WRHA makes it quite easy to file one of these.

They make it obvious that they have no interest in assigning blame, but rather that they are looking to improve processes. It may be that we have such an easy system to file critical incidents that makes us less reluctant to than other provinces.

Also note that there are 75 deaths associated with critical incidents. Given that number of frequent flyers in the system, odds are that several of them would have died in care (i.e. old and frail with multiple medical co-morbidities) and also with such complex care there is an excellent chance that there would be a critical incident associated with one of these people.

Whammo - this is known as the "Swiss cheese effect" where multiple - otherwise relatively non-lethal on-their-own occurrances stack up to invite a death.

Chances are that if a critical occurrance did not cause a death in these people, they would have died of other causes. Morbid, but just an observation.

Dr XxX

RE: Bjornson excuses for schoolwork no-deadline = great comments

Friday, January 15, 2010 10:12 AM

Here at RRC we frequently see the results of the schools’ no-fail policy. But only for one term – after that the students are out. This policy is cheating the students in a big way.


Academic friends of the NDP no friends of the poor

The Free Press published an op-ed piece today by Errol Black and Jim Silver ('Left and Lefter'?); Raise the minimum wage. Black and Silver declare: "Raise the minimum wage." Black and Silver (why is it that socialists are named after every other colour except 'red'?) argue their case by comparing the eleven years the Conservatives were in office to the ten years and counting that the NDP has been in power. Since the NDP took office, say the authors: "The position of low-wage workers has improved in both absolute and relative terms."
Freezing the minimum wage for the duration of the recession would drive more Manitobans to food banks and soup kitchens, warn Black and Silver who then go on to write:

"In Winnipeg, about 18,000 children per month use food banks. Ten years ago the number was 5,512 -- it has more than tripled. This has to do, among other things, with low wages..." (emphasis mine).

Not only has child dependency on food banks increased 300% under the NDP, their program of aggressively increasing the minimum wage appears to have had the opposite effect of what was intended.

Where is the improvement in low-wage workers' position in either absolute or relative terms that Alabama Jim and Error Black perceive? That local charity has met the increased need created by the NDP's policy of raising the minimum wage?

Evidently when you're ideologically committed to condemning "capitalist economies," the NDP plus anything equals smiles and sunshine.

Put down the orange koolade, Jim, and taste the soup.
P.S. I've been following your excellent coverage of "16" and the complete failure of the 'holistic approach.' One of the worst problems with appointed judges is that it permits a governing political party to appoint like-minded judges which means jurisprudence can be coloured by ideology.

I've been thinking lately of the sociological paradox of post-modern socialism, at least its Canadian variety anyway. There is a reluctance to accept that sociopaths exist and a readiness to accuse society. How else can you explain how a judge grants bail to someone on second-degree murder charges for a barbaric homicide?


Pat Martin vs Youth For Christ funding

Who are the religious fundamentalists and evangelicals in our community?
1.Mennonite Central Committee = mennonites = evangelical. Great organization. Right up there with the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
2. Agape Table - Roman Catholic = potentially evangelical. Feeds a ton of families every year. No problems that I'm aware of.
3. Siloam Mission = Chinese Baptist (Who knew?)= potentially evangelical. Great work with the homeless.
4. Knights of Columbus = Roman Catholic mostly hardcore believers. Lots of good works, again, no issues.
5. The Edge Skate Park = Youth for Christ - no problems reported that I'm aware of.
The list goes on and on.
Yes, some religions have fundamentalists and yes, some are evangelical. The ones that are too preachy don't last long, because people stop going regardless of how wonderfull the programs are.
Hey Pat - let's close or cut funding for ALL of the religious based community programs. Maybe the people that they help can sleep in your constituency office and share YOUR breakfast.
Perhaps your $180,000 annual salary and gold plated pension have made you forget that there are real problems out there (scrap the penny, indeed - nice soapbox). At least these people have the strength of character to do something real about actual problems.



The Downtown Experience

Hi Marty.
great show, listen everyday.
Please do not use my name on the air.

I wanted to share a downtown experience with you.
Background on myself: young professional, work in the exchange, live in the corydon village.

Taking my girlfriend to the airport Sunday January 4th at 7am we had to stop at a Royal Bank on our way. My choice was to stop at the new Hydro Building Royal Bank and continue to the airport from there. I wasn't going to let her walk in by herself so I accompanied her into what I expected to be a secure environment.

First we did not need our card to unlock the door.

Walked in and overwhelmed by obscene odors consisting of piss, smoke, puke and body odor.
Garbage, cigg butts and spit were all over the floor.
Finally, two people passed out in the corner.
Although we were not confronted it was a pretty disturbing scene.

I know there is a larger social issue here than our experience at the bank but this is just another example on why people continue to have this fear of downtown after dark...because these fears are supported daily.

please continue to hold the right people accountable. Keep up the great work.

I will recommend you a book - The Death and Life of Great American Cities - Jane Jacobs.
Although her study is on american cities a lot of it rings true to winnipeg and the issues we face.


Re: Goldeyes Attendance Draw - Zero Mention in city downtown report

Thursday, January 14, 2010 1:17 PM
"Marty Gold"

This year (2009) the Goldeyes averaged 6,180 fans per game.... overall the regular season attendance was 278,099 from 45 home games, when you include 2 preseason and 3 post season games that now equates to more than 300,000 butts in seats (Goldeyes website)... awesome numbers and not even a mention in that report, unbelievable... I guess being able to draw over 300,000 people, specifically downtown over a few months is not worthy of mention... must be a Mets fan!

Just who showed the consultant around town anyway, someone from the Free Press or city council, maybe todays guest?
Anyway keep up the great work,

Garbage carts

Hi Marty,

Did you see this article by Paul Rutherford?
Now I really have no hard opinion one way or the other about this topic but it was the language that Paul uses. Basically telling Winnipeggers that we can "whine" but we better just like whats put in front of us and accept it. I feel that I don't have to accept anything the city puts in front of me. It's my tax dollars the fund all these programs and if it doesn't work I don't want it!

Paul tells us they are staying whether we like it or not. I say that's not true. WE vote, WE pay taxes, WE'RE the majority and the last time I checked in a democratic society.. the majority RULES!
Keep up the good work Marty!


slippery downtown sidewalks

3 working days after all the water on the downtown sidewalks has turned to skating rinks and still no sign of any sand or salt on them.

Oh I guess I could phone 311 but why the hell should I? It shouldn't be a surprise to the people managing things for the city that this happens. It's winter and we all know the drill. Except for the civic employees who may be too busy planning more ways to kill downtown by limiting it's already pathetic access to appease the trendy bike crowd.

I wish them well when it's just cyclists and beggars wandering downtown, they should get along fine.

Mr. Plow part 2

Hey Marty

Thought I would confirm that bike paths do in fact have priority over residential streets when it comes to snow cleaning.

I convinced co-worker that she should contact her city councilor (Swandel) to find out why the rarely used “active transportation pathway” next to our work was plowed twice this week on both Monday and Tuesday morning but her street had to wait until 3am Thursday morning to be plowed.

I suggested to her a quicker way to get her street cleared might be to say she couldn’t take her bike out because the roads had too much snow so she was forced to drive her car.

diamond lane eastbound on portage near Juniors

Hey Marty,

Just a quick note to share something I think you would find interesting as it relates to a specific topic that you discussed with the Mayor (maybe it was a city councilor) in the past.

This morning on my way to work at about 8:20 am, I noticed the Winnipeg Police had a diamond lane trap set up for East bound traffic on Portage Av. Now this isn't something that I found shocking as I have seen this in the past. But the location caught my attention. They were sitting in the entrance of what I believe is the Elm Chapel, just East of Young St. This is of course just before the St. Mary's Ave turn off, and immediately before the end of the diamond lane for East bound traffic.

I remember you pointing out that the diamond lane shouldn't extend past Maryland St. as the current set up causes much traffic congestion, for a very popular exit point on Portage Av., where everybody needs to merge into that final lane with less than what I consider adequate space or time. I also remember you raising a question to whether or not a study had been done to see the impacts of this decision on traffic flow. Interesting to see that the city hasn't done anything to correct their poor design, and yet they will jump at the opportunity to benefit financially from it.

Thanks for continuing to produce a great show that keeps the public aware of important topics that should be covered more clearly by the main stream media outlets.



Garden City Collegiate reunion via Facebook chat:

Thanks for the GC shout out last week, we had great attendance!



right on!

did it help?

22:41 organizaa

Yes, big time. All those lawyers and doctors...some made an appearance, some just donated $$$


no way.

and the plugs encourgaed them to show up eh.

22:42 organizaa

Yes. It was great thanks so much for helping


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NDP shields Wiebe, as Lib and Tory Concordia candidates accept interview requests

The Concordia by-election next week has been a low-key affair, and the voting public welcomes any opportunity to evaluate the candidates. But the NDP did not learn from last years' Elmwood campaign. Or maybe they did.

Last year, once we got through to him directly, candidate Bill Blaikie was more than happy to sit down for a pre-recorded interview with us, and address issues for the many listeners in East Winnipeg who were eligible to vote. He gave as good as he got in a 22 minute classic that remains one of our most popular interviews. He even said he enjoyed it.

But when we asked for the same consideration from Matt Wiebe, seeking to succeed former Premier Gary Doer as MLA for the area, we got every excuse in the book.

Too busy.
Knocking on doors.
Shaking hands.
Kissing babies.
Can't join Matt on the campaign trail and be allowed an interview as a blogger was, because said blogger was a constituent with an audience of about 6 dozen.

After all, we were told, he did a quickie with Hal Anderson on CJOB one morning-- like that was relevant.

Shades of "Lesser media".

After all, why would anyone think it was important to hear from the candidate about his qualifications, his position on issues like the provincial deficit, funding for the city of Winnipeg, education scores being withheld from the AIMS survey, crime fears, the delays in the Brian Sinclair inquest, and the appointment of an unqualified NDP insider, Arlene Wilgosh as head of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.

In fact, if being the new Gary Doer is the the basis for the Wiebe campaign, the NDP is succeeding.

While Doer throws Olympic parties at his new embassy digs for 1500 guest, and gladhands the rich and powerful in Washington DC, campus radio fans well remember Ambassador SuperChicken's refusal to face the campus radio audience -- even after repeated phone calls and a personal invitation at Folklorama.

However, the opposition parties with dreams of snatching the riding from the government, have no hesitation to allow radio audiences the opportunity to hear how the hopefuls fare in a genuine, intelligent, challenging political conversation.

On Monday, Green Party nominee Ellen Young explained why a young lady such as herself would take up the challenge of public life, and how crime is a big concern in the riding.

Today at 4.35, we'll be joined by the Liberal Party choice, Judi Heppner.

And on Thursday at 4.35, Brian Biebrich of the Progressive Conservatives will appear.

The next time anyone tells you The Great Canadian Talk Show is one-sided, biased, or unfair to the NDP, ask them -- why won't they allow their flagbearers to face the voters questions, Kick-FM style?

Also today:
- the attacks on Christianity continued at City Hall in the Youth For Christ /CentreVenture loan debate;
- will Councillor Browaty lead a revolt against Garbage Carts?
- who IS Arlene Wilgosh, nurse-cum-Postl successor at the WRHA?
- and at 5.25, a preview of tonights' special post-Canada vs. Russia showdown- edition of The Illegal Curve Radio Show

plus your calls at 780-5425, emails at, and remember, join our Facebook group!/group.php?gid=2344284529&ref=ts

Thank you for listening

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bullied by Parking Authority, third victim fights back -- his email to Councillor Fielding

The following email was sent to City Councillor Scott Fielding (St. James-Brooklands) and was copied to our show.

This is the case we discussed on-air last Thursday, about how a driver was duped into thinking the Parking Authority was going to deal with him reasonably. Instead he was being set-up to pay an extra $233 for an illegal lien on a car he had sold months before.

He got called "stupid" for not realizing he was played for a fool by a WPA official -- who told him any complaints were to be sent to HER. And 311 was of NO help. The WPA, it appears, can do whatever they want to drivers in Winnipeg, knowing that ultimately, the City pays for their lawyer and the executives and employees responsible face no consequences.

Wednesday after 4 PM on 92.9 Kick-FM, we will ask Coun. Jeff Browaty about this and other recent WPA horror stories; we plan to ask Mayor Sam Katz about them as well, on Thursday when he appears in studio.


My Story begins Wednesday January 27th. I received a registered letter from the city of Winnipeg Parking authority advising me that a vehicle that I traded in back in July (2002 Civic)for a new one had a lien against it.

At the bottom of the notice I was advised to contact Hook Adventures for more information. Being a diligent individual I immediately phoned to get this cleared up. My first thought was that something had happened to the car after I traded it in and I was being blamed. As soon as I started to explain to the gentleman who answered the phone that I didn’t own the car, and hadn’t for over 6 months he advised me to contact parking authority directly because there shouldn’t have been a lien issued for this car and I shouldn’t have to pay the additional $80 for the lien fee.

Again I quickly phoned 311 and spoke to a delightful woman who advised me that she could help me out, she looked up the reason for the lien and found out that I had 4 outstanding parking tickets, one from 2002, two from 2003 and another from 2006. She was also able to see that I do get parking tickets, we live in Winnipeg, who doesn’t? But that every time one was issued I paid the ticket within days, all except these four. The woman from 311 also didn’t understand why parking authority issued a lien against a vehicle that I didn’t own, and her thought were that I shouldn’t have to pay this fee either, but that the parking authority was closed and she would have someone call me the next day to discuss.

The next day I received a call from Olga. She never explained what her role was, but she told me that the Parking Authority had been mailing me notices about these tickets for years. I asked her to clarify that for me, where were they sent? How were they send, and when? Olga proceeded to list two addresses that I never lived at, and then my current address. According to their records 6 notices had been mailed to my house. I explained in all honesty that I hadn’t received them and that I wasn’t disputing the tickets, it was possible that I got 4 tickets years ago and never knew. It’s possible I suppose, I just wanted to pay the ticket fines and was willing to pay the collection fee.

I just explained to Olga that I didn’t think that it was fair to pay to have a lien issued against a vehicle that I didn’t own and someone should have checked records to ensure that I did own the car in question. At first Olga said that there was nothing that she could do, flatly refusing my request. In retaliation, I asked her to explain the process to me that brought about this lien on my old car.

Olga did explain the process, apparently it is all MPI’s fault that Parking Authority had the wrong addresses, odd since I still got my autopac renewal notices, and it’s MPI’s fault that the Parking Authority put a lien on the wrong vehicle.

According to Olga, MPI’s records still list me as the registered owner of the 2002 Civic that I traded in. I explain to Olga that I am not trying to get out of paying this bill, as I said, I never once disputed that these tickets are mine, I just don’t agree that I should pay to have a lien issued on a car when WPA didn’t even check to see if I own the car. Olga’s retort? Apparently the Winnipeg Parking Authority can tow any vehicle belonging to my household. I tell her that I find this hard to believe since they issues a lien on a vehicle and notice was given if I don’t pay the lien, that this vehicle, a 2002 civic would be towed.

Olga continues to explain that they can take any car in my driveway. I again explain that I am trying to take care of this, and it is at this point Olga told me that if I could bring her my bill of sale for my new car, showing the trade in she would take those charges off and I could take care of my bill at her office.

Fast forward a day and in the mail I get a notice in the regular mail of 4 outstanding parking tickets for a total of $360 payable to the Winnipeg parking authority. I of course think that paying this bill is ok since it has finally been mailed to my house.

I stop at the Parking Authority office on my way home from work on Tuesday to pay my outstanding bill of $360. Right away the young woman at the counter gets confused and asks if I received a notice of lien? I begin to explain the story from the beginning and the girl stops me and call over her manager Lucy. Lucy right away asks if I brought the paperwork that Olga had requested?

I again explain the story from the beginning and try to explain that this is the first notice that I received about the $360 and just want to pay it.

Lucy proceeds to tell me that I need to get the bill of sale for my new car, and I need to provide her with the sales slip showing the VIN from the old car proving that I traded it in and then I could take care of the bill that I received in the mail.

She left me with the woman at the front counter to confer with Olga. While she was away, the front counter person explained again to me what documents I needed to collect from the dealership to be able to take care of the bill at the parking authority office rather than through Hook Ventures, thereby bypassing the collection fee and the lien fee.

I wrote everything down that I needed. 1. Bill of sale for new car 2. Sales slip showing title transfer of old car with VIN.

When Lucy came back from speaking with Olga, I clarified with her again what I needed to do to be able to pay the $360 bill directly to Winnipeg Parking Authority. We went over both items that I needed to bring in and I asked if I couldn’t get exactly these items if I could get a letter from the dealership, not knowing if I had a copy of the sales slip from the 2002 civic. Lucy told me that they would contact the dealership, but if I could find the paperwork it would be much faster and that she would be at the office until 5:00pm so if I wanted to get this cleared up that day to hurry back.

I immediately rushed home and began searching through all my records in the office. I have to say at this point I wanted to one, get the lien removed from a car that I didn’t own and that may be getting set up to be towed from some strangers driveway, and two thinking that if I could get this done quickly I would save $233 in lien fees and collection agency fees because I could deal directly with the city of Winnipeg.

I find the requested documents and race back to the parking authority office to arrive at 4:50 pm only to be told that Lucy had just left. Early? I remembered Lucy saying that she would be at the office until five and to hurry back to get this cleared up. The girl working the counter phones Lucy, telling me that she probably just left. Lucy tells the girl that she isn’t coming back, but to take the original documents from me and that I can pick them up the next day and that Lucy would call me once everything was cleared up, and Lucy gets off the phone.

When the WPA employee relays this message to me, I politely tell her that I will not leave my original purchase documents with her, but she can photocopy the ones that they need. While she is photocopying, the photocopier is right at the counter, she tells me that she doesn’t know what she needs, but that she is going to photocopy everything and she is wondering if I want to leave a $360 checque so that I don’t have to come back.

Turns out she was working at the till next to the one I was at earlier, and she apologized that her boss left early, even she remembered that Lucy told me she would be around until five. I again, politely told her that I would wait until they got this cleared up in their system, then I would come down to their offices again.

tried calling Lucy the next day and after two messages left it in her hands to call me back. By Thursday I still had not heard from Lucy so I tried calling her again. After leaving two more messages I tried to call a third time and surprisingly Lucy answered her phone.
I began the conversation by telling her who I was and started to re-explain my situation, thinking that my situation must be rare enough that she would remember. Well, she did remember and her reply. “Well, if there was anything that I was supposed to do for you I would have called you back, but since your account has gone to Hook Ventures you need to deal with them.”
Right away I am completely confused because this is the woman that told me that if I could provide her with documentation that I didn’t own my car and that the parking authority made a mistake that she would take the lien fee off my bill and let me pay my outstanding parking tickets at her office.
I reiterate what I had discussed, both with Lucy in the office and with Olga over the phone. Again Lucy tells me that once a file has gone to Hook Ventures there is nothing that she can do in her office. I then ask her why she told me that I could deal with my account at her office if I collected the documents that she needed. Lucy told me that I must have “inferred” what she and her employees were saying incorrectly, because they would never tell me that I could “pay” my bill there. By saying that I could handle my bill at her office, she meant that I would be able to pay future parking tickets at her office. Needless to say we got into a heated back and forth.
All my notes are very clear as to what I had to do, and even two of her employees that work the front counter, the first one that I verified with and the one that I spoke to in the evening when I went back both told me that they understood that I would be paying $360 in their office.
One of them even had the audacity to ask me for a cheque.
Obviously Lucy had told me in front of WPA staff that I could pay my outstanding tickets at her office. When I asked her why they would do this, she told me that they must have been confused. I then asked Lucy why I would run around and spend time trying to collect documents unless her and her staff (Olga) had told me that my bill would be reduced, again reminding her that I want to pay an outstanding bill, and that I never claimed that the tickets were not mine.
Again her reply surprised me
“If you were too stupid and weren’t smart enough to figure out that we needed those documents to transfer the lien to your new car that’s not my fault.”
As I said, I was blown away.

It was then that I got really upset, I asked Lucy who her boss was so that I could write a letter of complaint and she refused to give me a name. She told me to send a letter to her address, attention: Manager of Winnipeg Parking Authority.
I then asked Lucy “Aren’t you the manager of the parking authority?” because that’s what she had told me previously, and she said “exactly” Basically stating that I would be sending a letter of complaint directly to Lucy herself.
The back and forth continued with me still trying to understand how a city of Winnipeg Manager could wilfully lie and manipulate someone with no recourse. I asked her how she could flatly lie to me now that I had provided the documents she requested, and she just kept being belligerent. Obviously I was the one lying because no one in her office would ever say what I wrote down that they said.
In all my years as a professional I have never been spoken to in such a disrespectful manner and when I said that to Lucy, she told me that she was surprised because you get what you give. Obviously there was no talking to anyone at the parking authority so I got off the phone.
The next step was to get off the phone and go pay the tickets at Hook Ventures, which I did right away. As I stated from the beginning, I was never trying to get out of paying the tickets, I never denied the tickets were mine, I just wanted to be clear that how everything was handled was unorganized and disrespectful.
I find it disgraceful that we have city employees that are allowed create fiefdoms within city bureaucracy and we as citizens have no recourse.
I was upon calling back in to 311 able to get a phone number for a woman that is supposedly the manager of Lucy, but after leaving one voicemail message and not getting a reply I decided that I had wasted enough of my time trying to get some satisfaction from the Winnipeg Parking Authority
It’s very clear to me that they have no interest in making sure things are handled properly and with respect.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Parking Authority victim fights back with new website

The man who claims he was assaulted by a Winnipeg Parking Authority official last summer, has launched a blog detailing his case. The Abuses of The Winnipeg Parking Authority includes audio of our exclusive interview last week.

"When the parking authority official was told that the Winnipeg Police supported Jason in the illegitimacy of the ticket he responded by saying “We don’t care what the police say, they have no control over us”.

And the latest experience of Jason Ross with the WPA, shows even more secrecy going on then we knew.

Read all about how the WPA illegally ticketed and towed the musicians' truck, claimed they were above the police, and confronted the driver when he insisted on an uncaring official of this city-council sanctioned agency identifying himself for the record.

And after waiting 5 months for police to investigate, Jason has now learned not to don't bother trying to call the WPA directly. The City 311 service is Dave Hill's new gatekeeper.

"the only number you can call is a private line to someone who can decide whether or not they want to return your call or even talk to you in the first place... They can seize your property at their discretion, put liens against you personally, but you can't even phone them when they are open."

Jason tells TGCTS he may have to add to his Freedom of Information (FOI) request as a result of his latest encounter with the stone wall known as the WPA.

Friday, February 12, 2010

VANOC admits torch rules bent for Gov. Schwarzenegger; ducks explaining breaking rules for Premier Selinger

The Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee was forced this week to justify allowing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to run with the Olympic Torch contrary to their rules. In the process, it has brought the torch run of Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger back under scrutiny.

"VANOC torch relay manuals obtained under Freedom of Information from the City of Vancouver say sitting politicians cannot participate in the relay." wrote 24Hours reporter Bob Mackin on Monday.

“This policy is not an IOC policy,” said International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge. “Who runs with the torch relay is a matter for the organizing committee.”

To many, the controversy revolved around the admitted past steroid use by the bodybuilder turned Republican politician, as the Games have long fought the scourge of tainted competition.

Scrambling to save face, John Furlong, the chief executive of Olympics organizing committee Vanoc, told Canwest "He has taken an extraordinary position on the environment and has developed a great relationship with the province of British Columbia."

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Driver alleges assault by Winnipeg Parking Authority official - Today at 4 PM

The mainstream media in Winnipeg has uttered not a word about the bullying tactics of the city's parking mandarins. Recent developments will make it more difficult for them to ignore what is shaping up to be a serious issue in the civic election.

New abuses against the public have come to the attention of The Great Canadian Talk Show on 92.9 Kick-FM, including improper parking ban tickets, illegally towing cars, allegations of intimidation and now, of assault.
* Last summer, the Winnipeg Parking Authority, a special operating agency (SOA) that is at arms-length from council, embarked on the arbitrary placement of pay stations (the modern day equivalent of meters) in core-area neighborhoods without any consultation.

The residents and businesses of streets such as Alexander, Ross, Pacific, Elgin, Hargrave, McDermot and Bannatyne near Red River College, and on streets within about 4 blocks of the Health Sciences Centre, saw the unwelcome imposition of paid parking on their streets without any warning or discussion. Near HSC, the rates were DOUBLE the regular rate.
On most of the streets, the signage was not updated to display the pay station icon. The city 311 service, and city police, advised motorists that the street signage was paramount, which meant if the sign said 1 or 2 hour parking without the icon, you were not required to pay. That did not stop the WPA patrols from ticketing vehicles, almost all of which were paid, as the prospect of taking about a full day time off work to register the complaint and go to court to fight the illegality did not seem worthwhile to drivers.
The WPA pocketed illegal ticket revenue all summer long -- yet the city councillors did nothing to stop it or correct it.
* This fall, on the 300 block of Ross, one of the poorest streets in the city, the paystations were programmed to demand payment 24 hours a day. This was the only street in the city with this rule. Councillor Jeff Browaty of North Kildonan told us the city had no authority to charge for on-street parking after 5.30 PM and confronted the WPA.
They offered Browaty the lame excuse it was some sort of error- which would be believable if not for the fact Browaty saw for himself the stickers instructing parkers of the 24 hour a day requirement. Was it a mistake the stickers were attached to the pay stations, let alone printed in the first place? Of course not.
* Despite knowing of the previous signage controversy, the same tactics were used by the WPA in December on the residential streets of downtown on south Broadway near the Legislature. Pay stations were installed with no updated signage as required, and no consultation with the neighborhood or businesses. Area councillor Jenny Gerbasi told TGCTS that she insisted the WPA go "door to door" to advise residents of the change and that they were eligible for a $25.00 per year parking pass.
We have learned the WPA did no such thing. Rather than speak directly to the thousands of apartment dwellers on Carlton, Edmonton, and Hargrave, a WPA official dropped off a single copy of a notice at each apartment building in the hopes the caretakers would pin them up on the bulletin board - if the building even had one.
* In late January, the city rolled out a new online program designed to let residents know when snow plowing operations were scheduled for their street, to avoid being ticketed and/or towed under the overnight parking ban.
As TGCTS has confirmed, tickets were illegally handed out during the January snow cleaning operations in Norwood Flats, when the city crews cleared streets near Nelson MacIntyre Collegiate that were not on the "ALERT" list. A city official advised however that the city, whose website assured residents it was safe to park in front of their homes, can only "ask" the WPA to cancel the tags, as they are an SOA.
And as for residents of St. Boniface who paid the tags, it appears the WPA has no mechanism to refund their payment.

Again, the WPA has collected money from illegal tickets in what amounts to an extortion racket, and councillors claim they are powerless to defend the voters from this banditry.
* A ticket was taken to court and the charge stayed for being unfairly laid; in the interim - BEFORE THE APPEAL PERIOD OF THE TICKET HAD EVEN EXPIRED -, the WPA had placed a lien against the vehicle.

When the owner pointed out the basis for the lien (the ticket) had been withdrawn, the WPA arrogantly told the man to pay up, or else they would seize his car.

Phillip Fletcher told TGCTS yesterday, he is planning to sue the city (since the WPA cannot be sued) for malicious prosecution, and for the cost of paying the lien.
In December, Fletcher was threatened by a patrol officer (claiming to be a peace officer) he had photographed illegally parking in front of a fire hydrant; he complained and was told to file a Freedom of Information request to find out how the matter was investigated.

The WPA leaked details of the lien to his councillor, Mike Pagtakhan, even though the councillor was unaware of that dispute and hadn't asked the WPA about it when following up on the intimidation complaint. Fletcher said it was done to make him look like he was a welcher and to discredit him to Pagtakhan.

Fletcher has not only laid a complaint with the province about his privacy being breached, he has also written to Attorney-general Andrew Swan asking for proof the WPA's hired ticketers are indeed sworn peace officers; he told us a WPA executive admitted to him they were not.

That would mean every ticket issued since November 16, 2008 by G4S employees under contract to the WPA was not legal.
* As you will hear today at 4 PM, another listener has an even more serious case pending.

The mans' vehicle was tagged and towed even though it was legally parked and properly insured; the police told him the WPA had no legal right to tow his vehicle for lacking the registration sticker on the rear licence plate.
When he went to their offices in August, he claims a WPA official sneered "we don't care what the police say" and told him to pay up.

When the official refused to produce ID, the man took a picture of the official (who we have now identified) so he could report his comment to authorities.

The listener says he was jumped and manhandled by that official until another WPA employee intervened.

He told us:
"A month later (only after the police have brought my name to their attention) I receive a letter from the WPA saying they had randomly reviewed my ticket and that I was eligible for a refund on the tow and that they were going to quash the ticket. But that I had to go apply for the refund.

WHAT ABOUT THE 2 DAYS OF WORK I LOST, THE CAB FARES, THE ANXIETY.....THE LIST GOES ON. I've contacted the WPA authority and said I was willing to settle for $500.00 to compensate me for lost work, money out of pocket, etc.. They say I'll have to sue them to get it."
* The notion anyone has to sue the city for being illegally ticketed, towed, or confronted for complaining, is a reflection of the failure of the Parking Authority system.

* Winnipeg's elected officials are responsible
for the abuses committed under COO Dave Hill's watch and the pressure is on to reign in the new Sherriff of Nottingham.

* The Winnipeg Parking Authority is out of control, extracting money from drivers with false tickets and a runaround process to appeal; bullying neighborhoods, businesses and drivers; and act like they are above the police and city council. ( Will the proposed Water Utility be like this?)

* Mayor Katz and the councillors can no longer accept Hill's excuses. They have given him unprecedented power with no accountability to the residents of this city; the public cannot vote Dave Hill out of office, but Katz and the councillors face the voters in October.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Little guy" fights back against the Winnipeg Parking Authority, plus a Bob Axford editorial

More and more, we are being deluged with complaints from our drive-home audience about parking tickets, bike lanes, diamond lanes, and the state of our bridges and streets. The lack of genuine consultation, the secret meetings with special interest groups, the bullying of unaccountable agencies and bureaucrats -we'll get back to that in a moment...

Today on the show at 4.30, the story of a listener, who has drawn the line with the Parking Authority after they threatened to seize his car over a ticket that was tossed out of court. And that's not his only bad experience with the WPA, and their perverted interpretation of drivers as 'customers' and what they do as a 'service'.

Plus your emails about garbage bins, another bike lane with no consultation coming?, why society is NOT guilty for the assault on Faron Hall, and a doozy of a Winnipeg Free Press "Our Mistake".

Also today, at 5.15 our final NFL panel for the year recaps the fabulous Super Bowl, with the very enriched Frank the Italian Barber, Brad Harrison, and Spirited Kenny.

Now getting back to the audience complaints, we have a guest editorial, reprinted with permission from the local Neighbourhood Living newsletters that are on area retail counters today. Nail, meet head.

You have the Power
by Bob Axford

The last six months have been a wonderful time to be in the alternative media. We have had a lot of fun with hydro, climate change, parking authorities, photo radar, bike paths and other policy initiatives.

What has happened is that the ability of high paid spin meisters to control messages in the mainstream media has been rapidly eroded. People are catching on that you can get better information from blogs and backrooms and that they do have the power to influence government.

One of Winnipeg's best spots to check is 92.9 KICK FM at 4:00 every afternoon when Marty puts the boots to officials who need a wake up call. His show comes during the drive home from work portion of the day and it tends to keep abreast of issues of interest to motorists.

The most important issues which has surfaced is the abysmal manner in which Winnipeg citizens have been consulted by arrogant organizations trying to extort street rights for themselves at the expense of others.

It seems everybody from overbearing parking authorities, to revenue hungry photo radar operators, to indifferent construction people plugging up more than they need, to bike consultants with delusions of private ownership, to diamond lane promoters demanding pavement from someone else's budget, to city purse holders who have never seen a pothole that they didn't love, to insensitive, ill informed planners; each in their own way has some enhanced power and entitlement to the stewardship of our city streets and to the detriment of efficient circulation

What has city officials running scared is the cumulative affect of many of these issues coming together under one banner. Elections are coming and it is painfully obvious that politicians have never consulted with drivers and have not reigned in the aspirations of lobbies for oppressive and foolish change.

This newsletter’s interest, similar to others calling in and emailing, has to do with the continued impediments and incremental intrusion into the lifeblood of mobile commerce in Winnipeg. To be clear, we do have infrastructure, but on key arteries, it is becoming ungovernable as it is all over-allocated for a multiple number of purposes and ignores the original purpose. As well, our street management dismisses the interests of original driver/funders who supported its structure through fuel taxes. Drivers do not like getting steamrolled.

When the ability to circulate and conduct business or even the hassle free ability to use streets to get to work or school or shop becomes impaired, people especially people who have never been consulted, react.

As a city, if we cannot drive from one side to the other, vehicle intact, with a reasonable expectation of getting there in sensible time without fear of oppression from regulators or fear of attack from other entitled users or a myriad of traps, detours and pitfalls, we are poorer for it and no longer competitive to other locations.

Business, which is much more portable than it used to be, simply moves away.

Collectively we are also at the stage where the average driver's perception of this issue is rapidly approaching the tipping point to becoming a serious political obstacle. And it should be! People are waking up and are angry!

Listen to Marty this week and join with others who are fed up. The days are numbered for boneheads. If we can’t fix the parking authority or the car hating bike radicals, we can fix the politicians that allow them to continue get away with their baloney.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A councillor, an anniversary, and a farewell - today at 4 PM

Today will be a very interesting episode you won't want to miss.

* At a special time of 4.05 PM, we will be joined by Drew Mindell of the Illegal Curve Radio Show, to preview their first anniversary show that will start tonight on Kick-FM at 7 PM. With top-shelf guests and great analysis, the IC crew has made a significant impact on hockey coverage locally and across the continent, and we are proud of our association with them.

* Mike Pagtakhan of Point Douglas, (substituting for our scheduled guest, Daniel McIntyre councillor Harvey Smith) sits in with us at 4.20 to discuss civic issues that will include the "tax grab" zoning certificates, the rolling garbage bin expansion, taxicabs being carjacked, the Active Transportation initiative excluding motorists from planning and the favoritism shown to the bike lobbyists, as well as a listener complaint about the Parking Authority and their total lack of accountability.

* After the Crime, Courts and Public Safety Update, at 5.15 the show will be dedicated to the thoughts and comments of Shannah-Lee Vidal, who will be leaving 92.9 Kick-FM as she assumes duties as midday host in Yellowknife.

Shannah-Lee has gone far beyond the call of duty as the longest-serving producer of The Great Canadian Talk Show, voicing many of our promos and ad spots, providing segments on lifestyle and local events, and calmly dealing with callers, technical failures and the manic pace of the show. She has epitomized the term 'grace under pressure' and her friendship and wise counsel have helped guide TGCTS for the past 3 years. We will miss her.

Thursday - live remote from CDI College;

Friday - at 4.05 Scott Taylor reports from the Super Bowl in Miami, and That Wine Guy joins Spirited Kenny and Marty at 4.45 PM, with Jon Waldman of Slam!Sports helping us wrap up the show at 5.20 with his own Colts - Saints prediction.