#HousingFirst is in #Regina, but not yet Universal

With improved health and social outcomes so drastic, it’s really unethical for governments to deny Housing First to some people, while providing it to some others.

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No Evidence Of Dangerous Driving

CBC: Police (RPS)  have charged a 37 year old man with “leaving the scene of an accident” [sic].

Leader Post says, “Elijah J. Beros is charged with failure to stop at the scene of an accident involving bodily harm or death.”

The criminal code should be updated to include “leaving the scene of a fatal or injurious collision“, to get rid of the archaic term “accident”.

“Police spokesperson Les Parker said it was late at night when Gallon was hit and he was wearing dark clothing.
He said there is no evidence of dangerous driving at this time.”

That comment leaves me dumbfounded. Did RPS spox Parker not see the evidence of a human corpse lying in the street?

No evidence of dangerous driving? Look at the result! If you fire a gun into a crowd, the law says you’re guilty of murder when someone dies because of it. You intended to aim and shoot, it doesn’t matter you didn’t intend to hit the particular person who died. If you run over a human on a highway, you should be charged with killing them too, it’s straightforward.

A dead body isn’t evidence of safe driving. If a body is an example of normal driving, then driving is too unsafe.

It’s beyond offensive to excuse the accused because it was “late at night” when human decency and competent driving are not expected from people by RPS, apparently. And it’s offensive to blame the victim’s clothing on the collision. Maybe the victim had a flashing light that was knocked so far from his body by the truck, that police never found it? Then would RPS lay an additional appropriate manslaughter or dangerous driving causing death charge on the driver who took a life? How can you have a “leaving the scene” charge, without dangerous driving to have caused the scene that was left?

Looking into the possible sentence for the charge, I’m a bit miffed at the CBC. I’ll be asking they clarify their story’s details.

Offence involving bodily harm or death

(1.3) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life if

  • (a) the person knows that another person involved in the accident is dead; or

Without knowing the charge isn’t simply “leaving the scene of an accident” as CBC stated, left me initially with the impression that someone could one day kill me or someone I love, on a street, and their charge would be akin to that of someone who backs into a car in a parking lot and takes off! If Beros is sentenced to life or serious jail time, an additional conviction would be moot, aside from acknowledging that it takes dangerous driving to kill a person on a street.

End Of A Life

A careless, criminal driver left a man on a road to die, in Regina.

Watch Global Regina tonight for an interview with my thoughts on this tragedy, and what the City should do to prevent it from happening to anyone again.

UPDATE: Global didn’t include my comments about what the City must do to prevent deaths. A 30km/h speed limit would slash fatalities in the range of 90%. Improved, separated cycling and walking infrastructure everywhere (but first on major and recently deadly streets like Ross Ave. and Victoria Ave.) would help a lot. It’s possible to aim for 0 traffic related fatalities, and we should set that as our vision and start passing bylaws to meet it.

If streets are made safe enough that parents can comfortably let their children bike to anywhere in the city, we’ll have succeeded in improving our infrastructure.

(Side note: It’s always disappointing when I speak with the media for ~10 minutes, and 15 seconds is all they can/bother to include. I guess Luke made one of my points about infrastructure lacking, but it’s irritating that visibility of cyclists was covered as an angle in this story, when the critical factor was a law requiring the cyclist to use a street where they could be AND WERE run over by a motorist. Lighting would have played less of a role if the car had had automatic braking installed, or the driver had been required to drive at 30km/h so they might have reacted to the slower moving cyclist.)

Update: police are looking for a white damaged F-150 Ford truck.

http://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/daughter-of-man-killed-in-regina-hit-and-run-says-her-father-loved-his-family-with-all-of-his-heart

UPDATE: Police have charged a man with leaving the scene of an accident [sic]. The Act should be updated to include “scene of a fatal collision” with conviction resulting in a sentence similar to that of dangerous driving causing death.

Police spokesperson Les Parker said it was late at night when Gallon was hit and he was wearing dark clothing.

He said there is no evidence of dangerous driving at this time.

 

Transit Removes Benches At Request of Police

I open my mouth with a guess that disappointingly turned out to be completely accurate:

turning one of the busiest interections in Regina into a seat-free wasteland for customers, isn’t a smooth move.”

“What could make this decision worse is to have describe how they can’t give tickets for loitering on benches.” – Me. Why did I open my mouth? It got worse. Global learned that some anonymous officer advised Regina Transit to remove the benches there.

Walking over to the bus stop on Friday to meet with the Global News crew waiting for me there, I observed a woman standing in the mud at a stop on Victoria Avenue. This is the sort of infrastructure that defines Regina transit users’ experience in our city. One year you get the Mayor posing for a photo-op in front of a fancy new bus shelter, and the next year you get your bus stop benches taken away. You can stand while you wait in the mud and muck.

It seems the only time City Council decides to put significant money into our Transit system, it’s to stave off a Human Rights violation conviction. The all low-floor bus fleet can be attributed to such, and perhaps we’ll get improved bus stop facilities only due to the threat of more legal action. It shouldn’t be too much to ask our civil servants and elected Council to do the right and best things for us, instead of putting the screws to our most defenseless population of adults. Are we Florida or something?

Bench Removal – Sarasota, Florida

In response to complaints about gatherings of “vagrants” in public parks from downtown Sarasota FL condo residents, the city decided to remove the presumed host of these gatherings: benches. Sarasota went forward with its plan to remove the benches in Selby Five Points Park in May 2011 in order to please those who pay “the highest property tax value in the county” by discouraging the homeless (and apparently everyone else) from using the park. Combined with a panhandling ban around parking meters and a smoking ban in certain public spaces, which the City Commission originally proposed to further discourage the homeless from using parks (#8), it is all too clear that the Sarasota Commissioners are willing to go to ridiculous lengths to keep their poorest citizens out of the sight of their wealthiest.

Make enough benches for everyone to sit and gather in public. It’s time to make great public spaces with the new Federal government’s infrastructure money coming. I’m sick and tired of Regina refusing to strive to make great public spaces out of a fear that homeless people would have a comfortable place to spend time. Why is there so much pee in places we don’t want it downtown – because we don’t even offer public washrooms (outside of the Library and City Hall) downtown, yet we’ll spend $150Mil on a water treatment plant for our excessively polluted Wascana Creek.

related:

Medicine Hat Housing First makes it first city to eliminate homelessness.

#Downtown Safety Update

RDBID plans to have regular public meetings such as this one I went to last evening.

Street Culture Kidz Project

#Transit has hired two security guards for info centre & to patrol. Things have been going well. Worked with RPS to communicate problems.

Increased shelter cleaning, and heated/lighted shelters installed, by the Fall. #downtown #Transit #Yay

Regina Police have officers who can be consulted by businesses on “Crime prevention through environmental design”. I hope that doesn’t mean #homelessSpikes like in the news elsewhere…

[2] Days Without A Break-in

It’s more than a little disconcerting to wake up at 4am to the sound of someone trying to climb into your kitchen window. This was the sound that startled my girlfriend awake, and she was able to tell it wasn’t an insignificant noise made by the cats. My heart leaped into my throat as she started yelling from the living room at the intoxicated man awkwardly trying to push his way through the torn window screen. I raced around the corner of the hallway, envisioning grabbing a weapon to defend us from an intruder. A vision of the armed intruder scene in the movie Sixth Sense flashed across my brain.

In the end, the drunkard left after muttering some unjustified bad words to my girlfriend who’d scared him away, and the police responded in short minutes since they were a few blocks away already looking for this (young, white) guy. Obviously he’d scared someone else too before he got into our back-yard, and almost into our window.

Break and Enter attempt. Police caught the guy.

The now very awake us, and children, calmed down sufficiently over the next hour to get back to sleep. Not a typical Saturday night, but one having us considering a better fence, and others even mentioning window bars (which I feel would be an over-reaction). The worst thing is that this isn’t the first time my girlfriend has had to scare away a window-intruder, at different addresses (in different cities).

Keeping a sense of humour is important, so yesterday I mentioned that we could hang a sign up noting it’s been [2] Days without a break-in. The Simpsons’ [0] Days without a tornado, sign probably inspired my brain for that actually-not-funny joke.

Can’t Even Hitch-hike Away From Regina #YQRcc

Regina is such a fantastic place to be, that your City Council wants to remind you that it’s illegal to try to leave it by vehicle without paying for the privilege.

It’s a somewhat bold strategy to Grow Regina by keeping it illegal to hitch-hike away from the Queen City, or offer to take anyone with you if you’re making an escape, but I’m sure the Councillors in favour of the bylaw have thought it through thoroughly.

Fortunately the closest hitchhiker friendly municipalities are sufficiently far from the Queen City, that once a hitchhiker traveling across the country by the nationally famous Trans-Canada Highway disembarks here, they’ll have to hire a bus or licensed cab to get out. It would take over 12 hours to walk to Moose Jaw; few are likely to attempt it. It would be almost pointless anyway, since Moose Jaw also has this sort of amazing bylaw. Facing this legal and financial quandary, they’ll more than likely opt to settle here, thus boosting our tax base.

Following the example set out in our city’s bylaws, should I see a distressed person at the side of the road in Regina, I’ll be certain to drive past them, lest they misinterpret my slowing down as an enticement to enter my vehicle. Such a misplaced deed could cost me $110, and the attempted hitchhiker $110 too.

Seeing too that “Soliciting business from a vehicle” is illegal, I’ll give those apparently nefarious food trucks on the Plaza downtown, a wide berth this Summer. I’ll report any rogue carwash fundraisers at schools, to the appropriate authorities.

I really must congratulate this City Council for preparing for high-tech ride-sharing services that have become popular in many cities, notably Uber and Lyft. With these updated fines, everyone should get the message loud and clear that Regina is closed to high-tech ride services right down to the low tech thumbing of rides.

By the time we catch up to the rest of the continent, we’ll be so far behind the times, we’ll think we’re ahead.

Switching gears from satire to serious, I think this Bylaw encourages my fellow citizens to show a lack of human decency to their fellow people. If someone is rich enough they can pay to solicit from a roadside with a large sign, but if someone tries to hold a cardboard sign there to have enough for bus fare or a meal (or even to oppose political incumbents), they’ll be harassed by police.

Some of this bylaw is in fact targeted at poor people, or temporary guests in our city. It would be ridiculous for police to enforce the hitchhiking bylaw, and if they do it will unjustly target people poorer than you or I.

==

In regards to the Traffic Bylaw being discussed at Council on Monday, I’d like to note that I think Wascana Parkway should be 50km/h limited at the intersections of Kramer Blvd, and also University Dr. North. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of pedestrian crossings at these intersections each day, and the 70km/h limit is not putting pedestrian safety first. The speed limit being too high is also causing problems in serving the area’s residents with better Regina Transit bus stop locations.

ADDED:
The City contacted me Tuesday morning to note that they are likely going ahead with the bus stop install before September this year!

https://twitter.com/Andrew5hepherd/status/481554854968438785