Prime Time Crime
(Published in the Coquitlam Now week of Mar. 22, 2004)
Forum's 'pitiful attempt' fails
By Doug Stead
Last Tuesday evening, I attended the Coquitlam Community Forum on Crime and Grow-Ops, hosted by MLA Richard Stewart and Coquitlam Mayor John Kingsbury. Featured were special guest appearances by political cronies, Solicitor General Coleman and Deputy Premier Clark. Take away the paid staff, and media types, there were perhaps 20 or 25 concerned citizens. I suspect that the poor attendance was due to the high level of cynicism about the ability or willingness of our elected representatives to take any effective action; or perhaps, the most people presumed rightly, that this was nothing more than a pitiful attempt by our hosts to prop up each other's political fortunes prior to the upcoming elections.
In his usual "Midas" operandi, Mayor John Kingsbury was in fine form, mind disengaged and mouth running on auto-pilot. His contribution to the forum was impressive, even for John. In an incredible display of his statesmanship skills, he managed to insult and egregiously impugn our neighboring City of Port Moody's entire Police force. He implied that the quality of police service provided in Port Moody was due to the fact that the Coquitlam RCMP was there to back them up. What a load of crap! Some vulgar individual in the audience, audaciously corrected his worship, with a resounding Bull sh*t!! OK, I confess, it was me. Sitting on the same panel was RCMP Superintendent Hall, Officer In Charge of the Coquitlam/Port Coquitlam Detachment, who I understand, through his Stetson/chapeau into the selection process for the Moody Police Chief position, which leaves me wondering just where Jon is getting his policing facts.
The BC Solicitor General's Office no less, recently recognized Port Moody City Police Service, as being the best municipal police force in the province! Mayor Kingsbury, you need to understand that policing has more to do with providing the SERVICE, when and where needed! Policing is not just about putting the cheapest pair of boots on the road.
Mayor Kingsbury, if you are going to through rocks you don't need to go outside our city. A recent example of the typical Coquitlam pettiness, and which could well have cost student lives, was the recent "person with a gun call" at Coquitlam Centennial High School. As the RCMP was assembling their Emergency Response Team, top-notch men and women located throughout the Lower Mainland, the Integrated Municipal Police Response Team, made up of Port Moody, New Westminster, Vancouver and Delta Police was coincidentally training, fully equipped, ready to deploy and only 5 minutes away from the school. Yet the offer from these seasoned, fully-trained and sworn municipal police to immediately attend and deploy at this school full of children in potential in danger from a gunman, was turned down flat by the local leadership of Canada's finest!
Why were these students put at additional and potential injury or death? Simple: image, turf and testosterone, which it seems, overrode the modicum of common sense of those Coquitlam leaders responsible for calling the shots. We were extremely lucky no person with a gun was found. However if there had been one, he/she could easily have walked away in the time it took the RCMP to assemble, deploy and assault the school.
Before start of the evenings dog and pony show, Mayor Kingsbury jokingly approached yours truly and asked for $20,000.00, which I assume was the cost to fund his reelection bid. As I am looking to sponsor candidates willing to seriously work towards amalgamation of Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam, I just as jokingly, offered the $4,000.00 on me, which I am sure he would have taken, had I been willing to support him.
Further into the Forum, Mayor Jon Kingsbury' did contribution, offering the following three crime fighting initiatives. The unspoken caveat being, of which non, have yet to be approved by at least five of the eight City Council.
1) A new bylaw, with which the city would "torture" those grow-op offenders/rental/property owners. But only those deemed the worst offenders. He did not say who would be doing the deeming or if those deemed less worse, would only be tortured a little bit. Mayor Kingsbury, I suggest that you get acquainted with The Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms. This document and ultimate law of our land, specifically protects individuals from laws enacted to be applied unevenly. Although it would be interesting to see a smart lawyer call you and or other Coquitlam Councilors to the stand, to explain why his particular client was selected for this torturing.
2) In support of this new bylaw, Coquitlam may well need to hire up to 8 more bylaw enforcement officer to effectively handle the anticipated volume of enforcement. As money for these new staffers is not in the current city budget, I have to assume the Mayor plans to bring this before Council in the fall budgeting process, which again will require the counting up of five Councilors in favor.
3) Lastly, Coquitlam city hall will now, and within a one week turn-a-round, supply prospective purchasers of a home an inspection certificate that will certify the property is not and has not been a grow-op or drug lab. As there is also no staff budgeted for this task at this time, I assume our Mayor will be doing these inspections himself. My question is who will do these inspections while you and your trusty-staff-sidekick, jet set off to the Far East later this spring?
Last year in a New York Times contest, 10 new words made by changing one letter of an existing word. The one I like best was Ignoranas - someone who is both stupid and an arsehole. I freely admit that at times, I myself, occasionally fit this definition. When it comes to Coquitlam Mayoralty politics, it is truly impressive how steadfast consistency, is rewarded time and again.
My MLA Richard Stewart fared a little better. Although not making any embarrassing gaffs, he had nothing much to offer in the way of solutions to our justice system's failure to inhibit the exponential growth of BC's largest industry, the criminal cultivation of BC bud. To be fair to Richard, it is an extremely tough acting job for local MLAs to be seen as being tough on crime, while under their party's governance they continued to close court rooms and lay off Crown Prosecutors there by hastening the reduction of police and prosecutor's ability to get these criminals before a judge for punishment and deterrence to others.
Of the two political heavyweights - one arriving late - Ministers Coleman and local Minister Clark, both deprived those voters who took the time to come see them, the opportunity to voice their concerns to them. Both quickly existing, stage left, at the first break, but not of course before taking a few precious minutes to create sound bites, TV segments and newspaper quotations. This seemed to catch our locally elected hosts off guard as they were left looking like a couple of stunned deer, caught squarely in the headlights of a group of pitt-lamping, gun tooting, poachers...
What a sham, what a shame for MLA Stewart. It seemed obvious to me and most other civilians present that our concerns and his political future meant little if anything to the liberal party power structure. Sadly both of the big time Ministers made the point in their short, say-almost-nothing presentations, that the voters needed to become more vocal, suggesting those present should be expressing our concerns and opinions regarding sentencing by BC Judges. If this were not so pitifully sad, it would be funny. Why should the Judges listen to the voters, any more then Ministers?
Recently appointed Coquitlam Ambassador, Businessman, home owner and tax payer in both Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam.