Friday, July 30, 2010

City Center Airport - Personal Feelings

This blog post will contain many references. I'm not going to post links, because places like the Edmonton Journal and other media sites have a wealth of information. If you want that, please dig it up yourself (no offense, this is just a "not enough time to dig everything up" issue for me.).  No question this issue is passionate and controversial.

What gets me the most, is the arrogance of Mr. Mandel and those on City Council that have ignored what the people of the city have spoken for in the past. Yes, we allowed the "big guns" to be changed to the International (which was a needed thing).  The second time we voted, the wording was SO confusing many people who wanted to maintain things, accidentally voted the other way.  I really hope that Envision Edmonton will make sure that the new wording (hint, I'm fairly confident the required signatures will be gathered in time) CLEARLY states what the vote is about.  So for me, most of this has to do with the way the City has handled it, and the clarity that is in my mind on the hidden things that were done in the background.  For example, it's recently been found out that Stantec in Edmonton has been working on re-development plans for the airport for at least the last 2 years.  Long before so-called public hearing were held.  In my humble opinion, those hearings were nothing more than a way for the City to say "hey, we held hearings now piss off".  All of the reports prepared for these hearings were DESIGNED to lead to the reasoning to close the airport.

There is the issue of costs.  Mr. Mandel and crew have been saying "hey, we can make piles of money off this land" yet they aren't telling you the entire story (as if you aren't surprised by that).  There have been articles that state we will have to pay out something like $91 million dollars in cancelled contracts.  There have been suggestions of estimates that it might easily cost another $100 million (and way more) to re-claim the land from years of contaminants.  One person on twitter stated that other land they are aware of that is way smaller has cost over $10 million dollars, it's been 10 years in the making, and the process is still not finished.

Where is the money going to come from to pay for this? YOUR pocket.  Oh, yes, sure.. "down the road" there will be taxes paid that will *supposedly* replace and recover those costs.  But who gave you that information? Yes, the City did.  The same people that have said "we can make really good on the Indy", but we are at what is it so far, a $9 million dollar loss to date.  The same things will happen with Expo 2017 too, but that's a totally different story.  So, we have some easily seen costs that we will have to pay for and I am more than confident there will be tens of millions (perhaps even hundreds) of dollars that we have NOT thought about, that the taxpayers of the City will be on the hook for.

Ok, so let's take all of the financial data out of the picture.  What about the human data side?  Employment lost, businesses closed... People have said "no big deal, if the economy is good enough they will find other jobs".  Cool... if that's the way you feel then PLEASE make sure you have a job to GIVE them.  The key factor here is... the economy is NOT good, and the chances of these people getting something else in their same field is NOT good.  Oh by the way, don't forget that if the airport is forced to close then while all of the shutdowns are happening, while all of the reclamation of the land is going on, there will be NO income to the City from taxes, there will only be COSTS that we will have to pay.

And let's also take the above "human side" out of it, employment wise, and think about the medical and police side of things.  I was listening to some of the medical professional comments at the Envision open forum, and the medical community seem to be deeply concerned about potential delays of treatment for critical patients.  Some responses have been "oh screw off with the fear mongering", and "what data have you to prove that".  Well, if you can't "envision" the fact that winter snow storms will plug up the delivery of patients to hospitals from the International Airport then you have no understanding of what it's like to live in this city.  When one of YOUR loved ones needs that critical care and can't get it... and if you don't think it will happen then you really have your head in the sand, or you don't care about *people*.  Even IF that person that needs the treatment is not know to you, remember that we ARE the "Gateway To The North", and we have a responsibility as human beings to allow all of our northern friends the gift we can provide to them for health care issues.  Unless of course, you could care less about anyone who doesn't live in a "big city".

Mr. Mandel and crew have shown in my mind, that they do NOT care, and many of them don't deserve to be a representative of the people.

My previous blog post contains the 3 images that Envision Edmonton has, which does allow for some NAIT expansion, and LRT access.  From my eyes (and everyone knows I'm not a professional in this area) the information they have presented looks pretty decent.  It allows for some expansion and development consistent with what the land has been designed and used for.  It allows for the continued use by the medical profession, and it allows for the police helicopters to remain HERE in the City.  If EPS is forced out of the City Center, then they have to be at the International.  Oh, that's right... we need to create an office for them to be there, with a 24/7 presence too.  More of those "hidden costs" that your elected officials have failed to mention to you.

For me, this matter is simple. Let the City Center Airport do what it should be doing.  It exists, it's "paid for", and with proper management it can thrive and support the people that need to do their jobs their, but more importantly... it will provide the citizens of this city and our northern friends, with a SERVICE that we need, closer to WHEN we need it, and it has the best possibility to provide the urgent medical care for those who need it, when they need it.

One more thing you should ponder on.  You are an "Edmontonian", you don't care about people outside the city.  Or maybe you do.  At some point, you... or a friend... or a relative... will be taking that little trip to Leduc, or Spruce Grove, or out to the cabin for the weekend.  Something will happen on the drive, or while you are there.  When STARS comes to get you, and you end up at the International Airport, and have to take an ambulance trip from there (oh... we staff ambulances there?  DANG.. add that to the list of additional Edmonton support people that MUST be located there)... well, do you get the picture yet?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Envision Edmonton City Center Airport Redevelopment Plans

I took a little time to visit the public open forum held at Hanger 39 tonight, sadly some things came up and I had to leave early.  I won't take any time to state the issues or what folks said, but I thought people who missed it would like to see the follow THREE documents provided.  Enjoy. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Police Abuse

Sometime either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning (July 10/11), Edmonton City Police responded to a 'gun shot complaint' in our area. Admittedly, earlier on there was a loud "bang" heard, which could have been a car back firing, or maybe indeed a real 'gun shot'.  Either way, someone reported it as coming from our back yard.

EPS responded, and officers were ringing the hell out of the front door bell, and helped themselves to opening our back door on our deck (which caused the internal house alarm to activate), placing both my brother and myself into one of those "what the hell is going on" modes.  My brother was sitting on the can at the time, and I was in the basement.  He was trying to finish up his 'business' and I was rushing up the stairs to figure out what was going on.  When I opened up the main back door in the house, I saw "people" and immediately shouted out "who's there", and proceeded out into the deck area.  The response was "police", and I could see the uniforms.  I hollered out to my brother that it was the cops, and both of us are going "what the fuck now???".

You see, we have the unpleasant privilege of living next door to an old man who is clearly mentally unstable, and that old man is constantly calling the police on us to complain.  EPS has been out at least a dozen times in the last while, listening to this old man babbling on about something we have supposedly done, and constantly have been "interviewing" us about issues.

Naturally, nothing has EVER been found where we have done anything, and EPS has piles of case files pop up on their computer when ever they respond to his address or our address.  The old man, by the way, has been taken at least 2 times for what we believe is a psychiatric evaluation, because he's 'disappeared' for 30 days at a time.  The 'natural conclusion process' for us, was this mentally unstable person had complained again.

Anyway, the cops demanded to know who was in the house, and insisted on coming in to look.  There was no warrant and when asked for one, we were told they didn't need to have one because it was an emergency (cough, ya, right).  The (guessing) lead officer was a female, who has been at the house a few times before and knows both my brother and myself.  I told her several times that there was NO ONE else but she was still demanding to come in to check. WHY they needed to "look" and exactly WHAT they were looking for still remains a mystery.  (Upon checking this morning with the neighbour, we learnt that EPS didn't do the same at HIS house, so we were the only ones targeted.)

So the cops came in, all six of them... and walked through the house "looking".  During this time, one of the EPS male members saw a hunting knife, latched up in its sheath, hanging on the bathroom door knob, located right next to the back door.  He grabbed the knife from the door handle, which was a present to my brother from his best friend who passed away several years ago.  My brother grabbed the tail end of the sheath, and told the cop "you can't have that" and the cop told him to let go.  He said "no", at which point a gun was drawn on him, and he let go, with the cop then saying "wise move".  So EPS felt threatened?? By an over weight old man with grey hair and a broken back.  I guess the two cops that were standing right there felt they had to use excessive and threatening force, by drawing a gun.

They checked the living room, and tried to turn on lights from a rotary dimmer switch.  Of course, the fan and light combo this switch was wired to, was turned off at the unit itself.  You see, you can't use a dimmer switch on a fan, because it will either burn out the fan, or the switch.  And here I thought that when you are at a "crime scene", the first rule is DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING.  But no, this cop decided to fiddle with the dimmer control.  After they left, we tried to turn the light on and it didn't work.  Thankfully, we found that the control was turned all the way down (hey dummy, UP is usually 'on' you know) and were able to prevent damage to the fan and dimmer by turning it all the way up before turning the light back on.  Stop playing with other peoples property.  If you wanted the light on, just ASK.  We turned all of the lights on in the basement so you could "search" to see if someone else was here.  And you were almost ready to LEAVE without searching the basement until I reminded you it still needed to be done.

Who complained, we have yet to find out.  The one neighbour we talked to said he thought the shot came from across the street by the 7-11, which is the same general area that my brother also thought it came from.  We still are waiting to hear why this all happened, and trust me... a formal complaint WILL be launched over having a gun drawn on my brother.

EPS, especially the female lead cop, KNOWS us, we have NEVER done anything wrong, and its been proven over and OVER again that we have never done anything wrong.  WHY was the need to force your way in, without a warrant, to search, and to search for what?  More importantly, why did you draw your GUN, when there were several other options available?  I guess two young cops just can't handle a fat grey haired old man with a broken back...