Monday, June 14, 2010

Windsor's Catch-22 -- the Morality Unit is on AND off the job

Imagine a fire department that kept bankers' hours. If someone's house caught fire after 4 p.m., or on a weekend, they would simply be out of luck.

Or a police department that was open 9-5. If someone broke into your home after 8 p.m., you'd have to wait until the next morning to phone the police and report what happened.

Neither situation exists in any city of any size because of one reason: no reasonable person would stand for it.

Then I read in The Windsor Star: "Neighbours take Windsor students to court over parties."

It seemed like a simple matter of some university students sewing their wild oats at the expense of a few nights of their neighbors' sleep.

From the article:
Neighbours have called police and the city's bylaw enforcement office hundreds of times. Officers would attend and issue warnings, but the rowdy parties continued. The neighbours would complain again, and police would tell them to call bylaw enforcement. Bylaw enforcement would tell them to call police.
Round and round!

What do Windsorites pay taxes for if not for world class bureaucracy?

Windsor police were called to the party house 118 times between February 2008 and May 2010.

How did the nefarious party scoundrels outsmart the best legal and law enforcement minds in Windsor?

They didn't have to. Windsor's bureaucrats did it for them.

Police "opened what they call a POP file -- short for problem-oriented policing. The idea was that every call about 460 Askin wouldn't be treated as a new incident, but rather as more evidence of an ongoing problem. The file was assigned to the morality unit."

Windsor has a morality unit. I did not know this until today. A morality unit.

First, why in the world in the Year 2010 would Canada's gambling and strip club capital have a morality unit? It's fighting terrorism by shutting down one rub-and-tug joint at a time? It's elevating the social air in Windsor by thwarting one stripper-perpetrated handjob at a time?

Secondly, why would a noise complaint be assigned to a morality unit?

The noise in question was a nuisance, not moral or immoral. What would this morality unit be expected to do? Show up some night when the party house was in full thrall and take out their morality measuring equipment and evaluate and assess the moral level of the cacophony?

Better yet was the response from Bureaucrat-in-Chief, Ann Kalinowski, manager of compliance and enforcement: "We've issued warnings. . ."

Maybe no one in Ms. Kalinowski's experience has ever let a warning come and go unheeded. Unfortunately, in the larger world, this happens quite often. One party issues a warning and the warned party does not heed. For some very damaged souls, warnings are not enough.

Issuers of warnings should be aware of this.

Then Ms. Kalinowski explains "We've done the educational component."

What that might entail, I have no idea, though I have an image of Ms. Kalinowski doing an Al Gore-styled PowerPoint presentation on her laptop in the living room of the offending house, amid empty beer kegs, overturned furniture, underwear stuck to the wall, dirty socks on the floor.

Whatever the "educational component" was comprised of, the ingenious noisy louts eschewed the law once again, continuing to take their neighbors hostage with their unabated noise.

From the article:
"[C]ity officials couldn't lay a charge because they never witnessed the disorderly behaviour themselves.

"There's just not enough evidence in this case," said Lee Anne Doyle, the city's chief building official who oversees bylaw enforcement.

The problem lies in the hours bylaw officers work and the way they are deployed, say neighbours.

After 11 p.m., bylaw officers work only in the city's downtown core, Kalinowski said. In the case of Askin Boulevard, "most of the complaints come in the middle of the night." Besides, she said, due to health and safety concerns, bylaw enforcement officers can't respond to rowdy house parties.

"If there are crowds and drinking, they won't attend." Kalinowski said.
They won't attend?


I imagine "they" resembling the by-the-book uniformed cop, Levitt, in the old TV show Barney Miller.

I recall an episode when geeky, pudgy Levitt was assigned to a plain clothes detail and he showed up for work in a ridiculous denim suit. Seeing the odd looks cast his way by the other detectives, Levitt said, "Do I look 'street' enough?"

I imagine Kalinowski's office employing a legion of Levitt's whose jobs is it to "attend" parties, but whom have never been properly invited to parties, or otherwise wouldn't know a party if they drove their cars through one.

If there are crowds and drinking, they won't attend . . . bylaw enforcement officers can't respond to rowdy house parties.

That's like saying to cops, You may only pursue suspects who do not run from you.

This is a solid gold bureaucratic turd. A complete and utter embarrassing Catch-22: that one of the aspects of a crime or infraction of city bylaw is a pre-requisite for investigators not to investigate.

Firefighters may combat fires except if they are hot.

. . . bylaw enforcement officers can't respond to rowdy house parties.

The only parties bylaw enforcement personnel may investigate for noise or nuisance are those that are quiet and where no drinking is going on.

How does Canadian society hamstring itself this way?

I realize we're a passive people, we don't have fiery marches in the streets, we don't overtake government buildings or flog bad leaders.

But how did we devolve to a level where a neighborhood can be held prisoner by three crafty cretins whose purpose in life appears only to cause other people trouble?

Really? Windsor can't do any better than this?

The producers of the Police Academy franchise must be notified about this immediately!


Macphisto said...

You bring up a valid point concerning firefighters. I mean, should they be extinguishing fires at all? Has anyone done any studies on whether or not fire should be put on the endangered species list?

Whetam Gnauckweirst said...

Fire is just expressing itself.