Saturday, January 31, 2009

January 31, 2009 Ottawa Citizen

First of all, a big Thank You to Mr. Bryan for his letter (see above) in today's Citizen.
I may be wrong but I think the problem goes beyond Ottawa City Council. And it starts with an attitude that seems to be dominant here in Ontario. I keep hearing that the powers that be have taken the stance that 'Everyone deserves a home'. To deserve means to be worthy. Using that definition, Everyone Does Not Deserve a Home!

And for darned sure Everyone Does Not Deserve a Home that is paid for by the taxpayer. How do the folks on Parliament Hill, the Premiers Office, and the Mayors Office figure that people who kick in doors, rip down ceilings, break bath tubs and sinks and toilets among other things are 'worthy' of a home that is paid for by the taxpayer? These are active drug addicts, not seriously recovering ones I'm talking about.

Right now, if someone leaves school and gets involved in drugs and prostitution, the government will support you! What a deal! Never work a day in your life! Never pay a cent in income tax! Party hard and get yourself a virus or pregnant and the Federal Government will dole out to the Provinces who will dole out to the city, who will put a roof over your head. And while the Province is busy doling out to the city, they will dole some out to you directly - money to live on. When that runs out, you can steal from and terrorize your neighbours. And when you get sick, they will take care of you. When you give birth to a baby you are not able or prepared to bring up, the various government agencies will pay for that too. Then when they reach adulthood, they too can survive on the dole and on and on and on we go!

What a system! And fool that I was for forty years, I worked, sometimes at two jobs! Paid taxes! Put food in the Food Bank Boxes! And then had to fight hard to have myself put on the list for subsidized housing - after one battle with cancer and before a second go-round with the Big C. All that time I could have been, with government help, a drug addict and a thief. Do you work and pay taxes? Do you know you are enabling, via the various levels of government, these addicts and prostitutes? Now you do!

How on earth did we ever get to this low level? I'm a Liberal but this is not liberalism. This is not Conservatism either. But it seems to be part of the new conservatism - the monthly cheques for having babies when you do not really want a baby but you do want the cheque. We have a few of these girls living here. What is society going to look like in 20 years? I really thought my generation was going to leave a better world than the one we came into. It isn't going to happen that way. Not without some very fast, very hard back pedalling. This is Anarchy we are looking at right now!

Want to complain? Well JoAnne Poirier is one place but have a heart! She already has me nagging her. :o) But I would not say the same about your City Councillor. You can find him/her here:-

Do not stop there. Complain to your M.P.P. You can find them here:-

Money is always a problem but in this particular case, money is not the problem entirely. It is the laws and the rules and regulations. If you really think that the taxpayer owes a bunch of bums and thieves a home and an income, well then go after separate housing for them. Personally, I would give them nothing unless they were sincerely wanting out of the lifestyle they have chosen for themselves. And just to be very clear here - my complaint is against active addicts, not those trying desperately to get off and stay off today's drugs. We have some of those here too and the ones I have met are decent tenants. Helping us, helps them.

Until things change for the better......

Shame on you Ottawa! Shame on you, Ontario!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Mail Theft

Mail theft at 2100 is rampant!

If you are a tenant, Did you know?

Removing anything from a mailbox after it has been deposited by Canada Post is a Criminal Offence. Section 356 of the Criminal Code of Canada deals with theft of mail and states “everyone who steals mail is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years”.

Does it matter what it is that is stolen? Absolutely Not! If Canada Post put a sales pitch from a telephone company or a GST cheque or a birthday card in your mail box and someone steals it, it is an indictable offence. In this building, as in many rental units about the city, we have locked mailboxes as in the picture above. If the door is broken open, call the police and report a mail theft. If the City Police do not respond, and I cannot believe they would not, call the R.C.M.P. It is a Federal Offence.

I used to be a paralegal for a Criminal Law Firm and one of the things I had to do from time to time, was listen to police recordings of calls for help. You would not believe what those poor operators have to listen to. So if you find yourself having to call the police for mail theft (or any other crime) take ten deep breaths and try to stay calm. Give them the facts. The operator does not need your life story. Eventually the judge and jury might but not the operator. If he/she asks a question, answer it. Save any ranting and raving for someone else and no matter how mad you are, try not to swear at her/him. They didn't commit the crime!

If you live in an Ottawa Housing Unit, call them next. They need to know that there is a problem with mail theft here. If the victims do not tell them, how are they to know? Do not assume they do. Mind reading is not on anyone's job description! I hear a lot of people say, "Oh! They know what's going on!" It might be good to remember that each one of us are one unit out of 200+ here and one building out of several hundred in the City that fall under the umbrella of Ottawa Housing. Maybe they don't know! Tell them. If you do not trust them to do anything about it, Leave it on their voice mail. Write an email - leave tracks.

If you are not a part of the solution, you are part of the problem!

And to the City and the Province, for letting so many situations get out of hand and fester:-
Shame on you Ottawa! Shame on you, Ontario!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Problem of Security

You might think, reading some of this blog, that there is no security at 2100 Russell Road. Well, there is and there isn't. Ottawa Housing has it's own Security Company (or perhaps it is under contract to Ottawa Housing) and every tenant here is given their phone number when they take up residence. But Security does not live here. They do not have an office here. There is not a security desk here. They come when they are called. I know Jean Dube thinks I am a royal pain in the butt! I call often, particularly when the other tenants throw their arms in the air in defeat saying, "What's the point? They won't do anything anyway.".

Here is a copy of a letter Mr. Dube sent to Ms. Poirier at Housing:-

We received a complaint from Karen Copeland at 00:32 this morning about loud music from unit xxx. Our CSO went to the address but did not conduct a door knock given that he did not hear music playing as alleged.


Jean Dubé
Manager, Community Safety Services
Ottawa Community Housing Corporation

I am sure that Mr. S. has had similar results when he has called. Does Mr. Dube not understand drug addicts? I find this hard to believe. I could be wrong but I do believe he is the same Mr. Dube who went to OCHC Safety Services when he retired from the R.C.M.P. Does he not understand the unique noise problems with this building? I do not think he does.

This building is horseshoe shaped with a big courtyard in the center. Half the units face into this courtyard. And noise travels, not in straight lines here, but ricochets around like a bullet gone mad. There are only two ways to find out where the noise comes from if you are coming in off the street as the security does.You have to go into the court yard and listen to it or you have to walk past each apartment and listen for it. Most of the security guards who come here do not know where the courtyard entrance is or choose not to use it or perhaps are not even told by the telephone people that going there first was suggested.

Problem number two is that we have cameras at the doors. They can be watched on our t.v. screens. Trouble is we all can watch them. So if someone with a fried brain decides it is time to aggravate the neighbours and turn the music on loud enough to deafen the saints, they can and do. Then they watch their cameras so that they can turn it off when the security gets here. One does not need to be watching the cameras to know when security arrives. You know it the minute the noise disappears. The tenants could use a little empathy from the folks at Housing and at Security.

With this in mind, I have, on more than one occasion, told security to come and spend a night or two at my apartment. I can think of no better primer to empathy than experiencing our grief yourselves. I have also suggested they send someone in ahead of them but out of uniform. I have made the same suggestion to the police. So far, no one has taken me up on this suggestion. Why not? Perhaps Mr. Dube could address that on this blog. Just about any payday weekend, particularly in the summer months, the drug addicts can be caught pulling their little stunts - though they have done it on the warmer winter nights also. Perhaps, Mr. Dube, if you and your men had the will to catch them, you would. Personally, if I were head of Security and had the complaints I know they get, it would be a matter of pride to put an end to problem. Have our security bought into the same line that our various police forces appear to have? Protect the guilty and blame the innocent? Actually sounds more like a parliamentary brain wave - they can be dangerous!

Noise is our biggest problem but as I mentioned in another blog, once the addicts realize they can get away with one thing, they try adding on another. So we have theft - they pick the weaker tenants (see the story about Mr. P.); they pick the weakest spots in the building (see the picture of our laundry room machine).

Some times in life, the shortest route is the longest way. Walking past a door and listening is the shortest and easiest route. It is the longest way to solving the problems at 2100 Russell Road.

This was not a planned entry but it just arrived so I am including it. Tenants reading this blog may want to make note of the Police department's suggestions herein.
Good afternoon,
The Ottawa Police recognizes the concerns of tenants and citizens who may be subjected to false fire alarms or false security alarms. Please note that the Ottawa Police Service does not respond to fire alarm calls and therefore cannot speak to the cost of a false fire alarm however, the police will respond to a security alarm for which the user is charged $80.00 if the call is deemed a false alarm.
In terms of prevention, video surveillance can be used as a deterrent as well as evidence to the act.
The Police Service encourages anyone with information about the abuse of alarms, to file a report by contacting our Call Centre at (613) 236-1222 x 7300 or by visiting any of the local police stations, found on our website ( Allegation of this type are taken very seriously and will be investigated.
Thank you
Ottawa Police Service
Corporate Communications

Shame on you Ottawa! Shame on you, Ontario!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I thought I would give you a bit of an update. I do not seem to be getting a lot of on site comments but I am getting emails and phone calls. The Citizen did both those things and they even came out to see our building. They did an article on it in today's paper - that is the January 28th edition.

We heard from The Fire Department to point us in the direction of the legislation regarding checks on alarms. Still waiting for a costing of chasing False Alarms.

We heard from Acorn. It appears that we are not the first to have the alarm check that lasts all day - the Acorn members at one of Transglobal's units reported that they were given the same routine. So far they are the only other place I know of where this inhuman way of testing the Alarm System has happened. Am I the only one to notice that this method of checking alarms is only used on low income buildings??? Also, this is the first year in the four I have been here where checking the alarms was handled this way. Does that mean that the alarms checkers have broken the law and not checked for the other three years?? Well, we might be poor but we were not hatched yesterday!!

We have also heard from Family Services. I sure hope they continue following this blog. I am sure they will be interested in the drug needles left lying around here where we have little children - you know at the age when they pick up any old thing and stick it in their mouths? Yup folks! Little children can pick up cigarette butts last hanging out of the mouth of people with HIV/AIDS. Or maybe a needle used by one of them? Doesn't any one out there have a care for these wee ones?

Well I promised to tell you about Mr. S. He is another WWII Vet. He lives below two drug addicts. For the past several years he has had to listen to their loud music, their fighting, their making out on the floor. Some of us hear the loud music at 3 a.m. in the summer when the doors are open. These apartments are pretty well sound proof from one apartment to another when they are side by side, but noise passes very readily from apartment to apartment when they are one above the other. So Mr. S. has spent years listening to all this. He has complained. He has been ignored. Others who have heard it have complained. We have all been ignored. Our drug addict couple are still among us. Our Mr.S. throws his arms in the air in disgust and resignation. Probably a smart move. This is his home. His friends are here. And I am just guessing but leaving here is a form of capitulation. He did not capitulate to the Nazis in the 1940s and he sure is not about to capitulate to two losers who have fried their own brains.

On top of all that, he also was subjected to the fire alarm fiasco this week. Somehow I expect Canadians to treat their war vets better than that. Somehow I expect Canadians to treat all their law abiding citizens better than that. Somehow I expect the nation's capital, Ottawa to be a leader and show the rest of the country how to behave. If this is the example being set for the country, are we ever in trouble!

One of the lessons you would get in a criminology course is that when criminals are allowed to get away with their petty crimes, they continue to commit them and they escalate. I think that is in Criminology 101.

We have a lease we are all required to sign. It clearly states this kind of behaviour is against the lease. Why is the lease, a legal and binding contract, not used as a remedy? If you know the answer, click on the 'comment' link and share the answer with us.

I take it you all know how to find this blog by now. So this will be my last email to notify you. But the blog goes on. So do check it out.

Shame on you Ottawa! Shame on you, Ontario!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Enough Already!

I had planned to tell you about another senior and war vet, Mr. S. who has been also been tormented and abused. But I am tired and upset - some one rang the alarm again tonight - another false alarm! I have no idea what this costs in cold hard cash but I am sending this to the Fire Department and asking them to comment on the cost so we all know. It cannot be peanuts. It must cost a bundle to get those big trucks up and running after shadows. And there is, as someone commented on the last post, the issue of what if someone else who really needs the Fire Department is left to burn to death while they are over here chasing shadows?

My question is, "Does anyone even try to find out who is pulling the alarm all the time?" Surely there is something they could put on the handle that will stay on the perpetrator for days - like that stuff they put in money bags to catch bank robbers. Does anyone even try to get finger prints off the handle? I have never seen the police technicians here trying.

And if he/she is ever caught, what is the penalty? A slap on the wrist? I sure hope it works better than the slap on the wrists these thieving addicts get when they shop lift - "I Pronounce you barred from entering Loblaws for the next 12 months!" Some deterrent! They simply find another store to steal from.

And who pays for all the theft and destruction? The Consumer at Loblaws and The Taxpayer for the Fire Department costs! Perhaps you should start looking at who the taxpayer is. It's you and your neighbour and your boss and even me. And since I am on a pension, I will wager you, you are paying more than I am. So why are you not all a good deal angrier than I am? Ok! Livid may be something you are not capable of, so how about just angry.

When are the taxpaying, voting citizens of this province going to start saying, 'Enough is Enough!'? Time to stop molly coddling drug addicts. Time to tell the various Governments to stop enabling them. It's time to start protecting the law abiding and punishing the criminals instead of punishing the law abiding and protecting the crooks. And the crooks around here are all active drug addicts or drug pushers.

Thanks for the encouraging emails. But it would be better if you put your comments right here on the blog. At the bottom of each post is a little link called 'comment' Click it and type away. :o)
Mr. S. I'll tell your story tomorrow, ok?

Shame on you Ottawa! Shame on you, Ontario!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Security or Harassment?

Most laws have a good purpose. This must be true of the The Ontario Fire Code, the Regulation of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, don't you think? Well let me tell you about the experiences due to this law that the tenants at 2100 Russell Road have recently endured.

Last week we were all given a notice that the fire alarm system in our building would be checked. This is not unusual. We get checked once a month - like it or not. We all accept it as a necessary evil. And trust me - the sound of these alarms is evil - a non-stop screech, both inside our apartments and out. And it lasts about 15 minutes. The screech inside the apartment can be shut off but the ones in the halls cannot and they are easily heard inside the apartments. So far though, all is endurable!

The notice said Thursday and Friday. We were prepared for our usual 15 minutes of hell. And because the yearly inspection of the individual alarms in our apartments was to be done also, we were prepared to let the fire department checkers inside our apartments to check our personal inside alarm. But I have yet to find one person who was prepared for what we got.

What we got was 6 hours of screeching alarms. There were brief periods of quiet, once in the morning and once in the afternoon - coffee break? and an hour of peace at noon.

Every apartment door was knocked on and if the tenant was home, the alarm screamed into action and then turned off. Knock on the next door, repeat the performance. For 6 Hours! Forget watching tv. Forget talking to your son or daughter. Forget reading a book. And thanks to the Ottawa Transit Drivers, forget about escaping.

Those of us who are perfectly sane, were about to loose it by dinner time. But we had a meeting with Housing that night to discuss Security (or so we thought!) so off we went to be further frustrated by Housing's obsession with bugs about which they talked for an hour. Bug are not a major problem at 2100 Russell Road. We went home disgusted, discouraged, frustrated.

It was while we were trying to deal with these feelings that the fire alarm went off at 11:30ish p.m. There are a variety of rumours about this alarm - it as a false alarm caused by one of the juvenile sorts around here for fun or it was done to summon medical help in lieu of picking up a phone and dialing 911. Either way, the timing was not appreciated. An out and out false alarm is totally unacceptable. And it is questionable if it is an acceptable way to summon an ambulance either.

So we go to bed, do more tossing and turning than usual - we are all, to a man, stressed out. But it is over! For the night. Friday, we get more alarms while they finish the checking. Some people only heard the ringing on their own floor; some of us heard those alarms for several floors. Scream, a moment's silence, Scream, a moment's silence, Scream, a moment's silence for at least another hour.

Did you ever wonder why some sane people turn to homicide? I think this must be pretty close to a defensible reason! Today - another alarm. Maybe a false alarm; maybe, as some people say, a real fire but one that could have easily been put out with a towel to smother it or baking soda. The rumour mill is busy on this one!

If we were P.O.W.'s in a war zone, we would be able, upon release, to take this form of torture up with the U.N. and International Law. But we are just tenants trying to live during peace times in Ottawa, Canada. This is cruel and unusual punishment!

And here is the real tick off. We get so many fire alarms here that very few people, if anyone at all, pays any attention. In the event of a real, massive fire, there would be bodies taken out of here just because this little exercise has been overdone. Sounds like crying wolf so we ignore the alarms, assume the Fire Department's doing a check or that it is a false alarm. The law, put in place to ensure that people get out of burning buildings will only, in the long run, assure that there will be more deaths due to this overkill and the lack of reaction it has produced.

Perhaps the worst thing I have learned through this little episode, is that most people here assume this is the doing of the Fire Department. The strong feelings of trust and appreciation for the Fire Department are shaky where they should not be anything but strong.

This is not totally the Fire Department's doing. This is the work of legislators who have ignored the fact that the numbers they look at in their pages of stats are really people. Flesh and Blood people.

A protection law designed by people that fails to protect people is not a good law. This law needs to be looked at realistically and lawmakers need to start making some connection between their numbers and the people those numbers represent. I believe that is called being empathetic! Try it! I know we will like it if you do.

Shame on you Ottawa! Shame on you, Ontario!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mr. P.'s Story

The beautiful courtyard of Mr. P.s early days here is gone. This is what it looks like now.

Mr. P. was a World War II Vet. Like a lot of war Vets from WWII, the war might have been over for six plus decades, but there were parts of it that had been with him for all those decades and still remain. And he suffers from shell shock. He moved here when 2100 Russell Road was a Seniors Residence. He lived alone in his 5th floor apartment for years. He came here with the thought that this was going to be his home until God came for him.

His days were filled with his neighbours - other seniors like himself, and the social structure they had built for themselves over the years. A quiet, somewhat introverted gent, who, had he not been invited to sing in his wonderful tenor voice, a person could forget he was there. His days included sitting on his balcony and taking in the fabulous courtyard. It was beautifully cultivated - some of the tenants were pretty good gardeners and they turned the courtyard into the envy of many a senior living elsewhere. And he had his Church.

I would often see him sitting on the bench at the door, waiting for his ride to a Church service function. If I close my eyes for a second, I can still see him, sitting on his walker at the door, his briefcase leaning against the wall. His briefcase held his Good Book. We would say hello and a few words about the weather. A few more words about my dog and his ride would whisk him away.

Then the 'mixed' brand of tenants started coming. Several of them were young, well they were young to him. The days of not worrying if you left your door unlocked were over. The days of quiet enjoyment of life were over. The days of worrying about who you said hello to were here - apparently to stay. But Mr. P. had not picked up on this. He had always trusted his senior neighbours. He continued to be a trusting person.

And that is why when these new young folks asked if he could spare a loonie, he said "sure". They started visiting and chatting him up. He continued being a good neighbour to them. Then the atmosphere when they were around started to change. And he didn't know how to say "no".

Exactly what went down next is hard to say, but not hard to guess at. How it ended is a matter of fact. He was terrorized, robbed and beaten by these same youngsters he had thought he was helping. Someone on the fifth floor found out and summoned help.

Ottawa Housing Corporation and The City of Ottawa to the rescue, you say? A big meeting with the other tenants to warn them that there were criminals in the vicinity followed? The criminals were kicked out immediately? They were made to repay Mr. P. what they had stolen and apologize? No! No! No! and No!

There is no official word to anyone from the Ottawa Housing Corporation nor from the City of Ottawa. We ask but are told “That information is confidential.” There is however a rumour that Mr. P. was sent to a nursing home because he had no control over his bowels. The truth is that he was removed to a nursing home. The rest of that rumour - I have no idea if this is true or not. The truth also is that the first thought through my mind is, "If you were terrorized, beaten and robbed, maybe you would dirty your pants too." And then, “How come THAT information is not confidential?”

It took several other complaints to get rid of the obvious culprits. Their friends, fellow addicts and thieves are still here for the most part. The obvious culprits were eventually asked to leave this subsidized by the taxpayer apartment and I understand (more rumour as we had nothing official told to us), they were told never to return. The rumour also says that there was a 'No Trespass Order' sworn out against them. But the tenants have no official notice so exactly who is to keep the bad guys away? No one! They came back to play their little cons many times in the first weeks of their banishment.

Did they leave quietly? Oh Yes! One does have to be quiet when one is busy stealing the kitchen stove. But Not to Worry! The taxpayers won't even notice.

I do often wonder if the thieves know what a problem they presented to the Housing folks. Those stoves are not made anymore and finding a replacement that fit was impossible. Oh Well! The taxpayer will pick up the tab for not only the replacement but also for the work involved in getting the new one to fit. Love that taxpayer. Such an accommodating sort!!

The message to the remaining Seniors? Well it appears to be, if you get abused, we will also abuse you and take your home away and do nothing to stop the evil rumours about you. And can we be blamed for thinking the powers that be may even have started them? A save face thing, you know?

The message to the addicts and friends? You can get away with just about anything here. The Municipal and Provincial Governments and Ottawa Housing will make all the bad things go away with the simple, unarguable phrase, “That is confidential information.”

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Shame on you Ottawa! Shame on you, Ontario!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What Makes a Dragon Slayer?

Well! Lots of things. But in this case, it was the abuse of a WWII Vet by a drug addict last year.

Mr. P. came here years ago when this place was a Seniors Residence. And like most of the seniors, he expected to live out his life here. But the City and the Province had other ideas.

And they were not good ideas. They were not smart ideas. They turned the building into a mixed bag of tricks and they said it was a temporary measure. And that was the beginning of the end of peace and tranquility and honest discourse with the seniors here at 2100 Russell Road. There was nothing temporary about it.

In the intervening years, some have passed away, some have moved away and some are hanging on for dear life to what they thought was their home. It might have still been good had the mix been looked at with any thought to the new tenant's style of life, their willingness to show concern and respect for the original inhabitants. But no! They were chosen on a first come, first served basis.

That means that if you are first on the list of people waiting for a subsidized home, a vacant apartment is yours. No questions asked aside from "can you pay the rent?" Well since the rent is geared to your income, all you have to be is on the welfare roll or the ODSP roll and it's yours. Regardless of age, race, creed, colour, and most especially, regardless of how you got on those rolls.

So now you know! Leave high school because you cannot or do not want to learn, do some drugs and get thoroughly hooked, sell your body to the nearest mark, get a virus and cry poverty to some social worker at Ontario Works. You are in!! Better yet, read up on back problems, develop one that cannot be disproved and get yourself on ODSP - it pays more!

Of course it does not pay enough for your habit, so here are a group of vulnerable seniors, including Mr. P., living right on site. Made to Order targets!

Shame on you Ottawa! Shame on you, Ontario!