Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Behind closed doors council discusses equality and safety for all

It's an election year here in Foggy London Ontario, so council is more willing than usual to leave the comfort of the city cafeteria to meet with the public, only to retreat behind closed doors to discuss the fate of the vassals.

Council Mismanagement Digest

What's up with this piece of news? As the city continues to crumble and the craters on the street multiply, the collective representives consider bribing workers to stay.
In an unusual move, an arbitrator has called the city and its firefighters to get together for one more shot at negotiating a new contract.

Jim Holmes, president of the London Professional Firefighters Association, confirmed yesterday the association and city have been ordered back for mediation March 31.

Unlike the arbitration hearing last November, the mediation will be held behind closed doors, Holmes said.

"This is kind of unheard of," said Holmes, who'd been awaiting a ruling since November.

"I'm not sure why he's called us back, but if he thinks we can reach a deal, we'll go back to the table. We'd like to reach an agreement."

[..] The key issue appears to be firefighter demands for so-called retention pay the city says it can't afford and firefighters don't deserve since there's no shortage of firefighters or applicants.

The association argues the issue is about wage parity with police, who last year negotiated retention pay.
Expensive foreplay over the proposed fourplex

The legal battles continue in this hate filled city. The battle over 915 Richmond rages on, and London taxpayers look on helplessly as their money is appropriated to fund it all. *Yawn* Legal battles with developers, the OMB board and neighbourhood groups begging the city to intervene on their behalf, are so common place that such stories lack the shock value they once had.
A proposed Richmond Street development that sparked accusations of betrayal and secrecy on city council faces a final hurdle today before the Ontario Municipal Board.

The board will not sort through the issue of whether council debated a freeze on development in secret. Ontario's top court already quashed the freeze on that basis, a decision council hopes to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Instead, the board will hear evidence about the design of the proposed fourplex at 915 Richmond St., likely the last issue that must be resolved before the building goes up.

An earlier design for the building by developer RSJ Holdings Inc. was rejected by the board as too modern for the neighbourhood.

[..] If the board approves the design, RSJ immediately will seek permits to demolish the existing homes and build, Patton said, adding work could begin as early as next month.

By then, the city may know whether Canada's top court will hear its appeal of a unanimous ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal.

The tab to taxpayers, which had topped $220,000 before the city sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, is growing at a rate of $545 a billable hour. That's the fee charged by the city's lawyer, George Rust D'Eye, a municipal law expert.
Parlour rubs area wrong way

There's a body rub parlour slated to move into an East London plaza, next door to an adult video store, and neighbours and ever lecherous East London Crackdown are demanding government intervention.
An east London neighbourhood may soon be home to a new body rub parlour that appears to be sliding through a loophole in a city bylaw meant to limit their number.

Residents on Spruce Street and workers in a nearby animal clinic are fighting the owner of Sweet City I, who wants to set up a second parlour on Dundas Street.

The new parlour, which would run 24 hours a day, will endanger children, seniors and young women, damage property values and clog the dead-end residential street, neighbours told board of control.

"It's a safety issue. (The body rub parlour) shouldn't be anywhere near residences," she said.

That's also the intent of a city bylaw that prohibits adult entertainment establishments from being next to an occupied home.

But the bylaw doesn't prohibit such establishments next to empty houses.

Sweet City I owner Abe Vergara applied for a licence last May 31 after the adjacent house was vacated.

"We have no grounds to say no. Is that correct?" Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell asked staff, who agreed.

Vergara's application was timely for another reason. Two adult entertainment parlours had closed and controllers had recommended reducing the total number of available licences from nine to seven. Vergara applied before council could approve the recommendation.

[..] At one point in the debate, controllers and council members who joined them seemed determined to fight the application in court.

"If we have to go to court, so be it," Coun. Cheryl Miller said.

But after receiving legal advice in a closed-door meeting, controllers were more cautious. They asked staff to prepare legal options for their next meeting March 1, where the public will be allowed to make more presentations.
The ambiguous public is not waiting for council and already their hysterical threats and laments redound in the streets of East London.
The block that fronts Dundas Street between Spruce and First streets already has an adult novelty store and video store. If council can't stop the body rub parlour, neighbours will do what they can to continue their fight, Doyle said.

"We're going to be their worst enemy. The London police are going to be on our speed dial," she said.
Esat London Crackdown, the gang that sets up a live video cam on Dundas street and tracks and photographs prostitutes and crackheads, has similiar intimidation tactics in mind in case the body rub parlour opens.
. . . East London Crackdown, whose Internet site claims to expose drug use and prostitution on Dundas, now has the broader sex trade and the proposed body-rub parlour in its sights.

Organizer Mark Burrows vows to photograph people entering the new parlour and their vehicles, and post pictures and licence plate numbers on the Internet.

"We'll sit down in lawn chairs with cameras and take shifts," Burrows said.
A follow up story indicates that council might have 'legal' grounds to prohibit the parlour afterall. In a bizarre twist, a follow up article features self proclaimed supporter and contracter involved in the renovations for Sweet City 2, affirming the house next door was not unoccupied at the time of the application. He claims he was living there.
The claim no one was in the house in May is "garbage," Lowell Taylor said.

If Taylor is right, council may be able to reject the application, said Brett Stein, the city's manager of licensing. "We're investigating."

While neighbours of the proposed Dundas Street parlour have rallied against it, Taylor isn't one of them. In fact, he's laboured since August to help it open, he said.

Taylor said he lived at 419 Spruce St. for five years, staying rent-free in a house owned by a businessperson who also owned the Dundas Street plaza where Sweet City 2 is planned.

In exchange for lodging, Taylor, a contractor, made improvements to the house and maintained buildings in the plaza, he said.

Taylor said he was asked by Sweet City in August to take over work at the proposed parlour.

Reached there by phone yesterday, Taylor said, "It's gorgeous. They spent $60,000 inside."

Taylor lived at 419 Spruce until October, when he was told the properties were being foreclosed and he was to leave within a week, he said.

City officials say they have no record of the property changing hands and pointed out there has been no hydro service to 419 Spruce since early 2005.

But Taylor's story was supported by a neighbour two doors down, who said power to the property was coming from a generator.

1 Comment:

Honey Pot said...

Now that is pretty interesting, and nutty at the same time. According to Councilor MacDonald the massage parlour was investigated by the Lfp and it is verified that in actuality, it is a whore house. How they came to this conclusion is that the whore master spent $60,000.00 on renovating the rub and tug shop on Dundas St. east. Unlike other reputable rub and tug shops who sell young women, usually crack heads or young illegal immigrants, this whore house is going down by the looks of it.