Friday, November 30, 2007

Comm vs. Unity

The following is a letter received from Margaret Johnston of London, which we publish without comment. The opinions expressed in this letter are those of the writer and not necessarily of The London Fog.

Once again my London housing complex is in the news. Once again, the police and city do-gooders are trying to twist the story to make it look they've done anything at all around the Huron and Boulee Street Housing Complexes.

I've been here for three shootings in the complex, one over on Boulee, and one out in the field where two teenagers were firing off a gun for fun earlier this year. Don't let General Manager of Community Services Ross Fair lead you down the yellow brick road with his comments about doing something and how it's going to take time. The time to do something was three damn years ago. Yeah, it's going to take a lot to turn it around now, simply because the City turned a blind eye to the problems and our pleas for help until the problems got too big for them to ignore. This is nothing new, and it will not change.

The city is relying on a "community group" to be its eyes and ears and to report back to the city about what we need here. The funny thing is that this is the same "community group" that I belonged to before it had a name. Back then, just after the first shooting, I begged for that group's focus to be on safety and I was ignored. Even after last year's shooting I continued to be ignored. Since leaving the group earlier this year, I have not seen one member of this supposed "community group" in my neighbourhood. They haven't been talking to me or my neighbours, and none of the current members live in this complex. So how are they really going to know what we need?

They don't. They'll tell the City about the half-baked ideas and dreams of grandeur the City wants to hear as long as it keeps them in power. Meanwhile, our neighbours will continue being shot or shot at. Oh, but lets not put all the blame on pointless, pre-packaged City-made "community groups" that are completely out of touch with their area of interest. Let's put some of this blame on the past and present councillors who are just as guilty as the City and the London Police department for letting things go this far. Of course, I refer to none other than Mr. Bernie MacDonald, whose only concern has been for home-owners and graffiti for the twenty-odd years his ward included both the Huron Street and Boulee Street London Housing complexes. For the last year though, there's been another that has not helped the area even though he promised to: Mr. Steven Orser, who has been unable to defend his lack of action. These councillors should be held partly to blame and should have the spotlight shone on their long list of shortcomings in front of the entire city. Alas, we all know they'll just continue to get supportive slaps on the back by the fat cats at City Hall while the rest of us continue to live in the hell they created.


Elaine said...

Margaret, the only way you are going to get anything done is a month before an election, or a police budget.

.... don't vote liberal or ndp in the provincial or federal elections. They got a love a thug policy. The rights of the criminal outweigh that of the law abiding citizen.

...and whatever you do, don't take any trojan horse help from places like the ICHC. Their mandate is to cater to the needs of the criminals, above that of the community.

Margaret said...

I already brought this up during the last election, hence my comments about Orser. However I don't agree with your voting suggestion. How exactly do we know what the NDP will do since they've never been given a chance? If you enjoy your universal health care system then you should thank the NDP. As for Liberals they've been the only party that had a plan to and then did RAISE social assistance since Harris cut us back below the poverty line. Since most of the residents of my neighbourhood are on such program like OW and ODSP it only stands to reason that part of the problem with the massive crime in this neighbour is due to the lack of funds. Even the most honest man will become a thief to feed his family. It has nothing to do with federal or provincial parties it has to do with the City of London. Since they are whether they like it or not the landowners and therefore the landlords of these complexes and therefore have the responsibility to take care of the properties and their tenants which is what they've been refusing to do for years. Don't let anyone sell you snake oil when they say it's because of downloading because it has absolutely nothing to do with downloading since LMHC (London and Middlesex Housing Corporation) was around long before the decision to download to the municipalities was made. I pay my rent to LMHC and included in my rent as is everyone else's is land tax therefore we should be treated as well as the home owners in this city. This issue would go ALOT farther if the local media and the residents of London would focus on this problem as much as they've focused on the metal trees, Xmas parade or the sinkhole. Until other's stand with us and refuse to let their fellow Londoner's be treated the way we are nothing is going to happen. The City will do whatever it has to, to keep its people happy even if it's something they don't really want to do (such as fly the rainbow flag or allow the gay pride parade). We DO have the power in this city it's about time we start using it for something other then demanding performing arts centres and arenas that the majority of the City's residents can not afford to enjoy. We ARE people too, we DO have rights!! Do you think that if this were Masonville this BS would still be going on after five years?

Anonymous said...


The fact that most social housing units in this city are ghetto slums is not a surprise. This is a city that is very selective in their priorities and addressing crime and social problems isn't one of them.

Actually, we did give the NDP a shot at government once, and it nearly bankrupted Ontario and left millions out of work in the process. If Jack Layton became PM, it would be worse as the taxes would go through the roof with terrible consequences.

Elaine said...

I have a pretty good idea what the ndp will do. They almost bankrupt the province with Bob Rae as the ndp premier.

Throwing more money at the problem is not going to work. A ghetto, is a ghetto, and there isn't any in the city that are fit for non-criminals to live in.

The formation of ghettos has to be stopped. They won't stop it, because it is cheaper to house the kept people all in one area.

MapMaster said...

Has raising social assistance and increasing the number of public housing units helped people get off social assistance and out of public housing units?

No, but it has certainly increased taxes and depressed the investment of capital that creates jobs — which is just exactly what people do need to get off social assistance and out of public housing units.

MapMaster said...

I will add though, Margaret, that you are quite right about the city's snake oil about downloading and safety in these housing complexes.

Margaret said...

I would most definitely like to point out a wide spread misconception. A lot of people can't just "get off of social assistance". Anyone who would suggest any such thing has obviously been lucky enough never have had to be in that situation. My Mother is now retired simply because she can't work anymore after having multiple illness/injuries. My Husband and I are unable to work because of health problems or do you suggest that we should try getting a job we can't do and can't get to? The majority of the people in London Housing either ARE trying to get out of here by working one or more jobs but simply can't afford to pay the inflated rent prices in this city or they ARE trying to get a job. However it's pretty damn hard to get a job when if you have an address at one of the LMHC complexes on your resume it goes straight into the garbage can. And don't try and say it doesn't happen because it's happen to many people I know including my Mother who is a qualified PSW. It's to the point that many people are having to use family or friend's addresses just to get a foot in the door. So it's not nearly as easy as you assume it to be. I am suddenly sensing a real "Scrooge" mentality here. "Are there no jails, no work houses?" "If they'd rather die then let them and decrease the surplus population"

Elaine said...

Margaret, I could write the book on poverty. There would be nothing that you could tell me about it that I don't already know.

I know some people no matter what they do, how hard they work, will never escape it. The cost of living is high.

The city could end the ghettoization of the lower income people by subsidizing their rent throughout the many rental accomodations in London.

How is a child to crawl out of the hole of poverty when all they see around them are others, some who wallow in it, and use it as a license to commit crime.

chief itchy bum said...

Get enuff firewater into you and for a few hours at least, "poverty" means nothing.

The problem is, how to stay drunk 24/7.

Elaine said...

Margaret, here is some welfare recipients who aren't doing too bad on the system. The ghetto housing they occupy, though not monitored enough by the police, isn't what one would consider too shabby.

I know their slums in Toronto are more fancy and violent, so they get all the good stuff. You need a known terrorist or two to move in, for that police protection you so desire.

Maybe you guys over there are doing something wrong.