June 8th E-News Update

June 8th E-News

  • Bike Month Brewery visit - Sunday June 12th 12:30PM at Polar Park Brewing
  • Did you know: "Why do I keep seeing so many unhoused neighbours?"
  • Mansions Tax: Contemplating a higher tax subclass on the wealthiest homes
  • Saving police time and tax money: expanding 24/7 crisis diversion
  • E-Bike Share - have you tried one?
  • Help report a problem property!
  • Read this book: Crisis in Canada's Policing by former Toronto Mayor John Sewell
  • Renter's Rights: Motion Passed


Bike Month Brewery Visit: SUNDAY, JUNE 12th, 12:30PM:

Bike month rolls along (view all events: www.michaeljanz.ca/bikemonth) and this Sunday we are meeting for "Bikes and Breweries" through Ward papastew starting at 12:30 at Polar Park Brewery.

Saturday, June 18th is also a Pedals, Playgrounds and tacos event. Pump up your tires and come join us!

DID YOU KNOW: "Why do I keep seeing so many unhoused neighbours?" As of May 2022, Edmonton only has 170 Day Shelter Spaces Available for 2765 houseless people. This is a result of chronic underfunding and downloading by successive Provincial & Federal Governments. If you were homeless, where would you go during the day?


Mansions Tax: Considering a Multi-million dollar Wealth Tax to help improve safety & eliminate poverty

Edmonton has over 100 residences valued at over $3 Million dollars. We also have 55,000 children in poverty.
At an upcoming meeting we will be debating the following motion:
That Administration prepare a report with options for additional tax subclasses on:
1) properties valued in the top 1% of residential homes
2) residential properties valued over $2 million and that the additional revenue if realized be allocated to community safety and well-being initiatives and poverty elimination.
Sign up to show your support here: https://www.michaeljanz.ca/mansionstax

Saving police time and tax money: expanding 24/7 crisis diversion

(Twitter thread) https://twitter.com/michaeljanz/status/1534194111644721154?s=20&t=WJMDe1wU8ds6PIeVkisFRQ

When it comes to community safety, how can we free up more police to respond to emergencies or support downtown/chinatown/Alberta Ave? Did you know REACH 24/7 crisis diversion answers ~1400 calls a month at a cost of operating ~10 EPS officers (~2Million)?

https://reachedmonton.ca/initiatives/24-7-crisis-diversion/ This program dispatches crisis diversion teams around the clock, 365 days a year. They respond to people who are in distress and vulnerable on the streets of Edmonton. For a greater investment, we could realize significant cost savings to police/emerg.

They provide comprehensive, coordinated access to 24-hour services for vulnerable citizens. The purpose is to reduce the need for expensive medical, judicial and police interventions. I wish they had the same 7 minute response time as EPS. http://crisisdiversionedmonton.ca

Similar to the opiod response program from the DBA/City of Edmonton, these kinds of interventions can help address the vast majority of non-violent calls that do not require a very costly armed police response. (https://globalnews.ca/news/8882344/downtown-edmonton-drug-poisoning-prevention-response/)

So when you hear someone say they want to see more offices Downtown, or in Chinatown, here's are a couple examples of really cost effective and sensible interventions that we can scale up and out. Learn more at the AGM this Thursday: https://eventbrite.ca/e/2022-reach-agm-tickets-298717801987

E-Bike Share: Have you tried one?

“This is going to be a transformation in transportation that hasn’t happened since the horse and carriage. You can bike across the river valley on an electric bike with pedal assist, get up and down both sides of the hill and not even break a sweat. It’s going to be so convenient,” Janz said. Complaints drive down Edmonton rental e-scooter fleets; e-bikes arrive | Edmonton Journal

From the Financial Times: 

The electric bicycle is a game-changer, much more significant than the overhyped, expensive and insufficiently green e-car: global sales of e-bikes are projected to reach 40 million next year, compared to 9 million for electric vehicles. Globally, most trips are less than 10 kilometres, which e-bikes can cover within half an hour, says the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy.


Help report a problem property! You know that problem property in your community? Help us take action. Reporting a problem property in your community has the potential to:

  • Improve community safety
  • Empower citizens
  • Target properties, not individuals
  • Hold property owners accountable for activities on their properties

Use this form or call the numbers below:


READ THIS BOOK: Crisis in Canada's Policing: Why change is so hard and how we can get real reform in our police forces by former Toronto Mayor John Sewell

John Sewell, former mayor of Toronto and police reformer, and compiled a very provocative must-read book for citizens and taxpayers. I learned about John through his work with the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, and organization that encourages debate about police policy issues.

Here are some of the notes I took from the book:

  • What do police do? A very small part of officers time is spent responding to crime. Another part of police work is responding to calls for service. Most of these calls do not involve criminal activity rather they are calls about disorder, disturbances and alarms or calls about people that are homeless, ill, or who have overdosed. Most of these calls do not involve violence.
  • The average police officer only arrests one person a month. Only one or two arrests per year concern violence.
  • Youth crime and youth crime severity has decreased substantially in last 20 years.
  • For decades, authoritative official reports and investigations have identified the many major problems with Canada’s police forces. Systemic racism has been identified many times over. Police are found to be more likely to create or escalate violent situations than promote safety and security. Proposals for reform have been ignored, or have been implemented with little effect.
  • Fixing culture is integral. Structures are the theory of what is supposed to happen. Culture is what actually happens.
  • Thankfully, policing is much safer than in the past. Dangerous incidents are actually extremely rare. “Of the almost 69,000 officers in Canada, two officers were killed while on duty in 2018 and one was killed in each of the preceding two years. Obviously, it is tragic when any officer is killed on duty, but the perception of the dangerousness of police work is not in accord with the facts.” (p. 17)
  • Police management is weak because the managers are often promoted from within, and is controlled more by police culture.
  • Weak governance and innefcitve oversight by police commissions

Changing culture:

  • There are myriad reasons why it is so difficult to change policing: police culture, including solidarity among officers carried to an unreasonable level; systemic racism and sexism; excessive use of force; the power police associations hold to protect officers from any criticism; lax reporting requirements and ineffective discipline. These problems are not addressed by weak management, weak governance and ineffective oversight, but these hurdles must be overcome if we are to make the changes in policing that are clearly necessary.

What do police do?

  • Much of police time is spent on non-criminal matters, dealing with mental health, the homelessness and so forth. 
  • Major questions about the efficacy of patrol work, value, and cost.
  • Discrepancy between what we think they are doing and what they actually do.
  • Toronto - In one year had 300,000 calls for service, but only 10,000 of those calls were priority one calls.
  • We’ve got police responding to all kinds of other things. Police are often the wrong responders.

Crime data:

  • Crime in Canada has decreased substantially in the past twenty years. Violent crimes represent a small part of all police reported crimes. - one sixth of crimes in recent years or one thousand violent crimes for every one hundred thousand residents annually and property crimes show the largest decrease. (P.45)
  • A large body of evidence shows a clear relationship between greater inequality and higher homicide rates. Quoting another book, The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone” - “Violence is most often a response to disrespect, humiliation and loss of face,” and conclude “if inequality is lessoned, levels of violence also decline.”
  • 75% of crime is done by males under thirty years of age. Most murders committed by men aged 16 to 40. (Citing factors of disrespect, humiliation and loss of face”
  • The data clearly indicates that a large number of officers does not equal a lower crime rate. The often heard argument that crime rates are increasing and therefore more officers are needed does not hold much weight on either count. (p.51)

(Book Review) https://www.ottawalife.com/article/crisis-in-canadas-policing?c=50

(Video Summary) Many authoritative reports have identified big problems in Canada’s law enforcement system and have concluded that police are more likely to create or escalate violent situations than promote safety and security. Why? How has an institution tasked with keeping citizens safe become so dangerous to so many Canadians?



I was glad to see city council step up to advocate for the 37% of Edmontonians who are renters. Sign up to support at www.michaeljanz.ca/renters

a. That the Mayor, on behalf of City Council, write a letter to the Government of Alberta highlighting the need to expand and enhance minimum rental standards.

b. That Administration prepare a report identifying options and tools available to the City of Edmonton to support residential tenants, beyond existing provincial requirements and standards, and available tenant services.

Michael Janz

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