Comments for Ward 2 meeting on November 23, 2011

Below is a letter that was written by a Ward 2 resident who will be unable to attend Wednesday's Ward 2 meeting.  His concerns and letter are as follows: 
I thank the representatives of the city and university for taking the time to hear comments from residents.  As I am unable to attend the Ward 2 meeting, I am providing these comments by email.  As suggested by council staff, I have indicated those comments to which I request a reply.
My vision for the neighbourhood is a clean, quiet, happy place with a diverse mix of families, university professors, graduate students, undergraduate students, and retirees.  The city and university should encourage and support diverse populations and property use within each neighbourhood since experience has shown that concentrating any one population leads to problems.

1. Parking by-law enforcement
A.   I commend the Commissionaires for their generally prompt response to complaints made on weekdays and Saturdays and they usually lay a ticket.
B.   Police are slower to respond to parking complaints after hours and on Sundays and holidays, which I fully understand since it is a low priority call.  I do not understand the unwillingness to write a parking ticket for even the most obvious violations.  I have observed several instances where all the police officers do is tell the driver to move the car so they don't need to lay a ticket.
C.   Parking on the lawn should be ticketed by the Commissionaires immediately instead of by the building inspectors after a few weeks of repeated complaints.  If this requires a revision to the by-laws, then city council should get started on it.  [I request a reply]
D.   The parking permit system is broken.  The restriction against a resident of the zone passing a permit to someone living outside the zone is easy to violate and apparently not enforced.  My street is full of parked cars during the day and most of those cars are gone at night.  That would not happen if the permits were truly issued only to drivers who lived on my street.  I propose instead a permit that is: permanently affixed to each vehicle; renewable for varible time periods to match academic schedules; and remotely scannable by an enforcement officer driving by.  [I request a reply]

2. Dirty yard/uncollected trash by-law enforcement
A.   By-law officers need to be quicker responding to these complaints.  Every day that a mattress, or a couch, or a roll of carpeting, or an old broken cabinet stays on the curb is another day of irritation for the responsible residents in the neighbourhood and another day of evaded accountability for the irresponsible residents.  The by-law is on the books; enforce it.
B.   There is a clear pattern during the year for the number of these complaints, with most coming at the end of the academic term when renters move in our out.  There should be a corresponding level of effort by the city to address these complaints.
C.   Is there already a summary report published by the city for dirty yard enforcement?  If so, please tell me how to obtain it.  If not, I request that one be prepared on an annual basis for each ward showing: the number of complaints received, the number of 'orders to comply' issued, the number of violations of those orders, the number of times a city crew picked up the trash, and the amount of fees charged to property owners.  [I request a reply]
D.   How can I find out from public records where the fees charged for city cleanups of dirty yards are accounted for?  [I request a reply]

3.    Noise by-law enforcement
A.   I have been disappointed for years by the indifferent and ineffective response of both police and by-law officers to repeated complaints.  In the latest round of disappointment, I made two complaints a few weeks apart against the same address.  A by-law officer responded by warning the residents at that address that more complaints may lead to charges.  He informed me that I would need to testify in court and I replied that I would do that.  After a third incident and complaint from me, the by-law officer informed me that my complaints were not sufficient to lay any charges and the file was closed.
B.   I would like to know from either the police or by-law (preferably both) what evidence they require to lay a charge for a noise by-law violation.  [I request a reply]
C.   Since most noise complaints in the neighbourhood occur late at night when the by-law officers are not available, the police need to apply a consistent and aggressive protocol to end the cycle of repeated violations that occur at a small number of locations.  Patrol officers prefer to exercise their discretion on such calls, but my experience has shown that approach to be wholly inadequate.
D.   The protocol I propose for the police response to house parties is:
First call to an address: Move all the guests inside or send them home, identify the tenants, name them in the call report, and warn them the next call will result in a Part I summary citation.
Second call to the same address: Move all the guests inside or send them home, identify the tenants, name them in the call report, issue a Part I summary citation to anyone previously warned, and warn them the next call will result in a Part III charge and a court appearance.
Third call to the same address: Move all the guests inside or send them home, identify the tenants, name them in the call report, lay a Part III charge against anyone previously cited.
It doesn't matter if these calls are an hour apart or a year apart.  If the same residents at the same address repeatedly violate the by-law, they must be called to account.  [I request a reply]
E.   On Friday of the Halloween weekend of 2010, all the house parties on Askin and Randolph north of Wyandotte were monitored by extra patrols and all were shut down before midnight.  That was a thoroughly satisfactory response by the police.  On Saturday, there was no such response and several house parties in the same area went on most of the night.  The pattern for house parties in Ward 2 is well established: the first weekend of term in September, the Halloween weekend, and the last weekend of term in April.  I would like to see added patrols on Friday and Saturday of those weekends and to see all the parties shut down by midnight.  I know the police are capable of it, but I don't know why they don't do it consistently.

4. Coordinated response
A.  I propose the U-W campus police “powers and patrol area” be expanded so they can promptly confirm complaints the police respond to slowly (like noise and parking).  I am not asking the campus police to enforce any laws, or even get out of their vehicles.  I am only asking they be dispatched by the city police to the scene of common late-night complaints (noise, public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, parking, etc.).  Once on the scene, the campus police would report the situation to the city police dispatcher to either confirm or deny the complaint and assess the need for a more timely city police response.  Because the city police often take an hour or more to respond to common complaints in the neighbourhood, the proximity and quicker response time of the campus police should be exploited.  [I request a reply]
B.  Is there any data exchange between the by-law office, the city police, and the campus police so that an officer of any agency responding to a given address can view a list of complaints reported to the other agencies?  [I request a reply]

5.  Follow-up on Mill Street keg party of September 2009
A Windsor Star article of September 28, 2009 indicated that several people were arrested for public drunkenness, obstructing justice, and resisting arrest at a keg party on Mill Street.  The same article states the police were investigating possible charges under the Liquor License Act.  How were all of these charges resolved?  Were guilty pleas obtained and fines imposed?  Were any charges taken to trial?  If so, what were the results of those trials?  [I request a reply]

6.  Sidewalks and snow
What does the city require of a resident regarding clearing the sidewalk in front of their residence after a snowfall?  [I request a reply]


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