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Politicians out of touch with reality

Why is it none of the candidates in this election have been talking about grassroots solutions to the social problems that plague this city.

Sure, get tough on crime, no conditional sentences for repeat offenders, mandatory minimums... wait, aren't there statistics that say they don't work? Whatever.

My point is nobody is talking about what causes an 11-year-old girl to beat someone for their iPod in broad daylight, or what makes gangs so attractive to young people.

This city needs to come up with programs that young people would choose over being in a gang, or going on a joyride in a stolen car. The candidates are talking about ways to punish those who break the laws. But the ages of these offenders seems to be getting younger and younger. Kids are setting fires, stealing cars, swarming strangers for kicks, where will it end?

The violence just seems to be getting more severe. And to make matters worse, we seem to be getting used to it. It isn't surprising to Winnipeggers that this stuff is becoming a regular occurrence.

Another example is the Katz spray paint bylaw. It took him a year to come up with that? Wow, glad that City Summit was so successful.

Take away the kids toys. They'll never find a way to get a hold of them. It is the equivalent of making it illegal to sell cigarettes to minors. Yeah, that's really made a big difference in the amount of young people smoking. They just get an older friend to pick up that next pack of smokes, or that next can of spray paint.

One program that is successful is the Graffiti Gallery. And for a city councillor to say that he doesn't consider any form of it art... ooooh so Russ Wyatt is now the authority on what art is? Nice.

While the Graffiti Gallery doesn't encourage the use of spray paint, it does give youth who have used it in the past an alternative to creating what they consider art on overpasses and - yes - even brand new condos.

Before anyone makes harsh judgements on what art is (seriously - what a joke) they may want to check out the gallery and talk to some of the kids that hang out there. Ask them what they used to be doing, and check out their artwork. Just try and say they aren't talented artists.

We need more progressive places like that where youth can create, learn, and just hang out, a place they will consider cool and choose over a stolen iPod, or an afternoon ride in a stolen SUV.

Comments

Darren Brown » May 6th 2007, 16:56

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Craig
A lot of pessimism i your comments and I see this more and more in my involvement in trying to help better my community. My ony suggestion to you is to share your stories with others, get involved and try to particpate in democracy. Participation and engagement in solving the problems Canadians face in the 21st century are tied "hand in hand" and we can solve them if we find some common ground and rspect each others views. Racism, sexisim, workplace democracy, the imbalance of power and wealth, poverty, unemployment these are serious afflictions but where you see politics as a negative I see it as a positive as people like Mayor Katz and Councillor Wyatt try to bring unique solutions to smaller yet pointed problems. Anyways not to be too deep - fight the giant and get involved!!!

John Gault » May 7th 2007, 14:34

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Perhaps, but when we are not starving or in a war or flood we have no common goal. No obvious goal and different agendas take hold. I find it hard to be optimistic. It is very easy to be apathetic, (not those who post comments of course), when promises are thrown out for votes faster that someone jumping off a hot stove. And of course the same promises get thorn out the following elections with not real measurable change.

Steve C » May 8th 2007, 16:47

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I'm not so sure 'unique' solutions are always the best plan. I'd rather have 'good' solutions. Possibly ones that actually look at what the issue is, what causes the issue, and what can be done to address it based on some sort of reasonable assumptions. Sort of like making downtown a 'hotspot' to make it more interesting. Cities downtown area don't get busy because they are hotspots, they're made hotspots because they are already busy. Places in downtown winnipeg that want to be hotspots already are (hotels, coffee shops, RRC), aside from them, there really aren't any places you'd want to take a computer. I guess the forks, but people go to the Forks to get out and do something, not to surf the net. I don't have anything against making downtown a hotspot, it just has absolutely nothing to do with what's actually wrong with the area.

Similar to saying that we'll be able to reduce graffiti by not selling spray paint to minors. I thought the winnipeg police department said the average age of people spraypainting in the city was mid 20s. Not sure how not selling to 17 year olds will effect the majority of people actually responsible for graffiti.

Matt Pearce » May 10th 2007, 17:02

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They should have an iPod curfew.... :/

mr christian » May 23rd 2007, 00:04

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I think the problem is that people are looking for One Big Solution and, as was pointed out by some, it's a number of little solutions that will amke the difference.

One thing is recreation. The city is moving more towards the "big box" version of rec centres. In an area that I am familiar with, the Galaxy Roller Rink is being torn downa nd the Sherbrook Pool continues to loose programming in the evenings.

If you go to the Galxy on a Tuesday (the night I go) there have to be at leat 150 kids there over the course of th night. The special swims the pool offers on the weekend sometimes have so many kids they have a line up. Both are on their way out and these are hundreds of kids that could be occupied over the course of the week with nothing to do.

I sometimes think too much is focussed on "big box " centres and one big solitions.

mr christian » May 23rd 2007, 00:13

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If anoyne would be interested:

The Friends of Sherbook Pool Annual General Meeting will take place Wednesday May 23rd 2007 at 7:00 pm in the Crossways In Common Boardroom - 2nd Floor 222 Furby Street.
Come show your support for the Sherbrook Pool, meet fellow pool users and lend a hand to ensure that the pool is around for another 75 years !

Everyone is welcome. Refreshments will be served.

For more information call Sophie at 942-6241 or email fosp@canada.com.

For more information on pool hours and programming: www.winnipeg.ca/cms/pools/sherbrook/default.stm

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Craig Becker

  • 42 years old
  • Davis, California, USA
  • User since Apr 20th 2007, 16:27

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