Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Updated from my Councilman.

Yesterday I received a call from my city councilman Mike O'Donnell, who knew that I had heard about the motion he and the Mayor are going to put forward to amend the current extension cord bylaw.  He also called to give me a little heads up on the procedures the use, and a little thing called an "executive meeting", which is a less formal meeting than publicly addressing Council during there regular meetings.  Basically he invited me to watch for this on the agenda and make an appearance.

I thanked both he and the Mayor for taking me and this cause seriously, and that I appreciated their efforts in working on it.  He said that my logic made sense, and it seemed that it was time to do something about it. :-)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Update from the Mayor.

I spoke with the Mayor of Regina (Mr. Pat Fiacco) about this issue for the first time on November 30th 2010, and he commiserated and agreed that he didn't like the law, as well as saying he would have the Cuty's legal team look into it.

Today (December 13th 2010) Mayor Fiacco called me back and informed me that he was going to put a motion in front of council to amend the bylaw where it will have a safe allowance for the use of extension cords to run across a city sidewalk. I mentioned that the City of Grand Prairie had a bylaw in place that satisfies both safety and necessity, so that he knew I supported a rewording like it.

I also got a letter today on my dispute of the ticket, and it appears that they didn't even read the reasons I was disputing it. I disputed it for 2 reasons, 1. the law is inappropriate for Saskatchewan, and 2. because the enforcement agency did not follow City procedure in issuance of City bylaws.  So I will continue on with it in court, and I will argue my case with even more ammunition knowing that the City will probably amend the bylaw.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Regina Extension cord bylaw.

I was upset about getting a ticket for a bylaw infraction, and wrote a letter about it to the Leader Post here in Regina Saskatchewan. And it seems this was a bigger issue than I thought.

I was also interviewed by CBC, Global, and CTV about this issue, and in an online poll conducted on the CBC article it seems that 85% of the voters agree that this should either not be a law, or the officer should have used judgment on whether or not it was dangerous.

I have started an online petition to start change, located at; PETITION.

I would love to hear ideas on how we can keep pedestrians safe, and at the same time accommodate the necessity of Saskatchewan residents to plug their vehicles in when they must park on the street.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Why I am fighting this ticket.

 I am not an enemy of justice, but this ticket is an injustice, and in this case the law was unjustly applied. This bylaw is an injustice to every person forced to park on the street who needs to keep their vehicle running, so they can get to work and make ends meet, in our Saskatchewan winters! Also complaints should not warrant instant tickets, they should illicit discussion first for compliance if possible, before ticketing, but if the offence truly warrants an instant ticket, tickets should be given across the board to everyone in violation of the infraction.

This ticket is an example of how our bylaw systems can be easily abused. When bylaws are enforced only on when a complaint is received, it is easy for individuals to use them in their petty squabbles against their neighbours. I say this because the enforcement officer who came and unplugged and ticketed my car neglected to ticket anyone else in our neighbourhood for the same infraction, including the vehicle plugged in all day right next door to us who was plugged in as we were being ticketed (and potential 5 more as he left our street.) I guess this is why I find myself personally arguing with individuals parked in marked Handicap spaces who have no legal right to be there, instead of them getting ticketed, because they know they can get away with it as enforcement usually only comes when called, and that takes time.

I should also mention that I was unaware of this bylaw's existence, and although ignorance is not an excuse, neither should ticketing be a form of enlightenment, especially in a case where it was obvious where the person resides, as well as being highly likely they were home if their car was plugged in. There are obviously 14 others in small my neighbourhood that are ether unaware, or by necessity breaking this law because they have no other option, as we live in a climate that requires our vehicles to be plugged in during the winter months.

  • As for the “hazard” our cord presented;
  1. first off we contentiously, and diligently shovel our walk, and the city walk in front of our home (primarily to make it convenient for postmen, which one Canada post parcel delivery man profusely thanked me for when he brought a parcel to my door).
  2. Secondly we did not leave excess cordage on the walk, it is one thin cord flat on the sidewalk.
  3. Finally we never left the cord on the sidewalk when it was not in use.
All being said and done, I am looking for some sort of compromise on this bylaw, where to maintain the functionality to support your family, it is not necessary to break the law. There has to be a way for citizens without off street parking to maintain an operational vehicle in our Saskatchewan winters without being contrary to the law, otherwise it would be safe to say that thousands of the city's residents are right now, and every day, are contrary to the law just so they can get to work and feed their families. As well as keeping the public reasonably safe and not inconvenienced. I am look for suggestions for the court, and from the city, on how to best resolve this issue and maintain compliance with the law not only for me, but also for those unknown multitude of others that are forced to break this law every winter.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

BEWARE! Winter parking on the street means no power for you!

Those of us forced to park on the street overnight in winter are going to need stout vehicles, because in Regina it's actually a ticket-able offense to run an extension cord across a sidewalk to plug your car into! What an absurd bylaw to have, let alone to enforce, in a Saskatchewan winter!

The explanation I received from the Bylaw division was that “it is a trip hazard, and the city would be liable for it” as well as "we only ticket complaints" which wqas to explain why my next door neighbor did not receive a ticket at the same time for the same infraction. Now I understand that the city wants to protect itself from liability, but with reasonable measures (such as a bright yellow extension cord, and a contentiously cleaned sidewalk), there should be no reason that even an infirm individual will not recognize and be able to avoid this sometimes very necessary and insignificant “hazard”.

That's not the worst of it unfortunately; my first issue is how the officer (Badge No: C504) decided that rather than come to the house and inform us we were in violation of a city ordinance, and give us the opportunity to comply, he UNPLUGGED the vehicle and THEN wrote the ticket! (Obviously we were home, and of course we would have complied to the law!) My next issue is that this Officer failed to give a ticket for the EXACT same infraction, to the house right next door to us (not to mention any number of other offences occurring on the street, at the very moment he was issuing my ticket!)

Now of course we all feel like a victim when we get a ticket we don't want (and in this case weren't even aware that it was an infraction), but it's even worse when you are singled out among many of the same infractions occurring in the exact same single block street. If the officer was there to strictly enforce the bylaw (rather than give the person a chance to comply with it), then why was I the only one ticketed for that on my block?

My question is simple; What do you do in winter in Regina to keep your car running, if you have to park on the street?

It's really hard to “heart” Regina with bylaws like this enforced without the application of common sense or common courtesy.


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The paradox of pain.

Pain seems to make the day last forever, but it never leaves you time to get anything accomplished.

I always seem to be fighting with the chronic pain I have, which seems to leave little or no time to accomplish even the things I am capable of.  I was thinking about this as I struggle through the day, wishing I could accomplish something while at the same time just trying to hold off being overwhelmed by it.  It's an odd situation we put ourselves in, we force ourselves to be task oriented, or outcome driven, and we never expect that to be taken away from us.  Yet at the same time the fragility of our bodies leaves us vulnerable to injuries which can leave us incapable of doing the simple things we once took for granted, and should this happen it takes considerable rewiring of the way we think to avoid a number of mental conditions which arise from it.  Of course I speak primarily of depression, but often our previously programmed thoughts can lead to other feelings like that of inadequacy, low self esteem, and burdening of family. 

It's a tough thing trying to to come to terms with both the pain and the feelings of inadequacy it evokes, but maybe that itself is an accomplishment to be recognized? Then again maybe I'm just grasping at straws, but you take what's in arms reach when you feel like you're drowning.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A trip through the headlines.

Today I noticed 2 striking headlines coming out of the Middle East, which seemed to me to explain each other.
1. NATO Afghanistan airstrike kills 27 civilians.
2.Car bomb kills 6 in Pakistan.

In Headline 1 it states how the Afghan cabinet (whom I might point out would not be where they are without western involvement) condemned the deaths as "Unjustifiable".  Yet at the same time that civilian deaths are tragic, when you fight an enemy that uses civilians as cover and camouflage what else would you really expect to happen?  Which brings me to the second headline.  This screams of civilian deaths, however accidental deaths of civilians seems to affect these Governments more than the threat caused by these cowardly terrorists who dress in civilian clothes and are absolutely willingly to kill innocent people.

Here's my dilemma; does the Afghan cabinet not realize that NATO does not want to kill civilians, or are they simply making political noise to appease the masses?  Do they not realize that insurgents dress as civilians?  Have they forgotten that NATO is there to help them abolish the oppressive regime they were living under?  Are their flipping turbans wrapped too tight?? (Ok I know they don't all wear turbans, but I'm at a loss to the mentality that directs their anger against those trying to help, RATHER than them all rallying to fight these murderous, cowardly sons of goats with everything they have!)

Voltaire said "So long as the people do not care to exercise their freedom, those who wish to tyrannize will do so; for tyrants are active and ardent, and will devote themselves in the name of any number of gods, religious and otherwise, to put shackles upon sleeping men" AND "it is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

Maybe it's time for the Middle east to wake up.