Winnipeg Police Association going full out this City election?

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The Analyst The Analyst's picture
Winnipeg Police Association going full out this City election?

I've seen a Facebook ad by a group sponsored by the Winnipeg Police Association. Talks about how "resources for police" need to be a priority for "safety". Also contains a shot at the Opening Portage and Main initiative. Is the WPA going all out anti-Bowman this year because they think they can get more police spending? 

The Analyst The Analyst's picture

They're pulling out all the scare tactics this election, it seems. 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/winnipeg-police-union-ad-911-bow...

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Opening Portage and Main is not the only issue out there but I won't support any candidate that is against it. It was a horrible decision in the first place and it has only servied to reinforce the city's love affair with serving drivers first and foremost. That attitude helps make Winnipeg's downtown a blight.

Aristotleded24

I think Bowman was actually smart to allow that issue to be put to a vote, because that way it won't become a drag on his whole campaign and put other things at risk. As for the traffic, I think if you have Portage and Main as an underground LRT-axis that connects LRT extending on Portage and Main, and you cut the bus routes in half and have them cross those streets in the downtown rather than going right along those 2 streets, that would address a great deal of congestion that presents a legitimate safety concern for pedestrians. For example, why does Route 14 have to exist as a route that serves Ellice along with going to south St. Vital? I really doubt that there are large enough numbers of people who want to travel directly between these 2 areas. Just split this up into 2 routes, one to West Ellice, the other to St. Vital, and people can change downtown if they need to.

The big issue for me, is rapid transit, and the fact that Jenny Motaluk is vehemently opposed is a deal breaker for me. It is an issue she can exploit because Bowman went along with a diversion through Parker lands that nobody outside of the city's development community and planning office was in favour of, despite massive attempts to tilt the process in that direction. Of course people are angry about that, and it can very easily kill support for rapid transit elsewhere. If Bowman had ripped up those plans and forced the line closer to Pembina Highway, he would have done a great deal better. As it stands now, I will be holding my nose to vote for Bowman unless one of the other candidates can convinve me otherwise, for reasons I hope to discuss later. Sadly, I don't see a Charlie Clark or Valerie Plante figure emerging this election cycle we can get behind.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..agreed in that i don't see anyone so far that represents change.

Aristotleded24

laine lowe wrote:
Opening Portage and Main is not the only issue out there but I won't support any candidate that is against it.

Of the candidates who have a clear position, here is how they line up:

Open it up:

Brian Bowman

Keep it closed:

Jenny Motkaluk

Don Woodstock

Aristotleded24

We have polls out, and they are a mixed bag.

First the bad news:

Quote:
A Probe Research survey conducted during the final week of August suggests 67 per cent of Winnipeggers oppose the idea of reopening the city's most famous intersection, versus 33 per cent who favour the idea.

...

"The data shows Winnipeggers really don't like this idea of opening Portage and Main to pedestrians. There is no demographic — not young people, not downtowners, not downtown residents — who want to open the intersection," said Mary Agnes Welch, a senior researcher for Winnipeg-based Probe. 

"There is broad and deep, intense dislike for this idea."

Now the good news:

Quote:

Brian Bowman is Winnipeg's preferred choice for mayor, but "a huge pool" of undecided voters means the incumbent candidate has yet to have a lock on re-election in October.

That's the conclusion of a CBC-commissioned Probe Research poll that suggests 22 per cent of Winnipeg voters intend to select Bowman as mayor on Oct. 24.

Eleven per cent would choose challenger Jenny Motkaluk, according to the poll, which found 57 per cent of Winnipeg adults undecided about their intentions during the final week of August.

...

Probe Research also asked voters about Bowman's performance as mayor and found his approval rating has slid over the past year.

The poll suggests 52 per cent of Winnipeggers strongly or moderately approve of Bowman's performance, down from 59 per cent during the fall of 2017.

Remember that Sam Katz was re-elected not only on a lower approval rating, however against a much more organized opposition to his mayoral administration that what has been the case with Bowman.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..i'm still new to wpg politicians. can you tell me please why you say it's good news about bowman vs motkaluk.

..this sounds like a good idea to me. from motkaluk's campaign page:

quote:

“Winnipeggers need a mayor who will fix, protect, and grow our city and my Clean Reliable Transit plan will help fix and grow Winnipeg Transit,” said Motkaluk.  “While Brian Bowman’s priority is to spend millions on pet projects without any evidence they’ll make us better off, I believe in practical solutions for better service.”

Jenny believes that adding nearly 200 more buses will do a better job of providing faster and more reliable service than expanding Bus Rapid Transit.  Shifting the bus fleet to 100% electric buses, in part through Federal Green Infrastructure funds, would lower the city’s carbon footprint.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Fast Facts: Municipalities must prepare for climate change

In response to Jonathan Alward’s piece on municipal overspending, small business owners are not the only ones paying attention to municipal election platforms this fall. Those community members who participated in the 2018 Alternative Municipal Budget bring a very different perspective from the CFIB’s.

quote:

Between 2000 and 2016, the police budget increased from $115 million to $280 million – a 145% increase, compared to a 40% increase for public works. As the largest and fastest growing budget line in the Winnipeg’s operating budget, it may well be time for the Winnipeg to examine the cost of policing, especially when money for para-military equipment could be spent dealing with the root causes of crime. Departments that work to decrease social marginalization saw increases of only 13% in the same time period.

In the latest round of bargaining for CUPE 500 City of Winnipeg workers, increases were 0%. So when inflation is factored in (something the CFIB agrees should be), these workers’ salaries decreased 1.6%. 

Wage increases in 2017 for other CUPE members working for Manitoba municipalities ranged between 1.0 and 2.5%, with the average being 1.89% – close to Manitoba’s 1.6% rate of inflation for 2017.

It is true that many cities in Western Canada do not have a business tax per se, but this is compensated for with higher rates on non-residential property taxes. When the business tax as a category was eliminated in Calgary and Edmonton, the non-residential commercial property tax was increased to ensure no loss in revenue. Businesses pay a similar total amount of tax in those cities as they do in Winnipeg. Furthermore, Winnipeg’s business tax has decreased every year from 9.75% in 2002 to 5.14% in 2018.  A 2016 KPMG report found that Winnipeg had the lowest business costs of a sample of major North American cities.

The Alternative Municipal Budget agrees that budgets have to be sustainable, but we are referring to the need to deal with climate change and environmental degradation. These are the most pressing problems of our day and they require a heroical response that all sectors of society, including business, must be part of.

For example, we recommend implementing Mobility Pricing which would shift the unsustainable cost of road maintenance to drivers and investing in public transportation so that commuters have a viable, affordable option to single-occupancy vehicle use. Doing so would also lower greenhouse gases.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..last post from the above piece

quote:

It is not clear how Winnipeg will deal with a $6.9 billion infrastructure deficit when its yearly capital budget hovers around $430 million. The sixteen-year tax freeze imposed on Winnipeg by previous administrations made it impossible to borrow the money required to keep up with repairs.

Winnipeg has the lowest property taxes of Canada’s major cities. Between 1999 and 2017 property taxes increased 77% in Calgary, 84% in Edmonton, 63% in Vancouver. In Winnipeg they increased 11%. Now compare the infrastructure in those cities with Winnipeg’s.

Aristotleded24

epaulo13 wrote:
..i'm still new to wpg politicians. can you tell me please why you say it's good news about bowman vs motkaluk.

..this sounds like a good idea to me. from motkaluk's campaign page:

quote:

“Winnipeggers need a mayor who will fix, protect, and grow our city and my Clean Reliable Transit plan will help fix and grow Winnipeg Transit,” said Motkaluk.  “While Brian Bowman’s priority is to spend millions on pet projects without any evidence they’ll make us better off, I believe in practical solutions for better service.”

Jenny believes that adding nearly 200 more buses will do a better job of providing faster and more reliable service than expanding Bus Rapid Transit.  Shifting the bus fleet to 100% electric buses, in part through Federal Green Infrastructure funds, would lower the city’s carbon footprint.

I would be happy to answer that for you epaulo. One of the key issues for transit in Winnipeg is that we have no rapid transit, aside from a bus only roadway from The Forks to the Jubilee overpass. That will be extended all the way to the U of M in 2020. Under Bowman's watch the city is also looking to build rapid transit to Transcona, and he's the first mayor since Glen Murray who did not have to be dragged kicking and screaming into doing it. In fact, Bowman in 2014 campaigned on building rapid transit to all corners of Winnipeg by 2030. Winnipeg needs rapid transit. Rapid transit is key to having public transit that is competitive with driving. Motkaluk is against rapid transit, and will move to stop it if she's elected. As for her pledge to buy more buses? It sounds great, but where are you going to put them? Downtown is already congested with buses during rush hour. There is literally no more room for buses, and no matter how many you put on the street, it will be like hitting a brick wall as soon as you enter the downtown area. The far flung suburbs have transit ridership that is far too low to justify sending more buses out that way. Converting the fleet to electric sounds great, however that's not the issue. The big culprit in greenhouse gas emissions in Winnipeg is private automobiles. Merely switching out a diesel bus for electric, without looking at other factors such as urban planning, more efficient routing, will not on its own entice people to give up their cars and use transit.

Motkaluk also has very troubling associations.  She was endorsed by Jeff Browaty, who was elected to council as part of a swing to the right that happened with Sam Katz in 2006. Dan Lett also exposed her connections to right wing interests. Also a key plank in her campaign, until the vote, was to keep Portage and Main closed to pedestrians. That position, according to the opening post, is supported by the Winnipeg Police Association, which tends to select more right-wing candidates.  And I have no idea where she stands on things like reducing poverty or more bike lanes. I do have reservations about Bowman which I've outlined in the other thread, but on every area where Bowman has failed, based on what I've seen, I believe Motkaluk will be far worse, and will try to undo the positive things Bowman has done.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..txs ari. i'll have a look at your links. you've helped me understand where motkaluk is coming from. i've already had dealings with browaty and it took 2 short exchanges to understand his politics. i would be skeptical of anyone he endorsed. 

Aristotleded24

There's another reason to be concerned about a potential Bowman defeat. Incumbent councillor John Orlikow, who has been a good community representative and advocate for a liveable city, is facing a tough challenge from Garth Steek. That ward has a large number of people who will vote for any right wing candidate simply for showing up. Orlikow has done well to represent that area by being re-elected. A city-wide swing away from Bowman to Motkaluk will most likely take down Orlikow as well, which means progressives have one less ally running for council.

Also of note is that Jenny Gerbasi is not running again. She was elected in 1998, and has served as an advocate for a liveable city, and was the de facto leader of the opposition to Sam Katz' administration. I wish her well, but the timing is unfortunate. We need her voice, and I have a funny feeling that it's not a coincidence that people like Motkaluk and Steek are throwing their hats in the ring in a time when she is gone.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Jenny Gerbasi not seeking re-election is frightening. She was consistently the voice for the poor, the environment and a strong public sector and services.

Jenny Motkaluk's campaign manager resigned today because of her choice of messages on Twitter. He was described as an IT entrepreneur which might be an indication of some of the support she attracted from the get-go - change seeking successful young professional and business people in Winnipeg. I have no idea if that will have an impact but I am a bit worried about what might be Motkaluk's support base. I am sometimes surprised how the upcoming generation of decision-makers/voters have no understanding or interest in political theory, visions or platforms. It seems like a soundbite generation that bases their voting choices on cherry picking ideas that most appeal or agree with their short-term goals. Hopefully I am generalizing and wrong.

Aristotleded24

I don't think it's so much a generational issue as it is an issue of how geography and class intersect in Winnipeg. It's no secret that the suburbs are more affluent than the more urban areas. There's a large number of suburbanites who are surrounded by the suburban environment, and that shapes their reality and their worldview. The North End and the downtown are to be avoided, unless there's a concert or a Jets game, and security is generally good at keeping what they would term "undesireables" away from them. They don't even have to go downtown, because even if they live in one area, work in another, and get together with their friends somewhere else, there are plenty of roads that allow them to skirt these parts of the city. They grow up in these environments, they go to school in these environments, raise their children in these environments, and on the cycle goes. It's not that much of a stretch to imagine that Motkaluk would be able to find some competent IT professionals from among this group. It's also why Browaty can criticize wasting money on rapid transit while advocating for the extension of the Chief Peguis trail with a straight face. It is certainly a much different perspective than young people in urban areas organizing around initiatives like Meet Me at the Bell Tower in the North End or looking to open 24-7 safe spaces for vulnerable youth.

Aristotleded24

How did we get here?

Quote:
In 1971 the Trizec Corporation, a high-profile development company that brought together British, U.S., and Canadian money announced that along with the Bank of Nova Scotia, it was interested in developing a bank building, an apartment tower, a hotel, and a shopping mall on the site where the city was planning to construct an underground parking lot.

 Zuken opposed the deal from the outset, pointing out that the city would be obliged to assemble the land and build the parking lot and the building foundation without any guarantee that Trizec would, in the end, build anything. By 1975, the City had bought and cleared the land still without receiving any guarantee as to what was to be built. Trizec then threatened to drop out of the project if the city did not agree an underground pedestrian concourse (and pay 80 per cent of the construction costs and 100 per cent of the maintenance costs of concourse) and ban surface crossing of the intersection (to force people into the concourse). By this point, opposition to the project was mounting: the 1976 vote to ban surface crossing passed city council by a single vote.

 Two years later Trizec revealed its final plans: gone were the hotel and the second office tower (for which the city had built foundations) and the shopping mall was scaled back. Most of the land that the city accumulated has sat empty for the past forty years: part of it was the bleakest of urban “plazas” imaginable, while the rest of the surface area was covered with the flat roofing of the mall below. It is such a dead no-go zone that it is doubtful many Winnipeggers even noticed it. The development’s failure to find a place in the city’s life—a significant failure for any project of so-called ‘urban re-vitalization’—is that few Winnipeggers could identify the name of the 31-storey high-rise at the heart of the story. Given the project’s controversy it was known informally for many years as the Trizec Building. Its formal name was the Commodity Exchange Tower, since it was the home of the Winnipeg Commodity Exchange. But since 2008 it has simply been known as 360 Main Street.

Aristotleded24

Of course, a ''no'' vote will permanently settle the issue:

Quote:

The concourse is plagued by chronic leakage and flooding from above-ground precipitation.

Preliminary engineering studies conducted by the owners of two properties at Portage and Main show conclusively that damage to the membrane is far more significant than first thought.

The result is that the membrane cannot be repaired and must be replaced, work must be done primarily above ground, and it will involve the removal of all concrete and other structures at street level above the concourse.

...

If the city has to do similar repairs to its portions of the concourse — which run directly under the roadway — then the barriers would most likely have to be removed to allow access to the concourse ceiling.

...

The prospect that the barriers might have to be removed to facilitate these repairs does not, on its own, settle the debate about whether to reintroduce pedestrians to the intersection. Opponents are still concerned about the effect on traffic flow and pedestrian safety.

However, this new information does eliminate a key point of opposition — which was the expenditure of taxpayer dollars on removing the barriers.

Aristotleded24

Portage and Main remains closed.