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Letters March 18: Disorder on Victoria's streets; positive experience with school-liaison officers

Residential and office towers in downtown Victoria. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

How do we end the disorder in Victoria?

Once again, the pages of the Times ­Colonist are filled with stories of disorder on the streets of Victoria.

City policies that deter residents from coming downtown to do business (parking rates and availability) while businesses are starved of the revenue that supports them; de-funding the police at a time when they are most in need ($1.7 million lopped off this year’s budget) preventing them from doing an effective job of combatting crime; enabling crime and chaos in the so-called supportive housing on Johnson Street, which has become a Kasbah.

Victoria has become a smaller sister of San Francisco, a once great city that has degenerated into a giant homeless camp, with other San Franciscans leaving in droves.

The reason? It has been called ­“pathological altruism” or dogmatically pure politics, the actions of a “progressive” city council (board of supervisors) who barged ahead with social and legal programs without any thought to the repercussions of their actions.

Some of their suggestions: $5 million for every Black person in the city (a reconciliation for slavery); a guaranteed income for all residents of $97,000 per year for 250 years (thus eliminating poverty); the elimination of all personal debt and tax burdens; and supply homes for San Francisco families for $1 per family.

With our current and past ­councils, Victoria is well on its way to emulating that Disaster-by-the-Bay in California.

Councillors are throwing money at chimeral solutions that fix nothing, while emasculating the forces that know how to perform what is required of them.

Can sanity not be restored?

David Hansen


Listen to Manak on the value of liaison officers

Re: “Manak decries ‘stereotypes’ over call to end liaison team,” March 17.

The letter from the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association regarding the police liaison officers in schools says, in part, that research shows school-liaison programs “cause harm that negatively affects the safety, rights and sense of belonging that many marginalized people experience in school.”

I was a principal in an inner-city school that served children of what is termed “marginalized” people (and their children). The experience at this school and, I might add, at middle school aged and high school aged students where I taught, was the exact opposite.

I was in schools more than 30 years and was involved many times with liaison police officers — always with very positive outcomes.

Their involvement with students included in-class informative sessions with students, participation in many student games at the schools, one-on-one chats with students who met them in hallways or out on the school grounds, attendance and support of many school assembly activities, connecting with staff, connecting with parents who often were in schools to volunteer, reading to elementary students and helping administration and parents to open dialogue around issues that may be of concern to a particular student.

Students became very comfortable with the liaison officers and were pleased to see them in and around the school. The so called “research” done that paints a very different picture is hard to fathom.

Perhaps the researchers should spend time in the schools where these police officers are and see, first hand, the excellent, worthwhile service they provide.

I might add that Victoria Police Chief Del Manak was one of the liaison police officers that I had the pleasure of working with. He was, like all his colleagues in this position, the epitome of what was expected and what transpired in schools.

He knows of what he speaks.

Dave Hockley

Retired principal


Let the province help Victoria’s police

Crime is up in downtown Victoria, with businesses being vandalized with what seems to be increasing regularity, among other crimes.

Anyone who’s been paying attention is aware that this is a complex situation, often involving people with mental health and/or addiction problems, and that a straight ‘law-and-order’ approach alone will not solve these problems.

However, it seems that Victoria council’s solution is to remove $1.7 million from the proposed police budget. And this is going to make things better in downtown Victoria?

On the other hand, we have a provincial government that is looking for something to spend a surplus of more than $5 billion on.

May I suggest that the $1.7 million difference between what the police say they need and what council is willing to ante up could be provided from this surplus?

The only non-negotiable stipulation that I would attach to that offer would be that the amount must go directly and entirely towards the police budget and not be used for anything else.

It might be interesting to see if the NDP would be willing to make such an offer, and maybe even more interesting to see if the Victoria council would be willing to accept it with that restriction on the offer.

Aaahh – politics in B.C.; it never gets boring, does it?

Richard Silver


Keep the tax increases within our means

I am pleased Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock and his council can stand behind the 7.1-per-cent property tax increase they plan to pass, and I look forward to paying them, yet again, double or triple what most family incomes increased by this year.

No, I don’t.

What boggles my mind is that whatever municipality it is, councils keep getting away with property tax increases way beyond what their taxpayers can afford, and why those same taxpayers keep electing them.

Council will of course respond that they are only doing this to meet the demands of their constituents but they are elected and paid to govern. Good governance requires responsibility.

If Saanich’s budget is a “status quo” then the status quo is not good enough anymore.

Pet council projects are not acceptable anymore.

Accepting demands from special interest groups as status quo is not good enough anymore. I often hear the term “silent majority” and how governments tend to ignore them.

Time to stop being so silent, people.

A. Allan Pollard


Put large complexes away from city centres

It appears to me that a partial solution to encouraging more commuters to leave their combustion-engine cars at home and use public transit would be to come up with a way to make extended parking downtown prohibitively expensive.

I am sure there could be ways for government to tax extended parking facilities to an extent that the majority of commuters would not be able to pay for it. They could use that tax money to help subsidize transit so that it could operate on a fee-free basis.

Another way to reduce commuter congestion would be to build the massive office complexes and facilities like large hospitals out in the suburbs and surrounding smaller cities.

I have always wondered why the large facilities are being crammed into the middle of already crowded cities and areas like downtown Vancouver.

Ron Gieck


Remember the students who stood against racism

The school trustees need to rethink who should really be honoured with George Jay School’s new name. It seems pretty obvious.

It is the brave students of that school a hundred years ago who made that stand against racist policies. May I suggest that a name of a student to represent that class of 1922 be put on the school to properly honour their accomplishment.

The school trustees should give the naming to the current students of George Jay.

And a plaque at the entrance to school should explain why the school was named after this person as a reminder of the bravery and sacrifice of those students long ago for all Canadians today.

Ian Rapps


Police protection is at the top of the list

My favourite “read” in my Times Colonist is by far the Comment page. But I wonder, what can we do to get all these letter writers who seem to have common sense to run for mayor and council positions?

For example, how many residents of Greater Victoria would not give the desperately needed police department what they ask for crime prevention with all forms of injury, robbery, destruction, theft seemingly getting worse and worse?

If you are going to delay any of the myriad funding items, police protection should be the top of the list, not the bottom one would think.

B.T. Blodgett



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