Is there gang activity in Bells Corners?
I’ve already witnessed it myself in Lynwood Park, but I put the question to Sgt. Mark Patterson to see what he’d say. The police were out in force at last night’s meeting in Michele Heights, including the chief of the Guns and Gangs unit and some of the top brass.
Patterson told me that gang members, even if they are identified with specific neighbourhoods (Reds in the west, Blues in the east, with all sorts of wild cards thrown in), operate everywhere. He said that gang crime in Bells Corners isn’t “worse or better” than anywhere else in Ottawa.
Last night’s event was full of dramatic moments. One woman cried at the mic in front of the tv cameras – she knew one of the recent victims since he was a toddler.
It was also a chance for at lot of dull speechifying by politicians like Mark Taylor and wannabe politicians.
When ordinary residents got a chance to speak things got interesting.
CFRA celebrity Bayshore Shirley was there. Her buddy Tony too!
This woman had a heated debate with “BS” – the sparks were really flying!
Reporters, politicians, police, City employees, social workers and fartcatchers were all over the place, but a large number of local residents also showed up, with all points of view well represented.
Jim and Westcliffe resident Doug sat together until it was time for the photo ops.
Jim told me how much he enjoyed reading my blog.
That’s local resident Alex Cullen in the foreground, with Randall Denley two seats down and Kelly Egan of the Citizen behind him.
A guy named Sharpe seemed like a real rabble-rouser – he reminded me of Westcliffe resident and Bill-buddy Terry Kilrea.
At one point the politician in charge (Mark Taylor) threatened to throw Sharpe out of the meeting if he didn’t “behave himself.” One of Taylor’s many employees had a little tug of war with the mic and Sharpe eventually sat down without the police having to intervene.
Not ALL of the local politicians were present – Rusty Baird was at another event.
Stephen Harper has other fish to fry, but why wasn’t Bob Chiarelli there?
And why is Bob Chiarelli blanketing Bells Corners with 30 x 15 glossy campaign literature? Even when I have a no-junk-mail sign on my mailbox?
Is this just bungling or is Bob planning to jump from Kathleen Wynne’s sinking ship and run against cousin Rick in Bells Corners? He kicked Randall’s butt (in spite of the polls) last time, but he’ll probably finish third after Alex Cullen if he’s foolish enough to try again. Maybe even fourth after the Green Party.
Hudak and Lisa MacLeod will go down in flames, but Randall has a good shot at being the backbencher for Ottawa-West Nepean.
Here are the “ledes” from some of the big media:
“While the agenda of the panel was to put a positive spin on two west-side neighbourhoods battling crime, residents at Monday night’s meeting used it to vent frustration.” CTV clip (nice job!)
“A community meeting Monday night for Britannia Woods and Michele Heights residents painted distinct pictures of the neighbourhoods at the centre of two of Ottawa’s six homicides of the year.” Ottawa Citizen
“There’s a lot of anger on Ritchie St.” Ottawa Sun (Rick’s buddy Doug)
“Less than two weeks after a 24-year-old man was gunned down in Britannia, residents, police and city officials will come together to talk safety and stigma.” Ottawa Sun
“Police said the Tuesday shooting death of 24-year-old rapper Malik Adjokatcher and the stabbing of another young man in the same Britannia community Thursday have no gang connection after residents speculated on a brewing gang war.” Metro
“How come WE didn’t know about the meeting in our neighbourhood? Do you have to be on Mark Taylor’s Facebook page to find out what’s going on in the hood?” Britannia Peeps
“Why wasn’t Rick there?” Bells Corners ABC Party