News

1. Guilty plea

A boy (now adult) has pleaded guilty to a child porn charge in relation to the case of the girl we can’t name (but everyone knows) who committed suicide after an image was spread around her school.

2. Too many cops?

[Click here for the video I can’t seem to embed.]

The Fraser Institute, the right-wing libertarian think tank, is faulting the bloated Halifax PD. A report written by Livio Di Matteo, is summarized by the Chronicle Herald:

In 2012, Halifax reported 5,810 crimes per 100,000 residents, down from 9,354 crimes per 100,000 residents reported in 2001, Di Matteo said.

During the same period, the number of cops policing the municipality increased six per cent to 167 police officers per 100,000 people in 2012 from 158 in 2001.

I find this immensely funny, on so many levels.

First, I mean, the Fraser Institute, yawn. It is predictably against all government expenditures, all the time. That’s what libertarians do, even though Di Matteo, the report author, was educated at publicly funded universities and has spent the last 27 years teaching at publicly funded universities. Libertarians are good with government spending, so long as it’s spent on them.

But of course Di Matteo is right. You don’t need a PhD or a Fraser Institute grant to know the PD is overstaffed: For dog’s sake, the cops have so much time on their hands they can spend weeks investigating and busting harmless medical marijuana evangelists.

What’s especially rich about this is the PD’s PR wing is itself bloated and in overdrive. It has a conflicted mission, at cross-purposes. On the one hand, in order to increase the perceived need for policing, the department needs to scare the public with as many details about as many crimes as is possible. On the other hand, to convince us that policing actually works, the department needs to keep pumping out reports of ever-decreasing crime, which prompts the kind of criticism Di Matteo levels.

I don’t much trust crime stats specific to localities—there’s too much opportunity to “juke the stats” for political and bureaucratic purposes— but it’s absolutely true that crime rates across the world, and especially in North America are plummeting. Sure, there are going to be variances by geography and demography, but those variances are tiny compared to the overall trend, and policing has next to nothing to do with it.

Yet the public perception is that crime is high. This is because well-funded and politically motivated police PR departments are more than happy to provide stats, incident reports and even video feeds to overworked and non-critical reporters feeding the “if it bleeds, it leads” news machine.

3. Sackville landfill

Sackville residents are upset about a proposal to truck leachate from the Otter Lake Landfill to be processed at the plant at the closed Sackville landfill. This issue will explode at a council meeting later this year.

Interestingly, councillor Steve Craig seems to have changed his position on the plan. Initially he was in support of it, but after the huge public outcry, he is backing off that position.

4. Bank fraud

Five Ontario residents have been arrested for defrauding local banks. I suspect the people passing counterfeit US money are out-of-towners, but time will tell, perhaps.

5. Wild Kingdom

Cows

Brian MacKenzie’s cows got stranded by rising waters from Sunday night’s deluge. The Truro Daily News reports on the rescue mission:

“It was a group effort,” said MacKenzie. “One was stranded. It was just a baby and got disoriented.”

The farmer jumped in the boat with firefighters to make it out to the stranded calf, which he said was about three months old. When the group reached the calf, MacKenzie jumped in the water.

“I helped him along, but he paddled. The swim didn’t bother him at all,” said the farmer.

Rats

It’s “peak rat season” in Halifax, says the CBC.

This is as good a time as any to relate that a few days ago, as construction proceeded on the North Park/ Cunard roundabout, a backhoe disturbed a rats’ nest or den or whatever they call it. A witness tells me he heard the backhoe operator yell, and looked to see him jump atop his machine. Some “50 to 60” rats then proceeded to run down the middle of Cunard Street, towards the harbour to points unknown.


Views

1. Wong Watch

Jan Wong talks about maps.

I’m told that Wong’s column has been put on a bi-weekly rotation, down from her previous once-a-week schedule.

2. Avondale

Photo: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald goes to Avondale and makes his usual poignant observations, this time of the United Church.

3. The Samson Trail

Gillian Wesley confuses a dog. Photo: Drew Moore

Gillian Wesley and Drew Moore, of the Local Traveller Blog, go to New Glasgow.


Government

City

Northwest Community Council (12:40pm, City Hall, immediately before city council meeting)—The paperwork for this rushed meeting has an October 14 date on it; I don’t know if this indicates some particular hurry or if councillors are simply piggybacking on the council meeting in order to avoid a second meeting. At issue is a development agreement for two seven-storey towers on the Bedford Highway just north of the intersection of Larry Uteck Boulevard, with 98 residential units and 14,000 square feet of commercial space. Remarkably, the staff report tells us the project will “generate a relatively small increase in the number of trips along the Bedford Highway.”

City Council (1pm, City Hall)—see my council preview here. This article is behind the Examiner’s pay wall and so available only to paid subscribers. To purchase a subscription, click here. As usual, I’ll be live-blogging today’s meeting via the Examiner’s twitter account, @hfxExaminer.

Province

No public meetings.


On Campus

No public events.


Noticed

Heather Eilliot

St. John’s has its own ship geek. Heather Elliott publishes the Original Shipster blog, chronicling the comings and goings of ships in that port, as well as looking at ship wrecks and the like.


In the harbour

(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)

Cruise ships

Six cruise ships are in port today, as follows:

Brilliance Of The Seas, arriving from Boston, sailing for Saint John
Crystal Serenity, arriving from Saint John, sailing fof Iles de la Madeleine
Grandeur Of The Seas, arriving from Saint John, sailing for Baltimore
Norwegian Dawn, arriving from Sydney, sailing for Saint John

Veendam and Regatta spent the night in port due to late arrivals yesterday
caused by bad weather. They will depart this morning.

Other arrivals

Oceanex Sanderling, con-ro, St. John’s to Pier 36
Blue Rose, oil/chemical tanker, Port Arthur, Texas to TBD

Departures

No other besides cruise ships above

Of note

This has been a rough year for Royal Caribbean Line’s Grandeur Of The Seas, in port today. During a March cruise, the boat endured 20-foot seas in front of a nor’easter, and was hit by a rogue wave that rattled passengers. On a March 28 – April 5, 2014 cruise leaving out of Baltimore, 111 passengers and six crew members became ill with the norovirus. On the ship’s very next voyage, April 5-12, 2014, also out of Baltimore, 97 passengers and eight crew members contracted the norovirus. In August, a 70-year-old man reportedly went overboard. Lawyer Jim Walker writes:

If this information is accurate, it appears that the incident may have involved a suicide. However, it also illustrates that the cruise line has still not installed automatic man overboard systems as required by the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. The cruise safety law requires such technology regardless of whether the passenger or crew member intentionally jumped, accidentally went overboard, or was thrown into the ocean. 


Footnotes

Three months ago today, I started Morning File. Feels like two years.

Tim Bousquet

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. The Bedford Highway development; is that where the hotel is currently located?

    My previous thoughts on this still stand; we don’t need anymore half-filled eyesores. Fill what we have in the city sitting empty already, then build more if required.

    Oh right, I forgot, that’s just silly.

  2. Re the Fraser Institute’s contention that Halifax has too many in its Police department, is it time yet for a debate on the cost of policing? Reportedly, a first-class constable (after five years of service) receives roughly $86,500 a year. When benefits (estimated at 30%) and overtime (estimated at 5%) are included, the cost to tax payers would be over $115,000 annually.

    The 2013/14 HRPbudget for salaries and benefits is $74.3 million. The fact that this represents 92% of the entire annual budget illustrates the problems faced by managers trying to reduce costs. How can such an operation be sustainable? Trying to operate a government or a company on this basis would be financial suicide.

    One solution? Contract out administrative functions, scale back the number of officers in management positions, and rethink some of the tasks currently being performed by police officers?

    Or, maybe no one dares go there.

  3. “Three months ago today, I started Morning File. Feels like two years.”

    And I, for one, am very happy you did. I hope you continue for many more anniversaries to come.