Friday, 21 September 2007

Fraud Squad TV
Watch for it next Tuesday, September 25 at 8 pm on CLT. It's an entertaining profile of scams, cons and the people who commit them. (None of it happens here in Cabbagetown, of course, but it's good to know what others are experiencing.) Chris Kiraly, James Woollatt, Mary Spence Thomas and a whole raft of others at the Soup building (603-1/2 Parliament Street) have been busily working on production, post-production and web site production for this new television documentary.

Thanks Lindsey
Lindsey Reidt worked at the BIA office over the summer and concentrated on organizing the Cabbagetown Festival. She contacted people who were street vendors, selected the design for our T-shirt, did the detailed legwork for the parade, worked with restaurants and pubs on the legal requirements for their patios and helped on a host of other issues. Our best wishes to her for her studies in her final year at Ryerson.

Salvation Army on Parliament Street
A second meeting has been held in the BIA offices about the proposed new church planned by the Salvation Army for the old Flamingo Restaurant site. One of the participants, Patricia Smith from the Cabbagetown South Association, has noted that our discussions are very frank. No one is making any promises or changing their plans as yet, but as Patricia says, our “concerns are being heard and understood.”
Councillor Pam McConnell joined us and again lends her voice to the view that this facility is simply not appropriate for this neighbourhood. Paul Dineen made it clear that at least one business has already decided to close and relocate elsewhere.
Last week, four alternative locations in Cabbagetown were put forward and each of them was carefully considered by Lieutenant Ron Farr. Our next meeting will include a professional from the Salvation Army’s property division who can assess the ideas floating around the table.

Last week at the election debate sponsored by the residents and the BIA, Paul Dineen asked each candidate a straightforward question. How can we allow a person like Francis, our “change please” lady, to kill herself right in front of our eyes and do nothing about it? Is there no facility that can help her and the hundreds of others like her across Toronto who cannot claim to be responsible for themselves any longer?
Francis lives on Dundas Street West – she’s not homeless. She commutes daily into Cabbagetown by TTC because this is her spot to beg and this is the place where people are willing to give her money. Over the summer, she has often stayed on the sidewalks well past midnight. She’s a crack addict. When her voice and manner become frantic, she’s in bad need of her fix.
People in the stores along Parliament Street are always amazed and distressed when passers-by give her money. Their donations are spent immediately on her terrible drug habit. It’s not a kindness – it’s a killer.
If anyone feels compelled to support her, please give her food instead of money – she is apparently fond of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
In the meantime, perhaps our elected officials can reopen their efforts on the panhandling issue. As a start, they can recognize that some people have drifted so deeply into their addictions that they are no longer reasonable, self-supporting adults They need active intervention.

Election events
Ontario's provincial election is gaining some speed and letting off some steam.
Last Monday, the Don Vale Cabbagetown Residents Association and the BIA put together an all-candidates’ debate featuring four provincial candidates. First, we have to wish the Green candidate Mike McLean a speedy recovery – on that afternoon he was struck by a car and required medical attention. His colleague Chris Tindal substituted for him admirably.
Our meeting included (in alphabetical order), Sandra Gonzalez (NDP), George Smitherman (Liberal), Pamela Taylor (PC) and Chris Tindal (on behalf of the Greens.) As usual, the debate was lively and the four of them conducted themselves well. This is the third such cooperative event held by the residents and businesses in our area – each meeting has given everyone a good chance to size up the candidates as well as a chance to hear them defend the issues.

New businesses
Welcome to the neighbourhood to Dr Katherine Spiewak. She’s joined the staff at the Cabbagetown Chiropractic Clinic (214 Carlton Street). She’s a native of Port Hope and a graduate of both the University of Guelph (BSc) and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (DC). She has further studies at McMaster in their Contemporary Medical Acupuncture course.
The editorial staff at your Newsletter has assured Dr Spiewak that being located on Carlton Street has big advantages for Chiropractors – you’re surrounded by lawyers who are regularly getting bent out of shape!

Central Neighbourhood House has left their Parliament Street office but they haven’t forgotten us. They’re now at 365 Bloor Street East, Suite 1807 with their main office still at 349 Ontario Street and they can be reached at (416) 966-8595.