AmbrÖse Bierce: Someone Take Away Tina’s Bat Phone

By September 24, 2013Ambrose Bierce, Satire

By AmbrÖse Bierce. Who turned the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) into the private police force of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association (ADBA)?

On Saturday executive director of the ADBA Tina Stewart called the APD to enforce a parking bylaw. Surely they have better things to do.

“I called the police because they wouldn’t listen to me. The bylaws don’t allow [taking up] two spaces and [blocking] the sidewalk,” Stewart told the Abbotsford Times.

ADBA Executive Director Tina Stewart

ADBA Executive Director Tina Stewart

Who gave Stewart the impression she was entitled to call the APD over a parking dispute? Close to 50 percent of our tax bill goes to pay for the APD. This is how they spend their time?

She was apparently calling the police because an organization, Sensible BC, was canvassing for support for its proposed referendum on pot.

In Abbotsford we’ve used the APD for years to deal with our social and political issues. Rather than help the poor, the mentally ill, the addicted and the homeless, we call the cops on them.

There is a long history of the ADBA using Bob Rich’s cops as though they were a private force belonging to the ADBA – especially when marijuana is involved.

Marijuana seems to be a real lightning rod issue for the ABDA.

To refresh your memory, in case it needs refreshing:

Former ADBA president Bob Bos. Photo from BC

Former ADBA president Bob Bos. Photo from BC

When former ADBA boss Bob Bos objected to the politics of marijuana activist Tim Felger, the APD sent in a S.W.A.T. team to arrest Felger in front of a big crowd on Essendene during evening rush hour.

After having his business licence taken away, getting evicted from his own building, and being arrested on trumped up charges which were thrown out of court, Felger was found guilty on one count of possession. We will get to find out who was responsible for the evidence which led to his arrest and charges that he was selling marijuana to minors being published in a local newspaper when he sues the APD for false arrest.

All of the other APD and RCMP charges against him have been thrown out of court due to a lack of evidence or shoddy police work.

Tim Felger - guilty of one count of possession

Tim Felger – guilty of one count of possession

As a result of the APD’s actions the Office of the Police Complaints Commissioner (OPCC) is investigating the APD for professional misconduct.

Seemingly undaunted by the bad publicity or the mounting number of complaints against his department, Chief Bob Rich’s boys have taken to harassing Felger’s friends and family.

The APD is also being investigated by the OPCC as a result of allegations brought by Jesse Wegenast of The 5 and 2 Ministries for using inappropriate tactics against homeless people, another favourite target of the ADBA. Three officers have come forward and admitted to slashing tents and spraying them with bear spray.

Councillor John Smith

Councillor John Smith

John Smith told the Globe and Mail back in 2008 that he was going to have the APD and the Bylaw Department start dealing with the homeless problem. We have all discovered to our horror what that looks like when the City poisoned the homeless at the Happy Tree across from the Salvation Army (with the Sally Ann’s agreement) this summer.

Someone has to step in and stop this ridiculous assumption by some members of the ADBA that the Abbotsford police force is theirs to order about on trivial little matters like parking complaints or political issues like a pot referendum or campaigns to legalize it.

Someone definitely has to reign in Tina Stewart and explain to her that her precious organization is neither above the law nor immune to prosecution for abusing it. She is not allowed to lie in order to get support for her political petition and she is not allowed to call the cops to stop someone else’s political petition.

Most importantly though … who told Tina she could simply call up the APD whenever she had a parking problem? She got the idea from someone.

AmbrÖse Bierce

AmbrÖse Bierce

AmbrÖse Bierce

AmbrÖse Bierce is Today’s writer in residence who occasionally gives voice to the concerns of individual citizens and taxpayers who, for a variety of reasons, are unable or unwilling to take a public stand on issues of relevance to the rest of the community. Reasons may include possible loss of job, injury to their business, or any number of quite legitimate reasons to keep their mouths shut.

While all columns and letters on Today are signed by their authors, we have decided to provide this venue for those with legitimate opinions, based on fact, with something to contribute to the public debate in the city. This is not a place for wild venting or personal attacks. AmbrÖse requires you identify yourself to him and explain why you need to keep your identity secure.

To Write AmbrÖse Simply Email Him At: AmbrÖ

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Deceit in Drugs says:

    “Who framed Roger Rabbit?”

  • Deceit in Drugs says:

    The APD work for the city and the Mayor is their boss…

    The word “entitlement’ comes to mind, when ADBA is
    mentioned and the Police are expected to respond to
    the ADBA’S requests on orders from the top or heads will

    It appears select property investors/developers have a hold
    on the Mayor’s office requiring APD’s immediate response
    to ADBA’S calls.

    If only other businesses in the city would get the same priority
    of immediate response.

  • Gerda Peachey says:

    Mike: Anyone has the right to phone the police, if they see the need for law enforcement. If Tina Stewart, who is tasked with the smooth running of the Abbotsord Downtown Business Association does not have the right to call for police assistenc, who does?
    Meghann Coughlan hopes to change the laws on marijuana, and is in charge of two ridings, hoping to sign up enough support here.
    While Meghann and I have wildly opposing views on some things, we are nonetheless really good friends. Meghann phoned to describe the rather chaotic bus business above, and she is far more honest and forthright than your account.
    Tina was right to respond when the shop owner appealed for help to get a large bus away from blocking her business. The bus had no permit to take up two spaces. The group did not have a permit to set up a signature table on the sidewalk. The man driving the bus had lost his licence the day before for excessive speeding. The group turned some very nasty language on Tina. The group were smoking marijuana on their bus.
    Maybe you should have a more accurate, forthright account written by Meghann.

    • meghanncoughlan says:

      I’m going to clear this all up.

      Tina came out about 15-20 minutes after we had arrived. The mouth on that woman almost made ME blush… and everyone knows that I can get my sailor on with the rest of them. There was NO discussion… only yelling, verbal abuse and cussing on behalf of Tina.

      I stepped in and asked to talk to her. She explained to me that this business, (the wool shop), was having a very important promotion. I explained that we were parked in a public space (two, actually), and that were more than willing to abide by the 2 hour parking restriction. At this point I believe we had about 1hr 15 minutes left.

      She was clearly irate. I mean, way beyond what was necessary. From what I saw during previous conversation, no one from our team was rude to her.

      I then showed her the legislation which allows for political campaigning in public spaces. She said that we had caused the wool store to lose half a day’s business. I asked why the wool store would close at 2 pm. She turned and walked back in the wool store.

      The police arrived and told us that we couldn’t park there. We asked what bylaw was being violated. He returned to his vehicle to call it in and let us know.

      When asking this, I wasn’t being cheeky and I am sure that Pete (I don’t recall his last name), would confirm this. I was concerned that we would run in to these problems in the future.

      He returned and said that there was a licensing issue. We found this odd seeing as the driver had acquired a speeding ticket previously and there was no mention of a licensing issue. He didn’t lose his license because of the speeding, though. He simply recieved a ticket and we found it odd that there was no mention of any licensing issues.

      He did have a valid license at the time. It turns out they needed a copy of his medical eval for class one. He downgraded to a 1-6 and there was no issue.

      Personally, I do find it quite odd that this issue came up on that particular day and not when he received a ticket earlier…

      During all of this commotion there was a car accident out front. Some super angry man hopped out of his car, (he hit a woman’s car who he claimed came out of nowhere), and began screaming bloody murder.

      Now at this point someone was smoking a cigarette out front, the Abbotsford Times was on scene and the officer was trying to make sense of everything. Someone told the cigarette smoker to get away from the store front. He started screaming back at the guy who said that… car accident guy is losing his mind… and there was the smell of marijuana. I cannot say who was smoking it because I didn’t see them.

      What do I think? I think smoking cigarettes and/or marijuana in high traffic areas is shitty. I smoke cigarettes and was sure to hide around the corner so as not to bother non-smokers.

      Car accident guy starts screaming… “How can you ask someone to get rid of a cigarette when someone else is smoking weed?” – A good point, in my opinion. Someone yelled back, “It’s my medicine!”

      I believe the officer was still right near the bus throughout all of this. The owner of Hub Sports came out and asked the officer to do something about the smell. He said he was getting complaints.

      What needs to be made absolutely clear is that when she came out like a litte flaming ball of angry no one was smoking anything. No one was blocking foot traffic. The officer made it quite clear that we were entitled to set up a table so long as there was room for people to walk. He stated to me that in the future, I can set up shop on any public sidewalk anywhere in town. That is our right. I’ll quote the actual legislature when I get my bag out of my car later. Alvaro has it at work.

      I’ve never met Tina until that day, but I woud NEVER have guessed that she holds a professional position. In fact, people who were walking by and not even signing the petition thought she was from the wool store and remarked that they would never set foot in that store again. Tina clearly hurt the reputation of the wool store. At NO time did I hear her mention the ADBA or her position with them.

      To be honest, I thought she must have been a woman from a bar who was having a bad day. Her behaviour was definitely low-class, or no-class, and no doubt escalated the situation far beyond what was necessary.

      In the end, I heard that we received a $100 parking violation for taking up two spots. I did not see it, though. I just wonder if this violaton would have been issued to an RV under different circumstances.

      Actually… I don’t. It wouldn’t have.

      But I also do agree that the woman needs to calm down about calling the police for parking violations.

      And if she is so concerned for the well-being of the ADBA she needs to lose her trucker vernacular and take an ativan.

      I don’t recall saying anything about our group being rude to TIna. Someone in our group got into it with the crazy car acident guy. And the smoker.

      We could even legally spend the rest of the campaign walking up and down Essendene collecting signatures… or put up a table in wider parts of the side walk.

      I think Ambrose is correct in inferring that this is an extension of the ADBA’s witchhunt re: marijuana.

      The ironic thing is that we ended up being there an extra 45 minutes longer once the police arrived because we had to sort out all sorts of things. If she would have calmed down we would have been gone right at noon.

    • Deceit in Drugs says:

      Everyone has right to phone police, but, was it serious enough to warrant calling police? As a rep. for business, one would think
      abit of compromise and diplomacy and tolerance amongst both
      groups could have solved the problem without police.

      But, evidently, that did not happen!

  • blackegg1 says:


    Wondering if you know who owns that parking lot
    and who owns the parking spots in front of the businesses?

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