Implausible Deniability (Part Three)

By June 24, 2013Hot Topic, Mike Archer

By Mike Archer. Through everything we have witnessed and all that has been published on this topic it appears quite clear that the Abbotsford Chicken Manure Homeless Incident was not an isolated incident conducted by a few “low level authorities.”

It simply doesn’t pass the reasonable person* test. In Part Two we dealt we the economic decline of the City of Abbotsford over the last decade and the growth in significance of the Railway District as the City looked for some example of economic growth it could point to amidst all of the mothballed development offices and holes in the ground from developments which have never been started.

This week we look at the allegations against the Abbotsford Police Department and the political paralysis which set in when, as a result of an Abbotsford Today exclusive, the Abbotsford Chicken Manure Homeless Incident was revealed and the City’s attempts to deal with resulting worldwide coverage of the incident revealed that the mistreatment of the homeless has become a De Facto policy for a City in deep financial trouble.

Chief Bob Rich

Chief Bob Rich

Abbotsford Chief Constable Bob Rich

Abbotsford Chief Constable Bob Rich

Part Three – The Abbotsford Police Department

Since Police Chief Bob Rich has openly admitted he has a policy of displace and disperse, and since the real economy in Abbotsford is in such bad shape, despite all the positive sounding noises out of the politicians, the Economic Development Department and the two chain-owned newspapers, is it possible the pressure to please developers like Bob Bos and David Krahn and anyone else interested in the revitalization and growth of the Railway District has become a De Facto policy of accommodation at almost any cost at the City of Abbotsford?

After all, if two heavyweight councillors like Bruce Beck and John Smith would actually think it appropriate to join Bob Bos and publicly lecture a local Pastor for feeding the poor, receive nationwide attention for it and suffer no consequences, what are the “low level authorities’ the Abbotsford News refers to on June 12 supposed to think.

And if, as has been alleged by many people over many years, the APD or City staff have regularly crossed the line by, not only spreading chicken manure but by slashing homeless people’s tents and poisoning their belongings with bear spray or pepper spray over an extended period of time (a minimum of three years) as well as a relentless process of chasing them around our City … then I’m sorry but, written down or not, we have a policy in this City of abusing homeless people.

A Policy By Any Other Name …
If the behaviour of John Smith, Bruce Beck and Bob Bos is the way City councillors openly, brazenly and unashamedly behave, and the police have a policy of displace and disperse, is it not apparent that, whether someone was dumb enough to write it down or put in in an email or not, that Abbotsford does, in fact, have a policy towards the homeless.

That policy, it is now clear, is exactly what advocate for the homeless and Abbotsford Today columnist James Breckenridge has always said (as have any number of people, other than the Salvation Army which receives all of the political funding in town).

If this is not going to be allowed to reflect on the City as a whole, its citizens, and its international reputation, Mayor Banman is going to have to do more than circle the wagons and make pronouncements about dealing with things internally and being unable to say who is responsible.

If he means he can’t legally blame the people at the bottom and doesn’t want to publicly blame those at the top then he should get some ads in the paper because his chiropractic practice is going to be his only source of income after his first and last term as mayor.

The citizens and voters of Abbotsford are not going to put up with another fumbling City of Abbotsford PR campaign in response to this scandal.

This is your Waterloo Bruce, if you don’t come clean, tell the truth and help this City to move on. We can’t move on if we sweep this (pardon the pun) disgusting incident under the carpet.

City in the CountryWe Can No Longer Pretend

Nor can we allow ourselves to pretend that, what seems to have clearly developed into a modus operandi at the City of Abbotsford … from City Councillors like John Smith, through the Economic Development Department led by Jay Teichroeb, and the APD led by Bob Rich, and all the way down to the “low level authorities’ the Abbotsford News refers to, is nothing less than a systematic policy of demeaning, threatening, attacking and poisoning poor people for the sake of some developers who were led to believe they had bought into an economic dream which clearly isn’t happening.

We used to call it a pig in a poke. Now it’s called the City in the Country.

It’s hard to blame business people and developers for being frustrated at the lack of business or the sense they were sold a bill of goods when they read all the glossy brochures produced by the Economic Development Department.

We doubt any of them are going to own up to asking for this. They’re smarter than that.

Acting as though this was an isolated incident perpetrated by low level authorities does not do justice to the honest, caring and good people of this community whose name is being dragged through the mud by a policy their political and administrative leaders have allowed to fester and which the people of Abbotsford would never have allowed had they been asked.

Pretending this didn’t happen as a result of something rotten at the core of the civic administration and politics of Abbotsford will merely allow it to grow and consume even more of our City’s character.

Own up to it Bruce. You’re already wearing it. It’ll be your George Peary’s Deal before you know it.

This is not the way a City of Character behaves.

*The Reasonable Person. As a legal fiction,[ the “reasonable person” is not an average person or a typical person. Instead, the “reasonable person” is a composite of a relevant community’s judgment as to how a typical member of said community should behave in situations that might pose a threat of harm (through action or inaction) to the public.

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