Man charged in double homicide

Denzil Kemoy Williams has been charged for the murder of two men in Mount Dennis.

On June 29, Ahmed Mohamud, 32, and Christopher Teape, 25, were killed outside 55 Emmett Avenue, in a shooting the police chief said was “absolutely targeted”. A third man, whom the police have not identified, was seriously injured.

Williams, 33, was arrested on Saturday. The police found a gun and ammunition in the course of their search. He has been charged with two counts of murder, and one count of attempted murder.

 

Urban heroes–vote for Ken!

Ken Theobald, a volunteer at the Weston King Neighbourhood Centre, has been nominated for an Urban Heroes award, and he needs your vote.

KenFrom the profile:

Ken Theobald is a front-line community worker who has been working in the city’s northwest inner suburbs (specifically Weston/Mount Dennis) for the past decade. He goes way beyond what is expected in his job.

He is a tireless advocate for those who live on the margins in this community — those who are homeless, struggling in poverty, dealing with mental health issues, dealing with substance issues, newcomers, refugees, racialized and Indigenous people.

He is a strong advocate for the inner suburbs and for neighbourhoods that are under-served and under resourced.

Ken is also a strong social justice advocate who campaigns for adequate housing, income support, an effective poverty reduction strategy and a social safety net for those in need.

He is an effective community organizer who has introduced new programs and services to this community. He believes that the key to being a good advocate and a good organizer is the ability to listen and to transition from empathy to action.

 

12 Division is the best

Something unusual is going on at 12 Division police headquarters.

The police in 12 Division are, according to a survey of Toronto residents, are the best in the city, in terms of honesty, trustworthiness, objectivity, communication, and freedom from bias. The study, which was released on May 30, surveyed more than 1500 Torontonians for their views of neighbourhood cops.

The survey found “stark” contrasts in how residents viewed police. Whites and Asians generally found police trustworthy and unbiased. Blacks  were much less likely to do so.  For instance, “Nineteen percent of Torontonians believe that the city’s police officers have discriminated against them in the past because of their ethnic background. 50% of Blacks held that view – some 30% above the population estimate.”

There was another remarkable contrast: between 12 Division and the rest. 12 Division led the rest in every measure.

  • 87% of those surveyed in 12 Division found police honest.
    • Only  60% did everywhere else
  • 77% in 12 Division found police trustworthy
    • 53% did elsewhere
  • 10% of residents thought that the police were biased against their ethnicity
    • 28% did city-wide
  • 13% of 12 division residents thought the police had ethnic biases
    • 51% of Torontonians did

This week, Frances Nunziata issued the division a certificate of appreciation to celebrate their accomplishment.

 

 

Fat Bastard Burrito

As always, I’m a little late to the game, but the family and I finally had the chance to go to Fat Bastard Burrito on Weston Road.

Himanschu (back) and Simon (front)

If you haven’t been, it’s a great place for a fast, good, takeout.

We got two medium chickens and two veggies. They’re loaded—closer in size to a football than a seven-layer, that’s for sure. We did finish them, but barely.

Fat Bastard has a neat take on burritos. They jam as much of everything in as the shell can hold: grilled veggies, beans, rice, guac, salsa, more salsa, hot sauce, Asian noodles, nacho chips, sour cream, corn, peppers, and some things I forget—and that’s not including your filling: beef, chicken, shrimp, and the like.

It’s not Mexican food like I’ve ever had, but it’s still a damned fine burrito. I have some pictures of the inside, but nobody wants to see that. Burritos are a three-sense food.

I’m happy to see the Fat Bastard come to Weston, because I like cheap, good food. Dinner for four was $43, and worth every penny.

But I’m also happy to see them, because they’re a sign of good things. Fat Bastard joins Ginger Pho and Zeal Burger as a new entrant in the mid-market–until very recently, hold-your-belly filled by only P&M’s.

It’s easy to forget how much things have changed. When I moved here 12 years ago, Weston was stuck in the 1970s: you could choose between fish and chips and diner food for your typical $12 Tuesday-night dinner, and there was nothing more expensive.

Now, what a difference! Restaurateurs, like all right-minded people, see that things are getting good in Weston.

Amber Alerts: a wake-up call

From CityNews

Most of us have smart phones and unless we turn them off or put them in airplane mode overnight, we’re going to be awakened by an Amber Alert occurring anywhere in the province. To me this is overkill. Other jurisdictions have managed to allow opting out of the alerts or containing them to regions. Not so in Canada. Each province can only issue a province-wide alert.

My heart bleeds when some unfortunate child goes missing in Thunder Bay, Ottawa or Windsor but there’s very little I can do from my bed here in Greater Weston™; especially when police wait until 3 am to wake me and ask me to do their job. Yes, there may be compelling examples of how an AA has saved a life but they are extremely rare. In most cases, alerts are triggered by a parental dispute with little danger to the child.

People annoyed at being awakened by an Amber Alert are made to feel like pariahs. Don’t get me wrong; if you call 911 because you’re mad at being awakened by an AA, it’s official; you’re an idiot. Most of us don’t call 911 to complain but there’s a considerable body of opinion that only heartless douches resent being awakened.

Call me old-fashioned but I like a good night’s sleep. A solid 7 or 8 hours is important for us so-called adults in order to function effectively the next day. Indeed, population-wide sleep disturbances are dangerous. How do we know this? Each spring after the clocks go forward, the loss of an hour’s sleep boosts heart attack and road accident rates significantly (7% and 17% respectively).

In effect, Amber Alerts may kill more people than they save.

The fix: either restrict alerts to daytime hours or (to accommodate shift workers) allow people to opt out while asleep.

Oh and one more thing; cut the sanctimony.

More thoughts on distracted pedestrians

Screengrab from toronto.ctvnews.ca

I’ve often said that the most dangerous thing anyone can do in Weston is walk across the street. It’s true; 40 pedestrians in Toronto were killed last year in the second full year of Zero Vision Vision Zero. Many more suffered life altering injuries. This is the initiative designed to bring Toronto’s annual traffic-related carnage to zero fatalities by 2021.

So far, Vision Zero has been an abject failure – pedestrian fatalities rose from 37 to 40 between 2017 and 2018.

Vision Zero faces an uphill battle in our city with its woefully inadequate public transit and streets designed to favour cars. Many suburban car owners opt to drive downtown rather than suffer a longer and less comfortable time on Toronto’s poorly planned and overcrowded transit system. These drivers want clearer streets, higher speed limits and no pesky buses, cyclists or pedestrians getting in the way.

Many motor-minded folks put the blame for traffic collisions squarely on inattentive pedestrians and cyclists. They also blame them for not wearing appropriately coloured clothing. This is the school of thought that says pedestrians and cyclists should wear glow-in-the-dark fluorescent clothing while cyclists should be licensed and insured, wear bright orange and pay road tax. As Adam says, they blame the victims.

When pedestrians and cyclists are inattentive, they largely put themselves at risk. Inattentive motorists pose a risk to all road users. 1600 kilos of metal travelling at 60 km/h is far more dangerous than 100 kilos of flesh and bone walking at 6 km/h or even 26 km/h on a bike. Mathematically, the onus for care and attention should be at hundreds of times greater on the motorist than the pedestrian but somehow drivers feel the obligation is an equal one. (Mathematical purists – I understand the speed thing makes the multiple even higher but I’m on a roll here. Please feel free to calculate a better answer.)

From Toronto.com

What about pedestrians crossing the road away from a designated crossing? This is perfectly legal 30 metres or more from a crossing or intersection. Motorists should expect to see pedestrians crossing the road between intersections and drive accordingly.

What about the people being killed? The vast majority are in Scarborough where speed limits are generally higher. They are also predominantly older – not nimble enough to make it across in time. As the old saying goes; speed kills. A reduction in the speed of traffic is a big answer to traffic injuries and fatalities.

From Pressreader.com. Click to enlarge.

Finally:

  • This is clearly an equity issue (not just for seniors) and one that should have top priority.
  • Toronto Council has failed for years to build the bike lanes that it has approved. The current pace has averaged a dismal 20 km annually. There’s a fresh set of such promises for 2019 and beyond (they claim this time they mean it).
  • North America’s safest city is Montréal. We should study what they do there. For example, Montréal’s bike network exceeds 350 km compared to Toronto’s pitiful and disjointed <150 km.
  • The disturbing uptick in fatalities may be caused by drivers attending to their phones. There needs to be a solution to this problem. Perhaps technology is the answer.
  • Councillor Nunziata was responsible for establishing a committee which came up with an awesome action plan to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists (in old Ward 11). Many of the recommendations are excellent and hopefully they will be updated to include old Ward 12 and implemented asap. Ms. Nunziata is taking predictable flak for supporting bike lanes on Scarlett Road south of Eglinton. She should be applauded for this initiative.