April 17th 2012, the 30th Anniversary of a great document, our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We in Canada did not have to survive the bloodshed of a revolution to enable us to prepare such a document as our neighbours the Americans had to with their Constitution. Canada had developed and grown for many decades prior to the drafting of a document that guarantees all Canadians regardless of race, religion, gender or even place of origin the identical rights and freedoms.
To commemorate this great document this article raises hard questions on how such a set of circumstances could possibly evolve in Canada.
In Toronto a City Councillor had been angered by individuals who are able to side step a law that everybody has to obey, it is in relation to illegal parking. Vehicles without plates cannot be ticketed and Councillor Frances Nunziata believes that these vehicles should simply be towed. As owners of vehicles we all know that we have to obey certain parking laws. We cannot simply stop our vehicle where we decide regardless if it is an old clunker or a Ferrari. True as human beings we are somewhat risk takers, if you need confirmation of this point just think of election day, for whatever reason we will park where we should not on occasion. We hurry and hope that the dreaded 'bomber' doesn't leave a gift on our wind shield.
To become a licensed driver in Ontario each must pass a test, know the various laws and be able to read what the road signs mean. Dare I say it is the same in every province of this country even Quebec, though the reading part may be a challenge to some of us. Still the government, on its various levels, does like the fact that so many of us challenge the scales of chance, taking the risk and having to pay for it. After all various road repair budgets would otherwise remain rather thin, not to mention how many jobs would be left unnecessary such as the Parking Patrol Officers.
These individuals who chose to wear the uniform of a Parking Patrol Officer do not take their job and authority lightly. All of the enforcement officers are governed by the Ontario Police Services Act. Each one not only wears a uniform, but is expected under law to enforce the rules equally and fairly. If you were to talk to a parking enforcement officer you would hear stories both wild and alarming. Some have faced anger and even the threat of violence. Others have been offered all kinds of bribes, or should we call them gifts. We have even heard of the wild rumours of quotas and the need to fulfil at all cost. One thing is common to all, whether from Toronto, Hamilton or St. Catharines or for that matter any part of the province, each Parking Authority By-Law Enforcement Officer swears an oath and is responsible for the fair and equitable enforcement of our parking laws.
Now I have to ask you can it be possible to park illegally for over five years, with full intent and purpose to break the law and never be ticketed? Mind you I am not talking about random locations but exactly at the same location each time, and almost every day. At times leaving the vehicle locked, parked illegally and disappearing to the cottage or wherever. You will say that it is impossible, maybe even remembering how many parking tickets you have had to pay in those five years.
|This was parked in front of my home for my wife and children to see from late in the afternoon till mid the next morning. Clearly this was meant as a threat as we continued to document the intentional abuse of the law.|
Ezra Levant who on behalf of our fearless oil developer Prime Minister Stephen Harper claimed in his tome 'Ethical Oil' that Canada is a country of equality. Indeed we do have the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that supposedly guarantees equality for all Canadians before and under the law. It does not stipulate that it applies only to the big laws but to all laws. Realistically we know that there are people who are more equal than others, it is called an overabundance of dollars or the right connections. For that reason we have a judicial system of fair and impartial judges and magistrates and so on. Ezra Levant stressed that here in Canada we have equality that extends to women, children and all Canadians more so than in other countries. Well I am about to prove to Ezra Levant, Prime Minister Harper, his ministers Kent, Oliver and to you that here in St. Catharines, in at least this situation, that equality is an absolute lie! Don't get me wrong I am very proud of my country and for that reason this has to be made public and questions raised, how was this possible?
What you are about to see rates right up there in the Ripley's Believe It Or Not files or maybe even the X-Files, and the truth really is out there. One individual, oh and his wife (heck don't forget our equality of women) decided to intentionally break the law, day after day for over five years. This individual and his wife did not care if they put innocent victims at risk with their acts. They did not care if they put their neighbours at risk, nor did they care for the laws that govern all of us equally.
Their address was 51 Almond Street, St. Catharines, in the Merritton Ward, at the intersection of Glendale Avenue and Almond Street and I do mean right at the intersection. Glendale Avenue is a busy major road in this part of town, leading to the highway, the Welland Canal and the Locks and the amazing shopping mecca the Pen Centre. More alarming was the fact that an elected City of St. Catharines Councillor Shiela Morra lived across the road, literally that is, on Glendale Avenue and was a personal friend of the Reiters. Mind you Shiela Morra a City of St. Catharines Councillor, one of two for the Merritton Ward must not of shared the sentiments of the Toronto Councillor. In addition to Mrs. Morra living across the road, the City of St. Catharines was aware of the actions by the Reiters, from the Mayor through to City Solicitor, Parking Authority and even the Niagara Regional Police Service. Oh and not to forget the second Merritton Ward City of St. Catharines Councillor Jennie Stevens, she was also aware of the situation. Now you have all met Councillor Jennie Stevens in the pages of Mayorgate and the now famous telephone answering machine message, though that came later.
As all the official people of the City of St. Catharines were made aware of this so was the local press, in the form of The Standard newspaper and reporter Marlene Bergsma. Again you have met The Standard's reporter Marlene Bergsma in the pages of Mayorgate.
How can this be possible, and I would challenge anyone who reads this for an explanation. More than 500 photographs had been taken and sent to city officials and the police. As we all know in any city, town or village the police ticket those who decide to break the law and park illegally. A small number of the photographs are posted here, but all are available for anyone to view on Google+.
The chronology begins in 2003 with the first photos taken, and continued through to 2010. This intersection at Glendale Avenue and Almond Street was a difficult one, with Glendale being a busy major road and yet the intersection on a curve in part, a blind one. No proper signs, with the stop sign some 20 feet down from the intersection. John Reiter and his wife Linda would park their vehicles on the curve making it more difficult for cars to enter Glendale Avenue from Almond Street. Reiter worked at the time for Hardale Properties and drove a white extended F150 van with a large trailer attached for his ride-on mowers and other equipment. On one occasion a young woman in a small vehicle unable to see on-coming traffic, because of the van and trailer, almost collided with a dump truck. That was the beginning of hell and abuse of public safety that can only astonish. The first photos here show the intersection and the vehicles parked. As the photos were taken Reiter called the police. An NRP (Niagara Regional Police) officer came. He told us that he knew this guy was an ass but that he had no laws to enforce here. Probably because this officer was unfamiliar with the official drivers handbook and rules regarding parking on a curve. The officer told us to get the law changed and he would enforce them. Wow get the laws changed, how could we do that. So we wrote the City, Niagara Region and provincial representatives.
As luck would have it 2003 was an election year, and we all know politicians, they'll do anything at election time. With great surprise only days before the October election we were notified by the mayor at that time Tim Rigby that a no parking sign would be erected and the stop sign moved to the corner. A day before the election we even had a visit from Regional Councillor Jamie Almas who told us this had to be the second worst intersection in St. Catharines, as a potential risk for an accident.
On election day 2003, a no parking sign was erected. It only affected the front yard of 53 Almond Street, not that of Reiter or his house. It was to provide safety to the corner and no more. We thought that would be all that was needed, but oh how wrong we were. It was the beginning to insanity that lasted years. Reiter arrived home, parked his truck half way across the sign, laughed and spat, and from that day on was never legal again.
|Even in heavy snow conditions John Reiter would park his work truck illegally obstructing the intersection for any motorist, his wife Linda Reiter would park the family vehicle illegally even when clearly there was ample space in front of her.|
As it has been said in the opening, we all know how it can be, no available parking spot, you are in a hurry and you decide to take a chance. Here one individual and his wife, in front of their own home with a large parking area in the back, intentionally parked their vehicles day after day for years and could not care for the safety of innocent people. The City, law enforcement did nothing. How is this possible? Look at the photos and the information and answer this for yourself.
Each day John Reiter would park his truck, many times with the trailer attached illegally with full intent. That NRP officer only another liar as we came to prove. I began to photograph and record reach day. John Reiter saw me photograph the illegally parked Hardale truck and as I walked back to my porch he laughed and said, “take all the pictures you want, ha ha ha.” I recoded Reiter and his contempt then took his advise and photographed for over six years. Sheila Morra, a city councillor lived across the road and watched. Neighbours watched, some shook their heads, others didn't even bother to do that. I wrote Sheila Morra, (not knowing at the time she lived across the road), at the Merritton Matters Newsletter. No response, no reply. I wrote Mayor Tim Rigby sending copies of photographs of the intentional illegal parking. Reiter then called the police.
The NRP officers who came were beyond belief. One could not understand what was the big deal with the fact that Reiter and his wife parked illegally. At the time Mayor Tim Rigby responded with this, “We cannot post a Parking Enforcement Officer permanently on Almond Street.” It would appear that an elected councillor living across the road and the roving parking enforcement patrols were not enough. Mayor Rigby went on to say “As I indicated in the past, calls will be addressed according to officer discretion.” What the hell did that mean? How foolish of anyone to think that the law was in fact enforced equally to all and not simply at an “officer discretion.”
Now more than two years have passed the intentional illegal parking by John Reiter and his wife Linda continued. Several hundred photographs collected. Every attempt to get help that was possible had been tried. There were times when the work truck owned by Hardale Properties would be parked illegally and left for several days in the same position. The law didn't matter to John Reiter nor his wife Linda, nor the potential safety of innocent individuals who used this corner. The Manager of Transportation Services, Kris Jacobson advised Mayor Tim Rigby “that the parking of vehicles in this area creates a sight obstruction for motorists using the intersection.” Yet the insanity continued.
We continued to photograph believing that in the end somehow the evidence gathered would be overwhelming. John Reiter then called the NRP again. The uniformed cops who came were recorded by me. What they said can make you laugh at the insane words and attitudes of these bastions of law enforcement. This is a quote from one such officer “...the parking is to find out what precedent has been set in St. Catharines court as to what constitutes an offence.” Wow! I guess a sign on the street is not enough. Now this, “And we have now started to receive calls from him now that he is complaining being harassed by a, by constant attention from the neighbours so we have to be fair to everybody.” What a wonderful and fair human being in uniform this was! It's true the cop really said this, I have the tape!
It went on, “so what we're saying is we may not be able to respond to each and every parking complaint that comes our way because we have to direct our resources elsewhere and now the next door neighbour is starting to complain that he is being criminally harassed by this constant attention, he may have something there, he may and in which case ah, we would definitely be required to investigate those complaints so we may be knocking on the door and say, listen he is complaining of this now.” Here it is, law enforcement NRP style! The guy who breaks the law intentionally almost every day is the one who complains of harassment when he is recorded breaking the law. Hundreds of photos didn't matter to these cops.
The insanity continued daily, then on Sunday the 30th of October 2005 an illegally parked red Chevrolet Z24 plate#AWNX 900 was ticketed by the Parking Authority. Reiter came out of his house, took the parking ticket off the windshield and walked up and down Almond Street waving it in the air and laughing.
The municipal elections of 2006 brought a change, Mayor Rigby was no longer the mayor and Sheila Morra no longer a Merritton Councillor. Morra continued to live across the road and the association with the Reiters continued. Councillor Jennie Stevens was returned to council, though she never returned to find out if the law was being broken continually, no attempt at contact by me received a response. All remained the same, day in and day out the Reiters broke the law. Calling Parking Authority was useless. The NRP threatened my wife and I that if we continued to take photos of the illegal acts that we would be charged with criminal harassment. We continued to take photographs, hundreds of them.
Glendale Avenue was being ripped up and resurfaced with new sewers being placed. Our corner of Almond Street at Glendale Avenue was being completely changed. With all the road work which included Almond Street the safety issue became more serious. Reiter did not give a damn. As you look at the photographs only shock can be felt. One photo shows a police patrol passing as the Hardale Properties truck was parked completely illegally. Reiter's contempt for the law, for his neighbours' safety was beyond belief. Yet it was difficult to understand why Reiter would do this. Why would his wife do this? No sane explanation could be found then nor can it be discussed today.
Although Sheila Morra had lost the 2005 election, she and her family still lived across the road on Glendale Avenue and continued their association with the Reiters. May 2007 brought a new twist to the whole insanity. I had delivered flyers in my neighbourhood for The Standard, fantastic exercise and greatly beneficial for my health. Except that I had realized I was being followed. I knew the vehicle, it was a blue Pontiac van belonging to Anthony (Tony) Morra and Shiela Morra. There was no understanding of any kind why this would be happening. Why would the husband of an ex-City of St. Catharines Councillor be stalking me. I intentionally went a long way out of my normal route. Morra followed me and parked, and disappeared out of his vehicle. It was early in the morning on a Saturday and no stores were open. I had called friends who came as witnesses who also knew the Morras through their church. Anthony Morra's car was photographed yet no sign of him to be seen.
I called the police, the rest a farce of corrupt action and lies, later to be proven as no surprise in relation to the Niagara Regional Police Service. The record of the situation as the filed Incident Report was something to behold. Anthony Morra admitted to the stalking and lied. My supervisor at the time provided the information that Tony Morra lied, the NRP ignored that. My computer print-outs that listed all my deliveries were not even looked at by the constable that proved Anthony Morra lied. The last sentence by Constable Christophe McLeod a total lie! Canada's Criminal Code states stalking a serious offence. Anthony Morra, husband of Sheila Morra ex-City of St. Catharines Councillor admitted to stalking, lied to police and walked away without consequence. Clear evidence was ignored by the Niagara Regional Police, including a statement by a supervisor at The Standard to further prove that Anthony Morra lied. Anthony Morra an admitted stalker, who followed and watched a total stranger for his own sick reasons walked away from any consequence. No attempts at getting help worked. The management at The Standard said that my safety was my own responsibility as it was not The Standard that was harassed or stalked. Yep they actually put that in writing, simply look at it!
John Reiter and his wife Linda Reiter continued to break the law each day without care, with full contempt for what we as equal citizens would consider to be a guarantee under the Charter of Rights. On the 1st of October in 2006 a vehicle belonging to a family member of Reiter's neighbour was ticketed by the NRP. This vehicle was in exactly the same position as Reiter had been, hundreds, literally hundreds of times illegally and never ticketed. The insane words by those NRP officers who had threatened us to stop photographing Reiter now were to be seen for what they were. An NRP officer had ticketed an illegally parked vehicle in exactly the position that hundreds of photographs showed Reiter park his work truck, or his wife Linda Reiter the family van. John Rieter came home and laughed with his comment “nice neighbours eh.” He was not ticketed.
Our Charter of Rights guarantees equality before and under the law. Equality of law does not exist here in St. Catharines, only corruption of law and there has been enough evidence to support that statement through the pages of Mayorgate.
Reiter and his family moved out of the house but retained ownership and rented it out. Now several vehicles on a number of separate occasions were ticketed for illegal parking. Those vehicles were parked illegally in the same fashion as John Reiter had parked the Hardale Properties truck, though all were private vehicles without trailers attached loaded with wood. One small work truck was ticketed by a St. Catharines Parking Authority Officer Badge #202. This is the same parking patrol officer who on May 1st 2005 came out as the Hardale Properties truck was parked illegally overnight with no vehicles in front of it. Officer Badge #202 came over and stood bent over and spoke with John Reiter quietly, and was about to leave. I came out with my tape recorder held high and tried to ask questions why was he not ticketed or not told to move the truck. Badge #202 is incredible to listen to, he in fact said that it had to be 50% over to be illegal! Yes that is what Parking Authority Officer Badge #202 said.
In an article on February 2nd 2008 in The Standard, Parking Patrol Officer Les Welgan was interviewed by reporter Samantha Craggs. According to reporter Craggs, Les Welgan carries this in his pocket, a white card with these words: “The City of St. Catharines prohibits the practice of allowing provincial offences officers to cancel parking tickets. This policy is required to ensure uniform application of municipal parking bylaws.” Welgan is further quoted saying “We're not the enemy out here. We just want people to obey the rules.” Hypocrisy and lies. Maybe Weglan should speak to Badge #202.
Both the Niagara Regional Police and the St. Catharines Parking Authority ticketed illegally parked vehicles on the very same physical location where John and Linda Reiter parked illegally. John and Linda were never ticketed, why? The Charter of Rights guarantees equality, in fact no parking ticket issued in St. Catharines during these years was a legal fine. How did John Reiter park illegally day after day for more than five years without even one parking ticket issued? He parked his white Hardale Properties truck illegally and left town for up to five days on more than one occasion. Was it who he worked for? Hardale Properties and Metro have the same owner, Hardale Properties' President is listed as John Cappellazzo and Metro's President and Board Member is listed as John Cappellazzo, it is a Metro van that John Reiter has been driving for several years. On December 6th 2009 after moving out of his house at 51 Almond Street, Reiter parked illegally the Metro van for several hours almost 100% illegal with no vehicles in front of him. Why? What was the reason for John Reiter to do this even though he no longer lived here? Who did John Reiter need to show off to that he did as he pleased with the law? Was it John Cappellazzo who gave him permission to do as he pleases?
On four separate occasions in 2009: March 26, March 29, April 22 and May 8, the St. Catharines Parking Authority ticketed vehicles that were illegally parked in exactly the same position as the Reiter's work truck or private vehicle. On April 7th 2010, Badge #202 of the Parking Authority ticketed a small work truck with a trailer. Why were no tickets issued to John Reiter or wife Linda Reiter? Both John and Linda Reiter parked illegally for over five years and all the necessary authorities had been notified. Literally hundreds of photographs documenting the fact were provided. Look at the parking authority officers role in ticketing an illegal vehicle, they in fact take a photo of the illegally parked vehicle. What more could be provided as evidence of complete contempt for the law by both John Reiter and his wife Linda Reiter.
The City of St. Catharines Parking Authority were aware of what was happening. Both Mayor Tim Rigby and current Mayor Brian McMullan were aware of this. City Councillors Sheila Morra and Jennie Stevens were aware. Niagara Regional Police from Chief Wendy Southall and down were aware, in fact they stood in uniform on our porch and threatened us with criminal harassment charges if we continued to photograph the Reiters breaking the law. Meeting John Reiter one would know it is not charm and personality nor good looks that let him get away with such contempt for the law and for the safety of others. Corruption? A nasty word true, but breaking the law without any consequence, in public for over five years and almost daily? How many tickets have you paid in these years? Under the Charter of Rights, which also guarantees equality for all Canadians those tickets were illegal. If John Reiter and wife Linda Reiter were permitted to break the law daily by a municipal government, a Mayor and a regional police force then it stands to reason no Canadian should be liable.
Now that's a thought, all you need is a lawyer with some b....!
Mayor McMullan of St. Catharines used his spokesperson Andrew Gill during the 2010 Municipal Election to attack a mayoral candidate for using the words “corruption at city hall.” At that time Councillor Gill publicly demanded an apology from the candidate. Maybe Mayor Brian McMullan would try that tactic now. I as the author and publisher of Mayorgate will not apologize for publishing facts. Corruption is the only answer as to how a thug was able to break the law daily with full intent and contempt and never face any consequences.
It may be that in Canada we did not struggle to develop the ideals of equality, we simply drafted a piece of paper. We take a great deal for granted in this country and what is frightening none of the words of our Charter of Rights are a true guarantee. Canadian men and women, wearing proudly the uniforms of the military forces have sacrificed their precious lives in foreign lands to instill the foundation of equality and rights of the individual. Here we let John and Linda Reiter spit on the very essence of that sacrifice. Each and every member of the government of St. Catharines, each and every member of the Parking Authority and each and every member of the Niagara Regional Police Service are equally responsible!
P.S.: This is the first time Mayorgate has found a reason for a post script to an article published only days prior. As documented John Reiter and his wife abused the law at will for over five years without consequence. Today this gem became available as further proof of the contempt for law this individual has. Our star came in his private vehicle and without concern did exactly what he had done for 5 years plus. His house has a large vacant parking area off Chestnut Lane. No reason to do this and no acceptable explanation. Was it difficult for John Reiter to park his vehicle in his own vacant parking area? If there were not over 500 photographs spanning almost 6 years of intentional abuse by John Reiter, then maybe whatever excuse he would spit out would be acceptable.
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