Pubdate: Sun, 27 Feb 2005
Source: Calgary Herald (CN AB)
Copyright: 2005 Calgary Herald
Author: Colette Derworiz


Crime Worries Area Citizens

Living in Forest Lawn is a choice for Robin Reister.

A mother of four children under 10, Reister is concerned about drugs, 
prostitution and crime in Ward 10.

However, she said Forest Lawn and other neighbourhoods on the east side are 
getting a bad rap.

"The typical Calgarian looks at Forest Lawn as the Bronx or East Hastings 
- -- this really horrible area," said Reister. "If it was that bad, I 
wouldn't stay here with my kids."

She said there are parts of the area that are affected by prostitution and 
the crime that comes with it -- drugs, break-ins and robberies.

Both she and Diane Danielson, who served as the Ward 10 alderman for six 
years before being defeated last fall, said crime in the ward is average.

"Statistically it is," said Danielson, who is running for re-election in 
Monday's vote. "There are some challenges we face and statistically there 
are certain crimes that are a little higher here, but that is balanced off 
by certain crimes that are lower."

Crimes related to prostitution and drugs have emerged as the biggest 
concern for area residents, who have been fighting for years to improve the 
reputation of the area by organizing petitions and holding awareness marches.

There are about 62,000 residents living in Ward 10, made up of eight 
communities including Abbeydale, Applewood, Forest Heights, Forest Lawn, 
Marlborough and Penbrooke Meadows.

Based on doorstep chats in the area, candidate Dale Galbraith said crime is 
the No. 1 issue.

"There is some discussion from the past alderman that our crime is not any 
different than the rest of the city," he said. "That is not entirely true."

Problems with prostitution and drugs are well known, Galbraith said, and 
there is also higher incidents of house break-ins and car thefts in Ward 10 
than in any other area of the city.

"I would add resources to that part of the city that would allow us to make 
a concerted effort to clean up some of those areas," he said.

Challenger Barry Lindemann said he wants to work with residents to improve 
community pride by helping residents take their community back.

"You can't be proud of your community when it's infested with drug dealers 
and prostitutes," he said.

Lindemann said the election fiasco in Ward 10 last fall has also tarred the 

At the centre of last fall's voting controversy were 1,266 mail-in ballots 
requested by the Margot Aftergood's campaign team and sent to a mailbox 
rented by her husband, David.

Aftergood, who resigned her seat, has maintained her volunteers did nothing 
wrong and were only facilitating the vote. She's not running in Monday's 

The other candidates vying to take her seat on council are Manfred Baum, 
Brad Berard, Andre Chabot, Allan Foster, Antoni Grochowski and Doug Service.

Grochowski said traffic is the biggest issue for Ward 10 residents.

"We have the LRT going north, south and west but not east," he said, noting 
he would put more emphasis on improving transit service to the area by 
extending the C-Train tracks east on Memorial Drive.

Traffic, road maintenance and taxes have also been raised as concerns.

Some residents have mentioned the unfinished work on 68th Street N.E. while 
others were concerned about maintenance of existing roadways.

Chabot, a longtime resident of the area, said it's about time Ward 10 got 
its fair share from the city.

"We pay taxes here and what we get in return is incremental," he said at a 
recent forum. "We have needs here and its time we start getting our fair 

For her part, Reister said she is more concerned about improving the area 
than paying more taxes.

"I would pay 10 per cent more in taxes if I knew my child could go to a 
school without a crack house on either side," she said.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom