When I'm not pulling an all-nighter, good for at least one a week, and going for a long distance bike-hike,
outside for a day and a half, I'll go for a walk along the canal heading towards Port Colborne, and at least once or twice a summer or winter, make it to Nickel Beach and back. It's nice to hike through areas I can't push my bike through and do some rock climbing around the old quarry.
I was coming back from a hike, passing the old Commercial Photocopy building on King Street,
when I noticed a woman standing where the old drop-off box was. She was holding one bare arm out,
with a hypodermic needle in her other hand, drawing it away, and said "I'm sorry you had to see that".
I stopped, seeing what looked like self-made blue tattoos on her arm, and looked her in the eyes.
"This isn't a good place to be hanging out", I said, "where the old drop-off box used to be.
Cars could swing in here late at night, urgent business, starting with the old strip club that was here".
She thanked me for telling her that and I kept walking.
Over a week later I was walking down King Street before sunset, going for another hike, and as I was passing Commercial Photocopy, walking beside the park, this woman came up to me again. She was wearing a different dress, still grungy looking, with the same tattoos on her arm. She came up to me and said they know there's a crack lab somewhere in the neighbourhood, and did I know where it was.
I said I'm not a detective and she turned to walk away. I said you should have asked me what a sign-painter would say, and I'd have some business comments.
She said "so you want to play games", and I said 'I'm just being real about it'. She came back.
I described the businesses on that end of King Street, how the one gas station became a machine shop,
how other businesses closed, saying the Blue Star is still popular and busy as a restaurant and bar,
with the all-night gas bar at the corner closing with employees being given a two week notice.
I told her about an animal trainer who bought a machine that stamps the name on pill capsules,
selling animal tranquilizer as ritalin, how other businesses became slum lord apartment buildings,
and then pointed to a new restaurant, everything looking nice and expensive, saying that starting a new restaurant across from the Blue Star wasn't the best business move.
I commented on a big cast iron chicken they were installing on a concrete base, seeing the same product around the Kitchener-Cambridge and Stratford area when I was sign-painting with a van.
I described this business as being only suspicious, first of all, for only having breakfast and lunch.
Any new restaurant needs a supper crowd and alcohol sales for the biggest profit, what are ordinary business hours. I told her about the windows being covered in paper, saying it's closed for special events. And then I described the vehicles in the parking lot for those special occasions, saying they had Harley Davidson logos on most of them, with custom options that were very expensive. I said in Welland, only the Ward family did business like that, directing people to be customers, so she should check the license plates to see if I'm right because they looked like the same old license plates to me.
She agreed this was suspicious and thanked me for talking with her. I don't even know her name,
and we didn't shake hands. I kept walking, hiking around the Union Carbide property. I don't know if you know it, but the Bhopal industrial accident that killed over 3,000 people in India, was a Union Carbide disaster. Here in Welland, Union Carbide decided to beautify their property, landscaping it like a park and planting unusual trees, to show how environmental they could be. They never paid the individual claims, something like $3,450 per person who died, and they just left, the industrial pollution still killing people to this day. At the Union Carbide property, I could find various trees bearing edibles, persimmon and other nut trees that aren't native to this area. I also know what chemicals they dumped onto the rocks before they paved it over as a new road. Toxins still vent from underground through vents, rising on cold nights.
Almost two weeks later I heard about what police called the biggest warehouse of crime in the Niagara Peninsula. A big crack or meth lab, weapons and technology, money, with many immediate arrests. I would like to clarify right now, the boyfriend of the restaurant owner was found to be guilty,
the woman who owned the restaurant wasn't arrested and convicted. It's still open.
After that, there were mass arrests on King Street. I could walk down King Street after dark and not see one person outside or looking out a window. For two nights I had King Street to myself. On the third night I saw a business owner I knew locking up, making signs for his brother on the other side of town.
I asked him what was happening. He said "everyone has gone away". I said I haven't seen anyone outside after dark for two days. He said again, "everyone has gone away". I said what do you mean, "everyone has gone away". He said "everyone got arrested except for me and my brother, and they'll be coming back". The next night, walking to No Frills to see if there were any end of day discount stickers on food, a police officer pulled up beside me and said "we're having mass arrests with a neighbourhood lock-down, and you shouldn't walk around here". I was surprised his car could come up right behind me,
without hearing a thing. As he drove away he made the tires chirp, sounding like a bird.
That happened again, and I was told they were having neighbourhood lock-downs across the canal.
I did not betray any confidences or secrets. I simply described activities by people who make my life suffer. If they want it all, being criminals and being public personalities, they can only blame themselves.
I'm sure we all know that traditional, if not Biblical saying, you can't have it all, or be good and evil at the same time. If someone just talking about what they are seeing is enough to bring your downfall,
you can only blame the optics of your own bad business plan or split personalities, the way you were raised to be. Just the same, I can only be who I was raised to be.
No-one has ever come up to me in person to blame me or threaten me about this, even if I posted a big Facebook story about it before I de-activated myself, and sent email copies to friends.
I knew police were still watching this business, and wanted to warn people about getting involved.
After it took a lot of criminal action to make me homeless again during the month of my birthday,
as predicted by members of the Ward family, the first time being 65, this time being 66, I stayed outside from the third week of May until the end of September, three days before a freezing snow storm. I set up a shelter in the parking lot of the Oak Centre, on a deck with roof over my head.
It was nice, hearing the ducks, geese and swans, watching the squirrels, skunks and possums,
and seeing the sun set over the river and canal, and the clouds and stars at night. That really
helps me now, doing paintings with more natural detail. I wasn't paying rent, so I was eating at
restaurants a lot, having fish and chips at Cheers two or three times a week. Oak Center staff also
made extra meals, what they do for lunch for members, so I could buy them for breakfast or supper.
Members of the Ward family said if I was still living in Welland, running for mayor when I was 65,
I would be made homeless, sick and with nothing. In Welland, what the Wards want the Wards get.
I knew I could never win an election, knowing elections in Welland were made to look like elections.
I also knew that after the first time I was a mayoral candidate in 1985, City Council passed a new
by-law, saying that if all the councilors voted against a mayor they could kick him out. Imagine that, voters, a few people sitting in city council could over-ride the votes of your entire city.
It's not a secret now, but it was back then. Two business owners, one the building owner,
and another who rented main floor storefront space for a Saturday and Sunday buy and sell business,
made me an offer that at first I thought was too good to be true. They showed me a basement apartment, where the owner from India first stayed when he was converting apartments upstairs.
That was after his Flea Market business was made bankrupt by Welland vendors who were dealers in their own homes, all walking out after three months, one afternoon, after not paying any rent.
They left stuff behind as payment.
I was told I could pay $400 a month rent, with free hydro, free telephone and free high speed internet. My federal and provincial income tax and pension benefits have been interfered with, coming from the N.D.P. of Cindy Forster, and I was only getting $702 a month, plus whatever self-employed money I could make. I didn't think this situation would last long, but both owners absorbed a lot of criminal activities and thefts against them, and I'm still here a year later. I'm very happy to be here, having a big space as a workshop with old retail space for storage.
I'm talking with everyone who stands outside or walks the streets of King Street, and helping to carry furniture and items to people in social assistance apartments gets me inside talking with them.
About seven weeks ago, I was told nine people died during one night. Six people died from drug overdoses because for the first time their drugs were cut with fentanyl and they weren't told about it. The bodies of two women were found floating in the canal by the barge stage, and a man everyone called the tall bald-headed guy who walked down King Street was found dead in the grass behind the Jubilee apartments, said to have committed suicide. People were angry at the Ward family for doing that to them, and were complaining to me. Meth-heads were saying this, and were complaining about life-styles they said N.D.P. funded social services were making them live. I had grown men complaining that they could get out of jail and not want to go back, but they were forced to return to previous apartments were trouble began, if they wanted to continue to get O.D.S.P. funding and all the free services that brought.
I was already complaining to the police every few days about my apartment being entered, just to mess around with me. Police say the Ward family is good at getting into you head. Objects were being left on my bed, symbolic of threats I heard downtown, stuff I was making was being stolen or wrecked, with more valuable items like cameras and musical equipment, tools and decorations, not being touched. At least back then.
There was a divorce in the family from India who owned this building, still called the Flea Market by locals, and the new owner, a son, phoned me from Toronto, asking if I was John Watt, the man who became friends with his grandfather and father, and could he pick me up. I said sure, and when he got to Welland he took me to the fire department, where Chief Fire Inspector Ron VanHell and police had a meeting with us. They decided to raid the Flea Market apartments right away, those doors being behind the building. I have the keys to the storefront entrance so I can get down into my apartment.
Without my TV, radio or playing guitar, I could hear what was going on upstairs.
Police knocked on some doors to serve warrants. Police escorted the new owner for new owner inspections, and if they saw something illegal they made arrests. Firemen were doing voluntary apartment inspections, and if they saw something illegal through the door or when they were let inside, they called the police.
I was standing across the street with the police and fire inspector who were watching, when men and women in their underwear, with full colour tattoos from their necks to their ankles, began running out of the building. Eighteen meth-heads lived in one apartment, and people were living on the roof with hydro. I didn't know that. A police car chased a man down the path along the canal, police and firemen were running around the neighbourhood, and none of it looked good. Angry neighbours came up the street to say that shouldn't be happening because they didn't want their children to see it. I could have said you vote for the people and pay tax dollars to set this up, O.D.S.P. and N.D.P. recipients,
but I didn't. Other King Street people were starting to walk over to see what was happening.
I didn't want everyone to think I started all of this, so I went and sat by my favorite bench along the canal. After it was all over I went down into my apartment. I didn't realize how noisy it was and how little sleep I was getting, sleeping that night for nine and a half hours without waking up once. That was like when I was living in bars playing six-nighters, a job that took me out of Welland. I would like to stress I was a non-drinker, non-smoker, not even drinking coffee or tea, sleeping when I could.
I woke up feeling like a new man, wanting to start building my new guitar again and do a painting. Every time I finish a painting it sells right away, good for me. Rodman Hall and the Tag Art Gallery in St. Catharines are also interested in my paintings. Take me and my paintings to St. Catharines, and I might not come back. When I was a teenager, one year I won the Welland Fair award for winning the most prize money. Other under twenty-one entrants who I saw as coming from farm country, could have entered over forty exhibits in all categories, from art to produce to animals. I entered thirteen art categories and won first place for each one, coming up with the most prize money. Am I mixing in some self-promotion with this sad story? That's for sure, but that's just the life I'm living in Welland.
In my mind, I was seeing these meth-heads as cutting and running before they had to deal with their problems, in a new and more progressive way, even if it meant jail time. That's their life, and it's better than dying of an overdose they can never foresee.
Here's a sticky meth warning.
I had a teenager from Fonthill who was addicted and being sent to work as a prostitute in a northern resort, come up to me, asking if she could talk with me. She said it was too late for her, despite what
I had to say, saying her wealthy family could help her. She wanted to explain meth addiction to me,
saying someone should know about this sex slave trade in Welland.
She said when meth-heads do meth, they have to lay with each other for body heat, for a half hour or hour, depending on how much they did, and when they start to move around they have sex, what the big benefit is. I know all drugs don't heighten your sex or make it better somehow, unless some speed is giving you a speed rush making it faster. Drugs deaden your other senses, making you feel like you are feeling more. Being all natural, lets you enjoy all aspects of your emotions and body.
She showed me a small shiny circle on her wrist, smaller than a dime, saying that's sticky meth. She said if she rubbed it up against somebody, especially a sex customer, two or three times in a week, they would be addicted. She said she was let into my building by the hooker who made the rounds,
when the cheques came out, having a key, to do that with me. That's how she came to be knocking at my door at three o'clock in the morning, saying she wanted to come in and was of legal age. I went out and invited a late-night friend who was sitting outside on his porch to come over and be a witness for me, so I wouldn't get into any trouble, knowing cameras were recording the hallway.
It's easy to see the "zombie" theme of so much American programming as being symbolic for the meth and crack-head people who are spreading all over, when it's so easy to addict other people. New American statistics say that ninety percent of the people in Ohio have used crystal meth. Now there are more ungrateful dead than the classic lyrics "four dead in Ohio". You better get down to it, and put your feet down on that ground, Welland should have stopped that a long time ago. What can you do, when your politicians are suppliers and enablers, grinding your tax dollars into ashes for cold fumes.
I know one Welland business owner, a sign customer, who said meth-heads were coming in and blowing smoke in his face. After a couple of months he said he was buying it for himself, and told me not to visit him any more. Three months later he was dead. You can guess who took over his business. He was from Virgil, not a Welland man.
If I was mayor, making a low budget improvement, I would start a drop-in shelter with overnight rooms. When the N.D.P. of Cindy Forster built a shelter on Division Street, they called it a "wet shelter".
In all of Ontario, the Welland shelter was the only one that wouldn't kick you out if you were caught doing drugs or alcohol. My complaints about hookers being let in after midnight to visit men in their rooms, employees doing drugs, and drug dealers from other cities staying overnight like it was a free hotel, did make changes.
The fact that abusive, stealing and vandalizing Welland drug addicts were accomodated, made churches who provided over-night shelters stop doing that. There is no shelter in Welland, when being able to get away from residential situations that would generate crimes between tenants, or homeless people with nothing to lose, would prevent everyone from experiencing a rise in heartache and crime.
I see the old Weston Bakery on Burgar Street as being the best to convert to a shelter with small rooms for people to begin renting anew. I've talked with the owner a few times, and he's owned it for so long without any real estate interest it should be a good deal. It's in the middle of O.D.S.P. country, between King Street and across from No Frills mall. The hospital, the "blood store", No Frills, medical downtown, are all around this building. The transport truck entrance, sunken with heavy concrete,
already fills up with rainwater, seeing ducks in there. That could easily be a swimming pool.
The big back yard has enough room for a big greenhouse, so tenants could grow their own... food.
Every meth-head I've talked to said that if they had enough beer and weed they wouldn't do meth.
That would be the logic I would go with, and no, saying Bakery and being baked isn't nice for a name.
People of Welland, take a walk past the bakery to see the path to the railroad tracks beside No Frills.
You can see how meth-heads are sleeping in the bushes and trees on both sides of that property,
so in your hearts you will know that no-one should be forced to live like that. Considering that your
tax dollars are being paid to American architects for buildings along the canal for outside businesses,
it would be less expensive to stop that and take care of your sons and daughters, if they want to.
This building is already on a major bus route. A new bus stop would be good for the neighbourhood.
This is a narration about my walk down King Street today, Wednesday, October the 10th, 2018.
I was walking down King Street towards an apartment across from the Welland Arenas, helping an old sign-painting customer out when recent surgery disabled him. When I was crossing Albert I saw this scene happening, and went over to stand with people on the other side of the street who had just been raided and locked out without being arrested. They said police and firemen drove up and started breaking down doors, trying to catch, arrest or identify as many people as possible. This is a big building, reaching across the block to the other street, a big business in the big business days of Welland.
When I pulled my camera out, I said you probably don't want to be in the picture, and the only guy who asked me why I was taking pictures was the guy who was angry that some woman stole his dog during the raid. When I told him I was taking pictures because I had a camera, he thought it was okay.
I asked about the "just say no to drugs" and was told someone with a ladder and a spray can did that a week ago. This is Wellands' oldest crack house and street-walker sidewalk.
When I was going to the convenience store past the arena, owned by my friends Shyless and Rami,
I stopped and talked with a friend who was sitting on a bench in front of the closed restaurant.
He was saying displaced meth-heads were buying bottles of tea and pouring that out, and filling them up with beer so they could continue their drinking wherever they walked. He said a lot of people who weren't going to Albert Street were looking to buy in the area past the arena.
When I was painting in the apartment across from the arena, beside the road along the hospital,
a white van with people shouting pulled around the corner and the side door opened, with a man being pushed out onto the street, hitting hard. He got up and it was obvious he had a broken arm. My boss,
working with his carpenter outside with saw-horses, went over to see if he needed help but the man looked nervous and afraid, and ran away holding his arm.
Walking back from painting I talked with more people I know on King Street. Harvey, the owner of the Kingsley, had a birthday party for himself, turning 82. I heard about that on the weekend when I was working at my friends buy and sell in the former Flea Market building. Street people were saying I should go for the free food. I went a few days later to say a sincere happy birthday to Walter, and he told me that all the booze he bought for the party was stolen before the party started.
Two more people told me about The Leisure Loft, a very nice new business on King close to Main St.
At the request of the Leisure Loft owner, I took out the dollar amount as requested, and am now saying his weeks' receipts were stolen. When I went to the library I could see some plywood and two by fours covering a gap above the storefront window. If that's how the thief got in the damage is far more than the theft. I stop in there every once in a while to buy some fancy desserts, the owner having some nice home-baked goods.
People on the other side of town and the other side of the canal might feel immune to all this King Street action, but you're not. Your tax dollars are the cash these social recipients get to spend on their drugs, because social services, as set up by Peter Kormos and Cindy Forster, N.D.P., known associates to organized crime, give them everything else for free, as long as they spend the money on drugs. People who aren't paying their rent, moving from one slum apartment to another, owned by their drug dealing friends, are told to leave all their furniture and household items outside for pickers, because they'll get all new stuff after they move. That's when they make phone calls to tell picker friends.
I know two furniture stores that have decided not to sell furniture because people don't want to pay.
Your tax dollars are also paying for the police and firemen manpower and resources used to accumulate evidence and make these raids. When you think that the biggest human effort and cost here are the smokes and tokes it's no joke when it's your tax dollars wafting away into the air. And when meth-heads and weedies get to where they can't function any more, picking skin off their bodies, it's your tax dollars that are paying for their extensive medical care.
When you have a city council where the addictive chemical manufacturers and dealers are the same people who are the social services care-givers and city hall business partners, you can see how they are building an addictive society for their own political and criminal gain, with easy pickings for teen sex.