Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Mayor Naheed Nenshi                                                             Artur Pawlowski

City of Calgary Mayor’s Office                                                 Street Church Ministries   

Hand Delivered                                                                     1740-25a Street SW

December 7, 2010                                                                  Calgary,AB T3C 1J9

                                                                                        

Mr. Nenshi:

This letter is to inform you about events which you may, or may not, be aware of. Street Church is a ministry that has been in operation since the winter of 2002. Since that time, we have ministered on the streets of Calgary several times a week, in all extremes of weather, to Calgary’s least fortunate population. Every year, we provide over 150,000 meals to the homeless plus, through various programs and partnering with different organizations, we provide about the same number of meals to families and individuals in need.

That’s just a little background so you get a feel for what we, as an organization, provide to Calgarians regularly and reliably, without government funding. Initially, the City of Calgary was overjoyed with what we do, and were very helpful, co-operative and embracing. In fact, we were asked by the City of Calgary Parks Department, to hold services seven days a week due to the wonderful impact and response of citizens in the East Village area, ultimately we agreed to serve four times a week on the streets. Crime rates are reduced while we minister, and average citizens felt safer when we were there manning the park. There are several newspaper articles to demonstrate the point that we were initially well approved of by citizens of Calgary; “Volunteers take church to the street” – Tim Callaway – 04 August 2005, “Street Church Brings Hope to Homeless” – Mario Toneguzzi – 01 February 2006 and others.

In fact, even to this day we receive wonderful reports back, from Calgary citizens, about how people feel that we are providing a wonderful and necessary service to the City of Calgary and the homeless and less fortunate.

Over the last five years, under the leadership of Mayor Bronconnier, the City of Calgary made a very sharp turn in their treatment of our ministry, trumping up charges and persecuting us in the courts for the very same work that we have been doing all along. We have faced false, and unfounded accusations, lies by representatives of the City in court hearings and trials (caught by judges presiding over the cases – rendering judgements such as “to any reasonable observer, an abuse of power” and that the treatment by City bureaucrats was “totally arbitrary”), police and bylaw harassment, arrests and stripping of our Constitutional freedoms, just to name a few.

It may interest you that during that time, we have repeatedly extended our hand of friendship and co-operation to the City of Calgary and its’ former Mayor, Council and administration, but we have had that hand slapped down only to continue to have to defend ourselves in the courts due to fines, summons and injunctions placed against our ministry.

It should be noted that the treatment of the City toward our ministry has been so improper, that the previous mayor and the City of Calgary are presently facing the scrutiny of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, for discriminatory tactics against us.

Every trial has been won by our ministry and, even though the courts have spoken, this seems to be no more than a personal vendetta, which continues to drag on. Quite frankly, the details of this matter literally would fill volumes; the documents relating to the court proceedings alone are taller, when stacked, than a man standing. Needless to say, this has cost the tax payers an extremely large amount of money.

What is truly staggering is that at times there were 20-30 officers present at our peaceful gatherings; meeting our songs and our ministering to the homeless with intimidation and hostility. We have been told, by a police officer, that just by calculating the officers’ wages, associated to time spent pursuing this matter, the total would amount to over 2 million dollars, and that is without all of the bureaucratic office staff and administrative support associated with tracking everything relating to the case.

Now if that cost were not enough, consider that at times, during different trials City Lawyers, representing the City of Calgary, representatives from the Attorney Generals Office from the Province of Alberta and different Crown Prosecutors were brought in to stand against us. That, of course, does not even consider the salary of the judges, the court clerks, the bailiffs and all other court and government legal staff behind the scenes (researchers, investigators, etc) that would have been involved in the case. Quite frankly it is obvious the costs not only to our organization, but also to the government is immense, unjust, and completely unnecessary.

Please note that some trials were as lengthy as ten days and over all we have had to appear before a judge to defend ourselves over 60 times, in criminal, provincial and civil courts. The estimated cost associated to this, amounts to easily over a million dollars.

Now aside from the financial costs on both sides of this issue, and believe me when I tell you that costs to us have not been small, let us not we forget the mental anguish, stress and loss of work to the leadership and many volunteers of the ministry, trying to provide necessities of life to the poor. It is our sincere desire, once again, to attempt to reason with the newly elected government of the City of Calgary, and more specifically you, Mr. Mayor.

Mr. Nenshi, we heard your promises during your mayoral campaign and see that you have been diligent in promptly following through with those promises, which is wonderful to see. We sincerely hope that, that thorough approach that you are taking will be employed in matters pertaining to our mutual relationship; between the City of Calgary and Street Church Ministries. Time after time, the courts have vindicated us, and many of the bylaws that the ministry was charged with have been deemed, by the courts, unconstitutional.

We have witnessed, through the media, and through watching the live broadcast of the first City Council meeting that you chaired, that you appear to be a reasonable man. You seem, like us, to be fed up with the old school, top down, authoritarian leadership of the previous government that frivolously spent and unwisely led us, through poor decision making, to the situation we all find ourselves in today.

The City has been told through recent media reports, regarding their vendetta against Street Church, to leave our ministry alone, and to stop the harassment; “The new council should stop the insane fight against Pawlowski. The courts have spoken. And it’s loud and clear” – Paula Arab’s Editorial from the Calgary Herald – 06 November 2010, “Hey! City! Leave That Street Preacher Alone!” – Rob Breakenridge – 02 November 2010, “Can the city finally now wave the white flag? Let’s hope so. If not, Calgarians should stand up and ask why they are subsidizing this vendetta.” – Rob Breakenridge – 03 November 2010, “They were never willing to talk … it was my way, or the highway.” – Calgary Sun – 01 November 2010 and others…

As you can see, the media has voiced their opinion and it’s very clear, but what’s more important is that citizens are sick and tired of the City of Calgary wasting their money on matters that are frivolous and undemocratic. After all, this is Canada not communist China.

Here are some comments from Calgary citizens; “Stop this nonsense of wasting tax money.”, “How about going after real criminals of which there are way too many in this burg!”, “Our Aldermen should put an immediate stop to this nonsense and civic censorship. Let’s start running a city.” and many other comments just like these. The bottom line is that everyone is fed up with the City’s inability to put down their weapons of warfare against democracy and against our ministry who’s focus has always been, and continues to be, serving Calgary’s least fortunate citizens.

If the matter was closed, we would not be writing to you, but the problem is that this persecution continues to this very moment and now under your leadership. Right now, we are facing criminal charges for distributing pamphlets at City Hall, encouraging people to vote, which we passed out during the recent civic election and, in fact, have been banned from entering City Hall for two years for that terrible offense. Furthermore, unless things soon change, we are heading for another trial and perhaps more to come after that.

In conclusion, we would like to meet with you personally to discuss this matter. We feel that since you seem to be a reasonable man, and that these matters surely have merely, as yet, gone unnoticed by yourself, after meeting with us, you will see that we are also reasonable people who merely want to serve other Calgarians without persecution. We hope that you will be the man at the City to end this madness and waste of taxpayers money.

To further demonstrate that we have been involved in improving the lives of the homeless from a political stand point, in 2010 after meeting with the Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Jonathan Denis some points from the proposal, that we submitted to him, have been implemented by the provincial government. Originally, we gave that same proposal to the municipal government and the police department in 2008 and we are pleased to say that the police department has also implemented some of the ideas that we proposed, namely the identity card for the homeless and the different approach the police will now deal with mentally ill homeless Calgarians.

We look forward to hearing from you as to when we can meet with you, and also to a positive and productive relationship, between the City of Calgary and Street Church Ministries, going forward.

I sincerely await your response with anticipation,

Artur Pawlowski

on behalf of Street Church Ministries

and other concerned Christians in Alberta

www.streetchurch.ca

art@streetchurch.ca

403-607-4434


Mayor Naheed Nenshi                                                             Artur Pawlowski

City of Calgary Mayor’s Office                                                 Street Church Ministries

Hand Delivered                                                                     1740 – 25a Street SW

Tuesday, January 11, 2011                                                      Calgary, AB T3C 1J9                                     

                                                                                                                 

Mr. Nenshi:

Sir, over a month ago, we sent correspondence to you relating to the matter of Street Church and potential meeting with you, our new Mayor. We just wanted to make sure that you received it, since we never received any response from you or your office.

We understand that we sent you the letter just prior to the Christmas season and as a Mayor you must be extremely busy. Never the less, we would like to meet with you to discuss those matters on good terms, face to face.

I sincerely await your response with anticipation,

Artur Pawlowski

on behalf of Street Church Ministries

and other concerned Christians in Alberta

www.streetchurch.ca

art@streetchurch.ca

403-607-4434

   



Reply from the Mayor’s office


From: Gualtieri, Franca Date: 03/02/2011 8:13:32 AM

To: art@streetchurch.ca Subject: Meeting with Chima Nkemdirm, Office of the Mayor

Hello Artur,

Thank you for your letter addressed to Mayor Nenshi, he has reviewed your letter and has asked me to schedule a meeting with yourself and Chima Nkemdirim, Chief of Staff to discuss your concerns or issues face to face. I have tentatively scheduled a meeting on Monday, March 14th at 2:40pm. Please confirm that his selected time works with your calendar. The meeting will take place a Historic City Hall in the Office of the Mayor. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

Franca Gualtieri Executive Assistant & Office Manager

Office of the Mayor

The City of Calgary P.O. Box 2100, Station M, Calgary, AB Canada T2P 2M5

Telephone: 403-268-8126 Mobile : 403-470-7829

Email: franca.gualtieri@calgary.ca Fax: 403.268.8130 

Reception: 403-268-5622 | Mail Code: #8069 W: www.calgarymayor.ca

  


From: Artur Pawlowski

Sent: 2011 February 03 10:13 AM To: Gualtieri, Franca

Subject: Re: Meeting with Chima Nkemdirm, Office of the Mayor

Will Mr. Mayor be attending this meeting?

Artur


From: Gualtieri, Franca Date: 03/02/2011 10:28:47 AM

To: Artur Pawlowski Subject: RE: Meeting with Chima Nkemdirm, Office of the Mayor

Hello Artur,

No he will not be in attendance, he has differed this meeting to his Chief of Staff.

Thank you.

Franca Gualtieri Executive Assistant & Office Manager

Office of the Mayor

The City of Calgary P.O. Box 2100, Station M, Calgary, AB Canada T2P 2M5

Telephone: 403-268-8126 Mobile : 403-470-7829

Email: franca.gualtieri@calgary.ca


From: Artur Pawlowski Sent: 2011 February 03 7:41 PM

To: Gualtieri, Franca Subject: RE: Meeting with Chima Nkemdirm, Office of the Mayor

Franca,

With all due respect to Mr. Chima Nkemdirm, the Mayor’s chief of staff. If I wanted to have a meeting with Mr. Nkemdirm, I would contact him, to schedule a meeting with him. I asked for a meeting with the current Mayor of the City of Calgary regarding this ongoing Christian persecution, in his city. I am more than happy to wait a little longer for a time, in the near future, when the Mayor himself will be able to attend, because the harassment and discrimination was coming from the Mayor’s office before Mr. Nenshi took office and I would like to be sure that our current Mayor has a clear understanding of our position through a one on one, face to face meeting where he can hear all the details, from me personally. Not from his advisors and not from the media.

It is our sincere desire that the mistakes that were made under the previous administration will be laid to rest. It has been well said, in politics, that matters not dealt with, from a predecessor, once the new man has taken over, within six months become issues owned by the new man. Our previous Mayor would not see reason, and was the cause of the waste of hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars. Mr. Nenshi has made it clear that he wants to run a tight ship and find cost savings where ever possible. Ending the costly court battles with Street Church is a sure way to save the tax payers huge bills and for our new Mayor to come out a hero to many.

We truly hope that this Mayor will not make the same mistakes our previous Mayor made, in continuing a prideful battle, that should never have been wages against the Christian community.

We wait for your reply with great anticipation.

Sincerely, Artur Pawlowski

On Behalf of Street Church Minstries

403-607-4434


From: Gualtieri, Franca Date: 04/02/2011 7:08:32 AM To: Artur Pawlowski Subject: RE: Meeting with Chima Nkemdirm, Office of the Mayor  

Artur,

I will discuss you email with the Mayor, all request that come in are viewed by the Mayor, including the Street Church Ministries. I will be in contact regarding his thoughts once he review the request again with the attached email. I respect your thoughts but please know that the Chief of Staff conducts and attends several meeting on the Mayor behalf, as per the Mayor’s request. I will review this with the Mayor and be in contact.

Franca Gualtieri

Executive Assistant & Office Manager

Office of the Mayor

The City of Calgary P.O. Box 2100, Station M, Calgary, AB Canada T2P 2M5

Telephone: 403-268-8126 Mobile : 403-470-7829

Email: franca.gualtieri@calgary.ca

Fax: 403.268.8130 | Reception: 403-268-5622 | Mail Code: #8069 W: www.calgarymayor.ca


Thursday, February 16, 20912

And we’re still waiting for his reply.

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