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Apr 1, 2014

Contents

ELLEN WOODSWORTH IS A FRIEND

ELLEN WOODSWORTH IS A FRIEND

Ellen Woodsworth for the Board of Vancity Credit Union
 for more info www.ellenwoodsworth.com
Voting starts March 31 www.vancity.com
As a social justice advocate for over 30 years, I have worked with you to empower our communities and strengthen our diverse society. I also bring my six years’ experience as a former Vancouver City Councillor to the Vancity Board of Directors.
     "Today I am writing to ask for your support.
  This is a grassroots campaign. Did you know that only 4% of Vancity’s membership votes? Together, let’s raise this percentage to help me win a seat on the board! Please share my campaign with your Vancity friends, family and colleagues and ask them to vote for former city councillor, Ellen Woodsworth.”

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Old/New Coalition/Organisation

Old/New Coalition/Organisation

  At Metro Vancouver Alliance, we believe that by working together we have the power to change our communities for the better.
  We do more than sign petitions and protest. We organize and take action. We find common ground for the common good.
  The MVA is a broad based alliance of community groups, labour, faith and educational organizations, all working together for the common good. There are currently 36 member organizations within MVA, representing over 200,000 people from across the Lower Mainland.
  It is based on the Industrial Areas Foundation model of community organizing. The IAF model has over 60 active community alliances across the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia and has a proven track record around the world: most notably in England, where Citizens UK persuaded the London Olympic Games Committee to become a living wage employer.
  It’s different from other organizations in that we start by listening to our members and building relationships; we identify our common ground and then take collective action. We are building an organization that is powerful enough to enable people to act collectively on the issues that affect them the most.
A new political party. MVA is political, yet non-partisan. We are committed to working with politicians - at every level and from every party - to make our cities better places for everyone.
Engaged citizens are the cornerstones of healthy communities and vibrant democratic societies.
We teach our members active citizenship and give them the skills and confidence needed to become leaders in our communities.
On March 19, 2014, representatives of our 36 member organizations, representing 200,000 citizens, gathered at Metro Vancouver Alliance's founding meeting. We celebrate the launch of an exciting and powerful new organization, and are working together to bring real change to our city.

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So crystal meth or crack cocaine

So crystal meth or crack cocaine
Anything to ease this pain

Snort it, shoot it or put it in a pipe
Each person has their own type
Drugs or sex or crime at night
Humans are addicts losing a fight
Street life, home life or no life at all
The more drugs you do the harder you fall
Ice  meth  crystal or speed
Whatever you call it the drug you need
Craving so bad it devours your mind
Your addiction so deep you’ve become blind.
Stealing and lying just for a hit
Lost all your family but don’t give a shit
So crystal meth or crack cocaine
Maybe some heroin to end this pain
Addiction is powerful don’t you see
You’re not the same person you used to be
Smiling, laughing and telling jokes
Now you’re selling, running & taking tokes
I can’t bear to see you waste away and die
You’re not the same person when you’re high

                             Diane Neufeld

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One Billion Dollars and So What!

 One Billion Dollars and So What!

     In the last few weeks, as the plan for the Downtown Eastside unfolded, I must have heard or read at least three media outlets squawking, "This plan will cost one billion dollars."
      This mantra let developers like Michael Geller  tell reporters that this kind of money wasn't around for the DTES. "The government's cupboards are bare," he said in effect.
      Now first off, the one billion dollar figure was way out of whack. As CAP member Tamara Herman pointed out, the real figure that was going to be spent on the DTES from city hall and others was $50 million or one twentieth of one billion dollars. And this money would be spent over the next thirty years, not in the next twelve months.
      Yet that 1 billion dollar figure keeps getting thrown around.  So I'm going to be the devil's advocate and say "Suppose one billion dollars was going to be spent on the DTES. What's wrong with that?" For have you noticed how much the B.C. government, Translink and the federal honchos have spent in the last thirteen years? It dwarfs anything proposed for the DTES.
     First off, the Gordon Campbell government and Ottawa shelled out billions of dollars between 2001 and 2011. But that money which totalled over 7 billion dollars went to the Olympic Games, the Sea-to-Sky Highway, the Canada Line, plus other Olympic era projects. Yet not much of this money went to social housing.
     "Vancouver did get some goodies out of it," one observer told me when I was complaining about the priorities of the Campbell government. Yes, three new community centres went up in Vancouver, plus some other social projects. Yet Vancouver city council funded the building of the Olympic Village housing and we're still paying for that.
      Yet the Campbell and Christy Clark Liberal governments have unveiled a whole new host of costly projects. There's the new Port Mann bridge that cost $3.1 billion. The Northwest Transmission Line is coming in at $745 million. The South Fraser Perimeter Road (or the 'Ring Road' as it's called) will cost $1.25 billion. The Vancouver Convention Centre that's plonked down in the DTES came in at over $800 million. And just to fix the roof at B.C. Place took $500 million of the taxpayers' money.  All of this comes in at nearly $6.5 billion.
      And I haven't mentioned the plans to build the Site C dam that's planned in the province's north east. That's been billed to cost $6.2 billion. Yet given the budget overruns that have attended so much of the recent Liberal megaprojects, a friend of mine may be right when he said about the dam, "It won't come in at less than $8 billion."
     As U.S. President Harry Truman once said in the later 1940's, "You spend a billion dollars here and a billion dollars there and soon you're talking about real money."
    I've left out of this list, the new 6 lane Golden Ears Bridge that links Langley to Pitt Meadows. It cost $800 million and is losing 34 to 35 million dollars a year. Yet since this project was planned and built by Translink I can't hold the B.C. Liberals responsible for it.
      Anyway anyone who keeps quoting that one billion figure when they talk about projects for people in the DTES is wrong. Yet given the way that this Liberal government has spent money in this province and around Metro Vancouver in recent years, maybe it would be a good idea if more money was spent on social housing in the DTES, even if the final sum doesn't come close to one billion dollars.

                                                             By Dave Jaffe

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Jean Swanson’s presentation to City Council on the LAP

Jean Swanson’s presentation to City Council on the LAP, March 14, 2014

  I would like to acknowledge we are on unceded coast salish territory, Musqueam, Squamish, and  Tsleil-Waututh
I support the low income caucus and the things they would like to see in the plan, including an Aboriginal Healing and Wellness Centre.
  I want to talk about how a definition can displace a community.  When we had our first few meetings the City Manager was there and she said, it was important to get a definition of social housing that recognized that dtes residents have very low incomes.
During the lap process when the Pantages condo proposal was happening, and had to have 20% social housing, we demanded that 100% of the social housing be at welfare rate and the manager said 50%.  And that’s where it stands today.
As the lap when on,  low income members kept saying we want a definition that doesn’t exclude low income people.  We waited and waited.  I think it was last week that we got Appendix N.  Appendix N means that legally, no social housing units have to be at welfare rate.  Appendix N makes the finances of 60-40 work out.  Appendix N makes this council look like its building social housing for the poor.  But Appendix N won’t do that.  All the housing built according to appendix N, which is referred to in several places in this document, could be like the Olympic village housing—owned by govt or non profit but rented by middle income people. Appendix N housing won’t be sro replacement housing.
  Ironically, all the criticism of this plan from the right is saying there is too much social housing when in fact the social housing that you’re talking about is not for people who are poor.  To solve this problem, amend appendix N as follows:  "For the purpose of the DTES Local Area Plan, 'Social Housing' is non-market housing owned and run by a government or non-profit body accessible to those living on the lowest incomes including basic social assistance shelter rate or 1/3 of basic old age pension."
 You talk about inclusion,  the plan talks about inclusion—yet appendix N excludes people who are poor from their own neighbourhood.  If all the new social housing, or most of it, won’t be for people with welfare incomes,  what happens to the people Stephen Lippman and others like him are evicting and displacing?  We’re losing hundreds of units a year, documented in the report Tamara gave you on Wed and in the city’s own SRA research which talks about rents over $500 in over 20 hotels.
  What can you do to prevent more displacement and homelessness in addition to changing the definition so it won’t displace people?
*Enact the 60-40 now.  If you don’t the DEOD will be wall to wall condos in a very few years and you’ll have a massive homelessness crisis.  60 –40 will give us a little time to work for what the community needs.
*Require a higher percentage of social housing in all the other sub areas too, especially the Hastings Corridor.
*Don’t give one incentive to any hotel owner, heritage or not, unless there is a guarantee of shelter rate rents.  Work with Pivot on that SRA bylaw to prevent as many rent increases and evictions as possible.  
*Lobby fiercely (I think that was Andrea’s word) and broadly for higher welfare rates and more social housing programs, not just supportive housing but for all low income people.  Pretend low income people are as important as the folks who want a new art gallery and put an equivalent amount of money into housing and buying lots for housing to show you’re serious.  Put lots of money for housing in the capital plan and work fiercely to get it passed.
  One purpose of this LAP was to “implement the 2005 DTES Housing Plan.”  The Housing Plan wanted 5000 units of social housing to replace the SROs.  This plan proposes about 1467 units to replace SROs.  The Housing Plan called for the city to buy one lot a year.  This plan calls on the city to use 3 lots it already owns over 30 years.  The Housing Plan calls for a rate of change of one market unit for 1 social housing unit. This plan proposes 10 mostly market unaffordable units for every one unit affordable to low income people.  The Housing Plan calls for the DEOD to be the place where most of the new SRO replacement housing is built.  If the targets in this plan are met only 1/5th of the new housing in the DEOD will be SRO replacement housing. The Housing Plan said the DTES would be a predominantly low income area.  After 30 years of this plan, it will be a predominantly middle income area.
  We don’t like micro units.  Homes should be big enough that you want to stay and contribute to your community, big enough
to invite someone over. We shouldn’t have one standard for the poor and another for everyone else.
I hope you’ll pass the amendments that Tamara of CCAP gave you on Wed.
If you don’t pass the 60-40 and start treating the housing and poverty situation as a crisis, I think in about 71 years the council of the day will be having to make an apology to low income and vulnerable people, similar to the one you gave to the Japanese community last year.

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Hello from the Library!

Hello from the Library!
  If you visit the Carnegie library in the next couple of weeks, you’ll see a fresh new Spring display.  Elizabeth left plenty of blank white space in the background, so if you feel inspired to add your own bits of spring colour to the poster, please go ahead!  You can ask a library staff member for some coloured pencils.  
There are lots of books in that Spring Into Reading display, but don’t forget to look at our usual weekly selection in the glass display case.  This week, the new books in that display include:
First Peoples of Canada:  Masterworks from the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Here’s a rare opportunity to see items from an exhibit that has toured the world, yet – weirdly – has never been shown in Canada.  Truly fabulous close-up photos show the detail and intricacies of beadwork, and the texture of wood, fur, leather and stone.  
Pablo Picasso / by Hajo Duchting
More gorgeous photos to enjoy, although of a very different sort.  This is a readable, colourful overview of the life and work of the artist.  There is enough detail to make the book absorbing and interesting, but it’s all in a compact, tidy size.  
I Want to Change My Life:  How to overcome anxiety, depression and addiction / by Steven Melemis
“If something good happens, I’ll have to pay for it with something bad.”  Does that sound like one of your familiar thoughts?  Or how about:  “If people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me.”  Read this book, and learn something about how to interrupt and change those automatic thinking patterns, which get in the way of our well being.  We all know that it takes more than reading a book to really make a lasting change in our lives -- but this one can provide a great step in the right direction.  
                                         Cheers,
                                                  Stephanie
  If you’ve been past the site of the new Downtown Eastside/Strathcona branch recently, you may have noticed that demolition work is starting. We expect the buildings to come down in the next week or two, which is an exciting landmark for us.
  The Library Board continues to discuss suggested names for the new branch. We were delighted to receive more than 400 submissions via our print and online suggestions forms, and we hope to announce the branch’s new name in late spring.
  There’s more about the project at www.vpl-ywca-project.ca. You can also get in touch with me if you have any questions about the new branch.

Beth DaviesNeighbourhood Services Manager
Vancouver Public Library
Office: 604-331-3791
Cell: 604-365-7643

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On Life
On Life:
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Think, guys & gals: You can forget the strife if you ever had a wife, and if a father or a mother go on in life and build your life anew! It all boils down to this: A kiss is just a kiss, a smile is just a smile away, and life goes on regardless -   Make someone happy and you’ll be happy too. And if there’s anything I can do further I have to say, “Thank you dear Carnegie for giving me a life!”
Here’s to Lisa, Ethel and Sindy, love Joyce Morgan

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OUT THERE SOMEWHERE

OUT THERE SOMEWHERE
Stunning mind numbing street noise, sirens, speeding cars, traffic light warnings, squawking sidewalk profanity, stale secondhand smoke, from smuggled third-rate cigarettes – choking I hold my breath briefly still walking in a zigzag motion like an avant guard dance routing, likely looking lightly intoxicated to random, faceless passersby. This is quickly becoming routine for me, whatever is just the way it is & it ain’t gonna change anytime soon. There are (for certain!?) escape routes available to me; no excuses – I'm not going to play the pity card. Most of everythin’ operating in the big city are definitely in the same predicament, bar none. To avoid this mayhem I can step into any number of places, neighbourhoods, destinations… i.e. an art gallery, a library, a quiet shopping mall (if there’s such a thing)  to avoid vulgar profanities screamed by yahoos, hoping security won’t show up & yell at me to Get Lost!
Howza bout an entirely different neighbourhood just for a change of pace?! Awesome if you’re lucky enuf to have the freedom of a buspass.. come to think of it most bus drivers could care less: it’s not in their job descriptions to police the payers. All public transit should be free by way of a wealth tax. Commercial & hang out with hipsters, tricksters, artists & assorted poets like we have right here; make a mystery tour of kits and the cookie-cutter condos wedged in by the history-killing developers like we have right here or even Chinatown with the same gentrifying ?grades as we have right here…
So give all this some thought, think carefully, pick your spots, choose your fights/battles/cause celebré   and relax, chill, b

ROBYN LIVINGSTONE.

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Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson to betorn down, replaced with condos
[Posted by The Syrup Trap]
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson to be
torn down, replaced with condos

VANCOUVER (The News Desk) — After a long fight with developers, City Hall announced yesterday that Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson will be demolished to make way for a condo development.
“Gregor is such a recognizable part of this city. We are all very sad to see him go and regret that we couldn’t do more to save him,” said City Hall human resources manager Deborah Swift as she watched construction crews approach the mayor from across the street.
According to documents from Henriquez Parters, the developer, Robertson will be rezoned as “mixed-use residential.” If the application is approved by council, the two-term mayor will be rebuilt as a 16 storey res-idential tower, with commercial space at street level.
“Gregor is an important part of this city’s heritage, and we plan on preserving as much of him as possible,” said the project’s head architect, Greg Chu.
“We will be retaining Gregor’s characteristic, sculpted street-level facade, and will re-purpose materials from the interior as well.”Robertson told press that he is optimistic about the changes.
“I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not nearly as dense as I could be, and that’s holding back both our sustainability and affordability goals,” said the mayor, who at press time was being hosed down by construction crews in an attempt to control dust from the demolition. ?

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Through My Children’s Eyes

Through My Children’s Eyes

Their unrestrained laughter and excitement
permeate my heart as we play together.
I'm learning to be less over-protective,
less controlling of their every move.
As they run carefree in the park
I both admire and envy
the valiant spirits they are.

Their innocence and their simplicity touch a
delicate chord in my soul.
How can any mother harm or neglect her child?

I'm mending from the pain and void
I knew throughout my childhood.
Those rather-be-forgot memories
are being replaced with soulful love,
laughter and friendship.
The wounded child within me heals
as I experience life
through my children's eyes.

                                               Angharad Giles

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Karen Ward’s presentation to City Council on Local Area Plan

Karen Ward’s presentation to City Council on Local Area Plan,  March 12, 2014

  I have represented Gallery Gachet on the LAP Committee.  We are an artist run centre, specifically a centre for artists living with a mental illness.  I live with a mental illness.  I would not have been able to serve on the LAP as I have save for two things.  First, I have stable housing and I no longer struggle to survive each day.  I can see beyond my day’s needs.  As a result I'm able to participate in the life of my community as I do today and as I have these past years. 
  And despite the tremendous stigma that people with mental illness face in many parts of the city, here in the DTES I feel not only tolerated or accepted, but actually respected as a person.  Secondly it is the community itself that has lifted me up and given me the ability to work on the LAP, as an artist and do my other volunteer work in the community.
 For the last 2 years the LAP committee has built a plan for the DTES; we have worked very hard to address the prevailing conditions in the neighbourhood. Nowhere else could a committee, working in collaboration with city staff, go to extraordinary and thoughtful measures to ensure that no citizen is displaced from their homes, an outcome stated in the 2005 plan. Even as our property values rise exponentially (303% as councillor Reimer noted) and as development pressures turn our homes into what one realtor called this week, “prime real estate,” what can be created through the provision of social housing is an opportunity for Canada’s most disenfranchised citizens to live a better life and on their own terms.
  I urge you to look at the CMHS’s At home Chez Soi project.  With secure housing, it is shown, people with severe addictions, mental illness and chronic homelessness can begin to take control of their lives once they’re given a home.  This is the first principle:  Housing First.  The fact that the human tragedy of homelessness has been normalized throughout our country and in Vancouver in particular, is an indictment of all of our values as Canadians. Property in the LAP , thus, housing is the foundation of the plan and the most critical part of the plan .  Spending money to solve this crisis is the duty of all levels of government whether they say so or not.  The housing crisis extends not only from homelessness but from people living in dangerous and inadequate SROs who spend more than half their incomes on their rent and on their housing. 
  Building and maintaining social housing at social assistance rates should justly be the overarching concern of the plan.  Now it is true that the shelter rate is too low.  The provincial government has not increased the rate since 2007. It obviously has not kept pace with the cost of living or the real price of decent housing.  I remind Council and the gallery of the UBCM resolution U 55:  Whereas the amount of support given to individuals on disability welfare and Old Age Security is inadequate to support people’s basic human needs in terms of adequate shelter, clothing, food, and other basic necessities, based on today’s cost of living, therefore be it resolved that the UBCM request the provincial government to increase the basic support allowance given to these individuals to a level that reflects the true cost of living in our country.  And I would add, the basic dignity of all .
  The LAP’s call for a 60 40 ratio of social housing to secured market rental in the Oppenheimer District has also been charac-terised as ghettoising.  Some quick points on this.  If low income people have indeed been concentrated in one area it’s because we have been effectively priced out of the rest of the city.  Housing affordability has constantly been cited as the major challenge of Vancouver.  And this plan represents the first actual attempt to deal with it.
  Our values in the DTES are not mainstream and we’re proud of that.  We don’t read a person’s value by their bank account or their job.  We understand that if someone lives with a mental illness or addiction, that person deserves respect.  Sadly these are not, as I noted, mainstream.  We are also aware that as we work and play and live in the DTES we are on unceded Coast Salish territory.  Nor, sadly, is that awareness mainstream.
  If Vancouver is to maintain itself as a diverse city, people with low incomes must be able to live here too. Meaningful diversity of all kinds is proper to a healthy city and a healthy city strategy.  The LAP can, if implemented carefully, keep land values low in the Oppenheimer district using the 60-40 formula.  The success or failure of the rest of the 30 year plan depends entirely upon it. As a plan it bucks the trend of letting the market determine our homes and our future.  I support that.  This is a rare opportunity for Vancouver to embrace a philosophy of planning that is inclusive of its citizenry and an attempt to improve the
quality of life for Canada’s most marginalized citizens.  And it can be done.
Reimer: we should get you to do ‘one more sentence’ workshops.  That was very good. I have a few questions for you.  You were talking about how you feel safe in the DTES and there are personal reasons for that.  At the same time you and I both know that there’s lots of people who claim to feel unsafe, not necessarily residents but people who are in the area.  Can you please talk about what that discussion was like at the LAP? I know you were, I mean everybody was heavily engaged.  You were heavily engaged in terms of the number of hours put in .  The open drug market isn’t fully referenced in the document. 
Could you talk about what would address that in the plan if anything?
Karen: I think there are several points.  The first one I would put to Council is that the drug market profoundly affects all of Vancouver.  There are geographical reasons for that, I think, which are obvious.  And I would add that as I see it the war on drugs has failed. And drug use prevails across the city. The so-called street disorder that is evident in the DTES brings to mind the scene on Granville St. actually on Fri and Sat night, which I find much more unsafe and a typically different class of people
enacting their lives in a different way with licit drugs. .
  I would add that no one as a very young person says I hope that I grow up to be a hard core drug user in the DTES of Vancouver.  Every one of us is somebody’s baby and terrible things have happened—trauma and pain and tragedy unimaginable.  From a medical context it’s called self medication. The open drug market is something that’s less open in other parts of the city. And when people live in infested 10X10 rooms, as my colleague Herb Varley noted, your life becomes so much less private.  Everything you do is on the street. Everything you don’t do is on the street. Everyone you associate with—your friends and your neighbours—you can’t meet them inside anywhere, you meet them outside. I would put to you that the perceived safety as a result of the general disorder of the DTES is something that is a result, primarily, of poverty, and oppression and when I take a step back I recall how Vancouver is the terminal city. And I think a little bit about my own past and how I wound up here. And the stories I’ve shared and how a lot of us are running away.  We’ve run away as far as we can and now we’re here. We’ve been displaced from everywhere else.  We’ve been excluded from everywhere else. And this is the first and last place we can find home.  And some of us emerge within this space and some of us take longer.  It’s true,
there’s ongoing public pain. And if people find that hard to bear, they should.
Reimer: this question is around the SRO task force, the city’s recommendations: It’s within the city’s jurisdiction to try to deal
with the issue of poor maintenance, the landlord situation. How would that relate to people in social and supportive housing?
Karen:  I think that’s an excellent question.  Thank you for that. I would draw council’s attention to point H in your policy report, subsections 2 and 3, to direct staff to implement an information campaign to educate tenants and landlords on their rights and responsibilities in relation to City Bylaws and the RTA.  The problem I see here is that the housing that’s being built right now is supportive housing and that’s not covered by the RTA.  I live in supportive housing and there are a lot of disputes.  There are concerns around privacy, coercion, problems between tenants who are patients and clients and have no recourse to deal with those complaints.  They’re dealing with building management and building staff. And indeed intra-tenant disputes. This subsection seems to me to be a little dangerous because there does need to be some sort of ombuds procedure for people in supportive housing because they’re very vulnerable and their rights are constantly abrogated.  So I would very much urge council to amend that section.  I would also exercise great caution in the choice of non-profit society or perhaps another structure could be come up with. That subsection does concern me.




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G R E E D

G   R   E   E   D

YOUR PRICELESS TIME, DISTRACTION & CANCER
Ten billion bars of gold cannot buy even 10 minutes of time, yet meddling mayors and councillors and planners and bureaucrats--the same people who begged you for their job to protect you--consume everyone's priceless time with needless conflict, as though all your priceless lost time could be bought back at the supermarket. These fork-tongued double-dealing life-wasters pollute the community with un-wanted conflict, un-wanted development, and un-wanted over-development while they inflict citizens with Time Cancer, Worry Cancer, Stress Cancer, Distraction, and they call it 'seeking input,' 'engaging the public,' 'consulting the people.' And all the while these life-wasters have their noses sniffing for another Land Kill to justify, conscripting another Army of Developers to back their campaign for re-election in the next election.

GREED & YOUR COMMUNITY GREEN SPACE
Developers loot the land, even precious arable land. And when they can't plunder any more of that, they return with their Army of architects, lawyers, financiers, planners, contractors, suppliers, landscapers, tradesmen, and traitors, to plunder the community green space. Armed with their calculators and cranes, their spin and their shovels, they set out to loot green space, habitats, neighbourhoods, the quality of life. What holds them back are the walls of the community fort--the bylaws of the community--that were first erected to protect the community from future raids by invaders armed with their money and their greed. For Greed, enough is never enough.

WHY THEY ATTACK THE OFFICIAL COMMUNITY PLAN
Bylaws are like the posts that make up the walls of the community fort -spread some of those apart, take even some of those down, or lower a few, and the waiting enemy will rush right in, with a flood of applications for up-zoning. Community bylaws were established to protect people's habitat and quality of life from these attacks. What do developers want? An opening in the wall of the community fort. A variance. A development variance permit. A re-zoning. But best of all would be some doubledealing politicians who will do their work for them and re-write the Official Community Plan allowing greater densification (they'll call it 'smart growth'). One ally inside the fort, one Mayor or Councillor or Planner, can do more harm than a thousand developers outside. Beware of anyone wanting to "update" any bylaws which prevent densification, by amending the Official Community Plan to promote it.

YOUR HABITAT IS THEIR TARGET
Developers looking for a land-kill are looking for a vulnerable neighbourhood, land held by a population that can't defend itself against the onslaught, so they can "move forward." Time is money. Best for developers is when they can find some politicians who will usurp the people's power and work for them from the inside, who will make holes in the fort wall, open the door to the community fort by amending zoning bylaws so the invaders can trespass, raid and loot the land. Beware of anybody who wants to rewrite the Official Community Plan with up-zoning, so developers don't have to fight with their victims every time they want to loot the landscape.
Identify them. Expose them. Name them, blame them, shame them.

Densification, Over-Development, Amalgamation, 'Smart Growth'
What is densiflcation? Densification means more development: pristine wilderness becomes ranches, ranches become farms, farms become estates, estates become house lots, house lots become neighbourhoods; buildings get bigger, lots get smaller -200x200 becomes 100x200, 100x200 become 50x100, 50x100 becomes 25x100, then single family homes become duplexes, duplexes become townhome complexes, townhome complexes become apartment buildings, apartment buildings become towers, a few towers become too many towers, and they start calling too much growth 'smart growth.'
When does densification--more development--become over-development? Densification is over-development when it takes away the green space, the breathing space, the wonderful blue sky, the heartwarming sunlight--the personal neighbourhood, the refreshing green grass and trees, the rising and setting sun, the horizon and its rolling hills, the silent silver moon, the shining stars, the water sparkling with sunlight like stars at night, and all the inspiring vistas that belong to you and everyone and ALL future generations until the end of time.
Densification is over-development when it pollutes the community, destroying habitats with imposing impersonal buildings, higher walls, bigger shadows, narrower setbacks, less quiet, less privacy, more isolation, increased congestion. Profiteers plunder a priceless quality of life giving token amenities in return. All so developers can package everyone's sunlight, blue sky and breathing space, and sell it to anyone who will pay them for a front-row view in the sky in one of their over-sized box towers.
Developers tell their victims no one has a right to a view. Then let them build their box towers without windows, or below ground, or in their spacious green neighbourhood.
Densification is over-development when it is done on an inhuman scale, and they leave you more dead concrete and dark cold shadows, artificial lighting and reflective glass, lifeless coloured brick and barren black pavement, congested bus lanes and dungeon-like underground parking, with some green plants and tinkling running water to make you feel like you still have the open green space you'll never have again.
Why do municipalities do this? Because politicians dig their communities into debt with over-spending on pay, perks, pensions, and any projects that will win them votes or take long enough to complete to be a work-in-progress that will get them through the next election, until finally the payments can only be paid for by more debt, higher taxes, and more taxes from more construction. More construction, bigger buildings, narrower setbacks, taller buildings, longer shadows, more concrete canyons, less privacy, less quiet, more congestion, more scars upon the land. More densification and" smart growth." Huh?
Then amalgamation, if the swindlers can get away with it, to dwarf the opposition and hide their mess and the impending financial disaster inside the labyrinth of a bureaucracy so complex nobody will be able to fix it, stop it, or even challenge it.
The bigger the government, the smaller the people.
Over-development is a crime against Mother Earth, a crime against the Community, a crime against Humanity. But before the shameless politicians responsible can be held accountable for the mess they've created, they parlay their experience and move on to the next level of meddling - higher office. More development, more spending, more debt, more taxes. When will it stop?
It won't until you demand politicians make up-zoning stop. Not until you replace rotten double-dealing politicians with real public servants, whose first priority is to see the community run effectively, efficiently, affordably. But first find those double-dealers. Identify them. Expose them. Name them, blame them, shame them. Don't think complaining helps. Wolves are never bothered by the bleating of sheep.
Then unite and support politicians who will stop this over-development, stop this urban pollution, stop this urban crime, stop this so-called' smart growth. '

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The Finer Points of Dying

The Finer Points of Dying

Well, when you first contract whatever
we got all sizes, colours, descriptions & types
got one-size-fits-all, the whole enchilada
or piece by piece, wasting away, but
for godsakes don’t tell anyone about it
gotta be furtive and secretive, stoic
about being all gangrene on the inside
inside where it outta stay buddy
don’t be blurtin out ‘I got cancer’ to one ‘n all
makes people nervous, comin too close
with your dread disease ya never know
next maybe me for god sakes, me
shaddup ‘bout it.. in a sea of trouble
you think you got trouble buddy
I'll show you troule, your piss-ass l’il tumour
shit you’re just startin’
the long procession
into the operating room
last flash of light
last thing you see
buddy we just beginnin’ to begin

                                  John Goodall

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.. Empty Orchastra Recidel

.. Empty Orchastra Recidel
Like an episode of The Real Housewives of Africa no house, husband, dead, 4 of her 8 kids turned blue the others wear their skins like unwashed shirts soon they’ll be dead so how are we feeling today? More people caught in mankind’s knowledge in making big things in many pieces of small yet big enough to be proven in a court of flaws we know how to destroy, what’s the point of making friends whose here tomorrow will be completely different than today, like an upper right cross to the face but you keep getting up why all of you with more than just faith somehow we keep getting by but just in a couple hundred thousand years will there be conviction & purpose on whoever who is in charge’s stonelike face or will it be back to the Stone Age with tears and blood on that face any archeological digs would be used for mass graves you see man and his kind are a bust,
yes there will still be courage and love but rocks the size of the moon will continue to fall from above of course our mutinous harmony is our crossing sign leading us across the red sea of red tape listen up empty people or we are doomed to repeat, immortality gets the better of us all the broken words are there to describe every rise and fall now if Ziggy Stardust could do it and he did we should be able to take the fall and land on our feet, like how many doors get kicked in on an average cop show 3 or 5 or two dozen or more then someone like Officer Down who thinks people should be hung in gas chambers or beheaded by firing squad yeah he knows just about everything except your rights, of those he chooses not to care let alone use to him world wars 3, 4 & 5 will be his friends’ sanctuary where they can fully display our abuse starting with the present being shredded your business is their show business feel confined to enjoy the show there go the lights…
We now move on to a Real Housewives of the Downtown Eastside I see those little children whose games include crying and wake up and hide disadvantaged with some learning booze is good and anger mixed with fear can come out in pens or a musical instrument or your fists, they are systematically creating a ghetto then theyu destroy that it’s been proven over and over in their court of flaws yeah sure I will drink to that a human gesture gives one the time to pause if they can’t gimme shelter then for all of us gimme skelter and have the decency to at least try and co-exist.

                                  By ROBERT McGILLIVRAY
An event has happened, upon which it is difficult to speak and impossible to be silent.” –Edmund Burke

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…for all the Pizza Boy Killas out there…

…for all the Pizza Boy Killas out there…

Out your mind you are
you think I'm scared of dying
mutha I welcome it
don’t think for one minute
I miss all this shit every day
Out your mind you think
I miss the penny-ante rip off
the wannabe tough guy
oh ya ‘I usta work for da Mob
did contracts’ oh ya pisano
when you weren’t busy
    diddlin’ choirboys
don’t think for one bloody second
you bozos impress anyone ‘cept yaself
when they pull the pin
brutha won’t be no tears
when this rider rides off
nothing but relief
this ol’ boy buys the farm

                                               Al

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Star Crap 7 (a faerytale)
            Star Crap 7 (a faerytale)                                              
   Once upon a crooked pyramid there was a planet of silly, mostly hairless hybrid monkeys. Who spent most of their days beating the crap out of each other for really bizarre reasons like whoever thought they were stronger, or who thought they'd been insulted, or who had more property or strange yellow bricks that they kept in big metal boxes, or who said they spoke for a big cheezy sky pilot no one has ever seen.  Yeah they were a silly bunch alright. And because they were so silly they were targets of other even stranger critters who didn't understand that everything and everyone are connected in ways the even-stranger critters denied existed; because that would interfere with their plans to get their paws on all those strange yellow bricks in the big metal boxes you understand.
   Let's call the even-stranger critters; the Denials.
Those Denials had been in charge of the planet of silly mostly hairless hybrid monkeys for so long that everyone, including the Denials, had forgotten what was true & what wasn't. So to avoid looking like the incompetent boobs they were, from time to time they organized mass demonstrations of madness every time a denying Denial was found to be a tad incompetent and boob-like.
   They called the Denials mass demonstrations of madness 'warfare'. (Remember, to deniers war is fair.)
   One of the things, among many, that the Denials denied was that they weren't alone in the universe. They'd been denying that one so long they'd forgotten that it wasn't true, so just to be sure they arranged for silly people say it was in order to beat those people up. Thereby proving to everyone it was, so that everyone would say it wasn't, in order not to go to war, you understand.
   Then one milennia. Which was so long ago.. or was it? I forget. Damn those Denials.. anyway one day whenever that was or will be a little critter from way way out there/ over there we'll call “Whimsey” came flying by in her ufo to have a look at the silly silly planet of mostly hairless hybrid monkeys and incompetent boobs, because to them, well, we have comedy on TV right?!
   You understand.
   Meanwhile, on the silly planet the Denials ruled, a small group of Denials learned -by pulling their heads part-way out of their posteriors- that they weren't alone in the universe, but denied it to everyone (as was their custom, their tradition.) including most of the other Denials. (Which up until then wasn't.) Thereby creating a three-tier denial gestalt. (An ET-TV plot twist on the longest running comedy show in all the known galaxies.)
    Now because the incompetent boobs hated being laughed at by every other sentient species in creation that didn't have their heads up their backsides, the upper echelon Denials decided to capture a real live ET and deny holding it for ransom. Or at least an episode on ET-TV where the Denials would control the shows content.
   Or so they denied they thought.
   Problem was, every time the Denials denied pointing and firing weapons at ufo's, the ufo's would turn themselves invisible. Denying the Denials. Which pisses off critters with their heads up their asses in case you were wondering.
   So, the Denials had the military deny they'd come up with a way to see the invisible ufo's who were laughing at them by spreading a fine mist of ground up chicken feathers in the atmosphere all over the planet. Cause their super secrety microwave radar could see the wake of the invisible ufo's who were too busy laughing to see the chicken feathers, and that's how Whimsey (remember Whimsey?) got shot down and shut away.
   Problem was, every time a military Denial tried to deny they were interrogating Whimsey she'd laugh so hard they had to bring in super secrety psychics to control all that laughter.    Remember, denying Denials deep in both denial and acute incontinence hate it when someone won't play along with a game the Denials deny they are playing with silly mostly hairless hybrid monkeys they'll only lie to.
   Which, of course, isn't happening.
   Out there? Well... This week’s episode I hear is the best one yet. The upper echelon Denials still haven't figured how everything & everyone is interconnected. Only that if they can't control the show then they'll have to go have another mass demonstration of madness, 'cause the mostly hairless hybrid monkeys are starting to ask questions about all those chicken feathers.
   News Flash from the Pileades: The longest running comedy in intergalactic history “The Problem with Poop Chutes” has been picked up for an unprecedented 6473rd year running. Be sure to tune into next week’s episode: “Super Secrety Psychics and A Jape of Whimsey.”                                                                                                       -Skippy the tye-dyed mascot
 

                                                                                         
   
                                                             

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The Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools
Published by Zinn Education Project
The Real Irish American Story Not Taught in Schools
                                                                                                                                         by Bill Bigelow
“Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish-American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing.To support the famine relief effort, British tax policy required landlords to pay the local taxes of their poorest tenant farmers, leading many landlords to forcibly evict struggling farmers and destroy their cottages in order to save money. Sadly, today’s high school textbooks continue to largely ignore the famine, despite the fact that it was responsible for unimaginable suffering and the deaths of more than a million Irish peasants, and that it triggered the greatest wave of Irish immigration in history. Nor do textbooks make any attempt to help students link famines past and present.
Yet there is no shortage of material that can bring these dramatic events to life in the classroom. In my own high school social studies classes, I begin with Sinead O’Connor’s haunting rendition of “Skibbereen,” which includes the verse:
… Oh it’s well I do remember, that bleak December day,
The landlord and the sheriff came, to drive Us all away
They set my roof on fire, with their cursed English spleen
And that’s another reason why I left old Skibbereen.
By contrast, Holt McDougal’s U.S. history textbook The Americans, devotes a flat two sentences to “The Great Potato Famine.” Prentice Hall’s America: Pathways to the Present fails to offer a single quote from the time. The text calls the famine a “horrible disaster,” as if it were a natural calamity like an earthquake. And in an awful single paragraph, Houghton Mifflin’s The Enduring Vision: A History of the American People blames the “ravages of famine” simply on “a blight,” and the only contemporaneous quote comes, inappropriately, from a landlord, who describes the surviving tenants as “famished and ghastly skeletons.” Uniformly, social studies textbooks fail to allow the Irish to speak for themselves, to narrate their own horror.
These timid slivers of knowledge not only deprive students of rich lessons in Irish-American history, they exemplify much of what is wrong with today’s curricular reliance on corporate-produced textbooks.
First, does anyone really think that students will remember anything from the books’ dull and lifeless paragraphs? Today’s textbooks contain no stories of actual people. We meet no one, learn nothing of anyone’s life, and encounter no injustice, no resistance. This is a curriculum bound for boredom. As someone who spent almost 30 years teaching high school social studies, I can testify that students will be unlikely to seek to learn more about events so emptied of drama, emotion, and humanity.
Nor do these texts raise any critical questions for students to consider. For example, it’s important for students to learn that the crop failure in Ireland affected only the potato—during the worst famine years, other food production was robust. Michael Pollan notes in The Botany of Desire, “Ireland’s was surely the biggest experiment in monoculture ever attempted and surely the most convincing proof of its folly.” But if only this one variety of potato, the Lumper, failed, and other crops thrived, why did people starve?
Thomas Gallagher points out in Paddy’s Lament, that during the first winter of famine, 1846-47, as perhaps 400,000 Irish peasants starved, landlords exported 17 million pounds sterling worth of grain, cattle, pigs, flour, eggs, and poultry—food that could have prevented those deaths. Throughout the famine, as Gallagher notes, there was an abundance of food produced in Ireland, yet the landlords exported it to markets abroad.
The school curriculum could and should ask students to reflect on the contradiction of starvation amidst plenty, on the ethics of food exports amidst famine. And it should ask why these patterns persist into our own time.
More than a century and a half after the “Great Famine,” we live with similar, perhaps even more glaring contradictions. Raj Patel opens his book, Stuffed and Starved: Markets, Power and the Hidden Battle for the World’s Food System: “Today, when we produce more food than ever before, more than one in ten people on Earth are hungry. The hunger of 800 million happens at the same time as another historical first: that they are outnumbered by the one billion people on this planet who are overweight.”
Patel’s book sets out to account for “the rot at the core of the modern food system.” This is a curricular journey that our students should also be on — reflecting on patterns of poverty, power, and inequality that stretch from 19th century Ireland to 21st century Africa, India, Appalachia, and Oakland; that explore what happens when food and land are regarded purely as commodities in a global system of profit.
But today’s corporate textbook-producers are no more interested in feeding student curiosity about this inequality than were British landlords interested in feeding Irish peasants. Take Pearson, the global publishing giant. At its website, the corporation announces (redundantly) that “we measure our progress against three key measures: earnings, cash and return on invested capital.” The Pearson empire had 2011 worldwide sales of more than $9 billion—that’s nine thousand million dollars, as I might tell my students. Multinationals like Pearson have no interest in promoting critical thinking about an economic system whose profit-first premises they embrace with gusto.
As mentioned, there is no absence of teaching materials on the Irish famine that can touch head and heart. In a role play, “Hunger on Trial,” that I wrote and taught to my own students in Portland, Oregon—included at the Zinn Education Project website— students investigate who or what was responsible for the famine. The British landlords, who demanded rent from the starving poor and exported other food crops? The British government, which allowed these food exports and offered scant aid to Irish peasants? The Anglican Church, which failed to denounce selfish landlords or to act on behalf of the poor? A system of distribution, which sacrificed Irish peasants to the logic of colonialism and the capitalist market?
These are rich and troubling ethical questions. They are exactly the kind of issues that fire students to life and allow them to see that history is not simply a chronology of dead facts stretching through time.
So go ahead: Have a Guinness, wear a bit of green, and put on the Chieftains. But let’s honor the Irish with our curiosity. Let’s make sure that our schools show some respect, by studying the social forces that starved and uprooted over a million Irish—and that are starving and uprooting people today.

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April 1, 2014