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May 1, 2014

Contents

Newsletter Finances

Newsletter Finances

Near the end of 2013 an appeal went to many people who have helped with money in the last few years. The 2014 for-sure funds for continuing the Carnegie Newsletter were looking awful low.
As a result over 25 people came through and just over $2800 helped erase a purported $900 deficit that was looming on the horizon for the end of 2013.
  The CCC Association had its budget workshop in February and for the paper this year costs are expected to be $13,000. The Gaming Commission has given the okay to put $4000 of the total the Assoc. received for 2014 towards this “community writing program”; the CCAP pays for its monthly newsletter insert and the amount to be raised is about $5000.
  The Help in the Downtown Eastside free resource guide, very useful to long-time residents, visitors, agencies and transients alike, is the Newsletter’s little sister publication. Its history has been to come out twice a year, except that since 2008 it’s been harder & harder to find funding. I’ve raised money for this separately from the Newsletter ever since 1991 when the first edition was in English only and 1000 copies were made. Unfortunately the last edition was #46 APRIL 2013, and this is the longest period between updates since inception. Production run is now 11,000 English, 1,000 French and 1,000 Spanish at a cost of $2,500.
  This update is to let all contributors know where we stand right now. Ellen Woodsworth had the brilliant idea of holding a Pete Seeger celebration and making it a fundraiser for the Carnegie Newsletter. Earle Peach and the Solidarity Notes Choir agreed, but then the choir had a vote and chose to make it a fundraiser for the No Pipeline resistance. I guess they thought that was more popular/important…
  The hope right now is to hold a fundraising event in mid-June for the Carnegie Newsletter, with a fervent hope that funding for Help in the Downtown Eastside will have been secured and spent by then.  If anyone has ideas or an inside track on someone or group with $2500 they can’t wait to give to a worthwhile cause, keep these publications in mind.

                              Respectfully submitted,
                                   PaulR  Taylor, volunteer editor.

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Hello from the library!

 Hello from the library!

 If you are one of our avid readers of Westerns, you’ll be pleased to know we have a major fresh supply as of a few days ago!   Hopefully they won’t all be checked out by the time you read this. We also have a small selection of new horror novels, too.  They are mixed in with the Fantasy Paperbacks – see if you can lose some sleep by reading Feed (the good news:  we survived; the bad news: so did they…) or Coffin County.  
  In the display cabinet this week we have highlighted a variety of books from our Aboriginal Resources collection.
  Remember to come in and vote for your favourite Vancouver bird!  Pictures of the six candidates are on display and a ballot box plus books about birds are also on display.  

                               Stephanie (Carnegie Librarian)

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420 – Love In

420 – Love In

420, smokin’ hot haze, beautiful noise, one out-of-sight day, chock full of love, peace and happiness, coming together, freedom from restrictions, fines, ticketing, no constricting police presence, back off into the shadows, like everyone had not a care in the world, with everybody on board, problem & hassle free
Speaking to power, drenched by sun, and tons of fun, with not a can or bottle of booze in sight, with two stages of psychedelic rock’n roll, hip hop, rap, mind-expanding head music, dancing & singing as if in an exotic trance, with neither alcohol-infused profanity, intolerance nor rudeness to be heard or seen at all;
with never-ending, mind-bending, tax free free enterprise selling harmless smoke products organically grown & pesticide free, with no bureaucratically-red- taped-extreme-right-wing government intervention.
  It justifiably doesn’t get any better than that!

                                ROBYN LIVINGSTONE

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Why US Fracking Companies Are Licking Their Lips Over Ukraine
Published by The Guardian
Why US Fracking Companies Are Licking Their Lips Over Ukraine
                                                                                                                                         by Naomi Klein
The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin's fossil fuels, and enhancing US ƒnational security.
According to Cory Gardner, the Republican congressman who introduced the House bill, "opposing this legislation is like hanging up on a 911 call from our friends and allies". And that might be true – as long as your friends and allies work at Chevron and Shell, and the emergency is the need to keep profits up amid dwindling supplies of conventional oil and gas.
For this ploy to work, it's important not to look too closely at details. Like the fact that much of the gas probably won't make it to Europe – because what the bills allow is for gas to be sold on the world market to any country belonging to the World Trade Organisation.
Or the fact that for years the industry has been selling the message that Americans must accept the risks to their land, water and air that come with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in order to help their country achieve "energy independence". And now, suddenly and slyly, the goal has been switched to "energy security", which apparently means selling a temporary glut of fracked gas on the world market, thereby creating energy dependencies abroad.
And most of all, it's important not to notice that building the infrastructure necessary to export gas on this scale would take many years in permitting and construction – a single LNG terminal can carry a $7bn price tag, must be fed by a massive, interlocking web of pipelines and compressor stations, and requires its own power plant just to generate energy sufficient to liquefy the gas through super-cooling. By the time these massive industrial projects are up and running, Germany and Russia may well be fast friends. But by then few will remember that the crisis in Crimea was the excuse seized upon by the gas industry to make its longstanding export dreams come true, regardless of the consequences to the communities getting fracked or to the planet getting cooked.
I call this knack for exploiting crisis for private gain the shock doctrine, and it shows no signs of retreating. We all know how the shock doctrine works: during times of crisis, whether real or manufactured, our elites are able to ram through unpopular policies that are detrimental to the majority under cover of emergency. Sure there are objections – from climate scientists warning of the potent warming powers of methane, or local communities that don't want these high-risk export ports on their beloved coasts. But who has time for debate? It's an emergency! A 911 call ringing! Pass the laws first, think about them later.
We all know how the shock doctrine works: during times of crisis, whether real or manufactured, our elites are able to ram through unpopular policies that are detrimental to the majority under cover of emergency.
Plenty of industries are good at this ploy, but none is more adept at exploiting the rationality-arresting properties of crisis than the global gas sector.
For the past four years the gas lobby has used the economic crisis in Europe to tell countries like Greece that the way out of debt and desperation is to open their beautiful and fragile seas to drilling. And it has employed similar arguments to rationalise fracking across North America and the United Kingdom.
Now the crisis du jour is conflict in Ukraine, being used as a battering ram to knock down sensible restrictions on natural gas exports and push through a controversial free-trade deal with Europe. It's quite a deal: more corporate free-trade polluting economies and more heat-trapping gases polluting the atmosphere – all as a response to an energy crisis that is largely manufactured.
Against this backdrop it's worth remembering – irony of ironies – that the crisis the natural gas industry has been most adept at exploiting is climate change itself.
Never mind that the industry's singular solution to the climate crisis is to dramatically expand an extraction process in fracking that releases massive amounts of climate-destabilising methane into our atmosphere. Methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases – 34 times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, according to the latest estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And that is over a 100-year period, with methane's power dwindling over time.
It's far more relevant, argues the Cornell University biochemist Robert Howarth, one of the world's leading experts on methane emissions, to look at the impact in the 15- to 20-year range, when methane has a global-warming potential that is a staggering 86-100 times greater than carbon dioxide. "It is in this time frame that we risk locking ourselves into very rapid warming," he said on Wednesday.
And remember: you don't build multibillion-dollar pieces of infrastructure unless you plan on using them for at least 40 years. So we are responding to the crisis of our warming planet by constructing a network of ultra-powerful atmospheric ovens. Are we mad?
Not that we know how much methane is actually released by drilling and fracking and all their attendant infrastructure. Even while the natural gas industry touts its "lower than coal!" carbon dioxide emissions, it has never systematically measured its fugitive methane leaks, which waft from every stage of the gas extraction, processing, and distribution process – from the well casings and the condenser valves to the cracked pipelines under Harlem neighbourhoods. The gas industry itself, in 1981, came up with the clever pitch that natural gas was a "bridge" to a clean energy future. That was 33 years ago. Long bridge. And the far bank still nowhere in view.
And in 1988 – the year that the climatologist James Hansen warned Congress, in historic testimony, about the urgent problem of global warming – the American Gas Association began to explicitly frame its product as a response to the "greenhouse effect". It wasted no time, in other words, selling itself as the solution to a global crisis that it had helped create.
The industry's use of the crisis in Ukraine to expand its global market under the banner of "energy security" must be seen in the context of this uninterrupted record of crisis opportunism. Only this time many more of us know where true energy security lies. Thanks to the work of top researchers such as Mark Jacobson and his Stanford team, we know that the world can, by the year 2030, power itself entirely with renewables. And thanks to the latest, alarming reports from the IPCC, we know that doing so is now an existential imperative.
This is the infrastructure we need to be rushing to build – not massive industrial projects that will lock us into further dependency on dangerous fossil fuels for decades into the future. Yes, these fuels are still needed during the transition, but more than enough conventionals are on hand to carry us through: extra-dirty extraction methods such as tar sands and fracking are simply not necessary. As Jacobson said in an interview just this week: "We don't need unconventional fuels to produce the infrastructure to convert to entirely clean and renewable wind, water and solar power for all purposes. We can rely on the existing infrastructure plus the new infrastructure [of renewable generation] to provide the energy for producing the rest of the clean infrastructure that we'll need ... Conventional oil and gas is much more than enough."
Given this, it's up to Europeans to turn their desire for emancipation from Russian gas into a demand for an accelerated transition to renewables. Such a transition – to which European nations are committed under the Kyoto protocol – can easily be sabotaged if the world market is flooded with cheap fossil fuels fracked from the US bedrock. And indeed Americans Against Fracking, which is leading the charge against the fast-tracking of LNG exports, is working closely with its European counterparts to prevent this from happening.
Responding to the threat of catastrophic warming is our most pressing energy imperative. And we simply can't afford to be distracted by the natural gas industry's latest crisis-fueled marketing ploy.
© 2014 The Guardian

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, now out in paperback. Her earlier books include the international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (which has just been re-published in a special 10th Anniversary Edition); and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). To read all her latest writing visit www.naomiklein.org.

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MAPS AND MEMORIES
 Vancouver Moving Theatre in partnership with Jumblies Theatre present
MAPS AND MEMORIES
4th Downtown Eastside Artsfare Institute

A three Day Intensive Course on researching and expressing
community stories through oral history and mapping

Ukrainian Hall, 805 East Pender Street / June 6-8, 2014, 9:30am - 5:00pm

This three day  course on community-engaged practice will explore the gathering of personal and ancestral histories and images of landscapes and waterways from False Creek to Burrard Inlet and beyond; and their application in community-engaged art making.

Join Ruth Howard (Jumblies Theatre, Toronto) with Savannah Walling (Vancouver Moving Theatre, Vancouver/Downtown Eastside) on this intensive, experiential journey of learning and art-making. Course activities will blend presentations, discussions, demonstrations, hands-on activities, creative explorations and take-home resources.  

This course is for emerging and professional artists from all forms and traditions; practitioners from related fields (e.g. oral history, community development, etc.); people with some prior or current experience in community-engaged arts; people with past projects or in-process projects involving oral history, interview or mapping research; and
people who can apply what they learn and share it with others through their practice.

Participants will deepen and expand your community arts skills and experience; learn skills to support your own oral history or map-based arts project; meet and network with like-minded creative people; and have lots of fun!

$150. Work trade places are available for those for whom the fee is a barrier.
Snacks and the makings for lunches are provided.

APPLICATION PROCESS - Limited to twenty participants, selected partly based on experience and potential to benefit, with a view to creating a compatible and diverse group, including Downtown Eastside community members. To request an application form, email or phone assistant Artsfare coordinator Kelty McKerracher at dtesartsfare@gmail.com  or 778-886-8871 (messages); or visit www.vancouvermovingtheatre.com and download an application.

You can email your completed application to dtesartsfare@gmail.com, or mail in application form to the address on the application form.  
Application deadline: May 5, 2014 (5 pm).

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High Inequality Results in More US Deaths Than Tobacco, Car Crashes and Guns Combined

High Inequality Results in More US Deaths Than Tobacco, Car Crashes and Guns Combined
April 19, 2014     By Joshua Holland

   In 2009, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a study that revealed what seems to be a shocking truth: those who live in societies with a higher level of income inequality are at a greater risk for premature death.
Here in the United States, our high level of income inequality corresponds with 883, 914 unnecessary deaths each year. More specifically, the report concluded that if we had an income distribution more like that of the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland — or eleven other wealthy countries — every year, about one in three deaths in the US could be avoided.
Put that into perspective. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tobacco, including second-hand smoke, causes approximately 480,000 deaths every year, and in 2010, traffic accidents killed 33,687 people and 31,672 others died of gunshot wounds.
The mechanism by which a bullet or a car crash kills is readily apparent. Inequality is lethal in ways that are less obvious. It’s a silent killer – a deadly plague that we, as a society, tend not to acknowledge.
In Divided: The Perils of Our Growing Inequality, a new book edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, Stephen Bezruchka, a former emergency room physician who is now a professor of public health at the University of Washington, explains the connection.This week, BillMoyers.com asked Bezruchka about the relationship between inequality and mortality. Below is a transcript of our conversation that’s been lightly edited for clarity.
Joshua Holland: The US is among the richest countries in the world. Before we get into the issue of inequality, how do we stack up when it comes to health outcomes?
Stephen Bezruchka: What we seem to be very good at in this country is dying young. That is, if you look at the average length of life, 35 to over 50 countries do better than we do. The CIA World Factbook counts countries with tiny populations such as Gibraltar and Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic, and it comes up with 50. If you take only significant countries, like the UN rankings, then we were 34th in life expectancy in 2011, meaning the citizens of 33 countries have longer average lives. It’s quite startling.
And we not only die younger than people in all the other rich countries; by some measures our overall health is actually on a par with poor countries.
Holland: What’s the link between the very high levels of inequality we see right now and our short average life spans?
Bezruchka: Studies over the last 40 years have demonstrated a very strong link between economic inequality in countries and their health status. So, for example, a meta-analysis — that is, a study putting all the studies on inequality together — by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and published in the British Medical Journal concluded that about one death in three can be attributed to America’s high level of inequality. So if you accept the hypothesis, it’s the leading killer.
Holland: This is the only wealthy country without a universal health insurance scheme. Or, if you want to be an optimist about Obamacare, you could say that our universal health insurance scheme is in its infancy. How can we be sure that it’s inequality leading to these poor outcomes, rather than other factors like a lack of access to health care?
Bezruchka: I worked as a clinical doctor for 35 years, as an emergency room physician. So I was the person of last resort. And I can tell you that medical care is a small player in producing good health in societies.
Certainly no more than 10 percent of our health is related to the provision of medical services. Medical care is very good at treating illness and injury, but a lack of medical care is not what causes that illness and injury. That’s something else, and a lot of that relates to inequality.
Holland: What about lifestyle factors? We often hear that Americans are making unhealthy choices — we’re too fat, or we smoke too much, or we drink too much. That would seem to let the systemic issues you’re talking about off the hook.
Bezruchka: Let’s consider what I call the Health Olympics, the ranking of countries by length of life. As I said, we were 34th in 2011. If you look at the countries ahead of us and ask, “out of all those countries, which one has the smallest proportion of men smoking — is it Japan, the longest-lived country?” Well, no, as a matter of fact, out of all the countries on that list, Japan has the highest percentage of men smoking. Close to half of all Japanese men smoke. It used to be almost 80 percent but they’ve been trying to eliminate smoking. And only 20 percent of American men smoke. So Japanese men smoke at twice the prevalence that we do, and yet they’re among the longest-lived. That’s not to say the fact that half of Japanese men smoke is the reason for their good health. But it suggests we have to look at other factors, and smoking is the most obvious and egregious example that I can use to portray that. But the same thing is true for diet and exercise and all the behavioral things we do.
The behaviors that really matter for our health include a range of social connections and family support. The studies and meta-analyses show they’re way more important than smoking and exercise and those kinds of things. And in American society, the economic gap that divides us also limits the range of support that we have. Basically, in a more unequal society, there’s less caring and sharing, and that’s what really matters for your health.
Holland: And you write that there’s a key period in our lives that has a huge impact on our long-term health. Can you tell me about that?
Bezruchka: Studies show that roughly half of our health as adults has been programmed in the first thousand days after conception. In other words, it’s the nine months in the womb, and the next two years after that which are critical for writing the software in our biology that will determine how healthy we’re going to be. So societies that privilege those first thousand days are healthier than societies that neglect them.
What do I mean by privilege or neglect? There are only three countries in the world that don’t have a paid maternity leave policy. One of those countries is Papua New Guinea, half of a big island north of Australia. The second country is Liberia, in West Africa. And you can guess the third. We do not have a federal paid maternity leave policy. All the other countries do, except for those other two. We’re in a league with two countries that aren’t very healthy, and our medical care system isn’t going to bail us out.
All the other rich countries have paid perinatal leave policies, meaning if you’re a working woman and pregnant, you get to take as many as 18 weeks off work with pay.
So what do the healthier countries do? Sweden spends more public money on the first year of life than in any subsequent year. We spend our public money on people my age and older. And what does Sweden do to spend so much money in the first year of life? In Sweden, it is mandatory to take a year’s maternity/paternity leave at full pay — if you have a baby, the mother and father have to take a combined year off. If the mother takes the whole year, then the father’s got to take three months. That’s at full pay. The Swedish government pays you during that period of time, not your employer.
Then, the second year is optional — you can take it off to nurture a baby at 80 percent pay.
In the third year of life, if you want to go back to work, you can put your child in a public daycare center that’s essentially free. And to work in a public Swedish daycare center, you have to have an advanced degree in play. Because what’s daycare all about? It’s about socializing the kids. You need experts.
Contrast that with our expectations — we require only somebody who will work at minimum wage and doesn’t have a recent history of child sexual abuse. That’s all we ask of our daycare workers. So we get what we pay for. We compromise the first thousand days and then we spend a fortune on medical bills later on.
Holland: You write in the excerpt at Boston Review, “There is a dose-response relationship, meaning more inequality leads to worse health.” What are the specific mechanisms that make that the case?
Bezruchka: What happens is those lower down the economic ladder experience more stress. Their lives are much more stressful, and they secrete more stress hormones until they’re burned.
Stress is our twenty-first century tobacco. As we understand more about stress biology and the impact it has on our lives, we are going to have to wage a campaign to reduce the amount of stress in our lives. In one survey, people in the US reported the fourth highest levels of stress in the world. That’s true despite all our smartphones and gadgets and conveniences and the ease of everyday life. It’s incredibly stressful for those who own all these gadgets, but the ones on the bottom suffer the most stress. Surveys of stress hormones find that they have the highest levels and they have the worst health outcomes. So the bigger the gap between the rich and the poor, the greater the stress on those lower down, and the higher you are up the economic ladder, the better off you are.
The interesting thing is that there’s no privileged subpopulation in the United States that has really excellent health. The Institute of Medicine’s “Shorter Lives, Poor Health Report” said clearly, on page three, that even those of us who are white-skinned, college educated and in upper income brackets — and exhibit all the right behaviors — die younger than our counterparts in the other rich countries. And it’s inequality that’s killing us.
Holland: We also work around 30 percent more hours, on average, than the citizens of other wealthy countries, which obviously leads to more stress.
You call poor health outcomes resulting from economic inequality, “structural violence.” Can you explain your use of that term?
Bezruchka: Sure. When we hear the word ‘violence,’ we think of collapsing towers in New York, or you think of somebody with an AR-15 mowing down children in a school. That’s behavioral violence. But if inequality is killing us—one death in three, as I intimated—it’s like an odorless, colorless, highly toxic gas that we’re just not aware of. And it kills us from the usual diseases: heart  disease, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure. It’s the structure of our society, the gap between the rich and the poor, that creates the inequality that kills us from all the usual diseases. And that term came about in about 1969, in the Journal of Peace Research, and they called it ‘structural violence.’
Structural violence kills far more people than the behavioral variety. That’s what we need to change.

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Prescription heroin
Paul-
When I started at Pivot a month ago, Peter & Katrina told me I would hit the ground running – they weren’t kidding. I have only been in the job for four weeks and I have already been to court to defend the right of patients to access prescription heroin and’ve applied to intervene in a case at the BC Court of Appeal to challenge Harper’s mandatory minimums sentencing.
Prescription heroin
  For a number of years Pivot has been working with a group of long-term heroin users to access prescription heroin. These patients were all former participants in the SALOME study, which is testing the effectiveness of several medical treatments for heroin addiction, including prescription diacetylmorphine, better known by its Bayer trade name heroin. The benefits to these participants were great, most notably more stability in their lives, and greater contact with regular medical care. We've learned from similar studies conducted at Insite that for this vulnerable population, more exposure to medical care is a really good thing.
  Pivot is involved because after these patients left the SALOME study, their doctors applied for continued access to prescription heroin. Health Canada approved the treatment. However, on September 20, 2013, the federal Minister of Health changed the regulations to prevent these patients from accessing their approved treatment. The regulations also blocked other patients from applying for Heroin Assisted Treatment in the future. Providence Health Care, who operates the clinic where the SALOME study takes place, went to court to challenge the Minister's new regulations. Pivot is representing a group of patients from this clinic.
  In March, Providence and the patients applied for an interim injunction which if successful would give them access to their medication until the issue comes to trial. We expect the court to issue an order any day now, and I will let you know as soon as that happens.
Challenge to the mandatory minimum sentencing
The case, called R v Lloyd, is about a Downtown Eastside resident who was convicted of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking in heroin, crack cocaine, and methamphetamine. In March, a provincial court judge found the mandatory minimum amounted to be cruel and unusual punishment, and struck down the provision. The federal crown appealed that ruling, and the BC Court of Appeal will hear the matter in June. I've written a blog post with more details about the case which you can read here
Yesterday, Pivot went to the Court of Appeal to seek leave to intervene in the case. Our request was granted!
This was my first court appearance for Pivot, and my first time at the Court of Appeal, and it could not have gone better or felt more right. I've been sitting at my desk since the hearing yesterday just thrilled for the opportunity to take part in Pivot's work, and I wanted to thank you all for your confidence in me, and for your support of Pivot's work.
I will write again closer to the hearing to let you know how the case is going.
Thanks again for everything!

Adrienne Smith
Health and Drug Policy Campaigner
Pivot Legal Society

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(A desk is a dangerous place from which to observe the world.)
(A desk is a dangerous place from which to observe the world.)
To all concerned
  I feel it imperative on my part to write, to open up, have my say, my opinion of what the LAP, the CCAP and living in poverty in the DTES means to me.
  The loss of the community would be devastating to hundreds, thousands of people who make up this unique and diverse neighbourhood. Vancouver should be setting an example for the rest of the planet, and working with and developing the area’s talent and the general sense of community!
  The word commune in its actual meaning: A company of people, old enough to make its own decisions and choices, struggling to survive against unrealistic conditions, robbed of dignity and respect yet continue to fight. All we want is to be treated as humans, not caged animals controlled by the City for all to see, talked about like animals, livestock, whose future is decided upon by suits in boardrooms and offices worth more than any 10 DTES residents combined will ever see in their lifetime…
  The city has a chance to show the world how City Hall and a community can work together. Remember it’s only a community when it’s populated, otherwise it’s just an area/zone/district.
  Sure, the only constant on the planet is Change that, along with Time, ensures the inevitability of things never remaining the same and this is a good thing, but what it does not mean is that it’s okay to bulldoze over an existence; like Atlantis or Pompeii, lost to the world forever.
  Working to protect this iconic, world-renown DTES should be a priority for City Hall.. shit, for Victoria.
  The LAP missed by a long shot. First mistake was to underestimate the intelligence and drive of the residents of the DTES (We will fight back!)  Instead of embracing the ideas and thoughts of those who actually live in the ‘hood, the plan only looks short-sightedly at the almighty dollar! Again, it’s a case of not seeing the forest for the trees: It makes way too much sense to have all the amenities, supports and services all in one concentrated area, where residents who need and use such services live and commune (thus that community thing again).
  To be able to see my doctor, go to the Lab/pharma, meet my friends for coffee at the Carnegie Centre, do my yoga, get acupuncture, meet my sponsor at a NA meeting and get a free haircut, low-cost meals and food and feel totally safe and at home without ever getting on a bus… What happens if it all moves to New West or Surrey (where they don’t want us at all)
  If this happens I think a lot of people will die of loneliness. The city responsible for the DTES cannot turn their back on the people who made it. Shit, we survived the Olytmpics and a riot without any murders/deaths or world-eyeing tragedy in the DTES.
  The City may have grossly underestimated the value, tourism, headlines and education we contribute to,,, Rather than working on getting rid of, they should be bringing  and setting an example to the world of how it can be done. The people that don’t like it can just stay away! We never asked them to come in the first place.
  It’s okay to take our money (that’s always okay, isn’t it) while looking down their nosejobs or over their plastic tits, laughing to their friends the minute we leave. Who gave them the right to judge?!
  In theend I'm probably not making any new promises or threats to the deaf ears at City Hall – they’ve heard ‘em all before – but maybe by presenting the obvious in a different way we might just reach one of those suits that make decisions on the hill. With the future of the city/province/country on the line and a plan over the next 30 years at stake, I ask you to take a breath and think how Vancouver can be the talk of the WORLD. “The instigator, pioneer, leader in the fight against homelessness, hunger and poverty…” in acknowledging the talent and ingenuity of the residents of this neighbourhood.
  Shit! Our government is quick to send aid to developing and third world countries at the asking, yet we strive & survive in poverty on the front lawns of our Great Country! With the nation’s highest rates of Hep C, HIV, child poverty/hunger and homelessness, these things will not just ‘go away’ by spreading things out or cutting services altogether.
  I suppose I could go on and on with the what-could-be’s and what-went-wrong’s but that’s not what I set out to do. That was the voice of my displeasure over the LAP and the short-sightedness of the city planners and the powers-that-be. With a chance to make history, world history, and have the entire planet applauding this initiative and novel approach to the problem, they swept it all under the rubble.
  I'm just saying…
                                                       Henry George!

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‘Nutha Cliché

‘Nutha Cliché

The most oftenly phrase in the Bible
or should I say the New Testament
is simply Fear thou not.
Simply put is take it easy
ease up on the fear my mango
let the superhypertension  go
..flying back into space
What am i
so freakin’ afraid of?
who profits from this manufactured pantomime?
the charade of rules and holy cow
I said calm yer ass down
If when I go
and leave you all to yer Werk
I'm sorry I never bite in deep enough
didn’t taste that sweet sin long enough
missed the whole damn show
followin’ rules and killin’ time.
                                                          Al

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Why I'm Not Reading Newspapers Right Now
Why I'm Not Reading Newspapers Right Now
                                                          by Dave Jaffe
     For me there's been one and only one good result  of the Portland Hotel Society affair. I've stopped reading the daily newspapers and that is good.
     Just to recap the whole sorry story. The directors and executives of the society had to resign from their jobs this past March and early April. The  B.C. government and the media said that these people had squandered tens of thousands of taxpayers' dollars.
     "The whole thing's a set-up," a friend of mine said. And in the past issue of this newsletter Rolf Auer called  the affair "a smear job." This is exactly right.
     The Portland Hotel Society did some wonderful things in the heart of the Downtown Eastside or DTES.  Yet the executives and directors may have disturbed the provincial government and  its high level bureaucrats.  So then the government charged the responsible people in the society with financial tricks  out went the old guard. In came the new directors of the society who won't cause any problems for the B.C. government - or other people. "The new Board of Directors are developer friendly," says CCAP activist Wendy Pederson.
     Yet just as bad as the B.C. government's actions, was the media's behaviour. Every big media outlet, including 'The Globe and Mail', 'The Vancouver Sun', CBC, CKNW, 'The National Post' and others joined in the outcry. M.L.A. Jenny Kwan was a favourite target for the media's so-called outrage.
    No big media outlet that I know of, defended the Portland Hotel Society or its past work. "They lived off the poorest of the poor," said one media report in effect after another. This is the first time in ages that I can recall that the media ever really cared about the poor.
    After awhile I stopped reading the daily papers and I feel really good about that. Yet why should I have been surprised about the media coverage? Nearly every media outlet in Canada  is conservative on most social issues.
    "The mass media function as gatekeepers," sociologist Sylvia M. Hale points out. "They select and screen information from the viewpoint of the corporate elite."
     Most mass media outlets are owned by very wealthy people. Most of these people dislike unions, people on welfare, higher taxes, the very moderate N.D.P., many environmentalists and certainly anti-poverty activists. The Portland Hotel Society didn't fit the pro-business model admired by these people. So the media piled on the society when the B.C. government attacked it
     I unplugged my t.v. about three years ago when I got tired of the constant advertisements that come on during every program. I've rarely bought a paper in the past twelve years but I often used to read them in libraries. Now I'll try to stop reading the newspapers completely. I need a beak from them after their attacks on the Portland Hotel Society.

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Daughters and Sons

  Daughters and Sons    

We grow, we marry, we have daughters and sons who grow, and have our grandchildren whom we may
never know.

When our grandchildren become older they will be
curious about us, and research our times circa 2014.

If our grandchildren and their children are content
their research will be of a burning pleasure to know us
and our era of life.

But if they are not content, if they want to know how it came to be that we, long ago, had so much water and food
that we could squander them in long showers and garbage disposal units to the point of their then agonizing thirst and hunger. What will they think of us
then?

They’ll research the warnings that were given to us by Science.  
They’ll come to understand that while we
lived, many millions of persons in the world were
dying of thirst and hunger...

Good clean water.  Food un-poisoned by chemicals.
Our grandchildren and their children will not likely have these life-sustaining necessities unless we have a
war against profit-and-greed-at-all-costs.

Now, that we live, is the only remaining chance we have to protect accumulated DNA that we pass along to our daughters and sons.  
Let the fierce war begin as peace might be.

                                                               – Garry Gust

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Review: Mrs Warren’s Profession

Review:
Mrs Warren’s Profession  

Mrs Warren’s Profession, by a Nobel Prize winning playwright, was recently mounted most fittingly at the historic Rickshaw Theatre by the Alley Theatre Company. First of all I would like to thank everyone at the Rickshaw! This production was one of the most amazing theatre presentations I’ve ever seen. It utilised the entire space wonderfully, with volunteers leading us around to all kinds of seating arrangements This was an extremely important play, written probably over a century ago, that is still relevant today – dealing deftly with what has been called the “world’s oldest profession,” prostitution.
  This piece resonates today as we can all see the often tragic consequences. This brilliant play, when it was written, was banned by stuff-shirted bureaucrats and government drones and lackies with their oppressive and intolerant views. They tried to ignore what concerned, destitute, uncared-for women, with nowhere to turn, had to do after being denied even a pittance of government aid to feed & house them.  The hierarchy of oppressors chose to sweep this heart-breaking issue under the carpet; in their warped & twisted reality it actually didn’t exist at all! Shame on all of them.
  Eventually they lost miserably, as the issue won over the hearts & minds of the masses. Truth ultimately out in the end and bravos, multiple standing ovations!!   
  Endless thank you’s to staff, volunteers and participants of the Rickshaw, Alley Theatre, Renegade Arts Co., and Neword Theatre for this incomparable presentation of George Bernard Shaw’s masterpiece Mrs Warren’s Profession!!!

                                    By ROBYN LIVINGSTONE

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Theft, Thieves and Thievery

Theft, Thieves and Thievery

not just property
the native woman from Alberta said
“it’s only clothes..
  can be replaced”
she left on the next bus
her children “in care”
has to arrange with “social worker” to visit
Son playing hockey in Edmonton
Boyfriend expecting her arrival

other girl – young and temper mercurial
Wants to kill me
Then says she’s sorry –I talk about issues of
Freedom, equality, justice

Makes them nervous being raised by the “system”
Used to the guards, the “pastors,” the lawyers
The “system of justice”

Many words, many tongues, many meanings

White man speak with forked tongue
Pity we innocent serpents
Enemy to all
Fighting for peace, for harmony, rather
    than harm reduction
One man’s reduction, another man’s
    criminal activity

    Go figure, Pilgrim
                                      Wilhelmina Miles

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gimme SKELtER

gimme SKELt ER
Now I have lived at the Metropole, the West and the Cobalt 3 separate times, survival and shelter always on my mind, it was warm and had a bed. Then I moved into the Hamilton for eight years. The first few were alright But then every morning & afternoon crept into everynite there were definitive moments I kind of wished I was dead, B.C.Housing finally came through though I was moved over 7 miles away. I don’t whine because I can play my music all day. Southwest Van is now where I reside, what about you? I’ve seen way too many tombstone-coloured eyes my own blue and black as to my heart and soul shall never be compromised yet I watch as more and more SRO places are being euthanized is this New Vancouver going to be the epicentre for those homeless is there anyone above the poverty level who give a shite about you and me, what they call Welfare we call a real and so so cruel joke but this ain’t funny in any way, shape or form as we’ve been told to shape up or ship out onto the street with cement curbs for pillows and sidewalk ways for blankets, now either give us shelter or we’ll give you helter – the insanity that smothers your conscience & destroys all common sense, when you were taking Greed 101 just beginning to learn our case of worst scenarios was utter nonsense you became a selfishist full of bravado & bullshit reeking of manure & self-confidence you needed nor shared anything with anyone as you and your kind found our weakness and shazaam… up Up UP went the rents, Everytime we’d raise the heat you simply turned it back down if extra money was needed for food you were nowhere to be found broken promises were the one thing we could count on only the broken words became your truth we have enough problems without you & your incomprehensible kind.
gimme Skelter is truly coming to a boil yet you hide behind and attack us from your Global Positioning Leach … mass murderers are treated a lot better than us this mutinous self-disharmony is very much so within our reach; we are not deaf or dumb and have never been blind, incompetence is one thing.. taking too much of everything is dictatorish and should be abolished one selfishist at a time, you would not know a thoroughbred from a loaf of breade learning is never over yet so many think they’ve got all of that too…
Very sad how very sad that some feel so bloody smart
knowledge is a terrible thing to waste, now I remember Saint Minus who once said, “When all is all and said is done when all selfishists are dead the blemished will remove hats & hoods and forever raise their heads” Now will there be shelter or riots, destruction and probably many dead oh yeah and your New Vancouver will simply be erased, slavery has had its day in court   true it still exists   but evil was never invented it has always been in our midst that’s what backyards are for,
I await a new vigor for better days nothing will ever be fair at least in my lifetime this planet deserves better maybe the next 8 billion will take time not for war and poverty but responcability and care just remember it’s not just shelter we are fighting for.
                                    By ROBERT McGILLIVRAY

Nothing astonishes man so much as common sense and plain dealing.”     -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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It’s a Good Day so far

It’s a Good Day so far

  It’s a good day because it is 9:15am and I have had only one death threat
Yesterday I had a chaotic shift –it was afternoon shift out of 2nd Floor Reception, privately known to moi as the Forensic Desk. I found an older woman working diligently on the Forensic Desk saying things like “I am the Boss now” and “I am in charge.” Fortunately we have lovely ladies in Volunteer Coordination who were able to ‘talk her down’
I believe no less than three staff members had to be involved before normalcy was restored – everything being relative. However the tickets for the 1-5 shift were already gone. C’est la vie; c’est la guerre.
  Today, Wednesday, we expect less aggression and aggravation but really have never been able to predict the outcome…
  “The Best-Laid Plans of Mice & Men
         gang aft aglay
”       -Bobby Burns

                                                 Wilhelmina Mary X

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May 1, 2014