Downtown Eastside Poetry Wins City Book Award

Community activist Bud Osborn is the winner of the 1999 City of Vancouver Book Award for his volume of poetry, Keys to Kingdoms.

Through the lens of the city’s Downtown Eastside, Osborn’s poetry conveys the universal need for community, and reflects on how the human spirit finds the hope and strength to reclaim life and dream.

Mayor Philip Owen presented Osborn with the prize on October 20th  during the opening gala of the Vancouver International Writers Festival.

An independent panel of judges chose Keys to Kingdoms (Get to the Point Publishing) for its moving appeals for increased compassion and understanding for those living in the Downtown Eastside.

Osborn is a former addict and a leading voice for the Downtown Eastside community. He volunteers on the Vancouver/Richmond Community Health Board, the Carnegie Association Board, and with the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users. He is also the author of Lonesome Monsters: The Prose and Poetry of Bud Osborn (Anvil Press, 1995) and Hundred Block Rock (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1999).

October 4th, 1999

To Whom It May Concern:

My son, aged 15 years, went to The Devil’s Den, a tattoo parlour at 157 West Hastings Street, and received a tattoo despite the fact that this establishment has a sign clearly posted that one must be 18 years or in the company of a parent or guardian.

Immediately upon my son’s return home, I contacted the Vancouver Police who told me there were no laws governing tattoo parlours. They referred me to the licensing department at City Hall. After having spoken to them this morning as well as the Vancouver Health Department, I am left with the uncomfortable knowledge that there is nothing that can be done.

I was told by these institutions that the age of consent is 14 years. Therefore there is no recourse for myself, as his parent.

It is my hope that this will alert parents to the fact that the proprietors of such establishments are not to be held accountable.

The person who permanently marked my son, as well as the proprietor of the shop, should be held responsible and possibly face charges of child abuse. If f were to wound or brand my child, would I not be up on charges?

I am tired of reading articles/letters to the editor where the public constantly asks the question: ‘Where was the parent?” What kind of society passes a law which allows the age of consent to be lowered to 14? This consent covers incidents of sexual intercourse which we as parents know, all too well, can lead to unwanted pregnancies. Children of my son’s age cannot legally buy cigarettes; enter a bar; buy alcohol or a lotto ticket; vote; marry without consent; etc., but they can choose to have someone permanently mark their body. Does this make sense? I don’t think so.

What does it mean when a parent has no re-course? Does this mean my child will feel that it’s okay to drink alcohol; use drugs; commit crimes; have unprotected sex; etc.

My main goal is to educate those parents who are unaware of the age of consent and to stir up public opinion and action. This is another fine example of a parent having no rights, yet at the same time made to bear the cross of responsibility

laid on them by the general public.

Gail D. Whitter

Copies:            The Province (605-2720); The Sun (605-2323); The NOW (464-4977); The Tn­City News (944-0703); BCTC (421-9466); VTV (609-5894).

 

A Recent History

For the onlooker on Hastings the walker notices signs announcing Free Acupuncture for addictions at the Native Health Centre. If one asked how long this had been there they’d be told since May or March or the Spring.

The real story is a very serious acupuncturist named Lisa Skerritt, in conjunction with the folks at the Native Health drop-in, started offering the service 3 times a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

For 6 months Ms. Skerritt worked 3 mornings a week for free before the government got off its tuffet and started funding what has turned into a valuable service for addicts and other people in pain in this neighbourhood.

Officially the program has only been there for a few months but the truth is that a courageous woman, together with other concerned women, saw a need and saw to it that people would be helped. As usual it took the government a while to catch on but is now financing the endeavour.

The beginning of November is the ‘official’ start of acupuncture for addiction treatment. Bravo to the women who had the courage and foresight to turn a needed service into a winner.

REFRESHING REMINDER FOR

UNEASY RYDER

An article in the October 15th edition of the Carnegie Newsletter suggesting the Carnegie Centre “sanctions drug abuse and violence” was based on sheer ignorance and misinformation: The article - The Patio of The Downtown Eastside - was written by an individual identifying him/her-self as Buss Ryder.

The writer initially stated that the street corner at Hastings and Main has always been a congested and unpleasant one... “not a nice place to have to catch your bus. I find myself on the road to avoid drug users who have now apparently taken over the street corner.”

Catching the bus is one thing; slamming Carnegie, its grounds and its people is yet another.

If you feel access is being denied because someone is blocking the path you’ve chosen to enter or leave, a civil “excuse me” will likely get an equally civil response..

If Hastings and Main is too congested and un-pleasant, the bus should simply be boarded at another stop somewhere else. What’s the big deal? The drug users usually don’t bite outside the Carnegie, and walking on the road in a paranoid act of avoidance only reflects intolerance.

Indirectly referring to the Carnegie Street Program - which also includes drug users - Ryder says: “They are provided with chairs, games and refreshments.” That’s not unusual. Drug addict or not, why shouldn’t they be provided with chairs, games and refreshments? It’s not socially unacceptable or against the law to have a seat while playing games and drinking refreshments. These are very peaceful activities in fact, and they are much healthier alternatives to the latest trend of break-ins and home invasions. People are people and they need a noticeable outlet of

creativity to express themselves.

Russel Crossley

 

This Bud’s For Us

I love this city. I don’t want to see the quality of life deteriorating. We have to address the difficult issues of health and housing.” – Bud Osborn

Bud Osborn is running for City Council in the Vancouver election that takes place on November 20th. He is running as a part of the COPE/GREEN alliance.

Bud has heard the voices of poor people, unemployed people, homeless people, ill people, people with disabilities, people with addictions, people who have died from drug overdoses, parents who are worried about their children and drugs, people worried about public safety and public order (knowing that the war on drugs doesn’t work), people concerned about the unrestrained gentrification that is killing residents of the Downtown Eastside, people looking for someone to express their pain, people looking for someone to express their hope, and people throughout Vancouver who know that peace is impossible without justice. Many citizens have asked Bud to run for City Council, and he has responded to their request.

He is running for the office of City Councillor because public service is part of his spiritual and poetic beliefs. He thinks that we are in this world to help each other. He thinks that as we express our grief at the end of this murderous century, we will better understand the difference between what is and what ought to be, and will therefore work for a better world.

Bud has written in his poems:

·        “from compassion comes hope”

·        “life is good if we become for others the     

mother we may never have had”

·        “we have become a community of prophets in the downtown eastside rebuking the system and speaking hope and possibility into situations of apparent impossibility”

 

The hope Bud brings is not false hope. it has been refined on the path of suffering. He has cared enough to grieve, and in his grieving, hopes. Bud

wakes us up.

·        “our words

like bolts of lightning in a dark night”

·        “love as fiery personal and collective social justice passion

love as willingness to go one more length

to make one more leaflet”

Bud will speak up for us. He won’t let those with great wealth and power demonize us..  not in his presence anyway. He will speak the truth of his feelings, not the compromising lies of sleazy political posturing. Like Bruce Eriksen before him, Bud can be stubborn and strident, and, like Eriksen, he never, ever, gives up. These characteristics are survival skills at a City Hall indifferent to the anxieties and hopes of ordinary citizens

Bud’s home community is the Downtown East-side, but his caring embraces the world. We can help in his campaign. We can vote for him, and for others who will challenge the oligarchy at City

Hall.

By Sandy Cameron

Hey Rudy;            I

When we had the interview I didn’t say as much about the drug situation as I would like to. When I was still under the delusion that I was going to be able to make videos I was given a contract by an organization. I was to interview people involved in high risk life styles and people dealing with severe results of those life styles. I haven’ t made the video yet and don’t have a deadline but it’s important that the object of the project is fulfilled ..the sooner the better.

I’ve interviewed a number of people and think I can outline the messages that were/should be conveyed

1.Go get a blood test Today!

   2.      A.You are clean. Study the literature and stay clean.
                   B. You have some reason to seek a doctor’s care. If some one will go with you, they must be a friend.  My advice:

Don1t rely on the doctor to do all the work. If you are addicted to a substance/drug you can overcome that addiction. I believe that it is important to eliminate not only the substance/drug but also to eliminate other substances that may be helping to sustain the addiction. Biochemists have

discerned that the following is possible:

You are exposed to or consume a substance that your body is not used to and has no method of dealing with. Either by fate or by choice you remain exposed to or continue to consume the substance. The body has no information on what to do with the substance so it does something more or less randomly, often disrupting normal operations in the process. More often than not the person does not relate the abnormal reaction to the substance and will, one way or another, become exposed to or consume another substance. It is possible that the second substance would be handled by the body in a non-disruptive way but, since there is already a disruption, it is compounded. In a physical addiction the body sets up a way to process the substance so that when the substance is withdrawn there is a disruption and it takes the body a while to go back to the old program. If there is exposure to or consumption of another substance that was part of the process set up during the addiction it is possible that it will be more difficult for the body to arrange its functions more perfectly The trick is to discover what substances are involved and try to eliminate them.

Look at it this way:

If a juggler has been practicing juggling two lemons and an orange and you walk up and toss him a cucumber, it’s going to disrupt his act. Assuming that he manages to keep on juggling without dropping everything (maybe the act is disrupted noticeably for a time) he incorporates the cucumber into the act. Then you toss in a few carrots and a pumpkin. O.K. - this guy is good. Then you take away the pumpkin. It would take a really good juggler to keep on juggling through all this.

I suggest making a list of as many substances as you can think of that you are exposed to or are consuming that could be hindering your recovery from a disease or your escape from an addiction Then just look at the list and think about which of those substances might be involved and if it would be possible to eliminate them.

But I would like to repeat the advice:

GET A BLOOD TEST TODAY!!!

your friend, Cole

 

  On Friday October 22, the Attorney General’s office announced that finally the Rice Wine that has killed many of our people in the D. E.. is officially going to be off the shelves in all 24-hour stores, corner stores and other outlets.

  This lethal drug is finally being put to rest – after 7 years of struggle. I can safely say that the efforts of this community have been successful. To all who took part in the many protests, demos and over-all community involvement – I would like to thank all of you. This community has shown a lot, not only to us but to the whole of Vancouver.

  Look for posters on your bulletin boards, as we will be celebrating this occasion. This community has something to celebrate, and to remember those who fell victim to this drug.

 To all those who were part of this – YOU have

something to be proud of!  Thanks

Margaret Prevost

 

Grasping for dollars with the gastown heritage commissars Grasping for dollars with the gastown heritage commissars

 

“What’s more important, social housing or heritage?”

Former city planner and current development consultant, Jon Ellis

quoted in the Vancouver Sun

 

The fact that someone like Jon Ellis could actually ask this question suggests that he has lived far too comfortably for much too long. Unfortunately, this question was posed in the context of an issue that is much larger than one person’s sheltered lifestyle and self-satisfied worldview.

For years gastown merchants and property-owners have been whining about the amount of social housing in this neighbourhood. There are just too many poor people here, they say. Bryce Rositch, one-time NPA president and then president of the Architectural Institute of B.C. (and a prominent gaspoid property-owner and developer), wrote a letter to the Vancouver Sun claiming that the Downtown Eastside is an ‘artificial poor zone’ that has been created by government subsidies.

  For a long time, the gaspoid line was that if governments would only get out of the way and let the private market do its job, the problem of poverty in the Downtown Eastside would be solved. Developers would build all kinds of condos and those of us who can’t afford the oh-so refined lifestyle of the urbane middle class would just get out of the way and move to Surrey or New West, or just somewhere (anywhere) else.

  Well, now the shoe is on the other foot. The gas-town free market strategy has been a total failure. Despite the loud yelps coming from that quarter, there really aren’t that many yuppies in the area. The census shows that in 1996 there were only 75 owner-occupied dwellings, only 4% of all the dwellings in the gastown zoning area. Of course, the giant condos at Cordova and Carrall were built after the census, but they haven’t sold that well, and half of what has sold is occupied by renters.

The real sites of gentrification are in Strathcona and the mega-projects along Main and Pender Sts.

  So much for the free market doing the job of gentrifying the neighbourhood.

  The new gaspoid strategy is to exalt heritage uber alles. Even as they continue to demand that income and resources to poor people in the Down-town Eastside be cut back, they have the gall to demand subsidies for themselves. The gaspoid whine is that city planners never listen to them. ‘Poor us’, they drone on to anyone who will listen. Their new refrain is: ‘We’re so hard done by because city staff only care about social housing and not heritage’. (BUT the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee (GHAPC) and the Gastown Business Improvement Society are both officially city-sanctioned and city-funded organizations…)

  While actively opposing government support for social housing, the gastown property-owning and business elite want the same subsidies to pay for tax-breaks and renovation funds for heritage buil-dings. In other words, they want government sup-port for private businesses, especially developers. Wouldn’t that be a plum!

  Just think:  You too could purchase a $350,000 condo on Water or Alexander or Powell that has been tastefully renovated with the help of government subsidies and tax-breaks. And what about  those people living in two-bit, rinky-dink, badly heated, badly-maintained hotel rooms, if they’re lucky to even have a place at all? Well, if you’re living in that government-subsidized condo, just remember what Alfred E Newman used to say: What, me worry?

We’re going to be hearing a lot from these whiners in the near-future as the City gears up to pass the Gastown Heritage Management Plan. Of course, there’s only about 10 people who actually make all that noise but their strategy of defining the issue of heritage as a trade off for social housing -as an either-or issue- has some powerful allies at City Hall. Hmm, maybe the bad old NPA in the sixties were actually on to something when they figured they would bulldoze gastown.

EA Boyd

 

 

  The Attorney-General announced that rice wine will be put into liquor stores as of December 1. He also said that regulation of the sale of rubbing alcohol and aftershave will be tightened up.

  I want to thank everyone who was part of the community’s efforts to deal with rice wine. This includes Carnegie, Neighbourhood Helpers Project, the Neighbourhood Safety Office, the gang at the Dodson hotel , DERA, the Vancouver Police – especially Dave Dixon and Ken Frail -   the Police Board, the Mayor and City Council, City planners and social planners, Jenny Kwan, Libby Davies, and a whole bunch of individuals whose names I don’t know but who helped out at different times and who came out to confront the people who were making their living off other people’s problems.

  I especially want to thank Grace Edge and Fred Arrance, whose writings inspired us, and Margaret Prevost and Tom Laviolette, whose energy and ideas kept us going.

  To everyone in the Downtown Eastside and around the city who gave us your support, this is your victory.

  There are some groups that get a pointed no thanks for doing a big, fat nothing about rice wine. They include the Gastown Homeowners Association, the Gastown Safety Society, the Gastown Business Improvement Society, the Gastown Merchants Association and the Chinatown Merchants Association, all groups that are supposedly very concerned with the quality of life in the neighbourhood. We hope to get just as much support from you next time, too.

Jeff Sommers

Disability Issues in D.E.S.

Culture and Recreation in Action

  Programs of a cultural and recreational nature are not only healthy alternatives to the negative influences of the street -drugs, violence and crime - they are also an appropriate and effective means of physical and spiritual healing for Aboriginal people with disabilities, and for those Aboriginal people who are at risk of becoming disabled.

  The W.A.N.D. Cultural Development Society organized a cultural awareness trip to Lillooet recently. Many thanks to Jenny Kwan and her staff for making this trip possible. Five Native Elders were a part of the trip. The elders included Oliver Munro, Norman Mark, Les Nelson, and Charlie Shiel. It was fortunate that all were able to leave the city for a whole week. We camped on the mountain in search of deer for food. We were able to use the deer hide for a drum.

 Our first day we stayed in camp organizing things and getting acquainted. The next morning, Wally, our host in Lillooet territory, let those who did not hunt use the truck to check out lakes for rainbow trout. The hunters of the group: Charlie, Les, and Wally, walked the mountains; Charlie and Les going one way, and Wally the other. Norman and myself would later pick them up miles fr5m where we had dropped them off.

  The weather was cold for this time of year and it snowed. The trip was worthwhile though because the boys got two deer. The Elders then did a workshop on how to remove the hide without puncturing it so that later it can be used for a drum, a jacket or for moccasins. That day we feasted on deer tenderloin and grouse stew.

  Many thanks to Charlie Shiel for taking us to his territory, and to Wally and Audrey for having us in their home. Also thanks to the Ministry of

Health. You made some elders happy.

                     All my relations,

                                 Fred Arrance

Social Housing

The following five societies have partnered with BC Housing to each build developments for low-income singles:

The BC Housing Building Management Foundation (a non-profit society) is planning a 49-unit development in Vancouver. BC Housing (the government agency) will contribute $4.07 million to the building that is expected to be completed in December 2000. The City of Vancouver will buy the land and will lease it back to the society at 75 per cent of freehold value.

The Union Gospel Housing Society is planning an 82-unit building, with commercial space on the ground floor for its thrift store, warehousing and sorting operation. BC Housing is contributing about $5.69 million in financing. The city is planning to buy the lot and lease it back to the society at 75 per cent of freehold value. Construction should be completed by February 2001.

The Greater Vancouver Housing Corporation is planning a 40-unit development. BC Housing is contributing about $3.35 million in financing. The Greater Vancouver Regional District is planning to lease the lot to the society at 75 per cent of freehold value. Construction is expected to be completed by November 2000.

The Mennonite Central Committee British Columbia Housing Society is planning a 63-unit development. BC Housing is contributing approximately $4.34 million in financing. The city will buy the site and lease it back to the society at a nominal rent. This represents city equity of about $1 million. Construction is expected to be completed by May 2001.

The Main & Hastings Housing Society is planning a 64-unit development. The City of Vancouver will buy the land and lease it back to the society at 75 per cent of freehold value. BC Housing is contributing about $4.28 million in financing. Construct

ion is expected to be completed by Dec. 2000.

Quick Facts:

•           About 410 jobs will be created during the construction of these five developments.

•            Created in 1967, BC Housing is a provincial agency responsible for the management, develop-ment and/or administration of more than 37,000 social housing units across the province.

•           There are more than 75,000 social housing units in British Columbia, providing affordable homes for 160,000 people. BC Housing manages 8,000 units directly, while 67,000 are managed by non-profit societies and housing co-operatives. BC Housing has administrative responsibility for 29,000 units managed by societies and co-ops.

•           Social housing provides homes for families, persons with disabilities, seniors, women and children leaving transition homes, people with mental illnesses, inner-city youth and low-income singles.

•           Sixty-five per cent of BC Housing applicants are families. Nineteen per cent are people over 55 & 14 per cent are people under 55 with disabilities.

 

 

  All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey. These broken wings have to learn to fly..

  It’s been 3 years and 26 days since I lost my 18 year-old son in a brutal murder. It has been very difficult for me and my family having to cope.

  I chose a path that took me to hell and back. When I was in the healing stages since we lost my son to the Creator, another tragedy struck. My daughter killed her own father in self-defense. Motive? – sexual abuse, AND I was back to square one.

  I’ve been fortunate to get back on the red road and leave deep space nine. I am able to talk about loss, even though it is very painful. I am very exhausted but I’m determined to make a difference, big or small. This is a journey, not a destination, mapped out for me by my Creator.

  “We are tied to the ocean. and when we go back, whether it is to go sailing or just to watch, we are going back from whence we came.”

                    (President John F. Kennedy – 1962)

  I am connected to the ocean, the trees and the

mountains.. it’s very spiritual. A KOSI Hai Hai

                               Charmaine Deschamp

 

To: VTV

Regarding your show about Chinatown in Turmoil, I felt this piece was very sad and incomplete.

  You failed to mention that Charles Lee and the Chinatown Merchants Association have been lobbying against any further social housing in the Downtown Eastside. Social housing is a stabilizing factor in our neighborhood, and of great benefit to low-income residents, including the

Chinese-speaking residents.      

  Charles Lee also said, at a public meeting, that police are not babysitters. Therefore he was opposed to extra officers in the Downtown Eastside. I believe Charles Lee was exploiting the elderly Chinese lady. He and his organization hardly speak for or assist any of the low-income Chinese in the community.  The merchants association is there to cater to the tourist

trade, and to look after business and property values.

  In Chinatown you will find SUCCESS, which caters to our Chinese population. SUCCESS, to my understanding, is there to assist all Chinese persons in need of help - such as shopping, translators and providing transportation for people who need to see their doctors or other medical needs. As well, there is Carnegie Community Centre, where a large number of low-income Chinese-speaking members go to socialize, use the library or get something nutritious and inexpensive to eat. Charles Lee and the merchants

have never come around there to see what these people need or want.

  You also fail to reveal that many of the boarded up buildings in Chinatown are owned by off shore buyers. These are speculators with no interest in

improving our community.

  Charles Lee and the merchants complain of the presence of drug activities in the alleys and in front of their businesses. This community has been speaking of a sobering centre as a way of coping with the problem. but once again Charles Lee and the merchants are against any detoxes or treatment centres in the neighborhood, or indeed  any new social services.

 Where is the balance in your coverage?

  As for the Robo Cops, they are part of the problem, because they appear to believe themselves to be police, and act like it. When you think about it,

they are CITIZENS just like you and I - the only difference is they are wearing funny suits.

  In closing, I ask you to remember that our community is a neighborhood, with real people who live here and are just trying to get along. It has a

name - the DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE. It is not Skid Road. The longer you repeat that expression, the harder will be our to job to improve things. We are the people who live here, not the Charles Lees who just come down here and try to change things for their own benefit.

  Thanks for your understanding

                                                   Margaret

 


 

On the bus…

 

On the bus, reading a book called Killing Hope – The story of CIA involvement in affairs since the Second World War. False and misleading are the nice things to say if all you do is scratch the surface. “It’s like they have this hammer and everything is a nail.”

  Sitting next to me was this older man, who said ”the cover reads like Ontario right now.” he went on to say how things had changed for the worse since Harris and big business got together and engineered the defeat of the NDP there. I talked about the obligatory anti-NDP stories in the papers here and especially on the TV news every day and he said it was done every which way in Ontario. The smallest things were blown all out of proportion, there was constant misinformation and outright lying, reporters quoted each other as ‘informed sources’ and anything to do with money was like vaudeville – prat falls and slapstick routines to give whatever script being done as much credibility as a gullible audience would give back. Then Harris got in and went to work with a vengeance. Poor people have been made the scapegoats for any and all ills. Workfare is the norm, with people having to do jobs that used to pay at least minimum wage just to keep getting a welfare check. It’s one step above slave labour. Homelessness is a national disaster, but it is certainly thriving in Toronto, with an estimated 30,000 people without basic shelter. Doctors are now limited to a set number of patients, and can only take new patients if one of their registered patients dies or moves away. About 10% of the population is without medical assistance except in emergency rooms. There are no bus passes for the elderly or disabled citizens, and eligibility requirements for social assistance are so restrictive that people just give up.

  Sounds like a Third World country, except the man went on to say he’d come to BC and sees exactly the same things happening here. The NDP here have done very poorly in dealing with poverty, but have made gains in housing and many other areas. The mainstream media, however, has strict orders on saying anything positive about the current government.

  It was my stop and time to get off. I gave the guy a Newsletter and asked him to write a story about Ontario. The spectre of Gordon Campbell and the Liberals is enough to make even Harris in Ontario look like a choirboy. Most of the Downtown Eastside would become a war zone, but people here would be dispersed to somewhere, anywhere.

  It’s one thing to explain how things happened, what individuals and forces were at play, but that’s too much like chronicling events. The trick is to influence current events in such a positive and dynamic way that the elite’s agenda is broken and a more enlightened approach wins the day.

  I got off the bus. No, what you just read didn’t grace the ears of all the other passengers, but the exchange between this man and myself seemed to speak the same language here as thousands have voiced it in Ontario. We’re next unless….

                         By PAULR  TAYLOR

 

Neighbourhood News

*Congratulations to the Tenants’ Rights Action Coalition on celebrating it’s 15th anniversary. The AG announced his support for an independent body to hold and administrate damage deposits. This will make getting this money in the right hands much fairer – i.e. mostly back to renters and out of the operating funds of unscrupulous and sleazy landlords.

 Is the civic election going to change anything? DERA hosted the two leading candidates for Mayor at its General Membership meeting on Oct. 29 in Carnegie. Philip Owen campaigns on being “independent and answering to no one” except his own conscience perhaps… on the NPA doing all kinds of wonderful things… but keeps on with his bottled responses as per modern electioneering.

David Cadman responded with calls for more community involvement and responsible leader-ship for all people, rather than narrow responses in favour of the wealthy and vested interests in land, property and profit. The stage is set.. and the questions began.

  Owen spoke of the City being responsible for hundreds of social housing units – and had his vague generalities thrown back at him with real numbers and real outcomes. He cites 800 new units in the last few years as evidence that the City is keeping up with the loss of SRO units. He ignores the fact that low-income housing for singles is what’s lost while what’s built is for low and middle-income families and seniors. The street population grows as housing for the non-senior single is disappearing.  The City asked for and got the ability to pass anti-conversion bylaws to regulate owners wanting to evict all long-term low-income tenants in favour of backpackers and tourists. He cited the run on conversions right after Council got the charter-change as evidence that it wouldn’t work. The quick shot back from the floor was that those hotels were going to do it anyway, and the Mayor was just using it as a dodge. Owen avoided the question about having a major gastown property-owner as the public relations manager of his re-election campaign. There was an article recently by Allan Garr that nailed Owen’s money men for what they are and Owen for the do-as-you’re-told mayor he is. He is so used to running his mouth for the sound-byte coverage that he forgets that people have intelligence memories and . He actually said he support-ed the Crab Park access when it was his vote that killed it!

  Owen and the NPA are in this for the people who pay them and pay for their campaigns. What these developers and business people want is rarely what the majority of people want or need.

                                                                   PRT

*A side issue – Ian Mulgrew is a reporter for the Sun. He wrote some slanted stuff on the DE and showed up half-cut at Carnegie’s AGM. His coverage of the departure of Marilyn Sarti was plain weird. He was arrested and charged by his wife for assaulting her; the report in the Sun and Province said alcohol was involved and that the assault was him punching her in the head 3 times. – just a side issue.

 

For people who have to plan now for next week

Workshop/Report with Donald MacPherson

on methods and successes in harm reduction and the progress in Europe in dealing with the drug problem. Donald visited Switzerland & Germany and has had his findings published through the City of Vancouver. Establishment of a sobering centre and detox facilities are immediate outcomes. The workshop/report is on Thursday, November 18th at 3 p.m. in Carnegie. Everyone is welcome.                                                      

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