Civic Election Day is
Saturday, Nov. 20.

 

Vancouver Sun Literacy Hypocrisy!


  On October 25, 1999, The Vancouver Sun published its third annual Raise-a-Reader edition, supposedly in support of improving literacy for all children. Ina lead article. the Editor-in-Chief, John Cruickshank, wrote, “Our children can only grow to become... informed and educated citizens... if we.. .provide them with the tools they need. Literacy is chief among these tools.” Street Art
  If Mr. Cruickshank is serious about helping all children become “informed and educated citizens”, he should look at the forty years of research in the sociology of education that gives us a framework for understanding why many children do not learn to read and write well.
*         As a rule, the poorest students drop out of school first and the richest last, not because poor students are dumb, but because the school system discriminates against them. Low income students drop out of school at more than twice the rate of other students.
*         School failure, for the most part, is not due to lack of intelligence or motivation on the part of low income students. It is due to an inability of the child to grasp the school’s dominant middle class culture (language, for example), and the inability of the school to meet the needs of children who are different from this middle class norm. Intelligence is social; it takes two to fail.
*         “Illiteracy is not an isolated phenomenon,” wrote Carman St. John Hunter, one of the most respected adult educators in North America. “it can neither be understood nor responded to apart from the complex set of social, political and economic issues of which it is but one indicator.. .it is by addressing.. .poverty itself that a nation creates a climate for literacy.. .Poverty is the underlying cause of illiteracy.. .Equality and justice are the real issues — not just literacy.” (1)
  For years The Vancouver Sun has refused to allow an open discussion in its pages on the socio-economic background to illiteracy. Because of the powerful effects of poverty in the process of socialization, such a refusal is irresponsible. Mr. Cruickshank talks of helping all children learn, yet he refuses to discuss a major cause of student failure:  poverty. How is a parent supposed to buy books to read to children when she/he doesn’t have enough money for food and rent? How are families going to visit libraries if they don’t have transportation money? How are low income parents going to pay the fines for late or lost books? These difficult questions don’t arise in the elite world of Vancouver Sun managers.
  The manner in which The Vancouver Sun has turned the subject of literacy into a self-promotion event for itself, the Grizzlies Foundation and the Vancouver Public Library Foundation, trivializes this critical issue. This is a good example of how the corporate media actually makes it difficult for us to think seriously about important social concerns by blocking the solid, well-researched information we need to make intelligent decisions. (2)
  If The Vancouver Sun is serious about a high standard of literacy for all citizens, it will fight to end poverty and strive to build a just and equitable
society that includes everyone.
                                           By Sandy Cameron
 
(1) “Myths and Realities Of Literacy/Illiteracy”, by Carman St. John Hunter, in Convergence, an Inter-national Journal of Adult Education, vol.XX, #1, 1987.
(2) For example, see .The Politics of the Canadian Public School, by George Martell; Education and Inequality, by Caroline Wersell;                The Land We Dream Of -A Participatory Study of Community Based Literacy, by Elaine Gaber-Katz & G. Watson; Literacy and Poverty - A View From Inside, by the National Anti-Poverty Organization (NAPO), Ottawa, l992.
 
 

WHO ARE THEY?


  Who are these Visigothic barbarians that would banish music from our streets… seize instruments …clamp down on joyful noise… vandalize the spirit of the young?  What strange and shriveled world do they inhabit? Where do they come from?

                                                   Sam Roddan


be nice…
  In San Francisco they said “We won’t move.” The City had been convinced (bought&sold) by a developer’s wet dream to bulldoze the low income area known by the locals as South of Market – named Skid Row by everybody else. Local residents were categorized as “bums and winos standing in the way of progress.” They fought back, forming a residents’ association and a corporation of their own – the Tenants and Owners Development Corporation (TODCO). They struggled to keep the housing stock, to build housing, to force owners of slum housing to follow bylaws and standards of maintenance.
  Replace South of Market with the Downtown Eastside. TODCO began in the early 70’s and went toe-to-toe with the market forces striving to gentrify the entire neighbourhood. Think of DERA and, more recently, the Portland Hotel Society, Main&Hastings Community Development Society, First United Church Housing and St. James Housing. Parallels between TODCO and the work of DERA and the Downtown Eastside community are many, but they achieved some-thing in San Francisco in 1979 that is still to be a reality in Vancouver.
  The city government there passed an anti-conversion bylaw, regulating the ability of property and hotel owners to change the use of their buildings from housing low income, long-term tenants to the more lucrative business of tourist and back-packer rooms. Displacing and making homeless the poor is a consequence that such owners and developers refuse to be held accountable for, but an obscene example woke people up in San Francisco .
  This is not just a history lesson. While people were agitating for conversion controls a slum landlord tried to evict a few hundred seniors from an area that was to be part of a ‘redevelopment” scheme. They got to the final day and over a hundred seniors were carried out and deposited on the sidewalk with their belongings strewn around them. Scores of arrests were made BUT there were over 15,000 people there. It was one of the biggest demonstrations of solidarity since the anti-war movement. There was a binding referendum on the next election ballot and this bylaw was in.
  The Carnegie Community Action Project got established to do research on housing issues, to counter the gentrification and market pressures of local and offshore property owners and to work with housing and tenant groups to establish decent housing and harm reduction measures in the Downtown Eastside. It was through CCAP that John Elberling, the current executive director of TODCO, came to Vancouver in the first week of November. He met with staff of the BC government’s Community Development Unit and other non-government housing bodies. To assist in the lobbying and organizing work, he came to Carnegie for a public meeting billed as “Stop The Evictions”
  Tom Laviolette (CCAP) gave a brief history of SRO (Single Room Occupancy) housing. Tom really pisses the local NPA politicians off because he uses their facts and figures, their reports and the laws and bylaws already on the books to make our ‘case’. In 1980 there were over 13,000 units of SRO housing; the Collier Report (commissioned by the City of Vancouver) released last month shows less than 8,000 now and an average of 800 being lost every year - some through demolition & fire, but most due to conversion to backpacker & tourist  use. The latter is accomplished by evicting long term, low income tenants. This bleak outcome has been thrown down in front of several Councillors and especially the current Mayor, Philip Owen, with sadly predictable results.
  Owen chooses what facts to believe.. or so he’d have us believe. The inherent stupidity of saying that the number of new units being built more than makes up for those lost is just that – stupid. In the Downtown Eastside and Downtown South hotel after hotel evicts everybody and starts charging by the day or week. If new housing is for seniors or families or non-poor singles, those who were evicted from these SROs have no chance of getting apartments or rooms. Owen would have us believe that he doesn’t understand this, or that he knows that enacting an anti-conversion bylaw would somehow increase homelessness and we refuse to see it. The seedier reality is that Owens’s bosses – the corporate landlords and key owners – have simply said no to such controls or regulation and Phil (if nothing else) obeys. Street Art
  John Elberling gave decent and worthwhile views of what he and the many other community activists in San Francisco have been up against for the last 20 years. “Landlords lie. They don’t report or just make it up. If you rent by the month you get certain rights, so they only rent for 28 days at a time. Slumlords will do anything and everything to get around or disobey basic laws. Three are illegal conversions and blatant disregard for bylaws, but the anti-conversion regulations have helped us keep about half of the 30,000 units that were there for low income tenants in the 70’s.”
  He spoke of learning to be effective against landlords who would insist they would shut down whole buildings rather than do essential repairs. SROs are the housing of last resort – “short of the sidewalk” – yet even the successes they’ve had came  in the midst of such things as a convention centre and the ensuing loss of a few thousand rooms. Elberling made no bones about not having a magic wand or some secret for getting housing, and that in itself was refreshing. Grim humour is the only way to put a light side to California’s biggest SRO boom in decades – “they’re building prisons.”
  At an all-candidates meeting Vanessa Geary of the Tenants’ Rights Action Coalition again pressed Owen with the city’s facts & figures and Owen again just lied. When Vanessa caught him he said “I’ll never back an anti-conversion bylaw! You’re just wrong.”
  Maybe the statement made by Larry Beasley, then the Assistant Director of Central Planning for Vancouver, that “The voters of Vancouver could easily live with 25,000 homeless people and not even notice,” is the idea that Owen and the money running the Non Partisan Alliance monopoly at City Hall repeat to each other. Look as well at the efforts to criminalise the activities of poor people – music on the street, panhandling – and to disperse the denizens of the Downtown Eastside and have them (and their reps) say thank you. Elberling spoke of the need to diversify and to engage in economic development. This, to me, makes a lot of sense. If the obligatory anti-NDP rhetoric in the daily media manages to convince the majority of voters and residents that anyone else is better, the government money now coming into the DE will dry up within  days of a Liberal victory. Much of the housing now going in is with provincial money, like it was in Ontario, but Gord Campbell and his Fraser Institute cohorts will make the hatchet job of Harris in that province look like a Sunday picnic compared to what they’ll do in the name of “correcting the NDP’s mistakes.’ here.
 We need to have a say and a hand in promoting and developing enterprises and endeavours that will benefit local residents and keep this community as livable and dynamic a neighbourhood as its history deserves. This direction cannot rely solely on going before authority figures – like politicians and developers’ public hearings – and asking/lobbying/pleading for them to “be nice”.
                                By PAULR  TAYLOR
 
 

Happy New Year


  New Year’s Eve is just eight weeks away. Will 20th Century Fox still be called that after the year 2000? Actually the purists will celebrate the start of the millennium in 2001 because that’s when it really starts…
  Pot has been illegal only in this, the 20th century. It wasn’t illegal in the 19th century. In the 21st century of George and Elroy Jetson it would be a tawdry anachronism if pot is still illegal. Legalize pot in the 21st century!
  I plan to stay home on New Year’s Eve but in reality who knows what will happen. I’ll probably be grafted onto some party.
  This millennium has seen the invention of the printing press, the advent of a Protestant Christianity distinct from its Roman Catholic roots, and Buddhism celebrated its 2500th birthday in the 1950’s. I really hope that Remembrance Day will  be celebrated in the next millennium. I hope that people won’t see it as an acknowledgement of 20th century conflicts and therefore irrelevant. The holocaust must not happen again for, thanks to the 20th century, society has installed safeguards to prevent the rise of another Hitler. [?]
  Have a happy and safe New Year and please take good care of yourselves and each other!
                                        Dean Ko
 
 

WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO)
  On November 30th U.S. negotiators will meet in Seattle with trade ministers and heads of state from across the globe to make the decisions that will govern world trade and investments for decades to come. These negotiations are run by and for the largest transnational corporations on the planet.
  The WTO has/was/does&is for the principles of profit uber alles.  Anything that is seen as a barrier to maximum profit is disputed before a closed-door tribunal of a trade ‘court’… and their ‘ruling’ seeks to make illegal (by threatening sanctions or retaliation by these same corporations) human rights legislation, environmental standards, social programs and anti-poverty measures, national sovereignty assertions, minimum wage laws, preferences for domestic businesses and hiring, health and safety laws, and consumer legislation.
  There was a thing called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) that the same moneyed elite worked on in secret in Paris for over 2 years. They thought to get it passed by attending governments with no public hearings or even discussion. The Council of Canadians, in conjunction with activists in the U.S. and Europe, exposed this MAI for what it is – a corporate Bill of Rights – and forced the Canadian federal government to listen. The BC provincial government held extensive hearings and came out soundly condemning the MAI. This added to the worldwide derogation of the nature of what big business seeks – an economy that is free of any conscience. The MAI stalled and sank.
  Lo and behold, the entire ‘agreement’ is on the table in Seattle for November 30th, albeit under a different name… Other things aimed for:
prevent the labeling of organic food or “genetically modified” food
promote a “free logging” agreement (making illegal any restrictions on clear-cutting or banning the export or raw logs)
privatize education and health services
limit government procurement (by abolishing the rights of government to favour ethical, local or national businesses)
enshrine “Rights” for genetic engineering of life forms, including patenting and ownership of different forms of plant and animal life, including human genes
  It is hazardous to your health and life to ignore the implications of such global tinkering and thousands of people agree. To demonstrate belief in an alternative –like Fair trade and strengthening environmental, trade practice and human protections – a large-scale demonstration is being organized. It will happen in Seattle on November 30th, a Tuesday. Over fifteen buses are going down from Vancouver, sponsored by union locals, labour councils, environmental and community organizations. They will leave about 7;30 a.m. and return about 6:30pm. The BC Federation of Labour is organizing a WTO rally at the Hyatt Hotel in Vancouver for the evening of Nov.30th as well.
  A bus is departing from the Downtown Eastside. We need at least 40 people. A sign-up sheet will be at Carnegie’s front desk. In order to cross the US border with no delay, your name, birth date and citizenship have to be submitted to the American Immigration Service prior to going. Sign up by the 21st of November. If it gets filled then call Randy Parraz, the WTO Mobilization Coordinator, at 215-0704.
 
NOW REALLY!

Call 5683 hurry, someone is on the crossroads of destruction. It seems that quite a few people are upset. WHY? Cause this community has come together -working on removing a lethal drug from this community, worse than heroin and cocaine.
 As you’ve read from other articles in the Carnegie Newsletter, TV, radio and other papers Rice Wine has and still is killing many people.  Some are in hospitals while others have made it to a form of detox or treatment centre’s - they could be suffering from many health issues – from heart failure, liver damage, kidney devastation and problems with the brain.
  Personal history has shown me that sometimes intervention can be very helpful for some not all. Today I believe that what this community has done is good.  By getting this lethal drug out of the 24 hour and corner stores, as well as having the Attorney General’s Office make this law applicable as of December 1 1999. Anyone caught selling Rice Wine after or on this date can be punished.
  I am happy for this Law to come into effect immediately - this community did it for those who were and still are suffering. This victory goes to ALL who became involved with the fight towards removing Rice Wine from all stores in Vancouver.
For this I have been getting threats from people on the street, yelling at me for doing the right thing. Quite a few have threatened to kill me and or
harm me when I am alone.
  My message to them is I am not afraid of you - I am not weak. I walk these streets of the downtown eastside with my head held high. My only protect-ion is not the police force - therefore, if you feel the need to complete this action - it’s your move.
Last newsletter Jeff and I did a thank you note to many people. I left out a few people. That is Ted Matthew who worked between Victoria and Vancouver. His hard work paid off, with the help of Susan Parsons. Once again Thanks to everyone for being a part of this Victory - look for signs
about a celebration party.
                                        Margaret Prevost

 Ann Livingston is running for City Council in the Vancouver election that takes place on November 20th. She is running as part of the COPE/GREEN alliance.
 Ann lives in the Downtown Eastside, where she is raising her children. She is active in her comm.-unity, volunteering with various organizations and agencies. Currently, she is the project coordinator for the Vancouver Area Network Of Drug Users (VANDU). She believes that Vancouver’s citizens will come together to solve the city’s crime problems in practical, cost-effective ways.
  Ann is sympathetic to the voices of poor people, unemployed people, displaced persons, ill people, people with disabilities, people with addictions, people who are still dying of overdoses, parents who are worried about their children and drugs.
  Her platform includes decreasing Vancouver’s crime rate by creating effective, well-researched interventions for people addicted to drugs. Using land owned by the City of Vancouver for afford-able housing, and developing an accessible and affordable transit system for all citizens, especially children.
  Ann will speak up for the community. She will not let those with great wealth and power take over. She will speak the truth about what’s really happening in the downtown eastside.
 So, please remember to vote on November 20, for Ann Livingston.
                                     A new friend.
  Street Art
The Election, the Dugout, Vancouver
  While the Gastown Historic Area Planning Committee, Gastown Homeowners Association and whatever other committee the handful of spokespeople for that useless and insulting trinket filled tourist rip-off continues its obsessive and inane vendetta against the food line at the Dugout, where the presence of benches at said Dugout seems to have sent them into a frothy fury of animosity against people without money and with dirty clothes, (for god’s sake keep them indoors and out of site, or in the damn alleys where they belong, or maybe just get rid of the single room hotels altogether and they can sleep and sit under the viaduct and not anywhere near our investments, I mean residences, for then they would have no reason to be here at all, since all the goods in our stores and our restaurants are notoriously over-priced, and the food sucks, except for maybe one East Indian restaurant) and while Vancouver, the only major city in North America without a municipal ward system, descends yet again into an undemocratic civic so-called election where the stupidest and most criminal element, represented by the NPA, at the so-called head of which slinks a man whose greatest fear is that, if he stopped for one minute holding himself in and looking past people, if he let himself relax and look at people, if he listened to anyone but the people with more money and confidence and personality than him with whom he identifies but who he can never dream of emulating, the criminal ineptitude that courses through his being might break out from his constricted self and flow in endless torrents of unappealing and forgettable mediocrity, a groundless fear since everyone knows he’s inept and ridiculous anyway,  I want to write something about anything else but this so-called election and the trinket rip-off Gastown or anything to do with this backwards and unlivable city, which seems to infect everyone in it with bad humour, self-so-called-centredness, boundless impatience etc. There are other things to write about, to think about, but they seem to disappear under the blanket of ignorance that has taken the place of living in Vancouver. Vancouver is not a city but a blanket of ignorance and trivialities, an empty film canister, and camera running on empty, a surveillance of its own arrogant vacancy.
                                    Dan Feeney
 


Reading Room News Flash!! 
Carnegie is pleased and very honoured to welcome Roch Carrier.
  Mr. Carrier, who is the National Librarian, will be touring the Carnegie Library and Centre on Thursday, November 18th at 4:15 p.m.
  Roch Carrier is a well-known Quebecois author. He has received many prizes and honours for his work, which includes books for both children and adults. His book Prayers for Very Young Children won the Stephen Leacock prize for humour in 1991
  Bienvenue À Carnegie!
 


World AIDS Day
December 1st

Scheduled Events

From 9AM to 10PM

 

9 AM

VMOJA, video “TB, HIV, The Connection

10

Hep C BC, talk

11

Dr. Bob Hogg, “HIV Vaccine Trials” w/ Greg Elzonga, A/V Board

12

BCPWA Workshop, “AIDS ABC’S”

1 PM

Diana Peabody, “HIV and Nutrition”

2:30

Judy Weiser, “Psychotherapy, HIV”

4

Theatre Positive, “S.E.X.”

5:30

Dr. Montaner, “Update, HIV Antiviral Treatment”

7

Candlelight Ceremony, Candlelight Memorial and Vigil Committee

8

Crossroads Productions, movie “IV Positive”

There will be booths, dignitaries and street nurses inside and outside the Centre all day, panels from the AIDS quilt will be on display, and food will be served.
 


December 6, 1999

Women’s March in Memory of the Montreal Massacre

starts at Pigeon Park 12 noon


Poster-making gatherings for the march at Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre
 

Nov. 26 2 - 4 PM
Dec. 3 2-4 PM

video: “Maker of Change”

509 E. Hastings (Senior’s Centre)
Dec. 2 3 - 5 PM
 

Breaking the Silence

682-3269 #8319


 

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