Friday, December 25, 2009

Recession Showed Up at Christmas Eve Dinner Hosted by BC Federation of Labour

Jim Sinclair, President of the BC Federation of Labour dished up turkey at the event.

The recession was evident at this year's 15th Annual Labour Community Christmas hosted by the BC Federation of Labour at the Maritime Labour Hall on Vancouver's east side.

The portions were smaller and they discouraged people from going back for seconds, although one man and woman told me they did sneak back. Organizers had planned for more people this year, but they had still underestimated how many would show up. Guests were lined up outside the door before the dinner opened. The wait to get in was about 40 minutes.

A woman said the turkey was cooked just right; it was tender. A man agreed, "The food was well prepared."

Union organizers gave everybody a ticket for a food hamper as a gift, but they ran out of those too, so some people with tickets left empty-handed.

There was no live band this year either.

Santa did show up as usual though. The children all got gifts.

The volunteer servers were all pleasant, as they are every year.

There was a free bus to the event and back, provided by the unions. The bus kept circling from the Downtown Eastside to the Maritime Hall, picking up people at the Dug Out Drop-In Centre and Carnegie Centre. When transporting the last load of passengers of the night, the bus driver went out of his way for a woman who didn't speak much English by giving her a ride to her destination at Kootenay Loop, after he dropped off his Downtown Eastside passengers.

Photographer with Zoom Lens Creates Discomfort at Christmas Day Dinner at Sally Ann

On Christmas Day, the Salvation Army, Harbour Light, on Cordova St. near Main in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside served their annual free Christmas Dinner to anyone who wanted it. The turkey dinner with all the trimmings was reportedly tasty, with pie for dessert.

A man volunteering as a server walked around squirting extra whipped cream on everyone's pie, exclaiming, "It's Christmas!"

Some people were uncomfortable with the newspaper photographer (above) with a long zoom lens.

The tension between the need of the Sally Ann for publicity and the need for the poor to have privacy is ongoing. A man in a wheelchair told me that at a previous Sally Ann Christmas dinner, he had put his hand over his face and asked a television camera man to stop taking his photo.

Friday, December 18, 2009

UBC President Stephen Toope Snubs Million Dollar Poor at Christmas

Photo: Christmas Party takes place in background at UBC Learning Exchange on Downtown Eastside while reception staff continue to work

If Stephen Toope drops into the Learning Exchange when there is no media around, does anybody hear?

Probably not. So why bother dropping in.

UBC President Stephen Toope didn't show up at the Christmas party yesterday for the poor at the UBC Learning Exchange on the Downtown Eastside. And neither did the Director of the Learning Exchange, Margo Fryer, whose office is upstairs from the lobby where the party was held. And neither did most of the other 20 people employed full time by the Learning Exchange, a UBC storefront set up on Main St. to grab a share of the lucrative poverty industry.

When journalists from the major newspapers are invited to a Learning Exchange event that could come to the attention of current and prospective funders, Toope and Fryer show up. Last year Toope, who collects $576,000 annually in salary and perks, showed up to give a speech to a sea of camera flashes at the Anniversary of the opening of the Learning Exchange. And last month Fryer was yet again featured in a Vancouver Sun article about this enterprise which has a $2 million annual budget, an enterprise about which she says, "I got drawn in. I couldn't walk away." Priceless.

The Christmas Party was held the day after Welfare Wednesday, a day when Fryer and her staff would, like all povertarians, be aware that most of the poor would be out spending their welfare cheques and wouldn't show up.

P.S. Thanks to Downtown Eastsiders who sent photos.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Whitty gets Elderly Man Barred from Carnegie after he gives her "Hitler Salute"

David Wong, a Chinese-Canadian man in his eighties who works his ass off as a bus boy in the Carnegie Cafeteria for eighty cents an hour in food vouchers, was barred from this City building for two days.

That was after he gave Director Ethel Whitty the "Hitler salute".

Presumably an Incident Report was entered into the City of Vancouver-Carnegie "Security"database or big black binder. Security Incident Reports are written up on Downtown Eastsiders guilty of assorted forms of freedom of expression in relation to Whitty, her security boss Skip Everall, or other staff. But often what is written in the binder is City staff's self-serving version of the event.

When I think of David Wong, the phrase "elder abuse" crosses my mind. A few weeks ago, Wong got into an argument with a woman in the Carnegie cafeteria and when she walked past him afterwards, she shoved him out of her way and he went flying. He flipped backwards in the air, landed on his ass and banged his head on the floor. He made such a thump that security staff from the first floor came running up to the second floor. The woman who had shoved him was barred. Wong emerged from the incident unharmed. Amazing, since just a few months ago he was in the hospital as his health was poor.

David Wong is not always easy to get along with, to be honest. He's not violent but sometimes he gets overzealous about taking people's dishes off their table, and if somebody says, "Hey, I haven't finished eating yet", he can get upset and give them a loud calling down. But he can also be charming, especially to some of the women. Because his English is poor, it's difficult to know whether he's senile. Lots of people like him though. And of course CUPE likes him because he slaves away for crumbs and keeps the cafeteria running smoothly.

David Wong will no doubt survive into the new year to be barred yet again. And the Whitty-Everall barring projects that fill up their big black binder will survive well financed now that the City is imposing an increase in the head tax ...excuse me, property tax.

Carnegie Claws Back WiFi from Poor

The poor accessing wifi at Carnegie Centre have been cut off.

It used to be that low income people at Carnegie would sit and wait an hour for their turn on a public-access desktop computer to surf the net, until they got hold of laptops and began accessing wifi. Over the past year and a half low income people with lap tops have gotten into the habit of sitting in the big empty room on the third floor of Carnegie in the evenings and surfing the net. Wifi was available there, outside the offices of Carnegie management and the Learning Centre. And it was available in the Carnegie cafeteria on the second floor too, outside the office of CCAP, a project funded by VanCity and run by anti-poverty czar Jean Swanson to lobby for housing for the poor.

Carnegie has put an end to this access. Wifi has been secured so that it cannot be accessed by the poor, only by union members and Carnegie and management.

There is wifi access in the small branch of the Vancouver Public Library on the first floor of Carnegie, but it is painfully slow. Yesterday, six people were huddled around one plug-in at the back of the library, all finding the wifi access too slow.

The rumour is that wifi access was terminated for legal reasons. But the raison d'etre of CCAP and Carnegie is supposed to be to help the poor.

Carnegie has a history of hostility toward the poor eager for internet access. Just look at where they situated the Computer Room. Despite a huge empty space with tables and chairs on the third floor (referred to as the gallery), the computer room which is the service attracting poor people to the third floor in the evenings, is a miniature room tucked in the back beside the washrooms. This was planned, when renovations were occurring years ago. You can literally hear people using the toilet when you're in the computer room. It is such a narrow room that when people walk to the computer they've signed up for, it is impossible to avoid bumping the chairs of other people sitting at computers. This leads to conflict. And the guards get called and people get written up on the "Security" database for causing trouble.

Wifi access for the poor at the UBC Learning Exchange two blocks from Carnegie is, I'm told by two people who use it, also from CCAP. The people who use the Learning Exchange are the same people who use Carnegie. (The Learning Exchange operates weekdays until 5 p.m., unlike Carnegie which is open until 11 p.m. seven days a week.) Doubtful that CCAP will turf the poor off wifi at UBC though; I would bet that CCAP is given money by UBC in exchange for that access. The poverty industry is of course all about money.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Arrests made in Tyson Edwards Murder

Early this year, the DTES Enquirer ran a post about Jim, a Carnegie regular who picks bottles and cans in the bar district on weekends, being upset at coming across Tyson Edwards lying in the curb by Richards on Richards nightclub. Edwards had been stabbed in front of friends and later died in hospital. Jim talked about the incident for weeks afterward because he was under the impression that Edwards could have been saved if emergency response times had been quicker.

Today, I heard on the radio that police made three arrests in the murder. Two men were arrested in Calgary and one in Moncton, N.B. All have been charged with manslaughter and returned to Vancouver. The police said these three men, if not exactly gang members, were involved in gang-type activity. Edwards was not.

Jim says that while picking bottles in the bar district over the years he has seen lots of dangerous stuff, like gun fire in an alley, that never gets reported in the newspapers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Last Man Standing" Walks

Many Downtown Eastsiders remember the night in 2005 when there was a shoot-out between drug dealers in the New Wings Hotel across from Oppenheimer Park. There were cops walking around with sub-machine guns. Of the three drug dealers involved, two died that night from gun shot wounds. The third, Dennis Knibbs, took off running but was later picked up by police.

Knibbs was acquitted yesterday in the shooting death of Trumaine "Ekoh" Habib, a 21-year old with dreadlocks who enjoyed smoking pot, and sold it too. Habib had ended up with a bullet hole the size of a "silver dollar" in the middle of his chest, according to a paramedic who had arrived at the scene.

Knibbs' supporters clapped loudly from the public gallery after the not guilty verdict was announced.

Some of those were the same supporters who had been in the gallery in 2007 when a a jury found Knibbs guilty of the second degree murder of Habib. The 31 year old Knibbs got an automatic 25 year sentence, but Judge Arne Silverman granted him eligibility for parole in 10 years.

Knibbs appealed.

The BC Court of Appeal, referring to Knibbs as "the last man standing", overturned his conviction. They determined that Judge Silverman had erred in his instructions to the jury on provocation.

The second time around, Knibbs didn't opt for a jury trial. Supreme Court Justice Ronald McKinnon decided his fate.

Habib's mother left comments on this blog during the first trial. She believed the second degree murder conviction by a jury advised by Judge Silverman to use their "common sense" was the right one, and left the following comment on May 16, 2007:

"Common Sence (sic), was used in the deciding factor in this case. They can appeal all they want and HOPEFULLY, the JUDGES USE THEIR COMMON SENCE and don't disregard the JURY'S DECISION... I already knew, that it wasn't completly OVER YET, but as I said, I HOPE that the appeal judges use "COMMON SENCE" AND DON'T RELEASE A BRUTLE MURDERER BACK OUT INTO SOCIETY,THAT WOULD BE "UNCONSCIONABLE"...

YES, Justice was DONE and I Thank GOD for that...

Lanre Habib & Family...


Monday, November 30, 2009

Ambush of Cops in a Coffee Shop could happen in Vancouver

Long before the ambush and execution of four police officers in Tacoma on Sunday, it had crossed my mind that such a thing could happen in Vancouver. I thought of it around Christmas last year when I saw about 8 uniforms sitting in Waves coffee shop on Hastings at Richards. There were so many of them, they pulled two or three tables together.

I don't often see that many cops having coffee together, although I saw about six, including a couple of under-covers, having coffee in Waves at Main & 10th last summer. I remember thinking, if you're "under cover" why would you announce to the public that you're a cop by sitting with a bunch of uniforms on your coffee break. A Downtown Eastsider told me how to recognize under covers wearing their "colours of the day".

Anyway, it occurred to me that there might be an element of risk for a bunch of cops to sit huddled together in Waves coffee shop. The VPD complain to the media that they are put at risk by people who want to commit "suicide by cop", so it wouldn't be much of stretch to think of suicide by cop in a coffee shop. But I guess it's a risk they're willing to take. (The VPD wear bullet-proof vests but so did the Tacoma cops executed in the coffee shop.)

When the four officers were shot in Tacoma, it was pointed out in the news that in many places in the U.S., police are forbidden to sit in groups in coffee shops.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

SPCA Helps Downtown Eastside Kitty with Cancer

The reputation of the SPCA has improved in my eyes because of what people have told me about their free veterinary clinic on the Downtown Eastside. It's held at the Mission Possible drop-in center on Powell St. near Oppenheimer Park about once a month. Some of the workers are volunteers.

They have a pet food bank there too, although that's more regular than the vet clinic.

I remember years ago, reading a scandal in the newspaper about an SPCA executive who had a six figure salary and a huge expense account and had squandered donations. I never forgot that. But like I said, the reputation of the SPCA has sprung back now, especially since hearing about what they did today in the "prevention of cruelty" to a kitty.

A Downtown Eastsider, who asked not to be identified in the media, took a sick kitty to the clinic this morning. There were two young women veterinarians there. What amazed the Downtown Eastsider about the skill set of the vet who handled the kitty was, "She could do anything without getting scratched."

One of the vets said that this kitty either had cancer on her face or had been hit by a car and broken her jaw. "This is serious", she told the owner. She said that if extensive treatment was unaffordable, it was time to start thinking about euthanizing this kitty. "Tears welled up in my eyes; I was trying to hold them back," says the owner. A woman from the SPCA who runs the clinic immediately got on the phone and referred the kitty to their animal hospital on East 7th to have her jaw x-rayed. "She patted me on the arm", the owner recalls. Then the kitty was whisked over to the hospital on the bus.

The vet at the hospital, a young guy, didn't do an x-ray because he didn't think the kitty's jaw was broken. He diagnosed her with a cancer on her face, a type of cancer in the bones that is common in cats. "They don't do tests like they do with human beings; the vet examines the cat and he says, 'Looks like cancer to me' ", the Downtown Eastsider explained. And then he talks about the options.

The SPCA gave the kitty antibiotics to fend off an infection that had pus coming out of the side of her face and was making her blind in one eye. And they gave her an injection of water because she was dehydrated -- all to make her final days more comfortable. She was even given a lampshade collar for her neck so that she didn't claw at the red spots on her mouth. And they made another appointment for her next week. All this, even though the Downtown Eastsider taking care of her had no money.

The SPCA will euthanize the kitty when it's time, which will probably be soon as apparently cancer can spread aggressively in cats. The SPCA runs the Animal Hospital entirely on donations, according to a sign the Downtown Eastsider saw in the waiting room.

You have to be poor as a church mouse to take your cat or dog -- one guy took his ferret -- to the free SPCA clinic at Mission Possible. They're strict. They make you show photo I.D. and proof of income, like a tax return or welfare stub.

Mission Possible which is a Christian place, has a slogan and I don't remember what it is, just that the word "compassionate" is in it. The vet clinic they host does sound compassionate.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Don't Cut Cops on Street, Cut VPD Mega Media Relations Department, says Eby

The Vancouver Police have announced they will avoid filling 35 positions due to the City's budget shortfall. That will mean 35 fewer constables on the street and longer response times.

David Eby of the BC Civil Liberties Association says there is no need for cuts to result in fewer constables on the street. Eby told CBC Radio last week that the Vancouver Police Department could first look at cutting their Media Relations department which is bigger than that of the City of Vancouver. The VPD media relations department, Eby said, is twice the size of the public relations departments in other organizations their size. Eby also pointed out that the VPD has an executive with an average salary of $182,000, another place that could withstand cuts.

I would add one thing: the reason the VPD needs such a monstrous media relations department is that they promote officers to six figure executive positions despite records of unprofessional and/or criminal conduct, officers who are at risk of re-offending. Take Warren Lemcke. There is documented evidence linking Lemcke to a political psychiatry scam, involving fraud and later destruction of evidence. After the evidence surfaced, Lemcke was allowed to personally decide whether the investigation into himself would proceed. He decided to cancel it. He was then promoted twice, first to Inspector and then to Superintendent. He's now well ensconced in the VPD Six Figure Club. He's even paraded in front of media cameras as head of "Con Air".

It's this constant covering for cops with questionable records by the VPD that requires a mega 'spin' department.

Canwest Deletes Article by Teenage Blogger/Writer Criticizing Human Rights Commissions after Lawsuit Threatened

Teenage blogger and newspaper writer, Walker Morrow, has become something of a balloon boy for older bloggers in Canada who have been crticizing erosion of free speech and other constitutional rights by Human Rights Commissions. They watched in amazement as media giant Canwest abandoned Morrow when legal action was threatened over his article, “Questionable Conduct of CHRC”. The article was published in The Cowichan Valley Citizen newspaper and on various sites in the Canwest chain. First it was up. Then it was down.

Morrow described on his blog, Blog of Walker, how readers lost sight of his article:

''I wasn’t aware of the article’s disappearance at first, but I got a couple of emails, from one of the posters at Free Dominion and from a blogger acquaintance of mine, who were asking what had happened to the original article. You see, it had been published in the print edition of the Citizen, on the Citizen website, and also on, the website for the print section of the Can-West media empire, of which the Citizen is a part. The text of the article on had disappeared, although the title remained, and at first I thought it might just be some weird glitch in the HTML of the page or something. So I pointed at least one of the concerned parties ( can’t remember right now if it was both ) toward the version on the Citizen website. But that, too, soon disappeared; all that remained was a small piece of text telling the web-page viewer that the article was no longer available. The article had been picked up by Global Calgary; that version disappeared as well. The only available version left was up on Free Dominion, where one poster had posted a copy of it. The Free Dominion copy remains about the only one available - although I think another web forum or two have picked it up; I would say Free Dominion remains the most credible.”

Morrow’s editor told him that legal action had been threatened by Richard Warman, an Ottawa lawyer who was apparently representing himself. Warman’s name is well known to bloggers monitoring the Human Rights Commission. Warman has initiated a number of complaints against groups and individuals, alleging violations of the Canadian Human Rights Act. He also launched a libel suit in 2008 against three Canadian bloggers, all outspoken critics of the CHRC - Ezra Levant, Kate McMillan and Kathy Shaidle — and the owners of Free Dominion, a conservative chat site.

After Morrow’s article disappeared, he and a parent, the Citizen’s editor and publisher, and a Can-West representative held a conference call. Morrow got a chuckle out of learning during that call that Warman had threatened the wrong newspaper at first, mistaking “the Citizen” for the major paper, The Ottawa Citizen. Morrow was able to provide his sources to Canwest.

Canwest nonetheless asked Morrow to sign a retraction. His parent told him to get legal advice first. Then Canwest asked him to sign an even stiffer retraction. He refused. Can-West ran the retraction anyway, without his name.

Can-West, a media empire with newspapers and television stations across Canada, is in bankruptcy protection. That may be the reason Canwest abandoned him, Truepeers, a blogger at who regularly criticizes the CHRC, told Morrow in a comment on Blog of Walker:

”This Warman threat is just a necessary bump/challenge….As for the newspaper I figure it’s a cold business decision from a bankruptcy case. Tough break not to get their full support; but such are the evils of our world. You will have the support of much of the blogosphere….”

Struggling to stay afloat itself, Canwest was apparently in no position to struggle to keep free speech afloat.

Monday, November 16, 2009

CUPE Wants Your Last Cappuccino

For years, CUPE and Vancouver City managers at Carnegie Centre have functioned in synch, like one giant Leona Helmsley inflicting cruelty on "the little people". Now it looks as though Leona's got an auto-immune disorder.

Paul Faoro, head of CUPE Local 15 which represents inside City workers, was on CKNW radio yesterday accusing the City of being "over-managed". He wants to see the City cut the jobs of managers, not just unionized workers. Faoro was responding to what he called, "the $60 million question": Who will lose their jobs as the City faces a $60 million budget shortfall and Council is determined to avoid serious residential tax hikes. So far, all of the jobs Faoro has seen slated to be cut are those of unionized workers. Yet there is one manager for every nine unionized workers, he says. Faoro believes that the City intentionally hires excess managers, so that they can do the work when CUPE strikes.

I agree with Faoro. I've repeatedly stated on this blog that Carnegie Centre is grossly over-managed. When managers have time to roll back the right of a homeless man to sit as an elected official, or the right of a woman to ask a male supervisor his name when he has made a decision to ban her from the building for raising the issue of sexism, their ample idle time has become the devil's playground. Either Ethel Whitty or Dan Tetrault should go.

Behead Leona.

That's Faoro's second choice though. First, he is eying the little people who pay taxes. He wants them to swallow a residential tax hike of 5%. He argues that a study has shown that Vancouver residents want to keep services such as libraries and community centres, and are willing to pay for them. Unlike Faoro, I don't see it as either/or. Tax hikes aren't necessary to maintain City services at current levels, if the fat, the morbid obesity, is trimmed. Either Whitty or Tetrault, for starters.

Faoro argued that a 5% property tax hike would be $50 a year. He said it merely amounts to "a few less cappuccinos". That's one way of describing it. I've heard it described other ways. Death by a thousand cuts. Incrimentalism.

Attempting to create common ground with the radio audience, Faoro noted that he too is a homeowner, that if there were a 5% residential tax hike, he too would feel it. He doesn't mention that it would feel good at his house: with the union dues flowing, he would get his usual raise, his usual hike in take-home pay. He could buy a round of cappuccinos at Waves coffee shop on Pender St., where CUPE members from Carnegie grab them between human rights abuses.

I almost got taken in during Faoro's bonding moment, but I know too much. I covered the story of the non-union secretaries hired by CUPE Local 116 to staff their executive offices. I learned how those secretaries had been fired, one after the other for daring to speak up about the fact that they were being run into the ground with overwork. One took CUPE to court when they allegedly reneged on promise to give her a pension. When the only one who hadn't been fired spoke up in support of the others, CUPE arranged for police officers who didn't even have jurisdiction at Local 116 to do them a favour. That favour was to visit the secretary at her home and warn her that CUPE wanted her to just shut up.

Faoro knows about those brass knuckles tactics but he's never taken a stand, even though he has the ear of CUPE boss Barry O'Neill. Faoro attends CUPE conventions and when O'Neill --- who he is reportedly angling to replace -- and the other union brass set the agenda, the secretaries are never on it.

One of those secretaries owns a house in Vancouver. Imagine that, paying a mortgage on a non-union wage while being run into the ground with overwork. When Faoro asks her to turn over her last cappuccino, I can just hear her:

"From my cold, dead, hands."

Thanks for the Grapes, Jimmy.

Photo: Steven, a cashier at Superstore

At Metrotown Mall, Superstore has lower food prices, but Save On Foods has better customer service. In fact, the customer service at Save On is amazing.

I was at Metrotown on Saturday doing some shopping, and I bought some grapes on sale for $1.78 a pound at Save on Foods.

When I got home, and looked through my shopping bags, I didn't have that bag. So the next day, I phoned Customer Service at Save On and asked if they'd found my bag. I said I was going out that way again so if they'd found the grapes, I'd pick them up. They hadn't. "It doesn't matter," I told the clerk, "they were only $1.78" -- I remembered the total because it had been been the same as the price per pound. The clerk told me to drop by and he'd replace them.

And he did.

Contrast that with Superstore at Metrotown. A former Downtown Eastsider was telling me in early November about her encounter with the cashier from hell at Superstore. His name was Steven. I told her that if she got his photo, I would write him up.

When the customer was going through the check-out, Steven treated her like a shoplifter. He wanted to check her shopping bag. Fair enough: she was carrying a Superstore bag with her lunch in it. When she didn't object to him checking it, he lost interest. "He didn't open it, he just squeezed my pita sandwich. And he made a face, like yuck."

With all this fuss, Steven forgot to ask the customer if she wanted a plastic bag for her groceries. So after she paid, she asked him for one, but by this time he was on to the next customer. "He said no," she exclaimed. "He wouldn't give me one," she said, shaking her head in amazement. I agree with her that this is odd, as I've had busy cashiers at Superstore forget to ask me if I want a plastic bag, so they just hand me one instead of getting bogged down over five cents.

Steven did eventually toss this customer a bag, reluctantly. "I was tired of him blaming me so I said, 'It was your mistake, you know.' "

After packing her groceries, she realized she needed a second bag. "I wanted to double-bag [the groceries]; they were heavy." Steven told her she couldn't have another bag, and he turned back to his customer. So she spotted a plastic bag lying on the floor. "It was dirty; people were trampling over it." She picked it up and was putting her other bag into it, when Steven turned around. "Soooo, you took one anyway," he said accusingly. "He was livid." She told him she had picked it up off the floor.

Steven demanded that she pay him five cents for that bag and another five for the other bag. "I pay for bags there all the time but I'm not going to pay for a filthy bag off the floor."

Steven called the supervisor. The supervisor defended Steven. She said all bags had to be paid for. "Not a dirty one off the floor", the customer recalled saying. "Yes," said the supervisor, even a dirty bag must be paid for. But the supervisor let it go, this time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Car Hits Main St. Lamp Post on Rainy Night

Last night at about 12:30 am., I came across this car accident on Main St. at Prior, just across from the Georgia Viaduct. A young woman was talking to police, so I assume she had been the driver. It was raining.

Monday, November 9, 2009

National Post Runs Full-Page Ad Against Radical Islam

I think it was a turning point. The Fort Hood massacre allegedly perpetrated by a Muslim who got promoted inside the U.S. Army, while advocating the death of "infidels". I think we're going to see more people and organizations in Canada and the U.S. becoming less tolerant of intolerant Islam.

This full page ad appeared in today's (Nov. 9/09) National Post. I saw it when Vancouver blogger truepeers posted it at Covenant Zone blogspot, but he found it on Blazing Cat Fur.

Later in the day, as I walked into Save on Foods, I picked up a National Post to see this ad for myself. I found it. It was on the back page of the first section.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Decorated Car

This photo was snapped by a Downtown Eastsider as a man showed his decorated car to onlookers in Gastown on Oct. 31, 2009, Halloween.

False Advertising at Waves Coffee Shop

A man who regularly drops into Waves internet coffee shop at Main St. & Pender, has been giving the same advice for months: don't buy your coffee until you find out whether the internet is working.

Too often people buy a coffee and sit down to use the internet, only to discover that it's down.

On Saturday, a customer asked for a refund, after buying a coffee and then discovering that the advertised internet service was not available.

Miranda, the young woman who works there, said there are no refunds. She said the internet has actually not been down in months, that Saturday was the first time in a long time. That's not what Downtown Eastsiders say. I went in there on Sunday to test it. It was down.

Waves staff could put a sign on the counter, "Internet temporarily down". But they don't. They would lose coffee sales.

Try before you buy.

Coast to Coast Radio Cancelled in Vancouver

A Downtown Eastsider told me yesterday that he hadn't been getting the Coast to Coast radio show at it's usual spot on the dial for a couple of nights. So he found it on another station which he could hear faintly from the U.S., but reception was poor. I too had been frustrated when Coast to Coast wasn't on for two nights in a row; I just assumed it was a reception problem.

I phoned CFUN radio yesterday to ask what was up.

The man who answered the phone told me that the Coast to Coast show has been dropped. CFUN has been taken over by TEAM radio "down the hall".

That would explain why I heard a sports talk show last night, at the place on the dial where Coast to Coast would normally be. I don't mind sports talk actually. But I did miss hearing Ian Punnit who hosts Coast to Coast on Saturday nights (George Noory hosts on week nights). I got Coast to Coast from a U.S. station for about 5 minutes and then it faded out.

For a few people on the Downtown Eastiside, the death of Coast to Coast may not be a bad thing. A few Downtown Eastsiders are already unbalanced -- and I emphasize "a few"; there aren't nearly as many truly mentally ill people on the Downtown Eastsiders as poverty industry grant addicts would have the public believe -- and they tend to pick up on the conspiracy topics and alien visitation topics and let this stuff dominate their minds. There is a wide range of topics covered on Coast to Coast though, including political, spiritual, technological advances, and alternative health.

Anyone wanting to listen to Coast to Coast in Vancouver, the man who answered the phone at the CFUN number told me, can sign up for Streamlink at the Coast to Coast website and listen via the internet. But I believe you have to pay. Many Downtown Eastsiders don't have internet at home.

Earlier this year George Noory, host of Coast to Coast radio, came to the Red Rock Casino in Richmond to visit with listeners. Coast to Coast had a good base of listeners in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. It was a hit amongst Downtown Eastsiders, many of whom don't mind staying up until 2 a.m. as they don't have jobs to go to in the morning.

The loss of Coast to Coast radio will be felt on the Downtown Eastside. I miss having it on in the background; it was a show that I could turn on no matter what time I got home as it was on all night.

Update, Nov. 10/09: A Coast to Coast listener commented on the internet that according to the Coast to Coast official site, another Vancouver station was talking to them about picking up the show. I went to the Coast to Coast site today but I couldn't find any reference to that. I hope they bring it back though. I have withdrawal symptoms.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What did you go as on Halloween?

On Halloween, a homeless man was sitting in Burger King on Main at 1st Ave. with his full-to-the-brim shopping cart. A man about 40 years old with dark hair, well dressed, wearing a Yankees cap, arrived with his wife. On the way out, he walked up behind the homeless man and said, "Can I give you this?" He handed him a twenty dollar bill and said, "You enjoy your Halloween."

The homeless man referred to this man twice as, "the rich guy". He smiled broadly showing his almost worn away top teeth, and his face lit up, as he recalled, "He looked at me; he looked like an angel."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Make Hypocrites History

U2 is in Vancouver, playing GM Place tonight.

U2's lead singer, Bono, is probably as well known for trotting around the globe pushing a 'Make Poverty History" agenda

Rex Murphy, a CBC commentator and author, was being interviewed on CFUN radio earlier this week and mentioned Bono coming to Vancouver. Bono likes to go to gatherings of world leaders, Murphy said, and he likes to get his photo taken with any given world leader he is pressing to commit more money to making poverty history. Murphy pointed out that lately Bono has been insisting that the Irish government increase their contributions to the UNICEF children's fund, while he has moved his company from Ireland to Switzerland to avoid taxes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Swine Flu Suspect at Downtown Clinic "Fast-Tracked" to Nowhere

BC is in the second stage of the H1N1 flu epidemic but staff at the Downtown Clinic near Oppenheimer Park don't seem serious about curbing it. That's the impression a Downtown Eastside resident got when she went to that clinic today with flu symptoms. "I walked out without even being diagnosed", she told me later from Canada Place where she was having tea at the Food Floor.

Yes, she was having tea at a tourist hub with swine flu symptoms, a hub where tourists are nervous enough about the flu that the occasional one is enjoying their vacation from behind a surgical mask.

The woman who had been to the Downtown Clinic today has had flu symptoms for days. She felt dragged out, had achy bones, and was sneezing for some time. Last night, she had diarrhea and her energy was so depleted that she could not even tidy up her apartment. She just collapsed on the bed at 9:30 p.m. and fell asleep. She felt much better today but was still "dragged out" and decided to get tested, she told me on the phone from Canada Place.

She had telephoned the Downtown Clinic and asked a male receptionist what the testing would involve. "Do I have to give a stool sample?", she asked. He checked with a nurse and came back on the phone to tell her that no stool or urine sample was required. "Just a sputem sample", he said, and then explained, "They'll just ask you to spit or they'll take a swab from the inside of your mouth."

Knowing that the wait time can be long at that clinic, she asked him, "If I come in, will I have to wait a long time to be seen?" "No," he assured her, explaining that upon arrival she should simply tell them that she had flu symptoms; they would give her a surgical mask, and take her to the back immediately. A nurse would see her, he said.

Was he lying?

When she arrived, a female receptionist directed her to a nurse, Arden, who had a wicket at the end of the reception desk. Arden gave this patient a surgical mask, and then put on blue rubber gloves and adjusted her mask so that it fit snugly around her nose. Then, using a sing song voice like they do on Romper Room, Arden told her to come to the back of the clinic. "You're being fast-tracked", Arden told her, chuckling. She corrected the patient's perception that she would be seen by a nurse though, telling her that the male receptionist who had told her that must have been mistaken, that a doctor would have to see her. She was told to sit or lie on the bed and that a doctor would be in to see her.

Looking back, the patient now believes she had been lied to twice by this time.

The patient waited and waited. Each time she saw a doctor approach, she would think, "Maybe that's the one who'll do the swab and then I can get out of here." She now knows she had as much chance of spotting that doctor as having an Elvis sighting.

Twenty-five minutes passed and she walked back to the front desk and asked Arden how much longer the wait would be. Arden told her, "You'll have to see Dr. C and she won't be coming to work until 1:30." The patient glanced up at the clock, it was 12:50 p.m."

"Why did you lie?", the patient asked Arden. You told me that somebody would be in to see me; you didn't tell me that the doctor I was waiting for wasn't at work.

The patient, having been to this clinic previously, knew that even when this doctor arrived for work, she would have other patients, those with appointments, to see first. "I could easily have been there until 3 o'clock," says the patient. Arden acknowledged to the patient, in front of another female staff person with brown/blond hair, that she should have told her that the doctor wouldn't be at work until 1:30 p.m. But then excused herself, saying, "It was mis-communication".

The patient doesn't blame staff for factors that were out of their control, like having a busy day. She blames them for "stringing me along".

There was a whole stable of doctors on duty in the clinic today, the patient points out. And lots of nurses too. She interprets the fact that she was assigned a doctor who wasn't around as a sign that H1N1 is not a high priority at the clinic. "They know people will get tired of waiting and walk out. I've seen it happen before when I've been sitting in the waiting room", she says.

The patient ripped off the surgical mask and walked out. Did they make any effort to accommodate you so that you would stick around long enough to get diagnosed, I asked. "No", she said. The only real initiative she saw staff show was in "protecting themselves from my germs", but none to prevent her from spreading those same germs in the community. In fact, Arden seemed to encourage the spread: after acknowledging a "mis-communication", she suggested that the patient leave the clinic and come back at a later time.

The patient doesn't see all the staff at the Downtown Clinic as "slack-assed" though. "There are some good doctors there", she says, "I've had two that I thought were way above average."

The patient knows two other people on the Downtown Eastside who had symptoms of H1N1. One guy was deathly ill and he looked up his symptoms on the internet and believes he had H1N1. He went to the flea market and spread those germs around. She knows another guy who was out walking around; he went to Pathways computer room and to the UBC Learning Exchange, saying, "I wouldn't want you to get what I have." She got it.

After leaving the Downtown Clinic, the patient was angry but not as weak as she had been. She was now operating on "an adrenalin rush" that had come somewhere between learning that she was being fast-tracked and learning that she had been assigned a doctor who was probably at home having lunch. "I didn't want to go home and stew," she said. "So I walked up to Canada Place to have tea." The food floor at Canada Place is frequented by Downtown Eastsiders having tea and coffee now that the Mcdonald's at Main & Terminal has closed for Olympics renovations.

Thousands of tourists go through the Canada Place Food Floor everyday. The Japanese tourists with the masks are clearly nervous about H1N1. And they should be nervous, about the woman at the table having tea.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vancouver Police Stop Fundraising for United Way, a Year after Giving them a Harley

Photo: This photo was taken when a swarm of police officers on motorbikes stopped on Main St. What was the incident? They had to pick up their order from the SUBmarine sandwich shop. Two officers put the boxes of food in the trunk of a police car travelling with the motorcycles.

Vancouver Police have decided not to fund raise for United Way this year.

Canadians Opposing Political Psychiatry were informed of this decision after writing to the Vancouver Police Board on Sept. 22/09 requesting that they put an end to Vancouver Police fundraising for United Way. Initially, COPP received an email from Rachelle Radiuk, Executive Director of the Police Board, stating that the request would be discussed in camera by the Police Board at their next meeting on October 21, 2009. But on Thursday, October 1, 2009, COPP received a second email from Radiuk stating:“I just received a copy of a letter sent from the Vancouver Police Union to the United Way confirming that the Union would NOT be participating in United Way fundraising this year as they will be promoting their own charity….”

For years, COPP has been criticizing the conflict of interest inherent in the role of Vancouver Police as a fundraising arm of a private charitable organization which they could be called upon at any time to investigate. United Way has even gotten onto the police payroll in that officers can opt for payroll deductions for United Way. COPP alleges that this conflict of interest relationship has resulted in police employing tactics including fabrication of evidence, illicit accessing of medical records, and political psychiatry, while under pressure from United Way to deter criticism.

Conflict of interest in the VPD's relationship with United Way was in evidence as recently as last year as COPP continued efforts to have this illegal activity addressed. In 2008, one of Chief Chu's aids called such efforts "vindictive" in a letter to a COPP member, a response to a letter addressed specifically to Chief Chu. At the same time, Chief Chu was arranging to give a decommissioned VPD Harley-Davidson motorcycle to United Way as a gift. City records show that the Chief personally lobbied the City to get this gift approved.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall Sleeper

Thornton Park, Sept. 30, 2009

Last Coffee

Mcdonalds restaurant and outdoor patio are being ripped apart for three months of renovations. It will have a new look for the Olympics.

The customers will look the same.

A construction site security guard said Mcdonald's will open again around Christmas.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Hundred Dollar Diet

I stopped by the Farmers' Market on the lawn of Pacific Central Station, a magnet for people making an effort to follow the Hundred Mile Diet. I bought an organic Macintosh apple to snack on as I walked home. It was $1.09, an expensive apple it seemed to me. I bit into it, expecting it to taste especially delicious. It tasted like a perfectly ordinary Macintosh apple.

This wasn’t the first time I had been to the Farmers' Market since it set up shop Wednesday evenings in front of the Pacific Central train and bus station, across from the busy Main St. Skytrain station. I had bought corn on the cob there in August. Cobs ran as high as $1.25, depending on the vendor. One vendor offered organic corn for $10 a dozen, or $1 each. I bought a couple of non-organic cobs for 75 cents each from a young Indo-Canadian farmer who had come in from Abbotsford. I liked him because he had his back to me and wasn’t putting pressure on people to buy.

The salsa saleswoman at Momma Nellie’s never missed an opportunity to make eye contact and chat up a potential customer, explaining over and over that she makes the salsa at home in her kitchen then loads it into the trunk of her car and sells it at outdoor markets. She sold me a jar, for $8. I can get a jar of Paul Newman’s salsa out of his cold dead hands for $4.19 at Buy-Low up the street, less when it’s on sale, which it often is. But like the woman said, hers is “fresh”. She gives you little samples and tells you to take note of the crunch in the vegetables. I did. I heard the crunch.

I was on the hundred dollar diet.

"Farmers on 57th”, billed as being “a half acre organic market garden tended by 3 young growers”, was offering bunches of kale for $2 each. I buy kale for $1.18 at Buy Low, but it isn’t organic, and it’s from California.

Shalefield Gardens from Lindell Beach, a lakefront village on Cultus Lake east of Vancouver, had a table at the market selling organic Swiss chard for $2 a bunch. But the bunches were smaller than those I get weekly at Buy Low where it’s also organic but only $1.68. The bad news of course that it’s from California.

Bean Boy was selling assorted spreads, such as Spicy Black Bean or Humous with Curry. The seller explained that his beans were soaked for 16 hours, and cooked in a stainless steel pressure cooker. He charged $5.50 for 200 grams and $9.50 for 400 grams. He was offering samples on small pieces of taco chips.

Hazelmere Valley Beanery was selling Fair Trade Coffee, 3 1bs. for $30.

The Forstbauer Family Farm in Chilliwack had organic raised beef on sale, regularly $11/lb, now $9/1b. And they had certified organic eggs. They had notices up like, “free range”, “organic feed”, “grass feed”.

Nature’s Best Meat had “Range Raised Bison”. You could buy it ground. You could buy it as burger patties. And even as pet food.

A benefit to shopping at a Farmers' Market is that you can talk to the people who grow your food. “You are what you eat. Meet your maker”, is the slogan on the Farmers Market website. A friend strolling with me at the market in August enjoyed schmoozing with the farmers. She talked to a woman selling bacon produced with minimal nitrates. “We use only the smallest amount,” the saleswoman emphasized. My friend brought home the bacon. I later asked her how much she had paid for it. She would say only that it was “expensive”, adding that it was worth it to her. It would be worth it to me too, due to the strong link between colon cancer and nitrates.

A vendor called “Thai Princess” was selling stir fry sauces, vegetarian. Samples in tiny cups were offered to people walking past. I tried two samples, one coconut, one peanut. Both tasty. A 325 ml container of the sauce was selling for $8, three containers for $20.

Golden West Farms in Summerland in the Okanagan was doing a brisk business selling “fresh-picked” organic cherries for $3.49 lb. I bought a small bag. Some of them were a little soft, possibly because it was the end of the season.

At Bad Girl Chocolates, you could get a chocolate bar for $4.

At Knead Some Dough, $5 would get you a loaf of Kamut bread — Kamut is becoming popular since so many people are discovering they have wheat allergies — or multigrain bread.

Blackberry Hill had “cinamun buns, cakes, muffins, squares.” They had a Chocolate & Zucchinni loaf for $5.

I came across a vendor with some of the biggest mushrooms I’d ever seen. His assortment included Shitake and Oyster. A bag of Oyster mushrooms was $10.

At the Farmers' Market, you will find most of the foods, but not the junk, you would find in a supermarket: cheese, honey, low-sugar granola. Even sunflowers, 2 bunches for $5.

There was a jewelry table too.

Even a little politics. ”Hope in the Shadows”, a book with stories and photos from people on the Downtown Eastside was on sale. A portion of the revenue goes to Pivot Legal Society which has worked on such issues as legalizing the sex trade.

There were activities to keep children occupied too: a free bubble blowing machine, a crafts table. And there was a guy playing guitar and singing.

Now that it's fall -- the market runs until Oct. 21 -- there are fewer vendors. The "no spray" blueberries -- 10 lbs for $25 at the Beckmann Family Farm -- have disappeared , and a few small pumpkins have appeared. The rain too has appeared.

I walk by the market every Wednesday on my way home, so I’ll no doubt stop again to pick up a few things, maybe some low-nitrate bacon to make toasted tomato, lettuce, and bacon sandwiches. The hundred mile diet is becoming more convenient.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"A Cruel Tax," Bill Vander Zalm tells Rally today at Canada Place

You would think Bill Vander Zalm was a movie star, the way people reacted to him at this afternoon’s Anti-HST rally at Canada Place in Vancouver, crowding around him afterwards to take his photo or get theirs taken with him. Now in his seventies, the former premier of British Columbia who’s leading-man-looks have faded a little but his charisma not at all, took to the stage three times to encourage the crowd to fight the new Harmonized Sales Tax. The HST being slapped on British Columbians by Premier Gordon Campbell of the Liberal party, a tax which will fuse the current Goods and Services tax with the provincial sales tax, has brought Vander Zalm out of retirement as it will result in more taxes on more things. Vander Zalm told the crowd, which he estimated to be between four and five thousand people, that the HST is “hitting a lot more places than we realized previously.”

Photo: Bill Vander Zalm at today's rally (Sorry, date stamp is incorrect.)

Despite having been head of the right of center Social Credit government, Vander Zalm did not temper his criticism of the ruling right of center Liberal party. ”The HST is a cruel tax. . . . It takes from those that are packing lunch buckets…and it’s giving to big corporations.” The government is “picking your pockets”, Vander Zalm said, emphasizing repeatedly that the money is “all going to the big corporations.” He was starting to sound like a left winger, and there were many of those at the rally too. In fact, Vander Zalm introduced Carole James, leader of the left of center New Democratic Party [”NDP”] , saying she was “doing a great job.”

James was on the same page as Vander Zalm today in criticizing the Liberals for thinking they could impose a harmonized sales tax. ”I think they really thought that they could sneak it in in the summer.” James asked people to contact Liberal Members of the Legislative Assembly and press them to oppose the HST.

Sylvia MacLeay, President of the Council of Senior Citizens Organizations, described seniors as being worried about the planned HST. ”Seniors are really upset.” They are upset about the “process”, MacLeay said, that the Liberal goverment has used in “sneaking in a new tax.” They are upset that the HST will result in “an instant rate of 12%” tax on heating fuel, hydro, some grocery items, and items that have not previously been taxed. MacLeay echoed Vander Zalm’s comments, saying the HST would result in “significant gains to big business”, but for seniors and others, “It’s all bad, there’s no up side, we’re just going to pay more money.”

It was around this point that Vander Zalm asked for money from anyone who "could spare some change or better still a bill.” The organizing effort has overhead, he explained, “signs, a sound system”, so people were being sent through the crowd carrying buckets to collect donations. ”We’re not finished today," he reminded the crowd, "We’re only just starting.”

A central strategy in fighting the HST is a "Citizen's Initiative petition". If a Citizen's Initiative collects signatures of 10% of registered voters in each riding in B.C., a referendum on the GST could be forced.

Bill Tielman, a left wing political commentator on CKNW radio, spoke directly to Premier Campbell from the stage at the rally. “I know you’ll be watching this on television tonight. I know you can’t resist. I have a message for Gordon Campbell. This is what democracy looks like in British Columbia.”

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Australian Slang Catches on in Canada

Have you noticed the new expression that is as popular with twenty-somethings as a new tattoo?

"No worries."

It's Australian slang, meaning "no problem", but it has caught on in Canada.

Sometimes it doesn't quite ring right. Like when the host of Good Morning America thanked twenty year old Alena Jenkins of Vancouver for agreeing to appear on the show to discuss her brother Ryan Jenkins, who was accused of killing his wife, cutting off her fingertips, yanking out her teeth, and stuffing her into a suitcase, before hanging himself from a coat rack. She responded, "No worries."

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Main St. Mystery Store with No Customers

Photo: Aramic store on Main St., 2009 (Ignore the date on the photo; the date stamp on my camera wasn't working.)

What do you do if you have a store with no customers? You expand.

That's what happened at Aramic, a men's wear store that opened on Main St. near National about three years ago. I walked by there everyday and only once saw a customer. I saw a man standing at the cash register.

The locals had been joking about this store since it opened, more about the type of merchandise than the fact that there were no customers buying it. We used to look through the window and laugh about the rows and rows of "pimp shoes" they were selling. Flashy shoes that west coast Canadians just don't wear.

The clothes were odd too. Dress suits, often in a safari style. No sign of the gore-tex rain gear that might actually sell here in the rain forest.

After being in business for about a year and a half, the owners, possibly encouraged by the one customer who had shown up, expanded.

Yes they opened a women's wear store next door. The women's wear outlet has been operating for about a year and a half now. They have odd clothes for women, dated styles, often leaniing toward garish. Nobody will be embarrassing themselves in these clothes any time soon though. I've yet to notice a customer.

There are signs of life in the stores though. Clothes on manequins are changed regularly. Once there was a car accident outside and I saw a staff person standing in the window, looking out at the police and firemen working.

You can bet the locals have been speculating. Maybe these stores are fronts for selling something else. Downtown Eastsiders put up for years with grocery stores with dated merchandise on the shelves while the real thing was sold from under the counter, although the City did start cracking down. If somebody wanted to launder money, buying a cheap load of dated clothing and setting up a web site and storefronts would seem to be one way of going about it.

I'm not saying that's what's going on in these stores with no customers. Maybe they do a good business over the internet. They do have a professional looking website where you can fill up your virtual shopping cart and pay by credit card.

I don't know. But I can't help wondering every time I walk by.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Three Car Collision at Main & 1st Ave.

At roughly 2:30 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, there was a collision involving three vehicles -- two red and one blue in the photo above -- on Main St. at 1st Avenue just past Burger King. (The date stamp on my camera wasn't set so the date on the photos is wrong.)

There did not appear to be life-threatening injuries.

Cats Do the Darndest Things

Tonight Art Bell guest hosted the late night radio show Coast to Coast, a show which has a loyal following amongst the unemployed on the Downtown Eastside who don't have to get up in the morning.

The retired Bell, who has a bit of a cult following, hosted from his home radio studio in the Philippines. [He is fascinated, he said on a previous show, that technology actually allows him to broadcast half way around the world and sound like he's in the U.S.] When he guest hosts, he treats his fans to photos of his Filipina wife forty years his junior, his growing daughter, and his cats.

Cats do the darndest things.

So do older men. A die hard Art Bell fan on the Downtown Eastside has said several times that he lost respect for Bell when he took up with a woman who was almost a kid. He reminded me that Rick, a guy who goes to Carnegie off and on, had done the same thing. Rick had shown him photos of his life in the Philippines. He showed a photo of a wife he'd had there; she was nude. He showed a photo of her cousin; she was nude. He showed a photo of the maid; she was nude.

I know Rick too. He told me that both of his young wives had left him after he brought them to Canada. "As soon as their feet hit the tarmac at the airport," he told me, "consider them gone."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Veranda to be Built at Mcdonalds will keep Shopping Carts of Homeless away from Front Door

Above photo: a homeless man sleeps in the sun this morning in front of Mcdonald's restaurant at Main & Terminal.

Mcdonald's restaurant deserves a humanitarian award for the tolerance they have shown for the homeless.

At one point an older manager, a Chinese guy with his head shaved bald, did start insisting that the homeless move their shopping carts away from the front door. "We can't have this," I heard him tell them, asking them to at least park their shopping carts in the parking lot. There was one homeless guy who he asked not to come back because he was parking his shopping cart inside the restaurant. That homeless man sat in the dining area of Mcdonalds one evening and trimmed his hair and put on shaving cream and shaved. The staff didn't notice.

Eventually the manager who was setting limits left. The new managers tend to be teenagers who are not equipped to take on the street people. And they're just earning a few dollars between high school classes, so they really don't care.

Then the City of Vancouver made things worse by setting up a homeless shelter across the street from Mcdonalds. That added to the congregation of homeless people hanging out at the tables in front of Mcdonalds at night, smoking cigarrettes and pot and parking shopping carts filled with stuff pulled from garbage cans beside the door. But many of the regular homeless people at Mcdonalds are not actually linked to the homeless shelter. Those places are more for the homeless-light. The hard core homeless just keep living outside like they've always done.

But Mcdonald's has a plan. A staff person mentioned that they are going to renovate, turn the front patio area into a veranda. It's difficult to get a shopping cart onto a veranda. The veranda will have tables with umbrellas. (The current front patio once had umbrellas but they were stolen. The tables behind Mcdonalds also once had umbrellas but they were stolen too, and later Mcdonalds removed those tables because they were having problems with the homeless and street people hanging out back there all night.)

The homeless will still be at Mcdonalds though. The cheap coffee with a free refill is too good a deal to miss. Most of the regular homeless don't panhandle but they sometimes pick up a customer's discarded coffee cup and take it up to the cashier for a free refill. Some do buy food; the guy sunning himself in the photo bought a burger and an ice cream sundae yesterday.

So many businesses in Vancouver have to work around Vancouver's homeless and drug addicts. It's a real headache trying to use the washroom at Mcdonalds because they now lock the door and you have to buzz and buzz and buzz until the busy staff hear you and let you in. Before that they tried to discourage drug addicts from using their washrooms by installing special lighting that made it more difficult for them to see their veins.

Major renovations at Mcdonalds will begin very soon. In addition to a veranda, they will be installing fireplaces and internet wifi.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vancouver Summer

Kingsway at Broadway

After the heat wave, it was cool for a few days. I thought summer was over.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Acer asked to withdraw as Sponsor of Vancouver 2010 Olympics while Persecution of Bloggers and Computer-Users by City of Vancouver Remains Unresolved

William “Bill” Simpson with Carnegie Center in background

Photo: William Simpson, a homeless man punished by City of
Vancouver for being linked to this blog

When agreeing to sponsor Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics, Acer, a marketer of laptop and netbook computers,would have been aware of well publicized complaints against the City of Vancouver of human rights abuses targeting computer users and bloggers. Acer has therefore been asked to pull out as a sponsor. The request was made in July to Acer’s public relations representives Stella Chou and Henry Chang in their “Branding Division”, and to Andrew Chang in the Shareholders Division, by an advocate for a member of the City’s Carnegie Community Center in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. There is documented evidence that City bureacrats overseeing Carnegie Center, just a few blocks east of the 2010 Olympics media center, are persecuting bloggers and users of public computers.

By entering into a sponsorship agreement essentially endorsing the City of Vancouver and it’s Olympic Organizing Committee [VANOC], says the Carnegie member, Acer is contradicting it’s advertising claims: “Empowering People….Our long-term mission is breaking the barriers between people and technology….” Under two successive City managers — Judy Rogers who was both City Manager and the City’s representative on VANOC, and Penny Ballem who is the current City manager and VANOC representative — the City of Vancouver has been accused of "maliciously" creating barriers between residents of the low income Downtown Eastside and technology.

These barriers, including banning homeless William Simpson from the City's Carnegie Centre for daring to be linked to this blog, have been reported on numerous posts on this blog.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Show Gay Pride: Raise a Child

The Gay Pride parade was this weekend. Pride goeth before a fall.

At a time when it looks like gay rights are so alive, they are on the brink of being murdered. Look at the demographics.

Gays, and the liberals who support gay rights, are not reproducing. To sustain itself, a culture must have 2.11 children per family. History shows that cultures with a fertility rate below that die out. In 31 countries across Europe, the birth rate is a deadly 1.38 per family. In Canada, we are one percentage point below our ability to reproduce our current culture: 1.6 children per couple. The German government, the first to officially acknowledge the problem, recently issued a statement admitting that Germany is past the point of being able to reproduce their culture: "It will be a Muslim state by the year 2050."

Most western countries are making up for their low birth rates by having an open door policy toward immigration by Muslims. When they arrive, Muslims reproduce at about 7 times the rate of liberals.

Islam has no pretense to supporting gay rights. Or women's rights. Don't say, 'The Catholic church is just as bad." They aren't. Compared to most Islamic clerics, the Catholic pope is the blow up doll at the head of the gay pride parade. And besides, the Catholics are becoming outnumbered by Islamists too, according to a recent statement by the Vatican.

The problem with many gays and liberals is that they are too pc to talk about this. The last time I outed Islam on this blog, I got a comment from a woman at the Lorie Krill Co-op on Cordova St. on the Downtown Eastside, calling me "racist". Islam is not a race. But the facts never deter liberals falling over themselves to accomodate the Islamic religion which will do little to accomodate them.

Look at what happened to Mark Steyn. Young Muslims in Canada arranged for him to get dragged in front of the Human Rights Commission for daring to write about Muslim demographics and the threat they pose to the western way of life. Steyn quoted a Muslim sheik who said that the Islamic way of life will prevail because Muslims are reproducing "like mosquitos", compared to western liberals. Don't ask this sheik what he thinks of gay rights.

Like Steyn, Coast to Coast radio has the courage to report on this issue. That's where I came across the above link to a video.

I almost forgot to mention the Netherlands. What ever happened to that liberal-to-the-max country we've all heard about? I read about a gay man who thought the U.S. was homophobic so he moved to Holland; he moved back to the U.S. where he found it much safer to walk down the street as an openly gay man. He said Muslims in Holland were attacking gays. In 15 years, the population of the Netherlands is expected to be 50% Muslim.

Instead of sneering at "breeders", gays should consider doing more breeding themselves.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bill Good's Colleague Hit by Cyclist while a Pedestrian

In July, I was listening to the Bill Good show and he was talking, along with his panelists Bill Tielman and Norm Ruff, about the dangers of bicyclists on the sidewalk.

Good said "a colleague" of his was severely injured when, as a pedestrian, she was hit by a cyclist.

I was glad he brought it up. I've been criticized for blogging about bicyclists on the sidewalk. One commenter asked if I'd actually ever seen a pedestrian hit by a cyclist. I haven't but I've seen close calls. So I was glad Good was willing to talk about how it does happen and can cause serious injury.

Ruff pointed out that pedestrians in Victoria have been placed at risk by a bicycle path which pedestrians have to cross. But Good pointed out that at least those pedestrians have a choice. They can look both ways.

One thing I like about Critical Mass is that they cycle on the street, not the sidewalk.