Category Archives: DTES

This Is How

oh yeah the hearing for the sahota pot shop when we were locked out and we sat outside on the lawn and ate raspberries from the garden and it was the first time i’d sat outside that year. and when the hearing was supposed to start the doors were still locked so i said this on the steps and then we sat on the lawn for three hours and then went back on the party bus and donnie worked the laser lights and he smiled and i said no photos because how could a photo get close to this feeling and then the sahotas were denied

(july 12 2017)

And they will argue, and I’m sure argue well, that the only legal way that you can rule against them is on the issue of proximity to a school as there is nothing else in the application that in any way contravenes any city regulation.

They will tell you, in this way, that you cannot get them.

They will tell you that you don’t know what is going on. That you don’t know that is application is a shameless fuck you to all and every possible moral obligation a government has, even in this belittled and degraded form and moment.

I do note that it does not contravene the regulations that the dimly obscured owners of this proposed establishment have ignored city by-laws and codes for years, to the extent that life was endangered, people were victimized, robbed, bullied, exploited, humiliated, and they died. The owners got rich. Then you said that now the building was unsafe and everyone had to go.

The living conditions were disgusting, you said. 

You said you’d be  “looking at every possible legal and regulatory tool we have available to force the Sahota family to improve the Balmoral and hold them accountable for ignoring City by-laws”

This is how you do that. 

It doesn’t say in the ordinance that the establishment cannot be a franchise of a cobbled-together business empire that is based on the exploitation of the people most damaged by so much of the violence in our society, and whatever way you can think of to steal from the poor.

Maybe you should include that in future regulations. Then you would have to state clearly that you would have been thinking of justice when decisions are made around the licensing, or making legitimate, of some sort of enterprise or establishment within the city. 

I guess if you did not approve this application they would be delighted to take the city to court. 

That’s how you hold them accountable for their brazen disregard for human rights. And human decency. And human life. And all the by-laws and rules and ordinances and crap that you have and that they have mocked and ignored for years, those weak tools that you won’t improve or enforce, until the building falls down and now it’s an emergency! 

You go to court, and expose their crimes and sue them for everything, and take their properties and use the money to fix them and make them decent.

Those are legal and regulatory tools. Take a risk on behalf of the people you represent. Actually fight for us.

That is how you can do that.

That’s what this could be like.

did you hear about the pandemic

so leading off at 930, there’s the Mayor’s Overdose Task Force Update
Dr. Patricia Daly, Chief Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Coastal Health, and staff from Arts, Culture and Community Services, to present an update on the Mayor’s Overdose Taskforce.

i expect a checklist of work completed up until mid-march, remember? back in the beforetimes? all of it has completely changed because everything has completely changed. i am continuing, for example, to post any grant opportunities. you haven’t, you have not! you yell.

i have posted them. there just are none. theyre gone.

when people complain that COVID is winning the public health disaster pageant, as if the pandemic is a PERSONAL ATTACK and not a reminder that no one is coming to save us, and that we must do this ourselves. really, get off your ass, it’s time.

alberta has stopped reporting monthly overdose deaths.

council has COVID council and while there have been some questions, there have been no solutions proposed specific to this. except from the cops, whose idea is MORE COPS. ive been trying to get council’s attention, which is why i was talking about outdoor supervised sites and opening streets to people on the news last week, and also why im really irritable. also 170 people in overdosed and died last month in the province. not just here. there are other places. and a lot of terrible things are happening. (see above, re: PANDEMIC)

i have had enough symbolic and heartwarming useless gestures. i don’t want compassion. i want justice ffs. I want equitable resources for a disaster of this magnitude. that’s all.

the other day, the province announced a new phone line like this:

“BC launches 24/7 helpline to help experts help people with addictions”

thats MORE MONEY TO THE BCCSU. (i hear on the street that the BCCSU has also won the national competition for MOST OPPORTUNISTIC, single crisis, multi-year. there’s a plaque)

how about 24/7 OPS access and can we have an inhalation site while some people can still breathe. I’ve been asking for two years. More bathrooms = less shit, why are we still talking about this, did you hear about the pandemic?

i am trying to give them ideas.

also i am scheduled to talk on cknw at 840. you can watch council at 930 and its very strange because its all online. good day to get on twitter too – am @kwardvancouver

Appropriate Futures

hey everybody remember that whole thing with the Balmoral and the Regent

remember that thing with the expropriation

last year 

the expropriation

remember the expropriation of the hotels

before the buildings were SRO hotels

they were hotels

it wasnt that long ago, from a historical perspective.

but their function slowly slowly completely changed 

not imperceptively 

you might notice slow historical change

if you looked close   or from an angle

people dont want to notice, because that would make it real

not like now

(historical change is all up in your face)

anyway those days are over and that is the past now if it seemed and felt normal

normal is done.

we’re not going back to ‘normal’

also, normal sucked.

this is a fast emergency and fast fast change and nobody knows the future.

one more thing.

this is a really small thing that apparently needs to be said.

we’re not going to have mass tourism, cruise ships, events, big festivals and so on

for a really long time. historical-type time.

all that is over. 

yes i am a historian actually.

becoming social housing IS your bailout 

and lifeboat

take it


did you know ‘hotel’ and ‘hospital’ are derived from the same word

and there will be 1-3% of visitors as in the beforetimes and why would they i mean who takes the risk of boarding a plane to look at a pile of corpses and the monuments the survivors built for themselves and then sold to a corporate investor for a 3.4% profit on spec #vanre 



or UNkettle

this is just so upsetting.

nobody knows what will happen, just that the future will not be the same. it doesnt have to be worse. we make our own history, and these are new circumstances. we can make something better, even in this place.

we can try to UNkettle

written in pink ink on a building: "the end is here'

the downtown eastside, as it’s been all this time, or when i described it in september, is done. let us out of rat park, we all have to get out of this cage. we can un-kettle, we have to, its a moral error to maintain this – living without choices is what has made this place a trap.

we are packed shoulder to shoulder. its increasingly intense, violent, desperate.

we cant look out for each other, we cant keep social distance, we cant Stay Safe because we can’t Stay Home. we dont have the option and we dont have the space and people are still out there hustling all day. everyone will continue to go out for their stuff until we create multiple routes of access to Safe Supply, because no-barrier for all is actually having lots of choices.

housing, food, incomes, occupation, safe supply, and each other, and its not for us, but FROM us to reduce the harm that the rest of the world faces too. all of us.

so —

Housing now, no NOW: people would stay home if they had homes or anywhere to go. not more shelters but transition centres sure. many people arent set to separate – which is understandable. street families, ie small groups of four or five could move into vacant storefronts everywhere. i bet tourism vancouver would agree to facilitate getting people into hotel rooms, thousands of them, right away. a small percentage of the vacant rooms.

this is not a short-term problem. the tourism industry is over. routing the $375/month to owner per room may ease the come-down for the hotels, but this is done.

moratorium on evictions, obviously rent freeze for duration.

Knowledge: i asked mark about this : grad students from the ubc school of population & public health out on the street answering questions. people need knowledge (good dope) and consistent sources of information. this is a super-intelligent but low-information population

– at least temporarily, a hub to accept and redistribute donations. maybe the Merchant’s Bank building? it’s empty. i dont think they will be renting that out anytime soon…

– creating social distance: ffs no non-essential vehicles on hastings from abbott to dunlevy.

-food depots, one per block, distributing standardized care packs daily. in storefronts.

– we would also like INTERNET thanks and about 4000 phones and 2000 tablets and 2000 laptops

– Income – no one has any reserves, there’s no food, we can’t trade. So-called “crimes” are anxiety-related and about poverty. increase shelter rate and clearly everyone needs a basic income

-if everyone has a bank account, they can choose for themselves when and how they receive their assistance. this isnt complicated (i despise the BCCSU for BCCSUing all over this. among other reasons). the poverty/binge economy + monthly cash dump ISNT THE BEST

– we should probably create a poor people’s bank, but not a crap one

– the police have to not arrest people for survival “crime” and people who arent convicted of anything shouldnt be in jail at all. also – no police.

– defund & dissolve CCAP

– join the Carnegie Community Centre Association board

– take over the Carnegie

– i’ll do those last three

– yes this is my plan

we’re running out of time

[slightly revised from a facebook post}