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The democratic solution

From Monday's Globe and Mail

Community organizer Jim Green believes in a women-and-children-first fix for Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. ...Read the full article

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  1. Mike Sharp from Victorious, Canada writes:

    Women and children first.

    I'm thinking Titanic.
  2. Kim Morton from Canada writes: Mike: You need to think tax dollars.
    We could put the entire provincial budget into DES and have nothing to show for it unless the whole method of dealing with this area is changed. There are many people on the government payroll that have made a career out of this area and they like the system now in place. The Titanic by comparison was a supersonic flight.
  3. K L from Montreal, Canada writes: Do we get to chat with Jim tomorrow?
  4. Cris Moses from Edmonton, Canada writes: I don't quite get it. Add women and children to the mix and then things get better? I must have forgotten to wear my rose coloured glasses.
  5. Harold A. Maio from FYT Myers, United States Outlying writes: 1. "deinstitutionalizing" 2.(of "the" mentally ill)

    Words enter our minds and, accurate or not, we repeat them:

    1. "Deinstitutionalizing" was the euphemism governments invented for shutting institutions, removing them from their budgets. The metaphor is false, but has endured.
    2' "The" mentally ill is the precise equal of "the" Jews, a form journalism employs only with caution. Both too easily evoke caricature, one endures.

    Harold A. Maio
  6. Michael Tripper from Canada writes: gawd so all the males are to be shot, sent to prison or left to commit suicide.

    What next suicide rooms so males can do the right thing?

    This kind thinking may make Mr. Green sing Kumbaya but it certainly does nothing but demonize half the population.

    Mr. Green, please do not promote the further marginalization of folks like me - male and in his mid-forties.

    I am already a member of the working poor and now you want me to just die.

    Civil liberties must never be sacrificed.
  7. George Smiley from Canada writes: The underlying assumption here seems to be that all problems can be solved.

    If that were the case, doctors would have made understakers unnecessary.
  8. Rae Vandenberg from Canada writes: re: the deinstitutionalized woman being raped. A similar thing just happened here in Ontario to a mentally handicapped man who was kidnapped and then tortured. Why can't we make better policies for those living on disability allowances? Parents die and can't take of loved ones forever. We need a return to monitored living for many. Shame on us! Shame on BC!
  9. thomson gary from Canada writes: Mr. Green uses the term 'democratizing' an awful lot. I'd like to know, in practical terms, what he means and how he supposes this will help the people of the Downtown Eastside.
  10. thomson gary from Canada writes: Mr. Green uses the term 'democratizing' an awful lot. I'd like to know, in practical terms, what he means and how he supposes this will help the people of the Downtown Eastside.
  11. thomson gary from Canada writes: I'd like to know what Mr. Green means by democratizing in practical terms. He throws it around so frequently, without properly explaining what he means by it, that I am suspicious that it is a 'mantra' and not a policy.
  12. Mr. A. Right from Vancouver, Canada writes: The Vancouver Skid Row area, rebranded the Downtown Eastside, represents the left side of the Bell Curve of humanity. Like every other human performance or condition, there is range of position on the Bell Curve. For example, while the bulk of people find a place in the center 95% of the “Bell” a small percentage achieve great things while at the extreme other end of the spectrum we have the DTES.

    The DTES looks the same to me today as when I first saw it in 1970. It is a continuous conveyer belt of human misery and for many it is the reward for their self-destructive choices and behavior. Counter intuitively, I believe that the more money and resources that are applied to these people and the DTES area, the worse the problem will become.

    The only ones benefitting from the money flush into the DTES are the legions of Poverty Industry groups and individuals like Jim Green.
  13. Brad Richert from Vancouver, Canada writes: Jim Green is the little bird who keeps trying to fly out of the nest but falls. The people commenting on this article are the little birds who keep chirping but never leave the nest.

    Seriously.

    G&M offers what the media can these days - soundbites. Don't expect the guy to lay everything out form a couple quick questions. He has obviously been trying to alleviate the suffering of the Downtown Eastside which is obviously more than the people criticizing Jim on this article can say.

    And you know what, sometimes roses help.
  14. Lawrence Braul from Calgary, Canada writes: A Sub Culture of Dependency and Dysfunction Sure, a nice community with kids and schools and moms walking with their children evokes a nice image - an ideal state. Who will argue? My view is that the root of the problems are related to dependency and dysfunction which is reinforced by government policies that create and sustain subsistence and poverty and this is an multi-generational reality. I remember visiting the Eastside in 1972. At that time Heroin was a big thing and addicts were concentrating in the area already. With drugs come crime, exploitation, manipulation, and intimidation - all in service of the next hit. It is not only dependency but it is the dysfunctional cognitive impacts which change a persons way of thinking about life. The more radical solution is to create and construct facilities and services that employ effective measures to reduce the harm that is caused by individuals to themselve and to others. These facilities cannot be concentrated in the downtown eastside. To break down the culture of dependency and dysfunction, people must live in another more functional culture. A radical solution is to close the facilities that have been built in the Eastside which serve to concentrate the populations with the most severe issues relating to mentall illness and drug dependency. I liken it to treating a disease in an unhygienic environment. The pervasive effects of anti-social behaviour is too much for many to counter and they are easily victimized by it over and over again. It is like living in a slippery pail that one cannot pull oneself out of. It is just as likely that someone else living in the same "pail", struggling to survive and to even escape, pulls on the leg of the one that has reached the top and is about to get away - only to be pulled back down again.
  15. Geo Vanc from Vancouver, Canada writes: Gee, Lawrence Braul from Calgary, I was thinking that it very much sounded like my last trip to Calgary (fall 08).

    I expect a certain cognitive disfunction from folk from Alberta but to listen to a semi-educated red-neck from Calgary is always a treat. You visited in 72? Please come back, it's changed so much.

    Just what is the city of Calgary doing with it's "mentally ill" and "druggies"? What is Alberta doing with it's growing homeless problem? BC has about 4000 all told, not all in the DTES. Maybe less if several women have gone missing again, but maybe we should move them down here. How many children are living far under anyones idea of a poverty line? We have one in four with our kids now and it's growing. Will TILMA help on any of this? It's for more than just getting a job over provincial lines you know? But I wonder if it means $8/hr wages for you Alberta folk too, and for 10 years no raise. Unless your a kid then you get $6/hr.

    All of this is with many thanks to our LINO government party who are hoping to get in again come May 12. Then the Alberta deputy ministers and Board Members get to keep their well paying jobs too.

    You have to realise that poverty pays in BC. If it didn't Campbell and the rest of them wouldn't have it. Closing schools, hospitals, courts, etc, then finessing it by a million little regulations and voila, an instant and enduring underclass. No wonder some turn to drugs and an "alternate" lifestyle (no not that one, there is more than one you know).

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