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Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 early by-election?

I was really saddened to hear that Larry McNabb passed away on the 24th. My wife Gayle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late March of 2003 and passed away after a 5 month fight on August 26th. Our 10th anniversary would have been the following day, I still think of her every day. My sincere and deepest condolences go out to Larry's family, he will be remembered by the many people he touched in life.

Larry was in a way part of what got me involved in the political climate of the city. When I first started attending council meetings he would come out prior to the start and bum a smoke off me and we would chat. I may not have agreed with every decission he made but I had a huge amount of respect for him and unlike others, though he did call me a liar at one meeting, he never lied to me.

So now that he is gone the news comes that we will likely have a by-election in the spring of 2011, Nanaimo must hold byelection to replace McNabb . I had to chuckle because I made a comment, see the comments to the story, that I had heard a rumour I might be running. This comment is followed by three others supporting me if I do.

The liklihood is about 99.9% that I will run and then of course have to run again in November. It is a good thing I have a lot of signs left from my last three shots, will really cut down cost I can little afford. Guess I will have to go through my other posted stuff re the last election. I believe most of what I posted then is pertinent today so my platform, updated, has changed but little.

Seems many of the issues affecting the community have a tendancy to drag on. With me what you see is what you get; HONESTY, INTEGRITY & above all NO BULLSHIT!

Anyway would appreciate any feedback that comes my way

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays

More Cold/Wet

Below is a story published in the Nanaimo News Bulletin as well as a letter from me, also published, in response.

Nanaimo's Social Planner, John Horn, is simply trying to cloud the issue by talking about a fulltime shelter for men. We do not need such and are in no way even talking about a full time shelter. His comparrison of Nanaimo with Edmonton is also ludicrous but spin he knows will influence those not aware of what the issue really is. What is really unethical is Mr. Horns attempts at smokescreening the real issue in the community, that of people having a warm bed during the months of November thru March.

Wallce has been great during this process as he is constantly bombarding numerous people with e-mails in an effort to shame them into doing something. His efforts have worked to a degree in that Mr. Horn is moving into territory that may slap himself in the face. In a recent e-mail reply to one of Wallace's he paints a condesending picture of what he thinks Nanaimo's Mayor and Council role will be in these discussions. Will have to wait and see what they think as they were forwarded these conversations.

Anyway I have been working on this with one local councilor and speaking about it to others. I have drafted up a plan with costs and funding source and the plan is to have city staff peruse and then perhaps early in January Wallace and I will appear as a delegation to council. The means to provide Cold/Wet weather funding for a temporary shelter are there and through partnerships we can make this happen.

Advocates push for more shelter
Nanaimo News Bulletin
By Rachel Stern - Nanaimo News BulletinPublished: December 19, 2010 12:00 PM
Social advocates in Nanaimo are pushing for changes to the extreme weather shelter policy, saying it isn’t adequate to protect the community’s most vulnerable citizens.

The 24-bed extreme weather shelter is operated by the First Unitarian Fellowship of Nanaimo on Townsite Road, but the call to open the facility remains with the city.

“I love this community and want to see everyone in this community taken care of,” said advocate Wallace Malay.

Malay and Gord Fuller, a social advocate and chairman of the Nanaimo 7-10 Club, are pushing for the shelter to become a cold weather shelter open October to March from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Malay said the cold weather shelter would be short-term assistance to bridge the gap until the planned 160 units of supportive housing are built.

John Horn, social planner for the city, said turning the extreme weather shelter into a full winter shelter would be unfair to the neighbourhood. “Changing that is unethical,” said Horn. “We won’t support turning the existing extreme weather shelter into a full-time winter shelter.”

However, he said the city recognizes there is a need for more shelter space for men. The Samaritan House, operated by Island Crisis Care Society, for women and children is underutilized, but places that house men are consistently full. Horn says he would like to see advocates who want a cold-weather shelter take the initiative and find a location and with which organizations to partner.

Malay questions whether the criteria for opening the extreme weather shelter is adequate.
“There’s a push for social housing, yet they will allow people to suffer in our community. The criteria is inadequate at best,” said Malay. He’s concerned about inconsistencies in shelter openings and that information isn’t getting out in time to inform people who would use it.
“It’s not only the physical harm, but when you are out there it affects you psychologically and emotionally,” said Malay. “You’re not placing any hope in the community if this is the way you are being treated.”

Conditions for opening the extreme shelter aren’t as stringent this year, with criteria specific to Island extreme weather.

Horn said in places like Edmonton the shelter is open at –10 C, but here it can be opened above freezing if there is heavy rainfall and wind. “That can be just as bad as snow because you get soaked to the skin,” he said.

City requires temporary shelter
Nanaimo News Bulletin
Published: December 22, 2010 2:00 PM Updated: December 22, 2010 2:25 PM

To the Editor,

Re: Advocates push for more shelter, Dec. 18.

Comparing Nanaimo to Edmonton stretches the bounds of imagination and confuses the issue. A far better comparison would be with places like Vancouver and Victoria, both of which have received funding for temporary shelters 24/7 during the cold/wet months of November through March.

Like Nanaimo, both of these cities have comprehensive action plans around homelessness and it is expected that once the new housing, rent subsidies and other components are in place these types of shelters would no longer be needed.

Nanaimo is well on the way in the process with committed funding to build 160 new units of supportive housing. Securing rent subsidies to get people off the street and into existing rental accommodation and purchasing existing properties, which could in fact be used for abstinence based housing, will complete the package.

Nanaimo in no way needs another permanent shelter. What I and other advocates are looking for is not even a full-time winter shelter. We would like to see the existing extreme weather shelter open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the cold/wet weather months of November through March. Rather than being opened at the whim of a few who deem the weather to be extreme, the choice then is that of those living on the street, far more empowering.

Rather than flat out stating, “we won’t support turning the existing extreme weather shelter into a full-time winter shelter,” by the way not what was asked for, are we not morally and ethically responsible to at least explore the possibility of an initiative that can prevent illness and perhaps even death?

Gordon W. Fuller

Friday, December 17, 2010

Extreme or Cold/Wet

This is my latest letter published in both our local papers.

Efforts to aid homeless in Nanaimo falling short
Gordon W. Fuller, The Daily News
Published: Thursday, December 09, 2010

The extreme weather shelter is an issue I have been working on for the past 4 years and it just keeps on going. It is ludicrous that we allow those with warm beds and homes to go to to determine just what is too extreme for those living on the streets.

Despite the lower numbers of people needing the space and the change in the criteria, see below, the word is not getting out to the people and those that make the decision to open the shelter are also not being consistent. There have been many days that the weather when the shelter is closed is equal to or worse than the weather when open.

The bottom line for me is to see the space/beds available from November thru March eliminating the need for others to choose the fate of those outdoors. This would in fact make the choice to come in out of the cold/wet that of the homeless themselves.

I am hopeful that, through the work I am doing, Wallace Mallay's outspokeness on the issue, and with the help of a few other integral links in the community, that this will be the year progress gets made.

Extreme Weather Definition
Extreme weather is defined as a prolonged period during which it is much colder than the average for our locale. In addition, the presence of considerable precipitation in the form of snow, sleet or rain or high winds would be incorporated into a decision to open.

"Implementation of the Extreme Weather Response plan will be called when weather conditions are deemed severe enough to present a substantial threat to the life or health of homeless persons.

Factors taken into account include:
  • temperatures at or below 2 Celsius with rainfall that makes it difficult or impossible for homeless people to remain dry; and/or
  • sleet/freezing rain; and /or
  • snow accumulation; and/or
  • sustained high winds; and/or
  • temperatures at or below 0 degrees Celsius”


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tardy again

Okay so nothing for a bit again. Been asked why I do not put more on the blog and I think I have come up with a rationalle. What I tend to put on the blog is stuff around Homelessness and Poverty with a smattering of Civic and other issues. Many bloggers will do daily updates with a lot of persoanal stuff, me not so. I mean really who in there right mind wants to know whether I piss sitting down or enjoy watching reality programs, if thats the case then call me.

Part of why I post so seldom is that I live what I am talking about. I have a full time job working with youth, coordinate the 7-10 Club Societies Breakfast Program, sit on a number of Boards and Committees (including the Working Group on Homelessness) and am involved with a few neighbourhood groups (currently chairing the Nanaimo Neighbourhood Network). All this towards making Nanaimo a Community that is ONEforALL.

I also, on weekends, will take a walk Downtown to see who is out and about and how things are going. I do not discriminate and while my intent is to talk to the street folk (buskers, homeless, etc.) will even take time for the mayor and others I may run across.

So, and here is a bit of personal, when I do have free time I like to rent DVD's, the gorier the better. The pretty colours help me to turn off the brain.

So the upshot is; with this blog you get what you get.