Thursday, April 30, 2009

MAYDAY 2009: Public Space Under Attack

Here's a poster that I got from Andrew Nellis on a recent visit to Exile:

On the eve of May Day 2008, Nellis was arrested for cutting the lock on the fence under the Terry Fox bridge on Rideau (fence pictured below). I blogged about it here and here. He also got a lot of media coverage and managed to get the conditions cleaned up at the Ottawa Regional Detention Centre in the process. The charges were later dropped.

Anyway, according to Nellis, who also coordinates the CopWatch program, the goal of MAYDAY 2009 is to start a Black Ribbon campaign. Starting May 1, black ribbons will be tied in places where public space has been lost.

Nellis was also involved with the Ticket Defense Program, which is no longer able to defend panhandlers from illegitimate charges. This development is explained by Reuel S. Amdur in his article, "Do Poor People Have Rights?" in the January/February 2009 issue of the Access Now newspaper, which represents people with disabilities. Click the image below to zoom in to read the article:

I don't agree with him on a number of issues, but you can't argue that he works awfully hard playing defence on the front lines of the war on poverty.

- RG>


RealGrouchy said...

D'oh! I forgot that I had scheduled this entry for posting when I posted the DOTT entry last night.

- RG>

xup said...

This is a big issue with a lot of layers. I'm a big proponent of lots of public spaces within an urban infrastructure, but I'm not so sure about fighting for the rights of people to live in public urban spaces. No, I don't want to see drunks or panhandlers hauled off to jail, but I also don't want them to have to live on the streets. I do realize this guy is focussed on addressing one particular issue, but what we really need is to house the homeless, provide a living wage to poor, and find a place to help the addicts. This reminds me a bit of Foodbanks and soup kitchens-- people put a lot of energy and time into these places, but the more the general public supports these places, the less the government thinks they need to do

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