Gastown Gazette Retraction Request and Statement

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Without Prejudice

To the Editors of the Gastown Gazette,

The Carnegie Community Centre Association (CCCA) strongly supports the voices of low income community members, and through the work of its action project, has brought hundreds of community members together for workshops and town hall meetings focused on improving housing and income. Both are issues that are pivotal to the survival of the low-income community in the DTES. The CCCA Board represents 5000 members of the low-income DTES community, and feels a responsibility to take action whenever the collective voices of that community are distorted or silenced.

The CCCA Board has read with concern your post entitled “Vancity, you have a problem”, posted at http://gastowngazette.com/vancity-you-have-a-problem.

Your post states that the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) “has no board of directors and no outward accountability.” This is false. CCAP is a project of the board of the Carnegie Community Centre Association. The board is elected. CCAP itself holds weekly volunteer meetings. CCAP has also held numerous workshops and Town Hall meetings throughout the year on key issues that are relevant to the low-income community.

Your post says that the “researchers” and leadership of the CCAP lead and support the pickets at Pidgin and Cuchillo restaurants.” This is also inaccurate. CCAP researchers have not lead and supported the pickets.

Your post says that you “witnessed the thugs they call friends threaten and bully our neighbors and attempt to put young entrepreneurs out of business. Their words and actions have encouraged radical elements in our community, promoted vandalism against local businesses, and undermined support for important initiatives.” CCAP has never encouraged threats, bullying or vandalism, and – as such – there is absolutely no evidence in support of this claim.

Your post says that “CCAP supporters and protestors are from outside this neighbourhood. They are not interested in building a stronger local economy for the Downtown Eastside.” CCAP’s activities are focused on improving income and housing for the low-income DTES residents, as documented in years of work published on our website.  CCAP does have many supporters from outside the DTES, but the core of CCAP’s volunteers is, and has always been, the low-income DTES community.

These are unsupported allegations and attacks based on erroneous statements. We request and trust that you will publish the following statement immediately on receipt of this letter, and on your front page.

“Claims made by the editors in the “Vancity, you have a problem” posting are inaccurate. CCAP is a project of the elected board of the Carnegie Community Centre Association. The Carnegie Community Centre Association (CCCA) has a membership of 5,000 people, most of whom are low-income DTES residents. Through the work of its initiative entitled the Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP), the CCCA has brought hundreds of community members together for workshops and town hall meetings focused on improving housing and income.

While CCAP staff are not leading or participating in the Pidgin or Cuchillo Pickets, the 5,000 members of the CCCA are free to participate in whichever local activities they deem to be important. CCAP has never encouraged threats, bullying or vandalism of any kind, and the claims made in the “Vancity, you have a problem” post are false. For many years, CCAP has played a vital role in supporting the Carnegie Community Centre Association’s 5,000 members through its work on housing, income, and land use issues in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). For more information on CCAP’s work and the role it plays in supporting DTES residents in working for change in their neighbourhood, please visit http://www.ccapvancouver.wordpress.com.”
In Community.

Gena Thompson

President, CCCA

Retraction: DNC website correction

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Without Prejudice

Please consider this letter an official demand on the part of the Carnegie Community Centre Association (CCCA) to correct erroneous statements on your website.

The CCCA Board strongly supports the voices of low income community members and, through the work of its Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP), has brought hundreds of community members together for workshops and town hall meetings focused on improving housing and income. Both are issues that are pivotal to the survival of the low-income community in the DTES. The CCCA receives a written and oral activity report from CCAP every month.

The DNC has an inaccurate paragraph about a gathering outside their cancelled general meeting on Sept 21.  The paragraph and its headline claim that CCAP is protesting the gathering, that Wendy Pedersen, Ivan Drury and Jean Swanson are “paid activists.” CCAP did not organize the gathering.  The named three people are not employed or paid by CCAP.  Some people at the gathering attend CCAP meetings and volunteer at CCAP, just as some are members of VANDU, Gallery Gachet, Vancity and other organizations.  CCAP volunteers and members are free to participate in whatever local activities they believe are necessary.

The CCCA is troubled by the DNC’s choice to publish misleading statements on its website, and recognizes this choice as an attempt to silence DTES community members through character assassination. We do not believe the opinions on the website are those of the general membership of the DNC. We respectfully ask that you correct them immediately.

In Community,

Gena Thompson

President, CCCA

Response to the Gastown Gazette

On July 11 2013, a small neighbourhood newspaper called the “Gastown Gazette” published an article that made several false and inaccurate statements about CCAP.  The article stated that CCAP volunteer Jean Swanson organized protests at the Pigin and Cuchillo Restaurants and that the Carnegie Association pays these protesters. Both these allegations are completely erroneous.
Response Gastown Gazette Jul 17 13
Both Jean Swanson and the Vancouver Urban Core Community Workers’’ Association (VUCCWA), a network of approximately 40 frontline agencies and workers that provide services in the DTES, wrote a letter to the Gastown Gazette demanding a retraction.

On August 23 2013, the “Gastown Gazette” published an article entitled “Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council Takes A Dramatic Stand.” The article made several additional erroneous statements concerning CCAP, the Carnegie Community Association Board and the Local Area Planning Process committee.  Most notably, the article named two people that it alleged were are “the leadership of CCAP.” CCAP is a volunteer-driven organization with no leadership, and with two part-time staff members, neither of which are on your list. CCAP wrote to the Gazette to demand a retraction, but did not receive a response.

We are aware that a number of other individuals have also written to the Gazette to demand a retraction. If you have done so, please send us a copy for our files.