Sunday, September 27, 2009


Welcome Home has been trying to find a home of its own for several years now.

Part of the problem was that United Furniture magnate John Volken, a multimillionaire turned philanthropist, was not very clear at first about how his $50 Million program would actually work.

I should know.

I worked for him for a few months when he was trying to build the centre here in Vancouver on an excellent site he owned at Powell near Victoria Drive.

But he and his staff have come a long way since the City of Vancouver dithered and put up one pointless obstacle after another.

Here was a guy donating a ton of his own money to getting addicts clean and sober and the bureaucrats just kvetched and whined until Volken said, "Enough."

He hightailed it a few years ago to Surrey where the Best Mayor in Canada, Dianne Watts, welcomed Welcome Home and has since declared that it is a "fabulous program" which does "a lot of good work."

She is right.

And the 900 people in Newton who have signed the latest Not In My Back Yard petition to keep this program out are entirely wrong.

We need more and more programs that will turn out clean and sober citizens.

These programs can not be on the moon or on an ice flow, if there are any of those left.

These programs must be, as they often are, right next door to you and you don't even know it.

One important caveat:

If such programs are built and run by the government, you can bet your mortgage that they will be badly designed and run even worse. Protest those with all your righteous strength.

If such programs are designed and run by non-profits and /or by recovering addicts themselves, there is a mighty good chance that these folks know what they are doing and you will be safe in your bed.

Support those programs with all your righteous strength.


Anthony Tommasini, an opera buff, has scored a real coup - a lengthy, thoughtful and quiet interview for the NY Times with Barbra Streisand about the mechanics and wellsprings of singing.

All of this is in anticipation of a new CD release. Streisand’s latest album, “Love Is the Answer,” will be released on Tuesday by Columbia.

It is produced by none other than Diana Krall.

Barbra is 67 and she's releasing new albums.

Why not?

Tony Bennett's been sending out great new material into his 80's.

Barbra & Bernstein - What could be better?