On Smug Protection Rackets and the Wacky Fun of Being a Renter in Vancouver

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running local news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran restaurant dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown. He is very aware of his privilege, so there’s really no need to remind him of it.

Andrew Wilkinson’s transformation to advocate of the working class is off to a blazing start, and by “blazing” I mean dumpster fire: NDP on the attack after Liberal leader Wilkinson says being a renter is ‘fun’.

Ah yes, it’s just a phase we all go through on our way to earning over a million dollars to buy a house. It would be comical if his party wasn’t entirely responsible for the housing crisis. Sign the petition for real rent control.

I guarantee Wilkinson wasn’t paying $2,056 a month. Because that‘s wacky: Rents through the roof: City of Vancouver 2019 guidelines say $2,056 for one bed is affordable. I wonder if a general strike would wake up the ruling class?

The dream of the 90s is alive: Oregon to Become First State to Impose Statewide Rent Control. They said it couldn’t be done. And by “they” I mean the oligarchs and landowners that control every political party in the city province country world.

Related: Turning Up the Heat on Bad Landlords. “Heating violations can be tricky to prove. A technology nonprofit called Heat Seek helps tenants collect data on chilly apartments”. Pretty cool, but I can’t imagine someone living in a building where the landlord is turning down the heat below minimum standards actually complaining to the City for fear of being instantly evicted.

The good news: First-of-its-kind registry in B.C. targets under-the-radar condo flippers. Holy fuck, I’d forgotten it’s completely legal to flip a condo that hasn’t even been built yet. Wow, this was overdue.

This is why I dropped out of the urban geography department at UBC: Uh oh. I’m a Planner and Planning Makes Housing More Expensive.

Neighbourhood plans for the West End, Marpole, and Grandview Woodlands, ostensibly produced to allow for the creation of more affordable housing, have done the opposite of what they intended. While land in the “unplanned” parts of the city went down by about roughly three per cent in the one year between 2018 and 2019, land values in recently re-planned areas went up by between five and 25 per cent! In one year!

City Council voted for vacancy control at this West 4th development but the city manager warned against it and the vote was reversed. Seriously, who really runs the show?

But let’s really get to what’s important: City councillor wants Vancouver to celebrate its birthday properly each year. Kay Higgins: “I’m all for celebrating Great Fire day instead. We could observe it by giving some land back to the nations who pitched in and rescued the settlers whose bush town was on fire”.

Indigenous woman upholds rule of law when it was denied to her people for centuries: The moral catastrophe of Justin Trudeau.  “What Jody Wilson-Raybould described today is a sickeningly smug protection racket and it should make us all question what we’re willing to tolerate”. People waking up today realizing what most progressives have been saying for years. John Clarke:

In order to accept the testimony of Jody Wilson-Raybould that she was improperly pressured to go easy on a major corporation by high officials of the Government, you would have to conclude that the image Trudeau has cultivated of progressive values, a commitment to feminism and a desire to foster reconciliation with Indigenous people is all a sham. You would have to accept that this Government really does what it feels necessary to protect those with economic power, to facilitate exploitation and cover up wrongdoing. You would have to conclude that the Liberal Party is a tool of Big Business and that Justin Trudeau is a pampered hypocrite brought in to put a photogenic face on colonialism, global plunder and the neoliberal reordering of society. I don’t know about you but I find all of that incredibly easy to do.

Clickbait of the day: I Spent the Night at This 24/7 East Van Diner, and Here’s What I Saw. I was ready to write this off as “slumming it” but it’s a pretty good piece:

In many ways, Duffin’s seemed a symbol of East Van itself, where immigrants have historically settled, where modern and tradition bleed into each other and where gentrification fights against a robust culture that refuses to be wiped away. On a night at Duffin’s, one can seemingly step into the past, find dishes from differing parts of the world and sit amongst a varied crowd—old and young, single and families, innocent and mischievous, drunk and sober.

Headline of the day: Clothing now optional at North Shore recycling depot.

There are 5 comments

  1. The pre-sale registry is a good start however I would argue the taxes should be tied to the original owner. The point of all this is to discourage flipping, what better way than make sure the original buyer aka developers friends/family, have to pay the massive taxes on the property and not just give 20K to cash out another 60K 1 year later. And if you were intending to live in the unit, there’s no change in what you’re being charged as the taxes would have been paid by you regardless!

  2. That’s a really good idea. It follows the same logic of tying the rent to the unit.

  3. Duffin’s is what Kingsgate Mall wishes it could be. Reminds me of my immigrant upbringing for sure.

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